The U.S. Artillery Reserve Bulletin Board
Artillery Reserve Bulletin Board

ATTENTION - All Federal Artillery Unit Commanders

All Federal Artillery Commanders:

Those of you who are planning to attend the 2014 GAC Gettysburg Event
please contact me at immediately with the following:

1) Your Unit Name

2) Number of Ordnance (you might bring)

3) Approximate number of people.

Please inform me of this information ASAP.

Thank You for your cooperation.
Rick Dennis, Commanding
US Artillery Reserve Assoc.

Publisher Seeks Reenactors

“Up Men and To Your Post….”
 Book Publisher Seeks Hardcore Reenactors to Help Portray
 the Gritty Horror of the Civil War

Wild River Press, a small West Coast publisher whose
high-end fishing and hunting books have won a string
of national awards the last several years, has turned its sights on an ambitious
new target: the American Civil War. 

Publisher Tom Pero said the first volume in his planned series will start
with Gettysburg. It will be released in 2015.
Additional books on major Civil War battles will continue the series.

Phase one of the first project was completed last summer, at the
reenactment of the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg, where 16
photographers in the Wild River Press entourage captured some 38,000 digital
still images of the pageantry.

Ultimately, only a couple hundred will be published in the finished book.

The next phase starts in June 2014, when Wild River Press plans to work
 with volunteer reenactors, photographing “mini-events” in various locations
throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia.

The photographers will be a rolling team, going where the reenactors are
assembled and playing out their roles in recreating key detailed aspects of the
historic three-day battle in 1863.

 “We have no set locations at this point,” said publisher Pero. “That’s
why we are reaching out to reenactors now—to help us find authentic-looking
places during the coming months, which gives us time to obtain proper
permissions and get our photo shoots organized.” He said that state parks and
even private farmland are likely locations.

 Among the important Gettysburg battle scenes that Wild River plans to
stage and for which special geographies are sought:

•     Fighting around the Devils Den formations of huge rocks.

•     Rocky granite hillside resembling Little Round Top, mostly  
      devoid of trees the way it was in 1863.

•     Lines of Longstreet’s infantry wading across the upper Potomac
      River, holding their pants, blankets and muskets over their heads while         
      officers on horseback wait downstream to snag those who slipped and couldn’t

•    An active logging operation where stacks of green logs can be used
      to stage night musket fire from the breastworks on Culps Hill.

•    Wheat fields and peach orchards.

•    A Civil War-era town in rural Maryland or Pennsylvania that has
      retained its original character with a minimum of modern changes that can
      stand in for Gettysburg 1863, where snipers can be placed in
      windows, soldiers hiding in alleys, etc. 

The publisher of Wild River Press explained that his talented layout artists will
take the new close-up and tightly focused images and piece them together with
the broader battle panoramic shots made last year. The visual narrative will
follow the actual chronology of the battle, in jarring color imagery. There will
 be blood. Pero revealed that along for the ride will be a zombie makeup artist.
There will be carnage.

 “Our aim, using visual fiction,” he said, “is to create a raw, gritty
sense of what it must have been like as an ordinary infantryman in the horror of
Gettysburg, in a way that has never before been possible with still photography until digital.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for serious Civil War reenactors to
actually be actors, for more than fleeting minutes,” Pero said. “Their passion
and their devotion to authenticity and realism will be frozen for all time in
the pages of this big, beautiful book.”

He said that some of the events may require as few as a dozen reenactors,
while others, such as the Rebel fording of the Potomac, could use a couple hundred men.

Interested in participating or offering your ideas?
Tom Pero welcomes all interest in the project by email at
or by telephone at 425-486-3638.

Wild River Press
PO  Box 13360
Mill Creek, Washington 98082

The Guns of the Hudson - The West Point Foundry

The Guns of the Hudson - The West Point Foundry


Disunion follows the Civil War as it unfolded.

Civil War (US) (1861-65), Cold Spring (NY), firearms, Hudson River, United States Military Academy

The sleepy Hudson River Valley community of Cold Spring, N.Y., is arguably one of the most idyllic villages in the state. Sitting on the east bank of the Hudson, it offers spectacular views of the Highlands across the river, including the United States Military Academy at West Point. Its art galleries, antique shops, and fine restaurants make for a delightful weekend getaway for residents of New York City, an hour to the south.

Missing, though, is virtually any evidence of Cold Spring’s martial past: during the Civil War its foundry forged thousands of the Union’s biggest and most effective artillery pieces – along with the infrastructure that helped build Industrial Age New York.

The foundry’s roots lie in the aftermath of the War of 1812. Among other things, the war demonstrated the new country’s inability to produce enough artillery to defend itself. And so, after it ended, President James Madison authorized the construction of four new cannon-making foundries, one of which was built diagonally across the Hudson from West Point.

The site was ideal. Water from nearby Margaret’s Brook powered the wheels; timber for fuel and the production of charcoal was plentiful, as was the iron ore from local quarries; and the river served as a reliable shipping route.

The privately owned West Point Foundry, as the complex was named, first fired up its furnaces in 1817, and began turning out not only military ordnance, but articles for domestic use: It produced the nation’s first two steam locomotives; iron boats, benches and fences; lampposts, lighthouses and building facades; beam engines and sugar mills for use in the Caribbean; marine engines and boilers for early steamships; and huge pipes, fixtures and fittings for the Croton Aqueduct, New York City’s extensive system that conducted water 41 miles from the Croton River.

Courtesy of Putnam History Museum John Ferguson Weir, “The Gun Foundry” (1866)

The foundry was one of America’s first marvels of modern technology, a literally glowing example of a rapidly industrializing North. The few images painted during its early days portray the complex tucked into its cove and haloed by columns of smoke and a hellish glow, which could be seen for miles along both sides of the river.

Still, its most vital role was military. Throughout the Civil War, the foundry turned out several types of artillery pieces, including the smoothbore Rodman and Dahlgren cannons.

But it was one particular weapon, the so-called Parrott gun, that made the foundry famous in the annals of the Civil War.

The gun was developed by Robert P. Parrott, a former Army captain and West Point inspector of ordnance. Parrott had taken over the foundry as its superintendent after he retired from the Army in 1836. It was another 25 years, though, before he patented a series of improvements on the rifled cannon (known, at the time, as simply the “rifle”). Rifling – the cutting of lands and grooves inside a barrel to give spin to the projectile – allows a shell to travel considerably farther, and with greater accuracy, than one fired from the tubes of a smoothbore cannon.

Parrott was not the first to rifle the barrels of cannon. Rather, his contributions lay in the proprietary process for wrapping the breech of each gun with a thick band of wrought iron, and in the type of projectile the gun would fire. Ostensibly, the iron band would prevent the breech from exploding during firing – a recurring problem with cast-iron guns. (He also received patents for developing a special fuse and sight for his rifles.)

Such seemingly marginal changes are often what take an unreliable innovation and make it a game-changer. And, indeed, Parrott guns soon became the most commonly used artillery pieces of the war. They were, as one chronicler of Civil War ordnance observed, “available, inexpensive, and accurate.” By the fall of 1861, the foundry’s forges and furnaces were churning them out around the clock. One visitor to the area recalled, “We could hear the deep breathing of furnaces, and the sullen monotonous pulsations of trip-hammers, busily at work at the West Point Foundry, the most extensive and complete of the iron-works of the United States.” The foundry was producing an astounding 25 rifled Parrott guns and 7,000 projectiles a week. On each muzzle were stamped the letters “WPF” – West Point Foundry – and “RPP,” for Robert Parker Parrott.

The Parrot gun was actually a collection of cannons. The guns ranged in size from 10-pounder field rifles to behemoths weighing up to 13 tons, and capable of firing a shell weighing 300 pounds. They were used as field pieces and siege guns, and for service aboard naval vessels. And they were copied fanatically by the Confederates throughout the war.

The foundry – the sole manufacturer of the Parrott gun – could not produce the weapons fast enough. In April 1863, Parrott wrote his brother, “Guns are ordered by the fifties and all my efforts required to keep up the supply.” Two months later, he wrote that the calls for guns and projectiles were “increasing daily,” and in late August, he bemoaned, “I am over head and ears in business and demand for guns, etc.” It would continue so until the South surrendered.

At its busiest, before and during the war, the foundry employed between 1,200 and 1,400 workers, many of them British and Irish immigrants. In 1860, Parrott enlarged the foundry school, built in Cold Spring 30 years before, for teenage apprentices and workers’ children. (The building, renovated in 2006, now houses the Putnam County Museum.) He owned several rowhouses, which he rented to workers. And he provided for widows’ benefits, and limited compensation for workers’ injuries.

Nonetheless, many workers were dissatisfied with the daily pay of 9 to 10 shillings, and in March 1864, 300 men formed themselves into a “Laboring Men’s Union” and went on strike. They prevented the other workers from reporting for work, and in response, a detachment of 120 soldiers was sent to protect the nonunion laborers, and to place the foundry under military guard. Three of the union leaders were arrested, and order was eventually restored.

Still, production continued apace. Before being shipped into service from the foundry’s 600-foot dock, each gun was placed on a testing platform facing west over the Hudson and fired at targets fixed on stark and rocky Crow’s Nest Mountain, looming on the other side. When President Lincoln visited West Point in June 1862, he crossed the river for a tour of the foundry, and was given a firing demonstration. As the gun boomed and sent its shells spiraling toward Crow’s Nest, Lincoln reportedly commented, “I’m confident you can hit that mountain over there, so suppose we get something to eat. I’m hungry.”

Although the guns’ accuracy was decidedly greater than those that had come before, they still had a perilous tendency to explode, despite Parrott’s reinforcing iron band. A blowout could occur from any of a number of problems, from sand in the barrel, to excessive elevation, to friction within the projectile itself. The stout band would indeed keep the protected part of the breech from rupturing; however, the barrel would simply explode along the unreinforced section, or at the muzzle.

One such calamity occurred during the long siege of Charleston, S.C., in which a number of Parrott guns blew apart, including the 16,700-pound siege rifle known as the Swamp Angel. Manned by a crew from the 11th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment, it fired its 150-pound projectiles against the city 35 times, at a distance so great that it required a compass setting and extreme elevation; with the 36th round, the gun burst, blowing out the breech and injuring three men. (A Parrott rifle reputed to be the ruined Swamp Angel sits as a memorial in Trenton’s Cadwalader Park.)

Not all gun crews were so fortunate. When the Union steamer Juniata’s 100-pound Parrott gun burst in an engagement off Fort Fisher, N.C., in January 1865, the explosion killed five sailors and badly injured eight more. All told, reported a later article in The New York Times, during the war shipboard fatalities alone numbered in excess of 100 as a result of Parrott gun accidents.

Still, most of the Parrott guns worked well, and gave long and effective service. One noteworthy 30-pounder fired some 4,600 rounds before finally breaking down; its remains are on display at West Point.

By the end of the war, the West Point Foundry had manufactured some 3,000 Parrott guns and over three million projectiles, in addition to the various other types of artillery pieces and ammunition. Business would never be that good again.

With the demand for cannon practically disappearing after 1865, the foundry’s business dwindled. The fatal blow came in the form of the Bessemer process, an English system for the cheap manufacture of steel. The first American plant to employ this method was built the year the war ended, and by 1877, 11 Bessemer mills around the country were belching smoke and producing steel at a rapid, affordable rate. The days of the great iron forges were numbered.

The West Point Foundry held on through the remainder of the 19th century, casting metal furniture, but was later sold to various businesses in the 1900s. Eventually, practically all the structures collapsed or were taken down, leaving little trace of the greatest forge of the Civil War era. The only original structure still standing is the two-story Victorian brick office building, constructed in 1865.

In 1996, Scenic Hudson – a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and restoring the Hudson River and the Hudson River Valley – acquired 87 acres on the original site, both to protect it from development and to create an interpretive historic and ecological preserve. In the 1990s, after years of serving as a dumping ground for toxic chemicals, Foundry Cove underwent a huge Superfund cleanup.

Today, the West Point Foundry Preserve, recently opened to the public and easily accessible by car or train, offers an interpretive walking tour of the foundry site that includes stabilized ruins, native plantings and full-size sculptural models that illustrate the immense scale of the old operation.

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Civil War Traveler News March 2014

March 2014

150 years ago this month...

It was a pretty quiet month across the country with just a few flashes of violence, one in an unlikely place. A half-hearted Union campaign began on the Red River in Louisiana.


Cavalry Raid

A two-pronged Union cavalry raid against Richmond was turned back by local militia March 1. The hoped-for outcome of the raid was to free prisoners and cause mayhem in the Confederate capital.

A talk at the Walkerton Tavern, north of Richmond commemorates the event March 8.

Camps and forts


Soldiers spent what would be for many the last quiet moments of their lives in camps and fortifications as winter came to a close. A symposium and bus tours take a look at this phase of the war.


The "Red River" Campaign, a two-pronged Union offensive against Confederate headquarters in Shreveport (LA), was launched in mid-March from Arkansas and eastern Louisiana. The uncoordinated and poorly led effort ended in failure a month later.

A commemoration of the campaign scheduled in Alexandria/Pineville (LA) March 6-9 includes a symposium and reenactment.

Commemorations of other Red River episodes, including the Battles of Mansfield and several battles in Arkansas are scheduled in April. For listings and links, see


The Charleston (IL) Riot, March 28, 1864, was a bloody clash between Union soldiers and "Copperheads." It resulted in nine dead. A full schedule of activities March 28-30 in Charleston includes a symposium, living history, tours and more.

Other 1864-related conferences, seminars

"The War Returns to the Valley," March 8 at New Market (VA).

"1864," annual free conference March 15 at Longwood University in Farmville (VA).

"1864 — The War in the Western Theater," March 21-22 at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw (GA).

First Saturday programs at Andersonville


The Andersonville National Historic Site (GA) is hosting special "First Saturday" ranger programs through 2015 commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Camp Sumter Military Prison. The program topics change every two months. Each segment will feature a theme connected with the site and will highlight a different Civil War prison. The theme for March-April is "Arrival," and the highlighted Civil War prison is Rock Island (IL).

Cemetery Ridge rehab continues


One by one the modern intrusions on Cemetery Ridge on the Gettysburg battlefield are disappearing. The changes already made are evident and dramatic. Gone are the old Cyclorama building and visitor center. Next is the visitor center parking lot, which should be gone by summer.
More info:

Virginia Civil War guide for iPads

clickMore than 60 Virginia Civil War sites, ranging from National Parks to community walking trails, are highlighted in a new app for iPads. The Virginia Civil War Field Guide app, designed for both on-the-road travel and trip planning, features interactive maps, modern and historic images, and practical, "must-have" information about each site. Cost is $3.99. It is available on the Apple App Store.

Franklin (TN) site acquires Cleburne signature


A rare wartime signature by Confederate Gen. Patrick Cleburne will go on exhibit March 16 at the Lotz House Civil War Museum in Franklin (TN). Cleburne was killed a short distance from the house during the November 1864 battle. More artifact unveilings are planned at the house during this, the battle's 150th anniversary year. Special "private tours" of the house's cellar also will be offered once a month through October.

Artillery subject of NC webcast

The history and science of Civil War artillery is featured in a special webcast March 11 from the Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site. The webcast is scheduled to include talks and a cannon firing demonstration. The program is geared for school children but anyone may register.

Ranger programs highlight women's history

Special programs presented Saturdays and Sundays during March at the Stones River National Battlefield (Murfreesboro TN) reveal the stories of women in the Civil War. More info:

20142014 Guide to Virginia's Civil War published

This year's 150th anniversary edition of the Guide to Virginia's Civil War newspaper is now available at visitor centers and Civil War sites throughout the state. The guide and other free Virginia travel info is also available by mail by filling out the form at (choose Virginia).

Take a bike tour of Manassas (VA)

Second-Saturday guided bicycle tours of downtown Manassas begin March 8. The morning tours cover many Civil War sites and stories. Tours begin at the Manassas Museum and cost $5. Details:




  • "Stuart's Last Stand: The Battle of Yellow Tavern, May 11, 1864" opens March 13 and continues through May 23 at Walkerton Tavern north of Richmond (VA).
  • "When Johnny Comes Marching Home: Veterans in the Postwar South," opens March 8 at the Museum of the Confederacy in Appomattox (VA).
  • "Faces of the First: Contemporary Civil War Portraits of the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment," continues through July 7 at the Landmark Center in St. Paul (MN).
  • "Between the States: Photographs of the American Civil War from the George Eastman House," continues through April 27 at the Mariners' Museum in Newport News (VA).
  • "An Artist's Story: Civil War Drawings of Edwin Forbes," opens March 15 and continues through Aug 15 at the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum in Columbia (SC)

ChamberlainOn the Web

March 2014 Reenactments


Loss of a fellow Redleg

movie casting call


Project Type: Feature Film, Non-SAG 

Audition Date: Sunday, March 2nd in King of Prussia, PA

Time: 11-4pm (No appointment necessary)

Location: Radisson Hotel Valley Forge 
(Held on the Mt. Laurel & Mt Davis rooms) 
1160 1st Avenue 
King of Prussia, PA 19406 

Filming Location: Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York and Delaware

If you are interested in attending the audition, send an e-mail along with your bio, resume, headshots and/or reels to

Video submissions are also being accepted 
IN ADDITION, casting is not limited to the East Coast area; we are also looking for voice and Bilingual actors. If you reside out-of-state or overseas you can still be a part of this project.
Film Synopsis: 
A vaccine created for the sole purpose of prevention, instead leads humanity to the brink of extinction. 
The film is a drama/horror film revolving around the fall of humanity to the undead. A unit comprised of Humans and Vampires are thrown together by what remains of the government, in the hope of tracking down a possible cure for the infection that continues to spread. During this exploration, the unit encounters what life has become without a civilized rule of law.
Thank you for your continued support

Updates also available at:

Great News!!

Loss of a Friend

2014 Event, Monroe, NY

Fellow Redlegs;
Posted is a small event for our northern membership might be interested in doing
something fun.
Rick, Commanding

The event is called Museum Village and it happens every Labor day weekend. This is the oldest running re-enactment in the state of new york. It has declined over the years, and as of this year I was given control of this event, and with that I am trying to revitalize it to what I remember when I first started this hobby. If any artillery Units out there from the Reserve are interested, or any questions please feel free to contact me by email at:

I do not think that the event has been posted to their site yet as it is still early in the year but it will be in a few months I would imagine.

Nick Pollock,  United States Volunteer's

Fort Ontario Event, Aug. 2014

On August 16 and 17 the 4th US Artillery, Battery A will host  a battle reenactment along with the 33rd Virginia Co. G, 28th NY Co. E, Madison Light Artillery and the 5th & 43rd Virginia Cavalry. 
For those that have not been to the Fort it is an outstanding historical site.  The 4th US hosted an event here in 2012 and participating units have been asking if we were going to put together another event at this location.  Below is a link to the Fort's website. 
The loss of the Hamlin Beach State Park event left a hole in may schedules for the month of August. Tim Bucknam (event coordinator for Hamlin) has been a great help in getting this event off the ground  and I would like to take the time to thank him for all his work  on the Fort Ontario event to this point. 
Some specifics about the event: 
There will be the customary two battle scenarios.  On Saturday and one Sunday.  We are hoping to "flip" the Fort and have it defended by Confederate forces one day and Union the other. 
ALL military camps are planned to be inside the Fort at this time.  Civilian will be outside the fort where there is more space for wall tents.  Should any unit wish to camp with their civilians please let my know and we can try to accomodate that.  In any case we would still like to keep military and civilian camps seperate and not mixed. 
Saturday evening, shortly after dusk, there will be a "night" battle.  For safety reasons the opposing forces will be in fixed positions.  The battle will be enhanced with aerial pyrotechnics by Youngs Explosives Company, simulating artillery shells.  We did this in 2012 and for many it was the highlight of the event. 
There have been some inquiries about a dance Saturday evening.  We are looking into this and will keep you posted. 
Firewood, straw, water, etc.  all provided.
Bounty for Artillery. 
All branches welcome. 
Please let me know if you have any questions and we hope to see you in August!
Chris Foote
4th US Artillery, Battery A

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