What an honor to participate in our nation's and our
state's celebration of the American Civil War Sesquicentennial! The Michigan Historical
Commission has a website at seekingmichigan.org.
Grant's Antique Store, Galesburg - Nov.
On November 10, John arrived in Galesburg, MI and found Scott just leaving to tow the 20 pounder over to Grant's Antique Store. Scott parked the trailer, then he and John off-loaded the gun and limber directly across the street in the parking area of the annex store.
During the morning, John and Scott talked to visitors who noticed the gun and stopped to look it over. The store was hosting its annual holiday sale as well as grand re-opening. As well as all the different stores being open, there was a small buffet available.
About 1 PM, Alex, Justin, Brandon and Josh arrived from a holiday parade with the high school band and uniformed up.
Scott got the boys, and some young men who had expressed an interest in the cannon, and ran them through some drill.
Scott reported we then posted and drilled on the gun for about 45 - 60 minutes...
...to the delight of some passing pedestrians and the horror of others.
Bowen's Mill - October
With the weather forecast predicting cold and rain for the weekend, many members prepared for the worst. At 8:45am, John drove to Galesburg to pick up Alexander, then headed north to Hastings and stopped to finish shopping for the mess. They arrived at Bowen's Mill around 11am. Not many other reenactors had started to set up so we had our choice of camping locations. The Union camp was located around the Trading Post.
John chose our spot and as unloading started, the owner of the property stopped and mentioned that there were a couple of the cabins open and available to the first ones to claim them.
John found that there were 6 bunks, a stove...
...a couple chairs and a table. John immediately decided that the battery boys were going to have barracks.
Not everyone would be able to use the cabin, so a couple of tents were put up along with the company kitchen. Cameron arrived and helped set up the rest of the camp.
Seems everyone wanted to stay in winter quarters...with the temperatures in the 40s all day and the promise of a colder night made several men decide on the cabin. Alex chose a bunk, saved one for Brandon and when Paul Sims and Jacob Lewis arrived a bit later they snagged a couple. too. Fred and Silas arrived and set up a tent for the weekend. A warm supper of BBQ pork, beans and chips filled the bellies of the chilled men as they continued to set up camp and position the bronze gun.
Toward evening, Scott, Brandon and Justin Woods towed in our new 20 pound Parrott and limber. Everyone helped unload "Newell" and placed it in line with the 6 pounder.
With camp set and the work done, everyone sought out the warmth of the cabin to spend the evening in the glow of oil lamp and a game or two of checkers.
The Captain, looking out for the well being of his men by letting them take the cabin, retired to his tent and crawled under about 20 pounds of blankets. The night was spent comfort and warm. Cpl. Chapman and Pvt. S. Chapman also chose to sleep in their tent.
About 4am, the neighborhood roosters began to crow, disturbing the slumbers of the men, but were paid no mind, other than thoughts of chicken for lunch. A bit before dawn, the Captain awoke, dressed, then went out started the cook fire, and began to prepare breakfast of sausage gravy, fried potatoes and fresh biscuits baked in a Dutch oven.
Pvt. Bacik, having a unexpected sense of cleanliness, found a broom and swept out the barracks floor, even the ground in front of the camp.
After breakfast, the men cleaned their plates and utensils.
Kirk arrived from his mission in Canada and Cpl. Chapman showed him the 20 pounder.
Tony Ostenberg held a short Officer's Meeting to discuss the battle scenarios for the weekend.
Capt. Hughes assembled the men for drill and Cpl. Davis inspected the boys.
The gun detachments were counted off...
...and drill on both guns began.
As the men worked the pieces...
...Capt. Hughes ordered the 20 pounder to be loaded. When complete, the Capt. took the lanyard and fired the very first shot the 20 pdr had ever made.
After drill, the men returned to camp and Cpl. Davis cooked up a kettle full of beef, noodles and ribbles for lunch. Nearby Granny's Kitchen was patronized for apple dumpling and ice cream.
Pvt. Goodwin arrived and young Silas spent some time knapping a flint arrowhead for amusement. The predicted bad weather did not materialize and temperatures actually reached the mid 50s with a clear day.
The boys were given some time to visit the various buildings, but at 2:30pm, were summoned for duty. The men counted off, and the Captain decided that there were enough men to field the Hughes gun...
...along with the 6 pdr...
and the 20 pdr.
"Little John" was brought into line and three men detached to service the breech-loader. Sgt. VerBerg crewed up the Ky. Vol.'s 20 pound Parrott and took the end of the line. Pvt. B of Battery D fell in with us for the fight.
A pretty good crowd of spectators arrived, and a number of them stopped to ask about the cannon.
At the appointed time, the artillery opened fire, well... except for the 20 pdr. - the first shot in battle, there was a misfire! Pvt. Woods soon found out why we spend time practicing the misfire drill, as he had to service the vent. This was his first time doing this on a hot gun; needless to say he was exceedingly nervous, but due to training and support from Cpl. Davis, Pvt. Woods handled the situation well.
It was a good thing too, as the very next primer also failed, and he got to do it all over again.
After waiting a period of time, Cpl. Davis took the rammer, reseated the charge, punched the charge again and the gun fired.
When the battle was over, Pvt's Bacik and Goodwin marched around the mill area, playing tunes and cadences.
Many photographs were taken. Alex obliged willingly.
With the afternoon waning, the tom-foolery began. Pvt. Bacik was put into Stocks, and Cpl. Davis practiced his chopping skills.
Our neighbor, Chewy Mattix, found a wig that Alex had brought to the even, and donned it to entice someone to be a dance partner for the ball. No takers from our battery.
John cooked some chicken and noodles for supper, along with some apple-pumpkin Brown Betty and a peach cobbler.
Pvt. Bacik was across the camps visiting some Rebs when he learned that there had been a group of young ladies in the vicinity of the Union camps looking for someone to dance with later in the evening, It took him about 5 seconds to run a 300 yard dash to meet them and ask one to the dance.
Our force was reduced as Kirk, Jon and Paul had to leave. Silas moved his bedroll into the barracks for the night. As the daylight faded, the cold returned and those of us with greatcoats were very glad to have them as we sat around the fire.
A photographer working the event for the owners of the mill asked if we would do some firing of the cannon as darkness fell; we, of course acqui-esced and loaded up the 20 pounder for a couple of shots,
We then did the same thing with the Hughes gun.
The infantry, not wanting to be left out of the fun came out and had a small night fight between the Yanks and Rebs. With the firings complete and the cold setting in, everyone turned in to the cabin or tents for a night's sleep.
At dawn Sunday, the Captain was up and rekindled the cook fire. As he worked away, Pvt. Goodwin played reveille on his bugle. Dave happily went in back of the cabin and got the sleepy heads up. Pvt. Nager arrive to help offset the troop losses of the previous night. The Captain, mixed some of the cooked pumpkin into the flapjack batter which fried up some quite tasty and filling pancakes, and served with maple syrup and a side of bacon.
Pvt. B. Johnson appeared in some colorful trews that he must have acquired from a Highland regiment.
Meanwhile the hijinks over Alex's hairpiece resumed.
