Is the hardcore killing Civil War re-enactments?

James B White

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#21
I didn't realize this was a contest, but I still have a pretty strong notion that I spent more both in cash and especially in the years spent doing the authentic thing and that means building stuff myself.

Sorry but you come across as condescending. If you want to impress me.... well not impressed yet. I am more impressed with those who are humble rather than those who brag and put others down.
Wow. I thought that we'd have something in common, both having invested a lot of time and money in trying to build accurate reproductions, but obviously not.

I guess if you think of reenacting as some sort of competition, my post might seem like a put-down. I dunno, it's hard for me to read it in that light, because that's not how I meant it.

Perhaps I didn't explain well enough, but our goal was not to be another historic site, but to be different--a replica of a functional period home as if someone had stepped back in time, with no hidden or visible modern things--as much as possible of course, given all the practical limitations. I don't know why you assumed I didn't build any of it myself. We never could have afforded it, if we'd had to pay a timber framer, cabinetmaker, etc.

We looked at surviving homes, but even if we could undo all the changes, removing electricity and plumbing leaves holes in logs and framing. And then there was the problem of viewshed--old roads tend to become new roads. It was easier to start from scratch, clear land, plant pastures in period varieties of grasses, and build from the start, rather than undoing modern changes, because our goal was different than preserving an already-existing historic site.

But in general, I think you'll find I'm not the type to put reenactors down for whatever they do. As I said in my previous post, I don't think there's anything wrong with people who are happy reenacting however they want. I won't pretend to be ashamed of my interests, but I'm not going to put someone else down for pursuing things differently, either.

But I think this thread has unwittingly illustrated how not everybody can get along in living history--or in any hobby, of course.

There's probably a lot of information and research we could discuss in an enjoyable fashion, since we both apparently have an interest in period building techniques. My post was an attempt at sharing similar experiences and continuing the conversation, but if you're convinced it was a put-down, or wasn't humble enough, or was an attempt to impress you, well, that wasn't what I had in mind, so communication between us is going to be darn near impossible.

I'm sure you can find other folks who are happy to discuss period things, though, that naturally have a different way of communicating that works better for you. As I said in my previous post: I stay away from [reenactors] that seem hostile, who of course aren't hostile at all to folks with the same mindset as them, and all is good
 

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#22
It is the Cowboy & Idiot mindset of grown men playing war that is killing the hobby.
No, not really.
For youngsters to join the hobby, CWR needs to be more visually enticing.
People want to see more deaths(as in every 5 seconds a soldier needs to fall) and more action like charges and hand to hand combat.
In the past people tried to romantasize the war to atracked interest.
This will not work. What the modern day teen is looking for in a hobby is fast pace violence, as seen in hobbys like airsoft and paintball.
This is the modern world people.
To attract the modern teen we will need to be compeating with Halo and Call Of Duty.
 
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#23
You know very interesting thread. I am new and use a particular person that I use in studies with a museum I work with and in schools. Thought about going to some events however seems I can not do so. I can not wear period shoes as am diabetic and only way I can walk is with special diabetic shoes. Did have pair of period boots made but to be able to make to fit still would not meet period requirements. Now unit here would not say anything but a big event surely would hear about it so guess best to just not attend.
 

James B White

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#24
But to actually experience what the men and women from our past not only endured but thrived in, a week or two living in hand made house, with no running water, electricity or heat, slopping hogs, mucking stalls, chopping wood, feeding chickens, cutting and loading hay, shearing sheep, milking cows, slaughtering stock, working in a garden from 1-100 acres, one begins to have a true appreciation with what our ancestors were like.
We discovered that apparently, the jarring part for most people, the deal-breaker really, is not the practical, but the social aspect. One simply can't pretend to live in the 1860s full-time, and we never planned to, so we always had a modern house where we lived on the other end of our private road.

But imagine a home with no books or newspapers except what would be found in 1863, clothes only from that era, no acknowledgement of any music after that, no common ground to converse with modern people on topics they're interested in... There are people who live on farms today, even primitive farms, but even the Amish subscribe to newspapers, talk about current events and buy work boots at Walmart.

