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.
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.
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
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
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
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
When they reached an advanced position...
... the men filled in where needed and
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
morning, the boys slept in a
little longer before getting up and starting breakfast.
had gotten a little cooler overnight, so the wool greatcoats and hot coffee felt
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.
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
An injured soldier was helped on the field.
The battle raged on.
Photo by Emily Lewis
Taylor changed positions with Joshua and fired the
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!
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
the Captain notified the men to go to the surgeon immediately, the following
photo showed up…
Commons Park, Angola, Indiana - October
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
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.
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
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.”
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.
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
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.
2 pm we towed the Hughes gun into a lane between a ditch and a field of
were joined by a small company of Rebel infantry (6 muskets plus an
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).
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.
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.
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
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
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
The boys thought pretty highly of that
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
VanRaalte Park Event - Holland, MI September
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
...Jim arrived and the four of
...finished the Battery’s camp.
The afternoon was
warm but as the sun went downthe temperature dropped so that the fire felt
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
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
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.
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
brief rain shower blew in off Lake Michigan and got everything wet, but it soon
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
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
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
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
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.
Berg, the coordinator for the Civil War event, was allowed to fire the gun,
After a quick lunch, it was time
The Hughes gun was repositioned on the right of the gun line; the 6 pounder was on the left of the
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
The men were dismissed to move
...and soon after, were drilling on the pieces.
After a period of drill...
were allowed to visit sutlers or return to camp for lunch.
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.
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
Justin fired the gun for the
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
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
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
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
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
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
After the battle, the cannoneers posed for a
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
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
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
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
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
They soon had shells exploding about 30 feet over the
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
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
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
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...
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
Waiting for the smoke to clear
The Rebels closed in on the
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
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...
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
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.
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.
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
...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