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10-19-2010:   Cedar Creek 2010 AAR

Weather is ALWAYS a factor at Cedar Creek and this year was no exception. This time however, it wasn’t the cold or rain but the wind that played a part in how things shook out for Friday & Saturday. It wasn’t too big of a deal, but it made things slightly colder and played havoc with many people’s tents and Fly’s. We saw at least one tent fly center pole snap and I counted at least 3 A frames go down, with one from the 14th Brooklyn breaking the side pole. Pots & pans and other items blew off of tables, but overall it wasn’t that big of a deal. What it made us do, however, was not set up our fly which we ended up not needing anyway.

Anyway, Friday my car was packed to the gills as this would be the kid’s first Cedar Creek. We also had extra food for Saturday’s dinner and my usual pumpkin which took up too much space in my car. This was compounded with the trouble we kept encountering with my tent poles which were not set up on the roof properly. Thus we had to put that whole bag inside the car as well. Terri & Lyndsey were not pleased with their complete lack of space but mercifully it’s a short 45 minutes for us to the battlefield.

Friday night was the standard hanging out relaxing talking to everyone. We were joined by new member Ed Harvey, who soon learned a dog tent in the wind can be a real pain in the butt. The Federal Volunteer Brigade’s new Scout, our own Old Horney Prospector Provost Marshall Pete, camped with us. Unfortunately for Pete, the General and Colonel didn’t like his new jacket which I thought was pretty sharp. The good news is this means Pete get s to go to the Sutlers again. Other than getting so mad I had to throw something the night was pretty good, minus the wind. The sky was clear, the stars were out and we were on the original battlefield were our unit fought 147 years ago. All was good. Oh and for you guys trying a new technique for introducing yourselves to a group of strangers, I suggest you don’t reveal that you just got out of prison.

Saturday we were joined by Sgt K, Pvt K, Sam, Ben and Ben’s dad Max. We got the new guys geared up and Corp Brinker and Sgt K trained them on the manual of arms and what not. At Saturday morning’s 1st Sgt meeting we were told there would be no dress parade, but merely an inspection followed directly by Company & Battalion Drill. Well it didn’t take long for all that to change. First we were told to just go out now and do some company drill, then that would be followed by Battalion drill and so on. Then we were asked if we wanted to participate in the morning’s battle for the Cedar Creek Foundation’s attempts to draw attention and funds to a new piece of land they are trying to save. Captain Aronhalt rightly declined the invitation, but, yup you guessed it, about 30 minutes later all 1st Sgt’s and officers were called in where we learned that we had about 15 minutes to get ready for battle. Oh well. Colonel Henson, by the way, could not make the event which put Col Wingert in command with Jim as 1st Battalion Commander and Chris Monzie from the 61st as 2nd Battalion Commander. We fell under 2nd Battalion with the 14th Brooklyn and a few units from Birney’s.

This battle was a little screwy but not much of a big deal and a good break in for the new guys. What we learned here was that the Rebs had a very large cavalry contingent and it appeared we had had maybe half their numbers for infantry. It was short and we learned that we no longer had to participate in Battalion Drill and we were done til the 3pm battle of Cedar Creek. So we all chilled with folks going to the sutlers and such until the battle.

This battle was kind of unique. We marched up the hill and took positions right at the cannons. So we had literally a front row seat to the massive cannon barrage that was in progress. In fact we were so close that Kent kept getting slapped by the primer rope every time the cannon fired. At about the time General Sheridan rode through the lines to rally us; the Rebs had crossed the stream. We went down the hill after them. After a sharp and intense several rounds we pushed them back across the stream and we followed. While we many times got waaaaay too close to the point where we had a standoff with both sides shouting at each other and not firing (think Saving Private Ryan) they finally retreated back up the hill while we rested momentarily. General Palese was soon on the scene and rallied us to push hard up the hill. The whole Regiment broke into a run up the hill to the stunned Rebs, many who were captured. We continued till the end. It was safe to say that many if not all of us were a little sore and tired by the time we got back to camp.

In fact it was pretty obvious in my opinion that folks were pretty worn out because most of the night was much quieter than normal. Later on, the Captain held a casual meeting to discuss what we hope to accomplish next year and discussed what works and what doesn’t. The Captain will be sending out more information on what was learned.

Soon after, we had our pot luck dinner going and some mail arrived through the lines. I am unsure who these folks are who you all have writing from back home, but man what an unholy bunch of vagrants. Pete’s letter I can’t even discuss. We did learn however, that a private from the 138th has deserted and taken up residents at Sgt K’s house. Apparently he has been there for over 3 months. We learned that Sam is in fact the one they call Santa Clause. We learned we made quite an impression on the town’s people of Harpers Ferry when we were on Provost Duty there a month ago. We learned the details of Pvt Coleman & Acting Lt Colonel Cobb’s mission in the Shenandoah Valley. The rest of night went very well, with our new privates Harvey & Teehee attending the Ball to which we were informed was “Heavy on Rebs”. We also got a lesson in economics from Pvt Martin & Pvt Stepeck. Terri & I went to bed early, but I understand the group was later joined by some wayward Englishman who deemed it necessary to discuss his love life. Oh and here is an obvious one, when I am in my tent I can hear EVERYTHING going on around me, even up by the campfire. The 14th Brooklyn guys who were behind us were in quite a state and I feel bad for the poor guy who was in the tent just behind mine. I also felt sorry for the Teehee’s as they got the brunt of the 14th Brooklyn as well until their commander, Frank Ruiz mercifully showed up.

