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Costume, Carrying & Caring for the Conscientious Campfollower

 

The Blew Regiment L T B pride themselves on turning out a smart well drilled unit that can often be found in the front line of the Parliament Army. The Regiment seek to portray a company of infantry setting out for the Spring campaign of 1643, that will eventually lead them to the relief of the Siege of Gloucester and the glory of standing steadfast at the Battle of Newbury. At the rear of both fighting blocks of the Regiment is a gallant band without whom the rest would not be able to function - the Campfollowers

 

Areas of this page:

 

  • Kit

  • Authenticity

  • Status

  • Expectations

  • The Field

    • Following Pike

    • Following Musket

    • Misfires

    • First Aid

    • Common Complaints

    • Common Injuries

    • Finally, Some Pearls of Wisdom

 

Kit
 

It is Sealed Knot and Regimental policy that when on the field and following the Regiment, the campfollowers will dress in male attire, taking particular care in cut of clothes and visible hair, to achieve appropriate male appearance. Make up and inappropriate jewellery should not be worn. For living history, campfollowers should dress for their character or role. Female attire should be properly made townswomen’s, merchants’ or countrywomen’s costume, except where the context of the performance dictates otherwise. 

 

Authenticity

 

Clotheswise, for the most part you have to be able to pass for authentic from a distance of about 10 paces away. If you are putting on a living history, or a recruiting stand, then the public will be standing as close as half a pace away, and if you have super-duper authentic kit, especially if it is a bit of an attention grabber, then this is the time to wear it. If possible, details like visible seams and eyelet holes should be hand stitched, or sympathetically machined. Buttons should be wooden or metal . Plastic was not around in the seventeenth century, nor were zips, nylon, velcro, elastic or lycra. Try to avoid them. Modern underwear can be worn, but if wearing a modern bra under a mans shirt with no doublet, a plain flesh coloured sports one would be better than a little red lace balconette number. (the views of contributors are not necessarily the views of the compiler). 

 

Jewellery should really be kept to a minimum, simple wedding rings were worn. Unless you can substantiate wearing other jewellery through a living history character, or that is appropriate to your costume, no other jewellery should be worn. Body piercing apart from the ears in the wealthy or the egyptian classes was not known among the population of Britain at that time. Nose, eye-brow, lip piercings should be removed where possible, other piercings should be kept discretely hidden. Alas it does mean invoking the school P E rule, as what happens on the battlefield can be a somewhat aggressive high-contact sport even for camnpfollowers. Any damage done to yourself by a piercing being pulled out is your responsibility alone and there will be very little recourse.

 

Hair should be kept covered by a coif or cap in either male or female kit, if female in male kit and you have obviously dyed hair, men also had an equivalent of the coif which are available from traders. If you are in ‘common’ female kit a plain undecorated coif should be worn, sufficiently sized to have all of your hair tucked up inside. Trailing tresses were only worn by unmarried women from the Highlands of Scotland, even they had their own form of headdress.

 

Makeup - during the day avoid wearing it altogether. If you absolutely cannot survive without makeup, wear the absolute minimum and keep the shades as flesh toned as possible - blue mascara and frosted pink lipstick were not around then and neither was nail varnish.

 

Colours - it may be worth bearing in mind that whilst clear and bright colours may look very appealing on a trip round traders, you have to think about the class of person you will be portraying to the public. Safer colours to go for are the muddy shades of yellow, green, brown, greys - try to avoid the mid school grey, paler blues and pinky browns. This rule only goes for day time wear. When it comes to a night in the beer tent or for banqueting kit - the equivalent of the party frock, just about anything goes - if bright purple and sea green is your penchant, there is nothing to stop you.

If in doubt about anything regarding dress etc. find a female member of the regiment that has been in a few years and ask them your questions or take them shopping with you around traders row. Better to have a second opinion before you buy rather than after you buy.

 

Status

 

It’s a dirty word to some and a Holy Grail to others. We personally hold little faith with members of the latter faction as they often forget just what it is all about. This is a voluntary organisation where people command through commitment to the hobby, length of service, but chiefly through respect. In this Army, if a commander is disliked, he has few followers and this attitude should stay with you if you are a lofty officer or a lowly campfollower. Don’t forget the people standing around you, as one day they could be pulling you out of the mud or pushing you in. Which would you prefer?

 

Expectations

 

Mainly mine, but the Society gets to have a word first. If you are promoted up to any sort of position recognised by the Society, you will have various responsibilities thrust upon your broad shoulders. This means a certain code of behaviour is expected of you. If you see someone wilfully damaging someone’s property or someone’s actions are disturbing some other member’s enjoyment, tell an officer of the Regiment, or a member of the Camp Guard who will deal with the matter. We are all ambassadors for the Society and while we are here to have fun, if the horseplay gets out of hand, pack it in.

