Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Baltzer is Second in Command

GETTYSBURG, PA – November 19th, 2016

During the retirement dinner for Maj. Gen. Allen Baldwin (Commander, Army of the Potomac), Birney’s Division Commander Brig. Gen. Michael Maffei held a brief meeting with the organization’s staff.

During this meeting, Gen. Maffei outlined how much Birney’s Division has continued to grow over the last couple of years. More units have been coming to the organization and this has kept the staff very busy at many levels. Due to this growth and the need for an officer to help oversee detailed daily operations, Gen. Maffei announced that Col. Paul Baltzer is being promoted to Brigadier General and assigned as the second in command of Birney’s Division. Gen. Maffei will continue as the senior General working on the national level with other organizations and events.

Gen. Baltzer was chosen for his outstanding leadership abilities and dedication to the Division. He has served through the ranks up to Captain at the unit level of the 83rd Pennsylvania (Union)/2nd Florida (Confederate). He has previously served as the Brigade Commander overseeing all infantry operations of Birney’s Division and units attached at specific national events. Currently he serves as Birney’s 2nd Battalion Commander with troops in Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. Gen. Baltzer has also held the role of overall Federal Commander at a number of events around the eastern area of the country.

During 2017, Gen. Baltzer will also continue to command 2nd Battalion as he works through the transition with a new battalion commander before the end of the year.

Paul lives in Albion, PA with his wife Brenda. A veteran of the United States Navy, he is a school teacher by profession and has served in other leadership roles within the Freemasons and the American Legion. Both of his sons Paul and John are Civil War reenactors.

Col. Christopher Smith
Adjutant General. Birney’s Division

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Important 2017 event planning information

Fellow Members of Birney’s Division,

As many of you are aware we have postponed our annual meeting this season.  This was done to allow our company members the opportunity to vote on the events that they would like to attend, rather than staff putting up the list of available events.  As your company commanders submit their lists of what events they will be supporting, staff will keep an accurate tally of all the events submitted, when we have our annual meeting in the early spring (date to be announced), we will reveal which events drew the most support and they will be our schedule for the coming season.  We will maintain a running list of submitted events, that will be available for you to examine.  

I will list at this time all the events that we know are available, then you send us the events you wish to support, or any additional events you would like to have placed on the list.  Staff will add them to our available events list.  I do not believe this has been done before in the hobby and as Birney’s Division is always looking to improve the civil war reenactment experience for their members, we felt this would be an equitable way for all our members to have a say in what events we support. 

Shortly after Remembrance Day, we will be putting up the information for you send us your preferences and events.  

Update on our park at Perryopolis, PA.  I have been working with the Borough Council and the Heritage Society of Perryopolis PA to regain our park.  They have promised to have a contract for us to review in the spring, that will give us some legal right to the park we have put so much work into.  If the contract is acceptable to us, next season we will resume our activities there.  I will not list it at this time as I have not yet seen the contract, however I wanted to mention the possibility of us using the park again next season, as so many of you were concerned about us losing it.

Available Events for 2017 Season  

May: Burton OH, Burton, OH

May: New Market, New Market, VA

June: Old Bedford Village, Bedford, PA

July: Gettysburg PA, Gettysburg, PA

July: Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, Weston, WV

July: Funkstown: Funkstown, MD

August: Renfrew Park, Waynesboro, PA

August: Hale Farm: Bath, OH

September: Zoar Village, Zoar, OH

October: Cedar Creek, Middletown, VA

November: Remembrance Day, Gettysburg, PA  

Now you pick and choose, or add an event.  

Old Bedford Village is a Birney’s Division event and this year, we plan to do the 155th anniversary battle of Antietam.  

Gettysburg this year 154th is only a $5.00 registration and if you attend this year, the 155th anniversary event in 2018 you will admitted free.  Keep in mind the 154th Gettysburg event is a 3 day 1st, 2nd and 3rd of July event, that is Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  You must attend all 3 days to get in free at the 155th.

