Monday, June 13, 2016

Anybody want a gun?

Thunder in the Valley

Battle of Cross Keys

Port Republic, Virginia


June 11-12, 2016


With the long drive to Virginia, J.R. Sharp, Chad Cochran, Jeff Carte, Rick Compton, Mark Nichols, and I stopped in Lexington for a tour of Lee's Chapel at Washington and Lee University, and a tour of the museum at VMI.

Aftward, J.R. checked his smart phone for a local restaurant, finding the Southern Inn, which looked promising.  He reserved our place--but when we arrived and were seated, he realized by the superfluous amount of silverware he had picked the wrong restaurant.  Although the food was excellent, our casual dress put us a bit out of place, and the prices put a bit of a dent in our wallets.

Returning to the drive, we followed GPS coordinates to the address we were given for registration for Thunder in the Valley, and were led to a road the led to nowhere.  Fortunately, a bit of educated guessing got us on track, and we soon found our destination, unpacking and changing into our uniforms and gear (though J.R. and Chad chose to change back at Lee's Chapel).  Jeff and Mark parked their trucks at the parking lot a few miles away, returning by shuttle, while Rick and I watched the gear and J.R. and Chad headed for the officer's meeting.

For the weekend, J.R. took the rank of major.  Chad was corporal, posting with the color guard.  Jeff was also a corporal, while Mark, Rick and I were privates.

Once Mark and Jeff returned, we marched the distance to camp and bivouacked for the night.

The night was a bit cool as I had a little difficulty keeping warm under my blanket--eventually pulling out my shelter half out of my knapsack to use as an extra blanket.  The ground was uneven and highly sloped.  At one point during the night, Cpl Carte rolled a distance down the hill.

Morning finally came and I ate a supply of my pre-cooked bacon out of my haversack, along with a bit of other rations.  Cpl Cochran brought an abundance of essence of coffee, and was able to supply me with a hearty cup.  Though it was sweetened, it was satisfying.

The morning was spent relaxing, waiting, drilling, and holding battalion parade.  We had a long 3 mile march ahead of us in high heat, so Lt. Col. Ben Cwayna instructed us to leave behind anything that was not necessary.  Pvt Compton quickly took the lead, dumping whatever he could, even holding up his musket and asking, "Anybody want a gun?"

We marched out for the battle, facing the Yankees from behind a fence.  Skirmishers went out first, facing the Yankees beyond the crest of the hill and out of our sight, then falling back.  As we hunkered down behind the fence, we eventually saw the Stars and Stripes rise to our far right above the crest, followed by the Yankee battalion.

The split-rail fence was stacked in a jagged formation, and our line followed this formation, giving us difficulty in safely firing upon the Yankees, so our section worked out a routine where two would take to the fence and fire, falling back to reload while the next two filled the gap.  Eventually the Yankees were forced back and we pushed our way onto the field, eventually winning the day.

When we began our march, I immediately realized that we were marching at too fast a pace, complaining about it to those around me.  We might be fine for the first mile, but in this heat (in the 90s) I knew we would be suffering casualties.  Our rate was at a quick-step, instead of a normal common-time step.

We climbed the first hill on the asphat that steadily baked our feet, and Cpl Carte already had to step out.  I stood with him, to make sure he would be all right, continuing the march from the back with Major Sharp at the back of the column once Jeff was loaded into the follow vehicle.

We stopped for a short five-minute break to refill canteens, and continued on, Cpl Carte rejoining us, stopping again for about half an hour about halfway.  By now we already had about a half-dozen casualties.

We stopped again for another short five minutes to refill canteens, stopping at a crossroad in the sun.  I was able to march most of the way, but after this stop I found difficulty keeping the pace, eventually hitching a ride with the follow vehicle when I found myself at the back of the column, getting further and further behind.

We finally arrived at camp, near a fork of the river and many took to cooling off, wading through the cool waters.  I threw off all my gear and crashed.

As hunger set in for the evening, we heard rumors of someone selling cooked chicken halves.  She was eventually tracked down, and we happily enjoyed the chicken over rations we had carried.

I slept through the night in an unconscious stupor, keeping comfortable in the warm air.

