Baden-Powell Council 1997 Spring Camporee

Station A

Setup note: This station has two different writeups.

Give Rebel units:

A Message for General Lee

The place: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, July 1, 1863. Your company, an advance unit of A.P. Hill's Third Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, has just marched into Gettysburg in search of shoes from the shoe factory there. As soon as you enter town, you encounter dismounted cavalry from Union General Buford's corps.

You must let General Lee know about the Yankee troops immediately, so he can bring up the rest of the corps.

Once your patrol is in place...

Union units get this writeup:

A Message for General Meade

The place: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, July 1, 1863. Your company, an advance unit of cavalry from Union General Buford's corps, part of Meade's Army of the Potomac, has just marched into Gettysburg in search of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, which is heading north in Lee's second invasion of the Union. You've entered Gettysburg to check rumors that the Rebels are there to get shoes from the shoe factory. You ride through town, and near the seminary you spot a skirmish line from A.P. Hill's Third Corps, Army of Northern Virginia.

You must let General Meade know about the Yankee troops immediately, so he can bring up the rest of the army.

Once your patrol is in place, you will be given a message to pass to the General. He is a stickler for speed and accuracy, so you will be marked on both. You may use any means of visual communications to pass the message from here to GHQ - because of the distance and topography, no two stations can hear each other (and, no, you cannot use runners or carrier pigeons...).


1. Materials needed: Paper & pencils, messages to be passed.

  • 2. Scoring: Correct transmission of Message. If both pass message correctly, first patrol to finish wins. If neither completes, then factors are teamwork, speed and accuracy of message, use of materials and resources (i.e. Scout handbook) if needed, or if patrol knows signaling method w/o book.
  • Baden-Powell Council 1997 Spring Camporee

    Station B

    The Battle of the Wilderness

    Spring, 1864. Your company is standing just outside the Wilderness, an area of dense brush, marsh and scrub trees in northern Virginia near Chancellorsville. You fought here last year, and remember that the woods are so dense that you cannot see 10 yards. Your regiment got so lost last year that it was unable to reach its objective on time. The losses were terrible: musket fire from the enemy, musket fire from your own side, artillery screaming through the trees from both sides, and from the burning underbrush set off by the black powder, which burned up the wounded and dying as they lay crying for help. You can see unburied and half-buried bones from that slaughter still in the woods as you look ahead.

    This year, your general has sent out scouts to plot out the path through the Wilderness to avoid a repeat of the last battle here. They have hidden the instructions on small pieces of wood stuck in the ground, or small pieces of paper fastened to trees. Each will give you the bearing to the next, and will also contain one word of a message from the commanding general to your company.

    Using the starting bearing and distance given you by the station guide, follow the path through the Wilderness and find out the message.

    Beware! In order to confuse enemy units, The scouts also hid a bunch of false clues in the same area. Don't be fooled!


    1. Materials required: compass course set up with popsicle sticks or notes on trees, etc. Have a compass ready, but expect patrol to have own (points off for needing to borrow compass). Post at least 4 different courses starting from one point. Each course should have 8 clues. Each clue has distance/bearing to next clue plus one or more words of message. Also post a number of dummy clues.

    2. Scoring: Winner is company which correctly reconstructs message from clues. If both companies get message, then first patrol back wins. If neither complete course, factors are teamwork, leadership, knowledge of compass use, proper materials (compass), speed a lesser factor.

    Baden-Powell Council 1997 Spring Camporee

    Station C

    The Falmouth Mud March

    January, 1863. It has been raining for weeks, now, and the roads are churned into mud deep enough to bury the horses and mules pulling the army's wagons. Cannon have sunk completely out of sight in the mud.

    Your company has received orders to stop here and prepare quarters for an extended stay.

    We have just received warning from upstream: the rain has fed a local creek, which is about to overflow its banks and flood this spot in 10 minutes.

    You must get your entire company, plus all of its gear, at least 3 feet off the ground before the water gets here.

    Good Luck!


    1. Materials required: twine, pioneering poles if not located in area where patrol can scrounge poles.

    2. Scoring: Winner is company who accomplishes of goal (all members at least 3' off ground in time). If both complete project, first completed wins. If neither complete project, factor in teamwork, leadership, knowledge of knots and lashings, quality of lashings, ingenuity in attempt at goal.

