Friday, November 20, 2009

Report from the Birney's Division Annual meeting

Hi all. Sitting here in my hotel room after the Division meeting in Gettysburg this evening. We had and excellent discussion to wrap up the 2009 season and look to event in 2010.

On behalf of General Kelley and the staff, the following is the Birney's schedule for 2010:

April 24-25, Spring School of the Battalion and Tactical for Infantry, Artillery and Cavalry
Perryopolis, PA (Division event)

June 12-13, East Harbor, Sandusky, OH (2d Battalion event)

June 19-20, Old Bedford Village, Bedford, PA (Division event)

June 26-27, March to Destiny, Shippensburg, PA (1st Battalion event)

July 2-4, 147th Gettysburg, Gettysburg, PA (Division event)

July 17-18, Battle of Funkstown, Hagerstown, MD (1st Battalion event)

July 24-25, Argus Park, Canfield, OH (2d Battalion event)

August 14-15, Hale Farm, Bath, OH (Division event)

September 18-19, Third Winchester, Luray, VA (1st Battalion event)

October 2-3, Cold Harbor, Perryopolis, PA (Division event)

November 20, Remembrance Day, Gettysburg, PA

More details will be posted on the schedule on the Birney's event page at later this week.

Looking forward to another exciting year!!!

Your Servant,
Christopher L. Smith
2d Battalion

Friday, November 06, 2009

Masonic Ceremony at Remembrance Day

On November 21, 2009, Birney's Division will hold the 2nd annual Friend to Friend Masonic Ceremony at the Friend to Friend monument in Gettysburg at 10:30 AM. We had long thought that this particular function was needed and after many requests we started this solemn ceremony to honor the Masons that fought in the Civil War on both sides. This is a fitting tribute to those men and we would like to invite all Masons and non Masons to attend no mater your affiliation in reenacting, you are welcome. We hope that you all can attend.

Major General Ed Kelley
Birney's Division

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

A Civil War Harvest Meal

November 21, 3:00 pm - The start of a NEW Hale Farm tradition! Join us for the 1st Annual Civil War Era Harvest Meal in the Hale Farm Gatehouse. Did you know that it was in 1863 that President Lincoln declared the last Thursday of November to be a national day of thanksgiving and so the national harvest festival holiday was born. A harvest dinner is served up with historic class. Consider wearing your favorite Civil War era costume when you join us! For ticket prices and reservations call 330-666-3711. Admission for the Harvest Meal is: $25 for Adult WRHS Members, $35 for Adult non-members, $15 for children (3-12) and age 2& under is free. Group rates are available for 15 or more people.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Birney's Division 2010 Planning Meeting

Birney's Division will hold its annual meeting to discuss the 2010 Civil War reenactment events that the Division will officially participate in on a national or regional level.

All units from the infantry, cavalry, and artillery should try to send at least one representative if the unit commander is not able to attend.

Please feel free to post your thoughts about events here on the Birney's Division Meeting Event page on Facebook:

For more information, contact BGN Maffei at:

As usual, this meeting is held on the same weekend as the Remembrance Day parade in Gettysburg.

Friday, November 20, 2009
7:30 pm - 11:00 pm
Hoss' Steak House
1140 York Rd.
Gettysburg, PA

Thursday, October 15, 2009

PRIORITY: Cedar Creek update

For those of you going to Cedar Creek this weekend, I wanted to pass on some priority information. As I am not able to attend, 2d Battalion members should make sure to report to Lt Col Rohrbaugh upon arriving at the Birney's Division camp. He or one of his staff members will give you your assignment.

Now, as everyone knows, I am a "green light" kinda guy no matter what the weather. However, I just got off of the phone with Col Maffei and here is the report:

Friday - 90% chance of rain, 39 high, 37 low
Saturday - 100% chance of frozen mix, 41 high, 33 low
Sunday - 60% chance of frozen mix, 47 high, 36 low

Winds will be between 10 and 20 mph.

If you are going, please take this into account with regard to travel and equipment. We certainly don't need half of the Division down with the hacking snots (unless the Rebs are too... then I think we will be ok).

I will try and post any updated information on the event as it is relayed to me.

C.L. Smith, Lt Col
2d Battalion, Birney's Division

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Zoar AAR

Better late than never. Dave had this writen but I tried to find a hole in the schedule to take the time to post.

I DO want to thank everyone who participated and especially Dave Strichko for his outstanding adjutating job, and Kevin Skaggs and Don Van Meter for their work as the Wing Commanders. Cheers to all!

