Welcome to the monthly newsletter. I pray this finds you and your family happy, whole, and well, and that your Christmas and New Year holidays were enjoyable. Surprisingly, there has been a flurry of activity over the past two months, so this will be a slightly longer than usual issue. If you wish to be notified of each new issue, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. ALL Writers are welcomed: Confederate, Union, and Civilian. If you wish to submit an article, or have any questions, send an email to email@example.com.
For additional event information, please visit the EVENTS page for a complete listing.
· February 5-7: Battle at Ft. Taylor: Living History, Key West, FL - VIEW REGISTRATION FORM
· February 12-14: Battle of Olustee, Lake City, FL
· February 26-28: Battle of Fort DeSoto, St. Petersburg, FL
· February 26-28: Battle of Okeechobee: Second Seminole War, Okeechobee, FL
· March 4-6: 39th Annual Reenactment of the Battle of Natural Bridge, Tallahassee, FL
Letter to the Editor:
An Andersonville Disappointment
By Wayne Dobson
I visited the Andersonville Historic Site the day after Christmas with my family. I had not been there in a year or so – maybe longer but I was saddened by the changes I saw. The gift shop no longer stocked several books that gave the Southern side of the tragic story. I asked about these volumes but the clerk said he had never seen them – I had. However, there was an ample supply of volumes dedicated to Lincoln, Harriett Tubman, Frederick Douglas and others who were only peripherally related to that particular location.
I had viewed the visitor’s center film before and was never enthralled with it. Again, I winced at the acute Northern slant. I think the ending credits revealed it to be a Boston-based production. Even quotes that Colonel Heinrich Hartmann Wirz - better known as Henry Wirz - (November 25, 1823 – November 10, 1865) had made in his defense were skewed and delivered by an Yankee actor with an unfeigned sneer. I believe more than 100 Confederate guards – like the prisoners, merely soldiers doing their duty - perished there, but their graves had long since been removed – not even allowed the dignity to be buried at the post upon which they served.
Heartrending as my trip was, I am not surprised. Political correctness never takes the moral high road. It slithers along the lower dominions of life. The War did not really end in 1865. Yes, the South laid down their arms like the ladies and gentlemen they were but the North relentlessly extinguished the people, heritage, the very culture of all that once thrived below the Mason-Dixon Line.
- John Wayne Dobson
15th Annual Raid on Ft. Pierce
December 11-13, 2015
By Jim O’Dell
From the Battle front with much appreciation,
The 15th Annual Raid on Fort Pierce was a great Success. Thank you to all that could come and support us, what a great time with a great bunch of characters. We had a smaller battlefield do to the monsoon season; we had a smaller group of reenactors than usual but if you didn't make it what a great time and a great battle. My hat is off to all of you; our School Day was a great turn out 475 kids. Our Ladies camp fed all the troops Friday, Saturday and Sunday for breakfast Lunch and dinner. The Ladies tea and the Ball were also awesome as always. I have received many compliments from schools teachers, and spectators on our Facebook page. I am looking forward to another fabulous event next year already.
9 months of planning and coordination, revamping the school day plan 12 times, but spending the time with all my reenactor friends and extended family......Priceless.
Our Battle takes place on the western edge of the Savannas in the old hamlet of Fort Pierce, December of 1863.
Our story goes factual-fiction; it is true in that Lt. William T. Sherman was stationed at the fort out of West Point in 1837. Our story begins with a fictitious landing of union troops as they try to take the fair hamlet to bring it back into the folds of the republic. Our local militia repels the troops and they re-board their boats and head down stream on the Indian River. They hear of a Union sympathizer, Mr. McDonough, who is the grandson of Sherman that moved to Florida after the armed occupation act of 1842. Grandpa Billy had told Samuel how great the game and seafood was here, so he moved his family to settle the land close to the place his grandpa was stationed. That farm lay just south of the city where the union decides to wait for reinforcements.
Our glorious Confederate commander portrayed by no other than the Legendary Col. David Hackel, one of the Southern Volunteer Battalions’s finest, establishes a cease fire with the Union Commander Major Eugene Sereg of the 75th Ohio, 4th Brigade US after a fierce Battle with many casualties on both sides.
After a full morning of caring for the wounded, both commanders came on to the field to address the issues. A fierce argument the Union Commander demands the south surrenders and leave Mr. McDonough farm; Mr. McDonough has slaughtered all his livestock to feed the republic’s finest, and his family is caring for the dying. The Southern Commander is going to take the land in the name of the Confederacy and secretly attempts to bribe the southern commander to leave, in front of spectators. The flag of truce is thrown onto the ground by Major Sereg. As the commanders walk back to their camps, shots are fired and the battle is on again. Men of the 8th Florida, the 28th Georgia, and the 7th Florida historical figures engage the 75th OVI in melee, including hand to hand combat with young Private Hawk De-ruise trying to save his Union commander to no avail. The poor young lad and son of the farm owner lay bleeding on the ground. As our scene comes to a close, the South prevails, and the troops are led off to the depot.
Many thanks to all the great actors making the script come alive once again. Our Men, Capt. Bob Burge, Dowling Watford, Steven Best (Junk), Joseph Hagan, Adam Whiting, Sgt Andersen, Nick, Hawk De-ruise, Jimmy Shirley, Dave Williams, David Wright (Winkle Weed), Artillery Commander Vernon Beaty, Maj. Eugene Sereg, Greg Ahern, Buddy Grumble, and Shane Allen-Kearney. If I missed you, my deepest apologies, but thank you from the bottom of my southern soul.
May thanks to our Sutlers: William Fox - Sidekick Sutler, Jim Ball - Lock Stock and Barrel, and Corinne Ball - Sewing My Way.
To our school day reenactors:
Station 1 unfortunately our Senator (John Simmons) David Levy Yulee could not be with us due to the campaign trail.
