Reasons To Be A Civil War Artilleryman
Being an artilleryman demonstrates a love of Civil War history not much different than that of other committed living historians. This is an impression worthy of respect and interest. Following below is a summery of reasons why the pursuit of an authentic artillery impression can offer great possibilities to either new recruits or veterans seeking a change.
FAMILY ORIENTATION: There is a general consensus among reenactors that artillery groups tend to be more open to family orientation. Many artillery units welcome spouses and children as part of the group. Attached civilian impressions are the norm with many artillery reenactment units. If having your family be a part of your hobby is important, you will find that you will be able to pursue that desire within the artillery.
EMPHASIS ON TEAMWORK: A gun crew is a team with each person having not only their own assignment but a safety inspector element as well. A well-drilled crew acts as one. The repetition involved in transparenting, loading and firing a weapon of potential mass destruction breeds a strong sense of both teamwork and camaraderie.
LIVING HISTORY OPPORTUNITIES: Members of the public are drawn to cannons as if to a magnet. Just standing by the gun at events affords a living historian ample opportunity to speak to the public.
ARTILLERY IS ECONONOMICAL: It is far less expensive to get started as an artilleryman than any other branch of service. Once you connect with a reputable, authentic, and safety conscious unit all you need to purchase is your basic uniform with minimal accoutrements. Thus, if the initial investment necessary to get started in the hobby is a factor consider the artillery.
A PROUD HERITAGE: Successful artillerymen needed four qualities, intelligence, self-possession, comradeship, and loyalty to guns. Artillery units were highly polished, marked by discipline and well drilled. Being an artilleryman represents following in the footsteps of men who not only served their country but also did so with an unusually high level of excellence.
COMRADESHIP: The togetherness of a well-drilled gun crew is pronounced. Likewise, many artillery groups are marked by a tremendous sense of comradeship and mutual responsibility. In order to function as a team an artillery unit must be built around a shared work ethic.
ENJOYMENT: Whatever impression you choose to develop, reenacting/living history is a wonderful hobby. You will make friends, see historic places, and come to understand a small part of the original Civil War soldier's experience. Being on the field or in camp with a tightly bonded and well-drilled artillery unit affords a unique type of reenactment enjoyment.
MEMBER CLOTHING & EQUIPMENT REQUIREMENTS
* Shell Jacket - Gray wool with Maryland Seal buttons.
* Trousers - Gray wool
* Kepi - Gray
* Shirt - Red regulation or period style make of cotton or muslin
* Brogans - Black regulation "Jefferson" with heel plates
* Suspenders - canvas with leather tabs
* Wool socks - color should be gray, brown or neutral
* Maryland Cross - The Maryland botany cross, symbol of Maryland Confederates, is worn on
the jacket and kepi.
* Canteen - The canteen is one of the most important items on your gear. This carries the only
drinking water that you may have available to you on the field.
* Eyeglasses - Period only eyewear if you need to wear glasses
* Haversack - Black 'tarred', canvas or white cotton to carry personal items
* Utensils for eating - plates, cups, silverware
* Stools/Chairs - Sitting and visiting in camp during relaxation and leisure time
Marylanders in the Confederate army were known and respected for their neat, clean appearance. They were known to be "natty" - which means to be neatly dressed, of tidy appearance, and spruce. Where as the Federal army was outfitted by the government, Confederate units were outfitted either by the respective state or by the commanders of the units. The wife of Bradley T. Johnson, major of the consolidated Maryland Line secured cloth for the uniforms and paid for making the uniforms. She paid out ten thousand dollars to uniform, underclothes and shoe over five hundred men. Thus by July 1861, the Marylanders were completely and uniformly clothed and very nearly completely equipped. They wore gray jackets, trousers and kepis. The Marylanders did seem able to keep up appearances better than other Confederate units. During the winter of 1863-1864 all Maryland units were brigaded together at Hanover Junction (near Richmond) under the command of Brigadier Bradley T. Johnson. Again, Johnson spared no effort in provisioning, equipping and clothing his men. When the Marylanders emerged from winter quarters in April 1864, they were apparently in top condition. Thanks again to Mrs. Bradley Johnson, the Marylanders were complimented and highly praised upon their neat and soldierly appearance.
Thus, Marylanders were not always rag-tag as the stereotype of the Confederate soldier would suggest. In fact, they seem to have possessed as 'esprit-de-corps' that motivated them to look as military and uniform as resources permitted. While there was diversity over time in the clothing of the Marylanders, they probably looked fairly uniform at any given time during the war.
Please contact us for assistance regarding the purchase of the clothing and equipment requirements of the 4th Maryland Light Artillery. It is very important that a new recruit not buy any clothing and equipment before consulting, as many items for sale could lack authenticity and may be incorrect for the period 1861-1865.
For more information about the 4th Maryland Light Artillery:
Jean Roger Buchen
4335 Powell School Road
Pittsville, Md. 21850
Or email: JRBuchen@msn.com
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