The Broadside

#8,   Spring 2008

Outwater's Militia Newsletter

In this issue:

2008 schedule of events
unit election results- meeting photos
A Militia monument!
Problems with your flintlock?  article on helping your musket or fowler go off each time.
Quarterly meetings

Schedule of Events for the unit:

April 12-13  Battle of Bound Brook, Staats house, South Bound Brook.  On the house grounds this year, with various skill contests.
May 3rd- NJ History Fair,  Geo. Washington Crossing St. Park, NJ.
May 10-11  School of the Militia, Moon St. Park, Scranton area of Pa.       Every member should attend!  Particulary every man at arms!!!
June 8          "A Call to Arms"  Geo Washington Crossing St. Park,  Pennsylvania  - Recruitment event
June 21-22    Battle of Monmouth--- biggest event of the year!   All strongly encouraged to attend!
July12-13     Battle of Wyoming, Moon St. Park, Scranton area.     Militia vs Indians!  A rare opportunity!
Aug. 16-17  Ft. Ligoner  Encampment, BAR  ....optional for BAR members
Aug. 23-24   Battle of Newtown, Elmira, NY....another fight with the Indians and Rangers!
Sept. 19-20   Jerusalem Mills,  Kingsville, Md.    ...Into the woods patroling like real militia.
Oct. 5           Lord Stirling Festival
Nov 1-2        Hope Lodge, Pa  ...another chance to be real militia
Dec 27          Battles of Trenton

    We have a schedule with several very good events, and also several shows where we will attempt to recruit and let the public know we exist.  The membership decided not to do the Elizabethtown event, inspite of the pay, to try and do something different.
  Other events are available as options for members who want to attend, from the list handed out at the annual meeting.  Members wishing to attend any of those, may ask that the unit be registered for that event.
  The Commander STRONGLY suggests all members attend the School of the Militia, and also Monmouth.

Election Results:

Glenn Valis was reelected Commander
George Skic was reelccted as Dept. Commander
Vi Prevete was elected to fill the post of Paymaster,  since Don resigned.

  Before our annual meeting we toured the Wallace House in Somerville, Washington's Headquarters during the Middlebrook encampment.  Here a tour precedes us.

At the annual meeting, we met our newest Recruit, a likely young lad named Alex, whom we hope to see much more of at future events, where he will portray a drummer.

   Exciting Events coming up!

  We have a few VERY good events coming up this year.  Bound Brook will be contained to the Staats House property this year, because the towns have not recovered competely enough from last years floods to sponser the full battle again.  To make up for it, they are having some 18th Century skill contests such as flint and steel fire starting, speed firing of muskets, etc.  They will also have some lectures on Rev war history.
  The Militia School is being run by our friends in the 24th Conn. Militia Reg't.  It will cover the basic drill and manuevers, safety, practice for non-coms, and some additional skills and manuevers like woods patroling, some Light Infantry tactics, etc.  It should be more interesting than our usually drill day!  There will also be some tacticals on a big, varied site!
  The Battle of Monmouth looks like it might be the  biggest event of the year.  This is the 230th anniversary event, and almost 2000 total reenactors are expected!  We will have troops to cover the field from the Museum public rope line to the far, far tree line across the field on the other side of the creek!  The militia will have its very own commander this time, and it is always a militia friendly site!
  The Battle of Wyoming, run again by the 24th Conn, is the 235th of the massacre of the Wyoming Valley, Pa, militia by the Indians and Rangers.  Besides the anniversary battle, where we get to die gloriously ( or ignoramously)  we will also have some tacticals against those Indians and Rangers!  You don't get to do this very often unless you go way upstate in NY!
  The Battle of Newtown is upstate NY, and is a reenactment of Sullivans march against the Iroqouis Indians, and his attack on their defensive position at Newtown.  Several battles each day is the norm, again against Indians, Rangers and Brits!  Held on the original ground too!
  Both Jerusalem Mills and Hope Lodge are reported to be great sites with plenty of varied terrain, fields, woods, trails, and promise to be "militia friendly".

