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Anders
03-12-2006, 09:51 AM
Gents and Ladies,

I thought I was excited about this event before, but after yesterday's walkthrough, I can't wait for the event.

First I would like to thank Dave Pridgeon and the PSL for all their hard work, and Jeremy Hilliard for his yeoman efforts to pull this off. It was a true pleasure yesterday to go over the site with Bill Watson (Federal CO), the Civilian Ladies (who have some great interaction plans) and the oganizing crew. Actually it is more like an organizing crowd- over 50 folks are on this team, to facilite the event. And this type of effort and dedication is just plain amazing, and what they have accomplished is even more so.

People talk about using orginal sites, these folks have bagged just about everyone of them in the area. A good chunk of the town of Port Republic, including the Kemper House where Ashby was lain after his death, Jackson's HQ, Federal HQ, the Widow Pence Farm, BOTH original battlefields, and the original march routes...and I am sure I am missing some. We will truly be walking/sleeping and fighting in their footsteps.

The civilian crew is hard at work, and for once I am not the "hated foe", so I hope that for once they actually speak to me. Skip Koontz is returning as " Stonewall" and those of you that were at Summer of '62 last year know he excellent job he does.

Dav and Jeremy have worked with the local landowners to secure good camping areas for both the campaign and fixed camps. And they have set up the fixed camp in a truly beautiful piece of land, and aranged the neccesary transportation in a manner that will not be intrusive to anyone not using it, but very convien fo those that do. This is a real accomplishment, and folks need to stand up and take note. We always talk of movin the hobby forward, and the have created a total event package that does just that.

For those that are asking, rations will be issued, so be prepared. Registration is easy reached off of Exit 245 on Interstate 81, you only drive about 5 miles and turn left on Battlefield Road, and the Church is on the left. Across from a Cemetary that houses dead of both sides from the battle.

It was great to meet the local folks involved, and to learn the fact that Dave and company have secured matching funds, so real preservation dollars can be raised.

The battles- these are the icing on the cake for me. Saturdays action will be the attack of the 8th NY, and will be on the actual ground. The scenario will be short but deadly, and then off to Port Republic we go. Saturday's CS March Route is mostly on hardtop. This is the only small, and Imean small "booger on the windshield" for the whole event. But it is the ORIGINAL route, and with the current road network, the only route we could use. And it is only 3 MILES. The Federal March route is, as I understand, mostly dirt and gravel, with some hard top, but again, on the ORIGINAL route. Sunday's fight, WOW, you guys are going to be worn out and amazed. We are fighting on the actual ground of Taylo's advance, and the CS side will replicate assualts by portions of 3 seperate brigades, accross the most awesome ravine I have seen. No modern intrusions, and this fight will be remembered for a long time to come. Bill Watson, Bob Denton and Myself are working hard to script a truly dynamic historical fight based on first person accounts and After Action Reports. This will be the capstone for the event, and you will leave you with no battery power left! We will be putting up units and background histories shortly, and CS General Orders will be coming out soon.

Logistics are now set, all is in place, we are just waiting on YOU.

Check the website at www.shenandoah1862.org for updates, and please get your registration in early.

This will be the most talked about event of the year, and if you miss this one, you might just need one of Bill Cross' A$$ kicking machines. I am honored to be working with these folks on this event.

Did I mention original sites???

Pards,

bill watson
03-12-2006, 01:41 PM
What Chris said.

The hair stood up on the back of my neck when Jeremy Hilliard explained we were standing on the front lawn of Jackson's headquarters at Port Republic -- the place where federal cavalry almost bagged him and his entire baggage train, where his staff ended up fighting them off. I could turn and see the road where federal cavalry made a mad dash, unaware a Confederate battery had been carefully concealed behind a high fence to command the entire approach from the river. It took very little imagination to see the fence being blown apart as the battery fired.

It would be great to someday be able to depict that. Maybe next time. This time, that area will be a Confederate bivouac used intensively for living history Saturday afternoon.

This year's event is heavily focused on infantry. Saturday morning's fight shows what a smart, terrain-conscious general can do with the ground he's given. It also shows how not to advance a regiment. The combination produced devastation for the 8th New York, and we will do what they did exactly where they did it, giving everyone some real insight into one key, tone-setting slice of the Cross Keys battlefield.

The campaigner contingent of the federal forces will then be taken eight miles to McGaheysville, to depict the advance of Shield's men down the Luray Valley. It's a seven-mile march on rural gravel and blacktop, very lightly used by vehicles. Our Saturday bivouac will be at Lynmwood, which was an active plantation at the time of the fight, is still actively farmed today, and was the federal headquarters for the Port Republic phase of the fight. It is also the house where a federal officer, hearing the fighting at Cross Keys the day before the Port Republic fight, told the owners that "now Stonewall is bagged." He found out differently the next day.

