May 2004 Sic Semper Tyrranus Richmond, VA
On Saturday, April 17, Mrs. Capt. Ramsey and I had the very great honor of representing F Company and participating in the Funeral procession and internment in Charleston, SC, of the eight-crew members of the Confederate Submarine H.L.Hunley. Police estimated that nine thousand re-enactors participated, while another twenty thousand or so spectators lined the streets as the procession made its way from Charleston’s Battery Park to Magnolia Cemetery, a distance of some five miles. There, these honored dead were laid to rest alongside of the other previous crewmembers of the Hunley, in a moving ceremony that will be long remembered by all who were present. I am humbled to say that the Mrs. and I were able to be close to the eight wooden caskets, and to actually place sand upon them, before the common grave was covered, and they were all laid to their eternal rest under the sight of and in the keeping of their creator.
And now, men of F-Company, To Arms! The Northern Tyrant has dared, once again, to invade the sacred soil of Virginia, and we have been called upon to join our Southern brethren to stop his advance at the small hamlet of Spotsylvania Court House. As part of Jackson’s old foot cavalry, we must make haste and take strong position there before he has a chance to seize these important cross- roads. I know the veterans of F Company, 21st Virginia Volunteer Infantry are up to the Challenge, and are as anxious and prepared as I, to give the Yankee interloper a very warm Virginia welcome that he’ll not soon forget. Let us march.
Books for Bucks - F Company is now $110.00 richer, thanks to three books donated by Private Talbert and one by former Capt. Jones, that were sold yesterday, the full proceeds being forwarded to our company treasurer Jack Alexander. This is a good way to raise some extra funds for the company, so if any other member has a good book in good condition that they can part with, please contact me and we will turn it into a donation for the cause.
Adopt a Soldier - Remember the original member of F Company that you adopted. We will be honoring these veterans at Cold Harbor, and I would like each of us to have a soldier from the roster as the focus for his impression at this event. Following is the roster of the men who chose veterans at the Camp of Instruction. I will bring the roster from the Worsham book so that any member who has yet to adopt a soldier may do so at Cold Harbor. Let us make every effort to connect with and to honor the brave soldiers that served in old Company F, 21st Virginia Volunteer Infantry.
Current Member F. Co. Veteran
Capt. Ramsey- Capt. Reuban J. Jordan
2nd Sgt. Firth- Sgt. William S. Robertson
Cpl, Stafford- Cpl. Junius H. Anderson
Cpl. Pearson- Pvt. Charles E. Taylor
Pvt. Gammon- Pvt. Henry V. Anderson
Pvt. Harris- Lt. Robert H. Gillian
Pvt. Ward- Pvt. William Exall
Pvt. Powell- Pvt. John G. Powell
Pvt. Baird- Sgt. Richard W. Waldrop
Pvt. Alexander,CJ-Sgt. Thomas B. Walker
Pvt. Catlett- Pvt. S.E. Wood
Unfortunately, at present this list is not complete, as one of the Worsham rosters that I put out didn’t make it back with me from the COI. Any other member who has a name to add, please communicate it to me.
1st Lieutenant’s Report
I would like to thank everyone who participated in the Heritage Parade. It was a beautiful day for a parade, a little windy but Mr. Ward did a good job of maintaining the colors. I especially want to thank those who had to travel some distance in or to participate (Alexander, Firth, Perry C., and Perry, D.). Those from the Richmond area included: Gammon, Harris, Price, Ward, and myself. The Captain was unable to be there due to a prior commitment. I heard comments from different individuals that F-Company was one of the best looking units in the parade. It was good also to see so many battle flags flying in the breeze. Unfortunately, there were too many people milling about the grounds for F-Company to safely fire our weapons. If we had, we would have put the SCV Honor Guard to shame. All in all, it was a very enjoyable afternoon during which we could honor our Confederate Heritage, which is the exact purpose of the parade.
The next event for us is the 140th Spotsylvania. Unfortunately, this event coincides with Mothers’ Day. Many of us attending the event will be leaving after Saturday’s activities, and I may be one of them. Do keep in mind that there is an early morning battle on Sunday. Those of us that live fairly close may still be able to stay for that before leaving to go home. Anyway, it should be a good event regardless of how long you can stay and it will be our first real event under our new Captain Ramsey. So, come out and support the unit and have a good time. Hope to see you there.
