Rolling Thunder 
Newsletter for the
10th North Carolina State Troops
(1st Regiment North Carolina Artillery)

Volume X1I, Issue 3 September 27, 2010

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Malcolm Blue 2010

Malcolm Blue 2010 ended yesterday afternoon (Sunday 26 September) when the rains arrived.  It was a very, very successful event and this is the story as to why. Malcolm Blue 2010 started last year at the conclusion of Malcolm Blue 2009 when Mr. Paul Brill approached Sgt Jim Lankford of Reilly’s Battery, our coordinator for this event, about what he wanted “next year.”  Jim involved me in the discussion with Paul and we began the planning process for this year’s hugely successful event.  Paul wanted the cannon just like he has for every year, but he requested both a Cavalry and Infantry presence in addition to the Artillery.

1SG Joe Slifer and I went to work coordinating with the 26th NCT to get them to join us with at least an infantry company’s involvement.  They agreed and Capt. Dennis Brooks of the 26th and a true friend of the Artillery became the POC for the 26th involvement. With Capt. Brooks’ efforts along with SGT Steve Baker’s they provided 15 people to add to our artillery and cavalry numbers

As our planning evolved we decided to do a cavalry presence that started out mounted and ended with them “dismounting and fighting on foot.”   We have had little to no experience with doing this so when we did our last training event in Eastover, Cpl John Ruf taught several of the guys how to be troopers. John was down primarily to work with the 1928 Machine Gun impression but was more than happy to share his knowledge.  Cpl Chris Moose was given command of this detachment. Since John had a previous Revolutionary War commitment at Brandywine the weekend of Malcolm Blue, he was very generous in offering us the use of his Spencer Carbine for the event.

SGT Lankford continued to coordinate the details with Mr. Brill. 1SG Slifer became our unit’s liaison with the Infantry.  I ordered the blanks for the Spencers from a new source. This supplier makes blank ammunition for many different weapons and has provided them for numerous movies. In addition to the Spencer rounds, I ordered blanks for my newly acquired 1918 Browning Automatic Rifle, more commonly referred to as the BAR.

Joe and I continue to discuss and evolve the idea of Living History and Associates – North Carolina, defining and building what we want that organization look like and be capable of as it matures. We welcome the participation of any and all interested in this effort. SGT Stuart Brandt was/is working our first major event with the Alamance County Boy Scouts for March of 2011.  This effort will be instrumental in developing the Standing Operating Procedures (SOP) for LHAA-NC.

Just a few weekends ago an event called Allison Woods occurred in Statesville, NC.  This event involves multiple eras of our nation’s history with impressions of each coming together for the public.  CPL Don Collins attended the event in his WWII, 82nd Airborne impression, in which he carried the BAR.  At the event’s conclusion as he was packing to return home a lady approached him and asked if he were the BAR man.  He informed her he was and she told him her grandfather had carried a BAR in WWII in the Pacific.  This weapon linked her to her grandfather in combat.  Don put a blanket down and allowed her to fire the BAR.  She was overcome with emotion, being able to do in a small way what her grandfather had done as an American Serviceman.  Folks, this is the core of what LHAA-NC is all about, providing the bridge that allows the public to experience American History….make it come alive and relatable. Another aspect of this effort is embodied in the opportunities to interact with veterans who have the chance to share information and remember their days of service…see the story of such an event attendee towards the end of this writing.

On Tuesday, 21 September, 2010 Joe and I began our 500+ mile round trip to secure 100 pounds of black powder to satisfy the appetite of our three guns.  We spent a lovely evening/night with John Ruf and Pamela McNab in John’s 1855 era Culpepper, Virginia home. Sincere thanks to them both for their gracious hospitality. John also let us borrow his Spencer carbine for the upcoming event.

Joe and I returned from that successful mission on Wednesday afternoon.  Joe, Jim and I met at the Malcolm Blue Farm on Friday and dropped the gun off and brought the trailer home to put the limber on it for Jim to take back when he returned on Friday afternoon.

Jim went over to the Malcolm Blue Farm and marked off an area for both us and the infantry to prevent folks from camping in what has become “our area.” Folks began to arrive Friday evening and Saturday morning.  Cpl Moose worked with his cavalrymen for the force on force demonstration between us and the 26th . We then coordinated with Lt. Matt Vincett of the Royal Artillery to provide him support for his portion of the artillery demonstration. It was interesting to observe the similarities as well as the differences in procedures of loading artillery pieces from the 18th to the 19th centuries.

We prepared to start the program with a morning demonstration by having the Dragoons saddle their horses and Capt. Brooks deploy the infantry.  Cpl Moose led his men onto the field mounted but a volley from Capt. Brooks’ infantry caused Cpl Moose to order his Dragoons to dismount and fight on foot.  The Spencer and Sharps carbines helped make up for the mismatch in manpower, but Capt. Brooks pushed his men forward and began to outflank the Dragoons.  Cpl Moose withdrew to the tree line and a final charge by the infantry ended the fight.  Capt. Brooks then formed his men up on the flank of our 6 pounder and we conducted a joint firing demonstration for the gathering crowd.  This demonstration clearly showed how well the two units work together.  This final firing was impromptu for the first time, but became standard practice for the rest of the day. 

Our men augmented the Charlestown Light Artillery (Rev War) as Lt. Vincent began the demonstration and then fell back in with Reilly’s Battery as we concluded the Artillery Demonstration.  We conducted the same demonstration three more times Saturday with Cpl Moose’s Dragoons getting better and better at slowing the Infantry advance.  These were “great” demonstrations showing Civil War Cavalry and Infantry in action.

We awoke to a heavily overcast day on Sunday, September 26th.  We had changed our plan for Sunday to include pulling the gun with horses before the artillery demonstrations began.  This was very, very successful as we integrated Gemini back into the team for the first time since he had surgery a year ago.  The limber pole was broken on the very end and Cpl Moose fixed it so we could use it. We pulled the limber around the farm first and then returned with the gun right before the dog demonstration.  Our morning demonstration was well attended and the horses remained very, very calm as both the Revolutionary and Civil War guns fired.  Sgt Stuart Brandt and Dusty Summers had dressed out in Revolutionary attire courtesy of items from Lt. Vincent and me.

Prior to our firing SGT Horvath approached me about meeting a gentleman and his great grandson who were at the event.  LTC Bob Johnson was a World War II veteran who was in the horse artillery before the war began because he wanted to play Polo. He then became airborne artillery in the 11th Airborne Division (Pacific War).  He was amazing and at 94 appeared to be in perfect health. He told us he had quit raising his own hay at 90!  When I showed him my airborne uniform he wanted to know who made them and informed me that they were perfect.  His face lit up when I showed him my M-1 Garand, and he related a story about when they were preparing to attack a Japanese position in the Philippines; his men traded the MP units their M-1 carbines (with the airborne folding stocks) for M-1 rifles.  He remarked he would like to see a carbine again and I took mine out and showed it to him.  It was amazing to see his face light up as he showed it to his great grandson and demonstrated how to unfold and fold the stock.  He showed me how the scabbard mounted on the web belt for them to jump with it.  He is currently the president of the Pinehurst Polo Club and was instrumental in the Polo Field being built inside the track.  He was an amazing man with whom to talk!!!!  He possesses a wealth of knowledge and an admirable willingness to share it.

The rain began while I visited with Mr. Johnson under my horse trailer as we packed up and prepared to leave, hoping to avoid the mud.  Everyone got out without any problem; Jim and I returned later and picked up the gun with no incident.

Events are successful because of the people that attend.  I enjoy the fellowship with friends we have made over the years, so folks I would like to thank everyone for coming and making this a successful event. The event was attended by Bobby Allen, Stuart Brandt, Dan Cooke, Billy Horne, John and Sandy Horvath, Rex Kennedy, Chad and Amanda Kerley and Tyler Kerley, Jim Lankford, Chris and Danyel Moose, Abby Moose, Jacob Moose, Morgan Moose, Joel Rhyne, Joe Slifer, David and Joyce Stanley, Dusty Summers. Again, thanks to you all for your continued participation!

We made $1030.00, which took care of the $860.00 we had spent on powder on Monday. Thank-you all again.

A potential new member, Jack Page, attended Sunday…. thank-you all for being so courteous to him, a fact he noted to me about “us” right away.

Hope to see all of you at the Fayetteville Arsenal on the 24th of October as we do the Mexican War Demonstration for them.   We plan to have Artillery, Cavalry and Infantry impressions.  Get your money to Sam Pristipino for Fort Sumter 2011 ($15.00)

 

Capt. David L. Stanley, Cmdg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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