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May 2003

Naperville Event!

Our first event is just around the corner now! The Naperville "Civil War Days" event will be on May 16-18 in the historic Naper Settlement. As always we plan on a potluck dinner for members of the unit with a ham donated by the unit. We request that everyone else to bring a side dish or dessert. We also plan on having a Board meeting after the dinner and everyone is invited to attend. We are hoping to have big unit turnout for our first event so we hope to see everyone there! Please see the website for directions.

We have number of high school graduations in June. Anyone with a son or daughter who is graduating and attending the event please contact Bob or myself as we hope to have a small presentation for them.


Unit Elections

The unit elections were held last month. We had a great turnout and very close elections. The field officers and NCOs for the 2003 season are:

I am sure we will have opportunities during the season for others to be brevetted corporals and other ranks to participate in this way during the season. I appreciated everyone who was nominated and who ran.


Unit Dues

Just a reminder unit dues deadline has passed but we will collect them at Naperville if you wish to keep receiving our Newsletter.


Woodcutting Detail

We have woodcutting detail schedule at Minooka for May 10. Bob is planning to buy lunch for those attending. Everyone that would like to help is appreciated. We hope to reduce the number of woodcutting details so we need every able body person.


Color Guard Duties

The first color guard event is planned for May 26 at the Rosehill Cemetery. If you have any interest please contact Bob Bierman for details. The event starts at 10 am and lasts 90 minutes.

We have another color guard duty planned for the Worth event at 7 pm. We will participate in the retiring of 18 flags. It will be a very patriotic affair and the 64th is invited to participate in the parade being held during the ceremony.


Fall Out Reply
By Leroy Martin

64th! I wanted to comment on Ken’s article on knapsack packing. Specifically, the fact that overcoats were to go on top of the knapsack and blankets inside. As Ken rightly pointed out, there were plenty of times that the blanket was worn rolled on top of the knapsack. However, consider the following:

UNIFORM AND DRESS OF THE ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES, 1861

130 Knapsack - of painted canvas, according to pattern now issued by the Quartermaster’s Department; the great coat, when carried to be neatly folded, not rolled, and covered by the outer flap of the knapsack.

Cheers!


Flag News
By Ken Gough

I’m happy to report to you that the new National Flag is coming along and, although not finished, will be ready for the Naperville event.


Ken Painting the Lettering on the Flag

With the current state of our country, more and more people are interested in our National Flag. It has come to be a source of pride and a reassuring symbol of comfort. It has been a long time since our flag has been revered in this manner and we should expect questions from the public on it.

The quest for the new flag caused a number of members to learn about flags and flag makers during the war than any of us had anticipated. We feel that the membership may be interested in this information we’ve pooled, if for no reason than it will provide them with tidbits to pass on to the public.

Before the war, all flags that were issued by the Federal Government were made at the Sckukill Clothing Dept. at Philadelphia. After the war started, this depot was soon overwhelmed and depots in New York and Cincinnati were charged with supplying flags as well. At the start of service for many units some states and towns sent their sons and fathers off to war with flags of their own manufacture. This was the case of the 64th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, then known as “1st Battalion, Yates Sharp Shooters.”

When the unit decided to replace our torn and tattered National Flag, we felt that a late war flag showing all the battle honors would best serve our living history presentation. The flag we now have is close to the first issued flag before being designated the 64th Illinois Volunteer Infantry. The flag we are now making is a reproduction of a second issue that we have a description of, even though the flag is missing, from inventory in Springfield.

We are not sure if the missing flag was a Cincinnati or Philadelphia issue so we choose the Philadelphia as the evidence points to this flag. With some luck, the original flag may be found and returned to its place of honor with the rest. The design was not chosen lightly as the flags from the Philadelphia were all hand stitched [other depot flags allowed machine sewing].
All the battle honors we are including on our new flag are listed on the description of the original flag with the exception of Bentonville. The flag was issued before that battle honor was awarded so we are taking the liberty of including it in ours.

We hope this information will be of some interest and with luck we can all enjoy this flag as much as I’ve enjoyed making it. My thanks go to John Thurston for his excellent research on the history of our unit’s flag including a trip to Springfield for some close research.


Fall Out – Gettysburg
By Ken Gough

Those of you who are planning on attending the 140th Gettysburg and who have never been to a Mega event before, here are some pointers.

Get rid of anything you don’t need. There won’t be any living history; spectators won’t be coming through camp and picking through our stuff. Lay out everything you plan on taking and really look at each item. Is it going because it’s something you have always had or will you really use it. This does not include things like books, dog tents ends [those of you who know we know I loath these], and chess sets. It does not matter if the contents of your pack and haversack rival the Gettysburg Museum; no one is going to see it.

Carry plenty of water. Each morning try and down a full canteen before we leave camp. Remember, “if you do not have to carry a pee, you need a drink.” Carry more water in your haversack. You diehards out there will shudder but throw 2-3 water bottles in there. I know it’s not authentic [I made the same mistake at the 135th and will not make it again] but we do not want anyone drying out and going down. They should water us on the field but we cannot count on it. I went down at Olustee last month because of this. They did water us but went overboard on the bleach and the water was undrinkable with predictable results.

Make sure your footwear is in good shape and well broken in. Please do not go out there in a brand new pair of brogans. You will be out the first day with crippling blisters, I promise you. Oil your brogans well [you should do this anyway] and walk with them a few times a week starting about now. Take at least three pairs of good thick socks and use them. At night put on a clean pair and rinse out the old ones you use during the day and hang them to dry. If they are still damp in the morning [they probably will be] just tie them to the back of your pack for a few hours and dry them out just fine.

Pair up with a pard and watch each other. Agree that you will take your pard’s advice and then do it. It is better to miss one battle because your pard is concerned with your red face than risk going down and missing the rest of the event.

We want everyone who goes to have a great and safe time.


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