Becoming a historical re-enactor requires an unquenchable thirst for history and abiding patience with uncomfortable accommodations and ridiculous outfits. California. Reenactment groups and societies can be found all over the world, although they are especially active in the U.S., UK, Germany, Sweden, Canada, and Australia. Period clothing and accessories can be very expensive -- depending on the period and figure you're portraying. Encampments allow visitors to wander through a Civil War camp and observe soldiers training, resting, playing, and simply relaxingall without television, iPods, or computers! Larger regiments will combine those companies to form a state-wide organization. City, county and state governments and private entrepreneurs with connections to those reenacting units saw the tourist potential of staging mock battles on private or public land. While two-banded muskets were very common in ranks during the War, reenactors should not use them because of safety concerns with respect to the length of the barrel. Being at that part of the line during the reenactment is special as it clearly reinforces the advantage the Union army had with repeating rifles. Too far back and the soldier in the front rank is too close to the muzzle blast. If you're thinking about volunteering in a historical reenactment, experienced reenactors will tell you that you shouldn't delve into this hobby without knowing what you're getting into. Finding a reenactment group isn't as easy as looking at a map and finding the unit closest to you. The Stonewall Brigade is an authentic living history association concentrated in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania dedicated to accurately portraying the common soldier of the Civil War. Most units will have a decent collection of clothes, gear, and even muskets that you can borrow, but it is often difficult to find loaner shoes since many reenactors only own a single pair. You'll have the Web at your fingertips to research an object's authenticity -- and to compare prices from multiple vendors. Muskets are real guns and fire a full powder charge but no bullet. While family involvement may be the goal of some reenactors, others enjoy the freedom of being away from the family on the weekend. Although most common in the United States, there are also American Civil War reenactors in Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Italy, Denmark . Each unit has a different function and will provide a much different experience. Not only does it reinforce our sense of pride in our heritage, but its something in which the entire family can participate. Men and boys threw on gray and blue pants and work shirts, grabbed whatever arms they could find, and marched out onto whatever fields were handy to recreate battles. Stitch counters are authenticity historians who know the history of hats, shoes, uniforms, muskets, buttons, even how a uniform was manufactured thus the nick name. Florida. We are active from Virginia to New England. In particular, take notice of the grisly conditions a reenactor has to deal with -- especially in battle reenactments. The USCTs fought as all Black units commanded by white officers. (May 8, 2009), Bromer, Zachary. Hundreds of . Arch supports were not invented in the 1860s, but feel free to put anything inside that helps you march. All races and ethnicities can reenact. New reenactors start as privates and promotion to non commissioned officer or officer status depends on passing tests and demonstrating an ability to command larger bodies of men in maneuvers on the field. Each reenactment is a unique experience that allows participants to see through the eyes of a historical person and undergo all the hardships that go along with the times -- short of actually being killed in battle or catching typhoid. Invitation events are smaller with limited numbers of participants making them easier to manage. Do your research before making any purchases to ensure that you get the most authentic bang for your buck. You must have a passion for history and an active imagination. Mega-events, reenactments where reenactors number several thousand, are likely gone forever now that the 150th anniversary events ended in 2015. Perhaps the most famous civil war in history began on April 12, 1861, when secessionist Southerners attacked the United States Army garrison at Fort Sumter, South Carolina . An Authentic Civil War Living History Association, Top Five Tips for Getting Started in Civil War Reenacting. We seek to commemorate the great hardships and sacrifices of the soldiers and citizens of Indiana during our nation's most turbulent and defining moment in history, the American Civil War. 53rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Company C, Inc. Company B of the 71st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, 87th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Company C, 97th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Company A, 97th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Co B, 151st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Company D, 10th Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment, 12th Virginia Infantry, Companies A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, and K, Co. E of the Second Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, 33d Regiment - Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, Company K, 2nd Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Association, Company E, 3rd Regiment, Confederate Engineers. If the unit is dedicated to historical accuracy, the accommodations will be meager. Keep attending reenactments until you find a period that suits your specific interests and talents. In a reenactment, a persona is a character and role that you choose to portray. In summer, many men carry two. Unit Dues - Unit dues are typically the cheapest of all expenses. For instance, the Stonewall Brigades list is located here. Most units will be eager to help you select gear that fits with their authenticity standards and will offer