This information is also available in a PDF file (pdf)


Event Application Form (pdf)


You Want to Hold a Civil War Reenactment



The Missouri Civil War Reenactors Association is a well-established sanctioning body for events in the Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Kansas area. We are a non-profit organization of living historians who enjoy participating in well-planned events throughout Missouri and surrounding states. We can help you plan your event so all involved gain from it. We have certain policies and procedures that sponsors have to follow to reap the benefits of the cause. The MCWRA has been a sanctioning body since 1978. The following is a compilation of what we believe to be the best way to prepare for and understand the logistics and necessities needed for a successful event.

1. Sponsors must work closely with members of a reenactment unit in your area. The unit will agree to sponsor the event with you, provide you advice and guidance, work with reenactors to get estimates of attendance, obtain commanders, and work with you on scenarios. They are NOT expected to do the physical work involved with setting up the event.

2. Estimate your costs to determine what size event you can afford to hold and the amenities you will need to provide. You can expect to spend $10-$15 per reenactor for a full-amenity event. Please refer to the list of mandatory and optional amenities elsewhere in this guide.

3. Media contacts will need to be established. We will need to know what media you plan to use and that you are prepared to publicize the event to make it worthwhile for us to attend.

4. Establish a site for the event, preferably with easy access for spectators, reenactors and emergency equipment, plenty of parking, etc. If you are fighting on an original battlefield, everyone involved from reenactors to the public is a little more lenient about convenience of the site.

5. The sponsoring unit will help you to complete an event application form and send it in by the deadline of July 1st of the year before the event is planned. This will give the Secretary time to collect the applications and give the President time to contact the local and unit sponsors of the event so they can be present at the August planning meeting.

6. You are responsible for attending the scheduling meeting and presenting your event's specifics. (This is the time to sell it to our members and unit leaders.)

Musket hanging from a  tent pole, Warrensburg event. © B. Wayne

Clean musket against a blue sky

Coffeepot by campfire. © B. Wayne

Mandatory Amenities

 Regardless of event size, purpose, etc., you must furnish the following amenities or your event will not be listed on our calendar.

1. Sanitary Facilities: Either permanent indoors facilities or portable toilets or some combination thereof must be provided. You must include at least one handicapped facility for each 100 reenactors to be compliant with the "Americans with Disabilities Act" requirements. The absolute minimum requirement is one portable toilet for each 25 reenactors and they must be pumped at least twice each day during the event. If you are expecting large numbers, increase the number of toilets.

2. Hay for Horses: One bale of hay per day is required for each horse expected. The hay must be dry, not moldy, and should be stored near the cavalry camps (or at least in a place where it cannot be confused with straw).

3. Straw for Bedding: The amount varies by time of year. In summer, one bale for each three reenactors is plenty. In colder weather, one bale for each two reenactors is a minimum. Straw must be stored in a dry place.

4. Drinking Water: Amount varies by time of year and cooking needs. Five gallons per reenactor is a good average. In the summer, figure on more as people use it to cool-off.

5. Ice: In warm weather, you will need to provide about 20 lb. per person to issue us enough to help us stay cool and to have a reserve in case of a medical emergency.

6. Water for Livestock: You MUST provide good water for horses, either through your water truck or other safe, on-site sources.

7. Firewood: Amount needed varies by time of year. In hot weather, we normally need only enough for cooking; in cold weather, we need enough also to stay warm. A number of small units will use more wood than a single large unit since there is normally one fire per camp. Wood must be well cured or a mixture of green and cured; construction scraps for kindling are a help. Wood should be kept dry if possible and cut to reasonable lengths and not too big around. Estimated need ranges from one cord for each 50 to 100 reenactors, depending on the season. Wood that is green rotted or saw mill slab wood is not of acceptable usable quality.

8. Garbage and Trash Facilities: Facilities are needed to keep the camps from having too much non-period trash, especially the containers used to distribute raw foods. You may wish to add separate recycling ability, such as a wooden barrel for empty aluminum cans.

9. Emergency Medical Response: An emergency medical team (ambulance) on-site is required whenever we are firing. They must remain on-site until the field is cleared. It is highly recommended that the team remain on-site; if possible from the time the area opens for registration until camp breakdown, especially during hot weather. 

