Camp Your Way Through History

 In Blog, Denver Tent Company
(Cover photo credit: Josh Franer -This Built America)

Civil War Reenactment

Civil War Reenactment is one of the fastest growing hobbies in the United States, and with good reason.  It reinforces our sense of pride in our heritage, it’s something the entire family can participate in together, it’s educational for you and for your kids, and it’s a great way for adults to “play” in the outdoors and escape the worries of today.

There are many famous civil war battle sites and accompanying campsites for the whole family to spend a day surrounded by history, and as we near the 150th anniversary of many famous battles, not to mention the 150th anniversary coming up next year marking the end of the civil war and the freeing of the slaves, you may be thinking “how can I get in on that reenactment gig” and be a part of the celebration and not just a spectator.

Unfortunately, being part of a Civil War Reenactment unit is not just a matter of showing up and being handed a uniform and a bayonet, you need to earn your stripes. Here are a few tips on how to get started. If you are dedicated, you may just be ready to join the ranks next year for the final battle at Palmito Ranch in Texas.

Festival set up

Getting started in Civil War reenactments

The first step is to start going to Civil War Reenactments and seeing what goes on. Get a feel for how these actors and enthusiast live and act and totally emerge themselves in the conditions and atmosphere of a living historical event. It may look like fun, but adhering strictly to the ways of the mid 1800’s, the materials used, the living quarters, the speech, and the clothes are not as comfortable as it may look. If after observing all of this, you still think that the discomfort is worth it, then look for a unit and talk to them about joining.

Historical accuracy is essential

Before joining a unit you must suit up. That means going to a vintage uniform shop to look for accurate uniforms and equipment. And depending on “who you are” in this reenactment will decide what type of clothing, uniforms and equipment you need to buy. You also need to read up on the battle that you have chosen to be a part of, and be sure to know what side you are on. Accuracy is a big part of a great reenactment unit.

Once you are lucky enough to be taken in by a unit and given a role in the reenactment, you must stay in character the whole time. That means talking as if the war is presently ongoing, knowing the timeline and what battles are going on around you around the country and who is beating who, you need to know and of course you need to know every detail of the battle that you are about to reenact. Remember, this should be like stepping back 150 years in time, both for you and for the spectators.

There is no age requirement, but if you have a child who is interested you need to accompany him or her to the battle site.

Old brochure from 1943

1943 Brochure

Denver Tent Company has been making tents for nearly 125 years, and the fundamentals are not that different from the tents you will find at Civil War reenactment sites. Our quality white canvas wall tents are fit for any general or Civil War hospital or supply tent, and our Colorado Range Tent is fit for any Civil War soldier. If you are getting ready for battle, stop by Denver Tent Company in Denver, Colorado and see if we don’t have the right equipment for your next reenactment. 

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