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Playing Army?....

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  • harris4t@rollanet.org
    I do not portray an officer but after reading a few of the posts about officers, I thought I needed to add something. We are trying to create a historical
    Message 1 of 21 , Dec 3, 2000
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      I do not portray an officer but after reading a few of the posts
      about officers, I thought I needed to add something. We are trying to
      create a historical period of time. Officers were there and filled a
      very defined role. Therefore, an accurate portrayal would have
      included officers. Even on the frontier here in the Missouri
      Territory, officers made the decisions and ran the show, good or bad.
      Enough said about HISTORICAL OFFICERS. My question now is, are
      we "playing army" or trying to represent a piece of history as close
      as we possible can for ourselves, the public (which by the way is one
      reason most reenactors dress up in funny clothes) or some other noble
      reason? I don't care a fig if you have a piece of paper signed by
      the President or Queen telling you dip-squat (Ozarkian term)about who
      you are. People do this through volunteering, not commission. So, if
      some yahoo (Ozark.) bought himself an officer's uniform, this doesn't
      make him an officer in ANY reenactment. As far as I'm concerned,
      those who wish to be an officer over other volunteer-reenactors
      should be able to portray a regular, militiaman or officer at a
      moments notice. If a event is short on regulars or militia and there
      are TOO many officers anyway, a NOBLE person would fall into the
      ranks. If they refuse to assist in making the event better because
      more men are needed in the ranks, drum them out! I have seen too
      many "OFFICERS" who have some personal deficit, a need to be "in
      charge" and therefore gain "respect", and because they had enough
      cash to buy an officer's uniform. I have no use for someone who will
      not march as a regular or militia if the event calls for it. Much
      like the American Civil War reenactors, good reenactors are those who
      can show up at an event and play either side if necessary because
      they are interested in supporting an event. Those who do it for
      PERSONAL reasons (the war ain't over...) need to stay in bed and not
      show up. Now I have no ambition to portray an officer, though called
      upon I might consider it, but for those who do...beware...you need to
      gain the respect of the VOLUNTEERS if you desire them to follow you
      in any reenactment. For those of you who desire NOT to have officers,
      go be MUGMEN, you know, the guys who claim to "trap and trade", sit
      around campfire swigging beer and are an embarrassment to those who
      take the time to portray history.
    • BritcomHMP@aol.com
      In a message dated 12/3/2000 2:58:35 PM Central Standard Time, harris4t@rollanet.org writes:
      Message 2 of 21 , Dec 3, 2000
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        In a message dated 12/3/2000 2:58:35 PM Central Standard Time,
        harris4t@... writes:

        << I don't care a fig if you have a piece of paper signed by
        the President or Queen telling you dip-squat (Ozarkian term)about who
        you are. >>

        In my view it tells you that the REAL head of the CURRENT administration
        considers you competent to lead men of your nations army in ACTUAL combat
        against your nations enemies. You may consider that 'dip-squat' personally I
        don't.

        Having said that a real commission has nothing to do with re-enactment. On
        one level yes, its great to be able to trick out in different uniforms to
        fill in ranks BUT. Unlike the CW, 1812 has some fair differences in drill and
        arms it is not possible to just change a mans coat, push him out on the field
        and have him portray an ACCURATE soldier from the other side. To suggest that
        someone who gets involved because he has a feeling for his nations history is
        in some way deficient because he might be unwilling to portray the other side
        is plain 'daft' (old English term).

        Cheers

        Tim
      • harris4t@rollanet.org
        In my view it tells you that the REAL head of the CURRENT administration considers you competent to lead men of your nations army in ACTUAL combat against
        Message 3 of 21 , Dec 3, 2000
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          "In my view it tells you that the REAL head of the CURRENT
          administration considers you competent to lead men of your nations
          army in ACTUAL combat against your nations enemies. You may consider
          that 'dip-squat' personally I don't."

          But we are not speaking of a modern-21st Century army. Any modern
          soldier who is told to lead these reenactors in the drill of the
          period would be incompetent simple because 1812 drill is NOT drill of
          yeaterday. Sad to say, I do see 1812 groups who are headed up by
          modern ex-officers who had been using a weird variation of a drill
          that is common to modern soldiers but is still not period.
          Unfortunately for the soldiers of this example, they didn't know any
          better and when they attempted to mesh with others at an event, they
          were stumbling all over the place because of the lack of historical
          education for the drill of the period. Once again, just cause you
          have a paper saying that you could, in your words,'lead men of your
          nations army in ACTUAL combat', still does make them competent to
          lead at 1812 events. They still need proper training! Most modern
          officers and soldiers wouldn't know how to operate a musket if their
          life depended on (and in 1812, it did).