Station 2 the St Lucie County Historical society Nancy Benet superb job of representing.
Station 4 Ladies Camp, Ms. Drew Dehart, Lise Hagan, and Carolyn Dehart worked the crowd with the latest in fashions of the time, period cooking, and other goodies.
Station 5 and 6 The Provost and Union Camp Maj. Eugene Sereg and his assistant Greg Ahern showed what the Professional soldiers of the Union wore and how they lived by the law of the land.
Station 7 Artillery, Commander Vernon Beaty, and Joseph Hagan, showed the kids how to speak with a loud voice.
Station 8 Camp Life Pvt. Robert Hayes showed how good or bad the soldiers had it for a monthly wage of $13 a month.
Station 9 Medical Richard Eckhart, kept them in stitches and sometime had to help them loose a limb.
Station 10 Cow Cavalry Don Moody the man of Steel showed how easy it was to turn a bar of metal into a cavalry horse’s shoe. Station 11 Infantry Dowling Watford and Timmy Perkins demonstrated the manual of arms and what it sounds like when the enemy is close by.
Station 12 Kathy Clark-Tilson, the Widow and Mr. Ray showed off the collection of relicts from a time gone by, stove irons to ladies boots they have it all.
Station 13 last but not least Larry Powell and Brigade Commander Westly Frank old hands at roping them in to the folds of the brotherhood The Sons of Confederate Veterans.
Event is sponsored by the, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Pvt. George W. Thomas, Camp 1595 Fort Pierce Florida, and the Order of the Confederate Rose, Laura Ratcliffe Chapter 19. Private George W. Thomas Camp 1595. The camp is composed of only 15 men and 16 ladies the Order of the Confederate Rose Laura Ratcliffe Chapter 19. We hold our meetings over Dinner at the Fort Pierce Golden Corral second Thursday of the month. The Raid on Fort Pierce has been ongoing for 15 years with great results for education of young and old alike. George W. Thomas the Camps’ name sake was the oldest Living Confederate Veterans in Saint Lucie County when he died in 1934, at the young age of 97.
January 15-17, 2016
By Pvt. Alex Cubero
10 July 1864
Pvt. Alex Cubero
3rd Florida, Co. A
Dept. of the Gulf
I hope you’re doing well, and braving this hot summer in good health and high spirits. As for myself, well, it turns out I’m not headed north to see the grim glory of war after all—our company, as well as a number of others, have been ordered to stay where we are for protection of a tiny, mostly abandoned town called Brooksville. We’ve been harassing a bunch of Yankees headed for some ships in nearby Bayport, making their travel right difficult.
Of course, the raids on the blue devils are exciting, but they hardly fill my life. Today, for instance, after reveille, just as I’d rubbed the sleep from my eyes and gone to the fire to see if the eggs and vegetables the company had gathered for breakfast were yet cooking, mail call was announced I got a letter from an old battle buddy that’s in Missouri, fighting the good fight. Of course, I barely got through half of it before the captain announced that breakfast would be after colors, and first sergeant screamed out first call—next thing I knew, the letter was forgotten in my tent as I pulled on my leathers to look proper presentable for colors.
Well, I reckon I must’ve stood in that hot Florida sun with all my leathers and wool on for a good half hour or more, but I sure didn’t complain once…and not just because of the corporal next to me! And let me tell you something, there’s no better feeling in the world than watching the glorious Stars and Bars, flying in a pleasant Southern wind, being raised as you hold the steel of your rifle in a salute. Well, except maybe getting back to camp after drill.
Speaking of drill, the dreaded exercises came swiftly upon the heels of colors—as the combined forces split into their respective companies, 3rd Florida set out to practice marching by files and flanking movements while marching. Let me tell you, my love, never will I be ashamed of my Company, as we were the first ones off the drill field, our boys learned the movements so well and executed them so flawlessly. When we got back to camp, we were rewarded with the hearty breakfast we’d been promised all morning.
Most of the day was uneventful, though after bringing water back to the camp I and some comrades lounged in the woods and could not help but to reflect on the peaceful beauty of this land, especially in Brooksville. There are a number of small lakes by the camps, not very much wider than a pond though in the middle of a great depression in the ground. They’re incredible, for you can’t touch the floor of the pond when swimming in the center, and despite the crystal clarity of the water no pebble thrown can ever be seen to the bottom.
Well, I must wrap this letter up now, and hope that it finds you well—I’ve just heard first call. We’re about to put our newly-trained flanks and files to use, marching on those blue-bellied yanks! Tonight there will be a ball, where all the soldiers and officers, even those following our procession in caravans and those peddling their wares will be in attendance. You needn’t worry, of course—I’ll dance with no one except for you.
Please be well, for I cannot wait to embrace you again when I return,
Pvt. Alex Cubero
Pictures courtesy of Major Ken Baum,
2nd Battalion, 4th Brigade, US
New Florida Reenacting Unit
By Keith Kohl
Greetings, fellow re-enactors! I am pleased to announce the formation of a new re-enactor organization in Florida. Word is already circulating about this through the re-enactor community. The following is sent to "introduce" if you will this new group, as well as pass along some details about it and so forth especially in light of emails, Facebook messages, etc. I have received inquiring about it. So with that said....
This past November 15 I formally and amiably resigned my membership in Hardy's Brigade and formally withdrew from said organization. The decision was made solely for myself and not the members of the 2nd Battalion, Hardy's Brigade. When I resigned from the brigade, the majority of the remaining companies and members chose to withdraw as well at that time. The former 2nd Battalion, Hardy's Brigade no longer exists and the members of said group are no longer affiliated with Hardy's Brigade.
