Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Holidays

All,

Be reminded the 145th Gettysburg Reenactment www.gettysburgreenactment.com registration will jump from $15 to $20 January 1. Use this link to register. Let us not be confused by the alternate "look alike " campaigner event held near Gettysburg (as usual) by Anders and company. Birney's Division will attend in force! Any support you can give will be deeply appreciated.

Let me take this opportunity to thank all of the member units and commanders of Birney's Division and my staff for your support in 2007. We are a fairly new organization on the field but we have shown we are a veteran group that has basically the "Eye of the Tiger" in the hobby with our great innovative events, high quality member units, and a sense of positive direction in a hobby that everywhere else is in sharp decline. Our units grow as well as our following and popularity of events and style. This is only possible because of all of you and the quality you display.

Let me say it is a great honor to be able to lead such great men as you. You will never know how I appreciate all of you and your continued support. In short, YOU ARE THE BEST ! My heartfelt thanks and hopes of even more great seasons in this hobby together that we all love. Have a great Christmas and Happy New Year, see you all on the field in 2008 .

With my greatest respect,

Edward L. Kelley Major General
Birney's Division
Commanding

Monday, November 26, 2007

Birney's goodies now available

Yes it is almost the gift giving season, and what better way to say "I think you're swell" then by giving that special someone an official Birney's Division shirt or mug!!

The Division now has that and more available for members at the Birney's Division Civil War Shop

Hopefully we will see all of you arrive at the first event of the season in your BD attire.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Birney's Division 2008 Schedule

A great time was had by members of the Division this past weekend in Gettysburg. The annual planning meeting was also a success.

The 2008 Birney's Division schedule has now been published. Click here to check it out!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Parade in Gettysburg

As in the past Birney's Division will be marching in the parade on Saturday at Remembrance Day. We will meet at the Gettysburg elementary school as in the past at 12:00 pm. Please report to Col Baltzer upon arriving for placement. Keep in mind that all ammunition and caps are prohibited within the National Park. See you all there.

Warm Regards,

Edward L. Kelley Major General
Birney's Division
Commanding

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Chancellorsville 2008

All,

Here is the "go to event in 2008" This is the one you all have been waiting for. Please bookmark this site for future updates.

http://www.emmitsburg.net/chancellorsville_2008/index.htm


Regards,

Edward L. Kelley Major General
Birney's Division
Commanding

Beaver Creek 2008

To all Commanders,

Please mark your calendars for next years Beaver Creek event at Beaver Creek State Park in Ohio. The dates will be September 12-13-14 2008. As many of you know this event was a GREAT success last year, and many of you asked when the dates would be for 2008. The setting will be the same so plan on camping in the woods. There will be some new attractions and flyers will be sent out in the near future. Any questions please call me at 330-272-2016, or email me. Please pass this on to all your members.

Your Obedient Servant,

Colonel Wayne Unger
3rd Division Field Hospital
2nd Corps Army of the Potomac
Birney's Division

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Antietam photos

A great group of pics from the 145h Antietam have been posted. CLICK HERE to take a gander.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Sweetening the pot of the Perryopolis event

Upon a suggestion from our 2nd Battalion commander Chris Smith, we are adding a Saturday night semi-tactical battle, non-spectator, just for us in the trenches. This will be in addition to the two Petersburg scenarios. Artillery and Infantry are encouraged to participate. Bring lots of powder!

Do we have any units wanting to stay in the barracks? We can accommodate about 40 soldiers. If so please get back to me asap. genedkelley@comcast.net

Your Servant,

Edward L. Kelley Sr. , Major General
Federal First Division
Birney's Division
Commanding

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Thanks to all

I would like to take a moment and reflect my thoughts and observations of this past weekend at Loudoun Hts. In my position working closely with Gen. Kelley I have the opportunity to move about all the camps, Union and Confederate meeting with people of the highest rank down to a first year private and of course our civilians. Not in my 12 years in this hobby have I ever and I mean ever heard an across the board approval of a weekend as we have just experienced.

Throughout the weekend I questioned just about everyone I came in contact with, inquiring as to their take on the event, including the amenities, battles and their impression overall of the weekend. With exception of a few minor adjustments (we have already addressed them) this was the most successful large reenactment ever done. I hope this is an example to others that we can have a great time portraying events in history, without being an attraction for profit. What we have accomplished is pure reenacting done for our own satisfaction.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who attended and to the outstanding Command staffs of both armies. I would most of all I would like to express my gratitude to our generous and gracious hosts, Bill and Mona Raymond they are extraordinary people; who just love to have a couple thousand of their best friends drop by for a good time. I am looking very forward to our next year's event at the Raymond's.



Respectfully,
Brig Gen Michael D. Maffei
Chief of Staff, Birney's Division

Monday, September 17, 2007

Petersburg at Perryopolis

As soon as you catch your breath from the great Antietam event, it is time to get prepared for Birney's Division's last event of the season, the Perryopolis event.

This great event is as unique as they get. We custom built this site and geared it toward the theme of late war trench warfare. We were given Carte Blanche a few years ago on over 100 wooded acres and a bull dozer at our command to make any kind of Civil War site we desired. We had a 125 yard earthworks built along with a couple hand made log cabins and long barracks on the wooded site, featuring a wooded grove style of camp areas. The site is just about free of modern intrusions and is just right for a great Civil War event. We know you have all heard of the event you just need to give it a try to experience a very realistic reenacting event.

Imagine having heavy artillery bombardment with "shells" exploding all around you. Feeling the concussion of the explosions and having the debris showering all over. Believe me when the pyrotechnics and shelling starts you can hear the boys hooting in the trenches. It is a real rush. We make it a step back into time. You gotta try this one!

For the family there is a community festival about a half mile away from the secluded CW site and shuttles are provided. With great low priced concessions, arts and crafts and live music all weekend, a free meal on Saturday night, and a Military Ball to top it off.

The town of Perryopolis is a very historic place. The town was laid out by George Washington's Brother and a restored grist mill of George Washington's is on site as well. There is something for everyone there. The registration is just $7 , can't beat that!

