About The American Civil War SocietyAmerican Civil War Society Schedule of EventsCalifornia In The Civil WarCombat Units of The American Civil War SocietyThe Civilian Corps of The American Civil War ScoietyThe Company Dispatch, The Newsletter of The American Civil War SocietyThe Civilian Gazette - The Newsletter of the ACWS Civilian CorpsAmerican Civil War Society Member Sutlers
  Rules & Regulations of The American Civil War SocietyACWS Application For MembershipContact Information for The American Civil War SocietyNotices & Announcements

ACWS has subscribed to and is a member of the Civil War Reenactors in the Greater Pacific Area
For a list of their safety rules and tests, please click here.

The ACWS Gold Book Being a Guidebook of the Rules and Regulations Of
The American Civil War Society

These are the Rules and Regulations for the ACWS as approved by the  Board of Directors
On 2 February 2002

The current in-force rules and regulations are available at the Membership Information Booth during each event.
This printing supercedes all versions with an earlier date.

Table of Contents

Section I - Purpose

Section II - Organizational Structure

Section III - Duties & Obligations

Section IV - Military Rank Structure & Command

Section V - Civilian Corps

Section VI - Safety

Section VII - Miscellaneous

Section VIII - Disciplinary Action

Section I - Purpose

1.   Intent and Goals

1.1    The intent of the ACWS is to provide a central organizational point for individual units and members. It shall acquire event sites and represent the unit’s interests in planning events and scenarios.

1.2   The focus of the organization is to provide a means for Civil War reenactors to pursue their interest and to educate the public on the history of the American Civil War.

Back To Contents

Section II – Organizational Structure

2.   Board Of Directors (with appointments)

2.1.   President

2.2.   Vice President

2.3    Secretary

2.4    Treasurer

2.5    Membership Director

2.6    Confederate Brigade Commander
2.6.1.   Confederate Artillery Commander
2.6.2.   Confederate Cavalry Commander
2.6.3.   Confederate Infantry Commander
2.6.4.   Confederate Brigade Sergeant-Major/Provost
2.6.5.   Confederate Brigade Chaplain

2.7.     Union Brigade Commander
2.7.1.     Union Artillery Commander
2.7.2.     Union Cavalry Commander
2.7.3.     Union Infantry Commander
2.7.4.     Union Brigade Sergeant-Major/Provost
2.7.5.     Union Brigade Chaplain

2.8.     Civilian Corps Director
2.8.1.     Band Director
2.8.2.     Cadet Corps Coordinator
2.8.3.     Cotillion Coordinator
2.8.4.     Constable
2.8.5.     Sutler Coordinator     Sutlers

2.9.     Public Relations Director

2.10.   Other Board Appointed Positions
2.10.1.    Artillery Coordinator
2.10.2.    Cavalry Coordinator
2.10.3.    Specialty Impressions


Back To Contents

Section III – Duties & Obligations

3.   Assignments

3.1.     Board of Directors (Non-Period Administration)

3.1.1.   Board members shall be appointed by existing Board members to serve at the pleasure of the Board. They may step down or be replaced by the vote of the Board at any time.

3.12   The Board is responsible for all aspects of Association and event non-period administration as well as for approving overall Period Impressions.

3.1.3.  The Board shall meet quarterly in order to conduct Association business.These meetings are open to the membership and all members, regardless of impression portrayed, are invited to take part.   Closed sessions to discuss personnel or other sensitive matters may be held during regular meetings. Non-Board members may be excluded during the closed sessions. Closed sessions may not exceed 25% of the regular meeting time.   The President may call special meetings when deemed necessary and he may call for telephone or electronic mail votes on timely matters that may arise between meeting dates.

3.1.4.    The Board shall be available at events in order to render administrative decisions as needed.

3.2.    Period Impressions

3.2.1.  Civilian Corps. Consists of all non-military impressions, with the exception of those approved Specialty Impressions who shall answer directly to the Board.

3.2.2.   Confederate Brigade. Consists of all members doing a Confederate military impression, with the exception of those approved Specialty Impressions who shall answer directly to the Board.

3.2.3.   Union Brigade. Consists of all members doing a Union military impression, with the exception of those approved Specialty Impressions who shall answer directly to the Board.

3.2.4.   Reenactment units or groups. Units or groups attending ACWS events must fall in under one of the above listed brigades or the civilian corps.

3.3.    Unit Obligations

3.3.1.  New military units wishing to join ACWS must first gain approval from the Board. The senior representative of the unit must provide the Board with a letter of intent with a roster, abridged unit history, and required gear list and authenticity standards for the unit ( see Appendix A). If approved, the unit shall join in a probationary status. The unit shall remain in such a status until it fields the following numbers at 50% of the ACWS events in a one-year period:   Infantry - eight (8) combatants plus NCO.   Cavalry, fighting on foot - eight (8) combatants plus NCO.   Cavalry, mounted - four (4) each trooper and horse plus NCO and horse.   Artillery - one (1) gun with crew.

