150th Participant Guidelines
Recreating small sections of the engagement here at Perryville is one form of interpretation used by Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site to fulfill its mission of preserving and interpreting history. Therefore, the impressions presented by reenactment participants at this nationally significant historic park must be ones appropriate to helping visitors understand the 1862 Kentucky Campaign and its impact upon the states and its residents. The 2012 reenactment will include both the military and civilian experiences during the campaign that ended with Kentucky’s largest Civil War battle – Perryville.
Military Reenactor Information and Guidelines
The following information will guide you through the impression, guidelines, and registration process for Perryville Battlefield’s 150th Anniversary Reenactment. Please read the following information thoroughly as it will answer most of the questions you may have about participating as a military participant. If you have further questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 859-332-8631 to speak to the staff preservation coordinator.
The primary impression will be that of an artillery battery in the Army of Mississippi during the Kentucky Campaign of 1862.
FULL SCALE ARTILLERY ONLY – NO EXCEPTIONS! Confederate guns will be limited to 8 cannon.
Military Living History Participant Guidelines
The following guidelines were designed to insure the appropriate and typical impression of an artilleryman in the Army of the Mississippi in late 1862. The men who engaged at Perryville were typically young men from rural communities and in general they represented the typical western theater soldier of the American Civil War. It is in their honor that we request that your impression be based upon those typical soldiers instead of some unusual or non-typical individual.
Confederate Artillery Impression
In general, a Confederate artillery impression will represent a private soldier in the artillery of the Army of Mississippi in the fall of 1862. Impressions of other soldiers associated with the Army of Mississippi during that time can also be considered. Unless there is a specific interpretative purpose that is preplanned, impressions from earlier or later in the war, from some other theater of the war, or some sort of other soldier impression are inappropriate and will not be allowed. These guidelines are minimum standards; nothing less is acceptable. The use of any modern or inappropriate material (including cigarettes, modern eyeglasses and watches, modern food containers, plastic, soda cans, sleeping bags, coolers, etc. absolutely no Cell Phones are to be visible at any time) by Living History personnel in view of the visitors will not be acceptable at any time (including “after hours”). Impressions are subject to inspection by park staff and their representatives at all times. All Kentucky state park rules and regulations must be followed.
These guidelines suggest the most appropriate types of equipment and material for Living History use. As Living Historians, we must always be striving to improve our impression so as to better educate our visitors and honor the soldiers and civilians we strive to portray. These guidelines are based on continuing extensive research and documentation.
The following guidelines are a minimum set of standards that each Confederate participant in the 150th Battle of Perryville will be required to meet. The items that are listed under each heading are acceptable. If it is not listed then it is not acceptable.
Individual Reenactment organizations are encouraged to tailor their impressions to fit the particular battery they wish to portray. Abundant research is available upon the various units and we encourage participants to work with park staff to achieve their impression goals.
Material and Construction:
Common materials in the construction of Confederate uniforms were wool weft, cotton warp jean weave material, wool weft, wool warp jean weave cloth, satinets, cassimere, kersey, and all cotton jean weave material (rarely other then for trousers). Grey to dark grey, grey-brown, blue-grey, and brown were the most common color, but green-grey was also seen. Osnaburg and muslin in white were typical linings, but evidence exists for various types of checked, stripped and polished cotton linings. These same materials were used for shirts and drawers. Woven strips and checks, some prints, and colors were used for shirts. Wool and cotton flannels were also used for shirts and drawers. Construction: Hand sewing was most common. Machine sewing is occasionally seen in lighter garments such as shirts and drawers. However, since sewing machines had been purchased widely even in the South, some uniforms were entirely or largely machine sewn. All button holes were hand stitched. Living History clothing should show hand sewn button holes and ideally be hand stitched where visible.
* State issue/commutation
* Single breasted military frock coats of jean, cassimere, and satinette of proper construction only.
* Civilian pattern sack or frock coats acceptable constructed of jean, cassimere, or satinette of proper construction only.