Optional Amenities

 These amenities are not required to gain event approval, but attendance is generally proportional to amenities offered.

1. Raw Foodstuffs: This is the most common amenity. Reenactors prepare food in generally period ways. If you provide this, remember that reenactors normally are hearty eaters. Food quantities and suggested menus are furnished separately (see attachment). Meals normally include breakfast on Saturday and Sunday, lunch on Sunday, and lunch and supper (or a single mid-afternoon meal) on Saturday.

2. Prepared Meals: The most typical meal furnished is Saturday supper. We highly recommend no more than one be provided since they detract from the authentic atmosphere of the camps.

3. Powder for Artillery: If you want Artillery at your event, you need to consider a minimum powder ration of 8-10 lbs. for each gun you wish to have. Artillery pieces will use from ¼ to 1 lb. per shot, so even with an issue you will probably not cover their costs. The cannon crews always appreciate more than the normal allowance and the cannon are always a crowd pleaser. Lately, a more practical option has been to pay a "cash bounty" in lieu of powder. This bounty is usually $100 or more per cannon and the Artillery units can buy more powder per dollar than an event sponsor can. This method also relieves the event sponsor from the burdens of complying with various state and federal laws regarding purchases and storage of large quantities of black powder.

4. Caps for Infantry and Cavalry: While reenactors do not require these issues, it helps motivate them to attend your event. One tin of caps per man is considered ideal, but lesser issues will not be refused. The Infantry units usually roll 100 rifle cartridges per pound.

5. Speaker Systems: A good on-site speaker system can help you keep the spectators informed as to what is going on during the event and assist with announcements.

6. Extras: One item that proves popular in the summer is swimming pool passes or access to showers. Free access to local museums is appreciated. 



The MCWRA liability insurance provides $2 Million per occurrence coverage in the event a reenactor injures a spectator. All Maximum Effort Events and Sanctioned Events are required to be covered by this insurance. Event organizers are required to reimburse the MCWRA $400 for the event coverage. Additional riders naming an "also insured" cost the MCWRA $50 and this cost is also required to be recovered.. It is required that a check for the appropriate amount be delivered at the August Board Meeting at the time the event is voted on to the schedule. Failure to have the check at that time can result in delayed approval of your event.

A week or two prior to the event, the event sponsor should arrange to get a copy of the MCWRA membership roster so that it can be used at registration to verify membership and collect a $10 fee from each non-member to be remitted to the MCWRA treasurer after the event along with a list of the names of the non-members. This will ensure that those non-members are covered by the insurance.  Failure to do this will result in a refusal to list your event in the future.

Federal artillery, Vicksburg 2012. © B. Wayne

MCWRA Free Access Policy:

No entry fees may be charged to the public for attending an MCWRA event, nor for access to the site of the event or the military camps. (This does not preclude providing preferential services to major event supporters.) All advertising and signs must make it very clear that free access is available.  This does not preclude the ability to charge for parking. 

 1. Maximum Effort Event: You must be able to involve Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery and Medical scenarios in the event. You should have sufficient space and a sufficient budget for 500 or more reenactors, approximately 25%-35% of whom will be Civilian non-combatant family members. The site must be large enough to handle the group. You should be well organized and have sufficient funds to provide substantial amenities.

2. Sanctioned Event: You desire a smaller event of 200-400 persons, and/or you cannot use one or more of the major military branches.

3. Local Event: You only desire to draw reenactors in your local area, perhaps 200 or fewer. You may restrict one or more branches because of location, etc.

4. Benefit Event: You may charge admission as a fundraiser for a specific worthy cause related to historic preservation. However, you must put all entry fees into the worthy cause; you MAY NOT use any to defray the cost of the event. A financial report to the MCWRA will be required, following the event.

5. Listed Event: You wish to be listed on our calendar but do not want MCWRA insurance coverage or cannot comply with the MCWRA Free Access Policy because of constraints at the site. You probably should not expect a substantial MCWRA turnout. We will not list an event that conflicts with a maximum effort or sanctioned event. 

