2006 - 2005 - 2004 - 2003 - 2002

Shiloh National Park
Shiloh, Tennessee
April 5-6, 2003

Participating unit: USNLP

This years marathon talks at Shiloh proved easily to be the equal of last year's experience. The weather dampened the size of the crowds a little, but, on Saturday at least, not much: 240-300 people per hour for ten hours. On Sunday roving thunderstorms and threats of tornadoes forced a relocation from the grounds of the Visitors Center to the inside of that building. The park rangers were, throughout, a big help and, specifically in this emergency, a godsend--within about five minutes of saying "Time to go!" a half dozen rangers, a passing Confederate, and I had struck camp, stowed the fly, and set everything back up in a corner of the Center. Subsequent to the event I received a thank you note from Rear Admiral George Voelker, Navy Recruiting Command, thanking me for telling the Navy's story at Shiloh; he had been somewhere in the crowd in civilian clothes.

Chuck Veit
Lieutenant, USNLP

Hammonassett State Park
Madison, Connecticut
May 2-4, 2003

Participating unit: US Naval Landing Party, Topographical Engineers, Society of Europe

USNLP Report:

Sadly, this was probably the last year for this event, as we have exhausted the possibilities of the park (which resembles nothing so closely as a football field or most places in Kansas, being flat as a piece of paper). The local population seems also to have wearied of shelling out the money the sponsors charge for admission, and this dampened the size of the crowds on both days. The one thing that was not reduced at all were the numbers of children who participated in the Friday school tours--about 1280. Our newest member, powder monkey Mike Dunn, was disappointed to be "recruited" by Colonel Mark Adler for hospital duty and so removed from helping out with the Navy's ten minutes in the spotlight with each group, but delivered an Emmy-winning performance as a wounded sailor that sent several of his peers to the head! USNLP was deployed as skirmishers both days, and enjoyed the only on-key musical accompaniment on the Union side thanks to drummer "Hank" Cheney and friends she had invited from the Sudbury Fife and Drum Corps.

Chuck Veit
Lieutenant, USNLP


Topographical Engineers Report:

Esteemed Sirs;

I beg your leave to make my report to you of the above subject action:

For this action I was detached with my engineering group from the New England Brigade and placed with the Hammonasset Federal Command Staff; ref; Army Change of Orders, March 17th ultimo, 1864 -- New England Federal Brigade / Col. R. Burbank Commanding

I arrived at Hammonasset by stage, at just after 10:00 A.M. on Thursday Morning, May 1st ultimo, 1864, followed shortly afterward by my personal and official effects from the Madison RR Sta. which had been sent by train, earlier in the month.

I was preceded on station by my Orderly Sergeant of Pioneers, James Duarte and followed shortly by my Field Engineer, 1st Lt. Wayne LaFluer. With their assistance we set up camp, and immediately drew up the plans for the overall Federal Camp.  I had an excellent and most genteel lunch in the nearby village of Madison , CT as the guest of Sgt. Duarte and his lovely wife and then returned to camp.  The Artillery Commander and Medical Commander came in and were directed to their respective areas, and we began work of the Federal Staff Line stations. 

Both Sgt. Duarte and myself worked on reproducing the event map-set in order to have sufficient copies.  I had been instructed by Col. Adler, to provide a copy of the map-set for the Confederate Commander, as well himself, in order to be able to plan from the same basic plans.  Map-sets were provided to Colonel Adler (USA), Col. Periera (CSA), Lt. Colonel Myette (Artillery) and myself.  Copies of this map-set will, of course, be made available to the Detachment Engineers for training and addition to their individual portfolios.

Sgt. Duarte reported on the available materials on site for the construction of the required Field Fortifications and Rife "Pits", and we together designed a suitable fortification using this on-site material.  

Sir, I wish to call your attention to the diligence and skill of this NCO (Pioneer Sgt. Duarte) in his attention to duty, personal loyalty, and grasp of the minute details of field fortification and obstruction so necessary in an Engineering Field Supervisor.  

The remainder of Thursday was spent in organizing the Federal Camp, and in working out the Brigade Staff Station Presentation for Friday's planned School Education Program, under the overall cognizance of the Brigade Sgt. Major.  We were joined late in the evening by Colonel Mark Adler (Federal Commander) and his personal staff, as well as the Commander of the Federal Field Armies, General U.S. Grant.

Friday Morning was spent in readying last minute details for the School Presentations and in carrying out six presentation classes to approximately 500-600 school children, which encompassed the responsibilities of the Brigade Commander, Naval Attachι, Brigade Adjutant, Brigade Clerk / Provost, Chief Engineer, and our special guest, General U.S. Grant.  These presentations took up a period of time on Friday, from about 10:00 A.M. until 2:00 P.M.   During the presentation period, the Brigade Sgt. Major, Sgt, Duarte , and an NCO from the 119th NY Vol. Reg, were busily laying out camp tent lines, streets, and recording the placement of regiments and civilian groups as they checked in to the event.  The afternoon was marked by a very interesting history discussion in the engineering area, in which we were very much honored by some close friends and General Grant himself.  

Following these efforts we returned to our departmental duties and scheduled the fortification-building work party for Saturday following the Federal Grand Parade. and the final preparation, map-set review and field walk for the Saturday Skirmish.  Friday Afternoon saw the arrival of Captain Meyer's (Engineering Adjutant) who immediately set up camp, and in his quiet and very professional way took over the administration of the Engineering Detachment's assigned duties.  

I assigned Captain Meyers and 1st Lt. LaFluer the duties of mapping a particular area of marshland within the Hammonasset area on a larger scale than we had heretofore had in our mapping files, and to be particularly careful to set down any terrain changes and weather damage of the various bridge constructions, and marsh drainage channels in that area since our last terrain review.  These drawings will add significantly to the update of our map-set of the immediate vicinity.  

Friday night saw some damp weather move in and the temperature dropped for a rather cool evening.

Saturday Morning saw the arrival of 2nd LT. Dean Danforth and his lovely wife Maureen  Lt. Danforth was down for a visit from West Point where he is in his last year of graduate studies in special engineering activities involving the British screw-pile lighthouse designs. Mistress Danforth immediately assumed her duties as senior draughtswoman and began work on the drawings awaiting her attention.  Engineer's Meyers and LaFluer departed to undertake their assigned mapping duties, while Lt.  Danforth and I represented the Engineers at Grand Parade. Four young men were assigned as temporary orderlies to the engineers, two from the 2nd CT Regiment, and two from the Naval Landing Party.  The four were sent to assist the field engineers in their mapping efforts.  

After Grand Parade the Fortification building Party was mustered and put to work constructing the planned field fortification Sgt. James Duarte carried out the supervision of the building task in a determined and energetic manner.  The assigned temporary Orderlies were also engaged in the working party.  

The New England Brigade Commander, Col. Robert Burbank has approved the establishment and organization of a Pioneer contingent within the Brigade.  Those who participate in one activity of field fortification / obstruction under the cognizance of the Brigade's Chief Engineer will be eligible to wear the crossed axes of a Pioneer, with the final approval of his unit commander.  All members of the working party had explained to them the Pioneer Plan above, and were asked to register by name with the Brigade Sgt. Major.  The Brigade Sgt. Major will keep the records of this program for the convenience of the Brigade members.  In the case of the two Naval Boys assigned to the party, Lt. Charles Veit, commanding the Naval Landing Party has allowed them to be "rated" as Carpenter's Apprentice's as a more fitting adjunct to the Naval Rating system for their efforts in this exercise.

I was much honored by the Event Federal Commander in being asked to narrate both the Grand Parade and the Saturday Skirmish which I was pleased to do.  I was joined in this narration effort of the skirmishes on both days by Sgt. Duarte.  The proposed Skirmish Plans and Map-Set requested of the Topog. Engineers were accepted by the Field Commanders and modified by the determination that the same skirmish plans originally determined for Saturday only, would be suitable for both Saturday and Sunday, with the reversal of the roles of each army for each day.  Thus on Saturday the Confederates were in possession of the fortifications and were driven out by the Federals,  On Sunday the reversal of that scenario was used.  The changes were submitted to the Mapping Office, Army of the Potomac , for revision.

The assigned rough field sketches of the designated mapping area (Hammo Marsh) were turned in for Preliminary approval.  

The Engineer's were again honored to receive two gentlemen who were interested in serving in the engineers, in the coming season.  The first is a young man who served for some years in the 9th Mass Artillery as an Orderly, and who was strongly recommended to myself personally, by Lt. Col. Myette, the Brigade Artillery Commander.  I interviewed the young man, who was very interested in the Pioneer aspect of the Engineers, and based upon his extraordinarily worded recommendations from the Battery Commander of the 9th Mass, Arty, as well as the Brigade Artillery Commander, I rated him as a Brevet-Corporal and assigned him  to duties as a Pioneer Supervisor under the guidance of Sgt. Duarte, and Capt. Myers for Pioneer familiarization and mapping skills.  On Sunday, the young man presented himself to me with his Corporal's chevrons in place and a well executed rough map sketch in which he was assisted by Capt, Myers.  A very promising beginning!!!

The second gentleman had visited our display at the Civil War Exposition in Warwick R.I and has evidenced his interest in joining the Topog Engineers as a 2nd Lt.  He has some experience as an independent businessman and a genuine interest in learning the techniques of field navigation and terrain mapping.  I have accepted him on a temporary basis as a volunteer with the promise of a brevet 2nd Lieutenancy in the engineers upon his continuous attendance at events as determined by the Adjutant.  For the short term he will act as a civilian surveyor and local information source attached to the engineers for tobacco and rations.

The event was rounded out with some orders being given to the Engineers by the Federal Event Commanders regarding area plans for the coming years and the discussions relating to coming events within this scheduled year.     

Captain Meyers and the new Brevet-Corporal were assigned to Artillery Battery Commander for the skirmishes on both days.  They were utilized in providing bearing and range information on hidden targets of opportunity, as well as taking advantage of the opportunity to record battle movements and field tactics of both Federal and Confederate Commanders. 1st Lt. LaFluer was detached for special service at our Fall River Office.  2nd Lt. Danforth was utilized as Camp Supervisor and the direction of some special photographic undertakings related to his specialty interests.  

In regard to the two skirmishes, I am pleased to report that on both Saturday and Sunday the battles appeared to me from my position on the sidelines to be well orchestrated and carried out.  On Sunday, the development of the Confederate Attack, I thought was particularly well balanced, while the determined defense of the Union forces and their subsequent very deliberate and controlled withdrawal was particularly well done.  The spectator groups were very willing to follow my lead in giving the troops an encouraging cheer or two at the end of each day's conflict and from that indication I can only determine a satisfaction with our efforts on their behalf.

In closing Commandant, I am pleased to report that again from my view, Hammonasset 2003  was a successful event for the Coastal / Riverine Detachment of Topographical Engineers, Mapping Office, Army of the Potomac .  We got some additional mapping done, some internal training accomplished, interviewed two very likely prospects for the unit, and contributed to the development and success of the event in several significant ways.  So ends my report on this occasion;

Very Respectfully;

Ian McKay, Brevet - Lt. Col.
Chief Engineer
New England Federal Brigade

Heritage Day
North Attleboro Middle School
North Attleboro, Massachusetts
May 16, 2003

Participating unit: US Naval Landing Party, Topographical Engineers

This is always a grueling little event for the USNLP and its members. We do five sets of 45-minute talks, each period being broken into three 15-minute intervals so the kids can move between the three camps we set up and get a variety of experiences. This year we had the usual USN Civil War tent, a CSA infantryman through the good offices of Fred Blandin (who is more usually our Corporal of Marines), and a Revolutionary War Engineer thanks to Jim Mathews (more usually a Topog or our USN Lieutenant Commander). The children are all 6-8th graders and were ably "herded" by their English teacher, Lori Veit, and several hooped helpers. While both Fred and myself demonstrated weapons and told stories that they enjoyed, the most riveting demonstrations of the day were the almost-scalpings visited upon one youngster in each group by Jim. That they'll remember!

Chuck Veit
Lieutenant, USNLP

Henshaw Farm
Templeton, Massachusetts
May 17-18, 2003

Participating unit: US Naval Landing Party, Topographical Engineers

Esteemed Sir;

I beg your leave to submit the After Action Report for the Brigade Engineering Staff in regard to the Event at Henshaw Farm.  

I arrived at Henshaw Farm by Army Ambulance just after noon on Friday to find my Orderly Sgt. James Duarte already on site, and assisting with the layout of the Federal Camp.  Lt. Col. Burbank was most effusive in his welcome, which was greatly appreciated, and he had preselected the location of my tent site next to his, which was also much appreciated.  

When the Federal Camp Layout was completed, the sketch of unit location was made and entrusted to the Engineers and the Sgt. Major.  I am most pleased to report that the Sgt. Major's desk was lodged in the Engineer's Field Office. with his tent just alongside.  This arrangement worked very well both from the Sgt. Major's stand-point, as well as the Engineer's.  

We were shortly then joined by:

--Captain Richard Meyers, -- Eng. Adjutant;
--First Lt. Wayne LaFluer, -- Snr, Field Eng. ;
--Brevet Corporal of Pioneers Keith Norris. -- Field Construction Foreman.  

