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Add Your Entry to the Wauhatchie Archive

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  • Add Your Entry to the Wauhatchie Archive

    Wauhatchie has become one of those events that will be remembered for a long time. It was an ambitious effort with a superb scenario in it's inception, and as sometimes happens, adversity raises certain events to a higher plain. The weather was about as bad as it possibly could have been. There are cold events and hot events, but the combination of cold and rain tested the participants to the extreme. This is what our side of the hobby is all about, in my opinion.

    This was an opportunity to put what we have learned into practice in the field. How to stay warm. How to occupy yourself during the down times. And most of all, this event created bonds between the participants that will not be soon forgotten.

    I was proud to serve as 1st Sergeant in the Mess No. 1 Company - the 149th New York, Company B, commanded by Ken Cornett. Our NCO's were Seth Hancock as 2nd Sergeant and Scott Bierer, Adam Bostock, Ben Grant, and Steve Spohn serving as corporals. Our ranks consisted of fellow Buckeyes from different messes and organizations from around the state. It was an honor to serve with these comrades.

    I count the main organizers of Wauhatchie as friends. Ivan Ingraham, Tyler Underwood and Andrew Jerram poured their heart-and-soul into the planning of this event and I could not be prouder of them. Unless you have organized an event, you have no idea about the personal sacrifice it takes to pull something like this together. 40 Rounds did something that needs to be noted throughout the rest of the authentic hobby. They went big. Living histories and smaller regional events are the lifeblood of our hobby, but it is the large effort - the dream scenario and "national efforts" that bring our hobby together.

    Obviously, there is plenty of chatter about Wauhatchie on Facebook. No denying it. But, the AC will be the archive for future generations of living historians to search and read about what came before. It is in that vein that I ask for your thoughts about the event. What were the high points for you? What did you learn? What can we all do to capitalize on this grand effort to grow our community with quality living historians?

    I had a blast at Wauhatchie because of the people around me. How about you?
    Last edited by Eric Tipton; 11-02-2017, 08:00 PM.
    Eric Tipton
    AC Owner
    Founding Member, Mess No. 1
    Cincinnati, Ohio

  • #2
    Re: Add Your Entry to the Wauhatchie Archive

    Gents of Company B, Palmetto Sharp Shooters at Wauhatchie 2017:

    I am now finally beginning to wake up out of my post event tired stupor and what an event it was.

    "Wet-hatchie" really made me love the hobby even more because of the PEOPLE that make it happen. You could rain down misery and cold from the skies, but so long as you have good COMPANY AND FRIENDS you will NEVER be downtrodden. Remember to sing away the misery and you will always be happy.

    Special thanks for the Cadre of Co B: Dillan Lee, Rhett Kearns, Jake Smith, Dylan Caudill, Wendall Peebles, Anderson Fox Corder. Gents, I am AMAZED at what an awesome job y'all did regarding knowing what to do. Trust your instincts and your experience will grow even more. I look forward to more adventures together. FORWARD, WE CANNOT BE STOPPED!

    To all that attended: Sorry about the rain and cold, but that cannot be helped. Firper is hard to hold to when you think the event will be canceled. Also, thanks for attending and having faith in our leadership. Look for us when registering at the next event, y'all are welcome anytime!

    Our company really rekindled the times past that I remember in my 20+ years of being in the hobby. That put a slight tear in my eye seeing fellows discovering what I have known: common suffering builds comraderie and trust in our hobby and that trust builds BETTER EVENTS we all want to attend. Remember that.

    Special thanks to Tyler Underwood, Ivan Ingraham, Andrew Jerram for a GREAT EVENT! I will be at the next event certainly.

    All the best: Johnny Lloyd
    Last edited by Johnny Lloyd; 10-30-2017, 09:50 PM.
    Johnny Lloyd
    John "Johnny" Lloyd
    Think before you post... Rules on this forum here
    Known to associate with the following fine groups: WIG/AG/CR

    "Without history, there can be no research standards.
    Without research standards, there can be no authenticity.
    Without the attempt at authenticity, all is just a fantasy.
    Fantasy is not history nor heritage, because it never really existed." -Me

    Proud descendant of...


    • #3
      Re: Add Your Entry to the Wauhatchie Archive

      Wet-Hatchie... Wa-drenchie... a 40-soaking-rounds event!
      There were definite reminders of the last night at "Into the Piney Woods". And, just like that night at ITPW, there was a lot to be learned and "enjoyed" by simply enduring the hardship.

      This was my first (and maybe only) CW event this year... and it showed. My drill was rusty and my fieldcraft was rusty. In a nut: This was a wake-up call to get my head back in the game!
      I have an urge to just go out to some woodlot near my house and practice pitching a fly.

      This was my baptism as a battalion commander at an event that featured a combat scenario... and, whoa-dang! what a scenario it was! I learned things that I just don't know you could learn any other way!

      Yes, some left early, and I take no issue with that. Some folks were in no condition to stay. I sent my kids off with their mother to the hotel. Cold and wet, it was not place for them to be.

      The positives here...
      All those in the Palmetto Sharpshooters! You all did wonderfully! Impressions were right on-target with event regs. Everyone was committed to getting things right.

      All those organizers!! Ivan, Tyler, Andrew, Shane Miles, William DeBord, and dozens of others!! I agree Eric's sentiment that these "Dream Big!" events are important! They serve to bring us all together, acting like a "Campaigner's National Event". They become a focal point for us to look forward to and prep for.

      I never saw a Yank! Why is that a positive? Because sometimes I think either side sees too much of each other during an event, even to the point of socializing sometimes. I think this same feature also made last years picket post special... the only contact I had with the "sesh" was when a couple of us snuck out of camp to trade with them.

      The battle scenario... (This is not typically something that I compliment, or even enjoy).
      The unexpected details can snap you from your modern frame of mind and orient you instantly back to the scenario. Such was the case for me with the pyrotechnics. The topography of the site, distances of engagement, the use of artillery, even the crate of soaking rounds!... all of these made it memorable!

      Thanks again to all involved!

      What's next!!
      John Wickett
      Former Carpetbagger
      Administrator (We got rules here! Be Nice - Sign Your Name - No Farbisms)


      • #4
        Re: Add Your Entry to the Wauhatchie Archive

        I started out as a campaigner 18 years ago before I had ever heard of an Authentic Campaigner. I learned a lot of the tricks to making it through cold and wet events simply from the necessity to do so, some by being instructed and others the hard way. I now spend a lot of time preaching "Field craft! Field craft! Field craft!" to my mess after events to point out places where we should improve to better represent the soldiers we claim to emulate, but I didn't realize how soft and unprepared I had gotten until Wauhatchie. I loaned out items that would have brought me much closer to being comfortable. I didn't check my kit for basics like candles, matches, or burnables, which would have caused a major problem had others not prepared better. I'm certainly indebted to those who started fires and loaned their skills and/or coals.

        The march in the rain was a march in the rain. It's what we do. Instructions were given ahead of time to keep dry shirts and socks available until it was time to bed down. After we arrived at the main site, I gave instructions to my first sergeant to get the enlisted camp set up with shelter and fire before we were to get detailed to improving defenses. While they did that, I watched over, advised, and assisted the construction of shelter for the officers of the 137th New York. The whole time, I'm looking at it from various angles to see what adjustments needed to be made to keep water from coming in at joints and seams and making sure it would roll off to the downhill side.

        Eventually, we were detailed to the breastworks. There was complaining about having been moved away from the fire. This is when the time since I last put my field craft to the test showed. I was slow in having a new fire built to keep my men warm and dry. I zoned out on taking care of myself until a visit from Will Eichler snapped me out of it and got me to actually work at drying out. We lost a few people from my company, although I don't believe that my being more on top of things would have resulted in more than a delay in the necessity of their departure.

        I believe that those who left the event early, learned and grew as living historians at Wauhatchie, despite their departure. Those who stayed learned lessons in preparedness, implementation of field craft, and how much they have in themselves. These were also rewarded by a memorable battle scenario. Very few reenactment battles seem memorable anymore. I've been through enough bad ones that they don't stand out either. The night battle with pyrotechnics stands out. I hadn't been involved in a pitched engagement in the dark since 1999 and hadn't seen pyrotechnics used since the early 2000s. The confederate forces across the field remained invisible, except for muzzle flashes. The weather that created all the suck that had to be constantly embraced through the day also held the smoke low to allow our smaller forces to make the battlefield haze look like that of full-scale forces. These touches, some intentional, some unintentional, created a scenario that deserves to be talked about.