This is a Birney's Division / PAC event. General Ed Kelley and Colonel Mark Essig are the commanders and if you have ever done one of our events you know the standard we maintain. We just don't do stale or bad events. Only fresh exciting ones for us.

Take a look on Birney's Divisions website. There is a Perryopolis page with more information, pics, and registration forms. www.birneysdivision.org

Your Servant,

Edward L. Kelley Sr., Major General
Federal First Division
Birney's Division
Commanding

Antietam Divisional AAR

Wah Hoooo! What a weekend; the 145th Antietam is in the books. This was without a doubt a breath of fresh air to the reenacting experience. The weather was beautiful except a shower on Friday night, the site was absolutely awesome, the fights some of the best held lately, and the experience of the no pressure non-spectator format with it's ease of pace along with the great civilian activities combined for a great event.

We heard nothing but raves from the participants all weekend. Many comments like "The best event we have done all year", " Who needs mega events when you can do events like this?" We even got a comment from a commander that has been in the hobby since the sixties in regard to the Sunken Road. "This is the best battle I was ever in!"

Many of the participants took the time allowed from the early conclusion of the second battle on Saturday and went to tour Harper's Ferry, or Antietam battlefield, or went out to a leisurely dinner . There were 20 quality sutlers on site and all amenities were of the highest quality and were plentiful. At the end of the last battle on Sunday morning everyone packed up and was on the road home by 1:00 . The non-spectator event may never replace the other events but it is a great change of pace to do one just for us.

This event was such a rousing success that planning has already begun for a Chancellorsville event and will be held with the same format on the same weekend in September there on the Loudon Heights location in 2008 . Bill Raymond informs us that a unique addition will be added to the property to enhance the flavor of the event. A website should be up very soon . Update will follow as things develop.

Our thanks for everyone's support and we look forward to the next event there. We would like to express our deepest gratitude for the hospitality of Bill and Mona Raymond and their hard work along with their staff to provide us all with a wonderful Civil War experience at their reenactors paradise.


Your Servant,

Edward L. Kelley Sr., Major General
Federal First Division
Birney's Division
Commanding

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Antietam setup info

All,

Be advised Sgt Major Donahue of Birney's Division will be on site mid-day Wednesday. If you are arriving early report to him for camp assignments. I along with much of the staff will arrive mid-day Thursday. Gen. Baldwin and his staff will arrive Friday. We will do our best to get you all in and settled.

I have been in close contact with Bill Raymond the property owner and event logistic coordinator. He tells me the amenities are plentiful and convenient for all of us and the site is ready for a great event. For any of you that have been to the event site previously, there have been many improvements made and the site has been upgraded to a first class reenactment site.

We would like to thank the Raymonds and staff for a supreme effort to see that this event is a roaring success. See you all there.

Many Regards,

Edward L. Kelley Sr. , Major General
Federal First Division
Birney's Division
Commanding

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Message from the Surgeon

To All Commanders,

With the implement of the Medical Dept of Birney's Division, there are a few new Orders that will be set in place to protect the members, military and civilian, of Birney's Division. As we all know accidents do happen, and people get hurt. The Medical Dept is equipped to handle minor injuries on and off the field until medical personnel arrives. Certain members of the staff are certified in CPR and work in the medical field. The Medical Dept will have available things such as band aids, ace bandages, first aid supplies etc. The Medical Department's " Hospital Tent " will be set up close to the Generals Headquarters at all events, and will be open for the entire event. If medical attention is necessary please stop by the " Hospital Tent " or send a runner and Medical Staff will respond.

General Order 1:
All members of Birney's Division, who have any kind of medical condition, in which medication is taken, MUST fill out a Emergency Medical Card and keep it on them during the event. The information on the card is confidential, and will only be used in the event of an actual medical emergency. Paramedics will ask if the patient they are taking care of is on medication(s) and what medications they take, and if they are allergic to any medication(s). So this is very important for those members who are diabetic or have a heart condition. We must relay the correct information to the paramedics.

The medical cards will be supplied by the Medical Dept. and handed out by your unit commander or picked up at the Field Hospital. The cards are small, ( 4 x 6 ), and must be kept on you at all events. For all Military re-enactors these are to be kept in your cartridge box. If for some reason you are unconscious and unable to speak, medical staff will know to look inside your cartridge box for your card.

The purpose of this is to keep all members of Birney's Division SAFE !!!! Your health and safety are of our up most concern.

General Order 2:
Ice will be provided during all battle scenarios by the Medical Dept. There will be "Ice Angles" in all Battalion's, and spread out within the Division. The "Ice Angles" will fall under the direction of the Medical Dept. If volunteers form different units would like to participate, and help out as an "Ice Angel", they must report to the Division Hospital Tent and ice will be there for them. This will also give us a good head count of "Ice Angles" that will be available and where to assign them. Volunteers form different units will be assigned to their home unit and Battalion as an "Ice Angle". The goal of this is to provide the troops with ice in the field during an event, and to let other non combatant re-enactors to take part in the battle and have some fun.

As events change from year to year, so will the Medical Department. It is here to serve you and watch over ALL re-enactors. If there are any ideas or suggestions that you would like to see the Division Hospital do, please let us know. We are here for you.

SAFETY FIRST !!!

Your Obedient Servant,

Birney's Division Chief Surgeon
Colonel Wayne Unger
3rd Division Field Hospital

Thursday, August 16, 2007

145th Antietam: Bloody Lane

Hey folks. Are you ready to say "wow"?! Here are some advanced pics of the full scale "Bloody Lane" that was just completed for the 145th Antietam reenactment in Loudoun Heights near Harpers Ferry. Check out the web site too.



Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Perryopolis event housing

I realize October is "three years" away but in reality it is the event is seven weeks away. Many of you told us you were attending the event and we look for a great turn out. The matter of assignments to the Federal barracks will be handled in this manner. I will take housing requests for the next two weeks. At that time a lottery will be held to indicate the assignees (genedkelley@comcast.net). This will be done on a company basis there is a 40 man capacity of the entire building. Get your registrations in and indicate your desire to bivouac in the barracks NOW!

