As historical reenactors of the Civil War, our primary Confederate portrayal is of the famed 1st Virginia Infantry, known as a "Gentlemen's Regiment", with a particular emphasis on the early to middle part of the War Between the States. We also have a strong secondary portrayal as the 2nd Virginia Infantry of the renowned Stonewall Brigade. Our impression of the 2nd Virginia Infantry has been used in events related to the Valley Campaign such as the Battle of Winchester and also at large-scale events in Virginia such as 1st Manassas. Our primary Union portrayal is of the 1st Minnesota Infantry, also based in Arizona, reenacting as one of the best Union Regiments of the Civil War. In addition, we portray both the American and British sides of the American Revolution.
The 1st Virginia may be seen at The American Heritage Festival, The Battle of Tucson, The Battle of Payson, The Battle of Poland Junction and numerous other educational and inspirational reenacting events throughout Arizona produced by We Make History. We are also active in participation in historic social events such as our Civil War Ball, Victorian Christmas Ball and large-scale reenacting events on the East Coast where we are very proud to be a Battalion in the Army of Northern Virginia. We have participated in numerous large-scale reenactment events in Virginia over the years such as Manassas, Chancellorsville, Cedar Creek, Spotsylvania, The Wilderness and New Market. In 2011 we held our 1861 Sesquicentennial and also had the honour of portraying the 2nd Virginia Infantry and 33rd Virginia Infantry of the famed Stonewall Brigade at the 150th Anniversary Reenactment of the Battle of 1st Manassas.
Though active in both the East and Southwest, and with members across the USA, the 1st Virginia Infantry was originally founded by Arizona reenactors as an Arizona based Civil War reenacting organization. However, tremendous growth as new reenactors have been trained and developed have brought the 1st Virginia / 2nd Virginia / 1st Minnesota into prominence as a nationwide reenacting / living history team with dual reenacting bases in Arizona & Virginia. A growing number of Virginians are joining the Regiment. Whether residing in Arizona, Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Hawaii, California, Colorado, West Virginia. Tennessee or any other place, the reenactors of the 1st Virginia Infantry are proud to represent Virginians!
We are family-focused, family-friendly and family-inclusive reenactors with the goal of safe, interactive education in a wholesome, faith-friendly environment. We welcome family involvement and have diverse roles for civilians of both genders and all ages. Like so many of our forebears we are guided by Christian principles and are convinced that authenticity demands that these principles and practices be included in order to achieve a realistic historic portrayal and representation of the times. We also believe and have proven that positive historical reenacting can be a wonderful faith and character building tool for both genders and all ages that translates into a positive impact in the modern world as well. Our standards for participating are high yet between soldiers and civilians the 1st Virginia / 2nd Virginia / 1st Minnesota is large, growing and has an accurate, historically authentic median age of under 25 for our soldiers! "Family-friendly Civil War reenacting - with high historic, safety and behavioral standards - Isn't it about time?" We always take the high road!
Now for a little Virginia history...
Virginia, known as "The Old Dominion," was the first established of the thirteen colonies and birthplace to four of the first five Presidents of the United States. She was America's leader in many regards during the Colonial era, the American Revolution and long after Independence was won. By the early Spring of 1861, though many southern states had seceded, Virginia remained in the Union. But when the federal government rebuffed Virginia's peace delegation, demanded that Virginia raise a quota of soldiers to invade The South and then blockaded Virginia's shores it was clear that there was no longer any hope for diplomacy or neutrality. A decision would have to be made. Virginians made their decision and responded to the crisis by voting overwhelmingly to exercise what they believed to be their constitutional right of secession. (In 1788 had Virginia ratified the U.S. Constitution with the specific caveat that she was reserving the right to resume at any time all powers delegated to the federal government and thus, if she should ever feel it necessary, to withdraw from the Union. Others states including New York and Rhode Island did the same and the legal right of secession was clearly asserted by both northern and southern states, political leaders and legal scholars right up to the point of the War Between the States.) As a consequence of exercising her right, Virginia herself was immediately invaded that very night and men from all over the state voluntarily organized into companies for her defense. A state flag was soon adopted which showed the resolve of these volunteers. The flag was in essence the famous "Bonnie Blue Flag" but with the star replaced by a white disc containing the obverse of the Virginia state seal which had been designed by patriot George Wythe back in 1776. The seal featured a victorious "Virtue" trampling "Tyranny" underfoot. Virtue stands erect with her sword sheathed, her spear at rest and her foot on a prostrate and defeated Tyranny whose chain is broken, whose scourge lies useless and whose crown has been cast off. The motto "Sic semper tyrannis" translates as "Thus always to tyrants." The message was clear. Virginians saw themselves as standing for the same principles in 1861 which had motivated their forefathers in 1776. By the Fall of 1861 most Virginia regiments had been provided with one of these flags which is, apart from small changes made in 1930, still the Virginia state flag of today.
