Rules & Regulations of the ACWA

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ACWA Revised 2020

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Table of Contents
Mission Statement…………………………………………………………………………. 3
Safe Responsible Behavior defined………………………………………………………. 3
Section 1: Membership……………………………………………………………………. 3
Section 2: Guests at events………………………………………………………………… 3
Section 3: Brigades and Corps……………………………………………………………… 4
Section 4: Authenticity Standards…………………………………………………………. 4
Section 5: General Rules…………………………………………………………………... 5
Section 6: Safety in Camp…………………………………………………………………. 5
Section 7: Weapons Safety ………………………………………………………………... 6
Section 8: Safety on the Battlefield ………………………………………………………... 7
Section 9: Safety Officer…………………………………………………………………... 8
Section 10: Artillery Safety Rules…………………………………………………………. 8
Section 11: Equine Safety Rules …………………………………………………………. 8
Section 12: Formation of New Units………………………………………………………. 9


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Mission Statement
We, the American Civil War Association, are foremost a group of friends and families that come together to share in our enjoyment of history in as many ways as we have members. Each of us brings a different set of values and viewpoints to the hobby of Civil War reenacting and no two approaches will be identical. Secondly, the ACWA professes to be an organization accurately portraying the Civil War for the public at large, educating them on the era to the best of our ability. In order to responsibly do so, our membership must recognize that during the time the public is in our camps, viewing our battle reenactments or speaking to our members we must conduct ourselves in a manner befitting the era we portray. Our members should realize and accept that their personal comfort and convenience should not hinder our ability as a club to convey a reasonably accurate glimpse of history to those who come to see it at our events or events at which we are guests.
Safe Responsible Behavior Defined
• It is the responsibility of all ACWA members to, at all times, exhibit safe responsible behavior at all events.
• Safe responsible behavior is defined as: 1) an acceptable level of situational awareness on the battlefield and in the camps, 2) the ability to safely handle a loaded or unloaded weapon in close proximity to others, 3) a willingness to follow orders, 4) a positive attitude toward authority, and 5) safe orderly conduct in camp.
Section 1: Membership
1:1 All members of the ACWA must completely fill out an annual membership form (located at and print out. This, along with the safety test, must be mailed in. Each individual who will be participating at ACWA events, including children, is required to have a membership form.
1:2 All members must designate on their annual membership form which Brigade and unit they will be participating with, whether a soldier, camp follower or civilian.
1:3 All members must sign all ACWA insurance waivers (included with membership form) for each individual participating annually, including children under age 12.
1:4 All members must take and pass the annual safety test. Children under age 12 are exempt, but they must be taught and abide by all safety rules and are the direct responsibility of their legal parent or guardian. This test is available to take online (located at You must print the completion form after passing the test and mail it in with your application.
1:5 Any members participating in mounted cavalry or artillery units, are required to take extra written and practical safety tests related to their specialty unit.
1:6 All members must obey all rules, regulations, policies and the by-laws of the American Civil War Association at all times.
Section 2: Guests at ACWA events
2:1 Non-ACWA members may participate in ACWA events as a guest.
2:2 NO person who has been convicted of a felony may participate in an ACWA event.
2:3 Any person who is a member in good standing, with a current membership card, of any PACWR affiliate re-enactment group, may participate in any ACWA events.
2:4 It is the responsibility of the guest re-enactor to contact the ACWA event coordinator for event information and instruction prior to the event they will be participating in.


