42636Civilians in the Mist
- Sep 7 1:19 PMHi Soo,
I think that the idea of a part of the encampment representing a nearby town is a brilliant concept. Merchants, civilians, craftspersons etc that do not really fit into the scenario of troops on campaign would fit very well into this encampment. Interpreting this is a question of letting the visitors know that there were not civilian encampments on battlefields but that the civilian "village" is representing some activities that took place in some of the towns and villages at the time of the War of 1812.
I personally think that having women in the ranks in battle scenarios is fine. I also strongly support all of the non-military activities at reenactments--always providing that they are interpreted to the public. My personal bugbear is when a lady in the encampment is asked about her role and she answers that camp followers, suttlers etc were a normal part of 1812 campaigning--or worse when a woman in the ranks on being asked suggests that this was a common occurence. There may have been the odd woman in the ranks in 1812 but her own comrades did not recognize her as a woman, These were manly looking babes--unlike Bob on "Blackadder Goes Forth."
The key to all of this is that anomolies are expected--it is a hobby and partipants want to enjoy themselves while providing an educational experience. They should, however, interpret the anomolies to the public so the public is not misinformed. It took women centuries to struggle for equality and the youth of today should know how things have changed.
From: Soo <saultcitysoo@...>
Sent: Mon, Sep 6, 2010 9:18 am
Subject: 1812 Re: Interpreting Anomolies
You have raised some very good points.
I really think that women can add to the re-enactments, but we have to rethink our roles. While I have been guilty of cross dressing <VBG> and serving on a gun crew, I also enjoy talking with the public as a female and sticking pins in the balloons of those who think all camp followers where harlots.
Separate activities such as teas for the ladies are a good way of net working, but should be explained.
For instance: at the last re-enactment in Gananoque, I was asked by the GLI to do the cooking for them. Working with the scenerio, I explained to the public that the GLI did not take their women with them. I was a tavern keeper in Gan, and the soldiers were billeted nearby and I had been engaged to provide meals, while the soldiers recruited and trained the local sedentary militia. I asked that the public use their imagination and see my wall tent and kitchen as "the tavern".
I am also attempting to organize a group of civilian re-enactors to portray the civilians during the War of 1812. With Dianne Graves kind permission, we are calling ourselves "Civilians in the Midst of Alarums". The idea is to give an alternative to those who do not wish to do a military impression - or to those who wish to stay in the hobby, but no longer to participate in battles.
However, we do wish to keep a high standard of interpretation in the matters of accurate history, dress, etc. Since the majority of civilians were NOT "upper" class, we need people happy to portray settlers/farmers, labourers, etc. We don't wish to be the "dress-up" people! Frankly, rankers wives swanning around camp in evening gowns makes me crazy! LOL
We would hope to have a separate area away from the military which could be designated as the civilian village/town du jour.
Whoops! Time to get off my soap box.
We are based in eastern Ontario at the moment and in dire need of numbers to be able to be registered with the NFA at reasonable rates.
So......if anyone is interested, please contact me off list.
--- In WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com, "ronpontiac" <ronaldjdale@...> wrote:
> In efforts to inform the public, inspire interest in our past, capture imaginations etc there is nothing like a reenactment.
> Great efforts are taken to ensure accuracy in uniforms and accoutrements. Of course various anomolies to strict accuracy in presentation are unavoidable. Dozens reenact the activities of historic hundreds or thousands, ladies hold high tea near the battlefield, safety precautions (like non useage of ramrods) are taken, etc. Still the public are treated to something dramatic, entertaining and highly educational.
> However, care must be taken to avoid misinformation. The ladies can camp out and have their teas etc but should point out to the public that soldiers did not bring their families on campaigns and things like tea might have been held in communities in which garrisons were stationed but not near the fields of battle. Narrators should explain that muskets were rammed but the reenactors are not doing so as a safety precaution, that the reenactors are representing an historic action, not replicating it soldier for soldier, etc
> I write this after reading an article on a Fenian Raid reenactment in the Autumn edition of the Escarpment News, a local publication. This reenactment at Fort Erie includes women in the ranks, the same thing seen in reenactments from other time periods. However, someone screwed up in the information given to the reporter writing the story.
> The article states: " women fought in 19th century battles, sometimes disguised as males."
> While we do know that some women fought in 19th century wars, all were disguised as males. Nobody knew they were women until they were wounded and it was the missing parts not through enemy action that gave them away. They must have been some lookers!
> Women who are reenacting the roles of soldiers should inform their audience that women did not join the army in 1812 but that they enjoy reenacting the role of an 1812 soldier and are portraying a man from that period, not a woman in drag.
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