Maybe Pvt Goodwin thought it would keep his ears warm.
The Captain gathered his men on the barrack's porch for photographs...
...to send back home showing the young men there...
...the fine accommodations they could live in if only they would "jine-up."
After a leisurely, but cooler and more windy morning, the men were renumbered and detailed to serve on the 6 pdr or 20 pdr for the afternoon battle. Drill kept the men warm as they worked through their positions and duties.
Permission was granted to touch one round off. Then the men took a lunch of left over beef and ribbles.
Christen Yonkers was recruited to help serve the guns and was uniformed up.
The bugler blew Assembly and the cannoneers responded quickly; it's really a wonderful thing to have a bugler in the battery now. The command to load was given and the men prepared the guns for battle. The first round was to be fired by the piece, except that the 20 pounder failed to discharge. The primer popped, but no ignition. On the second attempt, the primer tube broke in half.
The third time, the primer pulled out of the vent when the lanyard was pulled. A few primers from the 6 pdr were used and this time the gun discharged.
The battle continued with each gun firing properly.
Capt. Hughes ordered a battery fire, and on his command, all three guns discharged simultaneously - this was as perfect battery fire as the Cap. has ever heard. During the last part of the battle, Pvt. Bacik must have had a change of heart (maybe there was a Southern belle involved) but as the Rebels were being driven from the field, he dropped his sponge - rammer, picked up his drum and ran off toward the front lines. Dodging the bullets fired at him, he ran into the ranks of the Confederates and was heard playing his drum as the Rebels marched away. His own dear mother was a witness to this shameful and traitorous act, and afterwards was heard to say that if she had had a gun, she would have shot him.
With the day's battle over, the process of breaking camp began around 4:45pm; by the time all the camp equipment and three guns were loaded, it was 7pm.
Holland - September
Friday, John and Alexander left for Holland around 3:30 pm; a light rain began almost immediately and never quite let up for the rest of the evening. Our camp site was the same place as last year, and so Alex and John set up two tents and a dining fly in the drizzle.
Rick Jipping of the KY Volunteers had a wall tent next to us and graciously offered us the use of it, which as it turned out was very much needed.
Around 8pm, Scott and Nathan, along with Justin and Amy arrived and set up another tent. Alex and Justin utilizing the wall tent. As dusk fell, the cool, damp weather prompted a quick donning of the wool. The fire was greatly appreciated.
By 10pm, the guns were placed with the Hughes Gun snuggled between Scott's tent and the mess tent,. The 6 pdr and limber were parked adjacent to the KY 20 pound Parrott and a 10 pound Parrott. As the rain continued, and with the camp pretty well set-up, everyone turned in. At 2am, a heavy storm broke over the campsite and most everyone was woken by thunder and lightning with heavy sounding raindrops beating on the canvas roofs. After a while the heavy drumming on the fabric lessened and we were able to go back to sleep.
Saturday morning dawned gray and damp. When Capt. Hughes threw open his door flaps to assessed the previous night's storm, he was surprised to find little piles of melting hailstones. Given that these were still present at least 5 hours after the storm, it can only be surmised that the noise at 2am must have been from some pretty big hailstones.
Our drummer seemed reluctant to rise and play reveille, however Capt. Hughes was insistent, so Pvt. Bacik walked over to the infantry camp in the woods and played his drum to wake the sleepy heads
Breakfast was scrambled eggs, corned beef hash and refried potatoes; some of the boys had never eaten hash before....some liked it, but a couple didn't.
The morning seemed to hold promise for a very nice fall day; the skies were cloudy, but with large areas of blue sky and sunshine.
Capt. Hughes, Col. Emmerik and Capt. Bowen walked to the battlefield to discuss the afternoon scenarios. Around 10:30am Pvt. Bacik, Pvt. A.Woods and Pvt. J. Woods went over to the gun to polish the barrel; as they started, a bank of clouds rolled in from Lake Michigan and the rain began anew. This scuttled the Captain’s plan to begin training the HB &F Drill that we need for next year’s event at Gettysburg.
So a lunch of BBQ pork with a kettle of beans were set on the fire to cook, and between the heavier downpours, the men went to visit the few sutlers, or to find old and new friends in the camps. At noon, the cannoneers were back in camp for lunch, and were to start moving the cannons out to the battlefield at 1pm.
Shortly before the transports arrived, the event sponsors canceled the battle because the hillside, where the spectators were to be, was too slippery. So what to do? Finally the weather started to clear and the rain had stopped. Capt. Hughes decided this would be a good opportunity to drill; as our men began to form up, other gun detachments saw us going on the gun and decided to follow suit.
As we drilled, a small crowd gathered to see watch, and the chairman of the event, Captain Rick Veenhoven, stopped by to thank us for coming. As Capt. Hughes and Capt.Veenhoven were talking, Rick mentioned that he would like to fire a cannon.. Well! Capt. Hughes saw an opportunity, and soon found an Emg. staffer with a radio link to the security crew who gave permission to "go hot.” Rick was placed in the No.4 position and shown how to pull the lanyard. The gun was loaded and at the command “fire,” Rick discharged the gun. After, he told the Capt. “that had been the most exciting thing that I’ve done in the last 72 hours.”
By now a crowd had gathered and the other gun detachments were itching to fire, so an impromptu demonstration was held with Capt. Hughes narrating and explaining the differences between the guns, ranges and projectiles.
The three big guns were joined by a mountain howitzer, so the 4 gun battery was fired by the piece, by section and by battery. Shortly after we finished, we heard musket firing on the battlefield and found out later that the blue and gray infantries decided to engage in a little skirmish on their own.
With a little time before supper, John combined the pork and beans and put them on to simmer. The men relaxed and took in some of the activities such as President Lincoln’s speech and a ladies fashion show.
Alex primped for the ball, as Sgt. Liebrandt watched in amazement.
Pvt. A. Woods acted as Pvt. Bacik’s personal valet, brushing the detritus and dirt from Alex’s uniform.
After a supper of turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, a root vegetable dish, cornbread and John’s bean dish, followed by an unlimited supply of Russ’s fruit pies (yum), the ball started. Pvt. Bacik found several pretty women to dance with...and Pvt. A. Woods turned out to be a girl!
She seemed to enjoy the dancing as much as Alexander did.
Unfortunately, the clouds returned and the rain began, soaking the dancers who continued in spite of wet clothes. Pvt’s B. Johnson and J. Johnson arrived during the dance, having had an afternoon obligation. Brandon dashed to his tent, changed into his uniform, and ran down to join the dancing.
Finally, the dance ended and everyone returned to camp except Alex and Amy. At 11pm. the Capt. and Pvt. Johnson set off to find the two AWOL soldiers. Strangely enough they were found in the 3rd MI. Inf. Camp talking with a bunch of soldiers. The two were escorted back to camp and turned in for the night.
Sunday morning was again a gray sky day as the artillerymen woke; they tried to dry their wet clothes over the fire as breakfastcooked.
Pvt. Bacik, not a dapper as he was the night before, decided to forego playing reveille and opted to warm up.
