The Liberty Rifles are hosting a fully immersive Soldier Life Experience event in Orange County, VA. We will portray the 13th Virginia Infantry of Pegram's Brigade, Early's Division, Ewell's Second Corps, during the opening days of the Overland Campaign. We will recreate the 13th Virginia to full scale from the top down--9 companies, to match their May 1864 rosters. 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 1864 soldiers from the Army of Northern Virginia. The focus will be on preparing for and stepping off on the great campaign that all knew was coming, and the minutiae of military life--camping, drilling, cooking, dress parades, inspections, paperwork, marching, picketing, etc.--a day in the life of a solider! This event will spare no details and take no shortcuts. Field officers will be mounted, field music will regulate all activities, wagons will come and go, and so on. The details and immersion setting will be the focus of the event, in an effort to recreate the scene as it was in 1864!
We are strongly encouraging participants to solicit their neighbors, family, coworkers, etc., for donations that we will forward to the American Battlefield 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
This event is by invitation only. Registration info is coming soon!
The presence of a sutler in the camp of Pegram’s Brigade in the Spring of 1864 is well documented, so we'll be recreating that, too. Info on how to obtain sutler chits will be posted soon.
The 13th Virginia Infantry Regiment was formed in April, May, and June 1861 under the command of Colonel A.P. Hill and assembled and trained at Harpers Ferry. The unit was comprised of men from the north central and northwestern Virginia counties of Orange, Culpeper, Hampshire, Louisa, and Frederick. The majority of the regiment was composed of farmers, clerks, laborers, carpenters, and students. While the counties near the border of the tobacco belt had slave populations in excess of 50%, the counties of Frederick and Hampshire had 13% and 8% slave populations, respectively. The nine companies of the 13th Virginia present in May 1864 were as follows:
Company A – Montpelier Guard – Orange County
Company B – Culpeper Minute Men – Culpeper County
Company C – Gordonsville Grays – Orange County
Company D – Louisa Blues – Louisa County
Company E – Brandy Rifles – Culpeper County
Company F – Barboursville Guards – Orange County
Company H – Winchester Boomerangs – Frederick County
Company I – Frontier Rifles – Hampshire County
Company K – Hampshire Guard – Hampshire County
Initially commanded by Colonel A.P. Hill, the 13th Virginia became hardened soldiers in the Shenandoah Valley in the Spring of 1862 and suffered heavily at Gaines Mill. In 1863 the 13th would fight at 2nd Fredericksburg and miss the battle of Gettysburg while guarding prisoners in Winchester. In the aftermath of the army’s retreat from Pennsylvania, the regiment would spend months maneuvering and picketing along the Rapidan River, finally settling into camp near Somerville and Raccoon Ford. By late April 1864, with the regiment under the command of Colonel James B. Terrill (whose brother, William, had been killed while serving as a Brigadier General in the United States Army in 1862) in Pegram’s Brigade, Early’s Division, Ewell’s 2nd Corps, it had become apparent that battle was imminent and the army put in condition to march. The regimental rolls show the 13th Virginia had 257 men present for duty at the beginning of the campaign. The goal of this event is to field all nine companies of that Regiment – all 257 men – and to recreate their experiences on May 3-5, 1864, as they prepared for and begin the great campaign of 1864.
The Quartermaster and Ordnance returns for the 13th Virginia and Pegram’s Brigade from the 1st and 2nd Quarters of 1864 show the expected issues of clothing and equipment being distributed to infantry units in preparation for a campaign. Throughout the winter the brigade would be almost fully resupplied with knapsacks and new Fly Tents to replace those that had worn out the previous year. It is evident from the receipts that in April, the 13th was well furnished and supplied with Confederate Central Government equipment and clothing from Richmond, particularly “woolen jackets,” caps, and cotton shirts and drawers.
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 13th Virginia only had X, Y or Z, but what we are saying is 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 jacket made of blue grey kersey/"English Army Cloth" IS REQUIRED OF ALL PARTICIPANTS. If you need to or wish to get a new jacket for this event, we HIGHLY recommend you use County Cloth #K1 Kersey or Kochan and Phillips ACW Blue-Gray Kersey to make a “Type 2” jacket with epaulettes and beltloops. Linings should be cotton osnaburg, not shirting. While kersey Richmond jackets with epaulettes and beltloops are preferred, kersey Richmond jackets without epaulettes and beltloops are acceptable. Jeans Richmond jackets, Taits, or other uniforms are unacceptable.
