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The Keystone Battery of Pennsylvania

Battery "A", 1st Regiment Light Artillery (43rd Volunteers)

Reasons to be a Civil War Artilleryman

Being an artilleryman demonstrates a love of Civil War history not much different than that of other committed living historians.  A living history portrayal is called an "impression."  Following is a summary of reasons why the pursuit of an authentic artillery impression can offer great possibilities to either new recruits or veterans seeking a change.

Family Orientation

There is a general consensus among reenactors that artillery groups tend to be more open to family orientation.  Many artillery units welcome spouses and children as part of the group.   Attached civilian impressions are the norm with many artillery reenactment units.  If having your family be a part of your hobby is important, you will find that you will be able to pursue that desire within the artillery.

Emphasis on teamwork

A gun crew is a team with each person having not only their own assignment but a safety inspector element as well.   A well-drilled crew acts as one.  The repetition involved in transporting, loading and firing a weapon of potential mass destruction breeds a strong sense of both teamwork and camaraderie.

Living history opportunities

Members of the public are drawn to cannons as if to a magnet.  Just standing by the gun at events affords a living historian ample opportunity to speak to the public.

Artillery is economical

It is far less expensive to get started as an artilleryman than any other branch of service.  Once you connect with a reputable, authentic, and safety conscious unit all you need to purchase is your basic uniform with minimal accoutrements.  Thus, if the initial investment necessary to get started in the hobby is a factor consider the artillery.

A proud heritage

Successful artillerymen needed four qualities: intelligence, self-possession, comradeship, and loyalty to guns.   Artillery units were highly polished, marked by discipline and well drilled.  Being an artilleryman represents following in the footsteps of men who not only served their country but also did so with an unusually high level of excellence.


The togetherness of a well-drilled gun crew is pronounced.  Likewise, many artillery groups are marked by a tremendous sense of comradeship and mutual responsibility.  In order to function as a team an artillery unit must be built around a shared work ethic.


Whatever impression you choose to develop, reenacting/living history is a wonderful hobby.  You will make friends, see historic places, and come to understand a small part of the original Civil War soldier's experience.  Being on the field or in camp with a tightly bonded and well-drilled artillery unit affords a unique type of reenactment enjoyment.


(Editor's note: this article is adapted from various similar lists found on the web.  We believe that this originally was quoted from a book about civil war reenacting, but cannot find reference to it.  If anyone can supply the reference, we would be happy to properly cite it.)