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2013 Bowen's Mill Event
2013 Angola, Indiana Event
2013 VanRaalte Park Event - Holland
2013 Jackson Cascades
2013 Grayling Live Fire
2013 Charlton Park

Bowen's Mill - October

Friday morning Jacob arrived at John’s house; they hitched up the 6 pounder trailer and towed it to the historic Bowen’s Mill in the Yankee Springs Recreational Area near Hastings, Michigan arriving around 10:30 am. After finding the campsite, they started to unload the trailer and set-up canvas. Although the sun was shining most of the time, it was still a cool day even at noon, which provided incentive to keep busy.

The Captain decided that the two big guns would be used this weekend, so the breech-loader remained in the trailer. Fred arrived around 3 pm with the 20 pounder in tow and which was placed near the 6 pounder.

Jacob started the fire using his flint and steel.

A pot of stew was warmed for supper.

Steve Bjorglund arrived as we were getting ready to eat, and claimed the mess tent for his accom- modations.  About 7:30 pm Scott, Joshua and Dakota Rogers arrived and put up their tentage as darkness fell.

The temperatures fell into the 40s. It didn’t take long for everyone to put on wool uniforms! Everyone was glad to have some woolen blankets, too. A strong wind with a bit of rain during the night collapsed a couple of tents. The occupants took refuge in their vehicle for the night rather than righting things in the dark. By 6 am Saturday morning, water was set to boil for coffee as the men reluctantly crawled out of their cozy bedrolls and started breakfast preparations. As buckwheat pancakes and bacon cooked, (amazing how a bit of cold creates plenty of cook’s helpers and pan stirrers), John built a fire in a nearby pit and buried a pot of beans to bake.

Jim(s) Miller and Ednie enlarged our ranks for the day, and Taylor Stevens with his father talked with the Captain - Taylor got recruited for the weekend. Taylor had been interested in joining the Battery for some time, and finally got a chance to catch-up with us.

After breakfast, the men went out for drill.  We were short a couple of cannoneers, so worked with reduced numbers on both guns.  Bvt. Cpl. Johnson took the bronze...

...while Cpl. Chapman instructed the new recruits on the Parrott.

Dakota served the number two position.

Jacob did good service as in the number one position.

After each detachment drilled thoroughly, they were relieved of duty.  Lunch of Italian sausages with peppers and onions was fried up. The beans were unearthed but were not quite finished (not enough coals buried around the pot), so they were put into the dutch-oven. Apparently the men were not too disappointed with the minor delay, as the cook received many compliments and every bean was eaten!

While lunch cooked, Joshua, Taylor and Steve checked out Cpl. Chapman’s .69 rifled musket.

At 2:30 PM, the men were assembled on their guns.

At 3 pm, the Battery opened fire at the Rebels seen skulking around the mill.

The spectators really liked the cannon fire!

As the Union infantry marched out to engage the Rebels, our section received cannon fire from a lone Confederate gun.

Our boys stayed steady...

... kept their wits about them...

...and kept up a steady fire.

As the Yankee infantry drove the main Rebel troops back through the little village of Bowen, the Parrott was shut down; the men from that piece came over to the 6 pounder, limbered the gun and moved it to the front in support of our infantry.

When they reached an advanced position...

... the men filled in where needed and re-opened fire.

A lone grayback, known as “Charlie” was seen trying to sneak into the mill. Jacob and Jim Ednie were dispatched to take up small arms and protect our flanks. Jacob got to the mill and “got a drop” on Charlie.

After the battle was over, the 6 pounder was limbered back into position next to the 20 pounder.

The men were free for the rest of the day; they visited Granny’s kitchen for hot apple turnovers and cider, the trading post, and the barn to see the goats, horses and a underbite llama. The boys got to discussing the llama later, and Cpl. Chapman announced that they “ought’a stay away from her - she’s mine!” (I think the Cpl. has been on campaign a little too long...).  Meanwhile a supper of roasted chickens, roasted corn, squash, sautéed cabbage and apple-pumpkin brown betty was enjoyed.