I hope to see you all at Remembrance Day in a few weeks,



Brig, Gen. Michael D. Maffei

Birney’s Division

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Birney's Division marching in Gettysburg parade

Looking forward to seeing Birney's Division units turn out for the annual Gettysburg Remembrance Day Parade on Nov. 19th! Assembly information coming soon.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

1st Battalion staffing changes

Birney's Division -

 As a result of my promotion and commission as the new 1st Battalion Commander back in late August I would like to announce a couple of staffing changes that will take effect immediately and be in place for the start of the 2016-2017 season:

First, I would like to announce that I have selected Jeffrey Blanc to fill the role as my Battalion Adjutant. His experience in this hobby in the various enlisted roles he has filled over the years makes him a... perfect fit for this job as well as his attention to detail and administrative expertise that will be vital to maintaining the communication and organization of our battalion. Jeff has served this past year as the Battalion Sergeant Major and has performed amazing in that capacity as the senior enlisted member and liaison to the battalion command. With this appointment, Jeff is hereby commissioned and promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant.

Second, as recommended by Lt Blanc and approved by myself and Division Command, I have asked Sgt Nick Gruse of the 105 PVI to fill the role of Battalion Sgt.Maj. to which he understands the responsibilities and has accepted. Nick also brings a wealth of enlisted experience and knowledge to the position as well as his familiarity and interaction with the various companies to fill this role. Now that his schedule has lightened up he will have the availablitiy to be engaged and be with us on the field this next season.

PLEASE join me in congratulating Lt Blanc and Sgt.Maj. Gruse in their new battalion positions and in wishing them good luck and extending your support to them as they learn and perform in these new capacities for the battalion.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Division Chief of Staff

ATTENTION TO ORDERS: On behalf of General Maffei, Birney’s Division Headquarters would like to congratulate Major Neil Shivelle on his appointment to the position of Chief of Staff for the organization. With this assignment, Major Shivelle is promoted to the rank of Colonel.

Colonel Chris Smith stepped into the Chief of Staff role last year until another qualified officer could be assigned to the post permanently. Last month, Colonel Smith made the recommendation to General Maffei that Major Shivelle would be an outstanding choice for the Division Chief of Staff position because of his attention to detail and leadership knowledge. Colonel Smith is returning to his post as the Birney’s Division Adjutant General (a staff officer performing a variety of roles as needed). Colonel Shivelle will help General Maffei oversee all operations within the organization on the field and in the real world. He will be making staff assignments to Division Headquarters in the next few months as required.

Congratulations Neil!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Birney's Division assembles at Cedar Creek

Birney's Division troops will be assembling for the 152nd Anniversary Cedar Creek reenactment in Virginia on October 14-16. Colonel Bouwhuis will be in command of Birney's companies as part of a consolidated battalion. If your unit, or any of your personnel plan to attend, please contact the Colonel at USricAF@verizon.net.

Please send the following informatiion if your unit is going to attend:
- How many military (Officers, NCOs, enlisted) and civilians you are bringing
- Billeting requirements (tents, to include number and types of tents.)
- Please also include tenting requirements for commissaries and messes as appropriate

Responses are needed from all company commanders, 1st Sgts or POCs with this information by FRIDAY, 30 SEPTEMBER 2016 to pass to the Division Engineer for planning.

Please note that negative attendance replies are also required. Colonel Bouwhuis needs to hear from ALL units either way. Thank you for your timely response to this call.

You can register for the event at the following link: http://ccbf.us/?page_id=997

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Beaver Creek this weekend!