The majority of the members of said former battalion have re-organized into a new re-enactor organization. Therefore we are pleased to announce the formation of the 1st Brigade, Provisional Army of the Confederate States. Feeling that some historical background is in order as to how this title was arrived at I offer the following. Upon the formation of the Confederate States of America in early 1861, the framework for her military forces was established. This was organized in two distinct formations. The Army of the Confederate States of America (ACSA) was the force that would be the "standing army" maintained in peace time. It was also intended to provide an organization where many of the former US officers, West Pointers, etc. would be placed holding ranks senior to shorter-term volunteer units, state militias, etc. The additional group was the Provisional Army of the Confederate States (PACS); this would encompass the military forces called up in time of war, in the case of the 1860s this was obviously the conflict with the Union.
With all of that said, from here we move ahead with our continuing organization of this new unit. Our "mission" and vision if you will is to be a positive-minded, historically accurate, and family-friendly organization. Many of the members are not really "new" as much of our former battalion has remained intact. However there are some new faces already along with former members of some of the units expressing to return as well. As we forge ahead, we look forward to the possibilities of working with the other re-enactor organizations in Florida (Union, Confederate, and civilian) and extend the opportunity to do so in positive efforts in Florida re-enacting. Onward and upward!
Should we not have the opportunity to speak before hand and thus pass along the following, may all of you enjoy a truly wonderful and Merry Christmas with you and yours and best wishes for a safe and Happy New Year!
This past January 15-17 the newly formed 1st Brigade, Provisional Army of the Confederate States took the field for the first time in this capacity at the Brooksville Raid re-enactment. Comprised of long-time re-enactor units from mainly the central Florida area yet with members in other parts of the state, the ranks include numerous veteran re-enactors and newly-enlisted enthusiastic recruits. The group also has a sizable contingent of civilian re-enactors as well. We welcome contacts with other re-enactor groups and are always open to new members in this unique "hobby". As we proceed on this new endeavor, we look forward to continuing long-time working relationships and friendships, building new ones, and forging ahead along with the rest of the re-enacting community in preserving and bringing to life this period of our rich American heritage and history.
Until such time as our paths may cross again I remain,
Lt. Colonel Keith W. Kohl, commanding
Provisional Army of the Confederate States
Florida’s Civil War Reenactors: re-published
By Hamilton McElroy
As many of you will well remember, in 2010, author Boris Robinson created a publication with a variety of pictures from the Florida reenacting community. Few were fortunate to get a copy, and many asked when more would be available. Recently, Mr. Robinson has announced that it has been re-published through Createspace/Amazon and, although it isn't as big a book and not on shiny paper, it is a lot less expensive.
The first time around Blurb Books charged $34 a copy, so not very many were purchased as it wasn't very accessible. However, now available on Amazon.com for $18.50 (free shipping for PRIME members), this book is a must for any reenactor’s shelf in Florida. While not a very large volume, the crisp pictures are sure to bring you fond memories for years to come. Mr. Robinson says his idea “was to give something back.” Below are some sample pictures.
A Corporal’s Story:
Civil War Recollections of the Twelfth Massachusetts
A book review by Stuart McClung
21st Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Co. B
SCV Camp - Battle of Sharpsburg #1582
A Corporal’s Story: Civil War Recollections of the Twelfth Massachusetts by George Kimball. Alan D. Gaff and Donald H. Gaff ed. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2014. 343 pp. $34.95.
As noted by the editors, “recollections and memoirs have recently fallen out of favor with Civil War historians, who now prefer to publish contemporary letters and diaries”. (p.xviii) This is largely due to the fact that so many were written years and even decades after the fact when memories dim or the old soldier author wants to put the best possible spin on his experience or his unit’s service. As a result, many are or can be suspect as first person accounts and primary sources as opposed to the aforementioned letters and diaries which are more often written as events unfolded “on scene”.
In the case of this volume, editors Gaff have published the war “story” of George Kimball whose postwar career included editorial contributions (with two other veterans) to a military history journal, The Bivouac, as well as a series of articles and other features in the Boston Journal, an article in the Century Magazine and a letter in the well-known Battles and Leaders of the Civil War series. Kimball’s writing, in typical 19th Century Victorian prose, was written as much for his family as his fellow veterans and the general public and are as descriptive of his military experience as entertaining or as entertaining as they can be when writing about home, camp, the rear echelon, personal activities and anecdotes during the death, carnage and destruction of combat. In the event, it would seem that Kimball’s recollections have much more going for them than many other such literary productions, if this volume and his resume above are any indication.
Kimball’s experience in the 12th Massachusetts Volunteers, originally commanded by Daniel Webster’s son, Fletcher, until his death at Second Manassas, is told from the heady initial rush to enlist in June 1861, right through the unit’s discharge from Federal service three years later in the middle of the Overland Campaign of spring, 1864 and subsequent return to Boston for mustering out. He recounts his initial exposure to military service (camping in the field, cooking and the quality and/or lack of rations, drilling, military discipline, etc.) and other personal experiences and introduces many of the “pards” with whom he served. Included as well are individual chapter descriptions of the actions in which his unit was involved over the course of that period: The fruitless marching and pursuit of Jackson during his Valley Campaign, Cedar Mountain (although his unit was really only present after the fighting was largely over), Second Manassas, the Maryland Campaign and Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Mine Run and that portion of the Overland Campaign prior to discharge.
Kimball’s feelings regarding his service and the cause for which he fought come out in the aforementioned prose, typical in its regard for patriotism, pride in having served, the preservation of the Union and “waving the bloody shirt” damning of those traitors who would destroy that for the sake of keeping humans in bondage. The author’s writing is also supported by the editors’ annotation which provides much in the way of biographical information on notable personages of the war and many of Kimball’s fellow soldiers in the ranks. The bibliography amply demonstrates that the editors employed a wide variety of sources, from census and individual state vital records to regimental histories, biographies, newspapers and genealogical websites, which certainly add necessary contextual information to the author’s experiences.
