1st Pennsylvania Reserves, Co. D


News & After Action Reports

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Lebanon - Union Canal Park (N. 25th St)

Posted by Robert VanderPlate on August 29, 2016 at 1:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Submitted by Capt. V.

    This was a great event, as usual.  It was hot, but not like Bull Run.  We had the same camp site as last year and some nice shade.  Friday, when we arrived, we were told that there was a burn ban and we could't have fires!  Well, there went supper!  So we campaigned it . . . and went to Wendy's!  Nice cool night to sleep.  Beautiful morning, but got warm quickly.  We had "colors" at 9, and a tactical battle at 10:30.  The tactical was great.  We were detached from the main body and sent around to the right in an attempt to flank the rebs.  It was perfectly timed!  When we finally found them, they thought they had the best of us by being on the high ground - next to the canal.  All it did was to trap them (unless they wanted to go swiming!).  Co. D ended up charging up the slop of the canal through some very dense undergrowth and ended up in their rear.  With the main body in their front, and us in the rear, they had only one thing to do - surrender! (or die)  What a blast!  And poor Lt. Herbster found himself stuck up to his ankles in mud trying to get up that stinking embankment (a real trooper!).  We all ended up spending much of the rest of the morning picking "boogy lice" off our uniforms!

    At lunch time, we ended up have what we would have dad for supper - beef pie and Martha Washington's boiled fish recipe!  That fish was awsome - produced the chef Kyle Sabol.  We're doin' that one again!  The afternoon battle was . . . . . zzzzzzzzzz.  Should have stayed in camp and gotten a nap.  But you know, it's really not the spectator battles that we go to this event for.  It's more the tacticals and camp life - as well as the interaction with the spectators.   

   Moving on to the next battle on Sunday, we ended up with only 3 muskets, so we were thown in with the dismounted cavalry and went out as skirmishers.  That was moderately fun (and hot).  Ultimately we won the battle and left a lot of rebs lying dead on the field.  So they won day one, and we day two.  

    It was a nice weekend with games of  "kubb", scum, and "31", and good food and fellowship.  Oh, and VanderPlate's Vigilates won 2nd place in the triathalon and we received some turkey bacon and Lebanon bologna.  Congratulations Steve, Austin, Jonathan, and Kyle!  I'm proud of you! (we only missed 1st place by about 21 seconds)  So, folks, please plan on attending next year!

Your servant,

Capt. Bob V

155th Bull Run / Reamstown summary

Posted by Robert VanderPlate on August 29, 2016 at 1:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Report submitted by Capt. V

I'm a bit late with this report, but considering the events, there wasn't a great rush to do it.  Bull Run can be summed up with one word: HOT!!!!  It was a miserable event with little redeming value. It was just too hot to do much of anything.  We sat around camp MELTING and drinking gatorade.  The battles were fair at best and we were marched so far and took so long to get to our destination that it hinged on criminality and torture.  Had we been alowed to form up later and make a straight line march to the battle, we might have faired better.  We did have dress parade on both mornings and even went into drill right after.  It was hot, but General Henson was understanding enough to keep it short - and we DID need the drill.  But in spite of the heat, it's always a good event when Co. D gets together and enjoys eachothers fellowship.

   As for Reamstown, there's not much to say.  It was hot too, but we were under the trees, and that made it tolerable.  The folks of the historic society appreciated out presence, and gave us a free lunch.  We talked with spectators and played some "kubb".  We had a couple of chickens on a spit and folks were facinated by that.  So we ate our lunch and soon after, the clouds appeared and the word was, it was a bad storm.  We started to pack up and the event was cancelled; as we packed, the rain started, but fortunately, there was no lightning and we didn't get soaked.  The plan at this time, is to try this event again next year and see how it goes.  

