The peaceful pastoral setting of the historic village of Mingus Mills will soon be shattered by the devastation of the hand of war, as ten of thousands of armed troops will contest these verdant, fertile fields. Crops will be ruined, fences will be destroyed, livestock taken, houses occupied, and the citizens imperiled.
The real village of Menges Mills (original German spelling) is less than a mile from my office in southern York County, Pennsylvania). When we moved here in 2001, we were stunned to find that our mythical wargaming setting was similar in name to a real location.
The village itself. Mingus Mills had a population of 260 according to the 1860 census. Its mayor two years later was a local politician and part-time preacher named D. K. Rogers, a staunch conservative and Lincoln supporter despite Southern roots. The residents found it quaint that he liked to dress up in the old clothing his great-grandfather wore in the French & Indian War and pretend he was a pioneer frontiersman named “Swampbranch.” However, his leadership skills were unquestioned, and Mingus Mills was run with the efficiency of an engineer. Rogers would be defeated in an underfunded run for Congress in 1864 and subsequently retire to his country estate a few miles south of the lake in the quaint village of Minter.
The county courthouse on the lower left is actually an interesting and unique 15mm paper model / vignette of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg given to me a few years ago as a gift by Johnny Reb Gaming Society member David Glenn, Jr. of Florida. The 10mm resin houses were painted by Doug Kline, Scott Mingus, and John Hill. The unusual structure in the bottom right is a Scott Mingus custom creation depicting a typical Pennsylvania German brickyard, with dual drying kilns. Two brickyards of this style played roles in the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg.
A view of the lush countryside south of Mingus Mills. The area has been under cultivation since the late 1700s. Generations of the family have raised their children and grandchildren in this peaceful river valley. Names like Ferrell, Williams, Pittman, and Chambers dot the local maps. The Grand River meanders through the scene, providing a source of fish, especially miniature shad.
Approaching the peaceful scene are Confederate forces under the command of George Pickett, FitzHugh Lee, and Tom Rosser; the excellent light delicate taste of the shad from this region is legendary, especially at the Five Forks Restaurant. Their overall commander, Major General Belvedere Beauregard Beaumont IV, is planning a surprise attack on the Union forces known to be operating in the region, and previously had sent his topographer Jedediah Murphy through the region on a secret mission to map out the valley.
Here is a mix of terrain pieces. The cornfield on the left was made by Scott Mingus using a $1 Christmas wreath picked up at the West York Dollar Tree store; the cornfield on the right was purchased from Doug Kline several years ago. The interesting rocky area in the left center is a piece made and hand-painted by Doug. Streams were made by Doug and neavily modified by Scott Mingus using Woodland Scenics foliage, small rocks, downed “tree branches and trunks”, and other flotsam. The fenced-in fields are hand-made terrain pieces made by Scott Mingus.
A sunken road leads to the sprawling country estate of young A. T. Mingus (named for my upcoming new grandson who is now three weeks from birth!!!) and is the newest farm added this year to the annual layout. Yet another future wargamer to spend hours with, I hope and trust!
The terrain piece to the left is from Doug at Battlefield Terrain Concepts, and is the very first piece I purchased from him at Historicon 2001.
The adjoining 1862 twin farms of Thomas Mingus and S. L. Mingus, Jr., the headmaster at the local school in Mingus Mills.
Fields in the left center and right center are latex pieces from Miniature World Maker. The fenced-in yellow crop field is by Scott Mingus. Houses were painted by Doug Kline. The wheatfields were picked up from an English wargamer in trade for several miniature palm trees I mailed him. These were made from a carpet mat.