* Federal Uniforms
The Columbus Depot jacket is very popular among Western Theater reenactors; however, there is no evidence of these jackets during the Kentucky Campaign. The men who marched north from Chattanooga had little access to these jackets. Although, the Columbus Depot began manufacturing clothing in the summer of 1862 there is no documentation for these jackets during the Kentucky Campaign.
Buttons: flat brass disc or “coin”, wooden, block I, and some Union coat buttons. State button use should be limited. CSA buttons are not documented with the Army of Mississippi and should not be worn.
Suspenders: Suspenders of civilian pattern, cotton webbing, canvas, or ticking with either button holes or leather tips with tin or brass buckles (no nickel plated metal).
* Military issue style plain
* Federal issue sky blue
Suspenders of civilian pattern, cotton webbing, canvas, or ticking with either button holes or leather tips with tin or brass buckles (no nickel plated metal).
Drawers: Military issue or civilian style in cotton or wool flannel if worn
Shirts: Documented civilian or military pattern in wool or cotton, flannel, woven checks or strips, prints (very limited), or muslin
* Brogan pattern shoes
* Short military boots – just above the ankle
Wool or cotton knit socks in white, a basic color, or natural color; hand knit are best
* Wide brimmed, generally dark wool felt slouch hat
* Cap, jean weave material; infantry trim acceptable (grey to dark blue)
* Forage cap
* Straw/plant fiber, period style
Hats should have as appropriate the proper sweatband, lining, ribbon, and stitching. Trim and insignia should be limited. No dead animal parts.
NO cowboy hat conversions or shapeless hillbilly hat blanks and no animal parts. Hat brass should be kept at a minimum.
* CS patterns made of jean, kersey, satinette or cassimere.
* Federal issue greatcoats as a number of these were captured at Big Hill.
* Civilian style, 100% wool, woven blankets in natural or earth tone colors
* Union issue blanket
* Blanket made from period pattern wool carpeting
Eyewear and Glasses:
Spectacles (what we call glasses today) were not a common item amongst Civil War soldiers or even civilians of that era. Hence, try to get by without glasses if you can while doing Living History or wear contact lenses. If you must wear glasses, visit antique stores and purchase a 19th century pair and have the lenses replaced with one of your prescription, preferably with safety lenses. No modern glasses may be worn at anytime as part of a Living History program.
Individual items of civilian attire are acceptable as identified above. The presence, though, of a recent recruit in the ranks entirely in civilian attire would certainly be possible in recently recruited artillerymen. Most new men were uniformed in about a month after joining the unit, but in a period of active campaigning, some time could pass before the usual military clothing could be issued.
Not every soldier has to have every possible personal effect. However, having at least a few of these little items helps complete and enrich the impression. In choosing personal effects, remember that you will have to carry them.Combs, toothbrush, pocketknife, housewife, handkerchief (bandannas/railroad scarves are not acceptable; they should particularly not be worn as attire or adornment) vests, civilian or military pattern wallet, writing paper pen and ink, pencil, mirror, playing cards, various game pieces books or newspapers.
In addition to having the appropriate Living History equipment and material, it must be used and worn correctly. Pants and waist belts were worn at the real waist (i.e. the naval) and not at the hips; clothes were not form fitting. Hats and coats were worn whenever in public; pants were rarely tucked in the socks. By adopting the appropriate 19th century use and appearance, the Living History impression is remarkably improved.
Kentucky was enduring a major drought during the fall of 1862. Federals and Confederates both were on lengthy marches on incredibly dusty roads. They would be extremely dirty. Their uniforms were in various states of repair and the dust and dirt would be abundantly obvious on their person and clothing.
Use of Federal items:
Only Federal-style canteens, blankets, knapsacks, haversacks, gum blankets, accouterments and weapons should be used. Federal sky-blue enlisted man’s foot trousers would have been evident among Cleburne’s and Preston Smith’s men who were able to draw upon the stores of captured Federal goods that were stored at Camp Breckenridge. Other Federal Issue items (mostly accouterments) would have been available after the Confederate capture of Munfordville, Kentucky. Jefferson brogan pattern shoes would be acceptable.