Keep in mind the barracks is finished and there is a central heating system in place the toilets are finished, the extensive earthworks is completed and wired for pyrotechnics. There has been a log works installed opposite the main earthworks, there is plenty of firewood, and the camps are ready. We have ample gun crews registered and the infantry is coming in as well. It is time to get your people registered in to assure them a place. Remember this is a max effort for the Division so get er done !

Respectfully Yours,

Edward L. Kelley Sr. , Major General
Federal First Division
Birney's Division
Commanding

Monday, August 13, 2007

Antietam 145th around the corner

The major anniversary event for 2007 is of course the 145th Anniversary of the Battle of Antietam. The bloodiest day in American history.

Excitement is building in the reenacting community as we are only a month away from the most anticipated event this season.

The observance of Antietam will be held on 14-16 September, 2007 in Loudoun Heights, Virginia. This is a non-spectator event. Here is the action you can expect...


Saturday Battle Scenarios

Escape from Harpers Ferry:

This battle is like no other battle you have experienced at any national anniversary event ever held in major Civil War reenacting today. At any other event of this magnitude the battle scenarios have been carefully scripted and tailored to accommodate spectators. They were always held out in the open and in plain view of the public. For all of you that question the merit of the non-spectator event consider this new and refreshing approach to a battle by reenactors for reenactors. This battle will be very unique, challenging and spontaneous.

The battle will begin with Union mounted cavalry making a hasty retreat out of the Harpers Ferry district over actual roads that were used during the war crossing the site of this event. They will be accompanied by a period horse drawn supply train and light artillery over these wooded trails somewhere on the property. All commanders will not have any knowledge of the train's whereabouts at the start of the battle.

The Confederate command will send a force to reconnoiter and find the Federal Cavalry that is rumored to be making a break out somewhere in the area just as it would have been during the war. When the opposing force is located they will attack and try to turn their advance. Couriers will speed off to alert the opposing armies that will be in camp to come to the aid of their forces already engaged.

Both armies will converge somewhere on the property and one Hell of a fight will ensue. This battle may set the standard for reenactments to come in the future. Imagine for the first time at a major reenactment being able to have a major battle on a wooded trail just the way it would have happened during the war. The battle will test the abilities and instincts of all commanders to follow orders and react to what transpires. This battle has no time limit it lasts till a sealed objective order is fulfilled by both overall commanders. Our abilities will be tested in this new and refreshing approach to the hobby.


The Battle of the West Woods:

The battle of the West Woods will be a hotly contested fight on pristine ground that will be a scripted battle. The battle will roll between the armies back and forth as history dictates with many interesting twists incorporated into a great battle.

The battle opened at dawn (about 5:30 a.m.) on September 17 with an attack down the Hagerstown Turnpike by the Union I Corps under Joseph Hooker. Hooker's objective was the plateau on which the Dunker Church Hooker had approximately 8,600 men, little more than the 7,700 defenders under Stonewall Jackson, and this slight disparity was more than offset by the Confederates' strong defensive positions. Abner Doubleday's division moved on Hooker's right, James Ricketts's moved on the left into the East Woods, and George Meade's division deployed in the center and slightly to the rear. Jackson's defense consisted of the divisions under Alexander Lawton and John R. Jones in line from the West Woods, across the Turnpike, and along the southern end of the Miller Cornfield. Four brigades were held in reserve inside the West Woods.

As the first Union men emerged from the North Woods and into the Cornfield, an artillery duel erupted. Confederate fire was from the horse artillery batteries under Jeb Stuart to the west and four batteries under Col. Stephen D. Lee on the high ground across the pike from the Dunker Church to the south. Union return fire was from nine batteries on the ridge behind the North Woods and four batteries of 20-pounder 2 miles (3 km) east of Antietam Creek. The conflagration caused heavy casualties on both sides and was described by Col. Lee as "Artillery Hell."


Sunday Battle Scenario

The Battle of the Sunken Road:

The Finale to this great reenactment weekend will be the Battle of the Sunken Road. This battle will be fought on a 1/8th mile natural swale that will have a the eerie look of the Sunken Road on that day in September in 1862 near Sharpsburg Maryland complete with a replica rail fence that stood at the time of the battle. To add to the excitement and realism there will be major league pyrotechnics done by the experts that do the famous Perryopolis event in Western Pennsylvania. Great pains have been taken to make this battle as realistic as possible and it will be one you all will not soon forget.


For those of you who have not been to the web site, click here to check it out and download your registration form.

AAR: Hale Farm 2007

Our max effort event for Birney's 2d Battalion is now in the bag. One of our largest turn-outs to date, Infantry and artillery personnel totalled just a little over a hundred soldiers, with more than a dozen civilians.

Your humble Battalion Commander arrived a little after noon, meeting with Maj Van Meter and his team who set up the military camp layout and began setting up the kitchen area where Saturday evening's feast would be prepared.

Throughout the day, troops and civilians began to filter in, and Taylor's Battery pulled in with the much-welcomed "heavy equipment". Tents stuffed the designated ground and soon there was laughter and smiles as friends across the battalion greeted each other. It was clear that we would once again be in for a good time.

The weather promised to be hot but dry. And it was. Saturday morning saw early company and battalion drill as Gen Waffler of the US Volunteers wanted to take advantage of the cooler morning hours. After shaking off the rust, and evolving though some larger battalion movements, we retired back to camp in order to make adjustments to equipment, get some food in our tummys, and enjoy the Camp Chase Fife and Drum concert that was going on right next to us.

After some coordination with the Confederate staff, Gen Waffler requested that one of our field pieces serve on the "buttlernut" side of the field to even up the scenario. A little after 1 pm, the drums and bugle called us to form for the fight.

