I portray Colonel William S Harney during his time with the 2nd Dragoons here in Florida. I Am just getting ready to do first person after rereading Prince of Dragoons several times and the US cavalry book vol 1 1776-1943. Any help on first person impressions is greatly apprieciated. I have visited several local schools before. The kids like to hear about bone saws the most.
Accurate first person impressions require a great deal of research not just about the individual you are portraying but the times in which they lived. You need to be familiar with their life before becoming a soldier as well. Dave
Dave has offered excellent advice. That is the one thing I think most military reenactors fail at when portraying a specific individual or even a "generic" trooper/soldier in the ranks and attempting first person conversations. We tend to forget these guys had a full life before the war. For most, their time in the military was a relatively short period out of their lives albiet a defining one. As a typical reenactor what they did before the war and the most many can come up with is "I was a farmer". Ask them about farming and they look at you like they haven't a clue and most dont I find. For info on the man you are attempting to portray I would suggest contacting Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis. That was pre war headquarters for the 2nd (and 1st dragoons) and they have museums with very well preserved artifacts as well as scholars that can answer anything dragoon related. I could spend days there and almost did last year. LOL
As a typical reenactor what they did before the war and the most many can come up with is "I was a farmer". Ask them about farming and they look at you like they haven't a clue and most don't I find.
That's why I still with being a sailor (the ones with cloth sails, not the ones that chip paint on big gray cans). It's something I know, that I've done, that I've studied, and that there were plenty of in a Maine regiment.
If you don't know your subject, your audience looses interest and just thinks you're a bad actor.
Harney joined the army in 1818 as a 2lt with the 1st infantry in Baton Rouge at 18 years old so he was a soldier his brother Benjamin was an army surgeon. They often tryed to get assigned together and often did. The period is well documented by other soldiers such as 2lt Prince and Col Foster but trying to find more about the early years of the 2nd Dragoons 1836 -1842 in Florida. If I ever could get the money together I would love to get a hand painted regimental flag. Kids enjoy seeing and touching as much as hearing. It really helps them understand.