The Liberty Rifles in conjunction with the Civil War Trust are hosting a fully immersive Soldier Life Experience event in Culpeper County, VA. We will portray the 8th Virginia Infantry of Garnett's Brigade, Pickett's Division, Longstreet's Corps, during their week long lull in the vicinity of Culpeper, just prior to Longstreet's Corps advancing North for the Gettysburg Campaign. We will recreate the 8th Virginia from the top down—10 companies, to match their June 1863 rosters. The camp will be a static one, where the wagons have caught up to the infantry. This event will adhere to STRICT authenticity standards including, but not limited to impression, kit, age, weight, and attitude. All participants are expected to look and act like 1863 soldiers from the Army of Northern Virginia. The focus will be on camping, drilling, cooking, eating, dress parades, inspections, swimming, leisure time, etc.—an average day in the life of a soldier! This event will spare no details and take no shortcuts. We will have our fully operational wagon on site, loaded up with cook gear, paperwork, and tentage. We’ll also have a functional period sutler where you can use pre-paid period notes to purchase edibles and other period goods. The camp scene will be meticulously set up to immerse you into 1863. Field officers will be mounted, field music will regulate all activities, and so on. Lastly, we’ll be reproducing the 8th Virginia’s flag that was captured at Pickett’s Charge. The details, minutiae, and immersion setting will be the focus of the event, in an effort to recreate the scene as it was in 1863!
We are strongly encouraging participants to solicit their neighbors, family, coworkers, etc., for donations that we will forward to the Civil War Trust as a group fundraising effort. We also have included a built in donation to the registration fee. More details on how to donate will be forthcoming.
☞☞ PLEASE READ THESE INSTRUCTIONS SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY ☜☜
If you wish to procure cakes, sausages, pipes, matches, and refreshments in all forms from the sutler, you must acquire period funds in advance. The conversion rate is 10 to 1, so if you want $1.50 in period notes, you'll need to include $15 with your registration payment, $20 will get you $2 in script, etc. Any funds not spent, or gambling winnings, can be refunded or donated at the end of the event.
The 8th Virginia Infantry Regiment was formed in May 1861 and assembled and trained at the Fair Grounds near Leesburg. The unit was comprised of men from the Northern Virginia counties of Loudoun, Fauquier, Fairfax and Prince William. Over 60% of the men filling the ranks were farmers, with some clerks and tradesmen mixed in. Slightly over 1/4 of the population in Loudoun, Fairfax, and Prince William Counties were enslaved, while 50% of the population in Fauquier County was enslaved. An excellent article on Loudoun County leading up to and during the Civil War can be found at http://www.loudounhistory.org/history/loudoun-cw-divided.htm.
The Companies forming the regiment were enlisted for one year as follows:
- Company A - Hillsboro Border Guards - Loudoun County
- Company B - Piedmont Rifles - Fauquier County
- Company C - Evergreen Guards - Prince William County
- Company D - Champe Rifles - Loudoun County
- Company E - Hampton's Company - Loudoun County
- Company F - Blue Mountain Boys - Loudoun County
- Company G - Thrift's Company - Fairfax County
- Company H - Potomac Grays - Loudoun County
- Company I - Simpson's Company - Loudoun County
- Company K - Scott's Company - Fauquier County
Commanded by Colonel Eppa Hunton from their muster through the Gettysburg Campaign, the 8th Virginia saw extensive fighting, gaining fame at Ball's Bluff and becoming hardened veterans during the fighting in Virginia in 1862. The "Bloody 8th" would miss the battle of Chancellorsville along with the rest of Pickett's Division as they were conducting operations in Eastern North Carolina and Suffolk until being recalled to the Army of Northern Virginia in May in anticipation of the coming campaign. For a week and a half in June, Longstreet's Corps would camp in and around the vicinity of Culpeper, preparing to follow Ewell's columns northward. Their time was filled drilling and inspections, along with some relaxation and the enjoyment of a respite from marching. The June muster rolls show the 8th Virginia had 205 men present for duty. The goal of this event is to field all 10 Companies of that Regiment – all 205 men – and to recreate their experience in Culpeper County in June of 1863, as they prepared to invade the North.
The Quartermaster and Ordnance returns for Pickett's Division from the 1st and 2nd Quarter of 1863 show substantial issues of clothing and equipment being distributed to the Brigades therein. In June the division received 700 new knapsacks, 800 haversacks, and 836 canteens. It is also apparent that Pickett's Division was well supplied with Fly Tents produced in Richmond under contract by James T. Butler and Co. As Pickett's Division arrived in Chambersburg, PA on June 30th, the regimental reports almost unanimously identified their condition as "good". It is evident from the returns that in June, Pickett's Division was well furnished and supplied with Confederate Central Government equipment and clothing from Richmond. Their time spent away from the Army of Northern Virginia in 1863 prior to Gettysburg meant that, aside from captured and refurbished stocks that may have been issued, they likely had little opportunity to acquire Federal equipment. As such, its use should be limited at this event.
