2019 Season and the Future of Civil War Living History
Captain Matthew Olson
February 19, 2019
2019 is barely into March and it will be a busy year for reenacting. Busy comes in two forms. Busy as in the Tenth has a variety of exciting events to choose from and busy in the sense that a lot is changing. While busy is good, busy also comes with challenges.
I wish there was space and time to thank everyone for their efforts last season and those who are already making this coming season something special. Most notable is Rob Warren. Recently retired from the Marines, Rob has volunteered incredible amounts of time and treasure to take on several critical duties. In addition to the roles of Quartermaster and Treasurer, he has also been a critical liaison with many units around the Eastern United States. Our ability to attend some excellent events is due to his spadework. Additionally, much of our strong infantry showing at Wade House was also due to his connections.
Jordan Stoelb agreed to take on the role of secretary (in addition to being a valuable knowledge-base on equipment) and Tim Lindgren will continue as an incredibly capable First Sergeant. Our group is fortunate to have such dedicated individuals. These young men are truly the future of our group.
On February 2nd we held our annual meeting at the Interpretive Building at Wade House. Our schedule was agreed on, elections were held, and we had the chance to discuss how the reenacting world is changing. Our group has been blessed with a strong number of new faces—mostly young and with some who are more seasoned. We are excited to have them join us.
The schedule of the Tenth has more events further south. Several Illinois events have grown and developed into excellent campaign-style events and are quickly attracting larger groups of reenactors. We have been attending many of these events over the last several years and the popularity has grown, especially with many of our younger members.
Events are changing, too. Since the disasters of the 150th anniversaries, “national” events as we once thought of them have largely vanished. In the place of massive Gettysburg-style spectacles have risen immersion events that focus on authenticity more than audiences. While smaller in scale, they give participants a new level of experiences. These include events like an assault on Ft. Blakeley, Alabama (April, 2019) and the early war foraging “Pigs and Tomatoes” in Charleston, Illinois (May, 2019).
These immersion-style events have also created a new need for the Tenth. A Federal impression. Many of these events already have CS troops outnumbering US troops two or three to one. This leaves us hard–pressed for an invite. By comparison, these events swing open their doors for good, Federal troops. After research and discussion, the decision has been made to create a Federal persona for the Tenth.
The Tenth’s Federal impression had several requirements: Must be from Wisconsin, must be Irish, and must be Western Theater. The 24th Wisconsin became an obvious choice. What made the choice even more attractive was that the 24th fought in many of the same battles as the Tenth. The 24th was also frequently brigaded with the 36th Illinois, a very active reenacting unit in Northern and Central Illinois. The intention is that, over time, we can create a “blue” version of the Tenth. Jordan has already assembled uniform and equipment details.
No one is asking anyone to run out and buy a whole new kit. In fact, we’re recommending against it. Much of our existing gear will suffice. A bustling marketing in highly authentic gear can also be found with Jordan, Rob, or Tim’s guidance. If you are interested, please talk to one of the three at an event.
What does this mean for the future of the Tenth? Our exposure to new events, our influx of young members, our ability to portray CS or US troops, and our reputation as a solid organization come together to provide a wealth of exciting experiences and events for years to come. Personally, I am excited. There are new adventures afoot and I hope you’ll come enjoy them.