As breakfast was cooking, Col. Emmerick and Capt. Rick Veenhoven,,,
...stopped by our camp and watched the men as they eagerly awaited a hot meal of bacon and pancakes.
After breakfast was over and the cookware cleaned up, the men went out to drill.
Our friend Mike, from the First Michigan, was watching and was convinced to try his hand at firing the gun.
The men drilled, trying out some of the changes of the HB&F drill, until near noon. John went back and prepared the midday meal as Brevet Cpl. Scott Johnson continued drilling the men.
Lunch was toasted cheese sandwiches and chicken/mushroom/rice soup; Pvt. A. Woods thought the soup was “awesome” and ate two bowls full.
At 1 pm, the tow vehicles were brought up and the guns hitched on. Our tow bar still didn’t fit, so Scot was going to take it and mill off some metal after the event. We managed to tow the gun out to the battlefield...
...as the cannoneers marched behind to the sounds of the fife and drum.
Our position was on the brow of a steep hill and we had a commanding view of the entire battlefield.
Capt. Hughes again was in command of the two Parrotts and our 6 pounder. Bvt. Cpl. Johnson handled his detachment well.
It was noted that the entire detachment other than the gunner was under the age of 21 years.
The infantry had a cornfield to fight through during the first part.
They stopped, reset and repositioned to march up the hill from our rear...
...through the guns...
...and then down the hill and to engage the Rebels positioned behind a split rail fence.
The artillery had a good opportunity to fire throughout the battle, being high and to the rear of the infantry and cavalry.
Once the battle was over, the guns were towed to a paved parking lot behind the battlefield. Pvt’s J. Woods and J. Johnson were detailed to stay with the gun while the rest of us went back and started breaking camp.
By 6pm, the camp gear was loaded and the trailer taken to the two privates and the gun. We loaded up, and the vehicles headed towards home. It was a good weekend despite the cool, damp weather.
Jackson Cascades - August
John arrived on site Friday morning and found our camping site with no difficulty. He began setting up camp and had two tents up, the trailer mostly unloaded and the flies laid out in their position by 12:30pm.
Fred & Silas arrived, followed a little bit later by Brian and Phil.
By evening the camp was pretty much established; the guns off loaded and parked.
A supper of brats, beans and chips satisfied everyone's hunger. Other members arrived throughout the late afternoon and evening until we had 7 tents up.
Saturday, at 6:15am the musicians were woken up; they prepared to wake the whole camp.
Precisely at 6:45am, reveille was sounded and the rat-a-tat-tat of the drum and shrill notes of the fife got the soldiers up to start the day.
The newer recruits were shown the kitchen and set to work preparing breakfast of fried potatoes, eggs and bacon. The food was cooked up and eaten...
...and then the men were put to fatigue duty polishing the guns.
Around 10:30, the cannoneers took the limbered cannon to the battlefield and lined it up with the rest of the Federal 8 gun battery.
The Hughes Gun was placed in the Special Impressions area with an information board explaining its development and usage. Several members took turns throughout the day talking to spectators and demonstrating the breech loading mechanism.
After lunch, the men gathered the implements for the 6 pdr and positioned themselves for battle. A good crowd of spectators attended.
It was soon apparent that the temperature was going to get very warm for the rest of the weekend, so we took shade at every opportunity.
At 2 pm, the orders came to load, and the cannoneers took their positions.
After a few shots from the cannon...
the Union Infantry marched onto the field…led by our musicians.
The battle began in earnest, while the artillery traded counter battery fire with 4 Rebel guns across the field.
Alex and Brandon took up a position high up on the hill behind the artillery and played stirring martial airs during the fighting.
Each day’s fighting consisted of two battles, with a short break between while the infantry repositioned. The Rebel cavalry rode up and down the line of guns, capturing or driving the crews from the guns.
After the fighting was done, the men secured the gun and returned to camp or went to the sutlers. One of our boys got to take a ride to the hospital and received treatment for heat exhaustion.
A supper of pork and chicken roasted in the tin kitchen, roasted corn on the cob, chicken rice and fried squash was prepared and enjoyed.
Several of the men took their ease after supper, but others got ready for the ball, and enjoyed themselves dancing until 10pm. Meanwhile Jon and John went to see how our guy was doing and brought him back after being discharged from the hospital.
By 11:30pm, everyone turned in, having had a long hot day.
Oddly enough, the musicians were slow awakening on Sunday morning, letting everyone sleep in. Breakfast of pancakes and sausage was cooked up.
Alex entertained the men with his grooming routine; several then went into town to attend church.
The rest of the men either went to sutlers or stood duty at the Hughes gun display. Dave and Phil seem to have a particularly good knack in talking to spectators about the gun, always generating interest and a good response from the crowd, collecting 7 names of potential recruits.
The battle started with the Confederate guns and Union guns all pointing the same direction, and a group of union cannoneers manning the 4 guns in our front.
The Confederate infantry assaulted those cannon; the Union men broke and ran across the field to where our cannon were positioned. Alex led the “skedaddle” with Wyatt and Brandon following in the mass.
Halfway across, Brandon was shot and wounded, and lay in the field until collected by a surgeon and taken off the field. When the first line of guns was taken, we were ordered to open up as the guns recently captured were spun to bear on our line.
Several shots were fired at the opposing cannon and the infantry in our front. Due to a lack of flank protection by the Union infantry, a group of Confederate infantry marched right into our gun, but were unprepared to face the steely resolve of our men not to abandon the gun and in a surprising conclusion, our boys turned about the tables and “captured” Col. Medich and about 20 Rebel infantry.
With their Commanding Officer in our hands, the rest of the Confederates struggled on, but due to a lack of determination to continue the fight, and after suffering terrible losses from our cannister, they abandoned the field.
With the weekend over, the camps were broken down and by 6:30pm, the trailer was loaded with gear and guns and headed home.
Grayling Live Fire - July
23 guns entered:
Bledsloe's Battery won with 4 hits
Robinson's Battery second with 3 hits
1st S.C.'s 1.5" Ellsworth won with 9 hitst tie with Brian Haack's Hughes gun
1902 British had 8 hits
Brian's 1.5" Ellsworth had 7 hits
2.5" Broadwell had 3 hits
Robinson's Battery's Hughes gun had 1 hit.
Around 8:45am, Scott, Brandon and Alex arrived at John's house and loaded their camp equipment into John's truck. Phil arrived with Fred and Silas a little later followed by Cameron. Cam backed up to the trailer and hitched up and by 9am, we were on the road heading north. It was a little strange for John as he normally doesn't see this end of the trailer.
The trip was pretty uneventful, Cam's truck didn't seem to have a lot of trouble pulling the trailer. At Clare, the men stopped at General Jim's Army Surplus Store, Jay's Gun Shop and got a bite to eat. Then back on the road to Grayling and Range 35.
The men took the guns to the ready area and unloaded both the 6 pounder and the Hughes gun, then retrailered the Hughes gun. A number of other artillerymen gathered around and looked "Little John" over; Brian Haack examined our handiwork and made some observations. Many positive comments were heard and it is anticipated that there may be a couple other "Hughes guns" started soon.
