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Table of Contents: 
   Turkeyville - June
   Coldwater - June
   South Bend, Indiana Demonstration - May  
   Mansfield, Ohio Civil War Show - May
   Gun River Trap & Skeet Club Demonstration Firing - April  
   Kalamazoo Living History - March

Turkeyville - June

Friday morning, Cameron stopped at the Captain’s house to hitch up the new trailer.

The Captain towed the other trailer as they headed to Turkeyville.

Fred and Silas, and Alice and Jacob arrived and they started to set up camp.

Corporals Davis and Chapman kept things in order as other members arrived and set up their tents.  On Saturday morning, the Captain arrived in camp to find that it had grown in his absence.

Private Lewis and...

...Private Ednie started the fire for breakfast.

After cleaning up from breakfast...

...the men were formed up...

...and drilled “The School of the Cannoneer; Dismounted” in which the detachments are formed into rank...

...and file.

With practice the men started looking good, so the implements were issued...

...and the marched to the guns.

Permission to commence fire...

...was given!

The men returned to camp after drill, Bugler Goodwin sounded lunch call.

Ham and bean soup with corn bread, which Corporal Davis baked in the Dutch oven, was enjoyed by all.

Corporal Davis took time to review each man's progress in gaining canooneer skills.

Photo by Alice Sims

At 2 pm, the battle began against the Confederate artillery.  Robinson’s Battery’s Hughes gun opened the ball.

The bronze 6 pounder supported the smaller gun...

...followed by our 20 pound Parrott as the Union artillery began the fight which was soon answered by the Rebels.

The Union infantry passed between our guns and went out to engage the Rebels.  When our field of fire cleared, the artillery re-opened fire.  A small group of Rebels made a flank attack on the left most gun in the Union line.  Intent upon capturing that gun and enfilading the line of guns, they failed to notice that Captain Hughes saw them and sent Pvt. Ednie to retrieve his Henry rifle and drive off the raiders. Pvt. Ednie sprang to his duty and before long the Rebels were under heavy fire. After losing most of his men to the accurate aim of Pvt. Ednie, the Rebel officer withdrew his remaining men, leaving the Federal guns unharmed.

Near battle's end, a Mississippi Infantry company demonstrated of the effects of canister shot from the target's point of view.  Spectators watched as the infantry, concealed by a series of swales, crested the last hill...

...and charged the Union cannon.

After returning to camp, the men relaxed for a bit.

At 5 pm, a Turkeyville restaurant provided supper.

During the intermission, Dave played some tunes on his violin.

As dusk fell, the cannoneers returned to the gun line and prepared the cannon for a night fire.

During the night a heavy rainstorm passed over our camp, but we suffered no damage.  Sunday morning's breakfast of cornmeal pancakes and sausage fortified the men for the day’s activities.

At 12:30 pm, pay call!

The men lined up to collect their money.

As usual, a few of the young men...

...had their monthly pay reduced for unpaid bills from the launderess. 

At 1:30, the cannoneers returned to the guns, but due to reduced numbers, the 20 pdr and the 6 pdr were crewed up...

Photo by T. Stumpfig

...while Scott serviced the breech loading Hughes gun alone.

After the battle, Cpl. Davis demonstrated the cleaning of the bore to the new recruits.

Then it was time to break camp and by 5:30 the guns were loaded and canvas packed for the next campaign.

Photo by Alice Sims

Coldwater - June

Friday morning John picked up Jacob and they drove to Coldwater’s Heritage Park where they met Cameron, located their camp site and off loaded the 6 pounder and Hughes gun.

The three men got to work and set up the canvases, including the Sibley.

While we were working in camp, above us...

...the Education Day program was taking place; several schools brought their classes to learn about the Civil War.

It was a bit different this year, as our camp was set in a small grove of trees at the base of a bluff.

The cannons were positioned on top of the bluff so that we were almost firing over the top of our tentage.

Once camp was set, John left for work while Cameron and Jacob went into town for supplies, finished setting up the mess area and baked two pies in the Dutch oven. Phil arrived later, as did Paul, Mike and Jon.