 NOTE: The above numbers of reenactors are for the organizers to determine if they can handle those numbers.  The MCWRA cannot and does not make any promises that that number of reenactors will attend your event.  Every unit makes their own decision based on a variety of factors, including proximity to other events, national events, amenities being offered, time of year etc. 



1. Battles/Skirmishes: This is the high point of the event for spectators and many reenactors. One good action per day is preferred, unless you are doing a historic battle that is utterly boring, one-sided or does not involve all arms. In some cases, other interesting activities may substitute for one of the battles. The time should be set to avoid the heat of the day but to allow maximum spectator access. The Sunday battle must be early enough to tear down and get home at a reasonable time. Medical demonstrations are normally done in conjunction with the Saturday Battle/Skirmish.

2. Night Firing Demonstrations or Candlelight Tours: These demonstrations are impressive, but take a lot of reenactor effort. If you want one of these, be sure to request it in your application so we do not have too many of each.

3. Dance, Period Ball, or Fashion Show: If you want a large turnout, you should have one of these activities to provide a time for the women to dress in their finery. Any dance should include at least some period music/dances even if the local people will participate in a more modern dance later. Saturday afternoon is a good time for a fashion show.

4. Parades: Plan how to get us to and from the parade site. You will also need to consider weather, conflicting activities, etc.

5. Living History Demonstrations (Only): If you only want a select group to participate in your demonstration and you do not plan on having a skirmish, this is appropriate. Normally, your donation to MCWRA insurance costs is requested at $400 instead of the $600 that other events involve.

6. Non-Reenactment Activities: Picnics, flea markets, etc., may not be compatible with reenactments since they may draw people away from the event. You and your sponsor unit must take a close look at any concurrent activities. If there are coinciding events, you should try incorporating them in some way. Examples would be: basket/pie suppers or sanitary fairs. Contact your unit liaison for more information on these types of activities.

Lady and horse, Centralia 2014 &copy/ B. Wayne


(Tips that will help to make things run smoothly)

Two Months Before The Event:
»Pass out fliers or posters at one or more civil war events
»Talk to commanders
»Send an article to the "Western Campaigner" with schedule, event activities and maps
»Contact all local television, radio stations, newspapers, clubs, and organizations using Public Service Announcements (PSA's) to alert the public of the event
»Police, fire and emergency people should be notified and educated
»Make, rent or purchase signs to direct public and reenactors to the event location

One Month Before The Event:
»Reconnect with media for live coverage by radio and television stations. Do not forget the newspapers in the area. Sometimes they like to have lead-in stories, reprint articles from the time period, or historic documentaries

Two Weeks Before The Event:
»All plans for the purchase and delivery of amenities should be finalized - Water for human and horse consumption, raw food, hay, straw, grain, firewood, public barriers, porta-potties - standard and handicapped
»Put the last of the updated information in local newspapers, i.e., schedule
»Double check police, fire and medical personnel

One Week Before The Event:
»Make sign for specific camps: Union and Confederate - Infantry, Civilian, Artillery, Cavalry
»Remind all people involved of their responsibilities
»Take firewood to location, if possible

Friday of The Event/Day Before Start Date of Event:
»Have water and porta-potties delivered
»Signs should be in place before the noon hour
»Pick-up all amenities and/or help unload them
»Stake out camp sites, if necessary
»3:00 p.m. - Registration desk should be set-up and staffed
»11:00 p.m. - Plan food hand outs from the registration list
»Check firewood, straw, hay and water supplies

Saturday of The Event/First Day of Event:
»5:00 a.m. - Assigned personnel should be up and getting food divided
»6:00 a.m. - Wake-up call
»6:30 a.m. - Hand-out all food at pre-determined place known at least to both overall commanders. If dinner and supper will take time to prepare, grant that food also at this time.
»8:00 a.m. to Officer's Call: Go over schedule for both days, check numbers, ask about 10:00 a.m. - problems, etc. Tour battle site. Answer and field questions
»11:00 a.m. - Distribute dinner and supper food unless already done so earlier 

»12:00 p.m. - Place public barricades for safety on battle site

»Before commencing battle: Walk in front of barricades and explain need to stay behind safety barricades
»During battle: Keep public behind safety barricades

After Battle:
»Meet with the principal officers immediately to see about adjustment for Sunday
»Pass out Saturday evening dinner food unless already distributed
»Check with local officials on how they thought thing are going
»10:00 p.m. - Check camps for unnecessary activities, noise, and fire safety
»11:00 p.m. - Bedtime

Sunday of the Event/Last Day of the Event
»7:00 a.m. - Pass out breakfast and lunch foods
»After Battle: Walk through camps and thank all for attending and supervise clean-up. Return borrowed items.



