2006 - 2005 - 2004 - 2003 - 2002

Fort Fisher

Fort Fisher, NC
February 19-20, 2005

Participating unit: Ship's Company of the Roanoke, Tidewater & Marine LHA

                                                                                    Flagship Malvern
Off Fort Fisher , N. C.
January 17, 2005

Rear-Admiral David D. Porter
Commanding North Atlantic Squadron


I have to report in obedience to your order that a party from the U. S. S. Malvern landed at approximately 8:00 a. m. on 15 January to participate in the 140th Anniversary of the Capture of Fort Fisher.  Initially, Gunner’s Mate A. Duppstadt, Landsman D. Hines, Seaman K. Feldmeyer, Landsman M. Greathouse, Ship’s Surgeon G. G. Riggs (working with the Army’s field hospital) and myself, in addition to a detail of Army personnel consisting of Col. R. Wilson, Private J. Greathouse, Sgt. D. Pruitt and  Sgt. M. Bass engaged some local townspeople and correspondents discussing such topics as basic navigation, infernal machines, small arms, medicine and our own Lt. Commander W. B. Cushing’s exploits  while also assisting with preparations for the coming assault. 

At approximately 3:00 p. m., a recon battalion composed of  my detail joined with Lt. Patrick’s party (Boatswain H. Gibbs, Seaman Loveless and Seaman Tapley), Sgt. W. James’ Marines (Privates W. W.  James, F. James and G. Willett) and Captain F. Burgess’s Army detail (Privates R. Sawyer and B. Felton) prepared to assault the main sally port on the land face of the fort, drawing the fire for two brigades of infantry.  At 3:30 p. m. we began our advance and in short order made our way up the side of the fort facing heavy resistance but only losing myself and Sgt. W. James to wounds.    Shortly after our battalion reached the crest of the fort wall, the two brigades of infantry advanced as planned with their assault, taking the fort.

Adverse weather conditions limited our interaction with the inquisitive local townspeople the next day and forced our party to return to the Malvern earlier than initially planned.  In conclusion, I must say that it was a most imposing sight to see how splendidly our brave sailors, marines and soldiers did their work

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
 Lieutenant C. W. Grimes

Battle of Elizabeth City Living History
Museum of the Albemarle, Elizabeth City, North Carolina
February 7, 2005

Participating unit: Tidewater & Marine LHA
(Phillip Mordica, Jim Brigdon, Kurt Eberly, Chris Grimes Allen Mordica)

Logistics- Canvas, tables and equipment were supplied by the TMLHA. The unit trailer was used to convey all camp gear to/from the site. Execution- Two "Baker" tents, and navigation, armaments and carpenter's displays were set up at 0900 without incident and operated until 1530. The location was excellent, with plentiful room and dry ground. Despite light participation, a large number of spectators (over 100) were engaged. At the conclusion of the event, camp was struck and the party departed by 1600. Museum officials seemed satisfied with our presentation.  The unit will receive a contribution of $100 for our participation.

Lessons Learned- Two of the units new "baker" tents were pitched, eliminating the need for separate flys/awnings.  They have proved to very efficient in use of space and in ease of employment.   Summary- Overall, this event can be filed as another in our continuing series of successes, as regards to reliability and credibility. We will undoubtedly be invited to return next year.

Lieutenant (commanding) Allen Mordica
Officer in Charge
Battle of Roanoke Island 2005

Roanoke Island Festival Park, manteo, North Carolina
February 19-20, 2005

Participating unit: Tidewater & Marine LHA
(Mike Johnson, Kenny Arkin, Kurt Eberly, Allen Mordica, Jim Brigdon, Jackie Eberly)

Additionally, two Federal soldiers requested and were granted space within our site.

The TMLHA, representing crewmen of the sidewheel steamer USS Delaware, participated in the 2005 LH event at the Roanoke Island Festival Park, Manteo, NC on 19-20 February.  In attendance were:

Canvas, tables and equipment were supplied by the TMLHA.  The unit trailer was used to convey camp gear to/from the site.  Mike J. was able to secure the use of a local house for the crew to berth in overnight Friday and Saturday. Event organizers provided a Saturday evening meal, and coffee during each day.

Baker tents and navigation, armaments and purser’s displays were set up Friday afternoon without incident and operated on both days from 0930 until 1615.  The location was excellent, with plentiful room and fairly dry ground.   Despite biting cold and light participation, a large number of spectators (over 250 over the two-day period) were engaged. At the conclusion of the event, camp was struck and the party departed by 1645.

Lessons Learned-
Four TMLHA and two soldiers constituted the entire Federal presence for this event, with 35-45 Confederate soldiers/sailors and 5 guns present.

-The event organizers envisioned a Sunday afternoon skirmish, but this would have been more than a bit silly, especially as the Federals prevailed in the actual historical action, and was wisely cancelled.

-On Saturday night, the organizers secured head facilities without notifying participants or providing alternatives. This is completely unacceptable, and subsequent correspondence with event organizers has not resolved the issue.

-On Saturday night, the organizers conducted a Jazz Festival in the museum theater. Some LH participants were refused admittance while in period attire. This is completely unacceptable, and subsequent correspondence with event organizers has not resolved the issue.

Due to our use of a local residence for berthing on Saturday evening, TMLHA members were not themselves subjected to the indignities suffered by other participants.

However, we concur wholeheartedly with our fellow participants that the situation was completely unacceptable and inexcusable.  Unless the organizers take specific steps to correct the issues raised by those participants who were in-camp Saturday night, we recommend that the TMLHA not participate in any future events at this venue.

LT (Commanding) Allen Mordica, USN
Officer in Charge

Mike Johnson, President TMLHA

Fort Anderson

Wilmington, NC
February 19-21, 2005

Participating unit: Ship's Company of the Roanoke


Wilmington, N. C.
February 21, 2005

The Honorable S. R. Mallory
Secretary of the Navy


I have to report in obedience to your order that the special services detachment arrived from Richmond at approximately 9:00 p.m. on 18 February  to participate in Fort Anderson ’s Civil War Living History Encampment.  My party, consisting of Gunner’s Mate A. Duppstadt, Ship’s Cook K. Sewell, Yeoman M. Bass and Landsman D. Hines,  were so joined by a marine detachment from Wilmington comprised of Pvt. W. James, Pvt. F. James and Pvt. G. Willett.  We engaged approximately 3000 local townspeople over two days discussing such topics as navigation, blockade running,  torpedoes, small arms and medicine.  During attacks by Union forces, the party held its position as torpedo operators with exception of Gunner’s Mate Duppstadt who assisted in manning one of the fort’s guns, Yeoman Bass who was assigned to assist the fort’s magazine and the marines who were detailed to assist the infantry.  At approximately 4:00 p. m. on 20 February, the fort was evacuated as it was ascertained that the position could not be held any longer.  The men and I departed for Wilmington and have joined with Commodore Pickney’s forces. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Commander C. W. Grimes

Monitor Days 2005

Mariners’ Museum, Hampton, VA
March 5 &6, 2005

Participating unit: Tidewater Marine LHA and Ship's Company of the Roanoke (see second report below)
(Lt K Eberly, Mastersmate K Halstead, Gunnersmate J Adamson, Signalman F Cook, Pursermate M Johnson, Shipscook E Jeanneret, Carpentersmate J Brigdon, Shipsboy C Jeanneret, Liz Jeanneret, Judy Brigdon, Page Jeanneret, Ashton Jeanneret, Jackie and Jeffery Eberly)

Logistics- Canvas, tables and equipment were supplied by the TMLHA. The unit trailer was used to convey all camp gear to/from the site.

Execution- Three "Bakers", the Surgeons Tent and one “A” tent were set up Friday afternoon by advance party (Mike Johnson, Fred Cook, Jim & Judy Brigdon).  Navigation, armaments, ship store and carpenter's displays were set up by 0900 Saturday without incident and operated until 1600. The location was excellent, with plentiful room.  The museum staff went out of their way to make us welcome and see that our needs (firewood, straw, etc) were met. 

The excellent weather of Friday did not hold over and Saturday was both wet and very cold.  We had very light participation outside, but the displays inside the museum had good number of spectators.  But the crew stood ready to serve any that would brave the ugly weather.  The Ladies Auxiliary and the Ships cook were displayed inside the museum. 

Sunday dawned bright and clear and soon warmed up nicely, we had good numbers of spectators both inside and outside the museum all day.  Over the weekend the museum saw about 1400 visitors.  Our camp was chosen by the museum photographer to recreate the famous Lincoln/McClellan photo.  The photos were taken in front of one of our new Baker tents.  The Ships’ company was asked to provide a color guard for the Keel laying ceremony for the new full size Monitor replica, this was done with aid of Lee Ramsey of the 5th USCT’s. 

At the conclusion of the event, camp was struck and the ships party departed by 1730.  Museum officials seemed satisfied with our presentation.  The unit received a contribution for our participation.

Summary- Overall, this event can be filed as another in our continuing series of successes, as regards to reliability and credibility. We wish to thank the Mariners Museum for being allowed to be part of this important event. 

Carpenters Mate J Brigdon

Ship's Company of the Roanoke Report

C. S. S. Patrick Henry
March 7, 2005

The Honorable S. R. Mallory
Secretary of the Navy


I have to report in obedience to your order that a shore party from the C. S. S. Patrick Henry arrived at approximately 8:00 p.m. on 4 March to participate in the Mariner’s Museum’s annual Battle of Hampton Roads Weekend.  My party, consisting of Yeoman M. Bass and Fireman First Class A. Mitchell,  was joined by marine Captain L. Allen from Alabama .  Over a two day period, over 2,000 local townspeople visited the event discussing such topics as ironclad shipbuilding,  torpedoes, small arms and ship’s stores.  Mr. Mitchell was detached from my command at various times to assist the boat howitzer crew from the C. S. S. Virginia commanded by Cmdr Bill Whorton in defense of our position.

Weather for the event was mixed with Saturday wet and cold and Sunday pleasant and sunny.  The museum staff saw to our every need during the weekend even providing us accommodation on Saturday night out of the snow and ice. 

On Sunday, 6 March, we witnessed the keel-laying for a second U. S. S. Monitor.  Based on my observations, this vessel will be of little problem for our forces as it appears that it will be land-locked upon completion.  I will continue to observe its construction and report to your office its progression.

At approximately 5:00 p. m. on 6 March, my party departed the museum and returned to the Patrick Henry.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Commander C. W. Grimes, Commanding
C. S. S. Patrick Henry

Scuttling of the CSS Neuse

CSS Neuse Historic Site, Kinston, NC
March 12, 2005

Participating unit: Ship's Company of the Roanoke

Halifax Station, N. C.
March 12, 2005

The Honorable S. R.  Mallory
Secretary of the Navy
Richmond , Va


A detachment from the Halifax Navy Yard arrived at 1 bell in the forenoon watch on 12 March at the CSS Neuse Historic Site at Kinston, N. C. to participate in a living history event commemorate the 140th anniversary of the scuttling of the CSS Neuse.  The detachment consisting of Landsman D. Hines, Landsman L. Jarman, Gunner’s Mate A. Duppstadt, Yeoman M. Bass, Armourer K. Sewell,  Seaman H. Draper, Seaman  J. Greathouse, Seaman J. Wilt, Ship’s Surgeon G. G. Riggs and myself, set up displays highlighting navigation, rope-making, torpedoes, medicine, small arms while also assisting the gun crew of Commander B. Whorton, CSN.  The crew engaged over 350 people during the Saturday event before departing at 2 bells in the first dog watch for Halifax .           