1st Lt. Turley
What follows, are clips that I have taken off of the Spotsylvania web site. If you wish to read more about it or get more detailed information, and you have a computer, please feel free to go to:
This weekend, Reenactors will enjoy the authenticity of the subterranean fort. Re-enactor pioneers and engineers will work on the quarter-mile earthworks during the event weekend, and Confederate campaigners will remain in the trenches all weekend long. Their Federal campaigner counterparts have a remote campsite nearby on the Rappahannock River. At the Spotsylvania 140th re-enactment in May, two twilight battles–scheduled for the times of day that they happened at the real battle in 1864—will make full use of the entrenchments. On Saturday, May 8— late in the afternoon as the sun is going down—Union General Emory Upton’s assault on the entrenched Confederate position, also known as the Mule Shoe, will be reenacted. Then, as the sun rises on Sunday, May 9, the Union attack of May 12, 1864, will be reenacted. The latter clash lasted 20 hours in the midst of the Bloody Angle—also known as “Hell’s Half Acre.”
Already, a buzz is being created in re-enactor circles by those fortunate enough to have observed the continuing construction of the earthworks.
“It is impressive," raves long-time re-enactor and special effects coordinator Tom Fife. "I had ancestors captured at the Mule Shoe, and I'm excited to be a part of this event.”
About the Battle of Spotsylvania 140th Anniversary Event
From military maneuvers to 19th-century living to historical enlightenment, spectators and participants at the 140th Anniversary Re-enactment of the Battle of Spotsylvania will enjoy this rare opportunity to be part of an authentic and comprehensive demonstration of our nation's Civil War experience. Most programs have been designed to provide a hands-on experience for spectators, and the weekend is certain to provide numerous educational and memorable occasions for everyone.
Confederate Commander Tolar appreciates the extra effort being put forth by Spotsylvania County and the event consultants, Wide Awake Films of Kansas City, Mo., and Washington, D.C.
"The people putting on this event are very concerned about getting things right and taking care of the re-enactor," Tolar says. "They have all the right motives for doing things. I don't know where else they can do something like this, in works like this—I've never seen any quite like it." The 1864 Civil War battle of Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia, was a fight waged by first-string generals … commanding battle-hardened, veteran armies. Here, the north's aggressive, and successful general, Ulysses S. Grant, fought the south's finest tactician, Robert E. Lee. This campaign was the first time during the Civil War that these two “heavyweights” opposed each other, … and at Spotsylvania Court House, the savagery as a result of this mighty confrontation, — this clash of determined bulldogs, was staggering. At the battle of Spotsylvania after fourteen days of fighting, nearly 18,000 northerners and 10,000 southerners were either killed, maimed or captured at the battle of Spotsylvania.
There will be nearly 50 Sutlers set up for this event, and it seems to grow with more vigor as everyone takes notice of the painstaking efforts that have been put forth into making this a very memorable event. An event that I hope will become one that will live long in your memories for years and years to come. This is one event that I am not regretting that I signed up for this year. You can be sure that I will be looking for those “once in a lifetime Kodak moments.
Please Note Upcoming Exit Name Change- It is expected that sometime in 2004 the Massaponax Exit 126 on I-95 will be RENAMED to the Spotsylvania Exit 126.
Coming from the North of Fredericksburg? Take I-95 South to Exit 126, the Massaponax/South 17 Exit. Turn Right at the end of the Exit Ramp and head South on Route 1. At the 3rd Light, turn Left onto South 17. Continue straight ahead on Rt. 17 for about 7 miles to our entrance on the left. (Belvedere's sign is 16 feet tall. You can't miss it.)
Alternatively, come South on Rt. 1 to South 17. Turn left onto South 17 at the first Light after passing Burger King. Continue straight ahead on Rt. 17 for about 7 miles to our entrance on the left.
Coming from the South of Fredericksburg? Take I-95 North to Exit 126B, the Massaponax/South 17 Exit. Turn Right at the end of the Exit Ramp and head South on Route 1. At the 4th Light, turn Left onto South 17. Continue straight ahead on Rt. 17 for about 7 miles to our entrance on the left.
Alternatively, come North on Rt. 1 to South 17. Turn Right onto South 17. (If you see Burger King, Aunt Sarah's and McDonalds on the right, you just went past South 17.) Continue straight ahead on Rt. 17 for about 7 miles to our entrance on the left.
Coming from the West side of Fredericksburg? To come through town, take Route 3 East to the Blue Gray Parkway. Exit the Blue Gray Parkway and head East onto Rts. 2 & 17 Business. Follow Rts. 2 & 17 past Shannon Airport to the Light at the intersection of Rt. 2 and Rt. 17 at New Post. Turn Left onto Rt. 17. Follow Rt. 17 for about a mile to our entrance on the left. Alternatively to come around downtown, take either I-95 or Rt. 1 to South 17 and follow South 17 about 7 miles to our entrance on the left.
