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   Hartford City Reenactment - October
   Angola, Indiana Civil War Days - September
   VanRaalte Farm Event - September
   Jackson Cascades Reenactment - August
   Grayling Live Fire Event - July
   Sandy Pines - July

Hartford City Reenactment - October

At 7am, new member, Jon DeVries arrived at John’s house and loaded his gear into the truck.  Scott arrived with a truck load of cannoneers, so Lydia Johnson and Justin Woods transferred into John’s truck for the trip to Hartford City.  Scott, Tanya, Joshua and Brandon Johnson then caravanned down with John & the gun trailer. They arrived at the event site around 12:30PM and they then drove over to where the Union Artillery was setting up camp. Jim Ednie arrived shortly afterwards

Angola, Indiana Civil War Days - September

John towed the gun trailer to Angola on Friday, arriving on site around 9 AM. After registering, he was allowed to pick a spot to camp. After pondering the options, and where we had camped in previous years, John decided to set up in a space towards the top of the hill, being much closer to the activities and not having to walk up the hill being tha deciding factors. So after positioning the trailer, he started to off load the camp equipment and set up the tents by himself.

It was a nice fall day and with steady work and the occasional help from some other reenactors, John had most of the equipment out and a start on the mess kitchen when Mike McLaughlin arrived late afternoon.

A little while later, Scott, Justin, and Dakota arrived...

...and helped set up the dining flies and moved in the heavier boxes.

And as the sun set, we had our camp completed...

...guns out and supper on the Merrimack stove.  Steve Bjorklund and friend, Ty Ogbradley, arrived to fill our detachment.

On Saturday morning John was up early to light the stove...

...and start a pan of breakfast goo.  It was a little foggy before the sun came up.

After breakfast, the guns were moved to the battle field site nearby; fortunateely the pathway was tarmack, so it was easy to move the guns.

Justin Stange, Pete Hirl and Jeff Meunick from Ziggy’s Battery fell in on our guns because their gun was not there.

Because our detachments were small and only one NCO was present, John stepped back and assumed a Sergeant impression, commanding the 6 pounder.

Jeff and Ty served on the 6 pounder with Steve, Justin Woods and Dakota.

Scott commanded the Hughes gun. Justin and Pete joined Mike on the Hughes gun.

We drilled on the guns until all felt confident in their duties.

Lunch was pasties with gravy.

At 1:00 pm, Dakota was seen by the EMS crew on site for a possible medical problem.  They summoned an ambulance and took him to the local hospital. Scott and Mike went with him and thus, when the battle began at 1: 30 pm, we were short three cannoneers.

We went out to the guns for the battle...

...and combined duties...

...to cover the shortfall.

The command to load was given…

...and the battle began.

Civil War artillery crews were trained to function short-staffed...

...and so are we.

Each man takes on a specific set of additional duties.

Our friends from Ziggy's Battery got quite a work-out.

After the battle, we headed to the pavilion for a reenactment of Gen. Lee’s surrender.  Scott and Mike returned from the hospital and fell in with our ranks. Dakota was still there having tests. 
Once the surrender ceremony concluded, we headed back to camp awaiting the sponsor supplied supper. At 5:00, Dakota was brought back to camp by Steve and Ty; the tests happily found no problems.

At 5:30, we all went back to the pavilion for supper. While in line, we talked with a Teddy Roosevelt impersonator. He was pretty good, looking and talking like Teddy in the first person.

Supper was pretty good, too.

After supper, the tables were cleared and the pavilion  made into a dance floor. There was an hour before the dance began, so our crew headed back to camp, and stopped by the infantry camp to see what Alex Basik and his girlfriend were doing….

After a while, we heard the music begin, so several of us wandered back to the pavilion to watch; a couple of the younger ones went out to dance a few sets. We did participate in the night fire with the 6 pounder. Some “stars” were distributed to each gun and were fired  but with poor results. As the sky turned black, the air cooled rapidly, so those of our detachment that were not out dancing and keeping warm, returned to camp, stoked up the stove and sat around that until the music ended and the youngsters returned to camp for the night, and we turned in.

