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January 2005

2005 Calendar of Events

February 4

Nominations for Military Rank Elections Due!

February 6

Board meeting at Bob's house in Joliet, IL at 4 pm

February 19

Round Rolling / Ladies' Get-Together at Bob's house in Joliet, IL at 1 pm

February 25

Votes for Military Rank Elections Due!

March 19-20

Indoor Infantry Drill at Dollinger Farm at 9 am

April 15

Unit Dues are Due!

April 15-17

Company and 1st Illinois Battalion Drill at Dollinger Farm

April 22-24

Re-enactment with the 26th NC (Unit will be Federal) at Keokuk, IA

May 5-7

Living History and School Event at Midway Village in Rockford, IL

May 20-22

Re-enactment (Sat. pm dinner w/26th NC) at Naperville, IL

May 30

Color Guard Ceremony at Rosehill Cemetery at 9:30 am

June 10-12

Re-enactment at Watertown, WI

June 25

Re-enactment at Union, IL

July 8-10

Re-enactment at Wauconda, IL

July 22-24

Re-enactment at Glenview, IL

August 5-7

Re-enactment with the 26th NC (Unit will be Confederate) at Boscobel, WI

August 19-21

Re-enactment at Galesburg, IL

September 9-11

Re-enactment w/ Potluck at Lockport, IL

September 16-18

Re-enactment at Marengo, IL

Sept. 30-Oct. 2

Re-enactment at Corinth, MS

October 7-9

Re-enactment at Princeton, IL

October 14-16

Re-enactment at Minooka, IL

November 12

Color Guard Ceremony at Rosehill Cemetery at 9:30 am

December 3

Christmas Party

Remember that you can always find more event details and directions at the unit website, http://www.64thill.org/events/. We also have info on several Civil War dances/formal balls held throughout the year in the area.

Membership Info Updates

As we begin the 2005 season, we have lots of new faces in the unit! We welcome all our new members and look forward to seeing old and new members alike around the campfire this year. In order to keep everyone in touch, Iím in the process of updating the unit roster. If you have any contact info changes (address, phone #, email addresses, etc), please let me know ASAP. If you donít know if I have your changes or not, it wonít hurt to send them to me again. I should have the current roster to send out with the February newsletter.

Alsoóin an effort to reduce postage costs for the unit and expedite communications, weíre encouraging all members to receive unit correspondence by email if possible. Below is a list of members currently receiving the newsletter and other correspondence via email and those receiving it via postal mail. Check the lists. Make sure you are receiving correspondence one way or another; if you are not, let me know!
-Mary Gutzke

Members receiving newsletter &
correspondence via email as of 1-18-05:

Bob and Dianna Bierman
Mike Bierman
Bridgett and Jim Broderick
Vickie Brown
Randy Craft and Judi Snyder
Greg Dely
Marge Dernulc
Geri Dod
Marc and Carla Findley
Fred Gangel
Ken and Diana Gough
Scott and Mary Gutzke
Mike Gyorkos
George Harbinson
Jerry and JoEllen Kowalski
Denise Lee
Tony Lobello
Debbie Lowth
Bruce Malesh
Melina McVicker
Jerry Mortenson
Clyde Novak
Georgene Olechowski
Ted Osar
Jack Rasmussen
Doug and Steve Scheflow
Mike Squires
John, Eileen and Bill Thurston
Dave and Yvonne Wirtz

Members receiving newsletter
via snail-mail as of 1-18-05:

Christine Benecke
Nick Dahlberg
Steve Emling
Laura Leicht and family
Chris Peterson
Joe Plummer
Jim and Jan Rowan
Chris Schroeder
Carl Stahl
Sean Wilson
Joseph Ziccarelli

Trip to Bentonville

The 10th and 104th ILL (from the 1st ILL Battalion) are going to the Bentonville, NC national event on March 19-20. They have invited anyone from the Battalion who wishes to travel with them. They have rented a bus that will be leaving from the Peoria area on Thursday, March 17. If you are interested please contact Bob Bierman at ladypard64@juno.com or Col. Keating at ilfed104@maxiis.com for further information.

