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Thread: My New Kit: Applications & Improvements Upon...

  1. #1

    Default My New Kit: Applications & Improvements Upon...

    progress_by_ijnredshirt-dc87eew.jpg

    OK so I've spent the last few years very busy, finishing off a long term internship at Lakewood's Oldest Stone House and will soon start work a the Civl War Soldiers & Sailors Monument in downtown Cleveland: my first real paid job! I wound up doing a civilian impression of an 1840's era teacher for the last two years, and that has gone remarkably well. The kid really love my


    Anyhow, I've in the meantime been building up my kit with the help of my mother who is very active nowadays on civilwartalk. Anyhow, I've no gotten myself a fairly decent tin cup (though I am pretty sure it is actually stainless), a lovely tarred black haversack, proper forage cap\kepi, artillery hat insignia, and belt plates for the cartridge box, us infantry, & a nco\cav rectangular belt plate. I also have just gotten a very nice sack coat (albeit I think the wool may be a bit on the thick & cheap side) and a pair of reenforced riding trousers. Right now, I am planning on either being a cavalryman (cue boos at dismounted cav, although I do intend on doing a photoshoot on horseback at some point) or a driver for an artillery team, since that seems to align best with the gear I have a the moment. I'm not planning on doing hat brass, though so I can feasibly switch between impressions of cav, arty, and infantry at will. An old friend of mine has an retro Ames saber I might borrow at some point.

    (Edit: My new riding trousers are in fact light blue-grey, sorry it dosen't show in the picture it was a rainy day and there wasn't much light. Anyhow I know they aren't infantry trousers, hence my interest in possibly making a second pair of trousers in another style & color.)

    I'm considering possibly also having a pair of dark blue infantry trousers done to supplement my riding trousers, with the one navy blue wool I posted about a few years back... I feel like I once read that there were some early war units that wore sack coats & dark colored trousers, but can't place the regiment (though probably a New England one?). Anyone recall wherein I might have come across this claim?

    Also on the matter of trousers, any recommendations on doing alterations of rep trousers? My new pair are long enough in the leg, but need to be taken in a the waist, lest I scandalize the ladies!

    In terms of footwear, I am seriously considering substituting Russian\Soviet made Sapogi for more expensive repro boots: would this be generally acceptable? They might find dual use in another impression at a later date. The boots are hobnailed, just like Civil War boots, although they are designed to be worn with foot wraps rather than socks which might make for some comfort issues in the long run... but they seem to sell for around $50-60 which is much cheaper than retro riding boots.

    Alos any suggestions on improvements I might make to my current equipment? Obviously, the next thing on my list are a good canteen, any other suggestions?

  2. #2

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    I'd actually recommend kersey blue trousers instead of dark blue ones. Dark blue are so early war specific. Get a pair of shoes or boots. Your sapogi will hide under your trouser legs, but they'll never be right. Comfortable though. They're the most comfortable military boots I've ever worn.
    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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    New Mexico
    Posts
    99

    Default

    Dark blue is fine for US Regulars out west, but stick with the lighter blue for Eastern impressions. And good, proper footwear is a must, because the wrong ones just look weird. Nothing ruins an impression like modern-looking shoes. Even the cheapest online sutler shoes look better than modern footwear. Which unit do you want to represent?
    Michael R.
    NPS Volunteer representing Company A or G, 5th US Infantry Regiment
    Private/new recruit, Company A, 3rd US Artillery Regiment
    Museum collections manager in northern New Mexico

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Near Gettysburg PA
    Posts
    132

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    I always recommend talking to the leaders of the group that you plan on falling in with. Find out what equipment they use , and who they purchased it from, so that you don't stick out.
    David Einhorn, Author of the book titled, "Civil War Blacksmithing" available from Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Civil-War-Blac...+blacksmithing

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    New Mexico
    Posts
    99

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    A certain amount of "sticking out" is acceptable, if it can be justified by research and evidence. For example, there is plenty of photo documentation of groups of soldiers. If you can find one of the regiment you are portraying, look at uniforms and variations within. If the vast majority are wearing piped military jackets, go with that. If it is a blend of jackets and fatigue coats, go with whichever you prefer. For everything, the easiest thing to do is to go with the federal issued/regulation items for the unit you are joining, and as you get more comfortable with the unit, you can explore civilian items and alternative items. Pretend that you are a new recruit, and perhaps one of the hired substitutes or a very down-on-your-luck individual who could not bring anything from home when you passed the medical inspection.

    And like I said earlier, non-period footwear sticks out like a sore thumb. Nothing as bad as seeing velcro or the big raised "NB" on a black tennis shoe. Even if it is the cheapest pair from the most questionable of online sutlers, go with a period brogan, and just save up for a good pair later. The cheap brogan will fall apart by the time you have saved up the $350 for a good pair from Missouri Boot and Shoe.
    Michael R.
    NPS Volunteer representing Company A or G, 5th US Infantry Regiment
    Private/new recruit, Company A, 3rd US Artillery Regiment
    Museum collections manager in northern New Mexico

  6. #6

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    I'm trending lately more towards cavalry in my portrayal, since I certainly have the trousers for it and can actually ride a horse... I have also recently started attending the local HEMA\Historical Fencing club (I have some background in kendo) and thinking about trying to learn some sabre techniques. If I do go infantry, fighting with an spadroon as a Sargent or Corporal is a possibility I might pursue as well. Although I definitely would like to fall in with a regular unit, I also plan on continuing the living history type work I've been doing operate from any unit as well. Most of that entails playing my violin for special events, which was what got me involved in the hobby many moons ago.