Very Respectfully Submitted,
Commander C. W. Grimes

143rd Shiloh

Shiloh National Military park, Shiloh, TN
April 9-10, 2005

Participating unit: U.S. Naval Landing Party
(Landsman Justin Dispenza, Landsman Russ Gilliom, Petty Officer Bill Radcliffe, Lt. Bob Dispenza, Lt. Chuck Veit)

The excellent weather this event enjoyed four years ago when the unit first began taking part finally returned. The Rangers estimated an attendance of 6,000 on Saturday and perhaps 4,000 on Sunday. Unit members Gilliom, Dispenza, and Dispenza arrived from Indiana on Friday afternoon and stowed their gear in one of the Sibleys kindly shared by the Salt River Rifles, which unit was set up across the main road from the Visitors' Center. Later that afternoon Lt Veit arrived and all hands worked to set up our modest camp (a single tent fly) and arrange displays on the tables provided by the Park Service. A week's worth of heavy rain had left the ground a sticky mess, and the rangers provided bales of hay for us to strew around so we could stay above the surface while talking. Once camp was in order, the unit repaired to "The Catfish Hotel" adjacent to the park to sample the local cuisine.

On Saturday we began speaking to the first spectators before 8a.m. and didn't stop until after 5p.m. Breakfast was provided from the mess fund to which we had all donated, and prepared by the Army. While historically accurate, the meal provided all the justification anyone would ever need to join the Navy. Local member Bill Radcliffe arrived mid-morning (straight from a 24-hour stint making sure that Madison, TN did not burn down). At times it took all five of us to handle the crowd of people attracted by the landing party flag. Landsmen Gilliom and Dispenza conducted firing demonstrations over in the Army camp and also, with help from Lt Dispenza, demonstrated cutlass drill. As in years past, visitors were surprised to find that they were standing on two U.S. Navy battlefields. Discussion of Alligator was also a shock to most (as was talk of submarines in general). The unit conducted a "Unitarian service," speaking about Confederate as well as Union submarines.

Sunday saw fewer people visiting, which was a surprise given the gorgeous weather, but we were busy all day long with only a few breaks. Highlight of this day was our trying to describe the battles at Shiloh as well as Alligator to a group of tourists from Dusseldorf--in German. Lieutenants Dispenza and Veit--it is believed--accomplished this feat to the satisfaction (or at least the entertainment) of the half-dozen Germans who had made Shiloh one of the stops on their tour of the South. "Luftreinigungssystem" is a tongue-twister compared to "air scrubber" when speaking of "U-booten." The event began to wind down after 3pm and we struck camp about 3:45 (the infantry having bugged out after their last demonstration at 1:45). As always, the Rangers were very supportive and appreciative, and we look forward to next year's event--and especially to the 145th after that!

Chuck Veit
Lieutenant, U.S. Naval Landing Party


15th Annual Battle for Plymouth

Plymouth, NC
April 15-17, 2005

Participating unit: Ship's Company of the Roanoke & Tidewater Marine LHA

U. S. S. Ceres
Albemarle Sound , North Carolina
April 18, 2005

H. K. Davenport
Commander and Senior Naval Officer in the Sounds of North Carolina


Detachments from U. S. S. Ceres, the U. S. S. Miami and the Beaufort Station arrived at Plymouth to participate in the 15th Annual Battle for Plymouth . on Friday, 15 April.  The detachments consisted of Landsman D. Hines, Gunner’s Mate A. Duppstadt, Armourer K. Sewell,  Seaman H. Draper, Seaman  J. Greathouse, Seaman J. Wilt, Sgt. M. Ritter and myself (representing the U. S. S. Ceres) and Lt. Commander A. Mordica, Ship’s Carpenter J. Brigdon, Purser’s Mate M. Johnson and Landsman F. Cook(representing the U. S. S. Miami), and Master’s Mate W. Hall, Gunner’s Mate  J. Smith and Boatswain’s Mate H. Gibbs (representing the Beaufort Station).   We engaged approximately 1000 local townspeople over two days discussing such topics as navigation, ship’s stores and small arms.  During attacks by Confederate forces, the party was detailed to assist the infantry.  A nor’easter prevented any naval action as it was unsafe to crew either Picket Boat Number One or the Beaufort Station’s launch, the “Florie”.  At approximately 3:00 p. m. on Sunday, 17 March, Plymouth was evacuated as it was ascertained that the position could not be held any longer.  Everyone departed for safety of the Albemarle Sound and our respective ships. 

Very Respectfully Submitted,
Lieutenant C. W. Grimes

Fort Nathan Hale Work Party

Ft. Nathan Hale, New Haven, CT
April 23, 2005

Participating unit: Topographical Engineers
Topog Engrs: 1st Sergeant James Duarte, Sgt. John Proctor, Millwright Dan Ponder, Jim Mathews, Cdr.
Others: Dan Ponder's friend, Capt. Rich, Edson Div. Sea Cadet Cdr. Dave Janson, two Sea Cadets

Time of arrival at the Fort -- 10:00 A.M

The weather was predicted to be rainy, however, the lumber, gun barrel, gun carriage and gun cart had to be returned to the fort.

The generator was generously loaned by Mr. Ponder for the occasion, and was immediately set up to give us some lighting in bomb proof No. 2.

Mr. Ponder and Capt. Rich worked on the South passageway clearing rotted wood and smoothing the concrete slot edges in order to insert the heavy wooden battens needed to support wall planking.

1st Sergeant Duarte and Sgt. Proctor measured and drilled an existing set of Chevreax de Frise to facilitate an easier and more secure set-up for these field obstructions.

Cdr Janson and the Sea Cadets (two)  arrived at about 11:00, and we immediately unloaded the 10 passageway sheathing planks from Mr. Proctor's pickup and put them in the bombproof.  Then we set up the gun tripod and removed the gun barrel from the truck onto the cannon cart.  The cannon barrel , cart and carriage were then moved into the bombproof and covered.

Note:----  In order to better facilitate the movement of the cannon barrel and it's cart in and out of the bomproof, it will be necessary to design and build a portable ramp to move the barrel and cart over the passageway steps.

The Sea Cadets then engaged in painting the ten new planks and the bombproof table top with preservative.  1st Sgt. Duarte and Sgt. Proctor worked on further breaking up the concrete plug in the chimney.  When the planks were coated the Sea Cadets and Cdr. had to leave about 12:30.

The remainder of the preservative was painted over the two interior doors of the bombproof.

The weather forbade any work outside the bombproof except for the transferring of tools and material.  The dirt retaining wall which was planned for this working party will be scheduled for the next Working Party.  However the design of the retaining wall will be modified to extend the wall due to earth slippage all along the South side of the bombproof which bears on the gun platform, and the necessary introduction of gravel and a drainage pipe (already purchased) between the Bombproof side and the retaining wall.  All outside painting and preservative measurers were also re-scheduled for better weather.

It was noted by 1st Sgt. Duarte that further bending of the southern barred gate had been accomplished since our last visit.  Sgt. Duarte suggested that a sign be put on the interior doors to the effect that there is nothing of any great value inside the bombproof.  This idea will be included in the work schedule.

The tools and equipment were reloaded and the bombproof shut up and locked.  The working party left the fort at about 1:30 P.M.

A special thanks to Cdr. David Jansen of the Edson Div. of Sea Cadets.  He and his cadets joined us in terrible weather to complete a task which needed to be accomplished, and their willing work helped a great deal toward accomplishing the major part of the tasks which could be carried out.  The Sea Cadets have also indicated a willingness to assist in future endeavors, and they will be notified of working parties and other events at the Fort.

My particular thanks also to Mr. Ponder and Mr. Rich or their assistance on Saturday, which was instrumental in getting the barrel inside the bombproof. This is a very difficult exercise, made even more so, during the very inclement weather.  

Respectfully Submitted;

Jim Mathews
Fort Nathan Hale Engineer and Vice President

Norwich, New London, and Canterbury

Chelsea Parade Grounds
Norwich, CT
May 14-15, 2005

USS Jallao Raid
New London, CT
May 20, 2005

Canterbury Heritage Days
Canterbury, CT
May 21-22, 2005

Participating unit: US Naval Landing Party (Geoff McLean)

From: USS Passaic
To: Commander North Atlantic Blockading Squadron

SUBJ: After Action Reports on recruiting events for USS Passaic

In accordance with your orders I have conducted several recruitment events to enlist a crew for the USS Passaic.

The first event, on Norwich, CT's Chelsea Parade grounds was enthusiastically received by the general public.  The 27th Ct. Vols were also recruiting and I am pleased to report that the US Navy fared far better at reaching goals than did the Army.  Although not overly busy, our recruiting station was kept busy throughout the events of 13-15 May.  

One note of consternation arose on the eve of Friday in which case four young females, presumably witches, attended the joint evening fire.  These females, dressed in most unusual garb - almost looking like men with hair spilling over shoulders, were brimming with occult designs.  One of them, with a wave of her hand unsealed a most peculiar looking package and proceeded to entice our army enlisted brethren with "Lucky Charms".  I warned the men, in the absence of their captain, not to be seduced by the wiles of these "maidens".   Indeed one of them possessed a most curious device which played music, showed colored photographs of ourselves, and to which she spoke with as if conversing with a fellow witch or warlock.  I entreated the men to keep away, indeed eventually assuming command and ordered their sergeant to send the men to their tents for fear of the consequences.  Never had I ever seen such beguiling manners.  Naturally, the sailors under my command were kept as far away as possible.  I reported this activity to a local constable who seemed somewhat unconcerned, although he stated he would investigate further.

The Army practiced maneuvers in the morning hours of Saturday, not garnering many spectators.  The witches did not appear Saturday evening, and the CO of the 27th and I spent a good deal of time together around the campfire.  It is a wonder that the army is able to maneuver at all.  I attempted to explain fore, aft, port and starboard.  All assembled regaled with laughter as a corporal attempted to understand and follow turns using said directions.  It was most entertaining!

Sunday, the next, we discovered much to our horror that the newspaper had erroneously reported all events had taken place on Saturday, and no mention of our extensive plan for Sunday was made.  By eight bells the Army was anxious as no spectators had turned out for their demonstrations, and by morning four bells they had packed up and left.  I remained, with crew, as we were getting a slow trickle of visitors.  The submarine lecture I had planned for noon was cancelled when no one showed up and we proceeded to depart the area.

This past Friday I participated in the assault on the crew of the USS Jallao. The audience, I believe was initially stunned by the sudden and fierce appearance of our sailors as we stormed their location.  Soon however, it was apparent to them that we meant them no harm, merely arresting and congratulating various members of the crew.  The evening's fine dinner contained an over-exuberance of victuals and the crew left the scene completely satisfied.  The table at which I was seated contained a variety of lovely ladies and kind gentlemen with whom conversation was delightful and stimulating.

This past Saturday, I set up a recruitment office at the Canterbury Heritage Days.  Although a most windy day, the crowd turn out was steady, though again  light.  Sunday proved much superior in terms of contact with the public  perhaps persuading a couple of boys to join the Navy.  I spoke with many interested individuals about the Navy's submarines and many were amazed at the prowess of our technology.

Once again the newspaper article which was printed on Sunday was in error.   The article as written seems to have taken two completely different lines of my thoughts and stitched them together so as to make no sense.  I am quoted as having said that "it (the Alligator) could stay submerged, unlike the Merrimac, which was pretty much like a floating boiler."  I humbly assure that I said no such thing.  These are excepts from three different statements.  First I never call the CSS Virginia the Merrimac.  The only time I use Merrimac is when I talk of the battle between the Monitor and the Virginia - and when I get a blank look from the audience, I add "The Virginia you may know also by the name of Merrimac".  I have never referred to the Merrimac - or Virginia as a floating boiler.  How absurd!  I did however, refer to most of the confederate submarines as not much more than boilers that could dive.  There are other misquotes in the article as well.   Obviously reporters write what they will - but wanton misrepresentation of the facts is most disparaging.