Sunday morning, as dawn was breaking, John re-lit the stove and started breakfast.

Photo by Mina Collins - Ziggy’s Battery

Scott was up soon...

Photo by Mina Collins - Ziggy’s Battery

...to help prepare German toast and sausages.

Photo by Mina Collins - Ziggy’s Battery

John prepared the apples for frying.

Photo by Mina Collins - Ziggy’s Battery

"An army marches on its stomach."

Photo by Mina Collins - Ziggy’s Battery

Look at these faces...

Photo by Mina Collins - Ziggy’s Battery


Photo by Mina Collins - Ziggy’s Battery


Photo by Mina Collins - Ziggy’s Battery


Photo by Mina Collins - Ziggy’s Battery


Dakota volunteered to clean-up the breakfast dishes.

After breakfast, church was held at the pavilion and several men attended.

After church, John went across the pathway to visit with Pete Hirl and his wife, who are in Ziggy’s Battery. Everyone enjoyed the warm sunshine.

Photo by Mina Collins - Ziggy’s Battery

John took one of Mina Collin's photos...

...and used an app that converted it to look like a period oil painting.  Kinda cool.

The Surgeon stopped by to see if any men needed his services. Guess he should have washed first.

Photo by Mina Collins - Ziggy’s Battery

Before long it was lunch time, so a midday meal of cold cuts was prepared.

Photo by Mina Collins - Ziggy’s Battery

Steve and Ty had returned to Michigan so we were short again.

What a glorious day for a battle.

Justin and Pete, now veterans on the Hughes gun...

...helped Scott serve on it during the battle.

Again, the battle began with the artillery.

I kinda think that they liked the little breechloader.

Needless to say, the 6 pounder is also a force with which to be reckoned.

Photo by Mina Collins - Ziggy’s Battery

Photo by Mina Collins - Ziggy’s Battery

Photo by Mina Collins - Ziggy’s Battery

Photo by Mina Collins - Ziggy’s Battery

Photo by Mina Collins - Ziggy’s Battery

Again at the battle’s conclusion, a reenactment of the surrender took place, and with that, the event was over.  The campsite was dismantled and loaded back into the trailer for the next reenactment.

Photo by Mina Collins - Ziggy’s Battery

Thanks to the members of Ziggy’s Battery that helped in every way to crew up our guns; you folks are a pleasure to camp near and serve with.

VanRaalte Farm Event - September

On Friday morning, John towed the gun and trailer to Galesburg.  He picked up Brandon Johnson and Dakota Rogers around 8 AM, then continued to the Van Raalte Farm site in Holland, MI  After registering, John towed the trailer along a back pathway about as wide as the trailer (scraping through brush and small trees, inflicting minor damage on the trailer) until finding the small clearing designated for the Union artillery. 

Justin Woods arrived to help.

After the guns were off-loaded...

...the men started putting up the dining fly and setting up camp.

We took a short lunch break.

Jim Ednie arrived and setup his tent while the battery tentage went up.

Steve Bjorklund arrived and a bit later Scott, Lydia and Patrick Wallace came into camp and set up tents. Before long, our camp took shape and we had a fire going in the Merrimack stove.

Supper was a non-period meal of sloppy joes, jalapeno poppers with fresh heirloom tomatoes in a lemon dressing, and a mixed fruit cobbler for dessert. We invited Mina Collins of Ziggy's Battery to join our meal. Mina had not been to the Van Raalte reenactment before and Tanya Johnson had encouraged her to come up for the weekend

As darkness fell, the little area filled up with other artillery and infantry groups all settling in.  At daybreak on Saturday...

...John and Jim were up early and started breakfast; other cannoneers soon were up and helping.

Photo by Mina Collins

Photo by Mina Collins

Minor adjustments

Photo by Mina Collins

Photo by Mina Collins

Thank goodness for coffee!

Photo by Mina Collins

Photo by Mina Collins

The cannoneers formed up after breakfast.

The detachments were made and the men moved the cannon to our position on the field.

The men began their drill.

With everyone familiar with their duties and responsibilities, the cannoneers were released to go back to camp...

