Monday, October 15, 2012

Wickham Park NEB Event

Greetings All;

Below, please find my Engineer's Report for the NEB Wickham Park Event.


Ian McKay, BG, CE, CS (acting), for Lt. Gen. U.S. Grant


Lt. Gen. US Grant
All Union Armies

Brig. Gen. M. Burbank
New England Brigade

Major D. Erickson
Commandant (acting)
U. S. Corps of Topographical Engineers

      Marc Bassos
      Event Coordinator

Engineers in Attendance:

Brig. Gen. of Engrs. (by brevet) Ian McKay;
      Lt. Col. J. Duarte (by brevet);
Capt. N. Reicke (detached to artillery);
Captain G. Webster (by brevet);
      Corp. M. Grossman (Pioneer -- detached to 25th Reg.);
      Corp. N. Carl (Pioneer);
Lady H. Webster (artist);
Lady M. Mathews , (teamster).

Honored Sirs:

I beg your kind indulgence to receive my Engineering Report for the subject event.  My carriage arrived at the Union site at Wickham Park in the city of Manchester, CT, at the approximate time of 3:00 P.M.   The weather was very wet, and it was raining.   We were the first to arrive on the NEB Staff and were shown the Union  Camp Area by Marc Bassos.  I decided upon the Union Staff Line for camp set-up and told the NEB Adjutant of the decision which he approved.  Lt. Col. Duarte arrived shortly after and we then proceeded to set up the Engineering Field Office in the rain.  Captain Webster and Lady Webster arrived later in the day and proceeded to set up their portion of the camp.  Marc Bassos was kind enough to designate one of his staff to assist the Engineers in setting up the field Office. As soon as the field office was set up and everything covered against the presumed overnight rain we left for an inn and supper on the edge of the village.

 On Saturday Morning we arrived back in camp and began the task of preparing the field office for business, laying out the displays, and sending the map set to the Brigade Staff Office for their use.  The Maps included the following :

      -- One Map of the Wickham Park Area showing the positions of all the camps and facilities (JLM);
      -- One topographical map of the Wickham Park Area (JLM);
      -- One map of the Battle of Fredericksburg (JLM);
      -- One map of the Federal Pontoon Bridges and Artillery set up covering those bridges (JLM);
      -- One map of Wickham Park (GW);
      -- One map of the Park Battlefield (Antietam -GW).
      -- On Sunday Corp. Carl finished a map of the park and submitted such for approval.  The above maps were all approved.

      Duplicate maps were also provided for any battalion CDR's. and general Staff use.

      -- Lt. Col. Duarte made up and submitted a requisition for materials needed for the construction of some "infernal devices" (torpedos) for the defense of the Federal Camp.  This was also approved and sent forward.

Later in the morning LT. Geoff McLean, USN of the Naval Landing Party arrived to set up as a portion of Lt. Gen. U. S. Grant's Staff,  He and one of his staff set up camp next to the engineers.

       At 11:OO A.M. I announced a Full Dress Ceremony to be attended by all the Topog Members.  The Brigade Commander could not attend the ceremony but Mac Bassos was able to Attend.   The ceremony was the breveting of two of the Engineering Officers; Lt. Col. J. Duarte, and Captain G. Webster..  A Letter and Certificate of Appreciation was awarded to Lady Webster for her civilian diligence and efforts on the part of the topogs.  With the sincerest thanks and appreciation to the engineers from Ian MCKay the NETE Commander the ceremony was brought to a close.

During the morning I was privileged to meet with the NEB Provost Officer and I was most flattered to receive from him a very nice token of his regard which was a large size masonic patch for use on the uniform or accouterments.  I gave him my extreme thanks for his thoughtfulness, and I will use it on my map case for identification. My thanks again for such a very nice and appropriate gift.

Throughout the morning, large numbers of  local spectators moved through the Federal Camp and the Engineers and Naval Attache were kept busy answering questions and explaining the displays.  I worked on a local map drawing and  the rough outline for this report.  Brig. General M. Burbank visited the field Office and was kind enough to add my name to the NEB Staff in lieu of Lt. Gen. Grant who could not be at the event.  He also gave over, for my perusal, the battle plan of the attack at Antietam.  At one o' clock Marc Bassos arrived to take me to the Antietam Battle field as he had promised.  Mr. Bassos had honored me by asking me to join with Gen. R. E. Lee in narrating the battle of the day to the spectator line.  I left the field office in the capable hands of Lt. Col. Duarte.  Capt. Webster and Corp. Carl had earlier made a re-con. of the park and were busy  putting the results down on paper.

Marc Bassos and I arrived at the battlefield and I had the honor of narrating to a large number of spectators the battle as it was being fought, and some facts about the weapons in use by the armies of the civil war.  The battle was conducted on a long hill which was open meadowland bounded on both sides by  a heavy forest.  The Battle of Antietam Creek began with the Union and Confederate Artillery both on the field and conducting the opening of the battle with an artillery duel;  then the skirmishers entered the field to search out the location and size of the enemy.  Finally the two armies clashed in Volley fire finally degenerating into individual fire as the battle became general .  The tactics executed on the field by both armies was excellent.  Mr. Bassos returned me to the camp following the skirmish and we spent the rest of the afternoon with the spectators again going over the weapons, instrumentation, and models  of the Civil War Period.  At six o' clock Lady Mathews returned for me and we moved to the inn and a delicious supper, and then to bed for a good sleep.