We prepared for another march--this one a two-mile march to the next battlefield.  A number of soldiers decided to find a way to ride on a shuttle to the battlefield, and so I and Major Sharp decided to join them.  I figured I probably could have made the march--but I had nothing to prove and did not want to tear myself apart marching in the grueling sun.

We followed the column in the truck and picked up casualties as they fell, eventually arriving at the battlefield.

We rested at the edge of the wooded trail that led to the battlefield, finally marching single-file in.  We reformed at the foot of a hill to begin our assault.  One battalion pushed forward and was repulsed, then our battalion pushed up the hill until we were repulsed.  We made a second push up the hill, but the ground was steep and slick, and I could no longer keep up.  I eventually stumbled over a log to find Major Sharp recovering from the wounds of war, where I fell beside him to recover from my own wounds.

The battle soon ended, through I don't know who won.  I just know I was ready to sleep in the truck on the way home.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Cycle Begins Again


Hartford City, IN

May 14-15, 2016

The sun Friday as I arrived gave a false promise of good weather for the weekend at Hartford City.  I was able to keep warm through the night, almost too warm, even.

But as I rose Saturday morning to wind and occasional cold spit from the skies we struggled to keep warm around the fire as we cooked for morning breakfast, tearing our eyes through the smokey burn of cedar.  Stories of the night of canvas flying off their posts from the wind and ridgepoles falling on the tent occupants circled around the fire.

It was to be a busy day, with a morning battle immediately after parade, followed by a drill at one, and a second battle at four.  The battle scenarios for both of Saturday's battles and for Sunday's battle centered around parts of First Manassas.

We were to lose that first battle.  I brought my wing down to face the Yankee wing, and we reached a stand-off with even numbers.  Capt Sharp told me he would cause the 1st Tennessee (7th Company) to break, giving the entire wing the excuse to collapse and fall back, if only the Yankees would fire a volley by wing--or even by company.  But they continued only at independent fire--so I ordered a fire by wing, and immediately withdrew the entire wing in an apparent panic withdrawal, to give the crowds the impression of a total collapse.  We reformed and gave enough pressure only to slow the Yankee advance, but not to stop it, eventually forcing us from the field.

We sat around the fire, shifting to the fly whenever cold spit started hitting us from the heavens, fighting to keep warm in any way we could.  As the time for drill approached, Colonel  Linkous decided to cancel drill to allow us the chance to stay warm and dry.

We formed for the afternoon battle.  The colonel instructed me that I was to take my wing to face a Yankee wing that would be down at the low point in the center of the battlefield, so I took the wing at the left flank onto the battlefield.  As I crested the hill, however, I saw that the Yankees were in fact much further to our left.  I had planned on simply fronting the wing, adjusting the line with a short wheel, if needed, but this was no longer appropriate.  Without thinking that the men were at the left flank, I ordered, "Companies into Line", followed by "Forward into line on the last company".

Taking cover from an artillery blast.
If you are not a reenactor, you won't realize how difficult this can be done at the left flank.  Maneuvers like this are almost never done at the left flank--so everything is pretty much an opposite mirror of what we are all used to doing.  To do "Companies into Line", each company does "Company into line", which forms each company into a battle line.  Normally, when doing this at the right flank, the companies form off their 1st sergeant (forming to the left), but at the left flank, it's off the second sergeant (forming to the right), which can be confusing if too much thought is put into the process.  And my "Forward into line" command, which (I believe) should have been "By inversion, forward into line," would normally be followed by a left half-wheel--but because we were marching inverted, is followed by a right half-wheel instead.

I have to say, that in spite of being at the left flank, and being inverted, and my not getting the last command right, the men executed the maneuvers perfectly.  I almost regretted performing these maneuvers, because at 1st Manassas, the men would not have been drilled very well, and I am not sure that the actual soldiers would have maneuvered as well as these men did this early in the war.

Once in our battleline, I took my time advancing.  We pushed a little, and the Yankee wing advanced to face us.  But at one point, the Yankees shifted to our left to try and flank us.  The error in that plan, however, was that it forced me to cause the 1st Tennessee to refuse, putting them at an angle that caused us to be directed toward the watching crowd.  The entire Yankee line soon joined the angle, so all I could do was to answer, wheeling the wing to face them.  For safety concerns, the 4th Florida refused to fire at the direction toward the crowd--and I held no issue with that.  Those Yankees were turning the battle into a farce.  I looked to the right to see the situation that right wing was in--and the Yankees they faced were near decimated while right wing was still at full strength.  This action the Yankees were doing was a fool's errand--we were even matched.  All I needed do was to stand fast and wait for right wing to join the fray, and the Yankees would be bottled up with no where to go.