After entering the woods at the one end of the battlefield, we cleared weapons and set the our battalion at rest. The first battalion of US Volunteers hit the field first and our two gun crews began to shoot at one another from opposite sides. There had been a concentrated effort to script the battle, specifically the process of casualties. Greater ranges were used but almost all volleys were met with bodies hitting the ground. Though it shortened up the time of the battle, it made for a more realistic portrayal for the onlookers.

2d Battalion emerged from the woods, and began sending lead down range once the retreating and chopped up USVs pulled back. Moving to the high ground, our battalion looked upon the on-coming rebs. They came at us, never stopping to fire. With that, 2d Battalion took no casualties, but within seven volleys, we had cut them down and sent the rest running. Though we didn't get to burn much powder this day, the bodies on the field were greater than what we normally experience.

Back in camp, the troops cooled down, the highlight of the evening was a pig roast with fixing's. There was no lack of chow for those who needed to expand their figure.

The rest of the evening was spent enjoying time with good friends, as well as good drink and tobacco for those who wanted to partake.

On Sunday, sore bones rose from their slumber, a quick breakfast was consumed and the cool morning hours were again used for dress parade. The day wound on as suttlering and pre-departure packing occupied the soldier's time. The battalion was also treated to more of Saturday night's pig, now dressed with BBQ sauce and stacked on a bun.

2d Battalion would today be lead to the slaughter. This was our chance to get into a better fight than Saturday. We moved forward with both of our guns now putting shells down range this day. The Confederate onslaught came right at us. As was planned, the company commanders focused on safety and direction, and the battalion wing commanders directed the casualty rate. Most of the battalion staff went down under this attack, leaving Czar Baltzer to lead the survivors to the rear.

After a better fight on Sunday, Birney's "meat grinding" 2d Battalion was fat, happy, and low on powder!

Next year is Hale Farm's 50th anniversary. This could potentially be the largest reenactment there in years. I for one am looking forward to it.

I want to thank my Adjutant Bob Penix and the other members of Team Penix (Pam and Patty). Paul Baltzer and Mark Gaynor for commanding the wings. Don Van Meter, Will Coffinbarger, and associates for laying out the camp and making a wonderful dinner!! Also, Burdell Waffler and his staff for their hospitality.

A big huzzah for our participating units: the 4th OVI, 5th OVI, 5th Ohio SS, 5th USCT, 7th Wisconsin, 74th NY, 83rd PVI, 105th OVI, Cushing/Taylor's Battery, and the galvanized 5th Texas artillery/infantry.

Lt Col Christopher Smith
Commanding, 2d Battalion
Birney's Division

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

2d Battalion Camp at Hale Farm

I just received an update from Gen Waffler and Hale Farm. Due to the size of our Battalion, Hale Farm is putting us up near the saw mill (click on a picture for a satellite image). This area is within the facility itself but will allow us more room.

I will be on site Friday around 1 pm. We are not to set up prior to the afternoon on Friday due to Hale Farm's insurance requirements. Don Van Meter of the 105th Ohio will also be there to direct you on where to set up.

We will be able to extend our camp into the woods, that will also allow us to forage for wood. However, based on last year, you may want to bring some firewood as a backup if you plan to do a lot of cooking.

DON'T FORGET: The Battalion Pig Roast Saturday night ($6.00 a head). Make sure to email your reservation to fretsnomor238@sbcglobal.net.

Sunday is Western Impression Day. Sack coats and slouch hats if you have them. This is not a requirement.

Looking forward to a big turnout. Please email clsmith@5thohio.com with any questions.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Birney's to go Whole Hog at Hale

As has become a tradition throughout the year, Birney's Division will do a period hog roast Saturday night at the reenactment at Hale Farm next weekend for our soldiers and their families. $6.00 per head will cover our costs and include sides (but ya gotsta bring your own drink).

PLEASE SEND THIS MESSAGE TO ALL OF YOUR UNIT MEMBERS!!! To reserve your meal, you must drop an email as soon as possible to Private "Fire at" Will Coffinbarger, WCoffinbarger@cuyahogavalleychurch.com

Monday, July 23, 2007

AAR: Thunder Valley

The following is the AAR for Thunder Valley this last weekend. I can only add to this that Thunder Valley Stables is a fantastic spot for a reenactment. The weather was perfect and the location is hip-deep in amenities. I really wish more units would consider coming out next year. The number of troops were small but the battles were fun and we definitely burnt a lot of powder. You REALLY missed a great time if you were not there!!

Thanks to Czar-Col Baltzer and his team for a job well done organizing and fighting, as well as our two Union companies (the 78th PVI and 66th OVI). A big thanks also to my adjutant Lt Bob Penix and his wife Pam.

Your servant,
Lt Col Christopher L. Smith
2d Battalion, Birney's Division


I would like to give the following report of the action that took place on the plains of Thunder Valley Stables in McKean, PA on July 21-22, 2007. Friday the camps were established, and the amenities of water, firewood, and port-a-johns, cleaned daily, were sufficient and not too far from both Union and Confederate camps. The water was a bit of a walk due to the size of the tanker and that the driver did not want to risk getting stuck. It was a full length trailer full of water. In other words plenty of water for the event. Ice and straw were available on site. The Flying Turtle sutler was there, placed between the two camps, and was fully enjoyed the whole weekend. Also, there were sulters and food vendors on site that were a short walking distance from camp. Parking was nearby for re-enactors and was a short walk from camp. As you will see from the photos of the weekend, there is ample room for this event to have several hundred re-enactors, and the site features rolling hills for battlefields unlike the postage stamp flat fields of other events. We used the smaller, if you want to call it that, field this year. The site has endless possibilities and room for growth. It's perfect for a mid-level sized event.

On Saturday both armies formed their battalions and held dress parade, company, and battalion drill. A period rounders game was held followed by a ladies rolling pin toss and tea. In the afternoon, the armies were formed and marched off to there staging areas for the battle. Our own beloved Lt Col Chris Smith commanded the Union forces, while wearing cadet gray for the event Col Buford (Paul) Baltzer commanded the Confederate forces. This days battle was dynamic and hot. The Union skirmishers, starting on the south side of the field advanced toward the north and were engaged by a line of Confederate skirmishers. The artillery, commanded by Bob Bailey opened upon the Confederate lines; and were responded to by the Washington Artillery commanded by Maj Dan Blair. The Confederates were pushed back three times and then advanced in stronger numbers pushing the Union forces back to the base of the hill.

