The Black Plume
The 1st Virginia Cavalry, Company D
Number 11; Volume 1
Last Event of the Season
The 5th Annual Skirmish at Zollicoffer
November 6, 7 and 8, 2009
The Skirmish at Zollicoffer is the last reenactment on the Washington Rifles schedule for 2009. This year’s event will be the fifth annual event and our rifle company has been part of the event every year since its conception. Each of the past five years it has been our last reenactment of the season.
The motto for the event is a “reenactor’s reenactment” and each year it has lived up to this motto. The event is sponsored by the 61st Tennessee/79th New York Company K and the James Keeling Camp 52 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Our friend, John “Pappy” Hawthorne and Rob Turner are in charge of the events operation, planning and schedule. Pappy plans and coordinates the battle sequence.
Battles are scheduled for on Saturday and Sunday with the usual amenities including one meal provided for the reenactors. The Skirmish at Zollicoffer is a well run event and always a pleasure to attend. “The Plume” hopes to see everyone there.
At this years event Monte hopes to meet with the membership to make final plans about this years Christmas dinner. Also we will discuss plans for a business meeting in January and a tentative schedule for a training weekend in the spring of 2010.
October 16, 17 and 19, 2009
The 3rd weekend in October the 1st Virginia Company
D made the trip to Knoxville to participate in the reenactment at Fort Sanders
on a farm about 11 miles east of the city. Last season troopers Ryan Halsey and
Shawn Sturgill attended the event and returned with a glowing report on how
great the event was. As a group we, based on their recommendation, voted the
event on our schedule. It was everything they said it was and more.
Last year our national event was the Battle of Chickamauga. While everyone would have to say it was a good event we saw all the things that are negative about our hobby there. There was infighting between commanders and the Corps. Reenactors were divided and required to be with this group or that group. Not everyone was allowed to take part in all the events. As veterans we know these things happen from time to time and while we do not like it we learn to live with it.
Well everything that the organizers at
We were placed with two companies from
The earthen fort was everything Shawn and Ryan said it was. Located on a high hill it was the focal point of the Confederate attack both days. With a twenty foot high wall and a ten foot ditch in front the fort was challenging to say the least. However several of our unit made it to the top only to be killed or captured.
After the battle the “dead” remained on the field as the spectators were allowed on the field to view the carnage around the fort. The first day after the “resurrection” I met Dennis Boggs in the persona of Abraham Lincoln touring the battle scene. There were tears in his eyes and he told me that it was the most moving thing he had ever seen at a reenactment.
The weather was cold. The ground was wet. There was mud
everywhere. But the action was hot and the reenactment was fantastic. It is a
whole year until we can go back to this farm outside
American Civil War,
In the summer of 1862, the
Almost all of
the “sidesaddle soldiers,” as they were called, had fathers or brothers in the
Confederate Army. The unit was made up of young women in their teens and
twenties from the
Mary McDonald, one of the oldest of the group, was elected captain and Caroline McDonald, her sister-in-law, became first lieutenant. They named their unit the Rhea County Spartans.
At first, the girls were content with visiting their sweethearts and relatives among the three Confederate companies stationed in the area, and presenting them with gifts of food and clothing.
In the summer
of 1863, Union General Ambrose Burnside’s IX Corps entered eastern
1864, Federal troops finally gained control of
Walker of the 6th
were dispatched to the countryside around Smith's Crossroads and Dunwoody’s Mill
to apprehend the other members of the unit. A few of the Spartans managed to
elude their pursuers, but 16 were arrested and brought before
learned that they were to be sent to
Gothard escorted 7 of the
female Rebels the 5 miles to Smith's Cross Roads, where
The women were
made to wait on the flooded riverbank. Finally, their transportation arrived—a
crude little steamboat called the “USS Chattanooga.” Clearly not meant to carry
When the boat
reached the wharf in
After the women
had been fed, Moe escorted them back to the
Steedman wrote to Major
General George Thomas at
The war ended,
and the Spartans disbanded. The members returned to the conventional role of
19th-century women. A few weeks later,
By the time their story was told in the “Confederate Veteran” magazine in 1911, the All-Girl Rhea County Spartans had been forgotten. Only three of them were then still living: Captain Mary McDonald, Third Lieutenant Rhoda Thomison and Mary McDonald.
Thanks for your interest in the Battle of Aiken. For three days, re-enactors eat, sleep, live and fight in a painfully re-created version of the world in 1865. The Civil War battle has grown from a few hundred men with muskets to a full-blown Civil War festival. In addition to battle re-enactments, there is authentic 19th-century military encampment and reproductions of medical facilities.
Captain Baker is planning on an early business meeting to
plan for this reenactment in Aiken. As of now we are scheduled for
Websites and Contacts of the Month
At the reenactment at Saltville we were entertained by a fine period minstrel band “The Butternut Brigade”. To contact the band about future performance or to contact the band about appearing at your event email Robby Spencer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adjutant Wayne Jones of the Brigadier General Bee Camp Number 1575 gave “The Plume” this website where information can be found about the Battle of Aiken, www.BattleofAiken.org. The site in now under construction but check back to keep updated on plans for the even next February.
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: www.washingtonrifles.com
“The Plume” would also recommend the site of our campaigner arm of the 1st Va. Co. D, the Wampus Cats Mess. www.wampuscatsmess.webs.com. This is a new site address that “The Plume” received from The Cats webmaster, Shawn Sturgill.
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 email@example.com.
To contact “The Plume” or to send an article you wish included in the next issue send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Several members of the 1st Virginia Company D are members of Captain John F. McElhenny Camp 840 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. To explore your opportunity to join this camp or another SCV camp in your area go to www.scv840.com. On the site you can find many pictures of reenactors and reenactments in our local area.
Message from Captain Baker
“The Plume” has had a recent interview with Captain Baker. He reported that The Washington Rifles website is getting on average 3 first time hits per day and 23% of those repeat their contact. Some of those that have contacted Monte are:
1. Mike Snyder with the 1st Virginia Infantry,
Company C out of
2. Elizabeth Webster from Minneapolis-St. Paul a living historians that does tin type images.
3. Georginia Goldsmith from
4. The 14th
5. Kate Berger with the 8th
6. Derek Bowers with the 5th North Carolina
Infantry out of
7. A group of living historians from
8. Janice Caldwell a living historian with the Southern Confederate Heritage Association.
9. Debra Keinert, Geannine Keinert and Jenna Theissen
living historians from
These are only a few of the many contacts made with Captain Baker that demonstrate the growing interest in the Washington Rifles and the desire of other groups to find out more about or unique family organization. As is apparent from this list of some of the people are contacting our website from coast to coast.
Message from Justin Conner
Well I guess the re-enacting season is coming to an end again as you all get
ready to attend Zollicoffer next month, and the Christmas dinner in
December. I hope you all enjoyed this season. I wish I could have been
there with you. I have been very busy. I have finally arrived in
Death of a Real Son
Frank Elmer Dickerson Sr., 84, of
Brigadier General Felix Zollicoffer
This Tennessee-born newspaper editor and
Whig politician fought in the Seminole War as a first lieutenant, held various
Felix Zollicoffer was made a brigadier general in the
Zollicoffer moved his forces into southeastern
While studying the field he came across another officer on the same mission. He told that officer not to fire on his own men. But the other man was Colonel Speed S. Fry of the 4th
Bluff City experienced several name changes before incorporating on July 1, 1887 under its current name. The town was originally known as Choate’s Ford, and later took the name Middletown. After the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad was built, crossing the Holston River at the town site, the name Union was adopted. During the American Civil War it was called Zollicoffer, but became Union again from the end of the war until 1887. 
Important Dates for 2010
“The Plume” has received some dates for local reenactments and living histories for next year. For now these should be considered preliminary as they could possibly change but we will try to keep our readers informed as best we can. “The Plume” will add dates as they come on line.
Lee Jackson Dinner; Wise,
Clinch River Days,
Christmas in July, West
Sutler of the Month
T P & H Trading Company
T P & H Trading Company has been involved in Civil War sutlery since 1990. Started as a part time business while Tim pursued his career in the law enforcement field, the sutlery was originally a general line dealer specializing in antique goods. In 1993 Tim retired from his first career and has pursued his interest in Civil War goods full time ever since. In 1995 Tim felt that the representation of hat makers for CW use was under represented, and started making hats. Self taught, Tim had the opportunity to study extensively a private collection of period hats, and acquired a period hat that he dissected literally fiber by fiber to determine what "secrets" our antecedents may have used. Tim also relies heavily on photographic evidence as a basis and guideline for styles.
One advantage that Tim enjoys is his background in woodworking which makes it possible for him to create his own hat blocks. This is a decided "plus" for Tim's customers who may require some special item not normally available.
Tim pursues his business wholeheartedly, and with the principals of "Trust, Pride and Honesty" at the forefront. Always interacting with his customers courteously and with respect, Tim hopes you will consider him when making your next hat purchase.
All hats are pulled on blocks made By Tim with the styles dictated by actual period hats and photographic evidence. Each hat is made of 100% fur felt, and is finished out with a hand-cut, wide, leather sweatband depending on the style. The sweatband is handsewn to the hat at the rate of 8 stitches to the inch, set very close to the edge of the leather. The hat is then fully-lined with either 100% cotton or 100% silk material. Brim-edge welting is done in the offset manner (common to the period) using cotton/rayon grosgrain ribbon. The crown ribbon is of the same material. Brim width and shaping may be at the customers choice within certain limits.
From 1848 0n, Samuel Colt produced several successful
cap-and-ball revolver models for US forces, the most famous Civil War types
being the .36-caliber Model 1851 and 1861 ‘Navy’ weapons and the .44-caliber
Model 1860 ‘Army’ weapon. The
Third Annual Tri-State Lee/Jackson Dinner
Mosby’s Restaurant; Wise, Virginia
The 3rd annual Tri-State Lee/Jackson Day Family Reunion will be held at Mosby’s. Many local reenactment groups and event sponsors will be present to provide information about next seasons events. T-shirts will be available and door prizes will be passed out to lucky winners. This is a free event. Those in attendance must only pay for their dinner.
Many of us can remember a time when Lee/Jackson Day was a
legal holiday in
The 2010 dinner is open to everyone and anyone who wishes to attend. However seating at the restaurant is limited. Last year over 230 attended the event. The evening will begin at with a social hour. Dinner will follow at . After dinner those attending will receive information about upcoming events, reenactments, presentations and dedications. There will also be a guest speaker, live music and door prizes. The information provided will allow each group to develop their schedule for 2010. Period clothing is optional.
If you wish to attend conformations are requested by
David Chaltus, 606-633-5559 or email@example.com
Richard Brown, 606-633-0475 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The USS San
Jacinto, under command of Captain Charles Wilkes, stops at
Born a slave named Araminta in
Message from Terry Hunt
Second battle for Saltville that is on December 19th and
20th is going to be called
In His Own Words
H. K. Edgerton
When (Civil War Confederate ) General Beaureguard decided they needed another flag, he chose the cross of St. Andrew for these reasons. Most Southerners, in fact, did not want to do away with the stars and stripes because they didn't feel they had done anything wrong. They thought it was the north who was eradicating the Constitution."
Slaves "were given a new pair of pants and a new pair of shoes every day, and he thinks this white man was cruel! [Black slaves] had the same medical facilities that the white man had. … You look at most of the slave pictures … they are not raggedy and torn. They lived better than most! … Most of them looked better than most of the white folks around and lived better than most of the free world!"
"It was the wealthy African leaders who sold the poorer Africans to the slave traders. Blacks want to speak of their African heritage, when it was their heritage who sold them out to slavery. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for blacks today to follow the Muslim religion, and Muslims practice slavery today. But no one wants to talk about that."
A Soldier’s Journal
October 13, 1864 laoded on the steam cars in petersburg headed west our company is the only unit of the first virginia on the train it is raining and cold
October 15, 1864 left the train cars at morris town tennessee in a driving rain storm it is cold received rations of sows belly and meal to make how cake we made a meal as quickly as possible and begin marching west
October 16, 1864 arrived at corry town on the outskirts of knoxville just after dawn it rained all the way it is very cold set up camp as best we could it was a hard march on men more acostemed to riding horses we have plenty of firewood and a local union sympithizer gladely furnished us with 3 fine hams and several loaves of freshly baked bread you canot imagine how good real food tastes to a starving man if we are here to take knoxville I am afraid we are in for a tough fight
October 17, 1864 we were up well before dawn captan baker sent sargent meade to bring us to the line for orders we were places with 2 companys of georgia infantry in what is called the first brigade after a quick breakfast of what was left from last nights meal we joind our comrads from georgia and begin to march in a colomn of fours west toward knoxville the yankee papers say that knoxville is the best defended town in north america a little after mid day we came to a stop in a a patch of woods near a small strem thank the lord it has quit raining but it is still cold we heard cannon and musketery north and east of our position the brigade was called to a battle line and we marched up the hill through the woods to a fine meadow field when we had traveled only a short distance our brigade came under fire from a large number of yankees hidden unsean in the woods on our left flank we left wheeled under fire and begin to return fire we advanced on their position and our charge pushing them back mutch of the fightng was hand to hand it was a bitter fight our brigade had them on the run but our officers stopped us at the edge of the woods as the yankees disapeared over the hill to our front more brigade appeared on our right flank and finally the major from georgia ordered us forward when we reched the top of the hill we saw in our front a huge earthen fort with 15 foot vertcal walls between us and them was a killing field litered with obsticals to impeade our progress we charged through a terrible rain on mini balls grade cannister and solid shot on nearing the fort we found if surrounded by a ditch 10 feet deep on entering the ditch there was no way out many a soldier lost his life in the cold muddy bottom of that ditch after two charges the attack was called off and we retreated to the woods where we layed in the cold and waited developments I believe if we had not been stoped earlier in the day we could have followed the retreating union force right into the fort and taken it instead we are laying in the tennesse mud cold and hungrey the washington rifles lost many a good man today
October 18, 1864 we were pulled from our place in line shortly after dawn and were replaced by second brigade made up of north carolina infantery it was a cold night there was a big frost we marched north along a circular path through woods and pasture to a patch of woods near an abandoned farm house captain baker put out pickets our rations were some horse meat from one of the union horses killed in yesterdays battle just after mid day our brigade received orders we set out through a patch of woods in a westerly direction toward the union fort we came to a pasture field in sight of the fort and found it defended by a brigade of union troops behind a rail fence the brigade was called to a battle line and we engaged the enemy after a fight of about 30 minutes the boys in blue were forced to retreat leaving several dead and wounded as we waited in our battle line our artillary was brough up to shell the fort in our front it was a grand exchage but had little effect on the union works when the order came to come to the line every man dreaded the attack we had to make with our battle flag flying we made two brave attempts to take the fort for the second time in two days both times we were repulsed there was much hand to hand fighting along the walls and much death in that terrible ditch at leghth after what seemed to be hours we were ordered to withdraw to the ridge line in our rear today as every day I am proud to be a washington rifle our officers and men fought bravely as did the men in our brigade from georgia there will be another day and anouther battlefield we will taste victory and we will earn our independence the war goes on and we are of high spirit no group of men could have done more this day
October 19, 1864 returned to morris town it is warmer and we have received good rations it is said we will soon be moving east by train to a town called zollicoffer before the war it was called union if the rumors we hear are true we will not have long to heal our wounds as union troops are said to heading that way I hope it is some of those boys in that cursed fort the 1st virginia company d has some pay back for them
A Message From Shawn Sturgill
I am now making various
items such as haversacks (Confederate and
Federal) knapsacks, various types of belts, undershirts, correct arsenal
packs (10 cartridges,12 caps), ground clothes, tent flies, etc. Prices vary from
item to item depending on cost of materials, difficulty of labor, etc. Anyone
interested in an item can email me at email@example.com. (“The Plume inspected a ground cloth and haversack at
A Closing 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 event on November 6-8 where we will be part of
the reenactment The Skirmish at Zollicoffer near
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Until we meet again good luck and good health to our
readers. May God bless