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What is a campaigner unit? What's the difference between a Campaigner and a Mainstreamer? Ask this question of reenactors and you'll get a different answer every time. Simply put, a Campaigner is a reenactor who takes the field in a disposition very similar to the way the real soldiers did. You won't find wall tents or "A" tents in a Campaigner camp. The lodging consists of what is carried in on the reenactor's back, just as it would have been in the field when the Army was on the move. As a consequence of the Campaigner's dedication, the impression will be right. The meals may tend to be bland. The accommodations a bit less comfortable. But the experience is true. You can feel it. And the camaraderie is strong.
The 23rd Virginia is a Campaigner unit, as are her sister units of the Independent Volunteer Rifles with whom she takes the field three or four times a year. While not all our events are what some would describe as hard core (we encourage family participation for many of our events), we schedule several "immersion" events a year, where the true soldier's experience can be pursued.
There are those fleeting moments when an individual makes a connection with the past; when the environment and the attitude are just right...and you are there, just as they were. There are other moments when you know you and your comrades look right, and the public is looking, and seeing, and understanding. There are moments when the fire of the camp illuminates the faces of your comrades, your friends, who share your passion, and you care for them, and you know that's how they felt. These are the moments that keep us coming back.
This is why we Campaign.