The two sides will establish picket lines in the early evening of Saturday and maintain them throughout the night. The scenario will end in the early morning in time for companies to be back in camp for 1st Sgt's call. We plan to do this scenario Saturday night so that participants will have Sunday night to sleep before the drive home after the long weekend.
We are not portraying a specific historical scenario, rather the common experience of soldiers on active campaign. Pickets will be posted and relieved at intervals. Those not on duty on the picket line will be posted in their respective outposts, with reserves in the grand guard bivouacs. The number of pickets posted will be determined by the number of participants. There may be some minor patrols during the night to keep things interesting, but these will be very carefully controlled by the officers and NCO's. The ultimate goal of this is to give everyone a realistic experience, not start a tactical. See the safety rules below on how we will manage this.
Safety and rules of engagement:
1. Pickets will be posted with loaded weapons. Pickets will be expected to execute the full duties of their post, including challenging anyone who approaches. Once a picket has challenged, if the approaching party does not follow the period correct procedure of answering the challenge and following the picket's orders, the picket will have full authority to discharge their arms. Pickets will not fire with their weapons levelled, but will elevate their muzzle above 45 degrees. Once a picket has fired, they will stay put in their position (we don't want individual soldiers running around in the dark with loaded guns). It is an important safety feature of this scenario that pickets will not move from their post until properly relieved; it ensures that command staff are aware of everyone's location at all times.
2. All patrols between the picket lines will be led by an officer or NCO. Patrols are intended to gather information on the number and location of enemy picket posts, not to assault them. A successful patrol will be one that accomplishes this task undetected. No one between the lines will be allowed to advance within 30 paces of a picket unless instructed by the picket. Anyone challenged by a picket must cease to advance immediately. Once a picket has fired his weapon, the party between the lines will fall back. Return fire will be allowed, but the patrol must retire, and firing will be kept to a minimum by the commanding officer or NCO (one or two shots being the generally agreed upon number). Patrols returning fire will also elevate their weapons above 45 degrees for safety. The general principle governing all firing is to keep it to a minimum. The reason we want to include firing is to create an atmosphere appropriate to the scenario. This WILL NOT devolve into a shoot-em-up in the woods.
3. No one will be allowed to participate in this scenario without the knowledge and consent of the officer commanding the side they are joining. All participants will be assembled in their respective battalion camps, units will be organized, and the contingents will march to their respective picket lines. Anyone needing to arrive late for the scenario will have the full consent and direction of their side's commanding officer.
4. Everyone participating in this scenario is agreeing to abide by all rules stated presently or established by the officers commanding the scenario. Anyone participating in this scenario is agreeing to follow the directions of the officers and NCOs directing the scenario, including the commander of the opposing side. In the event that either the union or confederate officer in charge needs to intervene to ensure safety, Yankee and confederate participants will consider a directive from the CS or US commander as coming from the highest authority.
I strongly suggest participants bring with them blanket, gum blanket, food in their haversack, coffee and any other creature comfort they might want that they can comfortably carry with them. Modern sleeping bags will not be permitted. Food should be kept to what can be carried in their haversack. A fire will only be permitted at the Grand guard bivouac. Additional water will be stashed ahead of time. As we will be away from the camps, portapotties might be a ways away so plan accordingly. Any further questions can be directed to either US picket commander (TBD) or CS picket commander Captain Andrew Noll.