Letters to the Editor

or, Jonah bites the hand that feeds him...

Does anyone here remember the old Camp Chase Gazette? I mean the one edited by that iconoclastic pioneer and former editor Bill Keitz? (Grant MacMeans bought the business from him in 1990 and served as the editor until 1997, when Bill Jackson took over as the new "Voice of Civil War Reenacting.") I, personally, found it a blast to read. I loved his shoot-from-the-hip style and over-the-top political activism. (The meandering editorials, frequent typos and careless grammar were fun, too.) When a Prominant Veteran Reenactor - who will go unnamed - approached me with the idea of writing a parody of the Camp Chase Gazette, I readily agreed to contribute the "Letters to the Editor" section. (The editor's name of our parody was going to be "Will Kites.") While I wrote my part, the project was never brought to a conclusion.

I think the "Letters to the Editor" section of the CCG is nearly everyone's favorite - enjoyed and looked forward to even more than my articles, as hard as that is to believe. Reenactors are a chatty, colorful and highly opinionated bunch, and the letters section is always lively. My satire is based on real letters that actually appeared about real situations (perhaps you've even seen a skull and crossbones flag at an event), and others that are well within the reenacting norms for content and grammar, and easily could have appeared in print in their naked, unedited state.

MacMeans and Co. have been more professional and mainstream in their approach to format, presentation and content, so all that remains to remind of us of reenacting's wild and wooly early days of commentary are back issues of the CCG and this satire. Gone With The Wind. - Jonah

Dear Will,

I had a grate weekend at the Jonesborough, Ga. event recently except for an unfortunate incident that reflects badly upon all members of the hobby. We were marching back to camp after sucessfully whipping the Yankee Basterds when a punk kid on a bicycle rode by, cutting off the Confederate line of march and terrorizing our camp followers. This bicycle hoodlum then made a pass by our mounted commander, scaring his horse and throwing the Col. upon the bayonets of the men in the first company. Not only did we have to calm the horse, we now have to replace our Colonel.

For this reason, the Palmetto Brigade and the Associated Confederate Grand Commemorative Division of the Georgia Eastern Theater announces that it will never again support, take part in, lend assistence to, view commemorative video tapes of or think about the Jonesborough, Ga. event until they demonstrate grater event security. This represents the true "rape of the Re-Enactor" you wrote about and must be abolished from the hobby.

Earl Dent Kennesaw,
Bucksnort, Ga.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Once again these so-called saviors of re-enacting are touting there events and casting bad impressions on the hobby. I keep telling you people this, but you are all talk and "no-go" when I say that we must unionize and organize re-enacting to prevent the GRAPE OF THE REENACTOR. I have coddled you people enough for the past 17 years in print, and I get as mad as hell when I here about these rapes! Organize!!

Dear Will,

I am new in re-enacting and have been told to get a subcription to your magazine because of the informative articals and cartons. You'are doing a terrific job don't let anyone tell you you aren't. Keep up the god work!!

Leather Gatework
Fredericksberg, VA 22134

Dear Will,

I am a Federal re-enactor of 25 year's experiance and have to tell you of my experiance at the recent Wilderness event with the high and mighty FASHIONABLE ARMY REGIMENT, THEATRICAL RESERVE (FARTR). My unit was camped in the P.U. (Persons Unorganized) camp, and flew our brigade flag over the camp. It was a fully-documented, skull-and-crossbones type that was used extensively during the Civil War. The God-like officers of FARTR told us to take it down and leave, claiming that our flag was farby.

Farby?? It is well known that elements of the Union Army flew skull and crossbone flags all through the war - how do these so-called officers sight authority to call them farby in this matter? My unit - "Bud's Brigade" - have decided to BOYCOTT any and all FARTR events in the future, and advise you to, too, before you come under the almighty judgement of these God-like, know-all FARTRs.

Wayne Wolverine
Dundalk, MD 21407

EDITOR'S NOTE: These egotists are causing the ruination of our hobby to the benefit of the rank-and-file Re-Enactor. Wake up, people!! I'm am sick and tired of spearheading the assault on these egotists. Perhaps I should "give it all up," but no. I have been doing this for 17 years now - don't let these people take unfair advantage of you, you sheep!!

Dear Will,

I greatly enjoyed fellow Minnesotan Steve Osmond's artical on "Pocket Seam Thread Used on Federal Trowsers: February 1862-March 1863," but it seems that he has a mistake. A casual inspection of page 32 paragraph 5 of the "U.S. Clothing Commissioner's Report on the Efficacy of Seam Threads" dated June 15th 1862 states, "...the seam thread shall be of brown cotton of the proper military tensile strength." An inspection of the revision for April 1st 1863 indicates that "...brownish thread may be used by Government contractors when brown thread is not available." This contradicts Mr. Osmond's statement that "...the thread used during March 1863 was of a brownish color." It is the difference between "brown" and "brownish" that seperates the authentic from the farb. Mr. Osmond should have known this.

Mick Frane
St. Cold, MN 44343

EDITOR'S NOTE: It is because of the exacting work of dessicated re-enactors like Mick Frane that re-enacting has become more authentic. I have urged sutler's to sell only authentic wares to re-enactors for the last 17 years in these pages. Some of them think this has been easy, but I have worked MY BUTT off for the betterment of the hobby and am sick and tired of hearing these so-called sutlers complain for the lack of money. Hell, I have even put some of these sutlers up for the night, with their kerosene lamps and iron products marking up my wife's kitchen floors. I won't straddle the fence on this one anymore. "Greed begets greed." Don't pay - don't go - refuse to be led.

Dear Will,

I know the event was over a year ago, but I had to write in to express my complete and abject satisfaction with the G-Burg event. It took me eight days one-way to drive there, but it was worth it! There were ample sanitary porta-potties filled with crystal blue water, and well-endowed amenities. I was right in the middle of the line on the march back to camp past the modern concessionaires, and the experience of all that dust, the onset of heat prostration and the sounds of the Official Commemorative Ballad of Gettysburg made me time trip. It was reenacting Mecca, Nirvana and Epcot. I wish to thank Neapolitan Tactics, Inc. for their superlative tactical planning, their exacting registration procedures and their monetary sacrifice in putting this event on for us, the re-enactor "Lest They Forget."

Roy Bear Dimm
Anchorage, AK 00002

Dear Will,

The CCG is truely the New Testament of re-enacting. Keep up the good work.

Luther Souters
Crispdale, N.C. 33423

Dear Will,

My unit, the Hibernian Celts Guards (the 116th Brooklyn Fencible Fusils) was unfairly escorted home from the recent Cedar's Creek event by the Virginia National Guard due to alledged "improper and illegal use of controlled substances," "unlawful corruption of minors," "unlawful use of firearms containing exploding projectiles," "illegal disruption of the peace by bagpipe playing," and "moral corruption of the citizenry by poor ethnic dialect usage." Needless to say, this is yet another example of the "rape of the reenactor." Our troops spend many countless hours perfecting their impressions - just when we get them perfected we get abused by the National Guard. I bet you won't print this.

Buster Hardly
(the Highlander's Second Cousin!)
Bugsburg, VA 22201

Dear Will,

Roy Herbleck Productions, Inc. in association with Neopolitan Epic Productions, Inc. are pleased to announce the initial casting call for the production of the new theatrical release: "The Glory and Killer Angels of MARYLAND - Hermaphrodite of the Civil War," a movie based on the life of Hetty Cary, Baltimore Bell. 100,000 Re-Enactors are wanted for the scenes of Butler's Siege of Baltimore from Federal Hill. Filming of Baltimore will take place at Camden, NJ from 7 August through 14 November 1990. Mileage compensation will be based on how many belles you can bring in your car, with if at least 4 of them are black.