3.3.2.   Authenticity.   Members/units are required to maintain impressions that are documented as being that of units that were in the Union Army and the Confederate Army circa 1861-1865. Units must seek approval for impressions from the Board before assuming any specific impression. (see appendix A)   Items/impressions that are identified as non-period by Brigade Commanders must be removed/replaced as soon as practicable. If there is any dispute as to the authenticity of an item/impression it shall be brought to the attention of the Board for a final decision. All parties involved shall abide by the Board’s decision.   Women shall be encouraged to portray soldiers as well as portraying documented Vivandiere/Cantinierre impressions. However, Vivandieres/Cantinierres must belong to an existing unit. As such they shall be allowed to take the field and shall fall under the command of their respective Company, Troop or Battery commander. Women doing soldier impressions must carry/wear the same equipment/uniforms as men and make an effort to hide their true gender while doing such impressions. They are expected to pass the “Five Foot Rule,” that is, at a five (5) foot or greater distance, the average spectator should be unable to distinguish a male soldier from a female soldier.

3.4.      Rank Ratio. Regardless of unit structure or other reenacting organizations' policies/rankings, members attending ACWS events are expected to adhere to the ACWS’s rank structure.

3.4.1.   A unit’s rank/ratio must meet ACWS requirements for each event attended.

3.4.2.   If units are consolidated, the Battalion Commander and the units shall chose the appropriate number of officers/NCOs for the unit. All others should refrain from wearing rank for the entire event, both in and out of camp.

3.4.3.   The following rank ratio shall be followed for Infantry:

Pvt. Corp. Sgt. 1st Sgt. 2nd Lt. 1stLt. Capt.
5 1 0 0 0 0 0
6-9 1 1 0 0 0 0
10-12 2 1 0 1 0 0
13-18 2 1 1 1 0 0
19-24 2 1 1 1 1 1

example if you have 5 Pvts then you can also have 1 Cpl for a total of 6 persons in the ranks,


3.4.4.   The following rank ratio shall be followed for Cavalry without horses, fighting on foot.

Pvt. Corp. Sgt. 1st Sgt. 2nd Lt. 1stLt. Capt.
3 1 0 0 0 0 0
6 2 1 0 0 0 0
9 3 1 1 1 0 0
12 4 2 1 0 1 0
15 5 2 1 0 1 1
18+ 6 3 1 0 1 1

example if you have 3 Pvts then you can also have 1 cpl for a total of 4 persons in the ranks,


3.4.5.   The following rank ratio shall be followed for Cavalry with horses support personnel.

Horses Pvt. Corp. Sgt. 1st Sgt. 2nd Lt. 1stLt. Capt.
3-4 2-3 1 0 0 0 0 0
5-6 3-4 2 0 0 0 0 0
7 4 2 1 0 0 0 0
8 4 3 1 0 0 0 0
9-10 4-5 3 1 0 1 0 0
11-12 5-6 3 1 1 1 0 0
13-14 6-7 4 1 1 1 0 0
15-16 7-8 4 2 1 1 0 0
17-18 8-9 5 2 1 1 0 0

example if you have 2-3 Pvts then you can also have 1 cpl for a total of 3-4 persons in the ranks,


3.4.6.   The following rank ratio shall be followed for Artillery.

Guns Pvt. Corp. Sgt. 1st Sgt. 2nd Lt. 1stLt. Capt.
1 3+ 1 1 0 1 0 0
2 6+ 2 2 1 1 0 1
3 9+ 3 3 1 1 0 1
4 12+ 4 4 2 1 1 1

example if you have 3 Pvts then you can also have 1 cpl and 1 sgt for a total of 5 persons in the ranks,

Back To Contents

Section IV - Military Rank Structure & Command

4.   Command Authorization

4.1.   Combatants

4.1.1.   Staff/Headquarters   There shall be no Staff or Headquarters whether combatant or non-combatant, other than that of the respective Brigade Commanders. Brigade Command Staff shall consist of the Brigade Commander, his aide-de-camp/Adjutant (if desired), the Artillery, Cavalry and Infantry Battalion Commanders (see below), the Brigade Sergeant Major/Provost, the Brigade Chaplain, a Brigade clerk (if desired) and the number of runners/messengers deemed necessary by the Brigade Commander.

4.1.2.   Brigade Commanders   Brigade Commanders shall be assigned the rank of (Col). They shall be selected by the ACWS Board and be placed on the Board, They may step down or be replaced by the vote of the Board at any time.   Brigade Commanders are responsible for ensuring that their respective brigades are aware of and follow all rules set forth by the ACWS. Brigade Commanders shall correct any infractions by members of their brigades and if necessary informs the Board for further action.   Brigade Commanders are responsible for the setup, security and authenticity of their camps.   Brigade Commanders shall meet with their counterpart, the Goodwill Ambassadors and the Civilian Coordinator at Brigade Commanders’ Call prior to battle scenarios and script the movements, outcome and crowd control. If any dispute therein arises they shall defer the decision to the Board.   The Brigade Commander shall have an Officers’ Call with the Commanders of the Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery Battalions. He may, at his discretion, include Company, Troop or Battery Commanders. At this Officers’ Call he shall instruct the Commanders of the expected outcome of the scenario and the movement of troops.   Brigade Commanders shall be the sole supervisor of the movement and safety of their brigades on the field. No other person may give orders to units except through him.   Brigade Commanders shall be assisted in his duties by an aide-de-camp/adjutant (1st Lt. - Capt.). The Brigade Commanders shall also have a Sergeant-Major/Provost Marshall and one or more enlisted messengers and a Brigade Color bearer if so desired.