All in all the past ten days have been most successful in reaching out to the public and garnering good will for our beloved service.

Very respectfully,

Ezra Seals, LCDR, USN
Commanding Officer, USS Passaic

aka Geoff McLean

USS Jallao Raid

USS Jallao Reunion
Radisson Hotel
New London, CT
May 20, 2005

Participating unit: US Naval Landing Party
(Bryan Hammond, Mike Dunn, Merrill Dunn, Roger Kuchera, Geoff McLean, Chuck Veit, Jim Mathews))

Admiral Lee
North Atlantic Blockading Squadron
U.S. Navy

Esteemed Sir;

I beg your leave to lay before you the subject document for your perusal and records:

The "raid" on the subject submarine reunion was requested of the Commander of the USNLP and myself by Jerry Emerson, organizer of the reunion. The raid was to be executed before dinner just after the Pledge of Allegiance as the banquet entertainment.  The purpose was to select five former crewmen of the submarine for special awards authorized by the banquet host, in an entertaining way, while providing something of a educational flair for the Civil War Period Navy.  The presentation was to be followed by a toast to submarine veterans everywhere, and the piping of the "raid" closed by Roger Kuchera, P.O. of the USNLP.

The "raid was followed by a shortened version of the "Alligator" story (Lt. Veit), and the submarine story of other C.W. submarines of that period (Cdr - by brevet - McKay).

The men of the USNLP arrived early and in secret, changed into uniforms in the hotel coat room prior to our signal to enter:

The "raiding" party entered through the two doors in the rear of the banquet room, Lt. Veit leading one party and LtCdr McLean the other.  I went directly to the speakers podium with a sailor who brought the papers to be awarded.  All had weapons drawn while I shouted to the lads to be sharp and allow no one to escape!!!  The landing party lined up on either side of the podium while I introduced myself and the Landing party and further announced in a threatening voice that "some here had to answer to certain charges."  I then called for the five men by name to stand, and they were escorted to five chairs placed in a line in front of the podium.  When the five were seated the escorting sailor, petty officer or officer stood behind the man's chair.  

I then read the award's notations and called each man forward , shook his hand a handed him the award certificate.  When all five men had received their award certificates, I called for a toast both to the five seated before the audience and to "submariner's everywhere."

The Chief Petty Officer then piped the award ceremony closed while Lt. Veit  prepared for his "Alligator" presentation and the passing out of "Alligator" fliers.  As always Lt. Veit's presentation was most scintillating, and of great interest to this submarine crowd.  My presentation on other submarine stories followed.

Each member of the USNLP was then seated at an individual table to answer any questions about the entertainment.  Supper was served, and after supper both myself and Lt. Veit were asked to loan a sword and cutlass--the first to cut the special cake for the survivor of our war patrols, Jerry Pilger, and the the latter to cut the larger "Jallao" crew cake.  After the cake cutting ceremony was completed the dance floor was cleared and the music began.  The USNLP quietly gathered their materials and exited the banquet hall

Many compliments were received about our "presentations" and several people asked for cards to consider similar activities in the future.  In my estimation the requested "raid " and "Alligator " presentations were very successful and the USNLP was awarded a plaque and a other indications of the gratitude of the hosts and the crew  If asked I would not hesitate to perform the same "raid" / ceremony  again due to the obvious enjoyment of the audience, and the gratitude and congratulations of the host and hostess of the banquet.

Your Most Obedient and Humble Servant;

Very Respectfully;

Ian McKay, Cdr. (by brevet), USN;
Flag Captain
North Atlantic Blocking Squadron

(aka; Jim Mathews)

(Note: Jerry Emerson and the crew of Jallao awarded the unit a USS Jallao plaque inscribed to the USNLP by way of thanks. This was a very nice touch and a total surprise. --C. Veit).

Canterbury Heritage Days

Canterbury, CT
May 21-22, 2005

Participating unit: Continental Engineers (Jim Mathews, Dan ponder)

I beg your leave to lay before you this report of an independent engineer attending this time-line event.  

There were several skills portrayed at this event including tomahawk throwing, musket demos, broom making , chair-making, C.W. naval presentations, and map-sketching.

I was most pleased to ply my trade as a Loyalist itinerant engineer and map-maker under the fly of the gentleman mill-wright Mr. Dan Ponder.  The Booshway of the event was "Chili Bob" Whatley.

Sutlers present included a furrier and leather dealer, The "Confederate -Yankee", a bookseller, a general Rev War period Sutler, and a  lantern salesman.  There were no skirmishes or ceremonies scheduled that I was aware of, but there were offered horse and wagon rides down to the river and back.  The event offered all reenactors a delicious and very generously portioned dinner of "pulled pork" in barbecue sauce, with baked beans, and fruit, and drinks.  It was a delicious supper, and much appreciated.

This was the third such event in as many years at Canterbury, and the first at this new location.  The new location affords plenty of room to expand, both in it's program and the attendance.  I arrived at Canterbury from the Lebanon Swap Meet at about 2:00 P.M. on Saturday, so I did not witness the first few hours on Saturday.  The remainder of the day Saturday and Sunday until abut 3:00 P.M., saw some visitors (approx. 150 or so -- my estimate).  The event was threatened by rainy weather on both days.  

If asked to attend again I would do so as the companionship with those who attended was most enjoyable, and my map-sketching consumed much of the time for me.


--Some visitors indicated that they had a difficult time finding the event.  The signs portraying the event did not have either turning arrows or distances to the location marked.;

--It was reported that several carloads of potential visitors turned way from the barrier at the head of the road and left the area, as there was no directions to the entrance road;

--when I arrived the only clue I had to the entrance way was the previous briefing by Mr. Ponder, and the waving arm of the Booshway.  At the entrance to the parking area, even though I was in period dress and there were two men at the entrance, I received no directions where to park as a reenactor.

--The American flag was left flying until long after dark when it was finally noticed and taken down.  I would suggest an appropriate closing ceremony and flag lowering.

--I would suggest some sort of an event program beyond that of sutlers and individual presenters.  A small skirmish with gunfire, two or three campfire cooking activities roasting over an open bed of coals, a fashion show, artillery firing demo. small arms firing and active demo, (rifle, musket, pistol, bayonet, dirk, sword, etc.) and a shooting contest, or baking contest, are old favorites.  A debate between British and Colonial speakers, or Federal and Confederate speakers, a short period play, field music presentation, famous man's birthday celebration with a  punch bowl, pictures and announcers, Model, weapon, tool, instrument displays, hands on tasks for children with award certificates,  flag display and  period photography, string music concert, period material reading, are all ideas which have been carried out with some success at similar time-line events.  

--I would also suggest a more aggressive announcement plan for the event, in order to reach more potential visitors.

Your Servant;

Ian McKay, Loyalist Engineer

(aka; Jim Mathews)

Conner Prairie

Fishers, IN
May 21, 2005

Personnel present:  Bob Dispenza, USNLP, Kim Dispenza (presentation assistant)

Kim (age 9) and I arrived Friday evening and got our camp set up just before dark.  Conner Prairie is a living historical settlement, target date 1838, formerly associated with Earlham College near Indianapolis , IN.   They moved their target date up a little for this event, which promises to expand and take up a whole weekend next year.  The night was cold, and our wool blankets were barely adequate.  We were cooperating with the 30th Indiana on this trip. 

The birds got us up early for our breakfast of “poptack,” after which we set up our recruiting table and went on a tour of the village.  Many professional living historians work here, providing thorough background and believable characters in accurate surroundings.  Visitors were not too numerous to our corner of the village (we were set up in the sheep pasture).  Kim helped explain the deck light and battle rattle, and helped hand out certificates of permission to boys who wanted to join the navy.  The afternoon battle took place in a cleared field, where our hosts had dug two trenches about 100’ apart.  The 19th Indiana Co. K had been camping there all night, and as the rest of us arrived we filled the trench.  Rebel sharpshooters kept up a sporadic fire, and we returned fire periodically.  The company I was assigned to was on the left flank, and we moved down to the far left of the trench so as to flank the few Confederates who were holding their right.  I carried the Smith carbine.  We left the trench at the signal, and drove the rebel right in toward their center, which was being approached by the rest of the infantry.  Our company closing in from their right drove many from the trench, as they were enfiladed.  The Federals won the day.

Dinner was provided by Conner Prairie, which was followed by a skirmish in the village after the visitors left.  Powder cartridges were only permitted outside the village – caps only inside.  I was trying out a Sharps carbine for this, which was having some trouble.  Our detachment was surprised on both sides by small rebel companies, which we pursued into the edges of the village.  The skirmish was short and a Union victory.  A barn dance was next, with live fiddle and banjo music and a caller.  Kim and I slept well and left early Sunday in the light rain, returning to Fort Wayne in time for church.  We look forward to this event next year.

Respectfully submitted,

Bob Dispenza, Lt.

Memorial Day Ceremonies

Fort Wayne, Indiana
30 May 2005

Personnel present:  Bob Dispenza, USNLP

Most of Memorial Day was spent in dress uniform, first for the Memorial Day parade in the morning with the 44th Indiana .  As usual the infantry didn’t know what to do with Navy personnel, so I ended up carrying the National flag.  The parade was well received, as were the volleys fired over my head by the 44th.  After lunch the 44th went to the Korean and Vietnam Veterans Shrine for a ceremony at headstones for Civil War veterans.  They are not actually buried there, and their grave locations are unknown, but markers are at the Shrine.  A number are for 44th and 30th Indiana veterans, along with one Confederate marker.  Next was a ceremony with the 30th Indiana at Eel River Cemetery for 5th Indiana Light Artillery veteran Daniel Jones, sponsored by his descendants.  Last was our annual ceremony at Lindenwood Cemetery , focusing on Col. Mark Link, Col. Sion Bass (commander of the 30th Indiana at Shiloh, where he received a mortal wound) and “Mother” Eliza George.  She was Col. Bass’ mother in law, who became an Army nurse after Shiloh and cared for Indiana soldiers during the war.  She died of typhoid fever in April 1865 and is buried close to Col. Bass.  This is what it is all about – remembering those who actually fought that we could continue in freedom and equality.

Submitted in memory of Louis J. Dispenza, USNR, GM2, USS Hissem (DE 400), 1943-46

Bob Dispenza

Revolutionary War Encampment

The Fort at #4
Charlestown, NH
4-5th June 2005

Participating Units: Speedwell, HMS Somerset

The boat went in the water at #4 this past weekend with great success.  Mr. Hodgson and I arrived Friday evening at the Fort and secured our place in the Johnson lean-to.  After Mr. Hodgson and I finished our evening meal we were joined by a guest, Lt Clarke of the Somerset. On Saturday morning we were met by Mr. Dill and Nicholas, our powder monkey and bowman on the boat. We took the boat out in the morning for a row and a shakedown, as this was her first event and we wanted to test her with cargo.  Around 6 bells, forenoon watch, we were joined by Capt. Chandler and his crew, with their boat, the Plague Rat.  While we prepared our boats for a little excursion it was noted that there was another boat on the horizon flying the white rag (French colors).  After a little deliberation we decided that it must be Capt. Champlin and crew with their boat Le Esprit.  Soon Le Esprit was alongside and we were all preparing for our voyage to acquire "provisions".  Once all the boats were under way we decided to test the capabilities of Mr. Dills new swivel.  After a couple of successful rounds were fired we continued on our voyage to acquire provisions for Capt Stevens' storehouse at the Fort.

