Thursday, December 30, 2010

Events planned in Ohio despite state’s money crunch

Marietta Times:

Many of the same states that contributed troops, supplies and money to the Civil War aren't providing funding for exhibits, reenactments and events for the 150th anniversary of the conflict between the North and South, just a few months away.

Ohio is in that category, with no state funding allocated, but anniversary events will still go on, say local and state historians.

"For us this will truly be on a grassroots level, but I think we'll rise to the occasion," said Kim Schuette, communications and media relations manager for the Ohio Historical Society, which is helping coordinate events across the state. "It's a challenge, of course, in today's economy, but it's something we feel very strongly needs to be acknowledged. People often say the Civil War left scars, but it also left a legacy that influences our lives today."

Virginia and Pennsylvania have millions apprpriated for anniversary events, but many other states are in the same boat as Ohio.

The Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission Act, which would have established a national, federally funded committee to organize commemorative events, was introduced to Congress in 2009 and again last March, but was never passed.

Jackie Barton, director of education and outreach for the Ohio Historical Society, said if Ohio had provided funding it would have been used to help individual community activities.

Many areas across the state are planning events but will have to fund them on their own.

"We're providing support by helping to coordinate these and to get the word out, but if we had funding we would be able to give financial support and grants for these programs," Barton said. "Right now, communities are even having to pay us mileage if they want us to come there and we just don't have the staff and cash to be everywhere."

Several entities have helped plug that gap, with the Ohio Community Service Council awarding a grant to fund AmeriCorps volunteers to help communities plan events. American Electric Power has also given a grant and the Ohio Humanities Council is funding a traveling Civil War exhibit.

There is a special exhibit planned in Marietta, but it will take all of 2011 to raise funds and get it to the Campus Martius Museum, said museum historian Bill Reynolds.

The kickoff to the 150th anniversary is officially in April, since that's when the war's first shots were fired upon Fort Sumter in South Carolina in 1861, but celebrations are going on throughout 2011 and beyond.

It will be 2012 when an extensive Civil War anniversary exhibit, borrowed from a private collection in Dayton, opens in Marietta, but it will remain on display for at least three years, said Reynolds.

"It's the largest collection of local Civil War items I know of, and most, if not all of it, has never been seen by the public," he said.

The exhibit consists of several hundred pieces, including photos and personal objects that belonged to Civil War soldiers.

"The focus of the exhibit is going to be non-political, with a focus on the individuals," Reynolds said. "We had many local soldiers killed in the war, and this will include some of the community reaction at the time as well. Everybody here was on the edge of their seats, living in fear, for four years."

The museum currently displays only a small section of Civil War memorabilia.

Many Ohio towns, and the state as a whole, have more direct links to the war than most people realize, said Barton.

"Ohio sent as many soldiers off to war per capita as any other state ... the vast majority of communities saw men go off to war and women were left here running the crops and businesses," she said.

More than 50 Washington County-area soldiers died in Tennessee's Battle of Shiloh alone.

Some of the best-known people of that era had Ohio ties, including Gen. George Custer, who grew up in Ohio, and Harriett Beecher Stowe, who based her famous writings on her time in the state. Don Carlos Buell, the longtime highest-ranking officer of the western Army, was born in Lowell.

There were other ties as well, from the local Underground Railroad participation to Buckeye Furnace, the southeastern Ohio company that made most of the iron used in the war.

Anniversary events will begin in Ohio on April 10 at the Statehouse in Columbus, but there will be lasting projects that go beyond events as well, said Schuette.

That includes an AmeriCorps effort to digitize documents and preserve collections from that era for Ohio Memory, an online database.

"That's something that may not have been done in commemorations before," said Schuette. "It's not flashy, but in the end it's going to help historians and help save history."

Another long-term project is the marking of the 560-mile Morgan's Raid Heritage Trail through southern Ohio, including Meigs County. The trail marks the path Confederate soldiers made in 1863 when they came from Tennessee to cross enemy lines into Indiana and Ohio.

The raid, during which Confederate soldiers destroyed bridges, railroads and government stores, struck fear into Ohioans and led to the only Civil War military action in Ohio: The Battle of Buffington Island, where 750 of Confederate commander John Hunt Morgan's men were captured. The rest surrendered in northern Ohio.

Informational panels will be added to the trail, telling the story, by 2013.

Though there was little fighting in Ohio during the war, the upcoming milestone is a way to show how much impact there was, said Barton.

"We're also hoping this anniversary will help define Civil War history in a much broader way," she said. "Not just by the battles and military action but by the consequences. When you talk about democracy, freedom, race relations ... you're really looking at the Civil War being a pivotal point in American history."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Looking for assistance in Marysville

July 4th weekend, the Union County Historical Society is looking for reenactors to help kick off Civil War 150th Anniversary activities in Marrysville, Ohio, with a living history display in 2011. They also are looking for a unit to help lead the Marysville 4th of July Parade.

If any unit or reenactors are interested, please contact Lt Col Chris Smith from 2d Battalion at He will put you in touch with the museum director.