If you get onto their web site, look at the photos of outstanding trenches and breastworks that have been constructed for us. What an awesome effort for this.
Members that will be attending this event: Ramsey, Turley, Firth, May, Gammon, Pearson, Price, Harris, Courson, Ward, and Gregory.
Unit Events For 2004
Unfortunately, the event organizers for the 140th Spotsylvania event must not have any Mothers. Otherwise, they would have taken into consideration that May 9th is Mothers’ Day. Many of us will be there the entire weekend. If you can only come for Friday night and for all of Saturday’s fighting, please be there for the rest of us.
Remembrance Day Parade- Nov. 20th
Last year Gettysburg was a hit for those that came up from Virginia. Should any of you wish to attend this year, you have seven months to think it over.
“Oh should we reach that glorious place where waits a sparkling crown, For everyone who for the right his soldier life lay down. God grant to us the privilege upon that happy day, of clasping hands with those who fell while wearing of the gray.”
These inspiring words, composed to honor the veterans of the Southern Confederacy, came to my mind as I drove downtown to take part in this year’s Confederate Heritage Parade. It had been around seven years since I last participated in such an event and I was looking forward to donning my uniform once again and marching with my brother F’s. My last recollection of this parade was one of pomp and grandeur, where martial music roared as our ranks marched down Monument Avenue and were cheered by the citizenry. It was something to be proud of. Well friends, times have changed. Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that I’m not proud to have participated in this event. I am, on the other hand, saying that the event organizers certainly need to make wiser choices as to whom they allow to be included in the parade next year. There were several times when I envisioned the soldiers buried in Hollywood Cemetery collectively rolling over in their graves. For those of you who were not in attendance, here’s the whole story. I’ll let you decide if I’m over exaggerating.
I arrived at the designated meeting area around 12:30 and was immediately serenaded by the lovely sound of “Dixie” being played on the bagpipes (you should’ve been there Mr. Gregory). After finding out the hard way that my belt size had changed over the past ten years, I sucked in my gut, shouldered my musket and made my way down Broad Street to the assembling area. Following my survey of the ocean of farbs, I saw two gentlemen who looked like they knew what they were doing and thought I’d mosey on over to them and ask what was going on. As it turned out, Providence was with me – it was the Perry’s! Bolstered by seeing such authentic specimens, I walked over to say hello and soon found myself in the presence of six other sterling gentlemen who did not have polyester uniforms or black tennis shoes on. “Well”, I thought, “this has got to be F Company!” Indeed it was. As is usually the case at these events, we were surrounded by a throng of people who had a perpetual look of bewilderment on their face, and the prospects for stepping off on time did not look promising. While we waited, several sights caught my eye that need to be described in order for you to get the full picture. The first alarming thing that I observed was that, as I already noted, nearly everyone there was wearing a uniform or part of a uniform that was simply God-awful to behold. I was just baffled that anyone would be shameless enough to put on some of the horrific Halloween leftovers that I saw floating around. The second, even more disturbing thing I caught sight of was a fleet of motorcyclists who were apparently going to be part of the parade. These “Hells Rebels” looked pretty unsavory to say the least and one even had a vest on that said in bold letters “CONFEDERATE MECHANIZED CAVALRY”. Two cars accompanied this group – one was the General Lee from the “Dukes of Hazard” and the other was a hot-rod. Now, I don’t know about you, but nothing helps me envision our brave Southern heroes more than a roadster called the Blue Flame. I digress. The point is that there were some people who just should not have been marching in this type of parade, no matter how good their intentions were.
Once the parade started, the wind caught all of the flags, the drummers began banging out their beat, and F Company stepped off in perfect cadence. The Richmond City Police did a very good job at making sure that all of the traffic was blocked so that everything would flow smoothly. Since it was such a nice day, there were quite a few people out on the sidewalks enjoying the good weather while it lasted. How many of them were there to actually view the parade is questionable. There were plenty of people I saw who had sort of a “huh?” look on their faces. As soon as we turned onto Monument Avenue, the crowds got larger and the group in front of us let loose with a big “YEEEEEEHAW!!!!!” as they passed the Stonewall Jackson statue. It was at this point that I realized that Lieutenant Turley was keeping us at a distance from the other groups for a reason. As F Company was about to pass our beloved generals monument, the lieutenant drew his sword and commanded us to present arms, eyes left. The movement was executed flawlessly and this dignified gesture had a visible effect on several people in the crowd. One person even called out “Looking good 21st!” Okay, actually it was my Dad, but it still counts! Anyway, this noble action was repeated as the company marched by all of the statues, culminating at the monument of that most noble of Virginians – Robert E. Lee. For those who weren’t there, I can assure you that we all made sure we looked our best for Marse Robert.