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


24th September 1864

To Commanding Major General Edward Kelly Birney's Division
After action report for engagement at Zoar Ohio 19 & 20th September 1864

Sometime on the morning of the 18th September 1864 scouts from the 51st OVI reported a sizeable Confederate force concentrating on the outskirts of the town of Zoar. Immediately the order was sent to all available troops in the area to march towards Zoar and bring the army together as quickly as possible to block the Rebel force. Throughout the 18th and early hours of the 19th our troops arrived in small groups and we set up camp on the east side of town near a school house. Our camp site was very favorable for the army with water and firewood in good supply and the men in general appeared to be in good spirits even with the knowledge that battle was emanate.

By the morning of the 19th September 1864 the 2nd battalion under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Smith was able to muster 119 men and officers fit for duty. Units that were present were the 7th OVI, 23rd MI, 9th and 10th PA reserves, 61st OVI, 5th Independent Company Ohio Sharpshooters, 2nd USSS, 5th OVI, 105th OVI, 83rd PA, 110th OVI, 4th OVI co B, 4th OVI co E, 9th OVI and the Ohio Henry rifles. Combined with the 124 men and officers of the 1st battalion we were able to field 243 men and officers for the Union under the overall command of Colonel Minton. Rebel forces were estimated around 400 including 20 or 30 cavalry and 5 or 10 pieces of artillery. Scouts from the 51st OVI also reported that the confederates were under the command of General Jake Jennette and were looking to give the Federal army a fight on Union soil.

In the early hours of 19th September 1864 Colonel Minton and his staff along with Lieutenant Colonel Smith and our staff met to devise our strategy for the battle that was sure to take place on this day. As we all personally went to inspect the Rebel positions and we confirmed that Confederates were holding the high ground in the form of a ridge that overlooked what would end up being our place of battle. Colonel Minton decided that we would march the army around to the far side of the field and he would personally lead 1st battalion in the initial assault. The Union army was formed up around 1300 hours and started the approximate 1 mile march to the far side of the battle field. At around 1400 hours Colonel Minton led 1st battalion out on the field with skirmishers in the front of the army to test the Confederate strength. Soon after taking the field 1st battalion came under cannon and rifle fire from the rebels and the confederate cavalry was soon to follow and flush out our skirmishers. The push from 1st battalion was able to capture and turn to rebel guns but was still taking heavy casualties. Colonel Minton who was hoping to preserve the strength of our army was forced to call upon Lieutenant Colonel Smith to bring up 2nd battalion to stave off the rebel advance and hold the ground that had already been won. Around 1420 hours 2nd battalion received this order and was quickly formed and thrown right in to the fight. Ground was gained and then lost and then gained again with both sides taking heavy casualties. Finally after quite a scrap we were able to drive the rebels from the field but new they had not retreated far and were still lurking in the distance ready for another fight. We then took about the task of tending to the wounded and headed back to camp to refit the army, take rations and rest up for what ever the rebels had planned next.

At around 2000 hours reports came in that the rebels were reforming on the ridge around the battlefield and we quickly gathered a force of approximately 100 men to test their strength. As darkness fell Lieutenant Colonel Smith sent out a probe of skirmishers led by Captain Kaminski of the 5th OVI to locate and determine the enemy strength and within 5 minutes the fight would begin. A mixture of rifle fire and cannon would continue for about half an hour until both Armies still tired from the afternoon's engagement retired from the field.

In the early hours of the 20th of September 1864 reports would come in from the pickets that the rebels were planning on a move again but these reports were just a false alarm and hostility was not carried out by the Confederates at this time. The men would spend most of the morning tending to themselves and some would attend local church services as well. For the most part the morning was uneventful with the exception of a patrol of about 50 men lead by Captain Schinness of the 7th OVI. While out on patrol they were able to capture a Confederate prisoner; Brigadier General Waffler. After returning the prisoner to camp Colonel Minton turned him over to Lieutenant Colonel Smith for questioning. We were unable to secure much useful information from the general and we felt it best to feed him with false information and send him on his way. Around 1220 hours Colonel Minton wished to see the brigade on parade as to size up what he had at his disposal for what we all new would be another battle. Shortly after dress parade would begin reports came in that the rebels were at it again and we were quickly on the march to stop them. Soon we would be on the same battle field as the day before and this time 2nd battalion suffering fewer casualties then 1st battalion would lead the assault. Just as we did on the 19th of September we would deploy pickets and skirmishers ahead of the main force and they would quickly be thrown back be rebel skirmishes that were reinforced by artillery and a strong column on cavalry. Federal forces would do their best to hold the ground pushing then having to give back ground. After suffering almost 75% casualties 2nd battalion was forced to retire to the rear and 1st battalion would move forward to try and stave of the overwhelming Confederate force. Around 1400 hours Colonel Minton was forced to make a temporary truce with the rebels so we could attend to the dead and wounded. We would quickly do so and break camp and with draw the army in order to refit and resupply the troops. What can not be explained is the Confederates who had won the day had also broke camp and started the march back south. Scouts report that after stretching their supply lines over their limits the rebels have decided to retreat back to the safety of Winchester Virginia and now the President has ordered us to follow. With the orders being handed out the Army is to concentrate it forces around the Cedar Creek area; if all goes as planed we should be able to have a sizeable Federal force in that area no latter then 16th or 17 October 1864.

