The Mid-Victorian Militia was set up in April 2017 by a group of experienced re-enactors, now joined by many new members, to concentrate on interactive living history rather than battle portrayals, and to bring back to life the British Rifle Volunteer Corps of the 1860s.
We portray the citizen soldiers of the period - volunteers who wanted to help defend Great Britain in uncertain times, from the constant threat of the “despotic powers of the continent”.
We currently have two impressions - the British Rifle Volunteer Corps of 1859-64 (their very early years - the Rifle Volunteers were eventually incorporated into the Army in 1908 and formed the basis of the Territorial Army / Army Reserve), and on occasion the South Carolina Volunteers of 1863 (the middle of the American Civil War).
We offer living history displays with lots of interaction and things going on to educate and entertain the public, plus small-scale arena displays which combine living history, manoeuvres and firing into an engaging narrative, complete with an informative and entertaining commentary. After each event we discuss how we can improve our presentation for the public, so we are continually evolving and welcome feedback from every member of the group, however new, plus, of course, from sponsors and members of the public.
MidVic is a strictly apolitical group which strives to honour the memories of the citizen soldiers who wanted to defend their homes and families, and welcome recruits from all backgrounds.
MidVic abhors slavery in all its forms, whether historical or modern day.
Come along and see us in action!
Do you have a passion for history?
Do you enjoy talking to the public?
Are you a “luvvie” at heart?
The Mid-Victorian Militia is always keen to recruit new members who share our passion for living history and the 1860s, and who enjoy evenings laughing around the campfire with good friends. We are a small, close-knit group and are keen to make sure that prospective members enjoy the society and share our ethos. To this end, we invite you to attend two events as a Provisional Member so you can decide if we are for you and vice versa. If all parties are happy, you can then apply for Full Membership, the cost of which is discounted by the Provisional Membership fee.
We welcome new members from any ethnic background and with any level of experience and/or knowledge. All we ask is for enthusiasm, a passion for history and a willingness to learn. We are not a battle re-enactment society, so if you want to run around firing guns then have many beers, please look elsewhere. We spend our time interacting with the public with small displays or in-camp scenarios throughout the day. Some events we will fire during displays, some events we won't. Occasionally we join with other societies to put on a skirmish, but this is a rare occurrence.
MidVic is very much a family society, and we have many children as members. Children play a large part in our events as appropriate to their age; they part in displays, drum and help round camp, and can be taught to fire and take a full part in displays, if they wish, once aged 14.
We have members over a large part of the country, so tend to base our events around the Midlands counties so the majority of members can reach them easily.
If you would like to become a Provisional Member, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will have a chat and send you a Provisional Membership Form.
If you support the aims of MidVic and want to support our activities and perhaps come along to events to see us without taking part, then ask about becoming a
Friend of MidVic.
These events are currently confirmed, others are in negotiation.
17/18 April - Henham Hall Easter Country Show, SUFFOLK
30 April - 2 May - Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza, CONWY
2/3/4/5 June - Burghley House Country Fair, LINCOLNSHIRE
2/3 July - Bucks Country Show, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE
9/10 July - Lynton & Barnstaple Railway, DEVON
23/24 July – Port Eliot Steam Fair, CORNWALL
30/31 July - British Country Fair & Extreme Stunt Show, ESSEX
27/28/29 August - Kent Country Show, KENT
17/18 September – Stoke Prior Steam Rally, WORCESTERSHIRE
24/25 September - Chillington Hall History Festival, STAFFORDSHIRE
22/23 October - Whittington Castle History Festival, SHROPSHIRE
The committee members are happy to offer help and advice to any new members
HEALTH & SAFETY
If you are interested in booking MidVic, then please get in touch using email@example.com to discuss your requirements. We offer living history displays with lots of interaction and things going on to educate and entertain the public, plus small, exciting, arena or in camp displays which combine living history, manoeuvres and firing into an engaging narrative, complete with an informative and entertaining commentary. In the future we hope to add artillery and cavalry to our offering.
Having reached the end of our first season, all five sponsors we have worked with have asked us to return. References can be supplied.
"This is real history; this is how history should be taught" - Member of the public
"The Civil War has been brought to life for me for the first time" - American visitor
"You are all experts!" - Member of the public
"Very interesting display" - Author of historical fiction
"At last! Things my son can touch!" - Parent at multi-period re-enactment
"As an organiser of events, I can fully recommend this group for any venue or organiser. I cannot fault their dedication, their displays, and their conduct from the very first day of contact. A pleasure to work with, and we're both honoured and proud to have them on our lists as a preferred group for their time period." Historical Event Management Company.
For your reassurance, we have public liability insurance and are a member of the National Association of Re-enactment Societies.
If you would like to book us for an event or if you are thinking of joining, then please get in touch.
Information and photographs pertaining to our historical impressions, plus a reading list for those who wish to find out more. More information will be added in due course.