This weekend (Sept. 10-11) Birney's Division troops head to the reenactment at Beaver Creek State Park in East Liverpool, Ohio (near the site where John Hunt Morgan was captured). Colonel Baltzer is the overall Federal commander. If you have not registered but what to attend, PLEASE do so. Walk-ons are permitted. You can get information at www.beavercreekcivilwar.com.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Battalion change of command

As reenactors get ready to close out the 2016 season, Birney’s Division will be seeing some staff rotations. Colonel Bill Taylor temporarily stepped into the role of the 1st Battalion Commander last year until a full-time candidate could be appointed. Colonel Taylor has made his recommendation to General Maffei with regard to the new commander and will be transitioning out of the post as of this date. All members of Birney’s Division wish Colonel Taylor the best and thank him for his service to the reenacting community. Keep an eye out for the Colonel as I am sure he will come and spend time around our fires as his schedule permits.

On behalf of Birney’s Division Commanding General Michael Maffei, we are pleased to announce that Lt. Col. Rick Bouwhuis has been assigned to serve as the Commander of 1st Battalion with a promotion to the rank of Colonel. Rick has been active in Birney’s Division for some years and in a variety of capacities. As a retired Air Force Master Sergeant, his leadership and organizational skills will be a great addition to the Birney’s Division command team.

General Maffei and Colonel Bouwhuis will be announcing several 1st Battalion staff appointments before the end of the year.

Congratulations Colonel!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Perryopolis event cancelled by Parks and Rec Authority

AUGUST 10, 2016 – PERRYOPOLIS, PA: As some of you are aware, the Perryopolis Parks and Recreation Authority and the Perryopolis Area Heritage Society have recently entered into a disagreement over the use and care of the town’s Harry Sampey Park. Over the last 13 years the park has been the location of the annual Civil War reenactment hosted by the Birney’s Division Civil War reenacting organization, and in 2016 it was also used as the site for the West Virginia-style Tactical, a joint project between Birney’s Division and the Army of Northern Virginia reenacting organization. Yesterday, the Parks and Recreation Authority held a closed-door meeting, and in a three to one vote finally determined that there would be no more Pioneer Days or Civil War events held at Sampey Park.

This past Monday, Michael Maffei (President of Birney’s Division, Inc.) spoke at the Perryopolis city-wide meeting outlining the history of the Civil War event and the use of the park. Members of Birney’s Division have worked with the Heritage Society to develop the Civil War event and improve the site using thousands of hours of their own time and donated materials. This includes cleaning up the park and constructing full-scale functional period buildings which were approved by the Heritage Society. Over 13 years, hundreds of reenactors have participated in the annual Civil War event bringing thousands of visitors to the site and money into the local economy. All of the work was done by members of Birney’s Division and friends. Money brought into the event from reenactor registration and spectator tickets was turned over each year to the Perryopolis Area Heritage Society which amounted to many thousands of dollars. When not being used for the reenactment, the park and buildings constructed by the reenactors are used for a variety of activities including Boy Scout and Girl Scout events, as well as fire fighter training. The “Civil War” area of the park is also popular with joggers, dog walkers, and other town residence that are looking for a quiet place to enjoy the scenery.

Along with Michael Maffei, many Perryopolis residence made a strong argument that the park should continue to be used for the annual Civil War events even if the long-failing Pioneer Days event was terminated. This would continue to bring visitors into the town and help the financially strapped Heritage Society. The argument has previously been made that the site is not known for Civil War history but more for the grist mill commissioned by George Washington between 1774 and 1776. Though the town never saw an engagement between Union and Confederate troops, hundreds of men from Perryopolis enlisted in the Army starting in 1861 and the town’s train station was a major waypoint for Civil War veterans traveling to the 50th Gettysburg Reunion in 1913. It was pointed out that other historical venues such as Hale Farm & Village in Ohio, Old Bedford Village in Pennsylvania, and Mumford Village in New York were not the sites of Civil War battles, but these museums include Civil War activities as part of their dedication to honor the men who fought and provide valuable education to the public. Other than a few times a year, the Washington Grist Mill sits behind a locked fence and does not feature any organized educational programming. Much of the original structure has long since disappeared other than the foundation.

