Historical enactors-when to stop?

I was just reading an article about guys who like to dress up as Revolutionary war soldiers, and re-enact battles. I can understand wanting to get the details of 18th-century military uniforms right, but doe you have to eat, wash, and sleep like they did in those days? i can’t imagine that being an 18th-century soldier was particularly pleasant-what with sweaty, unlaundered uniforms, lousy food, and horrnedous punishments for infractions. To those of you into this-how far do you go? Are Porta-potties verboten?
And another thing-I once witnesses a Civil war battle enactment-after the first musket rounds were fired, the smoke was so thick you could hardly see! Did troops wash off after a battle?

When the organizers start talking about usiung live ammunition.

That said, this seems like a cross between GQ and IMHO. I really do not see a debate here.

Off to IMHO.

Stop when you’ve finished the first bottle of S’more Schnapps. (10 points to you if you get this)

Southpark, right?


Scurvy, rickets.

It seems this is kind of like asking where to stop when camping. I know people that haul along a camper with beds, electricity, AC, a TV, and limited running water. I know people that use a sleepingbag in a nylon tent and cook over a propane grill, and then there are those that don’t take it if it doesn’t fit in a backpack.

It’s all recreation. Stop when it’s not fun any more.

Speaking as a Rev War reenactor:

We do keep some level of modern hygene. We use the portapotties when we need to but have no shame about pissing behind a tree.

Many units take the ‘Fresh off the boat’ look. An appearance as if the unit was just recruited and uniformed.

I’ve never had to luander my uniform, but I only wear it but a dozen times a year. Its wool, so it doesn’t exactly suck up odors. The linen shirt I wear underneath it is a different matter.

Food? There’s a joke we tell in our unit

Q:“What do we make for dinner?”
A: “Reservations!”

That said, for day battles (which most RevWar events are) we might carry a loaf of bread and a hunk of sausage. More authentic might try ships buscuit. Food for soldiers was not as much of a hardship when you get down to it, although it was lots of salt beef and bread.

For overnight events it means I don’t shower from Friday to Sunday evening. Not really a big thing. I sleep in an authentic canvas tent (by my lonesome, no 6 men to a tent as shown in ‘Glory’ (although there should only have been 4 in the tent at any time) or I just bring a ground cloth and wrap myself up in it.

Gunpowder smoke has a stink, but it really grows on you. The smell gets into clothes & hair but fades pretty fast, unlike cigarette smoke. In the real fights you didn’t stop to wash after the fighting because you were usually routed or routing.

Our unit is authentic as we can as far as appearances go, and we do have the occasional encampment with a cooked meal as well. Its not big thing.

Some Civil War battles try to follow the battle and may go for days. These are uncommon and the last ones I heard of took place during the 125th. No Revolutionary Battle went more than a part of a day with the exception of seiges such as Charlestown & Yorktown, which were not battles per se.

Some Civil War reenactors do what is called ‘superhardcore’, which you can read about in the first chapter of the book ‘Confederates in the Attic’. This goes for a few days being as ‘authentic’ as possible, right down to the men spooning while sleeping. This is silly, in my book, because they go to all this effort to be authentic, and then shout ‘Superhardcore!’ at every turn as if that were a catchphrase of the 19th century.

Even worse, some of the folks mentioned as ‘Superhardcore’ actually get pretty inauthentic once the day is done at some battles, breaking out propane grills and boom boxes.

As to authenticity, both reenactor groups have a major problem: In Civil War, there are far too many Tubby Bearded Guys in the ranks (what Jonah Begone refers to as TBGs). The confederate line looks way too well fed. This shows in the movie Gettysburg if you look at the reenactors too closely.

In Revwar, part of the problem is that many of the reenactors are too dang old to be the farmboys in the Continental Army.

Any other questions? I’m happy to answer them.

Weren’t those uniforms awful hot? Wool greatcoat, vest, and shirt-pretty warm for a summer battle!

