Friday, October 21, 2005

Quick ways to find out more about CW reenacting

Here's my public service announcement of the day...

These links go to some great forums to use if you want to ask experts about what you need to do to jump into the hobby:
Camp Chase Gazette
CW Reenactors
Teen Reenactors

This site is only for the very serious reenactor:
Authentic Campaigner

Thursday, October 20, 2005

What I last read

"Company Aytch" by Sam Watkins is the memoir that every Confederate reenactor should have on their shelf. I break out the "Aytch" every so often, if just to get into the mood reenacting-wise. Watkins' easy-going style strikes me the right way, making the book a quick read. I was able to pick up on some details, and when I have the time, investigate their veracity over the reenacting off-season.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

What I'm reading now

"Past Into Present: Effective Techniques for First-Person Historical Interpretation" seems that it'll be a great read. The first couple of chapters are well-written and very interesting, lots of good info that bodes well for the rest of the book. The author, Stacy Roth also has a great Web site that is a must see.

Other links to articles by Stacy Roth:
"Axe and Pot" Comments: Of Guardians and Myths
"Over Here: Molly Pitcher"

My favorite Sutler of the Week

This week's favorite Sutler mention goes to CJ Daley, purveyors of fine garments. And in my case, fine undergarments! Received a nice pair if underwear from them last week, and they look nice 'n cosey for Ft. Branch early next month.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

They even do (A)CW reenacting in the UK

I rate this Web site one of the best you can find in terms of sheer accurate information. These guys know their stuff, and from what I hear, are good at getting artillery pieces unstuck from the mud.

CW links of the week

Here are some reenacting links for this week:
Battle lessons
Blue Springs Battle Reenactment Draws Thousands Of Spectators
Re-living history
Palmyra gears up for raid

Here are some CW-related links:
Pelham statue rededicated
Civil War Tourism Plan Targets Western Maryland for Investment

Other reenactment links:
Putnam plans war reenactment
Middle ages come to life in Glenns Ferry

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Worthy organization to donate some $$

This has been a time to give money to worthy causes, most notably, to Katrina and Rita relief efforts. If you have even a small amount left over to give, you may want to give the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) a look. They're out to conserve some of the more obscure sites of the war - the ones that don't get national or state backing. When a site is preserved, it's taken away from the developers and left alone.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

If you decide to ever read again, check this out

Civil War Historian Magazine is a great publication. It has nice big pictures and looks swell on a dining room table.

If you decide to read it, like I do, you'll find a wealth of information -- I feel it's a suitable companion for the aged Camp Chase Gazette.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Look before you...

.... spew stupid all over the 'net. Read here...

... and then look here for a better-rounded view. It's not all about the Nazis, stupid.

If you live in NC and want to 'jine a good unit...

Go here and read up on the 37th/58th NC - it's my group. I have ancestors that fought with these two regiments. They're my Confederates In The Attic. (incidently, it's a great book - I could relate to it)

Time to fight the good fight

Seems like there's a groundswell of support to nix a developer's plans for the site of the Shepherdstown battlefield in West Virginia. If you live in WVa, don't let another piece of history slip under some developer's bulldozer.

Here's more info on the situation.

Another bit - this fellow is selling t-shirts and giving the proceeds to battlefield presentation.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The next place I'll see the elephant (recreated)

Fort Branch will be November 4-6, 2005. Seems like a nice way to wind up the season.

An interesting note - this is a privately-owned battlefield. This is a great example of reponsible private conservation. Long may it last!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

My favorite Sutler of the week

For the uninitiated, a "sutler" in the CW was a civilian merchant who sold goods to soldiers of either army. They serve the same function nowadays, and like their historical counterparts, the quality and price of goods varied from sutler to sutler.

In recognition of the sutlers I like because of great and authentic selection, fast delivery and outstanding customer service, I'm going to sing their praises. Loudly.

The first sutler I dealt with from the very beginning of my reemergence was Orchard Hill Sutlery. They have the goods and service, and I've come depend on them for my mess kit and various sundries I've needed and continue to need. They also sold me my shirt (which I love), shoes, and my US blanket. Great items all.

CW-related political 'toon

Although this is a slightly leftward-leaning 'toon, I did get a small chuckle out of it.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Fighting the good fight

Although this battlefield site is old news, it serves as a reminder that North Carolina's Civil War history is fragile. I used to pass Morrisville Station every day going to work. Knew nothing about it.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Battle of Corinth, MS 9/30-10/2 2005

It was one long-ass trip to the innards of the deep south. It started in Fayetteville, NC, and thirteen hours later we were camping in on the cold, hard ground just north of the sleepy town of Corinth, MS in rural Tennessee.

The ride there was pretty interesting with George driving. I think George has driver's ADD. He kept driving toward where his eyes were pointed, and oftentimes not on the road. On more than one occasion we heard the wail of the "wake-up" strips carved on the shoulder of the road. So it was George, "Big Nasty" and myself heading out to see the big show.

From Fayette-nam we pick up John, sometimes known as "Jonas Sobel"; Tudd, our first sergeant and spiritual leader; Tyler the quiet guy; ex-Marine vet John; Wes, the fun and lanky (and most Confederate-looking) guy; Dave and Josh, father and son; and finally Ryan, otherwise known as "Rusty" through an earlier experience through the group's ritual "letters to the soldiers" readings in camp.

The trip was damned long. We took a wrong turn at Chatanooga and merrily started driving to Birmingham. A few miles out of the 'ham we realized the mistake and headed cross-country to get back on track. What started at 1:00 Thursday afternoon ended at 4:00 the following morning. Being the hardcore reenactors (known as "campaigners") we were, quickly unfurled bedrolls outside of the van and slept best we could. It was colder than the balls on a brass monkey.

Friday
The next morning consisted of us finding the registration tent, which by the way, is always a pain in the buttocks. The Corinth reenactment battlefield itself was pretty large, and it took awhile for us to learn the roads around it. The intenerary included a tour of the Shiloh battlefield and lunch at the Catfish Hotel. It was a great few hours.

Read more about Shiloh battlefield.

In the afternoon, we were slated to fall in with the 9th Texas, a grade A reenactment group and great bunch of guys. Soon, we were on the march toward our first encounter with Federal forces near the recreated Battery Robinette. I must admit at this point I have admiration for the events out west -- the Friday battle was equal to any Saturday battle here in the east. Maybe some people should take note of this.

After the fight, we came back to camp and received rations of cured ham, parched corn, raw carrots and potatoes. Maybe much for the time period, but nice to cook and eat.

Saturday
Slept much better - actually was able to sleep for a good while. The evening was a perfect temparture to get cozy. It was a good thing, because we were all over the field in the afternoon. Although reenacting is but a miniscule taste of the life of a CW soldier, it is still physically demanding, which makes you appreciate more what an actual soldier had to have gone through at the very minimum, on a daily basis. It also brings into perspective the type of soldier we attempt to portray, men who we are are mere shadows in comparison.

We were assigned to the first company of the 9th Texas (who were representing the 2nd Texas, the historical regiment that stormed Battery Robinette), a fun-lovin' group of guys - a great fit for fun lovin' Carolinians. Our first assignment on Satuday morning was to serve as pickets for the Confederate forces. Typically, the Saturday battles are unscripted affairs known as "tacticals". The picket started out peaceful enough - just took potshots at a couple Union cavalrymen.

Soon afterwards, the Federals infantry skirimishers came. The company reforms and drives into the open field next to our pickett position. By this time, other Confederate units have already formed a skirmish line and were dueling the Feds. Our job was to sweep the Feds off the field by overwhelming numbers. If the truth be known, we had our butts handed to us on a platter. The Feds were well organized and had control of the field. In realistic terms, our company would have been taking heavy losses going out into the field, and more losses dues to the fact we were grouped in a column and then in battle line. Alas! We be merely reenactors.

We had more more fight later in the afternoon in front of the Battery Robinette. By this time, I was feeling like my butt had been thoroughly kicked. My back as squealing. Tudd was concerned. I was cursing my luck. Then it rained.

Sunday
Jeez, I felt old! My back was howling from Saturday evening, and sleep was scarce. Getting up was a bitch and I was trying to dry out from the thunder shower. As long as I could walk around, I was doing good. Sitting down was not fun. Fortunately, good luck prevailed -- the weather proved to be kind and my back settled down.

The actual assualt on Battery Robinette involved a march through a series of fields, driving the Feds in front of us. Since this was a scripted battle, we were picked at random to take hits, but the final assualt survivors were kept secret. Jonas and myself went down in the first volley. The battle and final assault looked great from our vantage point.

It was a grand time. We marched to the van, packed up and headed back to the Old North State. It took me from 4:00 Sunday afternoon to 7:00 Monday morning to get home. This blog only hits the highest of the high (and low) points of the trip.

I've hacked on this entry quite enough. I might come back with more juicy bits later on.

After action reports
Civil War Battle rages again through Corinth

I take a bow

This is my first post for this blog, so I'll introduce myself, and the angle I hope to take with this blog.

My name is Eric, and I've been a reenactor on and off for the last 23 years. Done the Civil War, WW1 and WW2. Heck, I even flirted with going into the SCA. My first event was a small to-do in Boone, NC for Appalachian State University's History Department. Since then, I've been around the block a few times. I first started off as a dismounted cavalryman and then migrated into the infantry. I've been part of four great groups, including my current hangout group.

In the time I've been going to reenactments (I call 'em "gigs", a term I picked up from a friend of mine), much of the fun is the getting to and coming from. Many tales can be told of the wild road-trip and sites along the way. Hey, they make funny asides for the most part.

The great thing about the gigs is the sheer entertainment value of the trip and reenactors. Great stuff.

To the left: Handsome devil me from 20 years past