March 23-24, 2013
The regimental meeting had brought back the taste of wool and the desire to wear it. Hurricane WV came and offered that chance to get that wool fix.
I arrived early on Friday, setting up camp with the 5th KY. It was a cold day—unlike our experience from the year before. Jeff Carte was not going to be arriving until late, so he gave me his tent to set up.
The 5th KY and I meandered out to the Hill Billy Hot Dog—the place we discovered at Guyandotte last year. With only a half hour drive, there was not much problem getting out to it. They remembered us from last year—this will likely be our regular semi-annual feasting place.
Somewhere in setting things up I lost the heel plate from one of my brogans, but fortunately the sutler—Riverside—who had sold me heel plates at Guyandotte when I lost my other heel plate was there to attach the slab of metal.
That night was cold—I was bundled up as tight as I could, but the zipper of my army sleeping bag had stuck—so I had to fight with keeping the bag closed underneath the seventy blankets I had on top of me. But I managed to make it through without any frostbite. Someone said the temperature had dropped to the teens during the night.
Biscuits and gravy with potatoes waited for us at breakfast. It was a decent experience.
I was under the impression this was the 5th’s spring drill, but though the did drill, it was no different than a normal drill at any event. But at least we did drill.
We fought the battle in the valley against a hill, pushing the few Yankees back, flanking them up the hill—though only Capt Steiner and a few others of us were will to tredge up the hill. I got volunteered by Jeff Carte when Capt Steiner shouted down the hill for volunteers to follow him up. The only issue I ran into was with Christine—my musket. I had greased the lockplate up so well for the winter that the hammer would not click when going to half-cock or full cock. It was perfectly silent—I had to guess at the right position and hoped it would hold. I cleaned off that excess grease immediately following the battle.
We saw a mix of units there—one unit seemed okay as far as what they were doing, but several others scared us. One unit lined up beside us on the path as we waited to enter the battle, and when their commander ordered, “Front,” he qualified it with “Now when I say, ‘Front,’ I mean that I want you to form a single rank toward me. Since I had my ear plugs in, I was not sure I had actually heard right, so I turned to the private in front of me and asked him. “You had heard right,” he said, with the same of surprise as I had.
The end of the battle brought another shocker to me—I learned a new command as the color company passed us returning to their camp. From Color Company, I heard their sergeant shout, “Prepare to halt,” followed with “Halt!” I wonder if the also have “Prepare to right face” or “Prepare to march”.
That night we spent our time around the campfire, reminiscing of past events and planning for the coming events, along with laughing and joking. I missed these times, even if only a few short months ago, and was glad to be back into it.
Saturday night was much warmer than Friday, and I was able to fix my zipper. But the morning brought with it a serious threat for rain, so everyone dropped canvas early. We were all packed by around 10 am, and many already started leaving, expecting rain to hit about the time for battle. We were hearing of 6 to 8 inches of snow back home. We paid $10 to be here, and it did not sound like a fun way to finish the weekend. Capt Steiner, Susan DellaFlora, Jeff Carte, and I were the last of the 5th KY to leave, waiting for the last of our fire to die, shortly before noon.