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From: JAMES FOX []
Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 1:08
To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;
Subject: The Black Plume March, 2009

The Black Plume

The 1st Virginia Cavalry, Company D, Dismounted

The Washington Rifles Newsletter

March, 2009

Number 4, Volume 2


2009 Company D 1st Virginia Schedule

March 28 & 29     Training Weekend – School of the Soldier

                             Jimmy Richardson’s Farm; Russell County, Virginia

April 17 - 19         Skirmish at Jeffersonville (Tazewell), Virginia

May 1 – 3             Battle of Bulls Gap, Tennessee

May 7 & 8             Meadowview Living History, Rob Salyer’s Event

May 22 – 24         Battle at Elkhorn City, Kentucky

May 30                 Clinch Valley Days; Living History; St. Paul, Virginia

June 5 – 7            Battle of Jonesville, Virginia

July 3 – 5             Christmas in July; West Jefferson, North Carolina; Living History

July 10 – 12         Battle at Wise, Virginia

August 1 & 2        Living History; Virginia Highlands Festival; Abingdon, Virginia

August 14 – 16    Battle of Saltville

September 11-13 Battle of the Cumberland; LMU Campus; Cumberland Gap

October 16 – 18   Battle of Fort Sanders; Knoxville, Tennessee

November 6 – 8   Battle of Zollicoffer; Bluff City, Tennessee

December 5 or 6  Christmas Dinner

                             Date, Time and Location TBA


The Washington Rifles Website

Our website has been updated with new pictures and our schedule for 2009. Changes and updates can be found almost daily. Check it out at:

 “The Plume” would also recommend the site of our campaigner arm of the 1st Va. Co. D, the Wampus Cats Mess.

If you are looking for more information on becoming a reenactor or would like to receive information about joining the Washington Rifles contact Captain Monte Baker at

To contact “The Plume” or to send an article you wish included in the next issue send email to





Company D 1st Virginia Officer Corp

Captain – Monte Baker

1st Lieutenant – Randy Glass

2nd Lieutenant – William Fox

1st Sergeant – Ronnie Meade

2nd Sergeant – Daniel Cruey

Corporal – Ryan Haulsey

Corporal – Shawn Sturgill

Chaplin – Kenneth “Gator” Gilliam


3rd Business meeting of the Year

Our 3rd and final business meeting of the year will be held on March 1, 2009 at 2:00pm at the Washington County Library, Abingdon, Virginia. This will be our last meeting of the year as after this meeting we will be having too much fun at reenactments and living histories. Lt. Glass will be on hand to order powder and caps and to collect dues and insurance for 2009. Several battles found on our early schedule require registration and those payments will be collected at this meeting. To pre-register for the battles at Jeffersonville, Bulls Gap, Elkhorn City and Jonesville, Lt. Glass will be present to collect the funds at that time.  However you may also pay at the gate if you wish. This however may be at a higher rate. Plans will be finalized for our training weekend. Captain Baker will give a report on the Dalton, Georgia trip. As are all our meetings, the general public and any interested parties are invited to attend.



Training Weekend – School of the Soldier

Directions to the site:

From Abingdon, Virginia

Take Route 19 toward Tazewell/ Bluefield

Pass through Lebanon, Virginia and continue on Route 19 to Rosedale

At the traffic light at Rosedale turn left on Route 80, The Redbud Hwy. and Travel West toward Honaker, Virginia. for apx. 4.6 miles.

Turn right on Route 67, The Swords Creek Road, and travel west for 3.6 miles.

After passing E. Dillon (a rock quarry) and crossing a railroad track, turn right on Route 633, Clark’s Valley Road and travel .6 miles.

Turn right on Route 781, Richardson Road and travel .5 miles to the camp site.

This past month “The Plume” was on the ground to inspect the area where the training camp will be. We will be camping around an unfinished log house with several pieces of horse drawn farm implements. There will be room in the building for those not wishing to stay in a tent. Running water and electrical service is on site. There are three large fields for drill and marching with an unlimited opportunity to maneuver. Each field offers a different terrain to drill on.

