Friday, February 23

7 Stupid things asked of Historical Reenactors

As reenactors we work with the public at historic sites and events all over. We invest small fortunes and zillions of hours of research to make sure that we are dressed and outfitted properly in order to teach history to the masses. Sometimes the public will ask really thoughtful, intelligent questions...

...and then, there's everyone else.

That being said, I believe that every question can be of value and that they all deserve to be answered... that's what people attend historical reenactments for, right? So, I take a second to answer even the most goofy questions...

7.) HOW DID YOU GET ALL THOSE FLAGS TO FLY THE SAME DIRECTION?
This is one of those questions I've never been asked personally, but I've heard stories of other reenactors being asked it. Maybe it's a reenactor 'urban legend'... I like to hope that people aren't stupid enough to really ask this sort of thing.


6.) ARE YOU NORTH OR SOUTH? (to any NON Civil War reenactor)
There is always at least ONE of these couples wandering around any historical event of any era at any given time. They wander up to your camp, see you cleaning your 1770s style brown bess flintlock musket while wearing your tricorn hat and buckle shoes to ask this one. They seem to be of the opinion that ALL reenactments MUST be of the Civil War variety.

5.) IS THAT A REAL BABY?
When I first got started in reenacting, my daughters were still quite young. One day I laid my youngest one down for a nap in a cabin at the site so she could get a nap in and not be crabby later. A mom and her son marched into the cabin, stomped over to the cradle loudly and practically shouted, "Hey look! Is that a real baby?" No nap THAT day.

4.) DO YOU REALLY LIVE/SLEEP HERE?
You've crammed your tiny vehicle full of your clothes, canvas, tent poles, coolers, camp furniture, gear, cots and enough blankets to smother an army. You get to the site early because you need several hours, and potentially a few friends to set it all up. Then, not only does the public ask this question of your tented weekend home, they generally wander on in without asking. Hey public, don't do that!

3.) AIN'T YOU HOT IN THAT COSTUME?
I'm wearing a wool coat in Kentucky in July and it's 98° in the shade,  yeah I'm a little toasty.  Aren't YOU a little hot in YOUR costume? Also while we're here... what I'm wearing isn't a 'costume', this is clothing. I only wear a costume on Halloween. If you think of your historical clothing merely as a costume, you're doing it wrong.


2.) ARE YOU REALLY GOING TO EAT THAT?
It never fails that you slave all day over a firepit at an event just to have a group approach and ask this one. This question is usually accompanied by a look of horror or disgust from the asker.  Are the people of the 21st Century so far removed form their food preparation that they don't know it when they see it?



1.) IS THAT REAL FIRE?
It never ceases to blow my mind that human beings in this modern age cannot identify REAL fire when they see or smell or feel it. The same people that ask this sort of question when confronted with a real fire are the same people who are allowed to operate heavy machinery, take care of children and vote! And to add insult to injury, their vote counts as much as yours does!

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AND check back every weekday at 8AM CST for your
daily dose of Royal Navy/History Nerdiness!

Thursday, February 22

In The News




The London Gazette 
Publication date:5 March 1814 
Issue:16864
Page:494


Wednesday, February 21

Meet LT McLean

HMS Acasta is proud to introduce to you, dear reader, the latest member of our esteemed company!

Shea W. McLean was born and raised in Mobile, AL and is of Scottish and English heritage. His father was a steamship agent in the Port of Mobile which is, presumably, how he received his fascination with all things maritime. McLean was an exchange student at Kings College, University of London, in 1986 and received his BA in History at the University of South Alabama in 1987. While still in college, he received his commission in the United States Army in 1984. After a brief stint in the Army, McLean decided to continue his education and received his MS in Nautical Archaeology at The Florida State University in 1997. Since then, McLean has pursued a lifelong career in nautical history and maritime archaeology. 

