Improvement to our reenacting impression
should be an on-going process. Members are highly encouraged to
upgrade their clothing and equipment as promptly as their circumstances
allow. Although attitude is more important that equipment, an
increased attention to correct construction and materials is both
instructive and necessary in order to achieve the look of the
soldiers we attempt to portray.
The philosophy of the CR's and 122nd can be summed up as follows:
We are people to whom the past is forever speaking. We listen to it because we cannot help ourselves, for the past speaks to us with many voices. Far out of that dark nowhere which is the time before we were born, men who were flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone went through fire and storm to break a path to the future. We are part of the future they died for; they are part of the past that brought the future. What they did-the lives they lived, the sacrifices they made, the stories they told and the songs they sang and, finally, the deaths they died-make up a part of our own experience. We cannot cut ourselves off from it. It is as real to us as something that happened last week. It is a basic part of our heritage as Americans.-- Bruce Catton
A quality historical impression will concentrate on more than just "kit", and even the casual reader of these standards will notice the attention paid to non-material items. The reenactor who is dedicated to authenticity will divide his efforts between three facets of equal importance: man, methods, and material culture.
"Material Culture" refers to all the physical items that are part of the reenactor's impression: weapons, uniforms, equipment, food, personal items, etc. The importance of high standards in this area is fairly obvious, since its elements can be seen at all times.
"Methods" answer the question, "How were things done?" By showing how the material culture was actually used, reenacting transcends a historical fashion show. Drill is probably the best example, but there are many other methods that deserve consideration: how the soldiers cooked their meals, how they made their camp, how they cleaned their weapons, issued their rations, and passed the time. There are plenty of guys with nearly-perfect kit, but very few who are nearly-perfect in the "methods" category.
Attention to the "Man" element is a hallmark of the highest-quality reenactors. "Man" relates to the person in the uniform: his thought patterns, speech, mannerisms, and physical condition. The recent activity known as "first person impression" is an example of attempts to round out the historical presentation by creating a 19th-century social environment.