4.1.3.   Battalion Commanders   Artillery, Cavalry and Infantry Battalion Commanders (Major) are selected by the Brigade Commanders subject to Board approval and serve for one calendar year. They may serve for more than one term. They may step down or be removed by the Board at any time. They may have a limited staff,( Adjutant and Sgt Major) that is approved by the Brigade Commander.   Artillery, Cavalry and Infantry Battalion Commanders answer to the Brigade Commander and are responsible for the conduct of their respective branches in camp and during battles. They shall work closely with the Brigade Commander and advise him on the capabilities of their troops. The Brigade Commander may choose either his aide-de-camp/Adjutant or his Infantry Battalion Commander to be the Brigade Executive Officer. Said Brigade Executive Officer shall be Acting Brigade Commander if the appointed Brigade Commander cannot make an event.

4.1.4.   Company, Battery and Troop Commanders   Persons commanding units at ACWS events on and off the field must be at least 18 years of age During battle scenarios NCO's under 18 may lead due to battle field casualties with the approval of either the Brigade or Battalion commanders. The individual unit commanders are elected or appointed per the individual Unit procedure.   Company, Battery and Troop Commanders are selected by their respective units. At an ACWS event these commanders must have the appropriate number of soldiers per ACWS regulations to justify their rank. If they do not have the appropriate numbers they shall be expected to not wear the rank at that event whether in camp or on the field. Company Commanders, officers or NCOs who willfully violate these regulations shall answer to their respective Brigade Commander.   Company, Battery and Troop Commanders are responsible for informing their commands of the rules and regulations and ensuring they are followed on and off the field. They shall work with and answer to their Battalion Commanders and the Brigade Commander.   During battle scenarios the Company, Battery and Troop Commanders are responsible for the safety of their unit and for following the scenario as ordered by their Battalion or Brigade Commander.

4.1.5.   Brigade Sergeant-Major/Provost Marshal   The Brigade Sergeant-Major/Provost Marshal shall be selected the Brigade Commanders. He shall serve for one calendar year. He may serve more than one term. He may step down or be removed by the Brigade commanders at any time. If the Sergeant- Major will not be able to make an event, a temporary Sergeant-Major may be appointed by the Brigade Commander.   The Brigade Sergeant Major shall assist the Brigade Commander in passing orders in camp and on the field. He shall assist with Brigade inspections and drill. He shall conduct weapons and ACWS membership card inspections before each battle. He shall be responsible for the issuing of scrip. He shall assign provost duties as required and set up the camp guard at night. During battles he shall assist the Brigade Commander by ensuring safety procedures are followed in the ranks and by relaying orders from commanders as needed.

4.1.6.   Senior NCOs   Units attending ACWS events are restricted to fielding Company level NCOs only and may only field these NCOs according to the ACWS Rank Structure. Any other NCO impression (QM Sergeant, Ordnance Sergeant, etc.) must be documented and approved by the Brigade Commander. Otherwise, the highest-ranking enlisted member of a Company, Battery or Troop may only be a 1st Sergeant.

4.2.   Non-Combatants

4.2.1.   Brigade Chaplain   Brigade Chaplains (2nd Lt. to Capt.) shall be selected by the Board with recommendations from the Brigade Commanders and shall serve for one calendar year. He may serve more than one term. He may step down or be removed by the Board at any time. He is to be considered a non-combatant although he is listed in the respective Brigade command structure.   The Chaplains shall conduct Sunday Services and may conduct other ceremonies such as weddings, baptisms, etc., if legally ordained or licensed, at events with prior Civilian Corps Coordinator approval. For playacting, dramatic interpretation or skits, the Chaplain need not be a true ordained Minister. All non-military activities must coordinated with the Civilian Corps Director.   During battles the Chaplains may assist the Medical/Ambulance Corps, under the direction of the Brigade Surgeon.   If a Chaplain wishes to participate as a combatant he must remove his rank and vestments and fall into an organized Company, Battery or Troop with the appropriate arms. At no time, whether in camp on the field, shall the Chaplain be under arms while wearing his vestments/rank of office.

4.2.2.   Unit Chaplains   Members wishing to do a unit Chaplain impression at an event where the Brigade Chaplain is present must do so without rank. If the Brigade Chaplain is unable to make an event, an individual may request of the Board and appropriate Brigade Commander that he fill in for the event. If approved he may wear the appropriate rank and be the acting Brigade Chaplain.

