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This is our latest Keystone Command, the company newsletter.

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     Keystone Command
"Press on, Regardless"

April 3, 2010

My fellow Bell Guards,                                                                                           

Last weekend saw a handful of us go to Port Hudson, Louisiana, while other attended the Beggs event at home.  Haven't heard much on the Beggs event, but Port Hudson was a good time.  But more on last weekend later.

It is next weekend, April 10-11, that is the center of this KC.  Our own Frontier Brigade is joining with the Holmes Brigade and Muddy River Battalion at Fort Scott, Kansas, for the inaugural muster of the Army of the Frontier.  The event itself will be similar to the battalion musters held at Fort Washita.  (Attached is Colonel Gross's insights on the event.)

This, like battalion muster, is a garrison event.  Unlike Fort Washita, however, Fort Scott does not have indoor barracks for our use.  Company streets will be set up, with firepits already dug.  Wall tents and A-frames are standard, but dog tents and half-shelters will undoubtedly be acceptable. 

Nor will there be a battalion mess.  Individuals should plan on feeding themselves.  Civilians are welcome and will have their own camp.  As a garrison event, any period amenities are acceptable.  Modern equipment should be kept out of sight during both public and private hours.

Fort Scott is a National Historic Site located in southeast Kansas.  Though I have not been there, I have heard it was a marvelous historic site worth the visit itself.  The chance to participate in an army-sized drill and the first Army of the Frontier event should be added incentive for everyone to attend.

Unfortunately, Prarie Grove's Work Day is also this coming Saturday.  Anyone that cannot make the Army Muster, but is available Saturday should consider helping at Prairie Grove.

Those of us who went to Port Hudson last weekend stopped by Vicksburg on the way down.  After visiting that National Park, we all have a renewed interest in National Historic Parks, Battlefields and Sites, like Fort Scott.  IF you have never been to Vicksburg, it is hard to understand why General Grant had such a tough time taking it.  One look at the terrain explains it all.  The steep and open gullies were open fields of fire for the Confederates to rain death on the attacking Union forces.  Though is was a "two-hour driving tour," we were there four hours and only toured half the battlefield.  The ironclad U.S.S. Cairo, raised and rebuilt from the nearby Yazoo River, was a source of sheer fascination in itself.

The Port Hudson event was fun, but like everything else, sufferred from the weight of the economy.  Soldiers of the First and Thirteenth U.S., as well as the 77th Pennsylvania, formed one company under the First's Captain Brook Thomas.  We fought a Saturday morning tactical in the back areas of the site and--by their own admission--whipped the Rebels badly.  Both the Saturday and Sunday afternoon battles saw our company (as Third Company) advance through woods and thorns to fight it out on the open battlefield.  The Cornfeds won the Saturday battle, but surrendered Port Hudson Sunday.

I have heard little on the Beggs event and would welcome a report from anyone in the 77th who attended there.

Later in April, the 17-18, Fort Gibson is holding it annual Heritage Days.  The 77th always makes an appearance there.

May should be an exciting month.  Wednesday, May 12 is the annual Civil War Day for Catoosa, I.T., schools.  The 77th Pennsylvania's annual Missouri event is in Newtonia, May 15-16.  Indian Nations Camp #3 of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War has invited the 77th to join with them on Memorial Day at the Union Soldier's Monument at Rose Hill Cemetery in Tulsa.  And Chelsea, I.T., has been wanting the 77th to put together a living history for their school, though the details are yet to be decided.

June 5 will see the Civilians of the 77th display their talents at Yukon, I.T.'s Chisholm Trails Living History event.  The military will show their prowess, also, but it should be a day for our Town to shine.

One final note, on the weekend of celebration for the Resurrection of Jesus, please keep our Town Mayor, Beckie Kendrick, in your prayers.  She has recently been diagnosed with a serious health condition (it is for her to disclose, not me) and needs all the support she can get.  You might add Russell Gray and Frank Olivera, too, both of whom have serious back problems.

Until the next time we take a crack at the Serpent's Egg,

I have the honor to be your most humble and obedient servant,
Capt. Rex Griffin
Coy. E, 77th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry
The Bell Guards
Press on Regardless!

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Major/Captain Joseph. J. Lawson 77th Pennsylvania

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