Do you want to be a reenactor ?



This page of FAQ and more should answer a few of the questions you have about the hobby





What is re-enacting? Re-enactors recreate many historical eras. The Civil War is perhaps the most popular, with 50,000 participants nationwide. Most re-enactors recreate history for their own enjoyment and for the purpose of educating the public by participating in staged battles, war games, "living history" encampments and other related activities.

Who are members? Members come from a wide variety of backgrounds and occupations. Some are teachers, factory workers, doctors, lawyers, dentists, homemakers, business people, professional soldiers, engineers, and so on. The one common link is a love of history.

Why do we portray both sides? Although the main impression of the unit is the 24th Virginia Infantry Regiment (Confederate), the unit does portray the 83rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry (Federal) about half the time mainly due to the fact that there is a shortage of Federal re-enactors in our area. Our main goal is to pay the proper respect to the soldiers who fought, regardless of which color they wore.

What are re-enactments like? There are many different types of events. "Living history" events are generally small, involving a small number of participants who are mainly introducing the Civil War lifestyle to the public. The most popular events are the battle re-enactment weekends. These events may involve anywhere from 100 to 12,000 participants. Most re-enactors usually arrive on Friday night or early Saturday morning. On these weekends, Saturdays are usually reserved for drilling and demonstrations for the public. Most events usually have a "tactical" which is not scripted, which allows the commanders to maneuver on their own judgment. There may be a Saturday afternoon battle for the public, usually planned activities for the ladies and the children, and frequently a Saturday night dance or formal period ball. Sunday might have more drill, a period church service, and an afternoon battle for the public. Some events include extra activities for the public's education and entertainment as well as for fun for participants. Re-enactors may perform "guard duty" and other work details, or the entire event may be more casual.

How often are events? Our unit usually picks one event per month starting in March and ending in October or November, although members may attend other events if they like. There is no attendance requirement in the unit. Members may attend as many or as few events as they wish or as their personal schedule will allow. For our schedule, please click here.

Who may participate? Anyone may participate. The impressions allowed by the unit are those that were authentic in the original unit. Women and children may participate, however their activities may be somewhat more limited than those for the soldier. A military member must be at least 16 to be allowed to carry a weapon. Boys from 12 to 16 may serve as functional musicians (fife or drum). Anyone under 18 must have a parent or guardian present at the event.



How is rank decided? All recruits start as Privates and are expected to learn the proper method of drill and marching that a Private would have known during the war. Field officers are elected on an annual basis and currently consist of one commissioned officer, one sergeant, and three corporals. All officers are expected to know what their counterpart would have known. The number of officers allowed at each event is based on the number of members present. When in character, all members are expected to obey the orders of the officers.


What is required of a member? All members are required to follow the guidelines set forth in the Constitution and By-Laws of the 24th Virginia Infantry. These will be provided to all new recruits. Also, there is an annual dues payment and you are urged to stay current.

Where do I sleep? All members are encouraged to participate in "authentic" camping. This means camping in authentic tents with limited modern items always kept hidden when spectators visit the camp. Sleeping bags may be used, but must be kept covered in daytime, or out of view from the public at all times. A cooler may be kept but must also be covered or kept in a wooden box. When in camp, everyone is expected to be in period dress. The unit has a limited number of tents which may be used by the members. It is recommended that couples or families wishing to camp together should obtain their own tents.

What do I eat at events? 
Meals may be provided at some events but in most cases they are not. You will have to either cook your own, bring food that does not require cooking, or go out to eat. It is always a good idea to bring some food with you that can be prepared quickly because many meals are governed by time.

Military guidelines:

1 - It is important to remember that as re-enactors we are putting on a show for the spectators that have paid to come to the event;

2 - Learn about the history of the unit(s) you are portraying. This may be done by reading the Regimental histories or by more in-depth research;

3 - SAFETY COMES FIRST. You will be instructed as to the proper method of firing and with experience you will learn when you can fire. Any time you have a question as to whether you are or are not supposed to fire, DO NOT FIRE.

4 - Master the basics before you try to learn what the officers must learn

5 - Be cooperative. The higher the rank, the more responsibility and stress that person has, and officers can do their job only with your cooperation. Do your part in setting up camp and stay a while after the event to help others get things packed up

6 - If you mess up, don't worry about it. Everyone does. It takes time to learn all the maneuvers. Everyone is subject to kidding from time to time. Do not take the kidding too seriously. Learn from your mistakes.

: Everyone is expected to be as authentic as possible at all times. This includes each re-enactment camp as well. Anything that a spectator can see should be authentic. All modern items need to be kept covered or in a period container. 

The items that stand out the most on the person are modern eyeglasses and shoes. Therefore, these are not permitted. Period frames for eye glasses are easy to obtain and will hold most prescriptions. Your glasses and shoes are just as important as your musket and should be treated as such.



Recommended uniform and equipment for the 24th Virginia: sack coat (mid gray), trousers (sky blue foot pattern), forage cap (mid gray), Virginia State Seal buttons, suspenders, shirt (military or civilian style), brogans (black shoes), socks (gray wool), waist belt and brass keeper (black), buckle (brass, Virginia State Seal), cap box (US, black), cartridge box (1855, .58cal, black), cartridge box strap (black), cartridge box plate (brass, CS), breast plate (brass, Virginia State Seal), canteen (stainless steel recommended), haversack (black canvas), 3-banded rifled musket - Enfield, Springfield or Richmond, bayonet with scabbard, rifle sling.



Additional items for the 83rd Pennsylvania: sack coat (navy blue), forage cap (navy blue), US buckle, US breast plate, US box plate.
Other useful items to have: black slouch hat, great coat (sky blue foot pattern), wool blanket (a quilt may be used), poncho, tin cup, tin plate and fork, lantern, vest, musket nipple wrench, knapsack or hardpack.

Buying guidelines: 

1 - Before purchasing or making anything, a new recruit should talk with a veteran member to ensure that the item is proper

2 - You must purchase a 3-banded weapon, either a Springfield or an Enfield. Do not purchase your bayonet until you have purchased your musket. Not all bayonets fit the same and you need to ensure a proper fit

3 - The U.S. forage cap, buckle, breast plate and box plate may be worn with the Confederate impression, so purchase these items first to save money

4 - All leather gear purchased should be black so it can be used for both

5 - Do not purchase a pistol or a large knife. Pistols can be carried only by officers and cavalry while many events do not allow knives to be carried

6 - The preceding list of equipment was put together to give you the basics you need with as little duplication as possible. The Federal impression is standard and will not vary. The Confederate impression can be tailored to some extent by the purchase of brown leather and different clothing.



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