On Sunday morning we shanghaied another sailor from the Somerset, Tom Tringale, to man one of the oars while we chased a couple of hostile vessels.  We began the chase and both vessels pulled around a bend in the river to lay in wait for us.  I brought the vessel out wide into the river so as to make for a smaller target and draw them out.  Unfortunately for us they were faster and with sail power, we fought valiantly but were quickly outgunned and forced to retreat.  Live and learn, we'll get them next time. All in all the firrst time out for the Black Sheep was a success.  Until next time, I remain...

Dave Valentine, Coxswain
Batteau Black Sheep

StreetFest 2005

Haddam-Killingworth High School
Higganum, Connecticut
10th June 2005

Participating Units: USNLP, Topogs
(USNLP members: Chris Keenan, Geoff McLean, Roger Kuchera, Chuck Veit, and Mike Dunn; with Betsy Clark)
(Topog members: Jim Mathews, Dick Myers)

USNLP Report:

We had been invited to this event to be the history department's "display" during a special "out of the classroom" day that went by the suspicious-sounding name of "StreetFest 2005." Despite the name, we were visited by a goodly number of interested students who visited each tent and asked excellent questions. Rather than having our crew show up only as Civil War Union Navy, we took advantage of the various other portrayals our crew does and managed to create a four-period timeline. Jim Mathews invited fellow Topog Dick Myers and together they set up a French & Indian Wars display; I donned my Revolutionary War Continental Navy uniform and brought out the grappling hook, flintlocks, and cat-o'-nine tails;  Chris Keenan made the drive from NYC suited up in his Mexican War infantryman's outfit and with a backpack that held an impossibly large array of equipment; and Geoff McLean, Roger Kuchera, and Mike Dunn held sway at the Yankee Navy table. Despite a miserable forecast of "hazy, hot, and humid," the sky was overcast all day and we had a good, cool breeze from start to finish. Wool would not have been anyone's first choice, but it was much better than anticipated!

Through some miscommunications both within the school and to us, we ended up setting up in the wrong place. This was a blessing in disguise, since the intended spot would have been very tight; it also was at the receiving end of a "sound channel" formed by the two parallel buildings of the school, in between which a local band had been set up. As we were around the end of one building, all of that noise sailed right past us. Crewman Dunn occasionally climbed a low rise close in plain sight of the milling crowd of students and loosed a round to attract attention; it worked. Although the history teachers bemoaned the fact that not every student visited, a large number did and they were genuinely interested.

The event was a short one, lasting only from ten until 1:30, and we knocked down, stowed gear, and were off by 2:30. Plans for an expanded presence in 2006 are already under discussion.  The teachers expressed an interest in listening to any and all suggestions we might make, as well as to information from other schools that have tried similar events. All in all, a very rewarding living history event and one with a great deal of potential.

Chuck Veit
Lieutenant, Continental Navy & Union Navy

USNLP Report II:

After receiving a forecast of a hot and sunny day, the weather happily turned out to be significantly cooler and slightly overcast. After the arrival of members Jim Matthews, Chuck Veit, Geoff McLean and myself, we set to the task of setting up the three tent flies. After the set up of tent flies and equipment, unit members Roger Kuchera, Chris Keenan, and civilian Betsy Clark arrived. A successful timeline was set up, with Lt. Veit portraying Continental Navy, James Matthews and Dick Myers portraying French and Indian War Rangers, Chris Keenan portraying a Mexican War infantryman, and LCDR Geoff McLean, CPO Roger Kuchera, myself, and Miss Clark as Civil War sailors and civilian. A fair amount of students did arrive, despite the fact that the camp was quite off of the beaten path. Their attention was called to the area several times by musket firing demonstrations.  The weather held all day, much to the relief of all present. Shortly after 1 p.m. we began to break camp and all were away by 2:45 p.m. This was a successful first time event which was much enjoyed by students and staff and does have room to improve. Many thanks to all who attended


Michael Dunn
Coxswain, USNLP

Topog Report:

Ladies and Gentlemen;

I beg your leave to lay before you my Engineering Report of the subject event.  I was asked by the NMLHA President to consider portraying a French and Indian War Period British Engineer.  I had with me the excellent Ranger Sergeant Richard Myer.  We were joined at the presentation by six other members of the NMLHA who portrayed the Civil War Navy, and the Rev War Navy in an excellent fashion.  I shall leave to them the report of that portion of the presentation.
I arrived early on Friday morning to find that no-one at the school had any idea where we were to set up.  After Security got hold of three different workers at the school we finally made the connection with the person responsible for selecting our set-up area.  It was somewhat out of the way and obviously a last minute choice as the first area designated was far too small for the planned three flies.  We set up the three flies and various planned displays, and began to get visitors at about 10:00 A.M.
There was no apparent organization to the History portion of the event.  Nor apparently had the students been briefed or prepared for the presentation as a whole or in part.  The British flag in front of the Engineer's Tent did not seem to attract anyone.  Most of the students seemed far more interested in the raffle prize punch cards than the history that we were discussing.  Three of the history teachers visited the F and I display and voiced their disappointment at the small amount of student interest.  There were were a handful of young people who were interested and asked some very pertinent and specific questions so the day was worth the effort in my view.
The engineers laid out a model display of bridges, tower, field obstructions and fighting knives, with an engineering office set-up.  We spoke at length to several students in regard to Roger's Rangers and the British Engineers on the early colonial frontier.  There was a selected map display on cork boards as well.  The day ended in the early afternoon, when we packed camp and left the scene.  The school had served an early breakfast to all comers, and a noon lunch of hamburgers, hot dogs, and potato chips.
We spent a hour or so speaking with two of the younger history teachers, answering questions about other similar presentations that we had done in the past, and they asked our views on next year's activity if one is held.  We answered their questions at length and left contact information and the invitation to contact us for any further information as needed.

I would have liked to seen more preparation of the students on the part of the teachers, and a more organized visitation program similar to other similar presentations that I have been involved in.  However, the few young adults that we did speak to were worth the whole effort, again in my view.  I would not recommend using the F and I presentation again, however,  unless the teachers specifically prepare the students for such.  There was very lttle background knowledge and /or interest apparently available, even in the teachers to make this period a useful presentation to this age of children, particularly in an air of holiday and "free" day that the High School was exhibiting.

Ian McKay, Cdr
Topog Engineers.

Fort Trumbull
New London, Connecticut
11th June 2005

Participating Units: USNLP / ASFS, Topogs
(USNLP members: Ginny Pyne, Lisa Dacundo, Libby McLean, Mike Dunn, Geoff McLean, Merrill Dunn, Chuck Veit)

USNLP Report:

After delivery the series of Alligator talks to the Friends of Fort Trumbull earlier in the year, helping out with their living history event naturally followed. Most of our crew from yesterday at Higganum was able to take part, although Roger Kuchera and Chris Keenan could not.  Geoff McLean was joined by his able powder monkey, "Mr. Robert Darden," (a.k.a. Libby McLean), and the unit's overall presentation--not to mention appearance and social standing--were immeasurably improved by the inaugural presentation of the American Seaman's Friend Society. This is the brain child of USNLP member Ginny Pyne, who was ably assisted by fellow member Lisa Dacundo. Ginny's report follows and speaks for itself.

Upon arrival at 7:50a.m., I found only three already-sweat soaked Confederates at the registration desk. Area temperatures were forecast to be in the upper eighties if not nineties, with the humidity of the previous week continuing unabated. Although we had dodged a bullet the day before in the hills and woods of Higganum, we all expected to be miserable today. Hearing, however,  that Jim Mathews and his men were already ensconced within the fort--and perceiving that the open, sun-drenched lawns intended for the camp would soon be more griddle than grass--I asked if we could set up within the walls as well. The Rebs  had no problem with that, so we enjoyed a good sea breeze high atop the hill, cooled by the thick masonry walls, throughout the day. 

Visitor turnout in the morning was exceedingly disappointing, with the first five people actually refusing our invitation to answer questions (this after they had all walked past and pointedly ignored the fact that we there). The crowd picked up towards noon and remained fairly consistent until  closing at 4:30pm, with a good number of very interested people.

Despite the intense heat, reenactor turnout was about what the park had anticipated: 50. Unfortunately, because this number included non-combatants and then had to be divided in two (North and South), the few men who took the field were utterly dwarfed by the immense size of the lawn over which they fought. We posted ourselves on the Union left--all four of us--opposed by three Confederates who formed their right. Probably because of the humidity and general discomfort, almost every shot told and the Union made short work of the Secesh (who at least could then lie down while we had to advance!) The Navy captured one wounded Reb, who was detailed to the rear under escort of "Mr. Darden." Upon returning, Darden reported the expiration of the prisoner; we missed no opportunity throughout the afternoon to ask if he had been dispatched with the boarding pike carried by Darden, as the only time we checked we saw that young worthy trotting back towards us, pike held high, and the Rebel lying alone and prostrate.

Fort Trumbull is in excellent condition. We have been to Fort Adams several times and, while impressive, the sheer size of that bastion renders its full restoration and maintenance problematical. Trumbull, being much smaller and more recently actively used, looks like the garrison walked out ten minutes before we arrived. The event, which will hopefully become annual, was marred only by the low turnout of reenactors and visitors--both of which can be fairly blamed on the heat wave. The grounds of the Fort could hold several hundred tents, with room to spare for a battle, and many people could camp within the walls. The number of embrasures was small (five, with one being occupied by a full-scale tableau of an artillery crew manning a coastal 32 pdr cannon) and firing in or near the fort was strictly taboo, but these are minor hindrances.

Chuck Veit
Lieutenant, USNLP

ASFS Report:

American Seaman’s Friend Society
Civilian Attachment to USNLP

This event provided “sea trials” for the concept of a civilian representation to complement the USNLP presence at living histories and reenactments.  I think we’re ready for an official launch.

The American Seaman’s Friend Society was organized in 1827 to combat the destructive influences upon US sailors by “landsharks” – nefarious tavern keepers, paymasters, and women of ill repute.  The intent was to create savings banks, interdenominational prayer meetings, moral activities, and libraries for mariners in port.  Later, the group joined with other organizations such as YMCA and provided housing and financial support for families of injured or dead seamen.  The ASFS created mobile libraries which were sent on board ships for tours of duty. Records show one such library on the USS Constellation in the Mediterranean during the American Civil War years. 

Undoubtedly, the ASFS spawned radical groups which tended to be very forceful in promoting temperance and religion.  It is not our intention to portray this aspect of the group.  Rather, we’d like to simply offer visitors a chance to see that Navy life was not all grog and floggings.  Human beings did care about the fate of working seamen (both merchant and military), and these humans did indeed put their time and money behind that care.

In a first effort to portray the American Seaman’s Friend Society, unit members Virginia Pyne and Lisa Dacundo set up a Seaman’s Friend sitting room and offered visitors a peek into the little known activities of this group.  We were clad in day dresses and hoops, in contrast to the camp clothing worn by most women and children at these events.  We offered refreshments to the weary sailors of our unit.  We suggested that people visit the USNLP tables first and then come to us to see how the ASFS brought some support to those sailors who had seen the elephant.  We had several visitors who were Navy wives and they were very enlightening as to how our historical portrayal had evolved into modern day military regulations. 

In future, we intend to add an ASFS banner, a replica of the ships lending libraries, and continue to develop different ways of portraying the lives of Navy families.