    3. Note: if patrols are unequal in size, equalize by dropping Scouts from larger patrol (dropped Scouts must not participate in any way, including gathering material or offering advice).

    Baden-Powell Council 1997 Spring Camporee

    Station D

    The Pontoon Bridge at Fredricksburg

    November-December 1862: The Union Army of the Potomac, under the command of General Ambrose Burnside, has been advancing cautiously south through Virginia. By November 17th, Burnside has arrived on the east bank of the Rappahannock River, opposite the small city of Fredericksburg. The next day, the Confederate I Corps, under James Longstreet, arrives on the west bank and occupies the town to prevent a crossing. Burnside's plan to attack the Confederate positions in Fredericksburg depends on being able to build a series of five pontoon bridges across the Rappahannock. The bridges do not arrive until the 25th, giving Stonewall Jackson time to move his II Corps into position as well. Burnside waits for nearly a month, his 122,000 men facing 78,500 Confederates across the river. Both armies wonder - can the Federals bridge the river and attack, or must they move on to find a better place to cross the river?

    1. It is necessary to first determine the width of the river. You cannot cross, because of the enemy soldiers on the other side.

    Estimate the width of the river.

    Cut a piece of twine which will stretch from bank to bank, exactly.

    (neither too long nor too short).

    1. The pontoon bridges have been swept away downstream in a sudden flood. The Federals will need to use a tree to cross the river, instead.
  • The station guide will point out the tree which must be used.

  • Is it tall enough to span the river?

  • Instructions:

    1. Materials needed: twine. Mark off a "river", either with two pieces of twine on ground or with natural features. Pick a tree to use in second part. Tree should be much taller or shorter than width of "river" - no close calls.

    1. Scoring: Winner has twine which is closest to actual width of "river" and correct answer to part 2. If neither has correct answer for 2, winner is closest distance, if within 8' of correct width. If neither is within 8', factor in knowledge of methods, use of materials and resources, leadership, teamwork, correctness of answer


    Baden-Powell Council 1997 Spring Camporee

    Station E

    The Siege of Vicksburg

    March to July, 1863: The city of Vicksburg, Mississippi, controls the Mississippi River from its position on bluffs high above the water. General Ulysses S. Grant's Army of the Tennessee has been fighting its way south toward New Orleans, which has fallen to forces under Admiral Farragut. Only Vicksburg stands between Grant and victory. Once Vicksburg is captured, the Confederacy will be cut in half and the Mississippi will be open once more to Union shipping.

    The river bluffs protect the western approach. Confederate engineers have been working for seven months on a nine-mile line to protect Vicksburg from attack from the rear. Nine forts protect the principal avenues of approach. After several assaults have failed to capture Vicksburg, Grant settles in to starve out the Confederates.

    Your patrol is a company of scouts (a small "s" scout is a military spy) sent to find out the enemy positions, with the hopes of breaking the siege by a surprise attack. One member of your patrol catches a glimpse of a map, left unattended at enemy HQ. No one scout can hope to sneak all the way back to the General with the information, and you cannot take the map without warning the enemy.


  • 1. Materials required: maps, paper and pencil/pen. Map should be simple, with at least 20-25 features.

    2. Scoring: Winner has most features correct, in position and type. If tie, first patrol done wins.

    3. Note: Each patrol must have same number of Scouts. If patrols are unequal in size, equalize by dropping Scouts from larger patrol or allowing leaders to participate with smaller group.

  • Baden-Powell Council 1997 Spring Camporee

    Station F

    Wounded at Petersburg

    June 1864 to April 1865: After Grant took overall command of the Union Army in March 1864, he and Lee engaged in battle after battle. Unlike all previous Union Army commanders, Grant would not retire to regroup after a battle. Instead, he would fight Lee, then side-step to Lee's right, moving ever closer to Richmond and victory. Grant's army suffered terrible casualties - 7,000 dead in 20 minutes at Cold Harbor - but came back again and again, never truly out of contact with Lee. It was said that when the army lost so many men at Cold Harbor, but left the battle by advancing toward Richmond instead of retreating, the men knew they finally had a general who would win the war.

