|Posted by Robert VanderPlate on August 18, 2017 at 5:45 PM||comments (1)|
I will suffice this report as reported so well by the adjutant. I will add that it was a pleasure to have the 149th join us for the weekend. Very nice time enjoyed by all and as most eveyone there from our company had not been there before, I believe they will all want to return next year.
Capt. Bob VanderPlate
I bring you Major Petro's greetings and compliments on a job well done this weekend at Renfrew. While not a brigade event, in attendance was a good portion of second regiment: 1st PA Reserves; 149th PA; 142nd PA, Co F; and the 11th PA. We also had the 28th PA from the Mifflin Guard join us. The 7th WV was represented by Captain mallow, who was on hand Friday night and Saturday morning for the tactical, working as a staff officer, a job he carried out with great energy and enthusiasm. The battalion was under the command of Major Petro, while Colonel Swope is home on furlough.
The weekend started off early....very early....Saturday morning as we formed up and set picket lines to gather information and counter whatever the Confederates had in store for the tactical. The 1st Reserves, 149th, and 28th were close to camp on the west side of Antietam Creek while the 142nd and 11th set up in the woods on the far side of the creek. The Confederates lost no time in hitting the companies near camp hard, begrudgingly driving them back. Major Petro commented that those soldiers formed a stout picket line that only gave way when faced with overwhelming force, allowing the remainder of the brigade to prepare to meet the Confederates. The 1st Reserves and 149th managed to make it back to the main body while the 28th PA was cut off. Though after awhile, they were able to rejoin the fight. In the woods, the 142nd and 11th had a rather different experience. Two young ladies were on a "stroll" that morning and come into our picket line. Such a ruse was quickly recognized and the ladies were taken back to Union camp and "invited" to spend the morning (at least until the firing started) as "guests" of the brigade musicians (who were the only soldiers left in camp). Later, it was reported that the ladies tried multiple times to escape, but were thwarted by the musicians. Meanwhile, the Confederate soldiers following the ladies were pounced upon by the pickets of the 142nd and 11th. Compliments to those two companies for having a picket line concealed such that neither the Confederate ladies or soldiers realized it was there until our soldiers were upon them.
The fighting went on through the morning with some retreating and advancing (but more retreating) until the Union forces (now combined together as a brigade) had lured the Confederates into one heck of a trap. Two Union companies retreated, leapfrogging each other as they did, drawing the Confederate column down a wide, grassy path with a corn field on one side and woods on the other. Finally, with our backs to the end of the path and the Confederates thinking they had us cornered, a volley from an entire wing hidden in the trees ripped forth into the flank of the Confederates, causing many Rebs to jump and others to take hits because, well, when one is ambushed in such overwhelming style, what more can one do.
There was a break and then the tactical continued with a "Burnside's Bridge" start to the scenario, the bridge being the one in the rear of Union camp. Second Regiment decided to once again enter the woods and outflank the Confederates. We came upon their pickets and pushed them, finally ourselves getting tangled in the woods enough to force us out into the open of the electrical lines right-of-way. Once there, our dismounted Cav came upon us and we together pushed the Confederates on our front. Soon, we saw other Confederates in our more distant front, their backs to us and being pushed by a wing of First Regiment. We thought we had 'em and the boys let out a cheer! But then, like angry bees coming out of a kicked nest, Confederates came pouring from the woods on our front and all fell upon Second Regiment, pushing us back and cutting us off, soon after which the cease fire sounded ending the second tactical. The overall Confederate commander came up to us and complimented our tactics, saying we had them in quite a pinch, so he chose to break out towards us and threw almost his entire force against Second Regiment. The lads performed like disciplined veterans, moving quickly and standing tall as long as possible.
After another rest, there was a third tactical in the field which allowed the artillery to join the fun. Thereafter, there was a relaxing afternoon for the men and civilians. One of many enjoyable moments during that afternoon was the holding of a stacking arms competition among three squads, one each from the 1st Reserves, 28th PA, and 142nd PA, Co. F. As this was a quickly put together event, the only requirement was that the stacks stay up. Each squad, stacking arms three times and the total of all times being taken to determine a winner, had both excellent and needs-more-work stacks; but, the 28th PA prevailed in the end. There was much fun, and for some reason heckling of our Russian judge (all true olympic-type competitions must include a Russian judge). This may not be the last of the stacking arms competitions, and more will be required in the future than the stack simply not falling down. (Hint-hint!)