Photo by Mina Collins

...visit sutlers...

Photo by Mina Collins

...or relax in camp.

Photo by Mina Collins

Photo by Mina Collins

Photo by Mina Collins

Photo by Mina Collins

At 1:30 pm, Captain Hughes formed up the detachments.

They marched out to the guns.

The cannoneers took up their implements and then assumed their positions...

...as they readied themselves for battle.

Captain Hughes was overall commander of the four Union cannon.

He relayed the orders...

...for the battle to the other NCOs...

...as the cavalry engaged the Confederate pickets...

...and the battle began.

As the infantry moved...

...into the fray...

...Captain Hughes gave the command...

Photo by Mina Collins

...to open fire.

Our guns acted on the order immediately...

...adding thunder and fire to the fighting.

After the battle, we headed back to camp and a visitor stopped by to chat…Jacob Lewis had fallen in with the 3rd MI. Infantry for the weekend.

The sponsors provided a supper of pulled pork, beans, slaw,  rolls and apple pie.  A dance was held afterwards which some of the younger cannoneers attended. As the sun went down, the temperature dropped rapidly, so greatcoats and blankets were quickly donned. The NCOs had equipped their tents with heating devices and soon everyone retired to their bedrolls attempting to keep warm. It didn’t frost, but the overnight temperature must have come close.

Sunday morning, John was up and had a fire going and water heating.

Jim used a fork to cook the bacon.

German toast and some left over sausages were thrown in for good measure. A lemon meringue pie topped off the morning meal.

After breakfast, the cannoneers were free to attend church, visit sutlers, or stay in camp and pack some things to be ready to load after the event. Soon it was lunchtime, and cold cut sandwiches were laid out.

At 1:30 pm, the infantry formed up...

Photo by Mina Collins

...as did our gun detachments and we all marched out to post the guns once more.

Photo by Mina Collins

Captain Hughes watched...

Photo by Mina Collins

...as the men drilled a short while before the battle.

As the day before...

...the infantry and cavalry skirmished...

...down below our guns...

...as we fired over their heads.

The Confederates advanced up the hill...

...towards our guns...

Photo by Mina Collins

...but the Union Infantry marched over the hill and overwhelmed the few rebels remaining.

Photo by Mina Collins

With the Rebels pushed back, both Union and Confederate troops marched up to the Van Raalte farm house for a reenactment of the surrender of Gen. R.E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.

Photo by Mina Collins

Our battery boys posed with the six pounder.

Photo by Roger Thornson

With the event officially ended, cannoneer Luke Johnson was transformed.

The trailer and vehicles were brought into camp; the camp was broken down for transport to our next event.

Jackson Cascades Reenactment - August

At 7:15 am, Josh Johnson and Lydia arrived at the Captain's house as he was packing the trailer.  

Photo by Tom Davidson  

Shortly thereafter, Taylor Stevens...

Photo by Tom Davidson

...and his friend, Jonathon Elliott, arrived.  By 8 am, the truck and trailer were heading toward Jackson. The day was perfect, not too hot, but dry and sunny. After a quick stop stop to purchase ice and fresh food for the weekend, they continued on to the Cascades Park. Arriving there, they found registration and signed in, then were directed to the artillery camping area.

Photo by Tom Davidson

Except for one tent belonging to another battery, the artillery area was empty...

...so John selected a camping area and the five of them started to set up the company street.

Things progressed well; it sure helped to have extra hands during the set up.

Other members arrived...

...and added their tentage to the battery’s camp.

Lunch came and went...

...and still more cannoneers arrived.

Around 5 pm, John and Jim Ednie made goulash for supper. This worked out well as members could eat as they came in or finished setting up their camps.

 Scott Johnson arrived around 6 pm and brought the 20 pound Parrott.

The gun was off loaded and positioned next to the 6 pounder at the head of our street.

We had several new recruits fall in with us for the weekend. It was great to see members in the field that we hadn’t seen in quite some time. Amber Baker set up a laundress impression.

Emily “Emillio” Lewis joined us.

