Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ohio Civil War Reenactor Leadership Conference

October 27, 2012
10 am to 5 pm
Ohio Village, Columbus Ohio

I would like to invite members of Birney's Division to the first Ohio Civil War Reenactor Leadership Conference being held this October. Several of us in both the military and civilian reenacting communities have been been discussing ways to bring people together and meet face to face. This conference will not only help bridge the divide we may have in some areas, but also explore ways we can support the key events we have throughout the state.

The conference is open to all Civil War reenactors of any rank and branch (Union, Confederate or civilian), however I highly encourage all of our Battalion company officers attend (even those of you in PA). A registration fee of $10.00 will cover food. Go to http://www.facebook.com/OCWRLC to print the registration form and for more information.

Birney's 2d Battalion needs to have as strong of a presence at this meeting as we do on the field here in Ohio. If you have any questions at all, please email me at clsmith@5thohio.com.

Your Servant,

Christopher L. Smith, Colonel
Birney's Division, 2d Battlion

Monday, August 27, 2012

Scenarios unveiled for the 150th Gettysburg Reenactment

The Gettysburg Anniversary Committee is pleased to announce the 150th Gettysburg historically accurate, scripted battles for the Reenactment to be held July 4th, 5th and 6th, 2013.

Make sure that you check out our new and improved website, http://www.gettysburgreenactment.com for the most up to date information for everything related to the 150th Gettysburg Reenactment.

The entire site has been revamped to make browsing for information ten times easier!

The entire event next year will be focused on presenting phases of the battle from star to finish. Most likely, not all troops will be involved in every action as they will roll one into another. More details to follow but here they are...

The Devil's to Pay - First Day Struggle at Willoughby Run
Thursday, July 4th, 11:00 a.m.

Early in the morning on July 1st, Confederate General Henry Heth moved toward Gettysburg from Cashtown on the Chambersburg Pike in search of supplies. Heth's entire division was mustered for the march when one of his brigades had returned and reported a sizeable force of Union cavalry near Gettysburg. After exchanging a few shots with a Union cavalry picket post near Marsh Creek, Heth believed he might be facing some local militia and a small Union force as he approached Herrs Ridge, Willoughby Run, McPherson's Ridge and Seminary Ridge. This belief was short-lived. Heth discovered the Rebels were facing General Buford's dismounted cavalry who had been sent forward to McPherson's Ridge and to Willoughby Run in order to stall the Confederate advance. Colonel William Gamble's brigade of Buford's division, supported by Lt. John H. Calef's U.S. Battery with their breech loading carbines, did a fine job of delaying the Confederate approach. The Rebels were stalled - but only for a short period. The intense fighting of the First Day was just beginning.

Crossroads of Destiny - The Federal Retreat from Seminary Ridge
Thursday, July 4th, 6:00 p.m.

The outnumbered Union Cavalry of John Buford fought through the morning of the First Day to slow the Confederate advance. They fought mounted and dismounted by forming a line, firing, and then pulling back. One of the first Union Infantry units to reach the field in support was Reynolds 1st Corp which included the Iron Brigade. The 1st Corps initially defeated Heth's infantry and drove them back. After an approximately one hour battle, with heavy losses on both sides, the Confederates managed to push the First Corps back.

By 3:00 p.m., the Confederates were attacking along a broad front extending from the Fairfield Road to Oak Hill and beyond. On the Union right toward Oak Hill and Barlow's Knoll, some units held their ground. Other units retreated and began to run through the streets and alleys of Gettysburg. Actions at Willoughby Run, Herbst Woods, The Railroad Cut, Iverson's Pits, Oak Hill, Barlow's Knoll and the Brickyard would be etched in First Day infamy forever.

"Springing the Trap - Ambush at Hunterstown" (Cavalry Battle)
Friday, July 5th, 11:00 a.m.

