Comments And Queries

AND NOW for something completely different -- A TOP TEN LIST of hobby-related projects you can do over the winter:

#10: Go back and re-read some of your old, back-issues of The Courier!
#9: Browse the NWTA web page!
#8: Roll a bunch of cartridges so you're ready for Vincennes.
#7: Sharpen all your camp knives.
#6: Make a new camp knife.
#5: Make a gourd canteen.
#4: Read some Boswell!
#3: Make a new set of small clothes.
#2: Waterproof your footwear!

And the number one thing for a re-enactor to do over the winter:
#1: Clean your musket!

Col. Vincent J-R Kehoe has done it again! Some of you who attended last year's School of the Officer and Command may have picked up parts one and/or two of Kehoe's An Officer's Guide. Well, volume THREE has just been published and offers more of Col. Kehoe's ideas, essays and excellent documentation essential to the commanding officers of recreated regiments.

Volume three of An Officer's Guide, features articles on the following topics: are you satisfied with your unit?, conditions and problems we do not re-enact, notes on light infantry equipment, officer's dress, posting guards, and more! Also in volume three, Kehoe reprints excerpts from several rare and hard-to-find 18th-century military books. Included are selections from; The Manual Exercise, 1764, The Military Mentor, The Discipline of the Light Horse by Captain Hinde, and Tacticks by Lt. Col. William Dalrymple. These excerpts alone are well-worth the price of the book.

Volumes one and two of An Officer's Guide are $25 postpaid (see April 1996 issue for a review of these books). The NEW, volume three is $15.00, also postpaid. These are worthwhile reference books and should be in every unit commander or commanding-officer's library! Get them directly from: RCMA, Inc., P.O. Box 850, Somis, CA, 93066. Tell them you read about it in The Courier!

Note: Volume FOUR is also due out soon! Watch this column for details.

AVALON FORGE has jute rope available for gourd or other styles of canteens (see October issue). Cost is $3.00, postpaid, for a six-foot length. Contact John White at Avalon Forge, 409 Gun Road, Baltimore, MD 21277

. SOME HELPFUL TIPS FROM AVALON FORGE: Is your musket pan starting to show its age by developing unsightly pits, making it difficult to keep clean? Try "tinning" it with a bit of solder, or better yet, lead-free solder which is about 97% tin. Just remove the pan, clean it well with a wire brush, apply paste flux, put in a snippet of solder and bring it up to proper heat with a propane torch. If you get too heavy a layer, brush it out before it "sets-up" with a thick rag (an old towel works well). Collect the "scale" (flakes of iron oxide) from around a blacksmith's anvil for your "authentic" musket cleaning kit (see Nov./Dec. issue). It makes a superior polishing agent for your iron and brass musket furniture!
John White, Avalon Forge

HERE ARE MORE SELECTIONS for off-season reading! Let's not forget Gulliver's Travels and Robinson Crusoe! Both of these great classics were written in the early 18th-century -- Gulliver in 1726, by Jonathan Swift and Crusoe in 1719 by Daniel Defoe

. Throughout the 18th-century, Europeans held a deep fascination with world travel. These two books were very popular in their time and remain literary classics even today. Although technically fiction, these do count as primary-source material -- though I'd think twice before putting a coconut canteen on your GIR.

Both of these books make for fun reading and have also been recently re-made as movies -- Gulliver starring Ted Danson (released several months ago), and Crusoe starring Pierce Brosnan (due to be released sometime in 1997). If you're into period movies you might also check out Moll Flanders -- two different versions are currently available on video (as is Gulliver).

But back to BOOKS! The Regents Restoration Drama Series has published several period plays of interest; The Recruiting Officer by George Farquar (1706), The Beggar's Opera by John Gay (1728), and The London Merchant by Lillo (1731), to name a few. These plays can often be found in used bookstores and may also still be available through the University of Nebraska Press. They offer us a rare glimpse of 18th-century life, language, song and humor. Watch for them!

Also, the November 1996 issue of National Geographic has an excellent article on Joseph Banks, an 18th-century biologist and world explorer. He was a close friend of King George III and was the driving force behind establishing Kew Gardens -- the King's country estate and world-renowned botanical gardens.

While you're at it, look up the June 1987 issue, which has great article about George Washington's "Patowmack Canal", and the June 1988 issue that holds a great article about an 18th-century shipwreck found off of the Yorktown peninsula. All of these articles feature superb artwork and color photographs of 18th-century artifacts. As an added bonus, the Yorktown article features the world-famous, high-quality National Geographic map and artwork treatment outlining the Revolution's culminating battle. Stop by your local library and check them out!