Once the 6 pdr gun and limber were off loaded and the men registered, we drove back to the camping area, parked the trailer and set-up our tents.
We headed into town for supper and tried out Grayling's only Chinese restaurant; the consensus was that can do better. At camp, we found a knot of men standing around Brian's "Hughes gun" and so several of us joined them for some more discussion/comment; after awhile the group drifted over to our piece for more talk.
Saturday morning, the men were up and cooking breakfast by 7am.
At 8:30, the men rode up to the range and got ready to watch the first relay of mortars.
We were on the first relay of field guns so we made sure that our implements were ready.
We moved the Hughes gun up to the spectator line and put out the display board containing the history of the original gun.
Around 10am, we moved the gun up to the firing position...
...and at 10:15 we fired the first round downrange.
We were shooting at 500 yds.
Our first shots fell short...
...so Cam raised the sight and soon got the range pretty close.
Overall,we didn't do so well as the balls curved away from the target board in unpredictable trajectories which is common for smoothbore shooters.
Of the 12 rounds at the board, we hit it twice as did another 6 pd gun; however, based on distance to center, Robinson's Battery should be in second place.
With our match done, we watched the rifled guns compete at 1000 yds.
...and then and the siege mortars lofting their shots.
Brian Haack mentioned that we might be able to put the Hughes gun on the line during the relay for mountain rifles and practice a little as we hadn't fired farther than 200 yds before.
Permission was granted and the gun was pulled out to the firing line.
Cpl. Chapman selected a target about 450 yds away and began to fire.
Our first design on projectiles proved that the driving band needed to be affixed in a different manner, as the shot was flying as badly as if the gun were a smoothbore. Brian loaned us one of his cast projectiles which flew where it was aimed. But at least we had a starting point on our elevation for 600 ydrs.
We met Mike Jevic, with the 1rst MI. Inf (he 's from the Kalamazoo area) who had been up to the Guard base for some training earlier in the week. At Charlton Park, Mike had mentioned that he would like to see the guns fire, so he came over and watched. After the range went "cold," several of us went downrange and recovered some shot, including one of our own...
...and a number of the 6 pdr shot, including one that hit a tree dead center, and remained inside.
After this, most of us changed clothes and Mike led the way to another Army surplus store just north of Grayling. There we looked through an interesting collection. Stopping in town on our way back, we picked up some super glue in an attempt to remedy the driving band which spins independent of the shot.
Getting back to camp, we prepared a BBQ pork and beef supper, consisting of food left over from the weekend before, but everyone enjoyed it.
After supper, a couple ladies came over from the 1rst SC's camp and asked Alex and Brandon to play fife and drum music. The boys enjoyed the applause for their performance and stayed there talking until quite late.
Sunday morning the men cooked up some pancakes and sausage, then went back to the range to watch the Bacon Creek and Grayling open matches.
The sun warmed up so the men tried out the tarp on the 6pr/limber as a shade...
...and took the opportunity to snooze a little.
...we readied the Hughes gun...
...for the 600 yd Mountain Rifle match.
Our first couple of rounds...
...looked straight on the target, but again were short.
Cpl. Chapman adjusted...
...and the third shot went over the target.
After that, the shot flew erratically...
...we believe that the super glue failed to hold the driving band, so it's time for a little R&D again.
We did get one hit out of ten on the board at 600 yards, which is a start for having fired fewer than 20 rounds so far. After the match, the men returned to camp, changed clothes and packed everything for the trip to B.C.
Charleton Park - July
It was a weekend of firsts, ac- complishments and high
praise. Arriving shortly after 9am, John, Cam and Phil off loaded the guns
and started setting up camp behind the General Store at Charlton Park.
A company street was laid out and the Sibley, two flies and two rows of A
tents were set up under the shade of some great black walnut trees, which kept
the camp comfortable during the heat of the day.
At 10:30am, Brian and Fred arrived. With the camp arranged, Cam spent the afternoon baking fruit pies in the Dutch oven for Saturday's supper. Scott, Brandon, Alex and Jacob Booth pulled later in the evening,with Dave arriving around 10pm to fill out our detachment.
Saturday morning John and Cam returned to camp to find that several of the boys had wandered away from camp and happened upon a farmer's wife who invited them to partake a breakfast that she had prepared, and then demanded that the soldiers pay for the food that they had eaten. Meanwhile back in camp, the Captain had the rest of the men cook-up their rations of bacon and hoecakes.
After eating, the artillerymen drilled on the cannon and examined a strange new piece of ordnance recently captured from the rebels near New Madrid, Missouri. It had a strange loading apparatus, loading the shot and the powder from the breech instead of the muzzle. The men, being a higher caliber intelligence than the average soldier, decided to test this new device and as the ammunition box was full, began to work through the steps needed to load and fire the strange red cannon. The men took to calling the red gun, "Little John," in honor of the Captain's role in its acquisition.
At 9:30am, the cannon were limbered (we got to use our new limber)...
...and towed out to High Meadows field, for the morning battle.
With the Union Infantry in the lead, we marched behind the vehicles towing our gun and the 20 pound Parrott from the 1st KY. Our field musicians, two drummers and two fifers, played some tunes. After awhile, we overtook the infantry as they rested along the roadside. The towed guns took the lead, we were second with the infantry behind us.
We marched through a wooded section when Cpl. Davis noticed some "Johnnies" hiding in the woods. Sure enough they opened fire. The battle wasn't scheduled to begin for another 15 minutes, so we continued on and ignored the breach of conduct. At the next bend in the road, the guns had moved ahead of us some distance and now, blocking the road was a Confederate battle line aiming at US! They fired a round, but as we were still thinking that they were "jumping the gun" kept marching towards them. They soon filed off the road, and allowed us to march on. Only now, the main Confederate line was ahead of us, again blocking the road! They seemed confused seeing the artillerymen marching to field music and soon cleared the road allowing us to continue. It then occurred to us that the Rebels, hearing the music, thought that they were being followed by the Union Infantry, and laid a plan to meet them in the narrow confines of the roadway. When we appeared with the music and no infantry, they were perplexed which threw their plans into disarray. Upon reaching the open and hilly field, the guns were unlimbered and placed into position.
The detachment counted off.
The Chicago Light Artillery arrived with their original 6pdr drawn by
a team of horses. Our gun took the left, the Chicago battery the center and
the 20 pdr on the right. Across the field, two 10 pd Parrotts of Battery D
were the Confederate Artillery. Capt. Kumerow asked Capt. Hughes to take
command of the half battery, as he was going to help steady a horse
who hadn't been around cannon fire.
At 10am, we opened fire and the battle was on.
The cannon maintained a slow rate of fire as the Infantry assaulted
each others lines.
Capt. Hughes ordered a battery fire which with all three guns, was
The fighting only lasted about a half hour; not many spectators were
there to watch. As we prepared to tow the gun back to camp, Chris
Czopek and David Schock arrived.
David is filming and producing a video about Chris's favorite topic - the Native
Americans in Co. K, who were at Andersonville Prison.