It all began with Custer ordering elements of the 6th and 7th Michigan cavalry to dismount and move south on foot beyond and below the ridge, along both sides of the Hunterstown Road east of Gettysburg. These troops, hidden by the wheat fields, inconspicuously moved forward to the Felty Farm where the units' marksmen took cover in the large bank barn on the west side of the road. The Felty's barn was large enough to conceal Lieutenant A.C.M. Pennington's 2nd U.S. Battery. Meanwhile the men of the 7th Michigan formed undetected in the tall wheat east of the Hunterstown Road, to form a cross fire with the 6th Michigan.

A Bloody Harvest - The Wheatfield
Friday, July 5th, 6 p.m.

On the morning of July 2, 1863 the Confederate forces were jubilant. They had driven the enemy from the field and now occupied the town of Gettysburg. General Robert E. Lee decided to remain at Gettysburg to defeat the defending Federal force, now deployed on high ground south and east of town. Deciding on a Napoleonic flanking maneuver against the Union troops, Lee ordered an attack, with General Longstreet's 1st Corps engaging the Federals on Little Round Top, and General Ewell's 2nd Corps hitting the Federals on Cemetery and Culp's Hills as a diversion.

General Longstreet's troops had not arrived yet on the morning of July 2nd, and determinedly traveled surreptitiously in a counter-march to avoid detection. As a result, Dan Sickles, commander of the Union 3rd Corps, ordered his men off the rocky hill and positioned them in fields and knolls in the shadow of the Round Tops. He believed the Confederates would not attack his men on high ground; rather, Lee was probably going to skirt around the Union forces and run toward Washington.

We Have No Time - Stuart Arrives on the Battlefield (Cavalry Tactical)
Saturday, July 6th, 11:00 a.m.

Once the lead division of the Army of Virginia reached Pennsylvania, General Stuart's cavalry had been ordered to hook up with General Ewell and report the position of the Union Army. On June 28, Stuart crossed the Potomac and captured a Union supply train of 140 wagons and then made his way toward Baltimore, and then Carlisle where he burned the Carlisle Barracks. Late in the afternoon of July 2nd, Stuart finally reached the Gettysburg Headquarters of General Lee largely being unaware the battle had begun the day before without him.

Lee had been left blind to the strength and movement of the Federal Army and expressed his displeasure with Stuart. After the battle Stuart received significant criticism from the southern press, but historians have failed to agree whether Stuart did not follow orders or that Lee had issued orders that were far too vague.

Hold The Line - Gallant Rally at the Klingle Farm
Saturday, July 6th, 1:00 p.m

On July 2, Major General Daniel Sickles marched his Third Corp from the base of Little Roundtop, across the Wheatfield, to the D.F. Klingle Farm and the Sherfy Peach Orchard located on the east side of Emmitsburg Road. Sickles made the march against orders and almost caused a Federal disaster in the process. By moving forward from the Federal line, Sickles exposed his corps to enfilading fire during a massive attack from Longstreet's corp.

"Thundering Hell" (East Cemetery and Culp's Hill)
Saturday, July 6th, 6:00 p.m

On July 1st, the outnumbered Federal forces that retreated from the fields west and north of town arrived on Cemetery Hill, the position chosen by Union Eleventh Corps General Oliver O. Howard as the rallying point for the Union army. General George Meade sent Major General Winfield S. Hancock to take command of the Federal forces in Gettysburg until Meade could arrive. General Hancock ordered that the Federal line be extended right to Culp's Hill and left to Cemetery Ridge.

After pursuing the Federal forces through the town of Gettysburg on the afternoon of July 1, Ewell had extended his line from the streets of Gettysburg eastward to Rock Creek at the northeastern base of Culp's Hill. Ewell was ordered by Lee to "press those people and secure the hill." Due to the fact that Rodes and Early's divisions were exhausted from fighting earlier in the day, and Johnson was not expected to arrive until nightfall, Ewell delayed in attacking Cemetery and Culp's Hill. This would prove to be a strategic blunder.

