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Missouri Civil War Reenactors Association
Policy Summary
Revised May 15, 2005

1. Presentations for Max Effort events to be made at the August meeting. (10/01)
2. MCWRA appoint a liaison to coordinate events. (10/01)
3. The MCWRA no longer accepts alcoholic beverages as an inducement to have an event. (1/87)
4. That standard forms be established for individual registration and individual release of liability. (11/91)

1. Max Effort: 100% participation urged. If reenacting an actual event, then those branches that were actually there should be included in the scenario. (i.e. if there were no Artillery or Guerrillas at the actual battle then there should be none at the reenactment.) If the reenactment is not of an actual battle, all branches must be included in the weekend scenario. (10/01)
2. Benefit: Admission is charged for benefit of recognized non-profit organization. Admission proceeds must be donated in their entirety and cannot be used to defray costs of putting on the event.
3. Sanctioned: No specific definition. MCWRA approved event other than the above.
4. Listed: Non-MCWRA event for information only.

1. An MCWRA unit is defined as a recognized group of men and/or women who have banded together, because they favor the impression of one side or the other, i.e. Confederate or Union. They also generally prefer to fit into a category of, infantry, cavalry, artillery, Guerrilla, Provost Marshal, medical, civilian or etc.
2. A recognized unit is one that has successfully undergone a probationary period, been accepted by the Executive Committee, and meets the criteria listed below. Infantry:     10 men
Cavalry:     8 men together with mounts
Dismounted Cavalry     10 men
Artillery:     One full size artillery piece approved for authenticity and safety, by three (3) Artillery Officers appointed by the board. Plus a minimum crew of five (5) men.
Guerrillas:     5 men with or without mounts.
Provost Marshal:     5 men with or without mounts.
Medical:     3 men and /or women.
Engineers:     5 men
Other Units:     5 men or women performing authentic functions. (The numerical criteria for a combatant unit is number of male combatants age 16 or older.)
3. Each new unit will undergo a probationary period, of one year.
4. Each new probationary unit must have a sponsor from the same branch who will recommend to the Executive committee when the probationary unit meets the criteria for full membership.  Cavalry must be sponsored by a unit of the same branch but from the opposite side, for instance US sponsors CS or vice-versa.  Any non-combatant unit may be sponsored by any unit.
5. No artillery unit be accepted for MCWRA membership, nor new piece by an established unit, if the piece is not full scale, and approved by the three (3) artillery officers appointed by the board.
6. All units must maintain the minimum number of members to maintain active voting status and unit status.

1. Individual dues are $10.00 per calendar year, no matter what time of year individual joins.
2. Dues are $10.00 per family membership, no matter what time of year family joins. Family membership established to include parents and children under age 16.
3. A lifetime membership fee established of $100 individual, or family.
4. Temporary membership is $ 10.00 per event. A temporary membership fee makes the person a temporary MCWRA member and covered under the insurance umbrella for that event only. The sponsoring unit is the Primary responsible party for ensuring that non-MCWRA members are charged for temporary membership for that event. The Secondary responsible party is the Provost Marshal.
5. Effective May 22, 2010, any dues paid after September 1 of a given year, shall be credited for both the remainder of that calendar year AND the full next calendar year.

6. Dues paid after April 1 shall be $15

1. Ballots to be numbered and registered, mail to MCWRA P.O. Box, to be sealed until next board meeting when opened and counted. Secretary to maintain ballots for one year. (11/87)
2. Each member whose dues are paid is entitled to vote.
3. All family memberships to receive one (1) ballot.
4. One member equals one vote; in a family situation, if another vote is desired (wife, other combatant, etc.) another membership is required. Membership entities the member (and in a family membership) to one vote, MCWRA liability insurance and the newsletter.

1. Regular Board meetings be scheduled on a quarterly basis. (8/85)
2. One Board meeting is set to coincide with the scheduling meeting. (8/85)
3. Date for next meeting to be set at each meeting before adjournment. (8/85)
4. Minutes list all units/representatives attending meeting in addition to board members. (8/89)
5. Insurance limits set to $2 Million. (5/2005)
6. In order for family members to be covered under MCWRA insurance in a family membership, all names of family must be turned in to the treasurer. (10/01). (8/89)
7. There will be no live fire at events.
8. Institute use of a sponsor's questionnaire for anyone applying for a Sanctioned Event. (8/85)
9. MCWRA Logo is available for use by members if approved by Board. (11/84)
10. Event sponsors to be required to contribute  $400 toward MCWRA insurance expense. (5/05)

Event Schedule Information: (10/99)
1. Presenters for events should come to the planning meeting with their $400.00 for insurance at that time.
2. If it is necessary for the event sponsors to cancel the event, MCWRA will return $400.00 to the sponsors if the event is canceled 90 or more days preceding a schedule event.
3. If the schedule event is canceled less then 90 days before the event, the entire $400.00 will be retained by MCWRA as planning, publication, publicity etc would have already been "in the works".

