1st Pennsylvania Reserves, Co. D


News & After Action Reports

Old Bedford Village

Posted by Robert VanderPlate on June 15, 2016 at 9:10 AM

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.

Your servant,

Capt. Bob V

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