A concise and generally factual
(A concise and generally factual history)
unit location joined
2nd Kentucky Cavalry, CSA (015MW) Cincinnati area 1955
2nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry (034MW) Columbus area 1957
7th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (051MW) Cleveland area 1960
110th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (082MW) Dayton and Cleveland areas 1962
19th Indiana Volunteer Infantry (084MW) Central Indiana 1962
4th Kentucky Cavalry, CSA (088MW) Cleveland area 1962
11th Indiana Zouaves (168MW) Central Indiana 1973
Harris Light Cavalry (176MW) Cincinnati area
First Rockbridge Artillery, CSA (188MW) Central Indiana 1977
6th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, CSA (201MW) East/Central Kentucky 1982
Union Guards (210MW) Central/Western Ohio, Indiana, 1984 Michigan
When skirmishing began in 1950 it is unlikely the founders thought the sport would catch on outside the area in which it originated. Tom Waddell of Port Huron, Michigan was the leader of a Civil War drill unit called the Huron Rangers Riflemen. He contacted Jack Rawls to arrange for the Huron Rangers to participate in the third skirmish, at Norfolk, Virginia, in May, 1951. In only one year the skirmish virus has spread across the Alleghenies.
In 1955 a group of misplaced southerners and disaffected northerners, most of whom worked at the GE jet engine plant in Evendale, Ohio, formed the 2nd Kentucky Cavalry, CSA. It was the fifteenth unit to organize for skirmishing. Ed Price, Bill Waters and their friends brought skirmishing into the Midwest via the Confederacy. Most of the 2nd Kentucky’s members were from greater Cincinnati and northern Kentucky.
In 1956 the twenty-one skirmish units decided to organize the sport, and to incorporate as the North-South Skirmish Association, Inc. Early skirmishers were often behaviorally impaired, so the decision was neither easy nor unanimous. Organization meant rules, and rules were confining.
For ease of governance, and to provide for skirmishing at the local level, the N-SSA was divided into five regions: Central Virginia, Middle Atlantic, Potomac, Tidewater, and “Midwestern”. This Midwestern Region had two member units, the Huron Rangers and the 2nd Kentucky Cavalry, CSA. Its territory was rather undefined, seeming to consist of the continental United States west of the other four regions.
In 1957 the Huron Rangers were transferred to the newly-created Northwest Territory Region, and to the Midwest were added three newly-organized units: the Chartiers Valley Guard, 2nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and the 5th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. These additions brought skirmishing to the Pittsburgh, Columbus, and Cleveland areas, respectively, and the Yankees finally outnumbered the 2nd Kentucky. In 1960 the region was further increased by the addition of the 7th OVI (Cleveland area) and the 1st Ohio Light Artillery (Cincinnati area).
The region expanded dramatically during the Civil Was Centennial years. In 1961 came the 7th West Virginia Infantry (Morgantown area) and the 104th Illinois Infantry (greater Chicago). 1962 saw the greatest increase ever. So many units were organizing in the Midwest and the NWT that the 25th National Skirmish was held at Kirtland, Ohio to accommodate their inspections. The Midwest Class of 1962 consisted of the 110th OVI (Springfield area), Battery B, 4th US Artillery (Indianapolis), 19th Indiana Infantry (Indianapolis), 4th Kentucky Cavalry CSA (Cleveland area), 44th OVI (Springfield area), 1st Ohio Sharpshooters (central Ohio), and the 1st Illinois Light Artillery (Chicago area). The 49th OVI (Tiffin/Fostoria area) spun off the NWT’s 4th Michigan in 1964, and the 9th Kentucky Cavalry, CSA took skirmishing into the Bluegrass country that same year
Growth was slower after the centennial. In 1967 General W.T.Sherman’s Bodyguard formed in the Cleveland area. Also in 1967 the 6th Alabama Infantry (Raccoon Roughs) organized in the Birmingham/Atlanta areas. The Roughs were originally assigned to the Central Virginia Region, but in 1968 transferred into the Midwest because our skirmishes were closer.
