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  • About Sykes Regulars

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    Sykes’ Regulars is a not-for-profit educational corporation dedicated to honoring the proud heritage and traditions of the United States Army, and educating the public about the life of the "Regular" infantryman during the American Civil War.

    Your Pic

    Sykes Regulars is the collaboration of two distinct units: 

    Company C, 2d U.S.Infantry

    Company H, 4th U.S.Infantry

    Sykes’ Regulars not only portrays the soldier as he appeared in battle, but also as he appeared in garrison and ceremonial duties.  Members are required to have all items that were issued to the Civil War Regular, from the bootlaces to the .58 caliber Springfield rifled musket. The uniforms and equipment we use are – of course - reproductions, but we take care to be as authentically patterned to the originals as possible.

    Continuing the Tradition- The many existing diaries and letters describe the soldierly bearing and "stony silence" of the Regular soldier during the Civil War. Their polished brass, well-blackened leathers, clean weapons, and excellent drill were seldom, if ever, matched by any state volunteer regiments.

    Our living history group maintains this tradition - excellence in drill and discipline, clean and serviceable uniforms (both field and full dress), and polished brass, leathers, and weapons.  This discipline and attention to detail has given Sykes’ Regulars the reputation of being the premier Federal unit in the Mid-Atlantic area.

    Our Membership - Our membership is diverse – former and current military, police and firefighters, historians, businessmen and teachers – but all share a common interest in history and educating the public about the role of the “forgotten” Regulars during the Civil War. 

    Our Events - Sykes’ Regulars maintains an active calendar of events each year, usually at least one per month.  The calendar represents a balanced mix of battle re-enactments, “living histories,” “campaign” events, parades and other functions.

    Since its establishment,  Sykes Regulars’ focus on “living history” events has earned us a respected reputation.  We have a unique tradition of working alongside the National Park Service and other organizations to develop programs that are interesting for both the participant and the spectator.  We perform Living History events at an expanding number of National and Regional Parks:

    • Andersonville, GA
    • Antietam, MD
    • C&O Canal, MD
    • City Point, VA
    • Ft. Delaware, DE
    • Ft. McHenry, MD
    • Ft. Washington, DC
    • Gettysburg, PA
    • Harpers Ferry, WV
    • Manassas, VA
    • Monocacy, MD
    • Old Beth Page Village, NY
    • Petersburg, VA

    In 1985, the Brigade participated in President Reagan’s second inaugural parade.  Regulars also had the honor of being pallbearers and honor guard at the reburial of nineteen soldiers of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment in Beaufort, South Carolina.

    Sykes’ Regulars in the Movies - Members of the these two companies have also appeared in numerous television specials, movies and documentaries such as:

    • Gettysburg
    • Glory
    • Gods and Generals
    • The Blue and the Gray
    • Ordeal of Doctor Mudd
    • The Lincoln Conspiracy
    • North and South (mini-series)
    • Gore Vidal's Lincoln
    • The Night Lincoln Was Shot
    • Hallmark's 'The Love Letter'
    • A&E's 'Civil War Journal'


     Biographic Profiles of Selected Regulars

  • Gallery

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    Gallery Category Page

  • Events

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    Events Category Page

  • Recruiting Station

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    Dear Recruit,

    If you are looking at this page, you might have been thinking about joining a reenacting unit. You might still be looking for the right one, or maybe you're thinking about it for the first time. Well, hopefully, your search has ended. Sykes' Regulars would like to invite you to join us in our pursuit of bringing the history of the Civil War to life. In the other pages of this site you will learn more about our identity but now you should be informed about the incredible hobby you are thinking about joining. You undoubtedly have an interest in history already. You’ve probably read countless books on the Civil War and visited some of the more well known battlefields. But your interest has led you to think about how to take your passion for history a step further. The answer is 'living history'.

