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Routed at Guntown. a semi immersion event in Bourbonnais, Illinois on september 5-7, 2014

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  • #16
    Re: Routed at Guntown. a semi immersion event in Bourbonnais, Illinois on september 5-7, 2014

    I'll add that the spectators last year were some of the most interesting and most knowledgeable I've encountered at an event, and I have no reason to believe it won't be the same this upcoming year. Here's something I posted on another forum after the previous event:

    ---

    I just came back from a living history with maybe 50 reenactors, US, CS and civilian, interpreting the situation around Milliken's Bend, Louisiana, 1863. My role was to be a representative plantation owner living under Yankee occupation for the last year, and to talk about what that was like.

    There was a steady trickle of spectators most of the day, but few enough that you could generally interact with just one or two families at a time.

    I'd give a 2 or 3 minute summary, then wait to see if they asked questions, looked expectant for more, or walked on. Most either asked questions or wanted more, so I'd give another minute or so of more detail, then pause again, and eventually they asked questions or went on.

    Here are some of the things they asked and/or topics they wanted to hear discussed. I could answer most of these, certainly not all, and some better than others, but the primary goal of first person intepretation is to keep the illusion going, so it's easy enough to brush off a hard question and shift it onto a similar topic you know more about.

    "Did they grow different varieties of corn in the north and south?"

    "Why don't you want slaves educated?"That morphed into a discussion on the different philosophy about education in the north and south for whites too.

    "Do you use local plants for medicine? [Picking a handful of seed from a nearby dock plant] What's this? What's it good for?"

    [After I said I'd done well in the 1830s, till the price of land and slaves dropped] "You mean due to the panic of 1837?" [Visitors are not necessarily stupid.]

    "What do you miss most since the blockade?"

    "Didn't the United Methodist Church split due to slavery?" [Then after a discussion of how the various Protestant denominations were affected by the slavery controversy:] "How did the Catholics feel?"

    "What do you think of Henry Clay?"

    "When slaves reach Canada, are they free?"

    "Do you think slaves have souls?"

    "How do you get low-pectin fruits to gel without adding extra pectin?" [We weren't making jelly. It's funny what people would want to know if they could step into the past.]

    "Christmas isn't a very big holiday, is it?" [Not sure if that was a trick question or if he didn't realize how big it was on plantations compared to earlier and/or more puritanical attitudes]

    "Do they use dogs to catch slaves north of the Ohio River or is that more when they're still in the south?" [resulted in a long discussion about training dogs to catch runaways]

    "What's the Biblical justification for slavery?"

    "Did they sometimes sell families together so they'd be less apt to run away?" [resulted in discussion about transporting slave coffles]

    "How do you learn about new plants to grow?" [Started from a discussion about educating slaves, morphed into the pre-war US patent office]

    There were lots more I can't recall, but that gives a good sampling.

    Hank Trent
    hanktrent@gmail.com
    Hank Trent

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    • #17
      Re: Routed at Guntown. a semi immersion event in Bourbonnais, Illinois on september 5-7, 2014

      Summer has flown by! Routed at Guntown on Sept 6-7 is right around the corner. Only a month to go so time to get that registration sent in. I am craving a quality immersion event and I know that is what Rod Miller will provide. I have heard so many great things on this event from quality first person along with a public that is engaged with what is going on while not taking away from our experience.


      https://www.facebook.com/groups/378472008907818/
      Respectfully,

      Jeremy Bevard
      Moderator
      Civil War Digital Digest
      Sally Port Mess

      Comment


      • #18
        Re: Routed at Guntown. a semi immersion event in Bourbonnais, Illinois on september 5-7, 2014

        Less then two weeks till Routed at Guntown. Where is your registration?
        https://sites.google.com/site/routedatguntown/
        Respectfully,

        Jeremy Bevard
        Moderator
        Civil War Digital Digest
        Sally Port Mess

        Comment


        • #19
          Re: Routed at Guntown. a semi immersion event in Bourbonnais, Illinois on september 5-7, 2014

          Let me thank Rod Miller for a great time this weekend. Not just for the great time of moving through tall grass and the willow thicket, getting lost in a seemingly small space, guarding prisoners, being out on picket in dark or light, getting attacked at odd hours and a wonderful reenacting experience, but for the endless hours involved in organization and site preparation. I also want to thank you gents that came in from all parts-- Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, and Illinois to demonstrate what a quality Civil War experience can be for the people of my home town. Thanks as well to our commanders Mike Comer and Jeremy Brevard for making it a great time for those under your command. Thanks again to you all for coming and to Rod for putting it all together. I hope more of you will take advantage and join us next year in Bourbonnais.
          Mark Hess
          Last edited by DBVaughn; 09-08-2014, 11:57 AM. Reason: left out Mr. Comer's home state
          Mark Hess

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          • #20
            Re: Routed at Guntown. a semi immersion event in Bourbonnais, Illinois on september 5-7, 2014

            Thank you to Rod and the gang for putting this event together. I got to see what it was like to be outnumbered and on the run constantly. Hounded on all sides, doing our level best not to get caught. Sunday will be a highlight in my reenacting career. Just the four of us on the move for the better part of eight hours. We would lay low for a spell, then spot a confederate patrol and get up and move elsewhere. Feeling pressured all day, and having no real way to lash out at our tormentors was a new experience. I have often read about the same, but never before had a chance to experience this level of intensity. We had our moments of military glory on Saturday, but being a fugitive on Sunday was a thrill. Again thanks to everyone who came out. I got to make some new friends, and see some old ones. "I had fun, how about you?"
            Your humble servant....
            Sean Collicott
            [URL="www.sallyportmess.itgo.com"]Sally Port Mess[/URL]
            [URL="http://oldnorthwestvols.org/onv/index.php"]Old Northwest Volunteers[/URL]

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            • #21
              Re: Routed at Guntown. a semi immersion event in Bourbonnais, Illinois on september 5-7, 2014

              September 1884

              Since my experiences during the war to put down the rebellion I have told a few stories to interested parties and family. Certain memories have been kept to myself because of the sadness and difficulty they bring me. Some of these involve my capture in 1864 and subsequent stay in Libby Prison for just short of a year. After over twenty years since the start of those events the time has come to write down my recollections while I still have them.

              At the battle of Brices Cross Roads in Mississippi I was a 2nd Lieutenant in the 113th Illinois. During this failed attack which we were expected to carry out on empty stomachs and exhausted bodies we were scattered. I believe about 20% of our brave regiment became captives to suffer in various Confederate prisons with many spending time in the infamous Andersonville.

              Myself and nine other men were together trying to find our way through the terrain of Mississippi to the rest of the Army and hopefully what was left of the Regiment. The next morning after the main fighting we were chased across a large field losing one man. The rest making an escape by heading deep into the wildness of a swampy area. After staying low for some time we ventured on our way again. A couple men foraged some vegetables from a farm.

              Unfortunately, soon as they returned we saw horsemen coming down the road. We hid the food and ran into some tickets. After they moved on we came across a 113th Illinois man that had lost all his equipment, his coat and his rifle, carrying just a large stick as a club. This gave us all a laugh in a tough time. We returned to get the hidden food and moved into an area to try and rest and eat. About an hour later we heard shots fired at a detail that was sent for water. They came at us hard this time and we scattered. Myself and two others found our way into some pines and laid down. After an hour of things being quiet we headed back out not knowing what happened to the others.

              Thankfully we found the man with the club first and then three more. Two had been captured it seemed. The other group of three said they came across a small group of Rebs who were too comfortable in their recent victory to not put a guard on their left while resting. We took this opportunity to take them by surprise, which we did. We captured several rebel horseman and had some others pinned. Sadly the attack leads to one of their men getting shot and they had two prisoners, which one was killed during the attack. We grabbed the other man and ran into the wilderness to hopefully not be seen again.

              After some travelling we found a parson on a wagon that sold us some cabbage and ham for some confederate scrip one man had on him. I didn’t ask where he picked it up. We found a place that proved to be safe for the night to eat our meal. Early in the morning I had the men on the road early to try and make it back to the Federal lines. After sometime we came to a large field with a road running along it and we found another rebel outpost. It seemed these small parties were all over the area rounding up the scattered union men in the area. How sad for such brave men who’s only fault was following the orders they were given to be hunted like small game in the thickets by the bands of hunters. I decided that this road lead to home for and this band stood in our way. I was done running so I gave the order to attack with the hope of pushing them from our way. The small attack started in our favor but did not end in a victory for us. Myself and a private became cutoff on the left of our meager skirmish line having several rebels advancing on us. The rest made a retreat but two were quickly caught up with and brought in.

              The officer in command of this group of rebel horseman treated us with respect. He provided us with a couple slices of pork and some “pea bread” crackers to eat. He seemed to be a good man who had been hardened by war but was also tired of it. While he seemed ready to go home like so many of us, not so much he was willing to lay his arms down with any compromise to his beliefs.

              The guards showed the Confederacy was on its last legs. They were a mix of boys to young to shave and men with white beards. As I was being asked questions by all of them I felt this observation was a sad one but almost brought me joy in a depressing moment that I should not be in a prison long with those conditions in their ranks. With each change of guard the same questions were asked. I finally stopped responding all together and just say in silence accepting my fate.