Over his 30+ year career as a marine archaeologist and museum curator, McLean has worked on a myriad of archaeological projects and is a member of several historical societies. His archaeological exploits range from early vessels of exploration (De Luna’s 1559 colonization fleet) to a number of civil war era vessels (Confederate submarine HL Hunley, CSS Alabama, etc.) with a healthy dose of colonial vessels in-between. 

McLean’s expertise and interest lay mainly with historic artifacts, ship construction, celestial navigation, and maritime history. He has been a living historian and reenactor since 1998.

McLean currently serves as the Curator of Battleship USS Alabama Memorial Park in Mobile, AL. He spends much of his time with his beloved wife Caroline Newton-Jones McLean (Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK) and his three cherished daughters: Brooke, Chelsea, and Katherine.



Tuesday, February 20

The Diary of George Hodge


From the article:

Diary of 18th century sailor provides fascinating insight into life below decks in Nelson's navy 

UPDATED: 07:35 EST, 14 August 2008 

"A unique record of the British navy between 1790 and 1833 that was compiled by a sailor has emerged in the US.

The diary of George Hodge shows the "below decks" view of life at sea during a crucial time for Britain's senior service.

The self-educated seaman begins the journal with the words: "George Hodge, his Book Consisting of Difrint ports & ships that I have sailed in since the year 1790. Aged 13 years." 

He recorded the ladies of leisure with whom he associated, painted stunning pictures of ships and flags as well as a self portrait.

Images of ordinary seamen from the time of Nelson's navy are very rare."

Be sure to read the rest of this article and see the rest of the images over at the Daily Mail:


Monday, February 19

Recent Updates


It is our pleasure to inform you, dear reader, that we have recently updated the CREW and SCHEDULE pages to be as accurate as possible.


The purpose of the HMS ACASTA and the ROYAL TARS of OLD ENGLAND is to accurately portray a crew of His Majesty's Royal Navy circa 1800-1810 for the educational benefit of the public and for the mutual research and enjoyment of the individual members.

Our organization will educate via a series of first person activities designed to demonstrate the real lives of sailors as they go about their business and live their lives. Landing Parties, Surveying Crews, Recruitment Drives, Press Gangs, Shore Leave... these are but a few of the activities that our crew will undertake whilst encamped at an event. During duty hours, we follow proper Navy protocols and sailors are expected to live a sailor's life.

You can learn more about our group on the ABOUT US page.

If you enjoy reading the adventures of HMS Acasta, be certain to become an honorary member of the crew. This is a easy way to show us that you're out there and paying attention. It is a simple matter really, there is a blue button at the bottom of the page that will allow you to join.

And Second, I would ask that you comment from time to time on the posts that interest you the most. This is an excellent way to let the crew of the Acasta know what you, the reader, is the most interested in seeing. It is always most gratifying to know what the readers like. For those of you that have commented in the past, we thank you for you support and interest!

If you find a post that you are particularly fond of... be sure to share a link with your friends, over Facebook, Tumblr, Google Plus, etc. so they can enjoy it too!

Thursday, February 15

Know Your Nelson 5



Wednesday, February 14

Acasta Marriages


94 ALLEGATIONS FOR MARRIAGE LICENCES IN HAMPSHIRE,

… Pabnall, Thomas, of H.M.S. Acasta, gunner, 21, b., & Ann Monk, of Portsmouth, a minor, with c of her m., Jane Monk, at Portsea, 8 Oct., 1801.

IN THE REGISTRY OF THE BISHOP OF WINCHESTER. 269

… Tayloe, William, of H.M.S. Acasta, w., & Jane White, of Pitsligo, Scotland, 21, sp., at Portsea, 26 Dec, 1801.

From: Hampshire allegations for marriage licences granted by the Bishop of Winchester, 1689 to 1837
EXTRACTED AND EDITED BY WILLIAM J. C. MOENS, F.S.A. LONDON 1893. 