On Sunday morning, the boys slept in a little longer before getting up and starting breakfast.

The temperatures had gotten a little cooler overnight, so the wool greatcoats and hot coffee felt really good.

Our ranks thinned three men overnight, but we gained two more cannoneers to offset the losses. Privates Brandon and Alice “Alfred” arrived.  After breakfast, the detachments went out for drill.

Taylor stepped up to do the number two duties.

After drill, the men were dismissed; a few of the high spirited boys took to climbing the trees to while away the time.  Dakota got up and then wasn’t sure that he could get back down….

After a light lunch, orders were given to form-up! The boys waited for the afternoon battle to start.

At 2:55 pm, the Captain ordered the men to load.

The afternoon battle commenced.

Pvt. J. Lewis did a good job as Number 1; the 20 pounder gave out a healthy roar with each shot. But the 6 pounder wasn’t being a pip-squeak, either.

The battle scenario was similar to Saturday's action, but this time we didn’t move a gun forward.

An injured soldier was helped on the field.

The battle raged on.

Photo by Emily Lewis

Taylor changed positions with Joshua and fired the gun.

Proud soldiers after the battle

Photo by Emily Lewis

The guns were limbered over to a well and the boys gave both guns a thorough cleaning with a thoroughly modern hose and running water!

The next day the Captain heard from a soldier who wished to remain anonymous, who said “Everybody get checked!  I was so sick by the time I got home last night, I went straight to the ER.  After many blood tests they determined I have alpcasyphillitis which can only be caught from shaking hands with someone who has been intimate with a llama.” When the Captain notified the men to go to the surgeon immediately, the following photo showed up…

Commons Park, Angola, Indiana - October

Brandon and John towed the gun trailer down to Angola, Indiana Commons Park on Friday morning, arriving around 10:30 am. They found that the Confederates had one mountain gun and only one cannoneer, so John decided the Battery would be Confederate for the weekend.   John drove the truck and trailer around various baseball diamonds to find our campsite. As he was doing that, Fred and Jacob arrived and we went to work putting up canvas. With only enough artillerymen to serve one gun, the Hughes gun was off loaded but the 6 pounder remained in the trailer.

By 3 pm we had 5 tents and a dining fly up, arranged the camp kitchen and started the fire. Around then Jim arrived and, later in the evening, Mike set up his tent.   As we did all this, the local schools took their classes through the event site for an education day; periodically we stopped our work to talk to the students about the Hughes gun which we situated near the pathway.

A potje full of the never-ending stew from Jackson was heated up for supper and a root-beer float cake finished the meal.

Afterward, the men wandered up the hill and looked through wares of the few sutlers there; a few items returned to fill niches in the men’s kits. 
A few more Confederates arrived along with the 1rst KY Vol.’s  mountain howitzer which brought the Confederate cannon count to three (to oppose three Union cannon).

After dark, we enjoyed the campfire in the “new” chairs donated to Robinson’s Battery by member, Chuck Peterson. Chuck used one of the chairs for many, many years while in command of the 24th MI. Inf.; the other was still in the box so John put it together. These are really quite comfortable.
The light weight folding stools/chairs that wobbled have been “retired.”

Several deer were seen grazing in the fields at dusk. Around 11 pm we all decided that it was time to turn in.

Saturday was clear and the night chill soon dissipated with the sun. A breakfast of flapjacks and bacon went down pretty well.

John let everyone try some English made “Essences of Camp Coffee.”  It is a glutinous brown substance consisting of water, sugar, 4% coffee essence, and 26% chicory essence used as a substitute for coffee, by mixing with warm milk in much the same way as cocoa.  Consensus was that it certainly was “interesting” in taste.

At 11 am, the men formed up and joined a combined company of Union and Confederate artillerymen, along with some Union and Confederate infantry.

We marched 5 blocks...

...to the Civil War monument in the downtown traffic square, where we participated in a short ceremony in honor of the men from Angola who fought in the Civil War. (The downtown area looks very similar to the town center of Gettysburg.)

We marched back to the park with Brandon providing field music on his fife.

