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Table of Contents

Bowen's Mill - October
Mooresville Event - October
Otsego Civil War Monument Dedication - October
Angola, Indiana Civil War Days - September
VanRaalte Farm, Holland - September
Jackson Cascades Civil War Muster - August
Charlton Park - August

Bowen's Mill - October

John arrived at Bowen’s Mill Friday noon and was directed to the Union campsite.  As the first one to arrive, he claimed the cabin for our barracks and started to unload the camp equipment.

The cabin has six bunks, plus room for another cot, and a wood stove.

A table, chairs and cupboard round out the furnishings.

Jim Ednie arrived around 4 pm and took one of the bunks; John had set up his tent just outside the door.

Soon a fire was burning in the Merrimac stove.

Scott, Josh, and “Luke” Johnson arrived around 6:45 pm, with Justin Woods and Dakota Rogers. Mike McLaughlin and Steve Bjorklund arrived about the same time.  A warming supper of stew with freshly baked biscuit-like lumps were consumed after the boys chose their bunks and Scott and “Luke” put up a tent.

With our camp set up, we built up a camp fire and talked until 10:30 pm; then it was “lights-out.” The Captain decided that with the boys in winter quarters that Saturday reveille would be at 7 am. Getting the stove fire stoked and water boiling for coffee wasn’t too bad as the temperatures had only dropped to the mid 40s overnight.

Dakota and Steve got to work on a pan full of potatoes...

...while the bacon cooked.

Dave Goodwin...

...Jim Miller...

...and young D.J. McLain arrived.  D.J. promptly got into trouble and was placed in the stocks.

Many of the men were astounded as Pvt. Goodwin made a contraption of two tin cups, then stuck a rag in the top cup, (which had a few holes punched in the bottom), threw in a handful of coffee grounds and then poured hot water into the top cup. Then taking a sip of the brew that collected in the bottom cup proclaimed it was the “nectar of the Gods!” Just about then, Sgt. Fred Chapman arrived in camp.

With breakfast over and the cannoneers looking for something to do... 

...the Captain had them form up into two detachments for drill.

It was a good opportunity to train a number of the men on the Hughes Gun.

Some of the younger cannoneers had a chance to learn about the differences in operation and procedures...

...between the breech loading Hughes gun and the other cannon which are muzzle loading.

Success!

After everyone became confident with the Hughes gun, they returned to camp for lunch. Pvt. Goodwin pulled out his fiddle and entertained everyone.

Being October, lunch was an old German recipe of wieners and sauerkraut with spaetzle...

... which proved to be rather tasty.

At 3 pm, the Union infantry marched through our camp, heading towards the old Bowen’s House.

Our 6 pounder was crewed up awaiting a development in the reconnaissance...

...while the Hughes gun detachment relaxed in front of the trading post.



Photo by Carleen Sabin

Soon the reports of musket fire could be heard and then the heavier sounds of cannon fire erupted.



Photo by Carleen Sabin

The Captain ordered the 6 pdr to fire counter battery...


Photo by Carleen Sabin

...and the cannon was loaded...



Photo by Carleen Sabin

...and fired.




Photo by Carleen Sabin

As the battle developed, the Union forces were pushed back towards the artillery position...

the Hughes Gun...

...was rolled out from its hiding place...

...and went into action, too.



Photo by Carleen Sabin

The smoke hung in the autumn air.



Photo by Carleen Sabin

The Captain then noticed a few Confederates flanking our position and ordered those cannoneers with firearms to provide support. Pvt. Ednie grabbed up his Spencer carbine and it along with Pvt. Bjorglund and Cpl. Johnson’s revolvers repulsed the attack.

With the flanking Rebels taken out, the cannoneers resumed their duties on the guns and fired several more rounds at the Confederates still fighting near the Bowen’s House.

Photo by Carleen Sabin

While our artillerymen fought, a local TV station filmed the action for later broadcast.

