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About
The 17th Virginia Infantry Regiment,
Company D, "Fairfax Rifles,"
Living History Society

Includes Membership Application and Bylaws

We are a family-oriented, not-for-profit organization established March, 1998 to:
a) educate the general public on the lives of ordinary American citizens, both men and women, of the period 1861 - 1865
b) preserve the history of the American Civil War, as it relates to the Commonwealth of Virginia and Northern Virginia in particular
c) benefit Civil War-related museums, foundations, and nonprofit organizations
through participation in Civil War re-enactments, encampments, living histories, demonstrations, parades, memorial services, and other civic functions.

Membership is open to any individual, aged 18 or older, possessing an earnest interest in the American Civil War and a willingness to attain the objectives of the organization. Individuals under age 18 require express written consent and participation of a parent or guardian to be deemed eligible for membership. All minors must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian at all events.

Re-enacting is a hobby that is not for everyone. We seek to portray, as authentically as possible, Virginia soldiers and civilians from Fairfax County in the period 1861–1865. Though fees are nominal, there are minimum uniform and equipment requirements to provide authenticity, which can be expensive. Below is an estimate of costs and what you need to get started.

BYLAWS of the 17th Virginia Infantry

Membership Dues and Event Fees
Regular Membership

Annual company dues are $28 for individuals or $38 for a family membership.
From this fee, the company pays your regimental and brigade dues, which provides supplemental accident and liability insurance. This insurance is active during participation in sanctioned events and is secondary to your primary insurance policy, if you have one. Sanctioned events are any re-enactments, living histories, ceremonies, parades, lectures, etc. which are on our schedule and provided to the regiment at the beginning of each re-enacting season. During the season, if events are added to our schedule, an updated list is sent to the regiment as additional sanctioned events. After a probationary period, members become established with full voting rights in company business.

Our Brochure with Membership Applications for 17th VA and PACS, and the 2nd Regiment Safety Guidelines Form
Click the Brochure Image, below, to download our Brochure and other required forms in PDF Format.

Brochure Thumbnail

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for the 17th Va. Forms

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Event Registration Fees
The larger events, at which battles are re-enacted, normally all charge registration fees (yes, we pay to be the entertainment!). The fees range from $2 - $25 per event and are used to provide re-enactors with water, straw, firewood, and the all-important port-a-pottys. On occasion, some events provide a Saturday evening meal, as well. Many events charge on a sliding scale, with lower fees for early pre-registration and higher fees for "walk on" participants. As a company, the Fairfax Rifles try to get everyone pre-registered early to take advantage of the lowest fees, so the average is usually five or ten dollars each. Fortunately, most living history events, parades and ceremonies in which we participate are free!

Company Meals
At larger events or two-day living histories, when a large part of our group participates, the company cooks provide meals. Members can participate in these meals for a small fee, usually $5 per day. In most cases, $10 will cover meals from Saturday breakfast through Sunday lunch. Participation in most company meals is voluntary, however, there is a small meal cost added to the event registration fee at maximum effort events. The company does not provide beverages, due to the expense of having a sufficient variety on hand. Normally, actual charges for meals will be known before your arrival at an event.

Minimum Military Uniform and Equipment List
In order to facilitate budgeting for items a cost range has been added.
(Prices and quality can vary widely dependent on the suppliers, known as Sutlers, and the extent of authenticity.)

The following is MANDATORY military equipment for this company:

Item
Cost Range
Hat - Kepi or slouch ( it is recommended having both, eventually)
$ 40 - $ 100
Military Coat - shell or sack coat
$ 70 - $ 150
Trousers - CS Issue or Civilian pattern
$ 80 - $ 150
Shirts - cotton or wool homespun
$ 30 - $ 100
Suspenders
$ 10 - $ 25
Socks - wool, gray or natural or cotton, white or natural
$ 10 - $ 20
Brogans (Shoes) with Heel plates or Civilian Work Boots
$ 95 - $150
Waist Belt - black leather
$ 15 - $ 20
Belt Buckle - rectangular Va. State Seal (brass) (or ** below)
$ 23 - $ 30
Cartridge box - black leather (sling optional)
$ 50 - $75
Cap Pouch - black leather
$ 25 - $ 40
Canteen - tin, wood, or stainless steel
$ 35 - $ 70
Haversack - cotton duck or tarred
$ 10 - $ 35
Rifle - 3 band .58 cal. Enfield or Springfield with sling
$ 635 - $ 800
Bayonet - Enfield or Springfield (to match rifle)
$ 40 - $ 60
Bayonet Scabbard with Springfield-style frog (regardless of musket type)
$ 20 - $ 40
Poncho or Ground Cover (Oilcloth)
$ 40 - $ 60
Blanket - wool or jean cloth
$ 30 - $ 65
Plate, cup and utensils
$ 30 - $ 40

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The following additional equipment is OPTIONAL:

Item
Cost Range
** Belt Buckle - Frame or Forked Tooth (brass)
$ 20 - $ 25
Coffee boiler (handy to cook in)
$ 35 - $ 45
Lantern-wood or tin
$ 35 - $ 45 
Tent - 9 foot A-tent (or Shelter halves - "Dog Tent")
$ 120 - $ 225
Tent Stakes (10)
$ 20 - $ 30
Greatcoat (Winter Overcoat) - wool, light blue
$ 220- $ 250
Hat Pin- Va. State seal (brass)
$ 5 - $ 10
Breast Plates (2) - round Va. State seal (brass)
$ 30 - $ 40
Camp stool - duck or carpet material
$ 20 - $ 80

The following are items you may need to replace after an event or two:

Item
Cost Range
Cartridge Tubes (125 - 250 count)
$ 10 - $16
Powder - Ffg or FFFg (1 lb)
$ 15 - $ 18
Percussion Caps (100-250 per tin)
[NO SIX-WINGED CAPS]†
$ 10 - $ 15
Six-winged or "hot" caps are for in-line black powder weapons and can cause serious injury if used on our rifles.


Civilian Clothing
Civilian clothing does not have the same kind of mandatory equipment as the military.
Of course, there is a minimum amount of clothing required in order for civilian re-enactors to pass as 19th Century citizens. All outer garments, shoes and eyewear should be as close as possible to the 1860s period. There is a little flexibility in the area of children's shoes (they are outgrown so fast!), but they should be made of leather, not sneakers. Your best bet is to talk to one of our civilian members before purchasing a lot of civilian gear. Also, there are resources on our Links page to other web sites which deal with civilian re-enacting.

It's Expensive!
Yes, as you can see, re-enacting is not a cheap hobby. New military re-enactors can expect to spend $800 - $1,000 to get started—almost half of that is for a rifle. We do not expect everyone to have the resources to invest in everything they need right away. It is best to meet and talk to us before making any major purchases. We can offer suggestions which may steer you away from unnecessary or shoddy items and save you money. Also, not every unit has the same uniform or standards. Until you have made a commitment to a unit, you don't want to invest heavily in a specific uniform or equipment. Meeting us allows you to see if you like re-enacting, the 17th Virginia Infantry and our group. You can then make more informed decisions.

Safety
Health and safety are our chief concerns and we adhere to serious weapons and fire safety practices. However, if you have any serious medical condition or physical limitations, you may want to consider a different hobby. Civil War re-enacting can be a strenuous, physically challenging hobby which often takes place in adverse weather conditions. Events are not called off due to extreme heat, cold or rain. Military marches of some distances occur on occasion. Additionally, we camp in 1860s style—this means tents and very few modern conveniences.

The Bottom Line
If all this sounds like a lot to ask, it is! But, if you have the desire to travel back in time and experience what it might have been like as a soldier or civilian during America's bloodiest conflict, we are looking for you. We are the only unit to portray the men and women of the 1860s from historic Fairfax Court House, Virginia. Our goal is to honor those men and women, many of whom gave the ultimate sacrifice, "…their last full measure." The ultimate history experience awaits you as a re-enactor in the Fairfax Rifles—part of Northern Virginia's Own!

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Last Updated September 11, 2013.