4.2.3.   Brigade Surgeon   Brigade Surgeons (2nd Lt. to Capt.) shall be selected by the Brigade commanders, serve for one calendar year term. He may serve more than one term. He may step down or be removed by the Board at any time. Any other member doing a doctor impression may do so as a civilian or as part of the enlisted Ambulance Corps. If the Brigade Surgeon will be absent from an event, a member who does a unit surgeon may request of the Hospital Corps Director and appropriate Brigade Commander that they be allowed to fill the position for the event. If approved the member may wear the appropriate rank and be the acting Brigade Surgeon.   The Brigade Surgeon is responsible for the safety/authenticity of the Brigade’s medical impression. He answers to the Brigade Commander while actually on the field, although he is considered a non- combatant. At no time shall he be armed in camp or on the field unless wearing a Medical Officer’s sword with the dress uniform on parade or inspection. If he chooses to take the field as a combatant, he must remove all rank and symbols of position and fall in with an existing unit with appropriate arms for that impression.   The Brigade Surgeon is in charge of uniformed ambulance corps (military) and the medical actions of the Chaplain on the field. He shall have no authority over combatants assisting comrades. At no time shall he allow civilian nurses near the front lines during combat. Following combat he shall supervise the actions of the civilian nurses providing water to the combatants.

4.2.4.   Other Officer Impressions   Any member requesting to do other officer impressions may not do so without prior approval of the Board and his respective Brigade Commander. No member shall at any time, no matter how short of a duration, wear an officer uniform in camp or on the field without approval. Only exception being Paragraph 4.3.31.   Visiting officers are expected to have the troops to justify their rank as listed in Section III, Paragraph 3.4 inclusive. They shall not be allowed to attach to Staffs or Headquarters and maintain their rank.

4.3.   Non-Commanding/Non-Combatants

4.3.1.   ACWS Board Members   Board Members are considered to be administratively and not operationally in control of military functions. Board Members are only expected to address on-the-spot issues dealing with safety and regulations. Board members, other than those who have military command as described within these regulations, shall not issue orders in camp or on the field.

4.3.2.   Specialty Impressions  The Board approves Specialty Impressions for a one calendar year term. They may serve more than one term. They may step down or be removed by the Board at anytime.   Specialty Impressions are neither military nor civilian controlled. Rather, they serve at the direction of the Board.   Specialty Impressions may not interfere with military or civilian activities.   All uniformed soldiers shall still observe proper military courtesy with established Specialty Impressions.   The following Specialty Impression positions are permanently established by the ACWS:   President and Mrs. Lincoln   President and Mrs. Davis   General Grant   General Grant’s aide-de-camp   General Lee   General Lee’s aide-de-camp   Other Impressions as presented and approved.   General Grant and General Lee are to be respected as ACWS Goodwill Ambassadors. No other Specialty Impression may speak for the ACWS unless said Specialty Impression holds an additional Board appointed position that grants such action.   The aide-de-camps for Generals Grant and Lee shall assist the Generals as needed as they interact with the public at large and shall have the rank of Captain only, except when expressly approved in writing by the Board.   No other Specialty Impressions may have any staff members, messengers or aides.   The intent of these Specialty Impressions is for the public’s education only. These members are considered to be non-combatants and are not to take the field at any time. They have no command authority over any military members. Other than the Goodwill Ambassadors, all military interaction with troops shall be done for public observation only and shall only be done at the discretion and direction of the Brigade Commanders.  Any member wishing to do a Specialty Impression must petition the Board and be approved before they attempt to do such impression at an event

4.3.3.   Cotillion Impressions   At ACWS sponsored dances or cotillions any member may assume any period correct impression, rank or uniform that he or she wishes. Otherwise rank/impression restrictions apply at all ACWS events.


Back To Contents

Section V Civilian Corps

5.   Civilian Corps Coordinator

5.1.   The Civilian Corps Coordinator is appointed by the Board and shall serve for one calendar year. They may step down or be removed by the Board at any time. They shall represent the interests of all civilians, both Union and Confederate.

5.2.   The Civilian Corps Coordinator is tasked with the following:

5.2.1.   Implement and supervise crowd control during battle scenarios.

5.2.2.   Ensure crowd control is in place 10 minutes prior to the battle.

5.2.3.   Ensure crowd control members keep spectators from crossing barriers.

5.2.4.   Ensure that crowd control members know that they are to call a cease-fire to the combatants if a hazard occurs.

5.2.5.   The Civilian Corps Coordinator (or representative) shall attend Brigade Officers’ Call to find out where to post members during crowd control.

5.2.6.   Conduct fund raising

5.2.7.   Event planning for socials, dances, cotillions, fashion shows, baseball games etc.

Back To Contents

Section VI Safety

6.   Safety And Security

6.1.   At this time the ACWS standard safety test is the Pacwar safety test, Please see your Branch Commanders, or Civilian Leader for details.


