Policies for Military Impressions

140th N.Y.V.I. Living History Organization

I. Statement of Purpose

The 140th regiment of New York Infantry was a volunteer unit raised in 1862 from Monroe County, New York. Circumstances in its history gave the unit a particularly strong Regular Army influence. The 140th was principally commanded by two West Point graduates, Colonel Patrick O’Rorke and Colonel George Ryan. The regiment was also part of the Army of the Potomac’s Fifth Corps, which was originally formed around a division of Regulars. The presence of professional soldiers made the corps a command where "discipline tended to be severe, there was strict observance of military formalities, and the Regular Army flavor endured."

The regiment also spent the majority of its service either brigaded with, or in a division with Regular Army troops. Therefore, historically, the 140th had a well-deserved reputation for discipline and aptitude in drill. A military impression in the 140th New York Living History group should keep in line with this reputation.

II. Equipment and Uniform

The following are the basic items of equipment and apparel needed for a military impression:

  1. Uniform coat - four-button sack coat (fatigue jacket), dark blue wool. No rank insignia, except as determined by unit.
  2. Cap - forage cap aka bummer. Dark blue wool, leather visor. Optional cap brass to include infantry horn, numbers "140," company letter "B," or Fifth Corps badge (white maltese cross) is acceptable but not encouraged. Just be aware that there are events which will ask you to remove Corp and Unit markings dependent on the impression of the event. Additionally, an undressed Hardee hat may be required for certain scenarios (Iron Brigade).
  3. Pants - Light blue kersey wool pants. With suspenders, either adjustable or non-adjustable, made of cloth (most commonly linen, canvas or bed ticking). No elastic.
  4. Shirt - Issue shirt was white muslin or gray flannel, four-button pullover with collar, one-button cuffs. Civilian produced shirts were of similar cut; cotton solids, checks or calico print.
  5. Socks - Wool. Shag or solid color, no stripes.
  6. Footwear - U.S. Model 1851 Jefferson Brogan. Pegged soles are more correct, but sewn soles last longer and are easier and cheaper to get replaced. Metal horseshoe heel plates are also suggested.
  7. Waist Belt - Black leather, with U.S. oval belt plate. Brass keeper optional. S.N.Y. plates are not recommended.
  8. Cartridge Box - U.S. Model 1855 .58 caliber cartridge box, black leather. With cartridge tins, and a U.S. box plate. Secured by leather cartridge sling with eagle baldric (brass plate). Should also have belt loops for use with Zouave uniform. A S.N.Y. box plate is acceptable but not recommended.
  9. Cap Pouch - U.S. Model 1850, black leather.
  10. Haversack - made of white canvas, waterproofed with black tarring. Leather strap and buckle closure.
  11. Canteen - Either U.S. Model 1858 Smoothside or Bullseye (1862) canteen. Stainless steel acceptable. The preferred strap is leather; white cotton drill is acceptable. Jean wool covering is preferred. Dark gray wool, sky blue or dark blue wool covering is acceptable.
  12. Musket - three-band, either Springfield or Enfield musket with leather sling appropriate to musket. NO side arms, knives or swords allowed, except where warranted by rank. (As per unit by-laws, members must be over 16 years of age to carry a weapon.)
  13. Bayonet and Scabbard - Triangular bayonet proper for your musket. Matching scabbard, black leather, frog (for Enfield) and brass tip.
  14. Cartridges - properly rolled, 60 grain (FFF) black powder cartridges rolled in plain white or tan paper. No coin rollers, tape, glue or staples.
  15. Percussion caps should be the four wing type.
  16. Glasses (if needed) - Period correct, small oval, curved bridge looped behind ears, no nose piece. Clear lenses only.

The equipment above is the minimum required for an on-the field portrayal of a Union soldier. (Various cleaning and gun care items are also recommended for maintenance of your weapon.) The following items would be needed for a proper camp impression. Camping in the field is strongly recommended for all military members, but is not required.