Your obedient servant,
1st Lieutenant David V. Strichko
Acting Adjutant 2nd Battalion Birney's Division

September 24, 2009
Now move forward 145 years.

Gentleman first off I would like to thank all of you for coming out and supporting this event and for putting up with me as a rookie adjutant; it was truly a privilege and honor to serve at this position for what I personally think was a well planned and well executed event from all sides of the field. There are many who deserve our thanks and gratitude but none more then are pards from the 51st OVI who truly worked their butts off to make this event a big success; our collective hats go off to you. To Colonel Bob Minton and the staff of the Army of Ohio it was truly a pleasure to work with you all this weekend and I look forward to working with you again. To Lieutenant Colonel Smith, Lieutenant Colonel Skaggs (USV) and Major Van Meter I thank you for all your help and support this weekend; and again a big thanks to all the men and officers who with out you none of these events big or small would be possible. Well I think I have been long winded enough and will get off my soap box, I look forward to seeing some of you at Cedar Creek next month and for those of you that are not able to attend have a happy and safe off season and I will be looking forward to seeing you all on the field again in 2010.

Your obedient servant
1st Lieutenant David V. Strichko

Saturday, October 10, 2009

AAR Perryopolis

Headquarters, 1st Battalion, Birney's Division
Station: Perryopolis, PA
Date: Oct. 4

Arrived in Perryopolis Sunday morning and was assigned field command of the contingent of 1st Battalion soldiers consisiting of the 105th PVI and the 11th PVI. Conducted Battalion drill at 10 AM and went over in excess skirmish drill with both companies. Broke for lunch and relaxed waiting for the battle to occur later that day. Battalion numbers were close to 30 rifles with 2 artillery pieces supplied by Col. Bob Bailey. Took up defensive position behind railroad tie fence supported by artillery on both our flanks.. Deployed Sgt. Mark Hauser's 11th PVI to our fron as a skirmish line on the road, protected by a split rail fence, kept the CPT Towarnicki's 105th PVI in reserve behind the railroad ties. Rebel infantry and artillery occupied breastworks about 75 yards to our front. Both sides artillery opened fire to soften up fortified positions for the infantry assault. As the artillery lightened up, advanced the 105th towards the road to support the 11th. Rebel infantry numbering close to 50 rifles pushed out of breastworks and advanced. Fell back to the railroad ties and enflicted light casualties on the enemy. As they began to retreat back advanced again in battalion front and inflicted heavy casualties as the Rebels fell back. Took light casualties. Deployed a squad to the right of the rebel line under 1st SGT Koch and continued to push the rebs back in to the breastworks. Closed in on the breastworks and ordered a bayonet charge, the battalion rushed the works and captured one artillery piece as well as the remainder of the confederate command in the works, to include there commanders. Casualties on our side were heavy by the end, about 13 dead. Rebel casualties were even higher losing about 30 soldiers.

I would like to thank CPT Towarnicki and SGT Hauser for there help on the field, as well as Gen Kelley for the opportunity to lead the battalion.

Respectfully Submitted,

CPT Michael Murphy
Acting Battalion Commander, 1st Battalion, Birney's Division

Monday, September 21, 2009

Early photo reports from Zoar

Here are a few early incoming photograph links from Zoar this past weekend. AAR to follow. If you missed it, start beating yourself with a blunt object now.


Saturday (includes night battle)


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Zoar Dispatch #2


We are just a few days away from Zoar and here are some updates and need-to-knows. Please make sure you pass these on you your entire unit.


As of the registration on September 11th, Birney's has 76 infantry on paper. Here is what we are showing as a breakdown:

5th Ind. Ohio Sharpshooters - 5
83rd PA Vol. Co. I - 6
114th OVI - 2
61st Co. D - 2
105th OVI - 27
5th Ohio - 9
9th PA Res. - 4
114th OVI - 2
HQ - 1
9th OVI - 7
4th OVI - 11

I am not clear on which 4th OVI is represented on the report. There is a chance it is a combination of both.

There are currently 55 from the US Volunteers, and potentially 25 from Vincent's. These numbers may go into the Army of the Ohio. 2d Battalion looks to be well over 150 men.

IMPORTANT! Because we have so man reenactors coming, camp setup is critical. Lt Col Skaggs and I will be at the event starting Thursday evening. DO NOT set up your tentage until you check in with the 2d Battalion HQ. The Battalion (including families) will be set up behind the school house off of 5th Street. Look for the 2d Battalion guidon to find headquarters.