Back at camp, Brandon volunteered to go on water detail and used the shoulder yoke while John made a country ham and potato soup for lunch.

At 2 pm we towed the Hughes gun into a lane between a ditch and a field of sunflowers
and were joined by a small company of Rebel infantry (6 muskets plus an officer).

We went through a quick drill on the breech loader to be sure each man understood his duties. When the battle started, the infantry marched out from the lane, followed by our gun pulled by hand ropes.

When we reached the right flank of the infantry, we went into “action front.”  We fired when they tried to attack the defensive line of Union infantry (of similar numbers).

We fired five times so a squad of mounted Union cavalry rode up to silence us; several of us had our revolvers out to fend off the cavalry, but to no avail as they were persistent.

We secured the gun and dragged it behind our infantry over to the left flank.   Jim provided a rear guard covering fire using his Henry rifle.

At our new position, we went into battery alongside the other two rebel cannon and rejoined the action with them.

The Hughes gun performed flawlessly, barking the rounds off quite handsomely. The announcer mentioned our little gun during the commentary of the battle. 
By battle's end, our cannoneers had developed a rhythm in loading and firing the gun and afterwards discussed a few things to improve our efficiency further.

With the fighting over, we took the gun back to camp and relaxed as spectators stopped to talk about the gun.

The organizers of the reenactment provided a hog roast for the reenactors, so we decided to patronize the free supper. After the meal, there was an hour before the dance began; most of the men returned to camp to spend the evening talking with other reenactors camped near us, or reloading their side arms for the next day's battle.

Visitors stopped by to talk about the Hughes gun until almost dark.  Brandon attended the dance, but came back at 9:00 pm to help take the cannon back out for a night fire demonstration. 
Angola had a celebration in conjunction with the reenactment; while sitting around the fire, we saw a number of Japanese lantern luminaries rising into the sky.

On Sunday, we awoke to a light drizzle and cloudy skies which dampened our enthusiasm a bit, but we cooked up a hearty breakfast of German toast and bacon and hoped that the misty rain would soon end.  Just as the weather looked like it was about to start clearing, another front came through and it rained harder so our morning was spent under the dining fly. Finally around 11 am, it did stop but the sun remained behind the clouds.

Having some left over roasted chicken from Jackson, John thought to give the boys a taste of something that he had eaten while campaigning with Gen'l Scott down Mexico way back in '48. He shredded the chicken, mixed in  Cherry    Balsamic    Chipotle sauce,  onions and green chilies and spooned it on to some uncooked tortilla shells, then put some slices of cheese on and covered them with another shell. These were placed in a frying pan and toasted until browned top and bottom.  Rewarmed soup accompanied the meal.

The boys thought pretty highly of that dish.

At 1: 45 PM, we took the Hughes gun back to the lane where we started on Saturday and basically repeated the same scenario.

With each man in the same position, and incorporating the improvements that we had discussed after Saturday's battle, we quickly had the gun in action and were able to fire, clean, load, prime and fire the gun in under a minute - shot to shot.

Being able to open the breech, and eliminate all chances of a lingering spark, sure underscored why the breech loader became the next great improvement in rapid fire cannon.

After the battle, we brought in the trailers and broke camp, damp canvas and all.   By 5: 30 the sun came out, but we were on our way back to Michigan with another event for our history.

VanRaalte Park Event - Holland, MI September

John picked up Brandon at 10:30 am Friday and drove to the VanRaalte Farm in Holland.  Glenn was already on site.

As they set up canvas...

...Jim arrived and the four of them...

...finished the Battery’s camp.

The afternoon was warm but as the sun went downthe temperature dropped so that the fire felt good. Supper consisted in part of the stew left over from Jackson, and as is the case with meals of this ilk, it seemed to taste better as leftovers. New recruit Steve Bjorklund arrived.

Mike, and later in the evening, Scott, Joshua, Justin and Nick Simonds (a friend of Josh’s) pulled in. Without enough tentage, Josh and Nick elected to sleep next to the fire.

Saturday at 6am Capt. Hughes built up the fire.  The firewood supplied was first rate; it was well seasoned and split well.