By 1969 the demographics of the N-SSA had evolved so as to warrant the creation of the Allegheny Region, and other regional boundaries needed to be adjusted. Therefore, the Chartiers Valley Guard and the 7th West Virginia became charter members of the Allegheny Region. The 104th Illinois was assigned to the NWT, joining the 1st Illinois Light Artillery which had gone north in 1965. Thus, by the start of the 1970 season the boundaries of the Midwest Region were established as they are today to the north, east, and west.
Also, in 1969, the Midwest began experiencing attrition. Battery B, 4th US Artillery folded, but that was offset by the establishment of the 14th Indiana Infantry in the Muncie area.
In 1973 the 11th Indiana Zouaves (Muncie area) joined the Midwest, as did the 8th Virginia Cavalry (Huntington, WV area).
1977 brought the 1st Rockbridge Artillery (north central Indiana), and also saw the expansion of the Midwest Region to the Gulf of Mexico. To facilitate the creation of the Deep South Region two units were organized there and placed into the Midwest for administrative purposes. Thus, the 4th Louisiana Infantry (New Orleans area) and the 4th Tennessee Infantry (Union City) were assigned to us, their nearest neighbors. For a couple of years there existed the curiosity of Midwest Regional skirmishes in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Louisiana.
The Deep South Region was created in 1980, and the 6th Alabama, 4th Louisiana, and 4th Tennessee were transferred into it. The 6th Alabama had picked up several members in West Virginia who desired to remain in the Midwest, so they formed the 17th Mississippi Infantry in 1981 as a Midwest unit. Also, in 1981, the disbanding of the 44th OVI, the 14th Indiana, and the 8th Virginia Cavalry diminished the Midwest.
By 1982 news of skirmishing had filtered into eastern Kentucky, and the 6th Kentucky Infantry, CSA was organized there.
In 1983 the 17th Mississippi merged with their old comrades in the Raccoon Roughs, and was absorbed into the Deep South.
The Union Guards organized for the 1984 season, and was representative of a new era in Midwest skirmishing. Its members hailed from central Indiana, and from central, western, and southwestern Ohio. Other units, notably the 2nd Kentucky and the 19th Indiana, had evolved from local clubs into larger units whose membership was no longer confined to a geographic locality. Skirmishing in the Midwest was evolving from shooting-as-social-event into shooting-as-hardball-sport. As many competitive shooters migrated onto fewer, more competitive, clubs, the weakened units that did not have strong social bonds died off.
The positive aspect of this Darwinian process was that there were enough competitive shooters around to make a number of top-notch competitive units. The talent which flowed did not all flow to one “superteam”.
The downside was the demise of some fine old units. The 49th OVI struck its colors in 1986, followed by the 1st Ohio Sharpshooters in 1987. In 1990 the Midwest lost both the 1st Ohio Light Artillery and the 9th Kentucky Cavalry. 1994 saw the passing of the venerable 5th OVI, a colorful fixture of the region for thirty-seven years.
In 1993 the age of specialization dawned with the arrival of the 15th Ohio Light Artillery. They rapidly became a premier artillery unit, but disdained competition with shoulder weapons, which they fired like a premier artillery unit. In 1998 they transferred to the Chesapeake Region, in which they could find regular artillery matches. Also, the extremely mobile Raccoon Roughs, who had returned to the Midwest, transferred to the Allegheny Region because of a shift in their center of membership.
In 1998 the Rocky Mountain Cavalry organized in northern Ohio, bringing the Midwest to strength of twelve units, but the RMC was short-lived, and folded after the 1999 season.
In 2003 the Metropolitan Region (in and around New York City) was disbanded due to lack of strength. The Harris Light Cavalry, a long-time Metropolitan unit, but which had many members in the Cincinnati area, transferred into the Midwest Region, making us an even dozen again.
Regional competition began here in 1959 with a skirmish on the recreation field of North American Aviation Corporation in Columbus. It was won by Company A of the 5th OVI, followed by companies A and C of the 2nd Kentucky. Nine teams participated: 2nd Kentucky (A,B,C), 2nd OVI (B,C), 5th OVI (A,B), 7th OVI, and 1st Ohio Light Artillery.
The schedule was expanded to three events in 1960, at Morrow, Columbus, and Camp Perry, Ohio, and were all won by the 2nd Kentucky. In the years since 1960 our activities have spread across Ohio and Indiana, and into Kentucky and West Virginia.