The Yankees did finally get a brain in their midst and start to retreat before our right wing could join us, allowing us to readjust our angle away from the crowd.  It was a learning experience, and after the battle we discussed the action and how to prepare to prevent the Yankees from making such a move again--so for Sunday's battle we were prepared.

The meal offered that evening was quite enjoyable, though a number of the 1st Tennessee--including Capt Sharp--stayed in camp to have some Cowboy stew, which they regretted the next morning.  Though when I and Private Farrelly returned to camp with Cherry cobbler, they couldn't help but make the trek to the mess hall to grab some desserts of their own.

Through the night Saturday I was unable to keep warm, waking on occasion to shiver out enough warmth to drift to sleep again.  Once I woke to hear the sound of rain on my canvas.

A dreary light through the canvas woke me, and eventually I heard the sounds of the 1st Tennessee as they gathered by the campfire.  I gathered myself, tied my cravat, straightened my hair, put on my coat and boots, and trudged out to the fire to give my morning greetings in a grunt that acknowledged their presence.

The day looked to be better than Saturday, with the sun peaking through the clearing skies, but started much colder.

I cooked my breakfast and headed to headquarters to get the day's schedule.

We formed for parade at 10:30, and afterward drilled for about an hour.

We formed for the battle, which was planned to be Jackson's stand at Manassas.

I took the left wing out to the left in an inverted column, bringing them on the left into line once in position.

We pushed down the hill to the Yankee wing and met with solid resistance.  Unable to push, we began to fall back, but soon our lines broke as soldiers fled back.  I reformed the wing behind right-wing, who pushed forward in force to allow us to regroup.  We dressed to the right wing and pushed. When I saw the entire Yankee wing turn to retreat, I ordered us to push, stopping only when the Yankees turned to face us. I thought of ordering the men at the double-quick, but we were already pushing faster than the colors and the right wing.

I let Capt Sharp take the 7th company off on their own to flank the wing--but the Yankees kept falling back before he had the chance.  We pushed all the way to the Yankee artillery, and Capt Sharp took the chance to capture one of the guns.  The Yankees surrendered shortly after.


Article of Event

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Defencing the Line

PERRYVILLE CLEANUP DAY

Perryville, KY

April 23, 2016



We drove down to Perryville, KY and set up camp at the Baymont Inn in Harrodsburg, surviving the night with what sounded like someone sharpening a sword with a grindstone.

We broke camp early, arriving at the Perryville Battlefield at 9 am, meeting with Chad Greene for instructions.  Our simple goal was to progress the battlefield toward its condition at the time of the battle.  Because the actual clean-up day was the same day as our drill, the park set up this special day for cleanup exclusively for us.

One of the piles of wire fencing we removed.
He directed us to a wire fence with barbwire that needed removed.  Expectations were that it would take us the bulk of the day to remove the some three to four hundred yards of fencing, but the thirteen of us worked quickly, completely stripping the wire well before noon, having time to begin work in tearing a barn down.

Part way into the barn demolition
We stopped for lunch, eating hot dogs and chips provided by the caretakers of the battlefield.

We returned to the barn and finished stripping the sides off and removing boards inside.  The wood we saved was to be used in constructing a barn that will be burned down during the reenactment in October.  Once we cleared the construction, Chad Greene lashed a chain to the support beams and had a bobcat pull the barn down.  We finished our work removing the tin roof.

After cleaning up back in Harrodsburg, we made our way to the Kentucky Fudge Factory and relaxed to a quiet evening on the back porch.

We endured another night of sword sharpening, then headed home, stopping at the Lexington Cemetery to see the graves of a number of Confederate soldiers, including a member of the original 1st Tennessee Co B.


Sunday, April 3, 2016

Cold and the Wet

The season of wool and gunpowder opened with battalion drill.  The 44th Tennessee, 1st Tennessee, and a consolidation of the 50th Virginia, 5th Virginia, and 19th Virginia met at Hartford City, Indiana to work out the rust of the winter.

