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What an honor to participate in our nation's and our state's celebration of the American Civil War Sesquicentennial!  The official logo at right was created by the Michigan Historical Commission.  They have a website at seekingmichigan.org.

Grant's Antique Store, Galesburg - November

Upon arrival at 12:45 pm, Capt. Hughes found Privates S. Johnson, B. Johnson and A. Bacik already at the Grant's Antique Store in downtown Galesburg, MI. A small Iron Napoleon gun was in front of the store and the soldiers were talking about it to interested passersby.

Pvt. Bacik seemed to have acquired a sergeant's uniform from a nearby heavy artillery battery, and was warned that he could be brought up on charges of impersonating a Non- Commissioned Officer.

The store owners invited several Civil War reenactor groups to attend and add ambience to their open house. A table of snacks was enjoyed, and several customers shopped while the cannoneers were present.  Pvt. Bacik and B. Johnson played several selections of period music.

Turkeyville - October

On a cloudy, rainy Friday morning John met Mark and Phil at Turkeyville.  As there was no one present to direct camp set-up, John made an executive decision as to our camp placement and the three men started to set-up. Fred, Silas and Wyatt arrived to help and put up their tents. As the afternoon wore on, Fred and John left for work so Silas and Wyatt stayed in camp until later that evening when Jon arrived and put up his tent. The temperatures dipped into the mid 30 degrees overnight.

Saturday morning John arrived at 7 AM, started the fire and began making breakfast. The Captain, Pvts Pangburn, Nager and Sgt. Liebrandt were eating breakfast of eggs, biscuits and sausage gravy...

...when Pvts Bacik, B. Johnson and H. Addington arrived and finished-off what was left. The Captain  realized that he would need to requisition more bacon from the Quartermaster Dept. when all the young recruits arrive in camp.

The Captain soon set the energetic privates to work, polishing the gun...

...and limber chest lid in preparation to having visitors arriving in camp.  Cpl. Chapman, Pvts S. Chapman, Whitman and Peters arrived.

At 11 AM the event opened to the public; a good number of people stopped to ask questions about the gun.

The 7th MI. Infantry was next to our camp.

Pvt. Pangburg pointed the way to the other camps.

The Captain ordered the men to drill.  Pvt. Pangburn's arm, which had gotten locked up...

...was put on position No.1 to loosen up his joints.

The men practiced...

...Firing by Drum.

The men completed drilling....

...before returning to camp for a lunch of stew with sourdough bread.

At 2 PM, as there were not enough men to have a skirmish,  a tactical demonstration was presented  to show how battle tactics changed as the war progressed.  The combined Infantry attacked the artillery in the formations of 1861, 1863 and 1864.

The artillery loaded...

...and opened fire...


...as the Infantry attacked.  The spectators enjoyed the activities.

The Captain and Cpl. Chapman had to report to Headquarters. Sgt. Liebrandt was left in command of the detachment for the rest of the night. The high spirited young men spent the afternoon playing Town Ball; Pvt. Whitman struck the ball so hard that it is no longer round. According to reports, the camp was attacked during the night but the men engaged the enemy with good effect.

Sunday morning, there was frost on the ground and even a thin layer of ice in the wash buckets.

Reveille was played by drummer Bacik and fifer B. Johnson.

The fire sure felt good...

...as breakfast of bacon and pancakes was prepared.

Some of the men learned that by splitting wood warms you twice...

Pvt. Whitman and Nager were sent out on foraging detail, but Pvts S. Johnson, C. Chapman, P. Sims and J. Lewis arrived to reinforce our Battery.  At 11 AM, the men were marched out to the gun for drill.

Each Veteran cannoneer took a new recruit...

...explained the duties...

... taught, corrected and monitored each recruit in his duties.

Several new recruits had a hard time pulling the primer...

... but the soon learned to fire the gun.

Robinson's Battery had an opportunity to portray a historically correct artillery detachment at this event.