After a quick and drenching thunderstorm, a pleasant night was had by all.
Sunday brought dress parade with the Confederates, and a relaxing morning before falling in at 12:30 for the afternoon battle in the field. The soldiers in the ranks are complimented for the incredible volley while clearing weapons. It was truly outstanding and rang as a single cannon shot would through the woods and fields surrounding. The adjutant, however, could not quite contain his glee at such a display and subsequently forgot that after order arms comes "In place, REST," (not, as he called, "Shoulder, ARMS") causing much deserved laughter. The final battle was well fought with many causalities on both sides.
Major Petro would like to thank the men for their excellence in the field all weekend. It was a fun weekend, with lots of hard fighting and many laughs. Thank you to all who came out.
Next up, Cedar Creek.
Your humble and obedient servant,
Lt. Brian Curtis
|Posted by Robert VanderPlate on July 19, 2017 at 11:00 AM||comments (0)|
After Action report of Sgt. Kyle Sabol:
I arrived shortly after 1st Sgt Farmer (or this weekend, Private Farmer) and the Halton clan. Luckily for me, when I got there the Battalion was just finishing up drill. After briefly catching up with everyone, we reported to the 93rd PA under Captain Shirk who also had a few dismounted cavalry. We formed the company around 10:40 and we marched off to our position for battle. We were to defend a small “railroad bridge” from the Confederates who outnumbered us about 6 to 1. The 61st PA were on our far left flank preventing the Confederate cavalry from using the trails in the wood line to flank us. Of course, like most cavalry does, they used their horses to muscle through the union line. We advanced against some dismounted cav until 3 more companies of Confederate infantry appeared on the field. Out of nowhere, some New York boys joined the battle along the old fence line and slowed the extra Confederate forces for a little while. We were eventually driven back to the railroad bridge to make our last stand. The Confederate cavalry, (totally ignoring us), after volley after volley tied rope onto the bridge and drug it off, destroying it. There was about a 10 minute pause and our Drummer Boy Jack showed up! We reset the battlefield and prepared for another fight. Now, we were positioned along the fence line with the 61st to our left. We held our positions against outrageous odds. Our line slowly started to deteriorate from casualties. Private Halton attempted to make a run for it, but was shot by the 1st Sgt from the 61st. I attempted to run for cover as well, but was apprehended by the Major and forced back to the front lines. Jack, the brave lad that he is, went around to the dead and wounded and collected rounds for those still on the line. The fighting continued, until almost no union soldier was left. Major Monzi was hit and went down, seeing an opportunity, I took off, hoping to live to fight another day. As I passed the lifeless lump that used to be Private Halton, I looked back and saw Private Farmer limping off the field. I believe we were the only survivors. With the Union line utterly decimated a cease fire was called and companies reformed to clear weapons. We were dismissed and Company D rested under the shade of some trees to cool down. Once we were rested, we decided to go into Gettysburg for lunch and shopping since there was nothing else planned for the day. 1st Sgt Farmer decided to stay behind and toured the historic buildings at Union Mills. Heidi, myself and the Haltons drove into town and spent a few hours there going through several shops and of course, ending the day at Mr. G’s ice cream! Over all, it was an ok event, despite the low numbers on the Union side. The battle was alight, but it’s main saving grace is being so close to home. If we have better numbers next year, it might be worth doing again.
