What We Do at Reenactments
Reenactments are usually held over a weekend during the summer. Most of the reenactments the 9th New York attends within a 1-2 hour drive of Buffalo. We do usually schedule one major out-of-state reenactment for the unit to attend. The events usually start Friday afternoon and end Sunday afternoon; however, the event doesn't open for spectators until Saturday morning. If at all possible, you should arrive on Friday in order to set up your gear. It is acceptable to drive in with your car and off load all your gear rather than carrying it if you arrive on Friday. However, if you cannot arrive until Saturday, you will have to carry all your gear in. After you set up your tent and other equipment, you can then help with setting up the common areas of the camp such as the dining fly and the fire pit. There is usually a dedicated reenactor parking area for our cars, and after unloading, we move our cars there for the weekend. Some members will then go out to dinner together or cook dinner over the camp fire. Friday night is a time to get your equipment ready and sit around the fire for some good conversation.
Saturday morning starts the reenactment. Reveille is usually set at around 6:00 AM. We get up, get dressed, and put the coffee on. Morning roll call is held at about 6:30 AM. You are then able to cook and eat your breakfast. Once cleanup from breakfast is done, we will have morning drill and weapons inspection.
Morning Assembly at Arcade, NY in 2003
After drill, we usually enjoy free time until lunch. This is a good time to go to the Sutlers (period merchants to the military), or just visit with your "pards." Sometimes, the event will include a tactical Saturday (or Sunday) morning. This is an unscripted battle where you are given a task to perform under fire against the enemy. After the tactical and lunch we get ready for the main battle. The battle usually starts around 1:00 PM and will last one to two hours. This is where the real fun is. We get to burn lots of black powder, especially since the weapons the cavalry uses generally fire faster than the infantry (foot soldiers). Besides, where else can grown men run around a field firing guns and not have people think they are strange?
Arcade & Attica Railroad Raid, 2004
After the battle, we go back to the camp and perform "living history," where we talk to the spectators coming through the camps. We explain the camps themselves along with an explanation of all the equipment and their purpose. We also use this time to clean our weapons. It is required that your gun be cleaned because there will be another weapons inspection Sunday. Once 5:00 PM rolls around, the spectators leave and we are on our own. Some stay in first person and some just kick back and relax after dinner. On Saturday evening, most reenactments have a period dance. They hire musicians and the men and ladies put on their best to go and participate in period dancing and generally socialize. At 11:00 PM, it's lights out and all quiet in the camps.
All Quiet in the Camps
On Sunday morning, reveille is around 6:30 AM, and we go through the same routine: get up, get dressed and put the coffee on. Roll call will be about 7:00 AM. You are then able to cook and eat your breakfast. Once cleanup from breakfast is done, we will again have morning parade and weapons inspection. Church service on Sunday is a special treat. Many times we will have a period service given by seasoned Chaplains. These services are done as if we were in the 1860's and some of them get pretty intense. There isn't any politically correct stuff here, just down right old fashioned preaching.
Church Service at the Arcade & Attica Railroad Raid
After Church we might drill, stay in camp for living history demonstrations, go to the Sutlers, or just relax around camp. After lunch we get ready for the battle. The Sunday battle is just as fun as the one on Saturday. Most of the time, it is slightly different, to keep things interesting for both reenactors and spectators who visit both days. After the battle is over, we return to the camps and conduct more living history demonstrations. We also start to break camp. At the designated time set by the sponsor, we bring the cars into camp, pack them up, say good bye to all and head home.
That's the "brief version." We have tried not to get too detailed, but keep in mind that there are many variations of what we have told you and each event is different. Civil War reenacting can be a most enjoyable and varied hobby. It gives the opportunity for primitive camping, historical study, military tactics and weapons, and travel. Re-enactors come from all walks of life and backgrounds. We hope that you will come visit us at one of our reenactments, visit the Events page to see when they are. Since you're already at least a little interested, you already know that you can continue perusing the Learn More page for more information about becoming a reenactor, and once you have decided to join us, feel free to Contact us.