Interestingly, there are no photographs of the author, only two sketch type illustrations from an 1893 edition of the Boston Journal in the preface, although there are a number of photos primarily of persons mentioned in the text. As this is not a tactical battle description volume, the four maps only delineate the general theater of operations of the 12th Massachusetts for each of its respective years of service. There are four appendices. They include a roll of honor, compiled by the editors, listing the name, company, date of death and the manner/place of death for all of the casualties suffered over the course of the unit’s service; various individuals’ recollections regarding the death of Fletcher Webster; a description of the origin of Memorial Day and the text of the address delivered at the dedication of the 12th’s monument at Gettysburg in 1885.
Whether or not such recollections have fallen out of favor with historians, this particular volume delivers much more than a typical “my unit won the war single-handed” thesis. It also has personal reminiscences and anecdotes of military service with which even contemporary warriors can identify. When it comes to a Civil War veteran’s experience, in camp and in battle, one should read this volume to gain a better understanding of and appreciation for what a 19th Century American soldier regarded as the overarching experience of his lifetime.
By William Massengill
My name is William Massengill with Uptone Pictures here in Wake Forest, NC. We are very excited to email you concerning the release of our new feature film UNION BOUND, in theaters April 22nd. We felt that you and your organization, Florida Reenacts Online News Magazine, would be very interested in this film which is based on the real life diary of Joseph Hoover. A Union soldier from NY who fought during the Civil War and was captured by the Confederates at The Battle of The Wilderness in 1864. He was moved to Florence, SC where he would eventually escape with a friend into the unforgiving wilderness. After being tricked by a plantation owner, Joseph and his companion are saved and smuggled through the Underground Railroad with the help of a slave by the name of Jim Young. Together these three would not only make their way to freedom but would discover a new understanding of "Freedom for All".
We want you to join us in promoting this great story, to keep the flame alive of those who came before us and paid the ultimate price for our freedom.
Mark your calendar and join us on our journey UNION BOUND Feb 12th.
Current Theaters in Florida…growing daily
Carmike Muvico Broward 18 2315 N Federal Hwy - Pompano Beach, FL
Cypress Creek Station Stadium 16 6415 N Andrews Ave - Fort Lauderdale, FL
Kendall Village Stadium 16 & RPX & IMAX 8595 Sw 124th Ave - Miami, FL
Carmike Muvico Parisian 20 + IMAX 545 Hibiscus St. - West Palm Beach, FL
Pointe Orlando Stadium 20 + IMAX 9101 International Drive - Orlando, FL
Waterford Lakes Stadium 20 with IMAX 541 N Alafaya Trl - Orlando, FL
Oviedo Marketplace Stadium 22 1500 Oviedo Marketplace Blvd - Oviedo, FL
New Gunsmith in Town
By Wayne and Lisa Green
We are planning to attend the Olustee Battle Field event Saturday 2/13. My wife Lisa and I own a growing Gunsmithing and Firearm restoration business. We are setting a goal to become a Vendor or Sutler in 2017. We are Federally Licensed and we have a fully equipped 1700 sq. ft. shop near downtown Jacksonville. We are looking forward to attending Saturday and we are also available Sunday. Below is a short list of the services we provide. We can also provide references for any aspect of our work. Is there anything we can offer to help in preparation for the event? There is enough time to fix just about anything and we can help with pickup and delivery if possible. Please forward to any interested party and we look forward to attending the reenactment.
· Black Powder rifle barrel relining, 44-40, 38-40, 32-20 and more.
· Hot bluing, Nitre bluing, and rust bluing.
· Parkerizing and Cerakote to match any color
· Color Case Hardening
· Hardening and heat treating
· Case hardening
· Revolver barrel replacement, repair, clocking for accuracy
· Nipple repair, threading, custom made including metric sizes
· Lock systems repair, including cannons
· Cast iron welding and repair
· Brass soldering, brazing, and repair
· Lathe (14x40) and milling services
· Stock repair and modifications
· Engraving to match replaced parts
Wayne and Lisa Green
Superior Gunsmithing & Restoration, LLC
1949 Gamewell Rd.
Jacksonville, Fl. 32211
Bid to remove Florida Confederate general from
U.S. Capitol draws fire
By John Kennedy
PalmBeachPost.com on January 27, 2016
A measure that would move the statue of Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith out of the U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall collection continued to advance through legislative committees.
But the proposal drew its fiercest fire Wednesday in the Senate Rules Committee, which approved jettisoning Smith on a 10-3 vote, but with two former Senate presidents and a future chamber boss opposing it.
“I think, maybe, we can find someone who could represent our state better,” said Sen. John Legg, R-Trinity, sponsor of the bill (CS/SB 310).
History shows Smith was born in St. Augustine, but spent little time in Florida. He commanded the last army of the Confederate States to surrender — more than a month after General Robert E. Lee gave up in April 1865.
Smith’s companion in the Capitol hall is John Gorrie, a doctor and early pioneer of air-conditioning, which has proved so vital to Florida’s development.
Gorrie looks secure. But the advancing legislation would authorize a panel within the Florida Department of State to choose another Floridian from history to be commemorated with a statue in the Capitol.
The push to remove Smith follows the Florida Senate’s rules change last fall that removed the Confederate flag from its official seal.
But Smith’s removal seems to gain added controversy with every committee stop.
On Wednesday, former Sens. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, and Tom Lee, R-Brandon, both former Senate presidents, voted against the change, joined by Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, who is in line to become Senate president in November.
Gaetz said Legg failed to explicitly lay out why Smith’s statue should be taken down.
“Maybe there are good reasons to take him out,” Gaetz said. “But we haven’t heard it.”
A handful of citizens, including representatives of the Museum of the South in Jacksonville, also came to Smith’s defense.