"Come On You Wolverines" (East Calvary Field)
Sunday, July 7th, 11:00 a.m.

Although there were many other significant cavalry actions on the bloody fields of Gettysburg, a large cavalry action three miles east of Gettysburg on July 3rd, is one of the most recognized. Today it is known as East Cavalry Field located just north of the Hanover Road. At approximately 2:30PM Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart and Union General David M. Gregg, for a span of three hours, engaged in a series of charges and counter charges that resulted in one of the most ferocious cavalry battles in the annals of American history.
General Stuart and three brigades of cavalry reached the Gettysburg area on the afternoon of July 2nd, from Carlisle. On July 3rd, Lee sent Stuart with four brigades to guard the Confederate left and to be in position for the attack on Cemetery Ridge - Pickett's Charge. While attempting to skirt the Union right flank Stuart meet two brigades of Union cavalry commanded by Brig. General Gregg three miles east of Gettysburg on the Rummel Farm.

The High Water Mark - Pickett's Charge
Sunday, July 7th, 3:30 p.m

"Pickett's Charge" Just the mention of those two words brings forth a flood of visual and sensory perceptions. Steaming humidity, ripe rye fields, lush green pastures, thundering cannon, suffocating smoke and row upon row of Confederate soldiers advancing across open fields into the face of a Federal inferno on Cemetery Ridge.

At 1:07 precisely - a field piece from the Washington Artillery, posted near the Peach Orchard, opened up the greatest cannonade in the annals of American history. It was a signal for the entire Confederate artillery line to let loose their terrific blast. It was a volcanic eruption for almost two hours with Confederate artillery pounding the Federal position on Cemetery Ridge in an attempt to soften the Federal center for the pending frontal assault. Correspondent Samuel Wilkenson of the New York Times, was at Meade's headquarter and reported, "the Confederate shells burst and screamed as many as six a second and made a very hell of a fire that amazed the older officers - men were cut in two and horses died still fastened by their halters." It is difficult to even comprehend 140 Confederate guns and 100 Federal guns belching fire, smoke, destruction and death.
Very seldom do you have this once in a lifetime opportunity to experience such an artillery barrage and vast number of troops reenacting one of the most famous battles in the history of the world. Your experienced will be enhanced with extensive pyrotechnics and the burning of the Bliss Barn.

Gettysburg Anniversary Committee makes 2012 donations

The Gettysburg Anniversary Committee, organizers of the Annual Gettysburg Civil War Reenactment present checks from this year's reenactment to three local organizations in front of historic Schmucker Hall on the campus of the Gettysburg Lutheran Theological Seminary. 
Next year's 150th Gettysburg Anniversary National Civil War Battle Reenactment will donate a portion of the event proceeds to five local beneficiaries including the renovation of Schmucker Hall into the Gettysburg Seminary Ridge Museum. Other beneficiary's next year will include the Adams County Historical Society,Sgt MAC National Wreath Project, Land Conservancy of Adams County and the Sachs Mill Covered Bridge Improvement Project.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Maryland, My Maryland unit portrayls

The order of battle is coming together for Maryland, My Maryland. Birney's Division will have a battalion of around 70 military personnel. Federal Commander Mike Lavis has outlined what unit Birney's will be representing in each scenario. Where available, I have linked a reference website so you may understand the unit and their action at South Mountain and Antietam.

Saturday, September 8, 1:00 pm - Battle for Fox's Gap (South Mountain)
12th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

Saturday, September 8, 7:45 pm - Frost Town Road (South Mountain)
4th Pennsylvania Reserves
This battle will be going on at the same time as the Crampton's Gap scenario on another part of the property. The sound of a "far off battle" will give a depth to each group as they engage in their own scenario.