Artillery Pieces will only be full-scale guns of the type used at the Battle of Perryville. Mortars, volley guns, and Gatling guns are prohibited. Artillery pieces will be equipped with limbers. Guns served only with limber chests should be placed outside the direct view of and at a distance from the spectators, if possible. Artillery should function under the National Park Service rules for operation. The only exception is the interval between rounds, which may be increased to one round per minute from time of discharge to placing the next round in muzzle.
Artillery NCO Participants are permitted to carry one sidearm and a saber of the proper type.
Artillery Enlisted Participants will not carry any weapons unless they are acting as drivers. There are no side arms allowed on gun crews! For safety reasons, the full attention of all gun crew members should be on the cannon.
Cartridges must be made of aluminum foil, double wrapped, and contain only black powder. All unattended limbers must be locked! Loads may not exceed one-half pound for bore diameters up to 3.67 inches. Loads may not exceed one pound for bore diameters 4.65 inches or larger. Only friction primers may be used as the ignition device.
All ammunition must be kept in accurately reproduced cartridge boxes, packages, and crates. It will be stored in a safe manner away from open flames and other heat sources. All cartridges should be made prior to the event. Cartridge making and any other dangerous exposure to loose gunpowder are not allowed.
There is to be no discharging of cannon in camp. All discharging other than in the scripted battle shall take place on an established firing line after notifying and receiving approval through the Chain of Command.
No member of a cannon crew shall be allowed on his piece if he has been drinking alcoholic beverages during the 24 hours preceding the commencement of firing and/or he appears to be intoxicated. This will be grounds for immediate arrest. Alcoholic beverages are not allowed on park property.
The maximum rate of fire for any one cannon will not exceed one round per sixty seconds, from time of discharge to placing next cartridge into muzzle. Guns shall fire at least fifteen (15) rounds per battle scenario. Battery Commanders are responsible for controlling the rate of fire. No battery will be overrun unless scripted and planned in advance. If such an action is planned then batteries shall only be assaulted at a pre-arranged signal. The signal to opposing infantry or cavalry shall always be the furling of the battery guidon (flag) indicating all guns are clear and safe for assault.
While on the field the ammunition chest shall be placed at least 35 feet to the rear of the trail. All rounds shall be kept in ammunition chests, except for rounds being delivered to the pieces. The lid of a chest shall remain closed and the chest locked at all times except when rounds are being removed, during inspections, or while work is being performed inside the chest. No smoking around artillery chests. This is ground for immediate expulsion from the event.
150-foot minimum safe firing distance shall be maintained between the muzzle and any person, animal, or vehicle in its front at all times. At 150 feet, the crew shall load only “light cartridges.” A “light cartridge” is defined as no more than 3 oz of black powder per inch of bore with NO COMPRESSION FILLER. No cannon shall discharge or be loaded with person, animal, or vehicle within 100 feet of the muzzle. Be conservative. If “light cartridges” were not prepared beforehand, then firing will cease at the 150-foot minimum.
The Chief of Artillery in advance of the opening fire for the given scenario must approve any deviation from these Artillery Regulations. It is our intent to have a safe, enjoyable and historical event. The Chain of Command is in place to provide support. If you forget an implement, break a lanyard, are short a cannoneer, or have other deficiencies, please request assistance through your chain of command before the field inspections. We can probably help you meet the requirements that will be enforced.
Ordnance Inspection and Requirements
Only full-scale War Between the States Artillery field pieces will be allowed. No mortars allowed. Mountain Howitzers are allowed as they were documented at the battle; however, they must be used in an appropriate manner and be full scale reproductions of Civil War period Howitzers.
All reproduction artillery tubes will be equipped with a steel safety liner or sleeve. Original tubes will be inspected for serviceability on an individual basis. All carriages will be inspected for general condition and determined serviceable on an individual basis per inspection checklist.
