Category Archives: Monitor

Southern Bread Pudding

FLASHBACK: 2004 Monitor Article originally published in 2004

Great to use left over biscuits for
this one….

  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbs. vanilla
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 4 cups biscuit crumbs
  • 2 tbs. butter
  • Nutmeg to taste

Mix milk, eggs and vanilla together in a saucepan. Place over heat until hot but not boiling.

Line baking dish with biscuit crumbs mixed with melted butter.

Pour mixture over biscuit crumbs.

Sprinkle with nutmeg. Place baking dish in a pan of hot water in a moderate 350 F. oven and bake fore 45 minutes. You’ll never throw away another biscuit.

In order to cook these over a fire you will have to be sure that you have a Dutch oven. You will place a pan inside the Dutch oven to cook the Bread Pudding. Sit pan on a trivet inside the Dutch oven and cover with lid.

Woodstove Chili

FLASHBACK: 2004 Monitor Article originally published in 2004

From the Cast Iron Pot
Old Fashion Woodstove Recipes

  • 1lb pinto beans
  • 6 cups water
  • 3 medium onions, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1 lb, ground beef
  • 1 28-oz. can tomatoes
  • 1 6-oz, can tomato paste
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 2 Tbs. chili powder

Soak beans overnight in water. Drain off in the morning, saving 1 cup of the liquid. Place ingredients in your heavy Dutch oven and cover.

Cook over a low fire (300 degrees F.) 8 – 10 hours.
Serve over hot rice. Top with grated cheese and diced onions.

Piggin’ Out in Dixie, A Real
Southern Cookbook

A Little of Chickamauga

Ambrose Bierce

The history of that awful struggle is well known–I have not the intention to record it here, but only to relate some part of what I saw of it; my purpose not instruction, but entertainment.

I was an officer of the staff of a Federal brigade. Chickamauga was not my first battle by many, for although hardly more than a boy in years, I had served at the front from the beginning of the trouble, and had seen enough of war to give me a fair understanding of it. We knew well enough that there was to be a fight: the fact that we did not want one would have told us that, for Bragg always retired when we wanted to fight and fought when we most desired peace. We had maneuvered him out of Chattanooga, but had not maneuvered our entire army into it, and he fell back so sullenly that those of us who followed, keeping him actually in sight, were a good deal more concerned about effecting a junction with the rest of our army than to push the pursuit. By the time that Rosecrans had got his three scattered corps together we were a long way from Chattanooga, with our line of communication with it so exposed that Bragg turned to seize it. Chickamauga was a fight for possession of a road.

Back along this road raced Crittenden’s corps, with those of Thomas and McCook, which had not before traversed it. The whole army was moving by its left.

There was sharp fighting all along and all day, for the forest was so dense that the hostile lines came almost into contact before fighting was possible. One instance was particularly horrible. After some hours of close

engagement my brigade, with foul pieces and exhausted cartridge boxes, was relieved and withdrawn to the road to protect several batteries of artillery–probably two dozen pieces–which commanded an open field in the rear of our line. Before our weary and virtually disarmed men had actually reached the guns the line in front gave way, fell back behind the guns and went on, the Lord knows whither. A moment later the field was gray with Confederates in pursuit. Then the guns opened fire with grape and canister and for perhaps five minutes–it seemed an hour–nothing could be heard but the infernal din of their discharge and nothing seen through the smoke but a great ascension of dust from the smitten soil. When all was over, and the dust cloud had lifted, the spectacle was too dreadful to describe. The Confederates were still there–all of them, it seemed–some almost under the muzzles of the guns. But not a man of all these brave fellows was on his feet, and so thickly were all covered with dust that they looked as if they had been reclothed in yellow.

“We bury our dead,” said a gunner, grimly, though doubtless all were afterward dug out, for some were partly alive.

To a “day of danger” succeeded a “night of waking.” The enemy, everywhere held back from the road, continued to stretch his line northward in the hope to overlap us and put himself between us and Chattanooga. We neither saw nor heard his movement, but any man with half a head would have known that he was making it, and we met by a parallel movement to our left. By morning we had edged along a good way and thrown up rude intrenchments at a little distance from the road, on the threatened side. The day was not very far advanced when we were attacked furiously all along the line, beginning at the left. When repulsed, the enemy came again and again–his persistence was dispiriting. He seemed to be using against us the law of probabilities: for so many efforts one would eventually succeed.

