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Posted By: Walt Mathers on: 01/16/2003 16:20:59 CST
Subject: Five Forks, Hld'g A Sig Cmp of Instrcn at

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Sounds great to me. If I were you I'd begin with the "Camp of Instruction" chapter pp. 55-77 in Brown's book and work my way through "Principles and Methods..." pp. 91-113, "Signal Apparatus" pp.115-123 and right into the chapter on Duties in the Field" pp.125-139. It would proably do well to mover right along to the chapter on "Confederate Signal Corps" pp. 205-224.

On page 55 of Brown's Signal History a duty day may be found as was issued at the early war Federal Signal Camp of Instruction at Red Hill, DC. You may have to modify this a bit as battle re-enqctment tend to take on lives of their own and thus could cause slight modifications in the filming of your instruction.

If you can get to-gether with members of your won as well as other detachment event attendees you then could delve out a chapter to each and have study guides distributed to those who'd be interested in assisting you with this project. As you will be focusing your attention on camera takes and script audio modulation lining up your instructors may become paramount at this point in planning.

Getting in touch with the CSO on your side of the field (and I take that to be a Confederate CSO) is also a must to see what sort of 'extra' activities he'd be wanting from your detachment members (that is should you wish to include yourselves in the scenario sequencing opportunities at the Five Forks Re-enactment).

If I may add one more thing since you brought up an excellent question, i.e. "Should it be strictly "BY THE BOOK"? You tell me what would be most helpful to you and your troops."

I know that you have an understanding of this already but I just want to touch on it for those who are new to re-enacting and are full of vigour and anticipation.... We study written history. It comes in accounts of various sizes which when bound to-gether become books. When we choose to re-create what has already been enacted prior to our thinking about what to do, we are said to re-enact. When we are the ones initially making our own history and make it up out of convenience the book is written after the fact.

Re-enacting ~ By the history Book, Enacting ~ not by any book. Some of our new folks might find this hard to believe but even the Star Fleet Command have an Academy these days. Check it out on the Internet. Of course it has been all made up from someone's day dreams but believe it or not ~ There's A Manual Out There (In the Final Frontier).

Brown's 1896 history compilation and some of the key excepts of Myer's 1864 Manual I have distributed to many of the State Representatives have made it sort of manditory to follow the script made for us in the books we have available.

There's a lot we still don't know about what we should do to correctly emulate (and that's a good word to us here). When making a documentary it would be best to stick closely with the facts and sources mention'd above.

Have you a script worked up (preferably in cyber-text) that you could pass our way for a look-see? If not, we'd still like to see a bit of your footage after the Five Forks Battle Re-enactments. That would make you the screen writer, videographer, editor and event S.O. too wouldn't it? Wheew! That's a lot of hats for one outing.

Much Success to you Eric. No matter how much you are able to accomplish, I know it will be a rewarding experience.

Walt Mathers

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