Safety Standards of the 28th Mass, Co B

Safety Standard Operating Procedures

28th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, Company B

Edited By Vic Bonardi, Ed Faudree and David High (Revision Feb 2002)









It takes two mistakes to make an accident. Someone doing something they shouldn’t and someone not paying attention.

SAFETY IS EVERY PARTICIPANT’S RESPONSIBILITY! While unit officers and NCO’s are held responsible for the actions of their unit members, it still remains that EVERY UNIT MEMBER IS A RESPONSIBLE ADULT.



A. The 28th Mass Co. B will have a unit safety NCO/OFFICER assigned in the following order of rank, in attendance at any event. After First Sergeant/Captain, the second ranking NCO/Officer, sergeant, and 1st Lieutenant.


A. It is the duty of the appointed Officers and NCOs of the 28TH MASS. CO. B to actively and vigorously supervise the Safety Programs and Regulations set forth by the 28TH MASS. CO. B and the sponsors of the event attended. Specific duties of the 28TH MASS. CO. B Safety Officer/NCO during an event will include, but are not limited to the following:

1) Full time duty of overall supervision of safety during the event. This includes safety supervision of 28TH MASS. CO. B units during maneuvers from behind the firing line.

2) Ensuring that the company commander and/or first sergeant conduct safety briefings in accordance with  the 28TH MASS. CO. B checklist prior to marching each day.

3) Spot checking of cartridges and firearms during safety inspections. Canteens should also be checked and the company commander and/or first sergeant should be encouraged to see that their troops drink at least a full canteen of water prior to marching on particularly hot days.

4) Ensuring that 28TH MASS. CO. B accident/incident reports are promptly submitted as required.

5) Submitting a written after action safety report to the 28TH MASS. CO. B commander including copies of all incident reports.

B. Accidents and incidents will be reported to the Safety Officer/NCO who will prepare and submit an incident report (see enclosed format in TAB D) to their Company Commander. The Safety Officer/NCO will maintain one copy of each report for the Battalion Safety File.

C. The Safety Officer will maintain such reports along with follow up reports from involved parties pertaining to the final results of such accidents/incidents.

D. Events attended by 28TH MASS. CO. B, where no accidents or incidents are reported, will require preparation of a negative report for the unit file for liability insurance purposes. See TAB D for format and procedure.

E. 28TH MASS. CO. B units must include in their morning report at ALL EVENTS that a safety and firearm handling and firing procedure was briefed to all attending unit members prior to participation in event battles.


A. All participants must be 16 years of age or older to carry any weapon, i.e., rifle, musket, carbine, pistol or edged weapon, on the battlefield at living histories or battle re enactments.

B. Participants between the ages of 16 up to 18 years of age must have parental consent in writing and/or a parent present on the field in order to take part in events. Parental consent must be filed with the Unit Safety Officer.

C. Participants between the ages of 12 and 16 may serve as musicians and, where permitted by event sponsors, assist hospital stewards, run messages, etc. THEY MAY NOT BE COMBATANTS!

D. All 28TH MASS. CO. B personnel participating in any event WILL have a FULL CANTEEN of water with them and carry said canteen on their persons during ALL drill period, marches and battles.

E. It is recommended that all 28TH MASS. CO. B personnel drink at least a full canteen of water prior to marching during hot weather events. This practice has greatly reduced the incidence of heatrelated injuries.

F. Second canteens are acceptable, however no glass or non-period water bottles are acceptable.




1. FIRE PITS WILL ONLY BE DUG IN ASSIGNED/AUTHORIZED AREAS. Only one (1) fire pit will be dug per company street to measure no large than 2’x 3′.

2. Children must be under the supervision of a parent or guardian. Adults taking responsibility for someone else’s children must have such permission in writing. Such permission should be retained by the Company Safety Officer/NCO for the duration of the event.