          After leaving the camp and field area there are miles of dirt roads passing through fields and forest. The area looks just like it would have looked in 1860 and we will have 200 acres of opportunity for a tactical both Saturday and Sunday.

          Ms. Janice Busic has agreed to come on Sunday evening and perform in the persona of Confederate spy Belle Boyd for the group.

On Saturday Dr. Gary Crum will perform songs popular with the Confederate troops and the Southern home front at our event. Maybe we can have a soldier’s ball there in the front yard of the cabin.  More information about these fine historians can be found in separate articles in this month’s issue of “The Plume”.

          The Henry Carter Stuart Chapter 1828 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy will sponsor a ladies tea on Sunday.

          Camp 840 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans is sponsoring a treasure hunt during the weekend event.

 Pvt. Richardson is attempting to secure a bluegrass band to join us on Saturday evening.

          “The Plume” would recommend that every trooper bring plenty of caps and rounds. This should be a lively weekend. We do love the smell of black powder in the morning. A tentative schedule for the weekend can be found in this issue.

          Captain Baker requests that those members that have Union (blue) uniforms to bring them. We will be taking group pictures as the 13th Tennessee in blue and the 1st Va. in our Confederate Uniforms.

          Please look in this issue for a tentative schedule of events for the training weekend and a profile on our special guest performers.


Answers to 150 Years Ago in American History

From the February Issue of the Plume

February 14, 1859         Oregon admitted as a the 33 state; Admitted as a free state

February 19, 1859         Dan Sickles, future Union General, is acquitted of murder on the grounds of temporary insanity. The 1st time in US history this defense was successfully used. Sickles, a congressman from New York shot and killed unarmed Phillip Barton Key, the son of the composer of the Star Spangled Banner across the street from the White House. Key had been having an affair with Sickle’s wife. The defense attorney was Edwin M. Stanton who would become Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of War.

February 28, 1859         Arkansas legislature requires free blacks to choose exile or slavery.

April 4, 1859                  The song “Dixie” was performed for the first time by composer Dan Emmett and The Bryant’s Minstrel Show in New York City, New York.

May 31, 1859                 The Philadelphia Athletics organize to play “Town Ball”. The sport would become baseball 20 years later.

June 11, 1859                The Comstock silver load discovered near Virginia City, Nevada. Between 1859 and 1878 over $400 million in gold and silver was mined.

August 27, 1859            The 1st successful oil well was drilled near Titusville, Pennsylvania by Edwin Drake

October 16, 1859           On Sunday evening radical abolitionist John Brown and a tiny army of 5 blacks and 13 white followers seized the Federal Arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. There goal was to incite a great slave rebellion there in the mountains of Virginia.  Within 24 hours Brown and 4 of his surviving men were captured by 90 US Marines led by Lt. Col. Robert E. Lee and J. E. B. Stuart.

December 2, 1859         John Brown executed by hanging at Charles Town, Virginia for treason against the state of Virginia       

December 18, 1859       South Carolina declared itself an “Independent Commonwealth.”


Gary Crum, Ph. D.


                                  Dr. Crum is a graduate of the College of William and Mary (BS, 1976), the University of Kentucky (Ph.D. 1972 and Columbia University (MPH, 1973). He is currently retired from Government service with the Commonwealth of Kentucky and is on the faculty of the The University of Virginia’s College at Wise.

                                  Dr. Crum has performed music for over 40 years. He will sing, play instruments, and review the history of the music commonly encountered in the Confederate military units and in Southern homes of the war period.

          His brochure contains a long list of war era songs that he can perform along with songs from the antebellum period and prewar songs such as Barbara Allen that had arrived on these shores from the Old Country.

