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Saturday, November 20, 2010

more on the 141st Pennsylvania

In reading the accounts of the 141st Pa I am struck with some seemingly odd things. After each chapter there is a description of many of the members of the regiment and there is a paragraph or two about them and how they died in battle. Now we know the literacy rate in the US at that time was very good but you are struck with the wealth of knowledge we can get from these histories. It’s very fascinating even if the writing is rather bland and let’s face it, many of these unit histories are. The key is you don’t really read and/or buy them for an edge of your seat thriller. You are interested in the story of that unit and many details you can never get from a book on any particular battle. There is so much there that only the veterans can tell.

I’ve been buying, collecting and reading these unit histories and memoirs from the veterans own private experiences for over 30 years now. It never ceases to amaze me how much stuff you can find out. Today’s glancing struck me in particular about the accounts of the soldiers dying in battle. With Veteran’s Day just having past and even thinking back to stories my Dad told me about what he did in WWII, the individuals in the 141st Pennsylvania hit home. Here a few of the types of little anecdotes you can find in the section after the battle of Gettysburg:

“Daniel Baumgartner, a brother of George, of Company K, who was killed at Chancellorsville, had since a lad been in the employ of J.T. Stafford, Esq., of Wyalusing, where he enlisted with Capt. Jackson. He was a brave soldier and fell at his post severely wounded in the thigh. After the battle he was removed to a hospital where he lived until the afternoon of July 23rd, dying at the age of 25 years of age. He was buried in the National Cemetery, Section C, grave 24.”

“Amasa Wood, a descendent of Lt. James Wells, slain in the Meadow massacre, and the son of Abner Wood, of Pike, township, near LeRaysville, a single man, and at his death about 23 years of age, was instantly killed by a Minie ball striking his head. He was Color Corporal of the regiment.”

The mention of the Meadow massacre happened Sept 1857. The Mountain Meadows massacre was a mass slaughter of the Fancher-Baker emigrant wagon train at Mountain Meadows, Utah Territory, by a local Mormon militia. You can read more about here if you are interested.

“Loren Bennett was wounded in the leg above the knee, the limb was amputated, but he died at the Third Corps hospital on the 9th of July, leaving a widow and six children to mourn his loss. He enlisted from Towanda.”

There are teen pages of this kind of thing from Gettysburg. The regiment fought in the Peach Orchard on July 2nd.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

another batch of Gettysburg pics

The Alabama State monument.

17th PA cavalry regiment

Fight for East Cemetary Hill, evening of July 2nd.

NY Fire Zouaves near Peach Orchard.

Detail from the Virginia State monument.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Civil War Sun and Shade

I've been looking more closely at the pics I've taken recently. Not just how bad they are painted but at what the colors look like. I've been thinking that the pics don't match the real things. It's also important when you consider that painters might be looking at them and thinking the colors they see are what the colors should actually look like. Sometimes it is all in how the pics were taken determines the hue of the colors seen in the pics. They don't always accurately show the colors. That's misleading. Below are some photos as an example in different lighting situations to illustrate what I mean.

Here's a pic that look pretty good in terms of color. The sack coat should be dark blue, almost Navy Blue and it does. The trousers have the right hue of the sky blue colored trousers. This pic was shot with an overcast sky.

Here's the same sack and trousers. This was shot in full  direct sunlight. Notice that the sack is very grayish-blue. It's the wrong color! What the...?! It's all about the color temperature of the sun measured in degrees Kelvin. Google that. Incandescent bulbs have a low color temperature (around 3200 degrees) while sun light has a high color temperature around 5400 degrees. It should be noted that the way the object reflects the light also counts for how saturated with color it is too. I don't want to bore you too much with this but it is kinda fascinating if you get into it... at least to me.

I did a small amount of Photo-shopping here, not a lot, but I wanted to show you what the same uniform looks like in shade. It's dark obviously but also has more color.

Here's a Frock coat and a vest in the direct sun light. Kinda looks like the Sack, washed out but they should be the same color. The Vest is actually darker in real life. It is made of a finer wool so it is probably reflecting the sun differently.

Here's the same Frock in the shade! It's a big difference, eh?

Okay so... there's a little lesson of colors for you. I'll post miniatures soon.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Some close ups

I tried re-lighting the models still on the table. I also recently bought a new camera and lost the damn disk that comes with it! They don't give you a complete manual anymore. They give you a 'quick guide' and want you to print out the doc yourself from the disk... bastards. Anyway I'm trying to get the hang of the Macro without the stupid PDF files. Grrrrrr... anyway here is what I shot just now.
This is a Redoubt model of Col. Joshua Chamberlain of the 20th Maine. His uniform is darker but the lights washed it out. I could fix it in CS5 but... I'm a bit lazy tonight.

This one is just a lower angle of what I already shot a few days ago. Oh and 'yes' I do need to flock the bases on many of the models. I just figured I'd do it as a group sometime in the future. Probably when I have too many (which stands at over 300 now) to do and I'll complain about it. Yup... that will happen.

What do miniatures say to each other?

Yeah.... what DO they talk about when we're not looking? Just thought I'd have some fun.

141st PA in Line

I playtested my game this past weekend. Had two good tests and when it was over I started to put the miniatures away. At the last second I stopped and thought I should line up one regiment one to one and see how it looked on the table. The basing is one model on a 20mm base. This isn't how the spacing would look in real life. As I spread the regiment out, filled in with file closers, company officers, general guides, field music and other assorted supernumeraries I realized I had a big problem. The regiment of models is HUGE! It was hard to take the pics and most of all with nice terrain. I packed up all the terrain and just layed-out the regiment for what it is worth. I gotta tell ya... it is REALLY cool looking! The pics don't do it justice. This regiment is supposed to represent the 141st Penn. at Gettysburg commanded by Col. Henry Madill in one to one scale. I might have more drummers than they had (I don't know for sure) and no fifers but I do have all the extra men needed to make a convincing looking regiment, don't you think?

 Here is Col. Madill himself with his bugler and staff officers.

Here is Major Israel Spaulding who was killed at Gettysburg.

Here's the regiment is all it's small glory. The models take up 63" from end to end. The book Regimental Strengths at Gettysburg lists it engaged strength as 209. I have portrayed it as its June 30th strength which is the very last official muster/PayRoll strength before the battle 2 days before as 283.

Just for giggles here's a B&W view of the Color Guard.