Duty assignments were immediately made as follows:

--Capt. Meyers -- continue his training program for Brvt. Corp. Norris in Field Recognitions;
--1st Lt. LaFluer -- assignment to artillery batteries, and to the extensive investigation of the lower Northern battlefield area;
--Orderly Sgt. of Pioneers Duarte -- Assigned as Orderly Sgt. for the Command Duty Officer (Senior Engineer);
--Brvt. Pioneer Corp. Norris -- Make a map of the Federal Camp, and work with Capt. Meyers in the skirmish events;

Capt. Meyers was assigned as the Federal Camp Duty Officer, and I assumed the duty of Command Duty Officer during the absence of Col. Or Lt. Col. Burbank.  

Saturday Morning Officer's call was held at the Engineer's Field Office. All Eng. Officers and NCO's set about their assigned duties.  The existing maps of Henshaw Farm were posted and I began work on a map of the Templeton area, as discussed with Lt. Col Burbank.  Morning Muster for the Federal Troops was limited to a drill Program in anticipation of an afternoon Grand Parade following the skirmish.  

Arrangements were made for the Saturday Skirmish, and details discussed for the engineering assignments  

I was again honored to be asked to narrate the morning Drill Assembly to some special guests of the Event Host.

I was very much honored to be asked again to narrate the afternoon skirmish to Spectators, and was further pleased to provide three interviews from local schools and newspapers.

The skirmish was centered on the field just below the barn, with the Confederate pickets and artillery battery extended northward along the field.  The Federal Forces marched northward along the Road and entered the field at the far Northern End.  Opposing Cavalry Scouts skirmished briefly at the opening of the battle, followed by a length exchange of artillery fire in an attempt for each side to break down the other sides artillery carriages, and inflict serious damage on their Corps.  After a very hot battle the Confederate Forces withdrew to the South to screen their encampment with reenforcements from further Federal Advance.  

Following, the Skirmish the Brigade was formed into a Grand Parade, Mail Call was carried out by the Brigade's QM sgt, and the Adjutant.  I was then directed by Col. Burbank to take charge of the unpleasant task of drumming a man found guilty by Drumhead Courts-Martial of theft, and injuring himself by gunshot to avoid further duty with the Brigade.  The soldier was stripped of his uniform coat, weapons, military accoutrements and marched through the paraded Brigade to the slow beat of a drum, and finally dismissed the Brigade with a Dishonorable Discharge.  

Immediately following the Grand Parade, I was asked by Col. Burbank to take charge of an investigation into charges that the Brigade Chief Clerk was providing aid and comfort to the enemy in supplying to them information regarding Federal Troop Movement.  Capt. Meyers, the Officer of the Day, collected and took charge of the prisoner, bring her to the designated area in handcuffs.  I was pleased to appoint the Court officers and immediately set up the court.  With the support of Col. Burbank, and the Reverend both of whom testified for the defendant, I was pleased to determine the Chief Clerk's innocence in this matter, and released her to the responsibility of Col. Burbank while a further investigation of this matter will be undertaken by the Provost Office.

After the Courts-Martial, both the Confederate and Federal Commanders with interested reenactors met to discuss the elements of the battles and reenactments that have been performed in past years, both the good points as well as the points needing improvement.  The suggestion by Col. Periera of the Liberty Greys, that perhaps we should organize some sort of a special event using the combined talents of the Union and Confederate Forces, was enthusiastically embraced and many of those particularly interested in such a plan and area of development signed up for the privilege of participating in that effort.  

1st Lieut. LaFluer's Sketch Notes were delivered to me for his assigned area for the day.  Brvt. Corp. Norris delivered his first mapping effort for the Federal Camp and we discussed in specific terms the various aspects of mapping land forms and how they were portrayed.

I received a letter from President Lincoln temporarily relieving me as the Chief Engineer so that I could assume the position of Event Command Duty Officer for the Brigade.  I immediately assigned Captain Meyers to temp. duty as Chief Engineer, and notified Col. Burbank of the President's letter and my subsequent actions.

The remainder of the Saturday was spent in the discussion of Brigade activities, further ideas for future activities, and the on-going work of establishing an extensive map portfolio for Henshaw Farm as requested by Lt. Col; Burbank.

Sunday Morning, Officer's Call was again held at the Engineering Office, which was followed by the gathering of both Federal and Confederate Senior Officers around the maps of Henshaw Far to work out the day's skirmish plan.  This done, and with the early departure of Capt. Meyers who was detached to the Griswold, CT. area for additional duties related to the area Pontoon Bridge Trains.  The position of Chief Engineer was temporarily transferred to 1st Lt. La Fluer, and the change reported to Col. Burbank.

In the very early afternoon, I was asked to convene another Drumhead Courts-Martial in the case of a Private and a Bugler.  I allowed evidence to be presented from both a Prosecutor and Defender as appointed by myself for that duty, and listened carefully to the evidence presented.  The evidence was marred by the strong appearance of a disagreement among the women of the Brigade at the court site, which, of course, cannot be given any credence whatsoever in this case.  I sentenced the Private to 24 hours "riding the wooden horse", and the same to the Bugler.  I stripped the bugler of his musical warrant, and assigned the private to act as a personal orderly to his officer accuser for three months.  In the escort of the prisoners to the first punishment area the private attempted to escape and was shot dead by the Sgt. of the Prisoner Guard.  The Brigade QM Sgt. has a full report of the Courts-Martial and the final result.

I was further honored to give an interview to four very lovely young local ladies who sought me out to investigate my views on the war and on local military conditions centering on Henshaw Farm.

I was again pleased to be asked to narrate the Sunday Skirmish which I was pleased to do with the assistance of my Orderly Pioneer Sgt. J. Duarte.  I gave 1st Lt. LaFluer's sketchbook notes to Bvt. Corp. Norris and instructed him to work up a map using those sketch notes, and his own sketch notes of the lower battlefield with a special attention to the surrounding forested areas, streams and marsh areas.

The Skirmish was begun by two picket lines of Union and Confederate soldiers stationed at minimum range fro each other.  In the absence of an officer the picket line began trading for coffee and tobacco across the no-man's land.  This effort was discovered by a Federal Officer and broken up by his orders to fire at the Confederates.  This admonition, started the skirmish which continued hotly for nearly an hour which again featured cavalry clashes and an extensive artillery barrage,  Both armies maneuvered on the field, with the Confederates making a couple of very striking and risky maneuvers in changing completely the angle and attitude of their attack.  This hotly contested battle produced a heavy toll in casualties and the doctors persuaded the opposing field commanders to withdraw, while they combined their efforts on the spot in joining the forces of their field hospitals and together tending to the wounded without regard to the color of the uniform.

Both Confederate and Union armies gathered to attend the Event Coordinator's Closing and salute the dedication of the reenactors. Soon thereafter I gave up my Command Duty Officer Assignment and resumed my position in the Brigade as Chief Engineer,  Lt. Col. Burbank was notified of this change.

My views of the event were that I saw and welcomed a very much increased spectator interest in this event, particularly in the area of school interview groups.  In the Federal Camp, we tried several new ideas to enliven the event, as described above, and which made the days both busy and interesting.  My suggestion would be that the different activities arranged during the event in the Federal Camp would perhaps be put into some sort of a planned activity schedule so as to not interfere with pre-planned event activities, and so that the participants could better plan to be in camp as the activities were acted out.  

I am pleased to have been one of many who signed up to help develop some further plan of some event(s) in which extended battle sequences and a better utilization of both officers, NCO's and men to portray the army routine of the 1860's.

The chicken dinner offered by the event organizers was delicious, and even more so consumed in the instance of comradeship with my Brigade Friends.  I am hoping that the arrangements for a Fed. Guard mount at these events can be arranged.  I know the the Fed. Sgt. Major is anxious to do so, but he, of course, must have the assistance of the regimental and company officers, in order to work out that effort to the satisfaction of all concerned.

Finally, I was very pleased and satisfied with the usage of the Chief Engineer and his Staff during the length of this event.  We were used extensively both in a Staff roles and in an Engineering role for the Brigade and in some areas both for the benefit of the Brigade and the Liberty Greys

My thanks also to the Event Coordinators for their efforts to put on this very productive event. I will certainly recommend that the Topog Engrs. shall return next year if this event is again offered.

Very Respectfully;  

Ian McKay, Brevet - Lt. Col.
Chief Engineer
New England Federal Brigade


Boston Seafaring Festival
Charlestown Navy Yard, Charlestown, MA
May 31, 2003

Participating unit: U.S. Naval Landing Party 

Rear Admiral Lee
North Atlantic Blockading Squadron

Esteemed Sir;

I beg your leave to present you with a report of the visit to the Charlestown Navy Yard, as requested.

My orders were to proceed to the Charleston Naval Yard to set up a training course for new Ensigns, Masters and Acting Masters recently taken into the Navy from the Merchant Service.  The training course is well in hand, the instructors are in place, the first course has been run successfully, and I am returning to the squadron by the next available passage.

I was in the Navy Yard at the same time as the Squadron's Naval Landing Party under the Command of Lieutenant Charles Veit, to whom I am pleased and privileged to call your attention.

I arrived at the Charleston Naval Yard at about 8:00 A.M. from Fort Trumbull in New London where I laid over for the evening.  The trip North was passed in sketching the coastline as we passed, and winds were fair for Boston.  I shall have some very nice additions for our Northern Coastal Pilot Portfolio as a result.

After showing my papers and a check of the Captain's Barge, in which I was being conveyed by the yard security personnel, (a recent scare by Confederate infiltrators had raised the yard security to a fever pitch!!!) my Staff and I were admitted to the Yard, and were directed immediately to the Commandant's home, with an attendant carriage to convey our gear and ourselves.  There we set up our tentage on the commandant's lawn as instructed.

I was pleased to set up my tent next to that of Lt. Veit, and we enjoyed a small but steady stream of visitors and spectators throughout the day. This was a demonstration day, essentially, and outside of the "USS Constitution's" marine detachment which did a full military encampment, march out, and fired a cannon, the remainder of the display people devoted their attentions to the artifacts and skills being shared for the purpose with the citizens of Boston.

My task in this effort, winding up my orders here at the Yard, was to make and display maps, models and instrumentation which is used by the squadron to show both the squadron's primary duty of cutting off commerce to and from the Wilmington River and the outside world.  Of additional importance, as you well know, is the service of maintaining up to date charts of the U.S. Coast Line and Marine Navigation hazards near those coastlines.  This material was displayed to it's best advantage with good results.  Lt. Veit's assigned task was to present the Squadron's landing party procedures, weapons, artifacts, together with their level of training to the citizens of Boston-town and the surrounding area in such a way as to relieve their minds of thought of a possible attack from the Confederate Navy.

I am most pleased to report that the LT. and his group performed that task in the most excellent and convincing way.  At about 5:00 P.M. we packed away our gear and tentage and loaded it onto the packet provided for transport back to the squadron.  I returned to Fort Trumbull to clear up some last minute calls upon the Naval Officers who were not previously in the area, as you had requested of me.  I shall continue my progress to Washington City by dispatch boat within the week, and anticipate rejoining the squadron within a fortnight.

Very Respectfully;

Brian McKay, Brevet-Commander, USN;
Flag Captain
North Atlantic Blockading Squadron
Admiral Lee -- Commanding

Pettaquamscutt Historical Society
University of R.I., Kingston, R.I.
June 12, 2003

Participating unit: Topographical Engineers

Lt. Colonel Thadeus Kozicusko
Chief Engineer
West Point Command


I beg your leave to report the  subject presentation made to the Pettaquamscutt Historical Society at the Faculty Center on the campus of the University of Rhode Island in the evening of June 12th. I was pleased to arrive on site early, and was very kindly accommodated by the staff as to tables for my display, and as to placing the coach lose by the entrance to lighten the effort of bringing in two table loads of displays. As the members of the Society arrived, I was introduced to all, and then we sat down to a delicious dinner, that was well catered and served. My presentation was as a Brevet-Major in the Continental Engineers.  The presentation which was about 3/4's of an hour in length was concentrated
upon the following points:

--The career of Major Ryan McKay (at the request of the Presentation Coordinator);

--Some comments about the Mapping Office and the arrangements for a map portfolio for General Washington;

--I handed out several maps to be reviewed by the audience which illustrated the areas that I spoke about, including the beginning campaigns of the Rev War;

--Benedict Arnold and his involvement with mapping (at the request if the Presentation Coordinator);

--A detailed discussion of the Raid on New London with maps to explain the Raid and what happened there as opposed to the legends, and an explanation of the purposes of the English attack;

--Engineering aspects of Field Fortification and Obstruction; 

--The location and construction of artillery batteries, and emplacements;

--Some maps and plans of West Point and the defenses constructed there.

--Finally, a survey and explanation of the display materials which included two bridge models, a model lookout tower, and  a model coastal defense gun emplacement.  Also included were certain elements of instrumentation, a variety of weapons and there purpose / use, a field engineering case, and it's contents, and documents pertaining to my rank and authority to carry out my assigned tasks.