One did, and it was my luck to see it win. I had been sent by my chief, General Hazen, to order up some artillery ammunition and rode away to the right and rear in search of it. Finding an ordnance train I obtained from the officer in charge a few wagons loaded with what I wanted, but he seemed in doubt as to our occupancy of the region across which I proposed to guide them. Although assured that I had just traversed it, and that it lay immediately behind Wood’s division, he insisted on riding to the top of the ridge behind which his train lay and overlooking the ground. We did so, when to my astonishment I saw the entire country in front swarming with Confederates; the very earth seemed to be moving toward us! They came on in thousands, and so rapidly that we had barely time to turn tail and gallop down the hill and away, leaving them in possession of the train, many of the wagons being upset by frantic efforts to put them about. By what miracle that officer had sensed the situation I did not learn, for we parted company then and there and I never again saw him.

By a misunderstanding Wood’s division had been withdrawn from our line of battle just as the enemy was making an assault. Through the gap of a half a mile the Confederates charged without opposition, cutting our army clean in two. The right divisions were broken up and with General Rosecrans in their midst fled how they could across the country, eventually bringing up in Chattanooga, whence Rosecrans telegraphed to Washington the destruction of the rest of his army. The rest of his army was standing its ground.

A good deal of nonsense used to be talked about the heroism of General Garfield, who, caught in the rout of the right, nevertheless went back and joined the undefeated left under General Thomas. There was no great heroism in it; that is what every man should have done, including the commander of the army. We could hear Thomas’s guns going–those of us who had ears for them–and all that was needful was to make a sufficiently wide detour and then move toward the sound. I did so myself, and have never felt that it ought to make me President. Moreover, on my way I met General Negley, and my duties as topographical engineer having given me some knowledge of the lay of the land offered to pilot him back to glory. I am sorry to say my good offices were rejected a little uncivilly, which I charitably attributed to the general’s obvious absence of mind. His mind, I think, was in Nashville, behind a breastwork.

Unable to find my brigade, I reported to General Thomas, who directed me to remain with him. He had assumed command of all the forces still intact and was pretty closely beset. The battle was fierce and continuous, the enemy extending his lines farther and farther around our right, toward our line of retreat. We could not meet the extension otherwise than by “refusing” our right flank and letting him inclose us; which but for gallant Gordon Granger he would inevitably have done.

This was the way of it. Looking across the fields in our rear (rather longingly) I had the happy distinction of a discoverer. What I saw was the shimmer of sunlight on metal: lines of troops were coming in behind us! The distance was too great, the atmosphere too hazy to distinguish the color of their uniform, even with a glass. Reporting my momentous “find” I was directed by the general to go and see who they were. Galloping toward them until near enough to see that they were of our kidney I hastened back with the glad tidings and was sent again, to guide them to the general’s position.

It was General Granger with two strong brigades of the reserve, moving soldier-like toward the sound of heavy firing. Meeting him and his staff I directed him to Thomas, and unable to think of anything better to do decided to go visiting. I knew I had a brother in that gang–an officer of an Ohio battery. I soon found him near the head of a column, and as we moved forward we had a comfortable chat amongst such of the enemy’s bullets as had inconsiderately been fired too high. The incident was a trifle marred by one of them unhorsing another officer of the battery, whom we propped against a tree and left. A few moments later Granger’s force was put in on the right and the fighting was terrific!

By accident I now found Hazen’s brigade–or what remained of it–which had made a half-mile march to add itself to the unrouted at the memorable Snodgrass Hill. Hazen’s first remark to me was an inquiry about that artillery ammunition that he had sent me for.

It was needed badly enough, as were other kinds: for the last hour or two of that interminable day Granger’s were the only men that had enough ammunition to make a five minutes’ fight. Had the Confederates made one more general attack we should have had to meet them with the bayonet alone. I don’t know why they did not; probably they were short of ammunition. I know, though, that while the sun was taking its own time to set we lived through the agony of at least one death each, waiting for them to come on.

At last it grew too dark to fight. Then away to our left and rear some of Bragg’s people set up “the rebel yell.” It was taken up successively and passed round to our front, along our right and in behind us again, until it seemed almost to have got to the point whence it started. It was the ugliest sound that any mortal ever heard–even a mortal exhausted and unnerved by two days of hard fighting, without sleep, without rest, without food and without hope. There was, however, a space somewhere at the back of us across which that horrible yell did not prolong itself; and through that we finally retired in profound silence and dejection, unmolested.