 Scott and his boys along with Justin and Amy (Artimus) came in during the evening towing the 20 pounder which was placed in Battery with our other guns and a 20 pd Parrott from the Ky. Vol. (Union).

At camp Saturday morning, the Captain found the men getting up and Pvt. Lewis preparing breakfast of sausage, gravy and biscuits.

The men gathered around the fire awaiting their rations.

The morning meal was eaten...

...and cookware cleaned up.

The men were called into formation for roll call...

...and marched out for a good drill session.

Pvt. Ednie arrived...

...as he had camped on the other side of the event site.

After the men took their positions on the guns, Cpl. Davis and Sgt. Liebrandt provided instruction on the correct method of each man’s duties.

This was the first drill for several of the men this year.

A couple of our veteran artillerymen arrived, Pvt. Pangburn (aka. Chauncey Ingham)...

...and Pvt. Peterson (aka. Mongo) and took position on the limbers.

The men worked at drill for a good amount of time.

Each man practiced under the watchful eyes of the NCOs to learn the duties correctly for each position.

Permission was obtained for a couple practice rounds...

...with powder!

After drill was over, the artillerymen were marched back to camp...

...and took lunch.

In a clear attempt to curry favor with the Captain, Pvt. Peterson took it upon himself to make sure that the Captain’s shoes were properly tied and buffed...

...before the Captain headed out to perform inspections of all the cannon at 1 pm.

Photo by Alice Sims

At 1:45 pm,  the men marched back to the guns...

Photo by Alice Sims

...and the battle began.

Photo by Alice Sims

Photo by Alice Sims

Photo by Alice Sims

Watchful eyes

Photo by Alice Sims


Photo by Alice Sims

After the battle ended, a number of spectators stopped by to see the projectile exhibit...


...and camp.

Photo by Alice Sims

Robinson’s Battery posed for a photographic image before heading back to camp.  Do you prefer color...

Photo by Alice Sims

...or black and white?

Photo by Alice Sims

Supper preparations began and several members took a walk to sutlers or visited with friends. A picnic ham was roasted in the tin kitchen.

Sweet potatoes simmered in apple cider, 5 pounds of fresh asparagus, green beans with bacon followed by slices of rhubarb and cherry pie rounded out the menu.

A ball was held in the civilian area, and at 9 pm, we were asked to perform a firing demonstration.

The men assembled on the guns and as dusk darkened, the guns were loaded.

The guns were fired three times. A small crowd watched these proceedings and applauded at the conclusion.

The guns were secured for the night, and by 11 pm, the camp was deep in slumber.

Sunday morning, the men arose refreshed and hungry.

The fire was built up and breakfast prepared.

The NCOs enjoyed a few minutes relaxing after the meal.

Some of the men took an opportunity to employ some hijinks on their fellow cannoneers.

Morning drill was held.

We lost several men leave due to various other duties overnight...

...so the men practiced with reduced numbers.

The gun detachments also switched guns...

...so that everyone learned the differences between servicing a smoothbore versus a rifled gun.

As we finished up, the Captain learned that the Army Paymaster had arrived.

The men formed up and marched over to Headquarters.

The men formed a line...

...and were paid in gold coin.

As each man was paid...

...the Paymaster would check to see if there were any “deductions “ to his account.

The month’s pay would be adjusted accordingly.

 For some reason, many of the younger men seemed to owe money to the launderess.

Yet Cpl. Davis said he had seen those same men down at the river washing their clothes.


...where is their money going?

After the men were paid, they were dismissed; Pvt. J. Johnson entered a pie eating contest and received second place.

At 1:50 pm, the cannoneers re-assembled...

...and marched to the guns.

At 2 pm, the battle resumed.

