important items a new member will need in order to participate
as a sailor or marine uniform is his standing equipment.
This is everything he would have on him during full dress and
ready for battle. (Adam, right, has optionally chosen to
add a full dress uniform.)
Fortunately, as we depict the crew of a ship on station
along the west (gulf) coast of Florida, new members do not
immediately need to purchase uniforms and arms. By wearing
"civilian" period attire, the new member can portray a hired
guide or navigation pilot. This will allow the member to
order needed uniforms and equipment and still participate in
There are some basic items needed to even portray a
hired civilian at events. The attire should look
authentic, from the top of the head (hat) to the ground (shoes).
To go on the field all have to carry a canteen (filled) for
safety reasons. Arms are not necessary, but are
The new member is trained in safety as well as in close
order drill and company drill. "Loaner" weapons are
usually available. The new member needs to determine if
they will portray a sailor or marine, which will aid him in
obtaining equipment. Some of the equipment is easily
obtainable and other items must be made to fit (uniforms).
Use the photographs on this site as a reference.
earlier, the standing equipment covers the uniforms and gear
(belts, weapons, etc.) ready to go. Here is the breakdown
which will vary between the sailor and marine impression:
sailor and marine uniforms are different, there is one set of
items that is consistent between them. We all use the 1853
Enfield 3-Band Rifled Musket and bayonet. (The 1861 or
1863 Springfield is acceptable.) We all use the standard
issue canteen with dark blue cover. We all use a white
haversack. Army "Brogans" are acceptable footwear.
Uniform (sailor or marine)
Belts and leather items
Weapons (musket, bayonet, cutlass, pistol)
The simplest of the two uniforms is that of the enlisted Marine.
It consists of a Marine frock coat, white "tropic" pants,
chasseur cap. The leathers consist of white cross-belts
and a waist belt, plus a cap pouch and cartridge box (both for
More complicated the enlisted sailor's
uniform consists of a flat cap, jumper tie, and trousers.
The added complications come in as there is both winter (blue)
and summer (white) sets of clothing. Also, sailors can
have straw hats.
There are several sources for
sailor uniforms as well as we have patterns (Jumper/frock
and undershirt) by Tom Apple.
Wendell, NC, and Fall Creek Sutlery carries
sailor and marine leathers.)
Making a choice: sailor or marine
The choice is yours. If you have no
preference, we are looking for more sailors. Currently, we
have enough marines, although no one will be turned away should
they decide to uniform as a Marine. Eventually, we would
like to have a higher ratio, many more Sailors than Marines.
This would be more in proportion to the original U.S.S. Fort
Henry's roster where the ship had six marines with a total
crew of about eighty.
Most people are! To maintain the look of the sailor and
marine we ask you to look at several things: Check
out photos of Civil War soldiers and sailors. Physique
must be within reason. There were no females in the navy
and marine corps back then. (A few snuck into the army,
but on ship it was impossible to disguise one's body, especially
on wash day.) As we present to the public, any female that
joins us must not be noticeable close up. As we are
carrying firearms and must listen to orders, members must be
alert enough to not cause safety concerns and to be able to play
New members are reviewed for eligibility by the staff
(commissioned and non-commissioned officers), which requires a
100% confidence vote. New commissioned and
non-commissioned officers require a 100% confidence vote of all
other members present (must be at least 50% of the membership present) at the
should I buy first/last/not at all?
As indicated above, the complete
outfitting of the typical Civil War reenacting sailor or marine
is somewhat expensive. Shop carefully,
your shipmates will give you assistance in avoiding bad deals.
At the onset, new members will either have to purchase authentic
shoes first, or use boots or shoes that look authentic.
New members should make efforts to buy or make their "kit" as
soon as is practical. An individual should acquire his
uniform and equipment over time and in these recommended stages:
fortunate that the navy (unlike the army) had hired local
civilian guides that were armed. As such, we do not
need to have complete marine or sailor uniforms up front. Following
this process, although not mandatory, will get you on the field
and into action faster:
Beginner Some basic civilian clothing with perhaps a flat
rimmed straw hat will do for now. Also a canteen (a must
for on the field safety), and haversack (cheap and easy to find
Musket and bayonet (we have a limited supply of loaners).
Equipped Leathers, especially cap and cartridge boxes.
They could be put on a broad black belt with a brass buckle for
the civilian garb.
Uniformed Uniforms and remainder of the leathers.
for everything Camp
accessories: tent, cooking equipment, blanket, etc.
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