For those of you interested in the march prior to the tactical on Sunday, please check in with 2d Battalion HQ no later than Saturday morning. Sergeants, it might be a good idea to get a count when you are turning in your morning reports.

This is the one we have been waiting for the last two years. The weather is going to be perfect, Cool and clear. The numbers are outstanding. I am looking forward to seeing all of you there!!

Lt Col Christopher Smith
Commanding, 2d Battalion

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Zoar Dispatch #1

Good morning gents. Over the next week, I will be passing on anumber of messages about Zoar to keep you up to date. PLEASE pass this info on to your unit members!

As you have already read, registration has officially gone over 1000 reenactors. The last Zoar event had a 30% walk-on rate. Do the math. If you have not registered yet, please let me know if you plan to walk-on so we have some possible count.

Our Federal battalion will be made up of Birney's Division, US Volunteers, and Vincent's Brigade. The expected count to be around 150 to 175. Our Wing commanders will be Lt Col Kevin Skaggs from the USVs, and Maj Don Van Meter from Birney's.

The other Federal battalion under Lt Col Chuck Rusche is made up of the Army of the Ohio and other western troops. It will be about the same number of men.

Col Minton from the Army of the Ohio is the over all Federal commander and I can tell you he has been working his but off!

The tactical is on! This will take place Sunday morning. For those who wish to participate, we will also have a march from Ft. Laurens (about 3 miles) and join the rest of the Army going into the tactical. Yours truly will be leading the Federal infantry on the march. I expect some mischief from Confederate cavalry.

Please be aware, with three battles (Saturday afternoon, a Saturday evening battle, and Sunday afternoon) and a tactical, PLEASE be sure to bring plenty of rounds. The national commander of the Army of Norther Virginia, General Jennette, is personally commanding the Confederate forces this weekend so I expect quite a dust up!

C.L. Smith, Lt Col
Commanding 2d Battalion

Event Reminders

Here is a list of up coming reenactments. Please check out the Event page at

September 18-20 - Battle on the Ohio-Erie Canal
Zoar, OH

October 2-4 - Perryopolis
Perryopolis, PA

October 16-18 - 145th Cedar Creek
Middletown, VA

Monday, August 31, 2009

A message from Hale Farm

Dear Hale Farm & Village Civil War Weekend Participants,

On behalf of Hale Farm & Village and the Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS), we would like to extend to you our appreciation and congratulations on a successful Civil War Reenactment on August 8th and 9th 2009. Hale Farm & Village partnered with National City, now a part of PNC, to present the 17th annual Civil War Reenactment at Hale Farm & Village. Nearly 3,000 people came to Hale Farm & Village for this weekend event, including 400 re-enactors!

In our opinion, the high point of both days came with the moment of silence and playing of Taps in the field following the battles. As public historians, there is no greater satisfaction than observing the impact of living history moments such as these on our audiences. The re-enactment community succeeded at Hale Farm that weekend in its mission to keep the history of the Civil War - arguably the seminal event in American history - alive in the hearts and minds of our visitors. Huzzah!

Hale Farm & Village and the WRHS enjoys presenting this annual summer event and we realize that your dedication and passion for the presentation of Civil War history only makes this an even more memorable weekend for our visitors and staff alike.

We look forward to having you back next year so mark your calendars for August 14th and 15th 2010.

Kelly Falcone-Hall & Becky Carlino
Vice President, Hale Farm Director of Community Engagement

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ride Through History update

EVENT: 25-27 SEP 09 - Alliance, OH -

I had a very good meeting with the folks from the Marlboro Volunteers who host Ride Through History here in Ohio. I was given a tour of the facility and layout. We also discussed the various activities at the event. I number of you expressed an interest in for information.

LOCATION: RTH is held on the property of the old Taylorcraft factory in Alliance, Ohio where the L2 Grasshopper spotter planes were built and tested during World War II. The runways behind the plant are now overgrown with woods and brush. This is the area where the living history and history "vignettes" are held for roughly 2000 spectators over the weekend.

CAMPS: Throughout the woods, various areas have been cleared to feature living history camps from the Revolution, Civil War, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.

VIGNETTES: The RTH actually takes place on the other over grown runway. Spectators board several military troop trucks and travel down a trail progressing through a Revolutionary War redoubt where soldiers are engaged, a Civil War artillery firing supported by Federal cavalry, a WWII Market Garden period engagement between Germans in bunkers and Airborne in a building (finally with support of US armor). A Korean period US engineering unit working on a project, and finally a Vietnam era US infantry squad engaged in a rice paddy. Each of theses "vignettes" last about 10 to 15 minutes (the total spectator ride runs about 45 minutes).

