Volunteers Needed Now!
What’s It Like to Be a Civil War Reenactor?
Remember when you were ten years old and you played soldiers? Imagine how you would have felt if you could have done that in authentic uniforms with real guns? This is your chance to have your childhood fantasy come true! Reenactors of Civil War soldiers participate in mock battles, camp out in period military camps, and immerse themselves in the era for a day or weekend at a time. If you enjoyed watching a reenacted Civil War battle – imagine the view you’ll have from the ranks!
Getting started in reenacting is easier than you think. “Veterans” love to see newcomers join the hobby and you’ll find that everyone around you is eager to help. Learning what you need to know to take part in your first battle will only take a couple of hours – and then you’re on your way! And you don’t have to buy all your gear first. We have lots of loaner uniforms, muskets and equipment to help beginners get off to a good start. And when you do start buying your own things, you’ll discover the investment is tax deductible.
If you are a Civil War buff, this hobby is for you! Whether you’re interested in the Civil War from a historical perspective or you are into military things, you will find lots of people in the hobby who share your passion. As you put together the pieces of your “impression” – your uniform, musket, and other equipment – you will enjoy adding to and improving your collection. And as you learn more, you’ll want to start sharing your knowledge with spectators at events or when we visit a school. Learning and sharing information is one of the most rewarding aspects of reenacting.
Please Join Our Company
Once you decide to try it, you’ll want to join a unit - a kind of club. Ours is the 3 rd Georgia Volunteer Infantry, a Confederate Infantry regiment that fought in Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. What makes our unit unique is the importance we place on a friendly and welcoming atmosphere for everyone. We have a diverse group of people from all walks of life – from cartoonists to computer programmers, a democratic leadership structure, and we strongly encourage the participation of families. We also have one of the largest stockpiles of loaner gear for beginners!
How to Find Out More...
If you think you’d like to give Civil War Reenacting a try, please give us a call or send us an email. We’d love to put you in a uniform and let you get a taste of our favorite hobby!
As of 2012 the 3rd Georgia has consolidated with Hamptons Legion. For information about joining, contact:
Capt. Larry Kelsey
Some Things You Should Know
About Civil War Re-enacting
by John Warling, 3rd GVI
Choosing A Unit:
- FTHA and other re-enacting groups have a list of units, both Union and Confederate, eager to have you join. Decide if you want to work with Artillery, Infantry (foot soldiers), or Cavalry. If you like the idea of cavalry, but don't have a horse, you may join a dismounted cavalry unit. All of the uniforms and equipment are different, so go to a re-enactment and ask questions.
- Suppose you choose to be in the Infantry. You'll next want to approach the various infantry units and find out what they can do to help you get started. Units are identified by state, such as the 3rd Georgia Infantry, 2nd Vermont Infantry, 8th Louisiana Infantry, etc.
- At Fort Tejon, for example, we have several units of Confederate Infantry - each has a unique approach and view of re-enacting. Some groups may be referred to as "hard core". These groups generally insist that you eat, sleep, breath Civil War authentically to the smallest detail. You may want to join a more moderate group in the beginning and then find out from your experiences what level of commitment you prefer.
- Of course, we hope you'll decide to fall in with the 3rd Georgia Volunteer Infantry!
- Our unit does not currently charge any dues.
- The Fort Tejon Historical Assn. currently has a $30 annual membership fee or $40 for the entire family. FTHA family membership allows you and your family into all FTHA events. Non-member spectators pay $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 6-12 at the gate.
- Non-member re-enactors must purchase a day pass for each event day ($12) which is applicable to their membership fees.
- Fort Tejon Historical Association (FTHA) currently allows minors on the field with a musket at age 14 or above. Re-enactors 14-18 must be sponsored on the field by a supervising adult. The minor, minors parents, and the sponsor all sign medical forms and forms which permit the sponsorship. You must stay with the sponsor throughout battles.
- Most other Civil War reenacting organizations have higher age restrictions.
- It is really up to the host organization of each event to determine age requirements.
- FTHA allows minors under age 14 to participate as "functional" musicians, assistants to the clergy or medical personnel. These positions also require sponsorship and are generally not in combat areas on the field during battles. FTHA rules are on the FTHA web site.
- If you are under 18, your best plan is to talk your parent into re-enacting with you. You won't have to hunt for a sponsor, you'll have transportation to events and someone who'll understand the responsibilities, and the ins and outs of re-enacting. The best part of having your parent involved is that you will have an opportunity to have fun and build bonds with your parent(s) at a time when many minors and their parents begin to drift apart.
- Reenactors buy all of their own uniforms and equipment.
- Our unit has additional muskets, equipment, and uniforms to lend until you can purchase your own gear. You may want to first borrow the gear and purchase a day pass ($12) from FTHA to try out a re-enactment. FTHA generally applies your $12 to your full membership if you decide to become a member.
- Purchasing your own equipment requires that you visit a sutler at an event or get mail order catalogs. Many sutlers are listed online and will send catalogs at your e-mail request. A complete set of gear and rifle can run from $800 to $2000 or more.
- For a complete discussion of the necessary equipment and uniform pieces, see the section entitled "Getting Your Gear" elsewhere on this web site.
On-Going Additional Costs:
- Black Powder - $14/lb. can. 2F grain. (Must be purchased by an adult.) Pre-made rounds may be purchased for about $6 per 10 (including percussion caps). Many units may help you in the beginning, but you need to start buying your own rounds or buying powder and making rounds ASAP. Each can makes about 100 rounds. At a typical Fort Tejon battle, you generally shoot fewer than 20 rounds. 2 battles at each event = 40 rounds (1/2 can).
- Percussion caps - $10 for a tin of 250 caps.
- Paper cartridge tubes are about $6/100. (Or you can make your own.)
Some Other Important Things To Consider
Whether you borrow or own a musket, you will have to clean it. You may spend as much as an hour or two cleaning. You may have to buy cleaning patches, chemicals, and a cleaning rod. You should make time for cleaning as soon as possible after each event. If you take part in overnight events which have battles on both days, you will have to clean your weapon in camp before the following day's battles.
Most re-enactors will car pool if there is room. Be prepared to arrange your transportation to and from events and cleaning sessions. Make arrangements well ahead of time.
You will need to bring food to most events. Sack lunches or small coolers can be used for one day events. For overnight events you need to plan for dinner, breakfast, and lunches. Some camp cooks will sell you food at a minimal cost ($2 or $3 per meal), but you'll need your own period correct eating utensils, cup, and plate. After a few events you may see what others do and even choose to cook for yourself over the camp fire!
Black Powder is gunpowder. The muskets are real. Many re-enactors participate in live round shoots - shooting lead mini balls at targets. Even without bullets, powder can be very dangerous. Listen and learn from others on the proper handling of powder, caps, and weapons.
Farby is a term re-enactors use for modern behavior or gear that is not "period correct". Re-enactors will tolerate some non-period gear such as ice chests, sleeping bags, aluminum cans, plastic items - BUT, these are NEVER to be used or in sight of the public. Many units will not tolerate such items at all. Try not to offend other re-enactors by use of "farby" gear, music, behavior, etc. Try to be "Civil War Correct" at re-enactments. Some re-enactors get emotional in their objection to "farbiness."
Please join us! One of our recruiters can answer all of your questions about reenacting.
Give us a call today!