1st Regiment Virginia Volunteers


The 1st Regiment Virginia Volunteers were one of the original teams that formed the North-South Skirmish Association in 1950. We have a long history of skirmishing and just plain fun. We currently compete in every form of competition that is offered by the N-SSA. These team matches are: Musket, Carbine, Revolver, Repeating Rifle, Mortars and Cannons.

1st Regiment Virginia Volunteers Civil War History

May 1,1851: Governor John B. Floyd used his authority under General Order #1 to cause the formation of the 1st Regiment of Virginia Volunteer Infantry. This happened after the General Assembly passed an act authorizing the formation of volunteer companies,and directed the organization of a regiment to be formed from the volunteer militia companies of the City of Richmond and it’s neighboring counties of Henrico and Chesterfield.

During the following ten years of peace, the Volunteers occupied themselves by attending public events, ceremonies, and galas in addition to regular training and drilling. Unlike the regular volunteer militia, a duty required of healthy men between the ages of 18 and 45, The 1st Regiment of Virginia Volunteer Infantry sported grey uniforms. When President Millard Fillmore visited Richmond on June 27,1851, it was the 1st Virginia Infantry who greeted and escorted the President to the Capital. Participating in the Fourth of July celebration, the biggest civil-military celebration of the year, The 1st Virginia, in their freshly brushed uniforms, paraded into the capitol square where spectators delighted in watching the firing of salutes at noon.

The men of the 1st Virginia Volunteer Infantry in Charles Town circa 1859. Although this picture has been said to have been taken in 1861 in Richmond, it was in fact taken in Charles Town while the 1st Virginia was there to guard the gallows during John Brown’s execution. This picture has also wrongly been stated as having been taken in Harpers Ferry.

April 17,1861: The orders from Governor Letcher went out for immediate mobilization within hours after the State Convention voted for succession. The next few weeks saw numerous changes to the organization of the 1st Virginia Infantry. The first company to be removed from the regiment was the Howitzer’s who mobilized at the Apotswood Hotel on April 19. Reporting shortly after to the Richmond College Artillery barracks with 225 men and six Dahlgren Howitzers. Applications to join increased so rapidly, it was pulled from the 1st Virginia and formed into a Battalion of three companies.

Company “F” and the Richmond Light Infantry Blues were removed from the 1st Virginia not long after they were sent to Fredericksburg following news that Union forces were landing at Aquia Creek, which later proved to be false. They established Camp Mercer on the town’s fairgrounds. Although their separation from the 1st Virginia Regiment was intended to be temporary, they never returned, voting unanimously on April 23 to attach themselves “To some new regiment to be placed under the command of a former United States Officer who is a tactician and disciplinarian.”

May 26, 1861: The morning saw the arrival of the 1st Virginia Regiment at Manassas Junction, two days after the Union forces had moved across the Potomic, ready for battle. General James Longstreet, who commanded the brigade to which the 1st Virginia Regiment belonged wrote: “The old First Regiment was with me at Bull Run on the 18th of July, and made the first fight of Bull Run, which drove the Federals and forced them around Sudley Springs. This move on their part was the cause of delay that gave us time to draw our troops down from the Valley and concentrate for the fight of the 21st. The heavy part of this fight was made by the old First Regiment, so that it can well claim to have done more towards the success of the First Manassas than any one regiment. This, too, was their first battle, and I can say that its officers and men did their duties as well, if not better, than any troops whose service came under my observation”.

December 13, 1862:The 1st Virginia, with Pickett’s division was in reserve on Longstreet’s right. Burnside had crossed the Rappahannock and occupied Fredericksburg. General Kemper addressed the regiment while in route to strengthen Longstreet’s center: “Men of the First Virginia Regiment – you who have on so many hard fought fields gained the name of the BLOODY FIRST – today your country calls on you again to stand between her and her ENEMY!” To this the men responded with one of those yells that could be heard for miles.

July 3, 1863: In Gettysburg Monk Windfield, recently regained to the 1st Regiment of Virginia Volunteers from a Union prison, asked Sergeant Loehr,“Charlie, where are our reinforcements?” Upon hearing the reply they would see no reinforcements. Monk’s blood must have run cold as he looked out from their position on the right of Seminary Ridge. The Union artillery shells, meant for the gunners, were falling short with deadly force upon the infantry. Monk lay belly flat to the ground with the rest of the infantry, trying to survive the barrage. “We shall be whipped. See if we don’t.” Monk prophesied the outcome of the approaching charge. Of the 209 gallant men of the 1st Virginia Volunteers who were placed in position at 7:00 am and heard the firing of the first signal guns to charge at 1:00 pm, only 40 remained alive and unwounded by 4:00 pm.

Later in the war the unit was involved in the Capture of Plymouth, the conflicts at Drewry’s Bluff and Cold Harbor, the Petersburg siege, north and south of the James River, and the Appomattox Campaign. Only seventeen men surrendered at Appomattox on April 9, 1865.

Captain Edward P. Reeves paid tribute to the 1st Virginia with these words.” No Nobler band ever shouldered arms for home and duty, or bore them with greater gallantry and fortitude. God, bless them wherever they may be, as successful in their peaceful pursuits as they were gallant and heroic in war.

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