How does someone start their own unit?

j2huggies

Private
Joined
Oct 31, 2020
Location
Havre De Grace, MD
I am interested in starting my own Veteran Reserve Corps (Invalid Corps) unit (20th Rgt VRC out of Baltimore) but do not know how to do this. It's just me for now, and I am only a Private.
 

captaindrew

Major
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Mar 13, 2017
Location
Whereabouts Unknown
I would guess finding member #2 would be a start. Everything seems to happen on social media these days. I'd start a website and/or Facebook page and try and circulate a recruiting add. I'm sure there has to be some other folks in the Baltimore area that would be interested in that. Maybe see if some of the local historical sites or upcoming reenactments would let you come out in character and do a presentation that might attract some attention.
 

7thWisconsin

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
When the plague is over, pick a few living history and reenactment events that fit your vision of what you want to do and go to them. Set up and do the impression. Be prepared to pass on contact information but don´t wait for 4-5 other people to go with you before you do your impression. Do it and you will find likeminded individuals. (Also, be prepared for building a unit to take a long time. The hobby is still dealing with aging and economic issues, let alone the current health and cultural issues.)
 

Rusk County Avengers

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Location
Coffeeville, TX
Forming a unit from nothing and all alone is almost impossible. There's no one person that can do it, its got to be several folks of like mind and judgment getting together.

Myself I've reenacted with a unit for 12 or 13 years, and most of the folks who were the glue have died off or fallen by the wayside because others passing on, to the point it is now unrecognizable, (also a clown ***kissing his way to the top in a year after joining really convinced me to leave).

Also being a member of an SCV Color Guard, me and about a dozen like minded folks wanting a reenacting unit based out of NE Texas are now trying to form one spun off from the Color Guard. One simply cannot decide to form something from nothing all alone, its a team effort and a trying process. That's my experience....
 

Old Breck

Private
Joined
Jun 15, 2017
Location
Garden City, Michigan
Best thing to do is to find a quality group in your area. Starting your own group may sound like a fun idea, but unless you have a following in a reenacting, who is going to join up,

Another thing to consider is that the hobby is no longer based on belonging to a specific group. Being part of the Xth Infantry is a dated idea that no longer really works in the hobby.

The hobby is event-based now and each event is going to portray a different impression each time. You would really be limiting if you only wanted to portray one specific unit at every event. Unfortunately, there are no events portraying the VRC that I know of
 

7thWisconsin

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
Best thing to do is to find a quality group in your area. Starting your own group may sound like a fun idea, but unless you have a following in a reenacting, who is going to join up,

Another thing to consider is that the hobby is no longer based on belonging to a specific group. Being part of the Xth Infantry is a dated idea that no longer really works in the hobby.

The hobby is event-based now and each event is going to portray a different impression each time. You would really be limiting if you only wanted to portray one specific unit at every event. Unfortunately, there are no events portraying the VRC that I know of
We´re losing something in event-based reenacting, too. In this hobby, people should be able to follow their interests, not be contrained by market forces. Say I´m a c/p/h/a reenactor who is interested in zouaves. I put together a complete, museum quality 114th PA impression. Where am I going to go to use it? I don´t mean wear it like a clothes tree standing in the yard of a house museum; I mean use it. March in it. Sweat in it. Sneak through the woods in it. So let´s change that to VRC. In this instance we have one reenactor who is interested in VRC. By and large what did they do? Paperwork. Guard duty. Rear eschelon stuff mostly. So what you need is a rear eschelon venue where this side of the war can be portrayed. For instance: a historic fort location where you can set up an administrative display and show other reenactors how they would have mustered out? Or counted their gear? (I´m just pulling stuff off the top of my head here, so if these aren´t part of the VRC mission, forgive me.) Were prisoners handled there? How? Is there a gate, wall or doorway where you can stand a turn of guard walking your post? (I did a single day as a VRC a couple years ago at a very high-end prison camp event. I talked with more people that day than in 5 years previous, including one of the best firper interactions I´ve ever had.) One guy with an interest, and the internet, may just find another. But in the meantime, you have to work with what you have. If VRC is your thing, then do it. It might be helpful to find another unit which will allow you to do this impression as an adjunct to their main thing. If they primarily do Federal infantry, for example, they can probably fit your side impression into what they do at certain venues a couple times a year. Once you build relationships, you can branch out as you wish. Steve Jackson said in his GURPS rpg system that ¨no one wants to play a blind, hunchbacked dwarf eunuch with one leg shorter than the other. Or, they´ll have so much fun doing it that it doesn´t matter.¨ I think that applies to reenacting, too.
 

j2huggies

Private
Joined
Oct 31, 2020
Location
Havre De Grace, MD
We´re losing something in event-based reenacting, too. In this hobby, people should be able to follow their interests, not be contrained by market forces. Say I´m a c/p/h/a reenactor who is interested in zouaves. I put together a complete, museum quality 114th PA impression. Where am I going to go to use it? I don´t mean wear it like a clothes tree standing in the yard of a house museum; I mean use it. March in it. Sweat in it. Sneak through the woods in it. So let´s change that to VRC. In this instance we have one reenactor who is interested in VRC. By and large what did they do? Paperwork. Guard duty. Rear eschelon stuff mostly. So what you need is a rear eschelon venue where this side of the war can be portrayed. For instance: a historic fort location where you can set up an administrative display and show other reenactors how they would have mustered out? Or counted their gear? (I´m just pulling stuff off the top of my head here, so if these aren´t part of the VRC mission, forgive me.) Were prisoners handled there? How? Is there a gate, wall or doorway where you can stand a turn of guard walking your post? (I did a single day as a VRC a couple years ago at a very high-end prison camp event. I talked with more people that day than in 5 years previous, including one of the best firper interactions I´ve ever had.) One guy with an interest, and the internet, may just find another. But in the meantime, you have to work with what you have. If VRC is your thing, then do it. It might be helpful to find another unit which will allow you to do this impression as an adjunct to their main thing. If they primarily do Federal infantry, for example, they can probably fit your side impression into what they do at certain venues a couple times a year. Once you build relationships, you can branch out as you wish. Steve Jackson said in his GURPS rpg system that ¨no one wants to play a blind, hunchbacked dwarf eunuch with one leg shorter than the other. Or, they´ll have so much fun doing it that it doesn´t matter.¨ I think that applies to reenacting, too.
Love this reply! I still plan to do VRC. I found a group out of NJ that does VRC as well, and some guys in VA and PA that do it every so often.
 

7thWisconsin

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
Here´s a photo of my one and only VRC appearance in a borrowed jacket. I´d do it again, but I only get out 2 or 3 times a year as Federal infantry as it is now.

VRC Elmira.jpg
 

Rusk County Avengers

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Location
Coffeeville, TX
I know I'd love to do an Invalid Corps impression, but seeing how I'm in the Deep South, and the Invalids only guarded prisons, hospitals, and so on behind Northern lines, I can't say that'll ever happen.
 
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