Sgt. K. Sabol
|Posted by Robert VanderPlate on May 30, 2017 at 8:20 AM||comments (0)|
Well, another parade under our belts. I'm not sure how many of these we've done, but it's many! Last year's parade was cancelled due to rain, so I think they organizers were determined to make this one work. All together we had about 15 in our company which included the civilians. It wasn't raining while we waited to start, just a fine mist, but then as we started to march a drizzle set in and lasted the entire time. We loaded just as we stepped off - got around the block and fired our first round. From then on we loaded and rammed paper, then went to 'secure arms' in order to keep our powder dry. The parade was well attended and had a few new attendees - Ronald McDonald on a high unicycle was one, and a new tracked armored artillery piece of some sort was another. Our friends, the Bucktails, bagged out this time (not sure why - they gave me no notice) but we were fine on our own anyway. We stopped and fired about a dozen times before reaching the end, and when we passed by the reviewing stand, for the first time they actually got our unit right since the Bucktails weren't there. Lots of spectators and lots of applause after we fired. After a wet, but warm and long march, we got to the cemetary and started walking back to the American Legion for lunch. As always, they had a nice lunch for us and it was nice to sit and dry out a bit. About 12:30, the Chaplain, the Haltons, and I, were the last of our group to leave the Legion. Another 5 blocks to the car (or was it 20:P) and we were headed home. All in all, a good parade in spite of the rain. Looking forward to this years Remembrance Day Parade.
Capt. Bob VanderPlate
|Posted by Robert VanderPlate on May 8, 2017 at 10:55 AM||comments (0)|
Well, another CCFM event under our belts, and what a time it was. It was rainy, windy, cold, and more importantly, FUN! In spite of the rather unpleasant weather, we had some really good fun. Brian F. and myself were the only ones there Friday night, and we spent time talking around the campfire. It was a reasonably nice evening, especially compared to the rest of the weekend. Saturday morning arrived with the 1st Sgt. arriving just in time for dress parade - that made 3 of us for dress parade. We "threw in" with the 93rd for the whole weekend (or they threw in with us), and we ended up with the largest unit there due to that. As the moring wore on, more folks arrived and we ended up with about 7 in our ranks including officers. With the inclusion of the 93rd, 1st company had about 13 in it. The rains came that morning along with the newcomers, and the tactical battle that we always look forward to was cancelled. So around 2 o'clock, we started the scripted battle for the spectators and the rain held off. It was a bit better than the usual battle in that we added the "fort" to the scenario. We had some good spectator turnout and they all seemed to enjoy "the show". We got back to camp and relaxed - played 'kubb' and cards, and at about 6 p.m. went for our chicken dinner. I hope they continue to do that because it was fantastic. After supper we gathered from the cold in my wall tent with my heater going and enjoyed a long game of '31'. What a lot of fun. We were all pretty tired and rapped things up around 9:30. My hat's off to the Thompson's for braving the rain,wind and cold in a dog tent! The next morning Kyle, Heidi, and their friend Andy showed up in time for dress parade. The morning was nicer than Saturday and we thought we'd get in a tactical battle, but it was decided not to bother. So we spent the morning making breakfast, staying warm by the fire, playing 'kubb', and doing some much needed drill. So the battle started at 1:00 and we had 9 in our company plus 4 from the 93rd. As scripted battles go, this one was great. It actually ended up being a tactical - scripted battle and had a few unexpected engagements such as the capturing of one of our guns and a flank attack from some dismounted cavalry. We were done by 1:45 and about out of rounds by then. We marched back to camp and started packing up; they let us start driving in at 2:00 and it was all very smoothly done. At about 3:30 I pulled out the gate and was home around 5.
As the CCFM event goes, this one was wet and lacked the usual tactical battle, but due to the rain, it couldn't be helped - it was raining very hard at noon. Still, we made the best of it and had fun. Our newest "fresh fish" had a great time as well and are looking forward to the next event. I look forward to attending next year.
Capt. Bob VanderPlate
|Posted by Robert VanderPlate on August 29, 2016 at 1:45 PM||comments (0)|
Submitted by Capt. V.
This was a great event, as usual. It was hot, but not like Bull Run. We had the same camp site as last year and some nice shade. Friday, when we arrived, we were told that there was a burn ban and we could't have fires! Well, there went supper! So we campaigned it . . . and went to Wendy's! Nice cool night to sleep. Beautiful morning, but got warm quickly. We had "colors" at 9, and a tactical battle at 10:30. The tactical was great. We were detached from the main body and sent around to the right in an attempt to flank the rebs. It was perfectly timed! When we finally found them, they thought they had the best of us by being on the high ground - next to the canal. All it did was to trap them (unless they wanted to go swiming!). Co. D ended up charging up the slop of the canal through some very dense undergrowth and ended up in their rear. With the main body in their front, and us in the rear, they had only one thing to do - surrender! (or die) What a blast! And poor Lt. Herbster found himself stuck up to his ankles in mud trying to get up that stinking embankment (a real trooper!). We all ended up spending much of the rest of the morning picking "boogy lice" off our uniforms!