        Had the weather cooperated, Wauhatchie would have been a good campaigner event that reenactors would talk about doing when talking about better events and other organizers would look to when working on their own efforts. Due to the temperature and rain, Wet-hatchie will undoubtedly become the stuff of legend. Everybody was tested, both in body and spirit. A number of people demonstrated an ability to make water burn AND taught others how to do the same. Some of us who have been around awhile were reminded of importance of little things in making an outing manageable. I'm now looking forward to meeting the elements again, which is something I haven't felt in years.

        In conclusion...
        veni vidi supervivi
        I came. I saw. I survived.
        Andrew Potter
        Broadside Mess
        Western Federal Blues


        • #5
          Re: Add Your Entry to the Wauhatchie Archive

          I’ll hazard to note a few observations. If any are taken in the pejorative or received as personal, not at all the case. Just an overall account from one participant’s point of view from the Federal side.

          Good: The aspect of setting camp Friday in one location, with a short march Saturday to the next location, was a great scene setter and review of an aspect of soldier’s life that I think many overlook in the hobby. The lay of the land for the defensive position was great. Had the weather turned out different, the Federal bivouac site for Saturday would have been perfect. That said, it was still sufficient for those with even a modest ability in camping, field-craft, and spirit.

          Great: The night engagement was indeed a fantastic glimpse at the friction and issues involved in fighting at night – and we were in a static position! The rain of “shell” fire from the three guns was an absolute treat! I have never witnessed a fused Ordnance rifle or Napoleon shell air-burst in real life (or any live fire of a civil war cannon for that matter), but I can only imagine it has to be similar to the pyrotechnics employed. And even if reasonably not a perfect recreation, the mere aspect of the sight and sound was well done.

          Eye-opening: the number of otherwise well dressed and equipped “soldiers” who seemed unable to deal with the weather. There is indeed a fine line between hardcore and stupid. I fully understand this is first and foremost a hobby (i.e. – fun). I also fully appreciate those who may not be in as good physical, or more so, mental conditioning to handle adverse environmental conditions, and otherwise end up crushing themselves over a weekend, when they are accountable to real life responsibilities when they get home (like their professions and families). We all have different abilities and motivations. But I was really surprised to see what I think was an entire company in our battalion just unilaterally say “we’re out!” mid-day Saturday. We had attrition in our own company of a few close friends who had to make a frustrating decision to depart early due to the weather. No ill will. Given the deteriorating weather and expected temperature Saturday night, I expect most of us found drier accommodation along our routes home. But for those that endured the 12 or so hours of cold and wet (yes, such a very, very, very long time...) it was rewarded with a superb battle experience. I was also surprised at the number of folks who were challenged by walking 5 or so miles in full kit during the morning march. But even with the weather, it was beautiful country.

          Frustrating: How fast the “this sucks, let’s split and go to Cracker Barrel” can spread through a group. One gent sounds off loud and proud, perhaps just in frustrated discomfort, next to those who were already on the fence and just needed some positive motivation, but are now finding reason to get chicken and dumplings… Again, see my above note on hobby = fun. But the human element of shared hardship (and this wasn’t hard), teamwork, and… what am I missing…. Oh, yeah, that whole thing participants typically are otherwise outspoken about: portraying the life and challenges of period soldiers. Again, a fine line. I was not enthused at the idea of sleeping in the field Saturday night. But had there been event activities Sunday to compel remaining in the field, many of us would have, and been quite ok. There was plenty of firewood and by mid-afternoon Saturday, our bivouac was set (boy that cedar burns nice and hot). But the fact the embers of mutiny were already being fanned mid-morning Saturday across all camps was a curious circumstance to observe.

          Just stream of thought observations said in good cheer.
          Last edited by buckandball; 11-02-2017, 08:52 AM.
          Ben Grant

          Founder and sole member of the Funnel Cake Mess


          • #6
            Re: Add Your Entry to the Wauhatchie Archive

            I was asked by Will Eichler to act as Sgt Major for the 137th NY battalion, a role which I'd done before with this same team at Perryville, but one in which I have limited field experience. I'd like to thank those of you in the battalion for your patience and forbearance, I saw nothing but positive energy and a practical determination the entire weekend. The men were bivouacked in a low belt of trees, which eventually turned into a muddy morass. The boys in C Company dug ditches to reroute the rain water, and named the little rivers the Tennessee and the Cumberland. I second guessed myself, as I'd considered putting them up on higher ground with less trees, but after later inspecting that area found it just as wet and muddy, and probably 15 degrees colder.

            I've got a special respect for Ivan Ingraham, which extends into his service outside the hobby. For as hard as he and the rest of the event staff worked, and congrats AJ on the birth of your child, they got dealt a shite hand by the weather Gods. With some halfway decent weather, this event would have been a far more enjoyable time. The land was beautiful with a easy march route, the rations were ample and tasty, the planning and logistics were precise. We could have done just about any scenario- extended patrols, pickets, camp vignettes, etc. But starting at 5:00 AM Saturday morning, and continuing throughout the day, the skies opened up and the temps dropped. As it was, the concentration was on staying warm, dry, and trying not to bust your ass slipping in the slick Tennessee mud. I saw more than one individual go down, including one right next to a blazing fire, and I myself nearly pulled a groin muscle and slipped a disc while hockey skating through the stuff. And that was just in camp. A FANTASTIC night battle fought on a wooded slope became an exercise in caution, as even the slightest mis-step could send you tumbling with a loaded musket.

            I heard some extreme grumbling on other social media sites, with individuals specifying a lack of consideration from the event organizers vis a vis safety. These were utterly absurd in nature, though the commander needed to take each seriously per his responsibility of command. I even saw one complete and utter ass-hat arguing with my friend Dale Beasely about the symptoms and effects of hypothermia. Dale is a veteran combat nurse who saw numerous tours in Iraq, and I'd trust his judgment implicitly. I know lessons were learned that day. More than one soldier made the march without cover of a gum blanket. And while the rain was not driving, it was steady. People arrived into camp wet, and never really got a chance to dry out. When the temps dropped later, that is when the problems started. Being only an ad-hoc organization, and not a true military one at that, the peer discipline and experience was absent, leading to the situations noted above. Men need to learn to take care of themselves in the field, as their NCO's might not be watching them as closely as they should.

            In any event, the organizers ground aborted the military function of the event following the night battle, and even accelerated the kickoff time from 10:00pm up to 7:00pm. Make no mistake, we were looking at a very miserable night. It was impossible to stay dry. The land owners hound was making the rounds in our camp, and we later saw him being carried into the cabin wet and shivering, though it was rumored his malaise was caused by an overindulgence in salt pork. But I could not think of anything else that could have been done by Ivan. Well done sir. I look upon the weekend with a high degree satisfaction and pride, and earnestly look forward to our team's next endeavor.

            The night fight was fantastic, and I was happy for Ivan we pulled it off. I personally was standing in Company A's camp after dusk, talking with Captain AJ Racine, when I heard a loud rebel yell coming from just beyond our works. At first I thought it was typical event reb hi-jinx, then I remembered where I was. The battalion sprinting to the works, forming up on the fly, and the ensuing night fight complete with artillery shells bursting overhead, was absolutely bad-ass. As Sgt Maj I was behind the line with the Colonel, and had a grand view of the action. My personal moment was seeing our battle line illuminated by the volley flashes of the enemy, and our boys in silhouette ramming cartridges.

            I'll never forget it. Forty Rounds.

            Greene's Brigade on the approach march to Wauhatchie.

            Mike Phineas
            Arlington, TX
            24th Missouri Infantry
            Independent Volunteer Battalion

            "Oh, go in anywhere Colonel, go in anywhere. You'll find lovely fighting all along the line."

            -Philip Kearny


            • #7
              Re: Add Your Entry to the Wauhatchie Archive

              Ah yes, that friendly dog was quick to poke his nose into a pards grounded open haversack and made off with a small loaf of fresh made wheat bread. He faired quite well it seems.

              True observations. Not all of us do this in one form or another in real life professions. I expect SERE school or other aspects of being a Marine in the field are not high on the list of things for everyone in this endeavor. But for some of us it makes a day like we encountered unremarkable. But in kind, recognizing not everyone comes from that background is crucial.
              Ben Grant

              Founder and sole member of the Funnel Cake Mess


              • #8
                Re: Add Your Entry to the Wauhatchie Archive

                This was my son and I's first campaign style event and we both really enjoyed it. We were miserable like everyone else through the afternoon but extremely happy that we made it to the main event, and what a main event it was.

                I learned a lot from this event and now have a much better idea of what to do during times of poor weather. Our kit is adequate but I now have a good idea on how to make it more campaign event friendly.

                I really appreciated the fellowship around the fire with my fellow soldiers from Co. K (137th). I felt we were all looking out for each other, though it was probably more a case of them looking after me and my son than the other way around.