 

So what do I expect? Simply a bit of commitment to the Regiment and a sense of pride for who we are and what we are doing. This Regiment has set standards that others have had to follow and over the last decade many have fallen out of step, unable to keep pace.

 

Not us, we have gone through as much hardship and hair pulling as you are ever likely to see in a hobby such as this and we are still going strong.

 

The Field

 

The campfollowers day starts before the other blocks.

You must get up early to make coffee and breakfast for y...

OUCH !

OK

The campfollowers day starts before the fighting blocks drill as some water bottles have to be filled to take along to the drill session. All the water bottles have to be filled before form up for the battle. Find out where the water points in the campsite are and if there is water available closer to the battle field. Non-firing musketeers and pikemen will carry water to the field but once there, it is your own responsibility (and heavy to carry). There may be enough campfollowers or there may be someone just off the battlefield who can be used as a water dump during the battle. Make sure that everyone has plenty of water on their way to the field especially if the weather is hot. Once battle has started, keep an eye on everyone & watch for signs of dehydration / overheating (especially armoured pikemen).

 

Water only when called in and water, from back to the front of files in the pike block and from the front to the back in the musket, until ‘Ladies Out’ is called - once this is called -get out of the block as soon as possible - they will either be getting ready to move quickly or to fight.

 

Find out where the medics tent is on the battlefield.

 

Follow your block. Watch what they are doing and where they are going. Stay a safe distance from them but keep in touch. Do not just stand about chatting - it looks bad, you could miss something and you might be needed urgently.

 

Keep an eye on the Blews, other blocks should have their own followers.

 

Make sure all bottles are taken on the field even if you carry eight - it all gets drunk.

 

Remember to take water yourselves.

 

We are Blew women - we follow as hard as our men fight - no whinging - no whining - J F D I !

 

Following Pike

 

What to Carry

Each campfollower will be carrying at least two water bottles. The senior follower will carry a ready mixed bottle of rehydrate and maybe spare sachets of rehydrate and dextrose tablets. It is useful to carry spare thong to replace bits of broken or damaged pikemen - spare shoelaces or broken armour or helmets.

 

What to Look For

Watch the position, direction and speed of pike pushes, there may be many taking place in a small area, you must try to stay aware of everything that is happening to keep yourself and the pike blocks safe. Watch each others backs and warn as necessary. Watch for people staying down after the pike pushes but wait to be called in - is there any blood or bad knocks - especially to the head. Do the pikemen look OK (points out of ten?)

Where is the opposition? Is there any horse? Most of the time the horse ‘act’ as if they are out of control - be aware of them, they will not be aware of you. If out in the open when charged by horse stand still and shout Civilian, stand still and wave bottles, arms etc. Where are cannons and musket blocks? - are you in line of fire?

 

What to Listen For

Commands from the sergeant specifically directed to you are:

  • Ladies Water - meaning that he wants you to come in to water the block, checking for injury/dehydration as you go.
    Ladies Out - The block is about to move or to engage in combat - get out of the block through the back or side as quickly as you can - if you can see an opposition block approaching leave by the other side.

 

Commands from the sergeant to the block:

  • Form Circle - the regiment is about to be attacked by horse, the pike will all face outwards, the musket will shelter under the pike and the campfollowers will make their way into the centre of the pike block, this will be followed by:
    Reform - leave the block as quickly as possible.

 

Useful words:

  • Man Down - something has gone wrong in the pike block, it is has possibly lost control and there may be injured when it splits apart. Do not jump in too fast, wait to see if you are needed.
    Have a Care - look around you, is a regiment about to walk over the top of you? is a cannon about to fire? is it an internal command to a block which need not concern you? is it an attack of giant killer slugs? - as the words say - Have a Care.

 

What to Do

  • When called in, water by file starting at the front of the block (or as requested by the senior campfollower).

  • Deal with minor injuries/Dehydration.

  • Accompany more seriously injured to medical tent and stay with them to make sure that they are alright and that any of their equipment does not get mislaid. Equipment takes priority, it may not be taken inside.

  • Look after broken or damaged pikemen or equipment and repair where possible.

 

Following Musket
 

What to Carry

Each campfollower will be carrying two or more water bottles. The senior follower will carry a ready mixed bottle of rehydrate and maybe spare sachets of rehydrate and dextrose tablets. It is useful to carry spare thong to replace bits of broken or damaged musketeer - spare shoelaces etc.

Musket followers should also carry slow match, a lighter, a spare lighter. A pricker may be useful but musketeers should carry their own.