At lunch time, we ended up have what we would have dad for supper - beef pie and Martha Washington's boiled fish recipe! That fish was awsome - produced the chef Kyle Sabol. We're doin' that one again! The afternoon battle was . . . . . zzzzzzzzzz. Should have stayed in camp and gotten a nap. But you know, it's really not the spectator battles that we go to this event for. It's more the tacticals and camp life - as well as the interaction with the spectators.
Moving on to the next battle on Sunday, we ended up with only 3 muskets, so we were thown in with the dismounted cavalry and went out as skirmishers. That was moderately fun (and hot). Ultimately we won the battle and left a lot of rebs lying dead on the field. So they won day one, and we day two.
It was a nice weekend with games of "kubb", scum, and "31", and good food and fellowship. Oh, and VanderPlate's Vigilates won 2nd place in the triathalon and we received some turkey bacon and Lebanon bologna. Congratulations Steve, Austin, Jonathan, and Kyle! I'm proud of you! (we only missed 1st place by about 21 seconds) So, folks, please plan on attending next year!
Capt. Bob V
|Posted by Robert VanderPlate on August 29, 2016 at 1:30 PM||comments (0)|
Report submitted by Capt. V
I'm a bit late with this report, but considering the events, there wasn't a great rush to do it. Bull Run can be summed up with one word: HOT!!!! It was a miserable event with little redeming value. It was just too hot to do much of anything. We sat around camp MELTING and drinking gatorade. The battles were fair at best and we were marched so far and took so long to get to our destination that it hinged on criminality and torture. Had we been alowed to form up later and make a straight line march to the battle, we might have faired better. We did have dress parade on both mornings and even went into drill right after. It was hot, but General Henson was understanding enough to keep it short - and we DID need the drill. But in spite of the heat, it's always a good event when Co. D gets together and enjoys eachothers fellowship.
As for Reamstown, there's not much to say. It was hot too, but we were under the trees, and that made it tolerable. The folks of the historic society appreciated out presence, and gave us a free lunch. We talked with spectators and played some "kubb". We had a couple of chickens on a spit and folks were facinated by that. So we ate our lunch and soon after, the clouds appeared and the word was, it was a bad storm. We started to pack up and the event was cancelled; as we packed, the rain started, but fortunately, there was no lightning and we didn't get soaked. The plan at this time, is to try this event again next year and see how it goes.
Capt. Bob V
|Posted by Robert VanderPlate on July 15, 2016 at 3:10 PM||comments (1)|
July 15, 2016
I'll keep this short . . . the weather was great; low humidity and temps in the low 80's. The Federals had about 80 men, the Rebs had about 50. The battles were boring on the Federal side - completely static with the only saving grace that the Colonel basically gave command to the company commanders and didn't "micro manage" us. The Rebs had most of the fun. They were able to do some maneuvering in the field and charge our positions. They were so light in numbers that we ended up sending some "galvanizers" over. The artillery were great and did a fantastic job - they saved the event, if you ask me. One of the things that made this event interesting was that the artillery did a live fire demo of a mortar (with probably only a quarter of the charge). Then they did an explosion, the likes of which I have never encountered before! It was so huge that we could feel the concussion all the way in Federal camp! It even came with a mushroom cloud! The first one they did made me think that a caison blew up. Lots of spectators at this one. The camping was good, especially if you like seeing your vehicle all the time - very authentic. The "General" was also very authentic running around on his golf cart. As events go, this one had a particular redeeming value to it: the comradery of our company! Throw out all the stupid "farbie" garbage - we had fun just being together. four of our folks were given their "medical examinations", including the little midget that was "over 18" (little Roy Wulf). Friday night we went to town and had ice cream at Mr. G's. And you know, we only played one game of Kubb the entire weekend - we were having so much fun with everything else, there wasn't much time for games. Oh, and this was the first weekend with the "new" trailer - it failed miserably - "fishtailing" over 45mph. Needless to say, the driving was a slow go! Hopefully I'll have that cured by Bull Run. The best part for me, though, was that the new "comissary committee" came through with flying colors and we ate very well! That saved me a lot of agrivation - thank you soooo much folks!!
