HORSE SOLDIER

VOICE OF THE SIXTH OHIO VOLUNTEER CAVALRY

Volume 1, Issue 9                                                                                                                                                                                        Summer,  2002


BATTLE OF SACREMENTO

Trooper Bob Vance 

 

     The Battle of Sacramento ended up being a success.  We all have been to horse events that received a heavy rain requiring tractors to get some folks out.  This was the first time we had seen tractors with hay wagons hauling reenactors in!  But after four inches of rain in six hours Friday Mother Nature’s best efforts to the contrary, the 2002 morning, it was necessary.  As the tractors and 4-wheelers hauled reenactors in and out, the ground turned into a virtual sea of soupy mud.  In the main traffic areas it was 6 inches deep and 50 yards across.  As the rain subsided for good the temperature began dropping into the thirties and the wind picked up.  Through all of these terrible conditions, the hosts/towns people continued to smile and help in any way possible, hauling hay, firewood, etc. to anyone in need.  Saturday morning arrived very cold but the sun broke through the clouds by mid-morning.  The temperatures began to rise along with everyone’s spirits.  The rest of Saturday and Sunday was sunny and warmer.  But the mud stayed on.

            Saturday evening the town folks opened the school gym and fed approximately 1100 reenactors, civilian and military alike.  Not your normal stew.  No, a full buffet of home cooked foods of all kinds.  Four serving lines 65 feet long each!  Thanksgiving in May!  A large ball held in the middle of town followed the meal.  The dancing went on for three hours.

            When Sunday morning came, the town folk were equally helpful in hauling our equipment out to our trailers.  We were loaded before church service began.  This allowed us to be on the road home within minutes following Sunday’s battle and a military pass-in-review.

So, the weather was bad but got better, the amenities were very good, what about the military part?  Well, it was good too!

             The 6th Ohio was courageously represented by Garry Noble, Bob and Esther Vance, and Jim and Diane Garner.  We joined up with the 12th Kentucky, led by Lt. Bill Nordan.  Our cavalry commander was Terry Crouder (sp) of the 10th Missouri, and the overall Federal Commander was Ron Orange, also of the 12th Kentucky.  Terry will be the cavalry commander and Ron a wing commander at this year’s National battle at Perryville, Kentucky, in October.  We practiced for Perryville during our drills on both days.  The 6th Ohio, scheduled to attend Perryville, should fit in well at this major event.  All of our cavalry commanders showed great experience this weekend both in the drills and the actual battles.  Dividing the brigade into three companies of 12-15 troopers each, we attacked the Rebs in waves, one after another.  Even though out numbered we were able to wear them down with 9 consecutive waves (three by each company) coming so fast they did not have an opportunity to regroup once!  Even though we lost the battle due to the scripted scenario, there was no question we controlled 45 minutes of the 55-minute battle!

     A great battle for all of us, but especially for Jim Garner and his mare Jessie.  This was their first time on the battlefield.  They did themselves and the 6th Ohio proud!  Jessie took the cannon and pistol fire in stride and mixed it up in the saber fights.  She even drew special recognition from the Cav. commander following Sunday’s drill attesting to the quality of her first time performance.  A few more battles and she will be a seasoned veteran.

            The participants at the 2002 Battle of Sacramento experienced how our forefathers dealt with the elements and proved they were not just fair weather hobbyists, but reenactors in the truest sense of the word!

 

 

MORGAN’S RAID

 

     Historians report that new information has been unearthed regarding John Hunt Morgan and his famous raid through southern Ohio, which culminated in the capture and eventual escape of the wily raider.  It has been found that about fourteen months before his raid, Morgan sent a small scouting party to assess the terrain and contact the local citizens, seeking those sympathetic to the Confederacy and willing to allow the use of their property by the Southern Army.  This earlier undocumented trip may account for some of the success of Morgan’s later raid.

     The scouting party, two ranks under the command of Lieutenant T. Hopes and Sergeant D. Markijohn, had orders to explore the back roads of Meigs County, Ohio.  They were to assess possible routes of travel, including roads passable by wagon and artillery, available water supplies, and even favorable sites for confrontation.  Sympathetic citizens were consulted regarding safe bypasses of the more heavily traveled roads.  Creek crossings and railroad cuts were explored for their tactical advantage.  Even the more impassable routes were noted, once they had been thoroughly tested by the lieutenant and his trusty steed.

     The small party was most graciously hosted and guided by several local citizens, especially by the Sheetz family, who thereby ensured that any livestock hidden in their barn during the raid would be carefully overlooked.