After the battle, Sgt. Chapman was seen heading up the hill towards the barns and was caught in an affectionate moment with Taco. (It should be remembered that last year Taco was rumored to have spread several cases of alpacasyphilitis to the men.)  Later that evening Sgt. Chapman was sent home, mentioning that he was feeling poorly.

Meanwhile, the cannoneers prepared a supper of beef and noodles and several more of our men left camp on leave of absence. Jacob Lewis arrived to help offset our losses.

After supper we sat around the fire, talking until 11 pm then turned in for the night. Dave and Jacob rolled out their bedrolls near the Merrimac stove and spent the night under the stars. It got colder overnight than it had on Friday, but they managed to get some sleep in between throwing more wood into the stove for warmth. When the Captain awoke on Sunday morning, the fire was already going quite nicely. Bugler Goodwin roused the soldiers in the barracks with reveille.

Breakfast of sausage and a slightly different version of “goo” were consumed. The men had time to visit the Mill, attend Church, or pack nonessentials. Around 11 am the men formed up for drill. Due to the losses of men, the gun detachments were changed from the previous day.

Jacob was brevetted to gunner on the Hughes gun with Jim and Dave as crew. 
Cpl. Johnson took the remaining cannoneers and drilled them on the 6 pounder.

About 1:30 pm, a trickle of spectators arrived and grew in numbers until the battle at 3 pm. Some stopped to talk with our cannoneers and learn about the cannon that we had on the field. Dave spent the early afternoon with some other musicians; they were soon playing Civil War era music pieces.

At 2:45 pm, Captain Hughes formed up the men as the infantry marched out to meet the rebels who taunted us and fired wildly into our camp.

The men took their positions and opened fire.

The Hughes gun was positioned...

...and fired.

The Johnnies tried to flank our guns again, but between Pvt Jim’s repeating rifle and revolver fire, they shot down the threat.

Afterward, the Yankees went over to the dead Rebel and relieved him of a few things he wouldn't be needing any more.

After the battle, the tired cannoneers retired back to camp for a rest.  We had a visit from Lt. Tony Osterberg who stopped by to see how we’ns Yankees was enjoying the weekend.   Battery members Alice Sims and daughter, Emily, also stopped by to visit for the afternoon.

At 4 pm, vehicles were allowed in; our camp was quickly broken down and loaded into the trailer for the winter. All battery members are ordered to rest, repair, refit and restock over the winter months.    Next year’s campaigns will be here before we know it.

Mooresville Event - October

John arrived at the Mooresville site, near South Haven, Michigan about 1 pm Friday and found that he had the entire Union military camp site to set up as there were no other tents there.

John picked a location near a good sized wood pile, and not too far from the outhouse (a two holer!).  He laid out his tents and started unloading the camp equipment. He was joined by Jim Ednie around 3 pm and the two of them worked until a pretty good camp was established.

Around 6 pm, they fired up the Merrimack stove and cooked hot dogs for supper. Scott Johnson and Dakota Rogers arrived a little later, set up tents and had supper. After the evening meal, everyone put on their greatcoats as the temperatures plummeted as soon as the sun went down.  As darkness fell, they were still the only Union tents.

Later they walked to the Confederate camp and talked with some infantry there, then returned to camp, stoked up the Merrimack and sat as close as possible to gain the heat being thrown off from top which was glowing a dull red color. After chatting for what seemed hours, we decided to turn in. It was only 8:30 pm! Funny how time seems to drag when it gets dark and cold.  When we headed for our tents, there were clear skies.  The stars filled the sky with pinpoints of light; we figured way out here in the country, we wouldn't have any bright street lights shining on the tents all night, like some events we had over the summer.  Wrong… we hadn't counted on having a nearly full moon  so bright that it cast shadows of the trees on the canvas almost all night.

 John awoke at 6 am on Saturday morning, but decided since there wasn't any real schedule for the morning he would pull the blankets a little closer and snooze for another 45 minutes.  After getting up and dressing hurriedly , he was getting the stove fire stoked when Taylor Stevens arrived. We were very glad for the reinforcements to our gun detachment. There was a bit of frost on the ground and John broke 1/8” ice in the rinse water.