Corinth, Mississippi

For our national event this year, the unit voted to attend the Corinth, MS event on Sept. 30-Oct. 2. We already have several members interested in going. At this point we are thinking of combining our efforts with another unit to increase our numbers. This sounds like a great opportunity for the 64th, especially since our original unit was in Corinth for over a year. Scott is in the process of getting more info on larger units that the 64th can fall in with at the event. More details will be provided as they become available. Please let Bob or Scott know if you are interested in going!

Naperville Potluck

The 26th NC has graciously extended an invitation to the members of the 64th to join them in their camp for the Saturday night dinner at Naperville, instead of our usual potluck. We are asked to bring desserts. The members present at the last meeting voted to accept the 26thís offer, and to reciprocate at our potluck at Lockport in September.

Letters to Carl

As many of you know, Carl Stahl is still stationed in Germany with the 1st Armored Division of the US Army. Jerry Kowalski has again spearheaded our letter-writing campaign to let him know he is missed and appreciated by his friends in the 64th. Several members have renewed their letter-writing for the coming year, but we can always use more! You would only need to write him a letter every 2 weeks, and they do not need to be long. Just something to let him know weíre thinking about him. Let Jerry know ASAP if you would like to participate.

Military Rank Nominations and Elections
By Scott Gutzke

To help out Bob, Iíve volunteered to run the military election process this year. Last week I sent out nomination forms (via email or postal mail; however you normally receive correspondence) to all military members. Please get those nominations back to me by Feb. 4! If you did not receive one please let me know. At that time I will contact those nominated to verify if they want to run for rank and will send out ballots around Feb. 11, due back to me no later than the 25th.

Below Iíve included a summary of the duties of the various ranks...so you know you what youíre getting yourself (or someone else) into. Get those nominations in!

Duties of the Officers and NCOs of an Infantry Company
By Scott Gutzke

Since we are having elections for our military leaders for the next two years, I thought that it might be beneficial to explain a little about the different duties of the officers and NCOs of an infantry company. Please donít let this list scare you. Most of it is common sense, but if you would like to run for a leadership position, you should know what you are getting yourself into! Even if you are not familiar with all of these duties, those who have more experience will teach youÖwe would never put you in a situation that you would not be able to handle. However, please know that in order to be an officer or NCO we need you to come to as many events as possible, and make a commitment to the unit to learn the job, the drill, etc.

Some duties general to all officers and NCOs:

  1. Knowledge: All officers and NCOs need to learn the job of the next higher rank in case he must eventually fulfill that role.

  2. Attendance: To be an officer or NCO, attendance at events is required. The privates take time out of their lives to attend events with us. We owe it to them to have high attendance as well. How can our leaders perform their duties if they donít come to the events?

  3. Lead by Example: Never ask a soldier to perform a task you wouldnít do yourself. I know it sounds corny, but leading by doing really works. The men will work harder and with less complaining if they see their leaders working with them.

  4. Health: Know the symptoms of heat and cold injuries. Check the menís health. Ensure that they are eating and drinking sufficient water to ward off heat injuries in hot weather. In case of cold weather, make sure that the men have protection from the cold.

  5. Safety First, Last, Always: We are there to ensure that our comrades of any rank perform safely on and off the field. If you see someone performing an unsafe act, be it aiming a rifle too low or sleeping too close to a fire, it is your duty to correct the action.

  6. Teach: We are expected to teach the private soldiers how to do their jobs. Officers and NCOs need to be proficient (or at least willing to learn) the drill and their duties.

The Corporal:

  1. The Corporal should be able to TEACH School of the Soldier and have a good understanding of School of the Skirmisher.

  2. He is the closest NCO to the private in the ranks and his first and primary concern is the welfare of the men in his care!

  3. He controls and directs soldiers in the performance of their duty.

  4. The Corporals directly lead the men in their work details.

  5. The Corporal should take new soldiers under their wing and teach them everything they need to know to be successful. This means more than just the drill, teach them how to wear their gear, pack their pack, military protocol, how to cook, clean, maintain their rifle, etc.

  6. Corporals should be living examples for the soldiers in the neatness and cleanliness of their clothing, arms, and accoutrements. They should be the first to fall into ranks at roll calls, and should have their tents or bunks, wherever their quarters, always systematically in order.

  7. Keep the men informed. Know what is happening and going to happen. Call the men together and explain delays and changes as soon as possible. Corporals should be the source of much of the soldierís knowledge.