Due to the distinct lack of interest from others, we enjoyed the place ourselves for a few days at a time, as long as we wanted to, but years later now we no longer keep it up. Since then, as I mentioned, the hobby has changed enough that one can now find reenactors with the same interest in recreating the social aspect for a weekend or a few days more, and the practical aspect too as much as possible. But the trade-off is needing to choose a historic situation where people were living without homes and lots of infrastructure, or else trying to make-do with existing buildings that either have modern infrastructure or aren't set up to be functional in the period. I wish there had been more interest when we had the place up and running.
 

johan_steele

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South of the North 40
#25
No, not really.
For youngsters to join the hobby, CWR needs to be more visually enticing.
People want to see more deaths(as in every 5 seconds a soldier needs to fall) and more action like charges and hand to hand combat.
In the past people tried to romantasize the war to atracked interest.
This will not work. What the modern day teen is looking for in a hobby is fast pace violence, as seen in hobbys like airsoft and paintball.
This is the modern world people.
To attract the modern teen we will need to be compeating with Halo and Call Of Duty.
It depends upon what you are trying to do. that's fine if all you want to do is theme camp & play war. But if you want to honor those who came before and maybe even learn a little about them that isn't the approach to take. There is a thin line between drama and farce and those who play war too easily step over that line. If someone believes war is fun and exciting... try getting shot at for real; there is no reset or save button in real life.
 

Dave Hull

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#26
You might be surprised how current folks are in some of those rural, cut off farming communities. We made do with the Highland Recorder, definitely not the New York Times or Washington Post. TV was very iffy; if the air was right, clear and cold, you might be able to get NBC out of Harrisonburg two or three nights a week, for a few hours, radio was not much better. Even last week, you could only get a cell phone signal if you drove to Monterey, the Count Seat. No doubt satellite has changed that, but you still see many homes down there with no dishes.

When meeting folks on the street, conversations regularly focused on events, people and place names from 1-200 year ago. You really only had three current event type discussions; the weather, where the trout were biting and whether or not you had seen any deer lately. My grandmother was probably one of the last folks who made all her own clothes and bought 50 pound bags of dry goods for what was not grown there. A big trip for us was to go all the way to Churchville, 42 miles away and about an hour and a half drive, for an ice cream at Tastee Freeze.

Little has changed in Highland County Virginia. They have widened the go to hell curves in the roads so you can make 20 mph in the turns, most of the homes have electricity and indoor plumbing now. Sheep still outnumber the people, but have been passed by the cows, who make up the largest population now. Many folks have satellite tv. Now instead of driving to the general store in Headwaters for your bulk dry goods, folks pile in the truck for a big trip to town to shop at the Foodlion for stuff they do not grow.

Still not many children down there, just the folks who lived there their entire lives there and are now getting up there in years. I think the total population is 1,500 ish in the county, which is one of the largest counties in terms of land mass in Virginia.
 

James B White

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#27
You might be surprised how current folks are in some of those rural, cut off farming communities. We made do with the Highland Recorder, definitely not the New York Times or Washington Post. TV was very iffy; if the air was right, clear and cold, you might be able to get NBC out of Harrisonburg two or three nights a week, for a few hours, radio was not much better. Even last week, you could only get a cell phone signal if you drove to Monterey, the Count Seat. No doubt satellite has changed that, but you still see many homes down there with no dishes.
Not sure I'm following. No one in 2012 thinks that Lincoln is President, that Jenny Lind was the greatest singing sensation of the last 10 years, that the telegraph brings the fastest news to the nearest city, that they want to go to New York City one day to see Barnum's Museum. Even the most backward don't wear spoon bonnets to church and wish they could have what was in the latest Godey's. No one. Pretending to step into the past isn't about being sort of old-timey, it's about trying to pretend to live in a completely foreign era--and, even more, pretending that era is modern and looking toward the future, when the railroad will add a new line nearby and there will be more steam threshers and sulky plows. And, even more, having no one think those things are the least remarkable because everyone else is the same way.

