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(Speed and Accuracy)

Captain's Comments

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Lt. Roy
Capt. Roy T. Seavey

August 2004 
July 2004 
June 2004 
May 2004 
April 2004 
March 2004 
February 2004 
January 2004 
December 2003 
November 2003 
October 2003 
September 2003 
August 2003 

August 2004
Early Cannon

The first cannon (from the Latin canna, meaning tube) were shaped like vases. The French pot-de-fer (jug of iron) was made of cast iron and fired an iron dart or arrow with its shaft wrapped in leather to seal it in the muzzle of the gun. The shape of these early weapons soon evolved into a long straight tube when it was discovered that the increased length allowed more complete burning of the powder, increasing range and accuracy. By the early 1400's, huge cast-bronze bombards were used in sieges against castles and walled towns. In 1453, the Turks used a bombard weighing nineteen tons which fired a 600-pound stone ball. These guns were large because the metallurgy of the period required a large mass of metal to safely contain the force of the gunpowder explosion. Guns of this size were, of course, not very portable and were only useful in a long siege. Smaller guns were needed for use on ships and to accompany troops in the field.

Lightweight iron guns, constructed of wrought-iron bars welded together and bound with iron bands or hoops, were strong enough to fire small iron balls. This type of construction introduced the term "barrel" into gunnery because of the similarity to wooden barrels and casks. Many of these built-up iron guns were breech-loading weapons which used an iron mug-shaped chamber for the powder and ball which was wedged into place before firing. Breech-loaders could be fired more rapidly than a muzzle-loader as extra chambers could be pre-loaded, but the inability of the makers to achieve a gas-tight seal at the joint made these small guns impractical and dangerous for the gunners. Developmental work centered on improving the muzzle-loading cannon, and the breech-loading system did not become efficient until the second half of the nineteenth cenury.
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July 2004

Since this is getting to be a long hot summer (already) with nothing much to report on or expound upon I would like to offer you some history items which I hope you find somewhat interesting.

United States Regular Army Artillery

Prior to 1787, Artillery had been a part of the infantry, and the cannoneers had been used readily as foot troops, or occasionally as marines (as Samuel B. Archer's company was to provide troops for Stephen Decatur's flagship).

In 1794, the battalion of fourteen officers and 281 enlisted men (including eight musicians) were incorporated as a distinct unit, designated as the "Corps of Artillery and Engineers.) Each Battery was assigned two cadets, and the Corps was established as a "nursery" for the development of new officers for the Army.

Development of Gunpowder

The discovery of gunpowder is variously attributed to the Chinese, who may have used artillery as early as 618 B.C.: to Roger Bacon (1214-1294), a Franciscan monk living in England: and to Berthoid Schwarz of Flanders. It is generally conceded, however, that the invention is of Eastern origin, and that the Moors used artillery at the siege of Saragossa, Spain, in 1118, one hundred fifty years prior to Roger Bacon's alleged discovery. By the Hundred Years' War (1339-1453), gunpowder and cannon were widely used, although crude construction and weak composition of the gunpowder caused them to be most significant as psychological weapons.

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June 2004

The Heritage Village Skirmish of May 15 followed a different scenario this year and it went well even though there was a little confusion. For another kind of after action report on this event read the following description as written by a Naval re-enactor participant.

The skirmish at Heritage Village on May 15 was a successful Federal victory. The Union soldiers previously captured whilst foraging for food at Piney Point were extracted without injury by a joint force of Army, Marines, and Navy personnel. The Fort Henry's landing force of marines and sailors immediately drove off the pickets. With Army troops in close support, they turned two enemy cannon and a mortar on the enemy. The enemy still had two cannons, and the subsequent battle, however, had caused number of Union casualties. The enemy garrison was reinforced with troops from Fort Brooke. We asked for a truce whereupon we demanded a ceasefire and surrender of the garrison. The enemy refused surrender, however they did agree upon our proposal to remove the dead and wounded from the blazing field. The skirmish continued and we had to fall back as Confederate reinforcements came on the field. We were able to push forward as our own reinforcements arrived, finally driving the enemy from the field.

