How many members belong to the MIB?
The Brigade currently numbers about 40 Soldiers from 4 different states. This puts our average event turnout right around 16 to 18 Rifles. The MIB is more of a regional unit as opposed to a local unit which may get together for non-event meetings.
Who may join?
Membership is open to any serious minded person who honestly wants to join, and whom is willing to put forth the effort and subscribe to the customs and principles of the Missouri Irish Brigade. Boys must be 16 to carry a rifle (May serve as a musician if they can play the bugle, fife, or drum and can keep up with the men). Women are generally not allowed to serve as soldiers, unless they can build a believable impression and actually pass for a soldier. Women may portray civillians of the time.
Do you have to be Irish to Join?
NO! It is perfectly acceptable to belong to an Irish Regiment and not be an Irishman. "Americans" as well as immigrants born in lands other then Ireland joined Irish units for a variety of reasons. While many things can be said about such impressions, one would not find a blatantly anti-irish bigot within the ranks of an Irish Regiment. Yelling, "Fall in, you bloody micks!" in an Irish unit would be a very good way to quickly make a lot of enemies. If you portray or are, a non Irish person, then tolerance for foreign born Celts and Catholics would be an essential part of your public personality.
Where do members come from?
The majority of MIB's live in Missouri, but the states of Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa are well represented. For more on this subject, please visit our "MIB Region" page. There is a nice map and more information about our realist unit area.
How much does it cost?
Dues vary according to the typr of membership one holds, and how many combatants and civillians reside in a single household. But on average, due's are $25 per year and includes issue's of the "An Bealac" Newsletter. Dues money funds the newsletter and pays for special items to improve our living history presentations, hardtack, equipment for the mess, etc. Paid membersship also demonstrates a commitment on the individuals part that they fully intend to support the unit and are proud loyal members. Assoc. Membership is $8, but does not include voting or Veteran status or other privledges.
Do the Men of the Brigade portray an actual unit?
YES!!! We portray the only known Irish Brigade to have served in the Western and Trans-Mississippi Theaters. Although, the actual name, "Missouri Irish Brigade" was more of a nickname, then any type of actual military designation. Please visit the 7th Missouri and 30th Missouri's historical sketches, to learn about our historical counterparts.
How is the Brigade organized?
The majority of the Brigades business is conducted through the "An Bealac" Newsletter and at occasional event meetings when called for. An election is held annually to elect Officers and N.C.O.'s for the year. The "Veterans" elect positions that are determined that are needed according to our units average strength. This usually turns out to be for the ranks of Captain, 1st Lieutenant, 1st Sergeant, a Sergeant and 2 Corporals. The men elected are expected to assume the authentic responsibility's of there ranks throughout a Re-enactment weekend. In this way, the Brigade functions smoothly and everyone knows what is expected of him to provide the best possible experiance for the entire group.
How "Hard Core" is the attitude of the MIB towards Authenticity?
The first thing you have to understand about Civil War Reenacting is that due to a recent movement with-in the hobby, units are traditionaly classified as either "Progressive" or "Mainstream". A lot can be said about both classifications and in fact the debate between the two has raged for many years. The MIB, although probally closer to a "Mainstream" type unit, doesn't view it that way. We respect both forms of the hobby, and believe that both provide a valuable contrubution to reenacting as a whole. In our opinion, the only debate should not be of "whose form of Reenacting is more authentic or more correct", but should actually be that of "How do we find the right balance between the two"? We view ourselves as a unit that somehow falls in between Progressive and Mainstream Reenacting. Some call us a Progressive Mainstream unit. The MIB's approach to the hobby of Reenacting attempts to balance service to the public with providing a 1st Class "Living History" experiance for its members. Every Reenactment or Encampment weekend is structured to provide time for "Living like it was", for interacting with the public, and enjoying the fellowship of other Civil War enthusist. MIB Members are exspected to look authentic and to strive to act in an authentic manner whenever possible - especially before the public. The emphasis is on "doing it right" when it counts and reserving times when the public is not present for other forms of enjoying our hobby. The Brigade attempts to function as an authentic Civil War Military unit from Reveille until dark. But except for times when we draw Guard Mount, the evenings are generally free for relazation and refighting old battles around the campfire.
