>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
Some things just come easy to you John. ;-) <VBG> Kidding! I've never
heard anything but appreciation for the role you play and what you bring to
an event. It does bring out the other side of it though. Knowing how to
behave as an officer and the protocol is almost as important as the drill
IMO. Without knowledge of drill, protocol and safety you just aren't a
>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.
Reminds me of the pre-1999 Mississinewa. Once a year I play an officer of
militia at Prairie du Chien. Some of the guys who I adopt each year into
my group, (or do they adopt me?) said they would be at Mississinewa and if
I wanted to take the field and "pretend" I was giving them orders that
would be fine. ;-) Their sergeant would do the real leadership. In a
back-handed way I think that was a sincere compliment. Or at least that's
how I choose to take it. Instead I put on my OR coat that year and marched
with Lord Selkirk's forces, and certainly had a better time of it.
>I was a wreck! I spend all my time worrying about offending somebody and
>ruining the program. Thank God for Ed and the Marines.
Just goes to show your level of conscientiousness, and the value of the
support of others.
>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 commonly get pushed into positions of leadership in the units I'm in,
though I only wear officer's braid in one. In two others I'm a sergent,
and I honestly find that this role "influences" my view of officers. Being
totally serious I find myself not just "play-acting" some of my comments
and thoughts regarding the officer corps I frequently have to work with.
Relax all you Redcoats, I'm a sergent in two French units. My other two
uniforms are just ORs, and I likely have more fun just banging my musket
than in any of my "responsible" positions.
Note there is a big differnce in my mind between fun and satisfaction.
>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.
At least no one has probably ever said to you, "hey dude, yer not
Napoleon." My reaction was, at least he knew who Napoleon was. ;-)
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