1. Western Campaigner cut off delinquent members after the February issue. (1/91)
2. Western Campaigner will not publish anonymous or name withheld letters..
3. Editor may issue a six page newsletter when necessary. (11/88)
4. Use First Class postage on the newsletter. (4/87)
5. Inserts to Campaigner on a first-come, first-served basis, not to require additional postage, to be selected/approved by the Editor, relate to educational or member information and $10 insertion fee paid. (8/84)

1. Overall commander of each side is responsible for safety; each unit commander is responsible for safety of his/her unit.
2. Fire safety is the Provost Marshal responsibility.
3. The rules "no pets in camp" is considered a part of our safety regulations. (12/85) This shall include the period sutler area (8/2007)
4. Flags shall not be captured unless a choreographed Part of the scenario. (4/89)
5. There will be no live fire at events.
6. If a live projectile is fired or another incident threatens the safety of the event, the battle will immediately be stopped an all troops will remain in place until the situation is resolved and instructions are issued by the senior commanders. The commander who first notes the incident will signal the halt by blowing a loud blast on a whistle and waving a fluorescent green flag. (11/91)

1. Roles of male participants are limited to those generally accepted as male roles, and roles of women to those generally accepted as female roles, by 19th Century perception. (8/85)  See end of this section for the expanded policy approved by the general membership present at the 8/2006 meeting.
2. No household pet (dog, cats, etc.) in camp. (8/85) This shall include the period sutler area (8/2007)
3. Minimum age for participation in battles in any capacity (including musician, powder monkey, color bearer, etc.) is 16. (11/91) Amended 5/06 to reduce the age of NON-combatants (non-weapons bearing ) to 12 years of age subject to the following a) must be able to perform the job assigned, b) must be under direct adult supervision.  Must still be 16 to carry a weapon or work an artillery piece

1. Provost Marshal required for each side at all MCWRA events, responsible to overall commander and responsible for maintaining order, can draw on units for assistants as needed. (4/91)
2. Parental Responsibility: Parents are responsible for supervising their children at all times. Unit Commanders/NCO's should enforce this requirement. (11/90)
3. No illegal drugs will be allowed at MCWRA sponsored events at any time. (10/01)
4. No alcohol will be consumed at MCWRA sponsored events between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. or anytime the camps are open to the public. (10/01)




A:  The following rules shall serve as minimum standards of conduct expected of all members/units of the MCWRA and non-member participants attending an MCWRA event.

Only period uniforms, clothing, accoutrements, materials, weapons, etc. will be used.  In general, military appearance will be that of the common soldier of the Civil War in Missouri during the years 1861 – 1865; firearms shall be of period correct type, reproduction or original common military arms (where deemed safe), no metallic cartridges may be used on the field (these arms are defined as original or reproduction arms based on those manufactured prior to 1865).  Dependents and civilians are welcome to participate in normal historical roles in proper attire, unless present as potential recruits.  Women will be allowed to participate in the ranks if they properly conceal their gender and present a good first person impression per the MCWRA policy on Women in the Ranks.  Troops will follow all reasonable and safe orders given to them by properly elected or designated officers and NCOs.  Officers and NCOs shall be treated with the military courtesy due their rank and title.  Specialized Impressions or Personae shall not participate upon the Battle Field except through prior arrangement of the specific event and with the approval of the Event Organizer/Host Unit.

B.  Cause for a member or unit’s suspension or dismissal from the MCWRA shall include, but not be limited to the following actions: Failure to comply with the provisions set forth in the By-laws and Policies of the MCWRA.  Actions that tend to embarrass or discredit the MCWRA or member units thereof, including slander of a member or member unit.  Disregard for safety rules and/or continued unacceptable behavior at events or camps where they represent the MCWRA.

C.  During a MCWRA sanctioned event, any member or unit accused of the items contained in Section B, Rules of Conduct, shall appear before an Event Review Board consisting of the members of the MCWRA Board of Directors present at the event and the Host Unit commander to hear charges and offer a defense.  The accused may request his/her Unit commander to appear before the review board on his/her/their behalf.  After charges and defenses are presented, the Event Review Board shall determine, by simple majority vote, the appropriate punishment.  The punishment may include, but is not limited to, immediate suspension or expulsion from the Association.  The findings and punishment of the Event Review Board is appealable to the full MCWRA Executive Board, whose decision is final.  If an Event Review Board is convened and the President of the MCWRA is not present, the Board shall report its findings and rulings to the President after the event.