I arrived at camp early Friday, finding our new 1st Sergeant, Jeff Carte, unloading some of his gear.  We set up the fly and I started a campfire, reporting back to Capt Sharp to keep the beast from rearing for failing our duties.

Winds picked up and spurts of rain kept us running to the fly for cover.  A few of us, including Capt Sharp, Pvt Compton, Cpl Cochran, and Pvt Myers decided to try to campaign while the rest of us set up tents.  About three times through the night the campaigners had to move from the fire to under the fly to avoid the rain, returning when the drench passed.  The third time, Pvt Compton moved to his car when the fly collapsed, dumping a bucket on him.

The temperature dropped to freezing, chilling me awake and keeping from a good sleep.

Well had roll call, then formed the battalion.  The winds were high, but sky was clear, though cold.  The companies went separate ways to drill, the 1st staying at the cabins behind a hill, while the other two companies went to the top of the hill into a high gale.

After lunch, the weather turned bad, so we relocated battalion drill to the gymnasium at the Indiana National Guard Armory.  We drilled a number of maneuvers, but the space was limited.  We did finally make it through the day of drill, breaking by mid-afternoon for the weekend.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Last

Hartford City IN

October 10-11, 2015


I arrived at Hartford City late, around 7 pm and set up my camp in the fair evening weather.  With my camp set up, I changed into my major's uniform, including a new coat tailored by Jim Ruley, and headed to officers' call at headquarters where we discussed the scenarios for the weekend.

Saturday morning came early.  Though I was warm in my farby military-surplus sleeping bag, the allergens in the air made the night a bit rough.  I got up and cooked up some bacon and eggs and met for morning call.

We held morning parade at 9 am, then marched out for battle, which was to be the Battle of White Oak Road.  The battle started with the 5th Kentucky (the one from Columbus Ohio) watching guard in the woods.  The 5th KY and 1st Tennessee were the companies of my wing, and while 5th KY fought in the woods and was slowly pushed back, I held the 1st TN in reserve to cover the 5th's retreat.

Eventually we reformed as a complete wing and were pushed back further with a force of Yankees greater than ours.  We were pushed back as far as we could go.  We needed support, and we needed it quickly.  I turned up the field and saw the right wing form up to prepare an advance, but they held fast.  The artillery continued their firing, and I found that the right wing was waiting for a number of artillery rounds to fire before advancing.

When had reached our limit, the right wing began their advance and fired on the enemy.  The Yankees about-faced and retreated.  I took advantage of the retreat and pushed the wing.  I halted early--the right wing hardly had a chance to join the fight, so I didn't want to steal all the glory, but the fight didn't last much longer.  It was only moments later when the Yankees surrendered.

The rest of the day, until the afternoon battle went by with little incident.

The afternoon battle began at 4 pm, with the Battle of Five Forks scenario.  We marched through the field into position to face the Yankees, but were quickly forced back.  The Yankees sent a troop of cavalry around our flank, but I sent the 1st TN to repulse them. Unfortunately, the fight did not go well.  We were forced back, but because we were being pushed on our flank as well our line degenerated into a semi-circle.  As the commands to fall back were shouted, the 5th KY fell straight back, with tunnel-vision to keep from turning their backs on the enemy, not realizing they were not falling back with the battalion, but into the line of fire of the 1st Tennessee.  Shouts from me and from Sgt Major David Julian could not get their attention.  They were a big ball of muskets and soldiers out in isolation, nothing but confusion on their faces.   I would have laughed had I not been so pissed.

They did finally fill the gap in the battalion line that awaited them, though I know not what finally got them motivated.  I wonder if they would have backed all the way into the Union cavalry line, had it not been for mine and Sgt Major Julian's shouts.

We were pushed back into the artillery when we finally surrendered.

A group of us headed up to the front of the park and enjoyed the provided meal, then returned to camp to enjoy a quiet evening around the campfire, interrupted by the entire artillery force of both sides bombarding each other in the night.