Lydia “Luke” Johnson and Taylor Stevens talk with Jonathan Elliott who recently completed basic training in the Michigan National Guard.

Scott Johnson read the information packet for the event as Brandon Johnson talked with Steve Bjorklund.

Fifer and bugler Christian Parker fell in with us for this event. He was a great help with mess and clean-up.  

Photo by Tom Davidson

Alice “Albert” Gombas joined the troops.

Photo by Tom Davidson

Before we knew it, night fell and the candle lanterns were lit.  Members were off visiting friends or playing a game of euchre.

Saturday morning dawned clear and dry, unusual for this event. As the fires were built up...

...the cannoneers prepared breakfast.

There were fried potatoes with onions...

...sausage gravy and biscuits, accompanied by scrambled eggs.

Before breakfast, Albert and Emillio had a minor disagreement...

...but peace was soon restored...and, more importantly, the biscuits were not burned.

This filling meal fueled the cannoneers for the morning.

As they ate, Captain Hughes along with Corporals Johnson and Ednie attended the artillery officer's briefing.

There we learned the plans for the artillery’s role in the upcoming scenarios and gun placements. Returning to the camp, the Corporals formed up the cannoneers into two detachments...

...and began drilling on the guns placed at the head of our street.

Detachment on the 6 pounder

Photo by Tom Davidson

Detachment on the 6 pounder

Afterward, the detachment on the six pounder broke out the polish and shined up the gun tube for the weekend.

Photo by Tom Davidson

The men had a break until 11:30 am, so many headed to sutlers, while a few remained to begin preparing lunch ...

...of pulled BBQ pork, beans  and salsa all wrapped in flour tortilla shells.

At 1: 30 pm, Cpl. Johnson brought in his horse named Dodge...

...and we hitched the guns up and towed them to the battlefield.

We were positioned on the left of the gun line, next to the band shell; the 20 pounder was placed first in line and the 6 pounder next to it in a 7 gun battery.

Rachel “Rafael” Piper served on the detachment for the first time.

The battlefield was obscured by a steep hill immediately to our front, but the flip side was that our position was in the shade.

We returned to camp for about an hour where we relaxed and drank lemonade under the dining fly. At 1:30 pm, we formed up into detachments and marched down to the battlefield to the music from the two fifers within our ranks.

Photo by Mina Collins - Ziggi’s Battery

It was kind of a proud moment to watch the other cannoneers' faces as they saw us marching past their guns. It’s unusual for artillery to actually march anywhere, and I think we looked pretty good.  Although there definitely is room for improvement, we looked better than any other artillery detachment.

We formed on the guns (really need to practice that more).

The gunners put their detachments through a short period of drill.

At 2 pm , Major Newkirk ordered the 7 union guns to load.

Capt. Hughes's section went into action.

Corporals Johnson and Ednie called out the commands to load their pieces...

...and bring them to the ready.

Photo by Mina Collins-Ziggi’s Battery

Each gun was given under an order to fire independently.

The 20 pounder was the first gun to fire.

The Captain heard an audible gasp from the public after our gun was fired.

We continued firing even as the Union cavalry took to the field, as they stayed away from our front.

We fired quite a few rounds from both guns...

...because the infantry stayed to our right as well.  

Lydia Johnson watched for a change.

The cannoneers took up their implements; the detachments formed up and marched back to camp.

Photo by Mina Collins-Ziggi’s Battery

The cannoneers were dismissed from duty until 6:30 when supper was to be ready. John, Jim and Joshua started preparing the meal.

John and Josh discovered a new Olympic sport of chicken wrestling as they tried to tie strips of bacon to the chickens before spitting them and placing the two chickens and a pork roast into the tin kitchen.

The supplied firewood was green pine and didn’t want to take fire well.  Several cannoneers started splitting wood for kindling so the fire would take better.

The roasting took longer than planned. Eventually we were able to get the meat cooked - the pork at least.  The chicken was much too under cooked, so we boned it, put it into a fry pan and cooked it until done.

The meal was completed with roasted sweet corn, potatoes, carrots and celery, Paw Paw bread and fruit salad mix, which was enjoyed by all.

