Monday, August 05, 2013

Minnesota Civil War visit

The traveler returns!

I have been on a month long trip to camping in British Columbia then on to Minnesota for family connection then Nevada for business networking.

While in Minnesota, we visited a museum that was exhibiting Minnesota based US Civil war items.

the marketing had this drummer boy in it quite often
There was a whole section devoted to the 1st Minnesota Light Artillery Battery:

the battle flag of the battery - along with the honors from the Carolina campaign
old warriors, re-united 40 years later ...
There was even a gun, the only original part was the barrel and the historical interpreter left much to be considered when describing a gun crew and what functional parts they each played in the loading and firing of the piece ... my sons asked me who did what and I described the action in detail, after which the interpreter asked what I did for a living ... oooops.

replica carriage with an original barrel
There were some great uniform pieces, that I now share for the ACW fans:


breastplate?!  yes, the battery had them for siege works

Colonels epaulettes - MASSIVE is just not the right word

Colonel's service uniform

gunner's uniform
There were bullets:

that is my thumb to show the size of the lead slugs fired from the muskets
And a captured flag from Gettysburg:

28th Virginia Infantry

even 50 years later the sentiments had not changed
it was a time of sacrifices ...
I had at one time, plans for a 15mm Civil War armies. 

They were shelved when I discovered how many other players I could convince to get into a game.  For a while there was a re-surfacing of that plan, while I was in New Westminster and did some gaming with the Trumpeter Club. 

Sadly that was also the final nail in the coffin for that 15mm plan.  It was at the games tables that I discovered how fickle some other game players could be and thus decided that the rather bland colors of the US Civil War were just not what I wanted to partake in on the tabletop. 

The Zouaves and some others that took action at 1st Bull Run were colorful enough, though by Gettysburg the blue and grey were well established and tend to make the battlefield take on a dull appearance.  Moreover the skills that were gained by the Napoleonic commanders could not be exploited in the war between the states as the weapons had undergone a shift, something that the South could never have overcome, they did not have the manpower nor the technical production capability of the North.

family fun visit

yours truly with some neon and a classic car


Bluebear Jeff said...

The standard "Minie ball" bullet which is pictured was .58 caliber (just under 1.5 cm across at base) . . . and these slugs were soft lead and tended to flatten upon impact so that if they hit bone the limb was already mostly amputated . . . and that's why so many limbs had to be cut off.

By the way, the other common musket size was for the smoothbore muskets. It was .69 caliber (1.75 cm) but was a round ball. It was far less accurate than the Minie ball (which was fired from a rifled barrel instead of a smoothbore). But it too was pretty lethal if it hit anything.

-- Jeff

Mike said...

Sorry to hear your ACW gaming has been so disappointing. I have played in many, many great ACW games using Johnny Reb and Volley and Bayonet for most of them.

MurdocK said...

Yes Jeff, the bullet is a minnie ball. The rifled barrels and use of the new cartridges caused a weight of fire shift that made the use of large formations of men impossible to be effective. Both sides refused to learn this lesson...

Mike, there were a few good games of Johnny Reb and, I think, a Volley and Bayonet game; the trouble was the fickle nature of the gamers in continuing the games.

There was one very keen ACW 15mm fan, and Dennis and I kept in contact after I moved out from the Lower Mainland of BC. My trouble was in consistently finding any players that wanted to take on ACW. So I concentrated on an era I could find the players and lots of low cost minis (mostly home casts) that had lots of color and was easy to teach: NAPOLEONIC.

Ross Mac said...

Thanks for the tour of the museum.

I've never been able to stay away from the ACW for long. Not an obsession though, I've only done it in 3 scales so far (20mm then 15mm then 54mm (plastic + homecast) then 20mm).

MurdocK said...

of course Ross, you have been on the opposite side of the continent while I was seeking such games.

not to mention the decade off-set and different branch while in military.

Maybe something like Jeff has done with VWQ could be done for you to get out the ACW troops more?

MurdocK said...


Some thoughts that come to mind involve running the 'campaign' of the ACW battles via cyberboard.

There are boxes for it here:

and here:

covering the east and west theater(s) of the war.

... just a thought.

John Hollier said...

I've had your blog in my feed for sometime.

The comment "then Nevada for business networking" made me look a little closer at this post.

Imagine my surprise when I saw the picture of "yours truly" and I said "I know that guy!!"

John Hollier (908)

MurdocK said...

yes John it never ends.

Great that we have this little hobby in common?

I shall PM you email address?