David needed some video clips to use in the documentary so he convinced us
(real hard to do, too) to stick around to film the cannon being fired. Then
he wanted some footage of the musicians.
With filming done, we towed the gun back to camp and it was time for
lunch. Soon the camp cook called the boys away from their amusements and
served a light lunch.
Shortly after the Capt. called the men to duty and divided theminto two detachments; one remaining on the 6 pounder, the other picking up "Little John's" drag ropes. They joined the men of Battery D's mountain howitzer and fell in behind the Union Infantry as they advanced into the town square.
There the boys in blue formed into a line of battle facing across the village square where a battalion of gray clad men were opening fire upon the Yankees. The howitzer was deployed on the right side of the road, our gun took the left side and the men took their equipment and implements with the breech opened for loading.
Once the charge was in place and the gun primed - BOOM!
The report was impressive! The gunners fired for several rounds before the
rebels retired from the onslaught of artillery and infantry fire. After, Major Keith Harrison commented that he was impressed
with the gun's "bark" and thought it was a very interesting
cannon. Other people however had another impression of the "bark" and we were
asked if we could reduce the charge a bit (we were using 4 oz.) as our gun
was the loudest one on the field.
With the battle over, the men took the Hughes gun back to camp and put it in the gun line. A number of spectators, infantry and artillerymen came over to examine it in detail. Nearly all mentioned that they had never heard of the Hughes gun before. Most of them thought that the Captain was being facetious when he told them the name of the gun, so he told them about D.W. Hughes who invented and patented the design.
Around 4pm, Capt Hughes rounded up some of the younger men and put them to
work cleaning and chopping vegetables for supper.
While they worked, John got out the tin kitchen, and skewered both a
pork roast and beef roast, rubbed them with herbs and dressed them with
bacon. They cooked as a pan of mixed root
vegetables, a kettle of green beans with onion and ham hocks and another pan
of summer squash also simmered. Cpl. Davis prepared ice cream; several men
took turns cranking the dasher until it was frozen. John made up a crock of
apple juice mixed with raspberry tea, which madea nice change
from the usual lemonade. The fruit pies and fresh ice cream completed the
meal to everyone's contentment.
After supper, a couple of the young men headed off to the barn dance and the
rest of us enjoyed relaxing and talking with friends. As darkness approached,
we readied the Hughes gun for the night artillery fire demonstration.
The morning tactical was going to arrive early, so by 11pm, our boys were in their bedrolls. At 5:30am, we got the boys up, ate a quick breakfast of muffins and loaded the Hughes gun into the back of Scott's truck to unload inanother area of the park. The object of the tactical was for our gun and the mountain howitzer to hide. Both the Union and the Confederate armies would set off from different points and try to find the cannon. The side that found the artillery, would then have the use of the firepower during the rest of the tactical. That way, one side could end up having one gun, both guns or no guns during the tactical battles.The artillery received instruction "don't make it easy for them to find you." The drag ropes were hitched on and the younger men towed the gun several hundred yards...
...up hill and down...
...as Capt. Hughes and Cpl. Chapman scouted out a good place to hide. The place chosen was a swale at the edge of a field along which a lane traversed. The gun and 5 of the 9 men dug their way inside. The other four men did the same across from the gun at the edge of the lane. Our disguise was perfect.
We used cut branches to fill in gaps, and were very quiet..even Alexander.
Mounted cavalrymen rode past several times; several patrols of infantry (from both sides) walked past our position. There were even two Confederates soldier who simultaneously walked to the edge of our hiding spot and relieved themselves...and yes, we can identify who they are.
See if you can spot the cannon! After the infantry and cavalry gave upand returned to camp, we pulled out the gun and fired a salute in honor of a successful evasion.
Then we loaded up for the trip back to camp.
Lunch was prepared for the hungry men, and none to soon, as Cpl. Chapman and Pvt. Goodwin were seen trying to shoot their dinner out of the river. While the men rested, Col. Nick Meditch came over to our camp to discuss the success we had had hiding from his men. He was very impressed and paid us a high compliment for doing such a good job.
At 1pm, we helped give an artillery demonstration, and at the conclusion asked Maj. Newkirk if he would like to fire the Hughes gun. He, of course, agreed.
During the afternoon battle, men who had served on the 6 pdr during Saturday's fight swapped with those who had worked the Hughes gun...
...and the red gun repeated the scenario of the day before.
At the conclusion of the battle...
...the camps were struck, and everything loaded up.
Turkeyville - June
On Friday at 9am, John arrived at Camp Turkeyville.
The host units had company streets all laid out and directed him
to where to set up. Cameron arrived shortly after and soon they had their tents, flies and Sibley up.
Fred and Silas arrived, set up their tent and helped unload
the camp equipment and cannon.
daybreak Saturday morning, John awoke to a pleasant morning and a chance to look around at the encampment.
We found ourselves camped directly across from the Summer White
House; Abe Lincoln…recently rumored to be a vampire hunter…. was there, ready for any threat.
After breakfast, Kirk and Cindy arrived...
...as did with Sgt. Liebrandt.
were several activities throughout the day, including a fashion show.
At 1 pm, Cam, Jon, Kirk and John went out to the gun, preparing to
serve the gun “with diminished crew” for the battle.
Just as we were ready to
start, Privates S. Johnson, B. Johnson and Bacik arrived, having just parked their
truck, and running to the battle.
Scott volunteered to help out on the 20 pound Parrott belonging to
the First Ky. Volunteers...
...who brought their new acquisition out for its “baptism
The two federal cannon faced off...
...against 5 confederate howitzers...
...and the fight was on.
The infantry was in greater strength than previous years, so the
battle lasted for an hour each day.
We were forced off our guns a couple times. Kirk brought his
carbine and helped protect the gun.
Poor Private Bacik appears to be injured again.
There was a pretty good crowd.
One of the most
popular demonstrations was the leg amputation by Dr.
Later, the Turkeyville Restaurant provided supper for the reenactors...
...as long as the menu was turkey :-)
While waiting for the ball, Brandon took time to
At the ball...
...the younger artillerymen...
...and some older dancers, too...
Private B. Johnson and potential recruit, Amy Woods, appear to be
enjoying the ball.
As dusk fell, the artillerymen returned to the guns for a night
Privates A. Woods and J.
Woods worked the limber chest and no. 5.
The following series of photographs...
shows the process...
...and the power...
...of firing a cannon...
At 7:30 am Sunday, our
musicians beat reville as they marched around the
After breakfast, Private
Bacik took a detail out to the cannon...
...and polished it up
The limber chest got polished too.
Back in camp, Cpl. F.
Chapman observed a duel...
...as Private S. Chapman showed off his skill with a saber
against Cpl. Davis’s new walking stick (sorry,
Private Goodwin arrived
as a slight rain storm swept through.
A few brave spectators
came out in the damp weather.
Cpl. Davis explained solid
At 11:30 am, the Captain ordered the
musicians to play “Assembly.”
The men marched over to the Colonel’s tent for pay call. The men seemed to be excited
about marching for a change.
Some of the men had
their pay reduced to pay their debts...