Wednesday, February 7

Prickly Heat, Symptoms & Cure



     ...It consists of small red spots, somewhat resembling fleabites, and chiefly spread over those parts of the body which are covered with clothes, particularly the inside of the arms, thighs, breast, and forehead. This eruption is attended with a very troublesome itching, which is increased by warm liquids, or warm clothing. The spots are also rendered more numerous by the same means. This affection, though inconvenient, is considered as a mark of high health; and, in consequence of this idea, many persons suffer great anxiety, either on its disappearance, or because they have not so extensive an eruption of it as others. Hence an improper mode of treatment is often adopted by the patients themselves, who indulge in warm diluent liquors, which increase the eruption, and render the itching still more uncomfortable. The duration of this eruption, when left to itself, is very uncertain; at times it disappears entirely in a few minutes, and re-appears almost immediately after. The disease gradually ceases in proportion as the person becomes accustomed to the climate. With respect; to the treatment, all the precaution that is necessary is to keep moderately cool, to avoid drinking warm liquors when the itching is severe, and to take occasionally a gentle dose of salts.

Taken from: The Naval Surgeon Comprising the Entire Duties of Professional Men at Sea
By William Turnbull
1806

Page 236-237

Tuesday, February 6

The Articles of War 1757


THE ARTICLES OF WAR 1757

1. All commanders, captains, and officers, in or belonging to any of His Majesty's ships or vessels of war, shall cause the public worship of Almighty God, according to the liturgy of the Church of England established by law, to be solemnly, orderly and reverently performed in their respective ships; and shall take care that prayers and preaching, by the chaplains in holy orders of the respective ships, be performed diligently; and that the Lord's day be observed according to law.

2. All flag officers, and all persons in or belonging to His Majesty's ships or vessels of war, being guilty of profane oaths, cursings, execrations, drunkenness, uncleanness, or other scandalous actions, in derogation of God's honour, and corruption of good manners, shall incur such punishment as a court martial shall think fit to impose, and as the nature and degree of their offence shall deserve.

3. If any officer, mariner, soldier, or other person of the fleet, shall give, hold, or entertain intelligence to or with any enemy or rebel, without leave from the king's majesty, or the lord high admiral, or the commissioners for executing the office of lord high admiral, commander in chief, or his commanding officer, every such person so offending, and being thereof convicted by the sentence of a court martial, shall be punished with death.

4. If any letter of message from any enemy or rebel, be conveyed to any officer, mariner, or soldier or other in the fleet, and the said officer, mariner, or soldier, or other as aforesaid, shall not, within twelve hours, having opportunity so to do, acquaint his superior or a commanding officer, or if any superior officer being acquainted therewith, shall not in convenient time reveal the same to the commander in chief of the squadron, every such person so offending, and being convicted thereof by the sentence of the court martial, shall be punished with death, or such other punishment as the nature and degree of the offense shall deserve, and the court martial shall impose.

5. All spies, and all persons whatsoever, who shall come, or be found, in the nature of spies, to bring or deliver any seducing letters or messages from any enemy or rebel, or endeavor to corrupt any captain, officer, mariner, or other in the fleet, to betray his trust, being convicted of any such offense by the sentence of the court martial, shall be punished with death, or such other punishment, as the nature and degree of the offence shall deserve, and the court martial shall impose.

6. No person in the fleet shall receive an enemy or rebel with money, victuals, powder, shot, arms, ammunition, or any other supplies whatsoever, directly or indirectly, upon pain of death, or such other punishment as the court martial shall think fit to impose, and as the nature and degree of the crime shall deserve.

7. All the papers, charter parties, bills of lading, passports, and other writings whatsoever, that shall be taken, seized, or found aboard any ship or ships which shall be surprized or taken as prize, shall be duly preserved, and the very originals shall by the commanding officer of the ship which shall take such prize, be sent entirely, and without fraud, to the court of the admiralty, or such other court of commissioners, as shall be authorized to determine whether such prize be lawful capture, there to be viewed, made use of, and proceeded upon according to law, upon pain that every person offending herein, shall forfeit and lose his share of the capture, and shall suffer such further punishment, as the nature and degree of his offense shall be found to deserve, and the court martial shall impose.

