battle reenactment question

I am curious . . .

when taking part in the reenacting of a battle - say Gettysburg (as they do every July 4th) - how is it decided who will “die” or be "injured, and when ? It seems to me this would have to worked out beforehand in order for the reenactment to seem realistic to spectators. Yet I cannot seem to find any info online as to how this is accomplished. Can anyone provide insight ?

Thanks !

  • NM

They use real bullets.


First the RIGHT answer, THEN the jokes, OK?

They are planned ahead, and you are told when to die. Folks really hate to die early in the battle, as it means lying there for hour, still.

In the SCA, they DO use “real swords”, ie wooden ones, and you “die” when you are hit “just so”- thus the loser is not known in advance.

…and of course, you should never discharge your weapon at anyone in the opposing tactical line, but off to one side, or well above. My organization (Parks Canada) has been very leery of opposed tacticals in this region since a volunteer got shot in the butt with a ramrod a few years back at a certain fur trade fort which shall remain nameless coughFort Langleycough. Not life-threatening–fortunately–although it could easily have been much, much worse.

Reminds me of a story told to me by a old-time re-enactor (sorry, “living historian”) of a War of 1812 event years ago in Ontario, when an unpopular supervisor (playing a British officer) led a dozen or so redcoats against an American line. At the first American volley, all the redcoats fell dead (by pre-arrangement), leaving the officer waving his sword and looking foolish.

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