All the privates on this detachment were between the age of 15 years and 20 years old.

This is how Civil War soldiers looked.

After a lunch of chili and cornbread...

...the cannoneers formed up for the afternoon battle.

Two separate detachments were formed using the men available.

When the Confederates opened fire...

...Drummer Bacik played the Long Roll and the first detachment went to the gun.

They opened fire and while they reloaded...

...the Infantry advanced, skirmished and fell back behind the gun several times. The Rebel artillery fired a caseshot that killed or injured all but one of the cannoneers...

...so Cpl. Chapman ran the second detachment out.

As the infantry pushed forward...

...the second detachment...

...picked up the implements...

...and got the gun back into action.

The infantry...

...supported by our fire...

...advanced and captured the Confederate troops.

The victorious artillerymen.

At 3:30 PM, we broke camp for the last time this year.  The soldiers headed home to winter quarters to rest, refit and resupply for the next campaigning season. Rumors have it that the Rebels are reforming near Shiloh, Tennessee and as soon as spring breaks and the roads are dry enough to move the guns, orders will be coming to march.

VanRaalte Farm, Holland - September

Camps for the Holland event could not be set up before 3 PM on Friday due to Student Education Day activities so John arrived in Holland around 4 PM to start setting up camp. There had been a response from the membership that indicated a minimum number of cannoneers to serve the gun for this event, but as the day progressed John learned that one cannoneer had an out of state funeral and another cannoneer was ill, leaving John with Privates S. Johnson, B. Johnson and A. Basik to be represent Robinson's Battery.  John finished setting up camp after dark and awaited the arrival of the rest of the detachment.

Neighboring friends, Lew and Rick VerBerg, helped offload the chest and gun and placed them in the gun line.

The Johnsons and Alexander arrived and settled in for the night in the Sibley tent. Then we sat around the camp fire after a lantern lit walk to the Union Infantry camp to receive orders for the day.   At 6 A.M. Saturday, Sgt. Hughes awoke Drummer Basik, who then went to the infantry camps to beat reveille.

Meanwhile Sgt. Hughes and the Pvt's Johnson prepared a hearty breakfast. After the cookware was cleaned...

...and the gun and chest polished...

...the men had a chance to explore the VanRaalte Farm and to visit the sutlers.  The Infantry formed up and went out for drill.

Around 10:30 A.M. John and Scott went out to the battlefield to select our gun position, then returned to camp to find a 'Gator provided by the City of Holland. We towed the gun through the wooded and very hilly trails to the field and set the gun.

We enlarged our emplacement by cutting into the thornapple tree thicket to our rear (no need to worry about being attacked from that direction)!  We then found a couple volunteers to serve on the gun; we uniformed up Boy Scout David Inman and Sgt. Glen Martin of the 19th Ind. Inf and drilled on the piece until everyone was familiar with, and comfortable in, their duties.

We returned to camp and prepared some chicken from a nearby farmyard in the barbecue style as favored in the South for lunch.  At 1:45 P.M., we marched out to the gun and prepared for battle.

At 2 P.M. sharp, we opened fire on the Rebel artillery and the ball was opened!  

The enemy replied with...

...two mountain howitzers.

We kept at them...

...and soon the infantry...

...and cavalry were on the field...

...and in the fray.

The battle ebbed and flowed across the field...

... but we kept up a sustained fire.

Finally, the Union troops fell back to a defensive position...

...and the battle ended for the day.

There was a very good turnout of spectators with good narration of the battle happenings.

A number of visitors stopped and talked with us about the cannon, and seemed quite interested; a number of fliers were handed out. Returning to camp, John made up a Dutch oven full of potatoes, carrots, rutabagas, parsnips, onion, cheese and bacon to cook for the evening potluck meal provided by the event organizers. While it was simmering, many people stopped and talked with us in camp. Pvt. B. Johnson practiced a bit with his fife. He has progressed very well, having purchased the fife less than a month ago, and already able to play some recognizable tunes.  He even played it on the march Sunday. Our camp was visited by the Rusk ladies. Carolyn, Anna and Becka drove up for the day and stayed for the evening ball.