A hot breakfast of scrambled eggs and corned beef hash tasted good. Hot coffee or tea in tin cups kept the hands warm, too.

As the sun came up, the frost melted.

By 9 am, spectators started to arrive and wander through the camp.

And still no other union troops had arrived. 

John walked around and took some photos of the site...

...including the Conestoga wagon...

...a two story mill...

...and covered bridge in the late fall glory.

At 10 am, the Rebel infantry held a musket firing demonstration, firing from the covered bridge

At 11 am, Robinson’s Battery...

...put on an artillery demonstration.

After the demonstration, the temperatures warmed up rapidly, so we got out the Brasso and cleaned up the tubes. Admiral Farragut oversaw our work.

Then it was lunch time; President A. Lincoln stopped by and invited himself to join us. Of course, the Commander in Chief never needs an invitation.

Lunch was some great Cornish pasties with beef and wild mushroom gravy and fried apples.  Who can blame the President for pulling up a seat.

A few more spectators arrived and were directed to the two story mill where they could watch the battle take place all around them.

At 3 pm, the Battle of Mooresville started; the cannoneers took their positions on the 6 pounder...

...and were surprised by a sneak attack from a Rebel mountain howitzer.

We replied...

...with several shots...

...until the Yankee artillery was flanked by the Rebel infantry which drove our cannoneers off from their guns.

Several men were shot down or took cover.

Sgt. Hughes was last seen bravely defending his gun with a sponge/rammer in hand-to-hand combat with a Rebel infantryman.

Photo courtesy of Kelly Weber

When the 20 minute battle was over, the spectators left. We spoke with some lingering folk, most of who seemed to be friends and/or family of the property owners. At 5 pm, we walked over to the bridge and enjoyed a big pot of beef stew with crusty bread served to all the reenactors for supper. Back to camp, the stove was filled with wood and we sat around the fire talking with a nephew of the owner until about 10 pm before turning in for the night.

Reveille for our camp was around 7 am on Sunday, and again we awoke to frosty conditions.

Everything had a coating of frost.

We rekindled the fire and before long the coffee water and wash water were steaming.  It has been awhile since we used the Merrimack, but it seemed to work pretty well for this event.

After buckwheat pancakes and sausages for breakfast, some spectators and reenactors attend a church service in the small chapel nearby. Then we put on another
 demonstration.



The temperatures climbed into the mid sixties so we all took off the extra clothes that we needed earlier and enjoyed a lunch of tomato soup and toasted ham and cheese sandwiches.

The afternoon battle took place at 1 pm and followed the same scenario as the battle on Saturday.

We did have three union Infantry to protect the cannon...

...but we were flanked again...

...and ultimately...

...we were overrun.

With the fight over, we brought in our vehicles, and after breaking camp and everything, we headed out at 3:45 pm. This was a first time reenactment and there is potential for growth. The property owners mentioned that they are planning to have another reenactment next year, possibly in August. (It’s only 6 miles to the beaches at South Haven…we could bring swimsuits and head over for a Saturday night cool down swim!)

Otsego Civil War Monument Dedication - October

John towed the 20 pounder Parrott to the Mountain Home Cemetery in Otsego, Michigan on Saturday morning, arriving there a little before 10 AM.  Jim Ednie and Jim Miller were awaiting the gun's arrival. Not knowing exactly where in the cemetery the Civil War monument and refurbished 20 pound Parrott barrel were located, they drove in and started to search.  John quickly discovered that the roadways in a cemetery were not designed to have a 20 foot trailer making turns on them. He didn’t actually run over any headstones, but it was pretty close at times. Then to improve the morning, a cold light rain began… Finally the cemetery’s sexton arrived and showed them where the monument and cannon were located; of course, it was on the highest hill in the cemetery.