Obviously, there's slippage--limitations of research, limitations of practicality, planes overhead, distant sounds of cars on the road, anachronistic plants naturalized in the woods, on and on, endlessly... but the difference between a rural home in a place like Highland County VA--I've been there, McDowell, right?--in 2012 and even a half-way attempt at trying to sorta give the illusion that you're in the same place in 1863, is like night and day. No way anyone could mistake one for the other. We got some Amish out to help raise the rafters, and they wore wristwatches and brought snacks in plastic wrappers and said they'd never seen a barn put together like that, because they weren't trying to pretend to be anything but themselves, and they were modern people.

I dunno. Maybe that's why reenactors didn't see the point. We just couldn't get across how different the experience was. Or maybe just the opposite--we did get it across and that's why they didn't want it, because it wasn't a trip to a home out in the country, or to visit their friends at a reenactment, it was an attempt to seem like living in that entirely foreign world, the time machine journey that I thought reenactors yearned for.

Oh well. It was fun for us and a few others, and I've since found there are some other reenactors at events who do enjoy giving a fair try at recreating the social and cultural aspects of the past as well as the practical aspects in settings as good as they can find, so it's a shame we couldn't have got more out of it, but it's all good.
 
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#28
It depends upon what you are trying to do. that's fine if all you want to do is theme camp & play war. But if you want to honor those who came before and maybe even learn a little about them that isn't the approach to take. There is a thin line between drama and farce and those who play war too easily step over that line. If someone believes war is fun and exciting... try getting shot at for real; there is no reset or save button in real life.
True but in the near futur it is going to become really difficult to "honor those who came before and maybe even learn a little about them" if there is no one intersted in CWR. All that i mentiond in my quote was ment to hook the younger generations. Usually a yougster will enjoy the exitement first and then the learning.
-truth is, we need to find more ways to recruit or our days are numbered
 

unicornforge

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Near Gettysburg, PA
#29
.... I spent, in actual dollars, a bit more than unicornforge mentioned, in building and furnishing a replica functional civilan home, barn and surrounding land, and offering it free to reenactors. .....
This is the second time you used how much you spent, compared to me, to make your point. No matter how you try to turn what was said around, the bottom line is that I find you consistently offensive and condescending. I give up, your repeated nastiness has chased me off the forum, congratulations.
 

James B White

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#30
This is the second time you used how much you spent, compared to me, to make your point. No matter how you try to turn what was said around, the bottom line is that I find you consistently offensive and condescending. I give up, your repeated nastiness has chased me off the forum, congratulations.
I'm stunned. This is not a reaction I could have ever predicted. My posts must be coming across very differently than I mean them. Admittedly, I also thought you came on pretty strong, but bullying never bothers me; I just state my case and go on to something else.

If you think my posts are that offensive, please hit the report button and let the moderators decide.

If you're unhappy here, of course there's no point in staying, but it was certainly not my desire to chase you off. You could put me on ignore from now on, I'll voluntarily not reply to your posts if I see them, and perhaps we can both enjoy the forum separately. That's the best compromise I can think of at the moment, but if you can think of a better one, or the moderators have suggestions, I'm ready to listen. Otherwise, I hope you find a more compatible discussion site to enjoy.
 

Nathanb1

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#31
I think everyone around here needs to take a deep breath and count to ten. Read the post before pushing the button. That's the best advice I can offer. If it looks like you're getting in a "match" with someone, be the more mature person and back off. It's hard to do....but very worthwhile.
 

Dave Hull

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#32
Not sure I'm following. No one in 2012 thinks that Lincoln is President, that Jenny Lind was the greatest singing sensation of the last 10 years, that the telegraph brings the fastest news to the nearest city, that they want to go to New York City one day to see Barnum's Museum. Even the most backward don't wear spoon bonnets to church and wish they could have what was in the latest Godey's. No one. Pretending to step into the past isn't about being sort of old-timey, it's about trying to pretend to live in a completely foreign era--and, even more, pretending that era is modern and looking toward the future, when the railroad will add a new line nearby and there will be more steam threshers and sulky plows. And, even more, having no one think those things are the least remarkable because everyone else is the same way.