At 5 P.M. the turkey dinner pot-luck was ready and hungry reenactors lined up.

With the meal finished, a string band set up and the ball commenced.

Privates B. Johnson and A. Basik availed themselves...

...of the very pretty young ladies present/

Pvt. Basik wound up the night...

...with one more dancing partner that Pvt. B. Johnson.

Although the Rusk girls...

...weren't being "wall flowers" either!

The dancing ended at 9 P.M. and everyone headed back to camp. The Confederate camp nearby got some music going that lasted until the wee hours of the morning, serenading the tired Yankee boys to sleep. At 3 A.M. Pvt. Basik, unable to sleep from the c-co-old, got up to sit near the camp fire. Sgt. Martin,also got up and the two men talked until Pvt. Basik picked up his drum and went off to do his duty for reveille at 6 A. M.

Getting Sunday morning breakfast was made a little easier when Sgt. Hughes got up and found the drummer, had the fire going and already at his post. The gun detachment was treated to a good breakfast of German toast and sausages.  Having lost our drafted Boy Scout for the day, Pvt James Quillen joined the detachment. At 10:30 A. M. we all went out gun for drill. Pvt. Quillen had served on some artillery before, so it wasn't too hard for him to pick up our procedures.

We practiced using the beat of the drum to commence fire which worked pretty well; we might use this method again in the future. After drill, we went back to camp for a lunch of hot roast meats (chicken, pork and beef) gravy, sliced root vegetables and fried corn. Again, many people were interested in our cooking and stopped to talk.  Sgt. Hughes almost became a casualty when the cork from a bottle of honey, being warmed to liquefy, popped up just as he was bending down to take it out of the hot water, and almost hit him in the noggin. As you can imagine, the rest of the camp thought this was funny....  

At 1:30 P.M. the detachment was formed up and, with implements shouldered, marched out to the gun to the fife and drum.

The battle commenced at 2:30...

...and again our gun gave the rebels "what for."

This was another good battle, with infantry and cavalry movements back and forth across the field...

...culminating in the routing of the Union infantry and our gun positions being flanked.

By the time we got the Gator and pulled the gun back to camp, we could bring vehicles in and so the trailer was brought to camp, and the four of us broke camp. We just closed the doors on the trailer when the rain blew in. Thanks to the Johnsons and Alexander for all the help during the weekend.

Thanks to John Wells for these additional photos.






Jackson Cascades - August

John arrived at the Cascades Park Friday morning around 9:30 AM; the day was bright and sunny with low humidity and only reached a high of 85 degrees....ok, what did they do with Jackson? This would turn out to be one of the best events held at Jackson weather wise in more years than anyone could remember.   Shortly after locating our camp, starting to off load and plan the camp layout, Pvt. Chauncey Ingham (aka Mark Pangburn) arrived, and the two men began setting up camp. Pvt. Nager arrived, set-up his own tent and then helped with camp.  By the time Cpl. Chapman , Pvt. S.Chapman and Pvt. Whitman arrived around noon, the flies, Capt. Hughes's and the mess tents were up; tables and equipment in place and the gun and chest were parked behind the tents.

The two young soldiers were set to work digging the firepit, as others arranged the camp equipment.

A late lunch was prepared, and...

...chili was started for supper with cornbread was fried up in a pan for later.

As afternoon stretched into evening, other cannoneers arrived until we had seven tents. Privates Goodwin, B. Johnson, and Sgt. Liebrandt arrived shortly before tattoo was played for the night.

Saturday morning after reveille at 6:30 AM, breakfast was prepared...

...and eaten.

Cpl. Davisand Pvt. Schwanke arrived and the battery had 8 tents for the weekend. As we enjoyed our meal, we watched the infantry form up for a morning drill.  The wool coats sure felt good in the slightly chill air.