The Norman Carey farm near Lawrenceville, Ohio, originally purchased as a home range for the now-defunct 44th OVI, has been our most-used site since the mid-1960s. The Centerburg, Ohio Conservation Club has been used annually by the 2nd OVI for their fall skirmish since the early 1970s, and has become the site of as many as three skirmishes per year. Recently, regional events have been held at Ohio National Guard facilities at Camp Sherman, near Chillicothe, and at Camp Perry, to which we returned in 1993 after a thirty year hiatus.
A housing development now stands on the site of the 25th National Skirmish near Kirtland, yet many still remember annual regionals held there until the early 1970s. Other Ohio skirmishes have been held at Brunswick (on the same weekend as a KKK rally, which is another story), Batavia, Tiffin, Solon, Xenia, Milford, Eaton, Wright-Patterson AFB, and New Richmond. The most forgettable Ohio range was a horseweed-stubble-covered piece of condemned land east of Cincinnati called Elk Lick, which is now, happily, under a lake.
Indiana events have been held at Franklin, Muncie (where we skipped cannon balls across the city reservoir and through a nearby barn), Richmond, Camp Atterbury (the Midwest’s largest tick and chigger farm), Friendship, and Batesville.
In Kentucky we have skirmished on the Lawn of the elegant White Hall mansion, in a field on the edge of Pleasant Hill (a beautifully restored Shaker community), in a tobacco patch near Paris (where the fifty-yard range was measured down one side of a ravine and up the other), and on the site of Civil War Camp Nelson. Survivors still recall the once-only skirmish on the Perryville battlefield, midst nearly equal parts mud and fresh manure.
The Midwest held one skirmish in the heat of July at a waterless fairground at Ona, West Virginia, but we can’t recall why.
Our schedule usually consists of six or seven regional skirmishes, and runs from April or May into October. They are not large, but are good, and are enjoyed.
The early years of Midwest skirmishing were periods of domination by one team or another. In the early 1960s the 2nd Kentucky Cavalry ruled the range. By the mid-60s the 110th OVI created a dynasty, which rarely lost a match in a ten-year span. The Big Three were the 110th OVI , the 2nd Kentucky, and the 4th Kentucky. In 1974 the 19th Indiana penetrated the 110th’s armor, and ushered in a period of anything-can-happen years in which skirmishes were won by the 110th OVI, 19th Indiana, Raccoon Roughs, 2nd Kentucky, 44th OVI, and 11th Indiana Zouaves.
By the 1980s the 110th OVI, 2nd Kentucky, and Union Guards were dominant, with the 4th Kentucky, General Sherman’s Bodyguard, 19th Indiana, and 11th Indiana also appearing in the medal positions.
Units that ordinarily do not finish in the medal positions in the regionals are not lacking in competitive talent. It is common to find Midwest teams winning medals in all classifications at national skirmishes.
National Musket Team Championships have been won by the 110th OVI (31st, 32nd, 34th, 35th, 42nd, 104th, 106th, 107th, and 108th Nationals), the Raccoon Roughs (50th), and the Union Guards (96th, 97th, 101st, and 102nd). National Carbine Team Championships have been won by the 110th OVI (43rd and 106th), 19th Indiana (54th), and the Union Guards (97th). The Union Guards won the Team Aggregate Trophy at the 95th, 96th, 97th, and 102nd Nationals and the 110th OVI at the 104th and 106th. The Union Guards (97th) and the 110th OVI (106th) are two of only three N-SSA organizations to win musket and carbine national championships in the same weekend.
At the 96th National, the Union Guards, 110th OVI and 2nd Kentucky placed first, second and fifth in Class AI Musket. Perhaps the Midwest’s biggest payday came at the 102nd National, when the Union Guards, 2nd Kentucky, and 110th OVI placed first, third and fourth in Class AI Musket, and Sherman’s Bodyguard was first in Class AII. Other national championships have been won by the 11th Indiana Zouaves (AII Carbine, 94th), 19th Indiana Infantry (AIII musket, 94th), 6th Kentucky Infantry (AII Carbine, 99th), Sherman’s Bodyguard (BII Musket, 101st), and 4th Kentucky Cavalry (AIII Revolver, 101st).