There was no lull in the action and the fire was constant. On the final advance by the Confederate forces, the Union gave way and withdrew over the hill, very few in number due to the hot constant fire by the Confederate forces. Returning to the camps, both armies cooled down and helped in the wagon tours by showing the spectators what camp life looked like during the Civil War. At eight O'clock the band was ready and the period dance was held at the pavilion, which by the way is barely visible in camp.

Sunday began a bit earlier due to the judged tactical. The three units that went through it were put through the paces. As they walked back to camp, each unit was smiling from ear to ear, and the buzz of what they should have done better was often overheard. A children's battle was held, each child must have been wearing their Kevlar uniforms and all claimed to have shot his/her adversary first. Just goes to show you that at any age, some people just don't take hits!!

Late in the morning, a combined dress parade was held to announce the winner of the tactical and to thank those in attendance. The winning unit was the 78th PVI. This was there third year winning the Judged Tactical Legion of Merit Award and some black powder. Jason's 78th PVI is like the New York Yankee's of the tactical. Well done and congratulations!!!!!!

Sundays battle was no less intense than Saturday's. The battle began with Bob Bailey's 4th US artillery and Weidrich's battery, commanded by Steve McNally firing upon the Confederates, who were protected from there shells on a shady spot in the woods. Once formed, the Confederate forces deployed skirmishers of the 13th Virginia Cavalry and supported on there right was the Washington Artillery. The confederate objective was the high ground that commanded the field next to the period barn. In the barn, a Union sharpshooter pecked at the Confederate lines. The 13th VA Cav was pushed back by superior Union numbers. This being seen by the Confederate command ordered the 5th Virginia Infantry to advance as skirmishers to support the cavalry.

The Union lines were pushed back, and again advanced now in close order. The 2nd Florida Infantry was brought into the battle and made several lunges at the Union forces and the high ground. The union forces then deployed hidden skirmishers on the left and rear of the Union lines. At this point, the Confederate forces began to feel the effects from the artillery on the highground, the Union forces in their front and the harassment of the skirmishers on their left. The Confederate line broke and fell back to the rear and rallied around the flag about 30 yards further back. This position was held a short time and again were compelled to retire to and new spot further to the rear and finally, few in numbers, retired from the field. The forces of both armies returned to camp and the tents were struck.

I would like to thank those units that attended Civil War Days at Thunder Valley Stables. A heart felt thanks goes out to Lt Terry, 5th VA Inf; Capt Ed, 13th VA Cav; Capt Paul, 2nd Fla Inf, and Capt Ray Benne for running their companies in such a professional manner; and Maj Dan Blair for safely running the Washington Artillery.

Also, Lt Scott Russell, my adjutant, for assisting me and being my right hand man, thank you! You were there for me the whole weekend. Thanks and praise goes out to Lt Col Chris Smith for commanding the Union forces over the weekend and his adjutant, 1st Lt Bob Penix for making the Union camp ran so efficiently, and to Capt Bob Bailey for his safe running of guns of the 4th US artillery. Also, to Capt Jason Krekota of the 78th PVI and Capt Rob Schick of the 66 OVI thank you for your expert leadership.

In closing, I hope that those units that did not attend this year's event will give Civil War Days at Thunder Valley Stables serious consideration for the 2008 campaign season.

Your obedient servant,
Paul D. Baltzer, Captain
Commander
Confederate Forces at Thunder Valley Stables

Registration for Perryopolis

Click here: Perryopolis Encampment Registration

To All Commanders, Friends, and Sutlers,

Please be aware that at this time registrations need to be posted for the Perryopolis event October 5,6,7. Please comply as soon as possible and register in. Once again, this is a premier mid level event that deserves our consideration. If you have any questions or concerns about the event, please contact me ASAP, or General Kelley at genedkelley@comcast.net. For suters, contact General Kelley to make sure you have space at the event.

Best regards, as always, your obedient servant.

Colonel Mark Essig
3rd Regiment PACS/DNV

Monday, July 09, 2007

Calling for Confederates

The annual reenactment at Argus Park in Canfield, Ohio will be held this month on the weekend of the 27-29. Rick Lieb from the Argus Park Reenactment Committee has alerted me to the fact that there are very few Confederate troops registered for the event.

Please distribute this message to any and all Confederate units and reenactors and ask them to contact Rick at Rick105OVI@aol.com and advise if they are able to attend!!

This is a great event and a great location!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Shippensburg AAR

Company Officers and Associates:

Firstly, I want to express my appreciation to all the companies that attended this event. In addition to being a Battalion Commander in Birney’s Division I am also on the organizing committee at Shippensburg 4 years now. It is my wish that you do not take this report as a jaundiced view and compare it to the AAR’s of others who attended that do not have this association.

I arrived at Shippensburg early morning (8:30) and was just in time to assist Col. Wilt in the placement of his 35th Virginia Cavalry and Blackhorse Cav at the Fairground facilities. I have since learned that they were very happy indeed with this site as all amenities (running water etc..) were in good supply and they had lots of room to ride and drill and camp (126 acres). Plenty of hay and straw was provided and they were later joined by elements of the 3rd Pa and 11th Pa Federal Cav. We also placed Col Bailey’s Alexander’s Light Artillery in the CSA Camp on the grounds of the Shippensburg University, a very agreeable site, level manicured with shade and easy access to everything.

I finished laying out the camp streets for the Federal encampment on the ground of local utilities provider and watched the Federal units roll in, very happy that we had everything organized into company streets and sent them right to them without confusion. This site also is very covenant to everything and wood and sinks were very handy and parking just across the street in an old factory’s parking lot.