...to some of the local ladies who had taken
in laundry and had not been paid for their services. With some of the articles
of clothing presented as evidence it seems that some of the Infantrymen sport
“interesting” underclothes beneath their Army issue blue
The Captain, who sat with Col.
Emerick, was proud to note that none of
the cannoneers under his command had debts withheld.
Photo by Schakel
Either they are fiscally responsible or they don’t wash their underwear….
Photo by Schakel
One by one...
...as his name was checked
...he was paid in gold
Before long though,
the Government made the soldiers earn their pay, as the long roll was sounded that
an attack was imminent.
The cannoneers formed their detachment and marched out
to the gun.
With the taking up of implements, the gun was made
Again, the battle
lasted for an hour.
Several attacks on the Union artillery were made and
There was some bloody, hand-to-hand fighting...
...between the Blue and
Gray Infantry too.
Cpl. Davis even had a
go at ‘em.
With the battle over...
...the artillerymen returned to camp and relaxed before the event was officially
A watermelon was cut
and some pound cake distributed (although not as good as the TenBrink
recipe). Soon everyone pitched in to break camp and load the
Coldwater - May
Friday morning, Cam and John
arrived at the new event site at Heritage Park in Coldwater. After dropping the
gun off at the battle field...
...they located the camp site in a nice shady area just up the hill and set up.
encampment consisted of three A tents, a dining fly and the Sibley.
had to go to work after the camp was set-up, so Cam stayed until Scott, Brandon,
Alex and Harley arrived to spend the night.
morning John and Cam returned to camp and prepared breakfast.
As that was
cooking, Phil arrived.
breakfast, Cpl. Davis took the younger soldiers down to the gun and put them to
work polishing the piece.
men did a good job; Alex worked on the muzzle end...
buffed the casabel until it shone and
Harley polished the limber chest lid.
they were working, the camp had an important visitor.
the gun looking good, Cpl. Davis took the rest of the detachment to the gun
new recruits paid attention to the Corporal.
had new member Glenn Martin from South Bend, Indiana with us...
well as potential recruits, Justin Woods...
Harley Addington, both from Galesburg, Michigan.
men worked at their duties...
they were proficient. A break for a light lunch was made. While we were back at
camp, Robinson's Battery had a table display set up for the visitors to look at
a variety of shot and shell. And several people were interested in joining our
1:30 pm, the detachment formed up and marched out to the gun for battle.
Implements were taken...
...and soon we were
and Brandon worked the chest and ran charges.
and Phil brought along a couple carbines and protected our flank. The
battle ended with the Confederates ransacking the Union camp and the Yankee artillery
stopping their advance.
Battery secured the gun and headed back to camp for a supper of pork &
beans and BBQ pork.
Cam baked a rhubarb pie in a Dutch oven.
Brandon and Harley had never tasted rhubarb pie before. They liked
After the meal, several artillerymen got cleaned up to
attend the ball.
They found dance partners...
...while some watched.
As the cannoneers
danced the evening away, the gun sat
Around 11 pm, the ball
ended; the men returned to camp and sat around the fire recounting their
evening. Finally, they were sent to their bedrolls to get
Sunday morning, the young men’s conversation still revolved around the ball...
... the older men
were more interested in getting a cup of
Sgt. Liebrandt arrived
and took charge of the detatchment.
services, he took the men out to the gun for more drill.
The mild temperatures of Saturday disappeared as the temperature rapidly rose to the low 90s.
After a good drill,
the men returned to camp for lunch
and a chance to cool off.
At 1:30 pm, the detachment was marched out to the
piece and the battle resumed where it had ended on
Pvt. Bacik “just
happened” to get wounded and had to be taken to where the young lady, with whom he had
danced, was bandaging up the wounded
After being bandaged
with a tender touch…
...he was taken to the field hospital.
Fortunately, he recovered enough to help with breaking camp and packing the
Casting - May
At 7:15 am Scott, Brandon and Alexander arrived at Captain Hughes's house; shortly after, Cameron arrived. They all climbed into the
Captain's truck for the drive to Matt Switlik's
workshop in Monroe, Mi. Matt arrived shortly after.
Matt set-up the
melting furnace and started putting heat to the metal.
As the zinc chips, along with some once fired and recovered shot, began to melt,
Kirk and Dave arrived to help. A little more heat was applied to speed up the process.
The older guys showed the new younger men what
needed to be done and had them try their hand at the work.
While waiting for the melt to occur, Alex and Dave practiced
Matt made the first pour...
...and the men of Robinson's Battery took up their duties...
...with teams working
together on each mold.
In order to easily remove the shot from the mold...
...the molds had
to be cooled.
Several men got to do the actual pour of the molten
...while others used the torch to melt the sprue and allow the draw down of
the metal to remove voids at the top of the ball.
Alex took a turn at helping the second melt liquefy.
...paying close attention to his duty.
...and Brandon gained experience with the pouring.
The results of the morning's work which was done before 1 pm. The shot now awaits the
next processes of sprue removal and finishing.
Mansfield, Ohio Civil War Relic & Artillery Show - May
Friday morning John, Fred and Silas headed over and picked up Dave for the
trip to the Mansfield Civil War Relic and Artillery Show. Fred drove
his new (to him) Ford Expedition and a load of stuff to sell.
After stopping for lunch at Tony Packo's in Toledo, the guys continued on
their journey and arrived at the fairgrounds. About
half way through setting up, a thunderstorm with very heavy rain struck, which lasted about an hour; fortunately we were inside.
Once the building was secured, we met up with Steve Cameron of Trail Rock Ordnance, Marshall Steen of Steen Cannon Works, Jason Clagg of Powder
and Pyro- technics, and several others or dinner. Saturday morning dawned clear; the men went back to the Artillery Barn
and had a little time to browse before the show opened to the public.
Some WW II reenactors set up across from our area.
Robinson's Battery member Dave Goodwin joined the Camp Chase
Fife & Drums for his debut performance with that august body of musicians.
Dave (back right) was invited to join the Camp Chase this year.
This event was his first time playing
in concert with them.
Another view of the group...and Ferris wheel
Battery member Kirk Walstedt stopped by after finding parts for muskets. A number of old friends, acquaintances and fellow
artillerymen stopped by to talk and purchase items. The crowd seemed larger than
in previous years and in a mood to spend money.
Fred did a good business selling artillery sights; John had a good weekend selling heelplates, badges and miscellaneous items. Some items were sold for
the Battery's grave marker project which raised enough to set a couple more government markers for the unmarked graves of soldiers from the original battery. Silas sold some arrowheads he had knapped out.
When Dave wasn't playing with the CC F&D, he found some time to
At day's end, the building was secured and the men
rendezvoused for supper, followed by a relaxing visit to the motel's hot tub to soak away the effects of standing all day on a cement
Sunday was another very nice day and again, sales were steady all day.
The artillery battery demonstration consisted of 14 cannon...
...plus a 4 gun battery located across the road about 800 yards away that
provided counter-battery fire; they fired several times each day. At 3 PM, the show closed; we packed up considerably less than we
brought and headed home.