OTHER ACTIVITIES: There will be a lot to see and do for those who have friends and family wishing to attend. In addition to the aforementioned, there will be a military vehicle display and motor pool where personnel will be performing field maintenance on vehicles from various periods and talking to the public. A stage area will feature programming including a demonstration of military small arms from flint locks to current weapons. There will also be vendors selling militaria.

REENACTOR AMENITIES: There is NO registration fee for participants. A complete field kitchen and mess tent will be set up. If you wish, you can buy a $15.00 meal ticket good for the entire weekend and includes two breakfasts, two lunches, and dinner. All participants with have 24 hour access to water, lemonade, iced tea, and coffee at no charge.

From a Civil War stand point, this is just a living history camp for the weekend. As I will be working with the WWII side of things, any one interested in participating should contact Don Van Meter of the 105th OVI. his email is

Chris Smith

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hale Farm AAR

From the Captain's Desk

1864, August:

After Action Reports

Hale Farm and Village, Ohio: There were two skirmishes at Hale Farm and Village.

The action started on Saturday afternoon, August 8th, at about 1:30 pm. It was drizzling and muggy. We were informed that there were some Confederates in the village area. Birney's was comprised of three companies and a platoon of sharpshooters. There was also one company and a platoon of sharpshooters from the USV's. The sharpshooters moved into the village to disperse the enemy, with the USV's in support. Birney's was in reserve. As the Confederate skirmishers were pushed back, they and a small group of Confederates retreated from the village. We pushed through the village and waited as it appeared that a larger Confederate force was across the road in the wooded area. We crossed the road, into a field, as the Confederates emerged from the woods. It was a tough fight with Birney's leading the attack. We were unable to flank the enemy and each time we seem to gain a little ground we were pushed back. Many a brave Union soldier lay dead or wounded in the field after several attempts to push the enemy from the field. In the end we were forced to retreat from the field and stop the loss of valuable men. The 5th OVI was combined with the 4th OVI, the 30th OVI and the 51st OVI. We fought valiantly but to no avail. We would still be on the field had our commanders not stopped the battle. We spent most of the night trying to dry out from the rain. Several of us, the Slattery boy's and myself, went looking for some other soldiers to try to amend for some of the lost life at the battle. We found several others, from the USV's, but the Union Commander saw us and told us to hold off until tomorrow. He said we would get our chance to avenge our comrades' lives.

On Sunday, August 9th, the men were still angry that our commanders pulled them from the field. The weather was very hot and muggy. The rebels reoccupied the village and our men were itching for another fight. Just like the Union Commander said, they were pulling us together for another battle. Birney's and the USV's moved into the town to push out the Confederates again. Just like the day before, the USV's, with the sharpshooters, push them out of the town. This time as they retreated to the woods across the field, to combine with their fellow secessionists, we were ready for the fight. Birney's again led the battle in the field. With hard fighting and several forward pushes, combined with our sharpshooters and the USV's flanking the enemy, we forced the rebels to call for a halt in the fighting. Many a gray and butternut soldier lay on the field that day. The men were hot and tired but proud as we marched from the field victorious.

August 2009

The event at Hale Farm & Village was wet, very hot and very humid. You would have thought we were in Virginia, not Ohio. The military camp was in the same place as it was last year. We only had one family camp and they were with the others near the carriage house. Wood was in short supply on Friday, but the Hale staff opened up a reserve and we were able to have enough for the weekend. The small skirmish in the village made the battle a little better, even though we were in reserve both days during that part. The Saturday night tactical was cancelled because of the rain. We had several men from the 4th OVI, the 51st OVI, the 30th OVI and one from the 74th New York fall in with us. I commanded the combined company on Saturday and the Lt. from the 4th OVI commanded us on Sunday.

Your Humble Servant,

Captain Andrew J. Kaminski
5th OVI, Co. H

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


The Civil War reenactment at Hale Farm will be held on August 7-9 in the Cuyahoga Valley (Bath, OH).

I know some of you have sent this information in previously, but please respond with the following…

Will your unit be attending?
How many military personnel will you have?
Will there be an officer and/or NCO in charge?
How many tents will you have set up and what type?

This event is a Birney’s tradition and I am looking forward to seeing all of you there!

Your Servant,
Lt Col Christopher Smith

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Beaver Creek AAR

I am please to say that we have made it through yet another successful reenactment at Beaver Creek State Park here in Ohio. It is truly one of the best places to camp of any reenactment I have been to. The Federal Army feels quite at home in the pines and along the river. I even noticed some of my fellow reenactors brought their fishing poles this year!

With 80 Federals and 40 Confederates, the action started early with a 6 am tactical Saturday morning. Under the leadership of Lt. Kirkwood, we could hear the action rolling through the woods from far down-range to just above the mill. The returning troops from both sides displayed smiles that told the story of a good time. Nothing like a hot scrap to get you hungry for breakfast.

