Monday, September 12, 2011

Assault at the Fort

Fort Recovery, September 12-11, 2011

I did not get much Euchre in this weekend, but it was an excellent time anyhow.  About the only cards I got in was about half a game before each of the battles.

Much of the time spent was with chatting with each other in camp, which was good since I think I am nearing burn-out.  I still have an event every weekend through the second weekend of October.

Saturday battle went far longer than I expected, and was probably the longest for the season so far.  A bridge occupied the middle of the battlefield, with a creek flowing through, dividing the field and providing a spectacular objective.  The event hired some pyrotechnics for simulating artillery hits to go with the cannon fire, and these guys were serious with their explosives, as dirt was nearly constantly raining down on us.  We advanced down the main hill toward the bridge, held by the Yankee forces.  Numbers were not huge—a little smaller than Reynoldsburg—but this is only the second year for the event.

We advanced on the bridge and were pushed back—the fighting was intense.  I had around 60 rounds stuffed in my cartridge box and completely emptied them out.  The battle finally ended with our surviving forces having to scavenge rounds from the casualties.  Now that is when a battle becomes memorable.

Artillery night-fire is common at the events, and Fort Recovery was no different.  But this was enhanced with a spectacular fireworks display set up to respond to artillery fire.

A Sunday morning tactical was planned, and I was looking forward to it, but the heavy rain Saturday evening made us fear that the Yankees would bail.  Our forces had something special planned for the Yankees for this tactical, but the event coordinators were the ones who canceled it—so I cannot blame the Yankees this time—as they told us that the grounds that were to be used for the tactical had turned into swampland.

Sunday battalion parade began with charges being filed against Cpl Moore for fraternizing with the enemy.  A card had been found in his gear inviting him to a date with Abraham Lincoln.  And his judgment became set when Mr. Lincoln himself approached the battalion to pin an award on Moore’s lapel.  Moore’s reaction was priceless, since he had no warning.  After the battalion drill, a tribunal was held to determine Moore’s guilt to the charges, with Moore, a lawyer in civilian life, defending himself.  In true attorney fashion, Cpl Moore offered an astounding off-the-cuff defense, claiming to have been co-counsel for Mr. Lincoln on a case prior to the war.  With proper argument, this could have saved him—but his sentence had already been determined, and with a raise of hands from a majority of the 1st’s (including Cpl Moore’s) guilt was determined.  He was placed in front of a bail of straw and blindfolded.  And upon a company volley, he fell dead to the ground.

Moore is quite the ham.

Sunday battle was even better than Saturday, since this time the Confederacy would claim victory.  Our battalion boxed the Yankee forces at the bridge, given them only one exit across the other side of the creek.  The 1st Tennessee charged the Yankee force to push them, General Jackson style, over the bridge.  Our four companies advanced across the bridge, with each company (starting with ours) firing a volley, and then wheeling by platoon to allow the next company through.  After all companies passed us, our two platoons wheeled back into company line and about-faced to advance forward through the other companies, only to find ourselves somehow inverted within our platoons.  Capt. Evens quickly corrected the situation with an “Uncluster yourselves” command.  We were supposed to stop at the end of the bridge to fire another volley, but an opportunity presented itself and Capt Evens ordered us into a double-quick and charged an artillery piece.  I have never seen an artillery unit retreat with their weapon like that unit did—it was a smaller gun, and thus lighter, so the men were able to grab the carriage and run with it.  It was a bit tough to catch up to them—it was hard to believe that a cannon could be moved as fast as they moved it—but in the end we succeeded in capturing the gun.  The battle continued with us to the rear of the Yankee force, forcing their further retreat.  At the end, we faced and advanced against my old Yankee unit—the 4th OVI.

I did not visit any of the three sutlers there as my need was limited and the distance from the Confederate camp was long (Yankees had a nice short stroll, though).  The Confederates again outnumbered Yankees, but hopefully with the great efforts the event coordinators put, we can find this growing next year with more reenactors and more sutlers.  Lt. Sharp expressed his satisfaction for the event, and I know we all enjoyed it, so it is likely this will be a strong event for us next year.

Video of Battle

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