Do I have to acquire all the neccisary equip. before participating?
NO! Since it can easily cost over $1,000 to acquire the basic uniform, weapons, and equipment for an Infantry Private's impression. Many Brigade members, and to an extent the unit itself, have extra items to loan to new recruits. If a person thinks they are interested in Re-enacting, it is a good idea to attend at least one event with borrowed gear to be sure that they enjoy the hobby enough to make the required financial commitment. Once someone decides to join, the Brigade will normally work with recruits and loan gear out for a year or so as long as a bonna fide effort is demonstrated that the new recruit is outfitting themselves. Contact the Brigade if you would like to borrow some gear and give the hobby a try.
Is the MIB part of a national organization of Reenactors?
There is no single National Reeactors Association. The MIB is a charter member of the "U.S. Muddy River Battalion", a regional wide organization of federal units that serve together as a higher level battalion Organization at major events. Its basicly a scaled down version of an actual civil war Infantry Regiment, and is made up of multiple companies. The U.S. Muddy River Battalion is part of a larger Federal Infantry organization, known as the 1st Federal Division. These larger units are the organizations that the MIB belongs to and works with. To learn more about them and to get a better idea how we fit into their organizations, visit Telegraph Links station. Regionally, the MIB is seeking membership in to the Missouri Civil War Reenactors Association. The M.C.W.R.A. is an organization of Federal and Confederate Reenactors --Military & Civillian -- from Missouri and surrounding states.
Is there a way for famlies to participate?
Many famlies of the Brigade members participate by dressing in period civillian attire and portraying refugees, Army laundress, Officers wives, grieving widows, and local citizens. The current ladies of the MIB often come together at reenactment events and conducts its own slate of activities, including writing letters to soldiers, holding temperance rallies, hosting teas and lawn parties. We are hoping to organize an Official Ladies Aid Society sometime here in the near future once our Ladies membership grows large enough.
How do I become a member of the Missouri Irish Brigade?
Contact the Missouri Irish Brigade Headquarters through either E-Mail or Snail Mail and exspress your interest in joining. The Brigade Recruiting Officer will then take you through the neccisary steps and get you signed up and will let you know what the Brigades Uniform and equipment regulations are.. Find the "Join Us" or the "E-Telegraph" buttons on our web page to find our contact information.
And feel free to attend one of our Monthly Meetings which are held the last Thursday of the month (unless it falls on a holiday) at the Irish Museum and Cultural Center
at Union station, Kansas City, MO. Meetings start at 8:00 p.m. and run till 9:00 p.m.
What Brigade publications are available?
At the present time, Paid members of the MIB receive the Bi-Monthly publication of the "An Bealac" Newsletter. It keeps the Brigade in contact with each other and informs members with a variaty of information from events to "How To" articles on authenticity. We are also planning on in the near future of adding an On-Line version of the "An Bealac" to this web Page. Keep an eye out for it and check our Web Page often!
Does the MIB have a distinctive insignia?
YES! The Missouri Irish Brigade has adopted the Green Shamrock Badge just as the Original 30th Missouri Volunteers did in 1862. Although, one has to earn the right to wear it by earning their Veteran Status. Normally we would have stayed away from such an emblem that many would classify as an enthnic badge, and we agree that most Irish Regiments did not wear badges and Irish Harps to show their Irishness. But we have several unit diary's in our possesion that describe the 30th Missouri and even the 7th Missouri adopting the Badge. The badge is sewn upon the left breast of the jacket and designates a Veteran in the MIB.
What events does the MIB attend?
The Missouri Irish Brigade attends events as selected by a majority of its members. These eventys may include, but are not limited to, National level events, Regional Trans-Mississippi events, and occasionally local events. These events usually are a variety of Battle Reenactments, Battle Encampments, Parades and even Living History weekends. The Newsletter usually classifies events according to their importance and the units need for decent turnouts. A "MAX EFFORT" is the most important event where we usually need the best turnouts Possible.