          "Having said that a real commission has nothing to do with re-
          enactment. On one level yes, its great to be able to trick out in
          different uniforms to fill in ranks BUT. Unlike the CW, 1812 has some
          fair differences in drill and arms it is not possible to just change
          a mans coat, push him out on the field and have him portray an
          ACCURATE soldier from the other side."

          I agree with this and to clarify, we are discussing officers, not
          really switching infantry sides (though I have done it). And in that
          context, reenactment officers refusing to be a part of the ranks if
          the EVENT needs them, put that person in a poor light indeed. The ACW
          example was to show the inflexibility of some for the sake of
          teaching the public at an event.

          "To suggest that someone who gets involved because he has a feeling
          for his nations history is in some way deficient because he might be
          unwilling to portray the other side is plain 'daft' (old English
          term)."

          Deficient? I do not think so. Everyone has their own national pride
          and are welcome to it. But is best for the public? What are you
          really teaching them at an event? These things would be moot if we
          did these things at places where the public were not there and we can
          be MUGMEN with funny hats. But I cannot honestly say I've been to an
          event lately that the public were not there and we weren't trying to
          teach them something about the past. MUGMEN show up after the public
          have left.
        • Fitzhugh MacCrae
          ... Wasn t it all ultimately about national pride, after all? Since that was a major factor from an historical prospective, is it not a disservice to conceal
          Message 4 of 21 , Dec 4, 2000
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            --- harris4t@... wrote:

            >
            > "To suggest that someone who gets involved because
            > he has a feeling
            > for his nations history is in some way deficient
            > because he might be
            > unwilling to portray the other side is plain 'daft'
            > (old English
            > term)."
            >
            > Deficient? I do not think so. Everyone has their own
            > national pride
            > and are welcome to it. But is best for the public?
            > What are you
            > really teaching them at an event? These things would
            > be moot if we
            > did these things at places where the public were not
            > there and we can
            > be MUGMEN with funny hats. But I cannot honestly say
            > I've been to an
            > event lately that the public were not there and we
            > weren't trying to
            > teach them something about the past. MUGMEN show up
            > after the public
            > have left.

            Wasn't it all ultimately about national pride, after
            all?
            Since that was a major factor from an historical
            prospective, is it not a disservice to conceal that
            from the public when teaching what the war was about?

            Fitz

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          • mike dollinger
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            Message 5 of 21 , Dec 4, 2000
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              >From: harris4t@...
              >Reply-To: WarOf1812@egroups.com
              >To: WarOf1812@egroups.com
              >Subject: [WarOf1812] Re: Playing Army?....
              >Date: Mon, 04 Dec 2000 02:16:23 -0000
              >
              >MY 2 CENTS WORTH !!!!!!!!! I 've not been in the armed forces Ive been
              >through one of the finest law enforcement academies in the nation,26 weeks,
              >many vets that attended with me wished they were back at boot camp. I
              >havent read all the banter about this posting so I may be going off half
              >cocked, but I concur, there are big differences in linear warfare tactics
              >and modern methods of combat, the drill and revolutions of arms are all
              >designed just for those tactics of the 18th century without some
              >understanding of these tactics you wont look very professional. In my F&I
              >and rev war units I feel confident that I know the drill and my leaders
              >know the drill but I'm sad to say in my experiances with 1812 events I and
              >many others have room for improvement. I have heard it said many times "
              >get a fancy officers outfit and you can lead a group of men. At the end of
              >the day you can have a bit of tea and not fuss over a dirty musket"I
              >wouldnt attempt leading till I've spent time on the line and felt Ive
              >earned the position! ........Y.M.H.S. Mike the tailor, Pvt.93rd SHoF.
              >
              >"In my view it tells you that the REAL head of the CURRENT
              >administration considers you competent to lead men of your nations
              >army in ACTUAL combat against your nations enemies. You may consider
              >that 'dip-squat' personally I don't."
              >
              >But we are not speaking of a modern-21st Century army. Any modern
              >soldier who is told to lead these reenactors in the drill of the
              >period would be incompetent . The MUGMEN have left.
              >
              >
              >

