The civilian members of the 140th NYVI strive to accurately portray northern civilians of the 1860's - the families, friends, and supporters of the original 140th NYVI. To show our respect for these individuals we place a great deal of emphasis on the authenticity of our appearance and behavior. Our impressions are based on ongoing historical research. As living history interpreters we have set a goal of educating ourselves and the public about the sacrifices made by the civilians during the Civil War. Within our group we work together as friends with a common interest in the culture of mid 19th century western New York State; sharing research, skills, knowlege, questions and companionship.
The following lists contains the basic items of clothing and equipment needed for a civilian impression. We suggest you not purchase or make any of these items until you have contacted a member of our civilian committee.
Daydress or workdress
Low heeled, square toed leather shoes or boots
Cotton stockings (white preferred) with garters
White cotton 'underpinnings' - chemise, drawers, corset or stays, underpetticoat, hoops or corded petticoat, overpetticoat.
Bonnet (for adult womens), hat (for young girls), or sunbonnet
Basket or carpetbag
Drinking cup or mug
Gloves and handkerchief
Appropriate accessories for your impression; jewelry, pocketwatch, apron, shawl, sewing kit, etc.
Trousers and vest (waistcoat)
Sackcoat or frockcoat
Leather shoes or boots
Cotton or wool socks
Cotton or flannel drawers
Hat or cap
Drinking cup or mug
Appropriate accessories for your impression; jewelry, pocketwatch, necktie or cravat, cane, tobacco pipe, etc.
Age appropriate clothing in a style suitable for the parents economic status
Girls and boys still in diapers must wear dresses. Modern diapers must be covered with cloth diapers or drawers
Appropriate toys or games
We do not require our members to camp, but should they wish to do so they will need good quality reproduction items including a white canvas tent, tin and cast iron cooking gear, woolen blankets or quilt in authentic colors and patterns, china dishes, etc. At reenactments and living history events we maintain a '24 hour authentic' camp, so that even after the public is gone our camp still appears to be a scene out of the 1860's.
Since our civilians represent the families, friends, and supporters of the 140th NY a basic knowledge of the history of the original 140th is required, as well as some some understanding of the Civil War itself.
Civilian members of the unit should have a basic understanding of the culture of the time, including etiquette and religion.
New members must satisfy the requirements stated in this document and in the unit by-laws, before participating in an event. Proper conduct and a suitable impression must be maintained when in the presence of the public at events, and is encouraged at all times, for it improves the experience for both yourself and your fellow renactors. Members of the 140th are expected to strive for the highest standards of historical accuracy in their impression, and to be respectful of the research and impressions of fellow members as well as reenactors from other groups.
Participation in the scheduled activities of events is mandatory. When at an event civilian members are required to follow the civilian guidelines and the rules and regulations of that event. All civilian reenactors must have an impression suitable for their age and sex.
At the beginning of each reenacting season a series of training sessions is offered. New members must attend the New Member Orientation and one additional session. All other members are strongly encouraged to take part in the other sessions either as 'teachers' or 'students'.
Last updated: 10/12/2001