Breakfast preparations commenced.

Soon the men were eating a breakfast of flapjacks and sausages.

At 9:30am, Capt. Hughes and Bvt. Cpl. S. Johnson attended the Officer's Meeting on the battle field where the three branches of service discussed the battle scenarios for both days. When done, the men were called out for drill.

With new recruits and to refresh the memory of the rest of us...

...drill in forming two ranks was practiced. Brandon Johnson was breveted to gunner on the Hughes gun; his detachment consisted of Steve and Joshua.

The remaining men were on the 6 pounder.

An additional “recruit,” Kyle Deneef, a Boy Scout at the event, wanted to help...

...so we put him in uniform and even let him fire the gun once.

A brief rain shower blew in off Lake Michigan and got everything wet, but it soon passed.  With drill over, the men were allowed to visit the sutlers; surprisingly, several of them found treasures for their camp. Steve even found a sack coat to fit.

Lunch of cold cuts and pie disappeared quickly.  Scott brought up his tow vehicle and the 6 pounder was drawn out to the battlefield. The Hughes gun...

...was drawn by hand ropes.

The guns were placed on the crest of the hill where we had a commanding view of the battlefield.

From there, we could provide fire...

...throughout the battle.

The Hughes gun in action.

And the 6 pounder, too.  It seemed the crowd was rather light for rather nice day - perhaps it was too nice.  We heard later, however, that attendance topped 1000 spectators for the day.

The new recruits performed well under fire for the first time.  Brvt. Cpl. B. Johnson maintained due vigilance over his detachment and kept up his rate of fire throughout. At battle's end, the 6 pounder remained in battery along with the other big guns, but the Hughes gun was taken back to camp for the night. There a few people stopped to look at the breech loader; a couple seemed interested in possibly joining our Battery. At 5 pm, the men walked over to the farmhouse for a good supper provided by our hosts.

Some of the men enjoyed the evening's dance...

...as night fell.

Steve’s father ran into town for three half gallons of ice cream to celebrate Steve’s 16th birthday. The frozen dessert didn’t last long!

After the dance everyone returned to camp and sat around the campfire until 11 pm. The Captain let the boys sleep in until 7 am Sunday but then rousted them up and breakfast preparations began again.

There's always water detail.

After breakfast, some men attended church.  Later the men drilled on the Hughes gun.

Many of the cannoneers had never served on the breech loader.

Each man performed the duties of each position and everyone fired the gun.

Jerry Berg, the coordinator for the Civil War event, was allowed to fire the gun, too.

After a quick lunch, it was time for battle.

The Hughes gun was repositioned on the right of the gun line; the 6 pounder was on the left of the line.

Both guns worked hard through the battle.

At the end of the battle, the guns were taken back to camp and the work of breaking camp began. By 6:30 pm, we headed out towards our next campaign.

Jackson Cascades - August

Friday morning, Fred and Silas arrived at John’s house and hitched up the 20 pounder trailer as John and Justin hooked up the 6 pounder trailer and then headed over to Jackson.

After stopping for lunch and some last minute shopping, we arrived at the event, registered and met Alice and Jacob at our campsite.  As is normal for Jackson, camping was tight, but we set-up our company street and kitchen flies.

Jacob dug the firepit and started a fire for the supper stew, as Justin filled the camp kettle.

Once the fire was going, Alice browned the meat...

...as the rest of us chopped veggies.

While the stew cooked, John made some cornmeal “dodgers” and threw them in to boil with the stew.

More cannoneers arrived and set up tentage...

...with our last camper arriving around 9 pm. The temperatures were in the low 80s so a good night’s sleep was had, even by Jacob who decided to “campaign style” in a dog tent made into a “shebang” and sleep on the ground.

Reveille sounded Saturday at 6:45 AM, and the men got up to cook breakfast. Bugler Goodwin split some wood for the fire...

...while several men helped stir, turn or watch the various components of their meal.

As the men ate...

...a few more cannoneers arrived.

Capt. Hughes and Cpl. Chapman attended the Officer’s Meeting at 9 AM, and upon their return assembled the men, instructed them in formations and then marched them out to where the guns had been parked the day before.