After the cookware was cleaned, the Capt. and NCO's attended a meeting at the Major's tent for the orders for the day. The gun positions were assigned: our gun and an ordinance rifle, also placed under Capt. Hughes's command, were moved across the battlefield into position.

With the men and gun positioned, Sgt. Liebrandt and Cpl. Davis...

...set the men... 

...to drill.

Pvt. S. Chapman and Pvt. Whitman took a little break after drill.

With drill complete, the men had an hour to visit sutler's row or see some of the exhibits and displays. After lunch, at 1PM we formed up as a detachment and marched from camp to our gun. At 2 PM, the battle began...

...Confederate skirmishers engaged the Union lines and the artillery opened...

...by firing "by the piece" down the line of seven Union guns.

The battle swirled across the field, the Yankees advancing and falling back...

In a final push, the Yankees became disorganized and the lines broke, fleeing back behind the line of cannon.

The men talked with spectators for quite a while, fielding questions about the cannon and explaining the gun and how it worked to interested people, then picked up implements and returned to camp to begin work on supper.  As the pork roast and chicken were being seasoned and spitted, a canooneer from the other gun in our section came into camp with news - one of our men was being transported to the hospital. 

Where was Pvt. Schwanke?

We counted noses and realized Pvt. Schwanke was missing.  After assuring the remaining men would be properly fed,Sgt. Liebrandt & Capt. Hughes then met up with the Cpl. and all three went to the ER room where  Pvt. Schwanke was found to be under care and feeling much improved from heat exhaustion.  It was still about 2 hours more before he was released to return to camp.

Upon everyone's safe return, the meat was carved and the Dutch oven potatoes were found to be perfectly baked.

The remaining men had just started to sink their teeth into the delicious food.

A former Battery member, Chris Czopek, arrived and enjoyed the meal with us.  Chris, aka the History Detective, provided updates on his research project, book about Company K and then shared reminisces about past events, to everyone's enjoyment.

After supper, some canooneers went to the ball; Pvt. B. Johnson, dressed in his militia uniform coat with fancy trim and tails, was spotted dancing with several of the local belles.  With all soldiers accounted for before the evening tattoo, we crawled into our bedrolls to enjoy a very cool night's rest.  Reveille came again at 6:30 AM. Pvt. Goodwin providing a lively fifing to arouse the slumbering army. Pvt. Pangburn was detached to serve in the infantry, and Pvt. Goodwin picked up his fife and marched at the head of the Army playing musical tunes with other musicians. Their place in the gun detachment was filled with the arrival of Privates C. Chapman and Peters.

The campfire was rekindled and coffee prepared in the chilly air.

Breakfast was prepared as the infantrymen formed up to march with empty stomachs.

Capt. Hughes, ever the man of fashion, observed the soldiers as they looked hungrily at our camp; the slight wind blew the aroma of frying sausages and pancakes into the ground-pounders' noses.

After breakfast, the men were free to attend church or visit sutlers row again until lunch at camp. Afterward, we formed up and marched to the gun.

The Sgt., on review, noted that Pvt. Schwanke had "lost" his uniform coat and directed Cpl. Davis to put the Pvt. "On Report," to pull extra stable duty.

Drill commenced...

...and Cpl. Davis reinforced his instructions for the position of Number 4 man to Pvt. S. Chapman.

The infantry assembled behind the cannons and took a rest before the battle.

So did the artillerymen.

At two o'clock, the army moved to take the field.

The order to load was shouted to the cannoneers.

FIRE!

With sunlight glinting off the cannon's barrel, Pvt. F.Chapman observes the effect of the shot on the enemy. The Federal infantry prepares to advance.

After the battle, a fellow took our photograph using a stereopticon camera.

This year the Cascades Civil War Muster had the most reenactors and one of the biggest opening day crowds in its 27 year history. About 2,000 reenactors participated in the reenactment Saturday and the crowd was estimated at 65,000 for the weekend.