  8. Correcting bad conduct begins with the Corporal. Being loud after taps, profane language around women and children, abuse (other than the good-natured kind) in word and deed must be stopped.

  9. The Corporal is responsible in ensuring that every man in his section clean their weapons immediately following battle, and that they take proper care of their weapons in the field.

  10. In drill, the Corporals serve as the left and right markers of the company. Their job is to keep the company dressed and keep the men quiet so that they can hear orders.

The Sergeant:

  1. All Sergeants should be able to TEACH School of the Soldier and Drill for Skirmisher, and have a good working knowledge of School of the Company.

  2. They should be prepared to take over as First Sergeant in case of his absence or incapacity.

  3. He controls and directs Corporals and soldiers in the performance of their duty.

  4. Sergeants generally have larger details under charge, and have Corporals under their direction to assist them. Sergeants generally have a more general supervision of the men, whilst the Corporals have more of the detail to attend to.

  5. The most important duty of a Sergeant is that of a file-closer. It is his duty to see that the men pay attention to their duty, preserve order, march properly, and keep closed. In time of battle, it is his duty to keep the men in ranks, not allow them to fall out on any pretext, and to prevent them from causing injury to themselves or others.

  6. In drill, he is posted as a file closer to ensure that the soldiers perform safely when firing. (The Second Sergeant may sometimes act as the left guide of the company.)

The First Sergeant:

  1. The First Sergeant must be able to TEACH School of the Soldier, Skirmisher, and Company.

  2. He must be able to command the company in the absence of an officer.

  3. His FIRST duty is to the welfare of the men in the company and to ensure that all the NCOs are kept informed of daily duties required of them.

  4. He has immediate supervision of the company. He gets his orders from the company commander, and sees that they are performed in the company.

  5. The First Sergeant is in charge of training and drilling the company in the School of the Soldier and Company.

  6. He keeps rosters, and makes all the details; he superintends the company clerk, and assists him in making out the required papers.

  7. The First Sergeant makes out the morning report and signs it, and then submits it to the company commander for his signature.

  8. He sees that all the other NCOs do their duty; he holds the NCOs responsible for the condition of their soldiers, and reports to the company commander when anyone neglects their duty in any respect.

  9. In drill, he is posted as a file closer to ensure that the soldiers perform safely when firing or as the cover to the company commander, or as the right guide of the company.

The Lieutenant:

  1. The Lieutenant must be able to TEACH School of the Soldier, Skirmisher, and Company and have a good understanding of School of the Battalion.

  2. He must be able to command the company in the absence of the company commander.

  3. He provides leadership to his platoon.

  4. Supervises NCOs under his command and ensures that all his orders are carried out.

  5. In drill, he is posted as a file closer, entered on his platoon, to ensure that the soldiers perform safely when firing.

The Captain:

  1. The Captain must be able to TEACH School of the Soldier, Skirmisher, and Company and have a good understanding of School of the Battalion.

  2. He provides leadership to his company.

  3. Supervises officers and NCOs under his command and ensures that all his orders are carried out.

  4. In drill, he is posted as a file closer to ensure that the soldiers perform safely when firing, or as the right guide of the company, or in front of the company, depending on the situation.

The Building of Logan House
by Ken Gough

Logan House is my winter project (obsession?) that is going to be a combination sutlery and living history base for the civilian ladies of the 64th Ill. The design and construction methods roughly match those of immigrants of both Swiss and Scotch/Irish descent building starter homes from Pennsylvania to Virginia circa 1640-1780s.

A concept drawing is included here although changes are being made to improve the design as I go along. The size is small, however I have documented early homes being made this size. Most would have been slightly larger so I'm going to say that this will be about 3/4 scale.

This is not a farm house but would have been found in a small crossroads village. This would have been built to start a family only to have either been abandoned or passed on to a son in a few years. Our story is of a home that has been passed down over several generations. The house would now serve a couple whose children have moved out to start their own families. Some improvements would have been done over the years (a stove in place of the fireplace) but basically the house has stayed the same. Now if we could only get one or two more together we could start our own village. Humm...

Progress to date:

Di and I went on a quest for a small potbelly stove thinking this would be the best as originally this project was to be a store and not just a house. What we found was a small cook stove with two 'eyes' that was much nicer than we could have hoped to find. A couple parts are missing but all in all a good start to our project.