Monday, December 06, 2010

No Gettysburg Casino Interview with Ken Burns

Debate on controversial Gettysburg casino goes national

Yahoo News

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will soon decide whether to greenlight a controversial casino project a half mile from Gettysburg National Military Park. Ahead of the decision, leaders of the local grassroots opposition to the project have roped in some big-name history buffs to star in videos that argue the casino will be a blight on the memory of the Civil War soldiers who died there in 1863.

"Placing a casino proximate to this battlefield is profane," documentary filmmaker Ken Burns says in one of the videos against the project, below. "It would be just a horrible thing to in any way detract from the experience of Gettysburg."

President Dwight Eisenhower's granddaughter, Susan Eisenhower, Pulitzer-Prize winning biographer David McCullough, and Medal of Honor recipient Paul Bucha also appeared in video interviews laying out the reasons they oppose the casino. Actor Sam Waterston urges residents "not to sell out" in an ad that appeared on local TV stations, and ads on bus stations around the Pennsylvania state capitol carried messages like "They died here to build a country, not a casino." An anonymous donation to the Civil War Preservation Trust and volunteer work have helped pay for the videos and ads, according to No Casino Gettysburg spokesman Jeff Griffith.

Casino developer and motorcycle dealer David LeVan argues the project will create jobs and will go up on a site that is already developed, The Eisenhower Hotel. "I'm happy to report the vast majority of Adams County residents stand shoulder to shoulder with us in this effort," LeVan said at the latest hearing, based on polls he commissioned, according to The Gettysburg Times. Opponents argued his polling question did not mention the distance of the casino from the park, the main point of dispute.

The head of the No Casino Gettysburg group Susan Paddock tells The Lookout she is worried the casino will not attract many new tourists to the town and will "turn off" the heritage tourists Gettysburg attracts now. If the casino were moved farther from the site, most of her fears would disappear, she says.

"I would personally like to see a buffer zone around the national military park," she said. "If this casino had been proposed 10 miles away probably two-thirds of the opposition would disappear."

One local paper, the Harrisburg Patriot News, editorialized in favor of the casino this weekend, dismissing concerns that the gaming operation will change the character of Gettysburg. The Philadelphia Enquirer and the York Daily Record have taken stands against the project, while the Hanover Evening Sun declined to endorse either side in the argument, according to a round-up by the No Casino Gettysburg group.

"The plan is not to construct a casino on the battlefield but at the existing Eisenhower Hotel and Convention Center," the Patriot-News argued. "It is about two miles from the main entrance of the battlefield to the main entrance of the Eisenhower. Visitors on the battlefield likely won't even see it."

LeVan proposed a casino a bit farther away from Gettysburg national park in 2005. But that project was shelved, due in part to the activism of local residents such as Paddock, a social worker who is again leading the charge against the casino. Griffith from the No Casino groups notes that the economy has worsened since 2006, so they are facing a more difficult battle this time around. A local pro-casino group outnumbered the opposition at a recent gaming board hearing.

In response, Griffith and Paddock have sought to make the opposition more national this time, bringing in Burns and other public figures to argue the park is hallowed national ground. The Civil War Preservation Trust has collected more than 30,000 signatures opposing the project, and commissioned a report that concluded the casino would not be good for the local economy based on the experience of Vicksburg, Mississippi, another town adjoining a famous Civil War battlefield.

LeVan disagrees, and his group released a report claiming the casino would create more than a thousand jobs and boost local businesses. The Gaming board makes it decision Dec. 16.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

The Reenacting Channel

Lt Col Smith from our 2d Battalion has put together a YouTube channel just for video clips from reenactors, their family and friends. This includes clips from all living history time periods. We want to feature videos taken at the events where the Division and units participate.

To watch the videos, go to To submit your videos, email a link to your YouTube upload to

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Web Resources for 150th Manassas

To help stay up to date on details and planning for the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Manassas / Bull Run, here are a few links to bookmark.

Manassas Visitor's Center

Reneactment General Information

Info for reenactors

150th Manassas Facebook Page

Thursday, November 25, 2010

150th Manassas Registration

As part of the First Volunteer Brigade/First Federal Division, members of Birney's are coordinating with this organization as part of the military structure at Manassas. Please read this IMPORTANT information below.

Good day Gentlemen,

I hope this message finds you and your companies well. For those of you who could make it, thank you for making this past Remembrance Day a great one! I will have notes on the Brigade meeting completed and sent to our website soon.

Looking ahead to our schedule. The 150th Manassas event was discussed at the Brigade meeting and it was decided to make this one of our Brigade events for the year.

The event is being held July 23 and 24, 2011 on the Pageland Farm. From what we are hearing registration could be a problem if you wait too long to register.

No walk-ons will be allowed at this event.

The website states they will take registration until a sell out. If your company is going, please register as early as possible - in December or as early in January if you can.

Please also note, the registration is not considered complete until the event received and cashes your check.

When registering for USA Military Affiliation - use the check box for FIRST FEDERAL DIVISION.

Below is the link to the 150th reenactment of the first battle at Manassas.

I will send any other information as it becomes available.

Thank you all. A very happy Thanksgiving to the FVB.

