Reenactor camp life can vary from living in garrison style A-frame tent to wool blankets on the ground. We are by far a hardcore campaigner unit, but we also steer away from mainstream reenacting. We do work tirelessly to accurately portray to the best of our ability the typical Civil War soldier. Here are some examples of how campaign life was lived during the war.
1. Not every soldier had a tent.
Especially in the Confederacy much of the bedding and tent-age was brought from home. Mainly high ranking officers were issued tents. Most Union soldiers were issued a shelter half. There are some account that many Union soldiers didn't get issues tents till about mid-war. Soldiers had the option to have a fellow soldier add their half to make a full size dog tent.
2. Cast iron WAS NOT USED during the war.
Most soldiers used a canteen half, ramrods, bayonets or tin cups or "boilers" to cook their food. Only the camp engineer would had access to the cooking supply while on campaign. Cookware and eating utensils were made out of tin, brass, copper or steel. No STAINLESS STEEL or ALUMINUM was used or ever produced.
3. Union soldiers had rations issued regularly.
If you're going to portray a typical Union soldier while on campaign, here is a list of rations he would had been issued. The most common were, salt pork, salt or fresh beef, desiccated vegetables, hard tack, flour, rice, beans or corn meal, raw sugar and green or roasted coffee beans. Check out the Civil War Digital Digest on YouTube on how to prepare your rations period correct. All of this plus eating utensils were put into your haversack, not personal items or ammunition.
4. Confederate Soldiers got by with bare minimum.
Especially towards the end of the war, most Confederate soldiers were on the brink of starvation (Scarecrow Soldiers). The Confederate soldier was issued what was available at that time. Parched corn, cornmeal, acorn coffee, hard boiled eggs, cured meat and peanuts were common among the ranks during campaign. Due to the extreme nature of the Confederate lifestyle during the war, we will be issuing Union style rations at events.
5. Camp Seating.
In most camps, camp chairs were a rarity. Mainly headquarters camps would had chairs. But there are a few thing's that the enlisted would had plenty of for sitting, hardtack/ ammunition boxes, issued blankets and gum blankets. Most men would be exhausted from a long day's march and would have much preferred resting on the ground with their gum blanket or the issued wool blanket.