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November 2005

Upcoming Events

November 13 Color Guard Ceremony, Rosehill Cemetery, Chicago
November 20 Board Meeting
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.


Schedule Corrections

A couple of schedule corrections for upcoming events:

Rosehill Veteran’s Day Ceremony is on Nov. 13 at 9:30am.

The next stitching/round rolling is on Nov. 20 at Bob’s house at noon, with the Board meeting to follow at 4pm. Please bring a dish to pass for a potluck lunch.

Please be assured that the people responsible for these errors have been sacked.


The 64th Christmas Party…

…is right around the corner on December 3.

The Biermans have sent out letters last week; please be sure to get your money in to Dianna by Nov. 26. Please note the correct costs are on the letter.

As a reminder there is a change to the gift raffle this year: for those who would like to participate in the gift exchange this year, please bring a small unwrapped $5 to $15 item (does not have to be reenacting-related). Those who bring a gift will receive a ticket to participate in the gift drawing after dinner.

We hope to see everyone there!


Thank You

Bob would like to thank everyone for their well wishes during his illness these past couple weeks, and to everyone who helped out at the Dollinger Farm event. It is very much appreciated!


Rosehill – Veteran’s Day

As always the 64th Illinois Color Guard has been requested to take part in the Rosehill Veteran’s Day ceremony on Nov. 13 at 9:30am. Please let Scott Gutzke know if you can make it: (847) 215-2060 or sgutzke@lycos.com.


Corinth Report
By Scott Gutzke

The 64th attended Corinth with the Western Brigade. We were joined by members of the 45th Illinois, 104th Illinois, 26th North Carolina and 17th Mississippi. We were also joined by the 7th Kentucky Infantry for Friday and part of Saturday.

We stepped off about 3 pm Friday, went to our campsite and sent out details for wood, water, fire pits, etc. Then a runner came down and said that the Confederates were moving against the Army of the Pacific (AoP), so we went to their rescue! There was some confusion because the attack was unexpected, but it was very appropriate because we didn’t know what would happen. We occupied a field about ½ mile from camp and went into line between the AoP and the Frontier Brigade. Within 5 minutes, three deer came running out of the woods and we could hear the Confederates moving around in there. A company from the AoP was deployed as skirmishers across the brigade’s front. About 10 minutes later, we heard some musketry as the pickets came tumbling back. The Confederates came screaming out of the woods – they outnumbered us 3 to 1. Their center brigade was the same size as our whole army. They got on our flanks and drove us back. We could not retreat fast enough…Confederate Cavalry almost cut us off from our only escape route. Where were our Cavalry? Our three horse-drawn cannons limbered up and took off for the rear as the infantry began to break apart. I saw three companies on our left break and run as the Confederates poured volley after volley into our flank. We had no choice but to retreat, which we did in good order (yeah, right). The Confederates handled us very roughly – we were pushed from the battlefield and my company suffered 85% causalities. The rest of the brigade suffered about as badly. We did not just lose – the Confederates thrashed us.

After we returned from the field, we gathered in our camping place in a thick wood. Pickets were positioned and water details sent out. The men were issued rations (slab bacon, two loaves of soft bread, potatoes, onions, coffee, salt, pepper, cornmeal, brown sugar, and candles). By the time we had the weapons cleaned and rations issued, it was dark. We spent the evening cooking our meat and devouring our bread because it could not be carried in our haversacks. We listened as our pickets challenged many who tried to walk into our camp. We slept in the woods with only our gum blankets and wool blankets for cover. It was very uncomfortable and most of us slept maybe 2 hours total.

Saturday morning we woke up at 4 am and assembled for the reconnaissance. It was so dark that morning that I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. The company was led to the edge of the pickets and we were let loose. Second platoon headed out through an open field and first platoon (which I commanded) headed down a path in the woods. It was so dark that I actually walked right into a tree! Ouch! We headed down the path seeing numerous Confederate fires along our left flank, but no pickets. We emerged from the woods into the field and joined with second platoon. Apparently, they marched right into the Confederate camp and ordered them to surrender. The platoon gave a hearty “hurrah,” but the Confederates were too tired to reply and went back to their slumber. After returning to battalion, we reported our findings to Colonel Lavis.

We packed all our gear and ate our bacon cold because we were expecting an attack at any minute. The battalion threw out pickets and our company built breastworks right along the edge of a 4-foot deep, 4-foot wide dry wash that made it almost impossible for the Confederates to enter. About 10 am, the Confederates finally did attack on our right flank (AoP) but our battalion was not really engaged. Our company fired a few volleys in support of the AoP. After about two hours of sporadic fighting (one of the Confederate brigades got lost and was never engaged), we withdrew to Battery Robinette.

Unfortunately, due to poor communication between the Confederate and Federal staffs, the battle was pushed back from 1 pm to 2 pm, and then to 3 pm. By the time of the engagement, it was 85° out and very humid. In fact, the skies opened up on us during the battle.

The Battery Robinette scenario was the best that day. Our battalion (8 companies) was put in an advanced position. We were positioned with the right wing (7th KY, 45th/64th IL, and 1st/2nd MN) near an obstruction. As the Confederates formed in the field in front of us, well within rifle range, the companies opened up en echelon, each giving a company volley in turn as the others reloaded. I heard some of the best company and battalion volleys of my life during this battle, which was unusual because most of the companies had not drilled or fought together before. After two rushes, the Confederates forced us back to the battery. They rushed the battery and came over the top and the Federals fled for their lives. I ordered the company to retreat, but the entire Federal force was already almost routed. We ran for the rear, and when we finally stopped, most of my company was dead on the field. I was wounded in the counter-attack, which was successful.

After retaking the works, the men were released to return to camp in the woods, but a severe thunderstorm broke out a 6 pm, so many of us went into town with the ladies to Shoney’s. Afterward, I was able to walk through the sutlers for the first time of the weekend. There were many there I had never seen before and I needed to control the urge to test the limit on my credit card! After a long two days, over 28 hours of almost constant campaigning, we were exhausted.

I was unable to participate in the event Sunday (I had to work Monday morning). I left the event site around 8:30 am, stopped by Corinth National Cemetery with Bob, John, and Chris, where we found and took pictures of the graves of fifteen 64th IL veterans [check them out here]. I then headed for home. It was a weekend I will never forget.


Dues / Insurance Costs

Just a reminder that 2006 dues/insurance fees are due on April 15, 2006, after which there is a “grace period” of 30 days.

Please remember to get this in on time.


Winter Projects
By Mary Gutzke

Ladies, as you know our first stitchin’ in the kitchen’ is on Nov. 20. Here is your opportunity to dig through those piles/stashes/collections of fabric/yarn/beads/embroidery floss [insert your obsession here]! As we get into the winter months, what better time to bring out those forlorn projects, finish them up and, (yea!) start new ones? Bring along your projects, your questions on reenacting, your research, etc. Pass the word on to your friends interested in reenacting to come and meet the gang. We all have such great talents to share!


Noteworthy News from the 1860s

Got some Civil War era newspapers or books? Read carefully and you’ll find the spice of everyday life. Please feel free to pass on any interesting “bits of history” you may come across! Here is one submitted by Ken Gough:

Romantic - An Irish maiden of Dubuque, while engaged in the useful and healthy exercise of washing, recently, fell into a cistern.  A bachelor fellow being near plunged in and rescued her. They are to be married.

Weekly Gazette - Elgin - Wednesday, Nov. 5, 1862



"No sir, the Confederates are over there." 1st Sgt. Chris Schroeder tells Capt. Scott Gutzke where to go at Lockport, Illinois in 2005.  For more photos, see our updated photo album.


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