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Where did the summer go? It is autumn already and the reenactment season is drawing to a close. We only have three events left only one of which is an actual battle reenactment. But before I go on let's talk about Antietam. I must admit that I was a little bummed out as I started getting ready for Antietam. We already had two casualties even before the event began. They were for perfectly legitimate reasons, sickness and work obligations, but even so it was disappointing. However, the event turned out to be a lot better than I expected. Here are some of the highlights from the weekend.
#1 Our own Mike Touart participated in and completed the 17 mile march and river crossing. He and his comrades made it in good time and were in camp at about 1430 hours. Mike didn't seem any worse for the wear. Way to go Mike
#2 We had church call Sunday morning but it wasn't the typical F Company church call. The service was actually held in Drunker Church, the Drunker Church, the actual reconstructed building with pews and everything. I lead the singing and the guys actually sang. Nick King gave the Bible reading and the commentary and he did an excellent job so much so that I do hereby dub Nick the official Chaplain of F Company. The service was even more enhanced by a couple of members of the14th Tennessee Band playing Amazing Grace just outside the church as the service began. They also played another musical interlude at the end of the service. The service lasted only about 15-20 minutes but even if I do say so myself it was very nicely done. Thanks to all who attended
#3We had great food. Greg once again fixed his awesome venison stew. It was delicious. I think he should market it. I went back for seconds and even thirds and I never do that. Someone from the 14th Tennessee make some elk stew also. That too was pretty good. We had watermelon for dessert. We ate well. Thanks Greg and Nick who brought the watermelon.
Oh yeah, we did have demos throughout the day. They went well and were well attended in spite of the current trend to try and convince everyone that anything associated with or related as being Confederate is evil and bad and bigoted and racist. So, it turned out to be a very nice and enjoyable weekend, much more than I expected. And once again thanks to the 1st Sergeant for all he does for F Company. He was the first member of F Company at the site and the last one to leave.
Next up for October we have the Cedar Creek Reenactment. This will be the last battle reenactment for the 2017 season, our last chance to burn powder. It is a paid event but they do allow "walk-on" registration. It would be nice if we had enough members there so that we could actually be F Company and not have to fall in with another unit. I will let the 1st Sergeant fill you in with all the details. I hope to see everyone there.
With kindest regards and God Bless,
Antietam Living History and March (16-17 Sep 2017)- -Well no one could complain about the weather at the NPS 155th anniversary of Sharpsburg! In the low 80’s during the day, and nice and cool in the evenings for sleeping. I arrived on Fri afternoon on location at the Dunker Church as our bivouac site, and set-up a shelter tent in our set aside area for F Company plus got myself registered for event. A little later the Hanson brothers along w/Nick King appeared in Ray’s Model A Ford to complete their registration and locate bivouac site, but then they motored back to Ray’s in Boonsboro to spend the evening.
A most cruel reveille was sounded at 0430 in order to get up all the troops who were participating in the march from Harpers Ferry to Sharpsburg following the general route of A.P. Hill’s Division as it reinforced the ANV at Sharpsburg which included crossing the Potomac River. What I didn’t know at the time was that Mike Touart had come in during the night, and was up and out to join the marchers! A hearty congratulations to Mike upon completing the march later in the day! The rest of us non-marchers in camp, not being able to return to real sleep, were up for a 0600 reveille. The “Boonsboro” contingent appeared around 0700 in camp. The NPS conducted weapons inspection between 0830-0900. The day was going to be busy w/musket firing demonstrations followed by cannon firing at 1100, 1300 and 1500 hours, which didn’t leave a great deal of time between each demonstration. Pvt Turley was able to join us later in the morning, so we had five of us in ranks for the musket demonstrations w/a company averaging 20-24 per demonstration w/a whole bunch of soldiers from the Carolina Legion. Unfortunately, we lost Jack Alexander’s attendance due to illness, and both Hanson brothers were under the weather which caused Ray Hanson to drop out later in the day, and Jeremy Villanueva had to work.
Weather continued to remain good thru the day and visitors came in a steady stream. Interestingly enough I saw several visitors looking closely or stretching out flags to see what they were, which must be a “sign of our times”. With the completion of the final firing program as well as return of the marchers, participants relaxed, rekindled fires and cooked supper meals. Pvt Hanson provided all w/some of his famous venison stew combined w/one of the Tarheels who came up w/some elk to add to the pot. Everyone had a full day so we went to bed early, especially Pvt Touart, whose blistered feet really wanted to rest!
A heavy fog w/lots of moisture rolled in during the night which made for a somewhat overcast soggy morning, but camp fires were built up and breakfast meals along w/coffee got going. Pvt King helped out F Co members w/a supply of fresh hen eggs. After my two-needed large tin cups of coffee I felt prepared to face the day. Tony Turley and Nick King conducted an excellent church service for F Co members as well as other guest living history participants in the Dunker Church on Sun morning. A most appropriate place for our religious services which attracted a crowd, but unfortunately w/o Jack Alexander to lead the choir!
Following NPS weapons inspection which saw several soldiers having to re-clean their weapons we prepared to face the 1100 and 1300 demonstrations. Following the 1100 firing demonstration I found myself “abandoned” as the only member of F Company remaining on the field, but had to stay on for the 1300 demonstration as the Acting 1st Sergeant claimed he really needed me to continue my duties as the firing company’s right guide! Following the last firing demo, I got myself loaded up and on the road for Gettysburg.
Battle of Cedar Creek (14-15 Oct 2017)-The well-known fall event is coming up which is usually the last large CW battle reenactment of the season. There will be large numbers of both Federal and Confederate troops along w/a major sutlers row of very mixed quality, and food vendors w/interesting fare plus a large number of visitors. Immediately upon arrival go to registration tent for needed individual soldier pass and vehicle parking pass.
You can expect the weather to be cool so bring along an extra blanket as well as needed axe or hatchet for splitting firewood. Firewood along w/water and latrines will be provided by event sponsors. We’ll bivouac at our usual spot near the fence line in the area of Longstreet’s Corps. While there is only one battle each day they always turn out to be major powder burners, so a minimum of 100 blank rounds will be good.
Individual soldiers preregistered for event are: Adams, both Alexander’s, Firth, Hanson brothers, King, Turley, Vice and Villanueva. If not preregistered then you can still attend as a walk-on, that is, when you arrive go to registration and pay necessary soldier registration fee. Come on let’s be our own separate company! Turn on out!
Directions for Cedar Creek and Bell Grove:
GPS Address: 8437 Valley Pike, Middletown, VA 22645
General Driving Directions: From I-81 take either Exit 298 or 302, and look for signs to site.
Michael L. Vice
1st SGT, F Co,
21st VA Infantry
Be sure to come out to the Cedar Creek event this month when Greg will share both his story of how he caught this chainsaw and the stew that he made. See you there. Yummmmmmmmmm!
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