Casualty reports indicated approximately 20 Union and 30 Confederate. No Union soldiers were captured, and the only enemy prisoners we were able to take were seriously wounded, as the enemy withdrew into the dense woods. All wounded are under the care of the Navy's ships surgeons. We captured 4 cannon up to a 12-pounder, one Coehorn mortar, various weapons and supplies.

As we were familiar with the area, it was best that the Navy took command on this mission. Commands went very well, as if we were always one unit.

Your Obedient Servant

Acting Volunteer Edward MacCauley
Commanding, U.S.S. Fort Henry

I would also like to present a different description of mountain howitzers as given by "Antique Ordnance Publishers."

Three distinct versions of the Mt. Howitzer carriage and two distinct versions of the limber are known to exist. The pack carriage is well documented by US Ordnance Dept. drawings plus surviving examples of the carriage, shafts, pack saddles, ammunition boxes, and portable forge/anvil.

The first model of the prairie carriage (1st US Battery A) resembled a scaled down version of the standard No. 1 field artillery carriage. No Ordnance Dept. drawings have been located although several surviving examples are known to exist.

The second model prairie carriage (3rd US Battery E) is discussed in the 1861 Ordnance Manual. This carriage resembled the pack carriage with it's hollowed out stock except that it had a wider axle, larger wheels and a different lunette system. Again no Ordnance Dept. drawings have been located. Information that is currently available has been obtained from surviving originals.

Don't forget our June meeting which will be on June 3rd. Hope to see you there.
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May 2004

The only battle to report on this month was the 1st Annual Ancolote River Raid on April 3 and 4. This event was held in the Jay B. Starkey County Park near New Port Richey on a huge, cleared piece of land with an almost unlimited available battle area. Because this was a first time event there were few reenactors or spectators, we had three Federal guns while the Confederates had four field pieces, and there may have been a total of 150 to 200 troops. The low attendance was expected with a first time event, but lessons were learned and with more advance publicity this could become one of our best and biggest events.

May Happenings

May 6, Meeting at Cher's in Seminole

May 15, Heritage Village in Largo on Saturday only.

May 22, Sonny Richard's Barbecue in Crystal River.

May 30, All Saint's Church in Lakeland.

Early Artillery Artillery was first developed as a means of hurling a projectile beyond the reach of a warrior's arm. The sling and the prehistoric atlatel or spear thrower were among the first forms of artillery. The earliest engines of war, or mechanical forms of artillery, date to approximately 800 B.C. During the siege of Syracuse (214-212 B.C.), Plutarch referred to the siege engines designed by Archimedes as "playing upon the Romans and their ships and shooting stones with such velocity that nothing could stand before them." These devices included forms of the catapult and mongonel which threw stones, and the ballista which fired large arrows or spears. These engines received their power from torsion springs made of twisted hair or animal fiber. Although much is known about their design and use, the secret of making durable fiber torsion springs was not written down. After the fall of the Roman Empire, most medieval versions of the catapult were known as trebuchets and used a large container of stones as a counterweight rather than springs. These weapons did not have the power or range of the earlier classical models.

from: A History of Muzzle-Loading Artillery by Joseph Thatcher

Next month--Development of Gunpowder
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April 2004

March has been a busy month the 3rd U.S., with three regular events plus a one-day living history. Our first event was Natural Bridge on March 6, 7, with four of our last year's all girl gun crew being assisted by Ed Jaquith and myself. Since one of the girls from last year could not make it this year Ed and I were obliged to help out on the gun. Our crew performed well, even drawing praise from Artillery Cmdr. Brian Talbert.

The gun next to us, Jim Bannon's 1st Michigan, was so short handed that Cpl. Sonny Richards volunteered to assist his crew at both day's battles, We thank Sonny for doing this and I know Bannon does also.

That Saturday night we all went down to Posie's Restaurant at St. Marks on the Gulf for some of their excellent sea food. While we were there I was tricked into eating a tiny "mild" pepper from a small bottle. My mouth was sore for several minutes after I had swallowed it. I did purposely eat my first raw oyster there and was surprised at how good they are.

