Welcome to the home page of the

Holmes Brigade, USV, Inc.

A Premier Civil War Federal Infantry Living History Organization


  "Just a quarter mile more..."


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Holmes History
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* How many members belong to the Holmes Brigade?
The Brigade currently numbers over 120 members from over 13 different states. It is more of a regional unit as opposed to a local unit which may get together for non-event meetings.

* Who may join?
Membership is open to any serious, authenticity-minded, Federal reenactor. Boys must be sixteen to carry a weapon (they may serve as musicians if they can play fife, drum, or bugle and can keep up with the men). Women are not allowed to serve as soldiers; they may portray civilians of the period through Associate membership or membership in the Ladies’ Union Aid Society.

* Where do the members of the Brigade come from?
The majority of Brigade members live in Missouri, but the states of Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois are well represented.

* How much does it cost?
Dues are $10 per year and includes issues of the Brigade newsletter, The Holmes Brigade Dispatch. Dues money funds the newsletter and pays for special items to improve our living history presentations: hard tack, equipment for the mess, etc. Paid membership also allows you to vote in the annual election of officers, NCOs, and other positions. Associate membership is $5, but does not include voting or office privledges.

* Do the men of the Brigade portray an actual historical unit?
No. The name "Holmes Brigade" was selected because the original Holmes Brigade was an average brigade of varied Middle Western composition. The goal of the Brigade is to "brigade-together" smaller units to portray an authentic-sized average Federal unit of the western theater of operations. This "generic" approach allows the Brigade to alter its impression when called upon to portray different historical units in reenactment scenarios. Information about units to be portrayed appears in the newsletter.

* How is Holmes Brigade organized?
A membership meeting is held annually to elect
officers and non-commissioned officers for the year. The infantry elects a captain, two lieutenants, a commissary sergeant, a color sergeant, three line sergeants, and six corporals. The men elected are expected to assume the authentic responsibilities of their ranks throughout a reenactment weekend. In this way, the Brigade functions smoothly and everyone knows what is expected of him to provide the best possible experience for the entire group. See the By-Laws for additional details.

* How "hard-core" is the attitude of the Holmes Brigade toward authenticity?
Holmes Brigade’s approach to the hobby of reenacting attempts to balance service to the public with providing a first class living history experience for its members. Every reenactment weekend is structured to provide time for "living like it was" for interacting with the public, and for enjoying the fellowship of other Civil War enthusiasts. Brigade members are expected to look authentic and to strive to act in an authentic manner whenever possible - especially before the public. The emphasis is on "doing it right" when it counts, and reserving times when the public is not present for other forms of enjoying our hobby. The Brigade attempts to function as an authentic Civil War unit from reveille until dark, but the evenings are generally free for relaxation and refighting old battles around the campfire.

* Do I have to acquire all the necessary equipment before participating?
No. Since it can easily cost over
$1,000 to acquire the basic uniform, weapons, and equipment for an infantry private, many Brigade members, and to an extent the unit itself, have extra items to loan to new recruits. If a person is interested in reenacting, it is a good idea to attend at least one event with borrowed gear to be sure that he enjoys the hobby enough to make the required financial commitment. Contact a member if you would like to borrow an outfit and give the hobby a try.

* Is the Brigade part of a national organization of reenactors?
There is no single national reenactors’ association. Holmes Brigade is a charter member of the Western Brigade, a nation-wide organization of Federal units that serve together as a single large unit at major events. The Western Brigade is part of a larger Federal Infantry organization, the 1st Federal Division. These larger units are the organization the Holmes works within at larger national events.

Regionally, the Brigade is associated with the Missouri Civil War Reenactors' Association, Inc., an organization of Federal and Confederate reenactors -- military and civilian -- from Missouri and surrounding states. Members of the Holmes Brigade may wish to consider belonging to the M.C.W.R.A. as well.

* Is there a way for families to participate?
Many families of Brigade members participate through the Ladies' Union Aid Society, a reenactment organization for Federal civilian reenactors. At reenactment events, the L.U.A.S. conducts its own slate of activities, including writing letters to soldiers, holding temperance rallies, hosting teas and lawn parties, portraying refugees, army laundresses, officer’s wives, grieving widows, and local citizens.