“I very much appreciate Kirby Smith and his contribution to Florida history,” said Mary Ellen Gwynes, an education specialist with the museum. “When his state left the union, he left the union, too.”
Florida and many other southern states have been looking to shed Confederate images since South Carolina removed a Confederate flag from its Capitol following the murder of nine black churchgoers in Charlestown.
The alleged shooter, Dylann Roof, is accused of maintaining a website that contained images of white supremacy and photos of the Confederate battle flag.
EDITOR’s NOTE: Find your FL State Senator - http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/sections/representatives/myrepresentative.aspx
CAN WE HOLD THE HIGH GROUND AT STONE MOUNTAIN?
“…to whom shall we go? – John 6:68
By Wayne Dobson
Many are aware of House Bill 760 which would eliminate Stone Mountain Memorial Park as a commemoration to the Confederacy and give the State of Georgia, its agencies, departments, authorities, or instrumentalities overseeing such monuments or memorials no limitations from changing such monuments or memorials in what they feel are ‘historically accurate and appropriate manners.’”
First and foremost, let me say that the Southern people do not seek nor need to destroy the heritage of others to promote their own birthright. Of that we can be justly proud and all others must bear their own shame. Naturally, the call has gone forth for us to close ranks and begin calling and e-mailing our State Legislators and Senators to express our opposition to this vile and discriminatory piece of proposed legislation, politely urging them to be opposed to it as well. This method of organized opposition has been effective in the past and, certainly, it should be used again, now! It is not hard to find out how to do this if you are willing – if not, so be it. I am, I will and I have always made a practice of expressing my views, in writing, to public officials until my name has become a profanity to them.
The year just passed was tough for our interests. We lost decidedly in South Carolina and New Orleans; just to name a couple of disheartening battles. It is possible to lose in Georgia, too, if we do not act swiftly, firmly and tirelessly. We can write our letters and send our emails but that may not be enough. I will be clear: we NEED Divine Intervention. In plainer words, we need God’s help. We must pray. As Sons of Confederate Veterans we scatter the phrase Deo Vindice around like candy at a Christmas parade, and in a manner that makes me think that we do not expect God to do anything for us in this life, only in the hereafter. God could have just as easily have let the South win the War, but being a people chosen of God guarantees a useful purpose not an easy thoroughfare. God can vindicate our Cause now and specifically in the case of Stone Mountain, if He so wills. We have so many against us, but imagine how hopeless it must have looked to our ancestors after the summer of Vicksburg and Gettysburg, as Kennesaw loomed, Atlanta fell and Petersburg was swarmed. Still, they fought on. There is nowhere to go when you make a stand on your own land. Shame never comes from losing, only from not trying. With God’s help, we can win in Georgia. Why not ask HIM?
John Wayne Dobson
EDITOR’s NOTE: A copy of the bill may be found here - http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/20152016/154488.pdf
Find your GA State Senator - http://www.senate.ga.gov/senators/en-US/FindyourLegislator.aspx
Find your GA State Representative - http://www.house.ga.gov/Representatives/en-US/HouseMembersList.aspx
CAMPAIGNER ON A BUDGET
By Jim Butler
Many times the discussion regarding being a Campaigner turns to uniforms and accoutrements. Yet, I find this aspect of being a Campaigner to be a nominal one at best. But, when one does discuss this aspect one must consider the depths of their pockets. Careful selection and research of gear and buying a bit at a time has been successful for me. But, I have listed some things a would-be Campaigner can do to improve his impression while spending little or no money. Some involve doing exact things and others involve creating your persona and allowing for your personal style. A Civil War soldier would have had to try to make himself as comfortable as his conditions allowed.
· Adjust Your Traps: Most reenactors wear their traps too low. Traps swinging hither and yon did not allow for an easier march, nor did your file partner appreciate it either. There is no right or wrong answer except that wearing your traps higher is more comfortable.
· Reduce The Amount Of Stuff You Bring: Having at one time been a heavy camper, I can attest my life has been much easier since I went Campaign-Style. I paired all my gear down to fit into my pack. How did I do that?
a. Rid myself of all that gun cleaning gear. I have a small cleaning kit that consists of a wrench, pick, jag, a few patches and a tiny bottle of gun oil. You can do a more thorough cleaning when you get home.
b. Got rid of my lantern and turned to a folding lantern. My folding lantern (from Village Tinsmith) was inexpensive and folds to ¾” thick and is 4”; x 6”. It puts out considerable light and can be hung up.
c. Got rid of my plate and used a canteen half for cooking and eating. Heavy gauge wire or a stick can be used as a handle. You could also get a small frying pan and use it as a plate as well.
d. Share gear with a pard. Your carry the frying pan and carry the folding lantern, etc., etc., etc.
e. Created a small period writing kit (see Echoes of Glory for some suggestions on writing kits, shaving kits etc. that common soldiers carried).
f. Carried food that is still palatable and takes up little room. For example, you can buy some presoaked beans and rice mix (some already have Cajun spices) for less than a dollar and it is enough for four meals, takes up little room and cooks in your tin cup. Peanuts, jerky, granola bars, trail mix, etc. all take up little space and will keep well.
g. A good rule I was told was this: If I took the item to two events and didn't use it, then leave it at home.
h. Checked and bid at EBay at http://www.ebay.com on period items to carry. I bought an original, Union case (a small, soldiers frame to carry a period picture) for under $15.00!
· Bedrolls: If you can’t afford the $120-$180 for a knapsack than you can make a bedroll as an authentic and inexpensive alternative. Since many of our Confederate counterparts use bedrolls, I would suggest talking to a Reb campaigner a see how he does it. Different people have different methods to a blanket roll.
· Go For A More Generic Impression: Unless the impression calls for certain accoutrements like hat brass or gaiters I would leave these items at home. Gaiters were of limited issue (especially in the Western theater) and should be left for only certain impressions. Hat brass, if used at all, would have been limited to a company letter only, or in most cases none at all. The end result is buying less, saves you more!