8. No person in or belonging to the fleet shall take out of any prize, or ship seized for prize, any money, plate, or goods, unless it shall be necessary for the better securing thereof, or for the necessary use and service of any of His Majesty's ships or vessels of war, before the same be adjudged lawful prize in some admiralty court; but the full and entire account of the whole, without embezzlement, shall be brought in, and judgment passed entirely upon the whole without fraud, upon pain that every person offending hemin shall forfeit and lose his share of the capture, and suffer such further punishment as shall be imposed by a court martial, or such court of admiralty, according to the nature and degree of the offense.

9. If any ship or vessel be taken as prize, none of the officers, mariners, or other persons on board her, shall be stripped of their clothes, or in any sort pillaged, beaten, or evil-intreated, upon the pain that the person or persons so offending, shall be liable to such punishment as a court martial shall think fit to inflict.

10. Every flag officer, captain and commander in the fleet, who, upon signal or order of fight, or sight of any ship or ships which it may be his duty to engage, or who, upon likelihood of engagement, shall not make the necessary preparations for fight, and shall not in his own person, and according to his place, encourage the inferior officers and men to fight courageously, shall suffer death, or such other punishment, as from the nature and degree of the offence a court martial shall deem him to deserve; and if any person in the fleet shall treacherously or cowardly yield or cry for quarter, every person so offending, and being convicted thereof by the sentence of a court martial, shall suffer death.

11. Every person in the fleet, who shall not duly observe the orders of the admiral, flag officer, commander of any squadron or division, or other his superior officer, for assailing, joining battle with, or making defense against any fleet, squadron, or ship, or shall not obey the orders of his superior officer as aforesaid in the time of action, to the best of his power, or shall not use all possible endeavours to put the same effectually into execution, every person so offending, and being convicted thereof by the sentence of the court martial, shall suffer death, or such other punishment, as from the nature and degree of the offence a court martial shall deem him to deserve.

12. Every person in the fleet, who through cowardice, negligence, or disaffection, shall in time of action withdraw or keep back, or not come into the fight or engagement, or shall not do his utmost to take or destroy every ship which it shall be his duty to engage, and to assist and relieve all and every of His Majesty's ships, or those of his allies, which it shall be his duty to assist and relieve, every such person so offending, and being convicted thereof by the sentence of a court martial, shall suffer death.

13. Every person in the fleet, who though cowardice, negligence, or disaffection, shall forbear to pursue the chase of any enemy, pirate or rebel, beaten or flying; or shall not relieve or assist a known friend in view to the utmost of his power; being convicted of any such offense by the sentence of a court martial, shall suffer death.

14. If when action, or any service shall be commanded, any person in the fleet shall presume or to delay or discourage the said action or service, upon pretence of arrears of wages, or upon any pretence whatsoever, every person so offending, being convicted thereof by the sentence of the court martial, shall suffer death, or such other punishment, as from the nature and degree of the offense a court martial shall deem him to deserve.

15. Every person in or belonging to the fleet, who shall desert or entice others so to do, shall suffer death, or such other punishment as the circumstances of the offense shall deserve, and a court martial shall judge fit: and if any commanding officer of any of His Majesty's ships or vessels of war shall receive or entertain a deserter from any other of His Majesty's ships or vessels, after discovering him to be such deserter, and shall not with all convenient speed give notice to the captain of the ship or vessel to which such deserter belongs; or if the said ships or vessels are at any considerable distance from each other, to the secretary of the admiralty, or to the commander in chief; every person so offending, and being convicted thereof by the sentence of the court martial, shall be cashiered.

