Men of F-Company,
So where can you lay an ambush in the swamp, repel a cavalry charge, recapture a battery of Confederate artillery, take a company of the enemy prisoner, share in the capture of a Yankee field piece, then withdraw as the rear guard, firing volleys in a retrograde movement with another regiment, until finally cornered in a cotton field? And all of this before noon. Why at Fort Branch, of course. An action packed smaller reenactment that never fails to please. Great weekend, and many thanks to the Perry family for once again hosting the Company in their beautiful home. I know I speak for every man who was present in saying that this gathering, in such a lovely surrounding, puts a very special cap on the reenactment season, and is greatly appreciated by all. I would also like to commend Private Parzych for his choice of the night's entertainment. I really haven't laughed, chuckled and groaned so much in a very long time. Blazing Saddles is now part of F Company lore. To the men who formed the Company that weekend, Acting 1st Sgt. Stafford, Cpl Gammon, Pvts Pate, Parzych, Harris, Catlett, Gammon, Perry Sr., Perry Jr., and Elmore, many thanks as well. You are still the best in the field, and it is an honor to serve as your company commander.
Now on to the December 3 meeting at the Museum of the Confederacy ( at 11 am SHARP.) In addition to being something of an open forum where one and all may comment and make suggestions for the benefit of F Company, we will also be choosing our new parent organization, voting to confirm a new 1st Sergeant, putting a number of dates on our calendar for next year, introducing some new recruits, and oh, yes, having a very special presentation that I am not at leave to mention here; you must join us to learn what is afoot. The Company quartermaster will also be present with his wares, so this will be an excellent time to replace old worn out equipment, and maybe get yourselves a very special Christmas present or two.
I remain, your very obedient and humble servant,
Commander F Co/ 21st Virginia
1st Lieutenants Report
By the time you read this, Thanksgiving will have come and gone. I hope everyone took some time to reflect and to truly be thankful for all we have in this great country. Even when times are not at their best and things may not be going as we would like, we still have things for which to be thankful.
I am sorry that I was unable to be at Fort Branch. A special and close friend of mine was suddenly taken in death and I had to attend her funeral. Barbara was a very close friend and I will miss her greatly. I am thankful for the friendship we had developed and the time that we had together.
I am told that this is the last newsletter by former 1st Sergeant Pearson. I am sorry that this is so but I wish him the best and want him to know that he will be missed. I am thankful for all that he has done for F-Company and that he has done for me personally.
By this time of the year our schedule is usually complete, but this year we have two more events or activities yet to go.
One is the "end-of-the-year" meeting at the MOC on Saturday, December 3rd. We will wrap up this years unfinished business and get a jump start on next season.
The second event is the Living History program in Fredericksburg on December 10th and 11th. This program came about as a result of the good relations and connections that Private Harris has with the National Park Service there.
I hope to see everyone at these events. Your presence is needed and requested. Thanks to everyone for another great season. I am already looking forward to the next one in 2006.
Also, have a great Holiday Season. Please dont leave Christ out of Christmas. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
1st Lt. Turley
1st Sergeants Report
I would like to thank the
Perry's for opening their home to us for the Fort Branch weekend. The evening festivities
were unique and entertaining to say the least. The late night buzz saws were in high
gear, but we managed to survive.
The event was most enjoyable. The weather was great and the men looked like they had a great time. I would like to thank all they were able to attend and we missed ya'll that were unable to make the trip.
The early part of December will be busy with a company meeting on the 3rd and our living history at Fredericksburg on the 10th and 11th. Please try to attend the meeting. There are items that require us to try and ratify before next year. Our living history event could have unpredictable weather, so prepare for anything. I am sure by the meeting that we will have all the info pertaining to blank rounds, water, rations, and restrooms. I have been told that firewood will be provided. Remember, after the Fredericksburg now is the time to winterize your gear. Get your uniform dry cleaned (no pleats),or wash in cold water with a mild detergent. Clean your brogans and apply Huberds shoe grease. Clean your leather gear and oil it. Also, don't forget your mess gear and canteen(wood keep water in it, tin dry it out).
This pertains to the new guys you vet's know the drill. This company has had some obstacles to overcome this year, but we as a group have hung in there together. I would like to thank the members for hanging in there and making another great year of reenacting. Because of you, I believe that we are still one of the best groups out there! I would like to single out the leadership Marc, Tony, Joe, and Eldridge for making this another great year! Finally, I would like to wish you and all your family a safe and joyous holiday season. May God be with you and keep you well.
