About the 47th Regiment of Foot
What does the 47th do?
The 47th is a Historical Re-enactment group. We portray the 47th Regiment of Foot at museums, re-enactments, encampments and historic sites. At these events, we dress and live as the men and women of the 47th would have during the years of the American Rebellion (American War for Independence). We camp, engage in battles with colonial forces, take part in military drills, reviews and parades, and interact with the public. Our uniforms and equipment are researched and must meet unit standards. We live in tents or buildings of the period. We prepare and eat meals as they did. If learning what it was like to live in the 18th Century appeals to you, then historical re-enacting and the 47th may be for you!
Where are you from?
Our membership is located in Michigan and Illinois. The membership base in Michigan is located around Detroit and Lansing. In Illinois, the group is centered around Peoria. Generally speaking, we only accept members who are within a reasonable driving distance from one of these areas. However, everyone has a different standard for what is a reasonable distance. If you are not from one of these areas and are interested in joining, just drop us an e-mail (Scott@47thregiment.org) and we’ll talk.
How often do you have events?
Once a month is the general guideline. As the seasons change, so do our types of events/meetings. In colder winter months we have meetings to work on uniforms, or perhaps an indoor engagement at a museum. During warmer times of the year our events are in the field. We would be found in garrison at a period fort or living out of our tents in an encampment. Engaging colonial forces in battle is often part of field events.
What if I cannot attend all the events?
This is not a problem. Nobody is expected to make it all the time, we all have jobs and lives outside re-enacting. All we ask is that you participate when you can, and communicate on a regular basis with the rest of the group. We have an e-mail forum setup for members for this purpose.
Where do the events take place?
This changes each year, take a look at our schedule page to see what we have planned right now. We do have some staple events that happen each year. We make a point of attending a garrison weekend at Fort Michilimackinac, and Fort Niagara each year. Each January, we also attend a special event for Statehood Day at the Michigan Historical Museum. It is also our custom to attend an event organized by the British Brigade, but the exact location differs from year-to-year. At these events, members enjoy being a part of a huge encampment, and taking part in a battle with participants numbering in the hundreds. These events are generally in eastern states like PA or NY.
Do you have membership dues?
Yes, we do. However, dues vary from year-to-year and never amount to much. The dues pay for the unit’s liability insurance policy. Since the cost of the policy is divided between each member, your cost each year will vary, but will not exceed $20.00. In addition, we also pay dues to the Brigade of the American Revolution (BAR). The cost is $25.00 for an individual, and $5.00 for each additional person in the household. Membership in the BAR allows us to attend events hosted by them, and you will also get BAR publications in the mail. In some years these costs are covered by a fund raising event.
How long before I can participate?
How long is it until our next event? Prospective members are always invited to attend an event or two to give re-enacting a try, and you’ll be able to participate right then. Our group maintains ‘loaner gear’ for this reason. The loaner gear will allow you to participate until you’ve gotten your own uniform and equipment.
Where do I get my uniform and equipment?
Our group has a list of places to buy each item. Some items we must make ourselves. Do not worry about this; if you join someone will be guiding you on what to buy and from where. Nor are you expected to have any skills in making period items; various people in the group have these skills, and will take care of you in that regard, and/or help you if you wish to learn. If you do have these type of skills we will get you the proper patterns, materials and the like.
What about women?
Women were an important part of army life in the 18th century, as such we welcome them into our group. Women did not act as soldiers, nor do they in our re-created unit. At the time, women were known as ‘disstaff’, typically the wife of a soldier. These women performed various functions in the 18th Century British Army, and the women of our group follow in their footsteps.
How old do I have to be?
If you are simply joining as an individual, then you must be 18 years of age. If you are over 18 and wish to include your family in re-enacting, we have no minimum age for your children to be involved, as small children were part of army life in the 18th century. If a male child is 16 and able to safely handle a musket, they may take their place in our thin red line. However, a parent or legal guardian MUST be present in the line with them.
What umbrella groups are you part of?
The British Brigade (BB) and the Brigade of the American Revolution (BAR). These ‘umbrella groups’ organize large re-enactments, set standards for member units, ensure safety, and a host of other important functions.
Why are you British? Isn’t that unpatriotic?
We don’t think it is unpatriotic. Our accurate portrayal of British Regulars during the American Rebellion (American War for Independence) only enhances the magnitude of what the Colonial forces accomplished. British forces did not simply stand around to be picked off by American riflemen as popular myth would have you believe. They were an army of professionals who adapted to the areas they were fighting in. To truly understand what was accomplished, one needs to fully grasp who the colonists were fighting. Defeating the trained British forces was not an easy task, and not recognizing this diminishes their efforts. In addition, the members of our group all live in the Great Lakes region. During the war, the area was under British control and had posts garrisoned by British Regulars of the 47th Regiment of Foot. Our portrayal is a nod to our regional heritage, and a tool to educate the public about what it was like in our area during the American War for Independence.