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NWT News: Past News (2003)
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NWT News

An Interesting Touch of History.
Hugh McLeod, NWT Public Information Officer.
November 7th, 2003

Norm Gibson and his studentsOn November 1, 2003, I had the pleasure to participate in a demonstration at Richmond Sportsmanís Club (where we hold our annual Richmond skirmish). Norm Gibson brought his American history class to the range to participate in a rather unique learning experience. The class spent the day experiencing several aspects of life during the American Civil War. This was done as part of a class project on life during the war.

The day started off for the students by using semaphore (signal flags) to communicate messages across the field. They were shown the basics and then had the opportunity to practice what they learned. Then the students gathered around for a mortar demo, watching as 3 shots were fired from a 24lb coehorn mortar as the strategy and tactics were explained. Then the students had to wheel a cannon and limber box from the parking lot into position on the range, learning the difficulty of moving such an artillery piece into position as Norm directed them over several small hills.

Before lunch the students had to gather some wood for several small campfires, which they had to start themselves. Lunch for the students was a meal of hardtack, bacon, beef, and potatoes, which they had to cook over an open fire. Norm provided an example of the procedure and then let them cook away. One boy tried to set his pants on fire, a girl broke a nail, and another cut her hand on the hardtack. Lessons learned! We watched as we ate several helpings of fresh bread, Dan Gibsonís wonderful stew, and also helped ourselves to his birthday cake (How old????).

After lunch we provided a demonstration of the small arms of the period, starting with revolvers. Then we went to a 135 second rapid fire with teams based on the firearms used. There were smoothbore musket, rifle-musket, carbine, and repeating rifle teams firing at separate silhouettes which got very peppered during that time. The repeating rifle target had the most holes with 70+ but the carbine and rifle-musket boards had 30+ each. The smoothbore muskets accumulated approximately 20 holes in that short period of time. The students took a look at the targets to evaluate the effectiveness of the firearms, based on accuracy and rate of fire.

Then the N-SSA members worked with the students on a one-on-one basis instructing the students in the proper methods to load and fire our firearms. The students were then allowed to load and fire the various firearms under personal supervision. Several students demonstrated some ability to hit their intended targets, shooting at clay pigeons at 25 yards.

I believe that the students had an excellent time participating in the dayís events. I know that we enjoyed working with the students one-on-one to share in the history and enjoyment of our sport as well. In total, 10 members of the 1st South Carolina, 3 members of the 7th Tennessee Infantry, 1 member of the 6th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, and 1 member of the 7th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry were in attendance to helps the 28 students.

John and Penny McLeod Host Annual Shooting Event

October, 12th, 2003

John and Penny McLeod, along with their son Hugh McLeod, all of the 7th Tennessee Infantry, hosted what has become an annual event at their home this past Sunday. The McLeod's graciously invited members of the Northwest Territory to their home in St. Clair for a day of N-SSA style team shooting, food, and friendship.

In addition to the McLeod's own team, members of other NWT Confederate teams such as the 1st South Carolina, 15th Virginia Cavalry, and the 14th Tennessee Infantry along with their Yankee "guests", the 7th Wisconsin Volunteers, all gathered at the McLeod's home to commemorate the end of the 2003 season, and in some cases say goodbye to their skirmish comrades until the beginning of the 2004 season.

Starting at Noon, there was a seemingly endless shooting competition, run expertly by Hugh McLeod. The teams for this event, were drawn from a hat, with chance deciding who would be teammates for the day. All shooting was done in the style of the N-SSA, with the exception that since it was not an official N-SSA function, many people were not (yet) skirmishers, and were competiting in this type of format for the first time. All were welcomed, regardless of skill or experience. The McLEod's have used this event as a way to welcome new teammates, showcase the N-SSA to new people, and to show that this sport is more than just shooting.

The Teams shot a variety of targets ranging from eggs, clay pots, and water bottles at 50 yards to clay pigeons and Milk jugs at 100 yards. The winner of course was decided by the shortest elapsed time. All had a good time!

Midway through the competition, John McLeod urged the teams on, wishing to get the shooting over with and get to the true point of the event! John and fellow 7th Tennessee teammate, Ed Hildrith, cooked what must have been nearly a ton of food, resulting in a Barbeque even the Founding Fathers could be proud of. The food and the ensuing friendship is the point of this event. John enthusiastically shouted at the end of the shooting, "Let's Eat!"

The event ended well past dark, with all leaving for home with a good feeling, yet perhaps a bit of sadness. To many, this day marks the last they will see many friends until May of the following year. Due to this, one participant, Wally Gibson of the 1st South Carolina stated "I wouldn't miss McLeod's shoot for anything." I couldn't agree more, thanks John, Penny, and Hugh, and the rest who helped make this happen!

Small Arms Inspections at Regionals

July 17th, 2003

Small Arms CommitteeNorthwest Territory Regional Inspector, and member of the N-SSA's Small Arms Committee, Chris Hubbard was available at Defiance to inspect individual Small Arms for N-SSA competition. Here he inspects a Mississippi Rifle for 110th O.V.I. member Mike Rouch.