6.1.1.   Camp Safety.

6.1.2.   Commanders are responsible for the safety of their units in camp.

6.1.3.   Fires shall be made in accordance with site requirements and members or sentries shall maintain a fire watch.

6.1.4.   Children's conduct shall monitored at all times by their parent or guardian.

6.1.5.   Units shall ensure that trip hazards (tent lines, fire pits etc) are minimized and clearly marked.

6.1.6.   All sharp objects (knives, swords, axes, hatchets, tools etc) shall be properly stored and secured.

6.1.7.   All vehicle or animal movement shall be done at a safe speed and extreme caution shall be taken when driving or backing around people equipment.

6.1.8.   All pets shall be watched after (kept on a leash if necessary for safety) and cleaned up after.

6.1.9.   Pets that are judged to be a safety hazard or a nuisance shall not be allowed.

6.1.10.   Members are expected to maintain quiet hours from 110 p.m. to 6 a.m.

6.1.11.   Any non-member entering camp after 10 p.m. must have a member escort/sponsor physically with them at all times. At no time shall a non-member be allowed to walk unescorted through the camps after this time.

6.1.12.   Firearms shall not be discharged in camp unless it is done under supervision of a Brigade/Company NCO or Officer. When firing the person discharging the weapon must give the modern warning “Fire in the Hole.” Under no circumstances shall weapons be discharged between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., unless as a member of the guard force as addressed in Paragraph 6.2.8.

6.1.13.   When rolling small arms cartridges or loading pistols there must not be open flames or smoking within 20 feet. When rolling artillery rounds there must not be open flames or smoking within 50 feet.

6.2.   Camp Security

6.2.1.   The ACWS is not responsible for the loss, theft or damage of any member's property at events. Members should take care to keep accountability of, or safely secure their own valuables and property.

6.2.2.   Each brigade, at the Brigade Commanders discretion, may post a camp guard during daylight hours. Unless told otherwise a guard is mandatory at night from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. The intent of the guard force is to deter theft and enforce rules and regulations.

6.2.3.   The guard shall be set up and inspected by the Brigade Sergeant Major prior to 10 p.m.

6.2.4.   The guard shall consist of a sentry force and a Corporal of the Guard and/or an Officer of the Day.

6.2.5.   All members regardless of rank are expected to obey directives and orders from the guard force concerning rules, regulations or conduct.

6.2.6.   If a breach of rules, regulations or conduct occurs and the sentry cannot rectify the situation, he is to summon the Corporal of the Guard, Officer of the Day or Sergeant-Major/Provost Marshall. If of a serious enough nature, they may summon a Board member and/or law enforcement.

6.2.7.   The guard force is to keep a log and enter any significant events in it. Frivolous entries are not permitted.

6.2.8.   In extreme cases the guard may discharge a percussion cap in order to sound the alarm in camp.

6.2.9.   All units are expected to provide members to serve on the guard force when requested by the Provost Marshall. Lack of cooperation by units shall be considered as a failure to obey regulations and the Board reserves the right to conduct disciplinary action against the unit and its commander.

6.3.   Battlefield Safety

6.3.1.   Under no circumstances shall a unit or an individual at an ACWS event conduct a scenario/battle without the approval of both Brigade commanders.

6.3.2.   Each individual is responsible for his own actions and safety on the field. Any member, regardless of rank or position, has the right and the responsibility to refuse any orders from any officer that is unsafe.

6.3.3.   Any member may correct any unsafe behavior he sees or call “cease fire” if injury to an individual is likely.

6.3.4.   Only combatants that have stood an pre-battle safety inspection shall be allowed to take the field.

6.3.5.   Weapons shall be test fired (cap only) just before taking the field under supervision of the Brigade Commander.

6.3.6.   No one shall discharge a weapon until given the command by his unit commander.

6.3.7.   Ramrods shall remain in the keeper and will not be drawn on the field.

6.3.8.   Bayonets and knifes will not be drawn/fixed and must be in secure sheath with no sharp edges exposed or danger of falling out.

6.3.9.   FFg and FFFg powder are the only authorized propellants for small arms.

6.3.10.   Cartridges shall not exceed 70-75 grains for .54 to.58 cal or 90 grains for .69 cal.

6.3.11.   Cartridges shall be made of paper only and shall not be constructed with tape, staples or any other metallic or hard materiel with the exception of solid blanks used in Burnside, Henry or other period repeating carbines.

6.3.12.   Loose powder in flasks, horns, etc shall not be carried on, or used to load on the field.

6.3.13.   Firing shall be allowed from the prone position if ground conditions are deemed safe by the Brigade Commanders.

6.3.14.   When within thirty (30) feet combatants shall not fire directly at each other. They shall raise their weapons at least 45 degrees before discharging them. No one shall fire within thirty (30) feet of an artillery limber.

6.3.15.   Any 2-band muskets must be placed in the front rank when firing in two ranks.

6.3.16.   Pistols shall use only cream of wheat, bore butter or florist foam for loading. No other packing material will be allowed.

6.3.17.   Extra cylinders must be carried in a correct pouch.

6.3.18.   Pistols must be carried in a non-concealed holster belted around the waist.

6.3.19.   Cavalry on foot may only carry two pistols; all other impressions (officers, documented NCOs and documented artillery) are limited to one.