After conducting dress parade and drill in the early cool hours, the main battle for the spectators kicked off about 1 pm.

Our sharp shooter company deployed into a skirmish line as we saw the Confederate pickets through the dense woods. After driving them back, the battalion moved forward only to see the main Confederate line and artillery just ahead. We stopped to fire, but the thick forest we were engaged in made a portion of our onslaught ineffective.

The southern troops moved toward our line and began to press our flanks. What they didn't expect is that we had made plans to move our sharp shooters from flank to flank with several predetermined commands. This kept the boys in butternut and grey sliding side to side in response.

Though the trees helped keep casualties down, we finally pinned the Confederate units and agreed to halt the engagement to tend to those wounded and mortally departed souls.

Following the barn dance Saturday evening, the Federal and Confederate pickets pestered each other across the mill pond. The Reb artillery even lobbed a few shells into our camp. The spectators enjoyed the after-dark show and the acoustic assistance of the pond made for quite the experience.

The battle on Sunday was what the commanders of both sides had been waiting for. This was going to be good. Around 12:45 pm, the Federal infantry moved out on a road march with the sharp shooters as guards and flankers ahead of the battalion. The column came under fire from the woods to our left. The Confederate skirmishers had assembled breast works and engaged our sharp shooters.

Bringing the battalion into a battle line, we moved into the forest behind the sharp shooters and supported the pushing of the Confederate skirmishers with fierce volleys. As we swept them out of the woods, they retreated across a bridge where we could see Rebel infantry and artillery on the heights in the village.

As our troops came under withering musketry, we raced forward to the embankment to lay down fire and support our companies as they crossed the bridge to the other side. Once all troops were across, the battle became an all out knock-down, drag-out fire fight with each side attempting to out maneuver each other’s lines. The Confederate canon and rifle fire laid our troops low and we were forced to withdraw back across the bridge and into the woods. The pursuing enemy forced our hand as they followed and we relented.

This was probably one of the hottest fights I have witnessed at a local event in many years. My kepi is off to the Federal company commanders from the 5th OVI (with the 51st and 61st OVI), 5th OSS (with the 83rd PVI), 7th OVI (with the 66th OVI), and 105th OVI. Because of your training and leadership, I was able to say "go do XYZ" then stand back on the far side of the bridge and watch you do it.

A big thank you to the 2d Battalion HQ team. Bob Penix is hard core. After rotator surgery on Thursday, he was there on Friday addressing paperwork and even conducting battalion drill with his arm in a sling. Grant Kirkwood earned his boards this weekend by laying out the Federal camps, planning and leading the tactical, and making sure everything ran smoothly.

Another big thanks to Wayne Unger and Mike "Stonewall" Lawson for their leadership on the Confederate side. They made several dozen Rebs seem like 100, and it is always fun to plan out the scenarios with my pards and Brothers.

On top of everything else, THANK YOU to Tom Allison and the Beaver Creek team for all of their hard work in putting this event on. It was Tom's idea to fight on the bridge and what a perfect place to have an engagement.

As we announced last year, Beaver Creek will alternate with Argus Park. Our next event at Beaver Creek will be in 2011.


Lt Col C.L. Smith, Commanding
2d Battalion, Birney's Division

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Camps at Beaver Creek

We are in the final days before Beaver Creek. Remember this event is layed out as if we were on the march and stopped to set up camp for a few days. Lt Kirkwood will be on site Friday around noon to point each company to their specified area. I will be there between 1 and 2.

There will be a $4 all-you-can-eat breakfast served.

Looking forward to seeing all of you there!

Your Servant,
CL Smith, Lt Col
2d Battalion

Saturday, July 18, 2009

An update on Hale Farm

Greetings all,

Several of us involved with the reenacting community here in Northeast Ohio just had a wonderful meeting with the event team at Hale Farm, and specifically the event director Becky Carlino. As many of you know, last year was a disaster due to the individual who was calling the shots for Hale Farm. This resulted in the banning of certain reenactor favorites such as the Flying Turtle Tavern. It also forced the Confederate commander to script out the battle shot by shot. Believe me; Col Perry was not happy about having to do it. Suffice to say, the Western Reserve Historical Society quickly broomed this individual out the door after last year and brought in Becky to take the helm.

As a professional in the event organizing field and a Civil War junkie, the first thing Becky did was to reach out to the reenactors and, for the first time in Hale Farm history, involve them in helping plan the event. This will expand next year with the formation of a Hale Farm Civil War Round Table which will be a committee of WRHS staff and reenactors dedicated to developing and planning the Civil War event.