Chris will be available Saturday morning at all NWT regionals to inspect individual firearms. He asks only that if you have a firearm you wish to have inspected, you notify him in advance of the skirmish so he can bring the proper materials.

If you have any questions about whether or not your particular firearm needs to be inspected, contact Chris.

In general, if you built the arm yourself, it must be inspected. If another individual built it for you, with a few exceptions, it must be inspected. If you have made modifications to a reproduction firearm, even those on the N-SSA's Approved Arms list, it may need to be inspected. If it is a smoothbore, and has a rear sight, it must be inspected, even if it is an "original" firearm.

If you have purchased a reproduction firearm from a reputable sutler, it most likely is listed on the N-SSA's Approved Arms list, and does not need to be inspected. If your gun is an "original" arm, other than a smoothbore with rear sight, it does not need to be inspected. Any questions can be directed to either Chris or N-SSA Small Arms Committee Chairman, John Holland.

CIVIL WAR HERITAGE PRESERVATION

July 10th, 2003

The North-South Skirmish Association will held its 108th National Competition October 3-5, 2003 at Fort Shenandoah near Winchester, Virginia.

Forrest's Escort Company

A nattily dressed Confederate infantryman (Above) takes careful aim with his Model 1842 musket during the smoothbore musket matches at the North-South Skirmish Association 107th National Competition held in May. The 108th National will be held October 3-5, 2003 at the Associationís home range, Fort Shenandoah, near Winchester, Virginia. For more information visit www.n-ssa.org.

NWT Members Visit the Northeast Region

June 23rd, 2003

Four members of the 1st South Carolina paid a visit to the Northeast Region at their new range in Erie, Pennsylvania. 1st South Carolina members Wally Gibson, Ben Betterley, Michelle McClain, and Chris Hubbard made the trip to our distant neighbors and participated in Carbine, Breechloading Rifle/Carbine II, Smoothbore, and Musket.

Three of the South Carolinians were aided in taking 1st Place Carbine by John Robey, and Phil Spaugy, N-SSA Inspector General, both of the Union Guards.

Following the carbine match, Betterley and Hubbard competed together in both the Smoothbore and Breechloading Rifle/Carbine II competitions. The Northeast Region has an interesting solution to the problem of fitting these two comptetions into the ever increasingly busy Saturday program. They hang a variety of targets and shoot the respective competitions as one event, the first two-skirmisher team finished wins! In both cases, the Hubbard/Betterley team was bested by the currentN-SSA Musket Champions 110th O.V.I.

Sunday Morning saw the dawn of a new skirmishing entity, the 111th South Carolina Guards, a scrub team composed of the four South Carolinians, two Union Guards, and 111th O.V.I. members Marion Cooper and Chuck Kindle. The team competed in the Norhteast Region's top class and placed respectably, after being troubled by a less-than-fabulous 100 yard tile event. Again, the 110th O.V.I. emerged victorious.

The Gem City range is relatively new, first used for skirmishing in the 2002 season, and is located a reasonable 4 hours from the southeast Michigan base of the NWT. The range has a great deal of potential, a fact recognized by the N-SSA, who has allocated funds to the Northeast Region to aid in developing this range, which could reasonably accomodate three regions.

Group recognizes vets today
By Jim Kaiser, Special to the Oakland Press
May 30, 2003

For most people, Memorial Day was Monday.

They've taken down the patriotic decorations and put them away until next year. The cemeteries, which were alive with people and the sound of bugles, have returned to their long slumbers. But that's not the case for the General Israel B. Richardson Camp of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. For them, Memorial Day always falls on May 30. They'll be marking the occasion today.

They can trace the observance back to an order issued in 1868 by Gen. John A. Logan, commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, mandating that Memorial Day, or Decoration Day as it was called then, would be observed May 30.

The Grand Army of the Republic was a fraternal organization made up of Union veterans of the Civil War. Their May 30 Decoration Day, when they decked the graves of their fallen comrades with flowers and flags, evolved over the years into Memorial Day.

"The veterans wanted their good works to live on," Bruce Miller, 55, of Bloomfield Hills said. "So they created the Sons of Union Veterans in 1881."

The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, now a national organization, has more than 27 camps in Michigan and about 500 members. Nationally, the group totals about 6,300 members. Miller, who works as the director of marketing consultation for an automotive supplier, is the camp commander for Pontiac. Miller said members can trace their lineage back to Civil War veterans of the Union Army. They still follow the observances of their parent organization.

He said Memorial Day was always celebrated on May 30 until 1971 when the regular Monday observance was officially recognized by the federal government.

"We certainly don't have any prejudice against the Monday holiday," Miller said, "However, the original Decoration Day will always be, for us, May 30."

The organization will honor Gen. Israel B. Richardson, who was killed at the Battle of Antietam in September 1862, and others during a ceremony at 6 p.m. today at Oak Hill Cemetery, on University Drive just east of the Woodward Avenue Loop.

Richardson, namesake of the Pontiac camp, was a Pontiac resident, and is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery.



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