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            • BritcomHMP@aol.com
              In a message dated 12/3/2000 8:19:39 PM Central Standard Time, harris4t@rollanet.org writes:
              Message 6 of 21 , Dec 4, 2000
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                In a message dated 12/3/2000 8:19:39 PM Central Standard Time,
                harris4t@... writes:

                << Unlike the CW, 1812 has some
                fair differences in drill and arms it is not possible to just change
                a mans coat, push him out on the field and have him portray an
                ACCURATE soldier from the other side."

                I agree with this and to clarify, we are discussing officers, not
                really switching infantry sides (though I have done it). And in that
                context, reenactment officers refusing to be a part of the ranks if
                the EVENT needs them, put that person in a poor light indeed.>>

                Forgive me, but in re-reading the original post infantry switching sides is
                EXACTLY what was suggested.

                <<
                "To suggest that someone who gets involved because he has a feeling
                for his nations history is in some way deficient because he might be
                unwilling to portray the other side is plain 'daft' (old English
                term)."

                Deficient? I do not think so. Everyone has their own national pride
                and are welcome to it. But is best for the public? What are you
                really teaching them at an event? These things would be moot if we
                did these things at places where the public were not there and we can
                be MUGMEN with funny hats. But I cannot honestly say I've been to an
                event lately that the public were not there and we weren't trying to
                teach them something about the past. MUGMEN show up after the public
                have left. >>

                Sorry I don't understand that last statement at all. I know people who do
                superb recreations of US soldiers who would look like a fish out of water
                dressed as British soldiers. Dressing them as such would NOT give the public
                a good idea of a British soldier and I can think of some people who do great
                British impressions that would not be able to carry of a US impression. I am
                not sure of the value of your implication that unless these people are
                willing to turn out in other kit they are letting the side down.

                To my mind the ideal example of the 'mugman' you mention is the character who
                has a wardrobe full of kit non of it quite accurate, can turn out as
                anything, but can only do CW drill (and I have come across such people). To
                my mind quality over quantity will always give the public a better impression
                of the period.

                Just a thought (but backed by 30 years of re-enacting)

                Cheers

                Tim
              • JGIL1812@aol.com
                In a message dated 12/4/00 5:40:20 AM Pacific Standard Time, SMOKINGIRON@HOTMAIL.COM writes:
                Message 7 of 21 , Dec 4, 2000
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                  In a message dated 12/4/00 5:40:20 AM Pacific Standard Time,
                  SMOKINGIRON@... writes:

                  << . I have heard it said many times "
                  >get a fancy officers outfit and you can lead a group of men. At the end of
                  >the day you can have a bit of tea and not fuss over a dirty musket"I
                  >wouldnt attempt leading till I've spent time on the line and felt Ive
                  >earned the position! ........Y.M.H.S. Mike the tailor, Pvt.93rd SHoF. >>


                  I have been reading the posting on Officers with great interest.

                  Being an Officer of a Corp made up entirely of Officers and par taking in the
                  reenactment scene in both Canada and the United States I must say that it
                  takes quite a "bit" of practice to be a "pompous ass" on the spur of the
                  moment so that the public at large can sense what the class difference was
                  really like in the British army of the time. Quite honestly not everyone can
                  pull this little feat off. No beard. No mustache. Prim and proper at all
                  times. Even your language has to be carefully chosen and of course there are
                  the ladies.

                  I have marched in line with the best. Yes, I have even carried and fired a
                  musket for 10 years. I have portrayed both US and British soldier (OR) .
                  Unfortunately, arthritis has gotten the better of me so to stay in the hobby
                  I had to find another outlet. No musket. No drill. No marching. So I became
                  an Engineer. No troops, independent and not liable to step on anyone's toes.

                  I can remember an incident at Fort McHenry when I was in nominal command of
                  the British troops at Defenders Day program. The NPS had conveniently
                  attached a rather rowdy bunch of US militia to fill out the British line. I
                  had never worked with this group before and they knew me from a hole in the
                  ground. Needless to say, I spend a lot of time politely asking the sergeant
                  to move his troops here and there. Which he did. In the end all worked out
                  and the public was no worse for the ware.