6.3.20.   The use of non-period/ non- military firearms shall not be used unless documented for said unit.

6.3.21.   There shall be no hand to hand combat, capturing of colors or the "taking and turning" of cannons unless previously arranged and rehearsed by the Brigade Commanders and the individual unit commanders.

6.3.22.   If a real medical emergency occurs any member should shout "Medic" which is the signal to have any 21st Century EMTs check on the individual.

6.3.23.   Following the battle all weapons must be completely cleared under supervision of the Brigade Commander.

6.3.24.   All members on the field must obey commands from Company/Battalion/Brigade Commanders

6.3.25   No member taking the field may consume alcohol after midnight the night before the battle.

6.3.26.   No battle may be started until the field is cleared of non-combatants (other than military medical corps and Chaplains) and spectators.

6.3.27.   No person is to smoke in ranks, while carrying gunpowder or within fifteen (15) feet of formations where members are carrying gunpowder on their person.

6.3.28.   Only authorized officers, documented NCOS and mounted cavalry may carry and draw swords or sabers on the field. The sword/saber shall be used for command purposes only unless its use as a hand-to-hand weapon is scripted in accordance with Paragraph 6.3.20.

6.3.29.   At no time shall live ammunition be carried in the cartridge box, on the field in any capacity, or loaded into a weapon at an event, the exception being sanctioned live fire events.

6.3.30.   No paper or other objects shall be placed down the bore when on the field. All tampions/muzzle plugs shall be removed prior to taking the field.

6.3.31.   Each individual is responsible for safely firing his musket while in the ranks in regard to proper placement of the muzzle and firing mechanism.

6.3.32.   No person may act for the ACWS in rendering first-aid unless they have presented the Hospital Corps Coordinator with a current certification attesting to their status as a Certified Medical Professional such as EMT’s, Paramedics, Registered Nurses or Medical Doctors, and have been accepted by the Hospital Corps Coordinator as allowed to respond.

6.4.   Individual Conduct

6.4.1.   Each member must conduct himself or herself appropriately while at events. Members who engage in unacceptable conduct shall be disciplined as the Board directs. Unacceptable behavior or conduct includes but may not be limited to the following offenses:   Drunk and disorderly.   Use of illegal substances.   Assault.   Theft.   Contributing to the delinquency of a minor.   Willful destruction of property.   Discourteous, lewd or profane actions or language towards members or the public.   Provocative or disrespectful words or actions towards the opposing side, including symbols and images, whether in camp or on the field.   Violation of any safety rule or regulation in camp or on the field.  Willful disobedience of orders on the field or in camp.  Any action or statement that the Board considers to be improper or controversial in nature and is deemed to be damaging to the reputation of the ACWS.

6.5.   Minors

6.5.1.   Minors are defined as any member below the age of 18. Each minor must have an assigned Parent or guardian to attend an event. Individual units shall be responsible for the training and supervision of minors in their organization.

6.5.2.   Members 16 to17 years of age may function as full-fledged combatants with parental consent and an assigned guardian.

6.5.3.   Members 14 to 15 years of age may function as armed combatants only after they have successfully attended a safety class, passed a test administered by the Brigade Provost and received the permission of the Brigade Commander. They must have a parent or assigned (in writing) guardian with them on the field. They may also serve as messengers, functioning musicians, in the ambulance corps or flagbearers.

6.5.4.   Minors 12 and 13 years old may perform powder running duties on an artillery crew provided they have attended a safety class, passed a test administered by the Artillery Coordinator and are accepted by the Brigade Commander. They must have a parent or assigned (in writing) guardian with them on the field. They must have a parent or assigned (in writing) guardian with them on the field. They may also serve as messengers, functioning musicians, in the ambulance corps or carry the Artillery Battalion Commander’s flag so long as he is behind the gun line and not threatened by opposing forces. They must retire from the field if confronted by opposing forces.

6.5.5.   Otherwise minors 13 years of age and under may not take the field under any circumstances.

6.5.6.   Minors under 14 may (and are encouraged to) conduct drills with their respective company/brigade and perform military tasks in camp with the exception of night time brigade guard/provost duty.

6.6.   Weapons Inspections

6.6.1.   Before each battle the Brigade Commander shall have a safety inspection conducted during the formation of his brigade This shall be supervised by the Sergeant-Major.

6.6.2.   Weapons shall be checked for fouling by springing the ramrod in the bore. The half cock shall be checked and the inspector shall make sure the hammer is not misaligned or any screws loose in the lock mechanism or the barrel bands.

6.6.3.   All side arms will be inspected and declared safe by the sgt Major or Brigade appointee before they are loaded, this will be done prior to formation.

6.6.4.   Company Commanders shall certify to the Inspecting officer that all pistols in their command were loaded properly and in their presence.

