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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Fort Wayne, Indiana, United States

    Taking it Like a Man: by Paul Calloway

    Taking it Like a Man
    by Paul Calloway

    We've all heard the complaints:

    1) "...we fired [insert number ranging from 5-10] volleys into the [Federal/Rebel] line(s) and not one [blue belly/johnnie] went down!"

    2) "The [Yanks/Secesh] must be wearing their [blue/grey] Kevlar suits today... they are invincible"

    and on and on it goes.

    Perhaps an examination of reenactment hits and hit-takers will serve to educate us all on the state of hit-taking in the hobby.

    After close examination I have concluded that there are no less than four separate categories of Civil War Reenactors as it relates to taking a hit during battle reenactments. Those categories are:

    1. The Hit-Takers
    2. The Lemmings
    3. The Occasional Hero's
    4. The Powder-Burners

    Let's examine each of these categories closely.

    The Hit-Takers:

    These men are a small but growing sect within the reenacting community. They are usually easy to spot during a battle reenactment because they are always the first to suck dirt. Many times Hit-Takers are specialists of one sort or another. One Hit-Taker may specialize in taking extraordinarily dramatic hits such as falling in creeks or bowling other men over as they careen toward the earth.. Hit-Takers may go down in the first or second volley. Some Hit-Takers have been known to specialize in screaming in agony for 20 to 30 minutes.

    Usually Hit-Takers in general will shun the hospital stewards who are as pesky as hound dogs trying to tree a coon. The steward will often take personal issue with the Hit-Taker's refusal to acknowledge his badgering and will launch a full-scale assault on the Hit-Taker's sincere attempts to appear dead. Hit-Takers can often be recognized by the bewildered looks they give to the legions of ice maidens who are often as pesky as the stewards but usually better looking.

    Max Rounds Normally Spent: 20
    % of Total Reenactors in this Category: 5%

    The Lemmings:

    The Lemmings are those reenactors who consider themselves Hit-Takers but really aren't. Lemmings wait until the end of the battle before finally going down in mass. Due to the large numbers of Lemmings, the mortality rate in the last 10 minutes of a Civil War Reenactment is often roughly equivalent to that of the first wave assaults at Normandy. Special Note: Lemmings are usually the loudest complainers when it comes to other reenactors not taking hits.

    A highly specialized strain of Lemmings can be identified by a deeply ingrained resurrection complex. The reenactors in this specialized sub-category will often take early hits in droves (again the Lemming thing) but then shirk their way to the rear rather than staying dead. This is an important distinction and is what separates them from true Hit-Takers. Once at the rear (where-ever that really is) they will liberally resurrect and rejoin the fray with renewed vigor. It should be further noted that these Lemmings are still just Lemmings and can be found again dying in droves at the end of the battle.

    Max Rounds Normally Spent: 40 (30 for Lemmings with a resurrection complex.)
    % of Total Reenactors in this Category: 30%

    The Occasional Heros:

    Occasional Heros are Powder-Burners with a new lease on life. These guys have probably shot more loads than most championship race horses. Occasional Heros can usually be spotted propped up on one elbow chatting with other Occasional Heros as the battle winds to a close. Occasional Heros will sometimes take a dramatic hit - usually the result of tripping over their canteen or haversack.

    Max Rounds Normally Spent: 60
    % of Total Reenactors in this Category: 30%

    The Powder-Burners:

    These men have refined the loading process to the point of expertise and can easily load and fire four to five times per minute.Often times they've removed their cartridge box tins in order that they might pile in more rounds. Their haversacks are usually full of extra rounds and at least one full tin of caps. These men will carry enough picks, wrenches and other gadgets to open a 19th century gunsmith shop. They'll pride themselves as occassional Heros or Lemmings but in reality the only hits they are taking at reenactments are courtesy of Mr. Beam and Mr. Daniels.

    Max Rounds Normally Spent: 650
    % of Total Reenactors in this Category: 35%

    Some additional items of note:

    - The categories above tend to run in groups.

    - The Powder-Burners especially will almost always be found grouped with other Powder-Burners and can be found furthermore to exist at company, battalion and even brigade levels.

