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"The Rough and Ready Rifles"

   The First Virginia Infantry, United States Volunteers, was organized at Wheeling as a 90 day regiment in April of 1861, and mustered into the Federal service on May 10. It was the first regiment organized by a "Southern State" under President Lincoln's initial call for volunteers. On 3 June, 1861, the First helped win a federal victory in the first land battle of the Civil War at Philippi, (West) Virginia. Some companies of the First also participated in the Rich Mountain campaign. These early Union military victories secured the area for the United States and made possible the later creation of a separate new state: West Virginia.
   The 1st Virginia Volunteers were reorganized for three years service on October 30, 1861, and during the next year participated in the First Battle of Winchester, Cedar Mountain Rappahannock Station, Thoroughfare Gap, and the Second Battle of Bull Run. The regiment was then assigned to duty in the defense of Washington City until October 1862, at which time they were transfered to the Department of West Virginia. During 1863 they guarded the many strategic railroad passes and other vital positions in Northern and Northwestern Virginia.
   Through the Spring and Summer of 1864, the regiment, now renamed the 1st West Virginia Volunteer Infantry, participated in some of the significant campaigns in the Shenandoah Valley. Their battles included the famous clashes at New Market, Winchester, and Cedar Creek, Va. On 29 October 1864, the re-enlisting veterans were consolidated with part of the Fourth West Virginia Infantry to form the Second Regiment of West Virginia Veteran Volunteer Infantry, which served until after Appomattox.
   The First is the oldest and largest Union reenacting group in West Virginia.
For more information regarding the 1st (West) Virginia Infantry, you may contact:

Mark Tennant (mark6wv@cs.com)
RT. 6 BOX 293
Fairmont, WV 26554

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