Tuesday, November 19, 2013

All For Me Rum...........

'Tis the season for parties and other types of get together so I thought I would share a favorite drink recipe you might want to share with others. My best buddy Miss Nancy swears by this beverage.

Barbados Rum Punch  (A VERY old recipe)

One of sour, two of sweet, three of strong and four of weak.


one part of pure lime or lemon juice (1/4 cup)
two parts sugar (1/2 cup)
three parts Rum (3/4 cup)
four parts water (1 cup)

Carefully mix all the ingredients, then grate fresh nutmeg over the drink before serving.

Bon Appetite!

Ahhhhhh......Break Time!

As normal, the end of the campaign season was rather hectic. A 1812 period event, two RevWar events and a three day school. I would say the school was the most stressful as well as the most interesting. Allow me to tell you about it.

 North Carolina's Department of Cultural Resources is the organization that controls and supervises the various historic sites in the state. Some years ago they started a training program for historic site staff that interpret historic firearms on site. These programs focus on safety and function of black powder weapons. As a part of this training, the trainees get to fire live rounds from the weapons. When I heard about this training, I was very impressed. To try to explain how something works or it's effect, without truly using it or understanding it, it's almost like talking about swimming without ever being in any water. I was lucky enough to go to the last small arms class where I got to work with 19th century black powder muskets in which I learned a great deal.

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending the school of artillery where I studied 19th century muzzle-loading artillery. We spent a couple of days learning the drill used in firing the gun, all the safety issues we needed to be aware of, as well as the history of the weapons. Make no mistake it CAN be dangerous, even firing blank loads out of the big guns. The typical blank load is around 8 oz of black powder. The majority of reenactment injuries are as a result of incidents involving artillery. We spent a great deal of time learning the various drills and firing blank charges. I was up close and personal to a 32 pounder when it was fired with it's 4 POUND blank charge. I kid you not, it rattled my teeth.

 I spent most of the class working with the crew of a 3" ordinance rifle. We fired a bunch of blank charges then each member of the crew was required to make up and fire a live round. They also made up a canister round to be fired as the last shot. 19th century artillery is a good bit different than the 18th Century guns I was use to. They are fired with a friction primer ignited by pulling a lanyard. The 18th century artillery is fired with a slow match.

The last day of  the school, all the guns were transported to Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base where we were allowed to set up on artillery range so we could do our live fire. Now picture this, 6 people dressed in various types of civil war period uniforms clustered around  3" ordinance rifle, using reproduction sights and aiming at a very shot up Russian T-62 tank about 1100 yards away. Each member of the crew got to sight the gun and pull the lanyard. I can't say we hit it for sure, but if there had been anyone in the tank there is no doubt they would have known we were around.

The most interesting thing for me was when we fired the canister round. Canister is basically a tin can about the same size as the bore of the gun you are using. It is filled with a large number of lead balls  the size of musket balls. When fired, the tin can blows apart and scatters the balls turning the cannon into a giant shotgun. We sighted our gun at a target about 150 yards and it literally tore it into pieces. On several levels I knew that canister was highly effective round, but when I actually saw it used, I finally understood how effective it was and also how much hell the men went though when they had to face canister.

To hear what the guns sounded like, to hear the balls as they head toward the target, to see what canister does to a target, gave me a excellent tool to use when educating the public about historical weapons. I bitch and moan quite a bit when talking about how my tax dollars are spent, but in this case, North Carolina did a good job.

So now, I get a chance to slow down and take a break before getting fired up for the holidays. I think I am going to like it........

Four Score And Seven Years Ago.................

150 years ago today, at a newly opened cemetery near the Gettysburg Battlefield, Abraham Lincoln gave a two minute speech which many consider to be one of the greatest ever given. In this speech Lincoln explained the reasons and effect of the war as well as the cost. Here are the words he spoke on that day so long ago.

Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But in a larger sense, we can not dedicate-we can not consecrate-we can not hallow-this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated to the unfinished work which they fought here have, so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us-that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave here the last full measure of devotion-that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have not died in vain-that this nation under God, shall have a new birth of freedom-and that, government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.

I will note with disgust that the current resident in the White House does not think that this moment in history is worthy of commemoration or note to his utter shame and dishonor.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


 I thought that today I would take a few moments to remember the 241 service members who were killed in the homicide bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon on this day, 30 years ago.

These men, mostly U.S. Marines had been placed in the middle of a very nasty civil war that was going on at the time in Lebanon. The Marines primary duty was to serve as peacekeepers, to try to keep the warring parties separated.

The Marine Barracks which was near the Beirut Airport was destroyed by a truck bomb which was driven into the lobby of the building then detonated. Little did anyone know that this bombing was the opening shots in the war on terror that led to various other attacks on our country, to include 9/11 and still continues today.

Most of the Marines killed and wounded in Beirut were originally based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. We felt the loss maybe a little sharper since these service men were fellow "Tar Heels"

When I think of these fallen heroes, I am reminded of  Matthew 5:9.

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of GOD" 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Heart Of Oak..........

In solemn and respectful memory of Lord Nelson and the Tars of the Royal Navy who fought the combined Spanish and French fleets at Trafalgar on this day in 1805. Nelson died of wounds suffered in this battle, but became a legend within the Royal Navy as well as one of best beloved heroes of England.

