A reenactment is when a group of people of the same interests gather to reenact a moment of history. It can be a real or imagined scenario, but should always be as accurate as possible.
We reenact to relive history instead of simply reading about it, and to teach the real history that is not covered in school text books, or perhaps by doing this, peak someone's interest in history.
Reenactments can be held anywhere there is land to support the event. A park, museum, near a battlefield, the actual battlefield in some cases. There doesn't have to have been a real battle on the land, we are just showing what it was like. Some times we do reenact real battles, and those are as accurate as we can make them.
Coordination is done by an "Umbrella Organization" such as The Union Volunteers, to which the 143rd PVI belongs. Smaller events are handled by those in charge of publicity, public relations, etc..
A reenactor can spend as much or as little time as he or she prefers in the hobby. You will get out of it what you put into it.
We usually meet at a restaurant, at some ones house, or an historical venue such as a museum for our meetings. We may also hold a meeting at an event.
Equipment can run from little money, if you are handy with a needle and thread and want to portray a "Camp Follower" or "Civilian", up to the thousands of dollars for a full period correct uniform, campaigning equipment, accoutrements and muzzle loader. It depends on what you want to do with your character…participant or spectator.
A starter uniform will cost about $250.00. Eventually, the reenactor will want to better his or her impression with more accurate and expensive equipment. There is no rule that says you have to spend that much. Many reenactors purchase used uniforms and accoutrements. As per our specific by-laws, each member has one year to get his or her "kit" completed.
A soldier will need a complete uniform, which consists of the following:
Philadelphia Quartermaster Depot
Mercury Supply Company Sutler
The Winchester Sutler, Inc.
Historic Flag Company
Dirty Billy's Hats
Civil War Reenactors Home Page
How To Be A Civil War Reenactor
Treadle Treasures (for quality corded petticoats)
Yes. Although the 143rd had no female soldiers, we welcome "civilian" and "camp follower" impressions. There are many online sites available to do research before making any purchases. (Please be sure to run it by your Company commander before making any uniform purchases.)
A well researched impressionist is going to have a lot more fun than one who buys "off the rack" and tries to pull off a realistic, period correct impersonation.
First and foremost, DO RESEARCH on your character.
Men will need period correct trousers, shirt, vest and drawers. They will also need shoes, a hat and jacket. Most of these items can be made at home with patterns from places such as Abraham's Lady in Gettysburg, ushist.com, or by visiting a sutler at any event.
Women will be required to wear camp dresses at camp. (Hoops are not acceptable attire at camp due to the dangers of catching fire.) Women will wear a corded petticoat, corset, a pair of drawers, petticoats, socks and boots, all in period correct fashion. Let's not forget the bonnets. Hair is never to be worn down on a woman of child bearing years or older. Again, if you are handy, most of this can be made at home by investing in period correct patterns for a minimal amount compared to purchasing them outright.
Some of the members of Co. A have extra uniform pieces that they may be able to lend you for one event, if possible. Not all sizes are available, so ask first.
Contact the unit in which you would like to participate. The reenactors will be more than happy to help you choose a sutler, patterns, weapons, etc. They will also invite you to a meeting or an event to show you what is involved.
You can find Company A, 143rd Pennsylvania Volunteers on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/143rdPA or on our web site at http://www.143rdpainfantry.com/
Company A Leadership
Ted Nafus Sr.
Peter Wolf Cangemi
Ted Nafus Jr.