$250,000 for a Reenactment?

86073acacd549034_landingI attended a couple of meetings early on of the Virginia Civil War Sesquicentennial committee.  During one meeting “Bud” Robertson explained why the committee would not fund reenactments.  He expressed concern that they might prove embarrassing as did the first major reenactment at Manassas in 1961 at the beginning of the Civil War Centennial.  Robertson and others wanted to ensure that this time around the state would not engage in celebration, but would promote events that commemorate and educate.  This was reinforced by William J. Howell, who serves as Speaker of the House of Delegates and as chairman of the commission.

It was reported a few days ago that the Manassas City Council is planning a 9-day celebration that will include a reenactment in 2011.  The event is being organized by the Virginia Civil War Events Inc., which is asking for $100,000 from the city.  Not only have they received the funds, the council is also requesting upwards of $250,000 from Richmond. 

Councilman Mark Wolfe called the appropriation an investment.  “The citizens out there can very well question why we would spend $100,000 … an absolutely legitimate question particularly in these economic times, but the answer to that is we don’t have much choice,“ Wolfe said.  “This is a once-in-a-lifetime, God-given chance for our community to stage something that can give and give and give.”  Wolfe said the commemoration of the sesquicentennial could be epic if done correctly.  “If we pull this off right, we’re going to create a Super Bowl-type event with all the publicity, all the notoriety and all the money that comes from that scale of an event,“ he said.

The council hopes to attract 250,000 people along with their dollars over the 9-day stretch.  I can certainly understand that, but I will believe those numbers when I see it.

Here is my concern.  First, I understood the commission as functioning as a voice for what the state government hoped to see between 2011 and 2015.   No doubt there are numerous ways for local counties to requisition funds from Richmond, but it is hard not to see this as a step backwards for the sesquicentennial commission.  My other concern is that the local sesquicentennial commission in Manassas does not seem to be involved in the planning.   The Virginia Sesquicentennial commission encouraged every county and city to organize their own commissions that would coordinate with the state commission.  Here is a list of those counties/cities that have done so.  It may be the case that the local commission is not up an running at this point, but I wonder whether they will receive the same amount of funding if requested.

Our delegates in Richmond are setting a poor precedent with this funding.  We all want to see our local communities benefit economically in the coming years, but I worry that the decisions to fund such events with taxpayer dollars is going to water down/minimize the good work that has been done by this state’s sesquicentennial commission.  I thought we were going to try to do better than a Blue and Gray Ball at the Candy Factory, a re-enactment of the First Manassas battle, and breakfast with the troops.

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38 thoughts on “$250,000 for a Reenactment?

  1. Ken Noe

    Given the central role Bud Robertson played in resurrecting and rebuilding the Centennial after the original commission went off the rails, you'd think Virginians of all people would pay attention to his experience and wisdom. Then again, here in Alabama, it's also the tourism people who got out of the gate first. They also imagine a cash cow that can “give and give and give.”

    Reply
    1. Chris P.

      I agree Dr. Noe. Here in Athens, Alabama the tourism group is running the show, if you will. I was asked to write a tourism brochure on the Civil War here, which had at least one significant event for a small town. It was scrapped because I mentioned that slavery played a “role” in the coming of the war and how it affected the war…very disheartening stuff. But here our SCV boys also run the Tourism Committee….

      Reply
        1. margaretdblough

          Kevin-I don't think there is any doubt about that, unfortunately. Never underestimate the seductive quality of the Reconciliationist model where both sides were noble people fighing for what they believed in (details of which are never to be mentioned except in vague terms like the South just wanted to be left alone or protect its way of life). All discussions must stick to who shot who where and never, ever ask the question why. The reality of what happened and why is nasty, ugly, and complex. The Reconciliationist model is nice, warm, fuzzy and comforting.

          Reply
        1. chris p.

          Actually Dr. Noe, I am afraid so. A fellow at Athens St. has written a really fine play detailing the court martial of Turchin. If you know much about the “sack”, Turchin is really an interesting character. In June, '62 he is testifying, not in defense of his actions, but that “universal freedom is what is at stake here.” I provided some great sources I ran across while writing my thesis and Dr. Elmore did a really great job.