At 3:30 pm, the camp started breaking down and by 6:30 pm everything was packed, the guns loaded and we departed until our next event. This weekend was about perfect as far as weather. No rain, sunny skies, the temperatures ranging between the mid 40s at night to the low 80s during the day. The wool uniforms felt good! The Battery turned out well for the first reenactment of the season, Both guns were in action as a section. Good training took place and the cannoneers looked sharp. If we had a few more artillerymen, the Hughes Gun could have been in play, too.

South Bend, Indiana Demonstration - May

John picked up Cameron and headed to South Bend, Indiana for a living history event at the Francis Branch Library of the St. Joseph County Public Library system.  At 10 am, member Glenn Martin directed them to the spot reserved for the Battery.

We met up with Scott, Brandon, and Josh Johnson, and our new member Jim Ednie.

After getting the guns unloaded and the projectile display set up, Jim got to help polish up the 6 pounder.

Tanya Johnson modeled her new dress.

Lydia stuffed some brochures for the Battery.

With the guns “purtied-up,” we awaited spectators and library patrons to stop and talk with us.

We didn’t have to wait long…by 11 am, the crowd started to come by...

... and it continued steadily all day despite the light mist/sprinkles and cooler temperatures.

Abe Lincoln paid a visit.

Inside, the ladies demonstrated wool spinning and other crafts.

At 1:30 pm, Cpl. Davis put the men through a period of drill...

...to begin teaching a couple new men...

...and refreshing the minds of the rest of us of proper procedures...

...going over the gun drill and miss-fire drill several times...

...until the men had it down pretty well. At 3 pm, the event was over, but not before a couple brief rain showers got everything thoroughly damp. This little event was really nice; we had a chance to talk to a lot of people in the South Bend area, we had a chance to drill a little and get the guns out for the first time this year, and we talked to several potential recruits.

Mansfield, Ohio Civil War Show and Sale - May

At 10 am,  May 3, John stopped at Fred’s house and hitched up a small trailer full of things to sell at the Mansfield Civil War Show in Mansfield, Ohio.  John, Fred, Caleb and Silas then met up with Paul Sims and Jacob Lewis to caravan down to Mansfield.  After driving a couple of hours, they stopped at Tony Packo’s in Toledo for lunch. (Those who remember Klinger from the TV show MASH, might recognize the name of Klinger’s favorite hot dog.) Continuing on via Camp Perry, they reached the fairground, obtained their tables and unloaded the sale items.  On Saturday, the cannoneers enjoyed a free breakfast...

...before they headed back to the show site at 7 am to finish setting up and to do some early bird purchasing/sales from the other dealers. At 9 am the show opened to the public; the rest of the day was spent talking with spectators...

...looking at the other dealers' wares, and gathering bits of information and tips from other artillerymen.

Silas set-up his flint knapping demonstration outside in the wonderful springtime weather.

General Grant came.

A couple of soldiers from different eras compared tactics.

New recruit, James Ednie, purchased a few pieces of uniform and other items that might be useful in our activities.

Camp Chase Fife and Drum was on hand although our fifer, Dave Goodwin, was unable to participate this year.

After the show closed, we all went out for supper...

...and helped Fred celebrate his birthday.  On Sunday, we followed the same format, but at 3 pm, the show closed and we packed up for the trip home.

Gun River Trap & Skeet Club Demonstration Firing - April

John hitched up his new tow vehicle to the trailer on Saturday morning and headed up to Plainwell, Michigan to the Gun River Trap and Skeet Club. This was the first time that the trailer has been towed with the new “horses.”  Things looked pretty good and  it seemed to tow well, with plenty of power to take hills.

About halfway there, John met Scott towing the 20 pounder and followed the Johnsons the rest of the way to the gun club.

After getting the guns off-loaded, members of the NE Baptist church and guests gathered to hear the day’s program.

We then had a chance to drill a little to shake off the mental cobwebs of the winter months and fire all three guns. First the 20 pound Parrott:

Then the 6 pound Field Gun:

Then the Hughes gun was loaded...

...and fired.

After the demonstration was over, the crowd went to the club house and spent the morning shooting clay pigeons.

