SO YOU'D LIKE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT REENACTING WITH THE
1st ALABAMA CAVALRY, COMPANY C, U.S.V.?
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
Just ask. We'll discuss the upcoming schedule, and determine an event appropriate for you to participate in.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST "JUST TO TRY IT"?
You'll bear the expenses of your food and drink, and, if you ride with someone, he'd probably appreciate you chipping in on the gasoline. As to clothing and equipment, we can outfit a new recruit with everything he needs, to let him "try it out" before purchasing anything.
WHAT DO I BRING?
Recruits are expected to provide their own bedroll, food, and drink. If they need to bring other family members (wife, children, etc.) we may need to make additional plans. Let's talk about it.
WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO AT AN EVENT?
You'll be expected to attend any unit drills, and will receive some "one-to-one" instruction. Remembering that we are "playing with guns" in potentially dangerous situations, you'll be expected to listen, and follow any battle field orders given, by any experienced member of the unit. You'll also be expected to help out with the camp duties, as requested.
WHY ARE THEY YELLING AT ME?
At one time or another we have all been yelled at. Never take it personally. The most important thing to this unit is your safety and the safety of all other reenactors on the field. If we yell at anyone it is to get their attention and to make sure that they know that they are doing something wrong. If at any time you feel that an order you are given is unsafe, don't do it. There are no penalties for not doing something that may be considered unsafe, but the consequences of acting unsafely could be deadly.
WHAT ABOUT THE HUNGER AND DISEASE?
Although we may try to make as accurate impression of the Civil War cavalry skirmisher as possible, there are a few things that we do not recreate. You will not go hungry over the weekend and you will not be subject to lice, dysentery, or amputation.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST, ONCE I DECIDE TO JOIN?
The unit is always looking to purchase used equipment and discounted items, and can help you make your choices and recommend the priority of items. Long guns and footwear are particularly hard to fix a price on, since the range can vary so widely. While we can usually do "better than retail price," retail does give you a ballpark figure to work with. As a starting point, therefore, refer to the "what should I buy first" section below. NOT COUNTING a long gun (which can range from $100-$700) or footwear (which can range from $0--you have something already-to $30, $50, or $200), the items in "starting equipment" can be purchased for a little less than $200.
WHAT SHOULD I BUY FIRST?
Once you've tried it and like it, here is a suggested purchase list:
TO START (in "the best" order):
1 pair of brogans or cavalry boots with 2 pair socks
1 forage cap, kepi, or slouch hat
1 pair sky-blue trousers with 1 pair suspenders
2 period shirts
1 Blue sack coat
1 U.S. infantry belt and buckle
1 cap box
1 cartridge box
1 acceptable rifle
THINGS TO GET (AND SOON!):
1 Tin cup
1 Tin plate and eating utensils
AFTER THAT GET:
1 Candle box or lantern
Camp items such as coffee pot, skillet, hatchet, axe or shovel (remember these should be distributed among "pards" so that no one's burden is too great)
Second pair of pants
Period stuff to put in your haversack
1 Revolver with proper holster
1 Hard Tack or ammunition box (to put your stuff in, conceal modern items, and doubles as a chair)
WHAT DOES IT COST TO JOIN THE UNIT?
There is no initiation fee. Yearly dues are taken, depending on unit expenses, and members may be asked to "chip in" on some special purchase items for the unit as a whole (a tent fly, or company guidon, for example). But the amount of any dues or assessments will be determined by a vote of the unit at our yearly meeting, Camp Light Horse.
HOW DO I JOIN?
It is a common practice is for the new recruit to camp, drill, and fight with the unit for three events before induction is considered.
HOW MANY EVENTS DO I HAVE TO GO TO?
We hope to see you at most events, but there are currently no unit "minimums" to maintain member status. The only thing we insist on is that you give us firm commitments on the events that you will come to, and let us know if anything comes up that forces you to cancel.
HOW IS RANK DETERMINED?
After serving his time as a probationary recruit, all new members begin with the rank of Private. Some are more than content to remain Privates, for it is the Privates who have the least responsibilities and who are free to do the loudest griping. The number of rank holders in the unit is determined by the number of active, full-time members in the unit in the field. Currently, the unit maintains 1 Captain, 1 First Sergeant, and 2 Corporals. The active members then nominate and vote for the officers in elections held at the beginning of the year.