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June 2003

2003 Up Coming Events

June 7-8 Worth, IL
June 14 Wood Cutting, Minooka, IL (9 am at the new barn – meal provided)
July 3-6 Gettysburg, PA
July 12 Union, IL
July 25-27 Glenview, IL
August 7 Board Meeting, 7:30 pm at Bob’s House
August 15-17 Wauconda, IL
August 22-24 Jackson, MI
September  5-7  Lockport, IL
September  13 Wood Cutting, Minooka, IL
September 27-28 Belvidere, IL (fundraiser)
October  3-5 Stockton, IL
October 17-19

Dollinger Farm, Minooka, IL

November 9 Color Guard Ceremony – Rosehill Cemetery, Chicago, IL
December 6  Christmas Party, Joliet, IL, 6 pm

Naperville – Success

Our season opener at Naperville can only be classed as a huge success.  A good turnout of both members, prospective members, and friends of the 64th combined with near perfect weather made for a weekend hard to match the rest of the season.  Having a four company battalion for the battles was outstanding for this event.  So much for all those units knocking themselves out to sink this event.  The potluck on Saturday night was so impressive that we had members of other units lining up thinking our meal was the one offered by the event.  With more than enough food prepared by our Ladies for ourselves and all the friends of the 64th there was still enough left over for lunch the next day for everyone.  This one will be hard to beat, Ladies.  Thank you!


We will be having a unit-wide meeting at the Worth event on Saturday evening.  This is especially important if you’re planning on attending the Gettysburg event, as we’ll be discussing final details.  Please try to attend if you can.

On a Somber Note

During the Naperville event Bridget Broderick’s sister from Ireland, who was spending the weekend with the 64th, received word that her son had been tragically killed in an auto accident back home.  Appreciation to all those who pitched in to tear down and take care of Bridget’s camp so she could make family arrangements.  Our prayers go out to you and yours.

-The 64th

Unit Rounds

Capt. Bob informed me that by the end of the Naperville event half the rounds rolled during the winter had been handed out.  Even though we are happy to supply rounds (that’s what we made them for in the first place) we don’t have an infinite supply.  For the first time I can recall the unit has exhausted its supply of loose powder.  With the season started we won’t have time to organize another Round Rolling Party.  We ask that everyone make an effort to roll at least twenty or thirty rounds for each event.  Remember, those of you going to Gettysburg will need at least two hundred rounds.  If we hand out just half at Worth that we did at Naperville the unit won’t be able to meet the needs of members attending Gettysburg, much less the rest of the season.  So please, help us out here.

On This Same Subject

Scott Gutzke has come up with some excellent formers for rolling rounds.  I’ve been rolling rounds for over thirty years using formers made of wood and only close to the proper size, so I can tell you what a joy it is to use Scott’s formers.  Made of aluminum so the finished round slides off with no sticking and turned to the exact size, they are well worth the one time expense.  He has them for both .58 Rifled Musket and .69 Smoothbore.  They’ll never wear out.  At the next event ask Scott about them, they’re worth it.

Thank You

The members of the 29th USCT wish to thank the 64th for the many kindnesses shown us during the Naperville event.  A very large “Thank You” to the Ladies for what can best be called “Civilian Support” during the weekend.  We are honored to be a “Friend of the 64th”.  Thank you.


Members going to the Gettysburg event that have asked for Confederate Shell Jackets should know that the Worth event will be the last chance for a final fitting.  Without this we will have no choice but to guess on your size.  Everyone should go out of their way to thank the Ladies for their efforts in this project.  What started out as a reasonable idea has grown like a snowball rolling down a steep hill.  It will be a long time until they take on something like this again. Ladies, Thank You!

Fall Out
By Ken Gough

Sometimes it’s the easy things that we have trouble with.  In the case with basic drill it’s the fact that we all think it’s easy so we don’t take the time to study it thoroughly.  This leads to mistakes. This month we’ll take the simple command; “Fire by File”. We’ve all done this countless times. It’s easy. So why dwell on it? Because we keep doing it wrong! That’s why. It’s not just us. Rarely do I see any reenactment unit carry out this command properly.  Let’s take all the steps right out of the drill book and dissect each one with a full explanation correcting the most common mistakes,  shall we?

Casey's Infantry Tactics: Part II

282. The fire by file will be executed by the two ranks, the files of which will fire successively, and without regarding on each other, except for the first fire.

This is just a thumbnail explanation of the command.

283. The instructor will command:

1. Fire by file. 2. Squad. 3. Ready.

Commence firing.

As this is from the school of the soldier, they are working in squads.  Our commands will be to the Company, or in rare occasions to the Platoon.

284. At the third command.  The two ranks will take the position prescribed in the direct fire.

This is the ready position, your musket should be up under your right arm with the muzzle at eye height.  Your feet should be boxed, muskets at full-cock.

285. At the fourth command.  The file on the right will aim and fire: the rear-rank man in aiming will take the position indicated No. 183.

This is the ever popular, step to the right with the right foot.  Not forward, not back, and not staying put.  Both men are to throw their muskets into position, get their shot off, and bring their muskets down to reload.

286. The men of this file will load their pieces briskly and fire a second time; reload and fire again, and so on in continuation.

Don’t wait. It’s time to pour it on or we’re all gonna die!

287. The second file will aim, at the instant the first brings down pieces to reload, and will conform in all respects to that which has just been prescribed for the first file.

Here is where most of the problems occur.  You should be watching out of the corner of your eye

the front rank man to your right.  The moment you see him start to bring his musket down, aim and fire.  This doesn’t mean take your time drawing a fine bead and don’t wait for your file partner.  Get that musket up there, get your shot off, get it down so the file to your left can get their shot off.  Here is where one of the great reenactorisms takes place.  Nowhere in the manual is there anything about the rear rank man calling “Fire” for his file.  But we hear this all the time.  You are keying off the rank to the right, if your file partner isn’t ready, don’t wait for him, he’s holding things up.  Shoot!

288. After the first fire, the front and rear rank men will not be required to fire at the same time.

This seems to be a continuation of the same mistake in starting the fire.  You and your file partner don’t have to, and shouldn’t be trying to fire together.  If you do you’re just slowing your fire to the slowest loader of your file.

289. Each man, after loading, will return to the position of ready and continue the fire.

In other words, don’t stop shooting until you’re ordered to.

290. When the instructor wishes the fire to cease, he will command:


Yes, the command is “Cease-Firing”, not “Load and Hold”. There is no such command as Load and Hold.  This is 100% a reenactment command and will not be found in any drill manual!

291. At this command the men will cease firing. If they have fired, they will load their pieces and bring them to a shoulder: if at the position of ready they will half-cock and shoulder arms. If in the position of aim, they will bring down their pieces, half-cock, and shoulder arms.

Hum.  Sounds a lot like Load and Hold.  Don’t ya think?

If we just follow the manual this evolution is not so hard to get right.  Most of the problem with this is a combination of hesitation and trying to make it look “Right”.  This is a form of combat fire control.  It’s not going to look “Smooth” or “Polished”.  It’s designed to get an even flow of fire on target.  And it works!


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