          Except that the SCV boys have taken real exception to…the truth regarding the opinions of the Union soldiers AND some of the citizens of Athens about slavery. So the play will likely fall on deaf ears in the community. But there is a movement to do a reenactment and I am obviously afraid how it will turn out, though I bet I know…Dr. Carey asked me to write the “Sack of Athens” article for the Encyclopedia of Alabama and it turned out nice I think.

          I hope things are well on the Plains, I always loved Fall there.

          Chris

          Reply
  2. msimons

    Well I am a big supporter of Local control on 98% of things but I have to agree with you on this one Kevin.
    This is one historical anniversy that needs to be from the State Government down. What is happening across the South as we discussed about the Cleburne statue in Ringgold Ga is with the Economy down everyone who can is going to try to cash in and we are seeing this in this case.

    Reply
  3. Larry Cebula

    I am in the wrong line of work! Does anyone know anything about Virginia Civil War Events, Inc., or its board members?

    I am involved in the Teaching American History grant world, which is thick with high-priced, low quality content providers that have sprung up to grab some of the federal funding. I would not be surprised if the same sorts of players are emerging for the sesquicentennial.

    And the inflated, pie-in-the-sky crowd remind me of the Lewis and Clark bicentennial. Little towns all along the route built visitors centers and opened businesses for the tens of thousands of tourists who would be visiting them every day according to certain planning officials. They took a huge bath on these projects when the visitors never came.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin

      I did a quick search of their board members and discovered that most of them have served in local government and are currently involved in local historic tourism. You can easily browse their website to get a sense of what they are about. Apparently, they have already met with the state sesquicentennial commission, but I have no idea what was discussed.

      Reply
  4. Craig

    There are a lot of local politics in play, speaking mostly from the Prince William County side of this, which cannot be summarized in just a simple reply comment. From the details offered thus far, there are no plans for the circus style events you allude to, although there are some thoughts about a “concert in the park” type event occurring concurrently, but sponsored by other organizations. On the other hand, based on the pitches made by the VCWEI folks, some of their operational budget will include commissioned studies, educational packets (aimed at the schools of course), and on site interpretation (yes, markers). Time will tell, but at least in this early stage the organizers are asking the right questions and making reasonable proposals.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin

      Thanks for the comment Craig. First, I don't believe that I referred to anything as “circus style.” I'm not even arguing that organizations such as the Virginia Civil War Events Inc. can't put together an event that is educational rather than one that is simply geared to generating dollars – though I do have my concerns. As someone who currently serves as an advisor to the Virginia Sesquicentennial Commission my concern is really about funding reenactments given the stance that the commission has already taken.

      I am also concerned that museums and other institutions will miss out on the available funding because their projects are not geared to tourism and money. Finally, I haven't seen this group's proposals, but would love to take a gander if you would pass on the information/links. Thanks.

      Reply
      1. Craig

        The organization's proposals are summarized on the link you provide. I've seen a few additional details forwarded via email, but I'm certain as an advisor to the Commission you are privy to more than I am.

        Reply
          1. Craig

            Kevin, my attitude is one of reserved judgment with regard to the reenactment part. If this turns in to a “Gettysburg” type event, I'll be the first to say it is poor use of taxpayer dollars. But I am hopeful it will be a properly scoped event with the proper use of the funding and proceeds. Many of the names associated with the project have worked along side the Manassas Museum similar local organizations. As for the county sequi commission, as I said in my first reply, there are some local issues that I would not want to drag onto your blog.

            Reply
            1. Kevin Levin

              For a number of reasons that I won't go into now I am less optimistic. One of my points was that the state committee explicitly stated that it will not support reenactments is being overshadowed by the House of Delegates. There is a bit of a conflict there as far as I am concerned. I noticed that some of the people involved in the Virginia Civil War Events Inc. are associated with other local organizations.

              I certainly wouldn't want you to drag issues that aren't appropriate onto this site.

