Saturday, November 12, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
Lt. General U. S. Grant Commander All Federal Forces Brig. General M. Burbank Commander New England Brigade Major D. Erickson Commandant (acting) U. S. Corps of Topographical Engineers Honored Gentlemen; I beg your most kind indulgences to make my activity report. Topographical Engineers present at the reenactment: --Ian Mckay, Brigadier General of Engineers (by brevet); --Captain Ray Germain; --Captain Norbert Reicke (seconded to the 9th Mass. Art.); --Lt. Greg Webster (seconded to the 9th Mass Art.); --Corporal M. Grossman, (Pioneers, 25th Inf.); --Lady Heidi Webster (seconded to the 9th Mass Art.); --Lady Maryanne Germain (Civ. Artist); --Lady M. Mathews (Purser and Teamster). Upon orders sent to General McKay, from the U. S. Grant Headquarters, I departed the New London area in the fast dispatch schooner moored at Fort Trumbull, New London, CT. We reached the city of Providence, R. I. in good time and from there took a carriage to Lincoln, R. I. and from there on to the Chase Farm, arriving in the early afternoon. I found Captain Germain already there and set up. Together we set up the Engineering Field Office. . Burbank came over to discuss the fortifications planned for the battlefield. He generously took me to the site and explained what he wanted to do with the materials which were available. Upon return to camp, I designated Captain Germain to supervise the construction to the gun emplacements and the field fortifications. Corporal Grossman arrived at the field office and I gave him his drawing packet. Lady Mathews departed to make arrangements with the family who had offered us refuge for the nights. When she returned, the Germains, Lady Mathews and myself enjoyed a sumptuous supper at a small Inn at the top of Breakneck Hill near the farm. On Saturday morning a work party of about 60 men was gathered to build the fortifications and gun emplacements. Corporal Grossman came by to pick up some tools for the work ahead. I designated Captain Germain to make a copy of the battlefield and fortifications for the unit files. Lady Germain was asked to draw the Confederate Camp on the far hill. I busied myself in constructing a model of a corduroy road from downed limbs under the trees near to the field office. I was relieved of the task of battle narration because a professional speaker had been appointed by the Chase Farm to undertake those tasks. When the fortifications were finished, Corporal Grossman returned the borrowed tools, and Captain Germain showed me his rough sketch of fortifications for approval. I approved the rough drawing. Captain Germain and I spent most of the rest of the day; he finishing his drawing, and I working on the model. Lady Mathews returned in the early evening and the Germains, Lady Mathews and I retired to the inn on the hill for a second sumptuous dinner, then back to the house in Lincoln. Sunday morning we were back in camp by 8:00 A.M. and began working on the model again. On Saturday and Sunday Captain Germain and I spent a good deal of time meeting and greeting the various spectators, answering their questions and telling them about the engineers, who they were, what their purpose was, and discussing the displays provided. Of all the displays , the caltrops were by far the most questioned item. Lt. Wester and Lady Webster came over to the Field Office and spent some time there during a lull in the artillery drill / practice. By midday the model of the corduroy road was finished and I had explained the use of that construction to several spectators. After Sunday's skirmish the word was given to break camp, and the next hour was spent in packing the wagons. The Germains, Lady Mathews and I enjoyed a late afternoon meal at the Inn on the hill and made our way back to New London as we had come. The weather was splendid over the weekend, if somewhat cool in the mornings. The Union HQ camp was on the edge of the bluff above the Chase Farm and the battlefield was marked out between the rising hill to the right and the great pond to the left. The Union camp was laid out along the access road to the far right of the upper fields. Between the Union camp and the battlefield was a rising mound which afforded a good view of the battlefield for the spectators. Respectfully Submitted; Your Servant Ian McKay, Brigadier General of Engineers (by brevet); Chief of Staff (acting) Chief Engineer, 25th Corps Lt. Gen. U. S. Grant's personal and military staffs
Friday, August 26, 2011
Friday, August 5, 2011
USS ford was a large stretch of shallows, in the river, which was used for years by the local traffic. During the Civil War this road was a major crossing point from the North into the South for the Union Forces and became a much traveled ford for both infantry and cavalry on both sides of the conflict.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
This is the New England Brigade Engineering Field Office set up at the 150th anniversary of the founding of Sprague, CT. The general is facing a table with a display of period fighting knives.