Thanks to everyone that helped in camp and worked the gun. All the help in setting up and taking down the camp is really appreciated. Robinson's Battery had a good, safe weekend in spite of a little scare with the heat exhaustion on Saturday.

Grayling Live Fire - July

John, Cameron, Scott Johnson and Brandon Johnson climbed into the trusty truck and towed the gun up to Grayling on Friday afternoon. After a stop at General Jim's Army Surplus Store in Clare.

At the range,Tony Ostenberg joined the cannoneers and off-loaded the gun near the firing line and covered her for the night. Other artillery crews were busy doing the same.

With the gun settled, the men set-up their camp.

John and Cam put up cots inside the trailer and spent a comfortable night.  The temperatures dipped into the mid 50s so a couple blankets proved to be very handy.

Saturday morning, the men awoke and cooked breakfast while John attended the safety/gun commander's meeting. A test fire of some guns from the newly constructed firing line was arranged. The Nat Guard had built a nice raised and level gun line over the winter which was 15 feet narrower than requested; there was some concern that heavy recoiling guns would roll off the raised line at  firing.

At 8:45 AM, the coehorn mortars opened fire.


The men of Robinson's Battery were joined by member Mark Pangborn, as well as Chuck Peterson and Mark Copeland.

With our gun detachment present...

Cpl. Davis...

...put the men...

through a gun drill.

Safety first especially with live fire.  As we were not at a reenactment, this ear protection is not only appropriate, it's a great idea.

After the mortars finished, we rolled the gun up to the line and prepared our position.

Outstanding looking crew!

The rifled guns used the new construction...

...while the smoothbores fired from the natural earth.

The order came to LOAD...

...and our men got down to business of being artillerymen.

Bledsloe's Battery was firing a smoothbore on the same relay...

and by the end of that relay,

we were tied with three shots each on the target.

Out of 12 total shots,

...our group was located in a triangular arrangement...

around the center of the bull, all about 2 feet from the center.

After finishing, we relaxed, got some lunch and drank a lot of water as the temperature had gone into the mid 90's. There was one more smoothbore that shot on the second relay, Battery B, and they were dropping their shot into the target pretty well, taking first place with a score of 6 hits out of the twelve.

At 3 PM the range went "cold" and the men were allowed to go down range to look for and recover shot. Cpl. Davis found a tree that he had cut down with a 6 pound ball.

Other signs of damage were apparent.

After picking up a number of spent shot, John found one last ball.  You can see the tree in the upper left, nearly felled by the ball, and the trail cut into the earth where it finally stopped.

Live fire is truly an awe inspiring sight!

Charlton Park - July

Friday morning John towed the gun to Hastings and arrived at the park shortly after 9 AM. After reporting and receiving orders for camp set-up, John started unloading the trailer. Brian arrived a little later and the two of them got camp established.

Buddy and Phil had arrived on Friday afternoon and set up their tents. Saturday morning, Brian prepared breakfast which was heartily enjoyed.  Kirk and Cindy drove in from Canada.

Cpl. Davis and Sgt. Liebrandt arrived, as did some new recruits, Brandon Johnson, Scott Johnson and Alex Bacik.

Alex, who plays percussion in marching band, borrowed the Captain's drum and began to practice.

The men then were called out for drill.  The temperature was starting to climb, but a light breeze and plenty of shade made the 90 degree heat tolerable.

Cpl. Davis, Sgt. Liebrandt and Capt. Hughes explained the duties and responsibilities of each man to the recruits...

...and kept the men at drill until they were comfortable and proficient at their duties.

At 11:30 AM, the men took a lunch break, enjoying a repast of cold cut meat sandwiches, and iced watermelon.

At 1:30 PM, the 4 guns were lined up near the river bank and a demonstration for the public took place.

Capt. Hughes was chief of section over a 10 pound Parrott and the 6 pounder.