              Reply
  5. Sherree

    Hi Larry,

    I suppose that the Lewis and Clark bicentennial included at least a reference to the Nez Perces? Maybe something along the lines of how the men were greeted by the friendly Indians and peaceful relations were established (which they were) but with no indication that future generations of the Nez Perces would live to repudiate and regret that friendly greeting. Or, maybe, descendants of the Nez Perces and other indigenous nations were involved in the planning, or at least someone who presented a different view of what the expedition helped to eventually lead to–western expansion of the nation?

    Why do I doubt that this happened–beyond obligatory and passing “politically correct” references–if at all? (I truly hope that I am wrong) But apparently it didn't matter either way, since it appears that the “build it and they will come” strategy failed in this instance. Unfortunately, the remembrance of the Civil War draws a much bigger crowd, and once again white Americans across the nation may have an “African American-less” (as Kevin phrased it) “celebration”.

    There were no slaves in the South, just men and women happy to be in bondage. The North had nothing to do with slavery, including the manufacture of the very chains and whips that white Southerners used to beat their slaves. All of this has nothing to do with the present, as some white Americans claim as they bemoan the taxing of botox treatments, while many of their fellow Americans of a different skin color wonder if their infant children are going to survive the winter.

    This is what is wrong with the concept of American Exceptionalism, which I would have stated had I gotten the chance before our host moderator was insulted and the thread predictably went off the rails. Before a man or woman can decide if we are to view our history with a positive attitude and a “half glass full approach” as opposed to a “half glass empty“, that man or woman has to have running water first to fill the glass.

    Thanks for your input, Larry, and for your work. And thank you, Kevin, for all that you do.

    Reply
  6. Frank

    Some insights into the “confusion” of the PWC Civil War 150th situation. All the museums, non profits and historic sites in the County and City of Manassas have been meeting for two years to put on a historically accurate, tasteful, education commemoration over the next five years. Now, someone who has a lot of money and political connections wants to take it over and fund reenactments. In doing this, he wants to take tax payer dollars (that would go to local tourism and the govt. agencies that operate the local history sites etc..) and fund his own group. This money will come out of the Convention and Visitors Bureau budget used to fund tourism in the County…but with this private group getting the money, there will be NO oversight on how it is used. Ideas like War of 1812 overture concerts, reenactments etc.. are being discussed. Obviously the lesson of 1961 have been forgotten.

    I don’t know where to begin to shed some light on some of the falsehoods I’ve read. First of all, tourism is alive and well in PWC County, thanks to the efforts of the CVB and lots of individual historic, cultural, and even retail sites. Virginia Tourism Corp. figures for PWC County say Traveler Spending is More than $419 million, Travel Industry Payroll is More than $112 million, and Travel Industry Employees number More than 6000.

    Contrary to popular opinion, Owens is not the first to think about attracting visitors during the Sesquicentennial. A county-wide committee comprised of reps from national and state parks, historic sites, county government and educators has been meeting for 2 years, was allied with state committees early on, and has an extensive plan for commemorating the events. In fact, members have been meeting with reps in the highest levels of government to coordinate events of national significance.

    Again contrary to popular opinion, re-enactments always occur on significant–and not so significant–battle anniversaries with no intervention from government or private entities. Re-enactors live for these events and do not need to be prodded to produce them. It was the gung-ho, destructive re-enactment celebration at the Manassas Battlefield in 1961 that caused the Park Service to begin prohibiting re-enactments on park grounds. Government does not need to subsidize events that would happen anyway and be financed privately.

    The $100,000 payment to this Manassas committee in fact shifts funds from the city to a committee that does not seem to have to meet performance standards as city employees do. Because this committee will rely on existing groups to actually produce the Sesqui programs and events, the committee seems to be acting as a management arm. At a time when we are exhorted to be gearing up for the Sesqui, at least 2 part-time positions in programs/education at the museum–crucial to presenting these programs– are scheduled to be cut in June. Others may follow due to budget problems within the city.

