Resignation of Brigadier General Terry Crowder (10/8/2013)
PRESS RELEASE (3/25/2013): Blue Gray Alliance: Doing What It Was Created To Do —Alliance planning two major national events in 2013 including 150th Gettysburg and 150th Chickamauga reenactments.
About Our First Federal Division Sharpshooters
"148th Anniversary of the Battle of Fort Donelson"
(The November, 2010 Twin Rivers EVENT VIDEO by Wide Awake Films)
Resignation of Brigadier General Terry Crowder
As most of you know, I have announced my retirement as commander of the FFD. After 30 years in this magnificent hobby and 6 or so years as Brigsdier General of the FFD I believe it is time for another to step in and take the reins of this great organization.
I will remain in office in order to complete all the open business of the FFD and until a qualified replacement can be announced and voted on. We have much business to complete such as records and schedule. I would like to leave this position with all things in order for the lucky successor to walk into the Command with a clean and complete slate.
I would like to call a FFD annual meeting in January in conjunction with Cleburnes Division which is our BGA partner. We are tentatively setting January 18/19, 2014 for the meeting.
General Way of Clerburne's Division and I will remain on the Board of the BGA through the remainder of the 150th cycle — at which time we will again review with the FFD and Cleburne's Division as to the future of the BGA.
With General Way's health issue, Colonel Mark Way will be stepping up to fill in for him until such time as General Way can determine his future.
You also know that Colonel (Retired General) Chuck Warnick has resigned as well. I want to personally thank him forcoming forward and for the many deeds he has performed to help get us successfully through the 150th cycle. Thank you, General Warnick for all you have done.
I have appointed Lt. Colonel Michael Zimmer to serve as COS for the duration of my service to the FFD. Please refer all future COS concerns to him. Thanks to you, Michael for again stepping up to serve the FFD.
I have ask our friends from Pantero Films to forward a supply of videos from the 150th Chickamauga event to each commander so you can forward to any of your folks that perhaps were walk-ons and did not get their registration in on time. Those who did get in on on the registration will be mailed their copy direct.
Thanks you all for your support and all the breathtaking memories we have all made together.
Brigadier. General Terry Crowder
First Federal Division / Division Cavalry Brigade
PRESS RELEASE (3/25/2013): Blue Gray Alliance: Doing What It Was Created To Do
Alliance planning two major national events in 2013 including 150th Gettysburg and 150th Chickamauga reenactments.
With two major national reenactments happening in 2013, the Blue Gray Alliance is hard at work doing exactly what it was created to do.
“From the start, the Blue Gray Alliance has been intended to be a force multiplier for events,” explains General Joe Way, Commander of Cleburne’s Division and Blue Gray Alliance board member. “When the alliance puts on a reenactment, we draw from a membership population of over 12,000 reenactors North, South, East, and West who belong to the larger command organizations that make up our executive council. This means there are a lot of people in a lot of places who come to our events.” Because of this large draw, a number of reenactors who are independent or from units not directly associated with the Blue Gray Alliance member organizations come to the events as well.
The 2013 season brings two major national events including the 150th Commemoration and Reenactment of the Battle of Gettysburg June 27-30, 2013 at the Bushey Farm in Gettysburg, PA and the 150th Anniversary Chickamauga Reenactment September 19-22, 2013 at Mountain Cove Farm in Walker County, GA. Both events offer signature Blue Gray Alliance features including large plots of land, camp for various facets of reenacting, coordination between military branches as well as civilian town, and standard operating procedures allowing the logistics to be scaled up or down as necessary. These standard procedures enhance the safety of all participants and eliminate many of the common problems you find at national reenactments. “All events are by reenactors for reenactors meaning reenactors guide all facets of the event during every planning stage through to being on the field at the event itself,” General Way adds.
Blue Gray Alliance at 150th Wilson’s Creek Anniversary Reenactment, August 2011 (Photo by Jeremy Thompson)
With the success over the past four years of reenactments at Twin Rivers (2010), Wilson’s Creek (2011), Shiloh (2012), and Raymond (2012), the alliance counts large numbers of Federals and Confederates, especially for infantry, as well as a large turnout for the artillery and cavalry. In this way, the alliance serves to bring together groups with many varied interests and recognizes the most important members are those privates who fill out the ranks of infantry, artillery, and cavalry as well as all the families and civilians.
The Blue Gray Alliance civilian population comes in force to set up a period camp “town” within each event. For example, at Gettysburg, the civilian town will represent the town of Gettysburg and at Chickamauga, the civilian town will represent the town of Lafayette where General Braxton Bragg had his headquarters. That way all branches of the military as well as the civilian side are represented and have a place to call their own within the events.
Blue Gray Alliance civilian town residents, the Masciale family, having a picnic near camp.
“We believe that every participant, whether accompanied by their family or falling in with their pards with a knapsack and musket, should be welcome at every event,” agrees Colonel Mark Way, Cleburne’s Division Chief of Staff, and Blue Gray Alliance board member.
The Blue Gray Alliance was formed in the summer of 2008 so that reenactors could have a say in how the big events of the upcoming cycle of 150th anniversaries would be planned and run. “It really started with the 145th anniversary series,” General Way remembers. “Cleburne’s Division was asked to take over the Chickamauga event, and with the help of Longstreet’s Corps, we put together a conglomeration of troops and built the alliance from there.”
“We felt a real responsibility due to the significance of the cycle of 150ths,” remembers General Terry Crowder, Commander of First Federal Division and Blue Gray Alliance board member. “The alliance brought together a number of groups who had been a part of the old North-South alliance that operated for about 20 years starting in the mid-80s. In those days, we just agreed to come to events and a lot of the planning was left to the last minute. I remember events where I was the overall Federal commander and didn’t find out the battle scenarios until I arrived on site the night before the battle.”
This lack of communication and coordination within the North-South alliance led over the years to some attrition and fragmenting of troops. “We had brigades who couldn’t agree with each other let alone with the other commands, and there was no one left to gather the units until the Blue Gray Alliance was formed.”
General Joe Way, Colonel Mark Way, General Terry Crowder, and Colonel Chuck Warnick, First Federal Division Chief of Staff came together as the board members for the Blue Gray Alliance. Together they sought help from many of the major commands active in the reenacting community to form the foundation of the Blue Gray Alliance. This included support from General Dave Cornett, former Commander of Longstreet’s Corp as well as from members of the Federal Alliance, the U.S. Volunteers, the Mifflin Guard, the Western Brigade and others.
“From the start we worked together to establish guidelines and goals for the alliance to keep from having the same problems we had before,” explains Crowder. “We agreed the alliance would accommodate every type of reenactor whether campaigner, progressive, or mainstream. We agreed we would only have events on large plots of land of at least 1000 to 1500 acres. We agreed to involve civilians in a meaningful way giving them specific opportunities to participate. And we wanted to make sure we had better communication within the various elements,” Crowder adds.
A part of this amped up communication includes having all the commanders of the member organizations participate on an executive council for discussion, planning, and decision-making. General Way explains, “The board is there to steer the alliance and make sure it stays in the right perspective as far as our goals and commitments, but many of the decisions are brought forward and made within the executive council.”
The communication within this large group has been worked out to the point where published rules are communicated, understood, and respected. “The communication has opened up a whole new spectrum of workability in these events,” agrees Colonel Chuck Warnick. “We have a lot more mutual respect between different commands. We have the most knowledgeable, experienced people working on our events and the quality is astounding.” At recent planning meetings for both Gettysburg and Chickamauga, close to 100 commanders and their staffs came together to walk the land and make decisions about the camps and battles.
“With the Gettysburg and Chickamauga events, we’ll have the most historically accurate and most realistic battle scenarios anyone has ever seen at a reenactment,” adds General Way. “We have battles with historically accurate timing where one element will be ending an attack while another element is just starting one in another area in an overlapping, coordinated fashion. We couldn’t have this if we didn’t have solid agreements within the commands to respect the rules and put the history first.”
Blue Gray Alliance in action at 150th Shiloh Reenactment, March 2012 (Photo by Jeremy Thompson)
The Gettysburg and Chickamauga events have also brought refinement to the planning process in ways that enhance the safety for everyone and help to ensure a smooth running event. Colonel Mark Way explains, "We have at our disposal, plans we can use again and again and tailor to the specific event. This includes plans for all the services we need including water, sanitation, firewood, hay, medical/ambulance services, traffic control, security, emergency operations, adverse weather, and contingency plans for all our operations.”
Each year in January, the Blue Gray Alliance hosts a Leadership Conference with talks and workshops for the executive council and their staff to make decisions for the coming year. The first Blue Gray Alliance Leadership Conference was held in Chickamauga in 2010, followed by St. Louis in 2011, Nashville in 2012, and Chickamauga again in 2013.
“Any units or groups who would like to join the Blue Gray Alliance are invited and welcome to contact us and attend our yearly Leadership Conference,” says General Way. “Just leave your politics at home. We don’t have any time for that.”
The Blue Gray Alliance has a ten year plan laid out for events as well as for future development of the alliance. “We have one national event planned each year and one or two regional events as well in both the East and the West,” explains General Way.
The future of reenacting is very important to the Blue Gray Alliance. With this in mind, the alliance is moving toward making more opportunities for reenactors to learn from each other through workshops, officer trainings, and camps of instruction. A website is being developed to help units with recruitment and to get to know each other better. The alliance plans to seek out partnerships with like-minded organizations to bring more opportunities to the historical preservation community as well.
When the cycle of 150th anniversaries winds down, there will still be lots of fighting to be done. The alliance seeks to provide quality events that are family-oriented as the future of reenacting depends on the support of our young ones. What will they have to look forward to in the future?
“We’ll always have our lovable kinfolk,” reminds General Crowder. “People are kind and generous. If you need help, you’ll have 10 people there to help you and give you anything you need. It’s the people that make this pastime great and that we’ll always have.”
General Way provides another glimpse of what might be ahead, “We have some great events in the works. As a grand finale to the sesquicentennial, we’re looking at 11,000 acres of land where we can get all our people together to put on a grand-scale four day event reenacting all the major battles of the Civil War. Look for more news on that soon.”
The 150th Commemoration of the Battle of Gettysburg, June 27-30, 2013 will offer large-scale battles on terrain similar to the original battlefield and just two miles from the Gettysburg National Military Park.
The 150th Chickamauga Anniversary, September 19-22, 2013 will take place on parts of the original battlefield at Mountain Cove Farm in Georgia, and will feature hard fighting at the headwaters of Chickamauga Creek as well as a mountain top artillery barrage.
The civilian-only “Town” of Gettysburg and “Town” of Lafayette are now accepting applications for residents. At both events, the sutler and food vendor area will include a tent for living historian talks, authors doing book signings, and period music. Several period church services will be held, and a Civil War Ball will take place on Saturday night with music provided by the Emmy award winning group “Unreconstructed String Band”.
Registration is $20. Spectator tickets are $10 with children 12 and under free. Parking is free.
Please visit www.bluegraygettysburg.com or www.150thanniversarychickamauga.com to purchase tickets or for more information on the events. General questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Blue Gray Alliance is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization comprised of many of the major reenacting organizations across the country including over 18,000 members. Member organizations share common goals including reenactments planned and managed by reenactors to ensure the experience is authentic and rewarding for all. For more information on Blue Gray Alliance member organizations, visit www.bluegrayalliance.org
For additional information regarding the 150th Commemoration and Reenactment of the Battle of Gettysburg, a Blue Gray Alliance event, visit www.bluegraygettysburg.com or find us on Facebook or Twitter @150thGettysburg.
About Our First Federal Division Sharpshooters
When you hear the name Division Cavalry Brigade one thinks of the many mounted and dismounted cavalrymen in our ranks. What many may not know is that we also have a growing company of sharpshooters and skirmishers within our Brigade. They historically portray the Western soldiers that served as sharpshooters, skirmishers and light infantry. Depending on the event and scenarios they may be armed with either their target or repeating arms. This helps them take on many different roles serving with the Division Cavalry Brigade and First Federal Division. Their company of 30 rifles is growing and they are working to reach the numbers needed to form a sharpshooter battalion within the First Federal Division.
We are proud to have the service of these fine soldiers and are looking forward to the future campaigns together.
Captain Peter Yurkonis Division Cavalry Brigade – Chief of Staff
About Our Sharpshooters
The sharpshooter (and repeating rifle) company have served with the Division Cavalry Brigade for several years now. Our focus is to historically and accurately portray the soldiers of the Western Theater that served as the sharpshooters, skirmishers, light infantry and shock troops of the western armies. We modify our impressions and weaponry to fit the historical needs of the division. We strive to bring these arms and the men who used them to the forefront. We have the ability to equip ourselves with the Dimick Target, Sharps, Henry and Spencer rifles, which were among the most technologically advanced rifles of the conflict.
Our reenacting unit's primary impression is Birge's Western Sharpshooters, later to be designated as the 66th Illinois Infantry. But our impression does not stop there. Out of a joint effort of several re-enactors and reenacting units, that have a common desire to portray the "sharpshooters" and "shock troops" of the western armies, we have expanded into a multi-impression unit, which allows us to portray a number of the regiments armed with target and repeating rifles. To put it plainly, we wanted to portray the boys of the 1860's that were armed with state of the art rifles using light infantry and skirmish tactics. Our strong and ongoing relationship with the First Federal Division allows us to do just that. Several of the units that we portray served as mounted infantry for at least part of the war. This makes it a good fit to serve with the cavalry brigade or to be detached as an independent skirmish company. Our tactics and repeating rifles makes the sharpshooter company a force multiplier within the division.
The core of our unit resides among the states of Illinois, Indiana and Michigan, which coincidentally had the greatest contribution of Henry and Spencer rifles in the war. However, we have members from all across the country that make up the Western Sharpshooters and in turn are also members of The National Henry Rifle Company.
Questions regarding the sharpshooters can be sent to Captain Todd Koster email@example.com or any of the Division Cavalry Brigade staff. Additional information can be found on the following websites
Gentlemen and Ladies,
I could not believe the video I have just watched (three times) of the Twin Rivers event. What an amazing film. It is about 1 hour in length and not only did these professional video makers capture almost every person there, but they did so with a realism I have never seen on video before.
The scenes are magnificent and the surroundings are even more so. Within a few moments of viewing you will feel as if you were there and this was a captured moment in the actual battle. The expressions seen on the faces will make you think they are living in the moment.
Any reenactor who views this will be thankful he or she was there and for those who were not, they will see the splendor and magnitude of this great adventure. This should be used as a tool for every unit who has ever thought they were creating a “living history”. Once they have viewed this, they will quickly realize that the small, non authentic, local park events they have been doing all pale severely in comparison to this journey in time. This is as real as it gets. The memory that was created for us who attended will live on forever in this production.
Many thanks to the crews who moved and lived with us in this spectacular event and for their outstanding work in the finest video I have seen in 125 years and never missing a National event video . This is by far the best ever.
Click graphic to order ($15 plus postage).