Your obedient servant,
Doug Snyder
Brigade Clerk

Monday, November 22, 2010

Birney's Division 2011 Schedule of Events

For all of you who didn't make it to Gettysburg this past weekend for Remembrance Day, you probably missed the best weather this event has ever seen. The temperature was comfortable, sky was clear, and the sun made the colors on the battlefield all that more vivid.

The Annual Birney's Division Meeting was held Friday evening on the East side of town. General Baldwin visited with us and gave us the run-down on a special series of events to kick off the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War all during the month of April, 2011. This will conclude with a special event at Gettysburg with camps, activities and skirmishes on part of the actual battlefield.

The rest of the schedule was discussed and several new units were welcomed to the family.

Saturday morning started with our traditional Masonic ceremony at the Friend to a Friend monument near the National Cemetery. Thank you to Brother Captain Bill Andrews for organizing this.

Later in the day was the Gettysburg Remembrance Day parade ending on Cemetery Ridge. Thank you to all of the organization's members who turned out. Excellent job.

From there it was shopping and exploring the battlefield. Capt Van Meter lead a walk across Pickett's Charge so our folks could understand what the southern troops had to go through to reach the Union lines. I encourage all of you who have not done so, to take the time and make the walk at your next visit.

For your correspondent most exploration would be done on Sunday due to a sore foot encountered the day before. As luck would have it, I ran into Mike and Frank from History Channel's "American Pickers" on the streets of Gettysburg. Friendly guys. They are going to have an upcoming program on Civil War memorabilia.

I highly recommend that you try and get to Remembrance Day next November. For those of you who have never been, it is a great way to wrap up the season.

For a complete list of Birney's Division 2011 events, go to and visit the EVENTS SCHEDULE page.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Your Servant,

Christopher Smith, Lt. Col
2d Battalion

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Canton Museum of Art plans collaborative Civil War exhibition in Ohio

By Gary Brown staff writer

Think of the Civil War as a form of art.

A war that brought death and discord to a country a century and a half ago could — on its 150th anniversary — breathe life into the Canton-area arts community and foster a spirit of collaboration among those who dwell in it.

At the center of the local celebration of the sesquicentennial of the start of the “War Between the States” in 2011 will be the exhibition “A Nation Divided.” The exhibition at Canton Museum of Art will be part of a broader-based collaboration of several Northeast Ohio cultural agencies: Canton Museum of Art, Kent State University Press, Kent State University Museum and Western Reserve Historical Society.

Museum of Art Executive Director M.J. Albacete hopes the Civil War exhibition will draw in other Stark County cultural and historical groups.

The Civil War themed collaboration was born when Will Underwood of Kent State University Press approached Albacete about putting together an exhibition in conjunction with a collection of Civil War photographs and other graphic materials that KSU Press is publishing with Western Reserve Historical Society.

Read the rest of the story:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Masonic Service at Gettysburg Remembrance Day

To all of our Masonic friends:

We are holding the annual Masonic service at the Masonic Friend to a Friend Monument on Saturday in Gettysburg during Remembrance Day weekend. The official start time at the Monument off of Steinware Avenue is 10:30 am. The service is open to the public. All Masons and non Masons are welcome. Hope to see you all there.

Edward Kelley, Commanding
Birney’s Division
First Federal Division, Army of the Potomac

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Birney's Division Annual Meeting

November is here already and the Division will hold it's annual planning meeting in Gettysburg, Remembrance Day weekend on November 19th, 7:30 pm, at Hoss's Steak House (1140 York Road, Gettysburg, PA - Click HERE for a map).

We will be discussing events for 2011 which will be the first year in the Civil War 150th commemorations across the US.

DON'T FORGET, the Division will be marching in the Remembrance Day Parade Saturday through the streets of Gettysburg. We encourage all members and units to attend. We will be forming behind the high school starting around 11 am.

Members of the Division will also hold a Masonic presentation at the "Friend to a Friend" monument near the cemetery at 10 am Saturday morning.

Monday, September 13, 2010

First Call! Cold Harbor

The next major Birney's Division Civil War reenactment will be Cold Harbor, held on October 2-3, 2010 in Perryopolis, PA. This event is held on a wonderful piece of ground and features period buildings, trenches and breast works. One of the highlights is the motion-picture scale pyrotechnics.

All Federal units who plan to attend should relay the following to the specified personnel.

1. Name of unit attending.
2. Number of military personnel.
3. Will you have an officer or NCO in charge?

Units within, or participating with, these battalions should email the requested information to:

1st Battalion: Lt Col Rohrbaugh -
2d Battalion: Lt Col Smith -

Artillery and Cavalry units should send information to Capt Murphy -

More information on the reenactment can be found on the Events page at

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Ft. Sumter garrison event 2011

I have been contacted by Mike Doyle of FVB/1st Federal Division concerning the Fort Sumter garrison in Charleston, SC next April to kick-off the 150th ACW Anniversaries. Mike is one of the national coordinators for this event.

Lord willing, I am signed up as duty Bugler for this event and plan to attend with 3rd DV Field Music.