Sunday, September 9, 6:30 am - Into the Corn (Antietam)
97th New York Infantryhttp://dmna.ny.gov/historic/reghist/civil/infantry/97thInf/97thInfMain.htm

Sunday, September 9, 12:00 pm - Up Comes Hill (Antietam)
89th/103rd New York Infantry

More information to follow on camps and logistics over the next few days!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

From the Gettysburg 150th Federal Commander

To my brothers and sisters in arms,

Planning for the 150th National Gettysburg Anniversary Civil War Battle Reenactment has been underway for some time. In reality, it started back at the 135th Battle Reenactment as various groups came together to solidify the hobby and provide a great reenactment experience. For myself and the Command Staff of the First Federal Division Headquarters', the 140th and 145th were dress rehearsals to prepare the Staff and the event organizers for what will be a landmark event like the 125th Battle reenactment was. With all of this in mind, and the fact that many veteran reenactors have relayed to the command staffs that this will be their final swan song in the hobby, we must continue to push forward to provide the best experience for the troops. The military command and event staffs are meeting and communicating almost daily to ensure a well-planned event.

Camping areas, battlefield layout, amenities, support issues and event preparedness have all been key items of discussion. Additional stream crossings are being planned along with other site improvements. The phrase, "moving forward" has become the statement of my staff when dealing with this event. The planning will continue and commitments increased as needed when we get closer to the date. A Divisional Commanders meeting is planned for Remembrance Day and in mid-December. More will follow and the attendance broadened to make sure we reach all and address the needs of the units and the troops. We have also rearranged the website and improved it to be more reenactor friendly.

In closing with the theme of "moving forward," I am proud to announce that two of the four Federal Infantry Division Commands have been accepted. Brigadier General Ron Palase will command the 1st Federal Infantry Division and Brigadier General David Shackleford the 2nd Federal Infantry Division. I hope to name the other two Infantry Divisional Commands in the near future.

All involved continue to work tirelessly to make the 150th Gettysburg Battle Reenactment a memorable event for all.

Your Obedient Servant,

Major General Allen W. Baldwin
Commander Federal Forces

Community & Preservation Organizations Benefit from Annual Gettysburg Civil War Reenactment!

Birney's Division Members! Don't forget to register at http://www.gettysburgreenactment.com, July 4-7, 2013. Make sure to list "Organization Affiliation" as BIRNEY'S DIVISION.

Each year the Gettysburg Anniversary Committee, local organizers of the Annual Gettysburg Reenactment, choose several community and preservation causes and support these organizations with a portion of the proceeds from the event. Some of the past beneficiary's have included The Seminary Ridge Historic Preservation Association, National Park Service Cannon Restoration, Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg, The Civil War Trust, Brandy Station Battlefield, the Lincoln Train Station, Marine Sgt. Eric McColley scholarship fund, The Wounded Warriors Support Fund, The Adams County Historical Society, The Land Conservancy of Adams County, The National Wreath Project and The Daniel Lady Farm.

The Gettysburg Anniversary Committee is very proud this year to announce its support of five very worthy preservation and patriotic organizations. They are The Gettysburg Seminary Ridge Museum, The Adams County Historical Society, The Land Conservancy of Adams County, The Sgt MAC National Wreath Project and the Sachs Mill Covered Bridge Improvement Project.

Schmucker Hall is the most important, privately owned building in the Gettysburg area. It is located on the campus of the Gettysburg Lutheran Theological Seminary and was utilized by both armies during the battle. On the First Day, the famous exchange between Buford and Reynolds took place from its cupola and eventually over 600 wounded suffered, died and were cared for in the building. Schmucker Hall is presently undergoing a major $11.7 million year long renovation and will be re-opened this July 1st as the nationally significant Gettysburg Seminary Ridge Museum. Two of the four floors will feature civil war religion and medicine. The extensive collection of the Adams County Historical Society exhibits will also be displayed in the museum. The Adams County Historical Society, located on the Lutheran Seminary campus, plays a significant role in preserving Adams County History and offering research opportunities for visitors, students and historians utilizing paid and volunteer staff. The Land Conservancy of Adams County is a member supported nonprofit land trust with over 600 members and the noble mission of preserving the rural lands and character of Adams County. The Conservancy holds over 95 easements covering over 6,000 acres. The Sgt. MAC Foundation honors the memory of Gettysburg Marine Sgt Eric McColley who was killed serving his country in 2007. At a cost of about $40,000, this year's donation will support laying thousands of wreaths at Gettysburg National Cemetery and Quantico National Cemetery. The Gettysburg Anniversary Committee since 2008 is consistently one of the largest supporters of the Sgt MAC Fund. The Sachs Mill Covered Bridge was used by both armies during the battle and its aftermath. It is quite visible from GAC events at the Gettysburg movie site. There is currently a movement to improve the historical integrity of the bridge and its surroundings, create more aesthetically appropriate parking, remove graffiti and add some visitor and security improvements.