The men were dismissed to move the guns...

...and soon after, were drilling on the pieces.

After a period of drill...

...the men were allowed to visit sutlers or return to camp for lunch.

While in camp, we were visited by friends and family.   Gretchen King...

...and Emmy Lewis stopped in to see the Battery.

Sally Linton and her daughter, Amy Chapman, also arrived for a good long visit.

The cannoneers gathered up their traps at 1:30 pm and went out to the guns. They took rest in the shade while Capt. Hughes determined the gun placements for the afternoon battle.

When that was determined, Sgt. Liebrandt and Cpl. Chapman went back to their detachments and had them to move the pieces into position.

We had to post the guns at the base of the hill and the limbers went up higher.

The men were issued their accouterments and posted to their positions.

The battle began...

...and we opened fire.

Justin fired the gun for the first time.

Pvt. Cody Hill was spotted in the Confederate ranks.

During the “intermission” between the two phases of the battle...

...the men took a opportunity to rest a bit.

Photo by Brent Cuyler

New recruit Steve Bjorglund...

...had a great view of his first reenactment when fighting resumed.

After the battle, Capt. Hughes had the men form up into  their detachments and then dismissed them until the 9 pm night firing.  Some headed to sutlers, and many returned to camp.

As supper cooked, our camp was visited by our own “History Detective” and now author, Chris Czopek. Chris, as usual, was full of new information and stories to tell around the campfire.

Supper consisted of a couple chickens and a pork loin roasted in the tin kitchen, sautéed red cabbage...

...corn roasted in the husks, summer squash and pies. Some of the younger soldiers decided going to the ball was more important than food and so left before everything was cooked.

At 9 pm, they came sprinting over to the gun from the ball area and took a quick rest before the night cannon fire.  After the guns were fired and secured, some of the boys returned to the ball, while the rest of us went back to camp, sat around the fire and swapped stories for an hour or two before turning in.

Sunday morning - reveille again at 6:45 - and a hearty breakfast of German toast and sausages was fixed for the hungry men. Pvt. Cody Hill donned his blue uniform and joined us for the day.

After breakfast, the boys took their ease for a while, He and Silas soon had a card game going.

Around 10:30, Capt. Hughes had the men assemble and go out to the cannon.

Our position was changed for the battle, so we moved the guns from the hill...

...to a spot that straddled a road.

The 6 pounder was positioned on the right side and the 20 pounder a bit to the left of the road cut.

Pvt. Brandon was given a detail of men and spent a little while polishing the bronze gun.

After that task was done...

...the cannoneers were put to drilling.  With the morning work complete, the men were released for a couple of hours. Capt. Hughes noticed a number of the men at the sutlers while he was there.

The men were back by noon and had a chance to talk to visitors who came through our camp. Pvt. Goodwin played his violin to the appreciative crowds.

After lunch, the cannoneers returned to their cannons and waited for the battle to start. The shady trees made the waiting very comfortable.

The order to “load” was given...

...and the men sprang to their duties.




Capt. Hughes heard the announcer alert to the crowd  to notice how the ground shakes after the 20 pounder fired. He spoke for several minutes about the 20 pound Parrotts, so Robinson’s Battery (and the 20 pounder) made an impression!

The Infantry advanced through the guns...

...and engaged the rebels.

After the battle, the cannoneers posed for a photo.

This amazing photo was taken by, and used with the permis- sion of, Bob Ratcliff of Bob Ratcliff Photo- graphy.  This is the twenty pounder firing a blank!  Note the friction primer shooting up above the vent.

The men returned to camp and packed the tents, kitchen equipment to load on the trailers followed by the guns. We headed home around 6 pm. Thanks to everyone who was able to attend; your support is important to the Battery. Thanks to Fred for his first time towing the 20 pdr trailer. Robinson’s Battery was pleased to have Cody and Wyatt join us again and for Steve participating in his first reenactment with us.     

