Comments and Queries:

question markBUY, SELL, TRADE? A lot of folks have extra gear laying around -- clothes that don't fit, accouterments that no longer appropriate for your impression, camp items that you rarely use. On the other hand, there are also folks looking to purchase new or slightly-used versions of these same items to round-out their impression!

How do we get these potential buyers and sellers together?

As a way of beating the winter-blahs, the editor is compiling a list of items for a one-time "swap page" to go into the January/February issue of The Courier -- call it a sort of rummage-sale by mail! Simply jot down a short list of items you are looking to buy, sell, or trade and send your list to The Courier. I am imposing a 60 words per household maximum (about 5 or 6 lines of type in this column) and I will clump "for sale" and "wanted" items under separate headings, so you can save some space by NOT using these words. Listing of specific prices for each item is optional, but be sure to include your name, address and phone number!

Please note that I MUST have your list in-hand no later than DECEMBER FIRST to make the January/February issue deadline!

Send or fax your "rummage sale by mail" listing to Mark Tully, editor (see COURIER for address information).

HAIR. Here is an additional piece of info related to "Hair it is!" of the June issue. The order was directed to the Brigade of Guards preparing to go on American Service, 18 March 1776: "The Officers Hair when they are Under A[rms] Always to be Club'd." I assume the longer queue was used when they were not under arms. (From the "Howe Orderly Book 1776-1778," which is actually a First Battalion, Brigade of Guards Orderly Book, William L. Clements Library, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor.) -- Linnea Bass

For those of us who attended the joint BAR and NWTA Findlay, OH (August 10-11) event, we found it both interesting and exciting. Seeing the mounted dragoons carefully riding on the field and hearing the strong musical performance was a real treat. The field site is as authentic as I have seen. Soldiers marched out from the seclusion of the trees onto the tall grass of the battle field. The continental army and British camps were out of site of each other but still within a two minute walk.

But one of the things I heard the most approval of from NWTA members, was the odd nature of the rope line. It was a mere foot off the ground! Although it was low, it served the same purpose as our waist-high rope line. The NWTA might consider this as standard practice at future events.

Benefits of a low rope line:

1. The spectators respect the line no matter what the height.

2. It might help stop unattended toddlers from walking right under our waist-high rope lines.

3. They are less likely to get in pictures -- both ours and the spectators.

4. Shorter stakes should cost less for event sponsors to purchase.

5. They are much less of a hassle for re-enactors to try to cross.

6. The stakes are less likely to break and are easier to put in place Sunday morning.

7. Shorter poles take up less room to store for reuse at subsequent events.

Drawbacks of a lower rope line:

1. Many units have purchased the fancy black iron rope line stakes. (Possible solutions: A. The rope line could be attached lower to the pole. B. The poles may be cut shorter. C. The poles may be "recycled" by a blacksmith).

2. It is against NWTA tradition.

3. They are less easily seen from vehicles and are more likely to be driven over.

4. This may be seen, by some, as a step in the direction of no rope line at all. I have never been, nor am I now, in favor of doing away with the rope line.

-- Paul Dickfoss

exclamation pointLooking for a good source for period-correct fabrics? Burnley & Trowbridge of Williamsburg, Virginia has an excellent selection of linen, wool and cotton fabrics (see their ad bottom of page 7). All of their fabrics are made from 100% natural fibers, and they have some rare and unusual selections as well as the old stand-bys.

Oh yes, and they're CHEAP -- $5-10 per yard for linen, $8-10 per yard for wool.

Burnley & Trowbridge also feature a full line of 18th and early 19th-century patterns, and an outstanding collection of clothing and textile-related books. It is well worth the $3.00 for their set of fabric swatches and catalog -- order them up today so you can start planning those winter sewing projects!

NOW YOU KNOW how to make gourd canteens, but how do you suspend them? Good old manila rope from the hardware store works well, but is stiff and hard to manage. White braided cotton cord is available in the drapery department of most stores, but perhaps looks too fancy-schmantsy for a primitive canteen.

SOLUTION: Terry Wellman passed on the following source for hemp rope. This is used for the tension ropes on reproduction drums, and is a strong, pliable and "rustic" looking alternative. The gourd shown on page five is suspended from a hemp rope sling. Hemp rope goes for around 50c per foot. Get it from:

Steve Short
6102 Beamsville Union City Road
Greenville, OH 45331

You might also try the Ohio Hempery at 1-800-BUY-HEMP.


By Mark Tully When doing research with old books and documents it is common to come across the abbreviations viz (or vizt.) and N.B. What do these abbreviations mean?

Viz.: An abbreviation for Videlicet. The word is Latin and originated in around 1540. It means "that is to say; namely". It usually precedes a list of some sort, indicating that the goods, objects, persons, or destinations that follow are the ones the writer of the document is concerned with.

N.B.: Also Latin. It came into common use around 1721 and translates as "mark well," or "observe particularly".

When reading transcriptions of period documents or an essay or article that quotes an original source, you may also run across the following: Sic.: This Latin term means "so, thus". It is usually used to call the readers attention to something erroneous in the text or to "guard against the supposition of misquotation". In other words, it is used after weird spellings or goofy grammar so the reader knows it was that way in the original and not just the editor's lousy writing.

SOURCE: Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University, Clarendon Press, 1978