Submitted by,

Capt. Bob V

Gettysburg 2016

Posted by Robert VanderPlate on July 15, 2016 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (1)

July 15, 2016

   I'll keep this short . . . the weather was great; low humidity and temps in the low 80's.  The Federals had about 80 men, the Rebs had about 50.  The battles were boring on the Federal side - completely static with the only saving grace that the Colonel basically gave command to the company commanders and didn't "micro manage" us.  The Rebs had most of the fun.  They were able to do some maneuvering in the field and charge our positions.  They were so light in numbers that we ended up sending some "galvanizers" over.  The artillery were great and did a fantastic job - they saved the event, if you ask me.  One of the things that made this event interesting was that the artillery did a live fire demo of a mortar (with probably only a quarter of the charge).  Then they did an explosion, the likes of which I have never encountered before!  It was so huge that we could feel the concussion all the way in Federal camp!  It even came with a mushroom cloud!  The first one they did made me think that a caison blew up.  Lots of spectators at this one.  The camping was good, especially if you like seeing your vehicle all the time - very authentic.  The "General" was also very authentic running around on his golf cart.  As events go, this one had a particular redeeming value to it: the comradery of our company!  Throw out all the stupid "farbie" garbage - we had fun just being together.  four of our folks were given their "medical examinations", including the little midget that was "over 18" (little Roy Wulf). Friday night we went to town and had ice cream at Mr. G's.  And you know, we only played one game of Kubb the entire weekend - we were having so much fun with everything else, there wasn't much time for games.  Oh, and this was the first weekend with the "new" trailer - it failed miserably - "fishtailing" over 45mph.  Needless to say, the driving was a slow go!  Hopefully I'll have that cured by Bull Run.  The best part for me, though, was that the new "comissary committee" came through with flying colors and we ate very well!  That saved me a lot of agrivation - thank you soooo much folks!!

  So, as far as "farbie" events go, this was classic!  But who cares!  It was FUN!  So what if we do some stupid events now and then, as long as we have a great time together!  

Humbley submitted,

Capt. Bob V

Old Bedford Village

Posted by Robert VanderPlate on June 15, 2016 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (0)

June 15, 2016

     For this event, I had no great expectations.  The best part of this event is the location and the atmosphere of being in an old town.  Myself, Chaplain Mills, and Cpl. Sabol arrived Friday afternoon around 2:00 and found that there were only 3 units from the FVB registered.  Our total numbers for the weekend: @18.  Well, we got set up and found that our spot was really very nice - level, shady, and a little stream beside us that gave us a little comfort in the way of washing hands and cooling your feet.  Lt. Cornwell showed up @ 4 and about 5:30 the 4 of us went to Hoss's for dinner.  Matt and Nicole, Shawn and Amanda showed up later and after setting up, we sat around chatting, enjoying the cool weather (that was about to change!).  I was in bed by about 10 and fell asleep really fast.

    At 6 a.m. I woke up and got a fire going for coffee and such.  The day started with the usual morining reports being sent in and preparing for dress parade.  This weekend we formed up with the 138th and together we numbered 12 plus officers.  The 61st had a few others (from the 93rd?) show up and help fill their ranks.  So that was what the FVB supplied for troops at this event.  By this time the Halton clan showed up and were set up by 9:00.  We went up to dress parade where we fell in with the "Birney's" battalion.  And surprise!  My old friends from Vincent's Brigade - Bill Taylor and Mark Stewart were there - Bill commanding.  They both came out of retirement and ended up in Birney's - who would have thought.  We finished dress parade then went out for battalion drill.  It went well, but the day was getting hotter and stickier by the minute.  We finished drill all hot and sweaty, got back to camp and cooled down, then played some Kubb.  After lunch we prepared for the battle and stepped off around 1:30.  HOT, HOT, HOT!  I don't have any idea WHY, but the Lt. Col. marched us up to the far tree line by the "fort" and promptly inverted us!  From that point on, the battle was a wreck!  He not only inverted us by wing, but my front rank became my rear rank as well!  We even talked about this at the officers meeting and he assured us that it would work.  Well, it worked to a degree, but could have been much better and smoother had we stayed aligned!  But anyway, having secured the fort from a small company of rebs, we held it.  Our artillery hammered away at an advaning battalion of rebs and the 61st was sent out as skirmishers to attack them too.  After a while the rebs drew off only to be reenforced by a larger battalion.  That's when our inverted line got more inverted as we filed out of the fort to engage them.  I had been in the left wing - now I'm in the right wing!!  And, I'm the extreme right of the line now.  What a mess!  So we hamered away at what was in our front.  The orders were: no caualties in the field - wait until we're back in the fort.  So after about 10 munutes, we filed back into the fort and took up our previous positions.  The men were running out of rounds and they started taking hits.  After another 5 minutes of firing, the cease fire was called.  We reformed CORRECTLY and cleared our weapons.  Our route of movement took us through the shady part of the field - 10 minutes later we were back in camp.  Generally speaking, the battle was okay and the spectators didn't know any different.  They seemed quite pleased with the show.  

