12 March 2011
9:00 AM. Arrived on-site and found the other guys of my unit that came up from Florida for this event. We had a display in the navy encampment with other units and volunteers from the museum.
10:00 AM. Wow! I was "drafted" to serve on one of the gun crews that fires the museum's 7" Brooke rifle every hour. This piece is the real thing, not a replica, salvaged from the wreck of the CSS Jackson, which was raised several years ago from the adjacent Chattahoochee River. The hourly firing of the rifle is one of the signature events at River Blast. My crew was made up of sailors and marines from the USS Pawnee Living History Group and my own unit, the USS Fort Henry.
11:00 AM. Spent some time hanging out on the full-size replica of the Water Witch and talking to museum visitors. This ship was a side-wheel steamer which saw service on both sides during the war. She served as a US gunboat during much of the war, as part of the S. Atlantic Blockading squadron, and was captured by the Confederates in 1864. She was burned near the conclusion of the war to prevent recapture; museum staff report that her remains may have been found in the Savannah River.
12 Noon to 5:00 PM. Spent some time inside the museum on their USS Hartford display talking to visitors about the naval history of the Civil War, as well as additional firings of the Brooke rifle and hanging out with my shipmates at our display in the navy camp.