16. The officers and seamen of all ships appointed for convoy and guard of merchant ships, or of any other, shall diligently attend upon that charge, without delay, according to their instructions in that behalf; and whosoever shall be faulty therein, and shall not faithfully perform their duty, and defend the ships and goods in their convoy, without either diverting to other parts or occasions, or refusing or neglecting to fight in their defence, if they be assailed, or running away cowardly, and submitting the ships in their convoy to peril and hazard; or shall demand or exact any money or other reward from any merchant or master for convoying any ships or vessels entrusted to their care, or shall misuse the masters or mariners thereof; shall be condemned to make reparation of the damage to the merchants, owners, and others, as the court of admiralty shall adjudge, and also be punished criminally according to the quality of their offences, be it by pains of death, or other punishment, according as shall be adjudged fit by the court martial.

17. If any captain, commander, or other officer of any of His Majesty's ships or vessels, shall receive on board, or permit to be received on board such ship or vessel, any goods or merchandises whatsoever, other than for the sole use of the ship or vessel, except gold, silver, or jewels, and except the goods and merchandisers belonging to any merchant, or other ship or vessel which may be shipwrecked, or in imminent danger of being shipwrecked, either on the high seas, or in any port, creek, or harbour, in order to the preserving them for their proper owners, and except such goods or merchandisers as he shall at any time be ordered to take or receive on board by order of the lord high admiral of Great Britain, or the commissioners for executing the office of lord high admiral for the time being; every person so offending, being convicted thereof by the sentence of the court martial shall be cashiered, and be for ever afterwards rendered incapable to serve in any place or office in the naval service of His Majesty, his heirs and successors.

18. If any person in or belonging to the fleet shall make or endeavor to make any mutinous assembly upon any pretence whatsoever, every person offending herein, and being convicted thereof by the sentence of the court martial, shall suffer death: and if any person in or belonging to the fleet shall utter any words of sedition or mutiny, he shall suffer death, or such other punishment as a court martial shall deem him to deserve: and if any officer, mariner, or soldier on or belonging to the fleet, shall behave himself with contempt to his superior officer, being in the execution of his office, he shall be punished according to the nature of his offence by the judgment of a court martial.

19. If any person in the fleet shall conceal any traitorous or mutinous practice or design, being convicted thereof by the sentence of a court martial, he shall suffer death, or any other punishment as a court martial shall think fit; and if any person, in or belonging to the fleet, shall conceal any traitorous or mutinous words spoken by any, to the prejudice of His Majesty or government, or any words, practice, or design, tending to the hindrance of the service, and shall not forthwith reveal the same to the commanding officer, or being present at any mutiny or sedition, shall not use his utmost endeavours to suppress the same, he shall be punished as a court martial shall think he deserves.

20. If any person in the fleet shall find cause of complaint of the unwholesomeness of the victual, or upon other just ground, he shall quietly make the same known to his superior, or captain, or commander in chief, as the occasion may deserve, that such present remedy may be had as the matter may require; and the said superior, captain, or commander in chief, shall, as far as he is able, cause the same to be presently remedied; and no person in the fleet, upon any such or other pretence, shall attempt to stir up any disturbance, upon pain of such punishment, as a court martial shall think fit to inflict, according to the degree of the offence.

21. If any officer, mariner, soldier or other person in the fleet, shall strike any of his superior officers, or draw, or offer to draw, or lift up any weapon against him, being in the execution of his office, on any pretence whatsoever, every such person being convicted of any such offense, by the sentence of a court martial, shall suffer death; and if any officer, mariner, soldier or other person in the fleet, shall presume to quarrel with any of his superior officers, being in the execution of his office, or shall disobey any lawful command of any of his superior officers; every such person being convicted of any such offence, by the sentence of a court martial, shall suffer death, or such other punishment, as shall, according to the nature and degree of his offence, be inflicted upon him by the sentence of a court martial.

22. If any person in the fleet shall quarrel or fight with any other person in the fleet, or use reproachful or provoking speeches or gestures, tending to make any quarrel or disturbance, he shall, upon being convicted thereof, suffer such punishment as the offence shall deserve, and a court martial shall impose.

