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Angola, Indiana Reenactment - September 2010

Upon arriving at Commons Park in Angola on Friday morning, John found Mark, Cam and the boys. We were guided to our campsite located on the crest of a hill. Most of the other reenactors had set-up Thursday so they could be ready for the estimated 1800 school kids already touring the camps and talking with other people with special impressions and exhibits. We started unloading the trailer and setting up the canvas under cloudy skies; a strong wind kept trying to send Silas and Wyatt sailing across the valley. We stopped now and then to answer questions from students and teachers about the cannon. Finally we had the tents and flies up and staked down, the equipment in place.

Cam, Mark and the boys spent the rest of the day restaking the ropes and even had to reset the mess tent, which blew down from the constant wind. After suffering several new tears, our mess tent looked like it had gone through a battle.

On Saturday morning, John found the camp still intact and breakfast started.

Cpl. Davis kept warm by splitting some kindling.

After breakfast, Wyatt and Silas helped wash the cookware.

The cannon was polished for the day.

Drill began with the help of a couple guys from Ziggy's Battery.

Immediately after drill...

...we fired 3 rounds for demonstration...

...and then headed back to camp to prepare lunch and talk with the spectators visiting the camps.

Silas and Wyatt went to the sutlers and returned with some rabbit skins which they tucked under their hats to keep their necks and ears warm. These fashion trendsetters started a fad, as the next day several other people were seen wearing rabbit skins in the same manner.

At 2 PM, the battle began; the Rebs had infantry, cavalry...

...and 5 mountain howitzers and mortars...

...while the Union had only infantry and 2 guns -- a Hooper 3" rifled piece and our gun.

The battlefield was huge.

Our guns were on the top of one side of a valley.  The Confederates were in the valley and had to advance up the hill to our position.




And the infantry...


So did the cavalry and finally the Rebs drove the Union from the field.

The rest of the afternoon was spent visiting the sutlers, blacksmithing demonstrations, the Buckskinner Village, and attending a debate between Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.  Mr. Douglass is at left.

Silas spent some time knapping out arrowheads...

...while supper was prepared.

It was worth the wait for baked sweet potatoes, green beans with bacon and a cider baked ham.

After dark, there was a ball in the timber frame pavilion,  During a break in the music, the artillery...

...filled in for the percussion section...

...with a night firing.

After securing the gun, the artillerymen went back to camp.  After being out in the wind and cool temperatures all day, they were glad to crawl into bedrolls and wool blankets for the night. Sunday dawned with clearer skies and the promise of a warmer day.

Privates Pangburn and Wyatt discussed the uses of a rabbit skin.

After breakfast of buckwheat pancakes and fried potatoes, the clean-up was quickly done.

We had the pleasure of camping across from a musician who kept music going all day.

At 1:30 PM the Auburn Community Band gave a concert of patriotic music, including the 1812 Overture. The artillery (aka the concussive section) freshly tuned up from practice the night before...

...provided the cannon firing in this piece of music.

At 2:30 PM, the battle was renewed.  Confederate cavalry and infantry take the field.

The Union cannoneers...

...open fire.

The Confederate mortars and howitzers respond.

The Union infantry takes the field...

The cannon roars again.

Despite the cool weather, a good crowd attended.

And the Union prevailed in this day's battle.

At 3:30 PM, trailers were allowed in and the camps broke. We were on the road by 5 PM. This event certainly will be considered for next year.

Jackson, Michigan - August 2010

Arriving with the gun in tow, John met Mark at our designated camp site around 10 AM on Friday. The weather was a comfortable mid 80s and sun was predicted for the entire weekend - unusual for the Jackson Muster... Cam arrived shortly after and the men started setting up canvas. Brian arrived and helped finish the set up of the flies and tentage.  Later in the day Fred, Silas and Wyatt came in with their tents.

For this event, Robinson's Battery was asked to be Confederate, so the men dug out their gray uniforms. The Confederate Chief of Artillery, Capt. John Clark and First Sgt. Dave, from Battery D were camped next to us, so we asked them to join in our mess for the weekend. Buffalo and beef stew was cooked up on the camp stove for supper along with biscuits, pickles and fresh tomatoes.

