I am committed to developing and practicing the most accurate
portrayal of the American Civil War now possible. The
only limitations I place upon the accuracy of my impression
are due to a prudent concern for maintaining modern standards
of health and safety, and those limitations naturally
enforced by lack of information resulting from the passage
of time since the Civil War.
I obtain the most historically accurate clothing, equipment,
and other relevant items available to me. I insist upon
the use of proper materials and construction techniques
in all reproduction items. I handle my finances in a manner
that will prevent financial considerations from limiting
the accuracy of my impression.
I recognize that many vital aspects of Civil War soldier
life - terror and wounds in combat, death on the battlefield
or in the hospital, camp diseases, and much else - cannot
be recreated effectively in a living history context.
I do not see this failing as an excuse to be lax about
other aspects of my impression, but as a challenge to
insure that all I can portray is presented as accurately
My impression is based upon serious research into and
careful analysis of reliable sources of information about
the experiences of Civil War soldiers. I recognize the
need to employ the historian's skills, including the ability
to evaluate possible sources of information. I place considerable
reliance upon documented research conducted by others,
but I do not base my impression upon the claims of those
who manufacture goods for the reenacting market, reenacting
traditions and customs, superficial or outdated publications,
entertainment media, or other suspect sources.
I am prepared to change my impression to incorpaorate
improvements dictated by new historical information as
it becomes available to me. I recognize that our understanding
of the details of history changes over time. I welcome
constructive discussion of such matters, and I share information
I portray the Civil War soldier as my knowledge of history
leads me to believe him to have been while on campaign
- unencumbered by impedimenta. I limit the items I use
when portraying soldiers to those items that could reasonably
expect to carry upon my person for extended periods of
time under the harsh conditions experienced by Civil War
soldiers. (Exceptions for cavlary, artillery, medical,
some officers, and other specialized impressions are to
be expected - within bounds set by historical information.)
I use my research into period soldier practice to determine
what equipment I should carry.
I usually portray the typical common soldiers who made
up the great mass of men on the two sides during the Civil
War. My impression may reflect regional variations in
clothing and equipment and changes over time during the
war. I can vary my personal impression to suit differing
locations and dates of depicted events. Except in very
special circumstances, however, I avoid presenting exotic
impressions such as Zouaves, marines, sharpshooters, sailors,
highlanders, and such.
Although my primary interest is in soldiers on campaign,
I am able to portray soldiers in garrison or winter quarters
when appropriate to a particular event, scenario, or historic
site. I am willing to change my personal impressions to
fit various situations. I apply the same standards of
historical accuracy to such portrayals that I apply to
my campaign impression.
I maintain myself in a physical condition that allows
me to portray Civil War soldiers with realism. I keep
my weight at a level that honestly represents men living
on period soldier food and performing period soldier duties.
I am able to walk distances and perform chores required
of me while depicting soldier life. I am willing to accept
standards of personal hygiene and grooming consistent
with soldier life in the field during the Civil War.
I recognize that a successful impression cannot be superficial.
My objective is not to conceal modern items but to recreate
a historic time and place in detail. Therefore, my impression
is as accurate and complete as I can make it on every
level - including all of my clothing and the contents
of my pockets, knapsack, and haversack. Further, I am
familiar with the material cuture of the mid-19th United
States in general, and not just with objects related directlyto
While portaying a Civil War soldier I eat food that simulates
as closely as possible the rations available to the men
in the situation being depited. However, I do not endanger
my health by consuming food known to be dangerous. I dispose
of human waste in a safe manner.
I handle and maintain weapons in a manner intended to
insure my safety and that of others around me, and which
reflects period practice in a way consistent with modern
In pursuit of the complete Civil War soldier experience,
I am willing to take part in accurately staged re-creations
of typical military activities including marching, drill
practice, army ceremonies, guard and picket duty, simulated
combat, food preparations and other aspects of life on
the march and in bivouac. I learn as much as I can about
the details of these activites so that I can portray them
realisitically. If called upon to do so, I am willing
to continue the living history experience around the clock
I recognize that large-scale infantry maneuvering and
combat were based upon battalion formations. For the purposes
of participation at large events, I associate myself with
a battalion run in a manner consistent with the Campaigner's
Manifesto. I subject myself to the discipline inherent
in such a military organization and participiate fully
in the battalion's activities during events.
I realize that Civil War soldiers had life experiences
before the Civil War and that the lives of civilians continued
through the war, affectef to various degrees by it. I
am committed to learning about antebellum and wartime
civilian life to better undersand the historical context
in which soldier experiences took place, and to permit
realistic interaction with serious civilian reenactors.
I employ first-person living history techniques whenever
appropriate. I take great care to avoid behavior, language,
and comments that might disrupt accurate living history
activites. I strive to attain a mental attitude appropriate
to the person I portray when in character.
I do not "hide my candle under a bushel." I
take advantage of situations that allow me to share my
knowledge of the realities of Civil War soldier life with
fellow living history enthusiasts and with the public.
I participate in living history activites, expecially
at smaller events, and in educational programs.
I see "mainstream" reenactors as potential converts
to living history at higher levels of historical accuracy,
and I avoid conflict with them. I conduct my relations
with them in a manner consistent with the behavior expected
from mid-19th century gentlemen. However, I do maintain
my own high standards of excellence for portraying Civil
War soldier life.
I limit my discussion of and participation in politics
at events to that appropriate to the event historical
scenario. I leave my views of current events and modern-day
reenacting politics at home.
The greatest pleasure I derive from Civil War living history
comes from the knowledge that I am re-creating the experiences
of the soldiers who fought it with the greatest fidelity
to history I can manage.