The proposed location for our cannon was 100 yards from the actual monument,  too far away to even seem to be a part of the ceremony. So Capt. Hughes suggested the Battery could bring our cannon up and position it near the original piece.  The question then became: How are we going to pull that 3000 pound beast UP the very steep hill? The sexton didn't want John to drive his truck up the old unpaved carriage trail which led directly to the monument, for fear the rain soaked ground would get torn up by the 4 wheel drive. He then suggested that the cemetery’s tractor be used, which was quickly approved. Jon Liebrandt, Scott, Brandon, Tanya and Lydia Johnson arrived. While the tractor was being brought around, the men off loaded the gun from the trailer and put the lunette onto the tractor's three-point hitch ... up the hill the cannon went. Shortly before the ceremony's 11 o'clock starting time, the gun was in place and the men in position.

A pretty good sized crowd arrived despite the wet weather.  We met many old friends (for a couple of us long time reenactors, it almost seemed to be a meeting of the old GAR comrades).

There was a good turnout of the S.V.R. and Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War camps.

The ceremony began and after opening remarks by John Keith, commander of the Benj. Pritchard Camp, head of the restoration project and an old friend of the Battery.  Mike Culp gave a history of the original GAR post in Otsego, followed by what is known of the original dedications of the cannon and monument.  (In 1886, 5000 veterans at that very place dedicated the monument.) Our cannoneers listened with interest as the rain swept through…

Friends, Steve & Sally Redinger, read the names of the men who had died in the war from the Otsego area. State Representative Fred Upton gave a short speech.

The actual re-dedication ceremony used the same program that the GAR had used. At its conclusion, Robinson’s Battery’s cannoneers loaded the cannon...

...primed the gun...

...and fired three rounds in salute.

Several people noticed that our second shot blew a smoke ring.


The gun’s blast seemed to be concentrated in the tree surrounded area, so the spectators got to enjoy a very loud experience from a very big gun.

Lydia and Tanya Johnson attended in period dress.

The bugler played Taps to end the ceremony. The tractor towed the gun back down the hill to the trailer. The Battery could really use one of these tractors…

Robinson’s Battery received this certificate of appreciation during the ceremony. It was an honor for Robinson’s Battery to be a part of the dedication ceremony, and to fire our replica of the 20 pound Parrott gun, honoring the original gun the veterans had installed in 1883 and to remember those men who had fought and died in the Civil War in order to preserve the Union.

The setting on a better weather day



Angola, Indiana Civil War Days - September

On Friday, Sept. 26, John towed the trailer down to Angola, Indiana for the Civil War Days reenactment. The morning drive was very foggy but shortly after 9 am, he met Scott, Lydia (Luke) and Dakota at the registration area where they had found that the Union camp was at the bottom of the hill in Commons Park. So we started setting up camp very close to where we had been last year.

The trailer was unloaded and we decided that we didn’t need all the canvas set up as we were planning for a small detachment. The sky cleared and the temperatures rose as the morning passed. It was nice to get the still slightly damp camp equipment out into the air to finish drying out.

Friday has previously been an Education Day for the local schools.  Typically, several hundred students go through the special displays and hear speakers.  This year, the school district scheduled a teachers' in-service day so the only students that came through were from home school groups.

We did have several groups stop and look at the cannons.

We continued to set up, dug the fire pit and started a fire.

Jim arrived and set-up his tent giving us five A tents and one fly.

The foragers has been fortunate in procuring some beef steaks for grilling over the wood fire, green corn done Mexican style, green beans, and toasted bread that had been buttered with garlic and onion. Pie finished off the meal. The soldiers' bellies were satisfied after this feast.

After supper, Steve arrived to fill out the detachment. Once his gear was put away, the more energetic ones headed up the hill to where the Confederate camp, the one sutler, and other reenactors were, as the evening turned into night. The rest of us put on our greatcoats and sat talking around the fire. At 11 pm, we turned in for the night. Saturday morning John and Jim were up and got the fire going.  The fog had returned and it was heavy enough, it seemed as though we hadn’t dried out at all during the week between the Holland and Angola events.

Eggs, bacon and sausage gravy with biscuits warmed up the cannoneers. Jim displayed his skill as "the baconmeister," cooking two pounds of bacon perfectly.