So, as far as "farbie" events go, this was classic! But who cares! It was FUN! So what if we do some stupid events now and then, as long as we have a great time together!
Capt. Bob V
|Posted by Robert VanderPlate on June 15, 2016 at 9:10 AM||comments (0)|
June 15, 2016
For this event, I had no great expectations. The best part of this event is the location and the atmosphere of being in an old town. Myself, Chaplain Mills, and Cpl. Sabol arrived Friday afternoon around 2:00 and found that there were only 3 units from the FVB registered. Our total numbers for the weekend: @18. Well, we got set up and found that our spot was really very nice - level, shady, and a little stream beside us that gave us a little comfort in the way of washing hands and cooling your feet. Lt. Cornwell showed up @ 4 and about 5:30 the 4 of us went to Hoss's for dinner. Matt and Nicole, Shawn and Amanda showed up later and after setting up, we sat around chatting, enjoying the cool weather (that was about to change!). I was in bed by about 10 and fell asleep really fast.
At 6 a.m. I woke up and got a fire going for coffee and such. The day started with the usual morining reports being sent in and preparing for dress parade. This weekend we formed up with the 138th and together we numbered 12 plus officers. The 61st had a few others (from the 93rd?) show up and help fill their ranks. So that was what the FVB supplied for troops at this event. By this time the Halton clan showed up and were set up by 9:00. We went up to dress parade where we fell in with the "Birney's" battalion. And surprise! My old friends from Vincent's Brigade - Bill Taylor and Mark Stewart were there - Bill commanding. They both came out of retirement and ended up in Birney's - who would have thought. We finished dress parade then went out for battalion drill. It went well, but the day was getting hotter and stickier by the minute. We finished drill all hot and sweaty, got back to camp and cooled down, then played some Kubb. After lunch we prepared for the battle and stepped off around 1:30. HOT, HOT, HOT! I don't have any idea WHY, but the Lt. Col. marched us up to the far tree line by the "fort" and promptly inverted us! From that point on, the battle was a wreck! He not only inverted us by wing, but my front rank became my rear rank as well! We even talked about this at the officers meeting and he assured us that it would work. Well, it worked to a degree, but could have been much better and smoother had we stayed aligned! But anyway, having secured the fort from a small company of rebs, we held it. Our artillery hammered away at an advaning battalion of rebs and the 61st was sent out as skirmishers to attack them too. After a while the rebs drew off only to be reenforced by a larger battalion. That's when our inverted line got more inverted as we filed out of the fort to engage them. I had been in the left wing - now I'm in the right wing!! And, I'm the extreme right of the line now. What a mess! So we hamered away at what was in our front. The orders were: no caualties in the field - wait until we're back in the fort. So after about 10 munutes, we filed back into the fort and took up our previous positions. The men were running out of rounds and they started taking hits. After another 5 minutes of firing, the cease fire was called. We reformed CORRECTLY and cleared our weapons. Our route of movement took us through the shady part of the field - 10 minutes later we were back in camp. Generally speaking, the battle was okay and the spectators didn't know any different. They seemed quite pleased with the show.
Now to keep this simple I'll encapsulate the rest - Sunday was basically a repeat of Saturday with "Doc" of the 138th commanding the company. Richard and I sat it out and just started packing up the camp. But back to Saturday evening, though . . . we all "dressed up" and went to a restaurant. We made reservations and could only get in at 7:30! It was packed! But the best part was that it was like the Dobbin House in G'burg - the modern folks were the ones out of place - we fit right in with the atmosphere of the inn. We enjoyed that very much and decided that we need to go back to Bedford next year. Now, one further note - Sunday we had church in the old log church building and Chaplain Renee was the speaker. I've heard him on many occassions, but this time he was amazing! That service was just what the doctor called for and everyone had a great time! His message was "dying to be married", and I'll let you think about that. But the music by the 46th Logan Guard was great, Renee's wife, Romey was great on the piano, and the singing was awsome. Our own Chaplain Mills read scripture and gave two prayers and I don't think I've seen him at his peak like this time. To me, that service capped off a great weekend!
