Ken says "Hey, what's this chick doing here?" (Not really. Ken's cool like that.)
However, at one of our events, our numbers and proximity to the troops is a mite greater than was likely the case historically. Our reason for being there? Safety first, kids.
To get a sense for what we do, first imagine that you're a soldier on the line. The temperature hovers somewhere around 90 degrees. You're wearing a wool coat and a black wool felt hat and carrying a musket. You're about to run onto the field. And you just do this on the weekends--weekdays you work in an air-conditioned office.
Possibility you might pass out? Yeah, it's there.
And when someone isn't doing well, the immediate assistance we can provide often means that they cool down quickly enough that transporting them to a hospital isn't required.
Basic supply? Bucket. The only way I can provide enough water is to carry a bucket--filled two-thirds of the way (to avoid sloshing, can't have my feet getting wet, you see), it's often drained by the time we're done. Secret ingredient--a handful of ice. Keeps the water just cool enough, but not so ice-cold that it turns the stomach. I also carry small pewter cups--strange how, in the eighteenth century, we don't seem to mind germs...I guess we haven't discovered them yet.
Me and my bucket--this is at Morning Troop, where we call the roll and inspect the men's kit and weapons. It's hot there, too.
I also carry a first aid kit with basic band-aids, antiseptic ointment, aspirin, gauze. My most common battlefield injury? The men cut themselves on the flints of their flintlock muskets. Not life-threatening, but it's nice to get it wrapped up before they bleed all over their uniforms.
No every reenacting organization does this--or even allows women on the field. I respect their concern with historical accuracy, and admit that the number of women on our fields can sometimes get a bit out of control. However--I also admit that I once watched from the sidelines as one man lay in the sun for nearly an hour at another organization's event, speculated that he couldn't be feeling well, and then watched as an ambulance had to be sent for to deal with his massive heat stroke.
Sometimes I help on the cannon. Sometimes I just take naps on the cannon. Being a Lady on the Battlefield is tiring!
I hope you've enjoyed this week! Anything else you'd like to know about martial ladies of the eighteenth century? There's so much more to talk about!