Saturday morning brought all you can eat Breakfast at the Community Center just next door to the encampment and was enjoyed by all. We were running tight on wood so the committee contacted a local supplier and soon a dump truck was there with some of the best wood we have used this year. A water tanker was positioned between the Federal and Confederate encampments for convenience for all. Federal Dress Parade was held at 9 a.m. where we worked on some street fighting maneuvers for the afternoon battle. All the while there are many things going on in the event if one cares to “take them in” like historical presentations, demo’s, music and much more (some of our ladies enjoyed doing a living history store front display and had lots of fun with it). There was also several decent Sutlers in attendance to get some shopping in as well as food vendors (sorta period kettle corn and the like) OK for a small to mid level event where there is public in attendance. 11:00 brought Confederate formation for the “Foraging” of the town at 11:30, script was handed out and the Lads had a lot of fun gathering provisions and interacting with the townsfolk and were joined by Confederate Cav riding through the streets hoopin and hollering..really very neat!! (My company also does 53rd North Carolina and was joined by several other Federals who ‘galvanize’).

2 p.m. the troops were assembled for the street skirmish down the main street of Shippensburg. All elements were included Cavalry, Artillery and Infantry …what a great battle and look was very fast moving and the assembled townsfolk loved it and all the ALL the lads I spoke with both sides had a “real” hoot with this…and NO we broke no windows due to the skill of our Artillerists, but they made themselves known!! Great battle!! Federal review was held afterwards and we were encouraged by Mr. Lincoln to persevere in the conflict!!!

Saturday evening a “ball” was held at a local ‘carriage shop’ and a very good string band provided the music for it. This was well attended by all, included ample refreshments and there was a shuttle conveyance to assist in getting the assembled troops to it and also to provide a return at the conclusion; very nice evening of light hearted fun!

Sunday schedule a little easier in Federal Camp reveille at 7;00 and then Dress Parade at 9 a.m. and was more of an informational affair and then off to camp or church at 10a.m. whatever was the choice. 12:00 noon was formation for battle and the assembled federal Troops marched to the rousing sound of fife and drum through town to the battlefield. Time to rest a bit in the shade and then battle commenced at around 1 p.m. There were approx 400+ spectators for the battle and they were very impressed and excited with all that was going on. Good artillery exchanges, rousing Cavalry encounters and then massed Infantry colliding in a hot and desperate action!! The crowd cheered and applauded for 20 minutes and well they should because it was a good exchange with lots going on to entertain and best of all EDUCATE!! We received many accolades for a job “well done” here. The committee at Shippensburg provided iced down water at the conclusion of the battle for everyone.

The battle being scheduled for 1 p.m. meant we were back to camp and cooling off and relaxing by 2:30 or so and able to pack up and be home by suppertime!

Friends, this is a nice mid level event with very receptive community and motivated organizers which is a combination for a great event!! You would all do well to speak to those that have attended and consider this in future it will continue to be on the Birney’s Division Eastern Schedule and will continue to grow as time goes on!

Thanks again to all the Birney’s and Vincent’s units in attendance (most of the force) and I look forward to seeing you here next year!!

I remain, respectfully and c….,

Denny Rohrbaugh. Lt. Col.
First Battalion, Birney’s Division

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

AAR: Old Bedford Village

This event remains the premiere event in the hobby at this time. All I heard all weekend was WOW, great event!

The event had 1050 reenactors registered and 850 attended, a much better turn out than most events of late produce. Bigger than New Market and Gettysburg! This seems to lend support to the philosophy that reenactors are looking for new and exciting events to attend and are tiring of doing the same old events repeatedly. There were approx 900 spectators pass through in the course of the event giving the Village a much needed revenue boost.

Getting all the reenactors in, camped and comfortable was no real challenge, it went well. The battles were very hot and interesting. The public and event people commended us saying these were the best performance seen at the Village ever. The Federal Army consisted of 175 Infantry, 12 mounted and 17 dismounts from the Cavalry of the Potomac and 5 of Birney's guns to round out that force.

The Confederate Army consisted of 180 PACS and ANV Infantry, 35 mounted, 12 dismounts of the 35th Va Cavalry, and 7 guns of PACS. The Confederate forces were commanded by General Greg Bair of PACS and the Federals by General Ed Kelley of Birney's Division. A great time was had by all.

We have been warning everyone that there has always been a 700 reenactor limit and all others would be turned away. For the first time that limit was reached and exceeded. Some units were turned away as a result. Be fore warned in the future, this limit will become a huge factor in the event so it is suggested that you get your units registered very early in the year to assure your place for future events. Enough said.

I would like to thank Roger Kerwin the Executive Director of Old Bedford Village for the opportunity to hold this event - such a great backdrop for a Civil War reenactment - and all the logistical excellence he provided this weekend. I also would like to thank Col Mark Essig 3rd Reg Commander of PACS for his hard work to put this event together. We spent many hours on the phone together in the past months to get this event just right. Many thanks to my staff for their hard work and support this past weekend. A job well done!

In conclusion, this event is just one in a list of great events we are supporting this season. We pledge to continue providing fresh and exciting events for our memberships to attend in an effort to keep Civil War reenacting strong in our region for many years to come.

Many Regards,

Major General Edward L. Kelley Sr.
Birney's Division
Commanding

Thursday, June 07, 2007

News on Thunder Valley

July 20-22, 2007, McKean, Pennsylvania

Back by popular demand, Civil War Days at Thunder Valley Stables, the largest civil war re-enactment in northwestern PA!!! Located 10 miles south of Erie, PA on a scenic 125 acre horse farm. The site is just minutes from I-79.

There are very few modern intrusions on the entire sight. This is very "good ground"! There will be battles, civilian activities, and living history programs both days.

Saturday’s activities include a pan throwing contest, ladies tea, period baseball, horse drawn wagon tours, and an evening ball.

On Sunday, we’ll hold our highly acclaimed Judged Tactical. For those of you that enjoy tacticals, you won't want to miss this years.

