Why Join the 13th Texas Cavalry?
Throughout this website we have provided a great deal of information on reenacting and our unit. On this page we would like to explain why you should join the 13th Texas Cavalry.
Choosing the unit you will join is extremely important. Different units have different rules, policies, personalities and roles in reenactments. Joining the wrong unit could interfere with your enjoyment of this terrific hobby.
So why would you join the 13th Texas Cavalry over other Texas reenactor units?
Follow the links below for three great reasons:
The 13th Texas Cavalry Maintains a Family Friendly Atmosphere
You will find it all over our website. The 13th Texas Cavalry is a family-oriented unit. This is true in many respects:
We welcome your family members to camp with the unit during reenactments. This is not the norm, particularly for infantry units. In many units, the military reenactors only are allowed to camp with the unit and everyone else - even civilian reenactors - must stay elsewhere. The 13th is happy to have your family camp out with us and enjoy the reenactment experience!
There is something for everyone in your family to do. Members of the 13th Texas Cavalry view reenactments as an opportunity to do things WITH their families rather than a way to get away from the family for a weekend. Wives are considered part of the unit. They can be civilian reenactors if they'd like; they can put on a uniform, pick up a musket and join the skirmish line with the guys if that's what they'd prefer to do. It may surprise you to learn that many women did put on uniforms and fight during the Civil War, so it is historically very accurate for women to participate in our reenactments as soldiers now. Take a look at the photos below - yep, that's the same person in both pictures!
Children are welcomed to camp with their families in our unit. Older children can take part in the reenactments as runners, flag bearers, drummers, buglers and fife players, etc. There are age restrictions for carrying a weapon that vary from event to event; we would work with your children as the rules - and more importantly, safety - allowed. Younger children LOVE to dress up as 1860s kids and participate as well.
We expect all unit members and their families to behave respectably in our campsite. That means we ask people not to use foul language or drink alcohol in the camp site. We aren't tea-totalers who want to preach at anyone; we simply want to make sure that everyone in our campsite is comfortable and feels welcomed.
There is no hazing or looking down on new members to our unit. We love to have new members to our group, and we go out of our way to answer questions and help you get involved as quickly, easily and inexpensively as possible. We recognize that a new member doesn't understand what all is going on, what the rules are, what they're supposed to be doing and when. Our experienced troopers and civilian reenactors will be happy to take you under their wing and guide you to a successful and enjoyable experience from your first reenactment.
We are a close-knit group and that goes beyond the reenactments. One of our members got married in 2011; a good share of our unit was there to help them celebrate the wedding. We even fired a 21-gun salute for them at the end of the ceremony! Now both are members of our unit. We have a picnic in the summer and a Christmas party in December, where we all get together and have fun.
Our group is open to all families, all nationalities. In truth, all units we have been associated with are happy to welcome members of all nationalities, but we want to stress it here - everyone is welcomed to join the 13th, regardless of race. Incidentally, having people from various races join either the Confederate or Union army is also historically accurate.
There is no political agenda or affiliation with the 13th Texas Cavalry. Our unit does not endorse, support or participate in any political group or activity. Regardless your political inclinations, you're welcome to join our unit.
We just want to have fun. Some reenactment groups get very serious about every detail of their uniforms and how their camps are set up. This can be taken to extremes. We are serious about reenacting, but the bottom line for us is that we want to have fun and enjoy this hobby. We love history. We enjoy each other's company and have a great time doing the reenactments. We don't take it so seriously that it becomes stressful or competitive. It's not about who has the most expensive uniform - it's about who has the most fun.
The 13th Texas Cavalry Helps You Minimize Costs and Participate Quickly
Regardless what unit you join, there are costs involved with being a Civil War reenactor. However, you will find that joining the 13th Texas Cavalry is probably less expensive than other units in the area. Here's why:
We are a dismounted cavalry unit; as such the minimum required equipment is less than other types of units. Infantry soldiers carry bayonets, backpacks, bedrolls and other items that dismounted cavalry soldiers left on their horses; as a reenactor in our unit, you don't have to purchase those items. Cavalry units have the costs associated with maintaining and training horses. Artillary units must maintain and transport canon. The actual costs associated with being a dismounted cavalry trooper are lower than any other type of unit.
Furthermore, as a Texas unit it is entirely within character for us to wear historically accurate civilian clothes as we go into battle, without any uniform parts at all. This was the case for most Confederate forces but it was particularly true for Rebels in the Western Theater. You can see an example of this in the picture to the right. Only two of the five troopers are wearing an actual uniform jacket. Appropriate civilian clothes can be used in battle, just as uniforms can be.
The 13th Texas Cavalry is a progressive unit, which means that we are more flexible in what we will allow our reenactors to wear than traditional groups. Check out our glossary page for the definitions of farby and threadcounter.. We want people to be historically accurate, but we understand that being too restrictive in this regard becomes a barrier of entry for many people to join the hobby. Our unit understands that it takes time to build an authentic uniform and - if you so desire - all the gear needed for a campsite. We have a loaner box of uniform pieces and muskets for new troopers to use until they get their own. We help you find uniform pieces and supplies to help save you money. You don't have to feel like you need to drop a $1000 bunch of cash in uniforms and weapons just to see if you even enjoy the hobby.
We don't require any trooper to camp out with the unit. Period-authentic camping gear costs money. Furthermore, some people don't like to camp out at all. While some units require their members to camp with their unit at the reenactment site - which would require the purchase or all the camp gear - the 13th Texas Cavalry does not. You can commute from home for closer reenactments, stay in an RV if you have one, rent a local hotel room - you can make your own decisions with regards to your sleeping arrangements. This means you can devote your first reenactment dollars to building your impression and follow up with the campsite equipment as your budget and your preferences allow.
The 13th Texas Cavalry does not charge annual dues. We raise funds occasionally through participation in parades or other events and those cover our nominal costs for marketing, supplies etc. Our unit commander does not want us to charge a fee to be part of our group - so we don't.
The 13th Texas Cavalry Believes in Safety
While there are many safety procedures involved in a reenactment, the fact is that we're dealing with real fire arms and real black powder and there are hazards to this hobby. (Read our FAQ for a discussion on the various risks involved with reenactments.), Anyone who wants to join a reenactment group should look very carefully at their procedures with regards to safety.
The 13th Texas takes a very strict stance on matters regarding safety. We have two weapons inspections - muskets and pistols - before each reenactment. No weapon that fails inspection is allowed on the field, even if the trooper doesn't intend to use it. The unit commander typically gives a safety briefing to discuss the unique hazards of that particular event. We have two inspections of canteens before reenactments to ensure our troopers always have plenty of water. We do not use bayonets on our muskets and we do not allow our troopers to carry knives on the field. These are not lip-service bullet points; we take these policies very seriously.
Our commander and adjutant have both been trained in artillary operations; we do not fire canon but this training allows the officers to keep our group functioning safely on the battlefield, even with canon being fired.
In our unit we have a registered nurse, a nurse who is a former combat medic and a Marine reservist who is trained in battlefield first aid. In the event someone is injured, we have trained people in our unit to respond even before the paramedics can get onto the field.
About the 13th Texas Cavalry: