Membership in the 3ème régiment d'infanterie de ligne requires a high level of dedication and commitment. Potential members should be team players, committed to historical accuracy, comfortable in an outdoor environment and in good physical condition since events are held in a variety of terrains and in most weather conditions. Potential members should not be politically motivated in any way. There is a minimum three-event probationary period and annual unit dues of $10. Our members recreated various troops and camp followers which comprised a regiment of the Napoleonic era. We have fusiliers, voltigeurs, grenadiers, sapeurs, drummers, vivandières and blanchisseuses for those who wish to do those impressions. Those wishing to do multiple impressions are of course welcome. Our group, being family orientated welcome men, as well as women and children.
Here are some frequently asked questions:
What is Napoleonic Reenacting?
Napoleonic Reenacting is a hobby in which people try to bring the Napoleonic era to life. This is done by wearing historically accurate clothing, setting up military encampments and civilian "towns", and adopting the persona of someone living in the 1810's. These are all brought together so that a snapshot or fragment of the Napoleonic era can be seen and understood by the public.
Where do you do reenactments?
Reenactments happen on the east coast, west coast and Midwest of America, in Canada and of course in Europe, but for the most part, we attend events in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Illinois, California and Québec. Regularly there are big commemorative events held all over Europe. Each member can choose what event he or she will attend. The European events are where you can really get a feel for what it was like to be a soldier in the Napoleonic wars, when you see thousands of reenactors like yourself stretched out in long battle lines.
When do you have reenactments?
Our events take place between mostly between mid-May and October. There are a few exceptions though when we might attend an event in, say, February or December.
Why do you do reenacting?
Because it is fun! If it were not fun, then it would not be a hobby. Everyone who is involved in this hobby has at least some interest in Napoleonic History. We all have a desire to learn more about it. Napoleonic Reenacting is also used to educate the public about various facets of the time period that rarely get mentioned in any classroom or book. It is one thing to read about it, it is a completely different matter to see it done first hand and experience it.
What do you do at reenactments?
Most of the time is spent conversing with and educating the public. Usually an encampment is laid out and spectators walk through. This gives them an opportunity to ask questions and see the daily minutia of soldierly life. Depending on your commitment level in reenacting, you may wish to answer their questions in a third person format (i.e. They did this...They had that...etc.) or you may do so in First Person. First Person is where you assume the personality, dialect, attitude, and beliefs of a character. You will then act him out as if you were actually living during the 1810's. This is the most intense form of reenacting and requires much research, dedication, and time into your character and the time period he represents. Although it can be quite difficult, when done properly it is very rewarding.
We also relax with friends we have not seen for a while and have the chance to make new friends. Many of us like camping, and usually on the first night of a event we spend long hours just talking around the camp fire.
There are also battles. These take place during the afternoon and give the reenactors and spectators an opportunity to witness the sights and sounds of Napoleonic combat. Often times, a small portion of an actual battle will be scripted out and reenacted. There are times though, when there is no script, and the battles are determined by the skill of the commanders and their knowledge of Napoleonic tactics. These are called tacticals. Once the battles are over, and the sun has dropped below the horizon, many events have a Saturday night ball in which Ladies and Gentlemen do period dances to period music.
If I start reenacting does that mean that I am in the real military?
No this is not the real military although our ranks include many members on active duty or retired from the service. During reenactments we will follow military courtesies that were used during the 1st Empire. The reason for doing so is because we are trying to create an atmosphere of a Napoleonic encampment, not because we are actually enlisted in the military. Although we are not in the military, there is a rank structure that is followed. The commander of the group determines who gets to be what rank.
Drill? What is that?
Drill is where we practice handling the muskets and maneuvers that were used during the Napoleonic era. A soldier's life during the war mainly consisted of marching and drill. They were extremely proficient at it. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) we cannot spend every waking moment marching and practicing drill. Usually we will drill twice at an event: once Saturday morning and once Sunday morning. Drill allows us to look and maneuver as a real French Napoleonic troops , but it is also important for safety. Even though we are shooting blanks, a powder burn is nothing to laugh about.
I don't know the drill, will you teach me?
Of course! You cannot safely work with the group unless you know how to A) handle the musket and B) maneuver with the group. If you join the unit at the beginning of the reenacting season, you will have the opportunity to attend l’École du soldat (soldier’s school). If you join during the middle of the season, a Corporal will pull you aside and bring you up to speed to the point where you can begin learning with the whole group.
What is l’École du soldat?
L’École du soldat is an event that is held at the beginning of every reenacting season. This event gives the veterans a chance to brush off the rust accumulated over the winter and allows new recruits a chance to learn the drill. It is a non-spectator event, and there are no battles. The entire weekend is spent practicing drill and living the camp life. We also have several drill practices which are held during the summer season.
Do I have to have all of my gear by my first event?
No. Actually, we would prefer that you wait to purchase anything until you have had the opportunity to attend an event. This will give you an opportunity to see if you enjoy being with our group and if the hobby is worth getting into before you start laying down money. There is nothing worse than buying all of your equipment only to discover you don't enjoy the hobby!
Any equipment that you do not have, you can borrow from a unit member. The 3ème regiment de ligne has loaner uniforms, accoutrements, etc. that new recruits can borrow until he obtains his own. We do ask that you try to acquire all of your basic equipment in the first year so that other new recruits lacking equipment may also participate. You cannot take for granted that loaned equipment will always be available for you. The priority will go to the new recruit.
How much does all of the equipment cost?
This is the BIG question! It can cost anywhere from $1,200.00 to $2,500.00. Keep in mind though, you do not have to purchase everything all at one time. As stated above, you can borrow any equipment that you do not yet have. Almost everyone acquires their equipment over time. The single biggest expense is for a musket, which can run from $450 for a used one to $1,200 for a new one.
What do I need to buy?
We suggest that your first purchases be your shoes, canteen, shirt, pants, cravate and forage cap. Because everyone's feet and head are different, it is really difficult to borrow these items and have a proper fit. Also, if you have to wear glasses, we ask that you acquire period frames. You can then take these frames and have your prescription lenses put in.
Where do I buy this equipment?
We have a suggested vendor/sutler list located on the "Links Page". They have been chosen because we feel that they provide the best quality and authenticity at variable prices. We ask that when you begin purchasing items, you start by checking out the sutlers from this list. It is compulsory to talk about this to the commander or a non-commissioned officer before purchasing any item so as to maintain unit uniformity, they can give you a hand by explaining the differences in quality offered by the various sutlers.
If your question has not been answered, or if you would like clarification on one of the questions above, please do not hesitate to contact us!