Once the dirty cookware was clean, the 6 pounder was moved about 50 yards from camp and positioned on the field where we were going to fight later in the day. After drill, the men were released to go see what might be new up on the hill. The Corporal took advantage of the lack of young privates to study the inside of his eyelids. By noon, the temperatures were in the mid 80s, so it felt nice to enjoy the day.

Lunch consisted of some “letters from home,” old Cornish slang for pasties. (At Turkeyville, young D.J. McLane’s parents had promised to make some pasties for the battery; they sell these from their food trailer). So some beef and wild mushroom gravy was made to go with. These were easy to heat up, quick and simple and very tasty for lunch.

At 1:30 pm, the cannoneers got ready to go out to the cannon.

A few pre-battle hijinks were observed.

There were three guns on the Union side; they were spread quite far apart so each gun was under independent command. The battle began with a recreation of the massive gunpowder explosion at Petersburg, Virginia in 1864, aka. “the crater.” (Well… maybe a little more powder should have been used.)

The artillery...

...opened up.

As several rounds were fired back and forth, Pvt. Bjorklund seated the charges with determination.



After a while the Union infantry marched forward and crowded into the “crater” and were slaughtered by the rebels.

With the battle over, the men were released from duty until 9:30 pm. The sponsors put on a hog roast dinner for the reenactors so we all walked up the hill to partake of the vittles.

Even the President was there.

While awaiting the start of the meal, John and several cannoneers took a look at a new 6 pound Waird rifled cannon at the event. John learned that the owner was very involved with the Old Fort Wayne in Ft. Wayne, Indiana and Robinson’s Battery has been invited to come down to the Fort and garrison it some weekend. After supper, we headed back to camp and enjoyed the pleasant weather.  Once the sun went down, it didn’t take us long to get the greatcoats out. Back on the hill, a period dance was held. At 9:15 pm, the cannoneers assembled at the gun for a night fire demonstration.  On Sunday morning, the dew wasn’t as bad as it had been on Saturday, but there was enough to make a cup of coffee and a seat close to the fire feel good.

John made up a pan of “breakfast goo;” most of the present members had never had this tasty morning food that Battery member Chuck TenBrink introduced to us a number of years ago.  Everyone was quite curious about it during preparation, but soon declared it  “very good.” Guess we’ll have to put this back on the menu line-up. After breakfast, Steve left for home and a few of the men attended the church service.  Brandon fell in with the Battery, bringing our numbers back up. After a lunch of toasted cheese sandwiches the men, along with the other cannon, participated in firing the guns in conjunction with the Community Band as they played the 1812 Overture. It came off pretty well, but we needed more cannon.

There was a short break between the concert and the afternoon battle, so we took shade near the gun.

A couple guys from Bledsloe’s Battery stopped by to talk about the cancelled Grayling match; we talked “shop” about powder, casting rounds, etc. until it was 2:30 pm...

...and the battle began.

The scenario was very similar to what we did on Saturday.

The Union infantry didn’t get down into the “crater” this time, however, and  they fought to a draw. With the battle over, the trailer was brought into camp and the reverse process of making camp took place. The guns were loaded last and at 6 pm, we rolled off site and headed north.  

VanRaalte Farm, Holland - September

On Friday morning, Jacob arrived at John’s house at 6:45 am and loaded his dog tent and traps into the truck; the trailer was hitched up and they headed toward Holland. They arrived in Hastings a bit before 9 am and stopped to purchase milk, ice and sandwiches for lunch. Of course, the gun shop in town had just opened, so they stopped in for a look. After checking out the goods, they continued on and arrived at the Van Raalte site around 10:30 am and started setting up camp. It was really nice weather, not too hot, but comfortable for a change.

Jim Ednie arrived around 1:30pm.

They set up the flies and tentage.

A bit later Mike arrived and set up. The fire pit was dug and a fire started. Stew was put on to heat and Jacob made a peach cobbler.

After 7 pm, Scott, Brandon, Lydia (Luke), Justin and Dakota Rogers arrived and put up the rest of the Battery’s tentage. Steve Bjorklund  came in after dark.

