Collecting the Union Soldier and Collecting the Confederate Soldier, Rockywood Productions, P.O. Box 18844, Denver, CO 80218, $19.95 each or $29.95 for both, plus $4 for shipping and handling.
Narration for Rockywood Productions’ Collecting the Union Soldier opens with this claim: “This is an informative and entertaining look at all types of Civil War collectibles.” Informative, yes. Entertaining, not really. At 80 minutes, this tape and sister video, Collecting the Confederate Soldier, are only for those interested in the most minute of details.
Both videos present a look at items from the war period. Uniforms, weapons, autographs, and artifacts from the war are listed with clear, if not exciting, narration by producer Jim Osborn. Period music plays lightly over the images as he details each piece. Often his words stall, leaving the music as the only sound.
The videos’ strength is attention to detail. The camera pans slowly from rifle stock to barrel, and passes lovingly over belt buckles and bullets. Excavated items are shown in various states of repair, such as a tooth-scarred bullet from a North Carolina hospital, “a poor substitute for anesthetic.” Sections are broken up by images of reenactors wearing and using replicas of the featured gear and equipment.
The intended audience–collectors–will find the tapes incomplete. Item cost, origin, and rarity are ignored. However, the details both tapes provide may interest reenactors hoping to get their looks just right, and dedicated history enthusiasts hoping to learn as much as possible about war materials.