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We are the newest and fastest-growing Federal unit in Oklahoma. We were originally a Confederate company, the 17th Arkansas. There was a split in that group, with the dedicated Southerners forming the 16th Arkansas. Those of us with a more even approach to history and reenacting opted for a dual impression as the 17th Arkansas and 77th Pennsylvania.

It didn't take long to find out that Federals in Oklahoma were greatly outnumbered. Due to the law of supply and demand, we gave up the idea of a dual impression and became solely the 77th Pa.

Claude Lamoreux, one of the four original members of the reenacting 77th and a native of Pennsylvania, chose a company from his home county to represent. Once he began his research, it quickly became obvious the 77th Pa deserved to be represented and remembered.

The history of the original 77th is dear to us, and we strive to keep in mind that we represent them. After the recent national reenactment at Corinth, MS, we had a ceremony and placed a floral wreath at the monument of the 77th in the Shiloh National Military Park. Our ceremony consisted of reading the invocation and speeches from the original dedication ceremony of the monument, as well as period fife music.

The history of the Unit was one of four goals I promised would be pursued when I took over as Captain. We are a fairly new unit--the first member (me) to take the field as the 77th was at Honey Springs in September, 2002--and are still working hard to improve. Our primary goal is to be a well-drilled unit. In that respect we have come far and are rapidly gaining respect among both our Federal and Confederate peers. Second is pursuing the history of the 77th. Third is to work on military etiquette--not to the point of being obnoxious, but at least to the extent of removing covers indoors and wearing them out and to come to attention when senior officers enter camp. Fourth, we are establishing a Keystone espirit de corps by having our own Federal Colors--we have Regimental Colors on order--and wearing Pennsylvania belt buckles (the original 77th had US belt buckles).

Safety is extremely important to us, our Bylaws setting high standards and even requiring a safety test. We continually strive to recruit. We solicit ideas to make things more fun both on the field and off. We are also in the latter stages of becoming a nonprofit corporation, which would be advantageous to the Unit as a possible source of money and equipment, and to individual members as a tax deduction.

Based mainly in Oklahoma, we are not only the newest, largest and fastest-growing, but we are also the only Federal reenacting unit that encompasses the whole state. Admittedly, most of the members now hail from Tulsa and northeast Oklahoma (this wasn't always so), but we have members in and around both Oklahoma City and Lawton, as well as one member in northwest Arkansas and another who lives in British Columbia, Canada. (He joins us for national events.) We hope to expand into other areas of the state, as well. In age we range from the late teens to the mid-fifties. Some of us have no military background, while others have been in or retired from the service. (Claude is employed by the Army at Fort Sill.)

We are a family-friendly group, governed by amendable Bylaws. While we have no authenticity standards per se, we do have equipment guidelines and urge all members to continue to better their impressions with authenticity as the goal. As mentioned before, our primary goal is to be a well-drilled Federal unit, studying Casey's and other manuals as our authority.

We are an active member of the Frontier Brigade, which is the Federal umbrella organization for this region. We are in the First Battalion, along with other Oklahoma and Texas units. The Second Battalion consists of units mainly from Kansas and Missouri, although there are single units from Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin in that Battalion. There are also artillery and cavalry battalions in the Frontier Brigade.

The 77th Pennsylvania attends most Civil War reenactments in Oklahoma, as well as travelling to picked regional events in surrounding states. We have also attended the "national" event the last three years--Gettysburg, Franklin and, most recently, Corinth. In addition we generally have a company muster once or twice a year and a battalion or brigade muster in the spring. We sometimes set up Living History events (we had a great one with the Boy Scouts last April). Members or groups of members often take part in Living History events at historical sites outside the official unit schedule, and sometimes outside the Civil War era.

Since Oklahoma summers and blue wool spell H-O-T, most of our reenacting is seasonal, from February to June and from September to December. We average about one event a month during that time, but they are not always evenly spaced. We are planning on a non-period Unit party this July, too. Personally, I also highly recommend the New Year's Eve Victorian Ball put on by our friends of the 15th Missouri at Rogers State University in Claremore.

In camping, we are often "on campaign." Personally, I prefer a half-shelter, but we sometimes, either because of the weather or the scenario, do garrison camping. Normally we drive our vehicles to the campsite and set up camp, but we are versatile enough to march in with just our knapsacks and weapons. We have a quartermaster and often have a company mess, but just as frequently we attend events where each man has to provide his own subsistence.

We have a company newsletter, the Keystone Command, which is a real letter I write periodically to discuss company


Captain Samuel T. Davis, Company G, 77th Pennsylvania Adjutant, seriously wounded at Resaca, Georgia, May 14, 1864