 

 

GETTYSBURG

Trooper Bob Vance

 

Gettysburg, the Mecca of Civil War Reenacting, once again drew large crowds to see twenty-first century reenactors pay homage to their nineteenth century counterparts.

            As usual, it was hot - 101 degrees when we arrived on Thursday, July 4th.    Fortunately the temperature moderated to the low nineties on Friday and peaked in the mid-eighties on Saturday and Sunday.  There was the usual large selection of suttlers displaying their wares and the many shops in Gettysburg itself were beckoning to those in search of new or better impressions.  Of course the traffic was difficult in town due to the holiday and the reenactment.

            The camping facilities were pretty good with shade, wood, water, and hay all available although it would have helped if some of the weeds had been mowed a bit shorter.

            Attending were Diane Foley, the Greens, the Garners, Darrell Markijohn, the Nobles, Mike Oakley, the Posties, and the Vances.  Chris Green displayed his ability to stay in the saddle during his first mounted battle.  During the weekend several friends and family members from Ohio traveled to Gettysburg to see the reenactment and to support the 6th.  We enjoyed sharing our camp and visiting with them.   

            The 6th Ohio Regiment was engaged in four separate battles during the three days.  Colonel Craig Beachler, Commander of the 2nd US Cavalry and overall Cavalry Commander of the Union forces, placed us in the thick of the action in all four.  The two scenarios I found most interesting were Bufford’s first day battle and Custer vs. Hampton’s third day encounter.  The latter took place on Sunday morning directly in front of the extensive spectator area filled with excited crowds. The onlookers began cheering as we spun round and round, fiercely engaged in saber fights with the Confederate troopers. USA Today printed a great picture of Sgt. Markijohn heavily engaged in the saber melee.  The picture was also picked up from the wire service by other papers across the country.

            Speaking of Darrell, he did an outstanding job as Line Commander for the USV in Tom Hopes absence, commanding both the 6th Ohio and the 17th Pa. It was a fine performance for his first battlefield command.  Darrell gave full credit to “the training from Tom Hopes at last spring’s training meeting at Zoar.”

            It is always exciting for any Civil War reenactor, military or civilian, to go to Gettysburg.  This year was no exception.  Next year’s 140th Gettysburg is expected to be four or five times bigger than this year.  I can hardly imagine.  What a year 2003 is shaping up to be for the 6th Ohio!  Gettysburg and our own Morgan’s Raid and Zoar all come within three months time!  Truly a cornucopia of reenacting!

 

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

 

Aug. 3                                     Canton, Ohio

Pro Football Hall of Fame Parade—Camping at the Fairgrounds the night before to ensure an early start

 

Aug. 3-4                                 Zoar, Ohio

Living History

 

Aug. 8-11                               Wilkesville, OH

Trial ride of the entire 42 mile route intended for the Morgan’s Raid event planned in 2003—campaign style w/ CSA gear

 

Sept. 12-15                            Hagerstown, MD

Antietam140th Anniversary Reenactment

Featuring the Battle of the Cornfield, Bloody Lane, and A.P. Hill’s Assault

 

 

IN PREPARATION FOR MORGAN’S RAID…

 

The Bonnie Blue Flag

We are a band of brothers, and native to the soil,

Fighting for the property we gained by honest toil:

And when our rights were threatened, the cry rose near and far:

“Hurray for the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star!”

 

Hurrah! Hurrah! For Southern rights, hurrah!

Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star.

 

As long as the Union was faithful to her trust,

Like friends and brethren, kind were we, and just:

But now, when Northern treachery attempts our rights to mar,

We hoist on high the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star.  (Chorus)

 

 

 

Silber, Irwin.  Songs of the Civil War.  New York, NY:  Dover Publications, Inc. 1995

 

THE VALIANT STEED

 

The Overheated Horse

     The arctic beauty of our spring training weekend not withstanding, most reenactments seem to be scheduled on the hottest, most humid weekends of the summer.  Add to this the all-day workload we ask of our equine weekend warriors, and the likelihood of encountering a heat-stressed horse on an event is not remote.

