Sunday, November 29, 2009

Stone Bridge wit Stream and Foliage


This is the upgraded stone bridge with a stream and foliage around it as promised
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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Colcannon / Champ

Ladies and Gentlemen:


--8 irish potatoes;
--1 head of cabbage;
--1/4 lb. of butter

Peel and boil the potatoes. Boil the cabbage
separately. Drain and chop the cabbage..
Drain and mash the potatoes. Mix the
potatoes and cabbage together. There
should be about twice as much potatoes and
cabbage. Add butter, salt, and pepper to
taste and mix well. If you add in some
turnips mashed in place of two of the
potatoes, you have what is called "CHAMP."
Some recipes call for milk to make the mix
creamy, and some for chopped onions.
Colcannon is a traditional dish on All
Hallows Eve (Halloween). In london the
mixed vegetables are fried gently in lard.
The frying causes the mixture to make
some odd noises, hence the nickname ---
"bubble and squeak." I have tried all the
variations and I like them all. I think this is
a great dish, tasty easy to make and hearty,


Boston Brown Bread

Ladies and Gentlemen;

Here is recipe #3. With this one I should be up to date.


--1 cup of all purpose flour;
--1 cup of Rye flour or whole wheat flour;
--1 cup of cornmeal;
--2 Teaspoons of Baking Soda;
--1 teaspoon of salt;
--2 cups of sour milk;
--1 cup of molasses;
--2 tablespoons of melted butter.

Sift the flour with soda and salt. Add the corn meal and stir.
Add milk molasses and butter, blend well. Pour into three
well greased stoneware molds and tightly seal with heavy
cheesecloth. Set in a steamer of boiling water to a depth of
one half the height of the molds. Cover and steam for three
hours. Let cool for 15 minutes and remove from the molds.

If, like most people, you do not have stoneware molds, a
one lb. vegetable can will substitute quite well. A big Dutch
Oven makes a good steamer. Serve the bread warm, with
butter and jelly as a side dish to Boston Baked Beans.


Jim Mathews

Chicken--Cabbage Soup

Ladies and Gentlemen;

This below recipe is from my own kitchen rather than out of a history book, However, it is I believe, basic enough to be included here:

>>>> Chicken -Cabbage Soup <<<<

-1, carrot;
-1/4, head of cabbage;
-2, medium potatoes;
-1, stalk of celery;
-1/2, medium onion;
-1/4, lb. of butter;
-1, can if chicken breast in water / or, 1 1/2 cups of chopped cooked chicken;
-1, can of Campbell's Cream of Chicken soup;
-2, cans of chicken broth;
-3 1/2, cups of water;
2, tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce.

Cut all vegetables small. Put all vegetables in a double pan steamer. Combine two cups of water and the chicken broth. Add the butter and Worcestershire sauce. Use this water / broth mixture as the steaming liquid. Steam vegetables until tender crisp, about 20 to 25 minutes. Set the cooked vegetables to one side. Add the chicken soup and 1 1/2 cups of water to the steaming broth mixture, along with the chicken meat. Add the vegetables to the broth mixture and stir well. Reheat and serve. Serves six.

Respectfully Submitted

Ian McKay

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Fry Bread and Succotash Recipes

Ladies and Gentlemen;

Here are a couple of recipes to get me through the rest of the year (Nov. and Dec.):

>>>>Fry Bread<<<<

--1 cup of flour;
--1 teaspoon of sugar (heaping);
--salt to taste;
--2 teaspoons baking powder (rounded)

Mix in a bowl and add enough water to make a stiff dough.  Form the dough into small flat pieces, one/half inch thick and four inches across.  Put into very hot deep frying grease.  When it floats and the bottom is golden, flip it over.

You can substitute 1/2 cup of sourdough starter for half of the flour (don't forget to feed the mother!).

A sprinkle of cinnamon and powdered sugar on top of the bread before serving goes well too,  A Mexican style fried bread is served with honey as a desert.


--3 cups sweet corn (canned or cut fresh from the cob);
--3 cups fresh lima beans (or string beans or butter beans);
--1 cup of milk;
--6 tablespoons of butter

Cover beans with the least possible amount of boiling water and cook until tender.  Drain and add the corn and milk.  Cook slowly until corn is tender.  Add butter.  Salt and pepper to taste.

The indians used bear grease in place of milk and butter.  Corn and beans were the basis for a vegetable stew which might also include squash, pumpkin or sea food, and which might be sweetened with maple sugar.  Succotash is the Narragansett tribe's word for "fragments."

Note also that , "Captain Jenks of the horse marines, fed his horse on corn and beans!!"


Jim Mathews

Spotted Pup Recipe

>>Spotted Pup<<

1 cup rice
Handful of raisins
1/4 cup molasses
Pinch cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups water

Put everything in a pot and bring to the boil. 
Stir the mixture frequently until water is absorbed by the rice.

I think it would be nice if once a month a recipe was posted for the 

Major J. F. Duarte {by brevet}

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Spanish Fort #2 -- Mobile Bay

This is a tracing of the third drawing of the Spanish Fort found in the, "Official Military Atlas of the Civil War."  It differs somewhat from the first two sketches, but does list the batteries of guns in the fortifications.
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San Diego Bay Entrance -- Point Loma

This is a chart of the Entrance to San Diego Bay in California.  The long peninsula which extends southward is called Point Loma.  The red line shows the main channel for entrance to the bay.  The small extension into the channel is called ballast point.  It was so named because ships delivering cargo to the village of San Diego very often had to pick up or leave stone ballast, and this was where this ballast was left and recovered as necessary.  Today it is the site of the Coast Guard Base and the mooring of Coast Guard Cutters serving the Southern California coastline.  The writing in the lower portion of the drawing is an excerpt from the Sailing Directions of the period.  I will add that to the description of the drawing when I finish installing all the drawings ready for  uploading. 
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Fort Greble -- Narragansett Bay, R.I.

Fort Greble was the fort which defended the Western Entrance to Narragansett Bay.  The Eastern and deep entrance to the bay was defended by Fort Adams.
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City of Richmond, VA.

This detailed map of Richmond shows the river and the terminus of the James River and Kanawha Canal which brought passengers and produce to Richmond from deep within the state.  The sketch also shows the main area of destruction endured by the city during the Union bombardment. 
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Coastline Of Maine -- off Portland

This is a tracing of a coastal chart of the Maine Coastline.  The Chart takes in most of the islands in the Portland vicinity.
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Wilson's Farm -- Red River Campaign

The Battle of Wilson's Farm took place during the Red River Campaign West of the Mississippi River..  The sketch shows only the topographical and terrain aspects of the battle site.
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Chart Of Long Island Sound

-This as a tracing of a chart of Long Island Sound showing the Eastern end of Long Island, Fisher's Island, Gardner's Island and part of the Connecticut Coastline.
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Capt. Schaeffer's Artillery Command at Bull Run, Va.

--This drawing is the cover drawing in the book, "Maps and Mapmakers of the Civil War. " It was an excellent map tp trace and then to upgrade the tracing.  However, it only shows a very small part of the battlefield.
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This is a rough sketch map of Freeman's Ford.  The battle here occurred in 1862.  This sketch represents only the topographical features and terrain of the site and not the combatant movement.
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Spanish Fort #1 -- Mobile Bay

This sketch is a combination of two of the three sketches of Spanish Fort found in the 
"Official Military Atlas of the Civil War."

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Engineer's Report --Plymouth, Mass. - Thanksgiving Parade, Nov. 1863 (2009)

Maj. General U.S. Grant
Army of the Cumberland

Colonel Mathew Burbank
New England Brigade

Capt. Don Erickson
Commandant (acting)
U.S. Corps of Topographical Engineers

Esteemed Sirs;

I beg your kind indulgence to make my report of the subject event.

Engineers Attending:

--Major General U.S. Grant;
--Lt. Col. Ian McKay;
--Corporal Michael Grossman;
--Mistress Julie Grant;
--Mistress Margaret Mathews.

Lt. Col. and Mrs. Mathews were conveyed to Plymouth Mass. by coach and arrived in the afternoon of Friday 20.  We immediately journeyed to our prearranged lodgings to stow our personal items before looking for the Brigade Staff.  At 4:30 P.M. we were at the Plymouth Rock Park, where the Brigade camp was set up last year.  No-one being there, we went to dinner at "Isaac's Restaurant" (excellent seafood meal) and returned to find the area still barren of the Brigade Staff.  We went to a chandlery to purchase light torches remembering that last year such were needed to put up the tents after dark.  We returned at 6:30 P.M. with still no-one at the park.  We found out later in the evening that the location of the encampment had been changed to an area next to the water and just across from the yacht harbor.  We finally caught up with the Commander and some of the staff at a restaurant up town, enjoyed their company for a bit and got new directions to the encampment.  We found the encampment and left my sketch table, chair and drawing materials in the staff tent.