    Concern among the officially sanctioned Sesqui group has always been that the commemoration be historically based, educational, and balanced. Highlighting the county’s numerous historic sites and receiving national recognition might urge more visitors to come here once the Sesqui is over. Producing Disneyesque events for a couple of weeks, thereby putting in jeopardy our ability to attract top government officials to dignified events, does not seem the most prudent way to attract a long-term tourist base.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin

      Thanks so much for taking the time to share this information. I wonder if you can clarify a few things for me. You said: “This money will come out of the Convention and Visitors Bureau budget used to fund tourism in the County…but with this private group getting the money, there will be NO oversight on how it is used.”

      By “private group” do you mean the Virginia Civil War Events Inc.? I assume you do since you refer to Owen, who is the chairman of their board – just want to clarify.

      You pretty much summed up why I am skeptical about such an organization following through with a sesquicentennial that everyone can take part in and be proud of. I urge everyone interested in the importance of steering clear of the problems that plagued the Civil War Centennial to read Robert Cook's _Troubled Commemoration_ (LSU Press).

      Thanks again.

      Reply
      1. Frank

        Yep, I mean Virginia Civil War Events Inc. Its a blank check, even though they say there will be a contract, but the money will be spent as they see fit. I wish Bud Robertson would come to Manassas and settle all of this, is insight into what happened in 1961 would be great for this issue. It shows what money and connections can do for you in local government

        Reply
        1. Kevin Levin

          I've obviously stumbled onto a very sensitive issue. I had no idea that there was already an ongoing controversy about the actions of this organization. Obviously, I have no idea who you are, but please feel free to pass on additional sources to me privately or through this site. Manassas is going to receive a great deal of attention in 2011 and we all want to see this done right. Thanks again for taking the time to write.

          Reply
  7. Thomas

    For those interested in what Prince William County and the City of Manassas has already been doing with the CW 150th, check out these links. The first is to a County wide brochure that was developed by the committee for tourists to highlight ALL of the CW sites in the County and City. The second is the link to their information page. For those who think they local group didnt exist or didnt do anything, this is good proof that they have done work…and good work at that! You can get a copy of this map/brochure by contacting the Prince William County CVB.

    http://www.civilwartraveler.com/maps/moremaps/P

    http://www.pwcgov.org/default.aspx?topic=040076

    Reply
      1. Thomas

        I am not associated with any group…just a local resident in PWC that has appreciated what the local museums and tourism folks have already done

        Reply
  8. toddpost

    I've coordinated several Revolutionary War reenactments and can attest to their value for raising awareness and educating the public about our military history. In 2006, I organized an event to reenact the 1781 Battle of Green Spring which helped raise $2,000 which was donated to the Trust for Public Land to help their efforts to purchase roughly 200 acres of battlefield. Though a drop in the bucket given the $12 million cost of the purchase, we were able to provide publicity and teach people about what happened there, why it was important and why the land should be preserved.

    Granted, Revolutionary War reenactments pale in comparison to the scale of Civil War reenactments. In general, a Revolutionary War reenactment would be happy to have hundreds of participants (the largest will top a thousand or so) and thousands of spectators, whereas Civil War reenactments regularly have thousands of participants and tens of thousands of spectators. That said, I've never had a budget larger than four figures for the events I've coordinated and I've been a participant in several events were money was spent on things that were less than historical or educational.

    The 225th of the Siege of Yorktown comes to mind as a prime example. There were clog dancers other activities folded in that had nothing to do with history. I was a spectator at the Jamestown 400th and it seemed like there was more effort put into setting up rock concerts and having performances by high school singing groups than there was in the interpretation of the history. So I too would question how much of this money is being budgeted for “fluff” and how much will be dedicated to true interpretation and education.

    Also, there is a wide range of potential participants, from the most ignorant reenactor whose standards of authenticity (and safety, which was an inissue in 1961) are low and interpretive skills are wanting to those who are obsessive about their attention to detail in their material culture and knowledge. Big mega events with $250,000 like this tend to be “come one, come all” which turn into a circus with some participants who are a mockery rather than a tribute to the memory of those who they “reenact, who can do more to misinform the public then educate them. Take a look at the typical photos of events like Gettysburg's Remembrance Day and you'll see everything from guys who look like they stepped out of a Civil War photo to those who look like they stepped out of a clown car.