Sunday morning we formed for dress parade at 10:30.    We held the election for our adjutant, sergeant major, and ordinance sergeant, all of which were running unopposed.  In order to discuss the order of business, we needed to form the companies close around.  I ordered the 5th KY to right wheel to complete my wing of the formation--and immediately the left wheeled.  I was so shocked by the obvious incorrect response that I glanced down to my arms and asked myself, "Did I give the correct command?"  Let's see--right, left.  Yeah I gave the correct command.  What the hell were they doing?

With the help of Capt Steiner and their sergeant, the 5th KY backed up when I started shouted at them to get them back into position.  But trying to get them back dressed on their 1st sergeant was like pulling the teeth out of a mule.  The concept of a line was completely alien to them.  Five times I shouted, "Dress on your sergeant!" before they finally grasped the concept.  I was glad I didn't consider what I was going to face with them during the battle, with a simple wheel such a conundrum.

Once the election was over, I had Capt Steiner return his men back into battalion line, which fortunately went well.

For the weekend, the 1st Tennessee's 1st Sergeant was brevetted to lieutenant, since Capt Sharp could not attend due to other obligations.  Since this was the last weekend that 1st Sergeant Kletzli would be serving in this role, we decided to leave a little parting gift for him.

Col Linkous ordered Kletzli front and center, and I ordered Sgt Carte to assign a guard detail to escort him.  There, the colonel read the charges of impersonating an officer, along with other charges, whereupon he was further escorted to a firing line.  I brought the 1st TN up and ordered the firing.  I guess I brought them too close, as they elevated a bit and missed.  I ordered again, and they missed again, so we released him.

After parade, Col Linkous and I met with the Federal commander and one of his officers to talk to Fall Creek Sutler.  The man who ran the Hartford City event was retiring this year, having run the event for all of the past 26 years, and a collection had been raised to get him a parting gift.  Enough funds had been raised to get the man a number of things.

The battle scenario was Appomattox .  The colonel split the wings, having us form at different ends of the field.  The colonel sent our flag bearer with our battalion colors (the first national) to me, while he kept a flag bearer with the St Andrew's Cross for the right wing.

The time to form came and I set the colors for the line.  The 5th KY dressed, and then the 1st TN came forward.  Lt Kletzli brought the men up at the right flank and dressed.  The number of rifles for the 1st TN were small enough that I didn't realize they weren't fronted, but it didn't look right, and when I asked Kletzli to take his place in line, he informed me they were at the flank.  I got a little abrupt with the lieutenant asking him what he was doing, and informed he that he knew what he supposed to do, telling him to fix it.  Corporal Silvers expressed excessively extensive concern over Kletzli's behavior, so I took the lieutenant aside.  He had just gotten some disturbing news that was distracting him, but when he told me he fine and would be good for battle, I considered the matter closed and had him return to his company.

The colonel wanted a synchronized advance.  I moved my wing into position at the right flank to await the signal, and ordered "By companies into line" to bring us into a column of companies.  I feel we don't see enough battalion-level maneuvers on the field during battle, so wanted to be at least a little fancy, though there were only two companies.  Unfortunately, the 5th KY mistook the command to come into battalion line after going to company into line, so I had to quickly move redirect the 5th KY back behind the 1st TN, and halted the column.  When the 5th KY dressed behind the 1st TN, they formed closed in mass, leaving no room to wheel, and I doubted they would be able to handle in mass maneuvers, so ordered the 1st TN 4 steps forward to give wheeling distance.  I thought my command was clear that it was for the 1st TN only, but I had to rush around the 1st TN to keep the 5th KY from advancing.

In that position, we waited a few more minutes before the signal to advance came.  Quickly after ordering forward, and commanded the wing forward into line, and the 5th KY maneuvered well into battle line.  We advanced halfway across the field and waged against the Yankees.

As we fought, I saw a potential opportunity to flank the Yankees on their right.  I assessed the situation, be careful not to separate us too much from the right wing, and decided that since the 5th KY was on our far end they would be best positioned to execute the flanking maneuver, and approached Capt Steiner to discuss the plan, and he expressed the same idea.  Unfortunately, just as I was about to order the move, the Yankees must have been reading my lips, because they sent two companies to start flanking us, preventing us from taking the offensive.

