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
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
cabin has six bunks, plus room for another cot, and a wood stove.
A table, chairs and cupboard round out the furnishings.
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
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.
our camp set up, we built up a camp fire and talked until 10:30 pm; then it
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
and Steve got to work on a pan full of potatoes...
...while the bacon cooked.
...and young D.J. McLain arrived. D.J.
promptly got into trouble and was placed in the stocks.
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.
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
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.
everyone became confident with the Hughes gun, they returned to camp for
lunch. Pvt. Goodwin pulled out his fiddle and entertained everyone.
October, lunch was an old German recipe of wieners and sauerkraut with spaetzle...
which proved to be rather tasty.
3 pm, the Union infantry marched through our camp, heading towards the old
6 pounder was crewed up awaiting a development in the
the Hughes gun detachment relaxed in front of the trading post.
by Carleen Sabin
the reports of musket fire could be heard and then the heavier sounds of cannon
by Carleen Sabin
Captain ordered the 6 pdr to fire counter battery...
by Carleen Sabin
...and the cannon
by Carleen Sabin
by Carleen Sabin
the battle developed, the Union forces were pushed back towards the
the Hughes Gun...
...was rolled out from its hiding place...
...and went into
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
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
Photo by Carleen Sabin
our artillerymen fought, a local TV station filmed the action for
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
the cannoneers prepared a supper of beef and noodles and several more of
our men left camp on leave of absence.
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.
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
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
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.
men took their positions and opened fire.
The Hughes gun was positioned...
Johnnies tried to flank our guns again, but between Pvt Jim’s repeating rifle
and revolver fire, they shot down the threat.
the Yankees went over to the dead Rebel and relieved him of a few
things he wouldn't be needing any more.
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.
members Alice Sims and daughter, Emily, also stopped by to visit for the
At 4 pm, vehicles were allowed in; our camp was quickly broken down
and loaded into the trailer for the winter.
battery members are ordered to rest, repair, refit and restock over the winter
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
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
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
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.
...until the Yankee artillery was
flanked by the Rebel infantry which drove our cannoneers off from their
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
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.
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
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
We did have three union Infantry to
protect the cannon...
...but we were flanked
...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!)
Civil War Monument Dedication - October
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.
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
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
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
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.
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).
was a good turnout of the S.V.R. and Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
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.)
cannoneers listened with interest as the rain swept through…
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
actual re-dedication ceremony used the same program that the
GAR had used. At its conclusion, Robinson’s Battery’s cannoneers loaded the
fired three rounds in salute.
Several people noticed that our second shot
blew a smoke ring.
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.
and Tanya Johnson attended in period dress.
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…
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
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.
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
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.
continued to set up, dug the fire pit and started a fire.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
and very tasty for lunch.
1:30 pm, the cannoneers got ready to go out to the cannon.
A few pre-battle
hijinks were observed.
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.)
As several rounds were fired back and forth, Pvt. Bjorklund seated the charges with
a while the Union infantry marched forward and crowded into the “crater” and
were slaughtered by the rebels.
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.
the President was there.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
was a short break between the concert and the afternoon battle, so we took shade
near the gun.
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.
scenario was very similar to what we did on Saturday.
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.
guns were loaded last and at 6 pm, we rolled off site and headed
VanRaalte Farm, Holland - September
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
Ednie arrived around 1:30pm.
They set up the flies and tentage.
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.
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
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...
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
At 1 pm the guns were taken out to the field and positioned. The 6 pounder was
...but the Hughes gun was pulled by
Union guns, commanded by Capt. Hughes, were placed on the brow of the hill
overlooking the battle field.
battle began as the Union Infantry was surprised by the Confederate Infantry
while tearing up the railroad.
mounted cavalry the rode out and skirmished with the infantry; then the
artillery opened up.
horse drawn artillery piece came out of the woods and supported the
guns continued to rain fire down upon the battle...
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
that sign didn’t promise to stop the rain, and shortly afterward, the rain came
...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
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.
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
Jackson Cascades Civil War Muster - August
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.
set up the flies first as rain looked imminent. Once
that was done, they started setting up the tents in a company street.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
1:30 pm, the cannoneers were reformed into their detachments and marched out to
At 2 pm sharp, the Yankees opened fire on
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.
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
A bit of hog and a bit of fresh beeves (most likely mule) were spitted and placed
in the tin kitchen to roast.
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
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.
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…
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
placed the gun on a high knoll overlooking the field.
this time, the Captain arrived from the train station and marched rapidly towards
the sound of the guns.
Johnnies pushed the boys in blue back and forth across the field.
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
fired several times during the battle.
on the other side of the village, Union Cavalry entered the town...
Photo by Monique Stevens
Photo by Monique Stevens
Photo by Monique Stevens
fighting escalated, Union infantry marched in from the west...
Photo by Monique Stevens
...and formed a line
Rebels gave a good fight...
Photo by Monique Stevens
...and the lines shifted around.
Photo by Monique Stevens
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.
evening Chance Stevens,Taylor’s younger brother, joined our battery.
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.
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…
2:00 pm, the 20 pounder was towed to the high meadow and placed further left of the previous day's position.
position allowed spectators to sit on the knoll, where the gun had
been the previous day, giving them a “surround-sound experience” of the
At 2:30 pm,
we opened fire.
The cavalry tried to flank the two Union guns...
it took the infantry...
... to finally over run the Union...
...and take the
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
though we tried our best, the Yankees won the day and the Rebels ran from the
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
of the men “really missed not having the company kitchen and
Captain felt it was rather strange, too.