    Reeactments can be great tools, but they can also go horribly wrong. I don't know much about what they have planned for their $250,000 but I imagine there is fluff that could be cut and if they are more discriminating about the quality of the participants (i.e. quality over quantity), that they can probably have a very useful event for a lot less money. Having “begged, borrowed and stolen” for four-digit budget to have Revolutionary War reenactments, though most I've coordinated have been on a shoe-string budget, I would think that for $100,000 (or less!) you could have a stellar event if focused and targeted with no need for $250,000.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Let me first say that my post was not meant to suggest that reenactments have no educational value. In the right hands a reenactment/living history demonstration can be quite effective.

      The concern for the state sesquicentennial commission was not repeating the mistakes that were made during the Civil War Centennial. In July 1961 a reenactment was held for the battle of First Manassas. This, of course, was a Confederate victory, but it turned out to be a very nasty and partisan scene that embarrassed event organizers. Rather than worry about all of this the state commission decided to avoid it altogether. Now it looks like funds are being used to support reenactments and for the reasons stated in the post I think this sends the wrong message. Thanks again.

      Reply
      1. toddpost

        Kevin, I didn't mean to imply you were suggesting that reenactments have no educational value. As you state, in the right hands they can be quite effective, however even as a reenactor I will admit that reenactments can be the exact opposite. They can reinforce stereotypes, misinform and misrepresent history. This is especially the case when events not driven by historic sites and/or reenactors, but rather civic groups or government agencies. They don't know the history well enough and simply want as many people as they can get, so you end up with stuff like:

        http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikelynaugh/412521
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/pby5a/4142158486/i

        Bad impressions, inaccuracies, etc. can really do a disservice to teaching people effectively. In 1961, in addition to the partisan scene you mention, there were several other mistakes that you don't want to have repeated. 50 years ago, there were Confederates wearing gray Texaco servicemen jumpsuits simply because they were gray. While things have improved since then, there are still a great number of reenactors who don't pay enough interest to historical accuracy and cut corners in their impression. There were also serious safety infractions, which is part of the reason the National Park Service doesn't allow reenactments at all on its property.

        Reply
        1. Rob Rohr

          First off I would like to point out it common courtesy if one is going to use someone photo's to conatc that person to make sure they are alright with the use. While I can't speak for Mike who I know I know you never ask me ot use my photo for your respounce.

          With that said I would like to make a comment on my photo and the three gentlemen in it. First everyone of them are high ranking folks in The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and there Uniforms are correct for GAR folks. What you fail to understand is that these folks are GAR reactors. The 1 star General in the middle is the Dept. National Director of SUV everything on his Uniform from his shoe's up is correct. The two Col. are both Regional Directors and there uniforms are correct.

          I suggest the next time you decide to make an example of bad reactor uniforms that you might check what they are wearing starting with their Hats and what the lapel insignia is. This is come from a person who has been doing both Revol. and Civil War Reacting for over 30Years.

          Sincerely
          Rob
          Aka Mitchel25J

          Reply
          1. toddpost

            Rob, the photo was posted on a public site and therefore is fair use. The problem is that you may know that the three gentleman photographed are “are high ranking folks in The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and there Uniforms are correct for GAR folks”, but the general public doesn't know the difference. They see blue and gray and that's about it, they don't know that you're not reenactors and would probably assume you are.

            I organized a Revolutionary War event for the State of Delaware many years ago and they expressed an interest in making sure that all the participants were wearing uniforms applicable for the battle being depicted, which were troops from the Mid-Atlantic in 1777. The local Sons of the American Revolution came to the event wearing their uniforms which while fine for their private events and ceremonial use were far from being appropriate for the event in either historical accuracy or in being applicable to the battle being recreated. The general public had no way of telling the difference who was a reenactor and who was a SAR member and it threw the plan off completely.

