THE MID-VICTORIAN MILITIA

The Mid-Victorian Militia, known as MidVic, is a re-enactment group portraying the British Rifle Volunteers of the 1860s. We specialise in interactive living history, portraying the camp life of the citizen soldiers of the period.

ABOUT MIDVIC

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.

 

 

GALLERY

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Public Display
Rifle Voluteers Under Instruction
Rifle Volunteers on Parade
Fisiticuffs at Training Camp
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EVENTS

Come along and see us in action!

 

MEMBERS

Our members are primarily experienced re-enactors who have portrayed a variety of periods in the past.  They come from many walks of life, including a nurse, a Cambridge History graduate, someone undertaking historical doctoral research, retired members of the Armed Forces and many more.  The one thing that unites us is a passion for sharing our love of history with the public.

MATTHEW,

CHAIRMAN,

HEALTH & SAFETY

PETER,

COMMANDING

OFFICER

OSCAR,

SECRETARY

ADRIAN,

SAFEGUARDING

SUE,

WEBMASTER,

MEMBERSHIP

SHARON,

TREASURER

CHARIS,

SOCIAL MEDIA

STEPHEN

LINDEN

EMMA

SIMON

IZZY

SPENCER

NAVARRA

JOIN MIDVIC

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 join@midvic.co.uk, 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.

2019 Programme

15-16 June - Peterborough Heritage Festival, Cambridgeshire

29/30 June - Armed Forces Day, RAF Cosford

10-11 August - Blue Rodeo Country & Western Festival, Warwickshire

14-15 September - Stoke Prior Steam Rally, Worcestershire

5 October - Leighton Buzzard Victorian Festival, Bedfordshire

19/20 October - Autumn Show, Ipswich

 
 

BOOK MIDVIC

If you are interested in booking MidVic, then please get in touch using events@midvic.co.uk 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.

 

CONTACT US

If you would like to book us for an event or if you are thinking of joining, then please get in touch.

 
 

HISTORY/RESEARCH

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.

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.

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.

RECOMMENDED READING LIST

American Civil War

ISBN                            Title                                                                                                               Author                                              Publisher                                          First

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Published

             

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

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

 

LINKS

NAReS

The National Association of Re-enactment Societies, of which we are proud to be a member.

HISTORIC UK

The History and Heritage Accommodation Guide, who have been kind enough to list us in their Re-enactors' Directory.

EVENTPLAN

A well-respected organiser of historical events, with whom we work closely.

 

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All photographs ©Sue Dudley unless otherwise stated.

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