About the Grenville Militia
A number of residents of Leeds & Grenville Counties came together in Fall 2011 to form a re-enactment militia unit, The Grenville Militia. What started as a one-off amusement activity planned for celebrating the Bicentennial of the Spencerville Mill and commemoration of the War of 1812 has quickly turned into a new hobby for all members involved. Although we take Grenville Militia for our title, we can portray, as an event and the historical record require, any Upper Canada Militia unit for which we have the necessary clothing, equipment and narrative.
As of July 2012, the 1st Flank Company, Grenville Militia consists of 14 members and we continue growing as more men join in.
As a Flank Coy, we train in skirmish tactics mostly (more fun), and sometimes join with other units to drill in regular British forces tactics from the period. Those who are trained, insured and possess the full required kit, may field at various events subject to their interest and availability.
Our group’s approach to this new hobby can be summarized in the following ways:
- While striving to preserve and/or re-create authentic historic experiences, our main objective is to have fun and involve others in the process. Grown ups can play too!
- We are committed to promoting historical education, heritage tourism and economic development in the region by participating in local events and buying locally whenever possible.
We place a strong emphasis on developing and maintaining a sense of camaraderie in the unit. All for one, and one for all!
Joining the Ranks of the Grenville Militia
If you choose to enlist in the Grenville Militia, you will have to comply with our rules and meet minimum standards of authenticity for re-enactors.
All men over 18 years of age with a strong interest in history and at least two opposable teeth (a solid set of dentures probably works) can join our ranks. Remember, you must be in reasonably good shape as some running, carrying of equipment and marching will occur during re-enactments. However, the activity is not expected to be too strenuous for any reasonably healthy adult.
Camp followers (women and children) are welcome. All youth under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult member of the unit. To respect modern safety requirements and the rules of other groups, we only allow those over 18 to take the field for a battle. Boys under 18 are welcome to muster, only to be turned away (and complain loudly) at the last moment just before battle is joined – it’s all theatre.
As a militiaman, your initial costs related to clothing and equipment (including a musket) should be lower than those of a member in one of the regular units. The minimum requirements include the following items:
Grenville Militia Basic Individual Kit
Phase 1 (Summer)
- Pantaloons (long trousers) or knee breeches and stockings;
- Hat (period straw is OK for summer, all seasons a round hat);
- Footwear, credible if not exactly right;
- Waistcoat desirable;
- Neckerchief or cravat;
- Eating tools (as old-looking as you can find)
- knife, fork, spoon
- plate, mug, bowl;
- Water bottle (canteen) required to field
- Musket for musketeers (with spare flints, whisk, pick and tool); and
- Cartridge box for musketeers with belt to carry it.
- Short coat (Fall, Winter and Spring, desirable in Summer);
- Round hat (Fall, Winter and Spring, desirable in Summer);
- Period footwear;
- Bayonet for musketeers optional, with belt to carry it; and
- Shooting bag for musketeers
- Musket sling for musketeers.
Phase 3 (As Required or Desired)
- Watchcoat (oilskin) for rain;
- Blanket coat or greatcoat for winter;
- Winter footwear, handwear and hat;
- Period bedding and camp furniture;
- Knives, hatchets etc; and
- Hunting frock or shirt.
Details are available from your comrades or your friendly Company staff.
The Company’s staff will assist you with finding providers of required items and kit, and historic patterns for clothing. The Company will endeavour to assist serious candidates with purchasing clothing and equipment.
Once you enlist, you will remain on the Company’s roll until you resign in writing. You will likely to start as a Private and with time and experience may get promoted subject to the following conditions:
- The size of the unit (i.e. expectations for more roles to be filled),
- Requirements for officers and NCOs
- Recommendations by unit’s staff and
- Final decision by the Company’s commanding officer, Captain John Zaluska.
Upon enlisting, you will have to provide your full coordinates to the Company’s Clerk as well as remit $20 for third-party insurance to guarantee your ability to field with others (you are welcome to purchase additional life insurance at your own discretion).
All individuals will be designated as Candidate Members and participate in four or more field events over a campaign season at which point Company staff will be asked to recommend their promotion to Full Member status to the Company’s Captain.
Members of other re-enactment units are welcome to join us, but they must clear the issue with their ‘home unit’ first, if necessary, and abide by our rules while in our Company’s midst. We are committed not to raid sister units for recruits.
Training and Fielding Requirements
We recognize that all of our members have jobs and obligations in their regular lives. Although we expect people to be serious about their membership in the Company, it is only a hobby, and we do not want to burn people out. Members can choose which public events they can participate in, but we require all those who wish to field in a re-enactment to participate in scheduled training activities. We do not insist that each member procure, and take the field with, a musket. A musket is usually wanted for participation in a battle reenactment, but there are other ways to participate in supporting roles. For members who will not use a musket, the requirement for opposable teeth is waived.
Basically, we expect that you do as much as you can, and insist that whatever you do in the name of the Company, you do well.