            Reply
            1. Rob Rohr

              Yes while I agree that Flickr is a public site, I'm a pro which means I've payed for my flickr account second if you also care to look at the photo you will note all rights reserved. Which means these are copy righted to me Rohrvision Photography 2000-2009. It's is stander to ask first before posting a photo.

              Aslo the Remembrance Day Event has always stated that the Union Folks are GAR folks, the photo you used was from the GAR Wreath laying Event held every year. As a GAR person I have two different Uniforms that I use one for just Remembrance Day and then I have my 4th Maine Uniform which is very different from the GAR Uniform.

              Also I to have been involved with Revolution War Reacting have been part of Son's of the American Revolution since I was 12 (I'm 43 now), I was part of the 1st Maine Rangers part of a the Mass. Ranger Unit what I wore then was very different then what the public though they wore.

              The problem with doing 18th Century Reacting is that allot of local units had very different uniforms with-in the 4th Maine we had six different style from Old Federal Uniforms to New Issued GAR Uniforms the one I use is a Serg. Major from the Old Federal which has a very different style Frock Coat.

              The bottom line as I see it is we are their to educate the general public, Uniforms from early US History varied allot. It wasn't till after the Civil War that you started to see more standerized Uniforms in the US Army.

              Rob

              Reply
    2. John_Walter

      It is not $250,000 from the state. It is $100,ooo from Manassas, $250,000 from Prince William, and $1,000,000 from the State per year. The Washington Post had an article over the holiday (I could not find it online) and it stated the group needs $3.9 million to pull off their program. Please reread the original article and it states the same request. At this point we are past the reenactment discussion to a what in the world are they selling discussion.

      Reply
    3. PWC Resident

      Once again the divisions within the historical and Civil War hobby community are manifest. What a shame and totally unnecessary! There are the professional historians and a wide range of public employees (museums and educators) who want to get their piece of the public funding being made more readilly available by the upcoming 150th commemorations and there are several who are seeking more TV and video credits at public expense. I don't see any opposition to the State spending (wasting) $900,000 to provide special DVDs to the schools or the production of travel brochures, so why the opposition to reenactments? In my mind, the Manassas City Council and the PW BOCS are providing one-time seed money to a 501c3 to create a public- private partnership that will bring in tourists, coordinate a series of events, stimulate local business opportunities and generate funds over the next 10 or more years to help fund our local historical assets. I hear a lot of elitism in the opposition to reenactments that benefit the armchair historian / reenactor and large numbers of semi-interested spectators. Its the same kind of anti-NASCAR mentality that pervades too much of our academia. The idea that the concern for reenactments revolves around the experiences of 1961 is shameless and one might even suspect as useful only to ensure that only properly approved public agency events are funded. These folks know that we do not live in the pre-civil rights, segrgationalist world of 1961 anymore. These folks also know that large scale reenactments have been successfully held in Virginia and in Pennsylvania. It is also interesting, if not shameless, that NPS opposition to reenactments is nothing more than a cover for the utter failure of their own planning for the 100th anniversary of First Manassas. I think we need both and I think we should facilitate both. I am all for the historial research and the $3 million expansion of the Manassas Museum to proivide a childrens gateway to the subject, but, as a local taxpayer, I am also for having our public officials seek new and innovative ways to stimulate or local economy, bring in more tourism and new ways to fund our historical assets. Its a investment decision, one that appears to offer significant returns.

      Reply
      1. toddpost

        “PWC Resident”: I am a reenactor, so I definitely have no opposition to reenactments if done well. My only concern is if John Walter's post is correct and the total price tag is more like $3.9 million, then I can tell you from experience that no reenactment has to cost that much unless there is a lot of fluff.

