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