Past Dispatches from the Colonel

Gentlemen of the Guard;

I come to you with news of recent health issues I have faced. I apologize for the length and, at times, the medical complexities but I felt a full explanation would quell rumors and the facts will speak for themselves.

Last fall, I began to experience pain in my lower right leg. In fact, I could not take part in the Hartford City tactical and Craig DeCrane graciously took the troops into the field.

After many tests, it was determined that my lower back, the L-5 vertebrae to be exact, had developed a bone spur that had crushed the nerve running down my right leg. It was, in fact, crushed flat.

On March 19, 2009, I went into the hospital for the outpatient surgery. All seemed to go well and I was feeling better for the next few days. About March 30th, however, a severe pain took over. I drove myself to an Emergency Room but after 25 minutes, left and went to a different ER. They immediately took me in and administered pain killers. When my doctor's office opened, I drove to it but could not make it in without assistance from my car.

What had happened? During the surgery I developed a  infection  a condition known as MRSA. MRSA is life threatening and within hours of getting help, I fell into a coma. My blood pressure dropped to non-life supporting levels and I was in trouble.

Prompt attention from the medical staff brought me back from the edge and I spent the next 12 days in the hospital.

Released, I began having symptoms that implied the infection had spread--in fact, it had spread into my adrenal system....that's the series of organs and glands that tells you to breath, etc.

Thus, I sank into a second coma.

Recovering, the original wound began to leak. Spinal fluid was seeping from a tear caused by the infection. A third surgery repaired the tear.

In one final slap, my lower intestine did not "wake up" following my last surgery and I was transported back to the hospital to correct the situation.

So there is how I have been spending my spring. I am slowly feeling better but it will be months before I approach anything like feeling good. The Guard is blessed with many excellent officers who will lead in my absence. Thanks to those who have sent cards and well wishes.

I will see you in the field ......Colonel Dave

Gentlemen of the Guard.

It is with great sadness that I have learned of the passing of the mother of Jim Martin of the 5th Michigan. Jim has always brought joy to all of those around him but is now grieving with the greatest loss a man can experience.

The heart of the Guard is broken and please pass on to him your condolences and support.

A sad Colonel Dave



May 1 - 3, 2009   

Colonel Dave has agreed to serve as the Union Infantry Commander at the upcoming May 1 - 3 East Tennessee Civil War Campaigns event to be held in northwest Greene County (between the Towns of Greeneville and Kingsport), Tennessee.  This is a new event. The East Tennessee Civil War Campaigns [ETCWC] have in place liability insurance, advertisement, hay, security, firetruck, ambulance, firewood, water, showers - Male and Female (minus towels and soap), Saturday evening meal, ample parking with transportation from the parking area to the actual site, a Sunday Religious Service (hopefully with a breakfast for those who attend the service), restaurant facilities, Grand Ball for Saturday evening, photograph opportunities, Governance guidelines, and Weapon Safety documents. Plans are to build two buildings that could be burned to simulate a happening (one for Saturday, one for Sunday), the building of a fort with lunettes for artillery, a hand-drawn map of the 482 acres (Jed Hoskiss type of map) showing all the horse trails and walking trails, putting a facade on some present metal buildings, and specifically identifying the most suitable campsites (Union & Confederate). A Friday afternoon/early evening Tactical is planned for the reenactors. The total property is quite vast with 482 acres which provides ample room for manovering, and has 6 miles of unpaved roads for Cavalry operations and Infantry mobility.

The Federal side Command Structure will consist of: Major General Bill Ringel (overall commander), Colonel Dave Shackelford - Infantry Commander, Lt. Col. Jim Allen - Cavalry Commander, Colonel Bill White - Artillery Commander. The CSA hopefully will consist of: Brig. Gen. Jerry Parsons, Infantry Commander is undecided, Major David Decker - Cavalry Commander, and Lt. Col. Scott Brogdon - Artillery Commander. The General Commanders would change from event to event for the ETCWC depending on the scenarios considered. The first event in May will be the historically accurate scenario of the Battle of Bull's Gap, Tennessee, for the Saturday and Sunday venue.