                  I was a wreck! I spend all my time worrying about offending somebody and
                  ruining the program. Thank God for Ed and the Marines.

                  I honestly go out of my way not to command troops. It is not because I cannot
                  (just ask the FM Guard). I chose not to command on these occasions because I
                  am sensitive to the units on the field and their internal leadership code. I
                  am always more than willing to assist Tim, Steve, Benton or whoever is in
                  command if they so desire. I like to think that they feel they can count on
                  me to be another set of eyes for them on the battle field in the "fog of war"
                  that exists even today during the reenactments we all love.

                  I enjoy portraying an officer at events. All too often people will come up to
                  me and ask me if I am "The General." I have to laugh but it is an easy
                  opening to explain a little history and culture to them. Being and officer is
                  a different way of life from the ordinary ranks in an army. This was true for
                  both the American and British armies of 1812. What many people do not realize
                  is the officer core generally shared the miserable state of affairs with the
                  infantry. We just had to do it with a lot more class.

                  Enough said.

                  JG/RE and proud of it.
                • Terry Lubka
                  ... we playing army or trying to represent a piece of history as close as we possible can for ourselves, the public (which by the way is one reason most
                  Message 8 of 21 , Dec 4, 2000
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                    > Enough said about HISTORICAL OFFICERS. My question now is, are
                    we "playing army" or trying to represent a piece of history as close
                    as we possible can for ourselves, the public (which by the way is
                    one reason most reenactors dress up in funny clothes) or some other
                    noble reason?<

                    I don't know about you but I do this hobby for myself. I don't spend
                    tons of money and time on equipment to "educate the public". Granted
                    that is part of the hobby and the public at events draws support for
                    the hobby and historical sites but if someone's main purpose to do
                    reenacting to educate the public will probably get burned out in a few
                    years. Please don't misinterpret what I'm saying is that I hate the
                    public at events. Far from it. I just think a reenactor's personal
                    interests in the hobby should come first.
                    Some of the best experiences I had in reeacting were at events where
                    the public wheren't even allowed.

                    >For those of you who desire NOT to have
                    officers, go be MUGMEN, you know, the guys who claim to "trap and
                    trade", sit around campfire swigging beer and are an embarrassment to
                    those who take the time to portray history.<

                    MUGMEN? Do "Mugmen" = Moose & Squirrel types, dead poodle society, or
                    Jerimiah Johnson wannabe's?


                    Terry.
                  • Scott Jeznach
                    ... ...... Unfortunately, arthritis has gotten the better of me so to stay in the hobby ... toes. I chose not to command on these occasions because I ... I ve
                    Message 9 of 21 , Dec 4, 2000
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                      ><< . I have heard it said many times "
                      > >get a fancy officers outfit and you can lead a group of men.... I
                      > >wouldnt attempt leading till I've spent time on the line and felt Ive
                      > >earned the position...
                      >I have been reading the posting on Officers with great interest.
                      ......>Unfortunately, arthritis has gotten the better of me so to stay in
                      the hobby
                      >I had to find another outlet. No musket. No drill. No marching. So I became
                      >an Engineer. No troops, independent and not liable to step on anyone's
                      toes.
                      I chose not to command on these occasions because I
                      >am sensitive to the units on the field and their internal leadership code.
                      .......>I enjoy portraying an officer at events. .....
                      >
                      >JG/RE and proud of it.


                      I've also been reading this string with interest. I have to say I join Ed,
                      Roger, and other long-term reenactors when I say our problem is the
                      "professional reenactment officer." This dispicable creature raises it's
                      ugly head at events all the time. It can be recognized by its brightly
                      colored coat, shiny trimmings, strutting walk, and the fact that it is not a
                      herd animal. They are akin to the lone wolves. With no legitimacey
                      provided by a herd, it insists on forcing its presence into other herds and
                      demanding the right to lead the herd in an attempt to improve its
                      self-esteem.

                      As far as I can tell, they appear at all eras reenactments and those of us
                      who have 25+ years of reenactment service are just tired of this
                      "professional reenactment officer's" pompousity (?) and failure to have a
                      positive contribution to the hobby.