    Finally, the two armies came to the fortifications around Petersburg, east and south of Richmond. There they stayed for 10 months of trench warfare, within close range and under continual fire.

    1. Quick - treat him.

    2. Once he is stabilized, you notice that he has broken his leg - transport him to the ambulance (the station guide will show you where it is)


    1. Materials: none.
    2. Choose one Scout from patrol, or bystander, as "victim". Try to choose victims of approximately equal size, older Scouts, but not Patrol Leader.

    3. Scoring: subjective. Factors are correctness of treatment (by 1997 standards, not 1863!), correct assessment of condition, leadership, teamwork, "bedside manner".

    Baden-Powell Council 1997 Spring Camporee

    Station G

    Foragers on the March

    "An army travels on its stomach." Under the best of conditions, army food was terrible. On the march, both armies were issued a few days rations in the form of hardtack (biscuit), and maybe some salt meat and coffee. Fresh food was hard to come by, and supply trains could not keep up or supply an army on the move.

    Confederate troops suffered the worst, as the Confederacy lacked the ability to supply its armies and the transportation to get food to the army. The Union Army had its own problems, including corrupt and incompetent quartermasters and suppliers, long supply lines, Confederate raids on supply trains, and so on.

    Even though it was, in theory, illegal, both armies relied on foraging to feed their men. It was common for men to leave "on patrol", returning with "captured" pigs, cows, or chickens who were "shot trying to escape."

    One of the men in your patrol has found a raw egg.

    Using only the materials provided, build a campfire and cook the egg.


    1. Materials required: Matches, firebuilding materials (or locate in area with abundent tinder, etc.), eggs, oranges, paper bags, bread, water, sticks. May want to include distractors (things which would not be used in utensilless cooking). Do NOT have any pots or pans. Do NOT allow patrol to use any materials they bring - only what you supply. Use of Scout handbook or fieldbook for reference (not firebuilding material) is OK.

    2. Scoring: Winning patrol builds fire, cooks egg without utensils. If both do or neither does, factor in time to complete task or degree of completion at end of time, ingenuity, number of matches used, teamwork, leadership, knowledge of firebuilding and utensilless cooking.

    Baden-Powell Council 1997 Spring Camporee

    Station H

    Letters from Home

    The armies in the Civil War were probably the most literate armies in any war, before or since. The men loved to read, and newspapers were favorite barter between the armies whenever picket lines touched. During the siege of Vicksburg, even when food was short and there was no new paper to be had, printers got out single-page newspapers printed on the backs of wallpaper ripped off the walls of shelled-out houses.

    Your patrol must collect a group of things whose first letters spell the words:

    "T-H-E B-A-T-T-L-E O-F G-R-E-E-N-W-O-O-D P-A-R-K"

    For example, you could make up the word "THE" with a tripod, a hamster, and an elevator (assuming you could find such things).

    Each of the letters must be represented by one unique item. That is, each of the four E’s needs its own thing, so that you have a total of twenty-four different things. Things must be called by their common names (no foreign languages or nicknames). If in doubt, check with the station guide.

    You have fifteen minutes to search for the things.


    1. Materials: None

    2. Scoring: Patrol with most items found at time wins. If both have all items, or tie, then factor: ingenuity, teamwork, leadership.

    3. Note: If patrols are unequal in size, equalize by dropping Scouts from larger patrol.

    Baden-Powell Council 1997 Spring Camporee

    Station I

    The Monitor and the Merrimac

    March 8, 1861 is a washday for the men of the U.S. fleet blockading Hampton Roads, Va., and laundry is drying on all the rigging of the Union ships. Suddenly, a strange ship steams out of the mist. It looks like a floating barn roof, but its cannon make quick work of the fifty-gun frigate U.S.S. Cumberland. The Cumberland’s shells just bounce off the odd-looking craft. She is the C.S.S. Virginia, usually known as the Merrimack because that was the name of the Union ship on whose hull she was built. The Virginia is the first ironclad warship to attack an enemy craft.

    But not for long. The next morning an even stranger craft, the U.S.S. Monitor, described as "a hat box on a raft", steams into Hampton Roads and the first Battle of the Ironclads was under way. Your patrol is the crew of the ironclad U.S.S.Monitor or C.S.S. Virginia.

