Training - Colfax, NC

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Training Weekend
Mar 19-20, 1999

by Pvt. Barney Cline

Click on a photo for a larger & clearer view..


6up_1 (45KB)The men of the 1st North Carolina Artillery watched with pride as a team of six horses pulled the gun across the meadow. This remarkable sight seemed to be the icing on the cake on a very productive training weekend. In fact, the event was so successful, some of the men worried that Captain Stanley would surely hurt himself grinning so vigorously...

Members of the 1st began showing up at Camp during the day on Friday including two new men, Don Miller and John Horvath, plus three more possible recruits. Setting up tents, picket lines and the like, the men were quite excited in anticipation of a solid workout on the following day. They were not to be disappointed.
Remaining troops arrived at Camp early Saturday morning to the sight of decimated rib bones scattered about the fire. (Thanks Emmanuel!) No doubt jealous of the previous night's feast, the newly arrived members held heads high vowing not to miss the festivities the next time.
Training began with getting the horses readied. New recruits nervously aware of the big animal's kick-boxing abilities, brushed and groomed the teams under the watchful eyes of the Drivers. Next came the harnesses. As the new men wondered, "Where in blazes does this strap go?" or "What the hell is this thing?" they desperately tried to remember which horse went with which harness. Thankfully, a high-tech solution was formulated. No doubt, utilizing the latest technology, a color coded system was implemented with amazing success. The system, called the Self Tabulating Recognition Identification and Non-conflicting Garter, in other words, S.T.R.I.N.G. for short, was heralded by the men as a stroke of genius. Alas, the horses were readied.
The morning progressed and the men separated into two groups, the gun crews and the Horsemen (Drivers and Outriders). The Horsemen rode in high style onto the adjacent fields to warm up their mounts. Equally warming up were the men on the guns, taking implements, searching the piece, drilling toward a tight, well-knit cohesion. Soon the crews were jumping into action, tight and smooth, save for a small incident where the #1 man on one of the guns inadvertently threw his rammer out into the yard. (Oops, I confess!) At this point a gnawing appetite began to plague the men.
Lunch call. The ravenous 1st stood silently at attention as Sergeant Slifer said grace and then the men filed past a delicious spread of ham sandwiches, homemade soup, cornbread, iced tea and wonderful desserts. The meal was lovingly prepared by Mrs. Stanley, aided by Emmanuel May (26th's commmissary). The men of the 1st NC tip their hats to their exceptional hospitality.

Mrs. Stanley (28KB        Emmanuel May (24KB)

Fed and sated, the boys stood ready for the afternoon drilling. The order to hitch up the teams and limber the guns sounded out. Soon the troops marched in proud fashion as two cannons moved onto the field. The new team of horses performed better than expected, barely flinching at the thunder of a 10-pounder Parrott echoing over the countryside. At that point the men realized these horses will do just fine.
(1) Detachment on the move (31KB)
On the move
(2) Implements (50KB)
Taking Implements
(3) Swabbing (45KB)
Swabbing the Barrel
(4) Receive Round (44KB)
Receiving the Round
(5) Aiming (50KB)
Aiming
(6) Ready (47KB)
Ready
(7) Fire, Left-to-Right (45KB)
Firing Left to Right
(8) Section Fire (32KB)
Firing by Section
Then came the order for a team of six. The Drivers expertly arranged the animals and soon the team stood ready. As the order, "Foward at the walk, Drivers drive on," was given, camera shutters clicked repeatedly, capturing the spectacular sight.

6up_2 (46KB)  6up_3 (38KB)  6up_4 (50 KB)

After a short break, the unit conducted a firing excercise while wearing their Federal uniforms - portraying the brave men of Battery D, 5th U.S. Artillery.

Moving the Gun (27KB)  Unit Movement (51KB)
Moving/Emplacing the Guns

Capt. Stanley and 1st Lt. Stewart (32KB)
Directing the Fire
(1) Worming (54KB)
Worming
(2) Swabbing (42KB)
Swabbing
(3) Receiving Round (55KB)
Receiving the Round
(4) Loading (46KB)
Loading
(5) Aiming (51KB)
Aiming
(6) Priming (45KB)
Priming
(7) Ready (55KB)
Ready to Fire
(8) Firing (38KB)
Fire! (as Reilly's Battery)
Finally, after the horses had been brushed down, the men of the 1st were invited into the Captain's quarters to view the new Internet Web site. A fitting end to a productive training weekend.
Truly, the1st North Carolina Artillery has come a long way in a short time. Imagine what the future holds! See you in April.

A few additional photos.

Gun Crew 1 (40KB)
Some of the men of Gun Crew 1

Gun Crew 2 (46KB)
Some of the men of Gun Crew 2

Danyel, Brittany, Lindsey (48KB)
Danyel, Brittany, Lindsey
Thanks for your help with the Horses and for assisting Mrs. Stanley in preparing the chow.

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