Becoming a Re-enactor with the 15th Michigan
The 15th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, Company B is a Civil War reenacting regiment founded in 2009. The founders wanted to experience first hand the Civil War soldier's life through authentic reenacting and inform the public about the importance of the role of the Civil War soldier in preserving the Union and building our great nation.
The 15th Michigan continues today to be devoted to public education. Our purpose is to foster and preserve the history of the Civil War era (1861 - 1865). We conduct Civil War battle reenactments, military drills, parades, memorials and historically accurate living history portrayals of civilian and military lifestyles.
Military impressions are open only to men since no women served in the original regiment. Boys under the age of 16 may participate in non-weapon-bearing military roles, although under some circumstances this restriction can be waived.
Civilian impressions are encouraged for wives and children of new members who are interested in creating a civilian impression, the members of the Ladies Auxiliary can provide extensive advice and information about the dresses, accessories and clothing needed. The ladies of the 15th Michigan take an active role in the activities of the regiment.
The 15th Michigan is funded through membership dues, donations and fund raising activities such as parades and living history portrayals and demonstrations. Current dues are $20.00 per year.
Becoming a member in the 15th Michigan is simple. It starts by contacting the us at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a good time to ask any questions you have about joining the 15th Michigan or reenacting as a hobby. A membership application and information packet will be sent to you after you contact us. If you prefer, a membership application is included online. Complete the form and return it by mail to the unit address listed on the left side of this page.
The First Sergeant and Non-Commissioned Officers give new members special instructions. This is to help you learn the drills and bring your competence up to the level of the other members. After completion of the 5 drills and your demonstrated competence, the Board of Directors will vote to approve your membership. As a full member you have a vote in all regiment business, are eligible to run for an administrative office and apply to become a NCO. Your membership continues as long as you pay membership dues.
The 15th Michigan has high standards in both drill and equipment. Our members strive to maintain these standards and help new members become a team member that reflects our spirit and brings credit to us as Re-enactor, and to the men of the original 15th Michigan.
If you are interested in learning more about the 15th Michigan or want to join us, please contact the 15th Michigan.
An Overview of Civil War Re-enacting
We assume that you have some interest in the Civil War period or you wouldn't have indicated an interest in becoming a reenactor. However, an interest in this period does not necessarily translate into knowledge of what is involved in reenacting.
Reenacting has two focal points - the individual AND the public. Individual reenactors attempt to perfect what is called their "impression" of a person during the Civil War period. This person can either be a real person who lived during this period or a generic one. The impression can be either military or civilian. Women and children generally render civilian impressions, but men can participate in either a civilian or military model.
No matter whether you choose a civilian or military impression, you will be recreating the culture of the Civil War period as authentically as possible. Clothing, manners, speech, food, music, religious worship, and many other areas are studied to try to reach as high a level of authenticity as possible. At reenactments, individuals put themselves into a Civil War period frame of mind. Twenty-first Century anachronisms (plastic water jugs, for example) generally are either not used at all or are carefully hidden from view. The only compromises with authenticity relate to aspects of health and safety. If some kind of behavior or equipment is authentic but not safe or healthful, re-enactors can opt for safety and health. Much research has been done on these areas, and this information is available to beginning reenactors from veterans of the regiment.
This attention to authenticity relates to the second focus - the public. Because re-enactors become highly knowledgeable in the history and culture of the Civil War period, they usually accept the responsibility of passing on this information to the public at large. Most reenactors will readily discuss their dress, cooking methods, handicrafts, language, military skills, etc. with the public. AND the public WILL ask questions - tons of them!!
Reenactors participate in a wide variety of events. Some are small, such as festivals put on by towns or local historical societies. Small military or civilian reenactments are put on by individual reenactment groups. The reenactment of a major battle near the site of the original battle can involve thousands of reenactors. All types of events offer their own appeal. There is nothing more exciting than being part of reenacting a major battle. On the other hand, few things are more pleasurable than the camaraderie at a small encampment. Most reenactment groups, the 15th Michigan included, try to schedule about one reenactment activity per month from May through September.
If you were to ask 100 reenactors what they liked most about this activity, you would probably get 100 different answers. But one thing would remain constant - no other leisure activity is more fascinating or rewarding.
Information about costs, tax deductions, and other matters may be obtained by e-mailing the 15th Michigan.
We hope you will join us!