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2:5 Re-enactors that are not members of a PACWR affiliated group may participate in ACWA events only after completion of a guest membership form, completion of all insurance and liability waivers, successful completion of a written safety test and certification of safety by the ACWA safety officer and/or his designee. 2:6 Any non-PACWR member re-enactors participating in specialty battle units i.e., artillery or cavalry, must also pass the appropriate written and practical tests for those specialty units prior to participation.
2:7 All guest re-enactors must obey all rules and regulations set forth by the American Civil War Association. Company Commanders are responsible for advising all guest PACWAR and otherwise of the ACWA safety rules.
2:8 All guest participants must fall in with one of the ACWA Brigades or Civilian Corps.
Section 3: Brigades and Corps
3:1 The ACWA will have three Brigades or Corps. They will be the Federal Brigade, The Confederate Brigade and the Civilian Corps. Any member participating in an ACWA event must fall in with one of the existing Brigades or Civilian Corps.
3:2 The Brigade Commander of each brigade will be the Officer in charge for all military personnel and camp follower impressions (a camp follower is any non-military person, male or female, adult or child, living in or near the military camps). All military and camp follower impressions will be under the command of their chosen military brigade.
3:3 The Civilian Corps Mayor will have jurisdiction over all civilian impressions. All civilian impressions will live in the “civilian town” and are not associated with either military camp (Federal or Confederate). All Civilians will be under the jurisdiction of the Civilian Corps Mayor.
3:4 Both military Brigade Commanders have equal authority on the battlefield.
3:5 The Brigade Commanders and the Civilian Corps Coordinator will be elected annually by their respective brigades and corps. Brigade Commanders and the Civilian Corps Coordinator are voting members of the ACWA Board of Directors.
3:6 Each Brigade and the Civilian Corps shall have on file with the ACWA, Official Brigade or Corps Rules and regulations.
3:7 Brigade or Corps Rules and regulations may not supersede the ACWA rules regulation, the ACWA by-laws or the ACWA Articles of Incorporation.
3:8 Each Brigade and Corps will maintain a full stocked first-aid kit.
Section 4: Authenticity Standards
4:1 The goal of the ACWA is to portray, as accurately as possible, the American Civil War during the years of 1861 to 1865.
4:2 During public hours at events, all members will be dressed in period appropriate clothing of the years 1861 to 1865. No members may be in the military camps or civilian town areas unless dress codes are adhered to.
4:3 Members portraying military persons will adhere to Civil War era standards of regulation dress codes. No modern cosmetics, jewelry, adornments or hair styles may be worn on the battlefield or in the military camps. Military uniforms must be appropriate to each Brigade. No modern tobacco products will be allowed during public hours.
4:4 Members portraying civilian or camp followers will adhere to societal standards of dress and etiquette common during the years 1861-1865. No modern clothing, cosmetics, jewelry, adornments or hair styles will be permitted. No modern tobacco products will be allowed during public hours.
4:5 No modern camping equipment, fire pits or tents will be allowed during public hours.
4:6 Any modern camping or cooking equipment must be hidden from public view at all times during public hours.


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4:7 No modern food or drink containers will be allowed during public hours. Efforts to conceal such items may include reproduction labeling, transferring to a period appropriate container, such as glass or metal that would have been used during the years 1861 to 1865.
4:8 Unit commanders are responsible for insuring all modern items are hidden from public view at least one half (1/2) hour prior to public hours.
4:9 Unit commanders are responsible for ensuring dress codes are adhered to during public hours.
4:10 The Civilian town Mayor is responsible for ensuring all modern items are hidden from view during public hours. The Civilian Town Mayor is responsible for ensuring all dress codes are adhered to during public hours.