Once we had left Monument Avenue behind, we began to march through the streets of Virginia Commonwealth University on our way towards Hollywood Cemetery. Being a student of this institution, I began to get a little apprehensive. VCU puts the “liberal” in “liberal arts” and I thought it very possible that some tie-died hippie art student might try to start something when he saw the battle flag. Luckily, the students we passed were too unintelligent to even recognize a battle flag, and we passed peacefully by the campus. This was the most grueling part of the march for me because my shoe had become untied and the drummer behind us kept changing his tempo so that we were doing a lot of stopping and starting. The last thing I wanted to do was to fall flat on my face while marching through enemy territory. Fortunately, I was able to hold on until the parade reached the entrance to the cemetery, at which time we broke ranks for a short rest. Water was kindly provided by the SCV at this point, and this did much to revive us for the duration of the event. Since nobody seemed to know what was going on, Lieutenant Turley took the initiative and moved us into the cemetery to join the other units that had already congregated there.
As we made our way into the sacred ground of Hollywood Cemetery, we were the center of attention. The rest of the day’s activities took place at the gazebo on the hill where General Pickett and his wife are buried. A gentleman with a leather kepi and a guitar that had the battle flag painted on it serenaded us with such tunes as “The Bonnie Blue Flag”, “The Rebel Soldier”, and “Rose of Alabama”. Once he had finished, several speeches were made concerning the continued efforts of hate groups such as the NAACP to banish and defile anything remotely related to the Confederate States of America. Medals of Honor were presented for the crew of the Hunley, which was especially poignant due to their recent burial. The highlight of the ceremony however, was the presentation by Mr. H. K. Edgerton, a black gentleman whose zeal for the cause is equal to that of any fire-eater I’ve ever met. When he had concluded his speech, the ceremony was wrapped up with a musket “salute” that ranks as one of the most pathetic atrocities I’ve ever seen committed by re-enactors. Six rebels, dressed in the attire that I mentioned earlier, formed a ragged line and made ready to fire. These guys made the CMF look like the Coldstream Guards. Every one of them was looking at the person next to him with a “what do we do now?” expression on their faces. Then, when the command was given, only two of the muskets actually fired. To make matters worse, they reloaded and tried again. Thankfully there weren’t any explosions or fatalities resulting from this volley. Finally they realized it just wasn’t going to happen and they retired with an ashamed look on their faces. The next salute was given by several artillery pieces that actually did go off. And then it was all over. F Company broke ranks and headed to the area where we would be picked up by the shuttle busses. Most of us made a beeline for the porta-johns, due to the fact that our bladders had swollen to the size of barrage balloons during some of the more longwinded orations. Thus relieved, we boarded our bus and made it back safely to the area that we had assembled at just four hours before.
In conclusion, I’d say that this event was pretty poor in comparison to some of the ones that have been held in the past. Southerners are usually stereotyped as backward, beer guzzlin’, sister marryin’ rednecks, and this parade didn’t do much to dispel that falsehood. One of the good things to come out of this is that F Company stood out as the sharpest unit in the whole procession. A few of my friends that live downtown were spectators and they told me afterwards that we looked and acted better than any other group they saw. Of course, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of you. Lieutenant Turley remarked that it was good that F Company didn’t fire the salute at the end, as we would embarrass all of the other groups that participated. And we can’t have that. In the end, though, none of this really matters. If you can look past all of the polyester and yahooing, you’ll see the boys of ’61, clad in gray and marching off to defend hearth and home. They’re worth a few blisters.
My hat is off to those in attendance: Lieutenant Turley, Second Sergeant Firth, and Privates Harris, Gammon, Alexander, Ward (who carried the flag), Perry, and Perry.