3. Anyone found under the influence of alcohol will not be allowed to take arms or enter battles.

4. The use of illegal drugs is prohibited. Any such incidents will be reported to local authority.

5. NO LITTERING! 28TH MASS. CO. B should leave areas in a better condition than found.

6. NO gunfire in camps unless on order of authorized officers.

7. It is recommended that a full water bucket be kept adjacent to campfires at all times.

8. No one will place any material into fire pits OTHER THAN FIREWOOD. This includes trash, soda cans, etc. All trash and litter should be kept in trash bags out of sight until the end of the event. Carbonated beverage cans in particular will not be stored or consumed in the area of any fire pit. AN UNOPENED CAN ACCIDENTALLY DROPPED INTO A FIRE PIT CAN BECOME A BOMB THAT CAN CAUSE SERIOUS INJURY OR DEATH TO ANYONE IN THE IMMEDIATE AREA.

9. All non period containers or packages will be kept out of sight in tents and specifically away from campfires



1. Weapons will be inspected for safety by the COMPANY COMMANDER AND/OR SAFETY OFFICER/NCO prior to each event.

2. NO modem firearms OF ANY KIND, rifle, pistol or shotgun are allowed.

3. NO Hawken, Zouave, Kentucky, Plains or Flintlock firearms are allowed.

4. Infantry rifles will be 3 banded percussion Springfields or Enfields ONLY.

5. Sidearm are to be carried by officers only. 

6. NO LIVE AMMUNITION IS PERMITTED ON SITE! Cartridges must be of lightweight paper, in period style. NO penny wrappers, staples, wonder wads, etc. as these become projectiles if loaded!!

7. Cartridge papers will not be loaded. Powder will be poured and paper discarded.

8. Recommended loading charges are: – 5458 cal load 60 grains maximum. – 69 cal  load 8090 grains- carbines  load 60 grains – pistols load 30 grains 

Experience has shown that any excessive powder is simply blown out the barrel unburned and wasted, creating a potential safety hazard.


10. Firearms will not be discharged at a range inside 25 yards. Inside 40 yards, ALL FIRINGS WILL BE ELEVATED so as not to endanger any combatant or animal. Use “Rule of Thumb” to establish range.

11. Fingers should be kept OFF the trigger and outside the trigger guard when moving. DON’T PLACE YOUR FINGER ON THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOU ARE READY TO FIRE!

12. Fouled muskets will be taken 20 paces to the rear of the line of file closers with the unit sergeant/safety NCO to clear.

13. Ramrods WILL NOT be drawn on the battlefield as they become projectiles if left in the barrel. ONLY the file closer/safety NCO may draw a ramrod to check a firearm on the field.

14. Tompions will be left in camp. Any tompion found during safety inspections will be taken and given to your overall commander. You may reclaim it after the event.

15. No participant under the age of 16 years will be allowed to carry or fire a firearm.

16. NO sheath knives will be worn or carried into battle.

17. Bayonets will not be fixed except for drill demonstrations or stacking of arms. 

18. FIREWORKS, of any type are prohibited.

19. When at “Rest”, DO NOT place your hand(s) at any time over the muzzle of a rifle, loaded or unloaded. An accidental discharge could cause severe injury.

20. If it is necessary to recover from the “Aim” position, lower the hammer from the full cock position by placing the “crook” of the thumb over the hammer spur and gently bringing the hammer to “halfcock”. Be especially observant of the position of the muzzle.

21. At the conclusion of firing in the field prior to return to camp at the end of the day, ALL firearms (including officers’ revolvers) will be primed and discharged on command to insure that no unburned powder remains in firing chambers.

22. During reloading of the rifle musket, the hammer SHOULD LEFT IN “FIRED” POSITION with a musket cap in place while charging with powder. This precludes the possibility of air coming in through the nipple, mixing with a spark left in the barrel and causing a premature discharge as powder is being poured down the barrel. Failure to adhere to this procedure is one of the chief causes of flashes and subsequent bums during loading!


A. No unauthorized hand-to-hand combat will be conducted.

B. While there is to be no unauthorized hand to hand combat, the following guidelines are for safe “close quarters combat” when opposing units meet on the field.

1) Musket butts should not be raised above waist level.

