Tech to battle VMI in commemorative musket match
Student teams from VMI and Virginia Tech will compete in a musket match this October as part of the North-South Skirmish Association’s four-year observance of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. The match will be held during the association’s 126th National Competition at Fort Shenandoah.
Both schools teams began familiarization and training with Civil War muskets this spring. The VMI cadets are coached by Lt. Col. Bill Bither (U.S. Army) and aided by N-SSA adviser Tom Magno. Virginia Tech’s rifle team is led by N-SSA advisers Ken Stiles and Rick Hinson. Magno, Stiles and Hinson are experienced N-SSA shooters and have donated considerable time and effort to the upcoming competition.
“I knew the VMI cadets were familiar with firearms and am delighted at how quickly they have adapted to the firearms technology of 150 years ago,” said Magno. Stiles echoes that perspective: “It took me years to make the progress that these cadets have made in only a few months. I’m really impressed.”
Some students, including Hunter Wilson of Virginia Tech, have had the opportunity to participate in N-SSA matches, commonly called “skirmishes.”
Wilson worked with the 37th Georgia Infantry at the Briarfield, Virginia Skirmish. Wilson is from Huntsville, Ala., in the Virginia Tech Army ROTC Corps of Cadets and majoring in industrial and systems engineering.
“Practicing with Civil War muskets was fun, but actually being a member of a team was really special,” Wilson said. “The pressure of a live-fire timed match is really exciting.”
The musket match is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 5, starting at noon during the N-SSA 126th National Competition. Each 10-member team will shoot at 32 clay pigeons mounted on a cardboard backer. The first team to break all their targets will be the winner and receive special commemorative medals.
The N-SSA has 3,200 individuals that make up its 200 member units. Each represents a Civil War unit or regiment and proudly wears the uniform they wore more than 150 years ago.
The 126th National Competition is scheduled for Oct. 5-7 at Fort Shenandoah, just north of Winchester, Va. For more information about the N-SSA, visit their website at www.n-ssa.org.
– Submitted by Ken Stiles
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