The next morning we arose at 6:00 A.M., breakfasted at our lodging and took our coach to the encampment site.  The Brigade encampment consisted of the large heated staff tent, and two smaller wedge tents with a third lean-to and fly.  The troops that gathered for the parade, had a hurried breakfast, and I gave Corporal Grossman and Col. Burbank their drawing / report envelopes.  Not knowing before hand that General Grant and Mrs. Grant would be in attendance I did not bring with me their drawings envelope.  The Brigade staff then marched off as a group to take part in the parade.  The Brigade Adjutant and I remained in camp as camp-keepers together with Pat the Tavern Keeper.  The staff tent in use by the senior staff and myself had been loaned for the event by Pat.

The morning was taken up with sketch mapping the city of Plymouth and making a rough sketch of the pilgrim ship "Mayflower" and a second rough sketch of a cross-section of a "corduroy road" which would have a significant use in bringing heavy freight wagons and artillery into town across the dirt roads, streams and marshes outlying the city if it proved necessary to do so.

The rest of the day was spent in narrating to the camp visitors what the tents were, who we as a Brigade were, what we did and why.

At about 3:00 P.M. we began to break down the camp, and by 4:30 the camp was no more.  General Grant and Mrs. Grant were pleased to join myself and Mistress Mathews for dinner at a local Brazilian Restaurant (excellent food) and the fun and good company was extended into the early evening hours, at which time we returned to our lodgings, the Grant's taking their horses back to the farm.  On Sunday, we began the long ride home and arrived in the New London area in the afternoon.

The event was a lot of fun and productive in several ways.  It is always a pleasure to work together with the Brigade Staff and share our experiences.  The event was much warmer this year, and as a result we had a greater opportunity to interact with visitors to the encampment.  Should the Brigade again be invited to the event in November the Topogs will make every effort to be represented.

Respectfully Submitted;

Ian McKay, Lt. Col. of Engrs (by brevet);
Chief Engineer
New England Federal Brigade        

Report written and dispatched from Fort Trumbull, New London, CT.
---The Constitution is not an instrument to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government; lest it come to dominate our lives and interests -- Patrick Henry Tyranny is defined as that which is "legal" for the government but illegal for the citizanery -- Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Northeast Topographical Engineers

This blog is created for and devoted to the Northeast Topographical Engineers.   This is a Civil War Reenactment group specializing in the aspects of Mapping and Survey during the American Civil War.  In the days to come we will discuss the maps and plans of the NETE, as well as some of the ideas of the unit and some of the events and activities of the NETE.  This is the sixth year of this unit and the unit has reached at one time a total of twenty members.  The total at the present time is fifteen.  Both men and women can be a part of this reenactment unit.  Men coming in to the unit have the choice to be one of three portrayals:

--Officer in the "Topogs," beginning as a Second Lt. of Topographical Engineers;

--Enlisted Man beginning as a Corporal of Pioneers in an Infantry Unit;

--Civilian Engineer, under contract to the government.

A lady may join the unit as a contract worker for the government as any one of the following, artist, clerk, understudy to an engineer, map copier, etc.

The unit is a part of the Staff of the New England Federal Brigade, and also serves as the Staff for Lt. General U.S. Grant when he is in camp.

The Offices for the NETE are in Fort Trumbull, a pre-civil war coastal fortification guarding the entrance to the Thames River and the cities of New London and Groton, Connecticut.  The unit is currently engaged in restoration work in the fort and maintains a model and map display in the fort interior.

The unit hews to the two major tasks that we face in military reenactment:

1.  Tell the Commander where he was yesterday, where he is today, and where he will be tomorrow, and how he will get there;

2.  Build or destroy anything that the Commander wishes built or destroyed.

Our specialty, however, is sketch mapping of both the terrain on which the reenactment is being carried out, and providing copies / tracings of any historical maps of battles  / skirmishes that the reenactment activity is portraying.  We are also engaged in routine camp administration and the design of military engineering aspects such as bridges, corduroy roads, field fortifications field explosives, etc.


Ian McKay
Cdr. -- NETE