Saturday, November 17, 2012
Missing in Action
Hey folks (I know people are reading this even though none of you comment or subscribe. Somehow this blog is up to 3400 views, so I know you're out there)
Well today was Remembrance Day, and it appears another season of reenacting has come to a close until the springtime. The Lincoln movie came out in theaters today and, though I didn't get to see it yet, I hear it's doing well in reviews.
Regretful to say that this year left a lot to be desired, as far as my own reenacting experience. I did go to Greenbank Mill in DE and the September skirmish at Ridley Creek Plantation in PA; without my dear Southern cousin I probably would not have known these places existed. There were only 2 events with my home unit I was able to make it out to. I attended one living history at Gettysburg in the peak of the July heat wave, and then the 150th sideshow event in Boonsboro. Maryland my Maryland was an awesome event, and I'm glad I was able to go to it. But I still don't own a rifle or gun of any kind, and I quickly began to realize how much of a hassle it is to borrow equipment in a group that doesn't have loaner gear readily available.
Rule #1 for new reenactors: When first starting out in this hobby, the FIRST thing you should get is your own rifle and a pair of shoes. These are the hardest things to borrow. The rest of your gear can be acquired a piece at a time as you save up for it.
Sutlers at reenactments can be the best opportunity to get all your stuff in one place, but be wary of the quality. Especially late in the season, even the most well-known and popular sutlers are trying to get rid of their products nobody was buying to make way for next year's shipments. Prices could be reduced, but the goods might also be defective. I bought a canteen from Regimental that lasted me less than a year before all its strap brackets snapped off.
Last year, 2011 of the 150th anniversary of 1861, was a much more fulfilling experience for me. I attended living histories in Gettysburg, Olde Dover Days and Separation day in New Castle, Delaware. (For those non-Delawareans, Separation day is held in June and celebrates the day in 1777 that Delaware declared its independence from the state of Pennsylvania) I was featured for a brief second on Channel 6 Action News, as a US flag bearer to one side of a podium where a General was giving a speech on Memorial Day, also in New Castle. A picture of me and a short bio appeared in Delaware Today magazine during School of the Soldier in June. (Link to the article) The 2nd Delaware was a tiny group, and the only official reenactor regiment from my home state. Everywhere we went it seemed, journalists and photographers followed us.
I tasted my first action at the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse in May 2011. In July I had a near-death experience at First Bull Run/Manassas, as I had to be evacuated from camp as a heat casualty. And in October I finally got to "see the elephant" at Cedar Creek, lasted the entire battle and had a great time.
This year was quite different. I had a death in the family and was pulled away from reenacting for most of the year so I could clean out my grandmother's estate. And then my brother got his first job, which made transportation for me all but impossible. It's hard to make any commitments when you don't know if you'll be able to drive yourself to anything. And I still don't have a real paying job yet, so everything has to be put on hold for another year. I switched units, leaving the 2nd DE Volunteer Infantry and joining the 1st PA Rifle Reserves, the 'Bucktails', and then ended up having to back out of every scheduled battle and living history, because I have a brother who works every weekend and needs my car. Sigh...reality is overrated.
And reenacting is a crazy thing to do for somebody without a job or a savings account.
I can only hope 2013 (150th anniv. of 1863) will hold better times. But until next spring, I'm afraid posting on this journal will be very sparse. I just simply don't have anything to post, I'm not a scholar on the Civil War and I don't claim to know any more than the next guy. Just a scared, clueless private who does what he's told and tries to live to fight another day. And a bit of a Jonah who's barely fit for duty.
But if you're looking for entertaining anecdotes from a neophyte in this world of bringing the dead back to life...look no further than Company Q.
Happy trails and see you next year!