Sunday was warmer and the wind was gone for the most part. It was nice to see it wasn’t snowing up in the hills and the sky was clear. Unfortunately for Sunday, we lost 5 able bodies, but gained 1 by Pvt Coleman’s return from Leesburg the evening before. Sgt K became 1st Sgt, Andy became Sgt, while we moved Kent & Kevin into the Corporal positions. I donned the Pvt’s sack coat as we headed for Dress Parade. The battle for today was to kick off at 1:30, but this time we were going to be heading to the far right of the battlefield.

We marched out and headed down into a ravine just behind a row of several cannons. The cavalry was already engaged just to our right flank. The fight was intense and sharp. We couldn’t see it, but it sounded wild. Finally the call came for us to advance. As we did the Cavalry shielded us from the Reb Cav. They had quite a battle and as we marched forward they time and time again rode into each other. We then pushed hard up the hill to roll the Rebs left Flank. From here all I can say is this battle was EPIC!!! Never in my life have I experienced such a display. We tore through them taking prisoners & cannons all the while our own Cavalry Commander took part directly with Captain Aronhalt as we assaulted the Rebs head on. For the record here to as well, I have 2 new Trunk Monkeys named Kevin & Derek! You guys rocked! As we pushed the Rebs from the field we realigned and continued to push forward. We continued to push as Sgt Brinker went hand to hand with a Captain, It think from an Artillery unit. Kent & I took cannon and soon the battle of Fisher’s Hill was over. Again WOW & EPIC! You guys who split early just missed the single most unique and amazing display of Civil War combat I have ever been part of.

After an exhausting march back it was pack up time. I just wanted to thank in particular our new guys, Ed, Max & Ben (Ben I know you have an event under your belt already) you guys stepped right in to a difficult situation and did a fantastic job. Cedar Creek is a hard event by most standards, due to the topography and distance covered in combat all the while you have over 1,000+ soldiers on the field. It can be getting very chaotic, but you guys took to the task and did a great job.

I greatly look forward to seeing you all at Remembrance Day in a few weeks.

Yours in Service,
Sgt D Coleman
138th PA Co. B
Federal Volunteer Brigade
I’m going to throw your bottle Mess

8-30-2010:   Hibernia Skirmish 2010 AAR

As I always forget stuff, please anyone, feel free to write your own AAR’s for events as I love to hear other people’s perspectives and hear about things I missed.

I must have forgotten what traffic is like on Rt 30 from Gettysburg through Lancaster as it took us roughly 1 ½ hours longer to get there then it did to get home. Oh well, the weather was great and we set up basically where we were last year. Terri, kids & I got to the site at basically the same time as Corp Brinker & Sgt K and we quickly got things going. We were soon joined by Capt Aronhalt and Fresh Fish Ben. Ben, by the way, you did an excellent job all weekend, great job! Soon after, we were joined by the Mink and later by Iceman Stepek and Provost Marshall Pete. It was borderline cold Friday which made for some nice wool wearing weather. It wasn’t long before the other camps went quiet and as the trending has continued we stayed up MUCH later, then them yet not too late. I am pretty sure there was a slight frost on the ground Saturday morning and it was a little chilly. Of course, though, that didn’t last long and as the sun rose, so did the heat.

This event is a small laid back event, but they do a great job providing the spectators and the reenactors something a little different. They run several talks and programs though out the day and had a nice tavern running all weekend long where my kids seem to plant themselves 24/7 and no they didn’t serve alcohol at the tavern, but they did offer free lemonade, cookies and other snacks in hopes of a donation. They also had tables set up with checkers, dominoes and cards.

As far as numbers went, we were very light for both Rebs & Union with the 61st galvanizing to be Rebs, which was kind of humorous as they were camped again right next to us. They were probably relieved not to see us in kilts this time too. We were joined by Pvt K and Mrs K an hour before the battle where she gladly showed us some great early Derek pics from his youth! Anyway, the Rebs marched out first about 20 minutes early before we formed up. We needed a flag bearer and a flag. It was decided by the command staff that our own Provost Marshall Pete should carry none other then the flag of the 61st PA. We got lots of good laughs and some great pics. Anyway, the battle was pretty standard and went for some time. About mid way through the battle our entire left of our company took a direct hit by cannon fire and 5, I think, of us went down. The Union army continued to push the Rebs all the way to the back of the field and win the day. We reformed and marched past the 50 or so spectators. Back in camp it was the usual cool off, clean your rifle and so on while talking to the passing spectators. Pvt K had to get Mrs K home and I think Dave was going to go with them but we wouldn’t give him a pass out of camp. I think Dave really wanted to sleep in Derek’s Lightning McQueen bed and make Mrs K Steak and Roasted Peppers while Pvt K was away at battle.