    Now to keep this simple I'll encapsulate the rest - Sunday was basically a repeat of Saturday with "Doc" of the 138th commanding the company.  Richard and I sat it out and just started packing up the camp.  But back to Saturday evening, though . . . we all "dressed up" and went to a restaurant.  We made reservations and could only get in at 7:30!  It was packed!  But the best part was that it was like the Dobbin House in G'burg - the modern folks were the ones out of place - we fit right in with the atmosphere of the inn.  We enjoyed that very much and decided that we need to go back to Bedford next year.  Now, one further note - Sunday we had church in the old log church building and Chaplain Renee was the speaker.  I've heard him on many occassions, but this time he was amazing!  That service was just what the doctor called for and everyone had a great time!  His message was "dying to be married", and I'll let you think about that.  But the music by the 46th Logan Guard was great, Renee's wife, Romey was great on the piano, and the singing was awsome.  Our own Chaplain Mills read scripture and gave two prayers and I don't think I've seen him at his peak like this time.  To me, that service capped off a great weekend!  

    After the battle at 2:00 (done @3), we all packed up and were on the road around 4 or so.  The weather Sunday was much better and very breezy and that made the battle and the packing so much easier.  And so the OBV event was a great success and worth doing again next year.

Your servant,

Capt. Bob V

Gilmore's Raid / Jerusalem Mill 2016

Posted by Robert VanderPlate on June 6, 2016 at 5:45 PM Comments comments (0)

June 6, 2016

After action report of Gilmore's Raid

Submitted by Capt. Bob VanderPlate

    Well, this is our first time back to Jerusalem Mill in a number of years and I'd say it went very well.  So far this year we haven't had one event that didn't get rained on.  This one was no exception!  I arrived around noon Friday with Cpl. Sabol about an hour behind.  Due to personal reasons, the Chaplain was unable to attend.  So for the first 5 hours or so, the corporal and I set up camp - including setting up the Marque tent - just the two of us. A few of the folks from the 138th showed up and they went straight to work setting up their camp. More of our folks started showing up and we got supper going (hamburgers ala' VanDerPlaats).  It was MOIST in camp and we were all quite warm from the humidity.  It drizzled on and off all afternoon, but fortunately, we had most of the canvas up and the rain was of no consequence.  Richard and I had a meeting to attend at 8, and we went down to the tavern and got all the "bugs" ironed out for the next day.  That's when I found out that the 8 a.m. weapons inspection didn't really apply to the Federals since we were no going to be doing any engagment until 2 p.m.  We got back to camp where a lively game of Kubb was being played.  The boys dared to ask me to play so they could show me how badly they could beat me and the Lt., so we accepted.  Well, we played 2 games, and I'll just leave it at that.  By the time I went to bed, around 10 (I was exhausted), about 8 of us were in camp. 

   Woke up around 6 the next morning, got a fire going for some coffee, and before long others were waking up and we started "de-farbing" the camp.  The DNR officer, Robert, introduced himself, and I was extremely pleased and surprised at how accomodating he was - no starch in his shorts!  Very nice fellow - I look forward to working with him again next year.  Got the weapons inspection time taken care of and started on breakfast.  Pancakes were the order, and I believe we had just enough.  By about 10 or so, most of the rest of the company showed up and all toll, with the officers included, we had about 16 on the line.  The 138th had about 5, but I let them go out as their own unit in a skirmish order.  We had dress parade at 11:30 and it went very well and looked good (we could really use a drummer and fifer).  We were about to go out for drill after the parade, but things got busy elsewhere, so we suspended the drill (we're so good, anyway, why drill!).  We got lunch out and relaxed for a while - we played some horse shoes and Kubb and around 1:00 we walk a short distance to the general store where the rebels were going to raid.  The Rebs showed up and we harassed them within reason and they moved off without a shot beig fired.  The spectators had a nice time with it and we went back to our horse shoes.  At about 1:40 we formed up and headed into the tree line where we waited for the rebs to show up.  The battle started around 2:00 and we pulled out of the trees and laid into the enemy with a great force of energy.  They out numbered us with their mounted cavalry, but we out numbered them with infantry.  We pushed them hard towards the general store but eventually exposed our flanks - that lead to the mounted cav flanking us on both ends and forcing us back into the woods for security.  At that, the battle ended, and the spectators gave us a round of applause.  We cleared our weapons and headed back to camp to relax for the rest of the afternoon.  

