Member's Guide


Photo Album

Events Schedule

Points of Contact




Unit Activities:

There is an amazing diversity of things we do with our horses - drills, reenactments, tacticals, public demonstrations, running at the heads, ceremonies, competitions, and acting. 


A drill session, 2001

The unit drills (practices) approximately once per month. Usually held at either a member's place, on site prior to an event, at the Manassas Battlefield National Park or at Buckland Farm off Rt 29 in Fauquier County. Generally, a drill lasts 2-3 hours and is devoted first to formation riding (riding in fours, twos, practicing turns, wheels, etc.) and second, depending on the location, a "conditioning" trail ride or "running at the heads" (more on this later). Uniforms are optional but period tack is encouraged


The Black Horse engages the 5th NY Zouaves, Manassas 140th Anniversary

Whether there are 15,000 or 1,500 participants, most Civil War reenactments are three-day, two-night affairs. We have the luxury of being in a fixed location and, depending on event regulations, set up a "heavy" camp - a unit wall tent, individual tents, flys (big awnings), period chairs, and a set of iron cooking hardware. The rule of thumb is that modern conveniences such as a cooler can be used but must be stowed out of sight under a piece of canvas or period wool blanket. Event organizers provide hay, firewood and water. Horses, when not being ridden are tucked away in the shade on a picket line. While the reenactments involve probably the least amount of riding (a few hours a day), they involve the most excitement - flags, fifes and drums, bugles, cannons, carbines, pistols, infantry, muskets, and big crowds. Here we form up with other Confederate cavalry units and move with 10 times the number of riders.


Also three-day, two-night events but, this time, we pack only what can be carried on our horses or ourselves. Unit equipment is limited to a coffee pot, picket line, and one iron skillet. Event organizers provide hay, water and period food at waypoints. No spectators but lots of creeping scouting around in the woods looking for and confronting the enemy.

Public Demonstrations:

Bringing history to the public

This is where we show our stuff up close as cavalrymen for the GAP (great American public). A "demo" is the same as a reenactment but without the enemy - just lots of spectator umbrellas and strollers. In a "demo", we perform in "fours" the basic turns, wheels, obliques, dismounted fighting with carbine, saber drill, and saber charge, and then (if possible) approach the GAP for conversation and horse petting. We've performed demos at the Virginia Gold Cup (Great Meadows), Goose Creek Bridge (part of the Hunt Country Stable Tour) Sully Plantation (Fairfax County Park Authority) and in July and August at the Manassas National Battlefield Park. Occasionally, we'll act as guides for trail rides through the battlefield.

Running at the Heads:

This is a great test of your skills as a horseman. "Running at the heads", means trotting or cantering down a line of fixed targets shooting at balloons (usually six) with your pistol and attacking stuffed bags with your saber. Experience has shown that most horses do better against the pistol targets than the saber targets. New members start at the heads by introducing the horse to the targets - a walk-by with your right forefinger doing the "shooting", for example. As you and your horse gain more confidence and speed, the heads can be so much fun, that you have to remind yourself to give your horse a breather - they're the ones doing all the work!


Members' Guide | Standards | Photo Album | Events Schedule | Points of Contact | History | Links | Home

Contact Us: [email protected]
© 2003-2013, Fourth Regiment Virginia Cavalry, Inc.
Website hosted by GoDaddy