Event Guidelines

General Event Guidelines

  1. Salute officers when appropriate. One’s own company and battalion officers need be saluted only once per day, the first time one sees them. Roll call will be taken without arms or accouterments unless otherwise ordered. Answer simply "Here" (not, "Here, first sergeant") in a normal voice. Do not shout.
  2. The proper command to form up is "Form Company." However, there is evidence that the command "Fall In" was used informally. Unless otherwise ordered, the company will fall in under arms and in full uniform, with accouterments only.
  3. Drill order normally includes accouterments and canteen only. No haversack.
  4. Light marching order includes the above plus haversack, canteen and blanket roll. Most battles will be done in light marching order.
  5. Full marching order includes knapsack (or blanket roll if you don’t have a knapsack). Knapsacks are sometimes worn for the last battle at campaign events so we can leave immediately once the event is over.
  6. When counting twos, do not yell. Count in a clear but normal voice. Turn the head only slightly, not fully to the right as in modern drill. [Casey’s, "School of the Soldier," p. 102].
  7. Maintain silence in the ranks at all times when at attention. Talking is permitted only at "in place, rest" or when marching at the route step.
  8. When at drill, privates and corporals should not correct the mistakes of others. This is the job of the officers and sergeants. Drill will go faster, and with less confusion, if the men in the ranks maintain silence. If one notices a mistake being made by an officer or sergeant, it is best to wait until after the drill to bring it to his attention. This helps reduce the fatigue and amount of time spent at drills.
  9. When marching, keep the head up and look straight ahead. Do not drop the head to look at the ground. If necessary due to broken terrain, look down with the eyes but keep the head up.
  10. No echoing of commands should be done by the file closers.
  11. When marching by the flank (i.e. in a "column of fours"), the correct command to change direction is, "By file (not By files), right (or left), MARCH,"
  12. When changing from a march by the flank to the right into line, the proper command is, "On the right (or left), By file (not By files) into Line, MARCH."
  13. There is no command, "Prepare to halt…" This is a "reenactorism" that has no basis in historical fact.
  14. In opening the ranks for an inspection, the command "Prepare to open ranks," is found only in the battalion drill. It was apparently not considered necessary in a squad or company formation.
  15. Officers should not indicate a change of direction with their swords. There is no period documentation for this practice; it is probably a "reenactorism."
  16. File closers and first sergeants need not maintain shoulder arms, but may assume the same arms position as the rest of the company.
  17. When successive companies are marching in column, or by the flank, and not ordered to do otherwise, those companies to the rear should automatically change the carry position of their rifles to conform to that of the companies in front of them.
  18. It is doubtful that keeping in step was emphasized on the battlefield. Troops had more important things to think about when in the presence of the enemy. Therefore, movements on the battlefield should normally be done at the route step with arms at will, unless otherwise ordered. Remember that, although keeping in step is not important, keeping the ranks aligned is vital to the functioning of the unit on the battlefield. Skirmish drill is always done at the route step with arms at will.
  19. In a marching wheel look out and touch out. "Look out, touch in" is for a stationary wheel.
  20. When marching, dress towards the guide automatically. Listen to the commanding officer or NCO for changes to the dress, which can come at any time.
  21. When halted, wait for the order to dress. Dress using a side-step unless the distance is too great.
  22. Keep the elbows close to the body. Extending the arm to touch the next file, rather than moving the entire body in that direction, causes the intervals to widen.
  23. If ordered to fix or unfix bayonet, leave the piece in front unless the movement was begun at order arms. In the latter case, return to order arms. The correct command is "Fix, BAYONET," not "Fix, BAYONETS!"
  24. When firing by volley to the front, the rear rank steps about 8" to the right with the right foot and leans up. Stepping up and to the right with the right foot is only done when firing by the left oblique. When firing to the right oblique, step slightly up and to the right with left foot. Notice that, regardless of direction, the step of the rear rank is always to the right and, in the case of oblique firings, with the foot opposite that of the direction of the aim. The men in the front rank do not move their feet from the ready position, but rather turn the upper parts of their bodies in order to aim to the right or left oblique.