After supper, most of the younger soldiers and ladies went up to the dance and enjoyed themselves.

The rest of the cannoneers stayed in camp and relaxed until 9 pm, when they gathered up the implements and headed down to the gun line for the night fire demonstration.

At 9:30 pm, the gunners fired two shots. This may have been the last night fire to be held at Jackson. The field is large and it’s difficult to secure it from people cutting across it; one person in the wrong place could have serious consequences. Maj. Newkirk may be making a recommendation to cease the night fires in the coming years. With the night firings complete, the cannoneers returned to the dance and/or the camp to enjoy the cooler weather and another euchre game.  Around midnight, everyone turned in for sleep.  

By 6:15 Sunday morning, Jim, John, Taylor and Luke were up. 

They got the fire going and bacon sizzling.

Buckwheat pancakes with blueberries were next.

Photo by Mina Collins-Ziggi’s Battery

Jonathon and Luke were in charge of keeping the completed pancakes warm as new ones cooked.

Photo by Mina Collins-Ziggi’s Battery

The rest of the artillerymen hurriedly dressed and found their eating tools.

Once everything was ready, everyone tucked in and made quick work of the meal.

At 9 AM, the Captain and Corporals attended another meeting at the Major’s tent where Artillery bounties were paid out. This year each driver of a tow vehicle also received a $50 gas card. This new addition was greatly appreciated. After the meeting, the Captain granted permission to leave camp to attend church or visit sutlers until 11:30 am when the men were to return to camp for lunch.

Photo by Mina Collins-Ziggi’s Battery

Lunch was simply cold cuts with more fruit slices and watermelon.

We had iced tea instead of our usual lemonade.

The detachments were formed at 1:30 pm.

Photo by Mina Collins-Ziggi’s Battery

We again marched down to the guns for the afternoon battle.

Photo by Mina Collins-Ziggi’s Battery

The Corporals decided to have their detachments switch guns, so as they readied their accouterments and equipment. The Captain received additional information from the Major.

The action began with a reenactment of the capture of President Jefferson Davis by the 5th Mich. Cavalry. Then the battle began, our guns were loaded.

We were cut out of the action rather quickly when the Federal infantry crossed directly in front of our guns. 

They soon marched past our muzzles and left us an open field of fire.

We opened on the enemy as soon as we could.

After the battle progressed...

...the cannoneers worked their guns...

...in the dense smoke.

With the battle over, we marched back to camp, well, kind of...

Several of us changed into  modern clothing as we were advised there was a heavy rainstorm approaching within 20 minutes. A mad scramble of vehicles, trailers and people trying to break down, pack their canvas and camp gear began. A couple of our people succeeded, but most of us broke camp in the rain.

Thanks to everyone who pitched in and helped tear down the camp and try to dry off equipment before it was packed in the trailer. Once the camp was down, of course the rain stopped…until we drove over to load up the cannon, then it came down even heavier at times forcing us to take cover under a rental canopy until it let up.  Finally as we were ready to leave, the rain stopped completely with none we drove home.

Over all, I felt that the event went well in spite of having new host units.  There were a couple items that need to be addressed ( make sure you bring your own T.P. roll next year), but the reenactor numbers were up from last year, and the added bonus for the artillery drivers was a positive thing.  It was a good reenactment.

Thanks to photographers, Tom Davidson and Mina Collins, who took several photographs of our cannoneers and graciously allowed us to use their photographs on our website.

   Grayling Live Fire Event - July

Friday morning John drove to Galesburg and picked up three riders at Scott’s house. When everyone was loaded, they followed Scott as he towed the 20 pounder back to John’s house and, once there, John hitched up his trailer containing the 6 pounder and the Hughes gun. Jim and Dena Miller were there also, so when all was ready, the convoy headed north.

At the Clare exit, we stopped at General Jim’s Army Surplus Store as well as Jay’s Sporting Goods Store next door. Jim Ednie met us there and, after we perused the stores and had lunch...

...we continued the trip to Grayling and Range 35.

We reached the range's registration tent at almost the same time as Jon Liebrandt did.

Once registered, we pulled on to the range...