          Dr. Crum and wife, Millicent, have made their home in St. Paul, Virginia. She is a member of the Carrington Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and he is an associate member of the Charlotte County Grays of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Dr Crum is a member and soloist at the St. Paul United Methodist Church and is a long-time member and church speaker for Gideons International.

          Dr. Crum will perform for the 1st Virginia and our visitors and guests at the Training Weekend on Saturday evening on March 28 and at our Church Service on Sunday morning on March 29.



Where and When was the 1st Battle of the Civil War

        Most historians site the “official” event as to the beginning of the Civil War to be the attack on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina by Confederate troops on April 12, 1861. However some historians consider the Battle of Black Jack in far off Kansas as the first true battle of the war.

          The Battle of Black Jack took place on June 2, 1856, when anti-slavery forces led by the abolitionist John Brown, attacked the encampment of Henry C. Pate. Pate was encamped with 22 others at the trail town of Black Jack on the Santa Fe Trail. Brown led a force of 29.

The five hour battle went in the favor of Brown and his men. Pate and his 22 men were captured and held for ransom. Brown agreed to release them when his two sons were released by pro-slavery forces who had captured then about two weeks earlier.

The town of Black Jack was founded in 1855 and became incorporated in 1857. By the end of the Civil War the town was abandoned and became a ghost town.



A Local Reenactment Group Has a New Name

On Saturday, January 31, 2009, a meeting of reenactors known to all as the Company D of the 37th Virginia Infantry based in Dickenson County had a business meeting. As most members of this group have ancestors that fought with the 29th Virginia Infantry, Company D of the 37th has now been dissolved and will now reenact under the banner of Company F of the 29th Regiment of Confederate Infantry. Jackie Branham remains the Captain; Ronnie Robbins 1st Lieutenant; Sergeants Creg “Too Tall” Barton, Larry Odle and Roger Davis; Corporals Allen Tickle and Jeff Spangler.


Tentative Schedule for the Training Weekend

March 27, 28 and 29, 2009

March 27

12:00 Noon until dark early arrivals are invited to set up camp on the ground. Pvt. Jim Richardson will be in charge of setting up the camp until Capt. Baker arrives. Friday afternoon there will be a drill for the troops that have arrived early.

March 28

Dawn and throughout the morning members and guests will arrive and set up camp. It is ok to come for the day. Camping is not a prerequisite for attending the Training Weekend.

          8:00 am The School of the Soldier begins with our first drill

          10:00 am more drill

          12:00 noon Dinner

1:00 pm Tactical Battle; The area where the tactical will be fought will remind the soldier of “The Wilderness” battlefield.

4:30 pm Supper

5:30 pm Performance by Dr. Gary Crum of Civil War Music on the porch of the cabin

March 29

          8:00 am Drill

          10:00 am Church Service

          11:00 am Company Pictures

          12:00 noon Lunch

12:30 pm Soldier’s Competition organized by the 1st Virginia Officers

12:30 pm Ladies Tea Sponsored by the local chapter of the UDC

2:00 pm Performance by Ms Janice Busic in the persona of Belle Boyd; on the front porch of the cabin

2:30 pm Drill in the field along the river followed by a tactical battle; This battle will allow us to practice many of our skills of maneuver learned in two days of drill.

4:30 pm Capt. Baker will have a short business meeting on the cabin front porch.

5:00 pm Break up Camp


Treasure Hunt at the Training Weekend

Sponsored by

The Captain John F. McElhenny Camp 840

Sons of Confederate Veterans

          The Russell County Sons of Confederate Veterans will sponsor a treasure hunt for those attending the Washington Rifles training weekend. There will be a “treasure” for our ladies attending and for our men. Commander James Boyd told “The Plume” that a map or some type of directions that would require some hunting and searching would be provided. Treasure is never easy to find. Camp 840’s website is:

The Camp Commander/Camp Adjutant is James Boyd; 1st Lieutenant Commander is Ronnie Meade: 2nd Lieutenant Commander is Harold Richardson.