  25. In making a charge, both ranks come to "Arms, PORT." In a real charge, the front rank would come to "Charge, BAYONET" just before coming into contact with the enemy. However, for reasons of safety, both ranks shall remain at "Arms, PORT" when charging into near proximity of the enemy. Actual physical contact with the enemy should never occur unless it has been rehearsed.
  26. Do not cheer, "Huzzah!" This was the written form of the cheer. The verbal form was "Hurrah!"
  27. There is no need to elevate the musket when firing at ranges of more than 25-30 yards. This actually increases the chances that any matter in the barrel will hit someone down range. Shooting into the air is a silly "reenactorism" that serves no real purpose. If the enemy is VERY close, say 25-30 yards or less, fire to the side of an individual or elevate SLIGHTLY if firing at a large group. Do not yell "ELEVATE" unless you are an officer or file closer. Having men in the ranks shouting this at each other is very annoying!
  28. On the command, "REST," the men may leave the ranks and sit or lie down. They may loosen their traps, but should be ready to re-form on short notice. On the command, "Break ranks, MARCH," the men may make or return to camp and remove their traps.
  29. Except in cases of inclement weather, or when it becomes necessary to clean the pieces, arms should remain stacked on the color line when not in use during the daylight hours. Sentries should be posted over the rifles any time they are stacked. Arms will be stacked according to the "Musket Stack" as given in Casey’s Tactics, "School of the Soldier," Paragraph 425. This "Musket Stack" was far more common than the "Ellsworth (Kentucky) Swing," and was the only method officially authorized by the U.S. Army. The rear-rank #1 man should place and recover his own musket on the stack.
  30. When a casualty occurs in the front rank, the rear rank man should step up to fill in the gap. Front rank men should not automatically file to the right or left to fill in gaps as this may cause them to step in front of a rear rank man who is about to fire. This also helps to maintain, at least temporarily, the full frontage of the company. If large gaps occur, the file closers should see that they are filled and may superintend the filing of front rank men to the right or left.
  31. About 6-8 men are the most that can comfortably cook around a campfire. Do not "horn in" on someone else’s fire – build your own! It’s also rude to use a fire belonging to another mess, or take burning wood or coals to start your own fire, without first asking their permission. Always bank your fire before leaving camp. Scrape the coals to the center of the pit and, if necessary, douse any burning logs with water.
  32. Extinguish candles inside tents before leaving unless enclosed by a lantern.
  33. Do not roll cartridges in camp. This is both inauthentic and dangerous! Roll and pre-package your cartridges at home before each event.
  34. No smoking in ranks or around black powder.
  35. Loud talking after taps keeps everyone awake. Please talk in a whisper between taps and reveille. Do not chop wood, pound coffee beans, or otherwise make loud noises before reveille. Be considerate of those still trying to sleep.
  36. Try to maintain a first person frame of mind at all times when in camp, on the march, the drill field, or in battle. If you wish to discuss overtly modern topics (especially World War II!) please leave the camp to do so. Towns, modern buildings, sutler and vendor areas, and parking lots, are considered “authenticity free zones,” and authentic behavior need not be maintained there. However, take care not to bring non-period foods or food containers purchased elsewhere back to camp.
  37. Authenticity does not end at 5:00 p.m. when the public leaves. Some of the best "magic moments" occur when we’re all alone. Don’t be the one to spoil these fleeting opportunities for your comrades.
  38. A "positive mental attitude" is important. Please keep negative remarks to yourself. Don’t ruin the experience for others. Set a good example and encourage your fellow soldiers at every opportunity.
  39. Fatigue, bad weather, heat, cold, discomfort, lack of water, insects, etc. are all just a part of the game we play. Learn to accept them as part of your life as a soldier. Events will become much more enjoyable once one makes the conscious decision to do so. Please stick it out ‘till the event is over. Remember that, unlike the real soldiers, we get to go home at the end of the weekend.

Above all, have a good time but remember that the definition of "having a good time" at a reenactment is reliving the Civil War. There are other ways to have a good time – singing modern songs, talking about sports or the latest movies, drinking beer, or eating pizza – but they don’t belong at an event.