Announcement of the event

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Announcement of the event

Post  aWagonMaster on Wed Aug 05, 2009 3:34 pm

The brigade trains will be made up of wagon companies, a supporting Infantry company, and possibly Artillery. There may well have been a traveling forge, an ambulance, a sutler, and refugees following the column.

The event will be held on 12,000 acres of private land with a minimum of modern intrusions near Crossville, Tennessee from Sunday, August 1st Saturday, the 7th, in 2010. Sunday will be registration, we will march Monday morning and we will muster out Saturday.

This will be an adventure like no other. We expect multiple wagons, teams and animals. The terrain is rough but manageable. The work will be strenuous. Our intent is to recreate an accurate experience of a part of life in 1862, including food, living conditions, supply, administration, and work. This is an opportunity to learn how soldiers, teamsters and refugees lived in a world dependent on animal transportation; and, the coordination necessary between the various elements of an army, Infantry, Artillery, Cavalry and their support under realistic conditions. We expect to be moving wagons over obstacles, cutting firewood, improving roads, and gathering forage. It will be physically strenuous. This is a deep immersion, living history event. We expect participants to maintain first person attitudes, actions and conversation for the duration of the event. This is for beginners.

For more information:

Military: Rob Murray, in-the-van@charter.net
Refugees: Terre Lawson, in-the-van@att.net
Wagons and teams: Gerry Barker, gerybarker1@gmail.com


In the Van: Trailing Kirby Smith
Wagons and Teams

Wagoners intending to bring their outfits to In the Van: Trailing Kirby Smith should be aware that the conditions will be serious and animal management will take a lot of thought. The terrain is hilly but not as bad as Piney Woods or Marmaduke’s Raid. Trails are sand with rocky spots, but not as harsh on an animal’s feet as crushed limestone. There is good grazing and this year anyway, more than adequate water. Expect daytime temperatures in the nineties with nights getting as low as the forties (F). Thunderstorms are a possibility.

The enemy is local Bushwhackers, both mounted and dismounted, possibly as high as company strength. They know the terrain much better than us. Their drawback is that while they are good hunters and farmers, they would have little or no military training and very little military arms or equipment.

Rolling stock may be any wooden wheeled wagon or cart that roughly conforms to the configurations of mid nineteenth century vehicles. Single, double and triple box wagons will be allowed. Since it takes an expert to tell the difference between the cast iron hub with a Babbitt metal bearing and a Sarvin hub, we will permit Sarvin hubs. Modern draft breeds, Belgians and Percherons, as well as modern Holsteins will be permitted.

For this reenactment safety is a paramount consideration. We are taking people and animals in harms way. A panic stricken animal can wreck a wagon, hurt itself and crush humans. Even without the disaster that a runaway could cause, a wagon wheel on a hard surface can cut limbs or appendages off. Basic safety practices have to be observed. First, never trust your animals. They must be in control at all times. Do not leave them untied and unattended. Teach everyone around you (inexperienced Infantry) to stay away from the wheels. If in doubt, ask for help. Always have an assistant so one of you can stay with the animals. We will not allow anyone to steal animals on this project.

Animals must have current health papers. Horses and mules must have Coggins. Cattle must have a current health inspection certificate from your Vet. The site keeps a copy of your Coggins or health certificate, you can save time by having a copy with you.

Animals should be conditioned for five days of heavy walking. Make sure they are doing five to eight miles with at least a full load and possibly overload for training. If you are in flat country, remember pulling in mountains is a very different experience.

Wagons should be thoroughly checked out. A trip to the wheel wright before the campaign will be cheaper in the long run than having to extract a wagon miles from a trailhead. Look at hubs, spokes and fellows. If you are not sure of the reach, replace it. Remember the reach is an expendable piece, supposed to break before a more important part of the wagon.

Those driving horses and mules, please be sure your harnesses are in good repair. A broken upper hames strap or anything in the breeching/holdback system can get an animal hurt, cause a runaway, and imperil the lives of both animals and humans. We have no way of predicting the weather. Give your harnesses good oiling before the event. It might be a good idea to have harness repair tools and parts with you. For example, on a long trip like this I usually have an extra eye bolt, and bow for my oxen, and some spare leather, awl, thread and needles to repair a harness..

Do not overload the animals. The old rule of thumb was that a draft animal can pull half its own weight on wheels, all day, every day. Thus if you have a span of 900 pound animals, they weigh 1800 pounds total and you can pull 900 pounds including the wagon. My four boys weigh about 8,100 pounds together. My freight wagon weighs 1100 pounds, thus I could conceivably put 2,900 pounds in it. For comparison a 10 pound Parrott Rifle with limber weighs 3,700 pounds; also a realistic load for my team.

If your animals have not been trained to stay on a picket line, you will need to put some time into it. I stake my animals at first for short periods of time when I can be in the area to untangle them as necessary. Then I slowly lengthen the time. I do not stake or picket an animal then walk away (out of ear shot), even after they are trained.

I would bring fly wipe or equivalent, some foot maintenance tools, first aid items (especially for colic), shoes already fitted and spare nails and my choice of grain. There will be more than one person on the trip capable of putting a shoe back on, but shaping shoes can be difficult in the field.

Although the trails are sand with some rocky spots I would do something to protect the animal’s feet. I have become a believer in Bovi-bond, but traditional shoeing is certainly adequate. If any of you noticed at Piney Woods and Brice’s Crossroads, my oxen did not even flinch on gravel.