     We played some more Kubb and horse shoes and had dinner around 5:15 (which was chili and rice and was quite good).  At about 7 we sauntered over to the tavern where the folks of the park had an incredible "spread" for us.  For our $5 registration fee, they put about $15 worth of food and drink in front of us!  All kinds of finger sandwiches and fruit and cookies and even sangria!  A number of us went upstairs where there was a table to sit at and we played a game of "31".  PJ, the Confederate adjutant came up to chat and mentioned that there was some really bad weather coming in over night.  After checking it all out on our various phones, I decided it was time to make a hasty retreat for home.  We stayed a little while longer and enjoyed the live music from a Celtic band, but then made our regrets and bid farwell to our friends.  We packed up by 10:00 and were off, and the Gilmore's Raid event, for us, was over.

      Overall, a great event, and only the weather made it less than perfect.  I look forward to it being better next year with better participation from the Federals.


Capt. Robert VanderPlate

Carroll County Farm Museum 2016

Posted by Robert VanderPlate on May 9, 2016 at 5:55 PM Comments comments (0)

From the desk of Capt. VanderPlate, Monday, May 9, 2016

     Well, another CCFM event under our belt.  The first event without our dear friend Rob Wingert - he was missed!

    Myself, Rev. Mills, and Cpl. Sabol arrived mid afternoon on Friday with rain, rain, and more rain!  The three of us set up camp in that miserable rain, then went out for a warm dinner at Friendly's, then spent the rest of the eveining sitting around a kerosene heater telling stories and listening to the rain fall on the roof of the tent.

     The morning found the rest of the company trickling in between 8 and 9.  The day started with a "pass and review" for Lt. Col. Rob Wingert whose family arrived at 9.  We gave our fallen comrade honors with our parade, and then after a few remarks from close friends, we broke ranks and prepared for our first battle.  Back at camp, we assembled for some well needed company drill and gave our newest officer a chance to practice commanding the company (2Lt. Cliff Herbster).  Since the rain had soaked everything, we put the tactical battle off until Sunday morning, so our first battle was after lunch.  And since our options were so limited, we ended up doing the "battle of the concession stands" just inside the gate of the museum.  But it then migrated out the gate, down the driveway, and then left into a shotened version of the field we usually use.  The Rebs were lodged strongly in the trees and we assaulted them as rigorously as we could.  As battles go, it was about a 4 out of 10, but all things considered, it was more than acceptable and a good start to our year.  The battle was more or less a draw.  

   Back at camp, we relaxed and played "kubb" while waiting for supper.  Supper, which had not been relayed to me previously, was a chicken dinner in the reception barn.  It was a "wake" dinner in honor of Rob and was it GOOD!!  We all had our fill (even seconds), then went back to camp.  Of about 12 of us there that day, 7 or so had to go home, leaving us with just 5 for the evening and the next day.  So as the evening wore on, the 5 of us (Terry, Jonathan, Dick, Don, and myself) played some more "kubb" and then took up a game of "scum".  After it started getting dark, some rain set in and we retreated to the marque tent - warmer and dry.  Played that for an hour and a half or so, and then all were tired enough and went to bed.

    NOW! Let me tell you!  This was a day to remember!  We had dress parade around 9:30, then took a brief break, re-assembled around 10:30, and stepped off at 11:00 for what was the best tactical battle that I have enjoyed in all the many years attending CCFM.  We were given free command and assigned to guard the same spot as last year.  My thought:  "okay, ho hum".  WELL, as things went, we soon found ourselves being fired at by rebs across the coral in the barn.  So we returned fire and held our ground in fine style.  Then Bob and his 61st showed up to "support" us.  We moved to the left and let them have the corner - then I saw an opportunity!  While the Rebs were busy with the 61st, Co. D made their way around the coral, over the fence, and to the barn!  When we arrived on the backside of those Rebs, you should have seen the look on the face of that captain!!  I'm pretty sure he wet his pants!  We opened on them and murdered them!  A fire fight ensued both in the outside paddock as well as inside the basement around the stalls.  The sound was deafening!  But what fun!!  The 1st Sgt. met up with one of their Sgts. on the backside of the barn and virtually ran into eachother - they were so close that Dick just said "BANG", your dead! :)  You had to be there!  The Rebs finally gave up and high tailed it out of there like rats running off a sinking ship!!  