The presentation seemed to be well received.

Very Respectfully
Ryan McKay, Brevet-Major
Mapping Office
West Point Command


Shaw House
New London, CT
June 16, 2003

Participating unit: Topographical Engineers

Lt. Colonel Thaddeus Koziusko
Chief Engineer
West Point Command


I beg your leave to report on the Docent Activity at the Weapons Display at the Shaw House.  As you will be aware, I was asked to act as a Docent for the re-opening of the Shaw House with the completion of a display room and a new Weapons Display / Garden Party.

I set up my table and Field Engineering box in a corner of the display room.  I introduced myself to all who viewed the new display room, and answered questions about the weapons display and other items in the display room,  There were perhaps 100 visitors most of whom stooped to ask questions and share information regarding the displays.

I laid out maps concerning the British Raid on New London, and with several visitors discussed in detail that raid and the aspects of it which are very controversial in nature, including the death f the Commander of Fort Griswold, the burning of New London, and the capture of the merchant ship "Hannah" with the extremely valuable cargo that she carried, much of which belonged to  high ranking British Officers.

The Display Room and it's Weapon's Display received a great deal of attention as well as the approval of those New London and Groton Bank Citizens which attended.

This was a successful effort and brought to the attention of the citizenry of New London and Groton Bank the necessity of gathering and submission of any old maps of the area to be included in the mapping portfolio of the Commander-In-Chief His Excellency General George Washington.

Upon completion of my examination of Forts Griswold and Trumbull, I shall be pleased to return to West Point by the fastest transportation that I can command.

Your Most Devoted and Admiring Servant;

Ryan McKay, Brevet-Major;
Mapping Office
West Point Command

8th Grade History School Talk
North Attleboro Middle School
North Attleboro, Massachusetts
June 17, 2003

Participating unit: US Naval Landing Party

I wanted to include this one-man event in the AARs because it brought to my attention a disturbing trend. My wife teaches English in the room adjacent to the 8th grade history instructor, Ms. Forsgard. Knowing that I do USN living history, she invited me in to give a talk to each of her five classes on the Navy's role in the Civil War. The reason for this was hat she was astounded to see that the only mention of the Navy in that war in their "new and improved" history books was a single line about Monitor & Virginia and a single mention of Farragut at Vicksburg. (The number of major battles cited was also reduced from thirty in their old books to a mere eight in the new edition). Is it any wonder that many of our discussions with adults begin in response to "Was there a Navy in the Civil War?" I have recently run into an even more disturbing claim, uttered in absolutely confident ignorance: "There was no Navy in the Civil War!" I don't know whether this is more ridiculous or sad--or both.

The kids were very well-behaved and for the most part seemed very interested throughout the day. I made sure to bring in as many props as the school would allow and used them liberally. The kids' attention was most focused after learning about what powder monkeys did--and how enemy snipers targeted them. Following this and a rather accurate no-holds-barred description of the effects of shellfire and wooden splinters on human bodies--including powder monkeys--one student complained that "that wasn't fair." Ms Forsgard asked them what she thought she had meant when she had told them that "war was hell." The image of sailors spreading sand or ashes on the deck before a battle dampened their image of the war as all pomp and glittering uniforms, and brought history home to them. Given this was the week before school got out, I doubt if many of the kids expected something quite so serious, but I think a number of them were finally made aware of how real and how meaningful history can be.

Chuck Veit
President, NMLHA
Lieutenant, USNLP

Troy, NY
Masonic Lodge
Troy, New York
June 21-22, 2003

Participating unit: Topographical Engineers, USNLP

Topog Report (from Jim Mathews in his role as a British Observer): 

Field Marshall John Burgoyne
Royal Corps of British Engineers

Most Esteemed Sir;

I most respectfully beg to present you with the requested report for this period of military observance.  The weather was dirty during our trip up the North River to Troy  and had been so for the past week with wind and rain on and off soaking everything, but most importantly filling the rivers toward their flood stages and turning the roads into a quagmire in many cases.

The weather then modified upon my arrival  in Troy, NY in the mid-afternoon of Friday, the 20th ultimo of June.  I was very generously asked to join a Federal Naval Landing Party at the site and was glad to do so.  We set up the tents and equipment, talked briefly with the event organizers, and then I retired to a nearby Inn for a quick supper and a study of the vicinity from a map that I had acquired locally.  From that map and my own efforts I wanted to be able to provide a map to the Federal Commander as required.  As a matter of fact the Federal Commander made no use of my services whatsoever. The weather held off just long enough to get the tents up.

The Event Coordinator however did ask me to narrate the skirmishes on both days, and she was most gracious in her appreciations.  On Saturday, Officer's Call was very late, as the Federal Commander had not yet put in an appearance.  The Confederate Forces commanded by Major Erik Rundberg consisted of elements of the Ninth Cavalry Battalion.  They were heavy in Infantry troops - but light in Artillery.  The Union Forces were light in infantry but boasted of two 12 pdr Napoleon Howitzers.  The Federal forces contained elements of the Sixth Pennsylvania Cavalry.  The forces were thus fairly well balanced.  On the Saturday Skirmish the Confederate Forces attacked Federal foragers in the field in front of the old Masonic Park Building, and eventually pushed the Federal Forces, in spite of the heavy artillery element, back to the Federal Gunline, before darkness overcame the battlefield.  I was treated to an excellent display of the different modes of fighting demonstrated by the two battle groups.  The Confederates appeared to have mastered the usage of "field cover" and that usage had a great advantage for the Confederates in opposing the heavy artillery pieces that they faced.  The Federal Force still clung to the old "Linear Field Tactics", but it was apparent in the Fed Skirmishers that they were learning the lessons of the Confederate Field concealment, and learning it rapidly.  I offer this view, sir, that as you have so often said to me, "War teaches it's own lessons, and only fools fail to learn!!!!"

Saturday Night heralded a gala dance in the nearby Masonic Lodge, and a truce was called while the Ladies in their finery, and delicate winning ways dominated the scene.  My old wound was feeling the weather as so often happens , and I was content to finish a bottle of wine with my new Naval Friends.  The Naval Landing Party was utilized as skirmishers on the field, and as infantry defending the artillery, all to good use.

During Saturday a civilian newsman wandered into the Federal Lines.  I was surprised at his ability to do so, as we have both heard of General Sherman's threat to hang any newsmen found in his camp.  However, there were no pickets assigned and he approached me and politely asked permission to interview me.  I thought it an opportunity to give the "colonials" a good look at some proper military endeavor, and the Landing Party with whom I was involved had acquitted themselves very well in the field.  They would certainly benefit, and I made sure that the young man understood about Gen, Sherman's view of the fourth estate, a feeling with which I have only the utmost respect for.  However, my apprehension were set to rest on Sunday Morning.  Sleep that night was intermittent as the rain showers continued throughout the evening and early morning.

Sunday morning brought a temporary clearing in the weather, and after a tot, and a pot of tea at the Inn. I was again on the field.  I was very pleased to meet another observer from the Canadian Militia.  We had a long and very lively discussion.  His name was Ensign Eric Poncelet of the 6th Fusilier Hochelaga Light Infantry.  Even though an Ensign, Mr. Poncelot was a veritable mine of information and our discussion was both entertaining and informative.  He has indicated an interest in corresponding and we exchanged cards.

Sunday was special day for me as I had the chance to talk privately with President Lincoln, and he provided some very interesting answers to my questions.  You will remember the series of questions provided to me.  I suggested that perhaps he had some view toward action in the South after the completion of the War.  He did say that his re-election and the making of his new Lt. General (this fellow Grant) has given him hope that the Union will prevail.  The forces in Texas, are in fact there for a reason, one which apparently Grant has not been given any information about except that they are to remain.  My impression is that President Lincoln has or will soon notify Napoleon III to leave Mexico, or he will be the next target.  Further, President Lincoln, I believe has an insight into who really wrote Britain's response in the "Trent Affair." The affair itself was of course unfortunate, but with my limited examination of the American Navy's vessels and armament, as well as the spirit of their "tars" ashore, I think that this war has changed the Yankee Navy forever.  It is clear to me that they have had a great deal more to do with the Confederate recent retreats and the dismal situation of the Confederate homeland than they have been given credit for.  At any event, my view is that we will see the withdrawal of French troops from Mexico within the year.

In regard to the "coffee mill gun" I have a feeling that this is a bit of a ruse being played on us.  It is my belief that the "gun which shoots all week", may well be the Henry Rifle, and the other is a wild eyed idea, from a man who is viewed by the Fed. enlisted men as being a fool or criminal or both, out to bilk the U.S.  As you suggested, the capacity of a U.S. non-commissioned officer for a good quality of rum, simply cannot approach that of our NCOs!

The skirmish on Sunday saw the withdrawal of the Confederates under the cover of darkness and the Federal Artillery opened on their position with a heavy barrage of canister.  Following that cannonade the Federal Forces drove the Confederates back into the forest which surrounds the area, suffering a heavy casualty list.  There were not many Confederates killed or captured, but the unit was broken up briefly by their flight into the woods.  It will in all probability be some little time, before they can get together again. The local newspaper was kind enough to print the interview that I took part in and included a picture of myself as well.  I send the newspaper to you together with this dispatch in the diplomatic pouch.

I have all the elements needed for a rough map-set of this event, and I will make a suitable set of drawings while taking the dispatch boat back down the North River (the colonials now call this river the "Hudson") to New York.  From there I will take ship to Bermuda, as previously arranged, and then into Wilmington North Carolina, by blockade runner. One of our Naval Commander is currently commanding a successful "runner" and I shall be pleased to trust my life to him in return for a fast run and a bottle of champagne owed for over five years!!!!  He is an old acquaintance from the Pre-Mutiny days in Calcutta.  I have also received a request from Col. Wattney that it  is desired that I should accompany Lt. Featherstonehaugh R.E. when he goes to Richmond to review / draw the famed "Triple Lines" around Richmond / Petersburg.  I have, as well, received a very kind invitation from Mr. Mallory, the Confederate Naval Chief to visit, if I can get into the Confederacy.  This from Lt. Col. Freemantle who was kind enough to mention my name.

This ends my report of this 23nd Ultimo, June, 1864.

Your Most Active and Appreciative Servant;
Very Respectfully;

Ian McKay, Brevet-Major (RA);
Military Observer to the American Civil War for
Her Most Gracious Britannic Majesty;
Queen Victoria

Fort Nathan Hale Work Party
New Haven, Connecticut
July 9, 2003

Participating unit: Topographical Engineers

0800 A.M.--Picked up 3500 watt power unit from Taylor Rental, Groton , CT .
0830 -- 0915 A.M.--Loaded Van with tools needed for the intended work to be accomplished;
0915 A.M. -- Picked up Sgt. John Proctor;
0915 -- 10:30 A.M. -- Proceeded to Fort Nathan Hale;
10:30 A.M. -- Arrived at Fort Nathan Hale.  Met Capt. Dick Myers there. Bombproof #2 was locked with two locks to which the engineer did not have the keys.  Those locks have been removed and replaced with High Security Locks.  The Work Party was forced to wait 1 1/2 hours, until the Fortkeeper arrived to unlock these locks with his Master Key.  This waste of man-hours involving Work Party People coming from more than 50 miles away is totally unsatisfactory.
10:30A.M. -- 12:30 P.M. -- Purchased some materials at "Goody's Hardware" and picked up the previously ordered three series Security Locks.
12:30 P.M. -- 3:30 P.M. -- Commenced work at Bombproof # 2:

     ••• Work Party Members:

  -- Capt. Myers;
    -- Sgt. Proctor;
    --Jim Mathews.

     •••Second Table missing.  The Fortkeeper indicated that it had been taken by the City Parks Commission to clean and sanitize. Please provide a time for the return of the door.
     •••Began construction of two bunk frames;
     •••Began dismantling the Lower Gun Carriage;
     •••Began filling over head spaces with expanding foam;

3:30 P.M. Ceased work, cleaned tools, repacked the Van.
4:00 P.M. (approx.) closed and locked all entrances to Bombproof #2, exited the Fort, and locked the front gate

Work Completed:

--Completed two 7' by 3' by 3'  (approx.) bunk frames  (Slat holder stripping will be cut and returned by Sgt. Proctor) ;
--Completed Expanded Foam filling the holes in the ceiling of bombproof #2;

--Partially dismantled the Lower Gun Carriage.  Retrieved about 12 long square-headed bolts and twice that number of square nuts and washers, two strips of steel sheathing, and one wheel.  The structure must now be jacked up and blocked in position to further dismantle the Lower Gun Carriage and reach the remaining wheel Lag screws, holding bolts, and hex headed long bolts whose nuts and washers are on the bottom of the carriage.

Respectfully Submitted;

J.L. Mathews
Fort Nathan Hale Engineer

Fort Warren
Boston Harbor, Massachusetts
July 18-20, 2003

Participating unit: Topographical Engineers


I beg your leave to place before you the Engineering Report for the subject reenactment Event.