British Rifle Volunteers, 1859-63
In 1859, Britain was gripped with fear that the French under Napoleon III were going to invade. Relations between the two nations, which had been allies in the Crimean War, had soured following the Orsini Affair, and it was believed there were 150,000 Frenchmen preparing to invade.
Finally, the Government gave in to pressure from the British press and on the 12th May 1859 General Jonathan Peel, the Secretary of State for War, issued a circular to the Lord Lieutenant of all the counties stating ‘Her Majesty’s Government having had under consideration the propriety of permitting the formation of volunteer rifle corps… shall be prepared to receive through you, and consider every proposal’. No time was wasted, and very quickly meetings were being called all over the country to raise volunteers.
The Rifle Volunteer recruits took an Oath of Allegiance, with the officers holding their
commissions from the Lord Lieutenants, and they were all expected to attend twenty four days of drill and exercises per year. Each RVC was allowed to choose its own uniform, and while some chose green, the majority picked grey uniforms with differing amount of braid. Headdress was either a shako or a kepi, and all of the belts and pouches were of black leather. Originally each RVC was to consist of around 100 men, under a captain with a lieutenant and an ensign. By 1861 there were over 140,000 trained rifle volunteers.
The RVC were not to be used to fight pitched battles if the French invaded, they were fight guerrilla warfare and skirmish with the enemy attacking their flanks until the regulars arrived. Although originally raised for home defence, in 1900 many saw action in the Second Boer War, and in 1908 the RVC became the Territorial Army.
Confederate Volunteers, 1863
The 2nd South Carolina is one of the few units that was established before the bombardment of Fort Sumter and existed until several weeks after Lee's surrender. They saw action (among other places) at: Fort Sumter; 1st Bull Run; Williamsburg; Seven Days Battles; Malvern Hill; Nine Mile Road, near Richmond; Harper's Ferry; South Mountain; Antietam; Fredericksburg; Chancellorsville; Gettysburg; Chickamauga; The Wilderness; Spotsylvania Court House and Cold Harbor
The depiction of this regiment in 1863 allows us to talk about the great sweep of the campaign in the East, show the experienced and battle-hardened “foot Cavalry” who were the key to the Confederacy’s mobile approach to warfare, which tragically lengthened the war as they were able, time after time, to defeat or repel superior numbers.
American Civil War
ISBN Title Author Publisher First
1-884822-08-0 Photographic History of the Civil War – Fort Sumter to Gettysburg William C. Davis & Bell I. Wiley Black Dog & Leventhal 1983
1-884822-09-6 Photographic History of the Civil War – Vicksburg to Appomattox William C. Davis & Bell I. Wiley Black Dog & Leventhal 1983
0-394-74623-6 The Civil War – A Narrative. Fort Sumter to Perryville Shelby Foote Vintage Books / Random House 1958
0-394-74621-X The Civil War – A Narrative. Fredericksburg to Meridian Shelby Foote Vintage Books / Random House 1963
0-394-74622-8 The Civil War – A Narrative. Red River to Appomattox Shelby Foote Vintage Books / Random House 1974
978-1-84908-590-8 Don't Hurry Me Down to Hades – The Civil War in the Susannah J. Ural Osprey 2013 Words of Those Who Fought It
978-0-375-75696-2 A World on Fire – Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War Amanda Foreman Random House 2010
1-889246-57-3 Loyal Heats – Histories of American Civil War Canines Michael Zucchero Schroeder Publications 2011
978-0-712-61610-2 The American Civil War John Keegan Vintage Books / Random House 2010
978-1-449-52883-6 Company “Aytch” Sam R. Watkins Feather Trail Press 1900
85546-152-7 The Rifle and How to Use it Hans Busk The Richmond Publishing Co. 1859
978-1-4000-3315-7 They Fought Like Demons – Women Soldiers Deanne Blanton & Lauren M. Cook Vintage Books / Random House 2002 in the American Civil War
1-85409-104-2 The American Civil War Source Book Philip Katcher Arms & Armour Press / Cassell 1992
n/a Three Months in the Southern States, April-June 1863 Arthur James Lyon Fremantle Filiquarian Publishing 1864
TBC Johnny Reb and Billy Yank Alexander Hunter Forgotten Books TBC
0-8117-0093-3 The American Civil War, An English View Sir Garnett Wolsley Stackpole Books 1890
Rifle Volunteer Corps
85546-152-7 The Rifle and How to Use it Hans Busk The Richmond Publishing Co. 1859
1-847348-36-X Rifle Volunteers, How to Organise and Drill Them Hans Busk Naval & Military Press 1859
978-184415-612-2 Riflemen Form! Ian F.W. Beckett Ogilby Trusts 1982
The National Association of Re-enactment Societies, of which we are proud to be a member.
The History and Heritage Accommodation Guide, who have been kind enough to list us in their Re-enactors' Directory.
A well-respected organiser of historical events, with whom we work closely.