Ginny Pyne
American Seaman's Friend Society 

Topog Report:

Most Esteemed Sirs;

I beg your kind indulgence to lay before you the Engineer's Report of the activity completed at Fort Trumbull this date.
I arrived at Fort Trumbull this morning at approximately 7:40 to find First Sergeant James Duarte awaiting me in the visitor's wagon park.  Shortly thereafter we drove through the lower gate and with Ranger Jon Lincoln into the fort grounds and then into the fort interior.  We asked Ranger Lincoln's permission to set up the Engineering Office and Display in the Casemates, next to the model of the 32 pdr. gun carriage and directly opposite the main entrance to the fortification.  We were shortly joined by the Naval Landing Party (NMLHA), who set up their display in the adjoining casemate.
We were joined by Sergeant John Proctor, and Brevet Sergeant Sid Keeney.  We immediately set up the field office and engineering display, and then moved the wagons to the wagon park outside the park HQ.  
The day was a pleasant one and cool,  shielded as we were from the sun by the casemates with a cool breeze from the ocean most of the day.  We were engaged in answering spectator questions most of the day, both about the engineering display, and about the full sized model of the Coastal Gun carriage and 32 pdr cannon next to us.
This was a one day event until 5:00 P.M. when the fort closed for the day.  The Engineering displays consisted of Bridge and Field Obstruction Models, engineering Instrumentation and selected maps and drawings of Fort Trumbull and Fort Warren, the latter displayed on cork board stands.  First Sgt. Duarte's desk and table were set up next to the Engineer's Desk.
We were treated with every courtesy by the Fort Staff.  The Ladies of the Naval Landing Party also set up in the Casemates, and we enjoyed very much their company, hospitality and iced lemonade.  We were joined later in the day by Brevet Corporal John Ducheaneau our newest "Topog" Engineering member.

We enjoyed some discussions with Mr. John Hanrahan, The President of the "Friends of Fort Trumbull" and Ranger Jon Lincoln in regard to some "Topog" future endeavors at the Fort, which were very productive and which shall be addressed in more detail in another message.

At the end of the day we packed the wagons and with most of the "Topog" and USNLP crew went across the river to a small but very good barbecue restaurant.  Lt. Veit and Sgt. Keeney were unable to join us, but we had a very nice supper together, with some toasts and remarks from the USNLP and the "Topogs."
All in all, this was an excellent event in the "Topog's" view, and we have been informed that this event has drawn the most visitors, so far, at Fort Trumbull of any reenactment event.  The "Topog" Engineer's wish to thank Mr. Niemiac for the effort in putting on this event, as well as the very satisfying hospitality of President John Harahan, and Ranger Jon Lincoln and his park staff.
Should the Engineers be again invited to this event next year, it would certainly be added to our Annual Campaign Schedule and we should be most pleased to attend.


Ian McKay, Brig. Gen. of Engrs (by brevet);
Chief Engineer, and Senior Aide de Camp;
Lt. Gen. U.S. Grant's Military and Personal Staff

Billie Creek Civil War Days

Billie Creek Village, Rockville, Indiana
June 11 & 12, 2005

Participants: Bob Dispenza, Lt., USNLP, Justin Dispenza, Landsman, USNLP, Laurel Dispenza

Billie Creek is a living historical village just outside Rockville , Indiana .  There are a number of restored buildings and some living historians working there.  This event brings around 500 reenactors and over 2000 spectators to the area, known for its covered bridges.  The weather was typical Billie Creek – hot, humid, with periodic rain.

The discomfort caused by the weather was increased by political infighting among the infantry groups.  On the small scale, there is bad blood between the 30th Indiana and the 44th Indiana, both based in the Fort Wayne area and both cooperators with our little Navy contingent.  The 44th recently split off from the 30th, and it was not a pleasant separation.  They are now competing for opportunities and recruits.  Part of the reason for the split was animosity between the Indiana Brigade (supported by the 44th) and the Cumberland Guard (the 30th is a member unit).  The Guard didn’t even bother to send representatives to officers meeting each morning.  Fortunately for the Navy, neither unit knows what to do with us, and we can survive in the middle ground (so far).  While we are used to getting strange comments from about everyone, we are so small and little understood by the infantry that we are under the radar of those looking to pick sides.  So we camp with the Guard and eat with the Brigade, and operate with whoever gives us a good assignment.

Justin, Laurel and I arrived on Friday night, and were assigned a camp down by the creek, appropriate for the Navy.  Laurel stayed with civilians of the 44th Indiana , where she portrayed a wounded civilian.  She had just recently had her ankle operated on for fusing ankle bones, and was still on crutches.  So I got her old wooden crutches and covered her ankle brace with cloth, and she hobbled around for the weekend.  After getting the tent up, we looked around the sutlers for a while (I found a brass speaking trumpet).  Then we “slung our hammocks” for the night.

Saturday reveille was at 6 AM , but since we were camped in the village this year there were no 4 AM roosters.  The 44th Indiana provided all the food for us during the weekend.  After breakfast was some more shopping and visiting, followed by officers meeting.  The overall commander wasn’t sure what to do with us, so we offered our services to the brigade commanders.  The Indiana Brigade assigned us to a right flank position with a dismounted cavalry sergeant.   We planned with the medical services department for wounds subsequent to the battle.  Not many visitors made it to our tent, so we spent most of our time visiting, playing cards, reading and eating (sounds like camp life).  There were round table discussions offered throughout the day, and the Navy has been invited to do several ½ hour presentations next year.  In the afternoon we assembled, inspected arms, and headed for the battlefield.  We were originally stationed behind some mounds, right near a Confederate skirmish line.  As the right flank we were to prevent surprises from that direction.  Our group was armed with two Sharps carbines and one Smith, all with a pistol each.  There was much ice distributed by medical personnel, and lots accessible to the soldiers.  The Union advanced across the field in the face of artillery, and after several advances and retreats, drove the rebels from the field.  The UNION , Huzzah!  Afterwards I was treated for an arm wound before a large crowd (very realistic procedures demonstrated), though much fake blood ended up on my whites.  I recovered in time to partake in the dance later that evening.  Landsman Justin had as many dances as he wanted (they can’t resist the Navy), and girls were even suggesting to him that “I think it’s time you danced with me again.”  How brazen!

Sunday was cooler, but promised rain.  After officers meeting was church service.  We attended the Baptist church, (water, Navy, you know), but after waiting 15 minutes there was no preacher.  A ship captain would be accustomed to doing services on his ship, so I went back to camp to get my Bible and, after about 3 minutes preparation, preached a short sermon on Mark 6 (the storm on the Sea of Galilee , Jesus walking on the water).  We sang a few hymns and departed in peace.  Then we repacked our cartridge boxes and made ready for the afternoon battle.  Rain came and went throughout the day, but about battle time it came and stayed.  Us three started out as skirmishers, but our cavalryman dropped out to escort a prisoner (and his Sharps wasn’t working).  Justin and I continued up the right side and put pressure on their left flank, pinning down the crew of 2 Coehorn mortars.  We didn’t last long as we were unsupported.  Though we didn’t know it until later, our prisoner was exchanged to keep a small group of rebels from attacking us from behind.   We used up all our rifle ammunition and had to go to pistols, and then had to leave the field.  The battle looked realistic, with clouds of smoke obstructing the view.  I can see how units became separated or fired on their own units in error – a literal fog of war.  Justin was treated for a saber wound, but the crowds were much smaller.  We began to pack up as the rain came down harder.

As usual, we met many current and retired Navy veterans.  One, an officer of an infantry unit, retired after 25 years as a Commander.  Even our cavalry sergeant had been a boatswain’s mate.  Not much information was distributed, but the round tables next year should provide us with plenty of opportunity.

Respectfully submitted,

L. R. Dispenza, USNLP

Battle of Port Gamble

Port Gamble, Washington
June 24-26, 2005

Participants: USS Tahoma

Ladies and gentlemen of the NMLHA, Greetings!

Below is an after-action report on the activities of the U.S.S. Tahoma Shore Party at the 'Battle of Port Gamble'. June 24-26, 1862.
(For those unfamiliar with Port Gamble, it is an old logging-mill 'company town', done in the architectural style of 1850's New England, and is listed on the National Historical Register. All the buildings and houses in the town date back to the 1800's. The City Fathers actually approached us about a year ago, offering the town as a setting for a Civil War reenactment!)
 Friday evening, the Navy & Marines landed at the wharf and rushed to offer aid to an Army battalion attempting to drive out the Confederate inhabitants of the town. This was successfully achieved, and the Confederate Army retreated to an encampment west of the town. Growing nightfall prevented further pursuit, and both side bedded down for the night, in anticipation of drawn battles on the morrow. The Navy and Marines had their usual company streets, and the land-ship was set up, with 2 masts, and stanchions all around. The Tahoma mustered 18 Marines and 16 Sailors on deck as combatants for the weekend, (the Sailors acting as gunners, and the Marines taking part as infantry,) plus 7-8 auxiliary ladies, and various children running around underfoot. A Dahlgren Boat-Howitzer, and Verbruggen 3-lb. cannon, plus 2 Coehorn mortars, comprised our usual armaments. We were approached by a local 'scrivener' who wanted to get closer to the action to write it up for the newspapers back home, so we decked him out in a spare sailor's suit, and instructed him to keep out of our way and try not get himself killed in the process!
The Union was victorious in the first skirmish, (thanks in part to a spirited artillery duel with our 2 Navy guns to their 4 larger but less mobile Napoleons,) The Navy had the advantage in mobility, as our lighter-weight guns could more easily be maneuvered around the battlefield in support of the Army. Our troops were counter-attacked 3 hours later, and unfortunately were driven off, leaving the Confederates in control of the battlefield. The 'Corn-feds' still held it at nightfall.
The evening brought a 'Ship's Dining Out', with an enormous seafood feast, salmon, halibut, and ling-cod as the main course, with shrimp fettuccini, and a crab salad. Lt. Anderson, (our Marine Commander,) brought out 5 bottles of his homemade wines to share, all of which were excellent. We were also provided with authentic Royal Navy Grog, by our Grog historian, GM2 Hull, (this being early summer 1862, grog is still served!) Additionally, we were serenaded by various members of the crew who have musical abilities. A most pleasant evening was enjoyed by all!
Sunday brought more battles with those pesky and persistent Confederates, who just don't seem to know when they're licked! Again the Union was victorious in the morning, only to have our gains annulled by the Confederate afternoon advance. One thing worthy of note was on Sunday, the smaller Verbruggen cannon was manned entirely by an all-woman crew, who did as good a job as the menfolk at gun-drill, and rate-of-fire! Having been driven from the field of battle, (again!) we broke camp, loaded up the gear into the ship's boats, and began the long row out to the Tahoma, anchored in the Bay.
Respectfully submitted this 30th day of June, 1862,
I remain your Obd't Serv't,
Lt. Lyle Gleason, CO,
U.S.S. Tahoma Shore Party
Columbia River Squadron, WCWA
NMLHA unit # 581

Festival of Tall Ships

Tahoma, Washington
June 30-July 4, 2005

Participants: USS Tahoma

Ladies and Gentlemen of the NMLHA,

Greetings from the Ladies and Gentlemen of the U.S.S. Tahoma Shore Party! This is our after-action report from the 'Festival of Tall Ships', Tacoma, WA--June 30th through July 4th instant.

June 30th saw the Unit set up and shoot saluting rounds from our Dahlgren Boat-Howitzer and Verbruggen cannon at the Tall Ships as they passed our location on the Tacoma waterfront. (We didn't have to shoot the obligatory 19 shots for the Governor's ship, as we were informed prior to the event that she wouldn't be in attendance.) We then upped anchor and went to our next berth on the Thea Foss Waterway, (about mid-point between the two locations of the Tall Ships' berths,) and proceeded to set up our living-history encampment, complete with our land-ship and cannons out on a point of land ideally suited to salute incoming vessels.