Ample activities for spectators will also be available, with spectator stands and areas available to support 5000 visitors should it occur. The site could easily handle 3000+ reenactors, again, if that should occur. Modern camping will be available, as well as refugee camping for reenactors families in period attire.

[Web site is not up yet] .  The event is being hosted by the ETCWC.  More information to follow.


Keith G. Harrison, Major
Assistant Adjutant General
Cumberland Guard


The Cumberland Guard is proud to announce a new member organization. The 1st Michigan Light Artillery under the command of Jim Newkirk has joined the Guard. They have long been the dominant artillery group in the midwest.



The annual meeting of the Cumberland Guard is at Conner Prairie on October 25th. It starts at 10 am. Dress is casual as is the meeting. Bring any show and tell items you may have.


I have been contacted by the organizers of an event in eastern Kentucky. They are wanting some real
yanks to attend their event at Middle Creek, outside of Prestonsburg, Ky. It is about an easy 6 hour drive
from Indy.
This event is on the original battlefield.
If you want something to do on September 26th, 27th and 28th, I urge you to support this event.


I have been contacted by the organizers of an event in eastern Kentucky. They are wanting some real
yanks to attend their event at Middle Creek, outside of Prestonsburg, Ky. It is about an easy 6 hour drive
from Indy.
This event is on the original battlefield.
If you want something to do on September 26th, 27th and 28th, I urge you to support this event.

What did you do on the weekend of March 8/9?

At 7 am on Saturday, the 8th, Jim Dedman drove over from Illinois and he and I departed for a meeting at Gettysburg. Snow was encountered the moment we left Indianapolis. Then more snow. Then more. Columbus, Ohio got 20 inches with 40 miles per hour winds. Tom Downes was planning on the trip from Cleveland but couldn't get out of his driveway. Finally, after seeing 250 accidents, two closures of west bound I-70 and one east bound closure (we were able to exit and snake around the wreck), we arrived at Gettysburg.

Sunday, the 9th, was more enjoyable. After a quick drive through the 1st day action fields, the meeting at the site of the 145th was quite enjoyable. They have added 1000 acres and will camp the CS forces there. Our campsite is amazing. Bounded by woods on two sides and next to a creek, you will be very pleased at the site. The army commander, Alan Baldwin, named me as the commander of the 3rd unexpected honor that left me speechless (well, for a moment at least). We will be joined by Tom Downes commanding the National Regiment troops. You may remember them from their trip to Perryville a couple of years ago.

Thus, our current table of organization looks like this:

3rd Division-Brigadier General Shackelford
1st Brigade-Will Eichler
1st Battalion
National Regiment-Tom Downes
2nd Battalion-Scott Cummings
Cumberland Guard
2nd Brigade-Craig DeCrane
1st Battalion
Black Hats/Iron Brigade
2nd Battalion-Earl Zeckman
Military Department of Mississippi/125th Ohio/Ames Brigade

We will also be joined by elements of the Army of the Ohio with their specialty impressions. Altogether, I would not be surprised if we exceed 1000 men.

Get there early. There is a Thursday tactical and four battles for us over the weekend. More, if you want to join in for the cavalry battles to give them infantry support. (some of you 130th Franklin veterans can recall that experience. If you aren't one, ask someone that was there for a knee-slapping story). Parking will be close by and all of the support services are already in place. These guys really know their stuff and this event will be the "Big Dance" for the year and maybe more. YOU REALLY DON'T WANT TO MISS THIS ONE.

The registrations are in excess of 8000 as of this moment. The Swedes are coming back to fall in with the 7th Michigan. If you have any questions or problems, contact me.


Gentlemen of the Guard

Registration for the GAC event at Gettysburg is now up to 7000. Please urge your troops to get their registrations in ASAP.

For simplicity sakes, it is suggested they designate their affiliation simply as Cumberland Guard or CG. This is not to slight the great organizations that will compose our Brigade but it is for the sole purpose of assuring less confusion.
Check out the event website at www.GettysburgAnniversaryCommittee.