In accordance with your wishes, I arrived at the Hull Piers at just a few minutes after 12:00 P.M. on the 18th ultimo of July.  Pursuant to your instructions I checked in with my staff, and loaded the Engineering Equipment / Display Material onto the Fort Warren Staff truck under threatening skies.  We departed for George's Island on the next transport vessel, and just about half-way to the island the first rain began to fall.  We endured a heavy summer thunderstorm, unloaded the vessel and proceeded to our assigned quarters in the Fort Casements . Once unloaded we set up the engineering offices and six table engineering instrumentation / Model / Weapon Display area as specifically requested.  The three loaned tables, previously arranged for, arrived in a timely fashion and within two hours the Engineering Office and Display tables were laid out as requested and planned.

My Engineering Staff consisted of:
--Brevet-Captain Richard Meyers, Adjutant;
--Pioneer Sergeant James Duarte , Orderly / Field Supervisor;
--Pioneer Brevet-Corporal Keith Norris, Field Supervisor.

We then completed our arrangements for the Officer's Formal Dinner on Saturday Night  and Sergeant Duarte and I departed the island for the Mainland and the army supply depot.

We returned on the first Saturday Morning Boat with the Officer's Dinner lobsters, and the work party placed them in the pre-arranged Hospital Cooler on ice for that evening.

Officer's Call-------

The Engineer's were assigned to maintain a watch in the Office and over the Engineering Display during visiting hours, and answer any questions of visitors  Further they were assigned to make two formal Presentations on Saturday and one on Sunday.  The Engineering Staff were given their orders and assignments.

The Chief Engineer submitted to the Brigade Commander a proposal to build some defensive obstructions along the undefended beach line.  The proposal was accepted and a message sent off requisitioning supplies for this effort.  An assignment chart was drawn up for the materials, and the names of present Pioneers from the 25th and 22nd Mass Regiments were requested.  Drawings for the proposed defense perimeter have been previously submitted to the Engineering Plan File.

Both Saturday Presentations were given with all Engineering personnel taking part, discussing th various aspects of Civil War Engineering History, instrumentation  and field works.  The presentation s seemed to be well-received by those in attendance.

In the early evening Sgt. Duarte, and Corp. Norris made their arrangements having agreed to serve as Dinner Stewards for the Officer's Formal Dinner.  The officers and Guests will called to dinner.  The guests and officers were seated, and dinner began.  When the meal was almost over the regulation toasts were given, and the National Ensign, Brigade and Brigade Commander were honored together with the Fort , Fort Staff, Ladies present and other toasts. 

The dinner broke up with the departure of the Artillery Officers to prepare for the night firing earlier planned.  The Fort Warren Staff insincere appreciation for their efforts on our behalf were afforded the opportunity to fire the howitzer and were awarded their own "firing pins."

Following and during the night firing there was a stimulated and most enjoyable mingling and discussion between the Fort Warren Staff and the reenactors.  I again departed the island leaving my staff to reside in the office.  On the way back to the mainland, I was again very fortunate to become reacquainted with the Field Archaeologist , Mr. Bill Stokinger, and we had a long Fort Warren -related discussion on the return to the pier.

Sunday morning saw m at the pier to catch the first boat to the island.

Officer's Call--

I relayed the orders of the day to the Engineers. The three engineers were to prepare themselves to take part in the Confederate Memorial to those Confederate Prisoners who died in prison at Fort Warren .  I met with staff to determine the timing and order of departure from the island, together with the time to end the event.  The engineers gave three presentations on Sunday instead of one due to the unscheduled arrival of visitor groups.  The Engineers entertained guests right up until the normal 3:00 P.M. breakdown time, answering questions even during the packing up of equipment and displays. 

The Engineers and Brigade Quartermaster Sgt. shared the last truck sent for our equipment, and we departed Fort Warren and then George's Island with Lt. Col. Burbank and his remaining staff, on the last boat as planned.


-----In discussing the Officer's Dinner with several Company Officers, they all thought the dinner to be a very nice touch and well done.  A particular set of very complimentary comments were reserved for the three meals stewards who did an excellent job.  It was suggested however that a china and glass service for 18 to looked into and the Engineers ill undertake that effort.

-----In discussing the overall event with a number of reenactors, my interpretation was that a good time was had by all, and the Brigade as a whole did a great job in fulfilling our mission of educating the public about the Civil War.

-----In the evaluation of the Engineering Responsibilities, the following suggestions were made: 

     •••Small one-half page handouts should be made available to the visitors, which identify the Brigade and the Engineers, state the mission of the engineers, and on the reverse have a period plan, drawing, photo or map relating to the specific event or event location;

     •••There should be posted with the other displays a Brigade Organizational Chart showing the relationship of the Engineering Unit to the other Brigade units and Staff;

     •••A rearrangement of the Engineering display materials would be undertaken to put the models in a more conspicuous area, and the weapons display in a more secure area;

     •••Models showing aspects of the following areas of Topographical Engineering efforts were needed:

++River Clearance;
++Harbor Clearance and Pier Construction;
++Screw--Pile Light Beacons;
++Field Obstructions;
++ Three Dimensions Maps

These suggestions will be carefully considered by the Engineering Unit for use in future Brigade activities

Very Respectfully Submitted;

Ian McKay, Brevet-Lt. Col.
Chief Engineer;
New England Federal Brigade

Landis Valley Farm Museum Garrison Weekend
Landis Valley , PA
July 19, 2003

Attending unit: USNLP

Held at Landis Valley Farm Museum —a period and partially reconstructed village in eastern Pennsylvania —this was a large and well-attended event (both in numbers of Union reenactors and spectators. The reason for this was explained to me as being due to the weather, which had been rainy for weeks (remember that Gettysburg 140 in this same area was postponed until August), such that everyone was itching to get out to an event. There were no battles, but the town was jam packed with Yankees. I was set up in a large fire barn along with Mike Kochan and his torpedo collection; next door in the telegraph office were Dan Cashin and other members of the Carondelet crew from southeastern PA, where they ran a naval rendezvous.

The torpedo display deserves a paragraph of its own. There is no one on the planet with a larger mobile collection of artifacts (actual and replica) than Mike Kochan. He pulled up 45 minutes before the opening of the event with a van packed to the roof and towing a trailer almost equal in size to the van and loaded even more tightly (maybe 15% of the trailer interior was airspace). The first item out of the trailer was a 400 pound torpedo, which we swung out on a winch and dropped two inches inside on the raised floor of the barn; after this was done, everyone else seemed to suddenly disappear! I learned why when I started helping Mike unpack—and kept doing so for the next forty minutes. He told me that this was not even the whole collection! The single table of artifacts, tools, and weapons I’d brought looked sort of unsubstantial in comparison . . .

A pretty good crowd throughout the day and all very interested. Mike and I had a steady stream until closing time. If you have the chance to take part in this event, I would recommend doing so. It’s easy to set up in a field and say “This is what it looked like,” but almost impossible to weed modern things out of any suburban or city setting; the Landis Valley Farm Museum is one place where this can work. At one point I was leaning against a split rail fence watching some poor infantry drill in the sun and realized there was nothing in the picture to ruin the impression that this might actually be a small glimpse of history. 

Thanks to Dan Cashin for inviting me to attend this one!

Chuck Veit
Lieutenant, USNLP

Nathan Hale Homestead
Coventry, Connecticut
July 29, 2003

Participating unit: Topographical Engineers

Esteemed Sir;

I beg your leave to lay before you the engineer's report for the above event:  

I arrived at the Homestead at 9:00 A.M. on Saturday to find that the place where I was scheduled for my engineering display was not yet open, and did not get opened until 9:45 .  The flag raising and opening of the event to the public being at 10:00 A.M.   I was further informed that I should have set up my display on the previous evening, a fact not imparted to me when I was invited.  

I attended the flag raising as the only British Military representative, and after the flag raising finished the layout of my display.  The display was put on in the middle of a barn, which had been made over into a semi-permanent sutler shop, and the ladies who had charge of the shop apparently neither approved of me, my display, or the selection of my display site, unfortunately.

I attended Officer's Call at 11:00 and the officer's present determined the aspects of the Saturday's Skirmish.  The Major who was the Event Coordinator was very helpful and bent over backward to provide everything that we needed.  After Officer's Call the Major accorded me the opportunity to announce on he speaker system an Engineer's Presentation at 12:00 P.M.

I spent the rest of the day at the display tables, and gave a half hour presentation on the display to about 20 people at the appointed hour.

At 2:30 I addressed the gathering crowd at the Skirmish field, discussing with them the linear field tactics of the day, and the weapons that were on the field.  The Major (Event Coordinator) having arranged to have the loud speaker system moved to the skirmish field for my use in narrating the skirmish.  

I had the privilege to narrate the action on the field between small force of British troops and some provincial rebel troops / rangers as well as a French 3 pdr. gun.  

The battle lasted about 1/2 hour, and ended with a truce and both forces leaving the field.  Following the battle I took a group of spectators down to the artillery piece, and went over the gun's nomenclature, and answered all questions put to me by the visitors.

Following the artillery piece talk, I again took up my station at the engineering display, and was informed at 5:00 P.M. that the barn was to be locked immediately.  Not having even the time to retrieve my personal utensil bag, I spent the remainder of the afternoon in the company of the Pawtuxent Rangers, who were kind enough to offer me their hospitality.  They offered dinner, for which I was much appreciative, and so passed an enjoyable evening, until my transportation arrived, as previously arranged, to take me to my place of rest off site.  

This Event is somewhat unusual in that there is only one skirmish on Saturday.  Sunday is devoted to a Fife and Drum Parade and Concert, which can be most enjoyable.  Again I manned my station at the Engineering Display in the barn, and was warned that the barn would again be locked during the festivities planned as most spectators would be watching the Parade / Concert.

I left the display and took part upon invitation in the Period Fashion Show in which I explained my uniform, weapons, and kit to spectators.  I then settled myself to watch the parade, and concert, in the company of the Pawtuxent Rangers once again.

In the middle of the concert, I was called to the barn, which had been opened again before the Concert, unknown to myself.  My wife arrived and was entertained with some unsuitable comments both to her and about my display.  The comments were not repeated to me upon my arrival, however. Finally, I was told that I had 10 minutes in which to pack up my gear before the barn was locked.  I appealed to the grounds curator who indicated that the barn would remain open until I was finished loading my equipment.

My observations in regard to this event would be that the communications between the Event Commander, the Sutler Staff in the barn and the Curator were poorly coordinated.  The schedule of the event, had no relation to the schedule of the barn opening / closing, nor was such a barn schedule even mentioned to me.  The behavior of the staff to my wife was both unnecessary and objectionable, and the lack of concern for my needs as a presenter was most evident and distressing.

I cannot rate too highly the outstanding hospitality of the Pawtaxent Rangers, and the pleasure enjoyed in their company.

The Major who acted as Event Coordinator was also very cooperative and interested in providing places to camp and set up.  Unfortunately he had nothing to do with the Barn / Sutler Staff, as I was informed quite firmly.  The organization of the site being rather rigid in that respect.

My reaction to this event, is that if invited again to come and narrate the battle, talk about guns, and appear in a period Fashion show, I would be pleased to do so.  However, I will set up my own camp with the British, and if I decide to bring an engineering display, it will be set up with my tent.  I will also be sure to determine ahead of time when I can arrive to setup.. The P=Rangers set up on Friday afternoon, and that would have been the best time to have arrived there.

Since the site is set up both as a historical site, semi-permanent sutlery, and large hand=loom complete with a qualified weaver, and as a HQ for a Fife and Drum Corps, as well as possessing an Artillery battery of three guns, the Nathan Hale Homestead Site, appears to have a rather complicated organization, with some hard and fast rules for outsiders requiring special considerations.  Considering my experience, I would advise that  anyone being invited to attend this annual event, should be cautious in their approach and acceptance of the invitation, and careful to ask about all of the points brought out in my above report.  In short the Event Staff was excellent, but the other staff members appeared to be a somewhat closed organization.

Your Most Humble and Obedient Servant;

Very Respectfully;
Jim Mathews
(aka; Ian McKay, Captain-Lt. 42nd Regiment of Foot, detached for service to His Majesty's Engineers as an Asst. Engineer)

Fort Nathan Hale Work Party
New Haven, Connecticut
August 12, 2003

Participating unit: Topographical Engineers

Working Party Attendance:
--Sgt. of Engineers, John Proctor;
--Orderly Sgt.---- James Duarte;
--Jim Mathews --- Fort Hale Engineer.

0800--Picked up Generator;
0830--Picked up Sgt. Proctor and his hand tools;
0845--Loaded additional tools and supplies at the Engineer's home;
0915--1015 --In transit to Fort Hale ;
1015-- met Ord. Sgt. Duarte at Fort Hale , the day's projects were discussed with the Fort Keeper , opened Bombproof # 2, and unloaded the Generator.
1015-1230--The projects outlined for Tuesday based on the manpower and available tools / supplies were:
    --Work on leveling / cleaning the Gun Platform;
    --Filling the excavation pit in front of the Emplacement wall;
    --Plugging the slot cut into the lower emplacement wall;
    --Fastening battens in the bombproof wall slots;
    --Cleaning up the foam edging in preparation for the plastering / painting of the bombproof ceiling;

The day was very warm and humid.  The Fortkeeper indicated that he had contacted the Parks Dept. several times to remove the rotten wood from the dismantled lower Gun carriage, but they have not completed the job.  He also indicated that the small table involved in the suicide, was taken by the Fire Dept. and turned over to the Health Dept.