All of these organizations do a wonderful job of improving our community and quality of life, working with very limited budgets. Financial and volunteer support is needed and appreciated by all these noble organizations. For the past 18 years, The Gettysburg Anniversary Committee has supported, and will continue to support, community and preservation causes that reflect the heritage of our very special community. We are pleased and proud to announce that for the 150th Gettysburg Anniversary National Civil War Battle Reenactment The Gettysburg Anniversary Committee will be donating $5 of every reenactor registration distributed equally to all five preservations and patriotic organizations.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

First Call! Maryland, My Maryland

Maryland, My Maryland
150th Anniversary of the Battle of South Mountain & Antietam
September 7-9, 2012
Boonsboro. MD

Per Capt. Murphy's email, we are beginning to get ready for the Antietam events. If you are a Birney's Division unit (1st or 2d Battalion) and are attending Maryland,My Maryland (see date and location above), I would like to get an idea of our numbers. PLEASE email me the following information as soon as possible.

1. Unit Name
2. Number of military
3. Number of Civilians
4. Number of tents and type

Birney's Division units will be camping in the garrison area. This means we will set up AS USUAL with company streets and civilian walls and flys around the edges. This is just how we setup at the 145th Gettysburg.

Again, this is just an initial call for numbers. More details will be sent out over the next few weeks. Please email the requested information to clsmith@5thohio.com

Monday, August 13, 2012

Divisional First Call 150th Antietam

This is for all company commanders of both 1st and 2nd Battalions. I need for all companies to report there intentions for the 150th Antietam event being held on 15-17 September. Registration closes on Wednesday and there are no walk-ons or on-site substitutions. By this time you should all have a good idea of what kind of attendance you are expecting. I need the breakdown by company as follows:

The divisional staff will be on site and we are looking to get these numbers so we can organize our efforts for that weekend. For those attending Maryland, My Maryland the weekend prior please contact COL Smith or MAJ Penix. Please get me those reports no later than 29 August. You can send your reports to CPT Murphy at ltmurph54th@yahoo.com any questions can be directed to that address as well.


CPT M. Murphy
Adjutant, Birney's Division

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Attention! Orders for Hale Farm

I hope everyone is ready to go for this weekend's Civil War action at Hale Farm & Village! On behalf of the Federal Commander Col. Minton, here are some things you need to know for the weekend.

1. Setup is permitted no earlier than 10 am on Friday the 10th. The only exception are those who have been pre-approved by Col. Minton for Thursday night. You MUST check in at Federal HQ (the "First Settlement" Log Cabin near the sawmill) BEFORE you set up your camp.

2. All reenactors MUST check in at registration prior to entering the grounds. Reenactors who have not pre-register will need to do so at that time. Only pre-registered reenactors will receive a Sunday breakfast ticket and firewood chit. Firewood will be located at Federal HQ. You must present your chit to draw firewood.

3. Federal reenactors will be on the Visitor's Center side of the property this year as we are trying to change things up. The camp location map is shown here (or will appear as a separate post). The Confederate reenactors will be in the Village. A new programming area will be near the Visitors Center and Sutler Row will be on the path going into the Village.