Afterward, spectators came up to the guns for questions.

The Battle began at 2:30 PM. Two guns were moved to the other side of the village, and the two guns under Capt. Hughes's command remained in position. We were tasked to provide smoke and noise during the battle which took place in the village.

A foraging party entered the town and pillaged several homes, taking out furnishings and trunks of clothes, to pile in the village green. Skirmishers then entered the town and the number of troops engaged escalated.

As the battle raged, our cannon opened fire.

After the battle, the men were free to visit the town, shop at sutlers or visit with each other. Several  men left camp for other commitments and our numbers thinned. About 4 PM, John  and Jon started cooking. Both a beef roast and a pork roast were seared and then set to roast in the Dutch oven. Vegetables were added at various times to allow cooking, and the results were excellent.

A rich gravy made from the roast drippings accompanied.

Bacon, onions with green beans were prepared and finally everything was ready. 
Two pies,  rhubarb and peach, finished the repast. Several spectators ventured over to our camp to talk and investigate what we were eating; most were quite impressed. As darkness fell, a lantern tour was held; groups of spectators led by a guide stopped in various buildings and camps toget a glimpse of the soldier's life.

Sunday, the number of our cannoneers was a bit fewer, and the temperatures climbed even higher. Alex paid a visit to the medical demonstration area and came back to camp with a terrible wound.

His injury didn't stop him from marching through camps with the drum.  He found another drummer boy, and as they marched they soon had a rank of young soldiers following them.

Coldwater Train Event - June

Friday morning, John, Fred, Silas and Wyatt arrived at the train depot in Coldwater.

They set-up our camp and unloaded the cannon.

Soon other reenactors arrived and put up tents and flies, leaving the area in the middle open for the battlefield.

What a perfect spot for a brief rest.

Saturday morning John decided to reduce the powder charges by a couple ounces due to the close quarters in the middle of town.

Pistols and muskets were loaded up for the afternoon battle.

Soon the steam train engine came down the tracks...

...and hooked up the passenger cars for the run between Coldwater and Quincy.

Capt. Hughes was called to Headquarters and so Cpl. Chapman was in command of the gun during the battle. Fred, Caleb, Silas and Wyatt served the piece.  When the Capt. returned on Sunday morning, he found Pvt. Nager had arrived to serve on the gun.

The train pulled into the station...

...unbeknownst to the Yankees, it had been stopped and boarded by Confederate soldiers.

They emerged with guns blazing, driving off the few guards of the Veteran's Reserve Corps.

They were soon supported by a section of Rebel mountain howitzers.

Our gun opened with counter-battery fire.

The Federals were reinforced by the arrival of another gun and several Infantrymen and soon had the Rebel forces flanked.

The artillerymen switched to muskets and pistols...

... the out numbered Con- federates were driven from the field and the train was retaken.  After a brief lunch of ham, cold chicken and lemonade, the pistols were reloaded. Katie arrived and was in uniform for the rest of the day. The Yankees boarded the train and made a "reconnaissance in force" to Quincy to be sure the town was, in fact, free of Rebels.

The infantrymen invited some of the young artillerymen to a "friendly" game of cards; now the young soldiers have no money to send home to help pay off Maw and Paw's farm.

Many a strange sight was seen in town, including this. 
It was generally agreed that no one would use such a bone shaking contraption.

The engine switched ends of the train...

...and steamed in reverse back to Coldwater.

As the troops climbed off the train...

...the Rebels surprised them and a pitched fight began. 
The Rebels, in no mood to surrender, fought furiously resulting in many casualties on both sides, until the few remaining Yankees were victorious.

Coldwater Civil War Days - May

John towed the trailer to the Branch Co. fairgrounds Friday morning and arrived around 8 AM. Our friends, Norm and Diane Gibson of the 1rst South Carolina Infantry and Brian and Linda Haack of the 7th Wisconsin Infantry, were there setting up their cannon for the School Days Education.