· Modify Your Dog Tent Or Shelter Half: Most reenactors drive their tent stakes thru the grommets of their shelter half. This is incorrect. A length of rope was knotted and threaded thru the grommets (there should be two in each corner about the size of a dime) and knotted on the other end to hold it fast. This loop was then attached to the tent stake. Most shelter halves (Jarnigan's for example) sell them without brass grommets (which are incorrect) so you can cut out your own and sew (or pay for them to sew) a buttonhole stitch about the hole, thus creating your own grommets. If your half has brass grommets you can still run a knotted loop thru it. I can also show you the buttonhole stitch, it is easy and doesn't take too long. You can also use this stitch to modify your buttonholes on your clothing to look hand stitched (if your so inclined).
· Create A More Military Camp: Police your area for trash and non-period anachronisms (stash em away). Participate in and encourage roll calls, wood/water detail, guard mount, first person impressions, saluting officers, etc., etc.
· Participate In Period Activities: Encourage and take part in things like ration issues, ammo issues, mail calls, chuck-a-luck or poker games, mock punishments/disciplines, etc.
· Create A First Person Persona: so you have one ready if called upon to use it. Doing some research on civilians will help in this area (talking to some of the ladies can be helpful, since they are usually studied on civilian courtesies, etc.). Know where you are from, what you did, a bit about your family, what it was like where you lived, the politics of the area, when you mustered in, a bit about the unit’s history, etc.
· Defarb your Weapon: Sanding off the shiny polyurethane coating is a task I am jumping into this winter. It is a scary thought at first, but there are several methods to this. Take your piece apart and sand down the stock or get a commercial stripper to take off the coating. You can then stain it (not one with polyurethane in it) or not. Most important is to wipe boiled linseed oil or a 50/50 mix of linseed and turpentine over the stock. Do this again a couple times a year. Be sure to dispose of rags with linseed oil properly since they can spontaneously combust. For $25.00 you can have a reenactors gunsmith (such as Zimmerman) to correctly mark your piece. For a Springfield, this includes a correct cartouche, inspectors stamp, removing the modern mnftrs name and moving the serial number to its proper place (beneath the breach). Removing blueing is an arguable point. When you look at actual weapons in museums it looks as if many Enfields were blued in some way. You may wish to further research this and decide what is best for you. As a Springfield owner, those green scotch-brite pads are invaluable in removing rust (which can appear very quickly).
· Utilize Poke Bags: Small period poke or ditty bags can be easily made or purchased from period material (cotton or linen) with draw strings. These are invaluable for stashing gear, food, modern medicines, etc., etc.
· Camp Hat: Many soldiers carried camp hats of various styles to wear at night or in camp. My favorite is a simple flannel, nightcap. It is comfortable and can be pulled over my ears on a cold night.
· Personalize Your Canteen: I previously wrote an article on canteens and stated that canteen covers varied in color. Most were scrap brown jean wool and also some were sky or navy blue and in rare cases customized in the field by the soldier. You can get a new cover kit from County Cloth for $10.00. Also, canteen chains were not always chain, some were issued with a cotton twine tied in a hitch about the stopper and knotted to the lug. You could also paint or stencil unit designations, etc. on the cover (look in Echoes of Glory for some ideas). Basically, a bit more variation in canteen covers looks better than all the sutler, blue covers.
There are countless other things you may think of to improve your impression. This was just a brainstorm to show you that you can do many things without breaking the bank. The main thing is to try and think like a period soldier and adjust and improvise to your liking. I hope these ideas help and if you want to discuss it email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck.
Tales from the Trunk, Part 2
By Ralph Epifanio
(Part 2 in the series continues an examination of 19th century life through articles contained in the January 16, 1892 Manchester, NH Telegram.
Portions of that periodical were found lining the inside of a wooden trunk. The trunk itself was purchased in Lebanon, New Hampshire, in the summer of 2015.)
Death could come quickly and unexpectedly in the 19th century, and from a host of causes: accident, childbirth, disease, parasites, even from the most important and simplest of daily necessities--food and drink. Consequently, death was not only viewed as inevitable, but literally woven into daily life.
Beyond its symptoms, disease was more feared than understood. In most cases, the women of the household might have known how to avoid it, but could neither effectively prevent, nor reliably treat it. Germs simply “did not exist.” Primitive as they were, microscopes then were rarer than electron microscopes today, and thus the unseen world of microbes took its deadly toll. Even something as seemingly innocuous as clear, fresh water killed millions. May I offer you a sip from my ladle?
With the majority of Americans living and working in a rural setting, hard work was a necessity for survival. And that rugged farm life was rife with accidents. By middle age, most farmers suffered from a long list of maladies that had followed them throughout their lives, only giving them peace when they lay down to their “final rest.”
Cities, of course, multiplied the chances of the aforementioned risks exponentially. Among its “huddled masses,” communicable diseases had a firm foothold in urban America, thriving in oftentimes fetid environments and taking unimaginable tolls, especially in late summer and early autumn.
The workday was long, tiring, and hazardous. Factory machines maimed and killed the men, the women, and the children—some as young as six--who worked at them. And long before labor unions, in light of ten to twelve hour work days, it was not only considered the worker’s fault, but he was solely responsible for his own treatment. The injured were simply “laid off,” perhaps never to return, and thus a twofold burden on their dependents.
As with the more or less stable populations of cities, the armies (both North and South), though temporary, were virtual cities in themselves. The Army of the Potomac, at one point, had swelled to 125,000 men before it was organized into corps by Lincoln. It could be viewed as the ninth largest city in America (between St. Louis, with 161,000 and Chicago, with 112,000). Most of its men came from rural areas, and thus might have escaped the ravages of many communicable diseases, such as measles. Not so in the close quarters of camp life, where these everyday illnesses became the major cause of incapacitation and death among troops.
