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BATTLE OF

SHELBURNE CROSSROADS

SEPT 2012

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Unit Histories:

 

2ND VT INF

 

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(at Vermont in the Civil War)

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Outfitting a Reenactor

First of all, do not call the clothing worn by a reenactor a "costume." Although some reenactors do not make the distinction, serious reenactors wear reproductions of clothing from the period -  not "costumes" which might be fine for Halloween or amateur stage productions but that compromise authenticity.

The CHAMPLAIN VALLEY HISTORIC REENACTORS acknowledges that there is a wide range of items available to the living historian - all billed as "authentic reproductions" but actually exhibiting a range of qualities from excellent to very poor. Although cost is not an ironclad indication of authenticity, the tendency is for less-expensive items to be of lower quality in terms of construction, materials and authenticity. We would STRONGLY discourage anyone new to reenacting and living history from going out and bargain shopping with sutlers (vendors of reenacting wares) for the cheapest deals in clothing and accoutrements. In the long run this is likely to be more expensive as the reenactor will find him or herself with an inferior "costume" - as opposed to a functional and authentic reproduction of period clothing -  that must eventually be replaced in order to meet desired authenticity standards. Please feel free to seek out the advice of established reenactors in the Champlain Valley Historic Reenactors. Several members of the group are especially knowledgeable in this area.

You can also gain insights and knowledge from the discussions at these online forums: (You may need to sign up or register at the forums in order to get full access and posting permission.)

THE AUTHENTIC CAMPAIGNER

Although all online information must be used with caution The Authentic Campaigner is probably the most reliable forum for discussions of authenticity. Items sold at the "Wanting to Sell" forum are generally of high quality. In addition to military topics there are forums for civilian reenactors, as well.

CIVIL WAR REENACTORS DISCUSSION FORUM

The Civil War Reenactors Forum serves a wider range of reenactors than the Authentic Campaigner forum. It also has a classified ads feature although some items offered for sale at this site may not meet higher authenticity standards. In addition to military topics there are forums for civilian reenactors, as well.

THE SEWING ACADEMY

While The Sewing Academy does not have classified ads or extensive discussions of military topics it is a fantastic source of information for anyone interested in sewing their own clothing as well as discussions related to every-day life during the nineteenth century. This site will be especially helpful for people interested in an authentic civilian impression. There are separate forums for women's, children's and men's clothing. Questions from people new to reenacting are always welcome at these forums.

 

The Champlain Valley Historic Reenactors also encourages members to read and do research! One of the best recent publications for the military reenactor is The Columbia Rifles Research Compendium (John Tobey, ed.) Although this is currently sold out, many members of the group have purchased copies of this for themselves and there are copies within the group available for loan. It contains excellent information on what to look for in authentic reproduction uniforms and equipment as well as proper period practices for the living historian.

Still under construction: specific advice on what to look for when purchasing clothing, accoutrements and equipment and a list of recommended vendors. A very basic list of uniform and equipment items required to participate can be found as an addendum to the Operating Guidelines.

 

In the meantime, one of the best sets of authenticity standards can be found at:

http://www.columbiarifles.org/standards.htm