Next up was Crystal River on March 13, 14 at the same location on US-19 a few miles North of the city. Unlike last year, there was no rain and it about 80 Deg. in the afternoon.

Debbie Rosenow brought two of her baby goats to the event, one was four days old and the other was about four months old. She was very popular there, walking around in period dress with the goats on their leashes.

Our latest member, Ken Tolliver, with his wife Carolyn and his friend Dallas Allen was there and I think he and Dallas enjoyed being on the gun. We want to thank and to welcome you all and hope to see you at many future events.

The next weekend, March 20, 21 was the Battle at Narcoossee Mill, which is near St. Cloud, Florida. For those who have never been there, Chisholm Park, the event site, is on the Eastern shore of the huge E. Lake Toho. Every time we are there a local boating group is having a get together on the lake with about 20 or 30 boats anchoring at the park, camping on their boats and cooking out similar to the way we do on dry land. Looks like they are having fun, too.

This year, for the first time, a big fireworks display was put on, which lasted a long time and was very impressive, better than most fireworks.

Don't forget, NO April meeting, next meeting will be May 6.
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March 2004

The 3rd U.S. only participated in two events during the past month of February, these were Townsend's Plantation , also known as Renninger's Flea Market, of January 31st, February 1st, and the Battle of Olustee of February 13, 14.

Several of us day-tripped to Townsend's event this year, spending the nights at the Rosenow's D&D Ranch. Their hospitality is well known and is greatly appreciated by us.

It was cool this year at Mt. Dora, almost great coat weather, but things went smoothly anyway.

Following a weekend off came the next event, the 140th anniversary of the Battle of Olustee. The fluky, rainy weather there this year made mud holes out of the only two roads in that park making it necessary for the Park's ATV's to tow our cannons out to the battlefield instead of allowing all the personal vehicles to do this. After raining all day Saturday and most of Sunday morning the clouds suddenly parted and the sun came out very bright. The sun was bright enough and hot enough to dry out my tent and fly before I took them down later that afternoon.

Word History Lesson

In George Washington's days, there were no cameras. One's image was either sculpted or painted. Some paintings of George Washington showed him standing behind a desk with one arm behind his back while others showed both legs and arms. Prices charged by painters were not based on how many people were to be painted, but by how many limbs were to be painted. Arms and legs are "limbs" therefore painting them would cost the buyer more. Hence the expression "Okay, but it'll cost you an arm and a leg."

As incredible as it sounds, men and women took baths only twice a year! (May and October) Women always kept their hair covered while men shaved their heads (because of lice and bugs) and wore wigs. Wealthy men could afford good wigs. The wigs couldn't be washed so to clean them, they could carve out a loaf of bread, put the wig in the shell and bake it for 30 minutes. The heat would make the wig big and fluffy, hence the term "big wig". Today we often use the term "here comes the Big Wig" because someone appears to be or is powerful and wealthy.

In the late 1700's many houses consisted of a large room with only one chair. Commonly, a long board was folded down from the wall and used for dining. The "head of the household" always sat in the chair while everyone else ate sitting on the floor. Once in a while an invited guest would be offered to sit in this chair during a meal whom was almost always a man. To sit in the chair meant you were important and in charge. Sitting in the chair, one was called the "chair man". Today in business we use the expression/title "Chairman".
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February 2004

The month of January started off for the Unit on the 2nd with an invitation for us to be a part of the Tenth Anniversary Incorporation Festival of the town of DeBary, Florida. We were asked to be present with our cannon and some Civil War people, and fire ten rounds during the ceremony, one shot for each year of the town's existence. This took place by the gazebo in their city park which is right behind the city hall. We had an audience of local citizens, a radio disc jockey for Master of Ceremonies, and the Mayor of DeBary. The Mayor fired the last shot, something he really enjoyed.

This was probably a one-time event, with the next ceremony being planned for ten years from now. It was a real success for us with the help of some members of the 1st U.S. Artillery, Battery A, including ladies, and the cooperation of the weather, which was near perfect.