                In our case I appreciated the leadership from Company level to Battalion level looking out for us and trying to keep our spirits up.

                The battle itself was spectacular! I have no idea how the Confederate forces were able to get as close as they with out us seeing them, and believe me I was looking. A few details stand out in my mind;

                - Looking around our position and being barely able to see more than a few feet through the smoke.
                - Catching glimpses of the confederate soldiers only ;when they fired by company.
                - Seeing wadding burning in the trees and on the ground (I guess it being a little wet was ok).
                - Having ammunition brought up and having our NCO's moving rounds up for us so we could keep firing.

                Overall, the event was fantastic and though we were miserable during a lot of it (time did seem to stand still), it gave me a small (very small) idea of what our ancestors went through for months at a time. I look forward to being on the field with you again.
                David Firestine

                Perry Adcock, Captain, Co C, 1st Battalion, Tennessee Infantry (Colms')
                John A. Crowder, Private, Co E, 1st Battalion, Tennessee Infantry (Colms')
                Benjamin T. Higginbotham, Captain, Co C, 11th Regiment, Alabama Infantry


                • #9
                  Re: Add Your Entry to the Wauhatchie Archive

                  Rain-be-damned, I had a blast! To echo Mr. Grant, a little bit of positive attitude goes a long way in sucky circumstances. IMHO, the leadership of the combined companies I and K, 78th NY did an excellent job in keeping everyone's spirits up and proactively heading off contagious exacerbation . . . the site of our whole company huddled around a fire Saturday afternoon, in our drawers, eating canned peaches comes to mind.
                  Dave Schwartz,
                  Company B, 79th NY Vols.
                  (New York Highland Guard)


                  • #10
                    Re: Add Your Entry to the Wauhatchie Archive

                    Nothing I can say that wasn't covered, just a few points:

                    - there is a difference in being wet, cold and tired and having hypothermia.
                    -there were folks that I sent to the rear who were running fever. My son had the flu and had to miss the event.
                    -for those who said we had no contingency plan for folks getting sick or needing evacuated, your wrong. EMS had been coordinated, I had a map of the area, a cell phone and a radio in my haversack.

                    So bottom line and to the point, the experiences we had in the field were realistic. They were just wet.


                    • #11
                      Re: Add Your Entry to the Wauhatchie Archive

                      My second 40 Rounds campaign event, and a campaign it was.

                      It was cold, wet, muddy, and a good kick in the ass, which is what a lot of us need every now and then.

                      I experienced the joys of shoddy government issue equipment, keeping a fire going with wet wood, and reaching a level of discomfort that me and a few soggy pards dragged the top end of a tree across a field just to have something to sit on.

                      The high point of my weekend was not the night assault, nor singing while marching to the jump off point, nor the sketchy hay ride Friday night. Rather, it occurred at about midday Saturday, when I looked into my friend Sean's wet, dead-eyed face. The look of resignation he gave me was the most amusing thing I think I've ever seen. It was so miserable, we couldn't help but laugh at ourselves.

                      It also made me realize just how dirty your stuff can get in one day on campaign. If you fall in with the so called "Hardkewl" or "Cornfed" boys, and there isn't at least a even frosting of dried mud on you, you are a fraud and shall be banished from the club house.

                      Loved the suck.


                      J. Alexander
                      James Peli


                      • #12
                        Re: Add Your Entry to the Wauhatchie Archive

                        I was portraying 1st Lieutenant Allen Butler of Company B, Palmetto Sharpshooters. Through researching the man I found that both of us were 25 and both had an interest in school teaching (although he had already been doing it for a few years). With that being said, previous comments have sounded off the goods, bads, and uglys of this event. There were MUCH more goods than bads or uglys. The following is my humble opinion and no ill-will is meant to anyone personally, so don't take it so.

                        The good: impressions, camp scenes, comraderie.
                        The bad: the weather. Event coordinators and commanders cannot help this. The show must go on.
                        The ugly: premature evacuators, "campaigner" field craft. While there is a fine line between hobby safety and embracing the suck if one knew basic field craft they should've been able to make it through this event.

                        I regret that so many self-professed campaigners left as soon as the going got tough. They missed out on something great. The lesson learned here is that campaigners need to focus more on learning how to survive in the field for 48 hours without being perfectly comfortable.
                        Dillan Lee
                        "Exodus 15:3: The Lord is a man of war"
                        Jasper Greens Mess / SCAR