Deo Vindice….Private Price
From Within the Ranks
Recollections Around the Campfire
It was one of them early spring eves where you was chilled to the bone from your damp clothes of that day. Didn't have any falling weather mind you - just the stirring around ones does in the army. Wearing the wool is just something that I got used to and with "Ole Blue Lite" well we just stir around and I mean stir. "Blue Lite" has us up and gone so that it makes one feel like a wild Tom Turkey in the spring. You know - eat here, scratch there, mess here and gone for morning comes. Yes suh - General Jackson keeps us hopping from one mountain ridge across the valley to the next mountain ridge and do it all before high sun. Sure enough like I said he keep us in a stir but I surely reckon so that those other people stay in a stir more so than we. Had a chance at some yankee papers and they sped on like Ole Tom is we something of a boogie man of sorts to dem blue belly types in Washington city. I can see why they think so, the way he has us after those people. Say he is a real God-fearing type, pray at the drop of a hat. Must read more in the Old Testament than most, he shows it mine you. Somewhat of a Methodist myself but those Presbyterians of which he's one must be a hard lot indeed. Hat to be on the receiving end of his way. "Tom Fool" ain’t promised us a thing when we got hooked up with him and I suppose that is keeping right many of us alive now. Recollect that don't make him much the fool, least ways to me. Grab my blanket from my bedroll, shawled it round me and inclined to the fire for warmth. The warmth I found was from those rascals around the fire and a boiler of "woe be joyful". One Pvt. Robert McGregor was the provider as well as the dispatcher of this batch of "knock skull". His true calling was a liberal spinner of yarns and he was in fine form this cool damp Virginia night. The boiler came to me and I was about to oblige myself when all of the sudden a sharp slap on my head that almost sent my hat flying. "Take a deep pull there Nick, look like you need it." It was McGregor and the elixor was working on him. Figure him to be from around Richmond or maybe abouts east of Richmond in the tidal part. Acts as if at times he got some fancy ways bout him, you know a little more educated. But even at his sometimes almost high minded ways I like him, ‘specially now with him being the master of the feast so to speak. Touched the cup to my mouth and took my commanded part of what was inside. As it started to pass through me beside the bite of it there was almost a dirt like taste. "Robert" through a near choked reply, "What's in it?", I asked. "Well my scrappy, stumpy Pard - its part of my mornings ration", replied Robert as he plopped himself down by me close to the fire. "Ration?" I spat out near choked from it's spell that was now upon me. "Sure Nick" as he put his hand on my shoulder and motioned the boiler back. "Yes-suh. Fat meat is in with it. Mellows it a might, don't ya think Pard".
My mouth was half open as I looked at Pvt McGregore's face, cracked with a sheepish grin and a winded eye. "Makes you homesick don't it, Nick?" asked Robert. "How in the world, where in the world did you come by this?" I asked my provider. With that I realized that I just laid an open invite for a whopper yarn and the provider was more than willing.
"Well Nick" as Robert started and I knew just then that Pvt McGregore risked confinement raiding the surgeons medicinal stock. "You see", he started, "I came upon a social of sorts." "A social, huh", I mused. "Yeah a social and I was invited along with other patriots to stay the night," replied Robert."Well there was so many of us they had to put us up the night in a barn", continued Pvt. McGregore. "Well Nick there was one of those calvary types there and from all his talk, he showed Stuart how to get around McCellan." Robert went on as he took his part of the cup. "Well he difinitely had commanded the ladies there that night and I was just full of him and his swagger," grunted Robert through a muffled belch. "Well you see we are up in this loft see and I asked him - Bet you can walk on water can't you friend?" went on McGregore as he passed me back the "sock-I". "Well Nick", continued Robert, "he politely and with an air replied - I can't walk on water, but almost!"
"Now Nick he was getting to all of us and I grabbed his flask - of which we are drinking now and issued a challenge", rambled on Robert. "A challenge?" I mused. "Yes suh - a challenge!" blurted out McGregore. "I told him, well if you can't walk on water - bet you can fly, can't yuh?" went on McGregore as he slapped his knee. "Well, what happened next?" I asked. "Well I pointed to the open loft door as just before he took a step I said, Wait a minute!", as McGregore motioned for the cup.
I gave the "knock skull" back to McGregore and asked, "Wait a minute?" Robert took another healthy bite of the cups contents," "Yeah I said wait a minute and went to the other end and opened the back loft door. Then I told him along with everyone there in chorus - Jump out the front here and fly around the barn and come in the back loft door." "Well" was my only reply to Robert and then he set the hook." Well, pard he handed me his flask and took a leap of faith so to speak. Jumped out that loft door and sort of flapped his arms and fell to the ground hard", said McGregore. Startled, and a bit numb from out nipping I blurted out, "Robert why didn't you stop him. He could of gotten killed." Pvt. Robert McGregore collected himself and looked at me like a preacher and said, "Nick, my little pard, I wasn't about to stop him. We got his flask didn't we? Besides I had a four bit bet with a fella from the 23rd that he would make it." Then I realized I had been had and everyone there hee hawed me till
even I was tickled. Pass it on -
Pvt. Nicholas Garnett,
From the Secret Diaries of Private Gregory
“You Tick Me Off”
One of the questions asked of me for consideration of newsletter articles was “Is there a period way to repel insects?” Surprisingly enough there is. Stay away from them. With that done we need to get out some information
Let’s start with rumor dispelling. There is really no effective “period” repellent for insects. Certain natural products such as spearmint or marigolds may “deter” species of insects but in the main it has been those products of better living through chemistry that bugs those bugs.
