NEW MANCHESTER - Those visiting the old Boy Scout camp at Tomlinson Run State Park this past weekend found anywhere from 12 to 25 men in Civil War attire practicing drills, cooking their meals on a fire and sleeping in period-style tents.
Members of Company G, 27th Virginia Infantry gather for small events like this one and other larger events throughout the year. The re-enactors gather to live out lighter moments like the camaraderie of sitting around a campfire and the heavier moments of acting out a Civil War battle.
The 27th Virginia Infantry, known as the Shriver Grays, was formed around 25 years ago by Jim Powell of New Cumberland. Powell has been the commander of the group ever since, but recently decided to retire. The group honored Powell Saturday night at a gathering at the camp with Powell's friends and past and present members of the group. With his retirement, it was decided that Powell would receive the title of major.
"We felt it was right and just to give him a title," said Capt. Jeff Wormley. Wormley added they would give Powell awards and a plaque for his long-time service to the group.
"He sees it as his baby because he started it," said Wormley.
While at the camp during the weekend, the group spent a lot of their time practicing drills that prepare them for larger events, with multiple groups acting out Civil War battles.
"They practice the drills to prepare for a larger battle," said Amy Johnston, wife of one of the re-enactors.
"It helps them understand better how it all fits together."
According to Wormley, the group of around 25 members is always looking to recruit "new blood."
"Like every hobby, it's cyclic," said Wormley. "Participation goes up and down."
The group that the re-enactors portray was an actual company during the Civil War and, being from Wheeling, was the northern-most group of fighters for the Confederacy. While the men were at war, the state that they had left, Virginia, had become West Virginia.
If anyone is interested in the history of the group or becoming a member, visit www.27thvacog.com.