up the unit commander, a non-commissioned officer, or another senior member to mentor you through your initial purchases. It is ultimately more important that you be happy and fulfilled in reenacting to ensure the hobby remains vibrant than for any particular unit to add an additional musket to the ranks. Most large re-enactment events take place outdoors, so spring through fall are very active times of the year for the majority of these groups. Mega events involve thousands of reenactors. Perhaps you attended a reenactment as a spectator and found yourself wishing you were in the midst of the smoke and confusion rather than watching it from afar. Real sticklers discourage men from wearing wedding bands as that custom was not around during The Civil War. BOOK TIP: "The Illustrated Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era". Find WW1 Reenactment groups to join now! Some units have fifers and drummers. "How to Volunteer in Historical Reenactments" After a near disaster where one reenactor was hit by a Mini ball fragment left in a musket that had been live fired before the event, the National Park Service thereafter banned reenactments from being held on its battlefields. Not sure about the geography of the middle east? You may want to speak candidly with your current units commander about what youre looking for in another unit, as they may have contacts or suggestions for other units that you can consider (if a unit commander isnt willing to do this, its probably a sign you should leave that unit anyways, as theyre not looking out for your best interests). Many units will choose opposite unit impressions that have something to do with the primary unit they portray, or perhaps a unit that passed through their home area. They are designed to save you money, help you avoid some of the most common mistakes first time reenactors make, and give you the best chance at enjoying the hobby over the long-term. WELCOME TO THE 49TH INDIANA CO.F. - Confederate States or Confederate States Army. The basic costs of outfitting an infantryman are between $1,500 and $2,000 which rises to $2,500 to $3,000 with the purchase of tents, ponchos, cooking gear, overcoats and other additional gear. These reenactors can make a modest living by working in museums or historic sites such as Plymouth, Mass., or Williamsburg, Va. Most units have a list of acceptable gear and approved sutlers. The only difference between the Civil War and the reenacting firing is that no Mini ball is rammed down the barrel. Confederate Zouaves called Louisiana Tigers wear striped baggy pants. How do your feet feel after marching 22 miles in a single day in thin-soled brogans? Their website is:, The Citizens Companion focuses on civilian reenacting and is also published by the same company that publishes Camp Chase Gazette. Take the time to fully research your character and period, considering where yourpersonalives, his age, hisoccupation, and his social status, before purchasing items which may or may not be authentic or appropriate. Reenacting events come in varying categories. That means single reenactors in a specialty uniform must search out similar reenactors to fall in with at events. A police officer grips a corner of a torn U.S. flag at a memorial ceremony in New York on Sept. 11, 2004. Reenactors take their jobs very seriously. Civil War Reenactment is one of the fastest growing hobbies in the United States, and with good reason. A group of men this size can engage in brigade drill, practicing the same types of maneuvers the Civil War soldiers learned in order to face an enemy coming from any direction. Reenacting the Civil War as a hobby got off to a shaky start during in the 1960s when authenticity was ignored in favor of doing something, anything, to commemorate the Centennial. While those shows inspired then young, now-middle aged reenactors to study the war, the producers paid little attention to authenticity. In historical reenactments, people from all walks of life gather together, dressed head-to-toe in period clothing. Reenactors living near each other form around a company that comes from that same geographic area. Once the basics are purchased, reenactors move on to acquire other gear like a canvas dog tent, or a larger A-frame tent, a gum or rubber blanket/poncho for putting down on the ground or wearing as rain gear, and cooking gear like tin frying pans and cooking grates. Almost every reenactor can tell you stories about uniforms or equipment they rushed to purchase when they first started out and later regretted after they learned it was of poor quality or didnt fit the impression they ultimately pursued. Muster A gathering, especially of troops, for service, inspection, review or roll call. During the Civil War Native Americans, Blacks, Asians, and Hispanics fought on both sides. Colonial-era muskets run a few hundred dollars, and with the rest of the necessary kit, you're looking at more than $1,000 [source: 2nd Rhode Island Regiment ]. Of course, you might decide that Civil War reenactments aren't your cup of tea, and you'd prefer to dabble in the Colonial era. If you can find material written by men from the unit you portray, even better. Across the United States, Civil War battles rank among the most popular events to reenact -- they're often held on the original battlefields for true authenticity. Do not make the mistake of spending a lot of money on gear that ends up gathering dust in your basement or up for sale on eBay. Our principal reason for existence is to promote an authentic portrayal of Civil War history to the . Just as in the 1860s, some reenacting gear can be shoddy (a Civil War era word), so taking knowledgeable advice from other veteran reenactors in ones unit makes sure newcomers do not buy the wrong gear. The exhaustion felt at the end of that reenacting march brings home the realization that the soldiers of the Civil War were tough. Units portraying the Vietnam War aren't nearly as prolific as World War 2 or Civil War impressions. Reenactors put themselves in the shoes of those from an earlier time where food was scarce, disease was rampant, and a good nights sleep might mean sleeping in the mud. If its not, consider trying another group. 