A few hours later we set out for the 5pm tactical in the woods. For those have been here before we remembered that this wooded area is much like the Wilderness complete with a few small paths, tight bramble and underbrush, fallen trees and a stream right through the middle of it. We were ordered out first by Col. Wingert to probe for the Rebs. We set up a skirmish line just off the trail and into the woods. It was quiet for some time and finally our Captain ordered us to continue our push into the woods. We got almost to the flood plain area before the stream when gun fire broke out. The 138th was in a well defended position and the Rebs never saw us as they were concentrated on the Union pickets on our left flank. We over powered them and the Rebs broke in retreat. They quickly reformed and moved to flank us on our right side. The union forces way down on our right were quickly engaged and before we knew it, we had Reb infantry behind us as well. Now, I know Dave might argue this, but I think the 61st did a great job in “taking hits” or putting themselves out of action for a bit when clearly hit. Meaning “okay I’m hit I will just hang here and not fire at your for some time”. This was a far departure from the Waynesboro event as my previous AAR stated. Pvt Coleman informed me that we had an opportunity to in fact do to them what they had just done to us, so we immediately pushed across the stream and turned right. She was dead on as Ben, Terri and myself ran to the right and hit the Reb flank immediately. I believe we were also followed up by Sgt K and Corp Brinker?? Anyway the Rebs were toast. We reformed back with the company and all went quiet. We believed the tactical was over so we slung our rifles and proceeded to march out on a trail leading out of the woods. Well the tactical wasn’t over and we walked right into a cluster of Reb infantry and were fired upon. Okay we’re dead, hot and tired so we slung our rifles and marched back to camp. Personally one of the better tacticals I have had in a while.

After cooling off and changing into a clean shirt I had to head into the town of Coatesville on a smoke and drink run and thought I had actually entered Trenton NJ. After getting back I didn’t have much time before posting pickets for the camp. The candle light tours had already begun just as Corp Brinker & Ben had taken to their sentry duty. I will note here, that at Harpers Ferry, if anyone messes with our sentries they are to be arrested immediately. Pete already has the irons and locks. Over in the 61st camp a fight broke out which ended in gun fire and one private dead. Past our camp a trial was in process for two poor lads who had fallen asleep while on guard duty. Our own Captain Aronhalt were the boy’s Defense Attorney. Even though James had slept in a Holiday Inn Express the night before he failed one poor soul who was put to death and other given 30 days in jail. Note to self, don’t let James represent you in court. Afterwards we set up for another round of poker to which James won and I took second. I think most were pretty tired after the long day and most went to bed by 11 or so.

Sunday it was already hot by 9am and it was supposed to get much hotter soon. Ugh. We lost a few of our numbers in the morning as they had some distance to travel and so on, but we still had a core of soldiers. Due to his poor performance as Attorney, the Captain was demoted to Private for the day. As we lined up in the woods to do a weapons inspection we couldn’t find Sgt K. We thought maybe he went home to ensure that Dave wasn’t there playing his drum set but sure enough he was discovered asleep on a picnic table in the woods. For this battle the 93rd also went Reb and us Union boys were greatly outnumbered. Intelligently the high command set the 138th “rabble” out as skirmishers. To this we set out perfectly and engaged the enemy in the middle of the field. We were soon joined by some support and we headed over with them into the battle line. I took my standard hit (you know fly backwards and so on) but had planned to rejoin the line as an injured soldier. Well 2 things happened that screwed that up, first my canteen whipped around and slammed me in the side of my face (I have a large bruise on my cheek today) and my rifle went into the dirt, barrel first to which a big clump of dirt was lodged. Well this of course rendered my rifle unsafe and so I simply crawled over to a dead Corp Brinker and tried to revive him. While helping him the Rebs began to push back our way and it was clear we were going to be wiped out. I had no desire to go to Andersonville so I grabbed Andy by the back of his leathers and we ran for it. While running at full speed, I heard a shot and sure enough my hat went flying off. Crap my own men were trying to kill me! I almost made it to the woods when a cannon blast downed us, which was good cause it was shady where we were.

Anyway, as always, good event and great people. As I stated in my AAR for this event last year the 97th PA did a great job hosting this event and it’s always been a good time. Next event, Harpers Ferry. I will leave it to Major Cobb and Captain Aronhalt to give you the details, but based on what I understand this may likely be the best event I have ever done and possibly the bar for future events. Look forward to seeing you all there.

Yours in Service
Sgt D Coleman
138th PV Co. B
Federal Volunteer Brigade

8-10-2010:   Waynesboro, PA. 2010 AAR

Wow, what a strange and unusual weekend that was an absolute blast. When I arrived Friday afternoon, Doc from the 139th told me where to set our camp which put us right next to the 61st PA in the shaded trees. I got to work putting up 2 A frame by myself and was soon joined by Corp Lauer. I always have to laugh at myself because I can set an A frame by myself in minutes and for the life of me can’t set up a dog tent. Oh well. Jack & I made a wood run and soon were informed (after stacking it nice and neat) that there was a fire ban in the county so there were to be no fires. Yup, first time I have been to event where you couldn’t have a fire. It actually wasn’t a big deal as pretty much any type of store was basically within walking distance.

It didn’t take long before we were joined by Sgt K and Pvt K, followed by Corp Brinker and Captain Aronhalt. Don Freeman & Gary Schwartz came in around this time as well and Kent & Robin got in later that night. I think people in general were pretty wiped out as the entire brigade camps were pretty quiet most of the night. I had to stay up til 2am as Terri & kids were on the road and were going to get in late. We got them set and I headed for a crappy night sleep.