                      On the other hand, there are staff officers representing non-combat/non
                      infantry roles who provide positive contributions to reenactments (eg:
                      medical, engineer, etc.) These officers provide an education to the public
                      and often at great personal expense for specialty equipment to show and
                      demonstrate to others the tools of the craft. They rarely if ever wish to
                      be in the command limelight, to which they are commended.

                      Scott J.
                      Royal Marines
                    • Craig Williams
                      Just a fun note on all this clap-trap about re-enactednonexistantofficer types. The English language describes groups of animals and individuals with special
                      Message 10 of 21 , Dec 4, 2000
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                        Just a fun note on all this clap-trap about re-enactednonexistantofficer
                        types.
                        The English language describes groups of animals and individuals with
                        special words such as a "Pod " of Whales, a "Pride" of Lions, a "Cabal" of
                        conspirators,. Well, Doug Decroix refers to a group of officers as a
                        "Pomposity".
                        In view of the fact that we seem to be able to sustain this thread all this
                        time, I would have to agree that it is extremely appropriate!
                        Tuppence
                        Craig
                      • BritcomHMP@aol.com
                        In a message dated 12/4/2000 6:35:26 PM Central Standard Time, sgtwarnr@idirect.ca writes:
                        Message 11 of 21 , Dec 4, 2000
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                          In a message dated 12/4/2000 6:35:26 PM Central Standard Time,
                          sgtwarnr@... writes:

                          << The English language describes groups of animals and individuals with
                          special words such as a "Pod " of Whales, a "Pride" of Lions, a "Cabal" of
                          conspirators,. Well, Doug Decroix refers to a group of officers as a
                          "Pomposity".
                          In view of the fact that we seem to be able to sustain this thread all this
                          time, I would have to agree that it is extremely appropriate! >>

                          I would have thought an 'Incompetence' would be rather good!

                          Cheers

                          Tim
                        • Craig Williams
                          Incompetence is perhaps too broad a brush to tar with I think...after all I can think of many pompous officers from history that weren t incompetent. Lord
                          Message 12 of 21 , Dec 5, 2000
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                            "Incompetence" is perhaps too broad a brush to tar with I think...after all
                            I can think of many pompous officers from history that weren't incompetent.
                            Lord Wellington for one....
                            Tuppence
                            Craig
                          • HQ93rd@aol.com
                            In a message dated 12/5/00 3:16:18 PM, sgtwarnr@idirect.ca writes:
                            Message 13 of 21 , Dec 5, 2000
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                              In a message dated 12/5/00 3:16:18 PM, sgtwarnr@... writes:

                              << "Incompetence" is perhaps too broad a brush to tar with I think...after all
                              I can think of many pompous officers from history that weren't incompetent.
                              Lord Wellington for one.... >>

                              And Craig too!
                              Or is that impotent?
                              ;-)

                              B
                              93rd SHRoFLHU
                              THE Thin Red Line
                              http://hometown.aol.com/ninety3rd
                            • Scott McDonald
                              ... I humbly submit that when two or more officers are gathered together in one place, said group be refered to as a surplus of officers. Of course the
                              Message 14 of 21 , Dec 5, 2000
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                                >"Incompetence" is perhaps too broad a brush to tar with I think...after all
                                >I can think of many pompous officers from history that weren't incompetent.
                                >Lord Wellington for one....
                                >Tuppence
                                >Craig

                                I humbly submit that when two or more officers are gathered together in one
                                place, said group be refered to as a 'surplus' of officers. Of course the
                                highest ranking member of the surplus gets to boss around the others so he
                                would be known as 'General Mismanagement' and of course we know that the
                                other officers do have a role in battle, to back up the private and nco's,
                                so they would be known as 'spares with airs'

                                Cheers
                                Scott McD.
                              • dancingbobd@webtv.net
                                Hi Scott, The very best suggestion ever! Bob Dorian Cpt. US Engineers
                                Message 15 of 21 , Dec 5, 2000
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                                  Hi Scott,

                                  The very best suggestion ever!