    What is a living historian? A living historian is an amateur historian who interprets and teaches history in a whole new way. He or she reproduces a person from a point in time and brings them to life by imitating as authentically as possible the dress and manner of the period. Then, interacts with others to recreate a scene that represents our history. We expose to the audience (as far as it is in our power to do) what it was like back then and maybe make them think about what those people did and how it affects us today. Ostensibly this is why we reenact. To teach. But it is hardly the only benefit. As reenactors we travel several times a month to places where monumental events have occurred. We live in the outdoors for a weekend and camp under the stars. We have the opportunity to meet interesting people from all over the country and from all walks of life doing the same things that we love to do. But the most incredible aspect of this hobby is the connection that we make with the people of the past and the people who surround us today. We are able to touch that common human thread that we sometimes lose especially in these fast paced modern times. Once you become a member you join a close knit family. Friends become comrades. Brothers in Arms. You rely on one another and together you honor the memory of a group of men that sacrificed all for their country and did it with the cool professionalism of the US Regular.

    There is great pride in being a Regular

    While representing the past an interesting phenomenon occurs. We encounter times during events when our minds let us play with the notion that we have indeed traveled to the past. We call these ‘moments’. They usually only last for a fraction of a second but in that ‘moment’ when there is nothing around us to tell us we aren’t there, we immerse ourselves in the 19th century and we are there. They come in different forms and in different ways but they are truly sublime. Once you experienced one you find yourself anticipating the next. And it is at this point that you realize you have become a living historian. So welcome recruit. We hope you'll join us in bringing the Civil War out of the history books and into today's reality.
    See you on the field of honor.

    First Step

    Fill out the form below and let us know who you are and that you are interested in becoming a Regular and you would like more information. The Recruiting officers will send you a recruiting pack if you wish with a membership application enclosed. Feel free to get in touch with any of the regional recruiting contacts listed on the Recruiting Contacts Page with any questions you might have about the unit and the hobby in general.

    Once you have made contact with us we can arrange to give you a trial run in the field. We can put you in a uniform and get you up to speed in the school of the soldier (how to march and fight) and you'll see what we're are all about and what it's like to be a Regular. Don't worry about accommodations, you'll be taken care of. All you have to do is show up and we'll make it our business to make sure that your visit to the Civil War is everything you imagined and more.


    Please note that we are based in the mid-atlantic region.


    These are some excellent books to start reading
    to become familiar with the Regular soldier:

    The Regular Division, T. Reese
    Ten Years in the Ranks
    The Regular Army on the Eve of the Civil War
    Hardtack & Coffee
    Customs of Service
    Caseys School of the Soldier

    "Regular troops alone are equal to the exigencies of modern war, as well for defense and offense; and whenever a substitute is attempted, it must prove illusory and ruinous. No militia will ever acquire the habits necessary to resist a regular force...... The firmness requisite for the real business of fighting is only to be attained by a constant course of discipline and service."
                                                                                   ~ George Washington, 1780


    The following information will be forwarded to the Recruiting officers of the Second & Fourth US.

  • Equipment Guidelines

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    Old Bethpage Village circa 2002

    The Impression

    The 2d and 4th U.S. Infantry, “Sykes' Regulars”, were part of “the Old Army,” the original 10 regiments that formed the standing army of the U.S. prior to the Civil War. As such, our uniform and equipment reflected the pre-war issuances in effect when the war started. As the war drew on, pieces of clothing and equipment were replaced as items were lost or wore out.

    The primary focus for new members of “Sykes' Regulars” should be in developing an early war impression (1862), and as such our uniform and equipment guidelines are heavily influenced by the pre- and early war periods. In addition to our basic impression, the unit often participates in events in which we are required to portray specific volunteer units related to the event. In such cases we will follow the uniform guidelines of the event organizers. Members are therefore permitted and encouraged to add other items to their impression if they choose, which may be specific to late war impressions or that of a volunteer unit.

    The History

    At the outbreak of the war, a dismounted soldier was permitted to draw $30 per year in clothing allowance. Should a man’s clothing allowance be insufficient to get him through that period he drew what he required, but the extras were charged against his clothing account and deducted from his pay at the end of the year. If a soldier did not overdraw his allowance he received the difference in cash. Clothing lost due to no fault of the soldier, such as in combat, was usually written off.


    Regulations stated that old stores of clothing would be used up before new items were issued. Nevertheless, with this constant issue of clothing (and equipment), some newer items could have shown up as early as they were made available. In other words, even in 1861 - when the new uniform regulations were issued - some men would have older style equipment and clothing and some would have newer styles. As long as we don’t have any items later than the period we are portraying, a variety of earlier items would be acceptable.