Yes. They are hot. You deal with it. Wool actually breathes OK, better than a lot of synthetics, actually. You sweat, no big deal.

What the alternative? No modern fabric would look anything other than silly, and I don’t think the coolant suits Formula 1 drivers wear would fit under the coats.

I actually only wear the soldier coat for the battles & parades if it is hot. When lounging between battles I find some shade, shed gear and top coat, and rest. Its not really cheating.

When they reach Berlin.

Actually, this funny quip inspired my hijack.

All I’ve ever heard about or seen are RW and CW re-enactors. Do other wars, like WWI, have their re-enactors, too? Now, I’m not talking about the occassional guy or gal at the museum playing dress-up for the visitors. I mean, like a whole camp full of doughboys.

Over here apart from The English Civil War(The sealed knot )R.Es,to my knowledge there are U.S. civilwar R.Es,Romans(The Ermine Street Guard),Medievil(knights and Longbowmen),WW2 (Various,Brit,U,S and German),Napoleonic,Wild West,Dark Age,19c British and Viking R.Es
and their might be a Mongol Horsemen group but that might just be a couple of blokes.

All the ones Ive seen take it very,very seriously indeed and when doing shows in the summer live and dress and even cook over open fires in the manner of the time.
The Ermine street guard give their orders in latin and the Sealed knot train their men in the actual drills of that era.

They conduct a lot of practical research in what I think they call liviing archeaology,and odds are when you see any soldiers in documentaries about historic warfare the troops involved are not actors but reenactors from those societies.

But its not all work ,apparently they have some bloody good pissups afterwards.

This drives me nvts with Civil War reenactors: they are positively anal (the ones I’ve known and the online instructions) about the uniforms and the weaponry- money is one of the major reasons more people don’t do it as it can cost in the thousands to have the right uniform and the right rifle/musket/pistol/etc., then if you’re cavalry there’s the authentic saddle, etc… The only modern concession you’re allowed to make is your glasses- you can have plastic lenses (as opposed to glass) but only if the frames are authentic or exact reproductions. As I’ve mentioned before, this combined with an inordinate amount of white supremacy in the Confederate re-enactors and the fact they won’t let me take prisoners, confiscate smoked hams or livestock, burn anything, or bayonette someone from New Hampshire or Pennsylvania, is why ultimately I just paid an Irish guy $300 to go reenact it for me.

But then the same unit lets in 250 lb. guys. The Confederates had a word for fat rebels: senators. It’s not that fun, though, to reenact fishing rights debates (especially when you’re blockaded), and the Sumner/Prescott incident was antebellum.

They’re out there - more WW2 than WW1, and more D-Day Airborne than any other unit.

The American WW2 folks seem to be largely ex-military and gun enthusiasts, whereas the Europeans tend to be more “living historians,” who also recreate civilians and other noncombatants.

Soldiers in the Civil War spooned while they slept? Why?


Two women in England have made/are making a documentary about re-enacting at [url=]Kentwell Hall, which claims to have the most authentic Tudor re-enactment in all of England. The documentary talks about the Tudor re-enactment and the WWII ones. The video clips they have on their site are entertaining – they talk to different re-enactors of all ages. They’re also blogging about their experiences, which you may be interested to read. I’m really looking forward to eventually getting my hands on a copy of this documentary.

Assuming they may have only a blanket or nothing at all sleeping on the ground conducts a lot of your body heat away so that even in summer in a hot climate it can be fucking freezing .
Spooning can share body heat laterally.
If one of your mates is going down with exposure in bad conditions the standard operating procedure is to climb into his sleeping bag with him so that your body heat gradually warms him up.
If you try to heat him up quickly by artificial means the blood rushes from the body core and will probably kill him.
The down side is ,as one of my ex colleagues found out and nearly died himself is,if the bloke your trying to heat up dies and you dont notice it your own body heat is effectively going into a heat sink and you could very well end up fucked yourself.