Jon and Dave arrived after dark and with their tents added, we had 9 tents up. Cody was detached to serve in the Georgia Infantry so he camped with them. However he did take meals with us.

A very pleasant night was spent, the temperature dropped into the low 60s and very few mosquitoes were hunting us. Saturday morning, breakfast was prepared...

...Altho we had to keep a close eye on Pvt. Pangburn.

The boys ate heartily because we were going to be improving our gun position in the earthworks later.  Privates Nager and Walstedt fell into the ranks. Implements were issued and the men marched out to the line.  Private Goodwin played his fife, keeping the men's spirits high as they marched to the morning's work.

Once the earthworks were reached, the men eagerly attacked their duty...

...and the dirt flew under the direction of Cpl. Davis.

Pvt. Goodwin fitted in some logs to provide additional support.

Capt. Hughes, when satisfied with the works...

...allowed the men a break to admire their handiwork...

...then took them back to camp for a lunch of sandwiches.

After eating and a short rest, the men marched back for a period of drill.

"For the purpose of drill, LOAD!"

"Number 1 gun, READY!"

After the men worked hard, they went back to camp to rest and a few walked down to Sutler's Row to spend their pay. At 1:30 PM, the call to duty was sounded...

...and the army took to the works.

The NCOs held a brief council.

Cpl. Chapman directed the men's attention toward the enemy's cannon in the tree line.

The Captain ordered "LOAD" and the men sprang into action.

After a period of counter-battery fire...

...the Union Infantry appeared and we started firing canister.

With all  rounds expended, the cannoneers retired to the bombproofs and the Confederate Infantry took the redoubt.

A determined assault by the Federals...

...drove the Rebel infantry from the works.

The Rebel Infantry made a valiant counter attack...

...and then stood their ground in the fight with the Yankees.

Re-enforcement arrived to bolster the Confederate troops...

...and they counter charged, retaking the earthworks, and swept around in a flanking movement...

...which cut off the Union force from their line of retreat and allowed the capture of several hundred soldiers.

After returning to camp, Private Goodwin was so ravenous, he started to cut off the soles of his brogans to boil up...

...but, as usual, fortune shown upon our battery mess, as our foragers brought back some pork loin and a fat chicken, which was promptly spitted and put in the tin kitchen to roast.

Some potatoes, onion, carrots and parsnips were thrown in to cook in the meat drippings. A patch of green corn was relieved of its ears and roasted over the fire. With the meat done...

...the table was set and the famished soldiers and a few of the local civilians enjoyed a delicious meal.

A dessert table of three fruit pies, freshly baked in the dutch oven, and  hand cranked ice cream topped everything off.

After the repast, the evening chores were done - cleaning the cookware, gathering wood for the morning and a water run.

With duties done for the day, Private Goodwin brought out his fiddle and First Sergeant Dave accompanied by playing the bones.  Several members and good friends arrive to visit; it was good to see Chris Czopek, the Rusk family, the Lintons and many others who stopped in to our camp.   Most of the men spent the evening around the table talking and enjoying the cooler temperatures until the bugler sounded the evening retreat - then off to a pleasant night of sleep.

Sunday morning, we were awakened by the sound of bagpipes instead of the usual bugle melody; for some, it was a great way to awaken, for others who may have spent their evening at the Emerald Peacock Saloon, it might not have been so enjoyable. Breakfast of fried potatoes, sausage and biscuits with gravy revived the boys.

Privates Caleb Chapman and "Kate" Myers arrived to replace some cannoneers lost during the previous day's fighting. The morning duty was light, so several of the men ventured back to sutlers and found some necessary items, although with the temperatures reaching the mid 90s, the most popular establishment was Uncle John's Rootbeer Emporium. The afternoon battle started a little after 2 PM...

...with counter-battery fire.

The men were allowed to shed their jackets...

...due to the heat.

Suddenly some federal Zouaves flanked the works...

...and they were supported by a strong force of  infantry.

We were ordered to abandon the guns...

...while the Confederate Infantry rushed...

...to stem the blue tide that was pouring into the breech.

The gray clad men tried to halt the advance...