Moved the scrap wood from the platform, and used the pickup to haul the heavy wooden center beams off the platform.  Once the platform was clear, the work could begin.

Lifted six deeply recessed platform planks to investigate the platform base.  The platform base consists of  heavy timbers placed directly on the ground, and 3' x 6' planks laid over them and spiked down.  Some period square spikes were used as were some heavy more modern spikes.

Most of the heavy base timbers were rotted completely, which caused the platform planks to sink or become loose.  Most of the platform planks appear to be in good condition, but all of the heavy base timbers will have to be replaced.

Two large pieces of wood from the disassembled lower gun carriage were used to plug the lower opening of the emplacement wall, and the platform was cleaned of all dirt and weed deposits and used this material and some of the smaller pieces of rotted wood to pill the excavation pit.  

1230 -- Lunch Break
0130 --Finished the Platform Cleanup.  The Platform was temporarily repaired in preparation for the Civil War Event.  Next year's work parties will be devoted in part to the replacement of the platform base timbers, retrieving the spikes, painting the planks in good enough shape to reuse, and relaying the platform base and platform planks.

Cut battens and nailed them into the concrete slots, with the nail gun. Excellent results!!  Cleaned the foam residue from the repaired ceiling patches. 

 3:15 -- Cleaned up the area, locked the bombproof, reloaded the tools and generator.  We left the site, and seeing no cars in the parking area or anyone at the store or the office, and the Fortkeeper reported as ill, the main gate, which was still open, was locked.

--Related Comments: stopped at the local East Haven Fire Station to inquire about the "missing table top."  The Incident Investigator there indicated that the East Haven F.D. did not respond, and any questions should be directed to the Main Fire Station downtown in New Haven .  A message has been left on Arlene DiPino's phone to discuss this.  It is intended to be made a point again at the next FNHRP meeting, if a conclusion cannot reached about this matter.

Respectfully submitted;

Jim Mathews
Fort Hale Engineer

Quoketaug Rangers Campground and Firing Range
Stonington , CT
August 22-24, 2003

Participating unit: Topographical Engineers

Esteemed Sir;  

I beg your leave to make an Engineering Report of the subject activity.

I arrived at the campground about 3:00 P.M. on Friday (Aug. 22) after Mr. Bob Floyd was kind enough to open the access gates at my request. There, I met Mr. Welles Fargo, a gentleman who has evidenced a strong interest in CW Field Engineering.  I had previously offered him a position as an Engineering Military Scout, and upon my arrival he confirmed his acceptance of the offer.  He will undertake to scout ahead of the engineers, in their mapping and field sketching efforts under the hire of the Government at the rate of $12.00 per month and found.  

We were shortly joined by Mr. Sid Kinney who had also evidenced an interest in CW Field Engineering.  

Together, we put the Engineering Field Office together, and were immediately joined by Mr. Bob Nucci.  I offered him the hospitality of the Engineering Field Office, and he accepted.  

Following the set-up of the field office, we entertained the arrival of:  

Mr. Harold Page;
who set up his tent nearby.  

As the sun set on this very quiet and peaceful scene, we enjoyed fully each other's company / conversation and the donation of Mr. Page's homemade liquid refreshment until the wee hours of Saturday morning.  

On Saturday, I arrived at about 10:00 A.M. and discussed with Mr. Kinney some of the aspects of the Topographical Engineers, and he wished to join us as a possible Brevet-Corporal of Corps of Engineers on detached duty.  I than asked both Mr. Kinney and Mr. Fargo to undertake a lesson in Map-Sketching of the immediate area, with the intention of producing a map of the QR Campground.  This they both did readily, and submitted to me their efforts for approval.  We discussed some basic mapping symbols, and added some particular items to be on the lookout for in the field-sketching effort, and thus ended the first lesson for these two new members of the Topographical Engineers (Coastal / Riverine Detachment).

I had invited Mr. Dan Ponder to visit the encampment, and he arrived in his usual Mountain Man period dress.  He shared with those present something of his background and experience, as well as a brief review of his weapons and accoutrements.  He also shared some of his catalogs with the members present, and donated some of the books toward recreating a reference library to replace the first one which was accidentally destroyed.  During the course of the day Mr. Ponder made the decision to rejoin, after an extended absence, the QR, a decision which I am extremely pleased to announce.  Dan is an old friend and a treasure trove of experience and information.  

We also entertained Mr. Page's brother and his family for a few hours, discussing, demonstrating and reviewing some of the activities of the QR.  Another couple arrived to discuss possible membership in the club, and I was pleased to answer their questions to the extent that I could, and then Mr. Page and the other shooters were pleased to show them the shooting range and answer their questions regarding the use of the range.  Both the man and his wife indicated that they are avid shooters. They will try to make next Tuesday's meeting.  

Mr. Jerry Ponta and his very able asst. (grandson) arrived and set up to cook a very ambitious and delicious meal for those in camp.  We were most privileged to enjoy heartily a well prepared meal of Roasted Chicken, Fried Potatoes and Camp Beans , with all the fixins';

This was a most enjoyable closing to a very productive day.  We were joined in the late afternoon by Mr. David Duckworth.  Another lively discussion at the Engineer's tent ensued, fueled by the donation of some additional liquid refreshment provided by Messr's Kinney and Fargo.  I retired from the camp at an early hour in order to complete some errands at home, and to get a few extra hours of sleep to offset the shortage of such on Friday evening.

On Sunday Morning I arrived at camp at approx. 7:30 A.M. , undertook to engage Mr. Nucci in conversation and to clean up the tent from the previous evening's activities and tend to some camp chores.  Sunday is the day that we can shoot at the range, and all of the others undertook to take advantage of the firing range.  Mr. Jerry Ponta was on hand with a very nice breakfast for all who wished to take part.  

In the morning hours, I addressed myself to the map sketch material garnered for me on Saturday by Mr. Kinney and Mr. Welles, and produced a rough pencil sketch of the encampment.  I shall provide the field notes, and the pencil sketch to our draughtswoman to put together into a more formal map ,and when completed and approved I will be pleased to distribute the map to all in the Detachment.  

I joined the others at the range and was very interested to look over the various weapons, shooting boxes, and shooing accoutrements in evidence there.  I normally do not shoot at the range, however, Mr. Page was kind enough to offer me a chance to shoot his rifle which he had built himself.  It was a heavy "bull barrel" weapon featuring an under cap-lock assembly.  The weapon had a light trigger touch, and was very accurate in the hands of an expert like Mr. Page.  His skill as an armorer and weapons maker is very impressive. 

At noon-time we enjoyed another delicious meal prepared by Jerry Ponta and Coy. which consisted of fresh fish fillets, corn roasted in it's husk, camp beans, and fresh fruit and garden vegetables with some delicious corn bread and the leftover chicken.

After a leisurely lunch it was time to break down the camp and bring the weekend to a close.  Mr. Page said goodbye followed by Mr. Ponta and Coy. and then Mr. Duckworth.  Messrs. Nucci, Kinney, and Fargo very kindly assisted me in breaking down the Engineering Office and packing it into the wagon.  Mr Fargo was last out of the campground and offered to close and lock both entry gates.  The Event was finished.  

This activity was organized rather quickly and in response to the urging of the QR Membership to make a better use of the QR Campground.  In my estimation the additional use of the campground was very advantageous to all who took part.  Certainly, it provided a chance for the participants to exercise their outdoors craft, and to share many ideas with newcomers as well as old-timers.  It was a very enjoyable weekend, made very special by the efforts of Jerry Ponta and Coy. and their culinary skills.  I would recommend  more encampments of the same, and I would certainly be involved in such with the Engineers, if at all possible.

In closing this report I wish to notify the Topogs of two new engineers:

Mr. Sidney Kinney;
Brevet-Corporal, Corps of Engineers (detached duty as a Field Supervisor);


Mr. Welles Fargo;
Hired Government Scout 

When the above gentlemen provide me with their E-Mail addresses I will provide that information to the list.  

Respectfully Submitted;

Ian McKay, Brevet - Lt. Col.
Board Member
Quoketaug Rangers

Civil War Days
Chatham , NY
August 23-24, 2003

Attending units: USNLP, Society of Europe 

This was a very nice small event, now in its second year. The site was beautiful with a lot of potential for tacticals and the main battle: woods, fields, and a stream. I arrived with Landsman Jonathan Cheney on Friday afternoon to find Medical Mate Andy Danish already setting up camp. We would be joined on the following day by Landsmen Timothy Bingham and Michael Dunn as well as civilian Ginny Pyne. Numbers of reenactors were lower than expected (as this little event was competing with some larger ones in the area), but the hosts pulled off a believable skirmish with thirty Union and twenty Confederates, as well as a single cannon which changed hands in the course of the encounter. Lots of movement and a surprise attack from the rear out of the heavy woods. What was really refreshing was the way the local commanders and hosts discussed the battle—sans egos. The result was a lot of fun and interesting for the spectators.

On the second day we reversed roles, with the gun starting in Rebel hands and the USNLP taking it from the rear. The hosts used a PA system to describe the battle as it progressed, which is a little unusual but served to let everyone know what was going on. Numbers of visitors was not the largest I’ve ever seen, but we had a steady and very interested stream of people through our camp. All in all, an enjoyable and good event!

Chuck Veit
Lieutenant, USNLP

Museum Village
Monroe, New York
August 29-31, 2003

Participating unit: Topographical Engineers


I beg your leave to lay before you the Engineer's After Acton Report for the subject action.

The Engineering Officer arrived on station with the Engineering Field Office at 1:00 P.M. on Friday, Aug 29th, 1863 .  The designated area at Federal Headquarters was found and the office quickly set up. General Grant arrived shortly thereafter with his personal staff.  When the camp setup was completed, General Grant and his Chief Engineer, spoke at length about some newspaper requests for biographical articles which the engineering office then undertook to write out and submit as requested with the General's approval.

Evening saw the arrival of a special pair of guests, Lt. General Robert E. Lee and his lovely lady, with a member of Lt. General Grant's personal staff (Private B. Torre) stopped by for a chat and a glass of wine. The stimulating conversation was enjoyed by all until taps was sounded.  Later the Chief Engineer departed camp for his evening supper and quarters, as assigned in the nearby town of Monroe, NY.

Saturday Morning, Aug 30 1863 :

Arrived in camp at 8:00 A.M. after a breakfast at quarters.  Dressed for Officers call at 8:30 A.M.   Grand Parade was scheduled for 11:00 A.M. to be followed by Artillery and Music demonstrations on the battlefield. The Skirmish was scheduled for 2:00 P.M. with a evening candle - light tour of the camps was planned , as well as an Evening Courts-Martial.

The Chief Engineer (Gen. Grant's and the Army of the Hudson Military Staff) submitted to Brig. - General Dalenski, Commander of the Army of the Hudson and Lt. General Grant a message requesting the approval of the Brigade Commander to go to a "Local Forage" mode for engineering supplies, construction materials and tools.  The permit allows the appropriate authority to commandeer tools, equipment, materials from the surrounding countryside until the Hudson River Bridge is reestablished.

The Engineering office also submitted a Specific engineering supply requisition for tools and equipment to Brig. General Dalienski for his approval A Telegraphic Message was sent to the Office for Surveys and Maps, H.Q. identifying the requisition and letter number of these actions.

Private B. Torre of Gen. Grant's Staff was seconded to the Chief Engineer as an Orderly, and spent two days in writing and re-writing the Engineering Requisitions, Telegraph message, and completing the Orderly book entries from which this report is made.  Private Torre, is a diligent and hard worker who is self-motivated, and who is dedicated to completing tasks as assigned.  The Chief Engineer  has written to Gen. Grant a message of appreciation for Private Torre's services, and have offered the private a Brevet-Corporalcy as my Staff Orderly.  General Grant has approved this offer, and Private Torre has accepted the position.  The Engineers will mail the new Brevet-Corporal his NCO Warrant as soon as possible.

The Chief Engineer was asked to narrate both the Grand Parade for a number of spectators that gathered to watch, and later in the day to narrate the skirmish to about 400-500 spectators.  The Federal Troops held the high ground with the field artillery pieces, and a trading session between Federal and Confederate Pickets was broken up by a field officer on horseback, which began the skirmish. The federal troops pressed in close on the Confederates, and with a modified pincer movement and overwhelming numbers forced the Confederates to a parley. Both armies marched off the field to the cheers of the spectators for their favorite group.

The Chief Engineer was also asked to act as the Courts-Martial Chairman in an evening farcical Courts-Martial of General Custer.  The play went off very well and the attendees were treated to some very long and enjoyable laughs and entertainment.

After the Courts-Martial, the Lee's, Grant, Torre, and the Chief Engineer, attended the cotillion and then returned to camp for a pleasant evening of wine and discussion under General Grant's fly.

