2nd Massachusetts Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Where do you get your clothing?
A: Typically, much of the clothing is made by members themselves. The patterns used are based upon extensive research by many people in the “hobby”, including our own members. There are vendors (known as ‘sutlers’) that produce items, but, their authenticity standards vary from very good to very bad. Knowledge of which sutlers are worth your hard earned money is another aspect we provide our members. An important distinction to make is the clothing are not “costumes”…but, clothes. They are worn and cared for just as any modern clothing might be, and treated as such by the members.
The ladies of the 2nd Mass are working together for one of the Gown-in-a-Day challenges
Members gather to make period clothing in one of our workshops
Q: I have my own clothes, can I just show up at an event and participate?
A: No. Due to safety and insurance purposes, we do not allow “walk-ons” to participate in a scheduled and sanctioned event. If you wish to participate, you need to be a member of an approved unit at the event. For the 2nd Mass, that means your clothing would be reviewed for authenticity purposes, and friendly guidance provided toward meeting our standards of authenticity. For new soldiers, your musket will be fully inspected for both authenticity and safety. You will be quizzed on the regimental drill we adopt which is the Baron von Steuben’s “Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States” printed in 1779.
Q: Do you really sleep in those tents all weekend?
A: Yes, we do. Typically, when the camp opens in the morning, all attempts are made to provide an 18th century experience. Part of that is wearing our clothing and preparing our meals as part of that period lifestyle. Overnight inside the tents, being a private area, modern conveniences may be used if they do not interfere with the external experience of others. However, come morning, all items that are not of the 18th century period must be concealed as to not be seen by the public or others.
Q: Are you going to eat that food you are cooking over the fire?
A: Yes, why not? All we are doing is cooking food in an “open BBQ grill”, the food tastes and is just as good (perhaps even better) than that cooked over charcoal briquettes. Some businesses actually advertise their “wood fired grill” as an upscale affair. We simply are preserving the same skills our forefathers did out of necessity.
Typical life under the fly, preparing the days meals and cooking over the fire
Q: How much time does it take to be involved?
A: Typically, it depends upon the individual. It can be from attending one event a year, to attending all events over the course of the season. We of the 2nd Mass welcome any level of participation that a member can provide, given that the proper authenticity standards are met at the time. Once involved, you may find a thirst for the hobby, and find yourself attending more events than you ever imagined possible. You could be going to Maine one weekend, and Delaware the next.
Q: Do you only do a soldier/military impression?
A: No. The 2nd Massachusetts prides itself upon being a versatile group, striving to present a full experience, the military impression being only one aspect. We have members that demonstrate period occupations such as medical doctor, carpenter, musician, (thread) spinner, and more…
Members here demonstrate various aspects of 18th century life
Q: How much does it cost to be a member?
A: The 2nd Massachusetts Regiment has a single set fee for full members. The regiment charges annual membership dues of $24.00 per member (16 and older). However, children under 16 are free to attend with their families. To read all about what comes with those annual membership dues, please visit our Join Us page.
Q: Why do you do this crazy thing?
A: Typically, it depends upon the individual. Some attend for the historic nature, and an escape from the 21st century life. Others, it is merely for the close personal connections that are forged over the years, and miles. Many families are “multi-generational” in this hobby….some going into their 4th generation of new members. Even some folks attend for the travel it affords (no hotel bills, rental car fees, etc…) and to experience new locations and parks.
Q: Is there any “free time” at an event that is not scheduled?
A: Yes. There is always time between demonstrations, battles, marching, and nooning (lunch). And the 2nd Massachusetts takes every opportunity to do what comes naturally in those intervening moments of time.
A few stolen moments of free time during an event can be precious
Q: My child wants to join, do I have to as well?
A: Yes. All children under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian (for safety and insurance purposes). And any parent/guardian attending also must dress according to the authenticity standards of the unit to which they are staying.
Children are welcome to join if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, in appropriate attire
Q: What is there for a child to do as part of this hobby?
A: There are numerous opportunities for adventure and making of life long friends in this hobby (many a romance was made as well). Activities range from learning/playing fife or drum, to cooking over an open fire (with supervision of course), to learning and playing period games such as “stool ball” or “rounders” (both ancestors of our modern game of baseball). Exploring the camps and seeing the sights and hearing the sounds of camp life is also a great escape for the electronic games/iPhone/iPod attachments. As they grow older, they can perhaps learn how to handle a musket or march in a parade too.
Reenacting, where kids actually do the dishes, play music, and experience history.
Children having fun learning to churn butter by hand
Q: How long have you been doing this thing?
A: Well, every individual has been involved in time from newly joined to 40 years. The 2nd Massachusetts Regiment has been in continual existence (and highly active) for over 40 years. It was originally assembled to commemorate the American Bicentennial in 1976. But, it was quickly discovered that the friendships created and experiences had were too important to put away. And, the 18th Century re-enactment hobby was born.
Q: Do I have to go every weekend?
A: No. Each member is welcome to attend as many events as they can, given the fact that family comes first. A set of events are presented and voted upon by the membership in the January/February time frame each year. So, by March, the set list of days/weekends are available for each member to decide based upon their own personal schedule, and ability to attend those they feel they can honestly commit to at the time. We do however encourage attendance at events in which the regiment is paid. The money earned at these events is the basis for paying for the regimental costs (regimental truck, black powder, materials, etc…).
Q: How much does it cost to attend an event?
A: The only costs for an event (such as a weekend encampment) are for the food prepared to feed the members. The travel costs and personal material costs are provided by the members themselves for their own purposes. The cost for a weekend of meals (Saturday breakfast/lunch/dinner, and Sunday breakfast/lunch) is $15.00 for adults, children under 16 eat free. For a single day event (lunch only) the cost is $5.00 for adults. That’s it….what better deal can you get for $15.00 these days for an entire weekend of wholesome activities?!?
Q: What do you do over the winter?
A: Well, the 2nd Massachusetts is unique in that many workshops are scheduled to learn and make clothing, drill the troops to learn or practice, have a holiday party, and generally get together whenever we can for whatever reasons.
Attending a ball, making new hats, sewing and peparing for the coming season
Q: Do you meet regularly outside of planned events?
A: Yes. The regiment holds a monthly meeting (typically the 2nd Sunday of the month) to discuss upcoming events, discuss financial issues (we are a 501c non-profit organization), propose new events, present research findings, mend damaged equipment, etc…
The members pitch in for the annual spring truck/equipment cleaning and preparation
The regiment meets to discus the upcoming season at a cookout following the annual truck cleaning
Q: What do I need to do to join?
A: Present your request for membership at one of our monthly meetings, with an existing member as your sponsor. You can tell us all who you are, why you are interested in joining, why you chose the 2nd Mass, etc…
Once you’ve formally applied as a member, you have a 1 year probationary period to get your clothing and other necessary items (which will vary based upon your area of involvement) and learn what is needed to be safe and participate as a full member. No dues are collected for that first year from applicant members, and no voting rights are conveyed. Once the year is up, the membership in attendance at the next scheduled monthly meeting will discuss your participation and vote upon your full membership status. You will be informed by your sponsor (if you are not at the meeting) of the outcome of the vote.
Q: Who do I contact to get involved or if I have more questions?
A: Our current recruiting sergeant will be happy to discuss any application or other questions you may have.