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ACWA Support for Duncan’s Mills Civil War Days Event

The California Historical Artillery Society(CHAS) has come to ACWA leadership to ask for assistance in supporting the continuation of the annual July Duncan’s Mills Civil War Days(CWD) event. Due to financial conditions and fewer active members, CHAS is no longer able to sponsor the DM Event. Without a large actively participating support organization such as the ACWA the Duncan’s Mills Civil War Days event will be discontinued.

Why should the ACWA support CHAS in continuing DM CWD’s? Let’s start by going into what happens if the answer is no. Should the DM CWD event be canceled(no ACWA support) this will leave no ACWA events between the end of May(RC) and Late March(KF) of the following year, essentially a 9-month gap of no ACWA events. Over the past 20 years, a number of regular club reenacting events in the central California area have been canceled: Casa De Fruita(June), Nevada City(Sept), and Middletown(Sept), Fruit yard(Oct), Tuolumne River park(Oct), and recently FRESNO Kearney Park(Oct). Even stalwart locations such as Knights Ferry(Mar) and Roaring Camp(May) have come under challenge recently. As any event coordinator can tell you setting up a new event, particularly a large-scale event, is a major challenge with a limited number of viable locations to hold these events. Once lost, events seldom if ever return and it would be a shame to lose such a fine event site such as the Duncan’s Mills Freezeout road location.

Back to the original question: Why should ACWA provide support for CHAS DM CWD? The DM CWD has, with 1 exception, always been a money-making event for CHAS. By taking over the sponsorship ACWA would receive all revenue generated by the DM CWD event. An added benefit for reenactors is elimination of the attendance fee. To mitigate risk, CHAS has dedicated skilled personnel to supervise and guide ACWA in supporting the continuing success of the DM CWD event. A well-documented management plan, financials, Timelines, and a detailed DM CWD event book is in use for event finance and Volunteer labor operations. In addition, DM CWD’s event has a long-established history in the Sonoma County area and reenacting community.

What will be required of me as an average ACWA member? One, is the support for the club leadership to expend club funds to sponsor the DM CWD event. Secondly, to be willing, if able, to spend some of your time either before, during, or after the DM CWD event to provide labor for the various task activities involved in making the event a reality.

In 2019, CHAS solicited feedback from Union and Confederate Brigade commanders and Unit officers if they desired the continuation of the DM CWD event, the response was a unanimous yes. In 2020, the event cancellation due to the Covid 19 pandemic showed a significant yet understanding disappointment in the reenacting community. This response is an indication that the reenacting community at large wants a DM CWD event. Now is the time for you to decide, do you want to have Duncan’s Mills Civil War Days in your Future or not.

Captain William David Johnson

Second United States Artillery Battery E, ACWA

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