Category Archives: March/April 2007

Discharged Marine was ‘Angel’

By Matt Bach 810.766.6330

BURTON — Sandra Riley spent this morning going through old photos of her son, Marine Lance Cpl. Aaron Zayac, for a photo board at his funeral on Saturday.

Zayac, 25, a 1999 Davison High School graduate, survived two tours of duty in Iraq, only to die Friday of what was called a heart seizure. He was stricken in Indiana enroute home from Camp Pendleton, Calif., to Genesee County after he was discharged from the Marines last month.

Zayac was married to Brandy, of Genesee Township. The couple have two children, Kayla, 8, and Kevin, 2 ½.

As Riley sorted the photos this morning, she noted that in all of them – a holiday photo at age 5, in a tuxedo at his stepfather’s wedding at age 9 and in his Marines uniform – Zayac stood tall and straight. “It’s just very proud, distinguished, shoulders back, gut in, head up,” Riley said from her Burton home. “I just knew when looking at these pictures God made him special.”

With the nickname “Big Shooter,” Zayac had received many medals and letters of commendation while serving in the Marines, said his uncle, Steven Zayac of Flushing.

Riley said her son’s experience in Iraq made him a natural leader and he took many of the younger soldiers under his wing. “He looked out for the young guys,” Riley said. “He’s a guardian angel. That was his purpose. Look what God is doing now. We all get to have him, he’s our guardian angel now.”

Zayac planned to attend Oakland University and also was considering moving to Iowa to work for a power company, Steven Zayac said. “He wanted to get a couple classes under his belt and go out to Iowa and work for Iowa Power and Lights,” Steven Zayac said.

Zayac was driving to Michigan from California when he stopped in Evansville, Ind., to visit a friend from the Marines. They were having dinner at a local bar when Zayac collapsed. His friend performed CPR, but Zayac died three days later in an Evansville hospital, Steven Zayac said. “There’s no rhyme or reason for this,“ Steven Zayac said. “There’s nothing at all that makes sense.”

Zayac also leaves his father, Stanley Zayac of Flint, and grandmother, Sandra J. Kelley. Burial will be held at Richfield Union Cemetery with military honors.

Thoughts, etc # 15

Submitted by Gordon Peterson

Red River Valley

Although the ballad Red River Valley is not generally considered a song of the Civil War, it was sung in several versions which pre-dated the Civil War. It is hard to imagine that this western song was not written about Texas and cowboys, but it wasn’t. The origins of this ballad trace back to the French voyageurs who first trapped the areas of the western Great Lakes and the high waters of the Missouri and other rivers and lakes in what is now Minnesota and Wisconsin. In the 1860s, British troops fighting the Metis rebellion in western Canada sang this version as a song of occupation. The song refers to the Red River in Minnesota, and the soldier who will be leaving to “Go to his home by the ocean”, which was Montreal. Another indication that this was not a “cowboy” song is that nobody could imagine a cowboy saying to his sweetheart. “Do not hasten to bid me adieu.”

It’s a long time you know, I’ve been waiting
For the words that you never did say,
Now alas! All my fond hopes have vanished,
For they say you are going away.

From this valley they say you are going.
I shall miss your blue eyes and sweet smile,
For you take with you all of the sunshine
That has brightened my pathway a while.

So consider a while ere you leave me,
Do not hasten to bid me adieu,
But remember the Red River Valley
And the half-breed who loved you so true.

So remember the valley you’re leaving,
How lonely, how dreary it will be;
Remember the heart you are breaking ,
And be true to your promise to me.

As you go to your home by the ocean,
May you never forget those sweet hours
That we spent in the Red River Valley
And the love we exchanged in its bowers.

Cobb’s Corner

While on campaign, the 9th Kentucky Co. C is often supported by Cobb’s Battery under the able leadership of Richard Beretzky. This battery consists of a crack crew of artillery enactors who man Richard’s 3” Ordnance Rifle. Cobb’s Corner will be a source of information regarding the battery and much ado about cannons.

A Brief History (excerpted from Wikipedia, 1st Ky. Artillery): Cobb’s Battery was an artillery battery that was a portion of the Orphan Brigade in the Confederate States Army during the Civil War. It fought in the battles of Shiloh, Baton Rouge, Siege of Jackson, Sulphur Trestle, Resaca, Murfreesboro, Jonesborough, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge and Johnsonville.

The battery was organized at the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861 at Mint Springs, Kuttaw, Kentucky. Former United States Army Officer, Hylan B. Lyons—who had resigned his commission when war became inevitable—was elected the first Captain of the battery. However, due to Kentucky’s official policy of neutrality during the early days of the conflict, Captain Lyons found that he could not train and drill his battery properly in Mint Springs. Therefore, the battery moved to Clarksville, Tennessee and enlisted as a group to join the Confederate States Army. At Camp Boone, the battery was trained in Artillery, and from this point forward was known either as the 1st Kentucky Artillery or Cobb’s Kentucky Battery.

Following Lyon’s promotion to General, Robert L. Cobb was made Captain of the battery, and it was under his command that the unit moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky, and was officially brought into John C. Breckinridge’s 1st Kentucky “Orphan” Brigade.

Improving Our Impression

The 9th Kentucky Infantry Company C is a nationally recognized Civil War Reenacting Unit. Many admirers refer to us as the 9th KY from Mich. It has come to be known as a progressive hardcore group. Where ever we go, we always make a presence known for good (or bad). But they know who we are. That is something that many groups strive to be like and others can only wish to be. We are now gaining momentum and more the same kindred spirited type seek us out and are asking to fall in with us – a truly high honor. But we must never forget our origin and what our core standards are in short… a mid-war western impression of the famed Kentucky Orphan Brigade. To understand what they were like in 1862 and 1863 I will copy from the Book of Davis on how they were feeling in 1865.

On February 11, 1865, they gathered to form and approve resolutions condemning all who spoke of submission and defeat, all who withheld from the Confederacy any scrap of aid or comfort. They sent their resolutions to the local Virginia papers for publications. “Our services, or sacrifices,” they said, ‘give us the right to speak; we accept no excuse for relaxing effort to conquer a peace established independence; we are exiles from our homes and those who area nearest and dearest to us, but we are not willing to return upon terms now proposed; we believe the minie-rifle is our best peace commissioner; we suggest that disloyal editors be placed beside true men in the ranks, where they can be taught, with Enfields in their hands, how a Government should be supported; we reassert our devotion.” 1

As you can see, this historical document attests to their unwavering devotion to the cause. They also point out that their rifles were held in very high regard. Which brings me to my point that if we are to be historically accurate, then every musket must be kept at the highest state of cleanliness and be in perfect working order at all times. Your bayonet should be clean and free of rust. Your cap pouch should be full and your cartridge box packed tight with rounds. The members of this unit have not met the historic standard set forth by the boys of ’61. Therefore, all of you who do not maintain this standard should consider yourself a total farb, and should be scorned by your mess mates and pards in the ranks.

A closing quote from a song…Though marching know our feet are sore and it’s true our clothes are worn, but still we keep our muskets bright for Stonewall’s army is full of fight.

See you on the picket line.
Pvt. Gus Thompson

1 The Orphan Brigade, The Kentucky Confederates Who Couldn’t Go Home, pg. 245. William C. Davis

Nineteenth Century Vernacular

I’ve recently come into possession of a facsimile of an 1828 Webster’s Dictionary and a copy of Ambrose Bierce’s tome The Devil’s Dictionary.

This is the first edition of Websters Dictionary and it often defines words in a format that’s different from modern dictionaries that I’m used to. Words are frequently used in a short paragraph to display them in the context of the time. As you might expect, the meanings are a bit different also.

Ambrose Bierce was a civil war participant and writer who exhibited a biting wit and a sly sense of humor. He often supplements his definitions with prose, as in the Editor (at right).

Throughout the coming editions of the Monitor, I’ll be including selected definitions for your reading edification.

Your pard,

O.P. Hill

From the Devil’s Dictionary

by Ambrose Bierce.

Editor, n. A person who combines the judicial functions of Minos, Rhadamanthus and AEacus, but is placable with an obolus; a severely virtuous censor, but so charitable withal that he tolerates the virtues of others and the vices of himself; who flings about him the splintering lightning and the sturdy thunders of admonition till he resembles a bunch of firecrackers petulantly uttering its mind at the ail of a dog; then straightway murmurs a mild, melodious lay, soft as the cooing of a donkey intoning its prayer to the evening star. Master of mysteries and lord of law, high-pinnacled upon the throne of thought, his face suffused with the dim splendors of the Transfiguration, his legs intertwisted and his tongue a-cheek, the editor spills his will along the paper and cuts it off in lengths to suit. And at intervals from behind the veil of the temple is heard the voice of the foreman demanding three inches of wit and six lines of religious meditation, or bidding him turn off the wisdom and whack up some pathos.

O, the Lord of Law on the Throne of Thought,
A gilded imposter is he.
Of shreds and patches his robes are wrought,
His crown is brass,
Himself is an ass,
And his power is fiddle-dee-dee.
Prankily, crankily prating of naught,
Silly old quilly old Monarch of Thought,
Public opinion’s camp-follower he,
Thundering, blundering, plundering free.
Respected contemporaree!

J.H. Bumbleshook

Letter to Colonel Medich

November 18, 2006

Dear Sir:

Due to my own medical situation and unforeseen family medical emergencies, the depth of my report will be brief.

The 2006 campaign year was a great success. Our three Battalion events were all conducted on historic ground: Fort Wayne, Antietam, and Perryville. They all offered an exclusive experience for the members of the Battalion. Overall, this year was memorable and not enough praise can be placed on the individual men in the ranks for their effort on and off the battlefield. This reflects great credit upon themselves, their companies, and the Battalion as a whole.

I myself have learned a great deal more of the inner workings of Battalion Staff. I appreciate the opportunity to contribute positively to the success of the Battalion. Field music has come a long way and at present preliminary planning is underway for the 2007 campaign season. However, issues that warrant more attention are (1) variety in impressions (i.e. Eastern and Western Theater uniform impressions). More members should have their Bomar Frock Coats. (2) Lack of bayonets continues to be an area of concern. (3) Having an adequate amount of ammunition and (4) A shortage of manpower at all Battalion events. (5) Some Battalion Staff positions are currently not filled (i.e. Ordinance Sergeant, Orderlies, Guides, and Curriers). (6) Color Guard should be staffed with the assigned number of people on its own.

As always, I serve on staff for the betterment of the Battalion. If my efforts are not considered to be a positive contribution to the success of the Battalion, then they should be considered a detriment. If the latter is the truth, then as always, I will be more than willing to step down.

Your Obedient Servant,

Major John D. McIntosh
Medich’s Battalion


Jon Lyons’ Contact Information
(from Gus Thompson)

Sgt. Lyons, Jon
HHC 2/505 PIR
82nd Airborne Division
Brassfield – MORA
APO/AE 09393

Historic Ft. Wayne Coalition Upcoming Event Schedule

March 24th -Work day 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

May 12th – Work day

May 25th – 27th – Living History Event

June 9th – Work day

June 23rd & 24th – British Victorian Event

July 8th & 9th – Civil War Days

August 10th – 12th – 14th MI Progressive Event

I called John Difatta and he said that they are trying to get the registration packets together. I will get this packet from him as soon as it is available. The deadline for you to provide attendance info to me is the end of April. After that I would like to say no more will be allowed.

At this point I have the names of:
Dan Johnston
Kim Vaden
Rick and Craig Loetz
Gary Green
Dave Parent
John Fredal
Randy and Colleen McLemore
Georgenia Kilbourn (maybe 2 girls)

They only allow 350 reenactors on site during the weekend. I need to make sure that if there are others planning to come with the names listed above that I know who they are. I will need all the kids names or they will not be allowed.

Please contact Georgenia Kilbourn at 1-269-962-3797 or 1-269-274-0816 cell or by Email:

Georgenia Kilbourn

2007 Royal Oak Parade Events

Mark Your Calendar now for the:

Royal Oak Memorial Day Parade – May 28th

Veteran’s Day Parade – November 11th

The parade events are organized by Major John McIntosh. He can be reached at (248) 543-3388. Additional information will be forthcoming.

Out of the Knapsack

I’m afraid I must report some tragic news to my 9th K family. My only nephew, Lance Cpl. Aaron Zayac, died unexpectedly while on his way home from California. Cpl. Zayac had survived two combat tours of duty in Iraq and was on his way to Michigan to join family and friends and to start his post military life. I had spoken to Aaron on the phone in early January of this year and he had expressed a great desire to serve with me and the 9th KY, Co. C.

I have submitted the article and obit from our local paper to The Monitor. I have decided to enroll Cpl. Zayac as an honorary member of the 9th KY for the upcoming campaign season. Also, Aaron will be a member of the “Ready Rifle Mess” for this year. He will be taking rations with us in spirit. I would like to thank all my brothers and sisters of the 9th for their support and friendship in good times and bad.

We must strive to improve our skills on the company level. Work on “School of the Soldier” from your pocket manual. Our footwork when firing needs some attention. You can practice at home, then we will perfect when the company assembles at company drill. Let us all attend company drill and support our new Captain, R.S. Brooks.

Till we meet in the field;
With greatest respect,

1st Sgt. James “JW” Ford
9th KY Vol. Inf. Co. C, RR Mess