On Saturday morning, Jacob and John were up before dawn to start the fire for breakfast. Once the water was hot, the rest of the troops were rousted out of bed and breakfast prepared. As the sky brightened, the men were formed up and broken into detachments for both guns. The men took to polishing the bronze...

...and copper barrels in preparation for the day’s events.

The gun detachments were then run through drill.

While the men drilled, Capt. Hughes, Cpl. Johnson and Bvt. Cpl. Lewis attended the Officer’s meeting.

They learned where the guns were to be placed for the coming battle.

After drill, the men were free to see the sights, visit sutlers or relax in camp until lunch. The sunshine gradually turned to clouds.

At 1 pm the guns were taken out to the field and positioned. The 6 pounder was towed out...

...but the Hughes gun was pulled by hand.

The Union guns, commanded by Capt. Hughes, were placed on the brow of the hill overlooking the battle field.

The battle began as the Union Infantry was surprised by the Confederate Infantry while tearing up the railroad.

The mounted cavalry the rode out and skirmished with the infantry; then the artillery opened up.


A horse drawn artillery piece came out of the woods and supported the Rebels.

Our guns continued to rain fire down upon the battle...

...from the heights.

As the battle drew to a close, the skies opened up on us! We returned to camp in a steady rain.

An hour later, the rain let up briefly and we were amazed to see a double rainbow.

Unfortunately, that sign didn’t promise to stop the rain, and shortly afterward, the rain came through again...

...damping everyone’s spirits as the water seemed to get everywhere. We had a respite during supper, but with more rain on the way, the dance was held inside the barn. After dark, the rain stopped but during the night, another  heavy downpour with thunder and lightning came through. None the less, most of us managed to make it through the night relatively dry. On Sunday morning we woke to more clouds. 

Shortly after breakfast, strong winds blew through again, along with rain.  By 10 am,  the Capt. decided to bring the trailer back to camp, because the parking lot was starting to turn into a quagmire and he wanted it near camp before the lot became impassable. Shortly after he reached camp, the sponsors came through and announced that the event was canceled due to the wet conditions.   We packed up wet canvas and equipment in the on & off rain showers.

Jackson Cascades Civil War Muster - August

Typical Jackson weekend weather: for the prior three weeks, temperatures hovered in the mid 70s with beautiful weather for wearing wool.  On Wednesday, before the reenactment, the temperature climbed into the 90s with high humidity. Friday morning, John picked up Jacob and headed over to Cascades Park in Jackson, stopping along the route to forage for fresh bread, milk and ice. Arriving on site about 9:45, they found the campsite for the Battery on the Rebel side of the campground.
They set up the flies first as rain looked imminent.  Once that was done, they started setting up the tents in a company street.

Steve arrived to help and a bit later Fred pulled in with the 20 pounder. A couple scattered raindrops were felt, but the weather passed to the south of us, so we dodged wet canvas.
Fred offloaded the 6 and 20 pounders and left to pick up Silas after work.  The guns were parked across the road from our camp while the Hughes gun was placed next to the Captain's tent for display; the men resumed the camp set up.
Jim arrived and so did Taylor and Justin. Soon the camp was looking pretty good; when Mike, Josh and Jon arrived, they filled out the street. A very inauthentic supper of hot dogs, chips and left over beef stroganoff served the guys as they arrived. A few of the boys headed to sutlers before it got too dark.
Fortunately. the temperature dropped to a comfortable level and by midnight everyone turned in and slept well.

Saturday morning, Jacob and John were up and had the fire going for coffee before reveille at 6:45 am. Soon the rest of the cannoneers were rousted and breakfast of eggs, bacon, and potatoes with onions was underway.

The Captain and NCOs attended the Officer's Meeting at 9AM; the men cleaned up the cookware and policed the company street for modern items before the public started to come through. The skies were clear and the temperatures shot up for another hot humid day. One of the first duties of the day was to polish the bronze gun.

Our battery was placed on the spectator hill.  Fred brought his team around and hitched up the guns one at a time and drove them over to our assigned emplacements.

