34th North Carolina Civil War Reenactment Group

By-Laws of the 34th North Carolina, Company H

May 5, 2007


The 34th North Carolina, Company H (hereafter referred to as “the 34th”) is a living history organization that attempts to accurately portray the typical North Carolina soldier during the American Civil War. While striving for historic accuracy, the 34th is a family-oriented unit that seeks enjoyment and, above all, safety during the events in which we participate. The rules and policies of the 34th are stated below and must be followed by all full members, recruits, cadets, and civilians at all times.

Article I: Becoming a Member of the 34th

Section 1: All persons (civilian and military) who wish to be considered for membership must complete an application. Applications are available from the unit commanders or on the website. Upon receipt of the application, the document will be reviewed by the unit officers and NCOs and the applicant will be informed of approval or disapproval. Any intentional misrepresentations on the application will result in automatic rejection.

Section 2: After an application has been approved, the applicant takes on the status of recruit (civilian applicants need only approval of the application for their level of membership). A recruit shares all the benefits of full membership (defined below), but cannot vote on unit business. After attending two events, the unit members will vote on making the recruit a full member. A simple majority will be required (see voting regulations below; Article III). Final approval rests on the unit officers and NCOs.

Section 3: A full member of the 34th will be able to vote on any unit issues brought forward, if they meet the requirements of membership. To remain a full member, a soldier must attend two events a year and follow all regulations in these by-laws and those which may be added to them by amendment. Civilian reenactors are protected under these by-laws as non-voting members only. Children between the ages of 12 and 16 (with parent or guardian) may be voted into the 34th as non-voting cadets, but must serve some field function (musician, runner, aid to the surgeon). Civilians and cadets have no attendance requirements.

Article II: Safety Requirements

Section 1: Before taking the field, all recruits will be instructed in firearms safety by the unit officers and NCOs. Civilians will also be educated in safety before attending an event.

Section 2: It is the responsibility of all members to be aware of safety issues at all times. Any unsafe situation is to be immediately reported to an NCO or officer. Safety violations involving firearms or edged weapons are particularly serious. Repeat violations of safety regulations (defined below) by any member will result in dismissal from the unit. Dealing with safety violations will be at the discretion of the command and will reflect the severity of the violation. Everyone makes mistakes, but police yourselves and watch your comrades so we can continue to enjoy our hobby.

Section 3: Multiple safety violations/hazards can arise at an event, and all will be taken seriously, but the violations below will not be tolerated: removal of the ramrod during a battle, removal of the bayonet during a battle, failing to elevate the muzzle of your firearm when engaging at close range, firing in an unsafe direction, unscripted physical contact during a battle, alcohol consumption when the public is present, drug use, or violation of the safety rules of the particular event. Members of the 34th should at all times be aware of several ways to maintain safety: honestly complete medical form (one copy in haversack, one in the command tent), remain hydrated (when you’re thirsty, it’s too late), watch out for the safety of your friends, if you feel sick let someone know, be aware of your firearm, and THINK.

Article III: Voting and Election of Officers and NCOs

Section 1: If, at any time, a member wishes to bring a piece of unit business to a vote, they may do so. For a vote to occur, however, at least half of the unit’s voting members will have to be present. Upon a person’s proposal to vote on a matter, another member must second the motion for the vote to occur. Yay/nay votes will be taken by a showing of hands. Votes with more options, such as the election of a new officer or NCO will be done on paper. The highest ranking officer or NCO present will tally the results and the matter will be decided.

Section 2: It is assumed that a unit officer’s or NCO’s rank will be permanent. When a new officer or NCO is added, all current officers and NCOs will move up in rank. Voting will only be required to add a new officer or NCO (two cases can arise: growth of the unit can require the addition of a new officer or NCO OR a current officer or NCO chooses to abdicate their rank and be replaced). No officer or NCO may be voted out of their rank (the only exceptions would be a severe violation of the by-laws or failure to perform duties).

Section 3: When a new officer or NCO needs to be voted into the rank, a full member may propose a nominee. Another member must second that nominee. The unit commander must approve the nominee. Any full member in good standing may be nominated, and any number of nominees can be proposed for an election. You may not nominate yourself. The nominees will be voted on by the members in the manner described above. Final approval rests on the unit commander.

Article IV: Amending the By-Laws

These by-laws may be added to or amended at any time, using the voting procedure outlined in Article III, Section 1. Amendments or additions made to the by-laws will be added in an amendments section following Article IV.

