Saturday, 18 June 2011

english civil war reality

The world of model soldier makers sometimes becomes just the idea of little soldiers making pretty in their uniforms forgetting the real life tragedy of war. We get the feeling that it was all nice and heroic like but.... The real war, in all its messy reality well that was part of the deal.. Many soldiers died from mishaps with their own weapons,  the case of Nicholas Small of Taunton, injured when his own musket accidentally fired. In a petition years later he claimed he was unable to work still as a result. Many suffered much worse. The surgeon Richard Wiseman seems to have been so inured by the carnage he faced that when a man, hit in the face by grapeshot and left for dead was found, he reported (apparently) calmly:

“The colonel sent to me … to dress the man. I went but was somewhat troubled where to begin. … His face, with its eyes, nose, mouth and foremost part of the jaw,with the chin, was shot away and the remaining parts of them driven in. One part of the jaw hung down by his throat and the other part pushed into it. I saw the brain working out underneath the lacerate scalp on both sides between his ears and brows … I could no see any advantage he could have by my dressing. But I helped him to clear his throat, where was remaining the root of his tongue. He seemed to approve of my endeavours and implored my help by the signs he made with his hands.” 

That is the Civil War – a real war, that could be  presented in a way that real wars all too rarely are. This does sometimes create a little more work for the soldier maker because the characters in reality  shine and then suddenly disappear felled by musket ball, mishap or disease.THE FINE UPSTANDING soldier is reduced to bits that even a surgeon has no chance of putting back together.

   this is not the perfect toy soldier account of war but  a perfect reflection of historical reality. If you wanted to know about the Civil War and had only time and inclination to think one  thing then it should be that nearly nowhere do we see the blood and death in toy soldier world populated by that fair number of loons and those who at best are merely using soldiers as they would chess men.These are the people who constantly moaned about the old pre stuart hennesy toy soldier magazine because some soldiers had their tits out. most were Americans, the complainers that is.Most of these of course are 
Anti- Wellesian as regard the logic of toy soldiers and what they represent, do they represent blobs of plastic or metal or answers to the past?

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