We spent the next three days firing salutes to the Tall Ships as they returned to harbor from their day-cruises, touring the Ships themselves, and giving demonstrations on Naval history and Navy and Marine drills to the estimated one million, (yes, that's ONE MILLION!) people who came by our encampment over the weekend. We signed up six new recruits, (2 Navy, 4 Marines!) We fought a small skirmish with the Seattle "Seafair Pirates", (a VERY famous organization up here that has been around since 1949, and is one of the most visible units around Seattle's 'Seafair' every summer!) It was fought to a draw, with virtually no blood spilled.

On Monday, we loaded up the cannons and went back to the waterfront location we were at on Thursday, to have a ship-to-shore gun duel with the brig "Lady Washington", (4 guns)(she was in the movie "Pirates of the Caribbean",) and a replica 1813's Baltimore Clipper, (with a topsail schooner rig,) named the "Lynx", (6 guns). The "Lady Washington" made one pass and sailed off, but the "Lynx" made a total of 6 passes by our emplacement, firing full 3-gun broadsides each time, then coming about to rake us with their other broadside. We were returning fire as fast as we could, even having our Marines out on the parapet to pot away at them with their muskets. We had one of the Engineers from the WCWA set ground charges along the seawall to simulate cannon strikes from the ships. The crowd loved it all, and the organizers definitely want us back next year!

Total participants for 5 days--13 Sailors, 11 Marines.
It has been a very busy two weeks for us!!
Respectfully submitted,
Lt. Lyle Gleason, CO
U.S.S Tahoma Shore Party
Columbia River Squadron, WCWA
NMLHA Unit # 581

Civil War Weekend

Troy, New York
July 8-10, 2005

Participants: U.S. Naval landing Party
(Bryan Hammond, Ginny Pyne, Mike Dunn, Andy Danish, Roger Kuchera, Charlie Mitchell, Lisa Dacundo, Chuck Veit)

Military Report:
Although a repeat of an already-popular event, this year we moved from a postage-stamp sized venue to beautiful Prospect Park. This spot had enough space for several times our numbers and a field that actually allowed for maneuvering! Oddly, and despite instructions from the sponsors (who are reenactors themselves), everyone reflexively set up in one corner of the park, cramming Northern, Southern, civilian, and sutler camps into one! That made it easier for visitors, anyway, to talk with the evidently agoraphobic participants. USNLP member Andy Danish did an outstanding job making certain that, nomatter where camps were set up, they were broken into Union, Confederate, civilian, and Navy. In addition to the three tents and two flies in our military camp, we included a fly for the American Seaman's Friend Society and a spot for Charlie's Boatworks, which seemed more appropriate near us rather than in with the sutlers (plus Charlie is a USNLP member!).

The sponsors--officially the 77th New York, but, as far as we are concerned, the persons of Maria and Doug Hull helped out by a great many "friendly even when exhausted" staffers--continued their tradition of outstanding support for participants. On Friday, we found sandwiches and drinks on hand; both mornings coffee and doughnuts/bagels were waiting; and Saturday night presented a pig roast! Wood and hay were nearby and in sufficient quantity and of ample quality. 

The unit acted as light infantry on Saturday, exploring the far side of the park with the rest of the Union infantry so as to get a running start for the main event way the hell and gone back in the main field. We carried the day following our skillful maneuvers past the playground and through the line of modern food vendors. Stern handling was required to keep the enlisted men from pausing for coffee (only half kidding here!) During this engagement, we recognized our old dismounted cavalry nemesis--one of whom we captured at last year's event, but who captured most of us during the Albemarle filming in Vermont. At one point they looked to be making a move on us with the hope of repeating this last performance, but every musket and pistol swiveled around (ignoring the far more numerous Rebs to our front) and kept the horsemen under cover.

On Sunday the USNLP had the honor to help the 2nd Vermont Artillery by crewing their undermanned cannon. Given that their CO was present (and knew a whole lot more than me), I just stayed out of the way, trying to look official while our sailors served the gun. Had the crowd been closer, it would have been positively embarrassing to have them hear the growls of satisfaction coming from our sailors every time the gun let loose. I offered to supply lobster bibs should this situation ever again obtain, simply to protect their whites from the drool. After several rounds and the advance of the Rebs, the crew grabbed up their rifles and moved forward. This being a "feel good weekend" we knew it was not going to end happily for the Union, but made a respectable advance before going down. Public hours continued for another forty-five minutes after the battle, and attendance in our camp was very good. Everyone helped take down tents and pack up, and we all lent a hand getting the 2nd Vermont's gun back aboard her trailer.

Attendance at the event was respectable, with numbers kept down on Saturday due to poor weather. The unit set up its usual series of display tables and spoke with a good many people. The ladies of the ASFS enjoyed a growing amount of attention on their second outing, and endured our ribbing questioning the true nature of their operation with good humor.

Troy has been a rather small but very good event for several years, its biggest drawback being the limitations of its previous site. With that solved, the event can now grow pretty much as large as it likes--there is ample room at Prospect Park for many more tents as well as an even larger battlefield. The experience of working with the host unit is alone worth signing up in 2006.

Chuck Veit
Lieutenant Commander, USNLP

American Seaman's Friend Society  Report:

The second event for ASFS served as yet another growth spurt.
What worked:
Chuck Veit provided two signs which made a huge difference in getting people to stop and chat.  Merrill and Mike Dunn built a ship's library box and Roger Kuchera donated several period volumes.  Those props allowed us to really hit the ground running upon our arrival in Troy.  By the way, we can use more books if anyone has any to donate.  Particularly religious books...bibles and such.
What didn't:
We had too much room and too many comfortable chairs.  Need to reconstruct our area so that we are welcoming to interested visitors, but not serving as a visitor's center for the event.  I think it's best if we are positioned toward the aft side of the USNLP tables.
Also, do not try to use period ink and pens in the rain.
Three key visitors:
A woman from NYC stopped by to tell us her grandmother had an account set up for her to keep her allowance money in a bank started by ASFS in Manhattan.  The bank is no longer there, but she shared some good information.
A woman from the Harriet Tubman museum in Troy stopped by to pick our brains about the maritime aspect of the Underground Railroad.  She has a museum full of information but a huge gap concerning the role of ships and mariners.  We may be able to work with her and share some knowledge.
A fellow worked right next to the ASFS Sailors' Home in New York City.  He also shared some memories about that place.
Goals for the next event:
We hope to have a banner, several handouts, and a vignette.
Troy is rapidly becoming my favorite event.  Both Lisa and I want to thank everyone who worked so hard to put it all together.
Respectfully submitted:
Virginia Pyne
American Seamen's Friend Society

Additional Report from Troy . . . (a popular event)  

Dear Sir,

Pursuant to Navy regulations I herewith enclose an AAR for the skirmish against the forces of the CSA at Troy , New York .

A Naval landing party was put ashore in the city of Troy , New York in the late afternoon of July 8th. A small force of rebel infantry had been reported in the general vicinity of the Albany/Rensselear/Burden iron foundries. These being the foundries that were rolling the armor plate for the USS Monitor. The area was reconnoitered by Lt. Veit, Armorer PO Danish and Bo’sun PO Kuchera. We quickly established a camp and awaited the arrival of additional men of the ship’s company USS Corwin. Later that evening Coxswain Dunn and Seaman Hammond arrived. The force thus assembled was considered to be sufficient. Plans were laid for the following day’s events.

Imagine our surprise when we awoke the next morning to find ourselves surrounded by regiment of Union infantry. So much for secrecy in a time of war! We suspected that the rebel force was not too far distant, if they existed at all. Our courageous Lt. volunteered the Naval forces at hand to assist our infantry brethren. The ship’s company, being a brave and bold lot, was game for any action that might be afoot. What started as a simple reconnoitering party had now turned into a full scale infantry action.

At approximately 1 PM on 9th, we took a place on the Union starboard flank in skirmish order. A brief but bitter action ensued and in a matter of 20 to 30 minutes Union forces had beaten back the gray hordes. The U.S. Naval Landing Party acquitted itself in fine fashion. We laid down withering musketry and any attempts to turn the flank of the Union forces were quickly disabused. From our vantage point, casualties appeared light on both sides. A search of the area afterward revealed no rebel forces.

In the early afternoon of the 10th of July evidence of the rebel force surfaced. We were called to action again. The infantry commander reported that the 2nd Vermont battery of 12 pdr. Brass Napoleons was short a crew. No doubt due to casualties taken on the 9th. Once again our courageous Lt. volunteered for hazardous duty as did the entire landing party. We could hear the muskets of the pickets give evidence to the presence of a rebel force. We fairly leapt to our stations at the gun. Our long experience at serving the Naval guns aboard ship served us in good stead.

The work was hot & heavy as we poured shot and canister into the rebel lines. It had a telling effect as we could see numbers of the butternuts fall. After nearly 20 minutes we found that we had run out of ammunition. In a last ditch effort to turn the tide of battle Lt. Veit, petty officer Danish and seaman Dunn & Hammond took the field with their muskets. Artillery Sgt. Pulver & Bo’sun Kuchera stayed behind to keep the gun from being captured.

It is my sad duty to report that the U.S. Naval Landing Party took heavy casualties in this forlorn hope. Lt. Veit was killed as was petty officer Danish and seaman Dunn & Hammond. A truly heart rending moment was when seaman Dunn’s mother discovered his body on the field. Through the din and smoke of the battle, it was my observation that they died valiantly upon the field of honor defending the Union and highest traditions of the United States Navy.

I remain, Sir,

Your obedient servant,

Roger W. Kuchera
Bo’sun, USS Corwin, U.S.N.

Coast Guard Day Picnic

Portsmouth, Virginia
August 6, 2005

Date: 08 August 2005
From: CWO A.T. Mordica, Gun Captain, ISC Salute Howitzer/Secretary, Tidewater Maritime Living History Assoc. (TMLHA)
To: President, Navy and Marine Living History Association (NMLHA)
Info: Commanding Officer, Coast Guard Integrated Support Command (ISC) Portsmouth VA
        Executive Officer, Coast Guard Integrated Support Command (ISC) Portsmouth VA
        President, Tidewater Maritime Living History Association (TMLHA)
Subj: After Action Report (AAR) - Coast Guard Day Picnic 06 August 2005

    1. Persuant to a request from Commanding Officer, USCG ISC Portsmouth VA, a crew of TMLHA members conducted living history displays pertinent to the early history of the USRM/USRCS during the 1850’s/1860’s. This annual event commemorates the creation of the United States Revenue-Marine (the original name of the US Coast Guard) on August 4, 1790.  The day is celebrated at USCG installations world-wide on the first Saturday in August by a picnic and family oriented activities open to all USCG military, civilian and families.
    2.  Members participating were:
              - Mike Johnson, Pursers Mate (President)
              - Keith Halstead, Bos'n's Mate (BMC USCG)
              - Eric Jeanneret, Cook (IC1 USN ret)
              - Liz Jeanneret, Ladies' Aid Society (Vice President)
              - Connor Jeanneret, Boy 1st Class
              - Joe Adamson, Gunner's Mate (STSC USN)
              - Marty Burnham, Gunners Mate (ET1 USCG)
              - Fred Cook, Signal Quartermaster (RMC USN ret)
              - Allen Mordica, Captain USRCS (CWO USCG/Secretary)
    3. At 1000 on 06 August, TMLHA members began to arrive at ISC. The display site was located immediately outside of a gate leading onto left field of a softball diamond.  This was done to allow for howitzer firing demonstrations to be done in an appropriate open area during lulls between softball tournament games. Camp was setup without incident by 1130, and an original 1863 Dahlgren Boat Howitzer (“Old Tom") was prolonged from the UPH (barracks) lobby to the camp site.
    4. At 1200, the howitzer was fired to announce the commencement of the CG Day picnic.
    5. The displays of ship's store, small arms, sailor's personal kit, single-flag signal equipment, navigation instruments and of course the howitzer were set out for public perusal and edification, and operated from 1200-1645. Approximately 150-200 spectators were engaged during the day.
    6. As part of the festivities, a generous afternoon repast was offered by the event, and gladly accepted by the crew.
    7. Due to the compressed schedule of softball games during the afternoon, and with the concurrence of CAPT Cahill and Ms. Sandra Hardison, MWR event coordinator, the planned howitzer firing demonstrations were cancelled.
    8. At the conclusion of the event, camp was struck at 1700. At 1730, the crew was dismissed to quarters.