Well, we wandered back to the main field and took up the action again.  This time the Rebs just came on and on.  They pushed us all the way to the trees, but they paid dearly for all that real estate!  Can't really say who won, but I can say with certainty, we all had a GREAT time!  We took about a half hour break there in the trees and then went into the usaul and customery battle for the spectators.  It was a "ho hum" battle as always, but we were all pretty spent by then.  Our company ended up dead on the field (out of ammo!!!).  Soon after we all died, the battle was called and the Federals were in "posession of the field".  We cleared weapons and marched back to camp.  After the usual "thanks for coming speech", we broke ranks and were allowed to drive in and pack up.  Oh, and by the way, our new camping spot is on the far end of the property just beyond the rose garden under a couple of large oaks.  It's fantastic!  I have it reserved for next year.

There will be more stories about this event as we gather around the campfire in the months to come.


Capt. R. VanderPlate

Commanding Co. D

You Tube link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Gp1h6b5IT8

Campbell's Run - After Action Report

Posted by Robert VanderPlate on April 10, 2016 at 6:35 PM Comments comments (0)

The following is the after action report of Cpl. Sabol:

With the weather forecast looking like a miserable time, and almost the entire company (and brigade for that matter) pulling out, I figured I’d give it a shot. I contacted some of our newer members Matt Smith, Shaun Myers and Shawn Bosley to see if they were still interested in going. With the four of them confirming they’d like to try I couldn’t let them go unsupervised! When Matt arrived to pick me up Saturday morning, it had already been dreary and rainy and I thought about just scrubbing the mission and going back to bed. Succumbing to peer pressure and almost being kidnapped I hopped in the truck with Matt and Shawn. Along the way we stopped at a small diner on the way to Chambersburg. Imagine a scene from a movie when the “outsiders” walk into a local joint, and the music stops, and everyone stares at the door. Yep, that’s what happened to us. We didn’t let us deter us however, we sat down and had a nice breakfast and I got to know Shawn better. (He and his lovely wife just joined out unit, and this was his first event.) A few fellow diners commented on our uniform and of course we got the infamous question “are you guys hot?” Once we left it started snowing pretty hard, and things were looking bleaker, and bleaker. Again, the thought crossed my mind to bail and have the guys turn around, but we were determined to at least show up. Upon our arrival, the weather broke and you wouldn’t believe it, but the sun came out. We found the remnants of the 3rd Maryland Company D and fell in with them. Due to the lack of numbers we were also combined in with the 87th PA under Captain Van Laeys. He only had a handful of soldiers so I was billeted as Second Sergeant for our mixed company. We drilled for about an hour then had a dress parade. Soon after, we were about to start Battalion drill when out of nowhere Confederate soldiers started firing at us from the tree lines. We broke off into our respected companies and started a counter attack. We were faced with some guys who must have just woke up because they were still in their stripped pajamas. I think they might have been Louisiana Tigers (maybe that explains the striped pantaloons.) we repelled their attack and Col. Swope sent 2 other companies around either side to out flank them and box them in. Our company held the “Tigers” in the center. We charged over our entrenchment and forced them to surrender! After we defeated the Rebs we picked up where we left off and started Battalion Drill. The weather cooperated with us for the most part, it would be sunny, then flurry, then get sunny again, but it was still chilly over all. We broke for lunch and caught up with some old friends and told stories from last year’s season. After lunch we gathered around the fire of the 3rd Maryland and continued to tell stories and did our best to keep warm. It seemed like a few hours passed waiting on word for our next event. Once Col. Swope returned from an officer’s meeting we started Division Drill. Of course, the snow held out while we were relaxing and shooting the breeze, but as soon as we started drilling it started to blizzard. It wasn’t nice fluffy snow either, it was almost like dippin’ dots and the wind was whipping so hard it stung any uncovered skin. We continued until we almost froze, then Col. Swope dismissed us for dinner. The folks who put on this event supplied a wonderful free steak dinner, with potatoes baked beans and a drink. It was quite refreshing to have something warm to eat when you couldn’t feel your hands. Matt, Shawn and I decided to head out early and stop in Gettysburg on the way home. Once we arrived in Gettysburg we hit some shops and got Shawn a nice enlisted frock coat. I introduced the boys to Mr. G’s Ice Cream and took some photos with tourists who braved the weather as well. All in all we had a wonderful time, and the weather wasn’t as bad as we had thought. It was a good event to shake the rust off and get back into the groove of reenacting.