Amongst the followers separate water should be carried for safety purposes - for use for misfires or burns.

 

What to Look For

Look for which musketeers in your block have matchlock muskets and which flintlocks.

Try to stay aware of all that is happening around you. Watch for approaching pike pushes - are they likely to hit you / the musket block you are with / any musket casualties on the floor.

If they are going towards you - Move.

If they are going towards the musket block:

  • if unloaded warn the corporal / sergeant.

  • if loaded shout Loaded Musket at the pike block.

If moving towards actual casualties - shout Man Down.

If moving towards theatrical casualties - warn the casualty - Have a Care.

Watch for the horse and opposition - treat as for pike blocks remembering that they will be less controlled and manageable. Do not enter a loaded musket block. If attacked by the enemy stand still and shout Civilian. Wave water bottles, arms etc.

Watch out for exploding musketeers.

Watch for people staying down after combat.

Watch for cuts and burns, dehydration and exhaustion after combat.

Watch for smoke coming from people - it has been known for musketeers to put lit match in their snapsacks or catch sparks from other musketeers.

 

What to Listen For

Commands from the sergeant specifically directed to you are:

  • Ladies Water - meaning that he wants you to come in to water the block, checking for injury/dehydration as you go.

  • Ladies Out - The block is about to move or to engage in combat - get out of the block as quickly as you can - if you can see an opposition block approaching leave by the other side.

 

Commands from the sergeant to the block:

  • Form Circle - the regiment is about to be attacked by horse, the pike will all face outwards, the musket will shelter under the pike and the campfollowers will make their way into the centre of the pike block, this will be followed by:

  • Reform - leave the block as quickly as possible.

  • Club Your Musket - the musket block is about to engage in hand to hand combat. The musketeers should drop their match and rests, if being carried, to their left and slightly back. The campfollowers will collect the match and rests until they are again needed. The officer / sergeant of the block should ensure that there is sufficient space and time for the campfollowers to get in and get out safely.

  • Make Ready - if the block has come back from hand to hand they will require their rests and match. Drop the match at the foot of all matchlock musketeers including the dummys.

 

Useful words:

  • Man Down - something has gone wrong, there may be injured after hand to hand combat.

  • Have a Care - look around you, is a regiment about to walk over the top of you? is a cannon about to fire? is it an internal command to a block which need not concern you? is it the Easter Bunny trying to pinch your chocolate?- as the words say - Have a Care.

 

What to Do

  • When called in, water by file starting at the front of the block (or as requested by the senior campfollower).

  • Deal with minor injuries/Dehydration.

  • Accompany more seriously injured to medical tent and stay with them to make sure that they are alright and that any of their equipment does not get mislaid. Muskets and full bandoliers of powder should not be taken into the medics tent. Looking after kit takes priority.

  • Look after broken or damaged musketeers or equipment and repair where possible.

  • Pick up match and rests before hand to hand combat.

  • Distribute match after hand to hand when requested.

  • Assist misfires - see below.

 

Misfires

After the musketeer has fired, smoke should come out of the touch hole - if not, they have had a misfire and there will be an unfired charge down the musket. The musketeers instructions are as follows: Shout ‘Misfire’ make sure that the officer has heard, hold gun up and away - similar to port, march clear of the back of the body to open space, an officer or camp follower should accompany you.

 

There are three types of misfire:

 

Hangfire

The rarest type of misfire, if there are smouldering embers or a glow in the pan do not reprime, wait for it to fire. If nothing happens after a minute, pour water in the pan then carefully down the barrel.

 

Flash in the pan

Priming has ignited but not the main charge. Ensure there is a clear passage with the pricker and gloved hand, reprime and fire. If not successful, try cleaning and repriming again - if this again fails -Blockage

 

Blockage

If nothing works, pour water in the pan to extinguish any embers then carefully pour water down the barrel to dampen the main charge. After the battle, worm out and clean thoroughly

 

If a flintlock musket breaks their flint and cannot replace it on the field they may need slowmatch from you to assist with any misfires or to continue in the battle. As a campfollower you should accompany the musketeer to behind the block, at all times stand clear of the muzzle of the musket.

If the musketeer cannot clear the misfire and asks you for water, make sure the muzzle is pointing away from both of you, at arms length first pour water into the pan of the musket, then pour water into the barrel of the gun until it comes out of the end of the barrel or the musketeer tells you to stop. If the musketeer asks you to do anything differently they are acting against musketeers guidelines. Do only what you have been trained to do and report them to their musket officer. If necessary give them the water bottle and walk away. At least one water bottle must be carried for safety purposes only, not for drinking - used for misfires, dousing any injury, burning clothing, burning equipment etc.