...and unloaded all three guns...

...related equipment and shot.

Scott took the time to use his bore sighter on the 20 pounder.

We were able to move the rear sight that Fred had dovetailed, to gain more windage adjustment from the Stadia sight.

With the guns parked for the night, Scott unhitched his trailer and John towed his nearly empty trailer to a camp site outside the gate.

Camp was set up with minimal canvas, as 4 of the cannoneers decided to use the trailer as a barracks. Mosquito netting hung over the doors kept most of the unwanted insects out but let the cool breezes in.

Friday night supper was at 9 pm in a local pizza shop called “The Bears Den.”

The mascot of the restaurant somehow acquired an artillery hat...

...and Tanya thought that he looked quite handsome.

Upon returning to camp, some of the cannoneers enjoyed the clear view of the stars, even spotting a satellite moving across the sky, but soon the long day caused the cannoneers to turn in so they would be rested for the competition on Saturday. John was up at 6:30 Saturday morning and had a fire going in the inverted Merrimac stove. Soon a kettle of sausage gravy was bubbling as sausages browned.  Fresh biscuits and hash browns completed the hearty breakfast.

At 8:30 am, we headed for the range and found out our position assignments.

A Cohorne mortar match began at 9 am...

Photo by Jim Ednie

...and our cannoneers watched.

The 20 pounder was on the first relay of Field Guns, on position 1, which meant that the gun had to be moved from where we had parked it to the other end of the firing line.

While John and Jon attended the gun captain’s meeting, the rest of the cannoneers moved the gun into position. During the mortar match, the clouds started to roll in; it looked like a heavy rainstorm was likely, but only a few drops spattered.

At 10:30 the 1rst Field Gun relay was about ready to start and we were awaiting the command to “load” when the tower announced that the military had declared a “check-fire” for the range. So we waited…and waited…and waited... At 12:30 several participants headed for the concession stand to grab a bite to eat and get water as the humidity and temperature headed up. And we waited… and waited some more.

Finally at 2:30pm, a military vehicle drove into the range and members of the host team were summoned to a quick meeting. At meeting's end, the tower announced that the FAA had issued a “no fly zone” for the area due to a threatening severe storm front in the area, but anticipated that the area would be cleared around 3:30 pm. With that info, most of the gun crews left the line and headed to their camps for lunch and a short nap.

About 3 pm, we noticed some increased activity on the road in front of our camp, so we rousted the sleeping ones and headed back to the gun line...

...just in time to hear the tower announce that the relay would start in 10 minutes.

Our cannoneers took their positions.

At the command, they loaded the gun with 1.5 lbs. of powder and a 16 pound solid shot.

With the command of 'Ready,' the gun was primed and at 'Fire'...

...the ground shook as the 20 pounder roared out smoke and flame.

Photo by Jim Miller

Our impact was to the right of our target frame 1000 yards away and the gun recoiled about 10 feet.

The cannoneers put their shoulders to the wheels and moved it back into position...

Photo by Jim Miller

...as the gunner adjusted his sight.

The next few rounds were still to the right, but closer than before and Scott would make a correction.

On the 5th round, we scored a hit on the board; it was in the black 12” dot that was the designated target! The next round placed almost in the same hole, but was enough offset that it was determined that there were two hits in that same place. Then we were back off to the right with our next round. After overcompensating the sight picture. we threw on to the left of the target, and then the shots went back to the right.

 After the match was over, we had hit the board twice out of 10 shots, both in the 12” circle in the center of the target board.

Due to the excessive delay, the program schedule was changed. We shot a 45 min relay instead of the usual hour, and the mortar matches in between the field gun relays were eliminated, so we had 10 minutes to pull the 20 pounder off the firing line...

... and position the 6 pounder on a different firing point.

We then repeated the process of loading and firing...

...the smoothbore for another 10 rounds.

The targets were set up at 500 yards...

 Photo by Dena Miller

... which is really the maximum distance with any kind of accuracy in a smoothbore.

 Photo by Dena Miller

As typical with this type of gun, the cannonballs seemed to go every which way but into the target.

