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Musing on Where (Or is it Wear?) to take my Impression

Discussion in 'Impressions of the Civil War' started by Western Reserve Volunteer, May 15, 2018 at 12:07 PM.

  1. Western Reserve Volunteer

    Western Reserve Volunteer Cadet

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    Basically at the moment I am contemplating whether to presume a cavalry or infantry impression. I have or am working on gaining a lot of the prerequisite skills for a cavalry impression, as I am a intermediate level rider and also am part of a historical fencing club and am trying to take up sabre (I can already use longsword\katana). I have most of a passable impression going for almost any branch (sack coats are really great in this regard), but don't own any weapons and have several other bits of misc. kit to pick up besides.

    While I do want to try and fall in with a bigger unit at some point, I suspect that any interactions with them I might have would be more akin to how I do conventions for my other hobbies, generally falling in only when going to reenactments and thus I will likely still be doing individual living history work for the most part.

    I know some people are hugely dismayed with dismounted cavalry, and I will concede that it is an over done, and poorly done by most. But seeing as I expect that in the long run I will at most only be able to rent a horse, or borrow others, I suppose I will have to be dismounted most of the time. Not that this was unheard of during the war, and I think I can do a better job than many, but I have already received a lot of back lash for merely contemplating getting into a cav impression on a-certain-forum-that-shant-be-named. At this point I am unsure wether it is wisest to pursue the infantry impression so many seem to do simply for sake of conformity, or to try and work on cavalry as I already have some of the skills it requires and also it corresponds to some of my other hobbies. I humbly seek everyone's sage advice.


    On a related note, a few quick questions:
    1. Did cavalry wear their haversack & canteen on them as in the infantry? I know they didn't have knapsacks as their saddlebags answered much of the same need, but I assume their equivalent of a "mess kit" was fairly uniform across branches?
    2. One of my favorite books for quick & detailed reference is Coggins' Arms & Equipment. Unfortunately, it was written during the centennial so sometimes what it says is suspect as scholarship marches on. I have noted that more recent sources often show the tin cup hung by the haversack closure as seen above. Coggins depicts it as commonly hung from the canteen cork chain. He dose however state sometimes the cup replaced the canteen entirely, so... Is Coggins depiction also correct for having both cup and canteen? Did soldiers actually discard the canteen later in the war as he suggests, perhaps explaining the wearing of them on the haversack closure? I did find in my "field test" in the latest event that the cup was something of a encumbrance if one merely wanted to retrieve a quick snack from their haversack, which has made me think Coggins was on to something. Or are Coggins thoughts on the matter merely influenced by reenactorisms of times long past?
     
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  3. Cpl. Smith

    Cpl. Smith Sergeant

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    While I'll give you a question; do you want/mind taking care of a horse all weekend?
    If yes do cav if not do infantry. Simple as that.
     
  4. James N.

    James N. Major Forum Host Civil War Photo Contest
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    Then pick the unit FIRST so you don't waste countless hours and $$$$$ on what will turn out to be useless impedimentia!

    That's putting it mildly; what are you even considering such a pointless and fruitless move for in the first place since you say you "know" all this criticism?
     
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  5. Old Breck

    Old Breck Cadet

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    I'm not entirely sure what this means. Either you want to reenact or not. It's not really a thing you can do individually. Does "individual living history work" mean busking in a old-timey costume? Cause that's not really reenacting. I'm not sure what that is.

    If you really want to participate in the hobby, you need to join a group. Even the most mainstream group is a better starting point than an internet forum. I get that in this day and age, it can seem easier and less intimidating to ask the internet rather than, you know, talk to people, but the only way you can learn about participating in the hobby is to participate in the hobby

    Or you could do infantry

    I think the issue on Bob Szabo's cwreenactors forum was that you only expected people give you the answers you wanted.