One thing the new Hale team wants to get away from is what Becky calls the "Sea World Syndrome". As we know, it is the same thing year after year. Blahhh... borrrring. Though this year may see only a few new twists, the Round Table will have the key task of introducing new activities and scenarios for reenactor and spectator alike. This includes plans involving those spectators who are veterans of our military.

That isn't to say there won't be some new surprises this year. There will be an extended battle scenario and a period-authentic location for the dance in one of Hale Farm's newly reopened structures.

PLUS… important for both blue and gray, the Flying Turtle will be back this year!

As with places like Old Bedford Village in PA, the Civil War weekend at Hale Farm is a make or break event for the facility. As I have said before, if we don’t support our local events, they are going to disappear. More importantly, if we don’t support places like Hale Farm, they will cease to operate and either be boarded up or knocked to the ground.

So, with all of that being said, Becky has asked me to pass along that she welcomes your comments. If you are on the Birney's Division Facebook page (, look for Becky Carlino in the member list. She is also going to try and come down to Beaver Creek on Sunday next weekend to chat with those who have questions. The Hale Farm reenactment is also listed in the Events on the Birney's Facebook page. Make sure you add your name to those attending.

YANKS and REBS: For registration information, go to and register BEFORE July 31st to get the discount. It is important to register early so we can make sure there will be enough dinner and ice cream for everyone.

If you have received this message more than once, my apologies as I am posting it in several locations for the widest distribution. I look forward to seeing you in the field!

Your Servant,
Lt Col Christopher L. Smith
Commanding, 2nd Battalion
Birney's Division

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Beaver Creek is soon upon us!

Beaver Creek is shaping up rather nicely. We will have about 100 Federal Infantry vs. 60 Confederate Infantry with a couple of canon.

I plan to be down there in the early afternoon Friday to help arrange the Federal Camp. Remember that this is a Valley Campaign scenario and the camps are in and around the trees. For those of you who have been there before, I can think of few nicer spots for camping.

We have some very cool battles planned and I hope you will consider attending if you are not already planning to be there.

Your Servant,
Chris Smith
Commanding, 2d Battalion
Birney's Division

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Birney's on Facebook

If they had it, they would have used it!! Birney's Division is now on Facebook. We believe that the more communication the better. In addition to our web site and email distribution, we will post updates on Facebook. This will also give members a chance to hook up and discuss events, activities, arrange car-pooling, etc.

CLICK HERE to visit the Birney's Division Facebook page.

East Harbor FIRST CALL

The first of two major 2nd Battalion events in July is a week away. East Harbor (July 10-12) will be a very large event for the region. A LOT of folks are registered to attend and the organizers have done a great job pulling ths all together. It is a wonderful location and the amenities are outstanding (including a VERY good meal Saturday night).

The web site for the event is

We really want to have a good turn out for Birney's. All units who are attending, please send the following information:

1. Will your unit be attending or now?
2. How many military personnel will be attending?
3. Will there be an officer and/or NCO in charge?

Looking forward to seeing all of you there!!

Your servant,
Christopher Smith
Birney's Division, 2d Battalion

Thursday, July 02, 2009

The passing of a friend

BOB SMITH - Nov. 5, 1944 - Jun. 29, 2009

As you all know Bob Smith passed from this Life to the next Life at 9:26 PM on Monday June 29th.

May His Soul and The Souls Of All The Faithfully Departed, Through The Mercy Of God, Rest In Peace. Amen.

Don Van Meter and Bobs wife Mary have been making the final arrangements for Bob with the Funeral Home.


The schedule for the Memorial Service is as follows:

Monday July 6, 2009
- 12:00 - 2:00 PM Will be the showing so everyone can pay their last respects to Bob.
- 2:00 PM There will be a Service at the Funeral Home

Chaplain Ron Johnson and a Catholic Priest

Following the Service Bob will be transported to the Cemetery to his final resting place by a Horse Drawn Hearse down the Main Street of Salem to the Cemetery, Which is less than 1 mile.

The 105th OVI will march behind the Hearse to the Cemetery in full dress Uniform where we will give Bob a 21-Gun Salute.

Any others that wish to participate in the procession to the cemetery may fall in behind the 105th OVI uniformed soldiers. Please do not wear Gaiters


In lieu of Flowers Please Send Any Donations to the Memorial Fund that will be used to make a donation to one of Bob's favorite Charities

Send It To:

"Bob Smith Memorial Fund"
C/O Cindy Bedell
514 Hazel St.
Girard, Ohio 44420

Checks Payable To....105th OVI Bob Smith Memorial Fund

Friday, June 19, 2009

East Harbor registration

One of the Birney's 2d Battalion events is on the horizon. East Harbor will be July 10-12. Please get your unit registered by visiting the web site at:

Don't forget Beaver Creek July 25-26!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Old Bedford Event Schedule