23. There shall be no wasteful expense of any powder, shot, ammunition, or other stores in the fleet, nor any embezzlement thereof, but the stores and provisions shall be careful preserved , upon pain of such punishment to be inflicted upon the offenders, abettors, buyers and receivers (being persons subject to naval discipline) as shall be by a court martial found just in that behalf.

24. Every person in the fleet, who shall unlawfully burn or set fire to any magazine or store of powder, or ship, boat, ketch, hoy or vessel, or tackle or furniture thereunto belonging, not then appertaining to an enemy, pirate, or rebel, being convicted of any such offence, by the sentence of a court martial, shall suffer death.

25. Care shall be taken in the conducting and steering of any of His Majesty's ships, that through willfulness, negligence, or other defaults, no ship be stranded, or run upon any rocks or sands, or split or hazarded, upon pain, that such as shall be found guilty therein, be punished by death, or such other punishment, as the offence by a court martial shall be judged to deserve.

26. No person in or belonging to the fleet shall sleep upon his watch, or negligently perform the duty imposed on him, or forsake his station, upon pain of death, or such other punishment as a court martial shall think fit to impose, and as the circumstances of the case shall require.

27. All murders committed by any person in the fleet, shall be punished with death by the sentence of a court martial.

28. If any person in the fleet shall commit the unnatural and detestable sin of buggery and sodomy with man or beast, he shall be punished with death by the sentence of a court martial.

29. All robbery committed by any person in the fleet, shall be punished with death, or otherwise, as a court martial, upon consideration of the circumstances, shall find meet.

30. Every officer or other person in the fleet, who shall knowingly make or sign a false muster or muster book, or who shall command, counsel, or procure the making or signing thereof, or who shall aid or abet any other person in the making or signing thereof, shall, upon proof of any such offence being made before a court martial, be cashiered, and rendered incapable of further employment in His Majesty's naval service.

31. No provost martial belonging to the fleet shall refuse to apprehend any criminal, whom he shall be authorized by legal warrant to apprehend, or to receive or keep any prisoner committed to his charge, or willfully suffer him to escape, being once in his custody, or dismiss him without lawful order, upon pain of such punishment as a court martial shall deem him fit to deserve; and all captains, officers, and others in the fleet, shall do their endeavour to detect, apprehend, and bring to punishment all offenders, and shall assist the officers appointed for that purpose therein, upon pain of being proceeded against, and punished by a court martial, according to the nature and degree of the offence.

32. If any flag officer, captain, or commander, or lieutenant belonging to the fleet, shall be convicted before a court martial of behaving in a scandalous, infamous, cruel, oppressive, or fraudulent manner, unbecoming the character of an officer, he shall be dismissed from His Majesty's service.

33. Every person being in actual service and full pay, and part of the crew in or belonging to any of His Majesty's ships or vessels of war, who shall be guilty of mutiny, desertion, or disobedience to any lawful command, in any part of His Majesty's dominions on shore, when in actual service relative to the fleet, shall be liable to be tried by a court martial, and suffer the like punishment for every such offence, as if the same had been committed at sea on board any of His Majesty's ships or vessels of war.

34. If any person who shall be in the actual service and full pay of His Majesty' ships and vessels of war, shall commit upon the shore, in any place or places out of His Majesty's dominions, any of the crimes punishable by these articles and orders, the person so offending shall be liable to be tried and punished for the same, in like manner, to all intents and purposes, as if the same crimes had been committed at sea, on board any of His Majesty's ships or vessels of war.

35. All other crimes not capital committed by any person or persons in the fleet, which are not mentioned in this act, or for which no punishment is hereby directed to be inflicted, shall be punished by the laws and customs in such cases used at sea.

Monday, February 5

Mail Packet Inspiration

Ready for a little added inspiration to create some awesome period mail for the Acastas that attend the Jane Austen Festival in July of this present year? Have a look at these images from the past that not only show some examples of what we got, but our various members enjoying them!