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July, 2009

Commanders Column


Brother John McFeters SVC Camp 7
John McFeters SVC
Austin Blair Camp No. 7.


It is with a heavy heart that I start this column. As you all know another of our members has been called to the last great encampment by the Commander of all things.

John was not only a Brother but a friend to us all and he will be sorely missed. I can only say that I am truly grateful for the one last trip we were able to have with him to Springfield for the Ceremony at Lincoln's Tomb. One thing I do know for sure, if there is an American Flag in Heaven you can bet John will be there holding it up for all to see.

I am sure that John's smile and warmness will stay in the hearts of those who knew him until we too are called to the final encampment.

The May meeting started off on a different sort of note. It started to look like we were going to have to hold our meeting in the parking lot but between Brothers Waters, and Maillard we were rescued and had a place to hold it inside. Although members of the Camp and the Auxiliary had to meet in seperate rooms we were able to get much taken care of. I wish to thank all of you in attendence for sticking around until we got things worked out.

During the third week of June my wife and I took two of our grand children and headed east to visit the battlefields of Gettysburg and Antietam. It never ceases to amaze me how small one feels when visiting those two places compaired to what happened there. I do not have the same information from the Battle of Antietam but I did find it once again for Gettysburg and I thought I would pass it on. I am sure most of you have heard this before but maybe not all and it is something that for me just adds to the wonder of the place

From the February 9, 1864 issue of the
Adams Sentinel and General Advertiser;

It is stated that 28,000 muskets have been gathered upon the fields of Gettysburg. Of these 24,000 were found to be loaded, 12,000 containing two loads, and 6,000 from three to ten loads. In many instances half a dozen balls were driven in on a single charge of powder. In some cases the former possessor had reversed the usualy order, placing the ball at the bottom of the barrel and the powder on top.

A couple more tidbits; It was estimated that between the two sides 45,000 and 60,000 solid shot, shells, case shots and canister had been carried into the fight along with seven million small arms cartridges. The weight of this would be about 569 TONS or about the weght of three empty 747 Jumbo Jets.

In Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty.

Bob Griggs CC
May, 2009

Over the last couple of months, I was reminded how we never know what we might run into in the course of our lives. How one small little thing can change things that you know about yourself and your family. I recieved a phone call on the 24th of May from my sister telling me about an article byJohn Schneider in the Lansing State Journal. This story ended with "...the stones may give up their secrets: 'Edwin Potter - Co. K. 4 MICH. CAV.'.As Edwin Potter was my great grandfather, I thought I would write Mr. Schneider and tell him a little bit about him. He printed parts of my email and then he received another email from a lady telling him that she was really surprised about finding the information about Edwin Potter, since he was her great great grandfather and she was tracing her family tree and had not been able to find out a lot about him. Mr. Schneider was nice enough to forward her email to me. Since that time we have exchanged many emails and actually had a chance to meet at the Dam Festival in Eaton Rapids on the 27 of June. I shared his military and pension records, Auxillary member June Lloyd, my sister and Jerry were able to spend time talking about the family. During that discussion, Jerry informed us that we had yet another ancestor who fought and died for the Union during the Civil War. His name was Cyrus H. Potter and he was a member of Company G. 12th Michigan Infantry. He died at Little Rock, AK on the 18th of September,1864 just a couple of weeks short of his 19th birthday.

In another "strange" twist of events, the 12th Michigan is the same regiment that my great-great grandfather, Henry Mulkins was in. It truly is a small world.

Myself(left) with my sister June, her husband Howard (right)
their granddaughter Liz, with our "new" family members Jerry and Chad.


At our May Meeting the Auxiliary installed a new Junior to the group. Elizabeth (Liz) Lloyd is "our" newest member.
Welcome Liz. If the past if any indication, I know we will be seeing you at many of our upcoming events.

The newest member of the Auxilary - Elizabeth Lloyd


Treasure's Report
Mike Maillard
1 May 2009 thru 30 June 2009


1 May 2009 . Total Begining Balance $2,702.08

1 May 2009 . General Fund Beginning Balance $839.60

. Dan Doyle - Issued Ck 424 1st Quarter Web server fee $14.85
. David Vanhoof - Received 2009 Prorated initiation/membership Dues $43.00
. David Vanhoof - Received Camp contribution $23.00
. . . .
30 June 2009 . General Fund Ending Balance $890.75
1 May 2009 . Restoration Fund Beginning Balance $526.98

. Charles Waters III - Issued CK 423 paint for marker restoration $8.73
30 June 2009 . Restoration Fund Ending Balance $518.25
1 May 2009 . Camp Blair Memorial Fund Beginning Balance $1,335.50
30 June 2009 . Camp Blair Memorial Fund Ending Balance $1,335.50
30 June 2009 . Total Ending Balance $2,744.50


Secretary's Report
Ron Tyrl PPC

The May 11, 2009 meeting of the Austin Blair Camp No.7 Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War was held at the Eagles, 209 N. Francis / State Bldg. Jackson, Michigan.

Members in attendance were Brothers: Kyle Bublitz, Dan Conklin, Ed Conklin, Dave Gilman, Bob Griggs, Henry Hawker, Mark Heath Bob Hoffman, Ron Lewis, Howard Lloyd, John McFeters, Max Miller, Jeff Oberdank, Ron Tyrl, and Charlie Waters Jr. and guest Dave Arnold- Camp 17 and Dept. JVC.

The Secretary's report was motioned accepted as published in the courier by Brother Gilman, seconded by Brother Heath. Motion Passed. The Treasurer's Report was accepted as published by Brother Heath, seconded by Brother Waters. Motion Passed.