...but were driven from the works.

Private Goodwin, having been swept up in the tide of the battle, found himself a prisoner of war. Upon learning he was really a Union man and a fifer, he was allowed to join the field musicians as the relentless Union Army marched towards Atlanta.

Photo courtesy of Lauren Woods, Jackson Citizen Patriot

Turkeyville, Michigan - August 2010

When John arrived with the trailer in tow at the Turkeyville event o'clock  Friday morning, he found Mark and Cam waiting to help set up camp. The site was chosen and contents of the trailer unloaded. The day was sunny and a slight breeze kept the heat from being too uncomfortable. Brian arrived a little later and so most of the camp was established by noon.  John had to return to headquarters and was assigned another job that kept him away from camp until Saturday morning.  Upon his return, Capt. Hughes found that in spite of the rain overnight the men were starting breakfast.

We invited Sgt. Dennis Jorgensen of Nelson's Artillery Co. from southern Indiana to join us for the meal.

A troop of Boy Scouts was there to help with the event; a number of them came over to look at the cannon. Several members discussed the cannon and artillery use during the Civil War.

Some other reenactors stopped by and enjoyed the display of shot and shell.

As brief showers kept the day damp, more of our members arrived.  Sharon "Steve" Davis, Fred  and the boys came in along with a friend, Katie "Kate," whom we talked into putting on a uniform and helping serve the gun. Fred had to return to headquarters for detached duty.

The soldiers formed up and marched to the gun for drill.

"Steve" and "Kate" were at the limber chest...

...while Caleb, Mark, Brian and Silas were on the gun.

After several runs through drill,

the Battle for Turkeyville began.

Our gun fired 5 rounds...

...then the cannoneers went over to Sgt. Jorgensen's 2/3 scale Parrott gun...

...and served on that for the remainder of the battle.

The Infantry, under the command of Capt. Tom Emmerick, fought doggedly against the rebels.

The Confederate artillery, which consisted of 3 howitzers, got our range and a lucky shot took out the gun detachment.

The Rebels, having silenced the Union cannon, then drove the Federal infantry from the field; those artillerymen, not dead or wounded, joined in the rout and escaped capture.   With a restaurant across the driveway, we opted to forgo cooking lunch & supper in camp, and availed ourselves the convenience of others doing all the work -- the air conditioning was a real pleasure after being outside in the 90 degree heat and humidity.   A night battle was planned for 10 PM.

Our cannoneers, reduced by the earlier battle could only muster Capt. Hughes, Sgt. Jorgensen, Cpl. Davis and Privates Schwanke and Pangburn. The men fell in and fired the gun in total darkness.

The smoke mixed with the fog creating a mixture so thick we could not see the muzzle flashes of the infantry muskets, but only heard the reports of the firing.

We fired several rounds from our gun...

...then served on the Parrott for several more shots.

Breaking off the fighting for the night, the men slowly found their way back to camp and turned in.  Sunday revealed scattered clouds in the morning as the men prepared breakfast.

Sgt. Liebrandt arrived to reinforce our roster.

We were pleased to meet Phillip Nager who is the gunner for the 1812 ship "Friends Good Will" based out of South Haven, MI. After talking with Phillip, we invited him to serve with us in the day's battle.


Using our loaner uniform box, we were able to get Phillip uniformed and on the gun for drill.

The guns were repositioned to on top of the knoll and the men prepared for the fight.

We "opened the ball" with a mighty roar.

A prolonged artillery duel took place between our gun...

...and a Rebel howitzer.

The Union Infantry fought a disciplined delaying battle, firing and marching to a new position then facing the enemy and firing again.

We fired our last round...

...and then moved over to Sgt. Jorgensen's Parrott.

A section of Confederate howitzers appeared on our right flank...

We took fire from the rebels...

...and returned it with vigor.

Our stubborn defense had kept the enemy in place...

...until General Grant could arrive with the rest of the Army.

These last three photos courtesy of Sarah Slaninka
Unit Coordinator
17th South Carolina Infantry

Witnessing the surrender of General Robert E. Lee to General U.S. Grant

With the battle over and peace restored, we packed the gun and headed home.