 Photo by Dena Miller

After firing all ten rounds, we only hit the target twice.

 Photo by Dena Miller

Once the second relay was over, our gun was pulled off the line and the third relay took position.  John remained to act as a scorekeeper for a 1753 Russian Light Infantry support howitzer and crew. It was interesting to watch the Russians as they loaded their 3 pounder and used fresh pulled grass as wadding over the powder charge.

Commands to fire were given in Russian, too.

After the third relay, John returned to camp and prepared a quick supper of mystery stew over biscuits and icy cold watermelon to satisfy the hunger of the artillerymen. Jon Liebrandt headed back to Battle Creek as the rest of the campers entertained themselves until bedtime. On Sunday, John was awake at 6am to prepare pancakes and bacon for breakfast. At 8 am, the range opened.  As the troops started to break down camp and pack the trailer, John drove up to the tower to get our firing position for the Hughes gun. We were on relay two but we were firing at the 600 yard range. We were able to talk with Mike Zarndusky and Bobby Hubbard and got some rough range tables for that range, so we had a starting point.  

Meanwhile several guns were shooting the Bacon Creek match; John Wells won it by hitting a sheet of newsprint three times at 1000 yards. We rolled the Hughes Gun on to the line...

...and began firing.

Using the estimated ranges, we found we did have to adjust our sights to get the elevation established.

We were unable to get a consistent grouping so that we could move the windage on to the target.

The shot would go right, then left, then over and short, never getting a hit on the target. We did notice that the elevation screw box is loose, so there is a plan to correct that soon.

Another possibility is that we should try a heavier shot. Most long range shooters use a heavier bullet the farther they shoot.

With the match over, several members headed down range to find spent projectiles. A sand berm had been placed behind the targets, and we were told that we could no longer head into the woods behind the berm as that was now an impact area for a new .50 cal machine gun range. Only one of our 20 pounder shot was recovered (normal one above)...

...and it showed full expansion even with a reduced powder charge.

The trailers were brought to the range and the guns loaded for the trip home. Each time we live fire these guns, we learn a little bit more about what the artillerymen of 150 years ago experienced as they used these types of cannon in warfare.

Sandy Pines - July

John towed the 6 pounder & Hughes gun trailer up to the Sandy Pines Resort Friday morning, arriving at 8:30 am.  Our camp area was in the same place as in past year; he quickly had the guns off loaded and set up three tents and some of the camp equipment before he had to return to work around 12:30 pm.

Before leaving, he left a note in the trailer, with instructions for Scott, and those who came with him, to finish setting up camp when they arrived around 8:30 pm. Mike McLaughlin arrived in the afternoon and placed his tent in the line John had started.

John left BC Saturday at 6 am and was planning to face a sodden camp, as it was raining hard when he left.  All the way to Kalamazoo and then north, the sky dumped copious amounts of water. About 3 miles from the exit for the resort, the rain stopped and the pavement was dry! Upon John’s arrival at 7:30 am, he found that most of the camp and mess were indeed set up and a fire going in the Merrimack stove.

With only one additional box to unload, John hitched up and parked the trailer, then returned to start breakfast. Mike took over flipping the German toast and frying  bacon.

John brought ginger rhubarb muffins to accompany the meal and before long, a tasty breakfast was on the table.

Robinson’s Battery was asked to wear gray for the weekend as no Rebel artillery arrived.

It wasn't too hard to talk the cannoneers into putting on “the other color.” We even had a new recruit; “Tiberius”  Johnson fell in with the section.

After the breakfast cookware was cleaned...

We formed into two sections: Cpl. Johnson and Pvt. McLaughlin were on the Hughes gun and Capt. Hughes had Privates Rogers, B. Johnson, T. Johnson, L. Johnson along with John DeBries from the 2nd Kentucky Vol. Artillery.

We moved the guns up to drill...

...and familiarized all with their duties.

With drill completed, lunch preparations began with bratwurst sausages, ham & beans, Southwestern style corn and fresh pickles.  Sponge cake with fresh strawberries finished the meal.

