As per usual, we had (how should I say?) an interesting variety of weather. Despite the Monday morning monsoon, everyone behaved themselves when breaking camp and there was almost no damage to the park grounds; furthermore, there was very little litter despite the fact nearly 500 people lived there for three days - and entertained some 15 to 20 thousand guests during that stay! I in particular appreciate the respect you've shown for the park grounds (I have this recurring nightmare in which I awaken for cleanup duty Monday morning at Vincennes, throw open the tent flaps, and find myself in the middle of Yasgur's Farm the day after Woodstock). The GRC Park grounds were in pretty good shape when the King's Regiment cleanup crew started their work, and that makes it a whole lot easier on us.
Members of my regiment have directed me to thank Worthington's for the super-clean way they left their camp area. And they've also asked me to officially pass on to Linnea Bass our appreciation for her courage in carrying on with her narrating duties under what were very difficult circumstances for her.
The sponsors were quite happy with the event, and were especially pleased that we used all the battlefield - everyone in the audience had a good seat! The various NWTA salutes and formations went very well, though the Sunday evening Color ceremony was canceled due to thunderstorms. I thought the salute for the NWTA Dead was a very effective experience this year: the slow, deliberate march of the firing party across the parade ground behind the cannon, its wheels creaking and rims rattling against the stone as the procession made made ever more poignant by news of Bill Burke's death at the start of the event.
Vincennes is a large and complex event, and not real easy for us to host since most of the King's Regiment lives 250 miles from the site. We put a lot of effort into it, but things occasionally run amuck. The biggest complaint I received this year was that the volcano didn't happen I thought the 1996 reenactment of the l995 rush to the tornado shelter was an adequate substitute, but no!
Tornadoes have become passé. People want something different, something exciting! Well, maybe a volcano next year. - Bill Potter
It was the first time I had attended an event that had a trenched "camp" kitchen. I was skeptical but encouraged to try it when Dan dug the chimney and fire box. I had Corn Dodgers to deep fry and there was no room in the general fire pit at our camp site.
The trench was deep enough that when I stood in it, the frying pan was kitchen -stove height, not at my ankles. Boy, was that nice! The wind was "blowin' up a gale" and the pot on the other fire was still cold when my Dodgers were done - the chimney put all the heat at the bottom of my pan, not the next county. The fire box held just enough small wood to do the job quickly, and was controllable by adding more wood or pulling out some of the non-burning ends.
After dinner Dan cut a seat in the outer edge of the trench and lined it with straw. We sat out of the wind very cozy with the warm ashes and radiating dirt walls toasting our knees. Stairs cut into the corner of the trench made access very easy with heavy pots. The grass surface made an excellent worksurface and counter top for pots, utensils, and serving platters.
I am spoiled now. I will definitely use this type of camp kitchen at every opportunity. I hearby volunteer to camp next to the next one and give dinnertime demonstrations! The tourists loved it too.
Thanks to the event hosts and site managers for the paved parking lot. It saved many a worry of sunk vehicles. Also thanks for the abundant and pleasant shrubbery in the camp.
Excellent surprise about the evening concert - impressive. Extra points for the prime battlefield! Controlled maneuvers are fun to watch and add a lot to the battle. I hope there will be even more in future events. Great replicas of the Eiffel Tower for the battlefield photographs!
Contributors: Linnea Bass, Bill Burke, Gary Ambrus and Family, Pete Rollet, Private Soldier, 42nd RHR, Gren. Co., Susan Krakower, Hamilton's Artillery Company, Webb's Band of Musick, The Third New York Regiment, Harold and Joan Dobberpuhl, Bill and Marilyn Hess, Proctor's Corps of Artillery, Sandridge Settlers, Past and Present, Gary Weigel, Tony and Marabeth Starke, Hugh, Peg, Nick, and Will Finson, H.R.M.'s Marines, Jeff and Diane Saeger, 17th Regiment of Light Dragoons, the 55th Regiment of Foot, Ron Koontz, 71st Regiment of Highland Foot, Worthington's Company, Illinois Regiment, King's/or 8th/ Regiment (The powder horn was made by John A. Miller of Kellar's Co.)
On behalf of the Northwest Territory Alliance--and Stanley Rayner-- thank each and every one of you! - William L. Potter,
Stanley Fund Coordinator.
I would like to extend my personal thanks to the person who makes long, skinny cartridges from old phone books. At the Vincennes event I was handed no less than EIGHT of your live cartridges that were left laying around on the field, and they got me through the rest of the weekend's battle demonstrations!
A tip -- to avoid involuntarily giving me more of your cartridges, make them so they fit your cartridge box SNUGLY -- a cartridge former made from an 11/16" dowel is very close to the authentic size used for a Brown Bess musket and will make a cartridge that fits nice and snug in the 3/4" holes of your block.*
To test if your cartridges are a good, safe size, try this simple test: open the flap and tip your cartridge box upside-down! Your cartridges should be snug enough that MOST of them will stay put unless you jiggle the box around.
MORE HANDY CARTRIDGE TIPS: TIP #1: Put some 12 gauge muzzleloading shotgun wads down the holes of your block to take up the extra space that would historically have been filled by the lead ball. This will keep your cartridges from "settling" down into the holes and make them easier to grab.
TIP #2: I have tried every paper imaginable in my quest for the "ultimate" cartridge. So far, the best material I have found is plain old brown paper towels like you get at most gas stations. The paper is strong, flexible, glues easily, and you won't wrench your teeth out trying to tear them off (Pickering recommends: "soft brown paper called whitish-brown, or wrapping paper...").
Oh, by the way, if you insist on making your cartridges undersized from old phone books, then PLEASE use 90-100 grains of 3F -- it's my preferred load.
* For other calibers of weapons, measure the diameter of your BLOCK, not the bore of your piece, and make your cartridges on a dowel that is about 1/16" to 1/8"smaller (depending on the thickness of your cartridge paper). A skinnier cartridge may be more authentic for smaller bored weapons, but you are going to loose them on occasion!