Saturday morning for 1st Sgt call I got some strange looks from Col Palese. He was soon to learn it was going to be a long weekend for him. For anyone who wanted, we dressed as Fire Zouaves (Think gangs of New York) for the event wearing our old Blue pants form the 23rd and red fireman bibs. And if you had a fez wear that too. Actually this was great as it was a nice break from having to wear a wool jacket all day long. We did dress parade and then soon went into the morning tactical. Now as many of you know, I generally prefer tacticals and look forward to them. This one though, became extremely frustrating fast. First we were told that under no circumstances were we to enter the Reb camps, but of course we had to so we could engage them on the other side of the creek. It sucked too cause the Rebs had their tents set up in a way that we literally had to walk through a large group of civilians in the middle of their street. Captain Aronhalt approached them after we set a few rebs fleeing and he a feisty lady had an exchange of words. Once we got past them, we moved further down the path where Sgt K & I crossed the stream. The rest of the company went further down and crossed maybe 50 or so yards away. So far everything was going pretty well (minus the camp thing) K’s goal and mine was engage the Rebs who were further down the path to our left and get them to come after us. We would then slip back into the stream and they would be greeted by the rest of company. This worked EXCEPT, call me crazy, not one single Reb took a hit when the rest of the company came at them. They at least retreated back to their position as a rear guard for the main Confederate army who were next to the main bridge (later to be called Burnside Bridge) Now here’s where it got really stupid. We advanced up the path and I ordered 3 lines of masking fire. Everyone would stay low and off to the sides of the path. The first rank would rise, fire and then kneel and reload why the 2nd rank did the same followed by the 3rd. This worked great BUT the rebs who stood in a line in front of just stood there. They didn’t move, they didn’t fire. Meanwhile a pretty good fight was going on behind them. This pissed me off so much that I stood up fired my rifle straight up in the air with one arm and walked away. I almost simply walked off the field but didn’t want to leave the unit behind so I came back. Ultimately the Captain said the Hell with it and we rushed them. Unfortunately for us the entire Reb army was right behind them and they opened on us. Well we took lots of hits and bodies were flying everywhere. And yup you guessed it, not a SINGLE Reb casualty. Then to add insult to injury not 15 feet in front of me a Reb rises from a bush in front of me, points his rifle right at me and fires. I threw a verbal tapestry of profanity at him that I hoped would make Kevin Kasopsky proud. I seriously considered rushing him and kicking the crap out of him. Anyhow, finally they blew cease fire and we headed back to camp. I kid you not, though, There were 2, count them 2 Reb casualties.

We were then joined by Mark Carrol and Chris Conboy. We had a little bit of time before the afternoon battle to which I was now not looking forward to after the morning tactical fiasco. Fortunately things went a little smoother for the most part. For this battle we were to guard the 1 cannon they had and move with it. They were commanded by Pancho Villa who was the poster child for the NRA. On the 2nd shot the cannon did not fire and they blew cease fire to which nobody seemed to care about and the battle raged on down by the creek. They got the cannon secure again and we moved further forward. Pvt Conboy went down and went into a series of terrible seizures. I thought Sparky had wrapped himself around my leg and was doing the chicken dance but it was just a dying Conboy. The rebs advanced and as we retreated I took a hit. I continued my verbal assault of the rebs as they passed and then crawled over to the shade of a tree. I got there just in time for the battle to end. Oh well.

As we marched back I informed the Captain that until he paid us the bounty that we were promised when we enlisted (which was the only reason why we enlisted) that we wouldn’t be “fighten any more Johnny Rebs.” We argued back and forth and the Captain promised to pay us once we got back. The argument continued in camp and me and the Captain almost had a pretty serious Dust up, but he paid us so a calamity was avoided.

We were told by the event organizers that if we went to the Golden Corral and told them we were reenactors (Duh, like how could you tell) with the event that we would get a free meal. Well I knew that was bull and sure enough was then told we would get free refills on our drinks. Well you already get free refills, but we went anyway. Back in camp we started what would become the strangest poker game I ever played. I can’t really write about it other to say that I am not sure it even happened. All I know is that Don Freeman is now known as the Professor and Gary likes to bet with only 10 cents even though he won like the first 30 hands. Don also treated us to his version of Coyote Ugly. When it was all said and done. There were several bodies on the ground asleep and Terri, Gary &….I forget who now, took the most money in.

Sunday morning was a daze and most of us were in serious slow motion. I did get pretty good at forging the Captain’s signature for morning reports by this time. Sunday, for those so inclined, we were to transform to the 79th New York Highlanders and wear our kilts. The 79th didn’t really take as a name so we became the 69th Alaskan Crabs, or “The Old Crabbies” as they say back in the homeland. Gary and I awoke the Captain by showing him what we wear under our kilts and the look he gave me was priceless. Interestingly enough he seemed to stare at me longer than Gary. Well you would have thought that he would have woken up sooooo we did it again. This time he got up. I can’t wait to see how you guys wake him up at the next event. Sunday was casual and the battle was set with us taking the big hill waaaaaay away from the spectators. The battle was fine but we agreed that it stunk for the spectators if they could even see anything. We packed up pretty quickly and made our escape.

All in all it was good weekend and I had a lot of fun. We’ll try to get something cooking for Hibernia but in the mean time, if you can make the recruitment day at the Civil War Museum of Medicine in Frederick, please come out and help Pvt Schwartz spread the good word. An email with that information will be available soon. And of course Harpers Ferry is now on the radar as well. We will have to be tight and sharp for that one. Look forward to seeing you again soon.

Yours in Service
Sgt D Coleman
138th PA Co B
Federal Volunteer Brigade

7-7-2010:   147th Anniversary Battle of Gettysburg AAR

Greetings to One and All.

I hope that everyone who came out this past weekend is fully recovered by now. I would like to that all of you who came out and supported the unit for the event and a VERY large Thank you to Kent ' Cookie' and Robin for all they did for us. I would hope that everyone had a good time.

I got out to the site on Thursday evening to get my tent set-up with Kay and Carter to help. When I got there Major Cobb was all ready there getting his tent set-up. We were once again in 2nd Battalion and under his command. We were soon join by Kent and Robin and shortly there after by Corp Andy 'Cricket'. Before long we had the camp under way. I'm sure a couple more showed up before I left, but I just can't remember who at this time. ( I'm really going to have to start writing this stuff down during the weekend!)

I got back to camp around 7:30 on Friday to find everything going smoothly. Cookie had breakfast going and acting 1st Srgt Cricket gave me a run down of what was to be going on that day. At officers call I was informed that the 3rd MD would be falling in with us for the weekend so we had a rather good size company for next 3 days. Of course we had Dress parade followed by drill. I'm very proud of how we are able to work with other units so well. During the drill, one would think that we had worked with the 3rd MD for a long time. Since there was only one battle per day, there was more than enough down time to go to the Sutler, so that's what Major Cobb and I did during the afternoon. At this point I have to tell you, while walking around the Sutler with Jim, I felt like I was going shopping with my wife, he likes to stop in every sutler, trying on shoes, hats, shirts. Any way I transgress, when we got back to camp we were joined by our newest member Jon Guelzo, I will like to say Welcome to the Unit.

The battle on Friday was rather a good fight, when we went out on Skirmish, you all did a great job of it and really did the unit proud. During the whole battle, everyone, this includes the 3rd MD, followed the orders perfectly and from what I could tell, we looked good.

Friday night was a wonderful time with good people, it was good to see some faces we had not seen in a while. At some point Jim decided to take a kazoo and me (with my kazoo) and find Col Henson. Well we found him taking a tour of the camp, so we followed him and played our kazoo where ever he went.

Saturday morning I was woken up with Kevin 'The Ironman', telling me that it was almost noon and that we had first call. What a wake up that is, and then to find out that it was 7 in the morning. Well as they say, Pay Back is Hell. The rest of the day was spent with a Dress Parade and then relaxing. During the down time, I went in to town to pick up the meat for dinner and pick up Carly while I was there. The battle that day was another good battle. After the battle and when we had rested up, dinner was laid out. What a dinner it was, everyone put something out on the table, so if you didn't have a happy tummy, you did something wrong. The poker game on Saturday night was great, I do think this may become a regular thing in camp. Don was the big winner after he and Andrew ran the rest of us out of money.

Sunday morning I was woken up by having Gary play the kazoo in my tent, just not the same as the bugle, but maybe be better in a weird way. After another wonderful breakfast by Cookie, it was time for Dress Parade and then more relaxing before the battle. It was good to have the down time since it was damn hot. Sunday is when the heat really started to kick in. The battle was Picketts charge, and the Rebs to our front did a good job of falling dead as then camp over the fence. On the way back to camp, Gary had gone down from the heat, so we sat with him until he was recovered enough to move. I'm glad that he fully recovered, it just goes to show that it can happen to any us out there. Since the evening was young we went to town, Srgt K and Corp Cricket rode with me to go find the lost Srgt Dustin and Pvt Terri. The first stop of course was for some cold beer at the office. While washing the dust from our mouths, Terri found us to let us know where they were. So we then went pool side for some pizza and beer and good time. then it was back to the office to wash away some more dust. We were join there by Billy and Pete, the Mayer's and I'm not sure who else. But I'm sure that we all had a good time. Srgt K wanted to stay in town for the night, so I gave him a pass while Corp Cricket and I returned to camp to find Kevin Ironman and Cookie sitting by the fire.

Sunday morning I was woken up by Srgt Major Bush throwing a log in to my tent. I can't say I've ever had the happen to me. so I let it be know around camp that the Srgt Major came in my tent that morning and gave me wood. By this time most of everyone had bugged out and the ranks were greatly reduced from the days before. Dustin was given command and Cricket took over the 1st Srgt ( Andy did this more then once during the weekend, and did a great job of it also). I went out as a Pvt and got to fire my rifle for the first time in 2 years. On the ride out to the field, Cricket and I played some music on the kazoo to keep the rest of the troops in a good mood and to take thier minds off the heat. It was a short battle ( Dustin did a good job of command) but with so few re-enactors what can you do. Once back in camp, we time to sit and relax since we had already gotten everything broken down and packed up.

All in all it was another great weekend. As Dustin said there was somethings we wanted to do, that we didn't, but I trust that all of you still had a good time. I hope to see everyone again at Waynesboro, Aug 7th and 8th, and I'll be planning another recruiting weekend for later this month.

Humbly Your Servant,
James Aronhalt
Capt 138th PVI Co B

6-14-2010:   Camp Geiger – June 11-13 AAR

After a long and at time frustrating drive, Gary and I arrived at Camp Geiger about 6:30. Upon our getting there, the camp was well on its way to being setup. Sgt. Sami had stopped out earlier and got his tent set-up to start the company street. Dustin and Terri were there as well as Don Freeman, Andy “Cricket” and Eric. During the course of the evening Mink, Jack, Sgt. K and his Dad Kevin and Kent Woolf joined us. We also welcomed back to the unit Jeff and Jeremy Hoffman; it’s good to have the both of you back in the ranks. The last to arrive was good Old Horny Pete. The rest of the evening was spent relaxing and toasting to Corp. Andy Cricket’s Birthday.

Saturday morning started with 1st Sgt. Sami waking me up to sign the Morning Reports, I now know that I can sign anything with my eyes closed. With that out of the way it was time to get moving and have some breakfast and wake up enough for the new day in the Army of the Potomac. Dress Parade was to be a 9 am followed by a few minutes of Company Drill and then some Battalion Drill. It’s surprising how much rust builds up after a couple weeks of not doing that. We were placed as E company, 2nd Battalion under Maj. Dennis Wales, with Lt. Col. Rob Wingert Commanding. So yes we were back to being on the far left, just where we like it.

During the time that we thought we’d be able to relax. I was given orders to have the men fall in for a pass in review from President Lincoln. He was presented with tickets to attend a show at Fords Theater, I believe the show is suppose to be Uncle Tom’s Cabin, I understand that it’s one of his favorites.

After Drill, I was given orders to be ready to take over the Breastworks at 2pm, and to be ready to go earlier if we had to. After resting in camp, and not getting the orders to move sooner, we marched down to relieve the other unit at 2 for our time in the breastworks. We spent the next hour trading shots with the Rebs and trying to get them to come out and fight. The original plan was for us to be down there for an hour and then return to camp, rest and get ready for the tactical at 3:30. Well with the Army things change! When it getting time for us to leave the Breastworks the rest of the Army was marching down to us, I was given orders to take up the rear guard, so the tactical had started without us returning to camp.

This began one of the hardest times that I remember of a re-enactment. We proceeded to march down the road though the woods, with a lot of stop and go. Part way down, I received orders to place four of my troops and a moving rear guard, after going down hills and looking for the Rebs to fight, we found out that the plans had changed. The event organizers wanted the battle for the public to take place then and now. This began a force march for all the re-enactors, back to the field. By this time, the rear guard had gotten lost from the company, Sgt Coleman, Pvt. Colman, Pvt. Freeman, and Sgt. K. (I think that was it). The force march did damn near everyone in. When we got back to the Breastworks, half of the company was down. We did a fine job of getting the battle going, and got our Asses kicked in the doing.

After the battle, we received orders from Col. Palese, for everyone to take off the jackets, lose the gear and find shade. We were not to return to camp until we were ready and then to walk back at your own pace. In all this time, I’ve never heard that command from him that shows just how bad of shape we were in.

After sitting in the shade for about 20 to 30 minutes. We started to move off to camp, while walking back up the hill, the site that I saw gave me an idea of what the Army looked like coming back from the 1st Manassas. We looked like a defeated Army; I think everyone to a man was done in.

Once back in camp, I found my lost rear guard; they had been given orders from Gen. Frank Ruiz Sr. and returned to camp following his orders.

After we all had rested and gotten some liquids back in us, it was time to go down and get our free dinner and get ready to enjoy the rest of the evening.

Sgt. Sami had gotten some food and beverages from the local people to share with the company. Both Sgt. Sami and Sgt. Dustin had been able to track down some mail for everyone also. The rest of the evening was spent, enjoying our selves while having many, many toast. Pvt. Woolf had asked for and received permission to pick up his wife to come to camp for a while. It was nice to see Robin for a bit on Saturday night. I’m not sure what time it was that I turned in, but I do know that Pvt. Jack and Pvt. Freeman were holding down the ground on both sides on the fly. Also Corp. Cricket and Sgt. K. were holding down the ground on one of the corners. So I would say that everyone had a really a great time.

Sunday….ugh. Everyone was hurting and the heat was already upon us by 8am. There was supposed to be a morning tactical to which no one showed up for. Evidentially, everyone was in the same state as us, exhausted, hot and probably hung over. We managed to get enough energy for dress parade which was short and we had few hours before the battle. It was difficult to get any energy to prepare for, but mercifully, command decided to have us march into position (same as the day before) without coats on. We were to carry them and then put on them on after a quick rest in the woods. This battle was MUCH better and quite a bit of fun. I had advanced on the far left to within 20 yards of the enemy fortifications when I ran out of ammo. Crap! Oh well, I timed a good hit and laid there under a tree in the shade. Not too far from my position were the lifeless bodies of Pvt. Schwartz & 1st Sgt. Barebo. The funny thing here is I always get a kick out of listening to the Rebs complain about our tactics. They basically complain about the exact same stuff we do. Though it was nice to hear the Rebs telling us we did a great job as they passed us and appreciated the “hits” taken. When the battle was over I stood up and was surprised by the number of bodies lying all across the field. We headed back to camp and were congratulated by several spectators who appreciated our efforts.

I will put in another thought here and mind you this is simply my opinion; I believe we need to be much more careful how we speak and act when spectators are around. I will use myself as an example. After the battle on Saturday, I was giving a tour of our camp to a very nice family and was explaining the various elements of reenacting and so on. They were very appreciative, thanked me and moved on. Well later on as I was having several cold ones and sitting at the table joking and laughing. Well I made a few derogatory comments about booze, drugs and hot women and noticed that that same family had come back and was in 10 feet of me. DOH!! It kind of sucked for sure. So I will just say this and again merely my opinion, when lots of public are around be very careful what you say and what you do. Yea I know some of you can’t stand spectators or could care less, but it belittles our efforts as and organization and makes us look sillier then we already are. Imagine you are at some event similar with your family and as you pass by, the guys in the ranks start whispering your wife is a Milf. Well Terri would like that; my kids would be asking me questions I wouldn’t want to answer and so on. But most people would not find the humor and may walk away quite offended. Just remember that fiasco that occurred with the 3rd MD CSA at that Gettysburg Campground event. A simple joke or comment can ruin an event in a heartbeat. Enough said, and again just my opinion as I am guilty as hell for sure.

Anyway back to the event. After the battle I was delighted and surprised to see that Terri already had the car up and gear ready to be packed. We had a long drive and much to do at home so it was nice to get out of there pretty quickly. Now here is where heat comes into effect again. Terri had busted her ass getting all that stuff ready and by the time we stopped to get gas 5 minutes later, she was weak, light headed and disoriented. I got her some Gatorade and food and she quickly came back to the land of the living.

This event was a blast and it was good to support the Brooklyn boys as they travel great distances and support us all the time. Gettysburg is right around the corner and we expect a good turnout. Thanks again to everyone who showed for Camp Geiger and help make it such a fun event. Also great job by everyone out there looking out for each other and taking care of people. It’s always nice to know someone has your back even when the simplest of things go wrong.

(Friday and Saturday AAR)
Capt. James Aronhalt
138th PVI Co. B.
Federal Volunteer Brigade

(Sunday AAR)
Sgt. Dustin Coleman
138th PVI Co. B.
Federal Volunteer Brigade



Another great weather weekend for the year. There was just a little rain on Friday night and again early Sunday morning, but nothing that really amounted to anything.

I arrived at New Market late in the afternoon to find Major Cobb relaxing under his fly with Pvt Don Freeman. While sitting there relaxing with them after the drive down, I was informed that the 138th would be in the 1st Battalion, 2nd company, while Major Cobb we in command of the 2nd Battalion. Seemed strange, but you just have to follow orders. After a couple of cold refreshments, we decided to go ahead and start the camp. We were soon joined by Srgt Coleman and Pvt Coleman. Later that night the Pvt Woolf and Robin arrived. The rest of the evening was spent relaxing and watching the great Lighting Storm that was taking place further south.

Saturday morning was clear blue-sky morning. After roll call, we were treated to a hearty breakfast by Pvt Woolf. About this time we were joined by Pvt Mark Carroll. Once our stomachs were made happy, it was time to prepare for another day in the Army of the Potomac. At the Officers meeting I was informed that we would be with the 93rd. Capt. Dennis Shrik and I decide to split the command for the weekend. He would command on Saturday and I would command on Sunday. After Dress Parade there was a Regiment Inspection. While standing there waiting, I took notice of a photographer taking glass plates of us. Upon closer inspection, one of the helpers turned out to be Srgt Bear. After inspection we had some time for Company drill and then Battalion Drill under Major Dennis Wales.

While waiting to form up for the afternoon battle, we had three members of an Ohio unit who were looking for a company to fall in with for the day, being short of rifles anyway, I let them fall in with us. The afternoon battle turned into a major FUBAR. As usual the Rebs did not go by what they were supposed to go by. When they were supposed to push, they retreated to the shade of the trees and just fired a few shots at us for a while. The battle (if you want to call it that) lasted for a while, until someone with some sense decided to call it off. After we returned to camp, it was time to relax and enjoy the rest of the day. The sky was nice and clear all evening, the Woolfs made a good hearty stew for dinner. Later that evening, we joined Major Cobb down by his tent for relaxing and drinks. Srgt Coleman had some mail that had caught up with us that he passed out.

Sunday morning was another great start to a day, clear sky and no rain!! After I awoke I was informed that Srgt Coleman and Pvt Coleman had left early that morning, I was going to have them charged with desertion, until I learned that they had both gotten passes from Major Cobb, since I was unable to perform that task at that time of morning. After another good filling breakfast, it was time for Dress Parade. After dress parade we stacked rifles and posted guards. At the Officers meeting, I found out that the Battle that day was to be a tactical. From noon on we were to be on alert ready to move out at any time. The next hour was spent relaxing and waiting. I received orders to have the company go and retrieve the rifles and to move to the far side of camp, to form up.

Once the Regiment was formed, we moved out to the woods, where we were then left to wait, and wait. We were in the shade, so it wasn’t all that bad. We could hear the Calvary fighting somewhere out in the field and the cannons firing. The word was quickly passed down from Major Wales for me to take the company out as skirmishers to protect the artillery. We quickly deployed and began firing on the Rebs who were advancing up the hill. We were able to stop them from advancing any further. I soon ordered to pull back and return to the woods. Soon after we had returned to the woods, we were ordered back out, the 7th MD was to our left as we deployed out of the tree line. They had taken the 139th PA from the Battalion and sent them further down to guard the road. Once we were on line, the fighting began. We were able to push the Rebs back for a little while, however we were soon pushed on our right flank. We refused the line to meet this push, however before we knew what was happening the 7th MD was pushed back, we began to retreat up the hill, most of everyone made, except for myself, I was grab by a couple of Rebs. It was a good fight and a hard one, but the Rebs had us out numbered.