1st Sergeant Stafford
Care Packages to the Troops
Anyone who remembers one of our own, Private Norman, who is helping to defend our way of life while over in the Middle East, you can send large or small items as listed below. Mr. Norman, who is still a member of F-Company, would love to either hear from you, receive e-mails, or a care package. Whatever the case may be, lets show our support our troops as they continue to do their service and perform their duties far from their families and homes.
Please send packages in boxes without writing and use brown paper to cover with clear plastic tape, no duct tape. You will have to complete a white customs form for APOs when at post office stating the approximate contents of the box and estimated value.
As far as packages mailed to him and his team, anything can be sent to them as long as it is not in glass, aerosol cans, flammable, or doesnt meet postal regulations. Mr. Norman has requested small toys (Beanie Babies, matchbox cars, school supplies, etc.) These small toys and items can be handed out to the local children when they go on patrol. The team enjoys the kind of luxuries from home (ex. Magazines, books, DVD;s, games, AT&T International Phone Cards, etc.) As far as food, they enjoy any canned or packaged meats, ramen noodles, trail mixes, power bars, powdered drinks, dried fruits, and pizza-tack. In other words, they are as desperate as confederate re-enactors.
Magazines with the plastic removed will be thoroughly decontaminated, but not discarded.
Fort BranchBy Pvt. Parzych
I Have An Alibi
I was asked to contribute to this months newsletter. I though about it for a moment after I agreed, and wondered what I would write that could do this event justice. I had not been around for the festivities on Friday night, and from what I had heard, it is most likely why I was asked to write about Saturday morning onward. Perhaps it was because they wanted no written record of the events for Mrs. Perry to get her hands on. As your author, I believe the both theories to be highly probable.
Due to the gravity of the events, and their impressions on my mind, I will write these passages with their own title. It is the only way I can impress the magnitude of the events upon the reader who was not there.
Mongo Likes Candy .
After arriving at Fort Branch, we quickly found the Captain and we wandered through the fort to find the rest of the merry men. Upon finding them, the group was soon called to order and sent to the field of drill.
After hours and hours of fun, we soon graduated to Battalion drill, where our beloved new Sergeant Major Mongo took over. Soon we were doing company pirouettes like professionals. After a few more death defying maneuvers, we were excused for a quick nap under the trees while we awaited the days battle.
Run away, Run away .
The battle of the day commenced, as the pizza tack was hardening in our bellies. The protestors of the day were making their presence known on the road as the crowd gathered.
Slowly the rumble of battle approached, and the infantry was sent to the fence to repel the union forces. After advancing and falling back several times, many men fell upon the field of battle. After clearing weapons as only Mongo could, we decided it was best to retire from the field ourselves and venture to the hills.
After a train ride to the rear, F Co. relaxed in the garden of PVT Perry. Under the serene canopy of the deck, the confederates cleaned their weapons the old fashion way. Hot water, patches, Cabellas powder solvent, and air compressors added to the effect. The forefathers of this unit would have been proud.
As the moonlight began to glisten on the magnolias, the boys put their toys away, and again entered the trains.
If Tricky Dick could have seen the Gammons, he would have said they were crooks. How could someone pay almost Twenty Dollars for a buffet and feel good about them selves after eating about Two Hundred Dollars worth of crab apiece? After witnessing the spectacle, I wonder how they avoided bloating. I did see some stretched buttons appear as the evening wore on. Please be sure to look for these in the glass plates when they are developed.
I will say however, the honesty of the senior NCO corps was impressive. The First Sergeant was witnessed telling the cashier that he ordered the most expensive plate on the menu. To his dismay, he was questioned about his plate as if he was trying to get away cheap. Again, pressing the issue, he was able to pay his way. Good job Top!
He Said The Sherriff Is Near!!!
Later, the company gathered and thankfully bathed at the Perry household. After practicing the new toy harps, we watched a dismal quarter of the Miami and Virginia Tech game. After trying to impress us all with their technical skills, Mr. Catlett and Mr. Pate asked for help and involved the younger Pvt. Perry in changing the channel to the DVD viewing screen.
All I can say is that PVT Brooks provided the entertainment for the evening with his classic rendition of Blazing Saddles. I will leave the rest to you audience to picture.
After the movie ended, shadow puppets were cast upon the roof with snickers and snores filling the air.