2 nd Connecticut Volunteer Heavy Artillery Regiment, Co. Most will sleep/camp at the reenactment event. Here you can find a list of groups that portray the Great War period. Many units keep a stock of uniforms and other equipment on hand in order to let people try the hobby out rather than invest in it only to discover that they do not really like playing the role of a 1860s soldier. Speculation among reenactors is that smaller, focused events is where the hobby is headed. It was anticipation of the 125th anniversary events, starting in 1986, when reenacting turned into a serious hobby. Youre obviously interested in the Civil War, otherwise you wont be considering reenacting. Thanks for reaching out John we just got in touch to provide you some additional information. Children as young as 8 have been seen at many reenactments partaking in field music. Take your hits (deaths) If you wish to fight in a different unit that a family member fought in during the civil war. Otherwise, the 60 grains of powder and a piece of paper wadding for each charge is authentic. As a spectator, you have a great opportunity to get a preview of what volunteering is like. How do I join a unit as a reenactor? Time and place generally work together, so while you're picking your time period, you will generally have a certain location in mind as well. All reenactors come into the unit as privates. Before you purchase a musket and show up to your first event, you may find the following tips useful. Reenacting is at a cross-roads. While headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, our membership encompasses Maryland, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Active members, either military or . Reenactments are only fun if there are enough enemies on the other side. Women reenactors portraying soldiers are not uncommon, just as there were women in ranks during the Civil War. Before showtime, pots and pans are some of the tools reenactor Tanya Haessly makes the most use of as a camp cook, feeding families and individuals taking part in a Civil War reenactment in Janney . Unit Type - Not all organizations are the same. One place to find equipment for sale is at the reenactment events. It might be a good idea to spring for the unit's annual fee for insurance coverage in case of an injury. Like any hobby, there is a broad spectrum within reenacting with different informal clusters of individuals and groups focusing more or less attention on authenticity. Reenactors do not dwell on that terrible human cost. or C.S.A. The state of Pennsylvania hosted thousands of former Union and Confederate soldiers during the weeklong event. "Become a Member." This video brings you to the historic battlefields of Aike. They will take on the persona of one who is living through the period and will not speak in modern language. BROOKSVILLE, Fla. - Each January, Hernando County scrambled to put out the welcome mat for what has been called the largest Civil War reenactment in Florida the Brooksville Raid. WW1 Reenactment Groups. document.getElementById( "ak_js_1" ).setAttribute( "value", ( new Date() ).getTime() ); This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Don't let that stop you! Perhaps you attended a reenactment as a spectator and found yourself wishing you were in the midst of the smoke and confusion rather than watching it from afar. Aside from physical distance, a reenactor needs to take into consideration a few factors. Scouring the sutlers' goods may also set you up for an impulse buy that your historic persona doesn't really need. Most reenactors join the infantry, which is followed in popularity by the artillery, then the cavalry and there are a few naval interpreters. The gear does not stop at just a firearm either. The same uniforms worn in the summer are worn in the winter. For reenactments that span several days, this can be grueling. 7th Florida Infantry Regiment, Company F. 21st Georgia Volunteer Infantry Civil War Reenactment Unit, 24th Georgia vols Company B civil War reenacting group, Company A, 2nd Battalion Georgia Sharpshooters, 104th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Company H, First Maryland Volunteer Infantry Regiment, 28th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Company B, 4th Texas Co. E / 16th Michigan Co. B Civil War Reenactors, Reynolds' Battery L 1st New York Light Artillery, 75th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Company A, Company "C" 2nd Regiment Berdan Sharpshooters. Many organizations, particularly Civil War, offer family friendly scenarios. I, Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, Company A, Incorporated, 11th Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, Company G, Fourteenth Regiment Connecticut, Van Dyke's Howitizers 1st Florida Artillery. Just as in the Civil War armies, men who take on the rank must be able to perform at that rank. Their website is: How to join a reenactment group is not the hardest part of this journey, it's just the beginning. Since the war took place in the South, it is more difficult for Yankees in Northern states to make the events in the Southern states. That will mean pushing long hair under a hat, taking off ear rings, and doing their best to hide the evidence of being female. Here are the facts and trivia that people are buzzing about. There are scores of sutlers who operate regionally and nationally. Reenacting units organized around a specific regiment with a general type of uniform will not allow a Berdan sharpshooter or a Louisiana Tiger in the ranks. That model Springfield was not developed until 1869. A typical period correct firearm will cost upwards of $1000. Civil War News is a monthly newspaper that covers news about battlefield preservation, and reenacting. The youngest vet eran was 61 and the oldest was 112. The unit you ultimately join should be in a position to provide the elements that you