Struck up an old hobby of mine…this blog will take a tabletop slant….
Almost done, but good enough for Brattonsville. Came in handy too. Learned (through repeated trial and error) the back stitch, cross stitch, hem stitch. Pretty therapeutic honestly, when you don’t count the aggravation of realizing you stitched 3 foot of cloth the wrong way…
I’ve taken the dive into hand sewing a hunting frock. I’m a newbie at every essential part of this process (even down to watching how to YouTube videos for stitching basics). With the help of Luis Cruz of the 6th North Carolina, I hope to get at least something minimally useful.
My achilles heel in projects like this is my patience. Once I begin to rush, attention to detail goes out the window and things go down hill. Patience is my ally.
I listen to the radio while I work in my musket room. Normally talk radio or the perpetually mediocre Atlanta Hawks play by play of Steve Holman. Holman is probably the closest homer we’ve had in Atlanta sports since the passing of Larry Munson–except with Munson insurmountable obstacle was always the opponent–“did you see the SIZE of those guys??” For Holman, its normally the refs–“I can’t believe they did/did not make that CALL!!”. I give Holman credit, he makes even the Atlanta fan’s familiar pang of disappointment somewhat entertaining.
This is great:
I’ll take it all. Thanks!
I haven’t checked out all things liberty lately. They reached out to me a few years ago asking if I were interested in providing some content, however my interest in the period does not extent past ‘enthusiast’, and the time simply wasn’t there to do some deep dive research. But I appreciate them reaching out.
Speaking of online, I recently came across a flintlock enthusiast page in Facebook. That looks like a lot of fun.
The annual celebration for the battle of Cowpens is my favorite annual pilgrimage. Its always a good time driving up the night before, attending an evening event, then walking the grounds Saturday morning.
Ken Johnson will portrayed Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton, British commander at the Battle of Cowpens that Saturday night at a local library. It was a packed room and Ken took an interesting approach as he portrayed Tarleton as a member of Parliament, looking back on his days in America. Lively, fun and often hilarious, Ken answered questions and traded barbs with the packed house.
The last few years, we’ve had some good luck with weather. This year was a little overcast, but not too bad for a January. I met with some members of the 6th North Carolina and walked the grounds again that Saturday.
My favorite demonstration at Cowpens has to be the cavalry. The talks are enlightening, and I learn something new every year. 18th century warfare is a diverse and specialized affair, and cavalry provide a critical tool in the lines of any army. Essential tasks include scouting, protecting infantry and cannon, and chasing down fleeing troops. I remember reading that Napoleons loss of horses in Russia was perhaps more devastating than the loss of men. After that, Napoleon was never able to capitalize on his victories by chasing down and removing the defeated armies with cavalry. They simply regrouped and came back again.
Will follow up with another post about what I have learned about Cavalry.
In an effort to improve my irritable state of mind these past few weeks, I’ve made an effort to avoid political news (and my Facebook feed for that matter). I came across this neat site called ‘Vintage News‘. If you want to burn a few hours clicking around, I highly recommend.
Check out these wonderful photos of the Native Americans at the Crow reservation. Truly a glimpse into a world passing buy. I have a few images here that I’ve touched up in Photoshop, but definitely take the time to check out the collection.
I’ve been meaning to look more deeply into Native Americans in the 18th century ever since reading Charles C. Mann’s ‘fantastic book ‘1491’. So so much I don’t know.
My second reenactment is in the books. I had a great time. Thanks to Louis and the 6th North Carolina for the outfitting, great food and fun battles. Now on to some observations:
- First rule of battle, keep your lock maintained and be prepared to fix misfires. In other words, keep your flint sharp and keep extra ones handy. One participant tossed his rifle in frustration due to malfunction. You only have a few hours of fighting during the weekend, so make sure your firelock is ready to fire repeatedly, otherwise you turn into a period appropriate spectator.
