We preserve history through research, interaction, and education.
Founded in 1999, the Liberty Rifles (LR) is a group of living historians who strive to accurately portray the common fighting men and home front civilians of the American Civil War, while excelling in terms of authenticity and organization. We constantly seek opportunities to educate ourselves and others about the sacrifices and experiences of our ancestors. The LR was founded to represent soldiers and civilians on both sides of the war with equal accuracy and honor.
We believe that to be true historians we must approach history in a non-political and unbiased manner. Our goal is to learn more about the brave patriots of both sides of the war by accurately emulating them in terms of both our attire and our actions. To do this, we do extensive research on period accounts, written histories, historical sites, and original artifacts to comprehend and replicate the period to the best of our ability. Authenticity is our perpetual journey and we strive to continually improve our portrayal of 1860s soldiers and civilians. We hope that our members and those interacting with our group gain a correct vision of the hardships endured by our fore-bearers.
We draw most of our members from the mid-Atlantic states and have individual members from as far away as the West Coast and Northeast. Military members come together on the field to act as one well-drilled, veteran military unit, and civilians gather to portray those affected by the war off the battlefield. All members adhere to the Liberty Rifles Bylaws, and the policies and guidelines set forth by our umbrella organization, the 3rd Battalion of the US Volunteers.
The years of 2011-2015 marked the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War, and the LR both attended and hosted a wide range of living histories, high quality reenactments, and immersion events. In addition, the unit worked closely with the National Park Service (NPS) to provide an accurate visual portrayal of troops at several official 150th NPS Commemorations, while also raising battlefield preservation money to donate to the Civil War Trust (CWT) for the preservation of battlefield land:
May 2014 – 150th Wilderness and 150th Spotsylvania Commemorations, raised $930 (plus 10:1 matching grant) towards the CWT's preservation of 306 acres at four 1864-65 battlefields
July 2013 – "Last March of the Iron Brigade" 150th Commemoration at Gettysburg, the first of a series of real-time ranger programs on the battlefield during the anniversary
May 2013 – Chancellorsville Battlefield 150th Commemoration, raised $1,100 (plus 13:1 matching grant) towards the CWT's preservation of 14 acres at Chancellorsville
June 2012 – Gaines' Mill Battlefield 150th Commemoration, raised $1,760 (plus 2.67:1 matching grant) towards the CWT's preservation of 285 acres at Gaines' Mill
Each year, the LR also hosts two narrated historic walks on the Gettysburg battlefield, typically following the footsteps of a Confederate regiment during the anniversary weekend in July, and then a Federal regiment on Remembrance Day in November. These programs are completely researched, coordinated, and led by group members, and are always open to spectators and our friends within the reenacting community. In addition, each year the LR hosts several events and joins forces with other like-minded organizations to provide both the members and the public a true picture of the war-torn years of 1861-1865.