Obviously, there's slippage--limitations of research, limitations of practicality, planes overhead, distant sounds of cars on the road, anachronistic plants naturalized in the woods, on and on, endlessly... but the difference between a rural home in a place like Highland County VA--I've been there, McDowell, right?--in 2012 and even a half-way attempt at trying to sorta give the illusion that you're in the same place in 1863, is like night and day. No way anyone could mistake one for the other. We got some Amish out to help raise the rafters, and they wore wristwatches and brought snacks in plastic wrappers and said they'd never seen a barn put together like that, because they weren't trying to pretend to be anything but themselves, and they were modern people.

I dunno. Maybe that's why reenactors didn't see the point. We just couldn't get across how different the experience was. Or maybe just the opposite--we did get it across and that's why they didn't want it, because it wasn't a trip to a home out in the country, or to visit their friends at a reenactment, it was an attempt to seem like living in that entirely foreign world, the time machine journey that I thought reenactors yearned for.

Oh well. It was fun for us and a few others, and I've since found there are some other reenactors at events who do enjoy giving a fair try at recreating the social and cultural aspects of the past as well as the practical aspects in settings as good as they can find, so it's a shame we couldn't have got more out of it, but it's all good.

I was referring to our farm in Bluegrass, another two mountains over from McDowell and my experiences as a kid, which really was like a time machine. Having just made the trip back this past weekend, I would say the valley has made some great leaps and bounds in terms of joining the modern world. The road from Bluegrass to Hightown was finally paved, within the last year. I can assure you a weekend spent in Bluegrass valley will make you think you just might have stepped into a time machine. In comparison, McDowell is a booming metropolis when stacked up against Bluegrass.
 

James B White

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#33
I can assure you a weekend spent in Bluegrass valley will make you think you just might have stepped into a time machine.
I'm lost. Honestly, I don't know what you mean. So they wear period clothes and think Lincoln is president? They know obscure popular songs of the 1860s, but never heard of Michael Jackson or Hank Williams? They don't have barbed wire or tractors and they only raise period breeds of livestock? Surely not. I've been there--it's like any other rural county. But those are the kinds of things one would find if one stepped out of a time machine, and they're things that can be recreated in the modern world on a small scale, so they're the minimum I'd expect, to suspend disbelief and get a time machine illusion. Otherwise it's just a trip to the modern countryside--which is great too, of course, but totally different.

I'm just lost on this whole thread. First I try to strike up a conversation with unicornforge and apparently upset him. :bye: Now, I can't figure out the time machine thing. It's not a matter of taking a deep breath and counting to ten, as Nathanb1 said, because I wouldn't say anything different a day or a week later, since I'm not upset to begin with. I'm just... not communicating, somehow. It's a puzzle.

But honestly, I've never had luck on the reenacting threads here. Oh well, I signed up here originally for the historical discussions anyway, so back to them, where it all makes more sense. :running:
 
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#34
I believe the topic was was "hardcore" reenactors ruining the hobby. The answer is a firm NO.

There are extreme idiots that spend all thier time, complaining about others, both hard core and mainstream, but as I said in 37 years in this hobby, the VAST numbers that cause problems are in the mainstream camp. The theme campers, powder burners.

I use to be a total campaigner when I was young. Now I am more of a progressive. I was out of the hobby for many years, and when I came back in I going what I thought was a progressive unit. They advertised living history among the things they did. Found out they consider putting up common tents, living history. While I woke in the morning from sleeping on the ground, I was sighted with sweat pants, and sterno stoves. And this was at a National event. Needless to say, I was not happy.

Now do they have a place in the hobby. The answer is YES. However, if your going to go that route, do not try to join in with a battalion that is progressive and when called on things, say "you do your thing we will do ours". Find another mainstream outfit to be with, OR improve. Nothing ruins a weekend more than having your event ruined by lack of respect for the rules, and fellow reenactors.

Same is true with Authenic Battalions, units and messes. Fall in with like minded outfits, or be prepared to adjust your attitude. Really, having events with guidelines and rules that are ENFORCED, will solve 90% of all problems.
 
