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Posted By: Walt Mathers on: 10/24/2004 10:48:23 EDT
Subject: Conducting Cross-lines Signalling - Political Reasons For

Message Detail:
Dave I wanted to respond to your line:

As the resident "purist," you can guess my attitude toward cross-line communication, so I won't comment on that. I do understand the "political" reasons for it."

The difference between historical accuracy and emulating historical figures, playing-out or re-creating certain accounts of history is that the orignial players had no script. These souls new nothing of what the outcome of their encounters would be. We do. And as we know what they did but the written accounts we have a choice: to give a general undertanding of what conditions may have been like or to take stabbs at emulating small, medium and large scale re-creations using the various means and resources on-hand at the time we wish to create such a scene.

For the benefit of all of our site visitors I want to say that communication challenges escalate with the increased size of these real-time depictions. Small gatherings, like there historical couterparts could be set into motion by the bellowing voices of company commanders. When the size of the re-created engagement swells into a medium size event, bugle and other field music such as fifes and drums are called for to start and stop large columns of troops or to have them wheel about and take up another position on the field.

Beyond the voice commands and somewhat simply field evolutions of field music ('cause some aren't so simple), 'some' field commanders have looked toward signal and telegraph as a means of extending their communcation abilities at the largest of these gatherings as a goodwill'd attempt to keep such extended communication within the scope of what would have been available to them at the time.

Here's the catch with cross-lines communication. The command players in 1861 only wanted to know what his opponent was doing 'wrong' so that he might capitalize on it and win the day. In doing so, he would save his skin and historians would later conger up thoughts of such genious! What a great man, indeed!

Conversely, command players of to-day's emulations desparately want to know what his opponent is doing 'right' so that everything that was planned in the 'script' would have been carried out just the same as (or nearly so) that of his 1861 counterpart.

If it's not a tactical - its a re-enactment - a RE-creation - a scripted play. When you throw in fantasy ranks and my signalmen stay-away elements then it becomes what we may think of as political. Most of us think the word Politics is a dirty word and indeed Webster's Dictionary supplies us with such a definition:

"...political activities characterized by artful and dishonest practices"

But another definition found in the same paragraph tells us that politics is:

"...the art of science concerned with guiding and influencing governmental policy"

If you substitute governmental policy with historical accuracy I think you might give birth to such creatures already known to us..... stage director - only we such directors are prone to wear various shades of blue, grey and some occasional plaids, checks and stripes as civilians are privileged to do. As stage directors, some of us wish to be historically on top of things, we obtain the event script and read holes though it, we visit the site months in advance of the event (sometimes two or three times), we ponder the various ways we can bring about a successful recreation and then, with script clutched in hand (well some of us perhaps), we charge upon the field of re-created times and do our level best to see that what may have been seen in 1861 might now, for a brief instance, be replayed with the means avalilable to make it so.

Now, what was your question again?


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