The War of the Rebellion resulted in the single largest loss of life in American history. Current estimates are that 750,000 uniformed soldiers died--although no one will ever know for sure—or about one in five that served. Two thirds of those died from disease. (The ratio for Negro troops was nine deaths from disease for one in battle.)
What about those who were wounded so severely that they were discharged, and died days, months, or years later? Shot through the hip and groin at Petersburg on June 18, 1864—the most severe of his six wounds--Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (as he renamed himself) suffered through a lifetime of pain and suffering from that wound until (officially) dying of it in 1914, the last known “casualty” of that war.) Chamberlain and his wife Fanny, incidentally, lost three of five children and the Lincolns three of their four children in early childhood.
And the missing? Case, canister, grapeshot (resulting in unrecognizable pieces of men), and two mobile armies left their share of forgotten soldiers. Can we even guess how many civilians died as a result of that great slaughter? 1,000,000, perhaps?
It was the Rebellion, too, that gave rise to public hospitals. “Physician-staffed hospitals, with professional nursing and specialized departments and services, were products of urbanization and economic expansion during the Second Industrial Revolution—together with massive immigration and rapid strides in medicine itself.” See: http://essentialhospitals.org/about-americas-essential-hospitals/history-of-public-hospitals-in-the-united-states/emergence-of-public-hospitals-1860-1930/
It would be an understatement to suggest that death was a commonly observed occurrence in the 1800s. Thus, our 21st century perception of death is a far cry from that of our 19th century ancestors. Rare is our encounter with a dead person. When a loved one does pass, he or she is quickly whisked away, and placed under the expert care of a professional undertaker. Hidden behind closed doors, the deceased is "prepared" for a last viewing--a complex process that, to the vast majority of us, remains a mystery--with the end result being a body that looks more alive than dead. Looking upon an expertly embalmed, well-dressed loved one, we can't help but wonder, "Can we rest assured that they are truly dead?”
(Note: since most of this, and the other articles glued to the inside of this ancient box were in a state of decay, not to mention glued over and around corners and each other, the … indicates that part of the story was illegible.)
It Looks Like Another Crisis Has Safely Passed
Molly Francher of Brooklyn NY has come to an incredible amount of aging tranquility that has been chained to her.
The face of a woman of 42, it looks like one of 36, the short hair and pleasant features upon it. The sightless eyes which long (ago) were changed for more far-seeing and wondrous windows—mental or psychological, no one knows--were curtained by long lids heavily fringed with shadows.
The complexion, most radiant in its purity and beauty, (almost) angelic--mingled alabaster and rosey--almost made her beautiful, yet we daresay that it is but the flower—the female blossom—born of her latest disease, dropsy. It is almost, or about ten years ago, when Molly Francher spent half of her present term in bed, she had just such an attack as her recent one. Then, as now, it was thought she was dying, really on the threshold of dissolution, and her friends remarked upon the plumpness of her face and limbs and the seeming return to youthfulness. But then, as now, she beggared expectation and laughed death around the corner.
To an old friend who called upon her, Ms. Francher said: “Can I ever die? There is nothing of me left to die.” And he, wondering at the miracle before him, wondering at this strange and inexplicable exception to nature’s mandates, asked himself the selfsame question.
Indeed, it seems as if death shunned the Francher family. It is a long-lived one and trances seem to be a birthright in it. Dolly Francher, of Westchester County, was a centenarian. Philo, the uncle of the Brooklyn heroine, was almost 99 when he died last Saturday.
Many Brooklyn people of the older generation will remember the awful story of Sarah Francher, past sister or cousin, I am not sure which, of Molly. While her husband, a sea captain, was at sea, she died, or seemed to die, and was placed in a receiving vault at Greenwood Cemetery. When the husband returned and demanded a view of his dead wife’s face, the coffin was opened and amid the snowy draperies was found the corpse—now a corpse indeed—was turned over while the face had been clawed with her nails, and her hair engrave close had been torn from the writhing body. Buried alive, and in a trance, she had awakened to the truth and died. Her husband, when he saw the frozen horror before his eyes, went stark raving mad upon the spot.
So it has often been with Molly Francher. So many a time, she has lain for weeks a counterfeit presentment of death, and many a time, the doctors have brought her back from a living death to a suffering life.
Many of the Telegram’s readers do not know the story of Molly Francher’s luminous and wondrous life. Her case has baffled science. It has perplexed the wise and taught...at lessons to all that are willing to learn.
September 10 1860, she was a pupil in the Brooklyn Heights Seminary. She was thirteen years old and was a beautiful girl of delicate constitution and gentle manners. Five years later, her nervous system began to break down. She did not eat nor sleep as a girl of eighteen ought. Prof. West advised a rest and a course of horseback lessons and one day she was thrown and had two or three of her ribs broken. She was otherwise badly injured, but recovered sufficiently, however to get about again. In 1866, in stepping from a streetcar, her skirt was caught and she was dragged over the pavement for a block. By this accident, her nervous system was so shattered that she never recovered from its effects. In 1866, she would throw herself into all sorts of contortions. She would bring her head and feet together and roll over the floor like a hoop. She would stand on her toes and spin like a top. This was in the month of February, when in the violent state, it would take several persons to watch her. During that month, she lost all her senses, even the sense of touch. She was then given chloroform to relax her jaws so that she could take food, which was forced down her throat, but her stomach would not bear it.
She turned upon her right side and became rigid m...then folded [them/in] behind her head, the fingers and thumbs clenched in upon the palm. For nine years, she lay thus, her muscles only releasing when chloroform was administered. For nine years she lived this living death and were times when, save for the warmth about her, she gave no sign of life. Her limbs were as cold as ice.
