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July 2002

Fall Out
by Ken Gough

Well, the season is well under way and we’ve already got some good events under our belts. At Naperville we put to good use the hand to hand we experimented with at training camp. Worth showed us that our Dress Inspection is still hot with spectators. Rockford was an opportunity to work in Brigade, not just Battalion. At Wauconda, even though it wasn’t on the calendar, we were able to put together a small company and do some good service. The point of all this is:

We’re having a great time out there!

Our next event is at The Grove in Glenview. This isn’t a long drive for most members. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get everyone there for this one? We could put a company of almost thirty muskets on the field. Even if you can’t come out of the weekend, come out for just the day.

Bring the family; our civilians are having a ball at every event. Know someone interested in joining the hobby? This would be an opportunity for them to give it a try.

See ya there.


Your Help is Requested
by Captain Bob

We need all able-bodied soldiers and civilians to help with wood cutting details to support our Minooka event. We plan on having three such wood cutting events all starting about 8 am each morning.

We were short on wood last year, as some might recall, and with the ever-increasing size of the event we will need more wood cut to make this great event happen. Hope to see everyone out on one of the dates.


Event Schedule
by John Thurston

July 26-28 The Grove, Glenview, IL
August 9-11 Galena, IL
August 23-25 Jackson, MI
Labor Day weekend Old World Wisconsin, Eagle, WI  [Optional unit meeting]
September 6-8 Lockport, IL [Battalion event]
September 28-29 Belvidere, IL [Fundraiser]
October 4-6

Waukesha, WI

October 18-20 Minooka, IL [Battalion event]

Fundraiser
by John Thurston

The board is still looking at possibly having the same fundraiser we did last year at Belvidere. We hope to decide formally at the next board meeting at Glenview. To make this a success we need participation from the members. The more people we have signing up to make the fry bread and sell it the easier it is for everyone to have fun at the same time. Pleas give some thought about participating and advise the board if you are willing to help. Last year we made over $300 on one day with a possibility if the rain had not occurred on Sunday to make close to $1000.


Safety Thought
by Scott Gutzke

I received this email from a friend in another unit and thought I would pass it along to the 64th:

“In an effort to keep us all safer, it is well worth passing on information regarding possible safety issues. A newer percussion cap is available on the market that has already proven to be dangerous. The caps are made by CCI and are sold as “musket caps.” They look different from the German and Navy Arms caps we have been using. Specifically, they have a six (6) piece skirt rather than the four (4) that have been out there. The danger lies in the skirt. The smaller pieces tend to blow off the cap when fired. There have already been numerous minor injuries and one (reported) case where a re-enactor suffered a 20% loss of sight in one eye after being struck with a cap fragment. These caps were designed for and are suitable for “in line” weapons used in competition. They are not at all safe when firing in ranks. The use of these caps is now prohibited in the Liberty Greys as well as the other two battalions of the Southern Legion. I believe that the ANV will also be making this same prohibition. I strongly urge our Northern brethren to take a similar stand.”

I don’t know the accuracy of this claim, but thought that I should pass this on so that none of our guys get hurt.


History Department
by John Thurston

The author has researched the arms used by the 64th during the late unpleasantness and have arrived with the following data listed below. As re-enactors, since we portray various units during our re-enactments, we do ask that all enlisted men be armed with three band muskets [Model 1855/61/63 Springfield’s, Model 1853 or later Enfield’s]. This is for safety reasons as well as we are trying to portray the unit mid-war, and they would have been so equipped by then. Some members carry .69 smoothbores or converted rifles. This is acceptable as it enhances our arms display to the public. Other than these rifles we would ask any member who might want to use something different on the field (and many other muskets or refilled muskets are acceptable) that they ask a board member for their advice.

The 64th was originally issued 1841 Rifles, which were appropriate for their skirmishing origin. They were later mainly issued 1861/63 Springfields. By individual purchase the unit’s members bought Henry repeating rifles, which they had during the North Carolina Campaign with Sherman. Outlined below are records, which document weapons, used throughout he 64th’s history.

Date

Rifle/Bayonet

Caliber

Number

Comments

1/2/1862

Long Range Rifles

?

599

2, 6

Sword Bayonets

?

599

 

2/1862

US [Windsor]

?

?

1

6/14/1862

1841 Rifles

?

?