There will be a very limited command structure there, with highest rank for Company H being probably a First Lt. which will be filled by Mike Doyle and/or General Baldwin's Staff. I however, would still be on site as an advocate for Birney's interests.

We currently have about 24 signed up for this and the goal is 50. When the 50 goal is reached any remaining interested parties will be put on a back-up roster to fill in for anyone that is unable to attend. There will be two companies, Co. H and E as historically to total 100 men as it was in 1861 with Colonel Anderson.

I have included the correspondence from Mike explaining the details and the link for the uniform and equipment requirements, which I think are very liberal for this event...the goal should to meet the highest standards they have listed for this type of immersion event...IMHO

We will be guests of the NPS and they will be handling boat transport to and from Sumter as well as providing the rations.

Let me know if you are interested so I can keep a tally of Birney's personnel and contact Mike as well so no one is missed, but do so without delay. After Birney's has a shot at attending, it will be opened up to the other orgs... USV, National Regiment... etc...

Any questions, contact me.

Best regards,
D. Rohrbaugh, Lieut. Col.
1st Battalion Birney's Division

(this was sent to FVB 1st)


This is my first email contact with you as a group. It is a partial list of those who want to attend and I will be adding names as I get their email addresses.

Registration will be opening up very soon for Fort Sumter and I want us to be the first to get on the list.

Once the 50 man total for company H has be achieved the registration will be closed.

We will be occupying the fort from Sunday, April 10th until Thursday, April 14th.

Please get the word out to everyone who you think or know may be interested in attending this unique event with us. Please have them email me at this email address or call me at 410-549-6125. Time is of the essence!

I've attached the website of U.S. Regs. and standards for you to review.

After we have all registered, there will be a meeting scheduled to answer any questions and share information with the group. We will plan to have work shops to get our uniforms and accoutrements together and to help others who are interested in making their own items.

For those of us who can't attend the meetings or workshops, detailed notes will be taken and emailed out to you.

This is a once in a life time event and it kicks off the 150th commemorations of the Civil War across our nation. I can't think of a more honorable and exciting way to participate in the 150th's then to be a part of this very unique event.

Thank you,
Mike Doyle

Expanded features on the Division News page

A few months ago, our organization launched a new website that would be able to keep up with changing information. Today, we have expanded a few of the services on the Division News page to include the following:

- Easier to read posts.
- A search box that will allow you to find information faster.
- A data polling box which will enable members to respond to various questions.
- The ability to a Division News to your RSS reader.

We look forward to your feedback and hope to continue to add more functions in the future.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Faces of Birney's Division

We got lucky this year and had a number of excellent professional photographers show up at Hale Farm. Here is a series of pics that features a lot of familiar faces from our organization.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Photos from Hale Farm

The following link is a great set of photos from Rodney Johnson taken at Hale Farm this past weekend. Enjoy!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Birney’s Division - After Action Report – Hale Farm, 2010

This year was a big change for the event at Hale Farm and Village. Everything from the organizational structure to the camps and the battle scenarios themselves. For many months the staffs from the Army of the Ohio and the 2d Battalion of Birney’s Division, along with Medich’s Battalion on the Confederate side, have been working together with the HFV team to develop a whole new approach to the event.

The first major change was moving the Federal camps into the village. I have been putting that idea on the table for years. Filling the green up with military streets is something you have not seen at Hale in 12 years. It is an impressive site. I hope it worked out well for everyone and I would very much like to hear your feedback. We didn’t get any complaints as people came in. They seemed to be pretty happy with where they ended up. Before you send in the one gripe I am expecting, we know wood was an issue. HFV will continue to work on that. However, I did receive photos this morning of a great number of left over piles of wood in the camps. With that I wonder why we keep hearing of a shortage.

The other big change was to the battle scenarios. The over-all Federal Commander Col Bob Minton from the Army of the Ohio is quite a visionary when it comes to looking at a piece of ground and developing a unique combat scenario. Contributing to this was the addition of Confederate Cavalry. With 30 mounted riders and 150 Reb infantry, against just shy of 200 Federal rifles, plus artillery on both sides, this was the biggest and most even “dust up” at the sleepy little home of Jonathan Hale in quite a number of years.


The morning started off indicating things to come. Steamy and hot. Though the majority of the Federal Army didn’t know it, the Confederate forces would start this engagement by bringing the fight right into our camps in the village. Thank you so much to everyone who stood a guard post and especially the 5th Ohio Sharp Shooters and 83rd PA for their key roll in identifying the enemy as they approached.

Consisting of cavalry and infantry, the boys from the South hit the camps like a sledge hammer. 2d Battalion quickly got tangled with Rebs from two sides but we pushed them out of the back end of town as the 1st Battalion engaged to push them back through the middle. Once 2d Battalion moved Col Medich and his boys across the fence and into the North Pasture, we held up on the road waiting for the signal to move forward and cross the fence ourselves. This signal was in the form of Col Perry’s men being pushed out of town and across the fence about 100 yards further down the road by the 1st Battalion.