Capt. Hughes was given an extra gun and commanded a half battery.

With the guns in place, the men performed gun drill and miss-fire drill until everyone was acquainted with his duties.

After drill, the men were sent back to camp for a lunch of home-style pork barbeque and Southwestern beans.

As there was a bit of time before the men had to be at the guns, they were given leave to visit sutlers or relax in camp.

At 1:30 pm, the cannoneers were reformed into their detachments and marched out to their guns.

 At 2 pm sharp, the Yankees opened fire on our lines.

We soon replied in kind.

The infantries marched out to meet each other and after a sharp set-to, the rebel infantry retreated back to the gun line.

A foolish company of Yankees advanced on our guns.

They soon found out what double canister would do: arms, legs and assorted body parts flew through the air from our 20 pounder's blast. 
After the carnage was removed and the troops rested a little, the Yankees resumed their offensive.  Our stalwart infantry met them again, fighting them to a draw.  The battle ended by mutual consent. The hot, tired, sweat drenched soldiers returned to camp to cool down under the shade of the flies. As expected, there were some heat related health issues and the ambulances were busy for a while making runs to the hospital. Fortunately, none of our boys made that trip this year.

Before our men returned to camp, we hitched up the guns and took them by hand down the hill, positioning them along the roadway on the other side of the battlefield and where we would fire later in the evening.

After some cold cups full of iced lemonade and a sit down, preparations began for the evening meal. Green beans, more potatoes, carrots and a hog jowl were put in a camp kettle and placed on the fire.

A bit of hog and a bit of fresh beeves (most likely mule) were spitted and placed in the tin kitchen to roast.

Some raspberries, blackberries, huckleberries, grapes and a few late strawberries were eaten fresh, a jar of chow-chow and some fresh boiled green corn completed the menu.
With that repast eaten, a few of the younger boys went into Jacksburg to attend the ball. The rest of us found that a comfortable chair and a cold cup of water more enjoyable than prancing around after a hot tiring day.
The boys returned at 9:15 pm so our battery could  fire several rounds for the night fire demonstration.
After those guns were secured, the men returned to camp, the youngsters went back to the ball, but by 11:15, everyone was back and in their blankets for the night.

On Sunday, John was up at 6 am and brought the 6 pounder trailer up to camp parking it next to the road directly behind camp; this was a good thing as later in the day, it would have been hard to find a place to park when it came time to break camp. Reveille was again at 6:45 am.  Some German toast and sausages broke our fast.

The Capt. and NCOs attended a brief meeting for the artillery while some cannoneers attended church services and others went to sutlers or packed nonessential items to help speed up the camp break.

At 11 am, the men went out to the guns and made another position change for the afternoon battle. A short drill took place and the men returned to camp for cold cuts for lunch.

At 1:30 pm the men formed up and marched out to the guns, only to find them manned by the men of Battery D who made a kind offer to switch guns with us, as they didn't want to be in the not sun, whereas our new position was in a nice patch of cool shade. We declined their friendly offer.

Finally, Major Newkirk ordered his men to man their own guns; we assumed our positions and waited…

...and waited.

At 2 pm, the battle started. Capt. Hughes ordered the guns to fire by half battery.  

The first time was pretty poorly executed, but on the second try, all three guns fired as one as we sent cast iron shot into the Yankee lines.

Powder smoke filled the air under the trees making it difficult to see from one end of the artillery line to the other.

A furious hand-to-hand battle between Federal Zouaves and Confederate Infantry looked pretty realistic as men started fighting with their fists and clubbed muskets.

With battle's end, Fred brought up his vehicle & trailer and the 20 pounder was loaded.  The cannoneers returned to camp, took down canvas and loaded the 6 pounder trailer with camp goods. 
With that done, we rook the trailer to our last combat position to load the 6 pounder and Hughes gun. By 6:30 pm, we drove off site and headed home for a much needed shower.