There are no oral insect repellents. Every few years the old wives tale resurfaces in that if you eat a lot of garlic you will keep mosquitoes away. You might not keep mosquitoes away, but you will definitely repel your messmates and that cute girl you wanted to dance with. The same goes with massive doses of Vitamin B.
To truly rid ourselves of these pests we need to take a multilevel approach. You need to treat your clothing and yourself. So let’s start with the very outer man. Permethrin is an insecticide that you apply to your outerwear, shelter halves and blankets. Permethrin is a human-made synthetic substance that comes from the crushed and dried flowers of the daisy Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium. Now it is not really a repellent. It kills them on contact. It is effective against mosquitoes, flies, ticks, and chiggers.
Unlike a lot of insecticides it is harmless to humans. A little nugget of information that I like to toss into these articles is that most of the nerve gases used in modern chemical warfare are derivatives of insecticide.
Just as there is a right way and a wrong way to lick your musket; there exists some rules in the use of Permethrin. If used correctly, it is non staining, and nearly odorless. If properly applied it will last for several weeks in the field; which means if applied correctly it should last you the entire season unless your gear gets wet.
A few days before the event take your uniform, hat, shoes, blanket, shelter half or ground cloth outside. Hang them up on a line. You may want to test spray an inconspicuous area of your uniform just to make sure it will not stain the wool. Spray your gear until the material is slightly moist. Let it dry for three to four hours outside.
I know you are asking yourself; “Self, why am I always being bitten?” I can’t understand what attracted my wife to me much less what an insect is thinking. Howsumever there is some theory about why bugs like you. It all comes down to if the insect can see you, if it can smell you (if you see a tick holding it’s nose, it’s detected Joe), or if it can pick you out by your thermal emissions. To confuse the insects heat detecting ability stand by our cooking fire. The heat signature from that would confuse an orbiting satellite into thinking there’s been a nuclear strike.
Insects have very good vision but it’s different from ours. An insect’s vision spectrum is in the ultra violet frequency range so they do not see color. They are much more attracted to dark colors than lighter ones. So if you are wearing your Barnum and Bailey clown suit you should be pretty safe, but unfortunately gray wool falls perfectly into their visual range.
How does an insect smell? I know, awful. Seriously, insects use chemo-receptors on their antennae. Here is another lesson from basic Human 101. There are approximately 400 chemical compounds released from the human body as by products of living. More than 100 of these are in your breath. If you count halitosis it’s 101. Scientists, or people who actually have an interest in these things; believe that biting insects are attracted to carbon dioxide and lactic acid, both of which are in abundance in our bodies. Floral fragrances from perfumes, soaps, lotions, and hair-care products may also act as attractors.
So if the mosquito, tick, chigger or whatever can see you and detect your heat emissions we need to become like Ninjas and keep him from smelling us. Now there is no way to control our body odors; except for washing that shirt once in a while so what we cannot control, we must hide.
So in an effort to camouflage ourselves from bugs, scientists have produced N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide, N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide or (DEET). DEET works by interfering with insects’ chemoreceptors; in effect although a mosquito can see you, and detect your body heat; it will not land and bite you because you don’t smell like something it wants to munch on. Same with chiggers, flies, and ticks.
How do we apply a DEET based repellent? First we need to look at the label. Your product should contain at least a 12% concentration of DEET. DEET products should be applied directly to the skin. There is a possibility that it will stain leather.
Your best bet is to put it on before you put your uniform on. Since I usually drive to events in shorts and a T-shirt I spray this stuff on as soon as I have started the shift to the 19th century. I always make sure I get the back of the neck and the area behind my ears.
I currently use Sawyer Maxi-Deet that has a 95% concentration. It comes in a two-ounce spray bottle. I keep this bottle in my first aid kit, which I cleverly disguised as a half scale Moses Alexander haversack minus the strap. Needless to say I feel pretty confident. It seems to last between 8-10 hours. A quick spray just before turning in for the night can make for a good nights sleep.