We fell back and refused those two companies.  As the right wing fell back, we continued to retreat, but our artillery was continuing their fire.  We backed as far as we could, but the 5th KY informed me that the  guns were still hot--and without markers for the safety zone, it appeared we were right at the edge of safety with those guns, so we held position, unable to fall back any further.  I hoped the guns would cease their firing so we had a place to retreat to, but they kept on.

I had the 5th KY extend our line by forming a single rank, and the two Yankee companies split again to further attempt to flank us.  Impatient, the 5th KY charged the company on our furthest flank.  The company the 1st TN faced was about equal in size, so I could do nothing to support the 5th.  Eventually, the 5th reformed to the 1st and the far Yankee company reformed to their wing.

I received a message from the colonel to reform to the right wing, and sent a response that I would do so as soon as it was convenient, as we were still engaged.  I looked for an opportunity and sent the 1st TN alone to rejoin the battalion, while I had the 5th KY cover the withdrawal.  Once the 1st was in position, I pulled the 5th KY at the double-quick. The battle was over quickly after.

We reformed our line across from the Yankee battalion and we watched surrender at Appomattox Courthouse.

Afterwards, we held a ceremony for Orville Uggen, the organizer for Hartford City, and presented him with the gifts we that the collection had purchased.


Article


Monday, October 5, 2015

Touching the Sacred Grounds

Perryville, KY

October 3-4, 2015


The muck and mire from a week of rain threatened to swallow our vehicles whole as we arrived in Perryville for the weekend.  The air provided a spitting mist that slowly soaked our very being.  Golf carts were deployed to haul our gear from the parking lot to our camp.

The night was cold but having learned from the previous events of the year, I was prepared and comfortable, though I never did fully dry in my A.

Morning came and I realized I had forgotten my plate as I prepared my breakfast of bacon and eggs.  Battalion drill was originally scheduled for nine, but the rain forced cancellation.

Capt Sharp held a staff meeting where we took the time to discuss how we could work further to improve the unit.

Rations were issued and cooked, which included bacon, ham, and beans, providing a fulfilling meal.

Although the threat of rain haunted us the entire day, the sky only stayed darkly overcast, with a few seconds of occasional spitting.

We formed for battle, with various maneuvering drills performed on the way to the battlefield.  Once at the battlefield, we entered battle marching through the artillery and pushed against the Yankees.

Afterward Capt Sharp took us to the goat barn, an area of the battlefield that the park had recently acquired.  The area was where the original 1st Tennessee had fought and were stopped, many of whom buried on those grounds where they fell.  We were the first reenactors in 150 years to have ever set foot on those sacred grounds.  Capt Sharp took us through the hills and gullies where the  soldiers fought.

That night I gathered myself into my sleeping bag and tried to light my candle.  It would fizzle for awhile and go out, wet from the heavy, saturated air.  It took several tries before I was finally able to get light.

Sunday opened to sun and warmth.  After breakfast, we formed up and read letters giving biographies on each of the original soldiers from Company D of the 1st Tennessee.

For the afternoon battle, we again formed up and drilled on the way to the battlefield. The 1st pushed toward the guns, and we eventually overwhelmed the Yankees.

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Curse of the Captain's Coat

Hale Farm

Bath Ohio

August 8-9, 2015

Courtesy Brittany Wellman


Heavy rains accompanied every event where Capt Sharp's new officer's frock was present, including Spring Drill, Sharon Woods, and Ohio Village.  This coincidental harrowing weather left the company to believe that the coat was cursed.  The men offered to donate the cost of the coat if the rains returned for Hale Farm, so that it could be burned in the campfire.

The captain brevetted me to lieutenant for the weekend as we gathered at Hale Farm and Village in Bath Ohio.  1st Sgt Kletzli was unable to attend due to injury, leaving Sgt Jeff Carte to take his place.  I arrived to see Sgt Carte setting the camp, along with Pvt Jon Farrelly.

Trisha Carte identified a perfect location for our campfire--a group of dead stumps.  Pvt Farrelly started to dig a bit of a pit when he noticed a some yellow jackets flying around.  Before he knew it, an entire swarm was gathering around and some started to sting.

As the rest of us received stings, except for Sgt Carte who had stepped away, we realized that the only way we would get a campfire was to spray down the now-exposed ground next with bug spray, after the nest settled enough for us to get close.
Courtesy Brittany Wellman

Once sprayed down and fire blazing on the nest, the rest of the company arrived, giving us about 15 rifles for Saturday.

