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
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 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 and advise if they are able to attend!!

This is a great event and a great location!