- Other things to remember: Utensils. Tarp for the bottom of the tent. Hat. Tylenol PM to sleep through crickets and snoring nearby tents.
- The ladies of the 6th North Carolina prepared fantastic meals. I stayed well fed all weekend.
- Skirmishing is fun, but open field unit battles are the bees knees (wow that was bad). Nothing beats firing and moving in unison, and having a good captain to maneuver the troops is essential to maximizing your enjoyment. Well done Louis!
- Battle reenactments are the way to go. I think I would get a bit bored at living history events that consist of only camping and demonstrations.
Overall the weekend was a success. Next up is Camden (as a participant) and then Cowpens (as an observer). And now for a few photos. I still would love to find some action shots of the battles.
This weekend I’ll be heading up to Charlotte for a reenactment. Its been a few years since The Battle of the Hook,(1) (2) ,(3),(4) and since then I’ve been planning on attending another once I spotted the rare and fleeting opening in my family schedule. This time around, I set about requisitioning some custom made trousers, a frock and a few other nick knacks. Hope to complete the outfitting with loaners once I am there.
McIntyre’s Farm was the location of a skirmish called ‘Battle of the Bees’ where a foraging party under Cornwallis was surprised and beaten back by local militia. Not exactly a glamours battle, but any excuse to do a little camping and discharge my musket will do! The location of the event is Latta Plantation. Looks nice there. I’ll try and take some photos.
The Revenant is a revenge tale set in the wilderness of the early 19th century American frontier. The film loosely follows the true story of Hugh Glass, a frontiersman who survives a brutal grizzly attack only to be left by his companions to die in the aftermath.
The entire film is a visual marvel. As the previews hint at, every frame is breathtaking and crafted with the attention to detail of a professional photographer. Yet Mother Nature isn’t continent with providing just a pretty picture to frame the narrative of The Revenant. Nature is an active participant that lashes out as a suddenly as Native American attack and then recedes into the background, forcing the audience to rest in in a prolonged, beautiful stillness. The blood and violence of this film will not suit many moviegoers, and the strings of silence and stillness may turn away even more. Its almost like an action flick for contemplatives.
DiCaprio’s name has been mentioned for an Academy Award for his portrayal of Hugh Glass, but I’m afraid the filmmakers did not do him any favors. His dialog is almost non existent and is instead replaced by an intense physical interaction between Glass and his antagonists. As the film progresses, one witnesses DiCaprio’s Glass being molded by every visceral blow into a reflection of mother nature’s viciousness, resilience and violent coldness. The Academy Award winning moment (if there turns out to be one) will be a dialog of physical struggle and not verbal eloquence.
The viewer is left to look towards other players to represent the broad range of human experience in the story. Tom Hardy’s antagonist, a greedy, self serving sociopath by the name of John Fitzgerald, masterfully carries the weight of humanities dark side.
Fitzgerald is a antagonist with a well crafted motive and a simple but vivid backstory. While we are provided with visions and hallucinations Glasses’ past, one is often left wondering about the details. Glasses dreams and visions feel unnecessarily imposed on a already fully realized landscape. Contrast this with Fitzgerald, who shares a much more powerful backstory through storytelling. Fitzgerald’s masterly weaved tale of his father finding God in a squirrel captures the imagination far better than Glasses’ mystical visions of his deceased loved ones. One is left wondering if how far DiCaprio could of taken the role if we were given a glimpse of Glasses history through his own words instead of vision based dreamscapes. This left me with feeling more of a connection with Fitzgerald, in a sense that I related to his character better than Glass’s. Fitzgerald was a bastard, but a bastard that I could relate to.
In summary, the film is visual a masterpiece, but perhaps well suited for only a quirky off the beaten path subset of moviegoers. I am left impressed by the visual cinematic landscape, yet left wanting to connect more with characters (other than Tom Hardy’s Fitzgerald).
Looking forward to the scenery. Perhaps this will be a modern day Jeremiah Johnson? One can only hope.
UPDATE Thanks Bill Bahr