    Lessons Learned-

a.      With the temperature/humidity issues related to setting up the presentation, having access to cold drinking water to support a team in the field was essential.  Many thanks to Ms. Hardison and her staff who kept us well supplied during the afternoon.

        b.      The Gun Captain (me) could have attempted to locate a better site for the firing demonstrations. For 2006, we will work closely with ISC representatives to attempt to identify a suitable site that will allow for demonstrations that will not impact other ongoing events.

9.      In closing, thanks go to CAPT Tom Cahill (CO), CDR Bob Stohlman (XO) and Ms. Sandra Hardison (MWR event coordinator) whose support allowed this operation to go on. 

A. T. Mordica

Redcoats to Rebels

Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge, Massachusetts
August 6-7, 2005

Participants: U.S. Naval landing Party
(Geoff McLean, Ginny Pyne, Mike Dunn, Carl Dailey, Libby McLean, Lori Veit, Merrill Dunn, Lisa Dacundo, Chuck Veit)

From: U.S.S. Passaic

To: Commander, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron
Most Esteemed Sir,
Herewith I humbly submit my after action report for the events of 5-7 August last.
The Passaic officers and men assembled with Union forces in Sturbridge Village after a torrential down pouring of the skies.  We joined with the Naval Landing Party and established a base camp from which we recruited potential crew members.
The Evening of the fifth we did serious battle with the indigenous population which attempted to bite us into submission.  I am proud to say that we did everything possible and managed to escape relatively unscathed.  Exhausted however, the Troops rallied Saturday evening but were too spent to be able to cope with the now greatly reduced number of these virulent pests.  Alas about 2200 the attackers, numbness, and exhaustion combined to overwhelm our defenses.  The occasional slap could be heard as one more of the critters "saw the elephant".  I am now writing from the recovery room of the local hospital where the nurses are tending my many wounds.  Robert Gordon, Boy 3rd Class, is likewise recovering from wounds received, primarily about the face and feet.  I would recommend the purchase of Mosquito netting before encamping at Sturbridge again.
This encampment was the largest I have attended with over 650 reenactors and many thousands of visitors.  We were kept busy throughout the day on Saturday with visitors, though we were not overwhelmed.  With the combined Passaic and Landing Party crew and the American Seamen's Friends Society we were able to easily educate the visitors without undue stress upon ourselves.  Sickness did strike some of our attendees and these were evacuated to better quarters.  We showed the flag, participating in two large and exuberant parades.
I had prepared a rather quaint enactment for the Candlelight Tours, but alas, the Navy was completely ignored, instead visitors being mostly hustled to the artillery encampment.
Food and camaraderie around the campfire was both pleasant and satisfying.  At times the men, ladies, and I were having too much gaiety poking fun at the Army's miserable lifestyle.
Sunday was hotter and more humid than Saturday, but most of the troops had gotten a reasonably good night's rest.  Robert Gordon and Lieutenant-Commander Veit stood the fashion show for us whilst I held down the fort.  I understand it was a rousing success.  We prepared for battle with the Johnny Rebs and this I wish to explain in some detail.
Johnny was halfway up a small hill with his Artillery located at an advantageous spot higher up.  The bulk of the force was stationed behind and crouching under a split rail fence.  The Army artillery was at the lowest point while the troops massed in the middle of an open field.  LCDR Veit and I rapidly decided that the best thing for our small contingent was to use the river to our advantage and skirt along its banks until we were almost on the left flank of the Rebs.
The Army commenced firing before we had a chance to get arranged so we let our men commence a hot musket fire upon the Rebs.  In short order, both of our officers had emptied their revolvers into the enemy and we formed a skirmish line to advance.  Having had their fill of the hot fire our forces poured into them and the loss of their cannon crews, the Rebs beat a hasty retreat up the hill.
Our Navy lads showed great ingenuity by opening a hole in the fence through which the Army could pass.  However, the Army being what it is, decided to go in the opposite direction and march while firing along the fence until they came to an open gate, and then proceed all the way back to the middle of the field.  Meanwhile our naval forces poured over the fence and took position for the first time in view of the onlookers and on the far left flank of the Rebs.  General cheering stopped momentarily and I am sure I heard a chanting "Go Navy!  Go Navy!" as we again poured hot led from our muskets into the almost surrounded Rebel Forces.  Our Sailors were stunning in their white uniforms and they fought with manly fitness.  I am sure several of the ladies in the gathered crowd swooned over them.
One of the Army boys was escorted off the field with Huzzahs! after being wounded by bees.  LCDR Veit was wounded in the left arm, but administered aid to himself.  Otherwise we suffered no casualties.
After the surrender, we returned to camp, soaked with sweat as the crowd dwindled until it was time to pack up.  One item of note - and perhaps the whole point of going to these events was a comment I received from a visitor... something to the effect "I didn't know there was a Navy in the Civil War, much less that they fought with the Army".
I would recommend the event be held later in the year, September or even October being a better time.  The Passaic crew used up over four gallons of drinking water - so water is a must at these events.  I would recommend that each unit that is participating in the Candlelight tour explain to the management of the the tours what it is they will be presenting, and nail down where the tours are going so that effort is not wasted.  I would also recommend that more vehicles be allowed to unload at a given time, as four vehicles at a time for three very large encampments was too few.  Otherwise the events went smoothly.
I wish to thank the Ladies of the ASFS for their wonderful libations and company, and for taking care of my daughter Lydia Seals.  Lydia thoroughly enjoyed her first reenactment as a young lady of the period and is now begging to obtain material for a new dress.
Finally, I wish to commend Lt. Veit and charming wife Lori for their congenial hospitality.
I know that we accomplished what we set out to do and that is to educate the public about *their* history and how much more there is to learn.

Ezra G. Seals, LCDR, USN


This event took place on the grounds of a reconstructed New England village of the 1830s, so the venue was incomparable. While the hum of the highways could be heard faintly at night, there were no wires, no visible parking lots, and no modern buildings anywhere in sight. Approximately 650 reenactors took part, representing the French & Indian War, Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Mexican War, and Civil War. Visitor attendance was anticipated at 3,000+ each day of the weekend, but the intense heat and humidity reduced this number dramatically. Instead of a wicked pisser event (a New England phrase), it was merely excellent. The negatives (including the sheer volume of bugs) were all beyond the control of the staff of Old Sturbridge Village, who in every other regard were outstanding hosts. Most importantly, the few times that someone went down in the heat, got stung by something, or had some other medical problem, the first that most of us even suspected anything was amiss was when an OSV person swooped in to help.

The USNLP performed admirably under the very adverse weather conditions and I wish to commend all hands for a job well done. We managed two fashion shows, a battle, and two parades while manning the display tables and speaking with the many visitors who found their way to the Union camp.

Chuck Veit

Hammocks Beach State Park
Swansboro, NC
August 6, 2005

U. S. S. Daylight
Off Beaufort, N. C.
August 10, 2005

Acting Rear-Admiral S. P. Lee
Commanding North Atlantic Blockading Squadron


            I have to report in obedience to your order that a party from the U. S. S. Daylight landed at approximately 8:30 a. m. on 6 August to locate enemy saltworks and participate in a living history program for Hammocks Beach State Park outside of Swansboro.   Gunner’s Mate A. Duppstadt, Ship’s Surgeon G. G. Riggs, Yeoman M. Bass, Ship’s Cook K. Sewell and myself engaged over 400 local townspeople and correspondents discussing such topics as navigation, small arms, medicine and ship’s stores.  Four extensive saltworks in full operation were found at different points along the coast and near the inlet, which were all thoroughly destroyed by the men.  At approximately 5:00 p. m., the last of the landing party returned to the Daylight which, in turn,  embarked for Beaufort.  It should be noted that we met with little resistance and met several locals that were sympathetic to our cause and assisted us in carrying out our mission.

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

CW Grimes

Lieutenant C. W. Grimes

Museum of the Confederacy
Richmond, VA
August 20/21, 2005

C. S. S. Fredericksburg                                                                                                                     August 22, 2005

Flag-Officer John K. Mitchell
Commanding James River Squadron


I have to report in obedience to your order that a shore party from the C. S. S. Fredericksburg arrived at approximately 9:30 a.m. on 20 August to conduct a living history at the Museum of Confederacy as part of their special Confederate Navy exhibition.  My party, consisting of Gunner’s Mate A. Duppstadt and Fireman First Class A. Mitchell, was joined by detachment of 8 marines from Camp Beall led by Captain R. Doren and 1st sergeant M. Duffey.  Over a two day period, over 500 interested citizens visited the exhibition with our group exposing them to such topics as navigation, ironclad shipbuilding, torpedoes, small arms and steam engineering.

In regards to the exhibition and the artifacts it showcased, my party remains in awe.  Artifacts included multiple examples of officer’s uniforms, period CSN china, reproduction torpedoes, logbooks from the C. S. S. Shenandoah, medals given by various nations to Commodore Matthew Maury for his groundbreaking work with mapping the world’s oceans, and last but not least, the ensign of the C. S. S. Shenandoah, which was the last Confederate flag flying. 

The museum staff, especially Sean Kane, Sam Craighead and the museum’s executive director, Waite Rawls were especially gracious and attended to our every need.  Director Rawls treated our party to 1930's recordings that highlighted true “rebel yells” which were performed by actual veterans of the war.  The sounds heard most definitely would cause the enemy to think twice about engaging any of our forces!

After a very successful visit, my party departed the museum and returned to the Fredericksburg at 5:30 p. m. on 21 August.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