6.6.5.   Cartridge boxes shall be checked for proper construction of rounds.

6.6.6.   Canteens shall be checked to ensure they are full.

6.6.7.   Bayonet/knife scabbards shall be checked to ensure they are safe.

6.6.8.   Any non-period items shall be replaced/removed if practicable.

6.6.9.   Members shall present a current ACWS membership card or a day-pass.

6.6.10.   Any weapon not passing the inspection shall not be allowed on the field until it is cleaned and/or repaired.

6.6.11.   Members shall not be allowed to take the field without water.

6.6.12.   Individuals without an ACWS card or day-pass shall not be able to take the field until they have proof of membership.

6.6.13.   Any member who arrives after the inspection may be inspected at the Battalion Commander’s discretion before he can take the field. Once the scenario has started no walk-ons or inspections shall be allowed.

6.6.14.   The Brigade Commander has the authority to not allow someone to take the field if he feels they are not properly trained or not in an appropriate physical or mental state to do so. He may also, at his discretion, elect to have that individual take the field in an unarmed capacity such as color bearer, ambulance corps or messenger as long as said individual meets the age and authenticity requirements for that impression.

6.7.   Artillery Regulations

6.7.1.   Only full-scale artillery pieces are allowed to participate at ACWS events.

6.7.2.   Carriages should be either number one or two type.

6.7.3.   Use of the M1841 mountain howitzer is allowed by the ACWS.

6.7.4.   All field pieces must be period correct, inspected and approved by the ACWS Artillery Coordinator prior to taking the field.

6.7.5.   Trench guns or gattling guns shall not be allowed on the field.

6.7.6.   Homemade or poorly constructed cannons shall be prohibited.

6.7.7.   Full-scale mortars shall only be used in trench or siege warfare scenarios.

6.7.8.   Only cannon grade Fg or FFFFa powder shall be used to construct artillery rounds.

6.7.9.   Rounds shall be constructed in a container of either a triple layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil or six (6) layers of standard weight aluminum foil.

6.7.10.   Use of plastic Baggies for the construction of rounds is prohibited.

6.7.11.   Rounds shall not leak or have any exposed powder.

6.7.12.   Charges shall not exceed three (3) ounces of powder for every one (1) inch of bore diameter.

6.7.13.   No open flame or smoking is allowed with 50 feet of an area where construction of rounds is taking place or where rounds are being stored.

6.7.14.   Artillery rounds are to be stored in a limber chest or suitable lockable container at all times.

6.7.15.   Artillery pieces must have a minimum crew of three (3) to be able to fire.

6.7.16.   Battery members 16 to17 years of age may function as full-fledged combatants with parental consent and an assigned guardian. Battery members 14 to 15 years of age may run powder but may not otherwise function as armed combatants unless they have attended a safety class, passed a test administered by the Artillery Coordinator and are accepted by the Brigade Commander.

6.7.17.   Minimum range at which Artillery may engage a target to its front is 75 feet. Cavalry or infantry may not discharge their weapons within a 30-foot radius of a limber chest.

6.7.18.   The capturing/ turning of guns during battles is prohibited unless scripted and approved in advance. At no time shall a loaded gun be handled by anyone other than its crew or trained artillerymen.

6.7.19.   Cannon crews must know and follow the uniform signals for letting the combatants know if the gun is loaded, unloaded or has experienced a misfire.

6.8.   Cavalry Regulations

6.8.1.   Horses   If a mount becomes unmanageable the rider must either calm it down or leave the field.   When in close proximity to individuals on foot horses shall be ridden no faster than a trot.   Attacks shall cease if anyone in the immediate vicinity had been unhorsed.   Horses may not be left unattended at any time.   No riding of horses shall be allowed in the bivouac area after dark.

6.8.2.   Sabers   All saber hand-to-hand combat must be previously scripted and rehearsed.

Back To Contents

Section VII Miscellaneous

7.   Sutlers & Press

7.1.   Sutlers

7.1.1.   The Board shall appoint a Sutler Coordinator. The term shall be for one calendar year. They may serve more than one term. They may step down or be removed by the Board at any time.

7.1.2.   The Sutler Coordinator shall report to the Civilian Corps Director.

7.1.3.   The Sutler Coordinator shall ensure that all sutlers fill out, turn in or update applications to the ACWS.

7.1.4.   Only approved sutlers may attend ACWS events.

7.1.5.   The Sutler Coordinator shall contact all sutlers at least two weeks prior to an event to confirm attendance.

7.1.6.   The Sutler Coordinator, in conjunction with the Civilian Corps Director, shall designate the areas where each sutler is to set up.

7.2.   Press

7.2.1.   Any member of the press requesting to cover an ACWS event must contact the Public Relations Director beforehand. Press Members must follow directive restrictions given by the Public Relations Director in regards to conduct/safety.

7.2.2.   Press members must sign a waiver form in order to be granted permission to cover events.

7.2.3.   Units who do not wish their images to be published without their consent must advise the Public Relations Director so he can arrange for them to give/withhold consent from the press.

7.2.4.   At no time may any type of pictures, images or recordings of ACWS events be used for profit without the approval of the Board.

Back To Contents

Section VIII Disciplinary Action

8.   Disciplinary Action

8.1.   ACWS members who violate any regulation or rule are subject to be disciplined by the organization. The following are examples of disciplinary actions.