We were back in camp the following morning at  an early hour, and readied the site once again for the spectators.  At one o'clock again Marc Bassos picked me up and took me to the  Fredericksburg battlefield where I was again honored to be asked to narrate the battle to a large number of spectators.  In this battle scene there were several topographical similarities between the park and the actual battle.  There was a steep hill from the bottomland to the crest and near the crest of the hill was a long stone wall.  So the battle took on a unusual similarity to the actual battle and both sides played their parts very well.  The union battle-line advanced again a hail of rifle and cannon fire in a direct assault up the hill and was stopped twice eventually ending with the complete annihilation of the Union forces even down to the last shooter, a doctor with his pistol firing weakly toward the stone wall until at last he too was silenced.  Both armies formed up and left the field, and the Union and Confederate Forces were marched past both of the spectator lines who cheered and clapped as the soldiers marched by.  I was taken back to camp for a short period of final discussion with the spectators before beginning to breaking down the camp.  As usual, spectators came up to the field office until the very last minute to discuss the displays.  Not until the actual materials were removed from the tables were all of the engineers finally able to join the breakup of the camp and the stowage of materials in the vehicles for transport home.

I am very pleased to be able to praise most highly Mr. Marc Bassos and his most diligent staff for this event.  Even though the weather was very bad at the beginning these people carried on to the best of their ability, and provided a very good beginning to the event.  The NEB to which I am honored to belong immediately picked up on this preparation and a Federal Camp blossomed in the rain.  The event was very well attended and very well carried out. The event staff were constantly in motion answering questions and request all through the event from beginning to end.   In conclusion I would be most pleased to say that any event hosted by Mr. Marc Bassos I would be most pleased to attend and to be involved in any situation asked of myself or the Topog Engr. Unit to assist in it's development and result.  Ladies Webster and Mathews were of great assistance in the breakdown of the engineering camp and for that assistance I am most grateful.. Mr. Carl and his son Nate were of great assistance as well.

Your Most Diligent, and Admiring Servant;

Very Respectfully;

Ian McKay, Brig. Gen. of Engineers (by brevet);
Chief Engineer, Chief of Staff (acting);
Lt. Gen. U. S. Grant's Military and Personal Staffs
Cdr. -- Northeast Topographical Engineers (NETE)

Green Hill Park Report

Greetings All;

Below, please find my Engineer's Report for the NEB Green Hill Park


Ian McKay, BG, CE, CS (acting) for Lt. Gen. U. S. Grant:
Chief Engineer, 25th Corps;
CDR. Northeast Topographical Engineers

Lt. Gen. U. S. Grant
Commander ;
All Union Armies

Col. Paul Kenworthy
Commander (acting)
New England Brigade

Major D. Erickson
Commandant (Acting)
U. S. Corps of Topographical Engineers

Mallory Grant, Gus Gallagher, and Scott Fair
Event Coordinators

Engineers In Attendance:

Lt. Gen. U. S. Grant
Brig. Gen. of Engrs, (By brevet) Ian McKay;
Capt N. Reicke (detached to Artillery);
Capt. G. Webster (by brevet);
Corporal Grossman (pioneer -- detached to the Infantry);
Lady Grant (Historian)
Lady Mathews (Teamster - Treasurer);
Lady Webster (Artist).

Engineers On Leave:

Lt. Col. (by brevet) J. Duarte (Medical);
Major (by brevet) R. Germain - (Medical);
Capt. W. Lafleur (Logistics) - (Family);
2nd Lt. J. Proctor (Construction) -(Fortification);
Corp. N. Carl - (instruction);
Lady M. Germain (Sr. Artist) - (Family).

Honored and Esteemed Sirs:

I beg your kind indulgence to receive my Engineering Report for the
subject event. My schooner arrived at the port of Boston from the
port city of New London. Then we boarded the train from Boston to
Worcester and then by carriage to Green Hill Park and the site of the
NEB encampment. We were met by Capt. Reicke, who was acting on the
NEB Staff for the citing of units coming into the area. We settled on
a site for the Engineers including a site for Capt. and Lady Webster
who would be arriving later that evening and then a further site under
the trees for Gen. Grant if he would bring his horses. Capt. Reicke
got w soldiers from the 12th Mass. V. Reg. to help with the set-up of
the Engineering Field Office. By six o-clock l\that evening the
Office fly was up and the equipment for the engineering displays were
set up and covered for the evening. The weather was cold and a heavy
breeze of the large pond on the beach of which we were camped added to
the lower temperature. It had rained earlier but the weather signs
promised to get better on Saturday.

Capt. Webster and Lady Webster had arrived as we were putting the last
touches on the field office and immediately set up their camp in the
spot that we had selected.

The following maps were then provided to the staff for there use:

#697 - Green Hill Park and Environs -IM;
#698 - Green Hill Park, NEB location - IM;
#699 - Green Hill Park and roads leading to it - IM;
#700 - Topographical Sketch; Green Hill Pond, Green Hill, and
Millstone Hill - IM;

Two maps of the Worcester area, and Green Hill Park by Captain Webster
(Note: These maps will be added to the Topog. Portfolio and assigned
a number upon return to Fort Trumbull's Engineering HQ.)

Cap. Webster and Lady WEbster took supper at their camp and stayed the
night at the Park. Lady Mathews and I spent the night at a local inn.

Saturday morning dawn bright but a bit cold. We spent the early part
of the morning removing the table covers and getting the proper flags
in place. Finally, we used a few minutes to lay out the displays in a
reasonable way and then the rest of the morning explaining the
displays to the attending spectators. I was asked by the Event
Coordinator to join General Lee and his Staff Officer in narrating the
battle to the crowd and at about a half hour before the skirmish was
scheduled I was delivered to the battle field and began my narration.
We had the use of a loudspeaker system set up by the National Guard
personnel which was a unique privilege to use. As always I began my
narration with s description of the hand and artillery weapons in use
during the Civil War with an emphasis on their use and the difficulty
in reloading and firing as compared to the modern day. Lady Webster
was kind enough to hold down both displays and stayed on to narrate to
the few spectators who were not at the skirmish sight. Gen. and Lady
Grant arrived on site for the day and we had a few moments to talk.
before the skirmish. He walked the battlefield during the skirmish
with his staff (Capt. Webster) ell behind the Federal Forces. He had
decided not the camp on site or bring the horses as he had other
commitments elsewhere. After the battle, which was excellently set up
and executed, we returned to camp and spent the remainder of the day
Talking with spectators as they moved through both the Union and
Confederate camps.

I was, during the day, pleased to write two letters of commendation
for for the two young men who helped to set up the field office. I
had both commendations entered into the Topog. Logs, as well as a
message to the acting NEB Commander notifying him of this action. I
had the commendations delivered to the Sgt. of the unit for him to
present at is leisure. Capt. and Lady Webster attended the service to
the Veterans, and I was pleased to stay in the office and speak with a
few spectators.

At about 6:00 P.M. Lady Mathews arrived in the carriage and we
returned to the Inn for a nice meal and some rest. Sunday morning
dawned cold and rainy which continued through the morning as a rainy
mist with some rain showers. Capt. WEbster undertook to draw out a
pontoon bridge project across the Green Hill Pond as an exercise for
the Pontoon train engineers. I was engaged in redrawing a diagram of
one of the major Federal fortifications facing the "Dimmock Line" of
forts around Petersburg, VA. Neither of these drawings was finished
in time to provide copies to the NEB Staff prior to the camp break-
down and move out. Both projects will be placed in the Topog. Map /
Plan portfolio and given a number. The Pontoon Plan will be provided
to the NEB as a courtesy at the next event.

At 3:00 P.M. the camp was to be removed and sent to winter quarters,
even though some of the NEB units may participate in events later in
the season. We broke camp and had the extreme pleasure of the company
of Capt. and Lady Webster for dinner that night in celebration of a
personal day of importance.

Considering that this event was the first such event at Green Hill
Park in Worcester, MA. I was very surprised and pleased at the
excellent planning and arrangements for various entertainments and
provisions set up by the Event Coordinators. For my part, I thought
the event was very well conducted and arranged. I also have to say
that I appreciate greatly the coming together of the Brigade at this
end of the season event. Again for my part it went very well and as
far as I was aware everything worked smoothly in spite of a few minor
bumps along the way. I must say to the Acting NEB Commander and his
staff Well Done!! A notice of this success will be made in my further
Staff Report to Lt. Gen. Grant.

Your Most Impressed and Diligent Servant
Very Respectfully;

Ian McKay, Brig. Gen. of Engineers (by brevet);
Chief Engineer and Chief of Staff (acting);
Lt. Gen. U. S. Grant's Personal and Military Staffs;
Chief Engineer, 25th Corps
CDR. -- Northeast Topographical Engineers (NETE)
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    Tuesday, August 28, 2012

    AAR - Fort Trumbull Work Party, 08/29/12

    On Aug 28, 2012, at 12:01 AM, James Mathews wrote:

    Lt. General U. S. Grant
    All Union Armies

    Brig. General M. Burbank
    New England Brigade

    Major D. Erickson
    Commandant (acting);
    US Corps of the Topographical Engineers

    Honored Sirs;

    I beg your indulgence to make my Engineering Report of the restoration efforts at the subject fortification, dated August 29, 1863, (#08292012).

    In Attendance:

    >>>Brig. Gen. Ian Mckay;
    >>>Major James Duarte;
    >>>First LT. Greg Webster;
    >>>2nd Lt. John Proctor;
    >>>Lady Heidi Webster;
    >>>Lady Margaret Mathews.

    Material Delivered to the Fort:

    >>>One small can of white paint;
    >>>One small can of black paint;
    >>>Three paint brushes;
    >>>One can of spray copper paint;
    >>>One stapler and one box of staples;
    >>>Two Boxes of push pins (clear);
    >>>Bag full of plastic vegetables for Jail and Engrs. Bunk Room;
       -4’ x 8’  Particle Board - 2
       -1" x 2" x 8' -- 5
       -2" x 4" x 8' -- 5
       -1" x 6" x 8' -- 6
       -1” x 12” x 8’ --2
    Work Accomplished:

    >>>Cut and stapled two duck canvas beds on two cots (Jail);
    >>>Cut and drilled a pair of bunk crosspieces (Jail);
    >>>Constructed a large map / drawing board and wooden frame for the Engineer’s Bunk Room;
    >>>Made up and hung two sets of bunk curtains on the two middle bunks (Engineer’s Bunk Room);
    >>>Upgraded all shelf legs, and added an additional shelf (Display Room);
    >>>Upgraded all models, drawings on display shelving, and map boards (Display and Engrs. Bunk Room); 
    >>>Painted white cabinet Engineer’s Office (100%).

    Future Plans:

    >>>Make six more bunk chests;
    >>>Make one small bench;
    >>>Make a mantel board  (Webster);
    >>>Make small display board for Jr. Officers Bunk Room;
    >>>Paint 24 pdr. Black;
    >>>Paint wooden Keg metal straps copper;
    >>>Naval Gun Carriage (special wood);
    >>>Flank Gun carriage (special wood);
    >>>Upgrade and Repair Display Case;
    >>>Put together a Frazee Base Webster / Mathews);
    >>>Need more CW models and pictures;
    >>>Paint small cardboard boxes for Magazine;
    >>>Bring older dishes and utensils for Dining Room;
    >>>Make new wine bottle labels (Mathews);
    >>>More colored wine bottles.

    Items to bring to the next working party:

    >>>4" x 4" x 5' Frazee Base (JLM);
    >>>Set of Spade Bits (JLM);
    >>>Tool Box (JLM);
    >>>Tool Bag (JLM);
    >>>Extension Cord Long and Short (JLM);
    >>>Electric Hand Saw (JLM);
    >>>Electric Drill, drill bits, drill fittings (JLM); 
    >>>Set of Wine Bottle Labels (JLM);
    >>>Copper Paint (JLM);
    >>>Sewing Kit (JLM);
    >>>Roll of Painting Tape (JLM);
    >>>Colored Wine Bottles (All);
    >>>CW Models and Pictures suitable for framing (All);
    >>>Small Cardboard Boxes (All);
    >>>Older Dishes and Utensils (All);

    Lt. General Grant; I wish to call your attention to the excellent cabinet - making ability and carpentry expertise of 2nd Lt. John Proctor.  He has been most diligent in pursuing the required work at Fort Trumbull   In the short period of this year and last years involvement, he has shown is ability through his wood-working ability to produce a both a listing of materials, drawings of intended work and then producing those items in a minimum of time.  These efforts are all very clearly marked in the continued production of the works at Fort Trumbull.

    I must also call your attention to Lady Heidi Webster, who has been very vigorous in pursuing the work undertaken to provide curtains, and bunk / cot covers for the interior rooms in the fort.  

    Your Most Humble and Diligent Servant;

    Very Respectfully;

    Ian McKay, Brigadier-General of Engineers (by brevet);
    Chief Engineer and Chief of Staff (Acting);
    Lt. General U. S.  Grant's Military and Personal Staffs
    Cdr -- NETE

    Friday, August 3, 2012

    Engineering Report, Fort Adams, 07/08/11

    On Jul 11, 2011, at 11:21 PM, James Mathews wrote:

    Lt. General U.S. Grant
    All Federal Armies

    Brig. Gen. M. Burbank
    New England Brigade

    Major D. Erickson
    Commandant (acting)
    U.S. Corps of Topographical Engineers

    Honored Sirs;

    I beg your kind attention to forward to you my engineering report of the subject event.  My driver and I arrived by coach after a hot and bumpy ride from Fort Trumbull.  When we arrived we were greeted by my contact at Fort Adams (Mr. McCormick) and welcomed in the most polite way.  We were checked into the fort, the gate was opened for us, and we entered to find Captain Germain and his lovely wife Mary Anne had proceeded us, and were setting up there living area in the Western End of the Northeast Casemate.  We unloaded the carriage and set up the requested engineering display and field office.  The display consisted of six tables of tools, weapons, instrumentation and maps showing the various items and tasks of the engineers.

    The afternoon on Friday was utilized in setting up the display.  Three tables were furnished by the fort for the display.  The remainder of the display was on tables furnished by the engineers.  My driver (Mrs. Mathews) and I spent the night at an inn in the small town of Newport and breakfasted well before returning to the fort proper.  I enjoyed a long discussion with Captain (by brevet) Wayne LaFluer ("Flapjack"), and he accepted some unit drawings to offer for sale to fort visitors.

    Saturday morning was quite busy, as the fort was flooded with young visitors, and we were kept busy discussing with the visitors the various items of display.  The weapons section of the display was by far the most popular portion of the lay-out.  At 11:30, I gave my requested presentation on Fort Adams covering some of the fort history, purpose, strength, mysteries, and viability of the fortress during the Civil War and it's purpose in later years.   2nd Lt. (by brevet) Greg  Webster and his lovely wife Hiedi arrived and he contributed to the display several "infernal machines" (mines -- grenades) which made up a seventh table of displays. He also offered several aditional drawings for approval and copy.  Out in front of the entrance to the casemates, the Topographical Pioneer, Corporal Michael Grossman set up two sets of Cheveaux-de-Frise (personnel barriers) out in front of the entrance to the casemates.  These together with the engineering flags, rank and position flags as well as signage for the engineers, provided an excellent prelude to the display inside the casemate.

    Following the presentation was a skimish which was conducted on the front lawn at the North end of the fort.

    Following the skirmish there was another full period of visitors to the casemates.

    My driver and I spent the night again in town and the next morning arrived at the fort.  I was informed that our Logistics Officer Capt. LaFluer had sold many of the maps earlier afforded to him and the money was donated to the Topog Fund in the amount of $35.00.  This was a nice addition to The Topog Treasury.  Sunday morning until about 11:00 A.M. was quiet and in that period Captain Germain and I worked on some drawings and plans to be shown in display.

    At 11:30 A.M. I again gave my presentation on Fort Adams, and was quite surprised to have a young man of approx. 15 years, approach me and congratulate me on the best presentation on Fort Adams he had ever heard.  It is very impressive to know that at least a few of our young people are interested in the military history of our nation.

    After the afternoon skirmish in which the concussions of the field artillery rattled the casemates as must have happened in the past it was time to pack up the display and go back home.  My extreme thanks to the Germains for their assistance in packing up and laying out the engineering display.  I doubt that it could have been done without their assistance.  My thanks also to the 9th Mass, Arty for their assistance with the heavy tool chest.  I would be remiss were I not to thank the Fort Adams Org. for their generous loan of the display tables, together with the very welcome hospitality of the McCormick's, both father and son.  Their welcome and distinct help together with my love of the old fort insure that any future invitation for a military event from them I shall be pleased to give my full attention.

    Your Most Diligent and Dedicated Servant;

    Very Respectfully;

    Ian McKay, Brig. Gen. of Engineers (by brevet);
    Chief Engineer
    Chief of Staff (acting)
    Lt. Gen. U.S. Grant's Personal and Military Staffs

    Engineering Report - Sprague, CT, Event 07/29/11

    Lt. General U. S. Grant
    All Federal Armies

    Brig. Gen. M. Burbank
    New England Brigade

    Major D. Erickson
    Commandant (acting)
    U. S. Corps of Topographical Engineers

    Most Esteemed Gentlemen;

    --Engineers In Attendance:

    --Major James Duarte;
    --2nd Lt. Greg Webster;
    --Lady M. Mathews.

    --Engineers Excused:

    --Capt. W. Lafleur;
    --Capt. Germain;
    --Lady Germain;

    I beg your kind indulgence to make my Chief Engineer's Report for the subject event.  My teamster and I arrived at the River Park in Sprague, CT on Wednesday last to review the planned encampment site and choose an area to set up.  This was to be a time-line event and so the CW Engineering Field Office would need to be offset from the other locations to some small degree.  A brief sketch of the park was dawn and a location decided upon and we made our way home.  We again arrived at about 2:00 P.M. on Friday to set up the CW encampment.  We set up only the fly and tables as there was some concern about security arrangements for the event.  On Saturday we arrived early in the morning, (before 8:00 A.M.) and set up the office and displays.  The displays consisted of weapons, instrumentation, maps, and accouterments.

    The visitor numbers were light on Saturday all day (about one and one half dozen people).  The reason appeared to be that the bulk of the town's anniversary was centered on a park area about one half mile away, and the advertised shuttle bus did not run often.  However, the location under the trees was quite pleasant and the consistent breeze down the river was a real pleasure in the heat of the day.  During the morning, I had drawn up a more specific sketch-map of the park and 2nd Lt. Greg Webster joined me in the after noon.  I gave him my sketch of the park with the instruction to make a more detailed recon. of the area and upgrade the sketch to a regular map of the area.  At about five o'clock, after Lt. Webster had left, I was invited to a late afternoon meal put together by Mr. Steve Topliff.  He served a very sumptuous Venison Stew and fresh baked rolls.  The meal was welcome and delicious.

    The required hours of attendance at the event was concluded at 5:00 P.M. and I was picked up at 6:00 P.M. and taken to a nice local inn for a good night's rest.

    Sunday morning's return to the encampment found Major Duarte had already arrived and had pulled away last night's table coverings and the tables were again ready to receive the displays which had been put in the car for security over the evening hours.  Major Duarte was just back from a brief visit to Fort Jefferson to review it's progress of construction, and taking measurements for the planned new weapons that would arm the large fortification.  Sunday was slightly  cooler than Saturday, but the river breezes were, throughout the day, somewhat less freshening.  The great bridge which was just a few paces from the encampment was very well constructed, and more than suitable for all variety of military vehicles.  During the day on Sunday, I was pleased to make a detailed sketch of the bridge.  The river was the Shetucket River, and it was interesting to note that the river edge was much wider than the stream running through it.  The reason was revealed by a local resident who told us of a large dam upriver.  When that dam releases the rainwater from the Spring rains the river is considerably higher that during the Summer.  We will have to visit that area to make sketches of the upriver dam and the area surrounding it.  Sunday's visitor's were slightly more numerous, about three dozen people.  However, the people who visited the encampment seemed more interested in what was on display than the normal visitor public, and they were as a result, a real pleasure to talk with.

    Mr. Topliff served all another delicious repast as a late breakfast of venison hash, which was very like a British Shepard's Pie missing only the crisp topping of mashed potatoes.  This time the engineers had been warned and were able to contribute a can of beans and some dinner rolls to the feast. The food was again very delicious.

    The river near the bridge was said to be fordable, except for the steep bank on the far side.  On the near side of the river there was a road down to the river-edge where boats could be put in the water, as well as removed.  Just beyond the bridge downriver, began a large pond, created by a second dam downstream about two or three miles at the town of Occum.  Upstream from the River Park the river ran through a narrow wooded valley and then it spreads out at the Scotland Historical Farm where several reenactment events and Scottish musters have been held in the past, not too far from the small town of Scotland, CT.  I will be drawing a vicinity map which will encompass all the places mentioned here around this area, as it seems very interesting and quite beautiful in its summer foliage.

    At three P.M. the event was concluded and my teamster arrived on the dot, to pull down the tent and pack up all the gear.  Major Duarte Lady Mathews, and I were busy for about an hour breaking down the camp and field office, and were then off back to the New London area and good meal of  barbecued pork ribs (baby back) from one of the best barbecue restaurants in the state.

    Were the Topographical Engineers asked again to be a part of  such an event, I should be most pleased to consider the invitation seriously.  It was a "laid back" event, and one which was most enjoyable over all.

    Your Most Humble and Enduring Servant;

    Very Respectfully;

    Ian McKay, Brig. Gen. of Engineers (by brevet);
    Chief Engineer;
    Chief of Staff (acting);
    Lt. Gen. U.S. Grant's Military and Personal Staffs

    Engineer's Report - "Battle of Windy Hill," Rutland , MA. Spt. 2011

    Lt. Gen. U. S. Grant
    All Federal Armies

    Brig. Gen. M. Burbank
    New England Federal Brigade

    Major D. Erickson
    Commandant (Acting)
    U. S. Corps of Topographical Engineers

    Esteemed Sirs:

    I beg you kind indulgence to present my Engineering Report for the subject event.

    We boarded the train in New London for Rutland Mass on Friday Morning, and arrived in Rutland in the afternoon.  A short carriage ride from Rutland brought us to the Windy Knoll Campground.  The pwagonsrevious days rain had rendered the ground very wet and only heavy farm wagons drawn by double teams of horses could navigate the soaked fields.  We transferred our goods to a wagon and were taken to our selected place nearby the 32nd Field Hospital and General Grant's tent.  There we met with Capt. Germain and Major Duarte.  Captain Germain had already arrived and had finished setting up his tent.  We set up the Topographical Engineer's Field Office and made the assignments;

    --Lady Germain to draw the top of the skyline of Windy Knoll;

    --Captain Germain who had already drawn the grounds at Windy Knoll on a previous encampment, to draw a diagram of a Corduroy Road across the worst of the
            muddy field;

    --Major Duarte would draw a current sketch map of the camping area,

    --Corporal M. Grossman (Pioneers) would erect two sets of Cheveax de Frise on the Campground as a field fortification display.

    --I would attempt to finish the model of the Corduroy Bridge started at a previous encampment.

    Within an hour or so of finishing the Field Office, our coach came with Lady Mathews, and a visitor, Lady Duarte.  We were taken to an inn  just a ways out of town which served a fine meal, and then to a lovely old house, which claimed to be the residence of General Putnum of Rev War fame.  There we met the proprietors and had a very nice chat about the encampment and other topics relating to the house and our visit.

    With the morning light we were up and tucked away a wonderful Breakfast, well prepared and well served, then we left for the encampment.  Major Duarte and I walked into cam from the road as the field was badly chopped up from the wagon wheels transporting goods to the campground through the night.  The day was passed well doing our projects, and the battle was announced.  The artillery pieces were hauled onto the field and the fight was on.  The battle was really to far away to make out much detail, but the cannon were firing steadily and within the hour the Federal Troops marched back into camp.  The Confederate Camp was on top of the hill and across the main road.

    One of the local newspapers interviewed Captain and Lady Germain, as they had arranged on the previous day.

    In the afternoon Sgt. Moss from the Artillery brought a letter from the Artillery Commander who asked to consider drawing up a plank road for use across the muddy portion of the field.  We discussed the proposed project, and decided to honor the request.  I asked Captain Germain to draw up a plank road diagram, and include the 10,000 board feet of lumber that had been found at a local sawmill, according to Sgt. Moss.  The agreement was that he would return on Sunday for the diagram.

    The engineers continued their assigned work for the rest of the afternoon.  At 5:00 p.M. lady Mathews once again picked us up and we went to dinner at a very nice Asian (Thai) restaurant, which was a special treat.  After supper we retired again to the Putnum House for the night.  The next morning found us at camp, the evening had been chilly as the Fall temperatures were beginning to show themselves and the fog was hanging close over the forest.  The weather throughout the day got  generally worse and the fog closed in to the extent that the top of the hill was nearly invisible.  Sgt. Moss arrived to get the promised plans, and I gave him the option of returning the drawings that day or mailing them to me.  He had told me previously that he might have to leave early.  However, Captain Germain wanted his drawing before he left so he went to the Artillery Commander and retrieved the drawings.  Major Duarte left his drawing with the Captain asking only that he make a copy later.  In the morning a tactical battle was planned and carried out in the nearby woods.  The skirmish field was extremely muddy and the fog  put an end to the use of artillery, so around noon the Brigade Commander made the decision not to have a Sunday skirmish and the Brigade began to break camp.

    Breaking camp would be fairly easy, but the problem came in transporting the camp gear to the main road.  The wagons and carriages from the Confederates lined one side of the road and the Federals on the other side.  The orders were that the camps that were the deepest down the lower field would taken out first.  Captain and Lady Germain decided not to wait for the wagons and carried their materials out on foot.  When they were finished they said goodbye and left the farm.

    Major Duarte and I continued what we were doing, talked with some last minute spectators, and broke the Field Office down except for the tent and tables.  About 3:00 P.M. were told that we were next.  The Major and I dropped the tent and finished up breaking down the camp when the wagon and teams arrived.  The team driver was kind enough to help us load the wagon.  I had twisted my ankle and was not much help.  When we reached the main road Lady Mathews was there with the carriage and again the wagon driver assisted us with unloading the wagon.  Major Ozealius also was kind enough to help, and soon the carriage was packed.  I thanked those who had helped and made my compliments to Gen. Burbank and his Staff for the excellent organization of getting the Brigade out of the field.

    Lady Mathews then took Major Duarte to where his carriage was parked and found his wife waiting for him.  They had to leave immediately for New Haven so we said goodbye, and I thanked the Major for staying to assist me with the camp.  Lady Mathews and I then had a leisurely supper at  the "Ladds" restaurant, and then made our way home.

    In regard to the event, I found it to be a fun event even though the weather was foul.  The new idea about arranging a project with the artillery was a good idea I thought and Major Duarte agreed.  The corduroy bridge is about 75% completed and will be completed during winter quarters this year, and displayed at Fort Trumbull, in New London, CT.  The two Cheveax de Frise erected by Corporal Grossman were very favorably commented on by many of the spectators on Saturday and Sunday morning.  Lt. Webster, and Lady Webster were involved in working with the artillery and getting the guns moved onto the trailers.  Lt. Webster brought  a hand grenade for display, and left it with us.  We discussed briefly an article in one of the Civil War Magazines which talked about "log bombs" which were developed by the Confederate Secret Service for use against civilian steamships.  When coal was introduced for the steamboats on the Western Rivers the "coal bombs" were introduced.  I encouraged Lt Webster and Major Duarte to consider making a model of a "log bomb",and I intend to do the same.

    As in all reenactments I always learn something and this instance was no different.  If again invited, I shall be pleased to seriously consider attending once again.

    Respectfully Submitted;

    Ian McKay, Brig. Gen of Engineers  (by brevet);
    Chief of Staff / Chief Engineer;
    Lt. Gen. U.S. Grant's Military and Personal Staffs

    NEB Annual Meeting, Feb. 2012

    Ladies and Gentlemen;

    The following information was provided at the Annual Meeting, in two parts, First there was the Military Meeting in the morning hours, and the Brigade Meeting in the Afternoon.  There apparently was a civilian meeting at the same time as the Military Meeting which Lady Germain attended and which she will cover at some later time.  Please make any corrections or additions of any information that needed to be added or changed.  I will make the corrections and then send it to the NEB President as the AAR he has requested.


    Jim Mathews

    In attendance at the NEB Annual Meeting from the Topog. Engineers were:

    Jim Mathews - BG, CE
    James Duarte, Major;
    Norbert Reike, Capt.
    Raymond Germain, Capt.
    Mike Grossman, Corp.
    Lady Germain, Sr. Specialist

    URLs for NEB Contact:


    >>>   Graves2CT@Charter.NET

    >>>   New England Brigade;


    Military Meeting:

    Matt Burbank was reelected as the NEB Commander unanimously and with no other candidates offered.

    There was a rather lengthy discussion from the Commander about his personal disappointments and what he expected / hoped to see in the future. In regard to these, the only item that touched the Engineering Unit was the idea that in coming years, the Brigade will:

    --Empower different departments to act more on their own and make detailed arrangements.

    In this idea, the Living History Department under the command of Lt. Gen. Grant has pretty much been operating in this way for the last two years.

    I was asked to provide the Living History Report for the year of 2011 in the place of Lt. Gen. Grant who was absent due to business commitments:

    Living History Report:

    --The Topog Engineering Unit has currently in it's Drawing  Portfolio 607 maps, plans and diagrams.  These drawings are catalogued by number are available for reprint and use as the members of the NEB shall develop a need;

    --The Topog Unit acts as Lt, Gen. Grant's military and Personal Staff;

    --During Events the Topog Unit strives to produce two rough sketch maps, one of the physical terrain on which NEB is camped for the event, and the second is a map of the actual Civil War Battle that NEB is  striving to produce at that event;

    --In addition the Topog Unit usually undertakes some sort of project on paper for Lt. Gen. Grant such as gun emplacements, bridges, wooden roads, towers and other field engineering items as may be requested by the General.  This project is usually done on paper only,and encompasses a drawing of the item together with lists detailing the numbers of men, construction specialists, tools, and materials needed for the project;

    --Finally the Topog Unit endeavors to produce various reports, requests, and detachment documents as required of a similar detachment during its Garrison periods in camp.

    A suggestion was offered after this report was made:

    --That the maps and drawings applied to the various events during the year should be put on the internet for use by members of the NEB during the current year events.  The request has been developed into a proposed project  which will be submitted to the Department Head, Lt. Gen. Grant for his approval.  This project will be to develop an internet  BLOG, and on this BLOG will be placed various Maps and Plans relating to the NEB events of the 2012  Event Season.  Eventually all of the 607 plans, maps, and diagrams will be found on said BLOG.

    The following Reports and Comments were made to the Attendees:

    1.    Authenticity was a Concern of both the NEB President and Commander;

    --Uniforms and Military bearing during the period of the event (Saturday Morning thru Sunday afternoon;
    --Cars in camp Saturday Night;
    --Units leaving Saturday Night.

    2.  NEB Event Attendance:

    --Weak (This has not applied to the Topog Unit);
    --The NEB Commander and President has asked for unit answers to this concern and that these answers be directed to the Commander and / or the President (The Topog Unit List of Responses will be listed on a separate message to the NEB President);

    3.  Drill

    --Weak as Infantry Battalion (does not concern Topog Unit).

    4.  Proxy Vote of Units;

    --All Proxy Votes will be sent to the President;
    --All those in the unit who are authorized to vote by Proxy for the unit , those names will be provided to both the NEB Commander and President;
    (The Topog Unit Names will be provided via a separate message)

    5.  Various Departments Working Together:

    --The NEB Commander and President have asked for comments and suggestions;
    (The Topog Unit Comments and Suggestions will be listed on a separate message to NEB President)

    6.  Thinking Outside the Box???

    --Again the NEB Commander and President are looking for new ideas for the NEB Events and presentations
    (The Topog Unit Ideas will be provided in a separate message)

    7.  Historical Preservation

    -The NEB Commander and President are interested in what undertakings in this area that have been accomplished by the Brigade Units
    (The Topog Unit accomplishments will be provided in a separate message)

    8.  Event Coordinator

    --The NEB Commander spoke seriously about the fact that the Event Coordinator should not be playing as a reenactor at the same time as serving as the Event Coordinator.  In the past the task has really been too much and on occasions important elements have been forgotten or have not been carried out to their fullest aspect.

    9.  Safety

    --The following Safety aspects were reviewed:

        * Fire Buckets at every fire, no exceptions;
        *Weapons stacked  never pointed at any individuals of fired in an unsafe direction or manner;
        *Camp Tools (axes, hatchets and saws (proper use, stowage and person using such has the proper knowledge and training to use these tools -- proper techniques for the safety of others);
        *Mindful of the effects of heat in camp and on the battle field:
             >Drink plenty of water;
             >Easy on Alcohol;
        *Careful of the use of Black Powder;
        *Medical Cards Carried on person.

    Afternoon Brigade Meeting Report
    Reports: Secretary, Treasurer, President's, Military Commander, Civilian, Safety, & Living History

    1. Old Business;

    --NEB President reelected for another term, unanimously and with no other floor nominations.  Congratulations to our New / Old President!!!!!

    --Member -At- Large reelected for another term, unanimously and with no other floor nominations,  Congratulations!!!!!!

    --Renewal of Insurance (approved).

    2. New Business:

    >>>New Ideas for 2012 (See Topog comment in Military Meeting);

    >>>By Law Amendment in Attendance (Passed);

    >>>Event Schedule Presentations by Event Coordinators:

    (x) indicates Max NEB Attendance;
    (IP) indicates individual participation:

    --April 16 -- Parade  (Concord) (IP);

    --April 27-29 -- Camp of Instruction (COI), Lincoln) (X);

    --May 18-20 -- Templeton (X);

    --June 22-24 -- Blackstone (X);

    --July 13-15 -- Fort Adams (X);

    --July -- Fort Knox (IP);

    --Aug. 24-26 -- Hinkley, ME (IP);

    --Aug 31 - Sept. 2 -- Museum Village (IP);

    --Sept. 28-30 -- CT To Arms, Wickham Park (X);

    --Oct 12-14  -- Worchester, MA (X);

    Nov 15-16 -- Plymouth Parade (X);

    No  Date -- Look Park -- North Hampton , Mass (IP);

    No Date -- New Haven -- Fort Nathan Hale (IP)

    --Sept. 28