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May 2005

Upcoming Events

May 5-7

Living History/School Event, Rockford, IL

May 20-22

Re-enactment, Naperville, IL

May 30 Color Guard Ceremony, Rosehill Cemetery, Chicago

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.


Over the winter the 26th North Carolina extended an invitation to the 64th for Saturday evening dinner with them. All they ask is that we bring the desserts. Come hungry! Dinner will be around 5pm; stay tuned at the event for location.

As usual we’ll be holding a unit meeting immediately following dinner.

Please plan on coming out to Naperville! We are sure to have some interesting sights and activities in camp this year.


As always we need volunteers for woodcutting for the Dollinger event. The next date will be May 14th, start time 9am. Please let Bob know if you can make it.

More dates to follow throughout the summer; we can always use any and all help.

Rockford Living History/School Event

One of the first events of the season is this weekend, May 5-7 (Thurs.-Sat.). Bob has been asked to provide a headcount of members able to attend; please let him know ASAP if you’re planning on going.

1st Illinois Battalion News

An announcement that Bob has received word that Col. Keating of the 1st ILL Battalion, has made it official that he will be stepping down from command at the end of this season of reenacting.

Logan House Update
By Ken Gough

It’s done!

After almost four months, and missing the target date by only a week, we’re done.

Ladies. It’s now up to you. “If you build it, they will come.” I built it, that was easy. Now you must run it, a little harder. But the fun! Naperville will be the first event for Logan House and we’re looking for any and all ideas to keep things hopping in it. We want everyone who enters to be blown away with the power (er, insanity?) of the 64th civilians. Quilting, knitting, cooking, a party. Please, the list is just starting and we need your help!

Now for the sales pitch.

I’m going to max out my resources just transporting the cabin. I’m not going to have room to carry a lot of furnishings for it. Any of you civilians who would like to help could plan on bringing just one or two things to add to the display. Just let Di or myself know if you would like to help so we don’t end up with thirteen chairs. If we could get some people to bring a few fence rails each we could have a kicken’ entrance to our display.

Still no takers on a second house yet. How about a portable outhouse? Or better yet; can anyone out there think of a way to make a portable garden? Hmmmm……

Beth, peering out through one of our “Portals of Time” thinking of cooling pies on the windowsill. Or more likely of chasing down that thief who stole her pie and giving him his just deserts with the wide end of a broom!

The kitchen as seen through Beth’s window. We are counting on using these windows for the public to look into life in the mid-1800s.

Our dining area. We’re having to cram a lot of display into a small area. As large as we thought this house would be when we started, it’s filling up fast. Ladies, we’re counting on you to keep activities going. The idea is that spectators can come back a number of times to see different skills on display.

Look out candlelight tours! As good as it looks in the day, at night the cabin takes on a whole new feel. We want to make sure that everyone who enters our door feels welcome.

Website Updates

Scott Gutzke has been hard at work adding to the unit history section of the website, www.64thill.org. Currently he has completed putting the entire roster of the 64th Illinois online by company, many photos of soldiers and artifacts of the 64th, as well as finding information on which soldiers were prisoners at Andersonville.  He is currently transcribing Knapsack Notes, a history of the 64th from 1864 to 1865, written by a soldier of Company B.

We’re constantly updating the site and are working on getting current photos of events up (watch out, you may be on camera this year…).

Remember, too, that the unit schedule can always be found on the website, as well as directions to most events.

For Sale

I am weeding through my reenacting clothes and have sadly decided to thin the herd. Size is approximately 6/8 (yes, I know, I’m sorry!), most will fit someone 5' tall but several have deeper hems that can be let down slightly. Everything sold "as is". Please let me know if you are interested; I can provide details and pictures. Contact: Mary Gutzke at 847-732-1698 or roseof1861@lycos.com.

Less is More
By Scott Gutzke

Over the winter, I was thinking…the actual infantry soldier on campaign only had with him what he could carry. So, with space and weight at a premium, what did he carry with him? Well, a little research led to a fascinating discovery for me. I found General Orders No. 65, March 7, 1863 for the Army of the Potomac prior to the Chancellorsville Campaign. It says “considering the fact that three days’ [rations] has heretofore been the maximum amount [carried], the board recommends as follows: 1. That all extra clothing, except a change of underclothing, be stored. 2. That five days’ rations of bread and small-stores be placed in the knapsack. 3. Three days’ cooked rations in the haversack, and five days’ fresh beef upon the hoof. 4. Two mules per regiment to carry camp-kettles, rice, beans, &c. Each soldier will carry Haversack 5¾ lbs., Knapsack 6 lbs., Blanket 5¼ lbs., Clothing 2 lbs., Total, 19 lbs. Making 13¼ pounds in the knapsacks, being 2¼ pounds less than the weight usually carried by soldiers in this army in their knapsacks.” –Report of Board of Officers Convened per Army of the Potomac.

Therefore, I decided to resolve to try two new things this year. First, to lighten my load to use no more than what I can comfortably carry in a single trip. The second resolution is to pack so that my knapsack and haversack contain only the essentials, and only items that a soldier of 1861-1865 would have had on campaign. What each person packs is up to the individual, but remember, your pack should be light enough for you to comfortably wear it into each battle scenario during a weekend-long event. If the pack is too heavy to wear to all the battles, then start lightening the load by casting off the non-essentials.

Below is a packing checklist that I use in preparation for living history events. Your “essentials” may vary, but feel free to use my list as a guide.

Packed in your Knapsack:

Packed in your Haversack:

During this winter, I packed and repacked my knapsack and haversack several times. I also weighed each. The haversack contained everything listed above (total weight of rations per Army regulations: 3.7 lb.), along with a few haversack “stuffers”. The total weight of the haversack was 5.7 lb. The knapsack was also packed as above and weighed in at 17½ lbs.; when the greatcoat was removed, the weight of the knapsack was 14 lbs. This list closely follows what the Army of the Potomac actually carried with them and the weights closely match as well. One can assume that the western armies carried similar loads. Try reenacting with the packing list included in this article, and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is, how comfortable you’ll be, and how authentic you’ll feel.


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