Reenactment Rules and Regulations

Fort Pocahontas at Wilson's Wharf
Charles City, Virginia

The following rules are not intended to be all-inclusive, but to cover important points regarding safety and authenticity. Rules of common sense and decency should regulate participant's actions.


  1. All participants must check in at registration between hours of 6 am to 10 pm, sign a release form and receive a registration packet.
  2. Please do not burn cans or glass in fire pits. Garbage bags will be provided in each registration packet. At the end of the weekend, leave bagged trash at campsite for pick up.
  3. No relic hunting or metal detecting allowed on site. If an artifact is found it must be turned in at the registration table.
  4. No alcohol allowed on site. No illegal substances will be tolerated. Discoveries will be referred to local law enforcement for immediate action. All participants are expected to behave in a fashion that reflects well on themselves and their unit.
  5. No muzzle loading weapons will be discharged in camp.
  6. No rank above that of Captain without approval by Event Commander.
  7. NO ONE under the age of sixteen (16) is allowed to: 1) handle, carry or use a rifle, musket or carbine. 2) "crew" any artillery piece and/or 3) carry or use any edged weapons. NO ONE under the age of eighteen (18) is allowed to carry or use any handgun.
  8. No pets.

  1. Only qualified medical personnel will offer first aid. Only call for a medic when there is an actual injury; otherwise do not call "medic." Contact an authorized Fort Pocahontas staff member if you need assistance.
  2. Except when simulating a hit, all participants must remain with their units. No charging the enemy or capturing of enemy colors. No hand to hand combat unless pre-arranged and authorized by both field commanders.
  3. During the battle reenactment, participants shall not cross the spectator lines. The closest that the firing line should be to the safety line is five yards for small arms and twelve yards from the trail of an artillery piece.

  1. NO vehicles will be allowed in the camps after 9:00 am on Saturday through 3:00 pm on Sunday. Violators will be asked to move the vehicle. If the owner cannot be found it will be moved for them.
  2. This does not apply to the handicapped public and staff vehicles. Handicapped reenactors will be provided with transportation as required.

  1. No modern clothing shall be worn by participants during the event.
  2. Only period eyewear is to be worn.
  3. Confederate uniforms should reflect those in common use in 1864.
  4. Headgear must be of proper construction and properly finished. Only correct period shoes, brogans, or boots are allowed.
  5. Union uniforms should reflect those used by soldiers in the Army of the James. No Zouave impressions, veteran stripes, or corps badges.

  1. Infantry will use muskets or rifle-musket (3-banders); no rifles (2-banders). No Remington Zouaves, carbines, Hawkins, shotguns or flintlocks. Only officers may carry pistols and swords.
  2. Cavalry may use carbines or rifles, or muskets as described for the infantry; sabers were carried in this assault. No more than two pistols per trooper.
  3. Canoneers may carry carbines or muskets as described for the infantry. NCO's and officers may carry swords and pistols.
  4. Ammunition will be pre-rolled cartridges. No penny wrappers, staples, tape, foil, or waxed cartridges.
    1. Weapons will not be overloaded. The recommended load for a long arm with a bore size of .50-.59 is 65 grains of FFg or FFFg.
    2. The powder used per each blank charge shall not exceed three ounces of FFg powder per inch of bore diameter.
  5. All weapons will be inspected before taking part in the reenactment. Those that fail will not be allowed on the field.
  6. No side knives will be carried on the field.
  7. Rammers may be carried but shall not be drawn during the reenactment.
  8. Firing of weapons shall be elevated, not aimed directly at people.
  9. No bayonets fixed on the field.
  10. National Artillery Association Rules and Regulations shall be followed on the field.

  1. Camping will be in designated areas only.
  2. Straw must be left in tent or in bales - not scattered. Campfires must be extinguished before leaving site.
  3. Camps will reflect the situation at Wilson's Wharf in May 1864.
  4. There should be no non-period items visible at any time in any camp (Confederate, Union or Civilian). Please remember that the public will be viewing the camps and we want to give them an accurate portrayal of the period, and fellow reenactors don't want to see it either.
    1. Weapons should be under guard at all times, in a tight stack or secured in a tent. Do not allow the public to handle weapon unless it is unloaded, the bayonet is unfixed, and YOU have one hand on it.
    2. Make sure knives, axes and swords are in a scabbard or "dead" in a piece of wood.
    3. Make sure that all ammo is kept inside of locked lumber chest or a cartridge box. No cartridge construction in camp.
  5. Confederate Camp - There will be an established garrison camp. The garrison camp should reflect the Confederate garrison at Drewry's Bluff. A-tents, shebangs and flies are encouraged; however shelter tents should not be used in the garrison area as well as no campaign camping in the garrison area. The Confederates attacking Wilson's Wharf were on the march for several days. There will be a campaign camp established for those wishing to portray an army on the march. Please, nothing larger than shelter tents in the campaign camp.
  6. At Wilson's Wharf the Federals were in a garrison situation and should reflect this. Unit Commanders will properly layout their camps. Enlisted men should use A-tents; officers may use Wall tents.
  7. A civilian refugee camp will also be established and overseen by the Union command. The civilian camp is intended for living history in addition to the military impressions. Both Union and Confederate civilians are welcome. Standards of authenticity apply also to the civilian camp. The refugee camp in this situation would consist of Union sympathizers that have either lost their homes or fear for their lives and have left their homes and asked for protection from the Union troops or Confederates whom the Union command felt were best kept out of circulation.