After we formed back up and returned to camp, it was time to sit down and relax for a bit, before the job of breaking down camp began. All in all it was a great weekend, good friends and great weather. I like to thank those that came out, and once again to Kent and Robin for all that they do. Looking forward to seeing everyone in June at Camp Geiger for another great weekend. I’m supposed to be paroled out of Libby Prison by then I hope.

James Aronhalt
Capt, 138th PVI Co. B



The only thing I can really think to say about this past weekend is Wow! What a great way to start off the 1865/2010 Re-enacting season. The weather was hot, but No Rain!!!

By the time I arrived about 6 on Friday night, Srgt Colman had the camp well on the way of being set-up. Corp Cricket, Ice, Chris Conboy and Kent Woolf were already there. During the course of the night we were joined by 1st Srgt Sami, The Mink and Pvt/Capt/Major Jim Cobb. Bear had the fire going nicely, so the rest of the night was spent relaxing and having a good time with friends around the fire.

Saturday started off nice and clear with 7am roll call. After the Officer’s meeting where I was informed that 138th would be going out on the tactical to act on our own. Our mission was to try and get behind the Rebs or to out flank them. Once in the woods I had Pvt Cobb go out on point where we took the rough route to find and engage. We found the fighting and were able to hit the Rebs in the flank before they even knew we were there. After some heavy firing, and finding that the Rebs were not going to admit that they lost, we gave up trying to fire at them anymore.

The rest of the day was spent resting and getting ready for the afternoon battle. During this time we were joined by Carley Cobb and Billy Faieta. Once we formed up and marched out to the field I was given the orders that the 138th would be the 2nd company to be deployed as skirmishers. Once the order to deploy was given, we marched out and deployed in fine style. After being heavily engaged for a few minutes and seeing that the Rebs were once again not taking and hits, the company began to take our own hits. By the time the rest of the Federal force came up, we were wiped out to a man.

The rest of Saturday was spent with more relaxing back in camp. By this time we joined by Kay and Carter. After everyone had a chance to eat, and to sample Mink’s Moose in a Mason jar, it was time for the promotion time. Pvt/Capt/Major Cobb presented me with a set of Capt bars, so that I am now officially a Capt. Of course the rest of the night was spent doing a lot of talking with just a wee bit of drinking. Having Sami and Mink with the music really made for a great night.

Sunday morning was another great morning. By this time we had lost 5 members. Of course who can forget the sight of Dave getting out of his tent in a shirt sock, shoes and under wear. Some sights just kind of stick with you for the rest of the day. With our reduced numbers the 82nd NY was folded into the 138th to give a few more rifles. For the afternoon battle, I was given orders to have half of the company take artillery hit. Once were deployed on line soon it was time to give the order to lose half of the company. Once that happened and the retreat began, the rest of the company began taking hits also. By the time the battle was over, the company was spread over the whole field.

I would like to thank everyone who came out this weekend. I almost forgot that on Sunday morning Mark Carroll who made his way from KY joined us. I would like to think that this past weekend has set the tone for the rest of the year, good times, and good weather.

Looking forward to another great year,
James Aronhalt
Capt 138th Co B



Greetings to all.

What a great way to start the year. The Drill on Saturday was great way to knock off the rust and to get ready for the 2010/1865 season. We tried somethings that you don't normally see out on the field, that we'll be using this year. So once again, the Brigade will be standing out. I would like to thank everyone who came out and supported the 138th for the drill. We had a rather good turn out, 11 rifles, not a bad start. Our two Fresh Fish, Mark C. and Eric O., work in to the ranks very well. I'm glad that you both had a good time and I'm looking forward to having you both in the ranks. We also got a surprise from Don Freeman, it's good to have you back with Don and I look forward to seeing you in the ranks more often this year.

Of course after the drill we retired to O'roukes, for refreshments and relaxing with good friends. While we where there we met Jim Tuttle who wants to join. Welcome to the unit Jim.

Reminder of up coming events :

May 1st - 2nd - Carroll County Farm Museum. If you not registered yet and want to, let me know and I'll get the information to you.

May 15th - 16th - New Market, Once again if you not registered yet and want to , let me know and I'll get the information out to you.

June 12th - 13th - Camp Gieger, Whitehall, PA. Once you get registered or if you need information to register, let me know.

Also for those that will be attending Carroll County. On Saturday night, we will having a Promotion Ceremony. Maj/Capt/Pvt Cobb will be awarding me the Capt bars that night.

Looking forward to a great year,
James Aronhalt,
Capt 138th PA Co. B


  Welcome to the updated 138thpa website! I would like to give my thanks to Chris Aronhalt for being our webmaster since the unit was established and performing an excellent job! Huzzah! Since the tourch was passed onto me, I hope to do just as good in keeping the website up-to-date for our members and any future reenactor out there that is interested in pursuing the hobby of becoming a Civil War reenactor. Becoming a reenactor not only gives you a great sense of comradely with other members, but also puts you in the shoes where you learn the history, skills and duties of the everyday Civil War soldier from the 1860's. However, reenacting should be foremost and above all, fun and enjoyable for you and your family.

  Members, for up-to-date information on scheduled events, please visit the events section under the reenactors menu to your left. Also If you have any pictures in period uniform/dress that you wish to use for our members section, please send a copy to: so I can place a picture to go with your name.

Corporal Andy Brinker
138thpa Webmaster