Artillery bounty of $60 awarded to the first 6 guns. No mortars. Hay provided for cavalry, plus a $25 bounty for the first 10 mounted cavalry. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Civil War Preservation Trust and the Erie County Historical Society. There is a limit of 500 re-enactors for this event. Regular registrations are those postmarked before June 22, 2007.

Regular registration fee $7.00 for re-enactors; late registration and walk-ons $14.00. Regular registration fee $30.00 for Sutlers; late registration and walk-ons $40.00. Our web site for registration forms, rules, directions, and updates is: www.Thundervalleystables.net Contact: Thunder Valley Stables 5151 West Stancliff Road, McKean, PA 16426 (814 476-1632).

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Hale Farm registration

The registration for for this year's Hale Farm reenactment (August 10-12) is now available. We are really pushing to make this a Birney's 2d Battalion Max Effort Event since the cancellation of Lisbon. Make sure to mark on your registration that you are part of Birney's Division.

CLICK HERE to download the registration form.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Antietam Reenactment Details

Wednsday / Thursday - Staff may arrive

Friday - Troops arrive set up camps

Saturday Morning 9:00 AM - "Escape from Harpers Ferry"

This battle is like no other battle you have experienced at any national anniversary event ever held in major Civil War reenacting today. At any other event of this magnitude the battle scenarios have been carefully scripted and tailored to accommodate spectators. They were always held out in the open and in plain view of the public. For all of you that question the merit of the non-spectator event consider this new and refreshing approach to a battle by reenactors for reenactors.

This battle will be very unique, challenging and spontaneous. The battle will begin with Longstreet's mounted cavalry making a hasty retreat out of the Harpers Ferry district over actual roads that were used during the war crossing the site of this event. They will be accompanied by a period horse drawn supply train and light artillery over these wooded trails somewhere on the property. All commanders will not have any knowledge of the train's whereabouts at the start of the battle. The Federal command will send the Federal Cavalry out to reconnoiter and find the Confederate Cavalry that is rumored to be making a break out somewhere in the area just as it would have been during the War. When the opposing force is located the Federal Cavalry will attack and try to turn their advance. Couriers will speed off to alert the opposing armies that will be in camp to come to the aid of their forces already engaged. Both armies will converage somewhere on the property and one hell of a fight will ensue. This battle may set the standard for reenactments to come in the future. Imagine for the first time at a major reenactment being able to have a major battle on a wooded trail just the way it would have happened during the war. The battle will test the abilities and instincts of all commanders to follow orders and react to what transpires. This battle has no time limit it lasts till a sealed objective order is fulfilled by both overall commanders. Our abilities will be tested in this new and refreshing approach to doing the hobby our way.

1:00 PM - "The Battle of the West Woods"

The battle of the West Woods will be a hotly contested fight on pristine ground that will be a scripted battle. The battle will roll between the armies back and forth as history dictates with many interesting twists incorporated into a great battle.

The battle opened at dawn (about 5:30 a.m.) on September 17 with an attack down the Hagerstown Turnpike by the Union I Corps under Joseph Hooker. Hooker's objective was the plateau on which the Dunker Church stood. Hooker had approximately 8,600 men, little more than the 7,700 defenders under Stonewall Jackson, and this slight disparity was more than offset by the Confederates' strong defensive positions. Abner Doubleday's division moved on Hooker's right, James Ricketts's moved on the left into the East Woods, and George Meade's division deployed in the center and slightly to the rear. Jackson's defense consisted of the divisions under Alexander Lawton and John R. Jones in line from the West Woods, across the Turnpike, and along the southern end of the Miller Cornfield. Four brigades were held in reserve inside the West Woods.

As the first Union men emerged from the North Woods and into the Cornfield, an artillery duel erupted. Confederate fire was from the horse artillery batteries under Jeb Stuart to the west and four batteries under Col. Stephen D. Lee on the high ground across the pike from the Dunker Church to the south. Union return fire was from nine batteries on the ridge behind the North Woods and four batteries of 20-pounder 2 miles (3 km) east of Antietam Creek. The conflagration caused heavy casualties on both sides and was described by Col. Lee as "Artillery Hell."

Sunday Morning - 10:00 AM - "The Battle of the Sunken Road"

The Finale to this great reenactment weekend will be the Battle of the Sunken Road. This battle will be fought on a 1/8 th mile natural swale that will have the erie look of the Sunken Road on that day in September in 1862 near Sharpsburg Maryland, complete with a replica rail fence similar to the one that stood at the time of the battle. To add to the excitement and realisim there will be major league pyrotechnics done by the experts that do the famous Perryopolis event in Western Pennsylvania. Great pains have been taken to make this battle as realistic as possible and it will be one you all will not soon forget.

The carnage from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on the sunken road gave it the name Bloody Lane, leaving about 5,600 casualties (Union 3,000, Confederate 2,600) along the 800-yard road. And yet a great opportunity presented itself. If this broken sector of the Confederate line were exploited, Lee's army would have been divided in half and possibly defeated. There were ample forces available to do so. There was a reserve of 3,500 cavalry and the 10,300 infantrymen of Gen. Porter's V Corps, waiting near the middle bridge, a mile away. The VI Corps had just arrived with 12,000 men. Maj. Gen. William B. Franklin of the VI Corps was ready to exploit this breakthrough, but Sumner, the senior corps commander, ordered him not to advance. Franklin appealed to McClellan, who left his headquarters in the rear to hear both arguments but backed Sumner's decision, ordering Gens. Franklin and Hancock to hold their positions.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

OBV Alert!

All,

I just recieved and update on the registrations for the JUNE OBV event. We are Dangerously close to the 750 reenactor LIMIT. If your unit or members of your unit haven't registered yet it is advisable to get it done as soon as possible. The fact that the 750 reenactor limit was reinforced sternly by the folks at OBV in our conversation that once the limit is reached all registrations after that wil be TURNED AWAY..... NO EXCEPTIONS ! The event has become so popular that it may be difficult to get in for future years without very early registration. Every year the event gets full earlier and earlier. Don't get left out get registered now !