 

First Aid

Despite training, injuries can occur on Sealed Knot battlefields and the Knot has it’s own Sealed Knot Medical Service to cope with them. The SKMS has no connection with any voluntary aid services and therefore has it’s own symbol. The field medical assistants wear black tabards bearing the cross of St Chad to enable them to be easily identified on the field. The same cross will be seen on the SKMS standard flying over the First Aid Post at the side of the battlefield. The service is commanded by the Surgeon Generalle and the small unit consists of doctors, nurses, professional ambulance personnel and holders of recognised first aid qualifications. The declared aim of the SKMS is to provide the best possible 20th Century immediate medical care, albeit wearing 17th Century dress.

 

As a regiment the Blew regiment is fully supportive and appreciative of the good work of the SKMS. However on the field, we prefer that everything and anything that can be dealt with safely is dealt with internally. If the medics get involved, people may get banished to the medic tent.

If possible try to find out any medical conditions or illnesses of the block eg. diabetes, epilepsy, asthma and find out how to treat them. Find out who is prone to dehydration.

If a medic asks for help, water etc. then give it, even if not for a Blew. They could be asking for help for one of ours in the future.

If ‘patient’ will not do as told refer to the block sergeant / officer for support.

 

How to attract medics:

Off the field short skirts and lipstick usually works.

On the field

  • shout Medic

  • crossed weapons held high.

  • go and find a medic - or send someone - the black tabard makes them fairly visible or make for the first aid tent - large black flag

 

If with injured party who cannot move and fighting comes near shout Man Down or Have a Care.

If someone needs a medic and they are mobile take them to the medic tent, if not mobile send for a medic and stay with them.

Always stay with the kit at medics as it is not unheard of for things to walk and it is easier for medics to work if there is not unattended kit lying around.

If person is sent to hospital, go back to the regiment and tell the CO who will organise the next step.

If you are at medics at the end of the battle someone will normally come to find you and help you back to the campsite.

If it cannot be treated with water on the field get a medic.

If you are unsure or not confident with an injury get a medic.

USE YOUR OWN COMMON SENSE

 

Common Complaints

This water doesn’t taste nice.

Tough! Drink it.

 

Common Injuries
 

Dehydration

Dizziness, not fully responsive, red in face, may tell you of headaches, blank stare, poor co-ordination.

Sit them down somewhere safe, if possible in shade. Remove excess clothing, armour, buff coat, doublet. Give them liquid - rehydrate or water. Tip water over head or down back of neck if they let you. - Ask before applying water externally - I wouldn’t let you, others would.

Concussion

Similar to dehydration, slurred speech, drowsiness, may have visible knock to head - if not, ASK them (or someone else).

Get them off the field. Give fluids NOT alcohol. Sit them quietly.

Cuts

Rinse well with water - if minor it should stop bleeding - if major apply pressure, elevate and get medic.

Burns

Rinse well, if minor (eg match burn) let them go back, if more serious call a medic.

NB creams etc (eg burn cream) is OK if used on very minor match burns after the battle, but if you think someone needs a medic then only use water on any injury - creams have to be scrubbed off & you won’t be very popular.

Breakages / Dislocation / Sprain / Strain / Crush

Get out of immediate danger or get danger away, get medic.

Winded

Get out of danger, stay with them, if they want to go back let them.

Nausea

Find out why - hangover / dodgy food/illness?

Sit down somewhere safe, monitor. Get medic if necessary.

Morning

Similar to dehydration, not fully responsive, blank stare, poor co-ordination.

Feed coffee and leave till afternoon.

OUCH - I never knew drill books were so dangerous.

If a follower's partner is injured:

If they are following the same block - send them to medics with partner.

If they are following the other block - let them have an assessment as soon as possible. If the partner then goes to medics, the follower who originally went should come back. If block will be left with no follower - sort it out. Either re-split the followers or give some water to officers / drummers etc.

Treat what you are confident to treat. If not sure get a second opinion pass to someone with more experience or get a medic. Use common sense.

 

Finally, Some Pearls of Wisdom

Remember - officers, sergeants and the senior campfollower are giving orders to make a more effective fighting unit and keep you relatively safe.

If you do the following you will have a fun day, a successful battle and all your body parts should be in the same place so you can enjoy the evenings delights.

  • Listen to the sergeant/senior campfollower

  • Try to stay aware of what is happening

  • Listen to the sergeant/senior campfollower

  • Keep chat in the block to a minimum

  • Above all else - LISTEN TO THE SERGEANT/SENIOR CAMPFOLLOWER

 

 

Article contributed by Sam Johnson