Let me take this moment to talk a little about scripted scenarios. I know there are many times when people in the ranks say or think, “Why aren’t we doing this?” or “Why are we doing it THIS way?” Though some things may seem odd at times, just remember I am guiding us through a scripted combat presentation that includes visual cues of when certain things are to happen. If the timing gets out of sync, you may have to idle until it realigns. It is just like a script for a movie or TV show. Everyone wants to see Rudolph fly, but you can’t until they sing the song about the Island of Misfit Toys (See… I bet you never thought you would read a reference to “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” in an After Action Report, but there it is. Now you can tell your grandchildren about it).

Just at the moment things were getting back on track, someone went down with the heat. Saturday was in the mid-90s and the heat index was 109. That is a danger zone. With having already fought for a half hour in the village, and a lag time in the arrival of ice in the lines, people where overheating. The original plan was for the battle to explode out of the village and to see soldiers from both sides streaming over the fences as the fight moved into the pasture and in front of the spectators. Once we stood down while the ambulance attending to the person in need, it really let the wind out of our sails.

Though I think everyone would have been happy as clams if the battle had concluded with just the fight in the village, we had an obligation to the paying public to conduct the portion of the battle meant for them. I appreciate that some units had to retire. I also appreciate those who continued the fight once we got into the pasture. I will never ask you to do more than you are willing to do. One of my primary jobs at a Battalion Commander is to be concerned with your safety and to make sure you go home Sunday night in one piece.

The battle in the North Pasture seemed like it would be a simple task compared to the village but with Confederate cavalry swarming everywhere, we still had a way to go. 2d Battalion was to push the ANV across the field but the cav had slaughtered the 1st Battalion so Col Medich came after our flank. I wasn’t expecting that but he went after a target of opportunity as he should have. However, once we became entangled, I said F it (literally). I don’t want anyone in hand to hand and though we were supposed to win the day, I couldn’t see a way to stay on scenario as we were pined on all sides. The Colonel and I had a brief pow wow and he suggested that I leave someone guarding them and they would escape. Poor Sgt Maj Donahue got rifle-butted and Col Medich and his men pulled away to come at us again along with the cav, with Col Perry and the ANV still at our front. This must have been at this point where I dozed off, because when I woke up, we had “won”. How that happened, I have no idea! General Kelly and Gen Maffei from the Division were also on the field to support the boys from the Battalion. Maybe they saw something I missed, like… a Sherman tank that came to our aid!


After a good rain shower Saturday evening, the cooler temperatures on Sunday where welcomed. As is tradition, many reenactors began packing up the things they would not need in preparation for departure later that afternoon. There was also a lot of free time during the bulk of Sunday for church, sutlering, getting a wet plate photo taken, etc.

As we did at the Zoar event last year, Birney’s and Army of the Ohio held a Brigade Dress Parade.

From there we went to our staging area for the battle which took place in the North Pasture which would hold a number of surprises. The key to this battle was keeping the crowd looking over us from behind while we engaged the Confederates in the wooded heights. Eventually the Rebs would push us closer and closer to the spectators so they could feel as if they were in the fight right behind the main lines.

Though we “lost” on Sunday, the action made up for the unexpected stutter in the fight on Saturday. Many of you came off the field and said, “THAT was a hell of a fight!!”

As we say in the film and video business, it’s in the can. Another Hale Farm has come and gone with smiles all around and thoughts about next year already.

Just from my perspective, I have a number of people that I want to thank…

Col Minton for his planning and leadership, and the Army of the Ohio staff especially Col Rusche and Lt Buker. Good friends and good times.

To the Birney’s folks, Maj Gen Kelly and Brig Gen Maffei for coming over and seeing how we have fun in Ohio. Capt Penix and Lt Strichko for their EXEMPLARY work as adjutators. Maj Van Meter and again Capt Penix for operating the Battalion Wings. And Sgt Maj Donahue for coming over to lend his “find a way to get it done” talents and voice!

All of the soldiers and officers who busted their hump in the Battalion and made my job look easy (even if I don’t call for a right face before marching out sometimes).

Our "foes" Col Medich and Col Perry.

To Pam, Patty, Joy, Kristy and Jen for helping keeping Bob, Dave, the junior staff and I watered and fed along with their own Company.

Certainly not last, Kelly and Beth from HFV who, especially in the last month, tied this thing up with a nice little bow and made the event happen.

With the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War beginning next year, large regional events such as Hale Farm and Zoar are going to be as key to bringing history home to our neighbors and friends as national events such as Manassas and Gettysburg.

Respectfully Submitted:

Christopher L. Smith, Lt Col
Commanding 2d Battalion
Birney’s Division

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Hale Farm - First Call!!

The first Birney's Division max effort event in Ohio is almost upon us. The 2010 Civil War reenactment at Hale Farm and Village will be August 13-15, 2010. As of today, there are over 600 reenactors registered.

At this time, I am asking for the following information from the units participating...

1. Unit name
2. Email contact
3. Number of military personnel
4. Number and type of tents
5. Are you already planning to merge with another company?

Please email this information as soon as possible to

For directions to Hale Farm, visit their web site at

Thank you so much and I look forward to seeing all of you there!