 State Senator Wants Paid Confederate Holiday in

South Carolina

A black state senator is pushing a bill that would require South Carolina cities and counties to give their workers a paid day off for Confederate Memorial Day or lose millions in State funds. Democratic Sen. Robert Ford’s bill won initial approval from a Senate subcommittee. If passed it would include May 10 as a paid State Holliday as Confederate Memorial Day.

Years ago Senator Ford, an African- American, pushed a bill creating Martin Luther King’s birthday. He considered the day to be an effort to understand the history of the Civil Rights movement in South Carolina. Also in Ford’s bill Confederate Memorial Day was created in an effort to allow South Carolinians to learn of their Confederate roots. While the bill passed only 10 of 46 counties recognize Confederate Memorial Days.

Senator Ford’s new bill will force all counties to celebrate both days. Ford said that South Carolina’s citizens “should respect both days” and that the Confederate War dead should be honored.



Ladies Tea Sponsored by

The Harry Carter Stuart Chapter 1828

 United Daughters of the Confederacy

Chapter 1828 will sponsor a ladies tea at the training weekend on Saturday, March 28 at 1:00 pm. The original Chapter 1828 was chartered at Honaker, Virginia on January 4, 1924 and became inactive in 1931. In 1988, Ms. Janice Busic, obtained permission from the Virginia Division UDC Board of Directors, to allow the reinstatement of Chapter 1828. The current Chapter came into existence on August 14, 2008 with Ms. Kathy Richardson elected as the first President of the Chapter. Ms. Richardson also serves as editor of the Chapter Newsletter. Other Chapter officers are: Vice President Mrs. Barbara Fox; Second Vice President Mrs. Nicki Kovalcick; Third Vice President Mrs. Keli Spiegel: Secretary and Treasurer Mrs. Francis Miller; Registrar Mrs. Shirley Dye; Historian and Recorder of Military Service Awards Jennifer Cruey.


Washington Rifles Fund Raiser

As was discussed in the February meeting a 1851 Navy black powder pistol has been ordered for a company fund raiser. The total cost will be $144.94. This includes the cost of the pistol and shipping and handling to the home of Pvt. Steven Fox who has agreed to purchase the pistol. The cost will be refunded to him by the company as soon as possible. The pistol is on backorder and should arrive on or very near April 6, 2009. A decision will be made at the March 1st meeting as to the sale price of tickets.


Ms. Janice Busic to Present Program on the Life and Times of Belle Boyd at Training Weekend

          At this years Training Weekend Ms. Janice Busic will perform in The Persona of Belle Boyd. A picture of Belle Boyd, Confederate Spy, is shown above. Belle was born on May 4, 1844 in Martinsburg, Virginia and died in Kilbourne, Wisconsin in 1900. She was a graduate of the Mount Washington Female College in Baltimore, Maryland.

          When war came, Ms. Boyd became a Confederate spy. She was placed in the Old Capital Prison for a time but was released to continue her intrigue throughout the war years. After the war she became a writer, an actress and much sought after speaker at Confederate Veteran and Grand Army of the Republic reunions.

Janice Busic is a member of United Daughters of the Confederacy on the record of her second great grandfather, Benjamin Howell Edwards. Edwards, from Dickenson County, served with the 21st Virginia. Janice joined the Anna Stonewall Jackson Chapter UDC of Abingdon, VA and recently transferred to the Henry Carter Stuart Chapter in Russell County. Janice is past Historian of Virginia Division UDC and currently serves as First District Chairman of Virginia Division. Janice is also a member of Daughters of the American Revolution on the service of her 4th great grandfather Thomas Hale.

Janice graduated from Council High School and received her Bachelor’s degree from Pikeville College, Master’s Degree from Virginia Tech with further studies and administrative endorsement from University of Virginia. Janice is retired from the Buchanan County School system where she taught for 33 years and was in elementary school administration for one year.  During that time she also taught psychology and art appreciation through Southwest Virginia Community College’s off-campus program.  After retirement in Buchanan County, Janice continued to substitute for two more years in the Russell County School system.