Amendment to the By-Laws of the 34th North Carolina, Company H
Duties of Officers, NCOs, Privates, and Cadets

Members of the 34th North Carolina are expected to maintain the highest level of authenticity, act in the safest manner possible, and execute military roles appropriate to a soldier of their rank between 1861 and 1865 at all times. In addition to these responsibilities, each rank will be expected to fulfill the duties and requirements as outlined below. Some roles contradict authentic roles for certain ranks, but work more effectively and promote more safety in a reenactment setting.


The captain will be the overall commander of the 34th North Carolina. He will be the main representative of the unit on the battlefield, at officers’ and event meetings, and in the unit camp. It is the duty of the captain to see that all orders are carried out, personally or by delegation to his subordinates. Most importantly, the captain will act to oversee and protect the safety of the members of 34th, both on and off the battlefield.

First Lieutenant

The first lieutenant will be the second in command of the 34th North Carolina. He will assist the captain in his duties, both on and off the field, and similarly be primarily concerned with the safety of the unit. On the battlefield, the first lieutenant will supervise the first sergeant in his execution of all safety procedures (described below). The first lieutenant’s main duty off the battlefield is to supervise and orchestrate logistical matters for the unit. He will supervise the formation of all details by NCOs and keep a log of attendance and unit operations.

First Sergeant

The first sergeant is third in the chain of command in the 34th North Carolina. He is the head non-commissioned officer and is charged with overseeing and coordinating all company NCOs. The first sergeant’s main duty on the battlefield is to remain behind the lines to make sure proper firearms safety is being executed. He will deal with all weapon malfunctions and misfires in the company. Following any use of firearms, the first sergeant will supervise the prompt and thorough cleaning of all weapons used. The first sergeant will attend all officers’ and first sergeants’/safety officers’ meetings at events and pass all pertinent information on to the members of the company. Each morning, promptly after reveille, the first sergeant will form the company for roll call and outline the schedule for the day before presenting the unit to a company officer to be dismissed. Before any formation, the first sergeant will give “first call” and form the company for the officers and, if need be, move the company to a designated location. At the end of each day, the first sergeant will call a meeting of his NCOs to review safety and make any necessary plans for the following day.

Second Sergeant

The second sergeant is fourth in the chain of command in the 34th North Carolina. Although the second sergeant remains on the line during battle reenactments, he is also charged with supervising the safety of the men on the line. The second sergeant will act as sergeant of the guard and also command any details called for by the first sergeant, company officer, or battalion officer. He will distribute these duties fairly through the company and provide relief as he sees fit, given the assignment and conditions. The second sergeant will assist the first lieutenant in maintaining and operating an orderly camp and make sure events are run smoothly for the company. He will serve as the main representative for the men of the company to the officers and first sergeant and should be acutely aware of their needs and condition. For example, the second sergeant will be responsible for keeping the men well hydrated before, during, and after a battle.


The corporals will be fifth and sixth in the chain of command in the 34th North Carolina. Like all other officers and NCOs, the corporals are primarily responsible for supervising and maintaining the safety of the men of the unit, both on and off the battlefield. Moreover, corporals will serve as the “model soldier” for the privates and cadets in the unit, providing demonstrations during drill as necessary, and modeling proper tactics and conduct for the men to observe. The corporals will be responsible for providing the privates with the training they need to succeed in drill and on the battlefield. Corporals should be intimately familiar with Hardee’s manual and be able to impart its content to the men of the unit as needed. They will also be capable of commanding and caring for details at the discretion of the second sergeant.


The privates are the backbone of the 34th North Carolina. First and foremost, they will conduct themselves in a safe and respectable manner. They will execute the orders of their officers and NCOs to the best of their ability. Despite the absence of rank, privates need to remember that they are in a hobby from which we all should return safely and in good spirits after each weekend. At any point, privates in the 34th North Carolina should feel free to express their opinions to appropriate NCOs or officers and should always feel free to be immediately vocal regarding any safety issue they observe.


Cadets in the 34th North Carolina should act as students of the hobby. They should strive in every way to learn from the full members of the unit. If they have been given permission to take the field, cadets will obey all orders from officers and NCOs and be acutely aware of their safety and the safety of others at all times. In the event that a cadet is assigned to another officer (at the battalion level, for example), they are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that will reflect well upon the 34th North Carolina, listen to the officer or NCO under which they serve, and maintain an awareness of safety at all times.

(Approved 3/3/2012)