To make re-enacting more authentic, the belles will be formed into the Burke Lake Eastern Gunboat Society of Christian Commission Vivandieres, to be associated with the Fashionable Army Regiment, Theatrical Reserves after the production's completion. We know you've seen belles on the sidelines at re-enactments just waiting for a proposition to join your unit - we encourage you to welcome these bells into FARTR. Pre-registration for this production is $5.00 per person before 31 March, $7.50 per person before 31 April and $10.00 per person at a theatre near you.

Roy Herbleck
Burbank, CA 91506

Dear Will,

Classical Video Images and Visions, Inc. in conjunction with Roy Herbleck Productions, Inc. and Neopolitan Epic Productions, Inc. is pleased to announce that we have received the exclusive video coverage contract for the filming of "The Making of the Film of The Glory and the Killer Angels of MARYLAND - Hermaphrodite of the Civil War." We need re-enactors to portray the following personages: Roy Herbleck, Mary Tyler Moore, Wayne Newton and Confederate General James Archer. Acting experience is not crucial, but physical resemblance is (sort of). AUTHENTICS ONLY!

We look forward to the honor of commemorating the sacrifeses of our forebearers with this epic production of total authenticity.

Mac Farley
President and CEO
Classical Video Images and Visions, Inc.
Columbus, MD 21045

Dear Will,

Just a letter to your readers telling them not to complain and call the editor if their issues do not come in on time. My Daddy works 50 hours a week at his day job besides publishing this magazine, and is saving the money to mail me a plane ticket to fly home for the Spring Holidays besides paying my rent and food bills, and insurance on the Corvette. Daddy has been publishing this magazine for the past 17 years, and if you think you can do any better than try it!! Put up or shut up!!

May Kites
Wahoohuhahah, HI 58799

EDITOR'S NOTE: This was an entirely unsolicited letter from my own blue-eyed daughter. Atta girl, May! You Re-enactors seem to think this magazine comes out of a can, but buddy it does'nt. I spend a lot of my free time in publishing your letters for the betterment of the hobby and I get as mad as hell when you people call me and my wife up at 3 AM and complain about why your free ad wasn't run in the recent issue. I've thought about my policy regarding those free ads, and have concluded that the reason why I've changed my former liberal ad policy was because of greed on the part of you re-enactors who take the work of other people and leave nothing in return. I used to be a liberal Democrat and voted for the so-called "Jimmy Carter," but have mended my ways and now support Ronald Reagan and George Bush. At least they won't take my new '61 Dixie Sprigfield away!! Remember, we need our precious ammendments to the Constitution to use our guns at re-enactments to preserve history for the public and give them an awareness of who they are.

Dear Will,

I am currently stationed aboard the U.S.S. Farragut (DD-832) in the Bermuda triangle and when at the recent Sayler's Creek event lost the harpoon I use for my Tucker's Brigade impression. Have any of your readers found it? If so, please contact me.

Torp. B. Damned
F.P.O. New York

EDITOR'S NOTE: Being an Old Tar myself, I'm always glad to help out a fellow sailor. You protect our liberties and rights.

Dear Will,

I am appalled at an incident that happened to me at the recent Sayler's Creek event. While advancing into the Confederate line, I discovered a harpoon buried into the ground just ahead of me. Obviously, some "powder blower" loaded it into his rifle and shot it at us! These so-called event sponsors need to be much more aware of safety at these larger events. Maybe when we unionize we'll have a responsible set of standards for saftey.

Chris Cross
Parma, OH 44344

EDITOR'S NOTE: There will always be dangereous farbs in the hobby makeing re-enacting dangereous for us all. The best thing we can do is collectively tell these people to get there butts out of the camp so someone isn't killed by their libelous farbiness. The best way to do this is by doing what I've always preached: unionize! Perhaps we could arrange a Summit of Re-Enactors to be held here in Ohio. If the leaders from all the umbrella organizations could swallow their egos and petty attitudes enough to attend, we could discust these issues of importance and come up with collective guidelines for behavior before its too late. If there is one thing that will surely kill the hobby for the rest of us, it is unsafe farbs.