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Posted By: Walt Mathers on: 07/09/2002 16:37:07 CDT
Subject: Two Waves of the Star'd 'Battle-Flag'

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Do you recall when Stephen Siemsen and I joined Raymond Beck and the North Carolina Department of History in conducting the last signal message event atop the capitol dome at Raleigh in 1990? Stephen was to portray Union signal officer, George Carr Round and I signed onto the trip as his signal sergeant. When Stephen walked into the room filled with Round's decendants (one of whom was an active duty brigader general in to-day's army) they all gasped and looked like they had seen a ghost of their ancestor (mutton chops and all). It was scary to say the least. Steve had even made a four foot white flag trim'd in black originally displayed during the official 30 day mourning period following President Lincoln's assasination.

We seldom have many folks wanting to aspire to such detail at the average ya'll come gatherings: we do these events year-after-year. Then again, as I had mentioned in another post, lately I had wanted some of the 'I portray and OFFICER" types who had signed on to a recent Manassas event to arrive in private soldier's attire. You'd think I had ask'd them to fight the Mexican War all over again. Some even refused to attend the event at all. I served as a party chief in private's attire and didn't itch any more than usual ;)

Some signal detachments already have purchased sets of flags, taper'd poles, tents and other community property. Your suggestion of stocking variously inscribed signal battle flags sounds like a good idea. Case is that many of these units have it mighty hard just trying to maintain a stock of variety loaner threads and essential items like spare canteens and haversacks.

In the case of being nit-pickers in some respects and ignoring the facts in others, you are hitting the nail on the head. I guess the question is whether we can create a pool of those capable of doing early, mid, and late war portrayals and calling them up as needed. I think this might work as well as the two vs. four element code deployment.

My take is that (whether signallists want to admit it or not) many of our ilk are one or two rungs up the ladder from the field musicians except that the latter sound better. Fifers, drummers and buglers can learn all of the calls for infantry, cavalry and such and do them in the French or American styles as BOTH were played, but if the ditties cause nothing to occur as a result of playing the tune (as many of the musicians complain), there was no impact made. Most musicians can't wait til they reach 16 years of age to pick up a re-pro musket ~ another waste of hard won talent.

If we have signallists coming (or should I say converging) for a two day event, not knowing until then if they are using the same code, the results they effect will be devastating. So do we elect to use the four-element code for every re-enactment? Some events and not others? As for me, I can switch on a dime. Can and will others? Me No Think So ;) I'm open for suggestions.......... What might be our next step for general event co-operation between distant detachments?


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