What are we looking for in an insecticide? Insect repellents of necessity need to have certain qualities. They have to be effective against a wide variety of critters. You might be able to keep ticks away but it’s the mosquitoes that are driving you crazy (our camping spot at Cold Harbor?). It has to last for a certain amount of time. You do not want to have to reapply every 15 minutes. It has to be somewhat resistant to perspiration. Since we always attend reenactments in the most temperate time frame of the year, I don’t see how a reenactor could possibly perspire.
Here’s a tip from the old gunny. One of the things I do is spray a little bit of insecticide on the ground around where I am sleeping. It puts up a barrier that discourages those crawling critters.
What to do about one of the most feared creatures in reenacting; the tick? Ticks are loathsome critters whose bite can spread diseases such as Rocky Mtn Spotted Fever, and Lymes Disease. Now use of treated clothes and DEET go a long way towards discouraging ticks, but what to do if you are going au-naturel.
Once a tick has dug in for a meal removing him can be painful. Plus we want to remove him as quickly as possible because those diseases mentioned above are generally not spread until the tick has been feeding for several hours. It is important to make sure that when we remove the tick that we get all parts of him. Believe it or not there is a tool designed to do that. Sawyer Tick Pliers are another handy item in my first aid kit. They are designed to safely remove an embedded tick. It is very important not to squeeze the tick. Squeezing the tick (sounds like a reality show) may cause the release of the very disease we were hoping to avoid. Once the tick has been removed wash the area with a disinfectant. We need to make sure we have removed the cement, and anti coagulant the tick spread on you just before he bit you.
Implications For Us
I know we all want to be authentic as possible, but let me be the bearer of bad news. The person watching the reenactment does not really believe you are a solider of the Civil War. Therefore it behooves us to do those things that ensure that we have a safe and healthy weekend. The use of insecticides is by no means “farby.” Check with people who have Lyme’s disease and see if its something you really want in the name of authenticity.
I firmly believe that reenactors should be using insecticides and sunscreen products as well.
The 140th Anniversary for Fort Pocahontas is May 22-23. Even though this will not be a Unit event by the number of members that were not interested in attending, there were others that had approached me at the COI and wanted to go. This will be an individually sign up event. I have sent out a preliminary registration form to those who were interested in attending. Should anyone else wish to go, contact me and I will send you an attached registration form that you can fill out and send in yourself. There are, presently, at least five members interested in going. Let me know if you wish to attend, so I, (the Editor), can look out for you once I am there. I am making arrangements to fall in with the 23rd Virginia. The Saturday late afternoon meal is not included in this year’s registration. The cost for the meal is an additional $8.00. Cost for registration is $10.00, if sent in by May 10th. After May 10th, the registration goes up to $15.00.
Fort Pocahontas is located 16 miles west of Williamsburg and 37 miles east of Richmond on Virginia Route 5. It is five miles east of the Charles City County Courthouse and 2.5 miles east of Sherwood Forest Plantation.
From downtown Richmond, follow Main Street East (Rt. 5 East). Proceed approx. 32 miles (approx. 47 minutes). Look for the signs located on Rt. 5 for Sherwood Forest Plantation. Go past the Sherwood Forest Plantation approximately two (2) miles. Take the second right after passing Sherwood Forest, which is Rt. 614 (Sturgeon Point Road.) Stay on Rt. 614 (Sturgeon Point Road) until you come to the entrance gate for Fort Pocahontas. Registration and ticket sales are located at the fort entrance.
From I-95 South from Washington, follow the signs to I-295 South and take Exit 22A (Route 5, Charles City.) Look for the signs located on Rt. 5 for Sherwood Forest Plantation. Go past Sherwood Forest Plantation approximately two (2) miles. Take the second right after passing Sherwood Forest, which is Rt. 614 (Sturgeon Point Road). Stay on Rt. 614 (Sturgeon Point Road) until you come to the entrance gate for Fort Pocahontas. Registration and ticket sales are located at the fort entrance.
From I-64 West from Virginia Beach and Hampton Roads, exit 242A (Jamestown/ Rt. 199 East) to Rt. 5 (John Tyler Memorial Highway.) Turn left onto Rt. 5 West (John Tyler Hwy) for 16 miles (approx. 30 minutes). Turn left onto Rt. 614**(Sturgeon Point Road.) Stay on Rt. 614 (Sturgeon Point Road) until you come to the entrance gate for Fort Pocahontas. Registration and ticket sales are located at the fort entrance. **PLEASE NOTE: There are two Route 614s, the first one is located in James City County - this is NOT the correct 614. Please be sure to cross the Chickahominy River into Charles City County before turning onto Route 614.