              Not long after more useless bloodshed took place. Once of my men saw an opportunity as a young guard became relaxed with his pistol and the other guard was looking the other way. He dove and tackled the one with the pistol and another prisoner ran for the trees. The commotion had the second guard spin around and fire killing the man going for the trees. The guard who was tackled won that affair as well. It all took place in a blink of an eye and ended with two more loyal union men not making it home except for their spirit.

              That evening those of us left were on our feet being marched to the rails to endure a level of suffering and deprivation we could not fathom before having to endure it.
              Respectfully,

              Jeremy Bevard
              Moderator
              Civil War Digital Digest
              Sally Port Mess

              Comment


              • #22
                Re: Routed at Guntown. a semi immersion event in Bourbonnais, Illinois on september 5-7, 2014

                I respectfully submit my report concerning the recent activity near Guntown, Mississippi. The men of Co. K, 7th Kentucky Mounted Infantry did a splendid job following their orders to patrol, report and gather prisoners in the aftermath of our great victory at Brice's Crossroads.

                We were partially mounted since we have suffered a shortage of good horseflesh on this campaign. My command had approximately 50% mounted and the rest operating as regular infantry as we once did. Since the men had served as infantry previously they were well seasoned as such and were able to operate successfully against the enemy either mounted or on foot.

                We established our camp where a surgeon had set up his aid station. He was not happy with us being at what he called a neutral spot, but it was the only well cleared area nearby that we could establish ourselves at. We began to patrol our assigned area on Saturday Sept. 6. It was a very rough area and offered the enemy many places to hide. My company immediately ran into a small group of Federals in skirmish formation and we proceeded to move to contact. After a spirited fight, the enemy was forced from the field, falling back through some willow thickets. We pursued but became too disorganized due to the terrain and stopped to reorganize and began to systematically ferret them out of their holes. It was a difficult job due to the makeup of the land which favored small groups of men who did not wish to be caught. We did see a few Federals on Sunday in the distance that we had missed but they were heading toward the area that Company H had been assigned and we did not bother to pursue; the men being quite tired from the strenous efforts they had made. We encountered no civilians in the area with the exception of a single pastor who offered divine services to the men on Sunday. The absence of local inhabitants made it more difficult to gather intelligence about where the enemy might be.

                The enemy showed fight and moved upon our forces several time in attempts to fight their way out of the trap that was closing in. We were successful in killing several of the enemy and capturing several through the course of our efforts but were thrown into confusion by one attack on our left where laxity led the men there to not throw out proper guards. Those responsible have been put on report. Our loss was one killed and two wounded - one mortally most likely. Through constant patrols and skirmish work we were able to capture 6 of the enemy including one officer. They were all from the 113th Illinois and were tired and hungry. One man only had a few hard crackers in his haversack. I do not know if that is evidence that their entire force is in such bad shape or not. My men feasted quite well on captured stores acquired at Brice's Crossroads and we were in fine fetter and up for the work at hand. We finished our assignment and escorted our prisoners to brigade headquarters to turn them over to their charge.

                I wish to single out Corporal Fleming who led several patrols with great enthusiasm and succeeding in capturing two Federal soldiers and dispatching another. He showed energy and valor in pursuit of his orders.

                Co. K showed itself to be unit that can be relied upon by the general to accomplish any and all missions assigned it.

                I remain humbly your obedient servant
                Michael Comer,
                Lieutenant Commanding
                Michael Comer
                one of the moderator guys

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                • #23
                  Re: Routed at Guntown. a semi immersion event in Bourbonnais, Illinois on september 5-7, 2014

                  Awesome work ! Mike and Jeremy you both did a great job on AAR's
                  Rod Miller
                  [COLOR=SlateGray]Old Pards[/COLOR]
                  [COLOR=DarkRed]Cornfed Comrades[/COLOR]
                  [COLOR=Navy]Old Northwest Volunteers[/COLOR]


                  [FONT=Palatino Linotype]"We trust, Sir, that God is on our side." "It is more important to know that we are on God's side."
                  A. Lincoln[/FONT]

                  150th Anniversary
                  1861 Camp Jackson-Sgt. German Milita US
                  1st Manassas- Chaplain T. Witherspoon, 2nd Miss. Inf. CS
                  1862 Shiloh -Lt. ,6th Miss. Inf. CS
                  1863 VicksburgLH-Captain Cephas Williams, 113th Co.B US
                  Gettysburg BGA- Chaplain WilliamWay, 24th MI US
                  1864 Charleston Riot-Judge Charles Constable "Copperhead".
                  Bermuda Hundred Campaign-USCC Field Agent J.R. Miller

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