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Thread: Federal Soldier w/sack coat, and knapsack

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Anniston, Alabama
    Posts
    88

    Default Federal Soldier w/sack coat, and knapsack

    Our unit is planning on doing a living history for a school group next Thursday, what all should i explain about my uniform?


    I will be wearing;

    A natural muslin Standard issue shirt
    U.S. Leather belt w/dovetail cap pouch and cartridge box for a .69 caliber musket, bayonet for .69 cal musket
    issue brogans
    wool socks
    sky blue trousers
    standard 2 bag knapsack w/issue wool blanket
    tarred haversack


    what should i point out or specifically explain to the kids?
    Pvt. Spanky
    51st Alabama Cavalry
    33rd Alabama Infantry Company E

    "Surrender means that the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy, that our youth will be trained by Northern school teachers; learn from northern school teachers; learn from northern school books THEIR version of the war; and taught to regard our gallant dead as traitors and our maimed veterans as fit subjects of derision."
    General. Patrick Cleburne, CSA

  2. #2

    Default

    Well, a great deal depends on what age group you'll be with. Some things which work well are the idea of preserved, unrefrigerated food such as hard tack and salt pork being carried about during summer for days at a time in a black canvas bag in your armpit. Another would be comparing the size of the knapsack with the average book bag. Asking the kids to imagine a pile of things they use every day and then imagine trying to fit that into such a small space can be a real eye-opener.
    Eugene Yeo
    "I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues." - Dr. Seuss, "The Lorax"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    City of Brooklyn, New-York.
    Posts
    245

    Default

    There is no such thing as a "standard issue muslin shirt." The Army issued shirts of domet flannel and wool flannel...why some sutlers decided to make shirts out of modern (i.e. cheaper and lower quality) cotton muslin and call them "standard issue" is beyond me.

    It's something to consider getting in the future, and can become an interpretive talking point itself, i.e. why might wool be used for a shirt? Better availability of the raw material in the North, the better durability, the versatility of wool to actually keep you cooler in the summer (wicking away sweat) and warmer at night (you don't want cotton against your skin when it's cold), the fact that woolen base garments would have been very common to people from civilian life, the anecdote about shirt material being used to assist with identifying a deceased's affiliation after Gettysburg, etc.
    Marc A. Hermann.
    The Daybreak B'hoys.
    Liberty Rifles - Hardtack Society.
    Oliver Tilden Camp No. 26, SUVCW - Co. I, 83rd NYV, SVR.

    Descendant of Pvt. E. Hermann, 45th PA Militia - Capt. Wm. K. and Lt. Geo. W. Hopkins, 7th PA Reserves - Pvt. Jos. A. Weckerly, 72nd PA Infantry - Pvt. Thos. Will, 21st PA Cavalry.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Tuskaloosa, Alabama
    Posts
    4,404

    Default

    Spanky,

    What you don't have is as important as what you do have.

    You have a wool blanket. Borrow a gum blanket. Ask the children what they sleep on. They will say 'a bed'. What's on that bed? They will say 'a mattress, sheets, blankets, a spread, stuffed animals, my stinky brother......'--whatever it is, call on them, give them time to answer, encourage them. Now, put your bed together: bring up some pine straw, pull the sticks and cones out of it, lay the gum blanket down, put a kid on the gum blanket, put the wool blanket on top of the kid, put your (empty) cartridge box under his head......

    Ask them what happens when it rains. If you are brave, do the sleeping set up as it was really done with two pards-- gum on bottom, 2 men with 2 blankets spooned closely together, second gum on top. I'm not sure you really want to go there--------you've taught the real lesson, that a soldier does not have much, with just one blanket and gum. Either way, remind them that you slept with your clothes on, that you don't have any pajamas in that pack. And that you brought your shoes and your weapon into the bed with you to keep them dry.

    Show.......don't just tell. And there's no need to tell everything you know. Teach one thing. They will remember that. Fifteen years later, there are grown people who will see my daughter with her spinning wheel, and come up and tell her how long it took a woman to make a pair of socks during the Civil War. And she taught it from Selma to Brierfield, from Fort Gaines to Tannehill to American Village.

    Keep your talk short. A decade ago I did 20 minute presentations--now I keep them under 5 minutes especially when dealing with the 4th Grade, where all the Alabama history and all the 19th century history they are going to get, is taught. Their attention span is short. Except for the ones who will stay all day and ask a million questions. Its okay to say 'I don't know, lets ask that man over there......

    Good Luck.
    Mrs. Lawson
    Weaver, Spinster, Strong Fast Dyes
    Knitted Goods and yarns available thlawson@bellsouth.net



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  5. #5

    Default

    Make a connection that there was NOTHING digital then. Kids that age don't know of a time that wasn't computerized. If you have a deck of cards or a harmonica, you can illustrate having to make your own entertainment. There's a pretty good chance that some adult in their lives has been deployed in the last ten years or so - you can talk about why today's uniforms are camoflage and Civil War uniforms were not.
    Rob Weaver
    Pine River Boys, Co I, 7th Wisconsin
    "We're... Christians, what read the Bible and foller what it says about lovin' your enemies and carin' for them what despitefully use you -- that is, after you've downed 'em good and hard."
    -Si Klegg and His Pard Shorty

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    189

    Default

    Encourage questions, and when they ask them, don't just give a short, one sentence answer. Historical anecdotes are wonderful; Shelby Foote never met one that he didn't like.

