When Bob Cairns, of Canton, joined the Brigade of the American Revolution in 1979, fellow local reenactors had already chosen to represent the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment.
But if Cairns had played a role in choosing the regiment, the 8th would have been right at the top of his list because of its impressive history and ties to northern Ohio, he said.
"It was one of the two units that came to what is now Boliver, Ohio, and helped garrison Fort Laurens," explained Cairns, 63.
According to "Fort Laurens" published on www.ohiohistorycentral.orgFort Laurens was the only fort that the Americans built in the Ohio Country during the Revolution.
Beyond playing a role in Ohio, the 8th also made a significant mark in the war itself.
When George Washington formed the Morgan's Rifleman-a famously elite unit of sharpshooters-the 8th Pennsylvania provided more recruits than any other regiment, according to "Old Westmoreland: A History of Western Pennsylvania During the Revolution" by Edgar W. Hassler.
8th Pennsylvania Regiment
One of two regiments that garrisoned Fort Laurens in current day Boliver, Ohio, during the American Revolution.
Provided more sharpshooters than any other regiment to Morgan's Rifleman, an elite group of shooters commissioned by George Washington.
Was the regiment of Lieutenant Colonel Richard Butler, who joined Morgan's Rifleman, and later was put in charge of defending against Native Americans in the Northwest Territory.
Source: Bob Cairns and "Old Westmoreland: A History of Western Pennsylvania During the Revolution."
One of the sharpshooters to come out of the 8th Pennsylvania was Lt. Col. Richard Butler, who was put in charge of dealing with the Native Americans in the Northwest Territory after the war and later died in a Native American attack.
"A lot of the names of the men of the 8th Pennsylvania are really important in the history of Ohio and Indiana and Kentucky and western Virginia. A lot of interesting folks came out of that unit," said Cairns.
Though Brigade reenactors do not choose a specific historical figure to reenact, they do stick with a fairly specific role. Cairns will be portraying a lieutenant colonel like Butler during this weekend's encampment in East Muskingum Park.
"A lieutenant colonel would have been a field officer and there only would have been a couple of them," he said.
One of the questions Cairns often encounters during reenactments is why a particular soldier would have joined the colonists' cause. For the Americans, the army was entirely made up of volunteers, and many of the lower ranking soldiers probably joined for the adventure.
"It had to be more fun than plowing and doing hard farm work all day," he said.
But for a lieutenant colonel and other high ranking officers, the motivation was likely different, he said.
"These were often land owners or town officials. A lot of them did it out of a sense of obligation or because it would advance their position in the community," he said.