SO YOU THINK YOU MIGHT WANT TO BE A REENACTOR?
Reenacting with the 19th Alabama Infantry Regiment combines a love of history with theater, camping, exercise, firearms, and escape from the stresses of 20th century life. Ours is a non-political, sociable organization that prides itself on being professional but has a good time. Our reenactment unit was organized in 1982, and is recognized as one of the premier units in the Southeast. We are a non-profit corporation in the State of Alabama and enjoy tax-exempt status with the IRS. We published an outstanding newsletter several times a year to ensure all our members had complete information about upcoming events and activities and as of 2014 are attempting to revive it. No previous experience in the modern military is required for membership. All you need to start is the desire to learn, a willingness to help educate the public on this era in our Nation's history, and some free weekends. The following are answers to frequently asked questions by folks thinking about getting involved.
1. HOW DO I GET STARTED?
Well, you've already taken the first step by asking about it! If you're not sure yet if you want to join and just want to try it out first, then talk to one of our NCOs or officers. We were all in your shoes at one time or another, so we understand what you're going through. We will review with you our upcoming schedule of events, and try to pick one that would be convenient for you to participate in.
A NOTE ON AGE RESTRICTIONS: There are age limitations on participation in certain events due to insurance liability. In general you must be at least 14 years of age to be a soldier in the ranks but that can be raised to 16 depending on the type of event and who is running it. Children under the age of 16 must have a parent or legal guardian present at each event.
2. WHAT ABOUT MODERN CONVENIENCES?
For sleeping, you should bring a quilt and/or one or two wool blankets, depending on the weather. You may use a sleeping bag, air mattress or other modern bedding if we are doing garrison camp, but we will want to keep these out of sight during the day when the public is in and around the camp. Also, bring a knife, fork and spoon to eat with.
3. WHAT WILL I BE EXPECTED TO DO AT THE EVENT?
If a potential soldier member, you will be assigned to a section with a Corporal in charge. Your Corporal will be responsible for your well-being and safety. He, or one of the experienced Privates in the section, will instruct you in the School of the Soldier including the manual of arms that you will need to know. You will be expected to follow any reasonable instructions given you by the NCOs and officers in the unit. Your fellow reenactors in the ranks will also help and coach you, especially on the battlefield. You'll be treated as a member of the unit in all respects, which means you are expected to participate in any drills and help out with guard and camp duties as required. You will also have plenty of free time to relax, ask questions, and participate in any social activities at the event. Besides the soldier's impression, you can choose to portray a civilian such as a spy, journalist, photographer, preacher, undertaker, teamster, sutler, or other period civilian. If you are interested in Civil War medicine, surgeon, assistant surgeon, and hospital steward impressions are possible.
4. I'M A DIEHARD REBEL (OR YANKEE). WILL I HAVE TO WEAR THE UNIFORM OF THE OTHER SIDE?
Although our unit was founded as a Confederate Infantry unit and we prefer grey, we occasionally portray Federal Infantry as the 42d Indiana Volunteer Infantry. We do this to honor the soldiers of both sides who fought in that War, and most of us find that doing a Yankee impression now and again adds another dimension to living history.
5. CAN I PARTICIPATE WITH A SPECIAL IMPRESSION?
Yes! Many of our members continue to research and work on their impressions, often changing from one to another. There are special impressions within the military that you can do but we'd like for you to try out being a soldier first.
OK, I'M SOLD! HOW MUCH WILL IT COST ME ONCE I JOIN?
Our annual dues are $25 per year plus a $5 one-time, new member fee. In addition, the dues are prorated, so if you join after the first of the year you only pay for the remaining months. As for clothing and equipment, it's hard to give one figure because of the variables involved. Used uniform items and equipment are sometimes available depending on your size and luck. Also, if you or someone else in your family is handy at sewing, you can purchase patterns and material for most of the clothing items and make them yourself. In addition, most of your out-of-pocket expenses, including uniform and equipment purchases, are tax-deductible as a charitable contribution for your services in public education and living history. Finally, we allow every member a year to become fully outfitted, which allows you to buy a little bit at a time. For a soldier, the single biggest expense is the rifle. Thereafter, you would only incur expenses for consumables (e.g., powder, caps) and maintenance of your gear.
ARE THERE ANY OTHER COSTS OF MEMBERSHIP?
The only other "cost" is your time to participate. Ours is a very active unit, and we can have two or more activities on our schedule some months. Normally, there will only be one Maximum Effort event a month. These are events where we really are counting on all our members to arrange to be there, if at all possible. Other events are designated as Voluntary, and you are encouraged to make as many of these as you can. There are no minimum attendance requirements for continued membership. If you pay your dues, you are part of our "Band of brothers", and we all recognize that this is a volunteer activity and that family and work responsibilities come first. If you work almost every weekend, then this is probably not the activity for you, as most of our events are weekend encampments and living histories.
HOW DO I JOIN?
Give your name, address, and phone number to one of our current members or you can also contact us through our leadership,http://www.19thalabama.org. You will be mailed a recruitment package which will include an application form and other information. Just fill out the application and mail it with your dues check to the address on the form. Shortly afterwards, you will receive a membership package. See you in the field! Return to 19th Ala General Info Page