While employed in Buchanan County Janice was a member of Virginia Education Association and lobbied in Richmond for funding for education in southwest Virginia.  She was a member of Southwest Virginia Agriculture Association; served on Buchanan County Industrial Development Authority; was a member of the Virginia 4-H Horse Show Committee in Richmond; chairman of Buchanan County 4-H Advisory Committee; and was 4-H Shooting Sports Leader with NRA Certification. Janice is past chairman of Russell County Library Board of Trustees and is currently a member of that board. She helped organize and served as first president of the Honaker Friends of the Library which spearheaded the opening of a branch library in Honaker.  She helped organize and was president of Honaker on the Rise committee. Janice is past president of Russell County Genealogy Group.  She currently serves on the Russell County Tourism Committee; and is one of the Russell County representatives on the Round the Mountain southwest Virginia’s Artisan Network committee.  Janice is also on the Board of Directors at Appalachian Agency on Aging.

Ms. Busic researched and wrote an article on Mollie Tynes and that article was published in the UDC magazine. In addition to Belle Boyd she does dramatic impersonations in the persona of Mollie Tynes and Clara Barton. She is currently working on the character of Mrs. Robert E. Lee and plans to be ready to assume to role of Mrs. Lee soon.

Besides helping care for her parents and her husband, Eldridge, Janice currently enjoys spending time being mother and grandmother.  Her oldest son served two tours in Iraq and younger son is currently in Iraq.


          A Message from Rob Salyer

This will be the 17th consecutive year of the War Between the States School Living History Program (at Meadowview). Our program is the 2nd longest reenacting event in the entire East Tennessee/Southwest Virginia area and is surpassed only by (the reenactment at) Jonesville which is in its 18th consecutive year.

We have had over 6,000 students come through our living history program in the last 16 years, which has included schools from Smyth, Washington and Lee counties and the City of Bristol.

We will have the 17th annual event on May 7 & 8. This is tentative and could be moved up into the month of May a bit more if it conflicts with SOL’S.


Thanks Rob


Selected Web-sites for March



How to Live Like a Soldier in the Field

By: Cpl.  Of Reserves Shawn Sturgill

            A common site that comes to mind when one thinks of a Civil War Reenactment is the endless sea of A-Frame and Wall Tents. But in the historical sense (at least on most Campaigns of the war, especially for Confederates), this should not be so. It should be a mixture of no shelter and easily build able, temporary shelters.

Confederate Soldiers on Campaign

          In the Confederate Army, a good item to use for shelter would be the Confederate Issue tent fly. I know that at this point, most of you are thinking about the large tent porch seen at most events. This is not what I am talking about here. The item I am discussing is similar to a Federal Issue Shelter Tent Half. I am unsure of exact dimensions, but it is virtually the same size as the Federal Tent Half.

          Confederate Soldiers on campaign usually had to use only what could be carried in a bed roll or knapsack. Some of the basic essentials would include the following:

1. Blanket

2. Ground cloth

3. Tent Fly (Not necessarily an item that was used or available all the time.)

These are the basic items used for shelter and sleeping by Confederate Soldiers on campaign. On occasion, soldiers may have just a blanket, or just a ground cloth.

          I am not saying that everyone portraying a Confederate Soldier MUST campaign, but I do believe that if you are physically able(I realize that many are not), and if you have a desire to more accurately portray your ancestors, that you should at least give it a try.

          Another part of living like a Confederate Soldier on campaign is eating ration that are carried in a haversack, and then prepared over a small campfire. (Some items may not need to be cooked at all) I know  that this sounds crazy to some of you. Living for a weekend eating only items that can be carried with you. But I will tell you, it can be done. I know how eccentric carrying raw meat like salt pork sounds.(And yes, actually eating salt pork sounds crazy too)But when wrapped in enough cloth, it should be fine. I generally try to carry items that do not need to be cooked. Some may not be your typical rations, but eating out of your haversack looks good (and more importantly, it’s authentic) all the same. Here is a list of good items to eat at events:

Summer Sausage

Bacon-I like the pre cooked bacon at Wal-Mart




Oat meal

Peanuts(Goober Peas)

Boiled Eggs-Absolutely DO NOT leave them in your haversack after an event-it’s disgusting

These are not the only items to eat at events, just some of my favorites. Once again, I am not saying that you MUST eat rations, it just adds to the overall impression like campaigning.

Federal Soldiers on Campaign

            There aren’t too many differences between Federal and Confederate Soldiers on campaign. The main two are that 1) An additional ration for Federals is hardtack. And 2) Federals used Shelter tent halves. That is mainly what you need to know about Federal Soldiers on campaign. The rest of the info about how to live like a Federal Soldier on campaign is basically the same as Confederate Soldiers on campaign.


Thanks for reading,

Shawn M. B. Sturgill


Historians Rate Lincoln Tops

          An article from the Associated Press in the February 16th issue of the Bristol Herald Courier states that a group of “historians” have ranked Abraham Lincoln as our nation’s top president. The survey was conducted by the cable channel C-SPAN during December and January. Each president was rated in ten categories on a scale of 10 as most effective to 1 as least effective.

          The article does not list the names of the brilliant historical minds that took part in the survey but does say that they are “academics.” Also there is no information about their backgrounds, the area of the country in which they live or their IQ score.


A Message from Shawn Sturgill

Here is a list of prices for all of the items that I am currently producing. Everything is entirely hand sewn.
Confederate/Civilian Haversack: $20
Poke Sack-Small: $3
Poke Sack: $5
Pritchard Pattern Knapsacks: $40
I am about to try my hand at making Federal Haversacks. I will let you know when I complete my first one. I may have it at the Meeting on Sunday (
March 1, 2009). I will definitely have a CS Haversack example and some poke sacks for sale.

A Message from Ben Pile

Ben sent a message to “The Plume” saying that he would have a Confederate kepi for sale at the March 1st meeting of the Washington Rifles.


ETSU to Offer History of Bristol Class

        ETSU at Bristol has scheduled a history of Bristol Va./Ten. 1856 to 1935 for this summer. The class will be held at the Slater Community Center from July 14 through August 13 on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The class will meet from 5:00pm to 8: pm on weekdays and from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm on Saturdays. Saturdays will be used for field trips. For more information call 423-439-7058.


March Birthdays

March 4, 1826      US General John Buford Born

March 6, 1831      US General Philip H. Sheridan Born

March 17, 1828    CS General Patrick Cleburne Born

                             How appropriate that March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day.

March 22, 1817    CS General Braxton Bragg Born

March 28, 1818    CS General Wade Hampton Born


A Message from “The Plume”

 I hope the readers will enjoy this issue of “The Black Plume”, The Washington Rifles Monthly Newsletter. I have sent it out a few days before the next meeting scheduled for March 1st. Also in March we have Training Weekend – The School of the Soldier. It is certainly our hope that all of our members that can attend will attend. Also men and women from other reenactment groups are welcome to join us as we prepare for another campaign season. We can all learn together. Always remember this is a hobby first. Come when you can. Reenacting must be fun first and should never become anything else.

  Please forward this issue to anyone on your email list that may be interested in its content. If you have comments, an article or information about a Civil War related event coming up in your area and you would wish to include it in a future issue please forward to “The Plume” at Until we meet again good luck and good health to our readers. May God bless America, the Commonwealth of Virginia and protect our troops.



Kelly's Ford, Virginia
 John Pelham marker
Major John Pelham C.S.A. commanding the Stuart Horse Artillery was mortally wounded at this
site in the
Battle of Kelly's Ford, March 17, 1863