“A few self-appointed individuals have closed the history books on our Civil War veterans and deprived the public the opportunity to learn more about the history of our country”, said Maffei. Some of the residence attending the meeting also speculated that the park is in reality being eyed to expand the high-end housing development that has been continually encroaching on the site. The period buildings will be torn down and the park scrapped away. Perryopolis sits near the Pennsylvania Turnpike and is an easy commute to business and industry centers. Town officials could not be reached for comment.

In spite of this sad news, Birney’s Division and its fellow reenacting organizations will refocus their efforts on two other Civil War events in the geographic area. Beaver Creek in East Liverpool, Ohio on September 10-11, 2016 (www.beavercreekcivilwar.com and www.facebook.com/BeaverCreekCivilWar) which is held near the site of the capture of Confederate raider John Hunt Morgan, and next year’s annual June reenactment at Old Bedford Village (www.facebook.com/OldBedfordCivilWar) which is one of the largest Civil War reenactments in Pennsylvania.

For more information, go to www.BirneysDivision.org

(photo: Civil War veterans at the Perryopolis train station wait to head to Gettysburg in 1913)

Monday, August 01, 2016

Hale Farm Roll Call

Hi everyone. This is just a reminder for those members of Birney’s Division (and for those who are falling in with us). We are trying something new in order to get a good head-count of participants and the space needed for camps. By signing into the Roll Call page at www.BirneysHFV2016.eventbrite.com you are helping compile this information for the Battalion Commander and Adjutant. It is easy and automates a lot of this process. It doesn’t matter if you each individually go on and sign in, or if one person from each unit goes in and signs in for everyone who is actually going. Remember, you are dealing with just a few people at the unit level but the Adjutants are dealing with a hundred or more. This will be a big help to them. PLEASE go to the link above and get this done before the end of the week. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Media help for Hale Farm

Hale Farm and Village is looking for a few military reenactors who would be interested in appearing on several live segments of the Fox 8 morning show in order to help promote the Civil War reenactment on August 13th and 14th. The segments will start at 6 am, Friday August 12th and go until 8 am. These will be broadcast live from Hale Farm. If you are interested, please contact Chris Smith at clsmith@5thohio.com as soon as possible and he will put you in touch with the appropriate staff at Hale Farm.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Help us try a reenacting experiment

Hale Farm and Village in August has been selected as a major event for the 2016 Birney's Division season. We are going to try an experiment to see if there is a better way to get a head count of all of the Birney's Division members attending reenactments using Eventbrite. Again, this is JUST a head-count and NOT registration for the actual event. You will find event registration detail on the page at the link below.

You can list just yourself as well as your family and/or other members of your unit (make sure they are not already listing themselves). The form should also be used by any non-Birney's units who plan to fall in with the organization during the weekend.

Please help us make this Roll Call experiment work by ensuring that all of those attending Hale Farm with Birney's take a few minutes to go to www.BirneysHFV2016.eventbrite.com and get on the roster today!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Get your Manassas in gear!

Attention Birney's Division members. Time is getting short to register for the 155th Anniversary of the Battle of Bull Run (Manassas) reenactment. This was selected as our major anniversary event this year. If you are not registered yet, please do so soon!  http://ccbf.us/?page_id=2230

Another great OBV is in the books

A big thank you to all of the members of Birney's Division and our friends who came out and supported the event at Old Bedford Village this past weekend. From the soldiers in the lines to the company officers and the Division staff, your hard work and dedication is what brings it all together! Likewise to General Perry and our counterparts in butternut and grey. We had so many great comments from the public about the battle and the presentations in camp. Forward to the 155th Manassas in July!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Time is running short to register for OBV

The largest reenactment in Pennsylvania next to Gettysburg is less than a month away! Reenactors, time is running out to get registered for the Old Bedford Village Civil War Reenactment on June 11th and 12th. Go to this link to download the form now: http://tinyurl.com/h3tvf7v. You can also go to www.facebook.com/OldBedfordCivilWar for more information.