want to get out of reenacting. Women participate as nurses, vivandieres, cooks, laundresses, or wives and sisters visiting the soldier in camp. The further that is away from the face, the better. Women have to make the effort to disguise themselves as men. Camping with ones friends can be an attractive incentive to pack up the gear and drive away rather than staying home doing chores. Perry's Headquarters Flag, Authentic, Original, Antique Civil War Cavalry Boots, 1840-Civil War Authentic Mechanic/ Wheel Cap Campaigner Repro by Mike Anderson, A RARE AUTHENTIC ORIGINAL EARLY CIVIL WAR CAVALRY UNIFORM, Authentic General US Grant Civil War Currier and Ives Lithograph Original Frame. Most reenactment groups are very welcoming to new people and will show you the ropes and even outfit you until you can gradually acquire your own kit. But if you want to portray a German soldier from World War II, the uniforms are pricier -- typically $300 to $400 [source: Miller]. If you've gotten this far then hopefully you've put some thought into this endeavor. But, for whatever reason, something about recreating the life of a Civil War soldier resonates with you and youre interested in joining the hobby. Post Advance Schedules Up to 1 Year in Advance. Most reenactors are everyday people from all walks of life, with ages ranging from 16 to people in their sixties. Reliving the Civil War: A Re-enactors Handbook. The best first purchase you can make is a pair of well-built shoes, usually called brogans or bootees. And that will generally be a four-wheel-drive SUV as all reenactors will one day find themselves in a muddy field wondering if they will be able to get out in time to get back to work on Monday. Are you looking for a highly immersive experience that puts you right in the shoes of a Civil War soldier? There's nothing volunteering in a historical reenactment to experience the sights, sounds and smells of history. "I decided to join the Civil War reenacting group that helped to make the movie." . A few options to consider. Event Dues - This can really depend on the event and what is provided with the fee. Impression Many reenactors will choose an impression during a reenactment. Some states require even single shot, reproduction muskets to be registered with the government. That is also the reason why most leather gear is black, the standard Union color. 5) Purchase Slowly and Strategically: When you are ready to start purchasing gear, take your time and make your purchases strategic. Reenacting does require a commitment, however, in both time and resources. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links at no additional cost to you. While some historians downplay or even deny the existence of gun-toting Black Confederates, insisting the only Blacks in Confederate gray were body servants, Black reenactors often have family knowledge that their ancestors did fight for the Confederacy. While reenactors do like authenticity, they draw the line at paying upwards of $30 for registration fees, but finding over-flowing port-a-johns by Sunday morning. The dues are an important aspect of keeping reenactment groups operating. Here is a sampling of an infantry soldier's kit from the website of the 28th Massachusetts, Volunteer Infantry, 4th Regiment, Irish Brigade: Federal issue forage cap (dark or indigo blue) The stitch counters can belong in either the mainstream or the campaigner camp. Both sides tolerate them. We do this by portraying soldiers and citizens at . Germany . If you have an interest in our American History during the period of 1861-1865, we invite you to join our ranks. A musket will shoot a flame of fire and unburned powder out the muzzle. These groups often focus on reenactment of wars, offering members (and sometimes the public) a glimpse of what life was like during the conflicts that shaped history. Emmitsburg Area Historical Society., Special Offer on Antivirus Software From HowStuffWorks and TotalAV Security, How the Civilian Conservation Corp Worked. The age restriction on handling firearms does not prevent one from taking part in the hobby. How the Civilian Conservation Corps Worked, Historical Reenactment Costumes and Equipment, 2nd Rhode Island Regiment. There are essentially three types of reenactors; mainstream, campaigners, and stitch counters. Discover more about American history at one of these events. "How to Get Started With Historical Reenacting." That could be in California, Wisconsin, or even Russia. (May 8, 2009), Miller, John. Our way to offer tribute to these great men of the Civil War is to study as much as possible . Event Dues - This can really depend on the event and what is provided with the fee. The problem with these specialty impressions is that they only operate as units. But if you're more interested in other wars or time periods, don't despair. R. Lee Hadden. Alright, as a black man I have to say this: * ahem * IF. American Civil War Society. Retrieved from We are a Civil War reenactment group based in Murfreesboro, Tennessee that portrays the 9th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry (US). A local company commander will be assigned to recruit new members, train them in the basics of military drill, and guide them in the purchase of the correct gear. Some civilian reenactors may choose to portray professions such as mortician or battlefield surgeon with some women roaming the field as nurses. Some people do take the "authenticity" to an extreme, but most groups welcome anyone with an interest. Not all reenactment groups will offer the same experiences. Authentic Campaigner is a blog dedicated to events, impressions, goods, etc. Your mentor can also assist you in finding used gear either from unit members or outside resources like eBay or Facebook. There is no poll showing where reenactors live, but observation would put a majority of them in The South. In many war reenactments, there aren't roles for women on the battlefield, but some events have side attractions geared toward women, such as tea parties, craft activities and quilt shows.