4. We have two battles planned for Saturday. In the morning ("Pillage the Village", 8 am) for the reenactors and the tradition afternoon battle for the public. There will be only one battle on Sunday afternoon. We have added earthworks for the scenarios and there will be a great deal more cavalry than usual. Both Federal and Confederate riders will be on the field making it about 80 horse in action! You will receive a reenactor version of the schedule when you check in/register. There is a public schedule online at http://www.wrhs.org/Properties/Civil_War_Reenactment_Encampment#schedule

5. At this time, we would like to ask any Federal reenactors who have a Confederate jackets to bring it to the event. There may be a need to ask for volunteers who wish to galvanize for battles only. The is strictly on a volunteer basis.

If you have any questions at all, please email me at clsmith@5thohio.com

Monday, August 06, 2012

Quartermaster needed for Hale Farm this weekend

This weekend will be the annual Civil War event at Hale Farm & Village. One of the favorite events in Ohio. For those of you attending, information will be posted shortly with details such as setup time, schedule, and so on. As with last year, for those who are pre-registered, you will be receiving a chit to draw firewood from the Quartermaster. We have plenty of really good wood but this will ensure that everyone gets their share.

On behalf of our Federal Commander Col. Minton, I would like to request a volunteer to serve as the Quartermaster NCO to stand several shifts in order to check for firewood chits and issue the appropriate amount of firewood. This person will be needed to work this post both late Friday afternoon into the evening and Saturday early and late morning. There may also be a need to administrate shortly after the battle on Saturday. This will not impact your participation in the other activities.

You must be a Federal military reenactor and probably best if you are a big guy with a "don't mess with me" look. Maybe carry a baseball bat... or a tire iron.

Please contact Col. Smith at clsmith@5thohio.com ASAP.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

A peek at Maryland, My Maryland schedule

Hi pards,

For those of you going to the 150th Antietam event known as "Maryland, My Maryland", here is a little heads-up on the schedule you can expect.

Thursday, Aug 2

8am- Online Registration Closes.  No Walk-Ons.

Wednesday, Sept 5

Noon- Sutler Arrival

Thursday, Sept 6

Noon- Participant Registration Opens till 8pm

7pm- A. P. Hill Marchers Shuttled to Harpers Ferry

Friday, Sept 7

10am- Registration opens for Participants till 11pm

4pm to 8pm- Wagon Rides from Parking to Camps

10pm- Camp closes to all car traffic for the weekend

11pm- All cars out of camp, will be towed if not gone by 11pm

Saturday, Sept 8

6am- Registration opens till 8am- no participant will be able to register after 8am.

7am- Horse Drawn Wagons Ferry remaining participants into camp

7am- All Camps go “period” for the weekend.

9am- Gates open to the Public

10am- Lectures at the Main Activity Tent on Sutler Row begin

1pm- Battle of Fox’s Gap

3pm- Cavalry Demonstration for the Public- Fox’s Gap Field

5pm- New Old World Theater performs Period Theatrical Play at the main activity tent

6pm- Gates Close to Public

7:45pm- Simultaneous Dusk Fights, participant only, Frost Town Road and Crampton’s Gap

9:30pm- Troops assembled for march to Cornfield Battlefield for the night for those who wish to do so.  All troops can participate and camp on the field.

Sunday, Sept 8

5:30am– Those troops not camped in the Cornfield Area will form and march to the scenario.

6:30am- Into the Corn- Battle Begins.  Participants only Scenario.  Troops will remain in the field till the next scenario.

10am- Gates Open to the Public

10:30am- Public Lecture on the Battle of Antietam- Public viewing area.

Noon- Up Comes Hill- Final Public Scenario

1:30pm- Event Ends

As you can see, there will be several unique scenarios giving us a chance to do some things that we don't get a chance to do. As with everything in this hobby, it is a "volunteer" army.

Our camp setup will be garrison in style as we normally do. More information to come.

Your Servant,

Christopher Smith
2d Battalion, Birney's Division