Convergence is coming soon and colgaffneyis, as usual, will be well represented there. I wonder how many of my fellow members have read Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen. I read it in High School, more than 40 years ago. I was immediately fascinated by the pike-and-shot era, and soon afterwards read Oman to learn something of the real history. I have been reading more ever since. It was all started by science fiction.
As mia_mcdavid wrote early Friday morning, we were extremely busy all last week. She left out a few things–notably all the meetings she had about our children, and my full week at work. There was nothing terrible that happened during the latter, but it there was a lot going on. The weekend was even busier.
We did our part with colgaffneyis for Minnesota’s Tartan Day observance. IMHO, this is a rather artificial celebration, not having any historical precedent. Still, it is harmless, and there are many other such things going around, and it was a chance to do stuff with friends, so I have no problem with it.
Actually, not completely harmless. Four of us carried matchlock muskets, and we fired a couple of blank volleys as a salute at the end of the ceremony. I had a misfire on my second shot, and got a burn in my left palm for my sins And they were my sins: I don’t fire these things often, and I had not reviewed the procedures for loading and firing them any time recently. Black powder is an old explosive, but is still very dangerous, especially with an inherently hazardous device as a matchlock musket.
colgaffneyis participated in the Charles City Military History Days this weekend. It was great! It was a “time line” event–reenactors of various times and places through history. Doing 1630 we were very much on the early side, which gave us a lot more scope. Armies of that era tried to be as self-sufficient as possible, so we, as usual, included a wide range of civilian life along with the pikes, muskets, and mortars. So did an SCA group camped next to us. By contrast the 20th century groups (World War II forces representated included the US 101stAirborne, the Red Army, and the Wehrmacht) were purely military.
Note, I am not claiming any moral high ground. I enjoyed firing one of our matchlock muskets, and helping out in the artillery crew for our mortars. Interestingly, the actually procedure for artillery firing changed very little between our era (1630) and the American Civil War (both sides were represented).
For our part, the event went off extremely well. I might get in trouble if I claimed this in an official colgaffneyis publication, but since this is my blog I can say the credit for this is due to excellent staff work–our Chief of Staff is mia_mcdavid. We were missing some of our best members for dealing with the practicalities of camp life, but we were able to manage quite well anyway. rhymeswithghoti did a great job as Captain, managing our limited military “man”power very well and proving to be an excellent time traveller, handling creative and entertaining interactions with our weekend neighbors from elsewhen. bullettheblue gave the Sutler’s table the best event I have yet seen for it, while also participating in the pike line and the artillery crews. c_nocturnum and her husband were always around and helping out. AC and AP were always cheerful and willing to help out. BB, our Head Camp follower, kept us very well fed and did an excellent job with the logistics of the kitchen. The meals were great and the cleanup and dishwashing were done without pain or complaint.
Special thanks to our new Wisconsin members, L and J, who hauled most of our gear down in their van and were cheerful and enthusiastic about helping wherever they could around camp.
In looking around at the wider event, I particularly enjoyed our Native American participants. At one point a WW II crew (I think I recognized both American and Luftwaffe uniforms) came by with a small artillery piece, and “opened fire” on their tents. The moderns had a little trouble with the gun, and the natives (who we know from the Rendezvous circuit) leaped out and fired with their flintlock muskets. Then they hid, only to spring from behind the cover of a couple tents and jump on the modern crew with their war clubs. Their moves were great–it looked like something out of the recent PBS show on the French and Indian War.
Perhaps more later–it was a great time….
colgaffneyis joined other local Scottish-American organizations for the local observance of Tartan Day. The weather was wet, cold, and dreary, so most of the ceremonies were inside at the State Capitol Building, which was somewhat limiting–no bagpipes, and no musket salute, the latter being one of our particular contributions to the event. However, afterwards we went outside and did get to fire two volleys. This was against my advice, when asked, I said I could not see the point of bringing the muskets. However, this was not my call and I am glad others thought otherwise. Despite the rain I think all of us musketeers were able to get off both shots. I rather enjoyed that; I think I only fired one shot all last season, at the final salute to close (I fear forever) the Big Muddy Rendezvous in Winona. I like making things go “BOOM”; think what you will of me for that.
BTW, the only firearms I have ever used in my life have been colgaffneyis matchlocks, and the first time I ever fired one of those was after my 50th birthday. Perhaps before I die I can advance into the 18th century and fire a replica “Brown Bess” or similar flintlock :-)>
In other colgaffneyis business, I printed, stuffed, stamped, and mailed the dead tree edition of the April newsletter. I was also confronted with an issue of whether to enforce a policy on Clann’s e-mail list. I dealt with this by abolishing the policy. I am not going to be an enforcer.