Re: Questions from the TV show CSI: Crime Scene Investigatio
What does it take to participate in Civil War Reenactments?
For most events all you need is mostly correcting clothing and gear. There are events, however, that do require people to meet a certain standard of authenticity and to then pre-register and be accepted.
How serious are the participants?
That all depends. Some people like to just go out camping in funny clothing and really don't take the history end of things all that seriously. Some people will spend months doing research for an event that will last one weekend.
Do they wear authentic uniforms or do they get fake ones?
Actual original uniforms and clothing are far too rare and fragile to actualy be used. With a few exceptions that people make to use smaller, more common originals everything else is a reproduction.
Do they shoot each other? If so, with what?
Never, Every effort is made to ensure that there will be no possibility that any object is fired out of a musket. Seperate "live fire" events will allow men to target shot at events. However, any battle reenactment will have multiple saftey checks to make sure that there are no rounds in the musket or sidearm and ramrods are never used on the field to ensure that those never accidently get fired.
Do they go to the actual sites where battles occur - and is it possible to have re-enactments in Nevada?
Some events do take place on the actual group or as close to is as possible. In some cases it is not possible because the original ground is now a shopping mall. It is possible to have events in Nevada...they have them in England and Germany.
Does their choice of sides reflect their politics - i.e.-would a confederate re-enactor hold that slavery is a good thing?
No, a person's choice of sides will have nothing to do with them thinking salvery was a good thing. I have never met a reenactor yet that thought slavery was a good thing. As a matter of fact most people are able to do a federal as well as confederate impression. They will chose sides based on the numbers in the event, the location, their personal choice if they had a family member in the war they are chosing to honor ect. ect.
How often are re-enactments held?
You can probably find an event every weekend of the year if you look hard enough all over the united states. Most events will take place once a year. There are a few events that will only take place once or happen once every few years to coincide with a certain anniversary in the war.
Is there some pre-planning involved, strategy sessions, who decides who stands where?
At most events this is all done before hand by the event organizers. Most of the time it might be influenced by a the battle they are trying to recreate in some way. But events are extensivly planned.
Is there a profile of the typical re-enactor?
Are there any descendants of Civil War veterants in the Vegas area? Any organizations (on the Daughters of the American Revolution model) that meet?
You may want to look into the Grand Army of the Republic, Daughter of the Confederacy and the local historical society.
Are there some magazines or books about reenactments?
There are magazines and books for reenactors and historians but I can't think of any about them. The Watchdog, Civil War Historian, Camp Chase Gazzet, Citizens companion, Civil War Times ect. ect. Are some magazines devoted to the era. You'd have to ask elsewhere to find books on military reenacting of the era. I know there are a few publised by some groups.
Is there an organization that runs these civil war re-enactments?
For the most part no. Many of them are put on by historic sites and the groups that plan on attending them.
How many people in this country participate?
I'd guess over 10,000 but there is no way to really count.
How fanatical do people get about this?
Some people more than others. I wouldn't use the term fanatical to describe the typical reenactor. Sure there are some really crazy people out there but they are more legend than actual fact. 99.9% of reenactors look on this as a hobby, nothing more.