Immediately following this, on January 3,4 came the 23rd annual Dade's Battle (or Massacre). A few changes had been made before this year's event, including a different parking area for spectators cars. This change was not very popular with the visitors, even though the walking distance to the park was about the same and free shuttles were offered. You now had to walk on a path through the woods to and from your car and this made it seem further than it actually was.

The Park now has it's own cannon and limber which were used for the first time in the battle reenactments. Surprisingly, the first time this gun was used it produced five or six smoke rings from ten shots. Brian Talbert's gun was used for the cannon firing demonstrations as usual, the weather was very good this year, and everything else seemed to go very well.

The next event, The Brooksville Raid, on January 17, 18 went very well considering the many changes which had to be made due to much previous local flooding. The regular battlefield, which was in the area of the large pond was still flooded and too soggy around the edges to be safely used. The sutler area had to be moved to the South of it's old location. The authentic Federal camp stayed in it's old location with the exception of the cavalry units, which were combined with the Confederate units in an area near the Federal camp.

The new battlefield occupied much of the space of the former Confederate authentic camp on the high ground there. This was much better for the combatants, with a large flat area and many scattered shade trees, but not very good for the spectators, who were forced to be far from a lot of the action with no berm or sloping areas to watch from. The Artillery performed extremely well in these battles, making me proud, and I would like to quote from the After Action Report of the 4th Brigade Commander, Lt. Col. Brian Bliss, referring to the Sunday battle: "Now seems the perfect time to compliment the exemplary work of our Artillery. They came running to the first call--and I literally mean running their guns--from the left flank to our far right. Then they moved their pieces several times to slow the Confederate advance. Sometimes they didn't even get a chance to load before they had to move again, we were reacting so fast.

Those guns are God-awful heavy, and I never heard a complaint, or saw one dirty look when I had to countermand my own placement orders, reacting to enemy maneuvers. Now that's what I call professionalism!"

Well done guys, I am PROUD of all of you Artillerymen.

I would like to welcome our newest member, Victor Adamo.
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January 2004

There was a huge turnout of re-enactors, especially Confederates, at this year's Horse Landing event. Because of the way we were so vastly outnumbered by the Rebs and because the game plan called for the Federals to overwhelm the fort on Saturday, many of the Rebs were induced to galvanize and join or forces. This included their artillery, with several cannons joining our forces for a total of fourteen or more Federal guns. It was decided that our artillery would take four guns part of the way down the long battlefield and hide them in the woods on the North side of the field before the battle. These guns were to come out onto the field after our infantry forces had moved past them and then advance with our troops to give the fort's defenders a surprise. This strategy worked, with three of the guns advancing all the way into the breastworks and having to be ordered to stop advancing.

The plans were reversed on Sunday with a smaller Federal artillery being lined up stationary inside the fort's earthworks. This time our infantry and our artillery could not stop the advance of the Confederates and after a valiant and stubborn defense they swarmed all over us and recaptured their fort.

An engagement party for Brian Talbert's son, Vaughn, and his fiancÚ Selena was held in Tennessee on November 29 at Fall Creek Falls State Park in the Recreation Hall. Already being in Tennessee for Thanksgiving, Betty and I were able to be in attendance at this milestone event along with some of our friends up there including Gary and Arlene DiPalo, Dave and Barb Main, Brian and Ramona Talbert, Larry and Sheila Dutile and Park Ranger Stewart Carroll and his wife Joyce. Congratulations and best wishes to those kids.

I recently became aware of an interesting and pertinent internet web site which I would like to pass along. This is the web site of the FFA set up by Paul M. Saia and can be reached through Mayor Bob's and going to Union Re-enactors Websites, or by going directly to

Don't forget the changed date for the January meeting, which is now January 8. Cher's has been called and warned that we will be showing up on that new date.
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December 2003


Congratulations to now Captain Roy Seavey.

Roy was appointed as Field Artillery Commander 4th Brigade and promoted to the rank of Captain by newly elected 4th Brigade Commander Col Dwight Dovel.

Roy's promotion and appointment were made at this years Hunsader Farms event.

His new duties became effective at Horse Landing.

