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 (http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1612316477#/group.php?gid=113780435888), 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 http://www.wrhs.org/index.php/hale/augustdrumspage 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 http://www.thebattleofeastharbor.com.

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