Sharpshooters engaged near Yreka

Coming up...

  • May 16-18 - NCWC event at Camp Sherman, OR
  • May 22-25 - Fort Klamath Heritage Days, Ft. Klamath, OR
  • May 30-June 1 - RACW Yreka Event
  • June 14-15 - CCWS Joseph Stewart Event, Lost Creek Lake, OR
  • July 4-6 - RACW Graeagle Event, Graeagle, CA
For more information check out

Fight at the Hog Farm May 30 - June 1, 2014 

Yreka Civil War Days are back, bigger and better than 2005-2008. The event is in a pine forest with plenty of shade and features a soft forest floor to take hits.


Exit I-5 north to the southern Yreka exit @ the Walmart.

Turn left/west under the interstate, go 200 yards.

Turn left/south at first street/first signal (SR 3 or Main Street), go 600 yards.

Turn left/east on Westside Road, go 300 yards to entrance on right/south.

Follow road, right at first fork into the pine trees.



The site opens Thursday May 29 at noon.

School day Friday May 30 0830 with about 300-400 students expected.

Saturday battles noon & 1500

Saturday evening dusk dance on site.

Sunday battles 1100 and 1400

 Would you care to help out? 

What They Fought For: The Men and Women of Civil War Reenactment


History is anything but static. Part of what makes the study of history so enthralling is that with more passing time, society’s understanding of the past becomes more fine-tuned and clear. My lecturer and I are currently studying how the public memory of the Civil War has changed since the guns fell silent in 1865. The Civil War is one of the most popular topics of study in academia as well as in society. But why study the memory of the Civil War? Besides the fact that the Civil War was undeniably a turning point in our nation’s trajectory and progress, it is useful to understand why the public remembers historic events; it illuminates their values, interests, and what makes history so appealing to people. The name of the project we are working on is calledWhat They Fought For: The Men and Women of Civil War Reenactment. There is no better way to study the memory of the War than by looking at the men and women who physically re-enact it. We are looking at the three main generations of Civil War re-enactors to see how public memory has fluctuated with time. The first major generation of re-enactors was the actual veterans of the Civil War. After that, the centennial celebrations of the War light that spark of passion for re-enacting once again. Finally, all the re-enactors today make up the third, significant generation of re-enactors. This is why we need your help. We are fortunate enough to be able to talk directly to the third generation of re-enactors. My lecturer and I have been working furiously to interview as many re-enactors as possible. While we have gotten many perspectives and stories, we can always use more. We are looking for anyone that re-enacts: Confederate, Union, Civilian, Chaplains, Musicians, Doctors, anyone. If you so choose to participate, you will be given about 30 questions that range from general background, to experiences as a re-enactor, to opinions on the Civil War. Many who have gone through the process thought the questions were interesting, thought provoking questions and had great fun doing them. We are running on a bit of a time crunch now, however. We will not be conducting any new interviews after June 1st, just finishing the ones that remain to be finished. I look forward to hear from you! Thank you for bringing the past to life.

My name is Gina. I am a senior at California Polytechnic University, Pomona, a state college in southern California, and my lecturer and I are conducting a study on the public memory of the Civil War. One of the best ways to research that is by asking the men and women who physically reenact the war. Would you be interested in answering some questions about your experiences as a reenactor? If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me or my lecturer, Chris Bates, at Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.



Grant Begins War of Attrition with Overland Campaign  

May 4, 1864. In Virginia, Grant's army of 120,000, began the massive, coordinated Overland Campaign, advancing toward Richmond to engage Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, now numbering 64,000. Thus began a war of attrition that would include major battles at the Wilderness (May 5-6), Spotsylvania (May 8-12), and Cold Harbor (June 1-3).
Sherman Begins His March
And in the west, Sherman advanced toward Atlanta with 100,000 men to engage Joseph E. Johnston's 60,000-strong Army of Tennessee. Grant had ordered Sherman to "move against Johnston's army, to break it up, and to get into the interior of the enemy's country as far as you can, inflicting all the damage you can against their war resources." From Chattanooga, Tennessee, where the army had been since capturing the key railroad junction in November, Sherman's army essentially followed the railroad, pushing Johnston's army back, all the way to Atlanta, Georgia, an important hub for the Confederacy.
Private Vividly Remembers Fighting in the Wilderness Amidst Skulls and Bones of the Old Battlefield   
May 4, 1864. "Private Frank Wilkeson, of New York, wrote in his compelling memoir Turned Inside Out about the day before the fighting  
Frank Wilkeson

Frank Wilkeson, Mathew Brady Photos

started in theWilderness, an area of thick woods and underbrush. Wilkeson, who had enlisted at the end of 1863, when he was not yet sixteen years old, wrote:

"In the evening, after supper, I walked with a comrade to the spot where [a year earlier Union] General Pleasantonhad massed his guns and saved the army under Hooker from destruction, by checking the impetuous onslaught ofStonewall Jackson's Virginian infantry . . .. We walked to and fro over the old battle-field, looking at bullet-scarred and canister-riven trees. The men who had fallen in that fierce fight had apparently been buried where they fell, and buried hastily. Many polished skulls lay on the ground. Leg bones, arm bones, and ribs could be found without trouble. Toes of shoes, and bits of faded, weather-worn uniforms, and occasionally a grinning, bony fleshless face peered through the low mound that had been hastily thrown over these brave warriors. As we wandered to and fro . . . many infantry-men joined us. It grew dark, and we built a fire at which to light our pipes . . .. We sat on long, low mounds. . . . One veteran told the story of the burning of some of the Union soldiers who were wounded during Hooker's fight around the Wilderness, as they lay helpless in the woods. It was a ghastly and awe-inspiring tale. . . . This man finished his story by saying shudderingly:

"'This region,' indicating the woods beyond us with a wave of his arm, 'is an awful place to fight in. The utmost extent of vision is about one hundred yards. Artillery cannot be used effectively. The wounded are liable to be burned to death. I am willing to take my chances of getting killed, but I dread to have a leg broken and then to be burned slowly; and these woods will surely be burned if we fight here. I hope we will get through this chapparal without fighting,' . . . As we sat silently smoking and listening to the story, an infantry soldier who had, unobserved by us, been prying into the shallow grave he sat on with his bayonet, suddenly rolled a skull on the ground before us, and said in a deep, low voice: 'That is what you are all coming to, and some of you will start toward it to-morrow. . . . '"

Private Wilkeson continued: "On the second day of the battle of the Wilderness, . . . I saw more men killed and wounded than I did before or after in the same time. I knew but few of the men in the regiment in whose ranks I stood; but I learned the Christian names of some of them. The man who stood next to me on my right was called Will. He was cool, brave, and intelligent. In the morning, when the Second Corps was advancing and driving Hill's soldiers slowly back, I was flurried. He noticed it, and steadied my nerves by saying, kindly: 'Don't fire so fast. This fight will last all day. Don't hurry. Cover your man before you pull your trigger. Take it easy, my boy, take it easy, and your cartridges will last the longer.' This man fought effectively. During the day I had learned to look up to this excellent soldier, and lean on him. Toward evening, as we were being slowly driven back to the Brock Road by Longstreet's men, we made a stand. I was behind a tree firing, with my rifle barrel resting on the stub of a limb. Will was standing by my side, but in the open. He, with a groan, doubled up and dropped on the ground at my feet. He looked up at me. His face was pale. He gasped for breath a few times, and then said, faintly: 'That ends me. I am shot through the bowels.' I said: 'Crawl to the rear. We are not far from the intrenchments along the Brock Road.' I saw him sit up, and indistinctly saw him reach for his rifle, which had fallen from his hands as he fell. Again I spoke to him, urging him to go to the rear. He looked at me and said impatiently: 'I tell you that I am as good as dead. There is no use in fooling with me. I shall stay here.' Then he pitched forward dead, shot again and through the head. We fell back before Longstreet's soldiers and left Will lying in the windrow of dead men. . . ."


Need more Civil War? 

The RACW has three more wonderful events prepared: Yreka, Graeagle and Hawes Ranch. Many members of our club come only to these events but there is much more in northern California, Oregon and Nevada with a variety of Clubs hosting events which are open to RACW members. If your RACW unit is not planning on attending these non-RACW events, the 72nd NY Volunteer Infantry and Hurt's Battery, Alabama Light Artillery would like to extend an invitation to you. If you would like to fall in with familiar faces, then come and have fun with either the 72nd or Hurt's Battery.

 In addition to RACW events,

 The 72nd plans on attending these three events as a unit:

  • Gibson Ranch in northern Sacramento, hosted by the NCWA on May 3-4;

  • Stewart State Park located outside of Medford Ore., hosted by the CCWS on June 14-15;

  • Duncan Mills event, located north of Santa Rosa near the Pacific coast and hosted by the CHAS being held over the July19-20 weekend.

Contact Rick Barram at or (530) 527-8590 if you have questions about falling in.

 Hurt's Battery plans on attending these events as a unit:

  • NCWC Camp Sherman Event near Sisters, OR

  • NCWC Ft. Stevens Event near Astoria, OR

Contact Capt. Ken Janson via


Publication Information

The Shoulder Arms' editor is Ken Janson who will be happy to receive any help/suggestions/submissions you might have to offer.

The Shoulder Arms is the official newsletter of the Reen­actors of the American Civil War, Inc., a 501c3 educational organization. All material © The Shoulder Arms 1995-2014. The copy-right of any credited article/photograph is held by the author thereof and is printed here with the author's permission. Such articles may not be reproduced without the author's expressed written permission. Any unaccredited articles are © The Shoulder Arms 1995-2014 and may not be reprinted without the express written permission of the Editor.

Article Submissions—Articles, photographs, event information and letters to the editor which may be of interest to the general membership are encouraged and actively solicited. The Editor reserves the right to edit and screen any item submitted. To submit an item forThe Shoulder Arms, to comment or make a correction, please

The Shoulder Arms is published six times per annum: January, March, May, July, September, November. Sub-mission deadlines are the 15th of the month prior to publication. Submissions received after those deadlines may be included in the following publication.

Editor – Ken Janson,

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