Jine the Engineers!
Membership in the First Michigan Engineers & Mechanics, Company E is open to
anyone willing to exert a cooperative effort towards the accurate portrayal of a Civil
Based out of Northern Illinois and the Chicago land area, we participate in numerous
local and national re-enactments and living history events each year.
In portraying a Union Civil War combat engineer we follow the guidelines and live up
to the historical past of the 1st Michigan Engineers. We build towers, bridges, Chevaux
De Frise, abatis road barricades, wire entanglements, trenches and we also make field
maps and reconnaissance/scout positions.
In the past twenty years we've built three 20 to 25ft. tall Signal Towers (Glenview, IL.
'97/'01 & Jackson, MI. '95), one 40ft Signal Tower (Minooka '06) and two 45ft. length
wooded foot bridges (Palatine, IL. '93 & Billie Creek, IN. '04), and field trenches
We have built field road abatis barricades at Murphreesboro '93, that successfully
blocked the Confederate Cavalry Brigade. Guided the Cumberland Guard through the
thick woods of Resaca '94 for the units flanking maneuver. And built the field barricade
at Franklin '95 as part of the forward deployed brigade.
Many of our members have been re-enacting for 10, 20 and even 30 years. They've
also participated in many recent Civil War motion picture productions: "Gettysburg",
"Andersonville" and "Gods & Generals" to name a few.
We're celebrating our 29th year in 2016. A rare accomplishment in the re-enacting
community for a unit to stay together for so many years.
As the engineering unit for the 1st Illinois Brigade and the Cumberland Guard, our unit
is constantly used in the true sense of a Civil War engineer. Along with our muskets,
we'll also carry our spades, picks, saws and axes into the field. (Of course, we won't
mention the time we had to dig a latrine for the Colonel at Cedar Creek '94).
During re-enactments we do everything we can to ensure accuracy in the camp and in
the field. As an engineering unit we are often called upon to act as a rifle company. Or
act as the brigade skirmishers. Literally, the first unit to contact the enemy.
The uniform and equipment needed to outfit a Civil War soldier is not cheap and
understandably, a new recruit may not have the bare essentials for a while. The unit will
lend you a musket/rifle, accouterments and a cap and sack coat for the first time you
come to a drill or re-enactment. We do keep a 'ditty bag' full with spare uniforms and
We do ask that the new recruit outfit themselves as soon as they can. Members of the
unit will gladly assist you in what items you need and where to purchase them from.
If you have any questions or are interested in joining the unit, please e-mail the unit at
1st Sgt. C.G. (Birddog) Mantas