        Take a look at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/metro/spec… for what was done for the Jamestown 400th. There you'll find “Ba-Baaah & the Windigo, a production for children, explores how the first settlers from England might have felt as they approached a new world and how those already here might have felt about their arrival.” Nice idea, just too bad that in native American folklore, windigos were malevolent cannibalistic spirits that feasted on humans. Then you have “Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus performs standard choral literature, as well as traditional Hawaiian music.” What does traditional Hawaiian music have to do with the settlement of Jamestown? Or how about the “Suwabi Duo, from Williamsburg, shares West African dance, drum and stories.” program? Very politically correct of them, except for the fact that Jamestown was founded in 1607 and no Africans were brought to the colony until 1619. Heck, there no women in Jamestown until 1608, so it's an inconvenient truth that they were celebrating the 400th anniversary of something done by white men only.

        You're right, a 2011 reenactment of First Manassas can be a great boost to the local economy, can educate the public and be very successful. All I am saying is that I don't see why it should cost as much as the numbers that are being thrown around (keep in mind I have organized reenactments, so I know the costs involved), and there are a lot of pitfalls as the 1961 reenactment (just talking about the historical accuracy and safety) and things like the Jamestown 400th above. Hopefully this event can be streamlined and lessons can be learned from the past, resulting in a educational, interpretive event that brings benefits to the local community and those to who attend.

        Reply
  9. toddpost

    Rob, the photo was posted on a public site and therefore is fair use. The problem is that you may know that the three gentleman photographed are “are high ranking folks in The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and there Uniforms are correct for GAR folks”, but the general public doesn't know the difference. They see blue and gray and that's about it, they don't know that you're not reenactors and would probably assume you are.

    I organized a Revolutionary War event for the State of Delaware many years ago and they expressed an interest in making sure that all the participants were wearing uniforms applicable for the battle being depicted, which were troops from the Mid-Atlantic in 1777. The local Sons of the American Revolution came to the event wearing their uniforms which while fine for their private events and ceremonial use were far from being appropriate for the event in either historical accuracy or in being applicable to the battle being recreated. The general public had no way of telling the difference who was a reenactor and who was a SAR member and it threw the plan off completely.

    Reply
  10. Rob Rohr

    Yes while I agree that Flickr is a public site, I'm a pro which means I've payed for my flickr account second if you also care to look at the photo you will note all rights reserved. Which means these are copy righted to me Rohrvision Photography 2000-2009. It's is stander to ask first before posting a photo.

    Aslo the Remembrance Day Event has always stated that the Union Folks are GAR folks, the photo you used was from the GAR Wreath laying Event held every year. As a GAR person I have two different Uniforms that I use one for just Remembrance Day and then I have my 4th Maine Uniform which is very different from the GAR Uniform.

    Also I to have been involved with Revolution War Reacting have been part of Son's of the American Revolution since I was 12 (I'm 43 now), I was part of the 1st Maine Rangers part of a the Mass. Ranger Unit what I wore then was very different then what the public though they wore.

    The problem with doing 18th Century Reacting is that allot of local units had very different uniforms with-in the 4th Maine we had six different style from Old Federal Uniforms to New Issued GAR Uniforms the one I use is a Serg. Major from the Old Federal which has a very different style Frock Coat.

    The bottom line as I see it is we are their to educate the general public, Uniforms from early US History varied allot. It wasn't till after the Civil War that you started to see more standerized Uniforms in the US Army.

    Rob

    Reply
  11. Mike Lynaugh

    toddpost, Rob is right, just b/c you consider Flickr to be a “public” site it does not mean you can use any image from it without asking for permission from the photographer. I too have my photographs listed as “All Rights Reserved” and yes, they are copyright protected.

    I do not have a problem with you linking to one of my photographs, but I would recommend you be careful with posting other people’s work, it can come back to bite you.

    From your statment “Rob, the photo was posted on a public site and therefore is fair use. “, what would you not consider a “public site”? All websites that you view are viewable to anyone that wishes to see them, it does not mean the content can be taken for “fair use.”

    Here’s a link to the definition of “Fair Use” http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html

    It clearly states “Copyright protects the particular way an author has expressed himself. It does not extend to any ideas, systems, or factual information conveyed in the work.

    The safest course is always to get permission from the copyright owner before using copyrighted material.”

    “Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission. ”

    Mike

    Mike Lynaugh Photography

    Reply

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