Respectfully Submitted,

Cpl. Kyle Sabol

Cedar Creek, 2015

Posted by Robert VanderPlate on October 19, 2015 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)

  Well, this could take a long time to write, but I'll try to keep it short and give you the highlights.

   Most of us arrived Friday, with Cpl. Sabol and Heidi getting there early and finding our street.  Sgt. Farmer arrived next and by the time we three officers arrived, the street had been started.  It took a while to get set up, so thanks to the fact that Kyle was there early enough, I asked him to do his dinner plan for that evening instead of Saturday.  Don Whitley and the Howards arrived, and we got them set up.  We managed to get the basics of the camp set up before sundown and then had Kyle's venison stew and sat around relaxing a bit.  We had an officers call and Richard and I had to run for that.  When we got back, due to my ill condition, I retired for the night.  I believe most folks were probably in bed by 10 and settling in for a COLD fall night.  

   Saturday morning was frosty - temp about 43.  Reville was around 7.  Got breakfast in and we voted NOT to do the street battle - it was restricted to 50 men on each side and didn't sound like it was going to be worth rushing around to get to.  I later heard that it was fairly enjoyable (but I don't think we missed much - and I doubt that they'll do it again).  I was still busy getting the camp in order and visiting with people so I didn't leave camp that morning.  The boys, under Lt. Cornwell went out for some company drill, followed by some batallion drill.  When they came back, they all decided to go to the sutlers and had a good time.  We had lunch, dress parade, a short break, and then fell in for the first battle. Boy, it seems like each year that passes, the distance from camp to the battle gets longer and longer.  We marched off (taking the scenic route - the longest), and got into our positon just short of the spectator line.  It wasn't too long until things opened up, but we were a while getting into the action.  It all started up on the hill - skirmishers, some cavalry action, and of course some cannon fire.  It finally progressed down the hill towards us and we were thrown in.  As orders go, our 2nd regiment was suppose to stack up behind the 1st, but it wasn't clear and we over-shot; we ended up where we needed to be, ultimately, but with much difficulty.  As battles go, this was not the best I've been in (Lt. Cornwell commanded), but was "usual and customery".  We fought around the Heater House and up the hill to the right and ended up being pushed back by rebels who wouldn't stop pushing.  After doing a long wide circle, we ended up back where we started, and what was to be a Union victory, sure looked like a draw to me!

  So, to keep it short, we had a wonderful dinner of chicken pot pie sent to us by our "mother of the battlefield"- Donna, who couldn't come this weekend, and an incredible assortment of pies, cookies, and fudge.  The officers had a "soiree" at 7 at the general's tent where Richard and I spent a whole 15 minutes at, then came back to camp and we all crammed into my wall tent with the heater going and played cards 'til about 9.  We were all so tired, that again, by 10 or so, we were all in bed. 

   Sunday morning it was COLD!!! My phone said 34 but I'm sure it lied!  I was the second one up (Maria beating me to the fire where I found her sleeping - sort of), I got some hot water going and went to rinse my coffee press out and when I dipped it in the rinse pan it hit SOLID.  Two inches of water was frozen solid!  That doesn't happen at 34 degrees, so I figure it was at least 32.  Oh, and by the way, the weather for most of the weekend was cold, cloudy, and WINDY.  I don't believe the temps got out of the 40's, and with a wind chill, we were certainly feeling the 30's.  Anyway, Maria volunteered to make the eggs that morning and they turned out great.  We all hudled around the fire and tried to get warm (not stay warm, GET warm).  At 10 we had church service with our own Chaplain Terry doing the service.  And it was amazing - we had "Holy Communion" (right Terry?) and served it to some 30 brothers and sisters in Christ!! What an amazing time it was!  Only the second time in my reenacting career that we did communion "in the field".   Then we had a morning dress parade up on the hill and it was very nice.  We ate lunch and before long were forming up for battle.  We marched off at 1 (again taking the scenic route - oh my gosh!) and marched all the way up to the middle of Confederate camp.  We stacked arms and were suppose to make like we lived there.  Just a couple minutes later, and one bite out of my apple that I was going to eat, the rebs fire into us!  We really didn't see them until then!  So we grabbed our guns and started running - we fired of a shot first, but then went looking for mother!  We got out of their camp and in great confusion, reformed the brigade.  What a mess!  As it was historical, we really kept backing up.  We finally broke and ran all the way to the Heater House where we reformed again.  Then "General Sheridan" arrived and pushed us forward back up that hill!  We re-took the ground and left dead Confederates in our wake.  A decisive victory!  We sure "blew a lot of powder" that day.  Our company all sort of straggled back to camp.  Some of us went straight to our cars and managed to get out before the rush. We got all packed up by about 4 and decided that we were hungry and went to Strasburg for some supper.  Then the long ride home.