2) Muskets should be held at “present arms” position for the defensive and “port arms” for the offensive.

3) Lunging with musket muzzles is prohibited.

4) Pistols must not be discharged at close quarters.

5) Sabers should be used with sheaths at close quarters.

B. Rear rank soldiers must keep the first and second bands of their muskets aligned with the first rank soldiers’ shoulders and most importantly must not step back when firing as this will move their musket muzzles too close to the first rank troops. 

C. Firearms should be discharged before taking a “Hit”.

D. Show respect for units. Taking of Colors will not be done unless agreed upon prior to battle. Units desiring such a portrayal must agree and overall Union and Confederate Commanders must be made aware and agree to such actions.

SAFETY IS EVER Y PARTICIPANT’S RESPONSIBILITY! While units officers and NCO’s are held responsible for the actions of their unit members, it still remains that EVERY UNIT MEMBER IS A RESPONSIBLE ADULT.

It takes two mistakes to make an accident. Someone doing something they shouldn’t and someone not paying attention.




A. The 28TH MASS. CO. B has agreed to participate with the other major living history/reenacting organizations in developing and implementing this protocol to provide a standard procedure for accident/incident reporting.

B. For the purposes of the 28TH MASS. CO. B incident protocol, all references to Company Commander will assume the involvement of the requisite Unit Safety Officer/NCO.

C. At the call for “MEDIC”, only the qualified medical personnel, i.e. Doctor, Nurse or EMT will respond. “MEDIC” is the word for a real emergency.

D. 28TH MASS. CO. B will maintain a roster of qualified medical personnel within its ranks and at each attended event, submit a list of those personnel in attendance to the 28TH MASS. CO. B Company Commander therefore allowing their rapid deployment in the event of a real emergency.


A. To establish a guideline for implementation of medical assistance and positive action in the event reenactors suffer injuries during engagements and encampments.

B. In cases where gross misconduct has been the cause of the injury, the 28th shall cooperate with overall commanders and event organizers to determine the cause of the accident.

C. To make every reenactor aware that he or she is personally responsible for his or her conduct with fellow reenactors and the public.


A. Upon discovery of an injury, the call “MEDIC” will be sounded by the nearest reenactors.

B. The Company Commanders shall insure that medical attention is properly provided and make a report to the overall commander and event organizers.

C. Once the alert has been sent to the Battalion Commander, the commanders of those companies in the vicinity of the injured reenactor will assemble their units in the immediate area. These officers will then question their soldiers to determine if any witnessed the injury or were the cause of the injury. Those who were witness to the injury or were the cause of the injury will then be questioned as to what they witnessed or experienced.

D. The overall commander and event organizers will undertake whatever additional investigation they deem necessary to determine the cause for the injury and the identity of the responsible reenactor(s).

1. At all times, it is the responsibility of the Company Commander of the injured reenactor to keep his Battalion Commander informed of that reenactor’s medical status. The Battalion Commander will, in turn, keep his Brigade Commander so apprised, who will, in turn, pass the information up the chain of command for the event.



1. It is recommended that each member of the 28TH MASS. CO. B maintain a level of physical fitness due to the sometimes strenuous nature of reenacting and the harsh field environments sometimes encountered. The Company Commander has a responsibility to know the medical conditions of their participants and must consider keeping those with heart, respiratory conditions or those who are obese from participating in more strenuous events.

2. Each member’s program should fit his or her comfort level. Each reenactor, by participating in any event, certifies that he/she is fit for duty.



A. At inspection arms, ramrod should be inserted in barrel with button end down. It should strike the bottom of the breech plug with a clear, metallic “ring”. If the ramrod sticks or makes a dull thud, it is an indication of dirt, corrosion or lead rings in the bore. Run the ramrod slowly up the bore angling it to touch the inside of the barrel to check for residue build up in the bore. The Springfield ramrod should protrude no more than 1/4″ from the muzzle due to its longer barrel. Enfield ramrod threads should protrude no more than 1/4″ or to the extent of the threads due to its shorter barrel. If the ramrod extends excessively from the muzzle, then there may be an obstruction in the breech. Any musket suspected to have an obstruction in the bore will not be used at all during the event and will be removed from camp. Muskets that are dirty will be excluded from the event until cleaned under the supervision of a qualified NCO. It is recommended that any musket used for live fire NOT be used for reenacting due to the possibility of lead rings forming in the breech area during live fire and then becoming a projectile during blank fire. Any musket used for live fire should be carefully inspected for lead ring formation either with a bore light or by careful probing with the ramrod.

B. The nipple area should then be inspected. The nipple should be fully seated into the bolster. If a nipple appears to be not fully seated, it should be checked with a nipple wrench. The nipple must screw fully into the bolster with no undue resistance. A nipple that does not screw in fully is indicative of cross threading. One that is loose may indicate an improper or loose thread. Any musket with a nipple or bolster that is questionable will not be allowed on the field and will be removed from camp. The nipple area should be bright and clean, free from all dirt and powder residue. The clean out screw on the 1861 Springfield must be fully seated into the bolster.

C. The musket lock should then be checked to insure that the half cock notch is operable. Any musket that fires from the half cock position will be excluded from the event and removed from camp. Under no circumstances should the hammer be struck forward with the heel of the hand by the inspecting officer or in any manner tampered with. Even pressure only should be applied to test the half cock position, at the same time checking for side to side play.

D. The musket hammer must solidly engage in the full cock position with no play in the lock work. Any musket that does not properly function in the full cock position will not be used in the event and will be removed from camp. The face of the hammer should be inspected to insure an even strike on the nipple. A solid circle indicates a solid strike where a crescent or figure eight mark indicates an off center strike, possibly resulting in cap fragments breaking off on impact creating a severe hazard to the eyes.

E. Musket stocks should be inspected for substantial structural cracks. Any musket with stock cracks that could pose a safety hazard may not be used in the event and will be removed from camp.

F. Any repairs made to a musket must be cleared with the First Sergeant who will then determine if the subject arm will be allowed on the field. Any musket which fails any of the above standards or is in any manner questionable from a safety standpoint will not be used in the event and will be removed from camp to avoid any possibility of its ending up on the field.

G. Once a unit has completed musket safety inspections, an elevated volley will be fired to insure that nothing that can become a projectile remains in the bore of any musket prior to marching for battle.

H. After safety inspection of each individual musket has been completed by unit personnel, muskets will then be capped off and fired under supervision of the company commander and/or first sergeant as follows:

1. The second rank will be faced about, muskets held at a 45 degree angle to the ground with the muzzle aimed at a leaf or blade of grass. Order will be given to prime and to fire by file with unit officers and NCOs observing each musket muzzle as the piece is fired to ensure that the percussion cap blast moves the leaf, thereby indicating that the flash channel is clear.

2. After capping off, the second rank will again face about to its original position. Order will then be given to load and fire by file, with unit officers and NCOs again observing each musket to ensure that each piece has functioned properly. The point of this exercise is to ensure that there is no potential projectile in the bore of any musket carried onto the field.

3. Only after this procedure has been followed will a unit be permitted to march for battle.

J. This musket safety inspection procedure will be accomplished prior to or during dress parade each day of an event.



A. At inspection arms, the revolver will be presented unloaded to the inspecting officer in the half-cock position with the muzzle in the vertical position.

B. The inspecting officer will first check the barrel with a cleaning rod or dowel of the appropriate length to insure that the bore is clear.

C. The revolver cylinder should then be checked to insure that none of the chambers are loaded. Any revolver presented for inspection in a loaded condition will be returned to the owner who will be instructed to discharge the piece in a safe manner and at a safe distance before returning for further inspection.

D. After insuring that the cylinder chambers are clear, the revolver will then be checked to insure that no live percussion caps are on the nipples.

E. The revolver will be returned to the soldier in the halfcocked position with the muzzle up.

F. Only after this procedure has been followed will a unit be allowed to march for battle.

G. This revolver safety inspection procedure will be accomplished prior to or during dress parade each day of an event.

END of Safety SOP