    Clothing allowance for a 5-year enlistment (Regulations of 1857)

    • 1 great coat (1 per 5 years)

    • 2 blankets (1 per 1.5 years)

    • 11 pairs flannel drawers (1 per 5.5 months)

    • 13 pairs trousers (1 per 4.5 months)

    • 15 flannel shirts (1 per four months)

    • 20 pairs bootees (1 per 3 months)

    • 20 pairs stockings (1 per 3 months)

    Dress uniform

    •   2 leather stocks (1 per 2.5 years)

    •   2 pompons (1 per 2.5 years)

    •   2 eagles and rings (1 per 2.5 years)

    •   5 cap covers (1 per year)

    •   7 dress caps (1 per 8.5 months)

    •   8 frock coats (1 per 7.5 months)

    Clothing allowance for a 5-year enlistment (revised Regulations of 1861 and GO 95). (Prices are from “The Company Clerk” 1863):

    • 1 great coat (1 per 5 years) $9.50
    • 2 blankets (1 per 2.5 years) $3.60
    • 5 forage caps (1 per year)  $0.56 (cover $0.18)
    • 10 sack fatigue coats (1 per 6 months) lined $3.14, unlined $2.40
    • 11 pair flannel drawers (1 per 5.5 months) $0.95
    • 13 pairs of trousers (1 per 4.5 months) $3.55
    • 15 flannel shirts (1 per four months) $1.46
    • 20 pairs of bootees (1 per 3 months) sewed $2.05, pegged $1.48
    • 20 pairs of stockings (1 per 3 months) $0.32

    Dress uniforms

    • 5 dress hats with trimmings  (1 per year) total $2.04  (hat $1.68; feather .15; cord and tassel .14; eagle .02; bugle .03; letter .01; number .01)
    • 5 frock coats (1 per year) $7.21
    • 2 leather stocks (1 per 2.5 years) $0.10 

    The full text of the Army regulations (1861/62) regarding uniform and equipage can be found here. The full text of General Order 6 (March 1861) on Uniform and Dress can be found here.


    A Note on Suppliers

    Providing uniforms and equipage for Civil War reenactors has become a major cottage industry in the past fifteen or twenty years. There are literally hundreds of manufacturers, large and small, supplying reproduction items. Known as "sutlers," the name given to entrepreneurs who sold basic items and luxuries to the soldiers, these modern companies often sell their merchandise through catalogs, internet, and at large reenactments. Like any other business or industry, there is often a wide range of quality and in this case, authenticity. But let the buyer beware. Just because a sutler sells it and claims that it was copied from an original doesn't mean it really is authentic.

    The suppliers listed here are accepted by discerning reenactors as those producing the highest quality reproduction items available today. This is not a list of every sutler that makes reproduction items, nor is it intended to be. It is intended to let the new recruit get it right the first time and save money in the long run by avoiding costly mistakes. If you have questions about a sutler not listed, please contact members of the unit before making a purchase. While it may be a reputable company, we may know something you don't and visa versa.


    A Note on Cost

    The complete uniform, equipage, and musket is not inexpensive. However, this is not an investment you will need to make right away as the unit owns extra equipment for the purpose of loaning to new recruits. New recruits have two years to assemble their kits. When you start buying your gear we recommend that you start in the following order: shoes, hat, shirt, trousers, sack coat, and then your accouterments. The sequence for obtain your kit is describe in more detail at the end of this article. It should be noted that some of the quality sources can take weeks or even months to fulfill, however, their quality is often worth the wait for discerning reenactors.


    A Note on Fit

    Uniforms produced during the Civil War came in four standard sizes, marked 1 through 4. While these garments seldom fit when first used, each Company was required to have a tailor in the ranks to ensure that the soldier’s uniforms fit properly. Therefore, the clothing you wear should not be too long or too short, but should look like the Company tailor has properly altered it for you. Today's sutlers and makers of repro uniforms mostly use modern sizes, though the fit can vary from maker to maker. Click here for additional discussion on fit.