Friday, June 19 - No vehicles on village streets until 5:00 PM

9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Village is open to the public. NO VEHICLES permitted on the village streets.
9:00 AM - 8:00 PM Reenactor Registration Open - Location: Visitor's Center
5:00 PM Village closes to the public.
8:30 PM Civilian Activities Meeting - Location: Church

Saturday, June 20 - No vehicles on the village streets.
9:00 AM Village opens to the public.
10:00 AM Kid's Battle - Location: Behind the Visitor's Center by the Weeping Willow
10:30 AM Make a Star Ornament with Julie Openaker - Location: Federal General's Corp Camp near Visitor's Center
11:00 AM The Riots of Women, by Bevin MacRae, 21st Georgia - Location: Living History Area*
11:30 AM Food Riot Skit - Location: General Store, Jail
12:00 PM Civil War Nursing, by Jackie Greer, 21st Georgia - Location: Living History Area*
12:50 PM Refugee Shuttle leaves the Visitor's Center
1:00-2:00 PM Battle
3:00 PM Nurses from Union and Blair Counties, Linda Estupian Snook, 3rd PA Vol. Light Artillery - Location: Living History Area*
3:00 PM Ladies Tea/Lemonade for reenactors only, Please bring a cup (and a chair if in Camp of 55th VA)
Cookie donations are welcomed.
Tentative Hostess: Suzi Dorn, 45th PVI - Location: Event Barn
Alternate Hostess: Kim Cannonie, 55th Virginia and Brenda Geary-Bucek - Location: Camp of the 55th VA
4:00 PM Sister M. Camilla O'Keefe, by Julie Decker, Federal General Corps - Location: Living History Area*
4:00-4:30 PM Swap Meet for reenactors only - Sell, buy and trade reenacting items - Location: Event Barn
5:00 PM Village closes to the public.
6:00 PM Dinner for those who pre-purchased meal tickets - Location: Tavern
7:00 or 7:30 PM - ??? Dance (tentatively 2 sets), 46th Regiment Band Logan Guard - Location: Event Barn
Caller: Heather Nichols, 66th OVI (tentative), Amy Beechler, 17th VA Fairfax Rifles (alternate)

Sunday, June 21 - No vehicles on village streets until 4:00 PM
8:00-9:00 AM Breakfast for those who pre-purchased meal tickets - Location: Visitor's Center
9:00 AM Village opens to the public. NO VEHICLES on village streets until village closes.
10:00-10:45 AM Christian Worship Service for reenactors and spectators - Location: Church
10:45 AM Drawing for free bibles - Location: Church
11:00-12:00 PM Differences in Civil War Fashion Styles, by Amy Beechler, 17th Virginia Fairfax Rifles, Location: Living History Area*
1:50 PM Refugee Shuttle Leaves the Visitor's Center
2:00-3:00 PM Battle

Other Activities to be held on Both Days as time permits
Civil War Lawn Games and Kite Flying (weather permitting) - Location: Lawn areas near Visitor's Center

*Living History Area Activities
Location: Behind the General Store
In the event of inclimate weather, Living History Area activities may be relocated to the church.

Lady's Tea at Old Bedford

There will be a Ladies Tea at Old Bedford Village. All are welcome, Ladies of the North and South.

Tea, milk and sugar and cookies will be provided.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Registration reminders

Just a reminder to all to get registered for events coming up shortly.

Old Bedford Village, June 21-23

June 26-28 March to Destiny
Shippensburg, PA (Lt Col Rohrbaugh)

July 10-12 Battle of Funkstown
(Lee's Retreat from Gettysburg)
Funkstown, MD (Lt Col Rohrbaugh)
Contact Lt Col Rohrbaugh for details.

July 10-12 East Harbor
Marblehead, OH (Lt Col Smith)
Contact Lt Col Smith for details.

July 25-26 Beaver Creek
Near Lisbon, OH (Lt Col Smith)
Contact Col Unger for registration.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Drill Weekend AAR

I will keep this short and brief,

I would like to thank all members of the 105th Pa and 5th Va that attended the spring muster drill in Perryopolis. We had the entire battlefield at our disposal and we took advantage. Despite the rain on Fri, the field was in good condition for morning drill on Sat. The events of Sat afternoon consisted both forces skirmishing until each side lacked the energy to continue. So long story short... it was a good long battle. There was then another drill later in the evening. The events of sat night were night patrols from both forces all over the battlefield which erupted into a long night skirmish. As always it was a good time to get together, put the wool on, burn some powder and enjoy the weekend with our Confederate Brothers in Arms. Again I would like to thank all of those who attended.

I would also like to welcome Nick Gruse to the ranks of the 105th. Nick joined us in Perry for the muster and plane to fall in with us at New Market

1st Sgt Jeremy Koch
105th Pa Company E