Section 5: General Rules
5:1 Members or guests may not consume or be under the influence of alcohol during public hours.
5:2 Members or guests may not use or be under the influence of recreational drugs during public hours.
5:3 The ACWA has a zero-tolerance policy for illegal or illicit drugs at any time. No illicit or illegal drugs may be on site at any ACWA sanctioned event.
5:4 Rowdiness, abusive language or public drunkenness will not be tolerated at any time.
5:5 All members and guests must abide by all ACWA and PACWR rules and regulations and exhibit safe and responsible behavior at all times.
5:6 No person may represent the ACWA without prior consent of the ACWA Board of Directors.
5:7 No person under the age of twelve (12) will be allowed on the battlefield at any time.
5:8 No person under the age of fourteen (14) may carry a weapon of any kind at any time on the battlefield.
5:9 All persons under age eighteen (18) must be accompanied by or under the supervision of an adult at all times when on the battlefield.
5:10 All persons under the age of eighteen (18) must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian at all events.
5:11 Persons under the age of eighteen (18) may move freely throughout military camps and civilian town during public hours provided they abide by all safety zones and safety standards. A parent or legal guardian is responsible for the actions of any youth member under their charge at all times at all ACWA sanctioned events.
5:12 No member of the public may enter any members’ or guest tent, unless by express invitation of the owner.
5:13 Spectators may only handle a weapon if; (a) the weapon is unloaded and in fully safe condition and (b) it is in controlled demonstration scenarios. The weapon being demonstrated is never to leave the sight of the owner.
5:14 All animals must be restrained at all times.
5:15 Firearms and powder supplies will never be left unattended.
5:16 The possession of live ammunition, either period or modern is prohibited. Sworn peace officers or Concealed Carry permit holders are exempt.


Section 6: Safety in Camp
6:1 Absolutely no open fire may be left unattended at any time.
6:2 All campfires will have either a bucket full of water or fire extinguisher located within ten (10) feet of the open fire, for the purpose of extinguishing an out of control fire.
6:3 No open flame will be closer than ten (10) feet from any canvas or other flammable material.
6:4 No person wearing a hoop skirt may be closer than ten (10) feet from any open flame.
6:5 No person wearing any man-made synthetic material may be closer than ten (10) feet from any open flame. All clothing material must be of natural fiber.
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6:6 No weapons may be fired within thirty (30) feet or ten (10) yards of any encampment.
6:7 No weapon may be cleared without permission of a commander.
6:8 Anytime a weapon is being cleared the person handling the weapon must clearly and loudly yell “FIRE IN THE HOLE” three (3) times prior to discharge of the weapon.
6:9 No person may touch a weapon that is not theirs without express permission of the owner of the weapon or unless they think it is lost.


Section 7: Weapons Safety
7:1 All weapons shall be clean and in good repair.
7:2 All weapons shall be field cleaned at the end of the day.
7:3 Weapons may only be loaded when orders are given by the commanding officer. Orders may given to reload at will during battle scenarios.
7:4 Only FF or FFF grade black powder or re-enactor powder equivalent may be used. ABSOLUTELY NO BLACK POWDER SUBSTITUTES WILL BE ALLOWED.
7:5 Longarm cartridges for muzzle loading weapons must be made of paper. Paper cartridges may only be folded over or secured with string no other method of securing cartridges will be allowed.
7:6 When loading a muzzle loading longarm, only the powder may be placed in the barrel, not the paper. Paper cartridges for breach-loading arms may be placed in the barrel.
7:7 All longarm cartridges will be made prior to battle scenarios and will contain no more than seventy (70) grains of black powder for .54 to .58 caliber, ninety (90) grains for .69 caliber, or one hundred thirty (130) grains for shot guns.
7:8 Powder horns, flasks, or other free loading devices are not allowed on the battlefield.
7:9 Carbine and other shoulder arm cartridges are allowed. All hard-cased ammunition is sealed only with “crumbling floral foam or blue painters” tape to cover the open end of the cartridge.
7:10 Single shot pistols shall be loaded with no more than forty (40) grains of powder and will be treated as a longarm in other respects.
7:11 Revolvers and other pistols of .36 caliber shall be loaded with no more than fifteen (15) grains of powder.
7:12 Instant Cream of Wheat, or “crumbling” floral foam shall be the only materials used to seal pistol cylinders.
7:13 All pistol cartridges or cylinders must be loaded prior to battlefield scenarios. Pistols may only be loaded on the battlefield with ammunition prepared beforehand.
7:14 Anyone using revolvers may carry extra pre-loaded cylinders and must have them secured in a leather pouch specifically designed for this function.
7:15 All pistols must be carried in holster, whether loaded or not. Pistols are considered secured if they are carried in a holster with the flap secured, or a loop over the hammer.
7:16 Steel bayonets may be fixed for parade, guard duty, arms inspection, stacking arms, drill, digging in or other non-battle scenarios at the direction of the commanding officer.
7:17 Bayonets may never be drawn on the battlefield.
7:18 Swords may be drawn only by Officers or mounted cavalry.
7:19 All knives must be tied or otherwise secured in their sheaths.