Grayling Live Fire - August

Friday morning, Cam arrived at John's house at 8:45 am; they hitched up the trailers to their trucks. Justin arrived and they headed to Marshall to pick up Fred and Jacob before heading north to Grayling. In Clare by noon, we stopped to eat and then visited the Army Surplus and Gun Store where several men found something that they could use.  We reached Grayling at 5:30pm where we stopped for fuel and an early supper before going out to Range 35.  Brian and his son Luke were already at the campsite. The men drove to the firing range, registered and unloaded all three cannon. While at this, several other cannoneers stopped by to see our 20 pound Parrott called Newell. The empty trailers were taken back to the campsite; some men set up tents while others turned the trailers into barracks and put out their cots and bedrolls.

A minimum of camp equipment was set up for meal preparation. Once done, the men sat inside the battery trailer and talked until Scott, Brandon, Joshua and Nathan arrived around 10 pm. It wasn't too long after, that everyone turned in for the night and by 11 pm, all were in their blankets listening to the light rain that had begun to fall. Saturday 6 am was wake up time, and before long a fire was started; coffee heated in the men's muckets as breakfast cooked.

We drove to the range to attend a safety meeting and firing position assignments. The first relay of field guns was at 10:15 after the Coehorn mortar match; while that was going on we moved the 20 pounder into position near the road cut and then watched the mortars.

When that match was over, we pushed the gun into position...

...brought up the boxes of solid shot and got our gun bore sighted.

Scott had a Eastern block army surplus bore sighter and made an adapter to fit into the 20 pounder bore. We used that to aim the gun at our target 1200 yards away. When that was aimed correctly, we installed the Stadia sight on the gun and moved the windage and elevation to match the target. We found that the zero degree elevation matched the line of sight of the bore sight, so we were able to use the original 20 pound Parrott range tables to guesstimate the elevation needed.

When the match commenced, Sgt. Hughes ordered the gun loaded...  

...with the service load of 2 pounds of black powder and 18 pound solid shot.

The gun was aimed at the target...

...which was a vertical 4' x 8' sheet of plywood.

At the command to fire, the first round was on its way.

The gun's recoil shoved it back 12 feet...

...and dug a 3 inch deep trench in the gravel roadway.

Sgt. Hughes saw the shot pass over the top of the target by about 15 feet, so the sight was lowered a degree and the second round fired. This round was just over the top again so another adjustment was made. This time the round struck short of the target and ricocheted into the woods behind the targets; the windage appeared to be pretty good.

Additional corrections produced similar effects of over the top or short. We struck the target twice out of 12 rounds. We had to change targeting for three rounds during the course of fire and shoot at a target set at a longer distance, the first and last shots to be fired at our target for score.

We could hear the shot as it flew from gun to target, and yes, 2 pounds of powder produces an authoritative BOOM.  There were times that as we were ready to fire, the entire firing line went silent as everyone stopped what they were doing to watch the 20 pounder. It wasn't unusual to look around and see a dozen people standing with cameras, video cameras or tablets at the ready to catch the gun fire.

When the first relay was over, we moved the Parrott off the line and had a few moments to grab a bite to eat and then prep the 6 pounder for the second relay of field guns.

While we were doing this, the siege mortars were competing at 800 yards.

The Paulson Brothers had a 8 inch mortar...

...and a special demonstration of using explosive shells from the mortar. They demonstrated how to cut the fuses so that the shell wouldn't land before bursting.

They soon had shells exploding about 30 feet over the target.

Relay 2 started im- mediately after the mortars finished.  We moved the 6 pounder into position 1 on the extreme left of the firing line. Due to some difficulties in seeing their target,  Bledsloe's Battery received permission to move down to the roadway where the 20 pounder had been. Sgt. Hughes then had our gun switch over one position so that we could also have a better view of the targets.

Cpl. Davis was gunner for this match as Sgt. Hughes served as score keeper on another position. The cannoneers worked the gun like seasoned artillerymen and soon the gun was firing when the match began. After a couple sighting corrections, Cpl. Davis hit the 4' x 8' horizontal target right in the bull's-eye; a few rounds later a shot hit slightly higher and right. By the end of the match, of the 12 rounds for score, our gun placed 5 rounds on the target. That is a record score for our gun at these matches, and from what we can unofficially determine, was the best score in the smoothbore class.