While the Anders event will certainly affect the total turnout for the event, I truly expect the total participant count to exceed 10,000. Now is the time to start planning and set up car pools, messes, etc. We all know there will be challenges that are inherent to the big, big events. But, its pretty you really think their 10,000 man
organizations flowed without problems?

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or problems with registrations.

Let's put politics, AHT vs GAC, etc. aside and put our biggest and best showing on the field.


I have been asked to be the overall U.S. commander at the revived event at Charleton Park near Hastings, Michigan. This event, you recall, features a morning tactical and a large, historical village. I humbly accepted the position. It is, though, a couple of weeks after Gettysburg. Your support would be appreciated.


The new owner of Billie Creek Village called me tonight and requested that I take command of the event. He agrees the enforcement of more appropriate impressions is an important component and want to increase the "authenticity" of the event. Note the quotation marks....this event is a long way from any authentic standards but its time to increase the accuracy of the impressions of those that are allowed to attend.

Thus, there will be no mortars, no artillery less than full scale, no oversized artillery rounds (the first one fired gets escorted out), no two band muskets, no bowie knives, no suicide charges, etc. Personally, I hate a list of "no's", but the lax maintenance of the basics of the past few years mandates this exception. My personal experience of the ‘07 event taught me that unless you list it as a "no", those who believe to the contrary will attend and try to bully their way in.

An organizational meeting to flush out the guidelines will be held soon. I have been asked to send out the appropriate press releases to the various magazines in order to make the hobby aware of the event. Your help would be appreciated.


This is too true to be very funny!!
The next time you hear a politician use the
word 'billion' in a casual manner, think about
whether you want the 'politicians' spending
YOUR tax money.
A billion is a difficult number to comprehend,
but one advertising agency did a good job of
putting that figure into some perspective in
one of its releases.
A. A billion seconds ago it was 1959.
B. A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.
C. A billion hours ago our ancestors were
living in the Stone Age.
D. A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth on two feet.
E. A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and
20 minutes, at the rate our government is spending it.
While this thought is still fresh in our brain, let's take a look at New Orleans It's amazing what you can
learn with some simple division . .
Louisiana Senator, Mary Landrieu (D), is presently asking the Congress for $250 BILLION to rebuild
New Orleans . Interesting number, what does it mean?
A. Well, if you are one of 484,674 residents of
New Orleans (every man, woman, child), you
each get $516,528.
B. Or, if you have one of the 188,251 homes in
New Orleans , your home gets $1,329,787.
C. Or, if you are a family of four, your family
gets $2,066,012.
Washington, D.C .. HELLO!!! ... Are all your calculators broken??
Tax his land,
Tax his wage,
Tax his bed in which he lays.
Tax his tractor,
Tax his mule,
Teach him taxes is the rule.
Tax his cow,
Tax his goat,
Tax his pants,
Tax his coat.
Tax his ties,
Tax his shirts,
Tax his work,
Tax his dirt.
Tax his tobacco,
Tax his drink,
Tax him if he tries to think.
Tax his booze,
Tax his beers,
If he cries,
Tax his tears.
Tax his bills,
Tax his gas,
Tax his notes,
Tax his cash.
Tax him good and let him know
That after taxes, he has no dough.
If he hollers,
Tax him more,Tax hi m until he's good and sore.
Tax his coffin,
Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in which he lays.
Put these words upon his tomb,
'Taxes drove me to my doom!'
And when he's gone,
We won't relax,
We'll still be after the inheritance TAX!!
Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL License Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Ta x
Fuel Perm it Tax
Gasoline Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax),
IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax),
Liquor Tax,
Luxury Tax,
Marriage License Tax,
Medicare Tax,
Property Tax,
Real Estate Tax,
Service charge taxes,
Social Security Tax,
Road Usage Tax (Truckers),
Sales Taxes,
Recreational Vehicle Tax,
School Tax,
State Income Tax,
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA),
Telephone Federal Excise Tax,
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fe e Tax,
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Tax,
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax,
Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax,
Telephone State and Local Tax,
Tele phone Usage Charge Tax,
Utility Tax,
Vehicle License Registration Tax,
Vehicle Sales Tax,
Watercraft Registration Tax,
Well Permit Tax,
Workers Compensation Tax.
Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago,
and our nation was the most prosperous in the world.
We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to
raise the kids.
What happened? Can you spell 'politicians!'
And I still have to 'press
1' for English.
I hope this goes around THE
USA at least 100 times
What the heck happened?????