Your servant,
Lt Col Christopher Smith
Commanding, 2d Battalion

Friday, July 23, 2010

Upcoming Birney's Max-Effort Event

This is just a reminder to get your registrations turned in for Hale Farm, August 14-15 in Bath, OH. At our annual meeting last year, the Division chose this as a max-effort event. Things are looking good but we need to get the registrations turned in (especially from the units is PA). We want to have a 100 plus man battalion on that field. If there any cav and artillery units who wish to come, please contact me as soon as possible prior to registration.

The Federal Army will be made up of units from The Army of the Ohio, USVs, Vincent's Brigade and Birney's of course. The Confederates will consist of Medich's Battalion and the ANV.

For those of you in the Ohio who have not had the change to meet our commanding general and chief of Staff, both Maj Gen Kelley and Brig Gen Maffei will be there.

There will be a large engagement on Saturday and Sunday for the public that will introduce several new elements to what we have done before, and the much anticipated tactical has returned to the event just for the reenactors.

This will be the largest Hale Farm in years and for those who have never been to the facility, you are in for a treat. There is so much to see and do at this historical village and farm. Plus, the event holds what is considered the best Saturday night dance at any reenactment in the region.

CLICK HERE for registration information:

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Lt Col Smith at

Monday, July 19, 2010

AAR: Funkstown

Greetings everyone,

The event at Funkstown this past weekend went very well. We had about 240 reenactors registered for the event up from 64 last year...the first year the town council took over the event.

A more reenactor friendly event you will not find as the participants from 1st Battalion and Artillery will attest to. Plenty of good wood, 5 gal bottled water and close at hand sinks...but, beyond that... The 97 PA string band was there all weekend, meal tokens issued for a Saturday meal of your choice at Fire Company stand (which served food at reasonable cost all weekend)and a Saturday evening fireworks display that was on par with any fourth of July display you will see. The cars were parked off site, out of view (but reasonably close) and they ran shuttles to parking when needed. Ice, on site 10 lb bags for a buck and a half...camping in shaded corpse of trees and everything very handy.

We foraged the town on Saturday morning and not only gathered a decent amount but were guests of the Hoffman family of Funkstown who provided a spread fit for a king. Country ham, pulled pork, fresh made lemonaide, all kinds of pies...etc....etc... After, foraging we did a morning street battle down Main street in Funkstown...was pretty decent. A well attended late afternoon early evening battle on the orginal battlefield (right next to camp) capped the day. Fireworks end kicked off the barn dance , music by the 97th Pa string band. Sunday morning, the fire company had a "all you can eat" breakfast $6 or use your meal token. Sunday also brought a 1 pm tatical that also went pretty well, done early and home in time to rest up.

It became very apparent that the whole town is supporting this many folks (including Mayor and Council members)coming by and expressing thanks to the reenactors for being there. Always checking to see what was needed or wanted.The fire company also had an on site AC aid station and did blood pressure checks, hydration assesments and so forth...or was just a place to get cooled down quickly if needed.

A full but not hurried schedule for the weekend provided a relaxing and interesting event.

I appreciate the support of the Birney's units in attendance!

I think they would agree this little event is a real "gem"!

I remain, respectfully & c.....,

D. Rohrbaugh, Lieut. Col.
1st Battalion Birney's Division

First Call: Argus Park

This weekend will be the bi-annual Civil War reenactment at Argus Masonic Park in Canfield, Ohio. At this time I would like to as for the following information from any Federal units attending...

1. Name of unit and affiliation if any.
2. Number of military personnel attending.
3. Will your unit have an officer/nco in charge?

Please email this information to the Federal Commander Lt Col Christopher Smith at

When you arrive on site PLEASE see Maj Don Van Meter before you set up.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Help a fellow reenactor - used reenacting goods now listed

As I mentioned last week, I am helping a fellow reenactor and Freemason who has fallen ill. He is also a 30 year veteran of the US Army.

There is a wide variety of items for Rev War, F&I, Civil War and WWII reenactors. More will be going up next week. Especially the Rev and F&I goods. There will also be some weapons going up in the next few days.

Please visit and click on the link for USED REENACTING ITEMS.

Thank you!

Christopher Smith
Commanding, Birney's 2d Battalion

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

AAR: 147th Gettysburg

To: HDQTRS 1st Battalion, Birney’s, 1st Federal Division


The following report is from 2nd Company, 1st Battalion, on the actions around and in the vicinity of Gettysburg, Penn.

Lead elements of the Battalion were already at a camp location about 5 miles outside of town when 2nd Company arrived. My company consisted of men who were transferred to my command when the campaign started. Troops of the 54th PVI, 142nd PVI, 11th PVI, and 5th Ohio Sharpshooters were combined under the command of myself, 1LT Guilliams, and 1LT Hicks. We arrived at the camp around 3 o’clock in the afternoon and began setting up company headquarters.

July 2nd : Our battalion along with elements of the 1st Federal Division and 2nd Division were engaged on the outskirts of town. 1LT Guilliams was in command of the company as CPT Murphy was assigned to be the Battalion Adjutant. 1LT Hicks was placed on sick call for the day and did not participate. After a brief encounter with two rebel regiments, we were forced to withdrawal. Casualties in my company were light with none killed and 2 wounded. Pickets were posted for the evening and the men bedding down for the night.