This year's Ocklawaha River Raid event came off very well on the new site just South of Ocala's Silver Springs on November 8-9 just as Major Keith Kohl had promised us it would. The battlefield was on the land of the Ocala 4-H Club, a nice mowed and cleared 53 acre area. The only problem I noticed with it was the lack of shade trees, almost no shade. Luckily it wasn't too hot, Saturday was a shirtsleeve day but Sunday was a little cooler, real nice weather.

Our gallant troops, though outnumbered, routed the Confederates at the Saturday battle, pushing them all the way back through their camp and leaving the field covered with their casualties. Sunday the tide turned and the Rebs swarmed all over us, the 3rd US cannon crew was wiped out by a direct cannon hit. They died valiantly, surrendering was never even considered.

Our congratulations to Tony Deprisco, who will be retiring from Honeywell December 1, 2003 after 25 years of faithful service. Tony has graciously agreed to continue editing our newsletter and Ginny Raszewski will assist him by handling the printing and the mailouts. Our thanks to them both, these services are needed or we might not have a newsletter in the future.

It looks like the only thing going on in December for us will be our meeting on December 4, but January looks real busy with DeBary on Jan. 2, Dade Massacre on Jan. 3-4, Brooksville on Jan. 17-18, and Townsend (Renninger's) Jan. 31-Feb. 1.

Don't forget the December meeting.
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November 2003

Well friends, it looks like our busy time of year is upon us. Taking a quick scan of our schedule it looks like we will have three events in November, none in December this year, four in January, three in February, three in March, 1 possible in April, and three in May. It sounds like a busy season to me for certain.

Hopefully you are all aware of the wrong date for Ocklawaha (November 2 and 3) that we printed in the October Newsletter. The correct date is the weekend of November 8 and 9. This is official, straight from Major Keith Kohl, who certainly should know.

A big election will take place at Hunsader for the leadership of the FFA. You may hear a lot about it but since we have decided to stay as an independent unit we are not eligible to cast a unit vote in this. Anyway, the candidates will be Will Palenik, who is commander of the 4th Brigade, and Dwight Dovel, who is commander of the 1st Federal Battalion. May the best man win.

Just as a side note for anyone interested in artillery trivia, the production years for the three different types of mountain howitzer carriages are as follows:

These guns all used the same bronze barrel, the only differences were in the carriage designs and wheel sizes.

The upcoming November events will include Ocklawaha on November 8 and 9, Horse Landing, at Palatka, on November 22 and 23, and Jollification at Fort Clinch on November 29 and 30 at Fernandina Beach for those interested.
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October 2003

The 25th Annual Mountaineer Folk Festival at Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee on September 3 thru 8 seemed like a real old-fashioned family reunion to me with all the old friends and aquaintences who were present. Some of the former Floridians and members of our unit that I got to camp with were Dave & Barbara Main, Gary & Arlene Dipalo, Brian & Ramona Talbert, and Dave & Kate Dornbusch. Sitting around the camp fire at night with these and other friends was really like a blast from the past.

Most of the authentic tents were set up in the park on Wednesday. Brian set up three tents, one of which I occupied, and several of his local reenactor friends set up tents so that we had an impressive tent village of about ten tents. The only tenting mishap came on Wednesday night when it rained and blew real hard, blowing down Dipalo's tent fly. Thursday found us down at the old coal mines in Dunlap for the annual cannon live fire. With the guns of Glen Johnson and Brian Talbert we perforated an old Volkswagon Rabbit, with Brian's gun hitting the car about twenty out of twenty one shots. This was our own brand of "Rabbit Hunting."

Thursday evening we did the usual night cannon firing off the dam in the park.This was spectacular both from the sparks and muzzle blast as well as from the echoes across the lake.

The next day, Friday, was school day when several schools from three surrounding counties bussed in their students to see the crafts, and Civil War camp set up. That afternoon we took the cannon over to the Buzzard's Roost overlook. There we fired several blank shots down the gorge which produced the most awesome echoes ever heard in those parts.

The official cannon firing by the Third U.S. Artillery Friday evening at 7:00 PM opened the festivities for the entire weekend.

The official registration packet for the Brooksville Raid on January 17-18 is being sent in today with a list of possible participants. This is necessary to ensure getting our artillery powder bounty.