Friday, May 13, 2016

New reenactor insurance information page

For those of you who need information about the Birney's Division Reenactors insurance (or need to send in your unit's form for the year), there is a new page on the organization's website with everything you need. Check it out. http://www.birneysdivision.org/insurance

Monday, May 02, 2016

Registration for Old Bedford Village filling up

June 11-12, 2016 - Old Bedford Village is one of the largest Civil War reenactments in the State of Pennsylvania and a max-effort Birney's Division event. Heck, we are the host organization! Don't miss out. Remember, there is a cut off on the number of participants so make sure to register right away. Download the form here: http://tinyurl.com/h3tvf7v. For more information, visit the event Facebook page at www.facebook.com/OldBedfordCivilWar

Monday, April 25, 2016

Birney's / ANV Tactical Location Directions

For those attending the Birney's Division / ANV Spring Tactical 29 Apr - 1 May, here are the directions to the site:

The Perryopolis site location is up off the Turn Pike at New Stanton Ext. 75 go I-70W to Rt. 51S and then turn left at the Dollar General and follow the CW signs, that’s the easiest way in. in total miles it’s about 12 to 14 miles off the Turn Pike.


Adjutant, 1st Battalion
Birney's Division

Monday, April 11, 2016

Birney's / ANV tactical registration closing soon!

The first major event of the season is almost upon us. The West Virginia-Style Tactical hosted by Birney's Division and the ANV will be April 29th - May 1st in Perryopolis, PA. This is a "scripted" tactical with problem-solving scenarios along the way. Plenty of participation for civilians too!

There is no cost but registration CLOSES on April 17th! There will be no walk-ons permitted! To get all of the details, go to www.facebook.com/CivilWarTactical. To register, go to www.civilwartactical2016.eventbrite.com.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Event registrations going live - Tactical, Old Bedford, Manassas, and Hale Farm

Birney's Division has a great schedule this year and many of the events already have their registration information up online. You can see the complete list at www.birneysdivision.org/schedule but here are a few key links that members will want to explore.

APRIL - Birney's Division/ANV Tactical
www.civilwartactical2016.eventbrite.com (registration)

JUNE - Old Bedford Village
http://tinyurl.com/h3tvf7v (registration)

JULY - 155th Manassas
www.ccbf.us (all information including registration)

AUGUST - Hale Farm and Village
www.wrhs.org/events/civil-war-reenactment-2016 (registration)

Old Bedford Village, Manassas, and Hale Farm are MAX EFFORT events for Birney's Division. Please make sure to get this registration information out to all of your personnel.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

National History Day needs judges

REENACTORS! The Cleveland History Center of the Western Reserve Historical Society needs judges for the 2016 National History Day Contest!

Saturday, March 5, 2016
8:00 am - 1:00 pm

Cleveland History Center &
Case Western Reserve University

Returning? Interested? Don't wait! Register now.

If you have judged for History Day in past years, we needn't explain the value of this annual event in getting intermediate and secondary students connected to the study of history. Newcomers to the judging process will find it to be a rewarding opportunity to witness first-hand the impressive work being done in the area's public, private, and parochial schools.

Volunteering as a History Day judge will entail your presence at the Region 3 contest on Saturday, March 5th. Following a brief orientation, judging teams of three members each will disperse to evaluate student papers, websites, performances, documentaries, and exhibits at various sites in the Cleveland History Center of the Western Reserve Historical Society or on the campus of Case Western Reserve University.

During or following a lunch provided by Cleveland History Center, judges will complete their evaluation forms and confer with other teams in their category to select the finalists for the state competition. Judges are invited, though not required, to attend the afternoon awards program.

Questions about online registration?
Contact Steve Eigsti at 216-721-5722, ext. 1503