    The only other impressions I can think of that would feature mounted service trousers are mounted artillerymen (usually the drivers of the teams, also there were some all mounted batteries assigned to support cav units), and some infantry officers. I'm am fairly certain the only ones of the later group who were mounted were Lt or above in rank... and don't people usually frown on officers impressions, especially among newcomers? So while the later idea might be a good compromise from my standpoint, I suspect any prospective unit give me a hard "No" to it. Although people hate "dismounted cavalry" with a burning fervor so I do not know how much that would really factor into my own choice in the long run. Are there any other circumstances under which one might wear mounted service trousers that i have missed?

    Also, I am wondering if anybody knows where a cavalryman would have kept his haversack, tin cup, & canteen: would he have worn them as an infantryman would or kept them on his horse? I know if I go cavalry I would not need to worry about wearing a blanket roll or backpack as an infantryman would as much of my extraneous stuff would live in my saddlebags.
    Last edited by Sprauge Zouave Cadet; 05-09-2018 at 07:53 PM.

  7. #7

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    You really need to find a unit. Start as a private. Historical reenacting isn't LARPing, where you get to select your character, weapons and armor. What you should carry and use I dictated by the historical record. Settle into a unit before you buy a lot of stuff you'll never be able to use, or get a less than enthusiastic reception on that impression that you've been thinking about for so long. You're heading in a direction that will end in disappointment.
    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

  8. #8

    Default

    With all due respect Rob, perhaps it is best not to throw rocks at other hobbies. LARP-ing and Reenacting are much the same (replace wizards and swords with muskets firing blanks and well, different swords), and a good reenactor\living historian should hone their roleplaying skills if they intend to accurately portray people of the period. And anyways, we are all just a bunch of reality challenged goofballs running about in silly clothes for fun and occasional profit at the end of the day.

    Regarding impressions, I see no reason why taking up an impression which channels my own interest and skills into a Civil War context would lead me to disappointment, whilst spending time on an impression in which I have no skills would lead me to happiness? The fact is I am already a longsword\katana practitioner, and am part of a club through which it is entirely feasible to pick up skills in sabre or short sword fencing. I also am an intermediate level rider. So why, I wonder, should I strive to become yet another stock infantry man when I have never shot a gun or marched a mile in my life? Wouldn't I be better off pursuing the aspects of this hobby that correspond to my pre-existing interests? I don't intend to offend the greater reenacting community with whatever impression I choose to pursue, but equally I don't know why I wouldn't pick one that requires skills I already have.

    That said I do not intend on spending anymore money on my impression at the moment, not until I have nailed down more precisely what I want to do. Better to discuss it five times and buy it once, I figure.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    New Mexico
    Posts
    99

    Default

    I have never done artillery before, but that was the first local group I found when I moved to New Mexico, and that is the branch that I have devoted all research towards. Joining a group and being a part of a group opens doors, because they have the contacts and the networks and the history that can help get volunteers to sites. I have gone to sites I never heard of before thanks to belonging to a group. It is the same with school presentations.

    Also, the skills you have are not necessarily going to be 1860s skills. Horse-riding done by ranchers is nowhere near the same as mounted cavalry drill, for example. LARP-style sword fighting is not the same at all as saber drill. No matter what branch or what unit you represent, you will need to learn and develop new skills.
    Michael R.
    NPS Volunteer representing Company A or G, 5th US Infantry Regiment
    Private/new recruit, Company A, 3rd US Artillery Regiment
    Museum collections manager in northern New Mexico

  10. #10

    Default

    Actually, I intended no disrespect toward LARP or cosplay. Historical reenacting does share some concepts. (And you should see my Mandalorian armor. With the jetpack. That I wore for a half marathon. ) However, it does not share an affinity for unusual or eccentric impressions. The goal in historical reenacting can be summed up in these 3 words: Period,Everyday, Common (or PEC as you may see it abbreviated here). The hobby has long since progressed past the days when looking and acting like extras from a western movie was OK, and many of those who expend time, effort researching and discretionary income on a historical impression have little patience with a steampunk vision of the Civil War.We're trying to steer you to the middle of the road.
    I'm gonna take one glove off and swat at you a little. I've reenacted for over 40 years, was well-mentored by my unit members when I started, and have helped dozens of new reenactors get their start. You will also find me to be the soul of gentility. If you insist on disregarding guidance like mine, and that of the other posters who have responded here - well, you're going to get corrected a lot, in less polite manner an in the end will not enjoy, or contribute, to historical reenactng. That's your choice.
    If you're looking for a good starting impression, look for artillery. All you need is the basic uniform with no weapons, and minimal field gear. Infantry is your next best choice, although a musket is a big ticket item Mounted cavalry is very expensive, given that you need to equip and train not only yourself but also the horse. Think double the money. Listen twice as much as you speak. Take good notes.
    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

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