Recommended Guidelines
By Wendy A. King

With more and more women entering the Civil War re-enactment community as soldiers: some with very good impressions and some with terrible impressions, it seems logical to have a set of standards to follow.  This would help both the sponsors of the event(s) and the women who wish to portray soldiers to have certain common ideas in mind as to authenticity and what should be expected of any given individual.   It is with the idea of common goals and defining what exactly is desired of those women who portray soldiers that this is written.


A) Basic Uniform: Same as men's, including accouterments and brogans.  The vest, jacket, and trousers should be one size larger than normal to hide obvious female characteristics.

B) Binder: An absolute must unless you are completely flat chested.  Sports brassieres do not give the kind of support or effect that is desirable.  One can still detect "unmanly" chest movement and those type brassieres don't really protect you from pain or your fellow soldiers from possible embarrassment. Imagine that you are in a tactical and a branch snaps you across the chest. Will a "Sports Brassiere" protect the tender areas?  The answer is no.  Now imagine that you take a "hit" face up and the hospital corps comes to check for a heart beat.  Will that Sports Brassiere keep them from finding out your true gender and save both the corps soldiers and yourself from embarrassment?  Again, the answer is no.

The importance of a good binder

a. Protects you and your comrades from embarrassment.
b. Keeps your gender a secret.
c. Protects other soldiers from embarrassment
d. It is authentic.  Original women soldiers wore binders.

 Binder pattern

Read instructions carefully!

Materials:  Plain Cotton, Muslin, *Linen or sheeting material  , (amount described in instructions) Shoulder strap material, (any material that is either strong enough on its own not to break under stress, or that can be doubled without too much bulk and will hold up under stress - amount described in instructions) Hooks and Eyes, Bra extenders  preferably with a double set of eyes, (3-4, depending on how wide they are, the wider and more hooks and eyes they have, the less fuss when changing the garment) Two brassiere guides or belt slides, (like on the backs of vests) Thread.

Measuring for amount of material:

1.) One piece 21" wide x chest at breast attachment + 1"  See Instructions 2 - 3.
2.) Measure chest at base of breast attachment

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3.) Add 2" to total, this gives you the total length of material you will need.

4.) Fold material in half width-wise so that you have 10-1/2" x breast attachment.

5.) Using 1/2' seam, sew material together at two raw edges, turn inside out, fold remaining raw edge inside itself and topstitch a seam.

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6.) Using bra extenders as a guide, mark eye locations on edge of what you want to be the left side. Insert the hub of the eyes into the seam area and hand stitch using heavy thread.

7.) On right side, measure in 3-1/2" from edge and mark a line from top to bottom.  This line is your marker for the hooks.  Fold about 1/2' of material from the main body of the binder over and back on itself (both thicknesses) so that your line falls just where the bases of the hooks attach.

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8.) Using bra extenders as a guide, mark hook locations.  Insert the hub of the hooks into the hook line and hand stitch using heavy thread. Keeping the area folded as above, sew a seam down and through each of the hook hubs.

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*** The 3-1/2' flap protects the back from hook gouging!

9.) Measure shoulder strap from regular brassiere.  Use this measurement for binder shoulder straps, adding 2' to each strap. Cut the 2' extra from each strap and use to loop guides or belt slides to front (X ) on diagram.  Fasten remaining lengths at back (Y)

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Leave a one-inch space between the hooks seam and the right back.  Leave an eight-inch gap between all back and front straps.  Leave a five inch gap from the left (eyes) edge and the left back strap.

10.) Hook bra extenders to one side (obviously, it doesn't matter which side!).  When you are ready to put the garment on, you just have to hook one side.

** OPTIONAL 11.) You may want to cut out a semi-circle from the binder just below the underarm to reduce pinching.  Just cut the necessary area, turn the raw edges to the inside, and top stitch.

 C) Hair:   Cut short, or in such a way that the short back underlengths of hair [preferably emulating the bottom parts of a man's hair cut] may be let down while longer upper lengths are pulled well up.  Longer hair should be kept hidden during hours when camp is open to the public and during battle.
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Any other circumstances should be discussed with your unit commander.
(I.e. dances, that is if you are permitted to change gender for such 
This does not apply in emergency situations such as heat related problems when you need to get as cool as possible.

D) Headgear: Forage and Bummer caps are greatly preferred over "slouch" hats and Kepis. "Slouch" hats have wide brims and tend to
"frame" the face, causing female traits to be emphasized.  Kepis should be avoided, especially if one decides to wear longer hair, pulled up.  Kepis just aren't long enough in the back to hide the pulled up appearance.

E) Vest: One size larger than normal.  Should be worn anytime that a jacket is not being worn.  Not only for authenticity sake, (technically the men should also be wearing them) but to help hide any female features.  The only time a vest or jacket should not be worn is in case of heat emergency or in the privacy of your own tent. 