The next upcoming event after Ft. Pierce will be Andersonville, Georgia on October 4-5. I may be the only one going from here, but here are the directions just in case: Take I-75 North to Georgia Exit 101 (Cordele) go West on US-280 to SR-195, go North to SR-49, right to Andersonville.

After that comes Hunsader Farms, October 25-26 at Bradenton. Directions are: Take I-75 South to Exit 220 (SR-64), East for 10.5 miles to CR-675, South 2.5 miles to Farms.

The weekend of November 1-2 will be the Oklawaha Raid. No directions can be given for this as they have not been issued yet. This is a new site and as soon as the directions are released we will get them to you.
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September 2003

For those of you who enjoy huge amounts of delicious food and great company while sitting around a warm and friendly campfire, make sure you attend the next annual Kickoff Party at Denny and Debbie Rosenow's D&D Ranch at Umatilla. This one took place on August 16 and was an experience to be remembered, with two deep fried turkeys, fried artichokes, chicken wings, barbecued chicken and pork from Willis Tate's big cooker, and many other fine dishes brought by those attending.

I missed going to this party last year, but I will certainly try not to let that happen again. This is a great way to start the new reenacting season.

We are now registered for the 2003 events that we normally attend which are Ft. Pierce September 27-28, Andersonville, Georgia October 4-5, Hunsader Farms October 24-25, Ocklawaha November 8-9, and Horse Landing November 22-23. We can discuss going to Sneads, Florida December 5-6, this is just North of Tallahassee where I will be going February 28-29 for the Natural Bridge event. Two trips to that area so close together for me, oh well; we will see what you all want to do.

Betty and I will be leaving August 27 for Tennessee where I will be at the Mountaineer Festival of Fall Creek Falls State Park with Brian and Ramona September 3-8. I will miss the September meeting but I am sure you will tell me what happens. After we get back I will see about registering us for some of the 2004 events. So far the only event, which wanted a list of names, is Andersonville, so I had to fabricate a list for them. Several events will want lists of names so we will probably have to reregister for some of them.

This is a good time to start rounding up our clothes and equipment for the coming season while things are not as hectic as they will be later on. For you men, try to be neat and proper in the military way, don't forget we are pre-war Regular Army so we have to show the volunteers the right way of everything.

The Ft. Pierce Raid is at a new site so be sure to check the new directions elsewhere on the website.
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August 2003

The only past event we have to talk about this month was Fairhaven Farm which was a one day event held on July 4 on land the South side of SR-52 near the toll road and Brooksville. This land consisted of many acres of lightly wooded areas, a lot of cleared land and a large swampy area. The battlefield was laid out between the edge of the swamp and the shore of a large swimming lake. This layout prevented the Confederates from being able to flank us and worked out pretty well.

Two battles were held on the same day here, with one starting at 12:30 and the other at 2:30. The battles were both short with few troops braving the heat and a total of three cannons on the field. Our Federals had two guns, the Third US and Denny's First US while the Confederates had only the gun of Scott Anderson. It seems like maybe there were more Artillerymen than there were Infantry troops on the field.

Some of us left after the second battle while several stayed for the great fireworks display and the huge barbecue both put on by our hosts. There must have been a huge crowd showing up for these events later in the afternoon and evening, I was told they were preparing 3000 pounds of chicken and I saw a big load of fresh corn arrive.

The organizer of the Civil War end of things here (Keith Kohl) said this was the third year for the battles here but this was the first one I became aware of. Although this was a very small event we had a good time and may be back next year. Possibly with earlier advertising and information this could be a larger event with many more participants and spectators enjoying it.

The next likely thing on our schedule looks like the Dade Raid on August 31 to September 1 at Dade City. Those that go need to arrive by Saturday to be set up for the battles on Sunday and Monday. We need to know at the next meeting if we will have enough people going. Don't forget, there is limited camping at this event.

The weekend after that, September 5-7 is Fall Creek Falls, TN. Those going need to be there by Thursday Sept. 4 to be set up for the crowds attending the Folk Festival starting Friday. Think about it and let us know if anyone is interested this year.
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This page last updated: July 15, 2004