As you can see, the walls are well under way. The mudsills and the first couple rows of boards are done and we're working our way up the walls. The project is being constructed in my fatherís basement. An ex. reenactor himself (with the 12th S.C. but we won't hold that against him) he is also lending a hand with the work.

As each level of boards is finished, we're painting them right away with a finish coat to be applied when it's done. The colors used would have been what was available to the middle or lower class citizens of the mid-1800s.

Only the best for our ladies!


Starting up the walls priming as I go.


Notching the corners.


Jim Gough priming the mudsills.


An idea of the overall size.

Corner detail showing dovetails and overlap.

Chaplainís Corner
By Jerry Kowalski

There was a meeting of the 64th's Executive Board on Sunday Jan 9. Since it is open to all members, my wife and I attended as we do when we can. When it was over we went to a church in Joliet near the Bierman house that we attend with some regularity. There was a visiting preacher, and his text included a piece from Chapter 10 of the Book of Acts. Verse 34 reads Peter began to speak: "I now realize that it is true that God treats everyone on the same basis. Whoever fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him, no matter what race he belongs to."

For all of the countless times I have read the Bible, for all the countless times I have been to Church Services and heard the Scriptures read, and heard Preachers preach - I had never been exposed to this verse before. From childhood I belonged to a Church that taught that only its members were going to be saved, that we were the only ones getting into heaven, that only our baptism was valid - everyone else was damned to hell. Fortunately, the leaders of my Church have changed their thinking. Right now in my life I have great difficulty with individuals and institutions that claim to have all the answers, that insist their way is the only way. It seems to me that a loving God would not exclude any of his children who loved Him and did good to others. If I make it to Heaven, I expect to see every race, every nationality and every religion fully represented - even those who profess no religion, but worship the Almighty in their hearts. Ultimately I will have to answer for my actions - how I treated others, whether I served God - and nothing else.

Peace and all good things,
Chaplain Jerry Kowalski

Reenacting Resolutions
By Mary Gutzke

I resolve not to burden myself with trying to keep the house clean. I resolve not to cook anything with more than 5 ingredients. Oh wait, those are my other resolutions. Actually, I've come up with a couple of Reenacting Resolutions for the upcoming season. Hopefully those of you reading this, civilian and military alike, may become inspired to create your own (and I don't mind in the least if you copy me).

1) I will try to improve upon each new garment I make. Each time I make a new dress or accessory, I look at existing photos of 1860s women, look at pictures of actual garments (I have a decent collection of photos on my computer if ever anyone wants a copy), and study some of my original garments. All this helps to get a better eye for what garments of the period should look like--style, fabric, trim, color, prints, etc. For my most recent dress, I have used a different sleeve style, and also created a more fitted bodice than all my previous dresses. Not only was this a sleeve style I've been wanting to do for a long time, it is a very common sleeve on the types of dresses I wear. Just a personal "step up" for my sewing skills. Whether you sew for yourself or purchase your garments from someone else, research of original sources will go a long way toward helping you know what to look for, and what the finished garment should look like.

2) Another goal I'm aiming for this winter is to get white cotton collars on all my day and work dresses. This may be a small step, but it is an accessory that is pretty basic to all dresses and very easy to make and use. Utilitarian collars and cuffs were a means of protecting women's dresses from wear and tear, and the grime of daily life that came with not bathing daily as we do today. My hope is to make collars for each of my dresses, where appropriate.

3) Lose some of the "stuff". Ok, futile as it may be, I am going to try and get my act together by not bringing as much "stuff" to events. Or, if I must, to at least bring the period equivalent. Depending on what type of impression the civilians have at a given event, we may be refugees, "living" in our homestead, or visitors to a town for the day. Different scenarios call for different "props." Sort of like how soldiers would be carrying less "stuff" on the march than they would have in their winter camp (I'll probably get yelled at from one of the guys for making that comparison). Maybe in order for me to put forth a better impression, instead of having to hide "stuff" that I don't need, don't bring it at all.

These are just a couple of ideas which I hope to improve upon during the 2005 season and beyond. When I first started reenacting I promised that I would always try and improve my persona and understanding of the Civil War and the era in which it was fought. By making some small changes I can keep doing that. What are your Reenacting Resolutions?


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