Frequently Asked Questions about the Brigade
What is The Brigade?
The Brigade of the American Revolution is an international historical association, founded in 1962, dedicated to recreating the life and times of the common soldiers of the American War for Independence, 1775-1783.
Who are members of The Brigade?
Men, women, and children from all walks of life: teachers, nurses, mechanics, museum curators, printers, musicians, dentists, retired business men, artists, craftsmen of all kinds, students, librarians, engineers, photographers, authors. The list is almost endless. But all have one thing in common – a love for the study of the American Revolution and for bringing the results of their investigations to the people of the United States and Canada, and making it concrete, meaningful, and interesting.
How many members are there?
Nearly 3000 members, enrolled in over 130 separate units, each of which closely recreates a specific military unit which took part in the War.
Does The Brigade only portray American soldiers?
No. It represents all the Armies involved. There are U.S. Continentals and Militia, British, Loyalist (Tory), German, French, Spanish, and Native American forces. A member’s national background has no necessary bearing upon which Army in which he enlists.
Where are members located?
In all of the 13 original states, plus Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Florida, California, and Oregon to cite a few other states. In addition there are member units in Canada and Great Britain, making the The Brigade of the American Revolution a truly international organization.
What branches of service are represented?
Infantry, Artillery, Cavalry, Musicians, Artificers, Engineers, Riflemen, Militia, Naval Forces, Marines, as well as other military and civilian personnel.
What do the women do?
They portray women of the period, in all of the various roles that women held. They are enrolled in the Civilian Class Membership and enact their roles as officer’s ladies, soldiers wives , or camp followers. The ladies and wives also do many of the crafts and daily chores that would have been done in the camp. Without the women, the 18th century armies would have had a more difficult time than they did; women were an integral part of armies of the period.
What about children?
The Brigade has an active Children’s Program in which youngsters learn and practice games and chores of 18th Century children at their age.
Is The Brigade an hereditary organization?
No. There are no ascriptive requirements for membership, although many men and women can trace their ancestry to those who supported both sides of the conflict.
What does The Brigade do?
It recreates the entire Revolutionary War scene for its members and the public through marches, encampments and tactical battlefield demonstrations, as well as commemorative observances. It regularly conducts schools on various 18th Century subjects. Marksmanship competitions are also held, by which members improve their skills in firing the muzzle loading weapons of the period. The Brigade stresses the safe handling of weapons with strict regulations.
What does a typical Brigade event consist of?
Most Brigade events involve a weekend of energetic, colorful activity. During Friday night and early Saturday the 18th century camp is set up, complete with soldier’s tents, officer’s marquees, cooking areas and craft displays. After reveille and officer’s call (the entire day is run by period drum signals), the Brigade is assembled, inspected and drilled in maneuvers and firings. In the afternoon a safe tactical demonstration is staged with American, French, and Spanish troops facing the Crown Forces of British, Tories, Germans and native allies. The day ends with a formal Retreat Ceremony with honors to the flags, accompanied by the Brigade’s Field Musick. Sunday begins with optional Church services, conducted by a Chaplain in proper vestments for the 18th century. The remainder of the day follows somewhat similar to that of Saturday. Camp is struck late on Sunday.
How is The Brigade uniformed and equipped?
Each unit is as nearly an exact recreation of the original Revolutionary War unit as present study and research will permit. All cloth, leather, fastenings, etc., are accurate copies. Patterns for uniforms are made from surviving examples in museums, and from contemporary sources such as prints, paintings, and books. No modern, man-made fabrics, no plastic, no zippers are used. Weapons are exact reproductions of British and French muskets, American long rifles, cannon and edged weapons of all types: bayonets, halberds, pikes, spontoons, swords and tomahawks. Cartridge boxes, canteens, belts and buckles, and other accouterments are all copies of the originals. All members personally own their uniforms, weapons and equipment; either making it themselves, or purchasing it from craftsmen members. We learn the most about the people by using the most authentic tools to try to accomplish the same tasks.
Are there Merchants?
Among the more important resources that Brigade members rely upon are the merchants who supply many of the reproduction items we employ in our recreation of 18th C life. While many of these merchants offer well researched and authentically fabricated items, unfortunately some do not. With this in mind, the Brigade has prepared a set of ‘Merchant Guidelines’ to assist both buyer and seller in determining what items are appropriate to market at Brigade events.
The Brigade of the American Revolution brings the history of the American War for Independence to life for children and adults alike. It helps to create interest in the Revolution by a variety of demonstrations. The visitor may look at, touch, hear and talk to the soldiers and camp followers; thus bringing to life in three dimensions and full color, the Revolutionary War scene. Visitors are almost a part of this scene – not merely spectators. The American War for Independence comes to life…authentic, truthful education for all ages…something to be long remembered.