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Section 8: Safety on the Battlefield
8:1 All spectators will be removed from the battlefield a minimum of ten minutes before the battle.
8:2 Absolutely no spectators are allowed on the battlefield while troops are present on the field (this includes before, during and after scenarios). If at anytime a spectator enters the field a cease fire will be immediately called.
8:3 A safety zone of thirty (30) feet or 10 yards will be maintained by anyone carrying unsecured weapons and the public.
8:4 A safety zone of thirty (30) feet or ten (10) yards will be maintained between any person firing a weapon and any person they are firing at. If there are any persons inside this safety zone the weapon shall not be fired. Weapons may be fired over person’s lying on the ground as “dead” or “wounded” who are lying within the safety zone provided that it is done with reasonable caution and safety.
8:5 A safety zone of sixty (60) feet or twenty (20) yards will be maintained between any person firing a weapon and any mounted person they are firing at.
8:6 A safety zone of sixty (60) feet or twenty (20) yards will be maintained between any person firing a weapon and mounted artillery pieces.
8:7 A safety zone of sixty (60) feet or twenty (20) yards will be maintained between all mounted persons and infantry.
8:8 A safety zone of sixty (60) feet or twenty (20) yards will be maintained in front of loaded artillery pieces.
8:9 A safety zone of thirty (30) feet or ten (10) yards to the sides and rear of all loaded artillery pieces.
8:10 If an artillery piece is loaded, the crewmen will place the implements in a vertical position at the side of the piece.
8:11 No artillery piece may be loaded if safety zones are not clear.
8:12 All “wounded” will be removed from the artillery safety zones before firing.
8:13 All persons must enter the battlefield with a water filled canteen.
8:14 No person on the battlefield may be armed with more than one long arm.
8:15 No person on the battlefield may carry more than one side arm, except mounted cavalry may carry four (4) total, with two (2) being secured in pommel holsters.
8:16 No ramrods or bayonets shall be used on the battlefield. Ramrods and bayonets shall be secured while on the battlefield.
8:17 Swords and sabers may NEVER engage infantry.
8:18 Non-combatants are not allowed on the battlefield unless they have been approved by both brigade commanders.
8:19 No hand to hand combat scenarios without prior permission of the brigade commanders and pre-battle rehearsal.
8:20 Before engaging in hand to hand combat scenarios all weapons must be cleared.
8:21 Any person who observes a safety hazard of any kind while on the battlefield, may correct the situation immediately. If the situation cannot be resolved immediately, then a cease fire must be called and will remain in effect until the situation is corrected. TO CALL A CEASE FIRE: THE PERSON CALLING THE CEASE FIRE WILL HOLD THEIR WEAPON (SWORD OR RIFLE) ABOVE THEIR HEAD LONGITUDINALLY, USING BOTH HANDS. A SIGNAL THAT CAN BE REPEATED BY OTHER PARTICIPANTS UNTIL THE CEASE FIRE HAS BEEN ACHIEVED.
8:22 THE CALL “MEDIC” IS USED FOR ACTUAL EMERGENCIES ONLY. The terms “surgeon”, “litter bearer” or other period terms may be used for scenario purposes.
8:23 No soldiers may fire from the prone position unless commanded by their commanding officer. If firing from the prone position, the muzzle must be elevated above any dry grass or any debris that could become a projectile.
8:24 All weapons must be discharged before falling to the ground.

