Ian, Devin, Bob and I got there about 8pm.
3 hours in the car Shawn, Ron, and Will arrived almost at the
same time we did, Sign in was neat, they gave us a dollar in period
money, a 3rd corps badge to sew on ( The 151 ladies offered to sew them
on) and sutler 5 cent gold tokens, They were used as change
also by the sutler you would have to buy more stuff to use them up. Craig
Shaffer(151) who played sutler said that's how real regimental
sutlers would encourage you to spend more. He also wanted each of us to
bring one home as a memento. The had them made in California, There was
display of Dennis Shanks's (151) collection of carte
de visits and enlistment papers of 151st men.
Devin was good enough to wear
his uniform Friday night even though he wasn't staying the weekend. Its
good he did, and not just for the warmth the wool provides but because
afterward John Hutchinson (151) led us away from the
site to a path down a ravine into the river side of the encampment. With a
full moon lighting up the woods and fields we approached a sentinel and
were allowed to pass, coming to a out-post with a fire and a
evergreen arbor shelter. Then across a foot bridge up the hill to the
camp, through a gun emplacement to the 8 winter huts copied from
photos. We were assigned into the 'Pine Cottage" a large hut with
three tier bunks and a small wood stove. Later it was realized the boys
who got the "High ground" had more heat than the
"bottom rails" I picked out a middle one, which I named, 'my
box'. It reminded me of the berths on a schooner I have been on. They slept
12 altogether. With a barrel and some logs to sit on.
We met the 148th boys
sharing the hut with us and I went to the NCO/officers meeting. Captain Kevin O'Bierne
(Columbia Rifles), officer of the day, then gathered the men around the out
door fire in front of the sutler hut and stressed first person,
military correctness, winter safety and not writing our names in the snow in
yellow around the huts, A "sink" was to be designated and used.
and would be inspected It was cold in the teens Friday night. Taps was
blown by the bugle at 1100 for lights out and all quiet We were duly
reminded by the officer of the day soon after, from the
banging of his sword on our door. Bob's extra bag of cherry hardwood he
donated burned hot and kept the hut comfortable and saved any trips out
in the cold for wood. Most went to sleep, a few stayed up too late (Me)
and jabbered. It was different than the usual Friday reenactor
re-union night you see at events. Filled with time travel moments.
Saturday started with reveille by the
bugle , then assembly by companies for the roll call.The schedule for the
day was read and guard and fatigue assignments given out and we
were dismissed till breakfast call, all by the bugle played by Andy
Stupp (148NY) After receiving crap on a
shingle and sausage doled out at the cook house Then sick call, the
officer of the day conducted cabin inspection. We lined up in from of
our home and the Sgt Major Scott Shotts
(151) and Captain O'B inspected. We were found with a contraband wine bottle
which was later figured to have been planted. The wicker jug that
had held the beer was not mentioned. Nor were the flasks found. good.
We were dinged for having a dirty floor, bad. We were left wondering
how we were going to get around this regular army type officer.
We were first assembled in the company
street as one of the two companies for weapons inspection, alot of
reenactors need to work on presenting the weapon the right way for
inspection. The 149th I saw all got it right by the book.The 149th's
brass all looked passable.Those not assigned to the guard were given
fatigue duty stocking the huts and the out post with wood and chopping
wood. And sitting around the sutler fire. We assembled for guard
mount parade and inspection. You don't get to see this at many events.
The only fifer not on duty played drum because the other drummer who was
present at winter 64 was invisible somewhere, so the music
part suffered. Sometimes it's not good when the actors don't show up to the
play, there are no stand ins for some roles.
I as second Sergeant of the guard had
a mind melt and blew my part in the parade even though I had studied
those diagrams. Stage fright..
After the parade Lt Casey
Osgood (Calicos) marched the guard back to the guard house
where I took over and saw to it the relief's were organized and posted. Casey
went into the guard room and started on the Guard Report and doing
Grand Rounds, post number one was in a federal post
office, two areas divided by a mail pigeon hole wall between, an area
for company clerk Kerry Barlow (137th NY Co. C)
to had out passes near a nice sunny window and a room for the
guards with a wood stove.
I should of had a corporal of the guard meeting
quick to talk about the orders for the posts.
The first relief went out with
out orders I think. We never got people a chance to recite and learn use
the formal "I am required to take charge of this post.... yada
yada." at least once. After a while the 3 relief's fell
into the routine of going out their half hour shifts and warming up in
the guard room. A lot of good first person took place in the guard room.
Each corporal of each relief (Shawn Parsons, Ian
MacNeil (149th NY) and Mike O'Conner (140th
NY) got better at assembling and posting his relief I saw
Corporal O'Conner was very professional with his relief. As were all three
corporals in the guard.
I kept the time on a pocket watch. And checked on the people. It
got like I was feeling like my old job as train conductor before the war..
A towns woman came by complaining of our soldiers and theft, I
sent her to the officer of the day under guard.
The first real challenge to the guard was two privates caught foraging
with out permission, I had two guys presented to me with a huge slab
of salt bacon on a stick and a bag of what looked like potatoes. Captain O'B punished
these two by having them rum a gauntlet of the guard relief's for a
spanking and then 3 laps around the parade ground hands in the
air while apologizing at bayonet point. While being snowballed.
Then there was a southern parson person claiming to be a minister being
escorted to see me complaining of depredations , I thought "Nuts, now I got
to go look for candle sticks or something?" The evening shifts of
guard were high drama. At some point a skinny starving Johnny
surrendered. He very much looked and acted the part. There were
men "drunk" on duty , men away from camp without a pass
and "drunk" and whisky induced delirium
tremens to a serious degree, orders to buck and gag. Rumors of broken
noses. Even period boredom and letter reading. Several escape attempts, a
little private soldier justice and general caterwauling. a
little bad re-enactor theater among friends who haven't seen each other in
We NCOs decided to ask to bag the guard duty for the day shift after
every one had done three shifts it was getting cold, and it provided extra
time for the boys before the march to Mason lodge for dinner. The post
dinner guard had two relief shifts, for twice each. Mostly of those
folks who had not done the day one. The Sgt major decided enough was
It got cold!! That night after guard I was a little
worn out and a little surprised at the day, I dried my pants and
wares by the fire. I will leave the rest of the evening and Sunday
for some one else to tell.
I missed Sunday because of family stuff. My car said 3 degrees when i
left at 8 am.
I think we started off the year at a good one boys, The 149 did good