    You will be given an 8 foot length of 2x4 with a small plastic egg crate in the middle, which represents the hull of your craft. Arrange your patrol along the length of the board. Choose one end to be the bow. The Scout in the bow is the "gun". The Scout in the stern is the "magazine" (you don't want to store your powder and shells anywhere near the guns, for obvious reasons.) The patrol leader is the "pilot", and must be in the middle of the boat (neither first nor last). The station guide will give the magazine a supply of ammunition. The magazine must pass the ammo up to the gun, one at a time.

    Be sure patrol follows the rules exactly!


    1. Materials: 2x4 with egg crate or pail fastened to middle, practice golf balls, nerf balls or ping-pong balls.

    2. Procedure: Be sure each patrol has same number of Scouts on boat. Larger patrol must have some Scouts sit out each round (cycle through, so each Scout gets a chance) so boat crews are equal. Allow teams to fire until they run out of ammo, then determine winner for round. Replace "dead" Scouts, rearm and start again. Continue to end of period.

    3. Scoring: Patrol with most rounds won wins flag. In case of tie, run "sudden death" round (allow enough time if it looks like this will happen so you do not go too long!).

    Baden-Powell Council 1997 Spring Camporee

    Station J

    The Secret Service

    Both sides used spies throughout the war.

    The Federal Secret Service was headed by Allen Pinkerton, the founder of a detective and security agency which still exists. The top Confederate spy, Major William Norris, oversaw a network which stretched as far north as Montreal. Confederate agents were involved in a plot to burn New York and a raid on St. Albans, Vermont. Northern agents went into Georgia and stole a railroad train in a raid which later became a Buster Keaton film, The General. Border areas saw many infiltrators from both sides passing through, mixed up with escaped slaves headed north and black marketeers headed south to trade northern money for southern cotton.

    A good spy had to be able to look at an area and analyze what resources were available for the army, what the enemy might have been doing, what the ground was like, and so on. The plants and animals in an area could tell a good spy a lot about what the area was like.

    You will be handed a ring. Throw it as far as you can. Wherever it lands, your patrol should examine the area enclosed by the ring. Correctly identify as many objects, plants or animals you find in your area as you can in the time allotted. You may count signs of animals in your area, if you can properly identify them. You may use the field guides provided at the station, or your Scout handbook or fieldbook if you brought one.


    1. Materials needed: Two rings (hula hoops, or square rings 3x3’ made of plumbing), field guides (plants, insects, rocks).

    2. Scoring: One point per item found and correctly identified. In case of tie, factor in leadership, teamwork, ingenuity.

    Baden-Powell Council 1997 Spring Camporee

    Station K

    Artillery Duel at Yorktown

    May 3, 1862: The Peninsula Campaign. Union General George McClellan has been advancing up the peninsula between the York and James Rivers toward the Confederate capitol, Richmond. For nearly a month his advance has been stalled in front of Yorktown, Virginia, the site of the British surrender in the Revolution. Today, nearly a hundred Federal cannon have been hauled along the muddy roads to Yorktown, some so huge that it took 100 horses to drag them there. McClellan plans to begin firing on Yorktown on the 5th, but all of a sudden the Confederates open fire: "From one end of the line to the other, the shells and shot poured into our camps," a Union surgeon recalled, "and the arches of fire that marked the course of the shells, with flame spouting from the mouths of the guns, created a magnificent pyrotechnic display."

    A Civil War cannon was fired "by the numbers." Each crew member had a single job to do, and each job was done in turn under the orders of the gun captain. A well-trained gun crew could fire as fast as 4 times a minute, although it was hard to maintain this rate of fire under battle conditions.

    Your patrol is the crew for a 20-pounder (3.67 inch) Parrot Rifled Cannon. The station guide will assign you to a "gun", and will instruct you on the various jobs in a gun crew. Smaller patrols may have to double up on jobs.

    You may take a few minutes to practice, then you will have 5 minutes to fire a volley from your "gun". You must complete each of the steps correctly and "by the numbers". The patrol who fires the most shots wins.


