Black Hat Battalion

Dispatch from the Colonel



Dear fellow members of the Black Hat Battalion,

Our battalion drill (April 16 & 17) went very smoothly.  The weather was great – sunny and in the 70’s although it was a bit nippy Friday night.  The facilities (the Dollinger farm) in Minooka, IL are excellent.  You may want to consider the event the IL Battalion sponsors on October 15 & 16.

We had a good turnout – over 60 men showed up.  They included the:

10th IL, Co. H
36th IL
64th IL, Co. E
104th IL, Co. H
9th IN, Co. E
19th IN, Co. A
24th MI
2nd WI, Co. F
and even the 26th NC

Let me know if I made any mistakes or omissions.

Drill went well.  We worked on skirmish drill by the bugle.  We did a couple of sessions of battalion maneuvers.  We also worked with Taylor’s Battery, a new edition to the IL Battalion.  We went over how the gun is serviced and safety concerns.

We ended the day with dress parade.  We added a special ceremony remembering the passing of President Lincoln.  We also mourned the loss of Bill Daly, a member of the IL Battalion (sorry, I don’t remember the specific unit).  A sad but appropriate way to end the day.

After supper, we had a BHB meeting (and some refreshments).  Although we could not come up with any hard numbers, the men present said that they would support the three regional events planned for the BHB – Billie Creek Village (IN), Wauconda (IL), and Wade House (WI).  The membership also reaffirmed their support for the Atlanta, GA event in Nov.  So please pass along this information and encourage your units to attend these events.

We will also try to form our own battalion at each event unless small numbers do not justify the idea.  Battalion officers should be prepared to fall back into the ranks if necessary.  Having said that, at Billie Creek, the Iron Brigade will supply the battalion officers.  At Wauconda, the IL Battalion will supply the staff.  If we have a good turnout from the 2nd WI and the Iron Brigade, we could even form a 2nd battalion.  At Wade House, the 2nd WI will supply the officers and again, it would be great if there were enough men for a 2nd battalion.  We shall see.  Am I getting too optimistic?  Well, blame it on the fun I had at drill.

Apparently, many of the guys could only get away for Saturday.  I guess there were too many household chores begging to be finished.  I left soon after reveille and was home by mid-afternoon.  I received many positive comments about the weekend, but maybe we should just make it a one-day drill, but allow those who wish, to stay the night?  What do you think?

That is the latest.  I hope to see you all at Billie Creek!  For registration information, see our website -

Craig DeCrane
Colonel, Black Hat Battalion