In national individuals the legendary Stan Tweed (110th OVI) won eight consecutive grand aggregates from 1965-1968, and five musket aggregates. Other national individual championships have been won by Keith Fortune, Eldon Bertram, Elmer Roselli, and Jerry Smith (all 110th OVI), Dennis Coleman, Dick Lewis, and Larry Baird (all 2nd Kentucky), and Phil Spaugy, Mike Lauer, and Mike Jordan (all Union Guards).
Midwesterners quickly became involved in association politics, to the extent that for sixteen of the first thirty-two years of organized N-SSA government the National Commanders were Midwest men. Before any other region had a second National Commander from its ranks, the Midwest had provided four. There has rarely been a slate of national officers that did not include at least one Midwesterner. Midwest men who have served as Commander are:
1959-62 J.W. (Bill) Waters, 2nd Kentucky Cavalry
1965-70 Carl G. Jensen, 7th OVI
1975-76 Frank W. Schoch, 4th Kentucky Cavalry
1985-88 John S. Robey, Union Guards
Waters and Jensen were both instrumental in the acquisition and development of Fort Shenandoah. Jensen (1963-64), Schoch (1967-70, 1972), and Robey (1977-78, 1983-84) also served as Deputy National Commanders. Schoch served as National Adjutant (1963-66), as did Austin E. Jones, Jr. (1987-93) and Robey (1999-2002). Robey also served as Inspector General (1975-76). Phillip L. Spaugy served as Inspector General in 2003-.
Midwesterners who have served as editors of The Skirmish Line are Bill Waters (1963-66), Frank Schoch (1966-68), William H. Jordan (1987-93), and Rick Dunbrook (2003-).
Edgar D. Price, 2nd Kentucky Cavalry, was a gifted graphic artist who designed both the Award of Merit and the Distinguished Service Award medals. He was a frequent contributor to The Skirmish Line with decorative art, his excellent unit caricatures, and his popular “Elvis” cartoon series, which ran in the 1970s.
Several Midwesterners have been honored for their service by the N-SSA:
The AWARD OF MERIT has been presented to: J.W. Waters (1963), Carl G. Jensen (1966), Frank W. Schoch (1968), John S. Robey (1979), Austin E. Jones, Jr. (1990) and Phillip L. Spaugy (2002).
The DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD has been awarded to Edgar D. Price (1980), Austin E. Jones, Jr. (1985), William H. Jordan (1995), Richard E. Wood (2001), and John S. Robey (2003).
It should be noted that Austin Jones, 2nd Kentucky Cavalry, CSA, was the first N-SSA member to receive both the Award of Merit and the Distinguished Service Award
1956-58 J.W. Waters. 2nd Kentucky Cavalry (deceased)
1959-60 James Shutt, 2nd OVI
1961-62 Walter Clendenning, 5th OVI (deceased)
1963-64 James Shutt, 2nd OVI
1965-67 Gerald Rinker, 1st Ohio Sharpshooters
1968-69 Gerald Keimer, 4th Kentucky Cavalry
1970-71 Donald Wortman, 110th OVI
1972-74 John S. Robey, 19th Indiana Infantry
1975 David Johnson, 19th Indiana Infantry
1976-77 William H. Jordan, 19th Indiana Infantry
1978-79 Edgar D. Price, 2nd Kentucky Cavalry (deceased)
1980-82 John S. Robey, 19th Indiana Infantry
1983 David Mykytuk, 19th Indiana Infantry
1984-86 Austin E. Jones, Jr., 2nd Kentucky Cavalry
1987 William H. Jordan, Union Guards
1988 Harris Opfer, 110th OVI
1988-89 Phillip L. Spaugy, Union Guards
1990-92 John S. Robey, Union Guards
1993-94 Worth E. Howard, Jr., General Sherman’s Bodyguard
2003- James Strang, General Sherman’s Bodyguard
Midwest Region Champion Musket Teams
2nd Kentucky Cavalry: 1960, 1961, 1965, 1977, 1978, 1982, 1983, and 1985.
110th OVI: 1962, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2003.
Raccoon Roughs: 1974, 1975, and 1976.
19th Indiana Infantry: 1979, 1980, and 1981
Union Guards: 1984, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2002.