CW Grimes

Commander C. W. Grimes, Commanding
C. S. S. Fredericksburg

Fort Taber
New Bedford, MA
August 20/21, 2005

Lt. Gen. U.S. Grant

HQ, All Federal Armies
Capt. D. Erickson
Commandant (acting)
U.S. Corps of Topographical Engineers
Most Esteemed Sirs;
I beg your most kind indulgence to lay before you my Engineering Report for the above event.
The dispatch schooner from Fort Trumbull, in New London, being on task to Fortress Monroe with dispatches, I booked commercial passage on a steam packet for New Bedford.  Arriving in that whaling city without incident we gained the services of a small buckboard from a local Stable and were soon on site, by early evening on the 19th.  Capt. Bromley and my 1st Sgt. James Duarte met us and unlocked the fort.  Without delay we moved into one of the casemates opposite the fort's main access, and set up the engineering field office.
Due to the lateness of the hour, we immediately sought shelter in the city.
The next morning (Saturday, 20 Aug.), I arrived at the Fort about 8:00 A.M. and received reports from the Officers and NCO's attached to the fort and encampment.  Early on, we began to receive visitors from the city, and from about 9:00 A.M. until well after dark we were receiving visitors inquiring about all aspects of Fort Taber,and the engineering office.  Our efforts were directed primarily to answering those questions about:
---the fort's origin,
---Third System Fortification Design;
---Fort Construction, Purpose, and specific targets;
---Casemate construction, design and elements of use;
---The procedure and operation of the guns within the casemates.
Esteemed Sirs; I wish to call your attention to both Capt. James Duarte, Lt. Gen U.S. Grant's Military Staff and Sgt. Dan O'Rourke, QM Dept, NEB for their determined and detailed service with me in answering these thousands of questions directed at us during this weekend.  Their assistance and attention to duty was of great assistance and support to both myself and to the hosts of the event.
In relation to the hosts of the event, the Fort Taber Military History Group, could not have been more supportive, and forthcoming in their efforts to assist us both in accommodation and in welcome.  Great strides have been made in preparing the fort for opening to those interested in the fort's history and preservation.  Much still needs to be done, of course, but a very good beginning has been made.
On Saturday evening we discussed the various ways of presenting the fort both in the areas of the various aspects of the Civil War Army, and also the various periods of historical interest in and round the fort area.
Sunday morning saw us back at the fort with with a modified number of visitors, due no doubt to the threat of stormy weather.  We maintained the welcoming and informing of visitors until after 5:00 P.M. when we then began to pack for home.  We reversed our arrival procedure and were aboard the steam packet by 7:00 PM. that evening.  I went straight to my cabin and slept until our arrival at New London, and the Fort Trumbull pier.
One of the suggestions made for a more effective presentation was:
--A wooden model of a casemate seacoast artillery piece and carriage of the period, both when the Fort was designed and also during the Civil War Period.  A full sized model would be most effective , but a scale model would be most effective as well in supplying for visitors some idea of the carriage and artillery design and usage, which, to most people of the modern day, is simply incomprehensible without graphic representation.       
In conclusion of this report, arrangement have been set in train to revisit the Fort Taber Museum in the Fall after the end of this year's reenactment season. to plan for next year's presentation, and to make arrangements for the duplication of some plans, of interest to the Topog Engrs.  The Fort Taber Historical Society seemed to be genuinely pleased with the performance of all who attended the event, and without any reservations whatsoever, I would be willing to return whenever asked.
Your Most Humble and Dutiful Servant;
Very Respectfully;
Brig. Gen of Engrs. Ian McKay, Capt. (T.E.);
Chief Engineer, Sr. Aide de Camp;
Chief of Staff (acting)
Lt. Gen. U.S. Grant's Mil. and Pers. Staffs

Johnny Appleseed Festival

September 17-18, 2005
Fort Wayne, IN

Personnel: L. R. Dispenza, Lt.Cmdr.; Russ Gilliom, Coal Heaver; Justin Dispenza, Landsman; Kim (9) and Paul Ben (2) Dispenza, "helpers"

Another fantastically large Johnny Appleseed Festival (about 250,000 for the weekend).  Of course, we didn't see all those in our corner of the park.  President Lincoln (Fritz Kline) was set up right next to the Navy tent.  Paul Ben and Kim helped by attracting visitors by their cuteness, and Kim knows all about deck lights, river gunboats and cannonballs.  She also learned to write with a quill pen this weekend, and stayed overnight with me.  Justin, Russ and I followed up many infantry and artillery drills with short Navy programs, and we were on the schedule each day for a Navy only demo.  I also participated in the fashion show both days, showing the crowd the 1862-63 undress uniform.  The weather was quite warm in the afternoon, especially during Mr. Lincoln's speech, where I commanded the honor guard.  We handed out many How the Navy Won and Alligator brochures, along with forms for minors enetering the Navy, and talked at length to many Navy veterans.  We really need a gunboat - the St. Mary's River is right in the park.

Respectfully submitted,
L. R. Dispenza

Hillsborough River and Miranda's Farm Raids

Veteran's Memorial Park Tampa, and Big Bayou, St. Petersburg, Florida
October 1 & 2, 2005

Participating unit: USS Fort Henry

On Saturday, members of the USS Fort Henry arrived at the Vet's Park early.  The Park provided transportation (about 30 miles each way) to the Miranda event.  Upon return to the park, this unit participated at that location for the remainder of Saturday and Sunday.

Actual events:
The Raid on Abel Miranda's Farm took place in early 1862.  Many believe it was to harass the secessionists as they in turn harassed the unionists.  The raid was by men from the USS Ethan Allen who came ashore and subsequently destroyed buildings and any stock and grain they could not take back with the.  Guns were fired but there were no casualties of any kind.

The Hillsborough River Raid took place in October 1863.  100 Sailors, 6 officers, and two guides from the USS Tahoma and USS Adela  marched inland under cover of darkness.  They set two blockade runners on fire, then returned to the beach where the fatal skirmish took place.

The Miranda event on Saturday was the climax of other events sponsored by the local history museum.  Men from the Fort Henry portrayed those from the Ethan Allen, accompanied by some other volunteers.  Some were able to land in a small launch while others came from around the bushes, simulating a landing.  The weather was rough seas due to high winds.  The event was short as scheduled.  An important note is that this was the first ever reenactment on almost the exact spot of the original event.

The Hillsborough River event took place about ten miles from the original as the later is completely developed.  We did have a water backdrop that added to the scene.  As tactical commander, I tried t  follow the final moments of the original skirmish on the beach, using a 4-inch mortar to simulate the USS Adela which came to the rescue firing shrapnels.

Problems and issues:
The coordination of two events on the same day by the park and other "historians" went very well.  The schedule was very closely followed.  As good as the event was, some issues arose.  Two other events were also scheduled for that same weekend.  One, a Civil War train raid drew some reenactors away, but I believe they also suffered.  Another event was actually a multi-timeline living history event at Egmont Key, a US Navy station during the war and HQ for EGBS for a month.

The USS Fort Henry got hit unusually hard with members being unable to make the events.  We did have six, but for a variety of reasons (marriage, death in family, work, illness, etc.) - all good, it took an unusual toll.

Final thoughts:
We had some good publicity in the Tampa Tribune in advance.  Several hundred spectators had the opportunity to hear about how the Navy was used as infantry.  We became the hosts of this event less than two weeks before, and did not have a chance to iron out issues.  Now that we are on board I foresee this event growing in various ways.  I have already been in contact with the organizers of the two other events so in 2006 none should be on the same weekend.

I remain, your most obedient servant,
Lew Zerfas


Smith-Harris House

East Lyme, Connecticut
October 1 & 2, 2005

Participating unit: US Naval Landing Party (C. Veit, G. McLean, M. Dunn, L. McLean, B. Hammond)

As in years past, this event is a very enjoyable and relaxing closer to the season in the Northeast. Set on the beautiful grounds of the 1840 Smith-Harris House (which doubles as the town's museum), it is a timeline event that this year included a large French & Indian War colonial group, a number of Woodland Indians, a unit of British regulars, Confederate infantry and artillery, and Union infantry and Navy. The event also offers a wide variety of 19th century crafts and demonstrations for the kids.

Set up was early Saturday morning and went smoothly, with everything in place well before the official opening at ten. The volume of visitors was slower than in years past because nearby Electric Boat was holding a family day picnic that drew a fair number of people away. As there are no Civil War battles at this event, the unit manned the display tables throughout the day. The crowd picked up in the afternoon and was reasonably heavy throughout the following day, with three of us often required to address all of the questions.. It was gratifying to recognize faces from last year's event--especially when many people asked to hear the latest on the Alligator Project.

Chuck Veit
Lieutenant, U.S. Naval Landing Party

War Days
Hartford City, IN
October 8 and 9, 2005

Personnel: L. R. Dispenza, Lt. Cmdr.

Arrived very late Friday night and set up in the dark.  Weather was mostly cool and cloudy - just right for dark wool.  This year the Navy camp was next to Generals Grant, Sherman and Custer (all three looked the part, and knew quite a bit of the needed history).  Not many visitors made it all the way over across the battlefield to the Union encampment, so I didn't get to talk much.  The Union lost the battle on the first day, though they consistently outnumbered and flanked the rebs.  Lots of artillery this year.  I was assigned several artillery soldiers to help me hold down the right flank, mostly to keep the reb cavalry from flanking the artillery.  They did not prove to be a threat, but the Union line eventually collapsed and we had to retreat.  A ball was held Saturday night.
Sunday morning's tactical saw the Navy (me) and several artillery soldiers again (some armed with Smiths and some with pistols) organized for scouting.  This year's objective was to find 4 flags, hold the positions for 10 minutes, and then remove the flags and take them to our commander.  Our scouting group found 3 of them, and called in infantry support to hold each of them while we found the others.  The Union ended up with all the flags - Huzzah!  Next was church call with Father Murphy.  The afternoon battle was a facsimilie of Pickett's Charge, with the artillery lined up behind a rail fence and infantry stationed between each piece, there were some companies on the flanks, but they played only a minor role (my group was one of those).  The charge melted away under a hail of artillery and musket fire - it was impressive.  Throughout the weekend I talked with Admiral Farragut (a fellow named Milton from South Bend, IN) about things Navy, and he wants to coordinate a list of midwest Navy reenactors so we can get together at events.  I have his email for those wishing to participate.

(the attached photo is of me reloading the Smith "from a safer position")

Respectfully submitted,
L. R. Dispenza

Seahorse Key

Off the Coast of Florida
October 25, 2005

Participating unit: USS Fort Henry

It is a rare opportunity for reenactors and living historians to sand in the same spot where the people we recreate once stood.

On Saturday, October 15, 2005, we had such an opportunity.  Chief (and wife April), Vince (and wife Sarah), Dave, Rob, and myself went to Seahorse Key, an off shore island under Federal control for most of the war, and a place frequented by the USS Fort Henry.

Wonderful weather was encountered as we had a great time at Seahorse Key, Florida.  (I plan to post photos and some background on our site in a day or two.) 

As we arrived at Cedar Key, the town was beginning to fill up with the festival going on. Loads of people and kiosks everywhere.  We met near the University of Florida's dock for transportation out to Seahorse Key.  As the tide was low, we had to take the small skiff in two trips.  Pretty fast boat.  The island was about five miles off shore.  Upon arriving at the island we all met up again.  We eventually found a nice spot by the dock with plenty of natural shade.

After setting up, we took a walk up to the light house.  It was not very tall, but being it sat on a hill over 55 feet high (highest on the west coast) the overall height was about 75-feet above sea level.  The light house was built well before the Civil War, designed by Lt. George Meade. 

Next, it was off to the graveyard to see the headstones of the three USS Fort Henry sailors buried there during the Civil War.  It was located down a long winding narrow trail.  I must say it was an awesome feeling to be standing where McCauley and the crew most likely stood for the burial service.  It is a rare opportunity for reenactors to actually visit and stand on the same ground that those we recreate stood upon.

Later, we were back at our little camp talking to the spectators and demonstrating equipment and arms to the spectators that came out by passenger ferries.

At the end of the day it was time to pack.  This time we were able to ride back on UF's big Marine Lab boat.  The fast twin screw diesel powered boat got us back to Cedar Key quickly, navigating through the narrow channels.  Rob, our connection to the good folks up at Seahorse Key, bought a round of drinks at the bar in the old hotel.

Lew Zerfas

National Association for Interpretation National Workshop
Mobile, AL
November 8-12, 2005

This was a special presentation for my professional organization, which consists of natural and cultural history interpreters from national, state, county, local and private parks and historic sites.  My presentation was "Forgotten Heroes: How the U. S. Navy Won the Civil War" (yes, that title sounds familiar).  Chuck's booklet provided a basis for the program, which about 50 attended (pretty good for having about 17 choices and about 600 attendees).  I foresaw most of my audience being cannonball circuit National Park Service people, but in actuality most were just park people with an interest in history and curiosity about the Navy's story.  It seemed to go well, and most of my evaluations were excellent, though it was tough to tell the story in an hour.  I used a number of our past Shiloh photos to illustrate.  Most of my handouts were gone after the program, especially Chuck's booklet.  A number of people in positions to influence public opinion now have a better understanding of the Union Navy's importance.

Respectfully submitted,
L. R. Dispenza


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