To The Guns
Moments of boredom while waiting in ambush position at silence were soon broken. Musket cracks and cannon booms grew closer. Skirmishers quickly came into contact with the hidden battalion, and battle grew from the woods to the fields. Promoted in the field due to losses, the fine CPL Harris aided in the leadership of the company.
F. Co. quickly made way across fields of fire and reclaimed a battery that had fallen into enemy hands, but rest was not at hand. Ordered again to the front, Captain Ramsey and his men were tasked with a flanking move to capture an enemy tube. Through the smoke, the gun crew was seen feverishly firing to its front. Steadily however, F Co. moved to position, and hit the gun crew from their left flank. The final confrontation ended with the captain touching the carriage, in a solemn moment of battle induced commemoration for those that did it under true fire.
After a brief moment of consolidation and reorganization, F. Co. was again called to protect the egress of the battalion. Acting as rear guard, the gallant men of the 21st fought through cotton fields to delay the advance of northern aggression. Finally, cornered in a field with Tar Heal brothers on the left flank, F Co. made a valiant last stand in an L shaped formation against a force almost three times its size. As the battle ended, Billy yelled "here comes the dead walking" as muskets were silenced by the bugle.
That is how the second day of "private" battles ended, with no witnesses from the present. There were no spectators from across the fields cheering, only one from above weeping for his fallen children. Only our memories will carry the moments forward as we commemorate the past and its fallen heroes.
From the Quartermaster
To the men of F-Company, wives,
and their significant others:
Its that time of year again. Time for Santa Quartermaster to bag up his inventory items and whisk them out to all the good little re-enactors out there in Dixieland. We have restocked and revamped the inventory in the last year, so there are lots of items in stock. We have two new types of blankets, lots of cotton socks, several types of canteens, new waist belts, utensils, tin ware, many gently used uniform items, and some of Mrs. Catletts fine canvas gun socks to protect that expensive musket from the elements. Santa is fixin to get busy, so get those orders in early. This is a perfect opportunity to get something nice and something useful for that hard to buy for re-enactor. I will enclose an inventory list for your shopping convenience. If you order before December 1st well try to get Joe to throw in an autographed portrait of his sheep from Cold Harbor.
Thank You and Happy Holidays,
***** 1st Corporal Gammon
Inventory of goods
|4||Wool Blankets (Grey)||60.00|
|4||Wool Blankets (Brown)||45.00|
|47||Cotten Socks (Pair)||8.00|
|Small Va. Buttons||0.75|
|Large Va. Buttons||1.00|
|Block I Buttons||1.00|
|Script I Buttons||1.00|
|2 Bndls||Jean Cloth|
|0||Small Frying Pans|
|0||Large Frying Pans|
|1||Used Kitchen Knife||15.00|
|1||Used CS Haversack||30.00|
|1||Used US Haversack||35.00|
|1||Used Jacket 42 Long||100.00|
|1||Used Pair Of Trousers 38x32||50.00|
|1||Used Tin Cup||10.00|
|1||Used Shirt White/Red Check||60.00|
|1||Used Shirt-Blue & Beige Stripe||65.00|
|1||Used Shirt-Brown Plaid||50.00|
|7||Cans Of Caps||7.00|
|17||Cans Of Powder||10.00|
A Deeply Felt Thank You
To our wonderful friends of the
21st VA F Co. and their families
The words "Thank You" cannot adequately express our appreciation for the friendships, sacrifices and kindness extended to both Mike and myself ever since I first became acquainted with the 21st family and most recently at our wedding. Those traits have been rare indeed in my lifetime. Thank you so very much to those that could make it - you all made it so very special that everyone who attended and also everyone we have shared the pictures with just thought it was so beautiful, unique and interesting that they will never forget it. To all those who couldn't make it the warm thoughts to us both are very precious indeed. It started out as a day of nerves with so very much going awry but it turned out to be far beyond anything we could have imagined or hoped for - a perfect day. Thank you so very much for all you all did and for sharing this special day with us. Love from us both,
Diana ( MaCalah) & Mike Powell
Editors Final Note
The Cedar Creek Bridge built by Pearson & StidleyMy Friends,
I would like to thank all the men, past and present, for a tremendous experience to have been able to share in this hobby. This unit has been one of the best things in my life outside of my family. It has been a sincere honor to have the fortune of knowing each and every one of you. When the time comes when, once again, I will have the luxury of spending more of the same, youll be the 2nd to know. But for now, I can only look back and remember. As I go into my "manly" room downstairs and look at my gear, my uniforms, photos on the wall, and many medallions of years past, I cant help but think of how this could have just stopped so abruptly and with little to no warning. The stuffing has been knocked out of me. There are so many things in life that we continue to take for granted. The CW hobby was just a reminder for me of how quickly things can change, so take advantage of every moment you have with the special men and friends that you would normally have never had the fortune to know.