To those of us who have survived the attacks of both Bragg and Time, and who keep in memory the dear dead comrades whom we left upon that fateful field, the place means much. May it mean something less to the younger men whose tents are now pitched where, with bended heads and clasped hands, God’s great angels stood invisible among the heroes in blue and the heroes in gray, sleeping their last sleep in the woods of Chickamauga.

Thoughts, etc # 16

The minstrel shows of the 18th and 19th centuries were a very popular form of entertainment in the young United States. This entertainment form is now considered totally “politically incorrect”, and much of the music is being equated with the connotations given to the Stars and Bars on the flag of Georgia. There were no black performers, just white performers in black-face, and many derogatory names and epithets derived from this music form. The music was usually of a light nature and portrayed a Southern pastoral setting. The music ranged from the walk around tune of Daniel D. Emmet’s Dixie’s Land, to the songs of Stephen Foster.

Many songs have the same tune or variants of the same tune, such as The Virginia Reel, Turkey in the Straw, Ole Zip Coon, and Jump Jim Crow. The tune started on the minstrel circuit as Natchez Under the Hill, a fiddle tune. This tune is derived from the ballad My Grandmother Lived on Yonder Little Green, which in turn derived from a much older Irish ballad, The Old Rose Tree.

The words for Ole Zip Coon were added to the tune in about 1835 and became popular during Andrew Jackson’s presidency. It remained popular through the Civil War, and many different words and versions were put to this tune both then and now.


O, Ole Zip Coon was a larned Skoler,
Ole Zip Coon was a larned skolar,
Ole Zip Coon was a larned skolar
Plays possum up a gum tree and cooney in the hollar.

Possum up a gum tree cooney up a stump,
Possum up a gum tree cooney up a stump,
Possum up a gum tree cooney up a stump,
Den ober double trouble when the coon did jump.

O ist Sukey blue skin, she in lub with me,
I went de odder after noon to take a dish ob tea,
What do you tink now, Sukey hab for supper,
Why chicken foot an possum heel widout any butter.


I went down to Sandy Hollar de odder after noon,
And de first man I chanced to meet was ole Zip Coon;
Ole Zip Coon is a natty skolar,
For he play upon the banjo, “Cooney in de holler.”


My ole missus she am mad at me,
Kase I wouldn,t go wid her into Tennessee.
Massa build a barn an put in it de fodder,
Twas dis ting or dat ting or one ting or odder.


I pose you heard ob de battle New Orleans
Whar ole Genral Jackson gib de British beans.
Dere de Yankee boys do de job so slick,
For dey cotch ole Packenham an rowed him up de crick.


I hab many tings to tork about, but don’t know what come first,
So here de toast to ole Zip Coon before he gin to rust.
May he hab pretty girls, like de King ob ole,
To sing dis song so many times ‘fore he turn to mole.


Battalion Drill AAR: Historic Fort Wayne (Detroit, MI)

Battalion Drill at Historic Fort Wayne was a complete success. Mother Nature afforded us some spectacular weather, while the fort served as a unique backdrop for our drill. Our presence in the Fort has had a profoundly positive effect and should be an important and physical reminder of why we take pride in our Battalion. These reasons, coupled with the mid-April snow fall in Michigan cause me to fully recommend future Battalion Drills to be held at this location and at similar dates in the future.

Despite the lackluster turnout, drill itself went quite well. I am personally grateful for the patience and wisdom of the Battalion staff. I recognize that this drill weekend is a learning experience for all Battalion members, but as a junior Captain, this point was especially appreciated by me. I also wish to acknowledge the accuracy of drill maneuvers demonstrated by the 9th. Their efforts on the field greatly enhanced my ability to perform during Battalion maneuvers. I would also like to further recognize the grit and dedication of the men of the 9th and their insatiable appetite for drill. At their request I took them for an impromptu company drill after Battalion formation on Saturday. I could not have been more proud or honored by their efforts.

I would suggest that in future Battalion Drills, time be allotted for Company Commanders to drill their respective companies. Battalion maneuvers have a tendency to expose deficiencies in company drill that may have been overlooked or require a brief refresher for refinement. Perhaps Company Orderly Sergeants could be tasked with running the men through these maneuvers thus freeing up Company Commanders to attend a theoretical “block drill” with the Colonel covering maneuvers to be covered during drill. In my opinion, precision drill from companies and Captains, whom are freshly instructed in drill theory would greatly increase the effectiveness of drill and would therefore allow us maximum effective use of our time. In this way, we as a Battalion can gain a clear picture of each movement we are to execute in a theoretical perspective, and then are able to immediately apply our knowledge to the field.

I am eagerly looking forward to our next Battalion formation and view our Drill this season as an excellent start for the coming season. If you have any questions or comments, I am available at your convenience.

Most sincerely,

R. Samuel Brooks
Captain 9th Kentucky Co C.
Medich Battalion, AOT

In Their Own Wrds: A poetry column by Kathleen Fredal

My dear fellow Reenactors,

Our mutual love of reading history and reenacting Civil War events has compelled me to share some of my poetry with all of you: my distinguished colleagues who truly understand the nature and significance of historic events. (And, John kept bugging me to submit them.) These events and people have affected society in a myriad of ways, and sometimes, revisiting them in a poetic genre can offer a unique perspective on a much-loved topic.

I have attempted to be meticulous in researching all my topics, and my goal is to distill the essence of the man/woman or the event into each poem. The initial inspiration for each poem is found in a direct quote that best illustrates the theme of each work. (Hence, the title of my column—In Their Own Words ) I have tried to convey the subtle or the larger-than-life images that so inspire us as Civil War Reenactors and history lovers.

Thus far, my efforts (and personal interest) seem to have led me to explore the Eastern Theatre. Therefore, the submissions you will read in the subsequent Monitor will be observations of said front. On this point, John has been a great advocate of the Western Theatre and has expressed a desire for me to read The Orphan Brigade so that I can try to create a poem worthy of our brave men. I assure you, Valued Readers, I have embarked on that quest, but helping with homework and doing laundry sometimes takes its toll on a writer’s best intentions. I have found that meticulous research can not be done quickly. And, reading the facts first, so that I can choose the appropriate poetic phrases, though immensely enjoyable, is quite time-consuming.

My ultimate hope is to spark discussion between military and civilian factions and to encourage further exploration into our chosen hobby. I hope, also, that any interesting book titles or potential poetic topics might be forwarded to me so that I may pursue them. At the end of each poem, you will find the quote that inspired the piece, and, hopefully, you might even find a special spark of interest you wish to personally pursue.

My sincere wish is that each column finds you happy and healthy. And I humbly hope my words help to illuminate, even if only in some small way, the scope of this epic time in America’s history.

Enjoy and be well.

Kathleen Fredal


A poetry column by Kathleen Fredal


By Kathleen Fredal

Above all
The great one sits
Astride his faithful

Above all
The honorable General
Answers his
Call of Duty.

Above all
The horrific scenes
Graphically burnt
Into the minds of men:

Fredericksburg’s bloodbath parade
Chancellorsville’s insurmountable loss
Gettysburg’s turning of the tide
Petersburg’s impossible last stand

Above all
His call of duty to
God and

“Above all things, learn at once to worship your Creator and to do His will as revealed in His Holy Book.” General Robert E. Lee

Kentucky Facts

KENTUCKY 1792 – Kentucky was the first state on the western frontier to join the Union.

1816 – (First promoted) Mammoth Cave, with 336+ miles of mapped passages, is the world’s longest cave. It is 379 feet deep and contains at least 5 levels of passages. It became a National Park on July 1, 1941

1856 – The first enamel bathtub was made in Louisville

Shaker Village (Pleasant Hill) is the largest historic community of its kind in the US.

Christian County is “wet”, while Bourbon County is “dry”. Barren County has the most fertile land in the state.

One part of Kentucky is completely separated from the rest of the state by the Ohio River.


Thanks, Corporal Craig O’Connor!

For contributing the 501C3 registration fee for the 9th Kentucky Company ‘C’. This will help the club to take the next step up the non-profit charitable organization ladder.

Sara Kilbourn
Contact Info

Georgina Kilbourn informs us that Sara can now be reached at the following address:
PFC Kilbourn, Sara H.
108th MP CO
FOB Q-West
APO, AE 09351

Blue Battleshirts
for Sale

Kris Hilzinger has material for up to 10 9th Ky. blue wool Battleshirts for sale to members of the company.

Pre-cut out battleshirt pieces – you sew it together – $35.00 per shirt (includes 6 buttons & shipping fees).

Complete battleshirt – $70.00 (made to order by Kris Hilzinger).

If you are interested, you can contact Kris by phone at (586) 268-0395 or email at to provide your measurements and obtain additional information.

Battalion Gunsmith


Late last week I received my diploma from Professional Career Development Institute. I have completed the course in “The Professional Gunsmithing Program”. This will be a welcome asset for the Battalion. I am temporarily limited to what I can do till I can get a workshop built and get some more tools. However, I am good to go for black powder rifles. I am well stocked on parts for the Enfield 1853 army sport and euro rifles. I look forward to serving the Battalion.

Terry Jamison
5th Texas Co. E
Medich’s Battalion

2007 Memorial Day Parade

This year 11 or our bravest military members marched in the Royal Oak Memorial Day parade ahead of seven courageous civilians. This year’s weather provided our march with a more conducive atmospheric condition (in other words…we didn’t march in the sweltering morning heat as we did last year). Our highlight was the fact that Cpl. Craig O’Connor flew all the way in from Florida to carry our flag. (Supposedly he had nothing better to do that weekend). It was great to see Craig and see all of the recoveries he’s made since his November mishap. Our very own “Gus Thompson” even made the third page of the first section of The Royal Oak Daily Tribune. Pizza, salad, and camaraderie were had by all after the Memorial Day ceremonies.

From the Sergeant’s Journal


The way time has flown since the AGM is amazing! The success of the rolling party, Company Drill, and Battalion Drill are a thing of the past. Our summer events will soon be upon us. I have confidence in our membership to step up to any and all challenges placed before us. Our past success has always hinged on our ability to stay the course and focus on living history at its best.

Captain Brooks’ enthusiasm and dedication to Company C will help us maintain a perfect balance between authentically portraying our heroes of Kentucky and keeping our interest and morale at the peak of excitement. In just a few of the correspondence I have received, his enthusiasm for continuing our commitment of ‘getting it right’ remains at the top of his list of goals and achievements. We owe it to him to continue our support.

Captain Brooks has requested that I serve as your Second Sergeant for this campaign season. There is no doubt that I will have my work cut out for me as I continue the zeal demonstrated by previous members holding the position. This includes Ty Hoskins and Jeff Mogle. Jeff is now able to serve as High Private in the ranks and his ability to assist the new recruit has just become easier for him. He can now work directly with the men in the ranks without being distracted. Thank you, George!

In closing, I look forward to seeing you all on the field of honor.

Yours in Service,
Brian ‘2SGT Moses Wickliffe’ Kirk

Making Buckle Meet Tang: Surviving the Blockade

We southern ladies have had our resources taxed once again by the blockade which has caused a dearth of materials for even the most modest and necessary articles of clothing. Yet we have risen to the challenge and arrayed ourselves quite ingeniously in homespun with a beauty both rare and proud. Our sisters in Alabama pass on some secrets of their successes in keeping cloth upon their backs, which I will provide here for your use and interest.

Setting aside the issue of fabric for the moment, let us address the acquisition of buttons for our dresses. Recent news of a revival in wooden button machines has reached my ears, and I hear that, while formerly used only for the clothing of servants, when varnished with copal (when you can obtain it) these wooden buttons make a very pretty presentation.

If you cut a button shape from a dried gourd, in a square, oval or circle, and cover it with some scrap of contrasting fabric, say a bright red merino (wool), the effect is very pretty down the waist. Persimmon seeds also make a very attractive button.

Scraps of fabric may be layered to sufficient thickness, cut out in the size and shape you wish, and buttonhole stitching applied around the edges, very closely and with thick thread. These buttons, made of sturdy homespun, will withstand a washing. Additionally, if you have pasteboard, it may be cut into the button shape and the cloth wrapped around that.
If you have no pasteboard, there is no great difficulty in making your own. One of our sisters in Alabama gives this receipt for pasteboard: old papers are spread on a table, and a paste made from flour or bolted meal is spread over it. A layer of cloth is laid on, another coating of paste, alternating layers until it is the required thickness. Go over the whole with a hot iron to smooth it until it is glossy and completely dry. This pasteboard will be useful for all your needs.

Obtaining thread has been another challenge, as the homespun stuff is not adequate for the sewing machines. They sit idly by collecting dust while we ply our needles as our grandmothers did! I have learned that the extra warp left on the loom after weaving can be unraveled and used as a strong thread. The pieces will be less than a yard in length, but if knotted together and wound, you will have enough thread between the knots for most of your sewing.

The difficulties of producing cloth require more space than allotted here, but I will delve into those challenges in the next edition. Some interesting ways of obtaining glues and coffee or tea substitutes will be forthcoming as well. Meanwhile, happy stitching!

Submitted to the Monitor by Melodie Nichols, Mrs. H. Hewes

Information for this article was received from “A Blockaded Family; Life in Southern Alabama during the Civil War” by Parthenia Antoinette Hague. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1888.