After lunch, we moved our guns down the road about 100 yards and lined up with Battery D’s two 10 pounder Parrotts and a mountain howitzer. 

At 1:30 pm, Major Jim Newkirk began an artillery demonstration showcasing the different kinds of cannon on the field, beginning with our 6 pounder.

The Major had us load and fire the piece twice.  When we finished, a golf cart towed the gun across the fields...

... into our new position.

As the 6 pounder was moved, the Major moved on to the Hughes gun.

Corporal Johnson demonstrated the breechloader.

The Major then demonstrated the mountain howitzer and section of Parrotts. While he spoke, Cpl. Johnson and Pvt. McLaughlin towed the Hughes gun to the same side of the field as the 6 pounder but positioned themselves in the trees on the other corner, allowing infantry access to the center of the field.

A dead, and bloated, sharpshooter officer near our position confirmed the recent fighting and gave the men pause.

After the artillery demonstrations, the Union infantry took the field.  As they advanced in a skirmish line, we opened fire.

The Hughes gun and 6 pounder maintained a barrage for several minutes. Then the Rebel infantry advanced.  As the infantries slugged it out, as we kept up an occasional shot.

The fighting lasted for about a half hour before the infantry on both sides withdrew from the engagement. After the battle, we again used the trusty golf cart to tow the cannon back to camp.  We parked our guns and a number of people stopped by to look them over and a number of brochures were handed out.  A large crowd watched the medical demonstrations. With no need to prepare an evening meal, the men were free to visit the few sutlers, the Emerald Peacock, or wander the camps and talk to friends.

A few elected to take a nap including the Captain. At 5 pm the Captain rousted the sleeping cannoneers, gathered the rest of them, and proceeded to the serving area...

...for supper provided by the resort.

There was even music.

The men returned to camp and talked to the occasional spectator that stopped to look at the guns and camps. At 8:45 pm, Scott, and members of Battery D, used their trucks to tow cannon to the dam that creates the small lake in the resort.

The guns were positioned to fire over the lake.

Around 9:40 pm, we loaded the guns under the command of Captain Hughes.

We fired 6 rounds from each gun.  The sound traveled across the water and echoed back from the various coves and bays.  It created an impressive multiple echo effect that continued for several seconds after each blast.

After the night fire, the guns and men returned to camp. The men settled in, enjoying the cooling air and clear skies. Before we knew, it was past 11 pm; most of the cannoneers turned in, although a couple stayed up playing card games.

By 7:30 am Sunday, the Captain was up and built up the fire in the camp stove.   As the men assembled under the mess fly, they were put to work preparing the morning meal of scrambled eggs with sausages bits and cheese, fried apples and potato pancakes.

The men seemed to like them, leaving only a few.

The Captain, not wanting to waste them, took the remaining ones around to the infantrymen. Several of the men went to find the morning church service, but for some reason, that part of the program didn’t happen so they returned to camp. We took the opportunity to break out the polish, and the men cleaned up the brass and copper on both guns. At noon, a simple lunch of cold cut sandwiches was prepared; some of the men mentioned that they were still full from breakfast and didn’t eat much. The guns were again hitched up and towed to the demonstration field at 12:45 pm.

As on Saturday, the artillery pieces were demonstrated and then moved across the field for the afternoon battle.

The scenario was basically the same as the day before, and we kept up a good rate of fire.

The Hughes gun expended its ammunition supply and had to retire from the fight.

The battle was soon over and we took the guns back to camp.

The 6 pounder, detouring on the way, took advantage of the car wash across the road and was thoroughly washed...

...and rinsed, inside and out, before going to camp.

Back at camp, the Captain stopped in at the surgeon's tent to check on Pvt. B. Johnson’s condition.  It seems that Pvt. Johnson took a musket ball to his right leg during the fight and the surgeon had to amputate. Pvt. Johnson was heard to weakly ask, “How am I going to be able to dance the Virginia reel now?”

With the reenactment over, the trailer was brought in, camp equipment loaded, tents struck and we headed home. Thanks to everyone who stuck around and helped break camp.  Everyone is usually hot and tired by this time in the weekend, so it's a real help to have extra hands packing things up.