I originally posted this in part of one thread and others have heard some of the information. However, I decided that there should be a separate thread for this, and as I have thread posting powers, I shall, and hopefully have corrected some of my horrendous misspellings:
Let me preface this by stating that I'm not a hunter, not big into guns - the NRA - etc., not a fanatic gun supporter or a fanatic anti-gun person either. I've had and shot a few since I was young and mostly on my grandmother's farm with cousins. That being said, I was at Sam's Club a few years back and of all things they had for sale was a ball and cap Colt replica Navy Revolver with brass frame (which I was to learn later was 1. Confederate because they had a shortage steel and 2. Not that great to shoot over time because brass is so soft). Now I had a slight fascination with western things. Also not fanatical about it, not really up on it, but liked Clint Eastwood movies a lot. So I purchased it. It came with a black powder horn and was in a box that said Civil War 1861--1865 or something along those lines.*
Well of course I wanted a holster for it, but not the kind of thing I'd just go out and purchase. So I put it on various Christmas, birthday lists for years. Santa always let me down. Then one night, late last late winter or early spring, there was an ad for a local Sutler opening up a store here. I saw a holster and thought, I'll just go get me a civil war holster as it is a civil war gun and no one else is getting me one anyway. So I went to their store and purchased a very reasonably priced holster. I of course went Federal being the good Hoosier boy that I am. Well, if one has a holster, then one needs a holster belt. They also had hats and uniforms and ..... With a spinning head and a love for costume I was sucked in. But I didn't want to be a fighting soldier. Make love not war.
I have a lot of nurses in my family; my mom, aunts, cousins and a cousin that's a doctor. So it was logical progression to being a doctor. Besides I have a college degree and a half, and in ways know more about disease (not anatomy or surgery) then doctors during the civil war, and as I learned later, some appointed surgeons knew even less. I didn't want to be a general or even a major, but captain always sounded pretty good, so I chose that.*
Being someone who is compulsive about completion and surrounded by so many things, I kept going back. I've been a very good customer to them at the suffering of my bank account and my photography equipment. However, I can get so many more things from them for less money then a new camera body.*I have a pretty complete gear package/uniform including MS sword. Winter heavy wool dark blue cavalry trousers/summer light cotton trousers dyed a light blue/in-between light wool sky blue trousers/heavy cotton brown trousers. An officer's frock with MS captain's bars. Various types of hats (slouch, forage, kepi, ....). Boots and brogans. Double instrument roll-up, some reproduction medical instruments. I try to only have period instruments, but my scalpel is all stainless and I realize that isn't accurate. I wonder if I can somehow encase the handle ... hmm. And so on.
Thus, for the want of a holster I am a Federal MS US Civil War reenactor.*Special note on the revolver and being a Civil War Surgeon. "Pictorial Encyclopedia of Civil War Medical Instruments and Equipment" by Dr. Gordon Dammann Volume II, page 41. "On the following pages are examples of sidearms purchased for their own protection. Since a surgeon was a non-combatant, these weapons would not have been used on the field of battle...." That doesn't necessarily mean they didn't have them with them during battle.
I am not a "thread counter" [this is a somewhat derogatory term for those who belittle others for not being 100% "authentic" in one's unifrom/portrayal of a character. Down to, "uniforms in the fall of 1862 had black thread on the right sleeve hem with exactly 28 stiches." Now those who want this sort of authenticity for their own persona and are only concerned how they portray one's own character without belittle others I believe is a fine thing for them]. However, I do try to be as authentic as I can (though as a photographer I take my modern camera with me to record events). I believe while certain regulations were issued, that the military at that time wasn't today's General Issue (G.I.) military. It is difficult to say a character wouldn't have worn "that hat" or other piece of clothing, especially among officers. Many brought things from home, had bespoke articles of clothing. Some Federal forces wore gray at the beginning of the war with some disastrous consequences for them later. Referencing photographic evidence or regulations isn't going to sway me. MANY photographs were faked during this time period and the armies of the time, are not the strict armies of today. Yes, un-manipulated photographs can clearly show that a certain thing was used, worn in a certain way, but it is show for that person. A lot of men, and some women, served in this conflict. Unless you show me photos of every soldier, then I can only take things as guidelines. That's not to say that I won't listen to CONSTRUCTIVE advice. I want to learn and be accurate, but I also want to enjoy what I am doing. And talking to a few others, they feel the same way.
I am not a member of any reenactment group (though I have had some generous offers to join a few of you here, and might just fall in with you at events where our paths cross) for a number of reasons. The chief ones being:
• I have found that at least local reenactment groups, don't particularly need medical reenactors as much as they do soldiers. They may not be against the idea, but they are not overwhelmed with excitement by it either.
• I'm not big on groups. I like to do my thing, talk to people, come and go as I please and there aren't that many reenactments in my area (within two hours drive), in my comfort zone.
And on a side note, I am developing a Federal Infantry private's uniform in honor of my great, great, great, grandfather (or uncle, we haven't totally figured that one out yet) William Haas a volunteer for the Indiana 53rd Company I. He and his company are documented in a book my grandfather's cousin wrote "To the Mountain of Fire and Beyond The Fifty-Third Indiana Regiment from Corinth to Glory" by Garland A. Haas.
I think this information sums up where I'm coming from and my interests. I'm also a little obsessive at times about completion.
If one flames me, be prepared to be brutally ignored. My wit and intelligence would be lost on one anyway.
Capt. Jas. Cox