Only friction primers or percussion primers shall be used to discharge the piece.
Blank artillery cartridges shall be made up of Black Powder only, not to exceed 4 oz. per inch of largest bore diameter. Cartridges must have a minimum of three wraps of heavy-duty aluminum foil and be packed to a firm consistency. Cartridges will be subject to random selection for inspection.
Only cannon grade, 1F, or 2Fg black powder will be used. Powder grades cannot be mixed. No artillery cartridges shall be constructed at the event site.
Artillery cartridges will be stored in the ammunition chests at all times. All rounds will be individually stored in a sealed cardboard container within the ammunition chest.
The bore of the cannon shall be thoroughly sponged with water and wormed after each cartridge is discharged. Wet / dry sponging is a matter of unit preference.
Each piece shall be equipped with the following implements in good working condition:
Two sponge/rammers shall fill the bore and be capable of sponging the bottom of the breech. The sponge for field howitzers shall fill the breech.
Worm - Shall be of a size capable of dislodging all foreign objects in the bore.
Thumb stall or glove for thumbing the vent.
Friction Primer Tube Pouch
Gimlet or Vent Punch
Two pairs leather gauntlets or gloves for Nos. 1 & 2
Model 1848 Ammunition Chest (period) – Limber recommended.
Failure of inspection - All pieces will remain off the field until the Chief of Artillery is satisfied and has given full inspection approval. It is the responsibility of the Chief of Piece, the gunner or the Battery Commander to notify the Chief of Artillery when the piece is ready for re-inspection.
* Federal pattern--smooth side
* Other common period pattern
“Bullseye canteens are post Perryville and not appropriate for the impression.
Straps should be cotton, cotton webbing, or leather sewn together or with a buckle or button. As few as two-thirds or one-half of the men need to carry canteens
Gunner’s tools (All required):
Thumb stall or love for thumbing the vent.
Friction Primer Tube Pouch
Gimlet or Vent Punch
Two pairs leather gauntlets or gloves for Nos. 1 & 2
Gum blankets/ground cloth:
Any appropriate Federal issue gum blanket
Horse Drawn Artillery General Operation Rules
Horse-drawn artillery will operate no faster than a slow-trot, except when traveling up-hill at a canter.
No appaloosas, paints, or pintos, unless they can visually pass for a breed commonly in use by the armies during that time period. No stallions or ponies. Do not tie horses to loose or unsecured items!
A current EIA Test (Coggins) is required for each animal within 1 year of the date of the event. Out of state horses will need a health certificate within 30 days of the date of the event. In state horses will need a health certificate within 1 year of the event. Health papers are required for transport within state lines. Current flu, rhino, tetanus vaccinations are highly recommended for each horse. If said paperwork is not in order, or if the veterinarian deems the animal to be unhealthy, the participant’s animal will not be allowed access to the site(s). A veterinarian will be on-site or on call for the entire event weekend.
Horses must be supervised and maintained at all times.
Horse Equipment for the Horse Drawn Guns - all horse drawn gun harness and equipment must be period correct in construction and material. Absolutely no chrome, bright steel, nylon or overly decorated harness is allowed. If you have a question about your harness please contact the park.
Horse Miscellaneous – Forage will be provided for all horses. Water troughs will be situated near all encampments. All horse trailers will have designated parking areas. Said parking areas will be patrolled by the Kentucky Department of Parks. Camping out of trailers will not be allowed.
Tentage and Camps
There is no documentation of soldiers either Confederate or Union camping with “canvas” at Perryville. Tents are documented to higher rankings officers only i.e. majors, colonels, and generals.
Tents are allowed at Perryville. If you are in the military camp you may have a Sibley, A–Frame or shebang. If you are camping in the mixed camp you may have any tent as long as they are period correct.
Recommended – Federal “rubber blankets” or “gum blankets”
Shelter halves do not appear in the Western Theater until the end of December 1862.