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Messages
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#36
Hello, I live in two centuries. I portray a civil war infantrymen as well as a longhunter of the 1760's. I try to keep all my gear, clothing, and mannerisms as close as possible to the time I portray when around the public. It has cost me alot! That being said, I would never disparage anyone who takes the time to come out and try to live the experience. If you want to count stitches, your 100% wool is more than likely 10% nylon. How was your leather tanned? Was it tanned with chromium or natural tannins? Is every stitch of your uniform done on a treddle machine, hand stitched or was it made on a Singer? Is your musket forged steel or hammer forged iron? Did it say made in Italy first? People, we live in the 21st century trying to portray 19th century life. Welcome new people in and help them along the way to make their impression right. Our hobby will out live us that way. There is no room or time for snobbery.
 

Craig L Barry

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#37
You can't "kill" the hobby. It's been dead for years. And then 'phoenix-like' it rises from the ashes with every new five year cycle, more or less. The other point is (re)enactors themselves are not "f-arbs, 'streamers, progressive, hardcore," etc. The events are and they set the level for that. Most serious participants find the kind of events they like and where their level of commitment fits in. A serious (about getting it right) re-enactor might do a mainstream event or a 'streamer do a progressive event...it is not the individual who sets the event standard. Go to something called "The Buster Flywheel 13th Annual Tractor Pull and Civil War Reenactment" or the AoT Shiloh event and you will find about what you would expect.

Lastly, I don't know of too many instances of events open to the public at large where (re)enactors are sent packing because of some minor anachronism. In the small scale "authentic campaigner" type (invitation) events without spectators, they do hold the participants to a tighter set of guidelines, though I would still term them pretty flexible. For example, de-farbed muskets are "preferred but not required."
 
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#38
There may be no room for snobbery, but there is no room for clowns either. Again extreme idiots can be found in either camps. I went to a event this weekend. I knew it was a mainstream event, so I adjusted my attitude with that in mind. It was close to home, and at a park I knew was very nice, with period buildings. While most of the units were mainstream as I expected, and the camping was the typical tent city, I was pleasantly surprised by NO modern camping, and better than average hiding of modern items. Still the typical garrison camps with grates and other cooking items.

There was a small progressive presence, and they worked well with the mainstreamers. It was again a small element of the mainstream community that was the problem. The theme campers using the excuse of wearing costumes to be assclowns and over drink. Was it a big problem? No, but it was there, and was a breakage of the rules laid out by the event organizers. There was also the outlandish, which you always find at a mainsteam event. Nice folks from what I could tell, but really people, Kansas Jayhawkers in Ohio? With tomahawks? All that was missing was the scalps. That rates right up there with guys in warpaint and loincloths. Which gives the appearance of a circus. The typical boys on the field following around units without a drum or anything, and a couple holding flags. (a real pet peeve of mine), that and wrong period flags. For thier credit they all behaved well and did thier best to put on a good show for the crowd with the scenarios that were given.

Question was did I have fun. The answer is a firm YES. Why? Because my attitude was adjusted for said event, and I enjoyed camp life with a outfit that loves to play cards during the down times in camp. One of my favorite period activities along with rounders.
 
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#39
Awesome job forge! I have a list of items expected to be in a travelling forge but I bet they were hard to come by. Could you give us an idea of the contents and the type of work you might be expected to do from the wagon.
 

unicornforge

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#40
Awesome job forge! I have a list of items expected to be in a travelling forge but I bet they were hard to come by. Could you give us an idea of the contents and the type of work you might be expected to do from the wagon.
I guess this question is directed to me.

1SGDan, if you will Private Message (PM) me with the appropriate information to address a package I will send you a signed copy of my book as a gift. It takes a book's worth of information to answer your question.

As far as the Traveling Forge itself, I made almost all the parts one at a time by hand, including the Brake Chain locking mechanism and mounting bracket, hinges and hasp, etc. The artison smiths were expected to repair or make anything from iron, leather, and/or wood to keep the Army going. Thank you for your service to our country.

Best wishes,
Dave Einhorn
 



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