Norm asked John to help with the presentations.

At 9 am, the first group of elementary school children arrived and we had 10-15 minutes to explain the various examples of the artillery on display before the next group arrived and we repeated the spiel.

Among our favorite classes was the one in which all the students and teachers dressed in old fashioned styles for the day.

The students had a chance to come up and handle some of the shot used in the cannon; most were surprised at the weight of the ball.

Thanks to Miss Kayla Fry of the Pansophia Academy, 4th grade teacher, for the above photographs of her class.

The sound volume in the building made it difficult for the students to hear, so we moved the cannon outside and had a better display.

Brian took a large group over to the battlefield and got a great response as the children shouted a countdown for firing the Williams gun.

After 1:30 PM, the children groups were done and John started setting up camp. It took awhile, but by night fall, he had set-up the camp.  No, it didn't snow...not sure what caused the starry look in the photo, but there was a light misty rain durning the night.

On Saturday, we moved the cannon to the campsite and put on another display.

No two cannon were alike.

Robinson Battery cannoneers started to arrive for the day. Phil and Buddy talked cannon with Brian.

Fred and Silas arrived...

...and so did Cam.

Lunch was set to cooking - three chickens roasted in the tin kitchen...

...Mexican corn and a peach cobbler for dessert made everyone full and happy.

At 1:30 PM the guns were positioned for the battle...

...and a session of gun drill took place under the watchful eyes of Capt. Hughes.

At 2 PM, the battle commenced...

...Union infantry and artillery...

...against Confederate infantry, artillery and cavalry.

After the battle, the guns were returned to the campsite where Norm, Brian and RB members talked with interested spectators about the different style cannon on display. About 5 PM, as we were loading the cannon on the trailers, a steady rain began, which lasted all night. Most of the RB members left for home, leaving John & Buddy to spend the evening trying to keep dry. In spite of the rain, the temperatures remained at a comfortable level and it was perfect for sleeping. 

After breakfast, Buddy and John spent the morning looking at the various exhibits. The Embalmer was especially interesting as he had different examples of wooden caskets and advertisements from the 1860s.

Cam and Jon arrived and we all enjoyed the hog roast for the reenactors at noon.

The guns were again positioned for battle...

...and we fought again.

The event was supposed to last until 4 PM, but shortly after the battle was over, the sponsors told everyone to break camp due to a huge storm heading towards us.  We were on the road by 4:30. when John was within a half mile of home, the storm hit. Up to 100 mph winds tore through Battle Creek leveling trees like matchsticks. John, towing the gun trailer, caught the leading edge of the storm, dodging falling limbs through the heavy rain. Fortunately he arrived home safe and sound.

Mansfield, Ohio Civil War Show & Sale - May

On Friday morning Fred, Silas, Phil and John loaded Fred's minivan with things to sell at the Mansfield, Ohio Civil War Show. They stopped for lunch at Tony Packo's in Toledo for some world famous Hungarian hot dogs (remember Klinger from M.A.S.H.?).  After lunch, they continued to Mansfield and set up tables. Once done, there was a chance to for early "shopping" and some sales were made.

The show opened at 9 AM on Saturday but Battery members were at their tables by 7:30 AM. It didn't seem like the crowds were as thick as in previous years to several dealers, but according to the hosts, Saturday's crowd broke a record in public attendance. The crowd seemed to be willing to spend money; several dealers mentioned that they have had good sales.

There were lots of interesting relics to see, new people to talk to and old acquaintances to renew.  The weather was cool, but clear, making the wool uniforms feel nice.

On Sunday, the men awoke to a hard rain and chilly temperatures, making the decision to camp in a motel seem like a really good idea. By the men's arrival  at the Richland County Fairgrounds, the rain had stopped.  Phil participated in the 6 gun artillery firing demonstration.

Again, there was a steady, although smaller volume of sales throughout the day. We did have a special visitor stop by.