8.1.1.   Dismissal   A member may be dismissed from a battle, from the event for one day or from the entire event for breaking an ACWS rule or regulation.   Only the President, Vice President or Brigade Commanders may exercise this right over military members. The President, Vice President or Civilian Coordinator may exercise this right over civilians.   Dismissal falls under "Just Cause" and is at the discretion of the ACWS. It is administrative, not punitive in nature and the member must follow the directives given. However, he may submit an appeal in writing to the Board objecting to his dismissal. If the Board feels the dismissal was unwarranted they may clear the member’s record and refund a prorated amount of his membership fee for that weekend and any other event entry fees the member had to pay. Members who are dismissed from an event may also be subject to a disciplinary hearing that may result in the Board taking further action such as censure, probation, suspension or expulsion.

8.1.2.   Temporary Suspension   Members who have violated ACWS regulations may be temporarily suspended awaiting a disciplinary hearing. This suspension is considered administrative in nature, and during this suspension the member is not allowed to take part events.

8.1.3.   Disciplinary Hearings   Disciplinary Hearings are held by the Board to examine cases of individuals who have broken ACWS regulations and whose actions where considered to be harmful to the functioning and reputation of the ACWS. These hearings must be held by at least five (5) members of the Board. At this time they shall examine all evidence/statements about the incident(s) in question and vote on action to be taken.   Members who are the subject of the hearing may present written statements or witnesses in front of the Board. They shall be informed of the time and place of the hearing and all specifications of alleged violations they are accused of committing. They may personally appear in front of the Board if they wish and shall be allotted 30 minutes to present evidence on their behalf. If the President deems it proper he may give the member more time.   Deliberations shall be closed. Any decision must be arrived on by a majority vote.The Board may take the following actions:   Drop part or all of the charges or refer the matter to the member's unit for action.   Censure the individual either orally or in writing.   Place the member on probation with terms defined by the Board.   Suspend the individual for the amount of time decided by the Board and designate terms for the individual's return to the ACWS.   Permanent expulsion of the member.   Upon reaching a decision the Board shall notify the member of the action taken and send the member via certified mail a written statement outlining the action and terms decided by the Board.   The Board may, when directed by the President, hold another hearing and vote to suspend or vacate suspension or expulsion of a member.

Back To Top of Page

Appendix A

Non-Association Units - Information Needed to Participate at ACWS Events.
Unit Name:
Commander’s Name and Rank:
Commander’s Contact Information
Snail Mail:
Date of Unit Representation:
(Dates that your impression represents of the unit above, i.e., January to July 1864)

Information to submit:
Unit authenticity standards. Must be in-conformance with ACWS requirements (Rule 3.3.1). Units are required to maintain impressions that are documented as being that of units that were in the Union Army and the Confederate Army circa 1861-1865. Uniform and equipment standards. Must be in-conformance with ACWS requirements (Rules 3.3.1 and 3.3.2) and be consistent with the time frame of the unit being portrayed. Uniforms and equipment must be documented as being used by the unit being represented. Names of members in unit and their rank. Rank must not exceed ACWS requirements (Rule 3.4).
Abridged history of the unit (Rule 3.3.1).

Minimum Personnel Required:
To take the field, the unit must provide the following minimum personnel when they attend an ACWS event:
Infantry - eight (8) combatants plus NCO. (Rule
Cavalry, fighting on foot - eight (8) combatants plus NCO. (Rule
Cavalry, mounted - four (4) each trooper and horse plus NCO and horse. (Rule
Artillery - one (1) gun with crew of five (5). (Rule
If the unit is determined by the Brigade and Battalion Commanders to be safe and meet the ACWS authenticity, uniform, and equipment standards, the following minimum personnel are needed to attend any future ACWS event:
Infantry – five (5) combatants plus NCO.
Cavalry, fighting on foot – five (5) combatants plus NCO.
Cavalry, mounted – three (3) each trooper and horse plus NCO and horse.
Artillery - one (1) gun with crew of four (4).
If the numbers above are not met, the unit is subject be ‘blended’ with another unit. If units are consolidated, the Battalion Commander and the Unit Commanders shall determine the appropriate number of officers/NCO's for the blended unit. All others should refrain from wearing rank for the entire event, both in and out of camp (Rule 3.4.2)

Appendix B

ACWS powder issue procedure
The ACWS infantry powder issue is set up as an incentive to help units to increase unit membership with the powder issue as a bonus for the units at our event.
To qualify,  this is for all active ACWS infantry and cavalry units and is set up as follows, and applies only to stand-alone unit, not composite units.
A stand alone is defined as existing unit with 8 plus members.
A composite unit is a" unit" combined from members of 2 or more units for the event.
Units with 8 rifles going on the field at the event will receive 1 issue per person per day at the event.
Units with 15 rifles going on the field at the event will receive 2 issues per person per day at the event.
( The key word is going on the field with rifles, cavalry units may use shotguns in place of rifles)
An issue is 10 rounds either bundled or loose.
Infantry issue forms for tracking will be handed out at events

Back To Top of Page