information and recruiting tent
Want to know more about reenacting? Want to join the First US SharpShooters? Read on. Most of these questions are ones I have been asked and answered while out on campaign.
Is the uniform hot? It can get hot, but I really like it when the evenings are cool. Wool is more durable than the cotton used back then and is less flammable, which is great when you are firing guns or around the campfire.
Does your wool uniform itch? My uniform doesn't make me itch, however my jacket is lined and I wear a shirt with long sleeves and long drawers under my uniform. My socks don't bother me either.
Why is your uniform green? Hiram Berdan, the person who formed the sharpshooter regiments, wanted a unique uniform for his group of marksmen. He said he wanted green as it blended in with the foliage. Green was the color of choice by elite rifle units in Europe such as the British 95th Rifles.
Is your gun real? Yes it is. We use reproduction guns that fire blank rounds in reenactments but can be used for shooting live rounds. Original Berdan Sharps rifles are very rare and expensive, so taking them out into a reenactment is not a good thing to do for the gun.
Why does your gun have two triggers? The second trigger is called a set trigger. Pulling the set trigger first allows a lighter pull on the firing trigger, resulting in less chance of moving the gun off target. The advantage is better accuracy, but the downside is the extra time it takes to fire a shot. You would only use it if you had time to do so, but not while under a lot of fire.
Did the word sharpshooter come about because you have Sharps rifles? It is just a coincidence, but the word "sharpshooter" came from the German word "scharfschutze." There were a lot of units on both sides that had the title of sharpshooters and they had all sorts of rifles, ranging from the standard Springfield and Enfield rifles all the way to the highly accurate and expensive Whitworth rifle used by the Confederates.
Out in the Field
Do you sleep in your tents? Yes, it's part of the experience for us to camp and eat in the great outdoors.
How do you know who gets wounded or killed in a battle? In the NCWA and other events that we participate in, it depends on which side is supposed to win a particular battle and the current situation during the battle. If there are a lot of people shooting at you, somebody ought to be taking hits. It becomes a matter of honor and keeping the spectators engaged as well. Sometimes the decision when to take a hit can be easily made as for example once I was standing not too far from a ground charge when it went off. My time burning powder on the field ended at that moment and I played "dead" for thirty minutes.
Getting Involved in Reenacting
I want to learn more about reenacting, what should I do? Come out and visit us at our events. Please check our schedule for dates and locations. Also there are resources on the Internet, some that are linked on this site. Visit your local library to do research the Civil War and soldiers who fought in it. Here is a list of resources if you are considering a Berdan Sharpshooter impression. Some of these books might be for sale online at places like eBay or Amazon. A word of warning: many of these books are out of print. Best bet for a first book is Wiley Sword's book.
How much money will this cost me? Once you get your kit together it will be in the neighborhood of $2000-2500. A lot of it may depend on the quality of the gear and if you find some deals on used gear. Be sure to check with the company you are joining before buying anything. They can recommend who to buy from, what to buy first (for me it was socks and shoes), and offer loaner gear to ease you into this new hobby without a major initial outlay. Once you feel like that living in tents, wearing wool, and eating hardtack is the life for you, then it's time to start buying gear.
Ready to enlist with the 1st USSS? Great to hear! First off, please contact our recruiter. You will also need to join the NCWA and pass the safety test. The good news is that you will not have to participate in a shooting test to qualify.