Monday, October 14, 2013

Gettysburg in Indiana

Hartford City, IN

October 12-13, 2013 

Everything written here are my sole opinions and observations and do not represent the opinions or observations of anyone else or any organization. 

The weekend started at Hartford City with the annual wooden State of Indiana plaque deposited in my car to be added to my Indiana mosaic now plastering my wall at home.  I set my camp with the 1st Tennessee, reporting in later with the colonel to let him know of my arrival. 

The weekend schedule was full, with both a morning and evening battle.  A night battle was scheduled for the first time, as well, but we were uncertain as to how that would work, since the artillery night fire was scheduled that evening, followed by the dance, which was scheduled to be on site--on the battlefield--for the first time. 

Saturday morning opened with battalion parade--before I could get an adequate supply of coffee into my bloodstream.   My mind was a bit sluggish so messed up a few things in parade, but we got by.  We ran through some drill, then went straight to the battlefield for the morning battle. 

The battle went well and pretty much as planned.  We had a little down-time between battles--a chance to make future plans and talk with spectators as they came through our camps.  

Culp's Hill was the scenario for the  afternoon battle, and it definitely had a better result than the Culp's Hill scenario at the Gettysburg 150th.   We advanced by division, with Lt Col Clark taking the right wing up against dismounted cavalry, and I taking the left wing against the hill's center.  We pushed forward and fell back several times.  I kept expecting the Yankees to push beyond the fence in the confusion of our regrouping, but never did they leave the security of their fence.    Col Julian stayed with my wing, but he took a bit of a hands-off approach with me--merely giving me the actions to take, and letting me take command of the wing, being there to be my crutch.  It was the thrill to feel like I was expanding to the next level. 

That evening the 1st Tennessee enjoyed a simple stew together.  Some provided various cookies for desert.  I brought some homemade applesauce.  It was a good meal and a good time together. 

Afterward, Capt Sharp, Sgt Kletzli, and I slipped over to the camp of the 4th Ohio Co B, where we discussed some ideas and rudimentary plans for next year.  The meeting went well, and I think we all are looking forward to that which is to come in 2014. 

The artillery night fire filled the field, and apparently the night battle occurred during the night fire, as we could see the silhouettes of various lines with muskets firing across the field.  And although the ball was marked to take place on the battlefield, it was apparently relocated back to its regular location at the 4H building on the county fairgrounds. 

Sunday morning started early as we hoped to get the Yankees incited to join us for the scheduled tactical, but orders were given for the Yankees not to participate so as to not wear themselves out for the memorial service for one of there own who had fallen recently.  We trampled through the nearby woods and fire a few shots off.  Capt Steiner brought out his double-barreled shotgun with some extra powder to be our mobile artillery, rattling the frame of the Yankee cabins with each shot. 

We joined the Yankees for the memorial service.  Words were given and the service was concluded with battalion volleys, using rounds that contained the ashes of their comrade.  The Yankees fired their volley first, with the commander ordering, "Ready, Aim," a series of booms, and finishing with a bit of an embarrassed "Fire", and a final boom.  

At least the Confederates were able to show them how it is done, the entire battalion firing as one. 

The afternoon battle was simple--Pickett's Charge.  Again we split the battalion into two divisions, with Lt Col Clark leading the charge with the right wing, and I leading the left wing.  We advanced forward in spurts of about twenty yards, paused to straighten the lines, then advanced again.  As we reached the crest of the last hill we reformed the battalion and fired a few rounds.  I instructed the captains of the left wing that we needed to start taking serious casualties, but few took hits, so when I returned to the front of my wing to lead them in the final advance, I went down when the Yankee battalion fired, hoping to give the rest to start taking serious hits. 

It was a terrific weekend--and a great way for the 1st Tennessee and Independent Guard Battalion to end the year, though my year is not yet over.

Video of Saturday afternoon battle

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