After the battle at 2:00 (done @3), we all packed up and were on the road around 4 or so. The weather Sunday was much better and very breezy and that made the battle and the packing so much easier. And so the OBV event was a great success and worth doing again next year.
Capt. Bob V
|Posted by Robert VanderPlate on June 6, 2016 at 5:45 PM||comments (0)|
June 6, 2016
After action report of Gilmore's Raid
Submitted by Capt. Bob VanderPlate
Well, this is our first time back to Jerusalem Mill in a number of years and I'd say it went very well. So far this year we haven't had one event that didn't get rained on. This one was no exception! I arrived around noon Friday with Cpl. Sabol about an hour behind. Due to personal reasons, the Chaplain was unable to attend. So for the first 5 hours or so, the corporal and I set up camp - including setting up the Marque tent - just the two of us. A few of the folks from the 138th showed up and they went straight to work setting up their camp. More of our folks started showing up and we got supper going (hamburgers ala' VanDerPlaats). It was MOIST in camp and we were all quite warm from the humidity. It drizzled on and off all afternoon, but fortunately, we had most of the canvas up and the rain was of no consequence. Richard and I had a meeting to attend at 8, and we went down to the tavern and got all the "bugs" ironed out for the next day. That's when I found out that the 8 a.m. weapons inspection didn't really apply to the Federals since we were no going to be doing any engagment until 2 p.m. We got back to camp where a lively game of Kubb was being played. The boys dared to ask me to play so they could show me how badly they could beat me and the Lt., so we accepted. Well, we played 2 games, and I'll just leave it at that. By the time I went to bed, around 10 (I was exhausted), about 8 of us were in camp.
Woke up around 6 the next morning, got a fire going for some coffee, and before long others were waking up and we started "de-farbing" the camp. The DNR officer, Robert, introduced himself, and I was extremely pleased and surprised at how accomodating he was - no starch in his shorts! Very nice fellow - I look forward to working with him again next year. Got the weapons inspection time taken care of and started on breakfast. Pancakes were the order, and I believe we had just enough. By about 10 or so, most of the rest of the company showed up and all toll, with the officers included, we had about 16 on the line. The 138th had about 5, but I let them go out as their own unit in a skirmish order. We had dress parade at 11:30 and it went very well and looked good (we could really use a drummer and fifer). We were about to go out for drill after the parade, but things got busy elsewhere, so we suspended the drill (we're so good, anyway, why drill!). We got lunch out and relaxed for a while - we played some horse shoes and Kubb and around 1:00 we walk a short distance to the general store where the rebels were going to raid. The Rebs showed up and we harassed them within reason and they moved off without a shot beig fired. The spectators had a nice time with it and we went back to our horse shoes. At about 1:40 we formed up and headed into the tree line where we waited for the rebs to show up. The battle started around 2:00 and we pulled out of the trees and laid into the enemy with a great force of energy. They out numbered us with their mounted cavalry, but we out numbered them with infantry. We pushed them hard towards the general store but eventually exposed our flanks - that lead to the mounted cav flanking us on both ends and forcing us back into the woods for security. At that, the battle ended, and the spectators gave us a round of applause. We cleared our weapons and headed back to camp to relax for the rest of the afternoon.
We played some more Kubb and horse shoes and had dinner around 5:15 (which was chili and rice and was quite good). At about 7 we sauntered over to the tavern where the folks of the park had an incredible "spread" for us. For our $5 registration fee, they put about $15 worth of food and drink in front of us! All kinds of finger sandwiches and fruit and cookies and even sangria! A number of us went upstairs where there was a table to sit at and we played a game of "31". PJ, the Confederate adjutant came up to chat and mentioned that there was some really bad weather coming in over night. After checking it all out on our various phones, I decided it was time to make a hasty retreat for home. We stayed a little while longer and enjoyed the live music from a Celtic band, but then made our regrets and bid farwell to our friends. We packed up by 10:00 and were off, and the Gilmore's Raid event, for us, was over.
Overall, a great event, and only the weather made it less than perfect. I look forward to it being better next year with better participation from the Federals.