John was busy straightening up in the trailer when he noticed a Michigan State Trooper pull in and exit his patrol car. Assuming that the officer was there in response to a complaint, Capt. Hughes went out and talked with Officer T. Root. Officer Root did confirm that he was there regarding a call from a concerned citizen regarding a loud noise from the Gun Club; apparently the citizen was surprised to have his windows shake.  After explaining who we were, why we were at the gun club, Officer T. Root was invited to examine the ordnance, which he did with enthusiasm. Capt. Hughes explained each piece and what they were, what they shot and Officer T. Root was quite impressed. He was very cool with the situation and wished us all a nice day as he left.

With trap shooting in progress and the excitement over, Privates Sims and Lewis took a moment to rest in the nice Michigan spring day.

Privates Bacik and J. Woods found the stretchers and portrayed dead soldiers.  At noon, we were invited to have lunch with the group and enjoyed brats, burgers and the usual side dishes.

With everyone ready to fire the guns again...

...the artillerymen assembled on the gun line...

...and Brevet Cpl. S. Johnson drilled the men in different positions on the gun.

Pvt. J. Johnson got to fire the 20 pounder and we tried out some of the new primers received this year; they seemed to work well.

Moving to the 6 pounder...

...we fired a couple rounds.

Pvt. Bacik wanted to pull the lanyard, but he is so tall that he almost reached the ground while pulling.

This series of photos shows the drill on the Hughes gun.

With the afternoon firing/drill completed, the men loaded up the guns and headed home.

It was a pleasant, early spring day spent getting back into the mindset of a Civil War artilleryman. The Captain’s new license plate says it all.

Kalamazoo Living History Show - March

A light rain was falling when John and Jacob Lewis arrived at the Kalamazoo Expo Center at 7 pm on Friday and backed up to the rear entrance to the main hall. After walking around the building to the front entrance, they registered and found the 3 tables where Robinson’s Battery would be setting up this year.

Cameron, Jon, Scott and Brandon arrived to help unload the truck and set up the tables for the next morning. At 10 pm, everyone had to leave for the night.

At 7 am Saturday, John and...

...Cam returned to watch the table and do some pre-crowd shopping.

At 9 am, the doors opened to the public and shortly afterward Jacob, Scott, Brandon and Alexander arrived to help.

A pretty good crowd kept the men busy all morning...

...talking to people about the Battery, our new cannons and the schedule for this coming summer. We talked with a few prospective recruits, some of whom have been thinking about joining the Battery for a couple years; we encouraged them to fall-in with us and try an event or two.

Mike McLauchlin of Lansing, Michigan dropped off a membership application to join the Battery. Mike had been in civil war artillery reenacting, then moved to Virginia for a number of years. Mike has recently moved back to Michigan and wants to get back into the hobby. (Mike was one of the guys that went to SBR to see the 20 pdr. being turned back in 1996). 

Battery member, Phil Nager, who was working a table for the “Friends Goodwill”, a replica 1812 sailing ship...

...stopped by and chatted with Mike for awhile.  A number of old friends and acquaintances stopped at our table and we all caught up on what was happening in other groups, events scheduled for the year, gained tips and information that will be useful for the battery. Several members stopped by the table during the show: Paul & Alice Sims, Gretchen King, Betty Hughes, Tanya and Joshua Johnson.

Sunday morning, John, Jacob, and Cameron returned to get things ready for the day, joined by Jon Liebrandt, Scott and Brandon.

Cameron and Phil discussed sailing at Phil’s table.

The crowd was smaller on Sunday so some our members had a little time to shop and look for things they needed to repair or make things for their impression.  Corporal Fred Chapman arrived a bit after noon to help watch the tables.  Cannoneers Amy & Justin Woods, Silas Chapman, and Lydia Johnson stopped at the tables while visiting the show. At 4 pm, the show closed and everyone helped pack up and load the truck so that by 5 pm we were heading home. Over all, we had a good weekend; it was nice to see everyone in uniform again, and start getting the season underway. We have some good potential recruits to get into the field, a new member with experience in artillery, and a great start on this year events.