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Today's 23rd Virginia Infantry consists of about 40 members dedicated to accurate portrayal of the citizen-soldiers and civilians of the period of 1858 to 1865. Our members come mostly from Central, Tidewater, and Northern Virginia, with several members from Maryland and beyond. About three quarters of our members are men, but we have a strong civilian contingent of men, women and children.
We are a Campaigner unit and take authenticity seriously, in our appearance, camp, and drill. However, there is never a shortage of fun times and camaraderie, and there is certainly no shortage of characters in the 23rd. Testimony to the quality of our organization lies in the fact that Gettysburg National Military Park and Richmond National Battlefield Park invite the 23rd Virginia to perform battle anniversary living histories in their parks each year. We carry the trust and confidence of The Park Service in front of literally hundreds of park visitors every year.
The 23rd Virginia was formed in 1976 in a time when "authentics" were few and the hobby was dominated by FARBS in blue and gray, polyester work suits with every third man (or woman) carrying a flag. In modern terms, these "authentics" are the ancestors of today's Campaigners.
We are organized with both political and military organizational structures; political officers and military officers and NCO's being elected on an annual basis.
We are affiliated with the Independent Volunteer Rifles, a military battalion which includes the 3rd, 15th, and 23rd Virginia Infantry Regiments and The Petersburg City Guards living history organizations.
We welcome prospective members who share in our purpose. We can completely outfit prospective members who are just getting started and would like to try us out. We provide assistance to new members in acquiring correct clothing and equipment.
We meet annually and vote on the upcoming season's events. We typically participate in 8 to 10 "unit" events a year, although members attend other non-unit events at their pleasure. Usually, 2 to 4 unit events will be full size reenactments with the remainder living history events, most of these being at National Parks. Our parent organization, the IVR, will assemble for 2 to 4 battalion events a year, which we make our unit events. When we attend events that the IVR is not participating in, we will always assemble with like-minded, Campaigner units. As a unit, we always portray Confederate Infantry, adjusting our impressions to the given period of the war. However, several of our members will "galvanize" into blue when attending non-unit events.
We expect our new members to assemble their primary uniform and equipment within the first year of membership as individual finances will allow. We recommend a general mid to late-war impression be developed first. Then, with a few modest additions to the wardrobe, the late-war impression and the early war impression can be perfected. All members are encouraged to purchase our pre-war militia/early war regimental impression which most members possess and which are quite unique. The photographs below provide a general view of how our impressions change according to the period we portray.
Pre-War Militia/Early War
Regimental Impression ca. 1860/61
Early War ca. 1862
Mid-War ca. 1863
Late War ca. 1865
We welcome new members to join us in the pursuit of experiencing their times, sharing in their brotherhood, and educating the public on the life of truly great, common men.