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September 2003

2003 Up Coming Events

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 Ė Rosehill Cemetery, Chicago, IL
December 6  Christmas Party, Joliet, IL, 6 pm

Wauconda Report
By Ken Gough

In spite of the heat, the event at Wauconda must be one of the better ones of the year.  We were able to put together a small company using members of the 29th USCT, the 15th, and 72nd Ill.  With their help we were just able to field our own company.  This was a 1st Illinois Battalion event as well with the 10th, 104th Ill., and 8th Ill. Cav. making up the rest of the Battalion.

Saturday was devoted to drill and some living history with twilight tours in the evening.  A set piece tactical was set up for the morning but the 64th elected not to participate.  Some of our more energetic members hooked up with the 104th Ill. for this.

Sunday is where this event comes to life.  Battalion Parade started off the day with an extensive drill after.  One of the Officers of the Black Hat Battalion was in command and some of his maneuvers were unfamiliar to us but we were able to pick them up quickly and soon the battalion was operating smoothly.

For the battle the 64th had the honor of starting the action with myself in command as Capt. Bob was down with the heat.  We were to portray a patrol (which by the way I have absolutely no idea what the formation for this is) that runs into a picket line and gets pushed back.  From there we were sent to the left flank to press the artillery.  A near rout put us into position to rally on the battalion for a finial push driving the foe from the field.

With the company dragging and some members (including myself) on the verge of heat exhaustion we started back to camp in battalion formation.  When the battalion halted IN THE SUN for civilians to distribute watermelon, I dismissed the company having decided that enough was enough.

If there was one down side to the event it was the low turnout of 64th members.  The most of our members on line at anyone time was around seven.

WE MISSED YOU!


A Special Invitation

As some of you mayor may not know a renewal of wedding vows will be held at Dollinger Farm this year.  Scott and Mary will be renewing their vows celebrating their 1st anniversary. Along with them Ken and Diana will be celebrating 25 years (gasp).

Our own Chaplain, Jerry Kowalski, will perform the double ceremony on Sunday in the morning.  Everyone is invited with cake following in camp.  So dust off the fancy duds and come enjoy something different.


Elections

One of the topics around the campfire at Wauconda was the elections coming up this winter.  This year we will be voting on a new board along with the yearly rank elections.  If you think you would like to try for one of the positions see Capt. Bob or myself at one of the next couple events.  Weíre always looking for new blood with new ideas!  Give it a try.


Dog Tents

The last couple years weíve tried to improve the look of our company street.  This includes the use of dog tents in place of wedge tents.

We know that members who have paid for those wedge tents are reluctant to part with them.  The natural ďI paid a lot of money for it, Iím using itĒ attitude is understandably hard to overcome.

The 64th decided three years ago that the time period we would portray would be 1863-64.  During this time the dog tent was the only tent issued to troops in the field.  In fact, there were a few regiments who refused to accept the dog tents when issued and Gen. Shermanís orders were to confiscate their wedge tents and leave them with no tents at all!

Something for us to think about.

Should the company invest in a few dog tents to help out here.  Inexpensive dog tents run around $75.  This includes two halves, the poles, and stakes (Note this doesnít include ends, there were no ends for dog tents.  Iím sorry, but those of you who have invested in them were scammed).  A really good dog tent runs upwards of $300.  The company investing in a couple dogís may free up some members looking to buy a good one but donít have the money right now.

Each year there is a number of events where we portray the company in garrison.  At these events wedge tents would be appropriate. Naperville comes to mind.  This is always a garrison event.


New Product

Dennis Anvil (our local blacksmith) has come out with a reproduction Spider (a frying pan on legs).  This would be a great addition to any set of mess gear.  Itís light with a spun pan and small enough that taking turns carrying it wonít be a burden.  Heís asking $40, and with the workmanship in them itís not a bad price.

This isnít something that everyone would have carried, but one for each five or six men wouldnít be out of line.  Those of you carrying even a small cast iron pan may want to look at getting one.  Itís more practical and weighs about a third as much.


Messing

For anyone interested in forming a mess for living history demonstrations 1st Sgt. Chris and 1st Lt. Ken have been kicking around the idea for a few months.  This would involve period cooking using only food that would have been available in the field.  At this point, the only mess gear that we will be using in addition to personal gear is a camp ax and a spider.  If we get enough people interested, we may add a pot.  If you feel you would like to give it a try see either Chris or Ken.


Wood Splitting

This Saturday, Sept. 13 we will have a wood splitting day at Dollinger farm. Weíre coming down to the wire for our event. We all know our reaction if weíre at an event that runs out of wood. If weíre not ready, people will have that feeling about our event. So please, letís get out there and be prepared for our best event ever.


Insurance

At the Lockport meeting the insurance issue was passed. The unit will pay for the policy until next spring. What we need from all members is a list of all family members who will be attending events with the 64th. We need this list by October 1st so we can have the unit covered for the Dollinger Farm event. This is important, donít put this one off. If they are not on our policy by October 1st, they will not be able to register as a member at events. This is one of the requirements of the policy.


Going Reb

On October 10-12 there is an event in Princeton, IL that we had not planned on doing. The 26th NC has invited the 64th to fall in with them there. This is a great opportunity to get those new jackets dirty. In return, they are planning on going Union at an event next year to help us out. Sounds like a good time so come on out and see what itís like from the other side of the field.


Fall Out
By Ken Gough

Heat!!!

In this day and age of air conditioning this is a real problem at events. I know we read accounts of the men in the Civil War withstanding all sorts of weather conditions with a minimum of shelter or water. Keep in mind that they were acclimated to these hardships. We arenít! There is no way that our bodies will let us get away with ignoring this fact. We must find a way to deal with this fact. Ice stashed on the field, watering down before drill or battles, and carrying extra water in your haversack is the best way.

Over the last few years a lot of civilians have decided their contribution will be helping the military re-enactors deal with this problem. They take the form of Ice Angels, Christian Commission, and others. We appreciate what they are doing but at the same time they must know the limitations of what should be done. Twice this year Iíve seen Ice Angels insist on interfering with formations to distribute water before the battle starts holding up the opening formations. Help should be offered out of the view of the public and in a place where it can be safely administered.
But I digress.

So remember guys, lots of water before activities. Not soda, not lemonade, and sure as hell not beer, but water. Down a full canteen about a half hour before drill or battle and another during these activities. It wonít make you cooler but it will help keep you from waking up looking at the inside of an ambulance!


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