  1. Tent - U.S. Model 1862 or 1864 shelter half, white canvas, with or without end piece. It is recommended that each member has own complete tent (two halves). Branches for poles, wooden pegs or forged iron stakes will also be needed. Wall tents or wedge tents for authentic family camping only.
  2. Blanket - U.S. Model 1851 gray wool blanket with black end stripes or Model 1861 brown wool blanket with dark brown end stripes.
  3. Cooking utensils - Heavy tin cup or boiler, frying pan, knife, fork and spoon, period correct. Coffee pot, tin plate optional as needed.
  4. Rubber blanket/poncho - Optional, but highly recommended.

The following items are optional, but are found highly useful.

  1. Other uniform items - great coat, frock coat, shell jacket, military vests, dark blue pants and gaiters are all optional, but are useful as further examples of items a Civil War soldier would be equipped with. The 140th is making a greater effort to have its members at some point acquire a zouave uniform, but it is not mandatory.
  2. Knapsack - U.S. Model 1851 double bag knapsack, black tarred canvas.
  3. Personal items (haversack stuffers) - any period correct items, either military issue, or civilian. Pocket watches, books, diaries, writing implements, toiletry items, playing cards, housewives, candles, pictures, etc. are all great for living history, and can also be helpful in the field. The only modern jewelry allowed on the field is a wedding ring.
  4. Tobacco - chewing or smoking. If you smoke, make it a pipe or cigars. Cigarettes were considered effeminate.

III. Military Drill

The following items of military knowledge are required before a member can partake in a public military demonstration or reenactment. The drill is taken from Casey’s Infantry Tactics.

  1. Manual of Arms - Arms positions of order arms, shoulder arms, support arms, present arms, right should shift arms, support arms, trail arms, ground arms, secure arms, charge bayonet. Also correct procedures for inspection arms, fixing and unfixing bayonets.
  2. Firing and Safety Procedures - Knowledge of all firing procedures and positions. Member must first be inspected by military commander or designated representative in firing his weapon before taking part in first event.
  3. Basic Marching Maneuvers - Knowledge of the following maneuvers: from line into column, marching by the left flank, marching by files, by files into line, by company into line, doubling and undoubling files, wheeling.

IV. Military Knowledge

As a member of a Civil War regiment, a soldier would automatically know the following items:

  1. Military and rank structure of regimental organization (platoons, companies, who commands what, etc.)
  2. Military and rank structure of army organization (brigades, divisions, corps, and appropriate command rank).
  3. Basic knowledge of the history of the 140th. Battles in which they fought, commanders of regiment, brigade, division and corps designation etc.
  4. General knowledge of military history of Civil War, particularly the Army of the Potomac and the Eastern Theatre.
  5. Points of military etiquette.
  6. Civilian information. Each soldier was a volunteer, a misplaced civilian.

V. General Points

  1. New members must satisfy requirements stated in this document before participating in an event: must be properly equipped, approved in use of firearm, and in knowledge of military drill, history and etiquette. Members must also satisfy any other unit requirements that are stated in by-laws or other documents.
  2. Proper military and period conduct and impression must be maintained at all times when in the presence of the public at events. At other times this is recommended, for it improves the experience for both yourself and your comrades.
  3. Equipment and firearms will be inspected at each event.
  4. Attendance at the schedule activities of events is mandatory, especially drill and safety inspections. Members are not held responsible for unplanned activities, or those scheduled without reasonable notice. Attendance at morning roll-call is mandatory. Absence from this may preclude the member from participating in the day’s activities.
  5. When at events military guidelines and authority are in effect and members are required to obey all reasonable orders and activities (i.e. guide duty, night picket, wood or cook detail) that take place.
  6. At the beginning of each reenacting season, a minimum of two drill sessions will be scheduled. Attendance at least one of these sessions is mandatory for all members, except with permission of the military commander.
  7. All male military personnel under the age of 16 must have a working impression as a musician in order to participate on the field. Additional guidelines for members under 16 years of age are covered under a separate policy for youth membership.
  8. All rules and regulations of the 140th New York are in effect at all events.

Revised: 12/2009