    If you can bring your musket, do so. I know people are afraid of overreaction to firearms, but I've given talks to kids in 4 or 5 schools and have never had a problem. Ask first, but don't assume that it's verboten.

    Demonstrate things that the kids can relate to. For example, my brogans have hobnails and I point them out if a child hasn't asked already. When the subject comes up, I ask how many kids play soccer. There's always a handful. Then I ask what kind of shoes they wear, and they say "cleats." "Why?" "Because they get better traction." "Exactly, and when you're walking down a steep hill with dry grass at Perryville, Kentucky, you'll want good traction too!"

    Good luck. Have fun. And welcome to one more aspect of Public History!
    Mel Glover
    -GG grandson of Cpl Christian Greener, 1st Wisconsin Cavalry, Co. F

    -Rob Weaver is my guru:
    -"...one of the characteristics of a good reenactor is the willingness to not be bulletproof."
    -"Be more concerned with your own impression than with anyone else's."

  7. #7

    Default

    Hallo!

    When it comes to "firearms," assume NOTHING.

    Know the laws where YOU live as they can vary wildly by state and city.

    In this state, the law says that one needs the express written permission of the school board or its designee to bring dangerous or hazardous things that shoot or cut or stab to a school.

    It is also a good idea that the principal and teachers know in advance, and be "discrete" when bringing stuff in as one never knows what a neighbor will see and misinterpret before calling in the police and SWAT.

    Lads in the more rural areas can have greater ease and never have to deal with these modern day issues. Lads in larger cities often face more issues and constraints. And in between there are always lads who do not know their law(s) but whom have skated by "unscathed" so far in breaking them time after time.

    As shared, younger kids often do better when the talk or presentation gets them to think about their lives now versus "back then." With "creepy" stuff coming in second like food, or gross-out items like drawers.



    Curt
    Whose wife, in the pre Columbine era, used to bring in muskets and allow the students to fire off blanks from the high school roof (which is the first thing students remember about her classes no matter how many years later...)
    In gleichem Schritt und Tritt, Curt Schmidt

    Not a real Civil War reenactor, I only portray one on boards and fora.
    I do not portray a Civil War soldier, I merely interpret one.

  8. #8

    Default

    This right here. Call the principal, the superintendent and the teacher before hand, make sure that you know the rules and that EVERYBODY around knows what's going on. Some schools don't communicate well internally. I've always made it a point to call up the local police, trooper barracks and sheriff a day or two before to let them know what's going on, when it's happening and who the contacts are.

    Quote Originally Posted by Curt-Heinrich Schmidt View Post
    Hallo!

    When it comes to "firearms," assume NOTHING.

    Know the laws where YOU live as they can vary wildly by state and city.

    In this state, the law says that one needs the express written permission of the school board or its designee to bring dangerous or hazardous things that shoot or cut or stab to a school.

    It is also a good idea that the principal and teachers know in advance, and be "discrete" when bringing stuff in as one never knows what a neighbor will see and misinterpret before calling in the police and SWAT.

    Lads in the more rural areas can have greater ease and never have to deal with these modern day issues. Lads in larger cities often face more issues and constraints. And in between there are always lads who do not know their law(s) but whom have skated by "unscathed" so far in breaking them time after time.

    As shared, younger kids often do better when the talk or presentation gets them to think about their lives now versus "back then." With "creepy" stuff coming in second like food, or gross-out items like drawers.



    Curt
    Whose wife, in the pre Columbine era, used to bring in muskets and allow the students to fire off blanks from the high school roof (which is the first thing students remember about her classes no matter how many years later...)
    Eugene Yeo
    "I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues." - Dr. Seuss, "The Lorax"

  9. #9
    Shaggy1667 Guest

    Default

    When we do living history events. Kids seem to be astonished at the many uses for a bayonet. Many kids only think of the bayonet as a weapon.
    There are thousands of things you can do. Most kids wont remember what they learned from a book when they get home but when they see it in front of they're eyes they will remember it for the rest of they're lives.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Anniston, Alabama
    Posts
    88

    Default

    I probably should have said….. it's at a state park, the kids are coming there… the school knows there is muskets… and i have poncho a vulcanized rubber poncho, I also have a gum blanket, but as I am doing campaign this year, I took the gum blanket out…less is better!!!
    Last edited by Pvt. Spanky; 03-13-2014 at 02:31 PM.
    Pvt. Spanky
    51st Alabama Cavalry
    33rd Alabama Infantry Company E

    "Surrender means that the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy, that our youth will be trained by Northern school teachers; learn from northern school teachers; learn from northern school books THEIR version of the war; and taught to regard our gallant dead as traitors and our maimed veterans as fit subjects of derision."
    General. Patrick Cleburne, CSA

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