Minnesota Volunteer Infantry
Portraying Union Soldiers
of the Civil War
The 1st Minnesota at Gettysburg
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
1st Minnesota Infantry
1st Virginia Infantry
portray both soldiers and
civilians of the North and South. 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
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
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
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
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
For further information please
contact us here.
"Family-Friendly Civil War Reenacting - It's About Time."
State Flag of the 1st Minnesota
Gentlemen of the 1st
Minnesota Volunteer Infantry
(in no particular order) are Erik, Karl, Hans, Lars, Magnus, Ulf, Leif, Thor, Olaf, Valter, Johan, Gustav, Knut, Harald, Mikkel, Anders, Henrik, "The Finn",
Sigurd, Fredrik, Kalle, Marko, Jorgen, Josef, Haakon, Dag, Bjorn, Soren,
Ivar, Didrik, Nils, Odin, Per, Rune, Regner and other 19th Century Vikings.
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