Your Servant,

Edward L. Kelley Sr. , Major General
Federal First Division
Birney's Division
Commanding

Friday, April 13, 2007

OBV: Fredericksburg

To all Commanders and Friends,

This is last call for the April OBV event, which would be the Assault on Fredericksburg. I highly suggest you get your registrations in as soon as possible. Walk ons will be permitted, registration will be at Building 27, the Jail, which is in the village, for both Federal and Confederate troops. Registration will not be in the Visitors' Center. Please pass this email on to all of your folks, so that they have the information on hand.

Now, for those of you who have houses in the village, please be aware that these houses are not huge. So you will need to bring some tents. You will also need to bring dining flies to cook under or around. Please understand that this is a must.

Registration at the Jail will open at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, and will stay open until 10:00 p.m. Any and all walk ons must report and register in upon arrival. Any late registrations will be taken at the Jail on Saturday at 9:00 a.m. If you have any questions about registration, please advise me as soon as possible.

Parking for all reenactors will be in front of the Welcome Center, off to the right hand side, up along the fence. Mounted Cav and artillery units will park their trailers on the back side near the maintenance shed, where they normally do, unless the ground is too muddy. Please do not park in the main parking area. Do not park behind the barn. Do not park anywhere other than along the fence. You will be asked to move your vehicle if you park anywhere other than along the fence. Do not park in the theater parking on the back side of the village. We are trying to keep all of the vehicles up on the tier by the fence.

If there are any problems or special needs, advise me ASAP. Hope to see you all out there. The event has grown greatly. Again, pass this email on to all of your folks. Give them the information so they know what is going on. Best regards, lets have some fun.


Edward L. Kelley Sr., Major General
Federal First Division
Birney's Division
Commanding

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Officer/NCO School - Directions to Perryopolis

Take the PA Turnpike to exit 75 New Stanton.

Take Rt 70 W for 7 miles to Rt 51 South 5 miles to the stop light, Perryopolis auto auction will be on your right.

Turn left at the light go straight as far as you can.

Bear right, take the first left into Sampey Park.

Go straight till the road turns to dirt ( 1/4 mile ) the camps will be on your right near the new barracks.

Perryopolis on Mapquest

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Birney's Officer/NCO School Material

Click on the link to download the schedule and Student Guide for this weekend's Officer/NCO School.

Schedule

Student Guide

If you don't have the Acrobat Reader, click here to download and install.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Thunder Valley update

In the latest news from the Civil War Days at Thunder Valley (July 21-22, 2007 - near Erie, PA)...

Due to scheduling issues, Col Paul Baltzer has stepped up to take command of the Confederate forces at this event. Col Baltzer has previously lead Reb troops on the field, in addition to his regular role as a Union officer.

Lt Col Chris Smith will be serving as the Union Commander for the event.

For more information on Thunder Valley, please visit their web site at http://www.goerie.com/EriePaListings/civil_war_days.html

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Birney's Officer/NCO School

All,

Here is a detailed outline of the schedule for the school. The command staff has put a lot of thought and work into getting this offering ready for our member units. Please forward this to your NCOs / Sgts and Corporals and of course company commanders are invited. Please poll them as to who will be attending. We need your list of participants by Jan 27th that is one week from today. This school looks like it will be very interesting and informative. We look forward to seeing you there.

Birney's Division Officer / NCO School
Perryopolis, PA
March 31 April 1, 2007

Saturday, March 31, 2007

9:00-9:15 Welcome, Overview of School, Intro. of Instructors (General Kelley)
9:15-9:45 Leadership (Col Baltzer)
9:45-10:15 Grand Tactics and the Principles of War ( Lt Col Smith)
10:15-10:45 Bugle Calls (Lt Col Rorbaugh)
10: 45-11:05 Break
11:05-11:35 Duties of NCOs (Col Baltzer)
11:35-12:05 Duties of the Company Officer (Lt Mike Murphy)
12:05-1:00 Lunch
1:00-2:15 Small Group Training

Station 1 Infantry Camp Layout (Lt Col Smith)
Station 2 Manual of the Sword (Lt Col Rorbaugh)
Station 3 Use of Front /Rear guards and flankers on the march (Col Baltzer)
Station 4 Small Arms Safety on the Field (Maj Jon Sever)
Station 5 Color Guard / Color Company (Lt Mike Murphy)
2:15-2:45 Duties of the Battalion Sergeant Major (Col Maefi, Sgt Maj Donahue)
2:45-3:05 Break
3:05-3:35 Duties of the Battalion Adjutant (Lt Mike Murphy)
3:35-4:05 Military Planning and Orders (Lt Col Smith)
4:05-4:35 Artillery Safety for the infantry commander (Artillery Officer)
4:35-5:05 Formation of the Battalion / Dress Parade (Col Baltzer)
3:50-4:20 Civil War Reconnaissance (Lt Col Smith)
4:20-4:50 Field Music- "Straw blowers and Sheepskin Fiddlers" (Lt Col Rorbaugh)

Sunday, April 1, 2007

9:00-9:30 Medical emergencies, burns and accidental discharges (Col Maefi)
9:30-10:00 Field Engineering (Col Baltzer)
10:00-10:20 Break
10:20-10:50 Police Guard/ Grand Guard (Lt Col Rorbaugh)
10:50-11:20 *****Topic to be determined ***** (Lt Mike Murphy)
11:20-11:50 Closing thoughts / Survey of Officer / NCO School (General Kelley)

Your Servant,
Edward L. Kelley Sr. Major General
Birney's Division
Commanding

Thursday, January 18, 2007

2nd Battalion Drill Info

The annual School of the Company and Battalion for the 2d Battalion of Birney's Division will be held on March 17-18, 2007, at Camp Workman.

Please CLICK HERE to download the information and registration form.

Feel free to forward this message and/or form to members in your unit, as well as other interested parties.

Beaver Creek info and photos

We very excited about the opportunity for Birney's and PACS to work on developing a new reenactment here in Ohio. The Beaver Creek Civil War event will be held May 4-6, 2007. Click here to get the latest info, download the registration form, and view photos of the event site.