Grayling Long Range Live Artillery Match - July 2010

Friday, John, Cameron, Caleb and Silas hooked up the trailer, strapped in and whipped the horses northward toward Grayling, MI. They stopped in Clare for a visit to an Army surplus store and gun store to see what they had and arrived at Range 35 around 5:30 in the afternoon.

On site, they dropped the gun & limber chest off at the firing line and headed off to set up camp. Because this wasn't a reenactment, participants were allowed to camp using modern tents, campers or RVs so our camp looked a lot different than usual.

Cameron and John set up their bunks inside the cannon trailer.

Caleb started supper - beans with smoked sausage, brats and sauteed zucchini.

As it got dark, Fred and Brian arrived and after a period of talking and visiting the 1st South Carolina's camp, we all turned in for a restful night sleep - no mosquitoes and the temperature dropped to the mid 50 degree mark.

Saturday morning the artillerymen got up a had a very hearty breakfast (surprise!).  Kirk arrived and at 8:45 AM, the men headed to the range to watch the mortar matches.Once there we found Mark and Chuck waiting for us and our detachment was complete.  Because there was fog and no wind, the mortars were rescheduled to later in the day, and the field guns were brought to the line.

Robinson's Battery was on the second relay, so we had a chance to talk with other artillerymen...

watch the match...

or serve on one of the guns that needed an extra cannoneer.

The fog lifted...

but in exchange...

a light rain began that lasted the entire relay.

Once the first relay of field guns was complete, the siege mortars fired at 1000 yards.

Finally it was our turn. The cannoneers rolled the gun into battery and began the 15 round match.

As part of the challenge, each gun had to pull off their bull's eye target...

...and fire at least one round at a blockhouse target set at a different range at some point in the course of fire.

The first and last round had to be on the bull's eye.

The 6 pounder target was at 500 yards this year...

...as the 600 yards proved to be almost beyond the gun's effective range.

The cannoneers had a chance to rotate positions through the course of fire...

...allowing some of the men to gain some experience with live fire.

After the match was over, we had a chance to go down range (see the small white squares in the distance?)...

...and see how we did - two hits at 500 yards.

The winning smooth bore had 4 hits. Of the rifled guns, which shot at a target 1200 yards away, the 3rd US Regular artillery won with 9 holes in the target.

The trees near the targets...

sustained some damage from the shot.

A expedition into the woods to recover cannon balls was mounted and several of our shot were recovered along with some of the other groups' shot.  Fred and the boys, Mark, Chuck and Brian then headed home while Cameron and John stayed overnight to watch the Sunday match.  The Grayling Open Mortar Match...

The Bacon Creek match...

...for rifled cannon

...which included a replica of the Hughes gun. 

After returning to camp, John and Cam loaded the gun and headed back home.

Charleton Park - July 2010

John arrived at Charlton Park Friday morning around 9 AM; Brian was already on site and guided John to our campsite located behind the bank and general store. Mark, Cameron and Kirk soon arrived and the camp was set up.

The cannon was placed in position facing the river.

Having been summoned back to headquarters, John left camp around noon and the men busied themselves in finishing up the camp and helping the rest of the men set up as they arrived. Dave, Buddy and Cody filled out the detachment.

Upon returning to camp on Saturday, Captain Hughes found the men preparing a scrumptious breakfast of fried potatoes, German toast and bacon.

It was nice to be camped on the outskirts of a town where fresh food could be obtained. No hard crackers and salt horse on this campaign! Even though Captain Hughes suspected that he would soon be dealing with irate farmers and townsfolk whose smoke houses and root cellars had been "foraged liberally,"  the meal was quite tasty.

After the meal, the men were put on work detail, polishing the gun and limber chest top until they gleamed.

After polishing to the Captain's satisfaction...

...the men were drilled on the gun.

After completing the drill...

...the men were allowed to visit town, eat lunch and see what the sutlers offered.

At 1 PM, Major Newkirk ordered an artillery demonstration.

After the demonstration was over, Captain Hughes discussed the different types of artillery shells used in the war and the effects of solid shot on trees.

At 2 PM, the battle began and the cannoneers were allowed to shed their coats during the hot work.