1. The Camp received a "Thank You" card from Brother Dave Arnold for the support for his run for the Dept. Jr. Vice Commander position. Recruiting ideas will be forwarded soon by Brother Arnold and he is requesting ideas for recruiting to be forwarded to him to be included.

2. The Camp also received an "Appreciation" card for the Camp's support to the new Annie Etheridge Tent #59 in Lansing.

3. Dept. JVC Dave Arnold invited the Camp to the numerous Camp 17's Memorial Day activities. Commander Griggs will forward via e-mail the details on these events.

Chaplain's Report

Chaplain Heath summarized the activities for Memorial Day:

1. The Jackson and Concord Memorial Day parades show times are both 9:30am, on Monday, May 25, 2009.

2. The Jefferson Cemetery, 8 stone replacement dedication is on Saturday May 30th, 2009 at 1:00pm, participants in place by 12:00am. Directions will be sent via e-mail. The cemetery is off Jefferson and Hewitt Road in Brooklyn. Mark Nye from the Jackson Genealogical Society will give a history and tour of the cemetery. A volley will be fired and taps played.

3. Sunday, May 24th the Camp will be participating in the Brooklyn Presbyterian Church Memorial Day service at 10:30am, located on 160 N. Main St. P>


1. Commander Griggs gave the Courier a new look last issue.

Patriotic Instructor

1. Brother Oberdank displayed a map of the burial sites on the Gettysburg battlefield of both Federal and Confederate dead.

2. Yesterday was the anniversary of Gen. Stonewall Jackson's death after being accidentally shot by his own troops on May 2, 1863.

3. Brother Hoffman recommended the book: "A Strange and Blighted Land: Gettysburg, the aftermath of a battle," by Gregory Coco for those interested in the battle's aftermath actions of the care of the wounded, burials of the dead, disposition of POWs and general clean up of the battlefield.

Old Business

1. The Camp will be participating in the Eaton Rapids' "Dam Festival" Saturday June 27th, 9am - 4pm and at the Waterloo Civil War Days" Sunday, June 28th, noon to 4pm.

New Business

1. Brother Gilman suggested everyone "Google" the H.R 45 Gun Control Bill, this Bill will affect black powder gun owners and this is another bill that is causing the increase in the expense of ammunition and black powder.

2. Discussion was held on the changes and possible closure of the Michigan Archives at the Michigan Library and Museum, in Lansing. Brother Arnold will contact the director of Michigan department of history and libraries Mark Hoffman and asked to be kept informed of the changes occurring at the Archives and Brother Arnold will forward the changes to the Camps.

For the Good of the Order

1. The Marshall Muster is scheduled for June 20-21.

2. The Concord Hubbard House Civil War program is August 1, 2009.

3. Brother Arnold reported that the Dept. will be sending a recruitment initiative being produced by the Dept. to capitalize on the Civil War Sesquicentennial.

4. Chaplain Heath passed around a photograph of the damage done to the Jackson GAR Marker when a vehicle struck it in Jan. 1944.

5. Chaplain Heath also had brochures from Pres. Lincoln's New Salem historical park obtained during the Springfield trip last month.

6. Brother Lewis summarized some items of interest in David McCullough's book on Pres. Truman and reported that the Missouri National Guard uniform he served with was Union blue and Truman's Grandmother refused to sleep in the White House's Lincoln bedroom due to her Confederate sympathies.

7. Brother Hoffman informed the Camp that on July 4th, the 5th Michigan Band will be performing in the GAR Park in Eaton Rapids at noon.

Commander Griggs proceeded to close the meeting at 8:40pm and our next camp meeting is scheduled for July 13, 2009, to be held at the Eagles, Jackson, Michigan.



What we have read

Those Damned Black Hats
The Iron Brigade in the Gettysburg Campaign

By Lance J. Herdegen.

As the title states, this is a story about the Iron Brigade during the Gettysburg campaign. That is the main story told. It also tells a little bit of the history of the Brigade and of its end, meaning some of the reunions they held. Through first hand accounts from Union and Confederate soldiers as well as numerous photos and maps, Mr. Herdegen takes us back to the events of July 1, 1863 and places us on McPherson's Ridge, at the railroad cut, and through the streets of Gettysburg itself.

I actually found the later part of the book somewhat sad in the way it describes the way the few surviving members of the Brigade felt that they never got the proper recognition they felt they should have gotten for the service given on the 1st of July, 1863.

There did seem to be a couple of things that if I was reading right were incorrectly stated. It appeared that Chickamauga was moved to Tennessee and U.S. Grant received his promotion to commander of all Union armies about a month earlier than he actually did. I will however say that I believe this is a book that I could read again and enjoy as much the second time around as I did the first. I found it very well written and I really did like the fact that it had very short chapters, (33 chapters for 257 pages not counting the epilogue and appendixes) making it easy to read for just a short time if that is all you had. If you are interested in the Battle of Gettysburg or in the part that the Iron Brigade played in the battle you might just want to pick this book up.

NOTE: I did not know that the Iron Brigade had their own flag that the people of Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan took up a collection to pay for for them. If you wish to see this flag please check out this link; for Wisconsin Battle Flags.

Bob Griggs


Upcoming Events



13th - Monday 7 p.m. Jackson
Austin Blair Camp Meeting and Auxilliary Meeting. Jackson Eagles-612, 301 Detroit St. Jackson MI. ( Visitors welcome).



1st - Saturday all day Concord
Concord Civil War Days Hubbard House.

No regular Camp meeting scheduled.

29th & 30th - Saturday and Sunday Jackson
25th Anniversary Jackson Civil War Muster. Find us in the band stand..





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