150th First Manassas/Bull Run Safety, Authenticity and Scenario Enforcement

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150th First Manassas/Bull Run

Safety, Authenticity and Scenario Enforcement

Representatives of the Mason-Dixon Alliance (USV and ANV) and Blue-Gray Alliance (National Organization) have formed a special and unique partnership with Prince William County, Va., the City of Manassas and the NPS at the Bull Run National Battlefield Park to offer reenactors and the public a series of events to commemorate the 150th First Battle of Manassas. This includes a national scale 150th reenactment involving up to 15,000 reenactors, special commemorative events at the Bull Run National Military Park and the 100th year commemoration of the 50th year Jubilee that was held in the City of Manassas on July 21st 1911 - the first “hands across the wall” between veterans of the conflict.
We believe that the reenactment site, which is directly adjacent to the NPS Battlefield of 2nd Manassas, offers a unique opportunity to permit all reenacting interests to come together and to meet their individual expectations. Yes, there will be the modern services needed to support spectators, particularly in July. Yes, there will be event and educational lecture tents and period vendors and yes, there will be large early war garrison-style camps, but there will also be room for campaigners to camp in the woods and natural barriers that minimize the intrusions of modern requirements and the various period impressions. There has been no attempt to divide the community. There is one Federal camp and one Confederate camp. Living history camps are by invitation only. All camps are 1861 and, subject to the following, shall operate under the standards of your umbrella organization. There is no provision for a separate civilian camp nor is there any provision for a modern camp. Reenactors may reside in an RV, for example, in reenactor parking, but there shall be no open or grill fires, tentage or extended RV Flys in the reenactor parking areas.
We expect to have closely scripted, historically accurate, time and command managed battle scenarios. Unlike any reenactment of this scale in the past, we are prepared to re-wind the movements on the field, if necessary, to get it right. All revenues, to include registration fees, and all net proceeds will go directly to Prince William County and/or the City of Manassas for historic preservation.
With this in mind, reenactors are advised of the following:
1. Every reenactor and/or living historian shall affiliate, as a part of their registration, with an established Civil War reenactment unit. That unit must then, in turn, be a recognized part of an established Civil War reenactment umbrella organization. Event staff will coordinate with Army Commands to attempt to assign individuals registering without a recognized umbrella organization, but this does not guarantee acceptance by the assigned unit or umbrella organization. As a safety and as a command and control issue it is the individual's responsibility to affiliate and if no recognized unit is found, the individual will not be able to participate.
Affiliation means that the unit or individual will be under the control of, camp with, be safety inspected by and fall in for battle with that recognized unit. Individuals must join or affiliate with a unit to register. The event Commanders and organizers will make the final determination if a registration is accepted.
2. There will be no walk-ons
Within the requirements noted above, reenactor (Military and Civilian) registration will be on a first come first served basis. Specialty impressions – to include generals - are by invitation only.
3. The event organizers begin with the assumption that the vast majority of reenactors care deeply about our American heritage and have already spent considerable time, effort, and resources in assembling an accurate portrayal of a civil war soldier -- from their dress and equipment to their understandings of the School of the Soldier and School of the Battalion. We also assume that each reenactor and living historian is prepared to take personal responsibility for their own health and safety and the safety of others in camp and on the field.
4. No person shall carry the non-commissioned rank of Sgt/Major or the commissioned filed grade rank of major or above without approval of Army command (Federal or C.S.A.) No General Officers will be allowed on the field without prior approval of Army command.
5. Army commands will work with the Event organizers and staffs to enforce impression and safety standards. Shortcomings will be reported to Army, Division or Regimental command and, if necessary, to event staff, as appropriate.
6. Safety and Scenario violations will be immediately corrected. Army, Division and Regimental commanders will be held responsible for noted safety violations and for their correction. Depending on the severity of a safety violation the Commander may be relieved of command by the Commanding Army General or by the event staff.

Impression Standards
The First Battle of Manassas / Bull Run offers reenactors a rare opportunity to portray a wide variety of military and civilian impressions. We encourage all well-researched impressions including battle-shirts, pre-war militia uniforms, commutation jackets, combinations of military and civilian garments, and the like that can be linked to the event and history at the reenactor, Company or greater level, e.g., 15 or more common impressions. We are not interested in and will not permit military impressions of two or three individuals – even if authentic - on the field.
Please do your best to educate the public and respect your fellow reenactors by heeding the following:

  1. All clothing must accurately represent the fashion and style of 1861: e.g., natural fibers, period cut and color.

  2. Modern plastic glasses frames are not to be permitted

  3. Modern footwear is permitted in leather boots and in black only. No shoes and no sneakers (we should not need to have this discussion).

  4. No specialty impressions without the approval of the Event. This includes portrayals of Lee, Jackson, Lincoln, Grant, Clara Barton, Siamese war elephants, etc. etc. If you have any doubts, ask.