Sunday morning came early and the Chief Engineer was again on station at 8:00 A.M.   A good portion of the day was spent with spectators explaining the display of sidearms and instrumentation used by the engineers of the period.  Many people were particularly interested in the procedure for attaining a position on the earth's surface by celestial navigation.  It may be advisable to construct a simplified model showing a set of pictures for the procedure.

Sunday afternoon, saw the Confederates with the artillery on the high ground and Federal skirmishers in the Lower field.  The Confederate Main Force marched onto the field after a thorough artillery bombardment of the Federal Positions, and undertook first the defense of the artillery, and when joined by additional forces carried the fight to the enemy with musket and bayonet.  Some good shooting by the Confederate Artillery crippled the Federal lines significantly and the Confederate Cavalry was used to it's fullest advantage for scouting, courier duty, and in the attacking mode.  The Confederate's with their smaller numbers but interesting field tactics forced the Federal Forces to a withdrawal under truce.  The two armies faced each other and each honoring the other again marched off the field with field music playing and flags flying to the cheering of the crowds who stayed to show their appreciation for the show.

Breakdown of the camp followed soon after proceeded by some further presentation and explanation of the sidearms and instrumentation display. The 7th New Jersey Infantry Field Hospital was very busy all through the week end, demonstrating their skills both as battle field aid stations and as an all-service field hospital.

The weekend at Museum Village enjoyed excellent weather on Sunday with some light rain on Friday Evening and Saturday P.M.  It was an enjoyable event, and if asked to attend next year will be pleased to attend, with any other engineers who wish to join the event.

Respectfully Submitted;

Ian McKay, Brevet -- Lt. Col.

Chief Engineer (Gen Grant's and Army of the Hudson Military Staff)
Office for Surveys and Maps
HQ, Army of the Potomac
U.S. Corps of Topographical Engineers


Battle of Rhode Island
Portsmouth, Rhode Island
August 30-31, 2003

Participating unit: HMS Richmond (with Speedwell crew), HM 2d Marines, C. Veit

Doug Chase's HM 2d Marines report:

His Majesty's Marines joined the encampment and on Friday evening.  Our total detachment strength numbered 15: including myself, 8 muskets, an ensign, and followers.

A solidly run event, I'd say.  Hats off to Roy Najecki, the BAR, and the Brigade.  Placing water at the top of hill just prior to entering the battlefield on Saturday was literally a lifesaver. 

Saturday's battle was a bit too long.  With little room to maneuver,  my marines and most of the County Brigade was placed directly in front of two rebel guns and a slew of  their muskets.  The scenario called for three charges unto the rebel lines.  Because of the incessant pounding from rebel artillery, following the scenario became rather ridiculous.  My men would have been killed within seconds of entering the field, but we held our losses until mid-battle, suffering 100% enlisted casualties. 

Saturday's soiree was notable pleasant.  A few ales, a few songs, a few more ales, and a blissful sleep under a cool, breezy sky.

I enjoyed both of Sunday's battles.   Hats off to my marines for capturing 5 rebels during the tactical (I wasn't commanding them at the time... I played privateman for the tactical and loved every minute of it).  The setting for the tactical was a beautiful woodland, and the rebels were nicely handled with the help of our British lights under the command of Maj O'Shaunessy and two very maneuverable artillery pieces.

Although similar in length as Saturday's, Sunday afternoon's battle was less linear and I didn't have two cannons up my butt.  All-in-all, a damned good time.

Per Mare, Per Terram!
Doug Chase, Lt, HM 2nd Marines


Chuck Veit's report:

Being as yet unfamiliar with RevWar events, I can't say whether this was a typical one or not. It was my first as a Continental Navy reenactor and I was very much impressed. The event was held at Glen Park off Route 138 in Portsmouth , RI --part of the actual field of the 1778 battle--under initially lousy conditions of 100% humidity and attendant heat. I arrived on-site about 7:30a.m. , found one of the coordinators (Roy Najecki), and found my site. When I'd first approached Roy about taking part as a Navy Lieutenant, I was told that they do things differently in RevWar than we do in later periods. If I wanted to appear as an officer, I had to bring at least 15 enlisted men with me. Roy relented when I told him all I wanted to do was talk to people, not assume any command position or even take part in the battle. I did have to send him a photo of my uniform, but that passed muster and he agreed to let me attend. The site he put me in was perfect, as everyone had to pass by to see the battle and most stopped to listen and ask questions.

The battle itself lasted much longer than do the ones we reenact in Civil War. Starting just after 1pm it was almost 2:30 when it finished up. I was told by members of the Speedwell / Richmond crew (whom I had the chance to finally meet) that Sunday's battle would be even longer and "you don't take early hits in RevWar." I missed Doug Chase and his British Marines, but hope to meet them in future at another event.

I could not get an accurate count of participants, but the event website listed about 600 soldiers and 300 camp followers/civilians. The camps seemed to stretch quite a ways, that of the English being especially impressive as it was situated in an open field; the colonial camp was broken into three segments in separate fields. I could believe the actual numbers might have been even higher.

Chuck Veit
Lieutenant, Continental Navy 

Fort Nathan Hale Work Party
New Haven, Connecticut
August ??, 2003

Participating unit: Topographical Engineers

0800 A.M. -- Picked up 3500 watt Power Unit from Taylor Rental, Groton, CT,

0830 - 0900 -- loaded last minute tool items for planned work at the site.

0900 -- Sgt. Proctor and 1st. Lt. La Fluer joined me and we proceeded to Fort Hale .

1000 -- Arrived at Fort Hale , Opened the bombproof #2 and commenced work immediately on completing the dismantling of the Lower Gun Carriage.

  ••• Work Party Members:

     --1st Lt. Wayne La Fluer;
     --Sgt. Proctor;
     --Jim Mathews.

  ••• Commenced Work on Lower Gun Carriage Dismantling.  Extracted from the Lower Gun Carriage all iron work, plates, bolts, nuts, washers, lag screws, and Carriage wheels (four).  The iron stripping from the carriage and platform was also removed and saved for future measurements.This material was taken to my home for refurbishment , storage and cataloguing.  Most of this material with the exception of the large wheels were so corroded that the material will have to be replaced.  I will check for availability of square head bolts and nuts in the local hardware stores and if available get an estimate on price and availability.

1300 ( 1:00 P.M. ) -- Lunch.

  ••• The Lower Gun Carriage is now completely dismantled and the pieces cut up as necessary for easy transportation.  The Fort's Chain Saw was offered for this purpose by the Fortkeeper, his assistance in this aspect, being much appreciated.  The Fortkeeper has indicated that he will take care of cleaning up the site, so that the Engineers can turn their attention to the Carriage Platform.
    ••• Shaved the bombproof shutter door edges  for a smoother fit;
    ••• Completed the two bunks.  The furniture in the bombproof now consists of a large table, two benches, two bunks, a storage chest and some shelving.  The Parks Dept. has taken a smaller table top for sanitizing.  It is requested to know when it will be returned and in whose keeping it now rests.
    ••• Provided a key to the Fortkeeper for the new Security Locks.

1630 ( 4:30 P.M. ) -- Locked the bombproof and left Fort Hale .

--Remaining approved Engineering Group Projects at Fort Hale :

     ••• New Lower Gun Carriage design and construction;
    ••• Gun Platform dismantling;
    ••• New Gun Platform design and construction;
    ••• Construction of four new Bunks;
    ••• Design and construction of a Floor in the bombproof #2.
    ••• Design and construction of a "Gunnade" Garrison Carriage;
    ••• Design and construction of a Step and Partial Flooring in the North entrance of bombproof #2 to match the Southern entrance step and flooring;
    ••• Replace Wooden Siding / Battens in bombproof #2 in the North and South entrance passages;
    ••• Replace Door Frames in the Northern and Southern inner doors entrances;
      ••• Repair Southern Door Lower Hinge Pin;
    ••• Complete Shelving Project in bombproof #2;
    ••• Complete Overhead Repairs in bombproof #2;
    ••• Clear bombproof #2' Chimney and design and construct a Cap for it;
    ••• Repair and paint Upper Gun Carriage;
     ••• Design and construct a Stove Base for bombproof #2;
    ••• When the chimney is cleared and cap installed, Install the Stove;
    ••• Annual painting of bridge, gun platform, gun carriages, and wooden furniture;
    ••• Installation of steel "Scab" Plates on the bridge when received;

Respectfully Submitted;

Jim Mathews
Fort Hale Engineer

Fort Nathan Hale
New Haven, CT
September 13/14, 2003

Participating unit: Topographical Engineers


I beg to submit the following report of the event at Fort Nathan Hale on this past weekend.  Fort Nathan Hale is located on the Eastern Shore of the harbor at New Haven , CT.   The fortification was constructed in 1863 as a major defense work for the protection of New Haven Harbor .  The tort consists of five bombproofs (concrete) laid over with earth and logs.  There is a moat, parapet, and seven gun positions to defend against ships entering the harbor.  There are two gun positions for the landward defense of the fortification, and a reconstructed withdrawing bridge over the moat.  One of the gun platforms has been restored, with a small gun carriage and a fiberglass 30 pounder Parrot Rifle on display.

I arrived at the fort at noon on Thursday and there met my Orderly Sergeant James Duarte.  Together we unloaded the wagons and set up the Engineering Headquarters inside and beside Bombproof #2.  We set up an engineering model display next to the office.

We were joined that afternoon by Captain Norbert Riecke and the 9th Mass Artillery with two guns, an iron 9 pounder Parrott Rifle and a brass howitzer.  On Saturday Morning we were joined by the 79th New York Volunteer Infantry (Cameron Highlanders), and the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron's Naval Landing Party.  Messrs Silocka, and Littlefield together with their lovely wives joined us on Saturday, as well.  The gentlemen regaled us with their political desires and promises throughout the day, while their lovely wives circulated around the garrison brightening the day for all who were fortunate enough to be in contact with them.

Sweet cakes were provided by the Friends of Fort Hale on both Saturday and Sunday.  These are civilians who are interested in working at the fort planting flowers and acting as docents for the fort.

Captain Riecke and the 9th Mass Bugler, took charge of the flag raising ceremony at the flag court, and thereafter began the planned program. The 9th Mass Artillery exercised the two guns vigorously, followed by the 79th's field drill, and musket firing demos.  Lunch was called for and the civilians undertook a picnic on one of the earthen artillery platforms.  During lunch the two city officials campaigned among the troops for their support in a coming municipal election.

After lunch a parade was called to alert the men of the garrison to some local concerns, when the air was suddenly split apart with a heavy blast, and the heavy smoke of a gunpowder explosion rolled over the fort.  The Magazine had exploded!!!!  In the rush to organize some sort of order, the troops were fired upon by three Confederate saboteurs, from behind the Magazine entrance barrier.  A brisk skirmish followed, and finally the Confederates were overwhelmed both by superior numbers and a scarcity of ammunition in the Rebel ranks.  All three Confederates were wounded, and while being brought forward, the youngest member made a break for his freedom and was shot down.

The two remaining Confederates were brought to the Commander of the Fort, who allowed the wounded Rebels to appeal to the garrison and visitors in support of the Confederate cause, under the belief that perhaps the Confederates would see the error of their ways.  The city visitors to the fort were not moved, and  the Confederates were still unrepentant, and so were jailed in Bombproof #1.  The two politicians appealed to them through the bars of the prison, but to no avail.

In the afternoon the artillery and infantry again demonstrated their skills and the sound of musket and cannon fire again reverberated over the fort.

Saturday also saw the inclusion of Mrs. Danforth a draughtswoman for the Topogs and her husband in our company.  Mr. Danforth  is a Brevet -- 2nd Lt. of Topographical Engineers, who has been detached from active service while completing his education.  Also Captain Myers joined the Topogs for the Day.  It was he who took charge of the Confederate Prisoners at the skirmish.

On Saturday evening an issuance of chicken and vegetables was made to the garrison for the evening meal.  The 79th and the Topogs enjoy an outstanding meal prepared for us by the talented Arty. cook, Corporal John.  The 79th hired their meal out to some residents of the city and enjoyed also a well cooked meal. 

Orderly Sergeant Duarte , at my order, distributed the promised two pounds of gunpowder to each unit in appreciation for their attendance at the event.  I was very pleased to receive a $25.00 donation from the 79th Infantry, and a $15.00 donation from the Naval Landing Party, both to the Fort Nathan Hale Restoration Project.  On behalf of the Project Committee, my thanks for your generosity!!!!!!!

The planned evening fort tour did not take place because of the rain that evening, but the 9th Mass. Artillery  did manage to get their guns into action again in the evening.

Sunday morning saw Lt. Turch of the 79th and the 9th Mass bugler take charge of the flag ceremony.  The program for the day was similar to Saturday but without the politicoes and their ladies.  The Naval Landing Party Commander was called away by other commitments.  Many people, on Sunday,  asked after the Naval Display, as the efforts of the Naval Contingent were much appreciated by virtually every visitor to Fort Nathan Hale on Saturday.  The skirmish was again done with similar design and results except that the explosion was much louder than on Saturday.  A final Artillery practice was worked through and then all too soon it was time to break camp.