                                  Bob Dorian
                                  Cpt. US Engineers
                                • Craig Williams
                                  ... Heyyy! Not since the viagra!
                                  Message 16 of 21 , Dec 6, 2000
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                                    >And Craig too!
                                    >Or is that impotent?
                                    >;-)
                                    >
                                    Heyyy! Not since the viagra!
                                  • BritcomHMP@aol.com
                                    In a message dated 12/5/2000 5:16:54 PM Central Standard Time, sgtwarnr@idirect.ca writes:
                                    Message 17 of 21 , Dec 6, 2000
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                                      In a message dated 12/5/2000 5:16:54 PM Central Standard Time,
                                      sgtwarnr@... writes:

                                      << "Incompetence" is perhaps too broad a brush to tar with I think...after all
                                      I can think of many pompous officers from history that weren't incompetent.
                                      Lord Wellington for one.... >>

                                      Well, I could give you an argument over that one Craig, but won't.
                                      But I thought you were referring to those re-enactment officers who dress as
                                      such but don't know how to behave or maneuver large bodies of troops. I have
                                      come across people who trick out as private/NCO/Officer who were incapable of
                                      the task, including some who work from the drill manual according to Abraham
                                      Lincoln!

                                      Cheers

                                      Tim
                                    • Tom Lawrence
                                      On one level yes, its great to be able to trick out in different uniforms to ... drill and ... the field ... Tim, On this point I will disagree.
                                      Message 18 of 21 , Dec 6, 2000
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                                        <<SNIP>>
                                        On one level yes, its great to be able to trick out in different
                                        uniforms to
                                        > fill in ranks BUT. Unlike the CW, 1812 has some fair differences in
                                        drill and
                                        > arms it is not possible to just change a mans coat, push him out on
                                        the field
                                        > and have him portray an ACCURATE soldier from the other side. <snip>

                                        Tim,

                                        On this point I will disagree. Being from Minnesota my opportunities
                                        are quite limited as to 1812 reenactments. It is for this reason
                                        that I now have several uniforms: British Regular (deWatteville),
                                        U.S. Navy (USS Carolina), Militia (Brit or U.S.) and recently U.S.
                                        Regular. There are some events that I will always do as British and
                                        others where it's required I do U.S. (Examples: Prairie du Chien -
                                        British; Fort Osage - U.S.) I have learned several drills and can do
                                        them quite competently. When our local group does drill we do
                                        British light, U.S. and von Steuben. There are several U.S. drills
                                        and there are minor differences between them and the British drills
                                        (light or regular). The commands vary somewhat and it always takes
                                        me a moment or two to refamiliarize myself but the similarities make
                                        it quite easy to 'switch sides'.

                                        BUT, I will also say this, taking someone new to drill and expecting
                                        them to know what to do when on the field is expecting a lot,
                                        probably too much for a beginner. I have been doing 1812-era drill
                                        for about 10 years so it's relatively easy for me. The basics are
                                        just that, basic. Once you've learned one drill, learning the next
                                        is easier.


                                        Tom Lawrence

                                        p.s. N'Orleans/Chalmette won't happen for me this year. My Mom's
                                        going in for hip replacement on January 4th so...
                                      • HQ93rd@aol.com
                                        In a message dated 12/5/00 11:12:07 PM, raintree@evansville.net writes:
                                        Message 19 of 21 , Dec 6, 2000
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                                          In a message dated 12/5/00 11:12:07 PM, raintree@... writes:

                                          << Of course the
                                          highest ranking member of the surplus gets to boss around the others so he
                                          would be known as 'General Mismanagement' >>

                                          I am Major Disaster, thank you very much!
                                          :-)
                                          B
                                          93rd SHRoFLHU
                                          THE Thin Red Line
                                          http://hometown.aol.com/ninety3rd
                                        • HQ93rd@aol.com
                                          In a message dated 12/6/00 5:15:16 AM, sgtwarnr@idirect.ca writes: And Craig too! ... On the Niagra? 93rd SHRoFLHU THE Thin Red Line
                                          Message 20 of 21 , Dec 6, 2000
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                                            In a message dated 12/6/00 5:15:16 AM, sgtwarnr@... writes:

                                            << >And Craig too!
                                            >Or is that impotent?
                                            >;-)

                                            >>Heyyy! Not since the viagra!>>

                                            On the Niagra?

                                            93rd SHRoFLHU
                                            THE Thin Red Line
                                            http://hometown.aol.com/ninety3rd
                                          • Craig Williams
                                            Viagra on the Lake!!! What a great place to live. Craig
                                            Message 21 of 21 , Dec 6, 2000
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                                              Viagra on the Lake!!!

                                              What a great place to live.

                                              Craig
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