Charlton Park - August

Due to a family medical emergency, Capt. Hughes was not able to arrive Friday morning with the 6 pounder and set up the mess tent and camp kitchen. Unsure if he could be in attendance, the Battery’s command was turned over to Cpl. Johnson. It was a highly unusual event for the boys, not having much cookware, kitchen equipment or meals prearranged. The Captain was able to attend a portion of each day, however, and his account will supplement Cpl. Johnson’s report. 

 Friday night Cpl. Johnson and Josh arrived at the park around 7:20 pm with the 20 pounder and found Mike's and Jim's tents set up. Taylor, Steve and Justin were already there. It is a good thing that Captain Hughes gave me extra uniforms and a tent. Soon there were 6 tents set up to form a small company street.

The 20 pounder was unloaded to form up with Battery D for a total of 3 guns: two 10 pound Parrotts and  our 20 pound Parrott.   Around 9:45 pm, the cannoneers went into town to forage for food. (It’s understood that the men were guests at, and dined in, General McDonald's Commissary.)  We all turned in around 11:30 pm.   Saturday morning we woke up around 7:30 am and found Mike and Jim digging a small fire pit to heat water for coffee. At 8:00 am we all went to the barn for the reenactors' breakfast of hotcakes and sausage.
  After breakfast Major Newkirk stopped by to inform us that Robinson's Battery would be wearing gray for the weekend.

 At 9:00 am, the 20 pounder was limbered up to the horse named Dodge and taken to the high meadow for the 10:00 am battle.

We placed the gun on a high knoll overlooking the field.

About this time, the Captain arrived from the train station and marched rapidly towards the sound of the guns.

The Johnnies pushed the boys in blue back and forth across the field.

We spanked them pretty good that morning.

Lunch was procured at the food sutler.

Later that afternoon the Union took the town. During the afternoon battle, we provided “background noise” for the infantry battle that raged in the town square but we were shooting over the river.

Our 20 pounder was loaded...

...and fired several times during the battle.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the village, Union Cavalry entered the town...

and encountered some Rebels.



Photo by Monique Stevens

Photo by Monique Stevens

Photo by Monique Stevens

As the fighting escalated, Union infantry marched in from the west...


Photo by Monique Stevens

...and formed a line of battle.

The Rebels gave a good fight...



Photo by Monique Stevens

...and the lines shifted around.



Photo by Monique Stevens

Cold steel finally drove the Yankees out of town.



Photo by Monique Stevens

After the battle, Capt. Hughes returned to the hospital to check on his wife. On Saturday evening Chance Stevens,Taylor’s younger brother, joined our battery.

The cannoneers again went into town to forage for food and then had a night fire until 10:00 pm.

On Sunday morning the cannoneers had hotcakes and sausages at the barn. The Sunday morning tactical was canceled in favor of another afternoon battle at the high meadows rather than in the village green which allowed the big guns to participate.

The Captain, on his way back to camp, observed several of the younger soldiers in an "establish- ment of ill-repute' during the afternoon. Kathy, one of the saloon girls, mentioned that the boys had been there until late Saturday night.   It looks like the Captain is going to have to have a “little talk” with them…

At 2:00 pm, the 20 pounder was towed to the high meadow and placed further left of the previous day's position.

This position allowed spectators to sit on the knoll, where the gun had been the previous day, giving them a “surround-sound experience” of the battle.

At 2:30 pm,  we opened fire.

The cavalry tried to flank the two Union guns...

...but it took the infantry...

... to finally over run the Union...

...and take the field.

Several times, as our gun fired...

...we could hear the echo...

...rolling up over the woods on the far side and rumbling like thunder...

...as the sound expanded out over Thornapple Lake.

 Even though we tried our best, the Yankees won the day and the Rebels ran from the field.

We thoroughly enjoyed this battle, even though it lasted for a half hour; the size of the field with the number of infantry and mounted cavalry made it feel as if it lasted much longer. The only criticism  we received, was that our cannon was “too loud!”
By 4:00 pm camp was broken and packed. By 6:00 pm, everybody was on the road home. Several of the men “really missed not having the company kitchen and mess.” The Captain felt it was rather strange, too.