Want to be a reenactor?
Here is a list of equipment that is required in a proper Confederate infantry soldier impression. It is strongly recommended that you check with a member of the 63d or whatever reenactment organization you plan to join before making the investment in your uniform and equipment. Their advice might help you choose a direction for your impression and steer clear of the pitfalls that most reenactors encounter when just getting started.
Uniform: No clear documentation has been discovered that clearly demonstrates a true uniform issued or worn by all soldiers of the 63d Tennessee. Due to this, there are no specific uniform regulations required by the 63d today. The largest argument that continues today is not so much in the style of uniform but in the material. Your choices will be primarily wool or jean cloth (high cotton blend wool).
From MILITARY UNIFORMS
|The slouch hat is most predominate, being gray, black, or brown. The addition of a hat cord is optional, blue for infantry. The second choice of headwear is the forage cap or Kepi, gray or butternut. The addition of a brass bugle pin for you hat or cap denotes your branch of service as infantry is also optional.|
|Shirt - Any period shirt any color or print (as long as the print is of an authentic nature) is acceptable.|
|Trousers - All period trousers are ok including civilian. The trousers however need to be made from authentic type material. The most common trousers used by reenactors are captured Yankee sky blue (we as a unit do not use these as a rule as we do not galvanize as a unit) or confederate gray or butternut wool, homespun is also nice to use. Make sure to get suspenders for your trousers.|
|Coat - The most widely used coat was the shell jacket with no trim and gray or butternut in color. Many people add trim however, colors corresponding to the branch of service as hat cord listed above. There are several styles of enlisted men's coats and all are acceptable.|
|Socks - The socks you choose should be heavy duty and of period style and material (wool). Color should be gray or brown or a gray-brown mix. The socks should come well above your shoe tops. Many reenactors wear their pants tucked inside the socks, especially when marching or camping where ticks are likely to be encountered.|
|Footwear - Brogans would the most common footwear|
Rifle Recommendations: 1st choice 3-band Enfield, 2nd choice 3-band Springfield, 3rd choice 3-band C.S. Richmond. 2-band rifles are not recommended as some events prevent the use of these in infantry units due to safety concerns. Hawkin and Kentucky style rifles are not acceptable nor are shotguns and are not allowed at most events.
Bayonet: Acquire a bayonet appropriate for the rifle you select. These ARE NOT interchangeable. Buy one at an event as each bayonet fits different than the next. If you order one by mail, it probably will not fit.
Leather Gear: Cartridge box with strap, black or brown Belt, period style, black or brown This belt is to hold your bayonet scabbard and cap box. Your belt buckle can be a C.S. oval, a C.S. rectangular, A.N.V., or plain brass. Cap box, black or brown Bayonet scabbard, black or brown Brogans (shoes), Jefferson brogans, black or brown. Get a good pair of shoes, the cheap ones are just that. A good pair cost just a little more and is well worth the cost.
Haversack: A tarred (captured Yankee) haversack keeps your food and other personal effects drier than the Confederate canvas haversack. However, the canvas Confederate haversack is acceptable and widely used by many reenactors.
Canteen: Again the recommended canteen is a captured (of course) Federal canteen because it is very serviceable. Confederate styles are ok but be careful that you get a good one! Your canteen becomes very important on a hot day marching and fighting while wearing wool !! I personally like the confederate wooden canteen as the taste of the metal canteen bothers me.
Bed Roll: Personal choice while keeping along authentic lines for your bed roll is ok but keep in mind that the bed roll was carried across the soldiers shoulders and the ends tied together at his side. Very thick blankets or quilts carried in this manner will become quite a burden and bothersome to say the least. It is recommended that you acquire a (captured) Yankee rubber blanket or better a Yankee poncho to roll on the outside of your bed roll. This will keep you, your bedroll, and your gear dry when camping or marching during wet weather. It is great to keep you and the damp earth apart when sleeping on the ground.
Mess Kit: The Confederate soldiers mess kit was basically a large tin cup, a tin plate, some sort of fork (usually three tines) a spoon, and a table knife which were all carried in the haversack along with his food. A copper cup is better than a tin cup because it imparts little taste to whatever you eat or drink from it and is authentic as well. However copper is expensive in comparison to tin and is sometimes not readily available.
In Closing: Do not let this list scare you away. Making the right choices is simple, especially if you do as aforementioned and visit a major reenactment, visit the sutlers, and draw on the experience of the reenactors, we are all eager to help all who are interested in participating. Once you get started you will begin a history lesson that will whet your appetite for more, and have great fun as well !
As you may have noticed from my equipment list the does not mention any equipage for doing a Yankee impression. The 63d does not do a Yankee impression as a unit. This choice is left up to the individual who might want to fall in with a Yankee unit occasionally on an individual basis.
SUTLER: 63d Tennessee members recommend using "Blockade Runner" for your purchases. Be sure to tell them your with the 63d Tennessee Volunteer Infantry!
Want to join up? Go to contacts and reach out to any of the command staff for information. Also visit the DOWNLOADS page for more terrific reference documents to get you started.
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