Gerry Payn of Wooster, Ohio has been portraying President Lincoln for several years.

Battery member, Jon Liebrandt, arrived during the forenoon and was able to stay around and help us break down the tables and load the remaining things for the trip home.

Michigan Sesquicentennial Celebration - April

Robinson's Battery had the honor to participate in the State of Michigan's official opening of the five year celebration of the Civil War's Ses- quicentennial.  Fred, Silas and John drove up to Lansing on Friday afternoon, arriving at the site around 2:45 PM. They found Capt. Emmerick and were directed to the campsite where the camp equipment and tentage was off loaded. The gun was positioned nearby for the night. Pvt.s Mark and Dave joined in the setting of camp.   A typical April weather front moved in with light rain and wind which lasted through the following day.

The cool temperature in the mid 40s made the greatcoats great! 

The Merrimack stove worked well for making a supper of fricasseed pork steaks, garlic mashed potatoes and a tasty treat of hominy, complemented with fresh baked biscuits and frog jam.

The evening was spent talking with each other and old friends from the other reenactment companies.  However, the wind and cool tempera- tures caused most of the men to retire early to the comfort of their tents and bedrolls.

On Saturday, John was up at 6 AM and fired up the Merrimack stove; soon the rest of the men emerged from their tents and volunteered to sit close to the stove and cook.

A camp kettle of root vegetables and ham hocks were started for the boiled dinner that would be lunch. Pvt Phil arrived to fill out our detachment.

John was captured by the Lansing State Journal sampling a carrot from the boiled dinner.

Phil was put to work polishing the gun.

The men marched out to the gun and fired the first shot of the event at 9 AM and then held firing demonstrations through out the day.

The infantry alternated with marching and firing demonstration...

...so that there was something happening almost every hour throughout the day.

Dave found time to play the fife as part of the program.

There were speeches by President Lincoln, Gov. Austin Blair and other notables. The 5th Michigan Band played a concert for the troops. Battery members Erik and Kris Lindquist and Deb Gosselin stopped by to see the camp as did old friends Bruce & Sally Linton.

The weather required rain gear for more firing demonstrations by our cannoneers.

The crowd seemed to appreciate our demonstrations.

At retreat, Robinson's Battery fired the salute as the flag was lowered and the event ended. Then came the fun of breaking camp in the rain and loading wet canvas for the trip home.

Kalamazoo Living History Show and Sale - March

John and Silas arrived at 7AM on Saturday at the Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds, and were soon joined by Cam and Jim Miller.  We found our tables and set up. Phil Nager arrived and added several items to the sale merchandise. When the 9AM opening arrived, the final price tags were being applied.

A huge crowd of visitors filled the buildings, probably the most that have been there on a Saturday in a long time, and best of all, they were ready to spend money!  Lots of old friends stopped to talk, some new/additional event information was taken, and we had several people sign up for more information on joining Robinson's Battery. A number of brochures were taken and we received great comments about the Battery slide show presented on a digital picture frame.

Jon Liebrandt attended wearing his 1812 uniform...

...while Kirk and Cindy opted to wear some "funny looking clothes" as they stopped in to say hello.

Phil had a good time talking to people and finding some things to use on the "Friends Goodwilm," the 1812 sailing ship that he is the gunner on.  Silas put out some arrowheads that he makes and found pieces of flint to purchase which should soon appear as more worked stone items. The day seemed to fly by and before we knew it, it was the 5 PM closing.

On Sunday, Cam and John arrived early to ready the tables for the coming day. Sunday crowds always seem to be light, and not as ready to purchase things, but we had reinforcements from the Chapman family and Wyatt Whitman.

New recruits Jacob Lewis and Paul Sims arrived to check out the show.

What about this one?

Over all, everyone enjoyed getting out and seing each other after a long winter. Our next event in April will quickly be here; soon we will get the 6 pounder out and smell the powder smoke again.  Thanks for everyone's help in setting up, watching tables and breaking down the show.