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Fort Caspar (Platte Bridge Station) Campaign Sub-Event in July 2015!

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  • Tom Craig
    replied
    Re: Fort Caspar (Platte Bridge Station) Campaign Sub-Event in July 2015!

    I invite anyone still on the fence about this ride to get off the fence and get on the registered list. That said, this ride will be no joke and is not for those who aren't in good shape, and haven't prepared themselves.

    If you're planning on going, please read Steve's message above very carefully and then read it again. Ask questions that you might have, or might think you have. This will be an amazing experience, but for you to enjoy it you have to have your expectations set to the right position on the dial.

    If you have any questions please contact Steve or myself.
    Take care,
    Tom Craig
    1st Maine Cavalry

    Leave a comment:


  • Steven Dacus
    replied
    Re: Fort Caspar (Platte Bridge Station) Campaign Sub-Event in July 2015!

    Clarifying expectations on any event like this is the key to success and ensuring everyone has a good time. Having high expectations that aren't met is the quickest way to disappoint the reenactors and start a bad reputation.

    It is for that reason why I want to make sure everyone registered for this once in a lifetime ride understands what they are getting into.

    1. The ride is not quite 150 miles. Due to re-routing the ride to a more remote branch of the trail, the total miles is closer to 138 miles

    2. We will be living out of the saddle as much as possible with only what you can bring with you. We will have no support vehicles, wagons, etc. However, due to the arid desert and the extreme difficulty in finding water we will be staging feed for the horses at each overnight location Additionally, we will be staging water for both horses and ourselves along the route. This was done to the high likelihood of loosing older horses as was almost the case for a local unit two years ago.

    There will be no bathrooms, and we will plan to get our water from streams as much as we can without "cheating" by tapping into our stashed emergency water.

    3. You will be responsible for bringing your own lunch and snacks. Breakfast and Dinner will be provided and distributed among the different messes that will be created among the group. Each mess will be responsible for spreading all the cooking gear between the mess. The messes will be identified a couple weeks before the event and finalized once everyone arrives on Sunday July 19th.

    4. The route that was chosen was a difficult balance of riding along original ground and staying as remote as possible. We will be able to see the famous Wagon Ruts (Ruts cut into solid rock) by Guernsey and some engravings along our route (Time at these locations may be extremely limited if we actually stop for more than just a water break). Due to this reason, the first and last days of the ride will have a fair amount of "visual pollution" of modern items. However, the second and third days will be fairly remote (distance wise).

    5. Even though we will be remote in many locations, we will still have some "Visual Pollution". As many of you know who have been to Wyoming, being able to see for 20-30 miles is common. Therefore we will be 10 miles from ANYTHING at one point, but still able to see some modern items. Please do not let this discourage you, however. Although I must admit there will be some "visual pollution" I would still put this ride up against any other similar long distance ride along original ground. Across the 138 miles of trail, we only have to deal with 23 land owners. That is 6 linear miles per land owner which is still more remote than many other events.

    6. We are expecting soldierly behavior. This is NOT a "cool" trail ride. This is a reenactment of the detail of Caspar Collins and the 11th Kansas Cavalry that rode from Ft. Laramie to Platte Bridge (Casper) just days before their death. Therefore we expect everyone to respect the chain of command and obey their NCO's. There will be fatuige duty so come prepared to work.

    7. This ride will be the most HOT, miserable, boring, mentally fatiguing experience many of you will have had in some time (not including you active duty guys). We will all be embracing the "suck", so don't wine halfway through.

    8. Each day we will have to ride along roads to some extent. While we will not actually ride ON the road, we will need to ride the shoulder for certain points. The first day we will be following a dirt road for most of the day due to that road being the actual Oregon Trail. (again, we tried to balance original ground with remoteness). Again, there will be some oilfield "eye boogers" along the first half of the first day.

    9. The last day (Friday) we will be riding into Fort Caspar, which is on the opposite side of town that we are coming into. Therefore, Friday will suck as we ride into town. But I have been told we might be happy to see civilization by that time.

    10. This Last Ride is considered an Authentic/Campaigner Adjunct with a focus on high authenticity/standards. Although undoubtedly we will have some of you show up in violation of some of the uniform requirements, we urge you to read them carefully so we don't have to have awkward moments when we deny your participation because you don't have the right gear. On a MORE IMPORTANT note, we are more concerned about authentic behavior and actions over being simply "Stitch counters". Meaning please come with a knowledge how to properly form, inspect arms, bugle calls, and other actions that would have been expected of the troopers of the 11th KVC.

    11. While native american warriors will be in the area of our route, we have given them our schedule, route, and plans of action. We have left it up to them whether they will attack or not. Therefore, the chances of being harassed by natives are just as good as NOT being harassed by them. We have done this on purpose to add more authenticity to the event. This will create the realistic effect of riding through hostile country not knowing when of even if you will see Indians. This will produce mental fatigue on us during the night and especially during the day. But don't EXPECT to be attacked along the route. If you want a guaranteed battle, wait until the main event on Saturday the 25th.

    12. Overall, we ask everyone to focus on authenticity with your gear, food, clothing, and behavior. Please use this event to improve your overall impression and leave "Farby" things behind (ie- Heart Brest plates). While we all draw the authenticity line at different points, we will expect everyone to not bring any modern items. Please make sure you don't bring
    your cell phones, modern food, modern food packaging, plastic anything, etc. If we see it, we will ask you to dispose of it. Inevitably, we will allow something that we shouldn't and deny something that could reasonably pass. We understand that we can't be 100% since we do this as a hobby rather than a life style, but again, we urge everyone to strive for their highest level of authenticity for this event. Lets help each-other out.

    13. Spinning of the point above, we ask EVERYONE to have a great attitude along the ride. Complaining about the route, how tired you are, how authentic you are, or making fun of other people's impressions is not helpful and will not be tolerated. We are laying out expectations now and at check-in to cover the required stuff, but once we are on the trail....we are brothers in arms who have fought for 3-4 years together. Please respect one another and be helpful to each other

    14. On Friday, we will arrive at the Live shoot in time to participate for those who registered for it. Once we are done there, we will complete the ride through town into Platte Bridge Station and join the Main event there. Please note that the main event is a mainstream event. While the focus is public education (how many times have we heard that!) we are still planning on honest fatigue duties for the soldiers. The museum will be opening up the fort barracks to actually sleep in which has not been done in decades and only a hand full of times in history. Those who will sleep in the barracks will be picked by a lottery system the week before. The rest will sleep on the company street behind the barracks. While the main event is definitely a mainstream event, we urge you all to stay as on Sunday early morning on the actual anniversary of the battle that killed more 11th KVC in one day than their entire history in the CW, we will ride the 6 or so miles to the original battle ground and have a small private talk/tour/ceremony. So if you can "suffer" through the circus on Saturday, The ride on Sunday morning before you leave should be worth the wait.


    As you can see we wanted to be as upfront as possible for all our expectations and any possible "negative" side-notes that the reenactor might encounter. While I tried to give you all the negatives I could think of, we think the positives of this ride will far outweigh the possible negatives. This is definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity (some land owners actually have already said "never again") that should not be missed. We are almost to our maximum cut-off of about 40 riders. So if you know anyone who is still on the fence....GET THEM REGISTERED NOW!!!

    Until we see you and hear "Boots and Saddles" early Monday morning, July 20th, have a great spring!

    Leave a comment:


  • wavey1us
    replied
    Re: Fort Caspar (Platte Bridge Station) Campaign Sub-Event in July 2015!

    I have attached the link to the aforementioned diary of Elijah Nelson Doughty. He was assigned to Co D, 11th KS Cavalry. The diary starts Jan-Feb 1865, Olathe KS.

    http://www.kancoll.org/articles/nichols/

    Leave a comment:


  • wavey1us
    replied
    Re: Fort Caspar (Platte Bridge Station) Campaign Sub-Event in July 2015!

    Steve,
    Looking forward to the event. I think I need to post the link to the diary of the other 11th Kansas trooper. He started the journal AFTER he was released from confinement.

    Leave a comment:


  • Steven Dacus
    replied
    Re: Fort Caspar (Platte Bridge Station) Campaign Sub-Event in July 2015!

    Bill,

    Thanks again for that info! This is shaping up to be a very memorable ride. I just got done today talking with the staff at Ft. Laramie and we will definitely be starting our trip on the same original ground the Kansas troopers did 150 years ago. It is one of the best preserved parts of that time in history in the area. Everything else has just rotted away on the high plains.

    Leave a comment:


  • Tom Craig
    replied
    Re: Fort Caspar (Platte Bridge Station) Campaign Sub-Event in July 2015!

    Thanks for sharing that info Bill!

    This is going to be great!

    Tom Craig
    1st Maine Cavalry

    Leave a comment:


  • wavey1us
    replied
    Re: Fort Caspar (Platte Bridge Station) Campaign Sub-Event in July 2015!

    Guys,
    I had some questions with regards to the 14th Kansas, one of the units that we will be portraying for the event, unit history, weapons and equipment used, etc. Below is what I found out. Many thanks to Kip Lindberg, Chemical Warfare Museum, Ft Leonard MO and Jeff Patrick, Willsons Creek National Park for providing some of the information.

    The 11th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry was one of the few cavalry regiments that began its service as an infantry unit. From its inception in August 1862, the regiment performed admirably during its service in southwest Arkansas, northwest Arkansas, and the Indian Territory. The Regiment participated in the battles of Cane Hill and Prairie Grove and lost over three hundred men to sickness and the hard campaign season. In April 1863, this understrength regiment arrived at Kansas City to participate in operations against guerilla units along the Missouri and Kansas border. In August 1863, General Schofield, on recommendation from General Ewing, redesignated the regiment from infantry to cavalry. General Schofield’s intent of this redesignation was complimentary and a reward for the regiments service thus far. However, based on the number that arrived with the regiment in April, it was still understrength even for a cavalry regiment. The 11th Kansas was not brought to full strength until the next spring (1864). Despite being understrength, the regiment performed their duties against guerillas and bushwhackers that operated in the local area. Companies of the regiment also performed escort duties in and along the Texas military road. During this time period, the regiment also participated in campaigns against Confederate forces to include: The Battles of Big Blue, Little Blue, and Westport. December 1864 saw another change for this regiment, when it was directed to take part in operations against the Indians in the Dakota Territory. Upon consolidating the regiment at Fort Riley, in March 1865, the regiment marched from Fort Riley to Fort Kearney, Nebraska Territory. Needless to say, the former commander of the regiment Colonel Thomas Moonlight, now Commander of the north sub District, Dakota Territory, was none too happy with the decision to march his former regiment across the plains in March. He stated:
    My regiment crossed the plains in the dead of winter and suffered terribly from cold: about 200 men marched on foot having received no horses. I look upon this as the greatest act of injustice that was ever perpetuated on a regiment. Had they had time to recover from the terrible suffering of the Price Campaign, had they been properly remounted and equipped all would have been fair & right, but to rush out a regiment neither properly clad, equipped, or mounted, in the dead of winter and towards the Rocky Mountains was, I say, injustice.
    There was one company that did not make the march. (1)
    Colonel Moonlight highlights:
    One company, “G,” formerly Body Guard to Genl. Curtis, did not cross the plains with the regiment but remained at Department. Headquarters, Fort Leavenworth, doing duty. And when the order came from the War Department to muster out immediately all cavalry whose term of service expired on or before the 31st of October, a portion of Co. “G” was mustered out, thereby reducing the regiment below 12 companies; although still largely above the minimum, this entitled the colonel, one major, one assistant surgeon, assistant quartermaster, commissary, & chaplain, and the non-commissioned staff to muster out of service. I was accordingly relieved from duty and ordered to Fort Kearny for muster out of service, which took place July 17th, 1865. The entire regiment was shortly afterwards ordered in and mustered out at Fort Leavenworth, but not until they had served out their full term of enlistment. (2)

    Jefferson Porterfield, was a member of the 11th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry and participated in many of its campaigns, to include service in the Dakota Territory. His life was documented in a booklet entitled Our Father. In this booklet, a map that shows the campaigns of the regiment was provided (Figure 1) (See Attached picture) (3).

    While assigned on the Plains, the regiment was spread out in along the various posts and forts that occupied the many trails that covered the area. More specifically, portions of the regiment participated in the Battle of Platte Bridge Station and the Battle of Red Buttes. At Platte Bridge Station, the 11th Kansas was represented by three members of Company “C”, 70 members of Company “I”, and 14 members of Company “K”. Men of Company “D” and “H” participated in the Battle of Red Buttes.

    As with any regiment serving on the frontier during the Civil War, the 11th Kansas was armed with a variety of weapons throughout its tenure. Jeff Patrick, author of Campaign of Wilsons Creek and who oversees the John K. and Ruth Hulston Civil War Research Library, Wilsons Creek Battlefield, was able to verify through ordnance returns that in September of '64, the 11th Kansas reported: 2 Enfields, 79 Hall's, 89 Sharps', 143 Gallagher's, 86 Starr's, and 519 Smith's.
    For handguns, the regiment reported 176 .44 Remington's Army and 469 .44 Colt's Army. (4) A search of the muster out rolls from August 1865 verified the wide variety of weapons that the regiment held at the end of their service. The muster out rolls were usually not very specific with regards to the types of weapons or equipment that a trooper had, until that specific piece of equipment was lost or retained by the trooper. For example, when reviewing the rolls there was listing upon listing of “carbine” or “pistol”, that is until I ran across a specific charge/price for an item. More specifically, if a trooper lost or retained a piece of equipment he was subsequently charged for that item, then the specific name of that item was listed. For example, Private James Robinson was indebted for one US carbine (Smith) and charged the appropriate amount of $28.65. To add insult to injury, this poor private was not only indebted to the government for cost of his Smith carbine, but also for: one cartridge box ($1.65), one cartridge belt and plate ($1.20), one cap pouch (.45), one carbine sling (.48), one thong and brush (.48), one saddle ($25.00), one bridle ($4.46), one halter ($1.90), curry comb and brush ($1.00), one pair of spurs ($1.36), one saddle blanket ($3.00) for a grand total (to include the price of the carbine). Private Robinson was indebted to the U.S. government for $69.50. (6) While reviewing the rolls I found the following companies were outfitted with the following weapons:

    Company “A”: Merrill carbines
    Company “C” and “K”: Remington revolvers.
    Company “D”: Smith carbines
    Company “E”: Starr carbines
    Company “G”: Smith carbine
    Company “K”: Sharps carbine and Colts Army
    Company “I”: Smith carbines

    The rolls also listed such items as: picket pins, lariats, curry combs, brushes, gun wipers, sabre knots, strap for links, surcingles, spurs and spur straps. The most interesting equipment item listed on the rolls was knapsacks. I mean knapsacks for a cavalry unit?

    The 11th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry regiment served proudly during the Civil War. For a regiment to make the transition from an infantry regiment to a cavalry regiment and to make the transition from fighting Confederate forces to engaging Native Americans speaks highly of the character and dedication of the officers and men of the regiment. Nothing speaks to the accomplishments of the regiment better then Colonel Moonlight’s words. He states:
    The 11th regiment individually, or as a regiment, stands second to none. The rank & file were composed of men who claimed for themselves as citizens some consideration, men whose character at home was above reproach. Men whose whole hearts were in the war. Men who believed in crushing out the rebellion by the sword of war as well as justice- and men who in the hour of victory never forgot their duties to their fellow men.
    During the time when the 11th Regiment was stationed on the border of Kansas peace reigned along that border for the first time since 1860. Bushwhacker were never permitted to enter our lines and despoil our citizens as in former times; for by a vigilant & judicious system of patrolling, day & night, was the border guarded. The settler soon began to see this, and those who had left their farms & homes a year or two before began to return. Homes were erected, fences were built & repaired and prosperity & contentment dawned on the eastern border of Kansas. I mention these facts in justice to the regiment and myself, for I consider the honors of a regiment the honor of the colonel, and the disgrace of the same his disgrace, for he makes the regiment, and not the regiment him.
    I am proud of the record the regiment has made- prompt, vigilant, and brave in battle, yet honest, truthful, & just in peace. I would add that sometime in Feb[ruary] 1865 I was promoted to the rank of brevet brigadier general, but owing to some under current which time will develop I never received my commission: so while others who were breveted along with me won the Star of their good fortune, I contented myself with the Eagle of the 11th Kansas . (7)
    Respectfully submitted
    To the Adjutant General of the State of Kansas
    (Signed) T. Moonlight
    Col. 11th Ks. Cav’y

    1. Kip Lindberg and Matt Matthews, edited., “The Eagle of the 11th Kansas: Wartime Reminiscences of Colonel Thomas Moonlight,” The Arkansas Historical Quarterly , Vol. 62, No. 1 , (2003) 36.
    2. Ibid.
    3. Jefferson Porterfield, Our Father, Kansas Historical Foundation Digital Library, http://www.kansasmemory.org/item/227224/page/1 page 11.
    4. Jeff Patrick, e-mail message to author concerning 4th Quarter1864 Ordnance Returns ,NARA Microfilm 1281, Quarterly Summary Statements of Ordnance, February 25, 2015.
    5. Muster out roll, Eleventh Regiment, Cavalry, Kansas Civil War Volunteers, Volume 2, Kansas Historical Foundation Digital Library, http://www.kansasmemory.org/item/227786/page/42, pg 42.
    6. Ibid.
    7. Kip Lindberg and Matt Matthews, edited., “The Eagle of the 11th Kansas,” pg 39.
    11th Kansas Cavalry travels.jpg

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  • Tom Craig
    replied
    Re: Fort Caspar (Platte Bridge Station) Campaign Sub-Event in July 2015!

    Hey all,

    I wanted to bump this thread up a bit. This event has all the potential in the world to be one for the ages. Haven't recently gone over the route with organizer Steve Dacus, this is going to be an amazing opportunity to travel in the footsteps of history. The frontier was alive with activity during the war, and we're going to portray just a sliver of that dramatic story, while riding along the Oregon Trail, and the North Platte River.

    It is definitely not an experience for everyone as we tackle 30 miles a day in the saddle for 5 days, in remote country with no access to modern comfort and little logistical support. If you really want to experience a slice of life in the cavalry during the Civil War, or on the frontier, then this is the event for you.

    Take care,
    Tom Craig
    1st Maine Cavalry

    Leave a comment:


  • wavey1us
    replied
    Re: Fort Caspar (Platte Bridge Station) Campaign Sub-Event in July 2015!

    I am not sure if that is good thing or not.

    Leave a comment:


  • Steven Dacus
    replied
    Re: Fort Caspar (Platte Bridge Station) Campaign Sub-Event in July 2015!

    Bill,

    It would be great if you could make it. It would be great to meet someone I have heard so much about.

    Leave a comment:


  • wavey1us
    replied
    Re: Fort Caspar (Platte Bridge Station) Campaign Sub-Event in July 2015!

