On the field the 71st Pennsylvania is run like an army regiment of 1861. We have a chain of field command, starting with the privates, corporals, sergeants, and company commander. We strive for authenticity in our Civil War military impression. We learn the intricacies of soldiering and understanding commands, and participate in some fantastic, unbelievable reenactments with sometimes 12-15,000 participants.
The 71st Pennsylvania is a strong family oriented unit. Woman, children and some men enthusiastically re-create aspects of Civil War camp life specific to civilians in both military and non-military settings. Our civilians also make every effort to achieve historically accurate impressions.
In addition to reenactments, the 71st is invited to participate in local living history encampments and period interpretations. These take the form of setting up and maintaining a Civil War era encampment for the weekend, and making presentations or demonstrations at schools, community events or museums. Our group has also participated in the filming of several major motion pictures. Two of the more famous are "Gettysburg" and "Gods & Generals."
Members of the 71st Pennsylvania also march in a number of local parades throughout the year. This is a chance for us to show our patriotic spirit and "strut our stuff" in front of family and friends. Some of the events we participate in raise money for historic preservation. As a member, you are encouraged to take part in as many of the events as your schedule allows. However, once you come out for a battle or parade, you'll find it hard to sit on the sidelines again.
The 71st Pennsylvania actively welcomes new members. Yearly Membership dues are affordable for family participation.
Annual dues go toward paying for events and the purchase of equipment and supplies which belong to the entire unit.
Anyone under the age of 18 must join with a parent or guardian. To carry a musket a soldier must be at least 16 years of age. Boys under the age of 16 are welcome to join our cadet corps program. Cadets can portray many impressions such as drummer, fifer, hospital orderly, or messenger.
Reenacting is an exciting hobby, which combines historical interpretation with camping and black powder shooting. From the treasury, we have purchased company owed equipment, which everyone shares. Many articles for our activities can be initially borrowed from the regiment, and later acquired by individuals as their budgets allow. During your first year, you'll need to purchase a weapon, uniform, shoes, hat, shirt, socks, and leather goods.
It is of the absolute, utmost importance of the 71st PVI to enjoy all these activities safely. The shooting of black powder weapons requires thorough understanding, training and supervision. Men carrying muskets are taught the proper methods of handling them and are practiced extensively. Safety is always the top priority. Camp fires are carefully monitored during our outings and water buckets are strategically located for emergencies. We maintain a first aid kit and emergency care is available via EMTs at the majority of our events.