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8:25 All weapons must be cleared at the end of the battle.
8:26: Hearing Protection is at the discretion of each individual.


Section 9: Safety Officer
9:1 The ACWA Safety Officer is appointed annually by the ACWA Board of Directors.
9:2 The Safety Officer is responsible for ensuring all safety rules, regulations, policies and standards are being adhered to.
9:3 The Safety Officer, under direction of the ACWA Board of Directors, has the authority to remove any member at any event for any safety violations.
9:4 The Safety Officer is responsible for coordinating with the event coordinator for specific safety needs at each event.
9:5 The Safety Officer or his/her designee is responsible for certification of any re-enactor as to proficiency in handling all weapons (including blades) and ensuring they may safely participate in weapons handling.


Section 10: Artillery Safety Rules
10:1 All artillery pieces shall have the proper equipment and be in good repair.
10:2 All artillery pieces must be inspected prior to taking the field.
10:3 All artillery units shall ensure that all artillery pieces on the field have fire prevention and suppression tools available prior to battle.
10:4 No material shall be loaded that, when fired, will pass out of the safety zone, including the foil that wraps the charge.
10:5 All artillery ammunition boxes containing black powder must be constantly manned when unlocked, with the lid closed when in battery position (when the lid is open hinges must be facing the cannon).
10:6 All powder magazines (tents) will be marked with signs, and the safety zones surrounding them are to be marked off with ropes and red flags.


Section 11: Equine Safety Rules
11:1 These safety rules apply to all portrayals involving equine military and civilian.
11:2 The ACWA equine safety officer or his/her designee is responsible for ensuring that all equine and their riders are safe to perform in the presence of fellow re-enactors and spectators.
11:3 All animals will be inspected for soundness, obvious sickness and injury.
11:4 Abuse or neglect of animals will not be tolerated.
11:5 All animals not in use shall be tied to a taut picket line and will be monitored by equine units at all times
11:6 All stock must be ridden or driven at a walk in camp streets and when entering the battlefield via avenues through the public.
11:7 Stock will never be intentionally spooked or stampeded. All reasonable measures will be made to prevent such occurrences.
11:8 Mounted cavalry should only take hits as wounds, and at NO TIME shall a rider intentionally come off of their horse. If this happens a cease fire will be called.
11:9 Horses may only be touched or handled by the owner or by persons allowed by the owner to do so.
11:10 All mounted activity is to cease, and a cease fire will be called, if a rider is unhorsed or injured on the battlefield.
11:11 Mounted vehicles (artillery pieces, wagons, caissons etc.) must always have a clear route off the field in case of emergency.

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11:12 Troops attempting to “capture” mounted vehicles (wagons, artillery pieces, etc.) during a battle scenario will leave an open lane large enough for the vehicle to pass through in case of emergency. Any orders given by the driver of the vehicle must be immediately obeyed.

Section 12: Formation of new Brigade Units
12:1 A proposed new unit must be a unit that existed between the years of 1861 to 1865.
12:2 A proposal that states the unit’s history and uniform requirements must be presented to the Brigade.
12:3 A proposal for unit rules and regulations that define how the officers of the unit are elected, how unit funds are managed and tracked, unit chain of command, guidelines for unit membership.
12:4 Any unit approved by the Brigade with at least six members of that unit present, and whereas those members are in good standing with the ACWA, may take the field in battle scenarios as a unit.
12:5 Approved units with less than six members may still participate in all ACWA events at the discretion of the Brigade Commander and may actively recruit at any ACWA events.
12:6 Any new unit approved by the Brigade will have a 1-year probationary period for the purpose of achieving minimum numbers of combatants.
12:7 The Brigade will inform the ACWA Board of Directors when a new unit is accepted and has established brigade compatibility.
12:8 The unit must have on file with the ACWA Board of Directors the unit history.
12:9 The unit must have on file with the ACWA Board of Directors the units rules and regulations