Period paint recipe for poncho or ground cloth

Period Recipe: This recipe is an approximation, since the original recipe specified “litharge,” or lead monoxide (PbO) which is extremely poisonous.

Bright Idea: Leave out the lampblack, and you have a recipe for a nice civilian waterproof cloth.

I strongly recommend this recipe because it is about as authentic as you can get without putting life and limb in danger.

Materials:

  • Boiled linseed oil
  • Mineral spirits paint thinner (or turpentine)
  • Lampblack (comes in tubes or dry powder)
  • Japan dryer
  • Corn starch

Method:

  1. Make a sizing by boiling about a quart of water and adding cornstarch mixed in cold water until the mixture becomes a little syrupy.
  2. Paint the cloth with the cornstarch sizing and let dry.
  3. Mix one part of boiled linseed oil with one part of mineral spirits. Add lamp black until the paint is a very opaque black. Add one oz. (2 tbsp) of Japan dryer per pint.
  4. With a brush, paint the cloth with the blackened linseed oil and let dry. This can take several days.
  5. Mix one part of boiled linseed oil with two parts of mineral spirits. Add one oz. of Japan dryer per pint.
  6. With a brush, paint the cloth with the clear linseed oil mixture and let it dry. This can also take several days. Two coats of this mixture should give the results you want. (You can omit the cornstarch sizing if you want, but the oil-based paint will pretty much soak the cloth.)

For best results let the cloth cure for 2 weeks hanging outdoors.

Why Shiloh wounds Glowed in the Dark

Some of the Shiloh soldiers sat in the mud for two rainy days and nights waiting for the medics to get around to them. As dusk fell the first night, some of them noticed something very strange: their wounds were glowing, casting a faint light into the darkness of the battlefield. Even stranger, when the troops were eventually moved to field hospitals, those whose wounds glowed had a better survival rate and had their wounds heal more quickly and cleanly than their unilluminated brothers-in-arms. The seemingly protective effect of the mysterious light earned it the nickname “Angel’s Glow.”

Read more here:
http://mentalfloss.com/article/30380/why-some-civil-war-soldiers-glowed-dark

(Image courtesy Todd Ciche,Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824 USA)

Conquering a Peace – 9th KY shenanigans

IV Conquering a Peace from History of the Orhpan Brigade – Edwin Thompson

The Fourth Regiment having been organized sometime before the Sixth and Ninth and very carefully drilled felt themselves veterans when the latter were still raw and rallied the awkward squad as they called them unmercifully At Burnsville however the Ninth found an opportunity to pay them back in one species of their own coin aud they made such use of it as to force the veterans who also called themselves Buckner’s Pets to sue for a treaty of amity

The tents of the two regiments were pitched on the same slope and in such close proximity that it was not deemed necessary to keep two separate camp guards so they agreed to dispense with that part of the detail at least which would be required to watch the two lines near the point of contact and to have a guard proportioned to the strength of each regiment detailed for duty around the two commands

They now became better acquainted and things went on swimmingly till one morning when a certain valuable cooking utensil was missed from the Ninth A careful reconnoisance developed the fact that it had found its way to the Fourth and a plan of retaliation was at once instituted

The night which followed was dark and favorable to the enterprise After tattoo and when the men of the offending regiment were fully committed to their slumbers a party of the Ninth stole quietly among their tents and bore off every cooking vessel upon which they could lay their hands The astonishment of the veterans next morning knew no bounds when they found that instead of a single piece of camp furniture’s being gone there were more indications that they had been visited by Ali Baba’s forty thieves

But the true state of case was soon discovered and there was a large meeting of plenipotentiaries from the respective regiments who entered into a solemn league and covenant providing that no matter what might be practiced upon outsiders the strictest forbearance was to be observed toward each other There was then a restoration of the property but the Fourth had a late breakfast that morning From that time a warm friendship sprang up between these two regiments and the treaty was never broken Buckner’s Pets very naturally concluded that men who with so little training could avenge their wrongs so promptly were worthy of esteem and confidence

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

Message from Captain Thompson

Notes from Captain Gus Thompson

I had a phone conversation with our illustrious captain discussing the upcoming event at Charlton Park. He is very excited about this event and gave me several reasons as to why this event was going to be the best event so far this year.

  1. Numbers – We have 27 confirmed for this event and another 8-10 that are on the fence. This will be our biggest turnout in years. With so many men in the ranks, we will be a powerful force within the battalion and on the battlefield.
  2. Food – The unit has planned some delicious meals. Grits on Saturday morning, stew on Saturday night! Full company commissary!
  3. Fresh Fish – We are going to have quite a few reenacting virgins out there this weekend. It will be exciting showing them what reenacting 9th Kentucky Co. C means. It will be great to meet new people and make new friends/comrades in arms.
  4. Event Schedule – We have TWO battles each day, including the Sunday morning Tactical that has always made Charlton Park a great event. There will be a lot of opportunities to march, drill, and fire; all of the things that sets our company apart from the others.
  5. Weather – This will be one of the most pleasant trips to Charlton Park in recent memories. Much cooler than the 94 degrees we had last year and it looks like it will be mostly dry!
  6. Comradery – This will be a great event to catch up with your pards. The band will play; there will be carousing, gaiety and fun.

Please Note: Since we are going to have so many newbs out with us this weekend, we ask that you bring any/all extra gear that you can. We will have to uniform at least 6 new pards this weekend.

Thanks every one and see you all on Friday!

Message from Woodward

Submitted from Moses Townes

A message from Woodward, spending a nice relaxing vacation is Pennsylvania

“That’s it!”

“What’s it?”

“Don’t worry about it. You’re asking too many questions. I’m parking, be back in five.”

“Wait, what?”

“Don’t open the doors for anyone, no matter what. Be back soon.”

“Caleb, I don’t feel comfortable with you going up to that house.”
“Leave it alone, I’ll be fine.”

I go to the house and see the ‘hours of operation’. I notice that there is no aspect of this house that I’m older than, except for the sewer rats nesting underneath the stairs. I don’t know, just try the door. Shit, locked. From reading the signs I sensed fear upon realizing that my designer jeans will not be welcomed. I snap brief pictures of the important information and hurry across the parking lot/mine field to get to the museum, who’s curator has only one working eye and a limp from the Falklands War.

“Sir, is the sutler in?”

“Nay lady, he’s got a job in Merry-land. What daya need?”

“Um… French import knapsacks and Confederate canvas shoes, the wooden sole kind… Sir.”

“Wooden souls are the devil’s friend.”

“Excuse me?”

“Wooden souls fuel the devil’s fire”

As the old crooked-eyed man laughed and cackled I dashed out of the brick museum in genuine fear for my life. I arrived back to my car with a deeper understanding of the disdain one holds for “the farb”. I enter the driver’s seat, where my wife asks,

“Where have you been?”
“Huh?”

“You’ve been gone forty-five minutes, where have you been?”

“Oh, uh, the bathroom, your mom’s cooking is lethal.”

As I conjured up my alibi, I knew the truth was too difficult to handle. She knew the legend of Mac and JW courtesy of a wedding no more than a year before, but I knew, damn sure of it, that she was not prepared for the mythos of a mystical purveyor of Civil War wares known as Spiros Marinos.

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.