    Steve and Tom,
    Thanks for the info. If I can recover from this knee surgery (which it is my goal), I plan to take part in the ride. I was stationed at FE Warren (Fort DA Russell) and use to do living history events at both Ft Laramie and Platte Bridge Station. I want to get back. The scenery and terrain is worth the trip, plus gives me a chance to escape from the humidity of southwest Iowa in July.
    Steve, as you have mentioned one can expect hot temps during the day and cool temps at night. It is also best to plan for an occasional rain shower/thunderstorm to "pop up" during the afternoon hours. Hail should not be ruled out.
    A lot of people fail to realize is the standard gait for cavalry is either the walk or trot. The gallop was reserved for extreme circumstances. The fact that you are building in a "break" whereas we are able to walk/rest our mounts is good. After that 52 mile jaunt, it is amazing that after several hours in the saddle how the lower legs begin to tingle a might. Removing my feet out of the stirrups provided a certain degree of relief; however, the best was able to walk for a bit. Gave me chance to loosen the cinch on my horse, check gear, and return the blood flow to my legs.
    Steve, if you need any help let me know. Would be willing to pitch in wherever.

    Leave a comment:


  • Steven Dacus
    replied
    Re: Fort Caspar (Platte Bridge Station) Campaign Sub-Event in July 2015!

    Bill & Tom,

    The company that we will be renting the horses from knows of the conditioning requirements and assure me that the horses will be ready. To one extent, I just have to trust the horse trainer that he will have them ready. But being the statistical/analytical guy that I am, I took the oldest and least used horse from our herd and did a test run last two weekends ago on the capabilities of an "out of shape" mount. The results convinced me that even if the rental horses aren't 100% ready, we should be ok. Employing the walk, trot, walk, trot, rest method, my hag of an old mount did a good full day ride with plenty of energy left. As long as we average 4 miles/hr (which should be pretty easy) we will be done by 2:30pm each day which should leave enough time to rest the horses, feed & water them. I know we consistently do 20 miles in the mountains (hard terrain) with unconditioned horses and we are doing 30 on much easier terrain. Not to under-stress the importance of conditioning, but I think we should be good with the rental horses.

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  • Tom Craig
    replied
    Re: Fort Caspar (Platte Bridge Station) Campaign Sub-Event in July 2015!

    Bill,

    I'll leave the exact details about the rental horse condition/quality to Steve. I will say that the march is actually five days, Monday through Friday, and is a little bit shy of 150 miles. It will be a major effort and not for all, but it will be doable.

    I know precisely what you mean about horses and men being in condition for this. It is imperative that men take the utmost care of their horses during this ride, and if they have doubts about their horses' fitness or their own that they ought to play it safe. There isn't much room to bail out on this ride once we're in the field. The riding that we will be doing is pretty straightforward, meaning that we'll be going from point A to point B without a lot of dashing here or there. We're also planning to conduct this march as they would have done, which includes spending time every hour on foot leading the horses to give us and them a break.

    It's awesome to have folks asking questions and bringing up concerns so that we can get those straightened away long before the event is here.

    Take care,
    Tom Craig
    1st Maine Cavalry

    Leave a comment:


  • wavey1us
    replied
    Re: Fort Caspar (Platte Bridge Station) Campaign Sub-Event in July 2015!

    Steve,
    Having completed a 52 mile ride for an event, have a question with regards to the rental horses. Understand the requirement to "leg up" our horses for the event; however, if folks are using rental horses, will the rental horses be prepped for the 100 miles? On the 52 mile ride, we had rental horses that were in various shapes/conditions when they were brought to the event and both the horse and riders had some issues with completing the event. We are looking at 4 days to complete the trek from Ft Laramie to Caspar.

    Leave a comment:


  • Tom Craig
    replied
    Re: Fort Caspar (Platte Bridge Station) Campaign Sub-Event in July 2015!

    Thanks for the update Steve! This is really going to be an amazing event! If you do cavalry, you ought to be there for this!

    Take care,
    Tom Craig
    1st Maine Cavalry

    Leave a comment:

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