The N-SSA: Keeping the Memory Alive
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|The N-SSA promotes the competitive shooting of Civil War firearms and artillery and encourages the preservation of battlefields, artifacts and education of the period.|
Skirmishing is a unique sport. The heart of skirmishing is company competition with individual firearms; in effect, a contest to determine which group of eight competitors can eliminate a set of breakable targets faster than all other groups of eight. It is marksmanship against a stopwatch.
Skirmishing also is unique because of its historical basis. The American Civil War is a subject that fascinates tens of thousands of our citizens. Skirmishers enjoy re-creating that history through competition with the firearms of that war. Each of our member organizations takes its name and uniform from a historically documented unit that served during the war years. In this way, we commemorate the heroism of soldiers and civilians of both the Union and the Confederacy who took part in the epic struggle of 1861-65.
The N-SSA was organized in 1950 to promote the shooting of Civil War firearms and artillery. Although most of our members live in the eastern half of the United States, some unit rosters show addresses as far away as California, Florida, and Texas.
Two National Skirmishes are held annually at Fort Shenandoah, the N-SSA’s 400acre facility near Winchester, Virginia. Nearly sixty regional skirmishes are held each year in the N-SSA's thirteen regions.
Ft. Shenandoah is the N-SSA's home range. It is located on several hundred acres of land in the rolling hills of the lower Shenandoah Valley, just outside of Winchester, Virginia. Facilities include the country's widest (over a quarter mile) rifle range controlled from a single tower, a separate revolver range, and private camping.
Member units are assigned campsites for their use throughout the year. Most competitors and their families spend skirmish weekends on the range - a particularly enjoyable experience during the prime camping seasons of late May (Spring Nationals) and early October (Fall Nationals).
Planned activities for a typical skirmish weekend include costuming classes and competitions, children's programs, dances, cook-outs, and trips to "Sutler Row," where vendors display and sell Civil War firearms, accoutrements, and clothing.