The Event seemed to be a success in the eyes of both  the spectators, and participants.  It was a real pleasure to work with the 9th Mass. Artillery, the Naval Landing Party, and the 79th Infantry.  Every part of the planned program went off on time, and with no problems brought to my attention regarding the event.  The skirmishes on Saturday and Sunday were fast-paced, meaningful, and had the participation of every reenactor.

I beg your leave to bring to your attention the following personnel for their particular part in the event:

My specific thanks go to the officers of the 79th who carried out the infantry program fully and completely.  Captain Rieke was the Artillery Commander and Safety Officer for the weekend and was of great assistance in organizing the elements of the event.  The Artillery under his direction was excellent in every instance of their involvement.  Lt. Veit was outstanding in his enrichment of the public in Naval Lore, and of special mention is my Orderly Sgt. James Duarte who seemed to be everywhere with his quiet competence, helping to tie up loose ends, and taking up the slack where needed.

Of the three Confederates who came from the 79th and the Topogs, (79th Sgt. / Topog Brevt Corp. of Pioneers Norris, and Orderly Sgt. James

Duarte ) a special mention must be made.  Their eagerness and zeal expressed as Confederates during the skirmishes, and their work as Federals the rest of the time, indicates their great reserves of ability to meet any new situation and carry it off well. 

To all others, who responded to my request to join us, my thanks for their efforts, and for their patience with me, and my inexperience as an event coordinator.  To all must be awarded the traditional "Well Done!!!!" -- for their excellent efforts.

Respectfully Submitted;

Ian McKay -- Brevet - Lt. Col.
Corps of Topographical Engineers
Chief Engineer
New England
Federal Brigade

Oak Grove Farm
Millis, MA
September 19-21, 2003

Participating unit: Topographical Engineers

Esteemed Sirs;

I beg your leave and indulgence to lay before you my Engineering Report for the above subject Event.

I arrived on site at approximately noon on the 19th ultimo, and checked in with registration.  I was most flattered to find that Lt. General Grant had left word that I was to set my tent next to his.  Gen. Grant was present not to take command , but rather as an observer.

I immediately proceeded to my determined place in the Federal Staff Line, and set up the Field Engineering Office.  I was shortly therein joined by General Grant whom I was pleased to invite him to share the office with me.  The General accepted my invitation, and we enjoyed many hours of discussion over the weekend.  I was joined also by 1st Lt. Wayne LaFluer, Senior Field Engineer, and Brevet Corporal, Norris of the 50th NY Engineers on detached duty as a Pioneer NCO to the Federal Engineering Staff.

I was asked by the Adjutant to assume the role of assigning incoming units to their places in accordance with the excellent camp layout diagram developed by the Event Staff, which I was pleased to do..

That evening I was again very pleased to renew my acquaintance with Brigade Signals and Brigade Ordnance Officers.  The Brigade Signals Officer (Captain Whitney) brought a telegraph key and sounder assy. that he had built for use in the earlier proposed telegraph system, and demonstrated it for us.  I was very impressed with the detail and operation of the device, and hastened to make a diagram and drawing of the model presented.  We discussed the various aspects of the task ahead of us, and each agreed to develop a two key set of these units with a carrying case.  We contacted the 32nd Hospital, whose Mr. Dunne agreed that he would look for some Military Field Wire to use with the telegraph keys. We sealed our agreement with a glass of wine and carried on to a very enjoyable evening. General Grant had chosen to make the Engineering Office his place of relaxation during the day, and he was most welcome.  The General, his daughter, and the Brigade Artillery Officer (Lt. Col. Myette) and his Artillery Aide, Capt Riecke joined my wife and I for a most enjoyable and delicious supper.

I departed the camp for my assigned sleeping quarters just outside of the town, and returned early the next morning.  Officer's Call was in the Oak Grove Farmhouse at 8:30 A. M.  The Commanding Officer was recovering from an illness and the Acting Commander, Lt. Col. Matt Burbank was recovering from a wound in the arm  He underwent surgery on Friday, but joined us briefly in camp that night and was back in command on Saturday Morning.

The Event Organizers had drawn up a set of plans for the skirmish on Saturday, and Lt. Col. Burbank instructed me to take a copy of these plans, and make from the several page booklet a single sheet plan for Oak Grove Farm.  Also Col. Burbank requested of me to have ready for Officer's Call an expanded view of Snodgrass Hill, a diagram of my proposed fortification plan, and an expanded plan of the proposed battle field.  In response to this request I drew up two tinted rough sketches of the plans requested.  These sketches will later be turned in the more formal maps of the Oak Grove Map Portfolio.

After Officer's Call the Federal  Commander asked me to draw up a

general camp plan to be used in future events / camps   I asked

permission to undertake to map the Southern Side of Oak Grove Farm which I did not have available in the map Cartouche Case for this Event.  Lt. Col. Burbank agreed to my request.

I was requested to narrate to our visitors the details of the Grand Parade, and this I was most pleased to do.

The Event Organizers had located large number of poles, small logs and limbs, for the requested fortification.  The Pioneers were called out to construct a Fortification on top of "Snodgrass Hill"  At 1030, just after Grand Parade I met the pioneers on Snodgrass Hill and with the Artillery Officers determined the the placement of the artillery emplacements, just to the West of the hill and the extent of the Fortifications.  With that done the Pioneers, using nearly all of the Fortifications Material contructed a low fence wall, with an elevated shield front at the center of the Fort, with arms which curved around on each flank to protect the troops from possible Confederate enfilading fire.  In accordance with the rules of the Brigade any soldier who builds a fortification / structure under my authorization, may (with his Unit Commander's agreement) wear the crossed axes of the Pioneer.  I was pleased to make that announcement to the soldiers who raised the fortification.

After the fortifications construction, I went back into the field with my Senior Field Engineer and a springboard wagon, to map in detail the Southern side of the farm.  The very rough sketches and notes have been

provided to the Mapping Office at the Potomac Army HQ.            

I was asked to narrate the battle plan to any interested spectators who might wish to discuss such.  I was on the battlefield early in the afternoon.  The Federal Scouts had located the Confederates at two fortified strong points in the Southern Woods and the Brigade Commander marched the troops from the Federal campground over the Northern Trail, the length of the battleground and sent the two wings of the brigade against the Confederate strong points.  The gun-fire was strong when the two groups clashed and the right wing was heavily engaged.  The Right wing withdrew, under the protection of the Dismounted Cavalry rearguard, and disengaged.  The Left wing was also thrown back onto the battlefield.  The Federal Brigade was driven the length of the battlefield by the Confederate Forces.  The Confederate Mountain Gun pursued the Federal troops in their hurried passage to the North with repeated rounds of canister.  The Federal right wing occupied the fortification and the Left wing reformed behind Snadgrass Hill as the reserve,  As soon as the Federal troops were clear, the two Federal batteries began to pound the Confederate troops in the field.  The Confederates attempted two flank attacks to capture the Federal guns and put the Fortifications under a flank attack but were beaten off.  The Federal troops advanced out of the fortifications to drive the Confederates away, but too many men had been lost.  Finally both sides, exhausted from the heavy fighting agreed upon a Truce to see to the wounded on the field and withdrew, the Federal back to the fortifications and the Confederates to the Center of the battlefield. The Field Aid Station Medical Staff took over the field, and both Brigades sought their own camps.

I had been asked to conduct an evening tour of the Federal Camp at 8:30 P.M. and met the visitors in front of the farmhouse.  After a brief introduction, I took the approximately 75 --100 people through the camp to the various stations set up during the day:

--25tth Mass Infantry Campfire Music Session;  

--Artillery Camp;

-- U.S. Sanitary Commission;

--Brigade Quartermaster's Office;

--A Lighted Company Street ;

--And the Command Staff Line.

The evening ended with some further light discussion in the Engineering Field Office , and then once again off to my quarters.

Sunday Morning, found me finishing the rough maps and sketches that had been requested of the Engineers.  At 2:00 P.M. I was again on the battlefield to narrate the battle to the spectators.

The Federals moved South down the Battlefield looking for the Confederate Troops where they had gone the day before, and found them at the Southern end of the field.  The Confederates moved ahead and pressed hard, exerting a strong  pressure on the federal Line, while at the same time punishing the Feds with a heavy cannonading fire of canister.  The federal guns opened at long range with shell in response, seeking to slow the Confederate advance..  The Confederates again drove the Federals back to the Fortification on Snodgrass Hill, and then slowed as the federal Artillery shifted from shell to the shorter range canister. Again the Confederates were in the open, fighting without the protection of a fortification -- bravely for all that, but at a severe disadvantage..  They again tried flanking movements, but were not fully successful, and finally once again the Confederates withdrew from the heavy force of federal Artillery. The battle was over.

At 4:00 P.M. the Federal bugler whom we had enjoyed so much throughout the weekend, finally blew the signal to "Pack Up" the camp and the wagons and vehicles surged into the campground.  One and one half hours later, the Federal Camp was virtually empty.

The Event , I must say was an excellent one.  The Event Organizers bent over backward to accommodate those recommendations that could be included, and the event was about as full of activities as I could ever remember.  I must bring to your attention the Brigade Sgt. Major.  He kept a guard mount going during the day for both days, and the effort looked very sharp.  I am given to understand that the Brigade was vigorously exercised at Brigade Drill by Major Kenworthy, the Brigade's Drillmaster.  I was also pleased to meet the newly appointed Brigade Quartermaster, Lt. Certusi.  On the basis of this year's event at Oak Grove Farm, I would be pleased to recommend it to any serious CW Unit, and will if invited next year, certainly endeavor to attend.

Your Obedient Servant;


Ian McKay, Brevet - Lt. Col.
Chief Engineer
New England
Federal Brigade
U.S. Corps of Topographical Engineers  

Indiana Civil War Days
Hartford City, IN
October 10-12, 2003

Participating unit: U.S. Naval Landing Party

October 10, 11 and 12 was Civil War Days at Hartford City, Indiana.  We arrived to set up around 7 AM on the 11th.  "We" was myself, portraying Lieutenant Commander George Brown (Hoosier Navy officer), my son Justin (age 13) portraying an enlisted sailor, and my 9-year old daughter Laurel portraying our camp domestic.  The first thing we did was get kicked out of our camping spot by the Colonel, who was saving it for infantry (usual treatment of the Navy at the hands of the Army).  We ended up on the hill next to the Padre's tent.  Setup went smoothly and we soon had everything ship-shape - lines tight and canvas taught.  The weather was a little warm, but not oppressive.  The Padre supplied us with paper from the 1850s he culled from old county record books.  Laurel wrote a letter to her mother on one sheet using a quill pen.

We spent the rest of the morning touring the camp and finding out where the food was.  A nearby artillery unit allowed all three of us to try out some rifles.  Justin and I fired Sharps and Henry rifles, and Laurel fired a Smith carbine (with plenty of supervision).  We actually became part of their demonstration for the public.  There was also a Gatling gun in with the artillery (prepared as a surprise for rebel cavalry).  After lunch we prepared for the afternoon's battle.  There were nearly 300 military involved, and our small Navy contingent attached to an infantry company.  Justin used his non-firing Colt revolving rifle and pistol, and we were usually in the rear or on the right flank.  Our companies were held in reserve until we dashed across the field to flank a battery of rebel artillery (including 3 mortars).  The Union carried the day.

After the battle I visited the neighboring cemetery at the urging of some of the 30th Indiana's soldiers (the unit we reenact with).  In the Civil War part of the cemetery was a 100 lb Parrot rifle mounted on a stone monument.  A real piece of Navy artillery, here in Indiana!  Justin and I got frequent comments from military and visitors that we were the first Navy representatives they had ever seen, and many Navy veterans were glad to see us.  At dinner (provided by the sponsors) we met some Confederate Marines, the first I'd ever seen.  Laurel loved the sidesaddle demonstrations after dinner.  The night was windy, but not rainy.

Morning came early and cool.  The Padre provided us with cold chicken and vegetables for breakfast.  There was a tactical right after breakfast.  The Colonel requested that we not go with the infantry, but had a special assignment for the Navy.  With a dismounted cavalry soldier, we scouted ahead of the infantry column, reporting on rebel skirmishers and driving some from their positions.  After holding a hill against a superior force, we were forced to retreat, but were soon joined by an artillery group with an field piece.  I managed to "borrow" some artillery soldiers, and about 6 of us scouted the left flank, uncovering a company of rebel soldiers attempting to turn the left flank and capture our artillery.  My pistol was empty, and an artillery Lieutenant allowed me to borrow his Colt Army.  We held the left flank until a column of infantry arrived to secure the flank.  We then attempted to reinforce a weak spot in our lines where a path through the woods was cut by a split-rail fence.  We managed to drive the rebels from the fence with the help of some cavalry, and held the fence.  We were at the flank of the main rebel force, but were so low on men and ammunition that we couldn't press our advantage (our dismounted cavalry started with 60 cartridges and used them all up).  The rebels tried several times to take our artillery, but failed.  When the tactical was over, the Union had held all positions and was victorious again.  The Navy received the thanks of the commanding Colonel for timely and effective scouting and protection of the left flank.  Many of us then headed for the Padre's service.
We were robbed by the sutlers (on a Sunday, yet!), and I actually found pistol caps (I used almost all mine up).  At the afternoon battle (scheduled to be a Confederate victory) the Navy, along with the cavalry and some artillery soldiers, were assigned to hold the artillery's right flank against an expected rebel cavalry attack.  I was in command of this group, and several of our soldiers had repeaters and breechloaders, making my job easier.  Our single mounted cavalry kept the pressure up, and the rebel cavalry charge never materialized.  Our position was finally overrun from the artillery's center and the left flank (behind us).  The rebels won, but it wasn't pretty.  The battles were observed by several hundred visitors each day.
After the parade we packed up, looking forward to next year and upholding the honor of the Navy.
I Am, Very Respectfully, Your Obedient Servant,
Bob Dispenza

Fort Pocahontas Survey
Near Williamsburg, VA
November 2,

Participating unit: Topographical Engineers

Captain Erickson
Acting Commandant;
U.S. Corps of Topographical Engineers


I place before you my report and survey of the above subject fortification.

