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R. Preston Chew's Battery, ANV

Chesapeake Region

North-South Skirmish Association


Roger Preston Chew

"Young men, now that you have your company, what are you going to do with it?"  - Gen. Thomas Jackson to 2nd Lt. James Thomson, 1st Lt. Milton Rouse, and Capt. Roger Preston Chew



Father Abram Joseph Ryan


Do we weep for the heroes who died for us,
Who living were true and tried for us,
And dying sleep side by side for us;
The Martyr-band
That hallowed our land
With the blood they shed in a tide for us?


Ah! fearless on many a day for us
They stood in front of the fray for us,
And held the foeman at bay for us;
And tears should fall

Fore'er o'er all
Who fell while wearing the Gray for us.


How many a glorious name for us,
How many a story of fame for us
They left: Would it not be a blame for us
If their memories part
From our land and heart,
And a wrong to them, and shame for us?


No, no, no, they were brave for us,
And bright were the lives they gave for us;
The land they struggled to save for us
Will not forget
Its warriors yet
Who sleep in so many a grave for us.


On many and many a plain for us
Their blood poured down all in vain for us,
Red, rich, and pure, like a rain for us;
They bleed -- we weep,
We live -- they sleep,
"All lost," the only refrain for us.


But their memories e'er shall remain for us,
And their names, bright names, without stain for us;
The glory they won shall not wane for us,
In legend and lay
Our heroes in Gray
Shall forever live over again for us.


The above poem, by Father Abram Joseph Ryan, echoes what we, as members of the the N-SSA, are all about. Some enjoy the challenge of shooting civil war era weapons in competition, others enjoy kicking back and telling stories around the campfire after a long day on the skirmish line. Some are just trying to catch a brief glimpse of what it must have been like to stand in line of battle 150 years ago.  All of us, however, do what we do as a way to remember and honor those who came before us, who wore the Blue and the Gray and who fought and died for what they believed in, North or South.

The current version of R. Preston Chewís Battery, ANV, is a member unit of the North-South Skirmish Association.  All teams in the N-SSA are based on historical units of the American Civil War, and our team is based upon a Confederate battery of horse artillery that gained fame in and around the Shenandoah Valley throughout the Civil War.  Our objectives are simple; among them... To commemorate the heroism and sacrifice of all, North and South, who fought in the American Civil War; to promote education in the history of the Civil War; to demonstrate and promote the safe and proper shooting of Civil War firearms and artillery for the public; and to promote the highest standards of sportsmanship and fellowship among the members of our organization and the N-SSA.

Skirmishing differs from reenacting in that N-SSA members compete against each other in both individual and team timed live-fire competitions called "skirmishes."  Participants fire Civil War era (or approved authentic reproduction) weapons at breakable targets such as clay birds, ceramic tiles, and pot silhouettes.  There are musket, carbine, revolver, repeater, smoothbore, artillery, and mortar competitions, as well as competitions for period civilian and military clothing.  For more information on the art of skirmishing, please visit the N-SSA web site.

Chew's Battery's home range is the N-SSA's national range at Fort Shenandoah, near Winchester, VA.  Our membership consists of men and women from Northern and Central Virginia, Maryland, and Central Pennsylvania.  We have a mix of active shooters on the team, some who are new to skirmishing, and some who have been around the N-SSA for many years.  We are always looking for new members.  We arenít the best shots in the N-SSA, but we arenít the worst either.  What matters most is that we hit some targets and have a lot of fun doing it.  If you are interested in the Civil War, black powder shooting, history in general, or just having fun with friends, then we encourage you to check us out. E-mail us at for more information.  We also encourage you to check out the rest of our site by following the links to the left. 

This site created and maintained by R. Preston Chew's Battery, ANV - Member, North-South Skirmish Association