At match end, we pulled the gun off the line and, when allowed, we drove back to the targets to see how we did and to try to recover spent shot. In the woods behind the target at 1200 yards showed the damage shots caused to the trees and impact craters in the dirt where they landed...it sure looks like it would be an uncomfortable place to be when those 20 pound shot were landing.

Our searchers soon lost track of each other as everyone followed the tree strikes deeper into the woods in the hopes of finding a spent shot, which often times would simply be laying on the ground. Some were fairly close to the target, while others traveled several hundred yards further. Sometime we were unable to find a shot despite following a trail for a long distance. We returned to the vehicles unload shot from our aching arms.  Dusk fell and a light shower came through when we took a count of men and found we were short a man. We finally called his cell phone and when he answered, he didn't know where he was, nor which way we were from him. Scott took his truck down a side road and honked his horn.  Fortunately another artillery group had a couple 4 wheelers out there and they drove through the woods until the missing man was located and returned to our vehicles. At camp we enjoyed supper and afterwards sat around the campfire until the rain came down again and we headed for our tents and bedrolls.

Sunday morning we again got up at 6 am, and after breakfast, went back to the range for our firing position assignment. We were placed on the second relay of mountain rifles with our Hughes gun. With the morning free, we went back to camp, packed up the camp gear, hitched up the trailers and towed them to the range. There we loaded up the 20 pounder and the 6 pounder and watched the Bacon Creek and  Grayling open mortar matches as well as the first relay of muzzle loading mountain rifles, or at least some of us did...

More brief rain showers swept through as we waited our turn.  Finally our relay started with Cpl. Chapman as gunner.

The target was the same size plywood as the smoothbore only closer at 600 yards. We tried out some cast zinc projectiles this time.  The breech pressures were higher than we had been getting  firing blanks which caused the short piece of lanyard to untie, so the boys had to work through several of these occurrences during the match.

As with the 20 pounder, we had rounds go over or fall short of the target, but we managed to get 4 or 5 holes into the target during the 10 round match.

We finally got off the line around 3 pm and loaded up the Hughes gun just as a heavy rain began. We had to return to camp and strike the remaining tentage that had been left up to dry earlier in the day, and pack it into the trailers. Our final score will have to come with the official results.

In all respects Robinson's Battery had a good weekend. We did well with the 6 pounder, unofficially placing first in the smoothbore class, We fired the 20 pounder in its first match using service loads and did not feel disappointed with its performance. We need to build our ex- perience with this gun, but are encouraged by the way it fired. We need more practice the Hughes gun and experimentation with charges and shot to find its preference.   The Battery has gained some respect from the other artillerymen present, many of whom are acknowledged experts in 19th century artillery.  We had a good weekend learning more about how to be Civil War artillerymen.

Charlton Park - July

Friday morning, John and Jacob  headed up to Charlton Park to set up camp. Arriving there a little after 9am, the two men registered, found our camping area, laid out the camp and started putting up the A tents, mess tent and two flies as well as unloaded the trailer of the 6 pounder gun, limber and the Hughes gun plus all the camp equipment. Around noon, Brian arrived and set up his tent. John left for work and the two men then finished up the camp, dug the fire pit and kept guard in camp until Mike, Jim, Scott, Brandon and Phil arrived later in the day and put up their equipment. The Captain arrived back in camp Saturday morning, about 6:30 am, and found Pvt Lewis and a couple of the others up; before long breakfast was cooking.

Cpl. Davis walked into camp as the men were getting ready to eat, and filled out a morning report.

Pvt. Miller arrived as the men prepared to drill before taking the 6 pounder out to the High Meadows battlefield.

We were in Confederate gray for the 10 am battle, so the men had a chance to wear their Rebel uniforms.

Cpl. Davis put the men through some formations and then had the men drill on the gun...

...until it was time to hitch the gun up and take it out for the fight.

