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Posted By: Scott Southerland on: 06/04/2003 01:05:53 EDT
Subject: RE: Signal Regulations Were Bendable

Message Detail:
Hello again Walt! It has been quite a while. Good to see everyone still fighting the good fight. It seems to me there has been some progress made in the introduction of signalmen at events. I'm sure the up hill battle has been tough, but every victory worth the toil.

My own progress has been stymied (sp?) by my fellows in my unit. They really don't understand my role as a civilian male and don't quite follow my reluctance to march around with them on the field, as if that is the only thing men did at the time. My age and conditioning would actually prevent me from enlisted service in a regular line unit. At best, I would have been behind the lines in some service oriented manner or back home with the invalids.

I enjoy my role as a direct non-combatant. Being a spy, (shh, don't tell anyone) I can come and go as I please, am not accountable to officers for drill, and duties, and I get to play my character at my own pace and not by another's leave. I am however having trouble convincing my mates that I have a role at all beyond just escorting the ladies to the Sam Walton Mercantile Emporium in town.

I have tried to initiate my persona doing his job to my Captain and First Sergeant but have been met with only blank stares or wrinkled foreheads or been just ignored entirely. I have yet to find a way to get across just what I want to do/be in the unit. I am a civilian working as a spy/scout in the field for the Conf. army. Among other things I can scout the enemy, estimate his strength, gain information from contacts, code a message, send that to my officers or bring the info myself, and get paid in gold, silver, cigars, whatever. I can't get anyone to play with me! If it is not on the field making smoke, they don't want to buy into it.

In August my unit is co-hosting an event for the first time in years. The civilian coordinator is interested in some new scenarios other than the inevitable ladies tea and fashion show and the prescripted battle. I have a few ideas I might run past her like a counter-espionage scenario and the capture and execution of an enemy spy. A lecture/demo about CW espionage and some of the more famous spies might be possible too. If I can get her support then perhaps I can get the First Sergeant in on it too. They are married. I will need the help of some of the soldiers in my capture of a spy and his execution. (I would try using a lady as the subject, as they made good spies alas, they were often let go even when caught)

I've come to the conclusion that my spy role is quite different from the Signal Corps you all represent even though we deal with the same kinds of things in a fashion. We both code and decode messages, sometimes send them via telegraph, are indirect combatants on the field. We also contend with similar reenacting trials too. We are misunderstood by the standard CW crowd, often have to resort to our own devices to participate in an event, encounter reluctance, mistrust, fear, from the officers and men of units, have to struggle to be recognized as a legit part of the CW community, then and now. Let us keep up the struggle. Individualists Unite! (Oxymoron)

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