On Sunday, the second ultimo of November, I set out on my search. The information received from Mr. Rob James, an Engineer of my acquaintance (1st Battalion Staff -- 1st N.Y. Volunteer Engineers) had piqued my interest, and this was my first opportunity to find and map the fort if possible.

I had asked several people in the general area of Williamsburg, where I was staying, if anyone knew of the fort, and all I got was blank looks. Finally, I determined to visit Cold Harbor where there is a National Park Ranger Historian on duty. On my arrival and explanation, he too became interested in the puzzle, and finally ferreted out some information about the fort, and a very small map showing it's relative position on the Northern shore of the James River. The relative position of the fort was marked on this very small map as just downriver from the Shirley and Beverly Plantations. I rented a small buggy in the little town of Charles City, and set off down present day Rte 5 to the Shirley Plantation at the suggestion of the Ranger at Cold Harbor, who said that he was sure the plantation people would know of the area. Unfortunately no one at either plantation knew anything about the fort, or anything about their neighbors to the South and East along the river.

Having exhausted my last lead, I moved on down Rte 5 toward my lodgings at Williamsburg. I came upon four typical Virginia Historical signs, one of which described Fort Pocahontas which was built on a bluff just above the river, approximately 1 1/2 miles south of that location. There was a small crossroad about 100 yards to the West of the sign, and so I turned around and soon we were trotting smartly along Virginia Rte 614 towards the river. At the end of this road (about 1.6 miles) is another and newer road leading toward the river, about 1/2 to 1mile in length. At the end of this gravel road is a gate and a sign, Fort Pocahontas. I had found it!!! It being late in the day, and the gate being locked, I decided to return on Monday morning to see if there was anyone about to whom I could talk to for access to the area. I returned at between 1000 and 1100 A.M. on Monday and found the gate unlocked , but no one about.. I opened the gate and then closed it behind me, and moved down the dirt road always going towards the river. About 1/2 mile later, we came out of the scrub pines and onto a wide cleared area (about 150 to 200 yds in length and perhaps 50 yards wide. This cleared area is in front of the inland face of the fort with it's frazees, ditch and earthen wall. A dirt road follows the line of the ditch almost to the river bank at each end of the fort. There is a signal tower that stands between 20 to 30 feet high, at the East Bastion (at the left as you approach the fort from the landward side).

The fort is indeed built on a bluff overlooking the James River. The fort was built on land belonging to a family by the name of Wilson. The Wilson family had constructed a wharf in the river just below the bluff, and the place was known as Wilson's Landing or Wilson's Wharf before the war.

Since no-one was around, I started my sketch mapping, entering the fort through the central opening in the ditch and wall, and following a road / trail to the South toward the river. There is a steep ravine here and a second road leads downward towards the wharf area, The wharf is currently in ruin, but the main uprights can be seen in the river at two points. The first is at the bottom of the loop-road going down to the beach, and the second, a much larger wharf structure is just due South of the Eastern end of the fort. The loop-road in the ravine encompasses two of the three gun pits constructed along the river bank. Another gunpit is located just under the steep bluff over looking the river toward the southeastern point of the fort. These gun pits command the whole width of the James River.

The construction of the fortification itself was not unique for the period, but seems to have been well thought out. The fort is protected by a second deep natural ravine on the southern perimeter. Otherwise the fort consists of fortification ditches about six feet in depth and fully eight feet in width. The parapet wall behind the ditch is about five to six feet high and perhaps twice that at each of the two bastions which project out from the curtain wall at each end of the fort.. The fort probably boasted of some twelve to fifteen artillery pieces which were undoubtedly placed in the two bastions and three gun pits. The East Bastion clearly has four gun ramps and platforms, one of which has been partially restored. This is an impressive fortification structure and is described by "Captain A. R.. Carter, a soldier at Fort Pocahontas, as "one of the best arranged breastworks that I have seen."

While sketching along the road to the Commanding Officer's Headquarter's (General Wild) I found a printed map of the fort and a short history. When I returned to the main fort entrance, I found the caretaker and owner. The owner of the property is a Mr. Harrison Tyler, who owns nearly 4000 acres of land in the vicinity of the fort, including the fort itself. He welcomed me, and invited me to return at any time. I mentioned that Mr. Rob James (a New York Engineer) and friend had asked me to find and map the fort.

Apparently once a year in the early part of May, there is a fairly large Civil War Encampment here, and a heavy use of Confederate Cavalry. Mr. Tyler has invited me to come down next year and we are giving the invitation some serious thought.

Donnie the caretaker, answered several questions that I had, about the fort, and gave me his phone number. Apparently he lives on the property. Mr. Tyler shared his office phone in order to contact him. The sketch that I found was dome by a Local Historian, Mr. Edward Besch. The final map for mine and General Grant's map folio is almost finished. The fort looks like a great place to "play" and Mr. Tyler is slowly rebuilding the fortification and sponsoring a CW Event there each year. If it will be possible at all to make next year's event, I hope to be able to attend.


For almost 150 years this fort lay forgotten. In the fall of 1996 Fort Pocahontas was purchased by Mr. Harrison Ruffin Tyler. In conjunction with the center for Archaeological Research at the College of William and Mary, and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, Mr. Tyler is working to preserve and interpret the fort for the future. Ongoing historic and archaeological research is helping to provide information about life in a Civil War Encampment.

For information about the annual May reenactment, group tours, and private events

Fort Pocahontas at Wilson's Wharf
P.O. Box 104
Charles City, VA 23030
(804) 829-9722

Respectfully submitted;

Ian McKay, Bvt. Lt. Col.
Chief Engineer
-Lt. Gen Grant'sMilitary Staff;
-New England Federal Brigade;
-Army of the Hudson
U.S. Corps of Topographical Engineers

Ocean Grove New Jersey Living History Event
Ocean Grove, NJ
November 6, 2003

Participating unit: Topographical Engineers

Lt. General U.S. Grant
Commander, All Federal Armies
Most Esteemed Sir;
I beg your kind indulgence to lay before you my Engineering Report for the above event.
First I must undertake my thanks to both yourself and the Senior Staff of the 2nd New Jersey Federal Brigade for thier very kind invitation for me to attend and take an active part in the event.
As a second point, I must also say a word in support of my excellent lodging and meal accommodations while in Ocean Grove.  I was pleased to stay in the "Manchester Inn" (www.themanchesterinn.com) at 25 Ocean Pathway at your suggestion.  The Proprietor of said establishment, one Master W. Clark Cate, Jr. C.H.A. is indeed a skilled hotelier and a master of the art of hospitality.  My stay at this establishment was indeed enjoyable and he and his staff saw to my every need.
I arrived in Ocean Grove on the night train, Thursday, the sixth ultimo of  November and was greeted at the station by a member of your staff and escorted to the Inn, my baggage following by railroad dray.  I checked into your camp Headquarters and completing that duty, settled into my accommodations for the evening.  My mapping survey of "Fort Pocahontas" on the James River (Virginia -- AAR to follow), the main reason for my southern trip, was quite successful and the rough sketches were ready to be converted into a field map of the fort during the event in Ocean Grove.
I reported to Headquarters early in the morning, and began work on the field map.  My clerk, a young female appeared quite eager to begin work, and I was pleased to pass to her the work of a morning report and the weekend schedule.  The clerk was accompanied by her twin brother, a Brevet-Corporal in the 12th CT Regimental Pioneers.  He was required to produce for you a list of tools, materials and personnel needed to complete the beach fortifications for your portfolio.  That project will be covered in detail under a separate cover.
I was pleased to be able to provide a small hand weapons / document display as well as the mapping / survey presentation under your fly on both Friday and Saturday.  Most of my day on Friday was taken up with the mapping project, explaining the weapon display, and reviewing the results of the fortifications lists.  Major Mary Walker, Chief Surgeon of the 7th New Jersey Infantry Hospital, also donated her personal weapons to the display.  In addition, I was able to garner enough rough sketch material through my clerk and staff that I will be able to provide under a second separate over, a field sketch of Fort Fisher from on the spot measurements and captured Confederate documents.  Friday's stay was concluded with a delicious supper served to the Brigade at the "M" Inn and  a good night's rest.
Saturday Morning began fairly early with a special "Civil War Breakfast" for the Brigade and Confederate Reenactors.  It was indeed a scrumptious beginning to a full day.  Reporting back to Headquarters, I was immediately requested by General Grant to take part in a hastily organized skit about the capture of Fort Donelson (Mississippi Campaign) with President Lincoln.  Both Grant and Lincoln made a great presentation to fulfill the Brigade's promise to present a skit to the public featuring personages from the Civil War Period.  Following the skit, I was honored to narrate the federal and Confederate Grand Parade, in preparation for the Veteran's Day Memorial Marchout.  The early afternoon was spent in discussion with a number of spectators interested in depth in Civil War Field tactics and history. At 2:30 the troops began mustering for the  march onto the beach for the skirmish.  The action was to be in memoriam to the second attack on Fort Fisher (Wilmington River, North Carolina.  The Brigade Commander had asked me to narrate the battle and the city of Ocean Beach generously donated a loud speaker / microphone system with which to reach a larger number of people.
Following the skirmish, and the surrender of the Confederate forces at Fort Fisher to the Federal attacking force, the camp was taken down, and once again the Brigade and Confederate Troops gathered at the "M" Inn for a "Cake and Coffee" celebration   By 6:00 P.M. most of the troops were moved on their way and I went to dinner at one of the local restaurants.  In the early morning I took myself off to the docks to catch a government dispatch boat headed for Boston, the Captain of which had agreed to my request to drop me at New London, CT to visit my office at Fort Trumbull.
In regard to a few possible event improvements, in my view as a staff officer, I would perhaps suggest an extension of the event to cover the whole weekend.  Many of the troops were supportive of that Idea, that I talked with.
Secondly, the skit which was well received, should be assigned to a staff officer, to ensure the topic, coordination of the participants and t collection and stowage of any props that might be of use for the skit (maps, weapons, models, etc.). 
For my part, should I be invited to return, next year, I should be pleased to eagerly accept the invitation, and urge all whom I know in Civil War Reenactment to apply to take part as well.
Your Humble and Obedient Servant;
Very Respectfully;
Ian McKay, Bvt. Lt. Col.
Chief Engineer:
-General Grant's Military Staff;
-New England Federal Brigade;
-Army of the Hudson
U.S. Corps of Topographical Engineers

Pungo Pumpkin Fling Living History Event
Virginia Beach, VA
November 11, 2003

Participating unit: Tidewater Marine Living History Association (USRC Harriet Lane)

1.      On the 1st of November 2003 , a landing party from the USRC Harriet Lane traveled to Virginia Beach , VA to participate in the above event.  Present were:

PO A.T. Mordica
PO J. Brigdon
LM E. Jeanneret
Boy 1c C. Jeanneret
OS P. Mordica
PO M. Johnson
Mrs. J. Brigdon
PO J. Adamson

2.      The party assembled at two bells, morning watch at the Henley Farm.  Awnings and displays were set up and manned.  Weather was sunny and comfortably warm. Attendance was light, but a number of attendees were engaged.

3.      A notable item occurred concerning possible future events.  We were approached by Ms. Katheryn Fisher of the Old Coast Guard Station in Virginia Beach to inquire for our possible involvement in LH events. We indicated that we would be very pleased to assist, and she assured us that she would pass the idea on to her superiors.

4.      Incidental to the interview, we engaged in conversation with Mr. Carl Fisher, former U.S. Coast Survey officer and contributor to “The American Practical Navigator”.  When he heard of our effort to improve our presentations over time with working artifacts, he produced and donated to the Association a 1958 copy of “The American Practical Navigator”.  In an amazing turn of events, he also contributed an actual working late 19th century Thomas Mercer CHRONOMETER. The enormity of Mr. Fisher’s generosity cannot be overemphasized, and his contribution will be put to great service. The chronometer is currently keeping accurate time in the custody of the navigator, who will determine after accuracy testing is complete whether professional cleaning and/or calibration will be necessary.

5.       At one bell in the evening watch, the event concluded without mishap, camp was struck and the crew dismissed to their billets.

Respectfully Submitted,

A.T. Mordica

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