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

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: Contact: Thunder Valley Stables 5151 West Stancliff Road, McKean, PA 16426 (814 476-1632).