Capt. Robert VanderPlate
|Posted by Robert VanderPlate on May 9, 2016 at 5:55 PM||comments (0)|
From the desk of Capt. VanderPlate, Monday, May 9, 2016
Well, another CCFM event under our belt. The first event without our dear friend Rob Wingert - he was missed!
Myself, Rev. Mills, and Cpl. Sabol arrived mid afternoon on Friday with rain, rain, and more rain! The three of us set up camp in that miserable rain, then went out for a warm dinner at Friendly's, then spent the rest of the eveining sitting around a kerosene heater telling stories and listening to the rain fall on the roof of the tent.
The morning found the rest of the company trickling in between 8 and 9. The day started with a "pass and review" for Lt. Col. Rob Wingert whose family arrived at 9. We gave our fallen comrade honors with our parade, and then after a few remarks from close friends, we broke ranks and prepared for our first battle. Back at camp, we assembled for some well needed company drill and gave our newest officer a chance to practice commanding the company (2Lt. Cliff Herbster). Since the rain had soaked everything, we put the tactical battle off until Sunday morning, so our first battle was after lunch. And since our options were so limited, we ended up doing the "battle of the concession stands" just inside the gate of the museum. But it then migrated out the gate, down the driveway, and then left into a shotened version of the field we usually use. The Rebs were lodged strongly in the trees and we assaulted them as rigorously as we could. As battles go, it was about a 4 out of 10, but all things considered, it was more than acceptable and a good start to our year. The battle was more or less a draw.
Back at camp, we relaxed and played "kubb" while waiting for supper. Supper, which had not been relayed to me previously, was a chicken dinner in the reception barn. It was a "wake" dinner in honor of Rob and was it GOOD!! We all had our fill (even seconds), then went back to camp. Of about 12 of us there that day, 7 or so had to go home, leaving us with just 5 for the evening and the next day. So as the evening wore on, the 5 of us (Terry, Jonathan, Dick, Don, and myself) played some more "kubb" and then took up a game of "scum". After it started getting dark, some rain set in and we retreated to the marque tent - warmer and dry. Played that for an hour and a half or so, and then all were tired enough and went to bed.
NOW! Let me tell you! This was a day to remember! We had dress parade around 9:30, then took a brief break, re-assembled around 10:30, and stepped off at 11:00 for what was the best tactical battle that I have enjoyed in all the many years attending CCFM. We were given free command and assigned to guard the same spot as last year. My thought: "okay, ho hum". WELL, as things went, we soon found ourselves being fired at by rebs across the coral in the barn. So we returned fire and held our ground in fine style. Then Bob and his 61st showed up to "support" us. We moved to the left and let them have the corner - then I saw an opportunity! While the Rebs were busy with the 61st, Co. D made their way around the coral, over the fence, and to the barn! When we arrived on the backside of those Rebs, you should have seen the look on the face of that captain!! I'm pretty sure he wet his pants! We opened on them and murdered them! A fire fight ensued both in the outside paddock as well as inside the basement around the stalls. The sound was deafening! But what fun!! The 1st Sgt. met up with one of their Sgts. on the backside of the barn and virtually ran into eachother - they were so close that Dick just said "BANG", your dead! You had to be there! The Rebs finally gave up and high tailed it out of there like rats running off a sinking ship!!
Well, we wandered back to the main field and took up the action again. This time the Rebs just came on and on. They pushed us all the way to the trees, but they paid dearly for all that real estate! Can't really say who won, but I can say with certainty, we all had a GREAT time! We took about a half hour break there in the trees and then went into the usaul and customery battle for the spectators. It was a "ho hum" battle as always, but we were all pretty spent by then. Our company ended up dead on the field (out of ammo!!!). Soon after we all died, the battle was called and the Federals were in "posession of the field". We cleared weapons and marched back to camp. After the usual "thanks for coming speech", we broke ranks and were allowed to drive in and pack up. Oh, and by the way, our new camping spot is on the far end of the property just beyond the rose garden under a couple of large oaks. It's fantastic! I have it reserved for next year.
There will be more stories about this event as we gather around the campfire in the months to come.
Capt. R. VanderPlate
Commanding Co. D
You Tube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Gp1h6b5IT8