I was browsing the internet today and thinking of times long ago (i.e. the 1970's), when I found myself wondering what happened to the American Civil War Society, and if indeed it still existed. I was very gratified to find your website and see just how established and successful the Society has become.
I was one of the first members of the ACWS back in 1975 when it was founded by Pete Smith in Bolton. I would have been 14 years old at that time. Pete used to have a model shop on Bury Road in Bolton that sold all kinds of military figures, mostly of Hinchcliffe manufacture (now sadly demised). He encouraged me and my friends to maintain our interest in military history, which at that time was centred on the Napoleonic era. I remember that Pete started the Society, and recruited us amongst the very first members. I think my first 'duty' was as a guard at the Northern Militaire exhibition that was held in Swinton.
The first uniforms were quite simple affairs that Pete's mum manufactured on her sewing machine at home, but they served the purpose. The ACWS started to recruit more members and I attended the first few successfully staged battle reconstructions. I remember the very first skirmish comprising approximately 30 members which were held in a wooded area in a small valley in Leverhulme Park in Bolton, without the viewing public present. The second reconstruction was held in another park in Bolton but with more than 60 re-enactors present, a cannon, and a sizeable turnout from the public. Pete had been able to gain interest from some other groups that were present in West Yorkshire. I remember a trip to Dewsbury to meet another group of re-enactors who had a similar small band to ourselves, which resulted in a photograph and a column in the local newspaper!
I lost contact with the ACWS and most of the friends that I had made as life took me to university, then overseas as an engineer to Holland, Norway and Canada where I now live. I still have good memories of those days however, and was very pleased to see that Pete had made it into the success that it has become. I don't really suppose that there any members left from those very early days (after all it is 30 years ago), but nevertheless I just wanted to drop a note to say how impressed I was with how the ACWS has turned out, and to wish everyone connected with the Society all the best for the future.
Ian Adamson, Ex-private of the Confederate Army