July 3rd : The battalion again was formed for action. We deployed with the brigade at a wheat field with a stone wall and spilt rail fence accompanied by a battery of artillery. After a stubborn defense at the wall, overwhelming numbers forced us to retire to the fence for another stand. After bloodying the rebels they were forced to halt their advance. The volume of fire from the battalion proved to be too much. I must say the fire from my men was outstanding. We held our position until darkness and then retired from the field back to our camp. Casualties for the company were 2 dead and 4 wounded.

July 4th: The Battalion was ordered to the center of the divisions line along a stone wall as a defensive rest. At around 3 o’clock the rebel artillery began to barrage our position with little effect, as the rounds were impacting behind the lines. After the barrage ceased, two North Carolina regiments advanced to our front. As they reached the Emmitsburg Road the brigade opened fire with a devastating effect. The closest the rebels got to the wall was about 15 feet. As the enemy withdrew a chant of “Fredericksburg” could be heard and soon was taken up by the men of our brigade. Most of them veterans of the attack on Fredericksburg.

The next morning our company was ordered to break camp to start with the pursue of the remnants of the Army of Northern Virginia. Scattered musket fire and artillery could be heard at the lead of the column but the company was not engaged.

All told our total casualties of the campaign were 2 dead and 6 wounded. This report is the best of my memory of the proceeding.

I remain sir, your most obedient servant,

M. Murphy, Captain
2nd Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1st Federal Division

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Information on Perryopolis in October

A Birney's Division event, this is a great way to end the reenacting season at a location built specifically for Civil War reenactors.

Located in southwest Pennsylvania, features include five period buildings including headquarters, barracks for the troops, and quartermaster's store. The full-scale trenches and breast works, along with motion picture level pyrotechnics, help complete the Cold Harbor scenario.

For registration and contact information, click here. You can also visit the event Facebook page.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Old Bedford Village update

Just a reminder that the Birney's Division event at OBV will be held on June 19-20 in Bedford, PA. If you have never been to Old Bedford Village, you are missing one of the best events in Pennsylvania!

Registration is still being taken and you can get information on the website at General Kelley will be on site Friday morning to assist you as you enter the venue. There will be several new battle scenarios that promise to keep things hopping!

IMPORTANT: Due to one of the planned scenarios, NO ONE is to set up camp in the TOWN SQUARE. There are plenty of prime spots so please do not set up in the town square in front of the main barn.

At this time, we would like to get some initial numbers. Units, please report if you are coming and how many military personnel will attend.

If you are in 1st Battalion, please send your information to Lt Col Rohrbaugh at

If you are in 2d Battalion, please send your information to Lt Col Smith at

Cavalry, artillery, and other organizations who receive this message should report their numbers to the Brigade Adjutant, Capt Murphy at

We very much thank you for your support. It is this event that keep the gates of OBV open to the public and reenactors alike.

First Call: East Harbor

This weekend will be the 2d Battalion event in Marblehead, Ohio at the 7th Annual East Harbor Civil War Weekend.

Last year we had a great time and there are even more goodies in store this weekend. The event is going to feature the CSS Hunley traveling exposition (which includes a full scale replica of the Confederate submarine), and a Saturday night concert by legendary Civil War musician Bobby Horton.

This year we will also feature a field tactical allowing junior officers to conduct operations against a large force.

At this time, I would like to get a head count of units and number of personnel attending (this includes those units in other organizations that will be participating with the Battalion). Please forward the following information as soon as possible:

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

Please send this information to:

For more information and directions to the event, go to

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Call for Volunteers for Old Bedford Village Event

To All Commanders, Military, and Civilians:

Please forward this to those planning to attend the June 18-20, 2010, event at Old Bedford Village.

If you would be interested in the opportunity to hold a brief talk (30-45 minute) with a civilian-related topic, a demonstration, or an activity (such as a rounder's game, etc.) please contact me as soon as possible. Roger Kirwin, executive director of Old Bedford Village, has asked me to organize a program of civilian talks and activities for this year's event. I hope to begin finalizing the civilian schedule by June 2.

A welcome meeting will be held in the church on Friday evening which will review the activities planned for the weekend and other potential opportunities to be involved with the public (such as a looting scenario or portrayal of a refugee). So, please plan to attend if you are able. We plan to include a dance, kids' battle, ladies tea, church service, and swap meet among the weekend's activities.

Donations of cookies would be welcomed for the Saturday afternoon's ladies tea.

Thank you for your consideration. I'll look forward to hearing from those who might be interested in the opportunities at Old Bedford Village and hope to see everyone at the event.

Best Regards,

Brenda Geary-Bucek
Civilian Coordinator for the
2010 Old Bedford Village event

Friday, May 21, 2010

East Harbor registration closing soon!

The registration for the reenactment at East Harbor State Park in Ohio will be closing in 1o days. Please make sure you get yours sent in as soon as possible. We want to see a good turn out from Birney's Division!