Sunday's fight is a mile from Lynnwood. It is a very short distance south of The Coaling, where a federal battery commanded the field during the time the federals were winning the battle of Port Republic. Where we will fight appears to be the "terrible ravine" Confederates described afterwards; they were repulsed several times in trying to take the battery, and were pursued and shot down as they went back through this spot. The terrain mirrors the terrain at The Coaling and lends itself very well to a depiction aimed at understanding the fighting in this area. Chris and I have the actual fight firmly in our brains now and will make it happen as it did in June 1862.

Not even registration is without a historic presence. Registration is at a Ruritan building. During the battle it was on the Cross Keys battlefield, was used by Union men, and was burned in the fighting. It was rebuilt after the war, and was rebuilt again within the past few years, after another fire. It is a pretty plain-looking building from the outside, but the inside is another story -- stained glass and planked ceiling like a reverse corbel -- what some today call a "tray" ceiling, except on a scale designed to impress worshippers with the presence of heaven above. The local historic society will have information and displays on hand at registration for those who can't get enough history. The Ruritan will be selling sandwiches and whatnot for as long as registration is open, for those traveling in who don't want to risk fast-food indigestion along the interstate.

Registration will be done in full kit, so it can be checked. We'll be contacting each registrant ahead of time -- registration is individual, as at McDowell -- but no matter how hard we try it seems like a last-minute check at registration usually turns up a couple of guys with anachronisms that have to be adjusted. We're not counting stitches or checking to find out who made the gear -- we're making sure nobody has a wristwatch and nobody is dressed like a sailor.

The campaigners will then be taken by the event organizers to the Friday night bivouacs, which are on two adjacent farms on either side of Saturday morning's "Widow Pence Farm" fight.

Non-campaigners will be directed to their campsite a mile away. The event organizers will get them where they need to be for the battles.

It's my belief that the campaigner group of federals will have the most rewarding experience at this event, and it's my hope that the bulk of the federal forces commit to the campaign contingent. Right now that is essentially two groups: Scot Buffington of III Batt USV heads one, and Dave Grieves 122nd NY/Potomac Legion heads the other. If you are interested, please contact me: wjwatson@ptdprolog.net (I have learned that putting emails on forums leads to spam from all kinds of commercial scammers, so I'm not putting anyone's email in here except mine. Contact me and I'll put you in touch with them.)

It's early June; cold will not be a concern. The Friday and Saturday campaigner overnights are bivouacs (1 : a usually temporary encampment under little or no shelter 2 a : encampment usually for a night b : a temporary shelter or settlement ) That is: don't expect to see any tentage. The bivouacs are in comfortable spots -- hayfields, not pastures.
Like McDowell, this is an event where you are expected to show up with an empty haversack. Rations will be provided. Those on medically restricted diets are exempt from this, and nobody is going to care if anybody brings along some morsel of period-correct fare. There will be great concern amounting to a flapdoodle if modern packaging turns up.

I'm looking forward to the event, and looking forward to seeing many folks there. Just a quick word: This is not an event for everyone. It's an event that has high expectations of itself and of its participants; it's an event where the participants also have high expectations, of themselves, of organizers, and most important, of each other. The key attitude we expect is that each person who comes is eager to help make this work, not to be entertained and amused.

Hope to hear from some of you soon.

Frenchie_2006
03-12-2006, 05:38 PM
We're not counting stitches or checking to find out who made the gear -- we're making sure nobody has a wristwatch and nobody is dressed like a sailor.

Thunder and blazes! Who told you what I was planning to wear?!? Well, so much for bringing a bit of naval dignity and class to the affair... 8)

Ephraim_Zook
03-13-2006, 08:50 AM
Well, so much for bringing a bit of naval dignity and class to the affair... 8)

Frenchie -- Naval CLASS? I thought the navy was all about "rum and bug****".

Reg. Penna. Dept. Agr.

Frenchie_2006
03-13-2006, 10:04 AM
"Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy and the lash." Sir Winston Churchill (attributed)

I should have realized you'd remember that one, Ron :lol:

Ephraim_Zook
03-13-2006, 10:54 AM
So what do I know? The closest I ever came to the navy was the Staten Island Ferry. :roll:

Well, OK. I did visit a vintage submarine parked in the Hackensack (NJ) River, and the USS Yorktown in Charleston. And Pearl Harbor, too.

Reg. Penna. Dept. Agr.