Certainly not a literary masterpiece, this article was posted side-by-side with another, barely decipherable one that seemed to underscore, not the actual event of death, but the misapplied diagnosis of death.
A Man Awakens After Burial, But Dies of Suffocation
St. Petersburg, Jan. 14.--A physician who has been practicing at Prochovitsuks, a village in Russian Poland, recently became ill and to all appearances died. The body was prepared for burial, and conveyed to the cemetery, where it was interred. A few hours after the mourners had departed from the cemetery, some men who were engaged along the grounds were startled by hearing a succession of the most unearthly shrieks, which at all appearances came from the newly filled grave. At first the men fled in consternation, but in a short time their courage returned and they decided to investigate the matter. The earth was hastily removed from the grave, and the coffin lifted out. Upon opening the coffin, it was found that the doctor had been alive when he was buried, but that he had subsequently died from suffocation.
It would seem that in that time period, and certainly before, stories of being buried alive-- vivisepulture--and the fear associated with it—taphephobia*--were none too rare. (Immurement, or being buried alive as punishment, is entirely different, but probably outpaced unintentional live burials.) Prior to any form of standardized procedure of dealing with a dead person, mistakes were made. Perhaps lying in a coma (catalepsy, in this case), an unmoving “corpse” could give rise to the “walking dead,” necessitating a person to serve in the capacity of a “death watch.” More common than you might think, an informal wake (and hope the guest of honor doesn’t) in that century might have been laying the dead on a table for a day or two “to make sure” he stayed that way. And, once interred, there were assigned shifts of individuals, the loneliest being “the graveyard watch.”
The term “walking dead,” incidentally, is nothing new. We can trace it—and its evolution into modern zombies—back thousands of years to “The Epic of Gilgamesh,” where Ishtar, the Sumerian goddess of war, states that she will “force the doors” to the underworld and “I will bring up the dead to eat the living…And the dead will outnumber the living.” In German it is Wiedergänger, in France revenant. Vampires, too, refer to the “living dead,” and a stake in the heart was probably introduced as a precaution.
Plagues and epidemics necessitated quick, open pit, mass burials. With victim after victim being tossed on top of each other, imagine the horror of reawakening under a heap of decaying flesh, surviving just long enough to scare the daylights out of those observing an unexpected movement from below. It is doubtful that any of the burial detail jumped into that denizen of the diseased to rescue that one living soul among hundreds of truly departed. Could this have happened in the aftermath of the great battles of the War Between the States? Chances are that many soldiers, weak from wounds or the loss of blood, were unable to communicate their living death before the army they had been a part of passed on by.
However, we digress. How common this is, is unknown. After all, would you be willing to grab a shovel and research that question? In merry old England, one “source” states that 1 in 25 coffins suggest that this did happen. Another, a “doctor,” says that 2% of those buried in a certain graveyard were done so prematurely. In either case—as in most other questions of etymology, we should observe caution in attaching unqualified meaning to words and phrases. (You can thank the internet for that.)
We do know that well-known writer Edgar Alan Poe (1809-1849) almost single-handedly created a panic in his day with such nightmare stories as “The Premature Burial,” “The Black Cat,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” and the “Cask of Amontillado.” (No one is quite sure whether Poe came before the woe, or vice versa, as he played his audience as well as Alfred Hitchcock 100 years later.) Rumor has it that Poe’s scary tales served as an inspiration for the invention of “safety coffins,” or ones with a bell connected to a string, that led to the inside of the coffin, and wrapped around the wrist of its occupant. If the deceased “came back from the dead,” and became a “dead ringer,” the aforementioned volunteer, “working the graveyard shift,” (midnight to dawn) would start digging. “Saved by the bell!”
Interestingly enough, taphephobia about vivisepuldre is hardly unwarranted. While it is relatively uncommon to exhume a body, when done, evidence of being buried alive has been sufficiently documented. Stories, like the ones above, proliferated in Victorian times. Earlier ones were “resurrected,” and combined with more recently occurring ones for sensationalistic newspaper stories.
Take the article Lifting the lid on the Macabre History of Those Buried Alive, which appeared in the March 12, 2010 London Daily Mail. It traces numerous historical accounts of what amounts to man’s worst fear. See: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1257330/Lifting-lid-macabre-history-buried-alive.html
The internet offers others, but a pattern of redundancy indicates a strong possibility that many writers simply copied their version from previous reports, and thus should be buried with other such urban legends. Suffice it to say that premature burial did exist in 19th century America (as it did before, and has after) and scared the death out of people.
*Introduced by Sigmund Freud in 1919
By Captain John Butler
"For while one says, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are you not carnal? Who is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom you believed, even as the Lord gave to every man." 1 Corinthians 3:4-5
My pastor told me of an experience he had one day, about another pastor asking “aren't you worried about so and so stealing members of your congregation?” Well as my pastor replied, “If he can steal them, they were not mine to begin with.” Paul stated it very well, if we pastors begin to try and lay claim to the congregation, then we are being self-glorifying! Same goes for all Christians. Quit trying to say “I did this, or I did that” and be about our Father's business! And that is giving the truth of who Jesus is, what He's done for us, and His promises to us! It is not about us, but about Jesus! It doesn't matter I bring Jane or Andrew brings Tom; it only matters that Jane and Tom were told the truth and able to accept Jesus on their own. GOD gains the increase!
"I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that plants anything, neither he that waters; but God that gives the increase" 1 Corinthians 3:6-7.
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FOR SALE: 1862 Springfield 50 caliber - The rifle is in great condition, stock and barrel are beautiful, but does show age. It does have correct markings. I am selling as a collector item. I do not know it's condition as to shooting. I purchased from an older collector in Spring Grove, PA who was thinning his collection. Asking $1,100. Contact: Ron, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 443-829-1913. The Villages, FL. (Click the images for larger versions)
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