    1. Materials: per patrol: a "gun": length of sewer pipe lashed to crossbar; one "cannonball": tennis ball; "powder": water, can to hold it, bucket for "magazine"; "ramrod" (pole); "fuse": length of dowel with string attached

    2. Scoring: Patrol who fires the most rounds in 5-minute volley wins. Patrol must work "by the numbers" - each patrol member has one (or two) jobs, does job under command of patrol leader, all functions performed properly and in correct order. In case of tie, run additional two minute volley.

    3. Procedure: A full gun crew has six men: a gunner (patrol leader) and five crew, numbered 1 to 5. If the patrol has five scouts, then eliminate no. 5. If four scouts, eliminate nos. 4 and 5. If seven scouts, separate sponge and ram operations for no.1 Explain the functions of each to the patrol from "Manual for Light Artillery 1863" (copy attached). Each patrol should have station writeup, with command sequence on the rear. Let patrol practice until they feel ready, then begin a timed five-minute volley with the command "COMMENCE FIRING". At exactly five minutes, command "CEASE FIRING". Supervise action to be sure patrol fires properly and executes all steps by the numbers without skipping any.


    Gunner: "LOAD, 2, 3"

    5: (at cannon) run to limber

    4: on "LOAD", hand shell and powder to no. 2

    3: on "LOAD", put priming tube in cannon

    2: on "2" take shell and powder to cannon and wait.

    1: on "3" put sponge into cannon

    Gunner: "SPONGE, 2, 3, 4"

    1: sponge out cannon barrel - 3 strokes on "Sponge, 2, 3", remove on "4"

    2: on "4" - put powder, then shot in cannon barrel, then stand at opposite side of cannon from approach side.

    Gunner: "RAM, 2, 3"

    1: on "RAM", put ramrod (opposite end of sponge) in barrel, on "2" ram the charge home, on "3" remove ramrod and stand to side of cannon

    Gunner: "READY"

    3: Pull lanyard taut, stepping back

    Gunner: "AIM"

    Gunner: check aim of gun

    Gunner: "FIRE"

    3: Pull lanyard, firing gun, then step back to gun

    for the following rounds, repeat the LOAD to FIRE sequence, with numbers 2 and 5 alternating running ammo to the gun - they pass in a clockwise fashion.

    The sequence above assumes you will have a normal 6-man crew. For other numbers:

    4 Scouts: eliminate #4 and #5

    5 Scouts: eliminate #4

    7 Scouts: have one scout with ramrod, one with sponge

    8 Scouts: add aimer

    Baden-Powell Council 1997 Spring Camporee

    Station L

    Burnside's Bridge - Antietam (Sharpsburg)

    Your patrol meets an enemy patrol at Burnside's bridge. Because of the narrowness of the bridge, only one member of each patrol can be on the bridge at a time. They start from each end at the same time. Scouts may not touch each other in any way. Any Scout who touches the ground is "dead", and the way is clear for the opposing Scout to cross over, if he can make it. The patrol with the most Scouts successfully crossing the bridge in the time allowed is the winner. Each scout returns to the end of the line after making his crossing attempt, to try again when he is once again at the head of the line.


    1. Materials: ONE balance beam or 8 foot 4x4 or log laid on ground

    2. Scoring: The patrol with the most Scouts who cross successfully over the "bridge" wins. In case of tie, each patrol sends patrol leader across in "sudden death" round.

    1. Procedure: Allow 10 minutes for the round.

    There is no need to equalize patrols. The smaller patrol just runs the scouts through more often.


    Baden-Powell Council Spring Camporee 1997

    Station M

    Bringing Up the Supplies

    Often the hardest thing was to get supplies - ammunition, food, water - to the troops on the front lines. Your company has been detailed to bring much-needed water across the field of battle.


    1. Materials: sixteen egg crates (cinder blocks, step stools, folding chairs); two washtubs - mark side of washtub about 2/3 of way up
    2. Setup: mark two sides of "field" 100+ feet apart - one end at lake
    3. Procedure:
      1. Even up patrols by dropping Scouts from larger patrol.
      2. give patrol one egg crate per Scout, patrol lines up crates
      3. Patrol fills tub at lake, then each Scout stands on a crate
      4. Patrol must proceed to finish line while never stepping off crates
    4. Scoring: First patrol done wins, provided that patrol finishes with minimum amount of water (above line). If neither patrol finishes in time, winner is furthest progressed (assuming it has enough water in tub)

    Baden-Powell Council 1997 Spring Camporee

    Station N

    Running the Blockade

    The South was dependent upon trade with foreign countries for much of the materiel necessary to fight the war. Guns were scarce, and came from England or France. Even gunpowder, early in the war, needed to be imported. The Southern planters needed to get their cotton to the fabric mills of England.