     A horse that seems depressed after exercise, is uninterested in food or water, or continues to sweat at rest may have heat exhaustion.  When checked, his temperature is elevated (overtaxed at 103’, emergency at 106’), and his pulse and respiration remain elevated even after resting for 15-20 minutes.  First aid for this condition is to cool him down—get him out of the sun, sponge him with lukewarm to cool water, and provide him with plain and electrolyte water (1 tablespoon salt and 1 tablespoon Lite Salt or potassium chloride per gallon of water).  Alcohol to his legs, standing in a stream, or other cooling treatments may be helpful.  Once he is cooled out, make sure he has free access to water (and salt, if possible).  If he fails to respond, he may require IV fluids for recovery.

     A “skin pinch” test can be performed to test your horse’s hydration.  Pinch the skin on the side of the neck between your thumb and forefinger, and then release it.  Count how many seconds it takes to return to normal.  On a horse with adequate hydration, skin should return to normal immediately.  A healthy horse should also have pink, moist gums.

 

     This article is not intended to cover treatment in true veterinary emergencies, but only to assist in recognizing and addressing problems until the horse’s condition improves or the veterinarian arrives.

 

Kellon, Eleanor, VMD.  Dr. Kellon’s Guide to First Aid for Horses.  Ossining, NY:  Breakthrough Publications, Inc.,1990

Liddell, Yvonne, DVM.  Emergency Treatment.  Apollo, PA.  2002

 

 

 

 

 

CIVILIAN’S CORNER

 

Dressing a Persona:  Could I, Would I, Should I?

     The “average” woman of the 1860s is well documented.  The middle and upper class wives and families who remained at home, who lived in town, who visited the camps and the hospitals and kept the home fires burning, took advantage of the fact that photographs were now inexpensive and fashionable.  Thousands of pictures attest to the fact that the “average’ woman wore a corset and crinoline, a jewel neckline with a broach and possibly a narrow white collar on her colorful dress with full sleeves.  She might wear a snood, although this became less likely if she was past her mid-twenties, but she probably wore her hair parted in the center and confined at the neckline.  Her head was covered with a bonnet or fashionable hat bedecked with lace and silk flowers.

     The workingwoman or farm wife of the period is not so well documented.  She would need a practical dress, and might own only one.  The fabric would be sturdy, and would not show stains.  She would protect it as much as possible with aprons and underclothes, and possibly detachable collars and cuffs, which could be more easily laundered.  She would probably not fool with hoops or full sleeves, which would be a nuisance on the farm or a hazard around a fire, but she would wear several petticoats to provide some fullness to her skirt.  Her hem might well be raised to show her feet and ankles, protecting the fabric from wear and filth.  She would possibly wear a wide-brimmed hat or sunbonnet to protect her face from the sun, and the bonnet might have very long curtains, to help keep her bodice from fading.  On the other hand, even she might dress up for an outing to camp to pedal her wares or visit a friend.

     One rule of thumb used in the reenacting hobby is essentially "Could I, Would I, Should I".  Could I have used it—was it invented by the 1860s, was it readily available, was it fashionable at that time or shortly before.  Would I have used it—would a woman of my age, profession, or social status have been seen with it.  For example, although true red fabric was available at the time,  only a “scarlet  woman” would be seen in it.  Should I—would my persona have been able to afford it, and would she have chosen to spend her funds on it, rather than something more practical.

     Literature available for beginning reenactors often recommends starting out with the “average look” as a good way to maintain fair historical accuracy while you are developing and researching a persona.  A word to the wise, though—if you plan to wear hoops, get your horses accustomed to them at home, before you try to approach them on the picket line!!    

 

Miss Margaret

Civilian Alter Ego

    

Hadden, R. Lee.  Reliving the Civil War: A Reenactor’s Handbook. Mechanicsburg, PA:  Stackpole Books, 1996

Leisch, Juanita.  Who Wore What:  Women’s Wear 1861-1865.  Gettysburg, PA:  Thomas Publications, 1995 

 

EDITOR’S NOTE

.

     I promised in the last newsletter to pass on any discoveries I made regarding boxes, bags, and barrels to improve the period look of our camp.  I did find a few items which, while they may not be 19th Century, are a vast improvement over plastic and nylon!  The local Agway farm and feed store was an inexpensive source of bushel baskets and burlap sacks.  Another lucky find was at Joanne Fabrics—I grabbed a small, sturdy crate (approx. 1’ x 1’ x 2’), which will be fine once it’s been abused a bit.

     Send me any ideas or suggestions you come across—someone else may be looking for the same thing.   My e-mail’s always on duty!! 

Trooper Mick

                                    angelcroft@zoominternet.net

 

P. S. Remember to visit the new web page at http://home.neo.rr.com/ohiocav/index.html.  The photo album’s growing!!