The 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry

Portraying Union Soldiers of the Civil War

"You Betcha!"








The 1st Minnesota Infantry is a family-focused, Christian-principled Civil War reenacting association based in Arizona which in tandem with our sister regiment The 1st Virginia Volunteer Infantry forms a unified team with a strong educational mission relative to the Civil War era. As a unified living history team the 1st Minnesota Infantry / 1st Virginia Infantry portray both soldiers and civilians of the North and South during the Civil War. We also portray both the American and British forces of the American Revolution. We are non-political. We train and study in order to exhibit various historical perspectives as we portray typical historic personalities, motivations, backgrounds and experiences of both North & South. We do not glorify war but do honour our American Heritage and the admirable character qualities such as courage, determination, commitment and loyalty as well as the faith, nobility and sacrifice which were exhibited by soldiers and civilians on both sides during this difficult period of American History. We are by far the largest Civil War reenacting group in Arizona and the Southwest with well over 200 members including over 100 soldiers organized in four companies. We are growing rapidly in Virginia, Maryland & Washington, DC and have members in numerous other states as well. We may be seen at The American Heritage Festival, The Battle of Tucson, The Battle of Payson and other educational and inspirational reenacting events throughout Arizona and beyond produced by We Make History. We always take the high road!

In April of 1861 the 1st Minnesota was the very first state regiment offered for Union service in response to President Lincoln's call for volunteers to subdue the South.

This begs the question "Why would men from Minnesota, a new state on the northwestern frontier, a state just admitted to the Union in 1858, leave their farms, towns, jobs and families to answer Lincoln's call?"

The answers may be several. There were many recent immigrants in Minnesota, particularly from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Germany. Answering President Lincoln's call may have been a way to prove and secure themselves as Americans. Then again, even their fellow volunteers with deep roots in America were at least recent arrivals to Minnesota so perhaps some saw service as Minnesotans as a way to carve a patriotic identity for their new state. A few of these may have had New England roots where abolitionism was strongest and where there was hope among some that war might lead to the end of slavery. Perhaps others simply needed a job and the army provided one. It must also be acknowledged that some volunteers (like the young men of many wars throughout history) saw an opportunity for excitement, adventure and an escape from the drudgery of the plow or the axe. But these we have listed were probably all minorities. The most likely reason that most Minnesotans volunteered in 1861 was simply that President Lincoln had called for volunteers, asked for help to save the Union. Many Minnesotans saw it as their patriotic duty to answer that call. (Moreover, the official state sponsored Minnesota history of the conflict suggests that the politically and strategically astute among them had a perception that to do less would have been to allow the creation of a potentially dangerous rival on the North American continent during an age convinced of "Manifest Destiny". To learn more regarding Minnesota's and the North's reasons for going to war click here.)

The 1st Minnesota Infantry first saw action at Bull Run in the summer of 1861 and went on to have a stellar record as one of the toughest and most courageous of all Union Regiments. At Gettysburg the 1st Minnesota was ordered to charge against a much larger force of advancing Confederates and buy time for reinforcements to arrive. If they failed the Union line would be split in two and the battle would be lost. The 1st Minnesota Infantry succeeded but at the sacrifice of 82% casualties, losing 215 of 262 men present, the highest percentage of battlefield casualties suffered by any regiment North or South in any engagement during the entire course of the American Civil War. But in giving "the last full measure" they saved the Battle of Gettysburg - and quite possibly the war - for the Union.

Our men are proud to portray members of this distinguished regiment which secured for itself a conspicuous place in the annals of American History.

For further information please contact us here.

"Family-Friendly Civil War Reenacting - It's About Time."


Gallery of the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry


In Memoriam



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