From the Indiana Brigade

Something cool that Xerox is doing
If you go to this web site, you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier that is currently serving in Iraq . You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to some member of the armed services.
How AMAZING it would be if we could get everyone we know to send one!!! This is a great site. Please send a card. It is FREE and it only takes a second.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if the soldiers received a bunch of these? Whether you are for or against the war, our guys and gals over there need to know we are behind them...

2007 Cumberland Guard Leadership Meeting

The annual meeting of Guard units was held at Conner Prairie on November 10th. There was a great turnout and we were treated by the appearance of Earl Zeckman of the Military Department of Mississippi. Earl discussed their Atlanta event and how the 2009 event is to be over the Labor Day weekend and will be a "Don't Miss" event. For '08, the event is in November.
We were also addressed by Dan Freas of Conner Prairie. A former re enactor, Dan is a leader in the development of the Civil War programs at CP.
A brief review of the 2007 events was conducted followed by discussion of the upcoming year. The natural topic was Gettysburg. Nearly everyone in attendance expressed their views and an open discussion was held to determine the pros and cons of the two events. After much discussion, it was unanimously voted to support the Gettysburg anniversary Committee (GAC) event. Earl Zeckman added that the MDM will support the Guard with their own battalion, which will include 15 soldiers from England.
The light-hearted meeting included me reading a dispatch from the Official Records, wherein I read a dispatch from Confederate General Jones to Confederate General Jenkins where he states, "Is Jackson's company of artillery included... As they have no field pieces, they should have some other fire-arms. I can send muskets for Jackson's men..."
We then voted to change our impression to that of ungunned, Confederate artillery. LOL The balances of 2008 events were discussed and it was agreed that the Guard would support:

May..Conner Prairie

June..Billie Creek although the organization of the event is somewhat "up in the air". Complete support was somewhat uncertain until we get insight as to the planning efforts.


July..Charleton Park, Michigan. Efforts are underway to revive this event near Hastings, Michigan. Hosted by the 7th Michigan, 24th Michigan, 1 Michigan Light Artillery and the 9th Kentucky, we voted to add the event to our schedule. Being two weeks after Gettysburg will be an issue.

August..Jackson. They have announced the battle will be Wilson's Creek so get your militia impression

October..Hartford City. It was agreed that efforts would be increased to make the event worthy of a long drive. Support from Michigan units would be greatly appreciated. There have been a number of improvements that should resolve the problems of the past.

November..It was agreed to support the Atlanta event with a force composed of those who can make it. You are urged to put this on your schedule and while the entire unit can't make it, your individual support is important.
Thus, the Guard meeting in '08 will be in late October instead of November.

A lengthy discussion was held regarding using more first person. It is clear that we have dropped the ball in this category but a determined effort will change this. All, without exception, agreed that we will be more proactive in establishing and maintaining first person conversations.

Remember, the phrase to remind your pard that you are in first person is, "Did you vote for Lincoln?" That is a gentle reminder to the fellow next to you that you are trying to maintain a first person atmosphere. It was also agreed to reinstate our tradition of marching out an hour before the battle, stack arms, boil coffee, etc. This really helps in easing into the moment. Your support of this is vital. Bring cards, coffee, etc.

It was also discussed how we should maintain our military bearing even after the spectators leave. We are portraying a Civil War soldier...period. It does not stop when the public departs. The meeting closed with an optimistic view toward the upcoming season. I gave humble thanks to all of the marvelous people that compose the Guard and led three cheers and a tiger.


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Last modified date and time: 03/30/2020 18:45