Here is the website for registration and other info:

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Hale Farm Update #1

For the first time in many years at the Hale Farm event, the Federal Army will be camped in the town and the civilian camps around and among the buildings. It will be an impressive site to see all of the company streets in the town green. We will also use the wooded areas around the town for the campaigners.

Another exciting addition this year will be the use of cavalry. The event has never used cav on horse back and this will be a welcomed feature.

One of the things we are trying to get back to with this event are the basic experiences of the Civil War that so many of us joined the hobby for in the first place. In other words, bring plenty of power!

Stay tuned for more...

Monday, April 05, 2010

Division max-effort in Ohio

The Civil War Reenactment season is upon us once again. Please mark your calendars for Hale
Farm & Village's Civil War Reenactment, August 14 & 15, 2010. This year, Hale Farm & Village is excited to grow this spectacular event.

This is a maximum-effort event for both Birney's Division and Army of the Ohio on the Federal side, and Medich's Battalion on the Confederate side. This promises to be one of the largest Civil War events ever held at Hale Farm.

As in years past, Civil War reenactors will enjoy the usual amenities, including battles in the North Pasture on Saturday and Sunday, a complimentary supper on Saturday night provided by Hale Farm & Village, and the Civil War Ball.

As we approach the sesquicentennial of the Civil War in 2011, Hale Farm & Village and the
Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS) are pleased to add new opportunities for reenactors and visitors to rediscover the many ways in which Ohioans played a key role in the war. This year, Hale Farm & Village presents a new public program on August 14, Dinner with Abraham Lincoln, a meal of historic portions presented by the museum's Historic Foodways department in the Gatehouse Visitor Center as well as a Civil War-Era Wedding. Civil War Reenactors who participate in the encampment will receive a significant discount on this spectacular new event (see the registration materials at

Additionally, Hale Farm & Village's event management team, Kelly Falcone-Hall (VP, Hale Farm), Becky Carlino (Director of Community Engagement, WRHS, and Event Manager) and Beth Pamula (Operations Manager and Civil War Reenactor) are pleased to announce a new Civil War Roundtable comprised of reenactors, units, divisions, and staff who will meet throughout the year to discuss opportunities to mark the 150th anniversary and discuss ways to improve this annual event.

If you'd like to get involved, please contact Becky Carlino ( for more information.

Finally, the WRHS, Hale Farm & Village are honored to be part of a statewide commission to
celebrate the Civil War sesquicentennial, the "Civil War 150." See for more information.

We look forward to your participation in the Civil War Reenactment at Hale Farm and Village.
Registration for the event must be returned by July 30, 2010.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Division drill and tactical

This is just a reminder about the Birney's Division School of the Battalion and tactical in Perryopolis, PA on April 24-25. If your unit still needs to register, email Mike Murphy at and check out the Facebook Event Page at!/event.php?eid=179758132935

I want to stress that we hold our annual drill weekend not just to wear more leather off of the bottom of everyone's shoes. It is important that we blend our various units together to work as battalions so we are better able to perform in a cohesive and SAFE manner when on the field. TRAIN LIKE YOU FIGHT AND FIGHT LIKE YOU TRAIN!

I know none of us like to march and drill for hours on end, but safety in our hobby may dictate some day that if you don't show up for a drill weekend or at drill during an event, you won't be permitted to take the field. It is getting that serious folks.

In case you missed the info on the event, here it is again. Looking forward to seeing you all there.

Chris Smith
2d Battalion

We will kick off the 2010 season with a Division event at Perryopolis the last weekend in April. This will be a no-cost event.

As in past years we are offering training for our members with a twist. This school will be on battle tactics and maneuvers and will focus on the practical application of this material. We encourage your whole unit to attend. THIS IS NOT AN OFFICER/NCO SCHOOL. It is for all reenactors.

We plan to run the schooling from morning to afternoon. After discussions and dinner, we will engage in a tactical so the participants can apply what was learned earlier. The Department of Northern Virginia will be there in force along with other Confederate units creating a target friendly environment for both sides. We will then resume with another tactical on Sunday morning early enough so everyone will be on the road before or around noon.

We encourage you all to attend and bring as many of your folks as you can to join in the fun and education.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Don VanMeter receives award

On February 13, 2010 Argus Lodge #545 F. &A.M. in Canfield honored Brother Donald Van Meter, one of it's longtime members with The E. Tom Brown Award.

The E. Tom Brown Memorial Award was established to honor those who have given Service Above Self to the principles of Freemasonry and have been an Ambassador of Argus Lodge.

Brother Van Meter has coached and educated many of Argus' new members.Brother Van Meter lives in North Jackson and is a 32 Degree Mason of The Scottish Rite. He is also a member of the 105th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment Civil War Reenactment Unit in which he is a Captain and Commander. He graduated from South High school in Youngstown, Ohio in 1959, retired from Republic Steel in 1982 and served as a 2nd Class Radar technician in the US Navy from 1961-1965.

Argus Lodge is part of the 24th Masonic District, which is composed of twenty-six Lodges in four Ohio counties, with roughly six thousand five hundred members.