Typical questions that we get asked by spectators at events and by folks who are interested in becoming members.
How do I join? Contact one of the members on the Enlist page. They will be happy to answer any questions you may have and help you to enlist in the 3rd New Jersey Regiment. We are happy to have you as a new member!
What does membership cost? Dues are collected at the beginning of each year. These cover both your Regimental dues and your membership to the Brigade of the American Revolution. The cost primarily covers insurance and mailings of Regimental and Brigade publications. The current amounts are available by contacting one of the members on the Contact Us page
Where do I get the cool clothes? There are many options for you to discuss with our commander and adjutant, most newcomers use clothes on “loan” until they can assemble their own kit.
Is there a certain number of events that I have to attend? The Regiment asks that, in order to remain a “member in good standing”, you attend at least two events a year. Emphasis is placed on Regimental pay events, but any Regimental or Brigade event counts toward the total.
Do I have to be from New Jersey to join? No. Our members are primarily from New Jersey but are also located as far north as Vermont, as far south as North Carolina and as far west as California.
Is the 3rd New Jersey an hereditary organization? No. There is no ancestral requirement for membership, although some members can trace their ancestors to the patriots of the Revolution.
Do I have to be a historian to get involved? No, but you will find that it is easy to become one if you just attend events and keep your ears open.
Do you sleep in the tents? Some members do choose to spend the night in camp. There is always a pleasurable period atmosphere at night when a camp is lit by candle light. Some choose to sleep in a modern tent or RV in the “modern camp”. Still others prefer to sleep in a nearby motel.
When was the recreated 3rd New Jersey Regiment formed? George C. Neumann, author, collector and historian, recreated the 3rd New Jersey Regiment, the “Jersey Blues,” in 1963. Some time ago the Valley Forge National Historic Park acquired his vast collection of original Revolutionary War weapons. He was an active member until his passing at age 88 in 2014 and often narrated events for The Brigade of The American Revolution (BAR).
What period in the Revolution does the Regiment represent? The Regiment represents the 3rd as they appeared at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777/spring of 1778, commanded by Colonel Elias Dayton. It is as exact an impression as present study and research will permit.
What happens at an “event”? Most events involve a variety of activities. An 18th century military camp is set up, complete with soldier’s tents, officers marquees, cooking areas and crafts displays. Original fife and drum signals call the officers and non-commisioned officers. “Assembly” is played and the Regiments are assembled, inspected and drilled in movements and firings. Often, a simulated bayonet charge gives spectators a chance to experience first hand, what the enemy sees as the long battle line relentlessly approaches them. In the afternoon, a safe tactical weapons demonstration is staged. All the while, camp work and crafts are being demonstrated.
What do the women and children do? Women and children have a wide range of options available to them. They can portray the families of soldiers, refugees or individuals hired by the army for various types of camp work. They can also portray townspeople who have come to view the camp. At various times during the season, “Ladies Teas” are held, where women can discuss all aspects of their “impressions”. At many events, there is an opportunity to work on and display period crafts. The Brigade of the American Revolution (BAR) holds “Children’s Programs” at various events. These provide children with supervised hands-on learning about a variety of 18th century activities. Each historic site provides a wealth of learning opportunities for younger members. They quickly exceed their classmate’s knowledge of the Revolution and sometimes, even their teacher’s.
What does the uniform and equipment consist of? The patterns for the uniforms are taken from surviving examples in museums and from contemporary sources such as prints, drawings, paintings and descriptions in diaries and newspapers. All cloth, leather, fasteners, etc., are authentic copies. No modern synthetic fabrics, plastics or zippers are used. There is no compromise with authenticity. Arms and blades are exact reproductions. Leather cartridge boxes, wood and tin canteens, leather belts and brass buckles are all copies of the originals. Each member personally owns his arms and equipment.
Where do I get the clothing, uniform and equipment? Many members make their own clothing and even some of their equipment. Most items aren’t hard to make if you have any experience sewing. If you don’t, there is always a helping hand available. There are also tailors in the Brigade who can make clothing for you but you should be prepared to wait. We do allow you to purchase mass-produced clothing and equipment for reenactors, with the understanding that you must take a Regimental “expert” shopping with you. Much of this trade is simply not up to Regimental or Brigade standards and will not pass an inspection by the clothing inspectors. It also often lacks a tailored look, which is the wrong appearance for most period clothes. It’s likely that your “off the rack” clothing will require at least some work to bring it up to standards. Yet another option is to purchase used clothing and equipment which is sometimes offered for sale at events. These items often have a desirable “worn in” look and are very suitable for our impression. While you are in the process of obtaining clothing, you can always make do with borrowed items from our members.
Does the clothing have to be hand sewn? The Brigade recommends that at least the visible seams should be hand sewn. This often amounts to less than 25% of the stitching in a garment. Hand sewing makes a very good demonstration at events.
Are the guns real? The flintlock muskets that the Regiment uses are working reproductions of original British and French arms that pre-date 1777. The same muskets that fire blanks at events are also used to fire live in competition at Brigade Firelock Matches.
Are the muskets dangerous? A reproduction musket is actually safer than an original, thanks to modern steel and uniform manufacturing methods. Couple that with safety inspections at each event and an insightful period military drill which ensures that the arms are handled properly. It adds up to an impressive safety record for the Regiment and the Brigade.
What is a musket “cartridge”? Cartridges were used in the 18th century, to speed the loading of smooth bore military muskets. A musket cartridge consisted of a rolled paper tube, tied shut at one end. A round .69 or .75 caliber lead ball sat at the bottom. On top of this sat a measured charge of black powder. The open end was folded into a “tail” and closed. A soldier would use the cartridge by tearing the tail off with his teeth and pouring some of the powder into the “pan” of his flintlock. The pan was shut and the remainder of the powder was poured into the barrel of the musket, followed by the paper cartridge containing the ball. The “rammer” was drawn and the cartridge was rammed down the barrel onto the powder at the breech. The musket was now ready to fire. Of course, at events, the musket ball is not included in the cartridge. Also, the paper cartridge is not put in the bore and the rammer is not used. These are safety precautions to ensure that nothing leaves the barrel except for burned powder.
Don’t you get hot in those wool coats? The Regimental coats are warm in the summer months. It is important to drink plenty of water and eventually you will sweat through the coat and feel a cooling evaporative effect. On the hottest days, the coats are put aside and we fall in wearing just the “small clothes” which are ordinarily worn under the coats.