150th Shiloh Battle Reenactment
On Monday March 26, Cameron, Scott, Alexander
and Brandon transferred the cannon from the big trailer to the
small trailer for the trip to the reenactment at Shiloh, Tennessee. After
loading the camp equipment and personal gear in the truck, they loaded
up the trailer, too.
On Wednesday March 28 at 7:30am, Scott,
Brandon, Alexander and Dave arrived, pushed their bags into the back and
climbed into the truck for the trip south.
Although the back seat was crowded, the three musicians took
advantage of the road time to practice the fife and drum.
It was a good thing everyone likes fife and drum music as the volume got
a little loud on occasion.
After a 7 hour drive, the gun and detachment arrived at Goodlettsville, just north of Nashville, Tennessee and stopped for the night.
the back of the truck in the morning required serious effort.
Back on the road at 7:30 AM Thursday, it was a 3 hour
trip to the Shiloh National Military Park.
at the Battlefield Park...
men stopped at the museum...
...and then toured of some of the significant parts of the
The men reflected...
...on the horrific action at Bloody Pond.
Alexander and Brandon decided to stretch their legs and walked to the next point of interest.
played his fife as they walked.
a while, they decided to ride on the trailer...
...as they continued the tour.
recreated Shiloh meeting house
River line of Defense on the banks of the Tennessee River
found two Ames 6 pounders that were cast in 1861...
guns to ours
we arrived at the National Cemetery.
The men walked among the soldiers who
died 150 years ago.
About 2 pm, everyone climbed into the truck for a short ride
to the registration area and on into camp. Finding the Union
Artillery camp was pretty easy; we were part of Battery A, 1rst Battalion and
our camp was the first one we came to. After finding Capt. Joe Patchen and
reporting in, we were directed to set up our tents.
cannon was off loaded and put into the gun line.
State House Battery brought a spare limber for us which arrived
later in the day.
We had to trim off some wood for the limber pole to
fit, which was done after darkness had fallen.
put up tents and moved cannon, supper was prepared at the commissary,
manned by Sgt. Henry Vincent...
and Cpl. Dale Bowen of Battery G, 2nd Ill. Lt.
Artillery, the third group making up Battery A for the weekend. Recruit Mark
Hall of the State House Battery and several civilian ladies also helped
prepare meals for about 50 artillerymen. These
cooks provided good, filling meals all weekend.
These next four photos were taken by Mark Hall of the State House Battery...
...showing the commissary.
These images prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that reenactors truly believe...
...in the old saw that an army, indeed, does march on its stomach.
temperatures were in the mid 70s as we set up camp, then cooled down to a
very comfortable 60 degrees at night.
Friday morning was overcast but soon a light rain began which lasted most of the morning. The men ate breakfast and as vehicles and
trailers arrived, the clay soil turned into 3 inches of mud.
Union Artillery camp was pretty impressive; Battery A consisted of 6 original
bronze cannon - 4-12 Pd Napoleons and 2-6pd field guns.
The other batteries were arranged next to us.
Artillery Park seemed to go on and on.
A mounted section, commanded by our friend Steve Cameron,
brought their horses too.
10 am, the men were assembled on the gun line...
...our gun was then inspected and Pvt. Joe Ferrell of the 1rst
Wisc. Art. joined our detachment.
lunch, the men had a chance to go to the sutlers. Pvt. Bacik and Sgt. Hughes...
stopped in at R. J. Szabo’s tintype studio and had their
Alex’s eighteenth birthday was on March 29...
...and Sgt. Hughes celebrated his birthday on March 30 so they had a little celebration.
arrived from Capt. Patchen to move the guns at 2 pmM, so the guns were limbered
and the teams hitched up. Pvt’s Goodwin, Bacik, and B. Johnson wanted to ride
It was just as muddy a ride as if they had been pulled with
The Battery was moved from camp to the field about 3/4 mile
away and placed into line. A provost of artillerymen spent the night under the
guns. The two 6 pounders were placed in the center, with a section of Napoleons on
each flank. Pvt. Whitman arrived in camp and joined the detachment.
Supper consisted of venison stew and Mrs. Hall’s Wisconsin
corn cakes; afterward the men had a chance to relax. Musicians Goodwin and
Bacik visited some other camps in search of drum and fife players to “jam” with. Most of the men turned in relatively early as we
were to get up at 5 AM.
4:30 AM, Sgt. Hughes awoke the musicians and at 5AM revile was sounded. The men
crawled out from their tents and ate breakfast that the cooks had ready. At
5:50 AM, the Battery marched off to the guns, stepping to the music as best
they could in the sloppy mud.
We had to reposition the cannon to support
Battery B to our left. The fog was thick as we moved the guns 35 yards to the
rear and stood by the limbers. The Capt. ordered the men to their posts as the
unmistakable sound of troop movements in our front grew louder.
long, several wagonloads of refuges from Purdy, Tennessee drove through our lines;
some of the women yelled, “Thar’s a passel o’ Rebs arite behind us’ns.”
Capt. Patchen ordered “Commence Fire!” and the cannoneers sprang into action. The cannon smoke
made the fog even thicker.
...but deadly crew.
The Confederate lines advanced and soon some Union Infantry
came to our support and engaged the Graybacks. The Confederates had strong reinforcements
and the Yankees were driven back in disorder, exposing our guns.
The Rebels overran our position and ransacked their way through
were captured but most retreated to the banks of the Tennessee River; there gunships and siege guns stemmed the tide of the Rebel advance.
Pvt. Goodwin was shot and
Pvt. Bacik made note of where he fell.
By 10 am, the battle was over and the men moved
the guns to a new position about ¼ mile from the morning's
action. They placed the guns at the edge of an old fence row and
settled down to wait for the 2 pm fight. The sun finally came out and the
temperature (and humidity) started to climb. The men ate lunch out of their
Rations were hardtack,
cheese, pork sticks, dried fruit, dried corn and dried peas along with some
hard candy and coffee. The Sgt. & Pvt. S. Johnson soon had a small fire
going and coffee boiling.
Most of the men threw down tarps and gumblankets and napped.
Drummer Bacik spent the time performing for gathering spectators. Within a half hour of the battle, we received word that we were in the
wrong position and that we needed to move our Battery about 300 yards, to the
other side of the fence row.
There were no openings
through which we could move the guns, so Sgt. Hughes pulled out his Rio Grande camp knife and someone had an axe; the two of them hewed a pathway through
the brush and small trees.
As we hurriedly moved the
guns, we piled the haversacks, canteens, drum and more on the limber
footboards. During the bouncing, they slid off; most survived the fall
except for Pvt. S. Johnson’s canteen which landed directly in the path of the
cannon wheel. Surprisingly, the only damage was the loss of one strap
bracket and a nice diagonal groove that is about ½” deep and the width of a
For the battle, our guns were portraying Hickenloopers Battery at
the Hornet’s nest.
There was a fierce battle going on in the field that we had
just vacated; soon we heard the report of the Confederate cannon firing by the
piece which seemed to go on forever.
They were portraying Ruggle’s Battery and there were at least
60 cannon firing at our position.
Slowly the Union Infantry was pushed into our field...
...they advanced towards the
Rebels forming in our front.