I slept on the ground in my A, and late into the night the air grew cold, making it difficult to sleep without getting a chill.

Saturday held a tight, though dynamic schedule.  We formed for parade with Medich Battalion, aligning as fourth company, after which we broke to shortly reform for battle, but the battle was delayed.

After the morning battle, we marched out for the cavalry demonstration, where we would form a square and defend against cavalry.  We marched out to the field, only to learn the cavalry had unsaddled their horses and tied them up to cool, so we marched back to camp.

Rations were issued and we scrambled to get lunch together, saving the rations for Sunday and gathering food we brought, for we had less than an hour to form for the afternoon battle.

The sun disappeared to an overcast day, and reports of a thunderstorm in Toledo gave us fear that the curse of the Captain's coat was upon us.  The battle progressed, and we were pushed back.  We lost half our company and Capt. Sharp took a hit, leaving me in charge.  We fell back to a fence line, and the 1st TN survivors got split up as we found positions along the fence to defend ourselves.  There wasn't much for me to do other than run to each of the spread out men and ensure they kept firing.  It wasn't long and the Union cavalry flanked us to the rear, completely surrounding our forces, leaving us no choice but to surrender.  All that remained of the 1st TN at this point was Chad Cochran, brevetted to corporal for the weekend, and I.  We were taken prisoner and escorted off the field, where I turned to Cpl Cochran and told him, "We are the fourth company."

The rains held off, at least, so there was promise that the curse of the Captain's coat might have lost some of its power.

Before we broke back to camps, the Sgt Major asked for volunteers for night guard watch.  Bvt Cpl Andy Enyart volunteered for the 4 to 6 am shift.

For supper, our ladies cooked up an excellent meal.

Later, Lt. Col. Greg Van Wey gathered Medich Battalion together for a "Town Hall" meeting.  There, Capt Sharp told about the 2016 Perryville event to garner interest, but then we had to leave for a meeting with the Ohio Village Yankee commanders to discuss a bit for an after-action report and plans for the 2016 Ohio Village.
Courtesy Hale Farm and Village

I crashed a little early, lying down in my tent with my legs still sticking out, waking hours later in the dark of night, unable to get warm.  After struggling to warm up for an hour, I relocated my gum and wool blankets next to the campfire.

The Sunday schedule was immediately blown with reveille coming a half hour later than originally scheduled.

1st Sergeant's call came at 7 am at the Sgt Major's call.  Upon Sgt Carte's return, he immediately called first call.  Most of the 1st Tennessee was still asleep, so we struggled to get everyone up and awake and geared-up.

Someone got the weather report and it looked like there would be rain in the afternoon, about the time of the battle.  We feared that the curse of the Captain's coat might still hold, and discussed the plans for burning the coat.

We marched out to a ceremony for Col Nick Medich.  This was his last event as the leader of Medich Battalion as command was transferred to Col Greg Van Wey.  The Yankee brigade joined the ceremony as all of us passed in review.

We returned to camp and given a short break, then reformed to present the Appomattox surrender scenario.  We waited--apparently the Yankees were on a different schedule--then marched out and waited some more.  And then we were marched back to camp.

Finally our schedule synced up with the Yankees and we marched up to the Hale House and made our surrender, dropping our packs and weapons, and signing and returning home.

Courtesy Hale Farm and Village
We had about an hour break before we had to reform for battle, though we had a bit more waiting as our schedule seemed a bit off again.

We were marched to the far side of the battlefield to advance down upon the Yankee formations.  After a fashion, the Yankees pushed us back, and the numbers of the 1st Tennessee steadily declined.

Capt. Sharp took a hit, and Sgt Carte announced, "Captain down," telling me that I was now in command.  I checked on the captain, since the battalion was not moving at the moment, then took the captain's position.

We were pushed back further.  Capt Sharp struggled up and wandered the field like a dazed and confused injured soldier, going down upon a volley from the Yankees.  Sgt Carte told me, "He likes to be such an actor."

We were pushed back to the fence, before we finally finished the battle.  We then returned to camp, where we were released.

And with that, not a drop of rain touching us, the curse of the Captain's coat was broken.