Privates Schwanke and McLaughlin rode the limber chest along with "veteran rider" Pvt. B. Johnson. Private McLaughlin appeared a little nervous about the trip.

Pvt. Peterson (aka Mongo) reinforced our cannoneers at High Meadows.

We unlimbered the gun and put it into battery with the Ky. Vol.'s 20 pounder and then waited for opening fire from the Yankees...to which we replied.

Col. Nick Medich marched his infantry through the guns to engage the Federal infantry.

When they cleared our front we re-opened fire.

Waiting for the smoke to clear

The Rebels closed in on the Federal lines.

We fought a good long time.

A sharp eyed Rebel sympath- izer spotted a squad of Union cavalry sneaking through the woods to the right of the artillery.

A runner told Col. Medich who sent a small company of infantry back to protect his artillery.  Pvt  Ednie and his "horizontal shot tower" were also dispatched to protect our flanks; when the Union cavalry appeared on the road to our rear, he and the running infantrymen were able to disrupt their plans.

With the reduction of Confederates to their front, the Union infantry was able to start pressing the Rebels back towards the cannon; then in a pincers movement, the Federals stormed the Rebel lines as the cavalry charged the rear of the artillery and captured the cannons. Several of our men attempted to defend the gun with sidearms, but to no avail.

The men found a wonderful treat on the return to the camp.

After lunch, Brevet Corporal Johnson took the men out to drill on the Hughes gun.

We had a few men who had never served on the Hughes gun and needed to learn the differences between the muzzle loading guns and this breech loader.

At 2:30 pm, the men formed up...

...grabbed the hand-ropes and pulled the gun towards the battle that was starting in the town square.

We fired the gun...

...a couple of times...

...and then retired to the river as the infantry continued fighting in town.

At the river bank, the men secured the Hughes gun...

...and then opened fire...

...with the 6 pounder as the fighting ebbed and flowed on the other side of the buildings.

The battle ended shortly thereafter, so the men secured the 6 pounder and returned to camp to relax a bit...

...before starting a supper of country ham, fried summer squash, potatoes and onions, followed by pecan pie.

At 10 pm, the gun de- tachments moved the guns out (a bit tricky in the dark)...

...for a night fire demonstration.

The powder smoke also served to drive off a few mosquitoes.  With the guns returned to the camp, time was spent jawing with each other and our friends in the adjoining streets. Most turned in by 11 pm to be ready for the early morning tactical battle.

Sunday morning arrived and the men got up in anticipation of the chance to take the light, small Hughes gun into the fields and woods for the fight.

After a bite to eat, the gun was hitched up and taken to the fields where we were last year.  Since it worked so well then, we hid in the same spot.

After we made a decent attempt to disguise the cannon and our position, we waited for one or the other side to "capture" us. After the Confederate troops marched into our field, they began a systematic search; after a half hour, a young soldier spotted us and we became their artillery. We dragged the gun out and fired a round signaling that we had been found and joined the fight on the Confederate side.

Soon a force of Yankee infantry came into view and we were in action.

The Yankees disengaged and went to look for the other small gun that was still undiscovered. We stayed with half the Rebel infantry to defend the high ground. In about 45 minutes, we heard the sound of the infantry reengaging in the woods and then the sound of the other gun firing. It turns out that the Rebels, under Col. Nick Medich, had secured both cannon as well as the high ground, thus winning all the objectives of the tactical.

Returning to camp, the men relaxed...

...and secured the services of a tin typist who was taking images near camp...

...and the men posed for a couple photographs.

After lunch, the men participated in the town battle at 2:30 pm, again only firing a few rounds.

The Hughes gun had a issue with the vent pick sticking as it was inserted so we conveniently opened the bolt and withdrew the unpunched charge of powder before we pulled the gun from the field.

At 3:30 pm, we were allowed to bring in the trailers break camp. Most of the men stayed to help with the taking down and loading into the trailers all the equipment, tents, cannon that they had used for the weekend. Their help in this aspect of the weekend is much appreciated and shows that they are supportive of the battery even when the reenactment is over.  That attitude is what makes each of us proud to be a member of Robinson's Battery.