Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the 10th Virginia Infantry, and who constitutes the membership?
A. The Tenth is an educational and historical organization, incorporated in the Commonwealth of Virginia and is a 501(c)(3) non-profit group. Our purpose is to educate the public about the history of the original unit and the Shenandoah Valley during the War for Southern Independence. Our members are individuals who are interested in the War Between the States and the role played by the men of Rockingham, Shenandoah, Page, and Madison counties in that history. Some of us had ancestors who fought in the original unit. We come from different professions and families, much like our historic counterparts. We share a common desire to learn what cannot be learned from reading a book; what the common foot soldier in the Southern army endured on a daily basis. We also desire to educate the public about this most pivotal time in our Nation’s history.
Q. Who were the original men of the 10th Virginia?
A. The Tenth Virginia was made up of companies mustered from Rockingham, Shenandoah, Page, and Madison counties. Throughout the War some 1,350 men served in the 10th. Most of these men were farmers from the Shenandoah Valley, the "Breadbasket of the Confederacy," although laborers, carpenters, merchants, doctors, clerks, tinners and printers also served, as well as three men who listed their profession as 'gentleman'. These men served from the first to the last: Manassas Junction to Appomattox. Of the once strong, proud regiment, there were some 45 men present with only 11 of them armed and in the ranks at the surrender.
Q. Who are we?
A. We are volunteers who have an intense interest in the War Between the States; some of us had ancestors who fought in the original 10th. We come from different professions and families, much as our historic counterparts did. We share a common desire to learn what cannot be learned from reading a book: what the common soldier in the Southern army endured on a daily basis. Reading alone will not let you taste salt pork, or smell and taste gun powder.
The desire to live as ordinary foot soldiers did has brought us together. Join us if you believe you have the time and interest to learn for yourself.
Q. What battalion do we belong to?
A. We are an Independent unit. For more information please contact our unit commander by following the directions on the Interested in Joining page.
Q. Why are we Living Historians not re-enactors?
A. We feel that our goals are to preserve battlefields and historic sites, educate the public of the valley soldier and honor the men who fought and our ancestors. We truly are the premiere living history campaign regiment in the Shenandoah Valley. While we do participate in some re-enactments we do not consider ourselves re-enactors. We are living historians because we live the life of the Confederate soldier as close as we possibly can. Our members are extremely knowledgable of the Valley soldier and the War Between the States in general.
We use no modern anachronisms or conveinences while we are in uniform at an event. We do not sleep in tents or on cots. We sleep on the ground, on a ground cloth, with a blanket. We eat what they ate; hard tack, cured bacon, dried beef, rice, beans,etc.. We always carry everything we need on our person to an event and sometimes go on marches that can be from one to fifteen miles. This is the way we participate in this hobby, as close as the original soldiers as possible. By re-living history this way it enables us to meet our goals: correctly educating the public, honoring the men that fought and preserving historic sites and land.
Q. How do I join the 10th Virginia?
A. The first step is to contact our unit commander Patrick Heelen either by email or phone. This information is on the Interested in Joining page.
Q. Why should I join the 10th Virginia instead of another organization?
A. There are many units in existence, a number of them in the Shenandoah Valley. However, we are the most correct in interpreting the time period. We pride ourselves on our authenticity. We wear clothing made of historically accurate material and made using historically correct patterns. We use the same gear and accoutrements, sleep on the ground in the same manner as the original soldiers and eat the same rations they would have ate.
Q. What types of activities is the 10th Virginia involved with?
A. We participate in living history programs at demonstrations, reenactments, camp displays and community festivals; educational programs for schools, historical organizations, and other interested parties; and appropriate ceremonies, especially memorial services. We support and actively assist in the preservation of local, state, and national historical sites involved during the War Between the States. We also provide direct support to historical organizations, including the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society, the Page County Heritage Association Inc., Port Republic/Cross Keys/Goods Mill preservation societies, Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and the National Park Service.
Q. If I join the 10th Virginia, how involved in it's events must I become?
A. That’s up to you. Obviously, we would like for you to become involved in as many activities as possible. Most of our members participate as actively as they can because of their personal interests. However, we understand the restrictions on busy schedules, so we let you control the level of your involvement. We ask you to attend one event, or program, every two months.
Q. How much does it cost?
A. Annual membership dues for the Tenth are $25. Currently liability insurance, to which you must contribute if you want to participate as a soldier, costs $15 per year, and covers you at every event.Total cost is $40.
Event registration fees vary, but usually run between $15-$30 per event, events being battle reenactments and some living histories. For most living histories, parades, and demonstrations, however, there are no fees.
To become an authentic Civil War-era soldier, the cost can be considerable, but can also be borne over time. The musket alone will cost at least $500 or more. Uniform costs depend on whether you can sew or must buy your uniform ready-made, and whether you want to purchase uniform and gear second-hand, if it becomes available. You should plan on at least $500+ for your uniform (Jacket,Pants,Shirt,Hat and Shoes), although, obviously, the cost can go higher. An estimate in total for all of your basic gear for a new recruit to take the field is around $1500. With discretion, current members may loan some clothing and gear to new recruits until they are able to get their own. You will have a year after joining to get your own impression together.
Q. How much time does it require?
A. You are asked to attend one event every two months, when we have events scheduled. Winter events are scarce; the summer schedule is crowded. We vote on our schedule in January at the unit meeting and attend some events as they arise.
Q. What if I join and then decide not to continue?
A. You have one year after joining to purchase all of your gear. Present members have some extra items that they may be willing to loan you. You may resell your gear to other people within the hobby if you stop participating.
Q. Do you receive any funding from government agencies or other groups?
A. NO!! Our unit is made up of volunteers who spend their own money. We are completely self-supporting.
Q. How realistic is the unit?
A. We take pride in our authenticity! We wear clothing made of period correct material and made according to the historically accurate patterns.
We sleep on the ground the way they did, without tents and eat the same rations the original soldiers would have been issued. At all times, we strive to present the public with a historically accurate impression of the Civil War-era soldier while at the same time we experience for ourselves the conditions they would have endured.
Q. Is it physically demanding?
A. YES! While there is down time there is also a lot of walking at most events and like the original soldiers at every event we will drill. At least one event a year we do a march of at least seven miles or more, in period clothing, carrying a back pack or blanket roll, and a musket. Being in good physical shape is a must when on campaign.