 Memorial to local Militia of Amwell, NJ,
 Rt. 202/31 North above Ringoes, NJ.
Erected in memory of the citizen soldiers of Amwell Township who,
commanded by Captain John Schenck
on December 14th, 1776..."  See the web page on the Ambush of Cornet Geary on Glenn's "NJ during the Revolution " website-

  Make Ready, ....FIRE!

Did your firelock go boom or just snap?
   Most problems getting a flintlock to go off are caused by the flint, or by the hammer (frizzen in modern lingo) being too soft.
   First, make sure you have a good flint.  A flint should be sharp as a knife, square on all four sides and have a flat top and bottom.  One that is slightly off flat on top or bottom may cause it to start to turn under pressure or on striking, stopping it from drawing sparks from the hammer.  Should you have a flint with an angle across the top, you can glue or add a piece of leather to it to flatten the top so it 'rides' correctly in the cock.  It should strike the hammer about 3/4 of the way to the top and drag across the face of the hammer almost to the bottom, aiming straight into the pan.  It must strike the hammer squarely and make contact along the face a good distance, striking sparks the whole way, a veritable shower of sparks if everything is correct.  
  This 'geometry' of the lock is important.  Set your flint so that this may need to set the flint bevel up or down to acheive this.  Make sure the inner edge of the flint does not strike the side of the barrel!  The sharp edge of the flint should be scraping like a knife trying to cut the hammer face.
  Use a good thick piece of leather to hold the flint, or a piece of lead of the same size.  Lead reportedly prevents flints from breaking as easily, but also do not have the sponginess to push back on the cock and keep a good grip.  Try each to see which one works better for you.
   Make sure your flint is held tightly, without movement when striking.  Check the tightness often.  Change flints often, particulary if you have a problem.  Flints run about $1.50 each- each blank costs about 30 cents, so if you have to dump many rounds, you are losing money by saving a flint.
  Flints can be resharpened.  That process should be seen to learn, so I won't describe it here, but if you want to learn, it can be done.
  The best way to buy flints is to buy in bulk from a dealer such as Track of the Wolf.  Then you get about 95 percent very good flints- and only about 1 percent bad.  The flints sold at reenactments have been picked over by many, many people, and many that are left are the rejects of everyone else.  Buy in bulk,  get together with other members and buy some together, 20 or so each.  It is cheaper and you get better flints!
  Lastly, if you use a good flint, properly set up, and get little spark, you probably need to have your hammer hardened.  It could be case hardened, which is a hardening of the outside of the steel, but should be fully hardend through.  It can be easily hardened I have heard by putting the hammer into a can packed with leather, with leather packed around it, pinching the can closed around the leather.  Put the can into a hot bed of coals one evening and leave it until morning.  The hammer should be hardened.  This technique puts carbon throughout the steel, making it harder.  
 Lastly, fill your pan only half way.  The powder should not cover the touchhole.  The flash should go up into the touch hole for fast ignition, not burn down to the hole.  If the pan has flashed but the firelock did not go off, keep the barrel pointed in a safe direction at least 10 seconds, in case of a hang fire.  You can know your flintlock went off by the smoke coming out of the touch hole, if you did not see it flash or feel it, in a volley.
   When in doubt you fired, dump it before reloading.  Double loads can be dangerous!  They certainly are a noise hazard, and can be picked  out across the battlefield.  Be safe!

Quarterly Meetings

  We are going to have a meeting for the officers and any members or guests interested every quarter of the year.  This will allow the officers to keep up with each other on any projects underway, and allow the members to bring up any business, for guest to meet the unit, etc.  The first meeting will be at noon, May  3rd, NJ History Fair event.  We will see if we can have many of these at events.

Recruitment needed!

We have a constant need for new members, both as civilians and as men at arms.  Please keep this in mind.  Recruit your friends and neighbors when possible.  Put our brochures out for the public at historic sites, etc.  Be proud of being a reenactor in Outwater's, and help us grow!

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