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The Types of Civil War Reenactors

from Wikipedia:
In Civil War reenacting today, there are thought to be four types of reenactors.
They are:
  • Farbs
  • Mainstreamers
  • Authentic/Preogressives
  • Hard-Cores


"Farbs," are reenactors who spend relatively little of their time or money maintaining authenticity with regard to uniforms, accessories, or even period behavior. The 'Good Enough' attitude is pervasive among farbs, although perhaps few casual observers would be able to point out flaws in their impressions. Blue jeans, tennis shoes, polyester (and other man-made fabrics), zippers, velcro, snoods and other modern things are prevalent. Some think the origin of the word is a truncated version of "Far be it from authentic." An alternative definition is "Far Be it for me to question his impression", or "Fast And Research-less Buyer"


Another group of reenactors are often called "Mainstreamers." These reenactors are somewhere between farb and authentic. They are more common than either farbs or authentics.


Another type of reenactor is the "Authentic/Progressive". They try to recreate life in the Civil War to the fullest, researching details of material goods and operations in a quest for accuracy. They are constantly trying to "progress" in their knowledge and other aspects of the mid-19th century.


On the opposite side from farbs, you have "Hard-Cores" or "stitch counters". Though they usually possess a wealth of knowledge, some hard-cores sometimes take the hobby to an extreme, even to the point of refusing to take part in battles because they know they can't experience authentic wounding from live 1860's weapons. Less extremely, a number of hard-cores crash-diet themselves in the lead-up to campaign season in order to look like authentic under-fed Southern soldiers, such as would have been part of Stonewall Jackson's foot cavalry. Many people have misconceptions about hardcore reenactors, which spawn from a published book about hardcore reenactors, Confederates in the Attic. Such things as urinating on buttons to "make them look old", even though an actual soldier from the American Civil War would have had relatively new things issued to them. Hard-cores are typified by their disregard for farbs, whose frequently corpulent appearance and inaccurate dress is a source of great irritation.


Types of Civil War reenactments

from Wikipedia:
There are four main categories of Civil War reenactments.

Living histories

Living histories are meant entirely for education of the public. Such events do not necessarily have a mock battle but instead are aimed at portraying the life, and more importantly the lifestyle, of the average Civil War soldier. This does include civilian reenacting, a growing trend. Occasionally, a spy trial is recreated, too. More common are weapons and cooking demonstrations, song and leisure activities, and lectures. These should not, however, be confused with Living history museums. These outlets for living history utilize museum professionals and trained interpreters in order to convey the most accurate information available to historians.

Public Demonstrations

Public demonstrations are smaller mock battles put on by reenacting organizations and/or private parties primarily to show the public how people in the 1860s lived, and to show the public civil war battles. The battles are often only loosely based on actual battles.

Tactical Battles

Tactical battles are battles that are generally not open to the public. Tactical battles are fought like real battles with both sides coming up with strategies and tactics to beat their opponents. Since there is no script, the battle tends to follow the same course an original battle might.

Scripted Battles

Scripted battles are larger battles, and are usually fought either at the original battle ground, or at a place very similar to the original. In scripted battles, the battles are planned out beforehand so that the companies and regiments make the same actions that the were taken in the original battles.


Categories of both reenactors and events are loose, fuzzy, and often overlap. Individuals and reenacting clubs may attend both mainstream and authentic events. And of course, no reenactor and no event will deliberately describe itself as "farby," or a "farb."
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