We have chosen our uniform to match both photographic and written evidence regarding the 1st Virginia Infantry, an attractive style similar to many used by volunteer companies and militia across The South. By aspiring to the portrayal of a regiment largely made up of Virginia gentlemen we gladly embrace a higher learning curve in terms of etiquette, a level of conversational ability that would be expected of educated persons and the challenges of period portrayals. When we are in uniform and in front of the public then we are also in character. We realize that our high aspirations may always be a work in progress but choose to aspire nevertheless. Though we are able to represent other units and other theaters if required (such as the 2nd Virginia Infantry), our main impression which we favor is the 1st Virginia Infantry, a famed unit made up of gentlemen primarily from Richmond and Henrico County, which served admirably in the Army of Northern Virginia.
As historical reenactors and living historians we have a desire for a greater experience of our own heritage and an opportunity to educate and inspire the public with the same. However, we are not interested in revisiting the bitterness of the Civil War and do not consider those on the other "side" as enemies but rather as friends and fellow reenactors with the same educational goal. In fact the 1st Virginia Infantry, 2nd Virginia Infantry and 1st Minnesota Infantry form together a seamless educational living history team for reenactments, schools, educational events and community service. We are nonpolitical and have neither dues nor a burdensome organizational structure, but are a voluntary association of gentlemen of high ideals. We also respect the value of everyone's time and hold only occasional meetings for specific purposes. We are "family friendly" and wholeheartedly welcome and encourage appropriate involvement of civilian ladies, civilian gentlemen and children. If there is a reenacting group that has more beautiful ladies and children than the 1st Virginia we haven't seen it! :o)
The First Virginia Volunteer Infantry is proud to represent Civil War reenacting in Arizona and regularly represents in major events in Virginia and on the East Coast as well. We are family-friendly, education and service oriented and have grown to over 200 soldiers and civilians. Beyond battlefield participation at educational, family-focused events such as our American Heritage Festival and living history education days in support of Arizona and Virginia families most of us also take part in reenacting social activities such as historic period Balls sponsored by We Make History. We support positive Civil War reenacting in Arizona, Virginia and elsewhere and respect and work with those who behave safely, responsibly and respectfully as we seek to inspire and educate others regarding this salient period of American History.
Email us us for details as to how you too can portray history as a defender of Virginia - "The Old Dominion".
My thanks to you and the family
for all you do in making all these things possible in promoting the message
of Christian values so sorely needed in today's confused world.
Dear Col. Scott,
I just wanted to send a quick thank you from our family. We had such a great time at the Civil War Sesquuicentennial Skirmishes. Your family was such a blessing to us. I would like to say thanks to your wife for making me feel comfortable and for her hospitality. Also a thanks to the girls for their invitations for my two younger kids to join in on the baseball and jump roping games. I sincerely appreciated their hospitality. My husband and son had so much fun and expressed an interest to participate again. You are a wealth of information. Thank you for all the planning that made the event a success.
Please also extend a thank you to Cpl. Dan and family from us. They too were very gracious.
Our prayers are with your family and the We Make History participants as you all prepare for the Manassas Battle in July.
Christ be with you,
Pages of the 1st Virginia Volunteer Infantry