3, 7

Sword Bayonets

 

 

 

4Q/1862

U.S.R.M. m/1855-63

.58

339

 

1Q/1863

U.S.R.M. m/1855-63

.58

324

 

2Q/1863

U.S.R.M. m/1855-63

.58

133

 

U.S. m/1840-45

.58

160

 

Sword Bayonets

 

 

 

3Q/1863

U.S.R.M. m/1855-63

.58

292

 

4Q/1863

U.S. m/1840-45

.58

259

 

Sword Bayonets

 

 

 

1Q/1864

U.S.R.M. m/1855-63

.58

422

8

U.S. m/1840-45

.58

198

 

Sword Bayonets

 

 

 

2Q/1864

U.S.R.M. m/1855-63

.58

330

 

U.S. m/1840-45

.58

160

 

Sword Bayonets

 

 

 

3Q/1864

U.S.R.M. m/1855-63

.58

312

 

U.S. m/1840-45

.58

111

 

Sword Bayonets

 

 

 

Enfield R.M.

.577

2

5

4Q/1864

U.S.R.M. m/1855-63

.58

183

2

U.S. m/1840-45

.58

112

 

Sword Bayonets

 

 

 

4Q/1864

U.S.R.M. m/1855-63

.58

303

 

Comments:

  1. “During the Organization representatives…believed that they would be armed with the popular Manard [Maynard] Breech loading rifles but they failed and the Battalion was armed with U.S. [Winsor] rifles – a very neat and durable arm.” [From the Field & Staff Books, Illinois State archives]. The 1841 Rifle was originally called the United States rifle (later the Mississippi Rifle after Jefferson Davis’s unit in the Mexican War who were from Mississippi). Robbins, Kendall, & Lawrence, one of many contractors, made the Mississippi rifle under contract from 1845 to 1850. They made 10,000 rifles over the 5-year period. Behind the hamper vertically was the word Windsor, VT in two vertical lines [or Windsor]. These rifles were later rifled in 1855 to .58 caliber and equipped to hold a sword bayonet. Later many were converted to use a triangular bayonet.

  2. Abstract of issues to 64th Regiment of Infantry of Jan 2, 1862; 599 Long Range Rifles and Sword bayonets. [Reports Illinois Q.M., Page 1795,1863].

  3. “The Yates Sharpshooters, consisting of six companies, armed with Mississippi riles and saber bayonets” [Siege of Corinth] Ottawa Illinois Quartermaster, Page 1795, 1863.

  4. Lists compiled from ordnance returns and ammunition acquisition found in records groups 94, 109 and 156 in the National archives. In general the lists cover the period between 1863-1864. These list the 64th carrying Model 1840/45 Rifles of .58 calibers. The report specifies rifles.  These are probably 1841 Mississippi rifles as mentioned elsewhere.

  5. The Cunningham collection contains a Keen made Enfield rifled musket, marked on the stock: J.W.B. Co. B 64 Ill.

  6. The book American Military Equipage, 1851-1872, Volume II: State Forces lists the 64th as receiving 1855 rifles (1841 rifles with the Maynard primer) in 1861 and Springfield rifles in 1862-1865. The majority of these rifles were burned during the evacuations of Harper’s Ferry and were replaced by 1841 version of the same rifle without the Maynard primer.

  7. An undated photo of Pvt. William J. Cash, Company B, 64th Illinois Volunteer Infantry shows him clearly with an 1841 Mississippi rifle.

  8. A member of the Company D, 64th Illinois Volunteer Infantry was equipped with a heavy Prussian flintlock percussion conversion (believed to be a model 1831 Boker of .72 caliber).

Conclusion:

The 64th Illinois was most likely equipped with the 1841 “Mississippi” Rifle when first mustered in December 1861. This fits into their Sharpshooter image for the initial six companies and the four other units [13th, 14th, and 16th in May 1861 and the 42nd in July 1861] of Illinois Volunteers were also equipped with similar weapons. The difficulty is in pinpointing their conversion to the 1861/63 Rifle. It was most likely early 1864 as this was when the unit was sent back to Chicago for recruiting the additional companies [G, H, I, K] and when returning to duty were re-equipped with new rifles in February 1864 when remustered.


Electronic Version of the Dispatch
by John Thurston

I would appreciate first time recipients of the electronic version of the Dispatch email back to me they received it so I know I have the correct email address for them.


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