to the 10th Pennsylvania (WPCWRS) Civilian Corps page.
When one visits our camp and sees non-military participants, they may wonder why would there be so many civilians in a military camp? The logical reason is that they either travel with (and in support of) the army, or they are visiting friends and relatives in camp, or they live nearby and are just curious (maybe they are even spies). They might be sutlers trying to profit from the dire needs of the soldiers. Our reenactment society encourages family participation, so to justify our civilian presense we should at least have 'reasons' for our existance... thus we encourage 'acting' as part of our 'reenacting'.
civilians, we demonstrate the many ways women and non-military men helped
in the war effort. When we have spectators visit our camps they are transcended
into a time-warp... the 1860's. Civilian impressions are a very valuable source
of information for the public. This
page is to provide civilian reenactors with tips and research resourses that
will help them give a more accurate impression. As
our military branch portrays the volunteer soldier, even they should
have a knowledge of their prior occupation before joining up.
What impression should you do? It's a wide-open field. Here are some possible impressions and activities... something for everyone:
Field Surgeon - You'll need some knowledge of 19th century medicine and surgical tools.
Music of the Civil War - There was an abundance of period music. Glee clubs were plentiful and banjo music was the most common instrument around the campfire. Brass and woodwinds were commonly heard in the camps playing the 'hits of the sixties'. You are encouraged to share your musical and singing ability. What would a reenactment be without drum and fife music?
Ladies Aid Society - Women from all corners of the Union came together to organize ways to alleviate the soldiers' suffering. There is a lot of reference on the subject and it is a good educational tool for a first-person impression. (The soldiers love all the attention).
Period Prose & Poetry - The Union army was highly literate. Any poet willing to recite aloud will find an audience.
Camp Cooking (food preparation) - The most respected person in the company. We're lucky... we got the best!
Sewing & Knitting Demonstration - Socks were always in demand for the army on it's feet.
In the sunny hours of the bright spring day,
And still in the night-time far away,
Maiden, Mother, and Grandame sit
Earnest and thoughtfully while they knit. From "Knitting Socks"
Camp Laundress - Usually women who would travel with the army. Officers often brought their own domestic help. Not a romantic impression (and a lot of work) but it's been seen at many reenactments.
WE NEED TROOPS!!
Click to download PDF file. Print out, fill in, mail back to us. Please feel free to call us with any questions you may have.
And many other occupational possibilities - this is a list of the most common... check them out:
Justice of the Peace
Rver Man (River?)
Road Boss/Master Boss
A note about the Sanitary Commission - While the government could provide soldiers with muskets, it could not provide everything necessary to soldiers. Dr. Henry W. Bellows started the Sanitary Commission in 1861. The Commission worked to promote clean and healthy conditions in Union Army camps. Those involved in the Sanitary Commission staffed field hospitals, raised money, and provided supplies, also educating the soldiers as well as the government about health and sanitation. Men served as physicians and inspectors of camps. Women served the Sanitary Commission directly, by nursing, or indirectly by raising funds.
Below is a list of helpful links (outside of our site) for new civilians to use to get started, or for experienced civilians to enhance their impression:
and Vera’s Helpful Hints: