NSSA Logo
Newsletter

NWT News: Current News
Current News - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005 - 2004 - 2003

NWT News

Finishing Touches.
Hugh McLeod, NWT Public Information Officer.

Firing Line

In the first regional skirmish ever held at the Michigan Army National Guard Range at Camp Grayling in Grayling, MI there were plenty of people having a good time. Our hosts were the 7th Michigan and Loomis' Battery, and they put on an excellent skirmish. It was a full and busy weekend, with six team events held, including both cannon and mortar. There was plenty of camping space available, and several teams enjoyed camping in the small nooks cut into the woods off of the entrance road instead of the large space near the range. The weather was cool but enjoyable, and it was great to get one last chance to see friends before Nationals.

There was a long-range sniper event that people really enjoyed, with targets at 400, 800, and 1000 yards. There was a tie for the most number of hits, so a second trophy was commissioned so both winning teams could have the honors. And on Sunday there were members of the public to see our cannon match, where they asked questions and we let them examine the artillery pieces before the match began. They were really interested in checking out all of the different types of cannons we had on display.

Sighting the Cannon

In the team event results, the 111th Ohio Volunteer Infantry held the lead in the class A-1 musket match with a 4.8 second lead over the 1st South Carolina and the 1st Michigan edged past the 4th Michigan for third place by 6.5 seconds. In class A-2 the 7th Tennessee beat Richmond Purcell's Battery by 22.1 seconds to clench first place. In Class A-1 carbine the 1st Michigan swept the competition by over 2 minutes for first place and in class A-2 the 5th Battery Michigan Light Artillery crushed their competition by over 4 minutes. In the breechloader competition the 4th Michigan rolled ahead by over 2 minutes. In the smoothbore competition the 7th Tennessee had their first ever first place finish, by 17.1 seconds over the 1st South Carolina's "A" team. These were the only 2 teams to clear all of the targets in the last event. The 7th Wisconsin won the mortar match by less than 4 feet and the 1st South Carolina won the cannon match. For full team results please see the Current Standings page.

Nearing seasons end.
Hugh McLeod, NWT Public Information Officer.

Corporal Crash

The regional skirmish at the Carleton Sportsman's Club, held August 9th and 10th, was hosted by the 1st Michigan Engineers and Mechanics and the 21st Michigan, and they did a fine job of putting on an enjoyable skirmish. There was time to relax and get a chance to visit with friends old and new at the annual NWT picnic, and to make plans for the upcoming final regional event of the year. The evenings were cold, and not without a touch of misfortune. There was a minor incident where a certain member who had been sleeping in their car started it to warm up when he accidentally knocked the car into gear and ran into a parked vehicle. It was minor, but worth remembering in the morning where, during opening ceremonies, Matt Schooley (of the 7th Tennessee) was called out for his actions in colliding with John McLeod's (also of the 7th Tennessee) truck. One person greatly appreciated these events. Twana Pinskey of the Huron Rangers Riflemen apparently made a wrong turn and greatly extended her trip by touring several major cities in Michigan en route to the range. She figured that the other screw-up would take the focus off of her mistake.

Loomis' Battery

In the team event results, the 111th Ohio Volunteer Infantry held the lead in both the musket and carbine matches with over a minute lead in both competitions when the days were done. The closer contests were the 5th Battery Michigan Light Artillery beating the 14th Tennessee by 5.9 seconds for third place in class A-2 musket and in class A-3 musket with Loomis' Battery finishing 2.1 seconds ahead of the Huron Rangers Riflemen. In carbine class A-2 Richmond Purcell's Battery finished first with a commanding lead of over 153 seconds and a time that would have taken fifth place in the A-1 (highest) class. And in the smoothbore competition, the 1st South Carolina took first with a lead of almost 2 minutes and the 7th Wisconsin beat the 7th Tennessee by 6.6 seconds for second place. For full team results please see the Current Standings page.

Balmy Breezes.
Hugh McLeod, NWT Public Information Officer.

We returned to the Defiance County Law Enforcement Range located between Bryan and Defiance, Ohio the weekend of July 12th and 13th for the 2008 regional Defiance skirmish. The 111th Ohio Volunteer Infantry were our hosts, and again ran a smooth skirmish. The weather was fine, and we had a good time. There are a few events that I wanted to share. Evylin Sugden (of Battery "C") won her first ever individual medal, which was 1st place 100 yd carbine striker. Donalyn Betterly of the 1st Michigan Engineers and Mechanics had the satisfaction of hitting the last 100 yd tile during the musket match, breaking it just before Unit Commander Jason Walters could shoot. I always find satisfaction in taking the last target, especially if someone else is getting ready to shoot at it.

Satisfaction

In a historical note about tradition, the "Silver Dollar" Salute is a tradition in the Army that newly commissioned second lieutenants present a silver dollar to the first enlisted soldier who salutes them. The coin symbolically acknowledges the receipt of respect due the new rank and position. Second lieutenant Donald Kominek (formerly of the 7th Tennessee) honored this tradition by paying a silver dollar to Ben Betterly (111th Ohio Volunteer Infantry) for receiving his first salute as a commissioned officer after opening ceremonies on Sunday morning.

Salute

In the team results, the 110th OVI dominated the musket match with a total time of under 300 seconds (299.6 seconds)! In class A-2 5th Battery held their own in a tight competition, with the next 3 teams within 100 seconds. And the 8th Michigan Cavalry held a commanding lead in class A-3 with a 263 second lead over second place. In carbine team results, the 110th OVI had a 17.8 second lead over the 1st Michigan in class A-1 competition and the 21st Michigan had a lead of almost 60 seconds in class A-2. The 110th OVI led in both smoothbore (taking first place in both A & B team classes) and breechloader events (with a time one third that of the second place team). For full team results please see the Current Standings page.

Grayling Long Range Artillery Match
Bob Hubbard, 7th Wisconsin

Saturday, July 26 started off as a beautiful northern Michigan morning. The first event of the day was a 255 yard coehorn mortar match. The 10 competing crews exhibited some very good shooting.

The coehorn event was followed by the first relay of field guns, eight guns firing at a 4’ by 6’ target at a distance of 1200 yards. Many of the crews had difficulty hitting this small target and were shooting high using last year’s sight settings.

Next came the 400 yard siege mortar match. These mortars, firing a 45lb. shell with nearly a pound of powder are something to see and feel with the recoil from the piece throwing dust into the air, and the ball being visible for much of the flight.

The second relay of field guns came next with similar results as in the first. This relay was followed by a demonstration period which showed the use of canister.

Sunday started off with a light shower that cleared off early, and the rest of the day was very nice. The first event of the day was the "Grayling Open", a long range 3 shot mortar match. The "Bacon Creek" match came next. In this match crews fire at a copy of a Civil War newspaper mounted on a board at 1000 yards, and must hit the paper (not the backer) two times to qualify. After qualifying, the most hits in the paper wins the match. This match, and its prize money, was won again by N-SSA Property Manager Tim Scanlan and crew who drove up from Fort S to shoot.

Mountain Rifle Target

The last event of the weekend was for the small Mountain rifles. This was another two relays of guns firing at 600 yards and is a mixture of muzzleloading Civil War guns, like the Confederate mountain Rifle, Civil War breechloading guns, like the Ellsworth, and Spanish American War Hotchkiss rifles. The winning target is shown above, with 7 hits from the 7th Wisconsin’s 1.5" Ellsworth. The white squares are patches covering the hits from the previous day.

One of the interesting things to see is the destruction to the trees in the impact area when the shooting is done. You’ll probably still be able to see the results at the Grayling Skirmish.

Noticable Impact.
Hugh McLeod, NWT Public Information Officer.

Not just a spectator anymore

The second annual Midwest Artillery Show was a great opportunity to demonstrate the operation of historical artillery pieces. The event was held at the Blue Water Sportsman's Association on June 21st and 22nd and showcased artillery from the Revolutionary War through the 1890's and was a great opportunity to educate the public about these types of pieces. The days consisted of demonstrations of cannons firing at bull's-eye targets and water filled barrels along with mortars firing at a stake set in the ground and various shoulder arms being fired at breakable targets. One of the fun aspects of this event is that we work with spectators in a one-on-one environment to allow them to load and fire the shoulder arms at the targets. Various teams created handouts and informational sheets describing themselves that the public could take and peruse at their leisure to learn more about the different units. There was a good turnout of the public on Saturday, with lighter attendance on Sunday because of the rain. The weekend was an educational one, with plenty of chances to get hands-on experience with these historical artifacts.

Skirmishers Participate in Historic Fountain Rededication - August 2008
Bruce Miller, 1st Michigan Infantry.

The historic Harris Fountain in Rochester, Michigan was rededicated on August 17, 2008 in a ceremony that included the Oakland County camp of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. The General Israel B. Richardson Camp #2 was a major participant, providing the color guard, chaplain and historical perspective. The camp membership includes members of NWT units 1st Michigan Infantry and 8th Michigan Cavalrsy. The ceremony included local officials, Rochester Historical Commission and 16 descendants of Samuel Harris, the original donor of the fountain in 1917.Rededication 2008

Samuel Harris served as a lieutenant in Company A of the Fifth Michigan Cavalry, a unit of the famed Michigan Cavalry Brigade commanded by General George Armstrong Custer. He participated in many major engagements, including the Gettysburg Campaign and became a prisoner of war as a result of the Dahlgren Raid in 1864. After the war, Harris returned to Michigan and became a successful businessman and community leader, donating the Greek revival fountain to the City of Rochester in 1917. As the city has grown, the fountain has been moved several times. Now refurbished, it has been relocated to a prominent new home at the city’s municipal complex.

First Times.
Hugh McLeod, NWT Public Information Officer.

Another trip down to Fort Shenandoah completed, and our skirmish season is in full swing. This was the 117th National skirmish and it ran from May 14th – 18th, 2008. This nationals, like many others, passed too quickly. It seems like there is never enough time to do everything, since we pack so many activities into just a few days. I'm just glad I usually get a chance to sleep on the trip back. The weather had it's usual component of "liquid sunshine" (rain); so for those whom this was their first nationals they still got to experience what seems to be a ritual - the mud march down the firing line and through camp.

I spoke with several people whom this was their first trip to the Fort, to see what they thought about the whole experience. Allison Kintz of the 7th Tennessee said that Nationals was "awesome" and that she had a great time. Bob Anderson of the 1st Michigan said that he didn't even mind the rain. 111th OVI celebrates headlines And Leilani Martin of the 1st South Carolina summed it up well. She said she loved the shoot and that she "felt like part of a family on the 1st South Carolina. The Northwest Territory is a great place to be."

Since there are a slew of team and individual results to cover, I decided to summarize the National results based on NWT participation. In addition to the results I added a column for the team's highest ranked event (if within the top 10 for their class). Highlighted places indicate a medal was won.

In an interesting little story, Keith Davis of the 111th Ohio told me that while on vacation back in 1970 his family had a newspaper printed with the headlines "111th OVI Wins Nationals at Winchester". This was a tongue-in-cheek moment as one must understand that back in those days the 111th Ohio could not clear a pigeon board. The souvenir paper was brought back and many a laugh was generated with this unrealistic headline as it hung in his dad's basement and garage; never imagining that it would come true. Fast forward to May of 2008 as the 111th Ohio did win the 117th Nationals and they just had to have a picture of the winning musket team holding the 38 year old newspaper.


Team Results Individual Results

One of the things that I really love about this sport is that people are really willing to help out, and you don't even have to be on their team. There are a ton of great people in this organization, and at Nationals you can just wander around meeting all sorts of people. Also there is a bit of something for everyone, such as the Irish Jam, barn dance, and historical lectures in the Veteran's Building. I've been a member of this organization for over half of my life, and I still get excited going down to the Fort.

Richmond Log Cabin Days – June 2008
Norm Gibson, NWT Adjutant.

The State of Michigan has designated the last Sunday of June as Log Cabin Day. For several years the 1st South Carolina Vols. has participated at the Richmond Area Historical Society Log Cabin Day. The Society has a small park that has an original log cabin, train depot, and school house along with a museum that is under construction. Society members put on displays, work at craft projects, and give tours of the buildings. This event is free to the public.

cheval-de-frise

The 1st SC has been participating by putting on display one or more artillery pieces and various infantry equipment. We have also been constructing things related to the Civil War. This year Phil Vermuelen and I constructed a Cheval-de-frise. This is "a non-static obstacle consisting of a horizontal beam 9 to 12 feet long and 1 foot in diameter pierced by two diagonal rows of sharpened lances" which were about 2 inches in diameter and 10 feet long. Eye bolts or hooks and chains were attached to the ends of the beams to allow several cheval-de-frise to be bound together to form a chevaux-de-frise. Since this type of obstacle was free standing and could be moved about it was considered suitable for blocking roadways and closing the entrances to temporary fortifications. Most sources insist that chevaux-de-frise were also useful against cavalry, though situations in which this type of obstacle could be employed in a practical fashion solely against cavalry attack are not generally described. Chevaux-de-frise were often employed to cover the fronts of works exposed to enemy fire when the danger posed by prolonged exposure to hostile fire, even during the night, was too great to permit working parties to construct more solidly fixed obstacles. Chevaux-de-frise could also be applied to the bottom of ditches to inhibit an attacking body of troops free circulation through the ditch, though in this situation each cheval-de-frise could be moved about by the attacking troops and used to assist them in scaling the scarp.

cheval-de-frise

This project attracted quite a bit of attention, usually starting with "What is that?" More questions followed which attracted more visitors. Small groups or families would ask questions for 30 minutes or more. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

An added benefit to constructing a project was gaining a better understanding of the item and an appreciation of what it took to build them during the Civil War. In this case several manuals gave descriptions similar to the one above, but did not go into detail concerning the methods used to construct it. We found that trimming saplings to fit through the holes in the logs was rather labor intensive, and concluded that they may have cut the saplings into shorter lengths and wedged them into the holes in the log rather than passing them through.

Blue Water Regional Skirmish – June 6-8, 2008
Chris Hubbard, NWT Regional Commander.

Richmond Purcell's Battery and the 7th Wisconsin did a fine job hosting this year's Blue Water skirmish, despite some pretty dicey weather.BWstorm.jpg At left is an image of the storm rolling into camp Saturday night. About the only complaints I heard concerned mud on the range in a few spots, and long grass in the camping area. As we all know mud and rain are out of our control, and the grass will be taken care of in the future. The host teams once again had the Boy Scouts of America out providing lunch services, and the range was used to its fullest both days.

In my opinion the method employed by Purcell's and the 7th Wisconsin is the ideal way of utilizing the range facilities at Blue Water. Our lease there gives use the use of the 100 yard and 200 yard ranges. The host teams this time around split the duties for Saturday into team match responsibilities and individual match responsibilities. Purcell's ran the individual matches on the 100 yard range for the full day, even during carbine team, while team matches were conducted by the 7th Wisconsin on the 200 yard range.

200 Yard Match

Team matches on Saturday included a 200 yard sharpshooter match, breechloading rifle, artillery, carbine and smoothbore. The sharpshooter event allowed two man teams to work as a pair to help each other loading and firing. The image shows some of the pairs of shooters firing from the seated position while their spotters/loaders looked down range for hits. The sharpshooter match, even though low on competitors this time around, got good reviews, and I hope in the future we can have these types of event where the range permits it. A similar match, although at a further distance, is planned for the Grayling Regional.

Saturday's breechloading rifle competition was held using both single shot and repeating arms in the same class, but giving a larger set of targets to the repeating arms. Given the limited number of participants with these guns recently, I think this was a good compromise. Also of note is that the cannon match, which draws spectators, was held in the middle of the day Saturday, the time most likely to have visitors. Given that individual matches were running at this time on the 100 yd range this was not a hardship for skirmishers who do not shoot cannon.

Reporters from the Times herald were on site Saturday and published the following story of the event http://www.thetimesherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080609/NEWS01/806090304/1002 .

The traditional musket match, a long program with some challenging targets, was held Sunday with great success. All in all, a great weekend and skirmish conducted by the 7th Wisconsin and Purcell's. Great work! Full Statistics for Blue Water are available on the website at www.nwtskirmisher.com/standings.shtml .

Editor's note from Hugh: There were a couple of things that I wanted to mention about the Blue Water skirmish. One was an impromptu fife and drum jam on Saturday evening by Sean Buchert and Dave Goodwin (both of the 1st South Carolina). I enjoyed hearing the music, and they mentioned that they welcome other musicians to join in.

Some highlights from the match results: On the 200 yard sniper match, I wanted to congratulate Bob Anderson and Alan Pichan (both of the 1st Michigan) for beating the other 4 teams by 30 points (out of a possible 200 max). During the carbine match the 111th Ohio's "B" team beat their "A" team by 1.6 seconds. The 1st Michigan's "A" musket team squeezed by the 1st South Carolina by 0.3 seconds to take second place. And Doc Mandy of the 15th Virginia Cavalry had a very good event as he cleared half of his team’s 100 yard tiles during the musket match, including 2 after the frame broke.

Memorial Day Parade – Dearborn – Monday, May 26th
Chris Hubbard, NWT Regional Commander.

21 members of the NWT participated in the Memorial Day Parade in Dearborn this year, just about the same number as last year, although a few different faces. Members of the 24th Michigan, 7th Wisconsin, 8th Michigan Cavalry, 21st Michigan, Purcell's Battery, 7th Tennessee and the 1st South Carolina joined the Sgt. John S. Cosbey Camp 427 Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War in remembering the fallen. My gratitude goes to all involved, and especially to Doug Reed and Dave Goodwin for the drum and fife accompaniment, Paul Lipka and Chuck Kintz for carrying the colors of the North and South, and Mike Baker and Dennis Fyke for carrying the NWT banner. Below is an image of the group in the staging area. Judging by the signs we were in the right spot.

Parade '08

The parade route this year was the same as last year, starting at Library staging area, with the march beginning around the Greenfield road bridge and ending near the review stand down by City Hall, just about 2 miles. This year, once the march started we only stopped once or twice, so the parade organizers must have better coordinated the different stages. As we approached the grandstands I noticed long term NWT member, and Dearborn Police Reserve Officer, Rudy Ruzicska with his camera at the ready. We stepped off from the staging area around 10. By 11:30 most of the group had gone their separate ways for the day, with a substantial portion, over half, returning to my house for beer, dogs, and burgers. Perhaps next year we can make a formal event of this latter portion. Rick Danes, of the SUV Camp has invited us back again, and I have accepted. I hope to see you there.

New Beginnings
Hugh McLeod, NWT Public Information Officer.

Welcome to the beginning of the 2008 Northwest Territory skirmish season. Our first regional skirmish of the year took place at the Lansing Muzzle-Loading Gun Club, located at 8545 Garrison Road in Laingsburg, MI on May 3rd and 4th. This was a new range for us, and it was enjoyable to demonstrate our activities to a new group of people. The club members were gracious in welcoming us to their facility, and they made every attempt to ensure that our event ran without any problems. There was no formal host team as this was a volunteer skirmish, and many members pitched in doing the jobs necessary to make this a successful skirmish (too numerous to name them all). The weather was wonderful for shooting; staying bright and sunny right up until the end of the smoothbore match on Saturday, and the match was concluded quickly enough to get out of the drizzle that began. It was good to see friends that I haven’t seen since the end of last season, and even to meet new friends. I took some time to wander through the camps that evening, reconnecting and making plans for the upcoming season.

Apparently the 111th Ohio Volunteer Infantry spent the winter practicing, and the results of the musket match show that it paid off. They took first place by over 2 minutes ahead of the 1st Michigan Volunteer Infantry and the remainder of the class A-1 teams. It was a good turn out as 16 of 20 units in the Northwest Territory fielded musket teams. Richmond Purcell’s Battery also did well by besting their nearest competitor by over 60 seconds (class A-2). And in class A-3 the 8th Michigan Cavalry finished almost a full event ahead of the rest of their class (267 seconds). There were 6 teams competing in musket class B competition, a higher number than any NWT skirmish last year. Part of this is from an influx of new recruits, as the 1st South Carolina has added almost a full musket team to their ranks since last year. The class A-1 carbine match was much closer, with less than 17 seconds between the 111th Ohio (in first place) and the 1st Michigan. Class A-2 carbine had a much wider gap, with 5th Battery 230 seconds behind the 1st place 1st Michigan Engineers and Mechanics. The 1st Michigan took some satisfaction in the class B carbine match by besting the 111th Ohio by 7.1 seconds. The 1st Michigan Engineers and Mechanics took first in the Breechloader competition with a time of 255.1 seconds, ahead of the 4th Michigan by 114 seconds. And the 1st South Carolina swept the smoothbore competition by taking both medals (1st A & B teams). The remainder of the results can be found at http://www.nwtskirmisher.com/files/2008NWTStats/Laingsburg08Tm.htm.

Civil War Headstone Dedication
Dennis Fyke, 8th Michigan Cavalry..

Group Shot

On April 19th 2008, the 8th Michigan Cavalry assisted the Sergeant John S. Cosbey Camp 427 of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) perform a headstone dedication for Private Sanford A. Smith at the Woodmere Cemetery in Detroit Michigan.

Attending were Kirt Gross, the Chief Curator of the Dearborn Historical Museum as well as direct descendants of Private Smith.

The actual ceremony followed the traditional headstone dedication ceremony of the SUVCW.

The main body of volunteers marched in formation to the gravesite while the family, on-lookers, and officers watched. As the speeches giving the biographical history of Private Smith was being given and the historical perpspective of his experiences were being related, the honor guard stood in formation awaiting their firing of a 3-volley salute.

After taps was played and the ceremony ended, everyone stayed and visited while enjoying some refreshments the ladies of the SUVCW had prepared.

We were all very fortunate that the weather had turned out to be very nice considering the earlier reports had us as doing this in the rain. If you'd like to see a few pictures of this event, you can view the photo show at: http://photoshow.comcast.net/watch/zr5kg5nm

Oh, the weather outside is frightful...
Hugh McLeod, NWT Public Information Officer.

Braving the cold weather, it was time again for another Black Powder Through the Ages Event at the Washtenaw Sportsman’s Club near Ypsilanti, MI. Held February 9th, the second event of the year at this location was hosted by the esteemed sirs Jim Weber (of Battery C, 1st Michigan Light Artillery) and Pete Zahner (of the 110th Ohio Volunteer Infantry), these events are a chance to come out and introduce our sport to new members. This event is not an N-SSA event, but follows the same basic rules and safety procedures. Non-N-SSA firearms may be used as long as they are black powder, so you can see rolling block rifles and many other later era pieces in use. The hosts know how to make this event fun, and they do a great job of it.

The weather was rather chilly that day, but many souls still ventured out to get a taste of black powder. I had the pleasure of working with Heather, a new shooter, and we had a blast as she got zeroed in and took out a moskeet. This is one of the things that I enjoy about these events is the chance to meet and work with new shooters. I know many of us enjoy sharing our sport with others, and these events are a great place to do so. Even with the cold air and the winds blowing in your face, it was good to get out to the range and spend time with friends again, doing what we love to do and enjoying the fellowship of the day.

New Shooter and Hugh mcLeod

Frosty Fun.
Hugh McLeod, NWT Public Information Officer.

Group Shot

The first Black Powder through the Ages event of 2008 was held January 12th at the Washtenaw Sportsman's Club near Ypsilanti, MI. Organized by Pete Zahner (of the 110th Ohio Volunteer Infantry) and Jim Weber (of Battery "C", First Michigan Light Artillery), these events are a chance to come out and introduce our sport to new members. This event is not an N-SSA event, but follows the same basic rules and safety procedures. Non-N-SSA firearms may be used as long as they are black powder, so you can see rolling block rifles and many other later era pieces in use. I have to say that these events are fun, and a great chance to get out and try new things.

Lined Up

There are targets for individual practice and sight-in, but the fun really gets rolling during the team events. Teams are set by mixing novices with experienced skirmishers, and by mixing the types of firearms used, for balancing out the teams. The targeting is fun, and is usually whatever can be scrounged, to keeps cost at a minimum. It's also a good place to test out new targets, so if there is something that you want to try out, please feel free to bring it to test and share.

One of the things that I like about these events is the chance to get together with friends that I haven't seen in a few months, and the opportunity to socialize. Just like skirmishing, it is not just about the shooting. This sport is full of camaraderie, and a very helpful and friendly spirit. And that is what keeps people coming back.

Please see the Schedule & Maps webpage for more events. Group picture provided courtesy of Allissa Weber.


Questions? Comments? Contact the webmaster.
The NorthWest Territory is a member of the North-South Skirmish Association
Snapdragon 2003