    Recommended Sequence for Obtaining Your Kit


    A recruit has one year to get all of the Stage I items and most of his Stage II items together, and a second year to complete his Stage II items and get of his Stage III items.


    Stage I. Basic Field Dress



    Forage cap 


    Sack coat






    Equipage (War gear)


    Musket with sling

    Springfield musket tool

    Wiper (worm)

    Bayonet and scabbard

    Waist belt

    Cap pouch

    Cartridge box and strap




    Stage II: Camping Gear




    Eating utensils

    Pocket Knife

    Shelter half

    Wool Blanket

    Gum blanket

    Rain cover (for the forage cap)

    Cleaning kit (shoe and clothing brushes, metal and boot polish, button stick, gun oil, cleaning rags)

    Housewife (needles, thread, extra buttons, clothing swatches)

    Toiletries (razor, shaving brush, soap, comb, toothbrush, tooth powder, towel)

    Sleeping cap


    Great coat


    Stage III: Dress Uniform


    Dark blue trousers (get this first because you can still wear it with the sack coat)

    Hardee hat

    Frock coat

    Shoulder scales

    White gloves

    Leather neck stock

  • School of Instruction

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  • Resources

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    History of the Regulars in the Civil War

    A Brief History of Regular Soldiers
    Biographies of Regulars from the 2nd and 4th US

    Sykes' U.S. Regular Infantry Division

    General George Sykes
    Death of a Regular
    After Action Reports from the OR's
    This Gallant Little Band
    A Soldier of the 2nd U.S. Infantry
    Contemporary Drawings & Paintings
    The Regulars by Michael Hueber
    The Regulars in the Civil War by by Rufus Fairchild Zogbaum 

    U.S. Regulars Web Site Links

    The Old Army
    U.S. Regulars Archive
    Sykes' U.S. Regulars Infantry Division
    1st U.S. Infantry
    12th Regiment U.S. Infantry Co. A
    19th Regiment U.S. Infantry Co. A

    General CW Sites

    Reenactor's Safety Manual by the Living History Association
    Civil War Reenactor's Homepage
    The Fourth Regiment of Infantry
    Library of Congress - Civil War Photographs

    Letters of the Civil War

    The Company of Military Historians
    Harp Week Explore History
    American Civil War Homepage
    Camp Chase Gazette
    The Wild Geese Today
    Civil War Soldier and Sailor System
    U.S. Army Center of Military History

    Index of Civil War Information

    Civil War Field Fortifications Website
    Signal Corps Association 1860-1865
    Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association

    Historic Sites

    History in Parks
    Historic Civil War Sites
    National Park Service

    Brother Units

    The National Regiment
    Fifth New York
    96th Pennsylvania 
    3rd Maryland
    5th New Hampshire
    First Pennsylvania Reserves
    Co. C, 2nd U.S. in England 
    4th US, Co. K in the UK

    Modern Military Links

    1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment Homepage
    Combat Maneuver Training Center Hompage 
    Third Brigade (Second Inf Div) Combat Team Homepage (Stryker Brigade) 
    2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Homepage 
    Alpha Co., 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry Homepage
    2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Task Force 2-1 (Arctic Legion)


    Folk Music
    Lesley Nelson Popular Songs in American History
    Levy Collection of Sheet Music - Johns Hopkins Univ.
    Duke University - Historical American Sheet Music Collection
    Music for the Nation - American Sheet Music - Library of Congress
    Jerry Ernst - Mid 19th Century Popular Songs 
    A Collection of Civil War Era Tunes

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    2nd and 4th U.S. Infantry “Sykes’ Regulars” Honoring the Proud Heritage and Traditions of the UNITED STATES ARMY And Those Who Served in its Ranks During the American Civil War 1861-1865<br /></br > Our living history group encompasses the mindset of excellence in drill, discipline, and authenticity. The strict discipline of the modern unit has afforded us a proud reputation among the premier Federal units in the country. The result of this mindset is that the unit attracts those looking for a better reenacting experience as well as current and former members of the U.S. military. Our calendar consists of living history, reenactments and campaigner events, primarily located in the Mid-Atlantic States. The unit is very active in researching and documenting various aspects of civil war life, military manuals and unit history.

    Step into the past with Sykes' Regulars... 

  • Guidelines

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