May already! Didn’t we just say Happy New Year? Here we are, already 5 months into the year and now comes the real fun. Got all your cartridges rolled? Is your cap box full? Ready to start picking ticks? Yes…me too.
Just about a week away and there’ll be thunder coming from the trenches. By golly, my eyes are already starting to burn just thinking about it. As stated above, we will be fortunate to call the trenches our home for May 7th-9th weekend. Still bring your weather gear and/or shelter halves or ground clothes/ponchos. If weather gets rough, we may be able to construct a modified canopy over our heads by using the top of the trench as roof support. We’ll see.
I would imagine, after checking in at registration, mosey your way towards the trenches. We’re sure to find each other there. A reminder, don’t forget that your meals will be out of your haversack. There will not be a company mess at this one. But that doesn’t mean we’ll be hard up for vittles. Just make sure to have your frying pans to cook your own rations. I will see you all when you arrive. I plan to be there early on Friday afternoon.
Cold Harbor’s 140th Living History Event
Mark this on your calendar. It does not require registration, but we definitely need to know who will be there to help coordinate how many rations and how many muskets we will be putting in the field. This year will be larger than any of the past Living History programs that we’ve done for the NPS. Word has it that they are working towards fielding approximately 100 Confederate muskets for the weekend. Now that should make for a nice Firing Program. Hopefully, this years Saturday night torchlight tour will be held. Last year’s was cancelled due to heavy rains. It was the first time since I’ve been doing Cold Harbor that the NPS cancelled Saturday night’s festivities. This event is great for relaxing camp life, while still having live firing programs for the public. Please make a strong effort to partake in this most appreciated NPS event.
On behalf of Pearson, Perry, Perry, Ramsey, Lawrence, Pierce, and many re-enactors…we all helped towards the presentation that is stated below. So, there was a lot more than visions of stardom that brought us all together.
‘Gods & Generals’ Re-enactor Funds Goes To 3 Battle Sites
June 2003 ROANOKE, Va.
The Center for Civil War Living History Inc. board recently voted to commit $247,500 toward the purchase of three battlefield properties at New Market and McDowell, Virginia, and Wyse Fork near Kinston, N.C. This represents the center’s initial Civil War battlefield preservation effort. According to the board, with matching requirements, the total value of the land is $880,000 for 160.5 acres. For each dollar invested by the Center, $3.56 dollars will be matched by partnering organizations. The Center’s money for these purchases was obtained by “Gods and Generals” director and producer Ron Maxwell on behalf of the nearly 3,000 re-enactors who donated their services during the film’s production.
“This is our fortune and glory”…Pearson
Some Final Thoughts
I want to personally welcome, to the unit, another new recruit to enter into the fold: Mr. Nixon. He has informed me that he joined the unit after his participation at this year’s Camp of Instruction. Of course, for those who have been snoozing a little, since last season, we have had Mr. Harris, Mr. Catlett, Mr. Mattocks, and now Mr. Nixon join us. I’m also hoping that Mr. Beaty, from Pennsylvania, will still be fulfilling his obligation to become a member as well. Due to military obligations, his presence in the unit will probably be zero for this season, but I am trying to stay in contact with him to hopefully get him in the field with us sometime in the near future. Also, I have been in communication with our old veteran, Mr. Norman, who plans on getting back into the saddle and riding with us again. However, his participation may not be as frequent as he may wish, just one night around the campfire with Mr. Norman, and you’ll realize why I have missed him so much.
A Belated Thanks to All
It already seems like it’s been such a long time ago, but after the death of my Mother on February 15th, I received quite a lot of e-mails, flowers and fruit baskets acknowledging this sad occasion. I do not want it to go without saying that all of your support meant a great deal to me. This hobby truly does give back much more than we could ever give. Thank you for all you kind words and friendship that does not go unnoticed.
Congratulations Are Due
On behalf of all the men of F-Company, I want to wish Mr. Schirmer and his wife heartfelt wishes for a most memorable day as they renew their marital vows. Wild horses could not have kept Mr. Schirmer from attending Spotsylvania, but a renewing promise for a lifetime commitment with a special ceremony does. With my eternal regret in not sharing that special day with Mr. Schirmer, I hope it will not mar our friendship. Mr. & Mrs. Talbert will also be witness for this beautiful ceremony.
Let’s all make this season a great house warming for Captain Ramsey. He has much energy, some neat ideas, and believes in the command of firing your muskets until you’re either out of cartridges or it’s too hot to handle.
***Editor-at-Large: Cpl. Pearson