It all began back on the 21st of July 1961: this passion, somes obsession that I have for Confederate military "living history". On that hot Saturday afternoon upon the hallowed grounds of the Manassas National Battlefield Park, I witnessed for the first time, a month before my eight birthday, wave after wave of charging infantry and cavalry, all accompanied by the thunder of artillery and numerous loud renditions of the Rebel Yell. This was a very special occasion at it was held exactly 100 years to the day after the first bloody melee that took place along the banks of Bull Run in Prince William County, Virginia. Shortly after the recreated display of valor and duty was over, my father took me to the rows of vendors that were present, where I had him purchase my first set of plastic gray and blue soldier figurines.

  I have been playing war ever since. The endless hours of self-designed scenarios that followed only added to my curiosity and interest in the period known to some as the War Between the States, to others as the American Civil War, the War of Northern Aggression, the Second American Revolution, the War for Southern Independence, or the Late Unpleasantness.

  I was lucky enough to have Dr James I. Robertson, Ju. as a mentor in my sophomore year at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Have already been deemed a C.P. Miles Distinguished Professor of History, there was no one else in the world of academia who could surpass "Bud" Robertson on the subject of The War.  Under his tutelage, I gained a renewed interest in my Confederate roots.  While working as a volunteer at the Museum of the Confederacy on the committee to put on the institution's first membership-raising ball, I was given the task of securing "living historians" who could set up an encampment on the ball's site at Tredegar Ironworks in downtown Richmond, and acquiring the necessary permits from the local fire marshal for both musket fire and artillery shoots. I got to know the members of the artillery unit that portrayed Reilly's Battery from Raleigh, North Carolina and decided to model a new organization after them.

  With the delivery of "Big John", a Parrott ten-pounder in May of 1998, my artillery unit was off and running. Since on of my Confederate ancestors, John Binford Knibb, was an artillerist from Goochland County, Virginia, I decided to name the unit (as well as the Parrott) after him. Since then, Knibb's Battery has acquired a 24-pound Coehorn mortar, two three-inch ordnance rifles, a smoothbore Napoleon twelve-pounder, two Tredegar mountain rifles, a full scale mountain horwitzer, a half-scale mountain howitzer, a "Pack Parrott" rifle, and a Gatling Gun. The membership has grown to over seventy men, women, and children who hail from Michigan, Ohio, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. For the most part, my fellow reenactors are family to me. We burn powder together, sweat together, and endure the harshest elements nature can throw at us together.