   This was the first event that we fell in with our old brothers of the FVB.  I am so glad to be back with such good friends!  They treated us like we never left and made our cold, windy, wicked weekend WARM!  We have much to look forward to in the coming years as we spend our time with our dear friends of the Federal Volunteer Brigade!

WARMLY submitted,

Capt. Bob VanderPlate

Union Canal Tunnel Park, Lebanon Reenactment

Posted by Robert VanderPlate on August 30, 2015 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (0)

August 30, 2015

Submitted by Capt. VanderPlate

   I'll keep this report reasonably short - arrived Friday afternoon with Pvt. Shaub; after the usual jovial harrasment from Dennis Shirk, the organizer and good friend, we went through registration quickly and painlessly.  We must have driven half a mile across a grassy road to get to camp.  When we got there we were met with the Sgt. Major from the 93rd, and after some more of the usual and customerary harrasment, and a bunch of hugs from old friends, Chad and I set up camp.  The Chaplain was close behind us and we got him set up as well in short order.  Passed the evening eating some of the worst chinese food I've ever had from a can, had a cigar or two, chatted with friends and fellow unit members and hit the sack around 10 (I was exhausted).

   Morning dawned bright and COLD (at least for an August morning) - it was 57 degrees.  Most of us complained of being cold through the night and along with that, the stinking trains were screaming all night!  Next year make a note!! . . . bring ear plugs!!  They didn't bother me, but others who weren't used to that noise were.  As per our officers meeting the night before, reville was sounded at 5:30 for folks that wanted to go to a local church for a $5 breakfast. At 9:15 we had "colors" and had to march the entire battalion back up to registration where the flag pole was located.  Being the "new kids on the block" with the FVB, I was given the duty (honor!) to hoist the flag (both mornings).  We marched back to camp and soon began the tactical battle.  As tacticals go, this one, due in part to small numbers, was slow.  We couldn't find the 40 or so rebs that were hiding in the woods.  Dennis had his idea where to start, but it turned out completely opposite - when we finally found them we of Co. D ended up tramping through some tough brush to get at them.  When we finally got to them, though, we gave them "whatfor"!  We pushed them around the grove of trees and all of a sudden the 61st poped out and nailed them with a charge.  No sooner had they taken out that company than another reb unit poped out and nailed the 61st.  In turn, we nailed them! - and good!  Almost funny!  Well, we pushed them around that grove again and soon it was clear that we had done great damage to them and they surrendered.  A fun time had by all.

   So we had lunch, more conversations with friends and relaxing around the company commissary.  Around 2 the spectator battle started.  Our friend, Rob Wingert was the commander for the weekend.  Our orders on this one, since it was scripted, was to take the left flank along with the 97th, move up and wheel right and into their right flank.  Fire on them for a while and then take a company hit from John Houcks artillery that was on our left flank 25 yards distant.  It all went great!  When we took our "hit", not a man was left standing, and what I heard after the battle was that it looked awsome.  The battle lasted another 15 minutes or so and we took the day.  Overall, a rather blase battle, but still fun.  Back to camp and some more relaxation.  We played cards, played harmonica's and guitars, drank . . . uh, softdrinks . . . and did some sight seeing around this incredible historic park.  You know, the canal is full of water and you can even take boat rides in it on a canal boat.  Dinner went well - Donna warmed up my wifes brand of "beef noodle surprise" :) and it was very good.  Donna brought some food too like peanut butter fudge!! that didn't last long, as well as a potato soup that we had for lunch both days.  We played some more cards, drank some more . . .uh, water, told stories, and spoke with some spectators.  The organizers planned a nice little competition for the units - a "triathlon".  If you go to the "links" page, you can watch us in action. Of the 3 events, we took first in 2!  Had it not been for a mis-firing musket, we probably would have won everything.  I'm very proud of Jonathan, Kyle, Steve and Austin - they did our unit proud!  At 7 a candlelight tour (self guided) started and we had lots of folks come out for it.  Co. D posted sentries and when it was dark, we did a night fire demonstration.  As things quieted down, we all made our way to bed after enjoying some time aroung the campfire.

