Reenacting History of the Eighth Virginia Regiment

In 1968, former Commander Dave Purschwitz was a new member of the 17th Va. Inf (North-South Skirmish Assoc.; J.C. Penny work pants, elastic suspenders, white correct pattern shirt, kepi, blackened desert boots and no jacket). He and several other members were interested in reenacting, which the main body of the 17th was not interested in and, in fact, most of them looked down on reenactors.

Dave and these men attended a few reenactments at which they met men and women from other regiments, one being Buddy Bare of the First Md. Line. Buddy was invited to attend a couple of meetings to create a new regiment. The Eighth Virginia Infantry was chosen because a Virginia Regiment was wanted and the Eighth was not active in the field at that time. One of the men worked at the National Archives and located a description of the uniform of Co. F. A paper pattern was made off of an original uniform and a Shell Jacket was constructed so we could see what the new uniform would look like.

Even after going to all this effort the interest seemed to wane some and the group seemed to be falling apart. That is, except for Dave and Buddy. They picked up the pieces and decided that the yet to be formed Eighth Virginia should not be allowed to die. And die it has not. Many Shell Jackets were made using that original pattern, adjusting for the size of the individual.

The beginning of the Eighth was small but the men trained hard, recruited and the membership started growing. Membership has been near 70 men at one point. Like all regiments we have had our ups and downs.

Over the years the Old Bloody Eighth members have fought or participated on a multitude of battlefields, in Living History demonstrations and at ceremonies from Canada to Florida to Illinois to Great Britain. They have also participated in a number of movies, and PBS television specials including North and South Book 2, Gettyburg,  Andersonville and Gods and Generals.

Elections have been held almost from the beginning for the top Command positions. These positions are usually filled by members demonstrating leadership qualities. The Eighth has always been a family regiment and will remain as such unless the membership decides otherwise.

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