    The North knew this, and they declared a blockade of all Southern ports. No shipping was allowed in or out. The Union Navy patrolled the coast and the sounds and bays, capturing any Confederate shipping which might appear.

    The ships which were built and manned to evade this blockade were called the "Blockade Runners". Although dangerous, blockade running was enormously profitable - even a single trip could pay for the ship itself and make a handsome profit, besides.

    This was hard and dangerous work, though. The Union ships outgunned the blockade runners, which were built for speed and cargo, not battle. In defense, the blockade runners sailed at night and in the fog, hoping to slip in and out unnoticed.

    Confederate Company: Your members are blockade runners, returning from a successful trading trip to England, laden with guns, powder, rails, and machine tools for the war effort (not to mention gold for the ship’s owners). You have chosen a very foggy, dark night to make your attempt to run the blockade - each of the members of your patrol will be blindfolded to simulate this. You can tell where the port is by the bell on the bouy at the entrance to the harbor. You will receive one point for each ship which safely makes it into harbor without being captured.

    Union Company: You are the ships of the U.S. Navy on blockade. You are suffering from the same fog and darkness as the Confederate blockade runners (that is, you are blindfolded, too). Stay away from the bouy, or you will run aground on the rocks - grounded ships must stay in place until the end of the round. Your job is to capture (tag) the blockade runners before they make it to port. You will receive one point for each blockade runner captured.


    Materials: blindfolds for each patrol member (16), bell, twine

    setup: mark "shore" with twine. Put break in twine for "harbor"

    Blindfold all Scouts. Start all Confederate scouts behind a line ("open sea"). Union scouts may arrange themselves as they like between shore and the sea. Call start and begin to ring bell - not continuously, just a ring every few seconds, like a bouy.

    When all runners are captured or in harbor, start over.

    Score: 1 point to South for each runner in harbor, 1 point to North for each tagged.

    Baden-Powell Council 1997 Spring Camporee

    Station O

    Unloading the Ships

    The Peninsula Campaign was an unsuccessful Union advance against Richmond, Va., that began in April 1862 when Gen. George B. McClellan moved his force of 110,000 toward the peninsula between the York and James rivers. The general was responding to pressure from President Abraham Lincoln who, during the year following the first Battle of Bull Run, had been urging his commanders to sweep Confederate forces from the Potomac in preparation for an attack on Richmond, the Confederate capital. McClellan's plan had merit: his army could advance with its flanks guarded by Union gunboats, and the heavy defense of Richmond would be weakened. The plan also had defects: joint maneuvers were difficult at best, and when massive troop movements were involved, combined operations were extremely cumbersome. Nevertheless, McClellan led his army ashore below Yorktown by early April 1862 and a month later captured that city.

    The Union supplies had to be sent to the Army by boat, and McClellan established a huge port at Harrison’s Landing. Boats would pull up to hastily built wharves, and the supplies would be lifted out and onto waiting wagons and mules.

    Using the materials supplied, build something which will let you lift the cargo out of a boat in the river, and across the water to the wharf. The winning company will be the one which successfully empties its boat first.


    Materials: three pioneering poles (8’+) per patrol, twine, ¼" rope, pulleys (2 per patrol), "cargo" - two or three spackle buckets with some weight (water, dirt) per patrol, inside boat area.

    Use twine to mark off "boat" and "wharf" for each patrol (about 3’ apart, boat rope about 3’ off ground).

    Patrols may use only the material supplied. They may assemble it in any way they like - do not suggest solutions to the problem. Cargo must be lifted over the side of the boat (over twine), not dragged under it.

    Score: winning patrol empties its boat first. In case of tie, or neither completes task, factor in teamwork, creativity, attitude, etc.

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