   Sunday morning . . . COLD!  This time it was 54 degrees and you could see your breath!  Fresh coffee and breakfast and we were as right as rain.  Formed for colors, marched up, threw "old glory" back up the pole, and marched back.  No tactical, but we had church at 10 with the right reverend Terry Mills presiding.  We had a good bunch for the service - some rebs and some spectators showed too.  And Chaplain Mills delivered up a very chalenging message.  We had lunch (whatever we could scrounge) and prepared for the last battle - 1:30.  The last battle was much like the first and once again, Co. D died valiantly - though a few of us were only wounded and managed to get back in the ranks and fight on.  The battle was over in half an hour and we marched off to camp (just feet away) and started the fun of packing up.

   This event was extremely enjoyable!  Though the battles were "wanting", the site, the friends, the incredible attendance by the community, and the lack of 21st century intrusions, made the event great.  I like Mannassas, but this one definately outranks it. The possibilities for tacticals are good, the battlefield is right adjacent to our camp, the porta-pots are hidden in the trees, the parking is close and hidden by the trees, the ground is level, and there's shade to be had.  I believe, since this was the first year here, this event will evolve and become one of our most anticipated ones of our reenacting year.

Your servant,

Captain R. VanderPlate


Posted by Robert VanderPlate on August 29, 2015 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (0)

From 1Lt. Cornwell

Aug. 2015

  In spite of, or maybe because of, the small amount of reenactores in attendance, this was one of the best G'burg events we have attended.  I would call it the new and improved G'burg as many good changes were made.  This event was reenactor friendly.  It was also the first G'burg that I felt appreciated as a reenactor.There were several occasions the GAC Reps thanked us for being there and said how much they appreciated us, and in spite of the low numbers, they were extremely pleased with the "show" we put on.  That's not to say everything was perfect, but vastly improved from past years and it seems the GAC is heading in the right direction.  If what was discussed actually happens, no longer will this event be known as "greedysburg" and reenactors will definately start coming again.  Some details of the changes are as follows:

   Camps were laid out differently.  Camps, battlefield, sutlers, and parking were all in close proximity to eachother. This did result in less ambiance and some modern intrusions into camp, but the trade off was that we only had a short walk to the battles, sutlers, and had much, much more spectators coming through our camp.

  When I arrived in camp, I was informed what time officers meeting would be for Friday, Saturday, & Sunday.  That helps in planning activities, etc.  The pre-battle officers meetings were a combined Confederate and Union meeting.  This allowed much better interaction between sides; we were all on the same page and any problems or issues could be easily discussed and resolved.  We also were given input into the program, battle scenario, etc.  In fact Cushings battery being pushed to the wall was suggested and became part of the Pickets' Charge battle.  We also held some Union only meetings to discuss whatever.

  There was only one infantry battle per day - Friday and Saturday at 5 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30.  The 5 p.m. time gave us all day to do what we wanted.  Dinner was a bit late, but I think it worked very well.  We found that with only one battle, and not having to walk two plus miles round trip, and the late start times, we were not worn out at the end of the day.  We didn't have any of the hurry up and wait or stacking arms as we normally do prior to battles.  We were on line about 4:45 and marched directly onto the field.  The GAC handed out large cups of ice water.  Now that was a nice touch.

  EMT's are always available during battles but this year they also came through camps several times a day to be sure we were okay.

  Myself and a few other union officers had an improptu meeting with the generals and GAC Reps.  We discussed the good and bad of this year and made suggestions for future events.  The GAC was very receptive and had been contemplating some of the same things.  Some things being considered are:

      -Giving each reenactor a $10 food voucher

     -Keep registration fee's at $10 through April, or, if you were a registered participant of the previous years' event(s), you could recieve a registration cost reduction based on the numbers of years you attended and could bring your fee down to as low as $10.  

  I guess we will see what happens, but I suspect e-mails will be coming out regarding all this.

Your servant,

1Lt. Richard Cornwell



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