F) Dresses: Permitted at the discretion of your unit commander and depending on circumstance. (Dances, Dinners, Special Occasions) Unless specific instructions are given by the host of that event that being in uniform at all times is an absolute requirement.

G) Conduct:

          1) Guard duty, Picket duty, Drill, Camp chores, Parades: NEVER REFUSE to do your duty or detail as a soldier without very good reason AND permission from your commanding officer.  Being a female DOES NOT excuse you from any of the tasks performed by your fellow soldiers.  By performing the same work, duty,and drills as your male counterparts, you gain their respect.  Failure to do your part can result in being pointed out as a poor example of a female soldier and can make it harder for the next woman who wants to portray a soldier.
Remember!  You are setting the standard.  Poor examples are more easily discovered than good ones!

          2) Discretion: While in the field or in camp, you may face situations that require mature handling.  PLEASE use your head and think before you say or do anything that may embarrass your comrades or yourself If you find yourself, for example, in lines of men who need to give in to "the call of nature",  Don't make a big deal about it!  Either turn your head, close your eyes, or ask someone from your own unit to let you know when it is "safe".  Most of those soldiers out there don't know that you are a woman and are only thinking of one thing.   RELIEF!!  Respect their privacy and you will be respected.
     Another situation that may arise may be that, while you are wearing your proper binder and decide to take a "hit", someone may come to check you for a heart beat.  They also do not know your true gender.  If you are "dead" - stay dead.  Don't make a fuss about checking your chest unless some surgeon unknowingly chooses you for an un-scripted chest wound scenario.  In that case, quietly let him know why he can't use you!

For The Men

Should you ever feel the need to "heed the call of nature", especially out on the lines; please don't feel embarrassed if you find out that a female is or was present.  We are not there to be an embarrassment.  We are there, just as you are, to re-enact a segment of history that we too are a part of.  There were indeed women who fielded as soldiers during the American Civil War, and they have earned the same right to be represented as any other soldier does. (In the proper manner, which includes maturity in any given circumstance)
     Another important matter is: Please don't be so quick to remove the cap from your neighbors head when "taps" is being played, you may end up with a shock when that guy you've just been wrestling with in hand - to - hand combat turns out to be - - a gal!! (You could remind the soldier that "taps" is being played - most women soldiers can come up with some type of period excuse - head wound, cold, etc. - a man will usually take the hint and remove his cap)


1) Fake mustaches, beards, and wigs: Any of these are acceptable if they are not too "fakey".  Keep in mind though that it can get very hot and most of the heat in a human body collects at the head.   Wigs are not recommended (especially for infantry) since you will be wearing headgear (Kepi's or bummer caps) and it will make you twice as hot and twice as likely to go down from heat.  Finding a good adhesive for mustaches and beards can be difficult since you need one that is both waterproof and sweat proof.  The closest thing available is the liquid eyelash adhesive (for individual lashes).  Even Spirit Gum (used by professional actors) is not waterproof. (They get to yell "cut" and have things replaced in the middle of a shot, we don't!!)

2) Camouflage Paint: Don't rely on regular make-up to darken your skin, you'll sweat it right off.  Camouflage paint is oil based, readily available in most stores with sporting goods, and is inexpensive.

3) Voice:  One of the most difficult things to disguise.  Try to keep your voice tone low and deep.  If that is impossible, try not to speak too often when you do find it necessary to speak.  ( NCO's : Yelling orders in battle doesn't count because everyone else is yelling and their voices are cracking too!)

4) EXERCISE !!:  Strange as this may seem, you will be marching, (for cavalry: riding) sometimes for miles, over various terrain and weather conditions; and that you will be carrying a 10 - 12 pound rifle, accouterments, food, water, and wearing a wool uniform and brogans.  Lifting weights,walking, hiking, doing upper and lower body exercises and doing back strengthening exercises can help you endure the parades, marches, drills, tacticals, and battles without "wimping out".

5) Study, study, study: Study your history, study the way that men walk, stand, sit and move and try to copy them.  Learn about the women who did fight as soldiers so that you can talk with assurance about the fact that they did fight.  Find a name and a background for yourself as a soldier (real or otherwise) and encourage your fellow soldiers to use it whenever you are in uniform.

 Other Important Notes

Some of the anachronisms most often brought to my attention when women are on the battlefield, and often noticed by my fellow soldiers, are things that common sense should say DON'T belong there. Yet, as often as these mistakes occur, it seems that common sense doesn't apply.   

 for  female soldiers:

No "normal" female make-up including: 

eye shadow
eye liner
lip stick

No recognizable female jewelry including:

wrist watches
modern rings
modern eyeglasses


Let's face it.  If you want to get out and "play" with "the boys", you should look and act like one of  "the boys".   Save the "female stuff" for when it appropriate --- and the battlefield is definitely NOT appropriate.