Regardless of my future plans or how my work will influence my time for the 2006 season, I will remain a member of F-Company. Even if I cant attend or participate in events or company functions, I will still support the unit.
I want to personally thank Lieutenant Turley for all the spiritual influence that he has given to me. Church service was and still should be the knot that ties us all together. I could always see the spirit of God in all that is in him. To take the time every Sunday morning, out in the field, to reach out to us and share your love and spreading His word has left a very deep impression in my heart. Because of you being a Shepard, I attend church on a regular basis every week and share that time not only with God and Christs preaching, but I also share that glory with my wife, my three daughters, two son-in-laws, and all ten of my grandchildren. So, if you were to ask if Ive heard the word of God, the answer is most definitely, yes.
I want to thank all the men who have helped in their contributions to not only the newsletter columns and their memoirs of each event (through their eyes), but for the continued support of our beloved F-Company. It has been a superb ride, and I plan on getting aboard again. It wont be easy to have gone through the ranks, just to start all over again, but you need full-time leaders, not part-timers like Ive become. I still have a new slouch hat that has not been broken in, a new wooden canteen that hasnt seen one campaign season, and a self-made ground cloth that has only a couple events of use. So, you can see that this was not a planned absence and Im not just a collector of reenactment gear. When someone has spent ten years on the ground and all the fun weather that weve been through, this was not foreseen and I only wish that I could either turn the clock backwards or forwards to erase this chapter.
I still have my scars, my mended broken bones, and one cardboard cut out of a Virginia raised & bred sheep. Merry Christmas and I hope to be with you next year.
These are just a small representation of my memories:
135th Sharpsburg with the 4th NC in 1997. This was one of the largest participated events that I ever witnessed. Ill never forget looking from behind our Artillery and watching the Yankees maneuvering as our men waited in the Sunken Road. Although we were held in reserve for this day, we managed to make our way into that road and try, with futility, to halt the overwhelming advance of the enemy
One of my many posed shots leaving home fresh and clean, but this was the year of the dreaded whisk-broom beard in 1996
F-Co. at the Allen estate prior to the 2000 Saylers Creek death march. Awesome event. Despite an early departure of the event, it proved to have everything youd expect from a reenactment. A Friday night sleeping on the Allens property, a long march with the Yanks on our tail the entire day, a running battle that even included a small herd of cattle stampeding towards us as we escaped a cavalry assault as we actually fixed bayonets against that charge.
1st Sgt Pearsons last "Fall-In" for F-Co in 2005 to honor the Powells new life together
A father sharing his love for the hobby with his sons first event, Cold Harbor, in 2004. At that time, Private Gammon was just a camp aide. Now, hes a lean, mean, sweating and fighting machine. I know Dad is as proud as I am. Hes become an excellent soldier
Our Lieutenant & Corporal await the fight behind the split rails at the 140th Sharpsburg. This was a day when the muskets were like touching a hot iron right out of the fire in 2002
The bearded wonders at Cold Harbor. The big question, wholl give into trimming up first? Did it matter? If you smell, you smell in 2004
3-Privates, 3-friends, and 3-days. Setting up their shelter for a long battle to come in the small town of Sharpsburg, MD. in 2002
Spotsylvania in 2004. After the Friday night tornado that drowned us all like rats, the trenches served us well for the two battles. The Yankees a.m. assault on Sunday made the entire weekend worth being there. Not only were we able to get up, fight, pack up, and be home early for Mothers Day, the fighting was intense, it was dark, and just when the morning light was starting to help us to adjust our vision, then the air was filled with a heavy cloud of gun smoke. Thats fighting
Hangin up my gear til the time comes to stand with my brothers like we did at Saylers Creek 2005. There may not have been very many participants at this event, but a great time was had, our fellowship even stronger, politics were a heavy issue, and the camp fire ghost made his presence known to us all. And let us not forget the little Yankee boy who could not be recruited or the scrumptious Cobbler that MaCalah had made for us, and most importantly we cannot forget the unfortunate condemning of one of the Port-a-Johns, *****