Wagons should be equipped with enough tools and materials to get themselves out of trouble. As a minimum, have an ax, a logging chain, spare clevis and a wheel wrench. Logging chains in the 19th Century were generally a rod long (16’6”). A freighter on the high plains carried an ax, a spade, a logging chain and a tool kit for the wagon, plus a kitchen box. In the book Wagons for the Santa Fe Trade are two examples of kitchen boxes. They are basically 12 to 16 inches wide, 10 to 12 inches high and a little less than the width of the wagon. Freighters in the era were required to carry tarps to cover their loads inside the bonnets. In fact they could be fined if they were caught not tarping the load. Bring an extra tarp for your load.

There are some steep descents on the trails we will be on. Brakes were just coming in during the Civil War era. I doubt if many civilian wagons had them. If your wagon does not have good positive brakes, install chain brakes (also called hip chains or drop chains). Most farm wagons still had these when I was a boy. An example can be found in the Conestoga Wagon: 1750 – 1850 by Shumway, Durell and Frey. Another alternative is to come with a chain prepared to chain the rear wheels on a steep hill.

For this campaign, wagoners should be dressed as civilians. There is certainly no problem with mixing some military clothing in your dress, but we will all be civilian contract drivers. Refugee men and women would have been used if there were not enough other drivers. Victorian etiquette notwithstanding, drivers are generally shown in shirtsleeves without vests or jackets.

Wagoners traditionally carried trade goods, often contraband items for sale to the troops. Foods, tobacco, whiskey and luxury items would be good examples. This can be part of the living history experience. I also think that although we will be eating Army rations, it would be a strange wagoner that did not have a private stash of food in his kitchen box.

I know there are teams without wagons and wagons without teams that have expressed an interest in the event. If you will contact me I will try to get you matched up.

I will do anything I can to help people get ready for this event. If you have any questions, please ask. If you need to come here or we need a wagon training session somewhere, we may be able to work it out.

Gery Barker
Wagoner
gerybarker1@gmail.com
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aWagonMaster

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Location

Post  aWagonMaster on Tue Nov 24, 2009 3:44 pm

Can you give us a little closer idea of where the event will start, other than close to Crossville, TN?
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Drop Chains

Post  aWagonMaster on Tue Nov 24, 2009 3:52 pm

Could you offer us, an idea how to properly use drop chains?
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Freight

Post  aWagonMaster on Tue Nov 24, 2009 4:03 pm

What are we going to be hauling in the wagons?
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Kitchen Box

Post  aWagonMaster on Tue Nov 24, 2009 4:06 pm

What are some of the items you generally carry in your kitchen box?
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Food

Post  aWagonMaster on Tue Nov 24, 2009 4:07 pm

Are we bringing our own food, and feed for the critters in the wagons?
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Re: Announcement of the event

Post  Spinster on Fri Nov 27, 2009 10:06 pm

Gerry is often not readily available on line due to his work schedule. As a member of the event planning team, and the civilian coordinator, and the 'moneybag' I'll answer what I can.

The event is on private land approx 25 miles north of Crossville, Tn

Proper grazing and hay will be provided by the event. I am away from home and my notes, and do not remember the answer regarding grain for animals.

Wagoneers will receive the same rations issued to military and civilian participants. Those rations reflect the historic record for the unit portrayed during this campaign, along with some supplemental items. Otherwise, we would find ourselves, quite literally, an army 'on the run' Embarassed

You are encouraged to supplement your rations with additional items correctly packaged to the period portrayed. We will provide additional resource files for correct labels for boxes and cans. As a civilian wagoneer contracted by the army, you may find yourself in a position to make some advantageous trades with soldiers who are less than content with their issued rations.

Gerry can speak to the correct construction of a kitchen/wagon box. In fact, he has a man lined up to make them. Here's what will be in mine. Your contents will vary because your cooking needs will vary.
Set of 3 nested sheet iron mess kettles
Set of 3 sheet iron mess pans
Long handle ladle, with slots
Dipper
Tin pitcher
Wooden spoons
Collander
Butcher knife
Spice Box
Soap
Spyder or fry pan
Grease can

Loads for wagons will include event rations, forage, wooden water barrels, munitions, and a bunch of other stuff that Gerry said and I forgot. What I do remember is that he intends for each wagon to carry No More Than Half it's rated load, based upon the weight of the animals pulling and that of the wagon itself.

And while I've seen the 'chain thing' done, I'm wayyyyy too ignorant in terminology to explain it.

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Questions

Post  Gery Barker on Tue Dec 01, 2009 12:13 pm

Sorry guys, after almost a whole year on the road, I came back ot a few crises that demanded my time. Maybe things are getting back to normal. I think Terre did a good job of answering the questions. A couple of things I can add:

First, drop chains, hip chains or chain brakes. Usually they are attached to the outside braces in front of the rear wheels. This is the center of the wagon on all three of my wagons. The chain is long enough to extend at a roughly 45 degree angle down to attach to a spoke on the rear wheel. I have hooks that fit my spokes on all three of mine. I have one original, probably 18th or early 19th century, that has a toggle on the end. My guess is that it passed around the spoke and fastened back on itself. An English book I have shows a smaller hook used on a wagon the same way. If you need, I'll get a picture of mine and post it.

Second, My kitchen box has a kettle, skillet, spatula, spoon, bowls, spices, and some food. I try to keep everything to that box because I think that is most realistic.

Third, There are numerous mentions of wagoners having a private stash of food, as well as trade items as we have talked about before. Injun Fightin' Army is probably the best footnote although it is a little after our time it has a good discussion of Army Wagoners. Empire on Wheels and The Wagonmasters, both mention the trade goods and private stashes, but both are looking at civilian wagoners. But in 1862, we are civilian wagoners simply serving in an army.

Sorry I am so slow to reply.
Gerry
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Thank you Both for your replies

Post  aWagonMaster on Tue Dec 01, 2009 12:36 pm

Gerry a picture would be great. A Picture of the application of the chain toggle and hook styles would also be great.
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Re: Announcement of the event

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