Do you enjoy being outside? Do you like camping? Do you like history? Do you like playing with fire (a.k.a. cooking)? Do you like making things? Do you like marching? Guns? Flashes and Bangs? sitting round the campfire, sing-songs, music….If any (or indeed all!) of the above apply, give re-enacting a go. Why not? Come and guest with us. If you like it, join up.
We get to camp in beautiful grounds of stately homes, for £5 per weekend , a fraction of what you pay at commercial sites with pernickety rules about campfires! To enjoy all this, you just have to live like it’s 1863. Do a bit of drill, fight some battles (optional), or contribute to other aspects of camp life (sewing, cooking, washing, crafts…). We can lend you stuff initially, for free, which you return as you build up your own ‘impression’ of a civil war soldier, or camp follower, musician, etc at a rate according to your means. There is no acting, no funny accents (except those we have already). But once you are in, you will become obsessed with getting every detail that you can, just right.
You will also find that the American Civil War is a fascinating period of military and social history, and a part of our own UK story, as well as that of the US. Details of what you will need are to be found elsewhere on the site (Kitlist), but don’t let this worry you intially, we have spares to lend to newcomers, and a wealth of advice about where to buy (or how to make) your uniforms or civilian clothing (emphatically NOT costumes!).
All the preceding is true of many re-enactment societies, and all divisions of ours, The American Civil War Society, of which the 19th Indiana is but one regiment. So, why choose the 19th? Because we are the Blackhats, Iron brigade, we drill hard, fight hard, and live hard. Though we represent a Volunteer unit, we had a Regular US Army officer, who wanted us to look , drill and act like Regular soldiers. We try to be the slickest, bestest unit in the US Army. We want our kit, our camp, our rations, our ammo, and our drill, to look right. And then, after hours, we have fun, fun, fun! Alternatively, if you want a fully immersive experience, 48 h weekend ‘in character’, then there is room here too, live the life of a soldier on campaign, and join the rest of us for drill and battles during ‘business hours’ , if that’s what floats your boat. Come, join our merry band…”Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”. Save the Union! Free the Slaves! Don’t let Indiana down!
If we have persuaded you to give it a try, here is what to do: 1. Look at the ACWS events list here and find an event you can make. 2. Contact us to say you’re coming, to let us sort out loan kit. 3. Decide if you want to camp in the authentic canvas camp (we will find you a spare tent if you let us know), or the modern ‘plastic’ camp. 4. Come as a guest, fee is £10, which is counted towards your full membership (£25) if you join. That’s it.
If you try it, and decide you want to join…
1. fill in the forms (available online or at events) paying the additional £15 (other rates apply for families, see ACWS site).
2. If you want to fire black powder weapons, you need to apply for your licenses, one shotgun licence, one black powder aquire-only (500g) license. Both of these are available from your local Police force. It is important this is done promptly; The Police can take some time to respond.
3. Make enquiries about purchasing a 3-band percussion musket, smooth bore, Springfield or Enfield. These are often available from retiring members very reasonably priced.
4. Set about acquiring your own uniform, hat, leathers, tent, etc, returning loan kit as you do so.