Civil War

Civil War Reenactors Handbook * Reenactors Bible
"The American Civil War"

Reenactors Hand Book


Welcome Civil War Reenactors !


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   Welcome to “The Civil War Reenactors Handbook” which is simply 
 “Everything you always wanted to know about Civil War Reenacting and
  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 on.

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!
By chapters:

  1. Introduction

  2. Civil War Facts & Trivia

  3. Uniforms of the North & South

  4. Military Rank & insignia (Union & Confederate)

  5. Units: Infantry, Artillery, Cavalry

  6. Small Arms & Artillery (Pistols, muskets, rifles, cannons and things that go boom!)

  7. Equipment

  8. Sutlers (Merchants)

  9. Camp & Camping at events
    a. Cooking
    b. Comfort tips on camping, looking period.
    c. Looking period, but being comfortable.
    d. Things you gotta know; horses, firearms & such.

  10. Period Food & Hard Tack (What's hard Tack?)

  11. Tips & tricks or reenacting

  12. Safety on the battlefield (Firearms, cannons, horses & skirmishes)

  13. Period old time songs (Union & Confederate)

  14. Related Links

  15. Glossary of Civil War & Reenacting Terms
    a. You'll be lost without this.

Civil War Facts & Trivia - Teaser!
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?  The Mexican War

  • 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?   Traveller.

  • 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? Lorinna

  • 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 stuff!



"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." 

Vern Padgett
1st NC Cavalry, FTHA
Richmond Howitzers, FTHA

From: Cindy Dailey
Subject: Re: Civil War Reenactors Hand Book.

The book was Great! I enjoyed reading it, my three sons recently started reenacting so we were all looking for GOOD information on a variety of things. Thank You for doing such a good job!

To purchase your American Civil War "Reenactors Handbook" all you will need to do is click on the link below and you will be taken to a secure site. Your Hand Book will be almost immediately downloaded to you upon completing the form. Please put it in a 3 ring binder.

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This is the best buy and most comprehensive book! Pictures, recipes, how to and tricks of the trade. You will not be disappointed!    

NOTE: If you order any of these by mail, add $5.00 shipping & handling and an additional $5.00 for me to print it out for you. Total for me to print & mail it to you is an extra $10.00. If you would like to FAX your order in you can do so by faxing it to 805-529-8424.

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Information on Artillery in the Civil War can be found at:
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The Civil War Artillery Encyclopedia at

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