Our duty for this battle was to provide the sound and smoke of artillery; the infantry battle took place in the town green on the other side of the general store.

It was a little disappointing to not be in the main action, but due to the size of the battlefield and close proximity of the houses with antique glass windows...

...the artillery was regulated to a secondary role.

It was however a great way to train some of our newer artillerymen.

After the battle was over, a leisurely evening was enjoyed by the men. Dave entertained us as we prepared supper by playing tunes on his fiddle and fife.

Corporal Davis had baked some pies earlier in the day, and as they cooled and supper boiled, we cranked up a batch of ice cream - everyone took a turn.

While awaiting the call to supper, Captain Hughes, being a practical man, visited the local undertaker and tried on a coffin for size.

After the evening meal, as the light changed from dusk to dark...

...a night fire was performed.

At the conclusion, a lantern tour of the village was held and several of the men took the tour. One of the vignettes was of a field hospital; it was very sobering to see the wounded and dead soldiers, the chaos of the overworked surgeon and grief that occurred at such places.

Finally the men settled down and tried to get some sleep. It was difficult due to the high humidity,warm temperatures and the mosquitoes that threatened to carry us off. But finally Sunday morning dawned showing gray skies with the threat of rain.

A couple of our men had been lost during the battle, so we were glad to gain a recruit.

Mark Katzur arrived and the men drilled on the gun.

Again, at 1 PM, an artillery demonstration was held.

At 2 PM, the battle was renewed.

Mark was allowed to fire the last shot.

With the battle over, the trailer was brought to camp, the tents packed and gun loaded. As the doors on the trailer closed, the rain began.

Coldwater Civil War Days

Cam and John arrived at 9 am on Friday at the Branch County Fairgrounds, found a suitable campsite and set-up.

Buddy arrived later in the day; and he and Cam  spent the night guarding the camp.  Saturday morning John, Sharon, Kirk and Cindy arrived to serve the gun. The weather turned out to be very warm, but dry and the cannoneers enjoyed the shade during most of the day.  As the battle loomed, Sharon and Cindy donned uniforms to fill out the detachment.

We were Confederate for Saturday's fighting. Although there was not a lot of infantry on either side, there were four cannon...

...and so a lengthy artillery duel took place.

After the battle, Cam cooked a tasty boiled ham, boiled potatoes and sweet corn, complemented by a loaf of oatmeal bread that Cindy made. The evening was spent in conversation, as everyone caught up with each others overwintering. New recruit Cody Hill and his family arrived, and Cody decided to spend the night so that he could serve with us on Sunday.

Sunday dawned promising a just as hot day as Saturday had been. Cody's friend, Mark, arrived and volunteered to serve on the gun, too.

After breakfast, the cannoneers went out to drill on the gun; Cody and Mark were able to start learning the art of the artilleryman.

A barbeque pork lunch was furnished for the reenactors who then went out to fight the battle this time as Union artillerymen.

A large shade tree just happened to be where we placed the cannon...

...so we were able to enjoy the cooler air through out the battle.

Mark "volunteered" to help clean the cannon afterward.  Once the event was over, members broke camp and the gun rolled off the field by 5 pm.

Mansfield, Ohio Civil War Show and Sale - May 2010

Fred, Silas and John headed down to Mansfield, Ohio for the Civil War/Artillery show on Friday, arriving there mid afternoon and setting up their sale tables.  Saturday was busy with a good crowd of spectators attending in spite of the morning rain. The artillery show and firing went on despite the weather and a good crowd watched the cannons being fired.

The show was great with many interesting and unusual Civil War items being shown or offered for sale.  Sunday's number of spectators was down considerably, but a number of people came through the artillery barn.

Kalamazoo Living History Show - March 2010

Cam, Sharon and John set up the Battery's tables at the show on Friday evening and were back early Saturday morning to do some "pre-crowd" shopping  before the doors opened at 9AM.

Once the spectators were allowed in however, the battery members were at their posts ready to talk to the interested visitors.  Joining them later in the day, Kirk and Cindy Walstedt, Dave Goodwin...

....and Jon Liebrandt (wearing his 1812 American Volunteers uniform).