    The bottom line is that you can do whatever it is you want to do, but to really participate in this hobby, you need to join a group and learn as you go. They may not be what you are looking for, and you'll learn that as you go. I've quit many different groups, and only attend the campaigner events now. I can't stand the local events. That's what works for me. Something might work different for you. But trying to do your own thing really isn't feasible to actually participate.

    You'll learn the "Specialty Impressions Area" of the event is the Black Hole of Calcutta in the living history community
     
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  6. Western Reserve Volunteer

    Western Reserve Volunteer Cadet

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    What I meant by "individual living history work" is exactly that: giving presentations & doing both 1st and 3rd person interpretive work. While on fortunate occasion I am joined by others, the nature of my work as a local living history profession (aka historical societies with little funding for such events which usually precludes large group participation) usually means I work alone.

    While I do want to reenact, what I am saying is that it would not be the only context in which I would be using my impression, and that it is for that purpose primarily and reenacting secondarily my impression would be serving, so I don't necessarily want to be confined by particular units standards since I see my participation with as being more of an informal arrangement of mutual convenience than strictly full membership.

    I honestly fail to see how trying to incorporate my own pre-exisitng skills (horsemanship, swordsmanship), skills which I readily practice and am already practicing into my impression ought to be verboten. It simply seems to me to be a natural evolution of the skills I have acquired, and a natural growth of the kit I have already got. But since apparently it is, perhaps I shall simply borrow what infantry gear from whatever unit I fall in with, and perhaps pursue the cavalry impression outside of the reenacting hobby.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2018 at 2:14 PM
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  7. Western Reserve Volunteer

    Western Reserve Volunteer Cadet

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    Ha! Corporal I am beginning to think the Horses will be more pleasant company!
     
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  8. Cpl. Smith

    Cpl. Smith Sergeant

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    There a lot if work and responsibility.
    Good luck buddy!
     
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  9. johan_steele

    johan_steele Colonel Retired Moderator

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    No horse, no Cav. It's as simple as that. Hauling a horse requires the truck & trailer as well as fodder & if traveling between states often vets paperwork and insurance. Infantry is a LOT cheaper and as I'm lazy a lot less work.

    There were a lot more Infantry than Cav and it was the Infantry that did the fighting and dieing. Skill w/ a Katana does not really equate to skill w/a Cav sabre. A Katana was an infantry weapon. I'm quite skilled w/ a Yari but that in no way prepared me for ACW re-enacting or Living History.
     
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  10. captaindrew

    captaindrew 2nd Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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    With a good infantry impression you could attend any event at any place and find a home. Seems pretty simple to me. Some events don't even allow dismounted cavalry anymore.
     
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  11. Western Reserve Volunteer

    Western Reserve Volunteer Cadet

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    I’m not sure how people got “skill with a katana = skill with a Sabre” out of my posts but that is not what I said at all. I am learning Sabre right now from people who are skilled in it, I only bring up my katana in reference to the fact I have a preexisting interest and ability in swords. Other than that they are very different weapons in terms of technique and learning Sabre requires more skill and strength. Both, it should be said require far more skill to wield than any polearm be they of the eastern or western persuasion.

    I have come to the conclusion that I will likely pursue an infantry impression for the moment, and simply rely upon loaner gear from other people/units, and any sword related equipment I buy will be strictly for my other hobby.
     
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  12. WJC

    WJC Moderator Moderator

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    Excellent point! Acquiring a horse with accouterments for a weekend has to be an expensive and difficult proposition. It is not at all like renting a car. The horse must be cared for, cleaned, fed and watered.
    Unless one owns a horse, it is very difficult to reenact cavalry.
     
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  13. WJC

    WJC Moderator Moderator

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    As I understand it, a cavalryman carried virtually everything on his person or attached to his saddle, including a canteen, saddlebags, a rolled canvas feed & water bag, his pistol (or pistols), carbine, and saber.
    Perhaps some of our more knowledgeable members can give a better answer.
     
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