The following list of amenities is provided to help plan logistical support for a living history weekend. The items outlined below should be considered to be advisory in nature and used as a general guideline for the provision of minimal necessities. Raw foodstuffs should be issued to Union and Confederate quartermasters in bulk. They, in turn, will issue the rations to the individual companies, based on muster rolls. Sponsors should not issue rations directly to individuals as all reenactors will be supplied by authorized quartermasters.

Rations for 100 Reenactors Other Support Requirements
Saturday Breakfast
3 lb. Onions
20 lb. Bacon
20 Dozen Eggs
15 lb. Potatoes
15 Loaves Bread
»Wood: Dry, for cooking
»Straw: An amount per person sufficient for sleeping and ground cover
»Hay: 1 Bale per horse per day

Saturday Dinner
3 lb. Onions
20 lb. Ham
15 lb. Dry White Beans
12 Dozen Apples
»Water - a MUST: 5 Gallons per participant; troughs for horses; as close to camps as possible

Saturday Supper
3 lb. Onions
25 lb. Stew Meat
10 lb. Carrots
25 lb. Potatoes
15 Loaves Bread
»Sanitation: 1 portable facility per 50 persons expected including public. Remember to have at least two handicapped facilities. These must be kept clean and siphoned twice each day during the event

Sunday Breakfast
3 lb. Onions
20 lb. Bacon
20 Dozen Eggs
15 lb. Potatoes
15 Loaves Bread
Sunday Dinner
20 lb. Sliced Ham
15 Loaves Bread
12 Dozen Peaches

Miscellaneous for All Meals
2 lb. Salt
2 lb. Coffee
Tin of Pepper



Dates Requested:
List the weekend you want the event, plus alternatives in case you conflict with a higher priority event. We will not schedule an event on the weekend before or after a maximum effort event, nor will we schedule two events the same weekend unless they are local events in widely separated areas.

Historical Information:
We give priority to events being held on actual battle sites. The higher the historic value, the more likely it will receive the sanction level requested.

Select the activities you would like to offer, keeping in mind that reenactors also like to see your historic sites. For descriptions of each type of activity, see the Event Information Sheet.

Number of Reenactors Desired:
Base this on what your site will handle and what you can afford. If you need to limit attendance, you need to plan this well in advance.

Type/Size of Event Desired:
See the Event Information Sheet for descriptions of each type. If you want a Maximum Effort Event, be prepared to strongly promote your event to reenactors.

Site Information and Map of Site:
This will help us decide if the site is capable of handling an event of the size requested, and if its layout is conducive to a good event.

Other Activities:
We want our events to be the Main Show. You may have other compatible activities in conjunction with the event (i.e., craft show, historic celebration), but we do not want to compete with activities that will draw people away from our site.

This shows that you understand the conditions that the MCWRA insists upon before approving an event. Also, that the MCWRA has no control over the decisions of its members, either individuals or units, as to whether they attend an event.

MCWRA Insurance Policy


 The MCWRA carries a $2 million dollar liability insurance policy which protects the MCWRA as an association, and its members, if a reenactor injures a spectator. All events which request and are granted sanctioning as a "Maximum Effort", "Sanctioned" or "Benefit" are required to be covered by this insurance.

The event sponsors are required to remit to the MCWRA at the August board and scheduling meeting, a check for $400, payable to the "MCWRA". This is a condition of being granted the sanctioning. While this does not even begin to cover the actual expense of providing the insurance, it helps. If an event decides that it also needs supplemental coverage, such for a Chamber of Commerce, Fair Board etc., an "also insured" rider is available for an additional $50.

Event Application Form (pdf)