Today In History.............

In 1797... The U.S.S. Constitution (Also know as Old Ironsides) was launched. This ship, one of  six, was built to help the fledgling U.S. Navy to both protect America's interest and to project force worldwide. She received her  nickname when in an engagement with the British, cannonballs bounced off of the heavy oak timbers she was made of.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Running Around Like My Head Is On Fire And My A*s Is Catching...............

Sorry there hasn't been much Ice Cream round here. I think someone stole the damned machine. Last week-end I took part in Miss Nancy's PIRATEHAWK! (Or as I call it, Flintlock 101) This coming week-end I am attending the Battle of the Hook. So I am rushing around as normal. Until I can get my ducks in a row,  here's a recipe for you to play with over the week-end.


1 Quart of DARK rum
1 Cup of sugar (either natural or brown)
2 small cans frozen lime or lemon aide concentrate
Enough water to make 1 gallon of drink.

You can play around with the sugar amount as listed, this drink IS pretty sweet. Serve cool and dream of the balmy breezes of the Caribbean.......

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bad Day At Black Rock..........

I was MUCH too sorry to post yesterday, but I wanted to note yesterday's date in history.

On June 25th,

In 1876, Lt. Col. G.A. Custer and 286 men under his command were K.I.A. in an engagement with hostile Sioux and Cheyenne Indians near the Little Big Horn River in the Montana Territory.

In 1950, The North Korean Army launched a massive surprise attack across the 38th parallel into South Korea. This plunged that country into a three year war that ended up costing the United States over 20,000 dead. The war still isn't over, the shooting stopped due to a "truce" and to this day, there are still American servicemen, locked and loaded, standing behind barbed-wire and sandbags, on watch, in that troubled land.

June 25th just wasn't a very good day for American men at arms..............

Friday, May 10, 2013

Today In History...........

May 10th 1863.....

General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson died as the results of wounds received on May 2nd 1863 at the battle of Chancellorsville VA.

Jackson who was attempting to exploit the Confederate successes at Chancellorsville was personally leading a night reconnaissance mission between the Federal and Confederate lines when he and his party came under fire from his own forces (18th North Carolina Regiment) who were under the impression that Jackson's group was Federal cavalry. Jackson's injuries led to the amputation of his left arm . Based on the medical records I have reviewed, this was a survivable wound, and Jackson did well during and after the operation. However, he had complained of chills the night of the 2nd so he might have been coming down with a cold, or because of the medical theories of the time, he was made to rest and not move around. He was heavily sedated with opium products such as laudanum and he developed pneumonia. This was what killed him, not the gunshot wound. 

The Army of  Northern Virginia was never the same after the death of Jackson. I am not one of the school that believe that if Jackson had lived the south would have won the war. I don't believe the south COULD have won, but with Jackson alive, the war might have gone on longer or there might have been a negotiated settlement. Who knows for sure?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Since January? Damn, time flies when you are having fun..........

Nope, ain't dead, (although there have been SEVERAL mornings that I would have argued the point with you.) I have discovered that it is a GREAT deal easier to DO stuff than it is to write about it. I got caught up in a creative fever and have turned out a BUNCH o' stuff and have somewhat changed my focus and taste in firearms. As my long suffering wife will attest, when I get in one of my fevers all goes by the wayside until I can shake it. (However, no matter what she says, I have NEVER come running out of my work shop screaming "It's alive, It's alive !!!!!! ala Dr. Frankenstein)

I did however manage to take a few photos of projects and as soon as I can remember how, to post them.

As most  of you know, I am old school to the max, which has led to my focus being directed in the area of historical reenactments and period weapons. Well, what seemed to be a natural branch off of that seems to be cowboy action shooting so I am working on gathering up the gear to start out with, I've made a few contacts in the sport and it looks like it will be both challenging and fun. It's been interesting in getting it all together, all bright and shiny.

I am also getting fired up about Nancy R.'s second annual kid's shoot. It's scheduled to be held on the first weekend of June and will be filled with the normal activities as well as a few surprises. You will get a chance to see strange and unusual firearms, a free range Dr. Mike and world famous star blogger and Internet icon Jay G. Please drop by if you can, it should be LOADS of fun, plus you get more or less free eats. (I'VE been known to go to weddings and funerals of people I didn't even know, just for the free chow.) So ya'll come on out, hear?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Today In History.............

150 years ago on January 1st 1863

By the President of the United States of America:

A Proclamation.

Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:

"That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

"That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be, in good faith, represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States."
Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief, of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days, from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit:
Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the City of New Orleans) Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth[)], and which excepted parts, are for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.

And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.

And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence; and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.

And I further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.

And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-seventh.

By the President: ABRAHAM LINCOLN
WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

If you read this carefully, you will see that this was more of a measure designed to hurt the ability of the Confederacy to pursue the war. It did not end slavery in the states that had not rebelled, nor did it free slaves in areas that were under federal control. It did however give a moral standing to the war from the Union point of view. It also served to prevent other countries (particularly Great Britain) from recognizing the confederate government and lending military support since that would be supporting the institution of slavery. It was however, the begining of the end of slavery in the United States.