    - Lemmings and Occasional heros will make the transistion to Hit-Takers from time to time. This can be a permanent transistion and is often due to a natural propensity toward laziness or slobiness (two strangely redeeming qualities for a Civil War reenactor to possess.)

    Hit Propensity Modifiers:

    +5% Low on Caps
    +5% Low on Rounds
    +10% Gun Fouled
    +10% Gun too Hot to Touch
    +15% Completely Enveloped by the enemy**
    +20% Pretty Ice Maidens Roaming in Vicinity
    +20% Detached from Pards
    +50% Video Personnel in Vicinity (Internal Modifier +10% chance of one man charge on enemy lines.)

    **NOTE: The complete envelopement modifier does not apply to Powder-Burners. Proceed directly to Little Big Horn Scenario.

    Given all of this scholarly research I leave it to each of you to decide in what category he (or even she) resides in. The figures and percentages noted above are of course indisputable having been thoroughly researched and documented. Footnotes to these figures may be provided at the author's discretion. [Some really other important and legal-sounding mumbo-jumbo should be inserted here.] See you at the next shin-dig!
    Paul Calloway
    Proudest Member of the Tar Water Mess
    Proud Member of the GHTI
    Member, Civil War Preservation Trust
    Wayne #25, F&AM

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004

    Re: Taking it Like a Man: by Paul Calloway

    Great Post,

    I cant see why people dont like or even take the time to take hits! I mean when a(an) Battalion, company, or even that whole dang confederate army throws the devil at ya. I see not one man fall it tends to be a a very funny but not matter. As i see in some units (no offense to any one), it takes a man to take a bloody hit.! Ya i like to shoot a few but we all have to take turns and go meet the "higher being" And thats all i have to say about that.
    Waylon Pashong

    For one to be authentic, One has to ask others

    I'll tetch 'em together quicker'n lightnin,if I don't, dad burn

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2003

    Re: Taking it Like a Man: by Paul Calloway

    Very nice to see this again Mr Calloway. I count myself as a hit taker, in fact I've gotten the gutshot screaming and begging for water down pretty good I think.
    Johan Steele aka Shane Christen C Co, 3rd MN VI
    SUVCW Camp 48
    American Legion Post 352

  4. #4
    Clark Badgett Guest

    Re: Taking it Like a Man: by Paul Calloway

    I hate rolling cartridges, so I have to make the 20 that I roll per year last for as long as possible. Definate hit taker, but not into the drama.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2003

    Re: Taking it Like a Man: by Paul Calloway

    Interestingly enough, I became a hit taker when I started to roll my cartridges with cotton wadding for the ball, tie off under the ball with a double hitch, fold the tail properly and wrap ten cartridges in an arsenal pack with 12 caps.

    Hey, I look pretty damn good eating dirt. None of this leaninig on the elbow crap either. Guess what, cleaning is a snap.
    Ley Watson
    POC'R Boys Mess of the Columbia Rifles

    "The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely the one who dropped it."

    Coach Lou Holtz

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Norco, CA

    Re: Taking it Like a Man: by Paul Calloway

    Where does running away in terror fit

    -Dan Foster

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Goleta CA.

    Re: Taking it Like a Man: by Paul Calloway

    Running away in Terror is definitly great fun as long as you have good non-coms who have a great working knowlege of oaths as well as a good grip on yer collar or traps, otherwise after you run off, where's the fun?

    Tom Smith
    long-heeled, yellow livered,white feather mess
    Tom Smith, 2nd Lt. T.E.
    Nobel Grand Humbug, Al XXI,
    Chapt. 1.5 De la Guerra y Pacheco
    Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus
    Topographer for: TAG '03, BGR, Spring Hill, Marmeduke's Raid, & ITPW

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Medina State of Northern Ohio

    Re: Taking it Like a Man: by Paul Calloway

    Hallo Kameraden!

    I am a proponent and practioner of Self-Euthanasia (Mercy Killing) myself.
    It is reserved for those times when one goes to the wrong event(s), those powder-burning Ramboesque/Yahooesque disasters where 12 year old boys are discharging their K-Mart "Hawkin Rifles" in one's face, etc., etc.