A section of horse-drawn guns...
went into action.
As the Union Infantry retired towards our guns...
Battery A went into “Action Front” ...
...and opened fire.
The fighting came closer...
and our gunners started to be
A regiment of Rebels came up on our left flank...
...a couple of companies of Yankees were on our right flank...
... and our gun was in the cross-fire. Pvt. Goodwin lay wounded
at the trail of the gun.
A murderous Rebel officer ran him through with a sword.
Pvt. Bacik caught a bullet.
Sgt. Hughes sent his tintype home to his parents.
With the battle over for the
day, everyone straggled back to camp and the commissary served up a ham supper
with boiled sweet potatoes, corn and fruit pie.
While the older soldiers relaxed
in the cooling evening...
...the young bucks primped and
gussied up to attend the ball, Pvt. Bacik kicked up his heels dancing with some
real Southern belles while the rest of the gun detachment stayed in camp and
talked before retiring for the night.
Around 7 pm, large black clouds built up. Soon lightning was seen flashing
from cloud to cloud; reports came in that the Confederate camp to
our southeast was pummeled with quarter sized hail yet we didn’t have a drop of rain.
Sunday morning dawned clear
and reveille was sounded at 7am. We had some free time that was spent breaking down and packing.
At 10 AM, Capt. Patchen ordered the detachments formed...
...and the musicians led the march to the guns.
The guns were repositioned in line with the rest of the battalion. As the men ate rations out of haversacks, several hundred mounted cavalry rode out of the woods through the
...fFollowed by several regiments of infantry.
They formed up behind us sending out a skirmish line...
...and advancing towards the opposite side of the field.
The Battalion was ordered to load.
On order of Major Loren
Feldkamp, the entire Battalion fired by the piece with no time interval between
The bulk of the infantry had remained behind the guns as we
fired for several minutes.
They then moved through the guns
and advanced towards the Confederate lines. The cannoneers creased fire and
stood tight inside the wheels of the guns to give them room to pass.
During a lull in the fighting, a local unionist farm woman drove an ox cart through the batteries...
allowing the men to
refill their canteens from water barrels on the cart.
With their thirst quenched, the artillerymen returned to the
...and resumed firing.
The Union infantry pushed the
Rebels from the field and the bugles sounded cease-fire. The Union Army held
Our gun showed the effects of
the two days of firing.
We were given permission to bring vehicles on the field and load the cannons. Once back to camp, we finished breaking camp and reloaded the truck and
Pvt. B. Johnson was detailed to polish the gun before the
fouling dried on hard.
By 4 pm everything was secure and we drove
off site. Having rooms reserved at the same motel north of Nashville that we
had stayed in on the trip south, John proposed driving down to Corinth, Mississippi to see some of the places that our original Battery fought. Heading south on hwy 22, we drove a half hour
and found Battery Robinett. The National Park Service had recently built a new interpretative center there.
There is a good video
that gives an overview of the Oct. 3 and 4, 1862 battle and puts the
significance of Corinth into perspective.
John spoke with one of the interpreters while there explaining our
interest in Dee’s Battery; the interpreter knew exactly who John was
talking about and he knew where
the Battery had been positioned and that they had lost at least one of
during the height of the fighting.
John plans to correspond further with
man about the role that the Battery played at Corinth.
In an “After Action report” Major Feldkamp wrote; “Good evening everyone, first of all let
me once again thank each of you for stepping up and taking command of your
Battery. I was very proud to have been your commander at Shiloh. In
my opinion, the Federal Artillery did our branch proud. Could we have
been better, absolutely! I look back on Shiloh and feel grateful to have
worked with some wonderful Battery Commanders, Section Officers, Safety
Officers and cannon crew. As I reflect on Shiloh, I know we did our best
under some trying circumstances. Thank you all for your support, patience
Our Captain, John Hughes - double armed
Kalamazoo Living History Show - March
John and Cam arrived at the Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds and found our tables;
Robinson's Battery had a location inside the new Expo Hall building - plenty
of light, space and high ceilings made for a good relocation.
Once the tables were set up, Cam and John had a chance to make a little
pre-opening shopping, returning to the tables at 9 am when the show opened to
Battery member Jim Miller arrived to help watch the tables, and spent some
time catching up with Cameron.
New members Alexander Bacik, Brandon Johnson and Scott Johnson arrived to find some necessary pieces of uniforms and equipment.
We had several people stop to watch our slide presentation and express
interest in joining our Battery.
Fred & Joan, Caleb & Silas Chapman stopped by to see us and to
...as did Dave Goodwin. Dave, Brandon and Alexander took an opportunity to practice their fifes and drums before the big Shiloh reenactment coming soon.
It was great to see everyone at this event.
Jon Liebrandt, wearing his 1812 uniform, stopped by to chat, too.
Alexander (hereafter to be known as His Excellency, Alexandero de Bacika, Emperor of the New Americicas
Percussionista Corps and slayer of calfskin) took a moment to try on Major Fisher's Chapeau and struck a pose for the camera. Major Fisher was from the 1rst Regiment of
Sunday morning, Sgt. Jon Liebrandt arrived and helped watch the
tables (note the change in uniform).
Privates Bacik, B. Johnson and S. Johnson returned to shop and
assist at the tables. Alexander tried out his canteen...
...then spent some time talking with the folks who make Cooperman Drums. They kindly allowed Alex to try out one of the
bigger drums, and he marched up...
...and down in front of the building with
Brandon practiced a little with his fife. Battery member Phil Nager was busy all day manning the "Friends Goodwill"
Despite the beautiful summer-like weather, there was a good
crowd on Sunday, and we had a chance to talk with some more
Sights and Sounds of the Civil
War; Grand Rapids Public Museum - January
By 7 A.M. Saturday morning, John and Phil were headed to the Grand
Rapids Public Museum for the “Sights and Sounds of the Civil
War” program. Arriving a bit before 9 A.M. they were admitted and shown the
table that John had requested. After unpacking, John and Phil obtained a
couple smaller tables to allow for the display to shown
Battery history, recruiting fliers, reproduction shot and shell, leather
equipment, sights, and the slide show were arranged for
Battery Member Chris Czopek had a table adjoining ours with his display about Native Americans in Co.K of the 16th
Michigan Infantry. Chris was a featured speaker at one of the seminars,
As the public entered, Scott and Brandon
Johnson and Alexander Bacik arrived and brought several of their friends (Jacob Booth, Aaron (last name?), Harley Addington, and
Justin Woods) who have expressed interest in joining Robinson’s
Alexander and Brandon provided musical accompaniment for the
soldiers in the Third Michigan Infantry who performed infantry drill by organizing a group of youngsters, arming them with wooden rifles and putting
them through the manual of arms.
Phil tried his hand at playing a fife, too.
crowd seemed to exceed the expectations of the museum staff, and the Robinson’s
Battery men had a great day explaining the various shot/shell and artillery
related equipment to people of all ages. Several brochures were handed
couple names were collected as potential recruits.
The show ended at 3P.M. and by 3:15, the Battery’s display was
packed in the truck and everyone headed home.