If tents must be used due to weather or life/safety conditions they must be only A-Frame or Sibley style. Areas within the military camp will be set aside for this.
The military use of wall tents will only be allowed for specific historical interpretations such as commissary, hospitals etc. These impressions must be approved by park staff. Wall tents will be allowed in the Camp of Convenience.
All military camps will be set up as if “on campaign.” No civilians are to be quartered in the military camps. Civilians who wish to interact with the military will require the permission of the military commanders and make appropriate arrangements with them. Only functioning and appropriate period civilian interaction with the military will be allowed: i.e. laundress, contract cook, and refugee. Civilians simply cooking for reenactment units are not considered a functioning or appropriate impression for the military camps.
There will be a civilian camp set aside for authentic civilian impressions. Mixed civilian and military groups will camp in the Reenactor Camp of Convenience (Mixed Camp.) This area is provided for the comfort and convenience of our reenactors who wish to do family camping. Although this camp will not be interpreted to the public, all participants will remain in period attire with no modern items in view of the public (including “after hours.”) It is the responsibility for all military participants who camp in the mixed camp to attend the required drill and be aware of the military schedule. Wall tents will be allowed in this area.
Each soldier should carry a period tin cup, knife, fork, spoon, and tin plate. More extensive cooking items such as period individual frying pans (even improvised ones from old canteens) are not necessary and should be very limited Cooking during the Kentucky Campaign was done in messes (four or five to fifteen men) sharing the cooking duties and using large cooking utensils such as kettles, camp kettles, frying pans, coffee pots, dutch ovens, large spoons and forks, butcher knives, mess pans, wooden water buckets, axes, etc. These large items were carried in the regimental baggage wagons which accompanied the troops except in the presence of the enemy. They were often packed in wooden boxes serving as mess chests. When the soldiers were issued rations (normally in three to five day increments), the baggage wagons with the cooking utensils were present except on rare occasions. In some units, the soldiers assigned to the wagon trains did the cooking and the rations were delivered cooked to the troops in the ranks. Tables, chairs, and stools were not provided for soldiers or even company officers and no transportation allowance was allotted to them. They should not be present in Living History camps.
A company desk for the company books, order books, and other papers will be allowed.
Military Structure and Responsibility- Participants will not portray officers above the rank of captain without specific appointment from the park appointed overall military commanders. Battery Commanders and Non-Commissioned Officers will be responsible for enforcing these standards within their chain of command. Chief of the Piece and /or the Gunner is responsible for the discipline of the detachment, safe operation of the piece, and carrying out of orders of the elected and appointed Chain of Command.
Confederate to Federal ratios will be 5CS to 3US men. This means that for every 5 Confederate participants there must be 3 Federal participants. Registration for CS participants will be capped at 500 until Federal registration reaches 300. At that time we will allow participants to register as long as the 5 to 3 ratio is maintained.
Minimum Age to Participate – The minimum age to participate with the artillery is 16 years old. No Exceptions!
If these standards for participation are acceptable then you are welcome to register for the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Perryville.
Jensen, Leslie D. "A Survey of Confederate Central Government Quartermaster Issue Jackets, Parts 1 and 2 and 3" Military Collector and Historian: Journal of The Company of Military Historians Volume 41, Nos. 3 and 4, Fall and Winter, 1989.
MacDonald, K.C. & Turner, Gordan. “Uniforms, Equipment, and Arms of the Army of Tennessee with particular reference to the 1st TN Infantry.”
OR, Vol. 52, Pt. 1, p. 51 – 53
OR. Vol. 16, Pt. 2, p. 746-747
Primary Resources provided by Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site, Manuscript Collection.
Time-Life Books Echoes of Glory: Arms and Equipment of The Union, Arms and Equipment of the Confederacy, 2 volumes (1991).
Walden, Geoff. “The Columbus Depot Jacket.”
Special thanks to the staff at Chickamauga National Battlefield for their assistance in developing these impression guidelines.