  5. Women portraying soldiers in the ranks should make every reasonable effort to hide their gender. Hundreds if not thousands of women passed themselves off as men in order to serve as soldiers during the war – on both sides – and we will never know exactly how many did so because they were good at it. Honor them. If any Army or event volunteer (as above) determines the female gender at not less that 15 feet that individual will be asked to leave the field/ranks. Ponytails on men aren’t a great idea, either, nor are mohawks or gelled spikes. It’s 1861.

  6. As a compromise to modern safety, a minimum number of period Ice Angels (2-3) will be permitted for each authorized Battalion. Each Ice Angel must be at least 16 years of age.

  7. Do not wear any uniforms or insignia that would not have appeared at First Manassas/Bull Run in 1861. This includes, but is by no means limited to:

    1. Corps badges.

    2. Confederate sharpshooter badges.

    3. Bucktails or Berdans uniforms.

    4. “RD II” and Tate jackets.

    5. Veteran Reserve Corps jackets.

  8. The classic “campaigner” impression is wrong for this event. Raggedy impressions will be asked to leave the ranks/field.

  9. FYI, no soldier at the First Manassas/ Bull Run had brass that hadn’t been shined for that battle.

  10. A dirty musket is rarely if ever appropriate and may in fact constitute a safety violation.

  11. All anachronisms (cots, coolers, sweat pants, etc.) must be hidden away inside tents at all times.

  12. Tobacco use shall be confined to period products – pipes, cigars, snuff, chew, or in rare cases filterless cigarettes.

The following is a brief summary of Event Safety Rules. More detailed discussions may be viewed at:
Special Event Safety Requirements.

  1. Only a senior non-com may pull a ramrod in the field and only if 20 paces behind the firing line. No exceptions. A violation of this rule can result in the private and the senior non-com being thrown out of the event.

  2. You can fix bayonets for inspections and to stack arms while staging for battle scenarios, as directed by commanders. You will not fix bayonets or ram cartridges in battle.

  3. There will be no hand-to-hand combat except as provided by the scripted scenario. You will be told in advance if you are a participant. Anyone who touches another participant, their gear or any colors -- if not previously arranged - will be arrested, ejected and prosecuted.

  4. During battle scenarios, do not come within 50 yards of the muzzle of an artillery piece.

  5. No firing of small arms within 40 yards. Never aim directly at anyone at any range.

  6. Only period smoking on the field.

  7. No bare feet on the field. You may be willing to run the risk, but we don’t want to send medics for you when someone may be having a more serious problem elsewhere.

  8. NO black powder weapons of any kind will be carried or fired by any participant less than 16 years of age.  Participants 16-18 years old must have parental or signed guardian supervision. Children under age 16 are not permitted on the field during the reenactments. Exceptions will be made for functional musicians (boys 11 or older who can actually play a drum, a fife or a bugle) and trained signal party youths age 12 or above. These youths will be assigned one on one with an adult signal man. Violation of these rules can lead to ejection of the child, responsible adult and/or unit commander.

  9. NO projectiles, bullets, musket balls, or loading blocks will be carried at any time.

  10. Cartridge paper will not be placed in the barrel and NO wadding or ramming will be permitted except in the use of handguns. (Absolutely NO wonder wads, Cream of Wheat recommended). Multiple loading is not permitted.

  11. Infantry cartridges will not be carried anywhere on the person except in a hard cartridge box.

  12. Infantry black powder will only be carried in the form of cartridges.

  13. Straw must be kept inside the tent.

  14. ALL campfires shall have, at a minimum, one full bucket or other container of water /fire extinguisher close at hand. Event staff will inspect for this and may cancel your fire permit.

  15. We encourage battalions to mount guards.

  16. It will be hot and summer in Virginia – hydrate and limit your consumption of alcoholic beverages. Excessive drinking is a safety issue and can lead to your ejection.

  17. Lights out means lights out and quiet time. We know you’re happy to be with your friends but people need their sleep before they go out on a hot summer day and handle black powder weapons.

  18. Due to congestion and the number of participants, Cars in camp – for 45 minutes – to unload when permitted.

  19. Cars will not enter / re-enter camp from Friday noon until Sunday after the battle.

1. 3 band muskets preferred; correct 2 banders and flint locks allowed only by prior written approval from the Army commanding General subject to supporting historical documentation and must be restricted to use in the front rank only..

2. NO non-period weapons.

3. NO civilian weapons.

4. Side arms carried ONLY by officers and cavalry troopers.

5. NO sheath knives will be carried on the field.

6. POWDER CHARGES limited to a maximum of 70 grains for .54-.58 caliber and 90 grains for .69 caliber, 60 grains for carbines; 14 and 30 grains for .36 and .44 caliber pistols respectively.

7. No live ammunition is allowed on the reenactment site. LEAVE IT HOME!

8. No tompions may be taken to the field.

9. No "Wonder wads" are to be used in any weapon.
1. Artillery is by the invitation of the Federal and Confederate Artillery Commander only.

2. Cavalry is by invitation of the Federal and Confederate Cavalry Commander only.

3. These limitations reflect the complexity of the scenarios for these two services.

Thanks very much for your cooperation. If you have any questions about these or the full set of safety regulations, please contact us
Directory: Manassas

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