Who we are.
I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand - Salem Towne, 19th century educator.
1st Maine Cavalry, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that portrays Federal volunteer cavalry in living history demonstrations and reenacting.
Our aim is to preserve and understand the life of the cavalryman during the American Civil War. Through practical experience and academic research we not only keep alive the ways of the cavalry but can better share that knowledge and experience in order to heighten public awareness of that part of our history, and keep alive the memory of those that gave so much for their cause and country. 1st Maine's goal is to bring to life the federal cavalryman not only for the benefit of the public that might not otherwise have experienced such a tangible portrayal of their history; but for ourselves, that we might appreciate and understand, as best we can, the experience of the cavalryman in the Civil War.
We are accepting recruits that are energetic, physically sound, quality minded, and have an interest in history and doing what we do.
We portray Company A of the 1st Maine Cavalry. Depending on the time period of the event, our appearance may change slightly to conform to how 1st Maine, Company A was armed and equipped at that time. 1st Maine was fairly typical of the Army of the Potomac's cavalry, so the difference are not generally that great. Usually it will mean carbines, or no carbines, certain tack, jackets or coats, hats or caps, etc. It has been our experience that trying to create a generic impression was making us look more like reenactors than cavalrymen and we resolved to focus on our namesake regiment where we not only could do the equipment correctly, but incorporate the background of those men from Maine into our impression.
Because much of what we do is for the benefit of the public our effort is focused on making how we look, and how we function as historically correct as we can. We continuously strive to improve our individual as well as our overall "impression." All members, therefore, are expected to maintain, at least, the minimum standards dictated by the unit's impression guidelines.
We do not have non-military members per-se. We do not have civilians to serve as camp maids and camp with the military component.
Wives and children of our members that reenact as civilians associate with quality civilian organizations such as
The Atlantic Guard Soldier's Aid Society.
cartridge box plate
Beyond the uniform and equipment a major component of how "authentic" we appear involves how we perform. In order to be convincing as a military organization we must function as one. To that end, this unit trains. In addition to work on horseback we train on the ground as well. Skirmishing, firing from ranks, formations, the manual-of-arms, camp, outposts, guards, and the basic life of the Federal cavalryman all in addition to; tacking, packing, mounting, dismounting, sitting, and all of the above on horseback. We also train in weapons care and safety, uniform and equipment, what's right, what's not, and how to wear it.
In the field we often operate on foot or "dismounted," as opposed to operating on horseback or "mounted." We might dismount to fight during the event or even attend an event without horses and operate completely dismounted. Whatever mode we adopt will be appropriate to the situation being portrayed at the event.
We do not require you to own a horse to join. We do not impose a timeframe in which to aquire a horse and equipments, but we are a cavalry organization and that means horses. Not riding will severly limit your participation in many of the events we attend. If you are interested in joining 1st Maine, the eventuality of being a mounted trooper should be your goal.
You should not buy anything until you are aware of the standards of the unit you are about to join. The greater majority of uniforms, and equipment available are incorrect and by the standards of this unit, unusable. You should rely on the unit's veterans, guidelines, and our approved vendor list to guide you in obtaining your uniform as you learn what to look for and what to avoid.
Please note - being listed on our general Links list is NOT our endorsment of those listed. Those vendors listed on our Approved Vendors listing are suppliers we have dealt with and have provided correct quality merchandise. Even then, some "approved" vendors on this list may also offer items we consider sub-standard. It takes experience and guidance to know the difference.
The cost of aquiring your "kit" can vary a great deal depending on the quality and accuracy of the items. The more accurately the piece represents the historical artifact, generally, the more it costs. The most basic kit will start between $900 and $1,500, but weaponry represents the largest chunk of that amount with the carbine costing from $500 to $1100, and pistol costing from $90 to $200. Used items, especially weapons, can significantly reduce the total and most of this will only need to be purchased once. Your carbine, for instance, should last forever with proper care.
Quite often the unit will take on group projects to make items of equipment. One such project recently involved making acurate mounted pattern trousers. An upcoming project will be to make uniform jackets. Besides the cost savings you'd expect, the unit "grows by doing" via the research, team work, and skills aquired to complete the project.
1st Maine keeps a limited amount of "extra" uniforms and equipment so prospective members can take a "test drive" before they invest in a hobby they may decide is not for them. If you join, we'll provide you with what you need to know to obtain your uniform as well as the training to allow you to properly, and safely, portray a Union cavalry soldier.
Through-out the website you'll see a menu of buttons on the left of the page.
~ The front page of our site.
Updated: November 8, 2010