    The best thing to do is fall dead at the very first (ragged) volley, although Sudden Cardiac Arrest or Stroke works before the first shots are fired (the spectators are soon swept away by the unfolding spectacle and immediately forget that there is a casuality without fire....must have been one of those 5 mile CW sniper shots...).

    Curt-Heinrich Schmidt
    Don't Miss Those Daze Mess
    In gleichem Schritt und Tritt, Curt Schmidt

    -Hard and sharp as flint...secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.
    -Haplogroup R1b M343 (Subclade R1b1a2 M269)
    -Pointless Folksy Wisdom Mess, Oblio Lodge #1
    -Vastly Ignorant
    -Often incorrect, technically, historically, factually.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Athens, Ohio (OU)

    Re: Taking it Like a Man: by Paul Calloway

    I've always been of the impression,. that in all walks of reenacting people 1) don't take enough hits, and 2) the hits they take aren't realistic. Obviously none of us have been shot or mortally wounded before, so its hard to "relive" the experience.

    Considering that we have Vietnam, Kuwait, Afghanastan & Iraq veterans in our ranks, that is a pretty presumptuous and offending statement for those patriots that have put their lives on the line for YOUR liberties. One of my mates was twice wounded in Vietnam.

    But look at the numbers. How many men per engagement were wounded in comparison to killed? Doesn't it strike you that it is somewhat peculiar to see so many men falling dead out of the line and laying there silently? Were they all hit the head?

    Personally, everytime I've taken a hit my goal is to portray the wounded soldier dying in agony ... I guess I'm a hit-taker. I wish others would do the same. got a bud who does Wermacht stuff who was "wounded" in a reenactment and layed in the middle of the street screaming in agony for being shot in the groin, while the rest of his squad tried in vain to pull him from the middle of the street under a hail of machine-gun fire.

    In making your point, please try to stick to 'playing' the war of the 1860s & NOT the 1940s.

    Scott McKay, moderator

    Taking hits doesn't have to be a chore, it can spawn some excellent first-person situations, and I think it should be capitalized on in all walks of reenacting.
    Last edited by Scott McKay; 02-24-2004 at 08:29 AM.
    Eric Michael Burke
    Salt River Rifles

    Forty Rounds: Fifteenth Army Corps, 1862-1865, Blog Owner.

    In Proud Memorium:
    Pvt. James Swingler Chandler (3x Great Grandfather)
    Co. H, 111th Illinois Volunteer Infantry
    Pvt. John D. Linthicum (4x Great Grandfather)
    Co. F, 118th Illinois Volunteer Infantry
    Pvt. Martin Van Buren Straight (3x Great Grandfather)
    Co. E, 23rd Missouri Volunteer Infantry
    Cpl. Andreas Schoen (3x Great Grandfather)
    Co. A, 30th Missouri Volunteer Infantry
    Pvt. Madison Burke (3x Great Grandfather)
    Battery B, 1st Ohio Volunteer Heavy Artillery
    Pvt. Eli Bell (4x Great Grandfather)
    Co. C, 31st Alabama Infantry

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Shepherdstown, WV

    Re: Taking it Like a Man: by Paul Calloway

    Great post. Too many guys at events refuse to take hits .I mean, we're re-creating what happened, so that means the causualty rates too. At the
    Gettysburg 140th ,my battalion fired THREE short range volleys at a yank
    unit. Guess how many dropped- ONE!!!! Also, a thing that should be done
    more often is the drummers[ example- me] stack drums and help the wounded.

    Wouldn't drummers be needed to relay orders during a battle?

    Much more authentic than the cute ice girls. At two events last
    year, my pards and I put on quite a show by searching yank bodies for
    equipment, dragging back wounded men, giving them water etc. In closing,
    do you really think a teenage girl would walk onto the battlefields of the
    war, and start giving men ice under fire???

    Ian, you must sign all of your posts on this forum with your full name. Items lined out due to "farb" content. - Mike Chapman
    Last edited by dusty27; 02-22-2004 at 03:50 PM.

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