Jim Butler has asked me to command the Federal infantry company at Surrender of Secession. The unit impression is the 176th New York Infantry, and the guidelines can be found here: http://www.surrenderofsecession.com/GUIDELINES.html
Just click on the Federal infantry guidelines, and read through them. As Jim has mentioned, the event staff is using accounts from western and middle Georgia after the end of the war. The 176th New York Infantry, known as the “Ironsides Regiment” was formed in December, 1862 as a combination of two other regiments that were slow to form fully. The Ironsides men were then sent to New Orleans, and saw combat in 1863 in actions at La Fourche crossing, Thibodeaux, Fort Buchanan, Bayou Boeuff and Brashier City. In the first part of 1864 it was in the XIX Corps during the Red River Campaign, then it was transferred to Sheridan’s command and participated in the Valley Campaign at 3rd Winchester, Fisher’ Hill, and Cedar Creek. Early in 1865 it was assigned to Savannah, and then later with the X Corps during the later stages of the Carolinas Campaign. Even after the surrender of the CS forces at Appomattox and Bentonville, the men of the 176th still had to finish their 3 year term of enlistment. The New Yorkers garrisoned Savannah, Ga initially, and then the men were ordered to garrison Macon, Ga plus the surrounding areas by September of 1865. The command served various garrison duties until April 27, 1866, when the regiment was mustered out.
All right, so the 176th has a unique history, but how does this translate to the Westville event? Well, Federal infantry participants have an opportunity to go into a recreated town of period structures, that will be inhabited by top notch civilian reenactors. The Federal force will be the occupying “hand” of the reestablished Federal government that has been tasked to restore order, since the Confederate government and the state government is no longer in charge. Of course, many citizens will not be pleased to see the “Yankee Horde” in their town, but times have changed, and the citizens need help. Also, how will recently surrendered Confederate soldiers who have returned home see Federal forces? Are we the “bad guys” or are we “good guys” since we are now, for all intents and purposes, the body that ushers back law and order. How will you as a Federal volunteer, substitute, or even conscript soldier feel about having to remain in the army, now that the war is over?
My goal for the garrison company is to provide the structure for a military command guarding Federal property, and trying to help make sense of a chaotic situation. The phrase "Strangers in a Strange Land" is a great description. This is a perfect choice for men who want to attend Westville, but do not want to fill in a civilian role, or have little experience with civilian roles. You will definitely get an experience that you will remember for a long time. I was lucky enough to participate in the first Westville event, Sparks of Secession in 2008, and it was an amazing event. I experienced some of the best first person interactions and “moments” at the event. I had little experience with civilian events until then, and it was amazing. I could not make the second event, but I head great remarks about it. Also, I am offering a very generous “bounty” to all men who register with the garrison company. It will be a nice “surprise” for those who sign on for the 176th New York, deep in ‘hostile’ territory. All I ask from the military participants is that you come with a good attitude, be prepared to be in first person the entire time, do your duty as a United States volunteer, and meet the guidelines.
Again, the guidelines are not difficult to attain, but this is an “Invitation Only” event. You will need to contact Jim Butler and myself to ensure a slot for the garrison company. I’ve already got men from Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and even Minnesota wanting to be in the garrison company.