- Richmond Clothing Bureau trousers made of royal blue imported kersey, vegetable dyed gray or brown jeans, or blue grey kersey/“English Army Cloth.”
- Other military-style trousers made out of similar domestic cloth.
Avoid U.S. Army pants, citizen’s pants, or pants made of oddball fabrics.
- 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.
- Wool flannel shirts. Receipts from throughout the winter of 1863-64 show these were issued in large numbers to the 13th Virginia before cotton shirts were once again issued in the Spring of 1864.
- 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 drawers made of cotton osnaburg.
- Other military or citizen’s drawers.
- Richmond Clothing Bureau caps made of blue grey wool/“English Army Cloth” with bound oilcloth brims, oilcloth chinstraps, and oilcloth sweatbands.
- Citizen’s “slouch” hats.
Please avoid oddball hats, kepis made of material other than blue grey fabric, and kepis with trim or colored bands or crowns, etc. Just wear a good citizen’s slouch hat if you do not have an appropriate kepi.
- English or Confederate military shoes (receipts from early 1864 show both “English” and “Confederate” shoes were being widely issued to the 13th Virginia. Receipts also document large numbers of the regiment turning in shoes for repair and reissue prior to the Spring campaign.)
- Citizen’s shoes or boots
- Federal Bootees if that is all you have
- Refurbished Federal canteen, typically uncovered, with a CS-made “split” leather sling.
- Tin drum canteen on a plain webbing, sewn cotton, or leather sling.
- Wooden “Gardner” or canteen on a plain webbing, sewn cotton, or leather sling, or British canteen.
- CS haversack copied from an original government-made example. This is an easy way to create some uniformity within a company. Simple cotton 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.
Marching Order should be light!
Knapsack – Knapsacks are strongly encouraged based upon surviving documentation from Pegram’s Brigade prior to the start of the Overland Campaign. 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, and high quality Federal blankets are perfectly acceptable. As per the unit’s receipts and the diary of a member of the 13th Virginia from this time, bringing a second blanket is acceptable, but not required nor necessarily encouraged. Quilts, modern surplus blankets, and poor quality reproductions are unacceptable.
- Receipts from the Winter of 1863-64 show that the 13th Virginia had been issued a fair number of “English Overcoats.” If you have a copy of the one surviving original, please bring it.
- A member of the 13th Virginia mentioned his U.S. Army overcoat in an April 1864 diary entry. Participants may bring a U.S. Army overcoat if they so choose, but it is neither required nor necessarily encouraged.
The 13th Virginia was carrying primarily Enfield Rifle Muskets, and were well supplied with bayonets. All arms must be clean, oiled, and in excellent working order.
- P-1853 Enfield Rifle Musket.
- M-1855/1861 Springfield or Richmond
- Domestically-made Confederate issue cartridge box, cap box, belt, and scabbard with ANV provenance is preferred. Painted cloth Richmond/Clarksville belts and cartridge box belts are encouraged. Plain roller buckle and frame belts are encouraged otherwise.
- Imported British cartridge boxes, cap pouches, Ball Bags, belts, and scabbards.
- Federal accoutrements.
- Every company and mess is very strongly encouraged to bring a hand sewn 20' x 12' 9" CS Fly Tent. No other flies are acceptable. If you, your mess, or your company are interested in making one, kits are available. For further information on and instruction on how to make a Fly Tent, see: https://www.libertyrifles.org/research/uniforms-equipment/confederate-tents
- Reissued U.S. Army shelter tents in limited numbers. Only high quality reproductions are acceptable. If you do not have a high quality reproduction, do not bring one. Confederate contract-made shelter tents would not be issued until later in the campaign and should not be used for this event.
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.
We are placing high expectations for personal appearance and behavior upon the participants of Warlike Along the Rapidan. Modern haircuts, ponytails, modern underwear, modern socks, modern glasses, and inauthentic or inappropriate kit, etc., are unacceptable. As rations will be issued and a sutler will be present, all participants are expected to arrive with an empty haversack and not bring any food of their own into the event.