The idea behind these impression guidelines is to create a best guess through research and an understanding of the workings of the Confederate Quartermaster Department in Richmond. Our goal will be to create a regimental impression. This means some degree of matching patterns of haversacks, or matching canteen types, or matching knapsack types is most appropriate. The idea is to replicate the look of a regiment that was being issued clothing and equipment from the government. We're not definitively saying that the 8th Virginia only had X, Y or Z, but we do argue that a Confederate regiment in this context during this period of the war, didn't have 50 different unique haversacks, and 50 different “Type 2” jackets made of 50 different fabrics, etc. All reproductions must be HIGH quality, utilizing correct patterns, and quality materials.
- Richmond Clothing Bureau "Type 2" jacket made of vegetable dyed brown or gray jeans. If you need to or wish to get a new jacket for this event, we HIGHLY recommend County Cloth L1 Logwood Jeans (woven specifically to match the fabric seen in four of the six surviving jeans Richmond jackets) or Ben Tart's Yarn Dyed Sumac. Linings should be cotton osnaburg, not shirting.
- A frock coat of domestic cloth is an acceptable option. Oddball “commutation” uniforms or outlandish fabrics are not permitted.
- Confederate issue shirt made of cotton osnaburg is preferred. The “Hollyday” pattern works very well, and the “Louisiana” pattern can be used to make a good representative example.
- Citizen's shirts. We're trying to limit the number of "homespun" check shirts, not because they're wrong, just very over represented in our opinion. So if you have a nice cotton print shirt, or plain cotton or wool citizen's shirt, go with that over the homespun.
- Richmond Clothing Bureau trousers made of vegetable dyed brown or gray jeans.
- Other military-style trousers made out of similar domestic cloth.
- Citizen’s “slouch” hats
- Richmond Clothing Bureau caps with bound oilcloth brims, made of domestic jeans
- Confederate military shoes or citizen’s shoes or boots
- Federal Bootees if that is all you have
- CS haversack copied from an original government-made example. This is an easy way to create some uniformity within a company. Simple osnaburg haversacks such as the "Henry Neal" or "Goulding" bags are great options. Please avoid haversacks made of carpet, tapestry, ticking, etc.
- Federal bags in small numbers.
- Tin drum canteen on a plain webbing, sewn cotton, or leather sling is strongly preferred
- Wooden “Gardner” pattern canteen on a plain webbing, sewn cotton, or leather sling
- Refurbished Federal canteen with a CS-made “split” leather sling or Federal sling if you have nothing else.
☞☞ Marching Order should be light!☜☜
Knapsacks are encouraged based upon surviving documentation from the summer of 1863. Garnett's Brigade and the 8th Virginia were identified as having knapsacks to a degree worth mentioning. To promote a semblance of uniformity, we have identified three types of knapsacks that will be acceptable for this event – if you don't have one of these three types, go with a blanket roll.
- Isaac and Campbell knapsack
- “Kibbler”/ “Mexican War”-style knapsack
- "Reissued" Federal knapsacks
Confederate issue and citizen’s blankets are preferred.
The ONLY acceptable tentage for enlistedmen is a 20' x 12' 9" CS Fly Tent. All tentage must be hand sewn. No Federal shelter halves. Correct Fly Tents are HIGHLY encouraged as Pickett's Division was well supplied with them during this period. If you, your mess, or your company are interested in making one, kits are available for $100. Further information on and instruction on how to make a Fly TENT.
A mix of ammunition was being issued to Pickett's Division in the 2nd Quarter of 1863, with .58 caliber being most predominant, followed by .69 caliber, with a very small amount of .54 caliber ammunition being issued.
- P-1853 Enfield Rifle Musket.
- M-1855/1861 Springfield or Richmond
- M-1816 Springfield converted to percussion or M-1842 Springfield.
All arms must be clean, oiled, and in excellent working order.
- Domestically-made Confederate issue cartridge box, cap box, belt, and scabbard with ANV provenance is preferred. Plain roller buckle or frame buckle belts are encouraged.
- Imported British cartridge boxes, cap pouches, Ball Bags, belts, and scabbards.
- Federal accoutrements if you have nothing else.
Any personal items must be original or accurate reproductions of period items. “Old timey” jugs, Mason jars, or other items are prohibited. With this event being immersive in nature, cell phones, modern tobacco, lighters, or any other anachronistic items are wholly unacceptable.
Registration is $25 for guests and LR members – of that, $10 goes to the Civil War Trust and $15 goes to ration issues and event logistics. Registration will be complete only after submission of this fee. If you wish to add sutler money, add that to your payment. The conversion rate is 10 to 1, so if you want $1.50 in period notes, you'll need to include $15 with your registration payment.
Send a PayPal payment "to a friend" (to avoid fees) to LibertyRifles8thVA@gmail.com or send a check or concealed cash to Michael Clarke, P.O. Box 505, New Oxford, PA 17350. THE CUTOFF FOR REFUNDS IS MAY 1, 2018.