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Welcome to “The Civil
War Reenactors Handbook”
which is simply
“Everything you always wanted to know about Civil War
were afraid to ask”! With this book you will be able to go
out into your
camp and not feel like a foreigner. You will be up to speed
with the lingo
and tricks of the trade. It took me years to figure some of
this stuff and I
even learned a few things while putting this book together.
The purpose of this book is to bring
you up to speed as a new reenactor and make you feel comfortable with your
fellow reenactors, also to give some tips to the seasoned reenactors. It is
to enable you to go out there with the appearance that you are roughing it
while you are actually reenacting in comfort when off the battle field and
I got hooked the very first time that I went to a Civil
War Reenactment and joined up with an artillery unit right on the spot. I
got my oldest son involved also who really enjoyed getting out, camping and
doing the events as I did. Naturally I wanted to start buying all my neat
stuff right away and got heavily involved with the unit. Unfortunately I
went out and was sold and bought a lot of the wrong stuff. Everybody had
their own opinion, not all were wrong, just not right for me.
This is a past time that the whole family can enjoy and
you as a reenactor can participate in with your children, parents and
grandparents. Many of the wives and girlfriends of the reenactors get
involved. It is a great way to get out from the modern day pressures and
city to do some traveling and work with school children on living history
events and such.
I wanted to know as much as possible. I wanted to share
some of my knowledge with you and others and have put this book together,
your field manual so to speak. I have a bad back and did not want to go out
to the events and be uncomfortable, not being a spring chicken myself, so to
speak. I loved going back in time to that period with the coal oil and
candle lanterns, camp fires and cast iron cooking utensils. I truly loved to
camp out at the events and learned how to have all the comforts that I
required, and do so in a camouflaged manner! This really made the experience
much more enjoyable for me, I had the best of both worlds.
You will want to consider several things before you
really get involved into reenacting. First is which type of an outfit you
want to go with and which side of the war do you want to portray. Many of us
have ancestors who fought in the War between the states and some of your are
members of the
Sons of Union Veterans or the
Son's of Confederate Veterans. If you were on the Union side it was know
as the 'War of the Great Rebellion" on the Confederate side it was know as
the "War of the Great Aggression". Some of you may be SOB's (Sons of Both
sides) by this day and age. That's OK, cause many of us cross dress here,
NOW WAIT, I mean we may go Union at one event and Confederate at another.
Which type of outfit do you want to join? Infantry,
Cavalry or Artillery? This will have a major impact on your equipment and
uniform purchases and also some physical limitations you may have. There are
also slots for civilian reenactors, the women and we always need medical
personnel for reenactors, for the period dress and utensils.
You will become a living historian!
Listed below are what you will find in the book. I have done a great deal
of research on this and solicited the input from many a fellow reenactor.
What is important to know & included in Your book!
Civil War Facts & Trivia
Uniforms of the North & South
Military Rank & insignia (Union &
Units: Infantry, Artillery, Cavalry
Small Arms & Artillery (Pistols,
muskets, rifles, cannons and things that go boom!)
Camp & Camping at events
b. Comfort tips on camping, looking period.
c. Looking period, but being comfortable.
d. Things you gotta know; horses, firearms & such.
Period Food & Hard Tack (What's hard
Tips & tricks or reenacting
Safety on the battlefield (Firearms,
cannons, horses & skirmishes)
Period old time songs (Union & Confederate)
Glossary of Civil War & Reenacting Terms
a. You'll be lost without this.
Civil War Facts & Trivia
Did you know?
The greatest loss of life due to a water disaster
possibly was not
the Titanic, but a river boat loaded with Civil War soldiers called the
Sultana? It was at the end of the
war and occurred on the Mississippi River just outside of Memphis. Play
Sultana Folk Song
That General U.S. Grant had 5 indentured servants (Slaves)
for his wife while he was fighting the war?
That more lives were lost by Americans fighting the
American Civil War than all the other wars this country has fought
combined to date.
Who are the only father-son winners of the Congressional
Medal of Honor?
-Arthur MacArthur, Jr.,
Lookout Mountain and his son, Douglas MacArthur,
W.W.II fame. Young MacArthur planted
the flag on Lookout Mountain during the
Civil War. He was 18 years of age.
In what war did Lee and Grant serve together?
We all know Lt. Gen. Thomas J. Jackson's nickname was
"Stonewall", but his cousin, Major Gen. William L. Jackson also had a
nickname… what was it?
-Major Gen. William L. Jackson's nickname was "Mudwall"
What was the name of Robert E. Lee's
beloved horse, now memorialized at Washington and Lee University?
According to the official records, there was only one song that was
banned by both armies. Popular both North and South, each time this song
was played desertion went up as men grew homesick. What was the song?
It was claimed by some eastern journalist, What native of Illinois claimed to have killed 50 Confederates with 50
shots from his special rifle?
- James Butler Hickok. aka: Wild Bill Hickok
Some Tips & Tricks
Canteens: Best is the wood and stainless Steele, the water
out of the tin ones, taste like tin and after awhile rusted tin!
Put the Steele taps on your brogans and boots as this will
save you money on their wear and tear.
Take off your wrist watch and if you wear glasses, get
ones that look period.
Don't take your cell phone with you out in your haversack
during the battles! It is pretty embarrassing for it to go off, especially
when the press is present. I saw them have a field day with one reenactor!
Not going to admit it was me :)
Have a good air mattress, if you want to cheat like I did,
and just cover it with a quilt. If anyone asks during living history, you
just tell them you made your bed with straw.
And ..... You gotta buy the book for all the other neat
"Mike's book is just what
the new re-enactor needs for that first reenactment! I encourage all new
re-enactors to get this book and to read it carefully before stepping on
the field. I know his book will keep them from having some of the
problems I had when I first started. Very highly recommended."
1st NC Cavalry, FTHA
Richmond Howitzers, FTHA
From: Cindy Dailey
Subject: Re: Civil War Reenactors Hand Book.