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June 2004

Upcoming Events

June 26 Reenactment, Illinois Railway Museum, Union, IL
July 9-11 Reenactment, Wauconda, IL
July 30-August 1

Reenactment, Merrillville, IN

Welcome New Members!

Our roster continues to grow this year with the welcome additions of Sean Wilson and Joe Ziccarelli.  You’ve seen them in camp before—you know, the guys in the funny looking blue wool uniforms… oh wait, never mind.   

Welcome, Sean and Joe!

Next Board Meeting

The next board meeting will be on the evening of Saturday, July 10 at the Wauconda event.  Please try to make it!  Besides, not like you have anything else going on in July, right! (Besides other reenactments!)

What is the Most Important Aspect of Reenacting?
By Marc Findlay

Authenticity? First Person Impression? Battle? Knowing Casey’s? Cleanest Musket?

Well, if these were your guesses you are all wrong!

ANSWER:  Being able to leave the reenactment and go home!


As we enter the season we all need to consider the heat.  We all wear hot, wool, 19th century clothing.  We all exert ourselves in drill and on the battlefield.  These two things contribute to heat emergencies!

I am not going to get into the specific anatomy and physiology of heat emergencies.  But the heat emergency has actually started about one week prior to the event!

Marc, what do you mean?  In order for our bodies to be hydrated well enough for the increase in activity we need to be drinking a minimum of eight glasses of water per day.  Sixteen glasses of water is better.  IF YOU ARE THIRSTY, DEHYDRATION IS BEGINNING!

While at events I keep hearing the Officers and NCOs preach about drinking water.  If you pay attention to no other order, than this is the one you should listen to!

Dehydration can cause hospitalization, lost income as a result of missed work as well as…you get the idea.


Fall Out
By Ken Gough

A “Super-Excellent” Meal in the Field.

Cooking by reenactors in camp always seems to revolve around frying bacon and slicing up potatoes into the grease. This is usually followed by either ditching he meal into the bushes and sneaking off to the food bandits or stenciling your name on a port-a-john two hours after eating. You can fix a meal worth eating using period rations and mess gear.

Here is a description of how to make a “Hash” in the field from a letter by Pvt. Wilber Fisk of the 2nd Vt. Dated May 29, 1863:

“Take a small bag like the one inside your haversack and put inside as many hard crackers as your appetite will demand. With a cudgel, pound them till they are a fine as flour. Cut up your meat as fine at your patience will allow. Get a spider and pour into it some broth or ‘pot-liquor’ from boiling the fresh beef. Put into this your cut up meat and add some fresh water. Bring to a boil and mix in the cracker flour. If you have some potatoes to add. Well, that will make this meal just ‘Bully’. Boil them and mash them. Stir them in at the same time as the cracker flour. You won’t need to cook this long before it’s done. If someone in the mess has a little pepper left in a paper you may have to post guards while you eat.”

This would be a great meal to try for a mess of three or four guys. Something for everyone to do and enough activity to entice spectators to ask what you’re up to. The best of living history.

From “Hard Marching Every Day”, edited by Emil and Ruth Roselblatt.

The Fine Print
By Mary Gutzke

How many times do you read something, a contract, an application, and glance at the fine print at the bottom of the page without actually reading it—then going ahead and signing your name?  Often that fine print is the most important information in the entire document.  It is well worth the time to read that fine print and understand it; it will often make life a lot easier down the road (and won’t come back to bite you in the butt later—just ask me about my bank problems…).

Let me tie this into our fine hobby (and this applies to both the gents and the ladies).  We all  dress the part of the 1860s soldier or civilian.  We have the outfits and the accouterments of everyday living that we use to bring the Civil War era to life.  But isn’t it the details—the fine print of our impressions that make living history actually come to life?  Things like the way you style your hair, or not wearing modern jewelry and makeup; substituting period containers or holders for food while in camp. Small things such as these can make a world of difference, both in the way spectators view us as historians, and within our reenacting community as a whole, and heightens our experience of “living” in a different time.  Whenever we are in our period attire, whether we like it or not (and I hope everyone does enjoy it), we become “experts” on the subject of the Civil War in the eyes of many spectators. By paying attention to our fine print in our clothing, our impressions, our camp set-ups—we continue on the path of constantly evolving in this hobby (and that, in the words of the infamous Martha Stewart, is a Good Thing).


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