4th Mo Co E, Jeffeson, TX, May 5th & 6th, 2007

I enjoyed this event even though I had to drive 8 hours and still dressed blue. But we needed to be blue. This is a long email. The fight in town among the homes and cars and the like gets most of my attention in the narrative. The afternoon battles on Saturday and Sunday are good and fun but typical. The fight in town was anything but typical. I am very appreciative to all those who showed up. You have my heart felt thanks. It was a glorious fight. I don't know the Yanks we fought with so I called them the Original Union for lack of a better term.

Arrived at Jefferson, Texas around 1:30 AM Saturday. Trying to figure out camp location for civilian and 1st Arkansas was a little time consuming. Set up civilian tent at 2:30 and hit the sack. After morning 6:00 AM reveille I figure out that we had set up my wife's tent in hostile encampment. Tore down tent and moved her and my daughter to a better location.

Located Union camp being commanded by Col. Sanders. If you don't know, Col. Sanders is an able and aggressive commander. It is always a privilege to be in his command.

Amphibious Assault:

Set up in military camp. I had two brand spanking new soldiers with me, so after we set up camp we had to allocate gear. Breakfast was hurriedly ate and we had to prepare to engage the enemy at 10:00. The town sympathies where quite obviously Confederate. Although encamped in town we marched to a dock along the bayou and loaded upon a boat. The 4th MO was in the first wave of an amphibious landing to another part of town. Anticipation was high but we landed unopposed. The Confederates where too busy with their parade's to notice our clandestine attack.

Hook Up:

Our goal was to surprises the Confederate while on parade and hit them in the flank. Then we where to hook up with the Original Union brigade (OU) and drive the Rebels from the town. After a long but fast flanking maneuver we hit the Rebels hard. The problem was they hit hard right back. The OU was not engaging so we had the entire rebel army's attention. We were quickly hammered on both sides and in the front. We fell back with 3 different sets of Rebels to our front. Then we where hit on the right by more rebels. Civilians and on lookers where everywhere. So we had to be careful with our line of fire. Plus this being in the town we couldn't just plunder through peoples yards and the like. Finally a truce was called for a short period of time. We water our men and restocked our ammo. During the truce the rebels and the Union forces are repositioned. We finally hook up with OU. Some tough dismounted cavalry had held them up.

The Push:

After the short truce, we again engaged the enemy to push them out of town. As we engage one group of Rebels they would withdrawal and then the good Col. would see an opportunity to engage another group of Rebels flank. Then a totally different set of Rebels would hit our flank. And so it was through out the town. From block to block we would engage different Rebels. I had a chance to envelop a company of Rebels and cut them off from their support. Using the city gazebo to mask the 4th's movement we hit them on their extreme left flank. If I had moved the company 15 more yards to the right we would have totally cut them off. But we had another company of Rebels to our right and we would have ended up being cut off. With each company in our battalion engaging at least two companies of Rebels and not confident of being supported by the OU we allowed the Rebels to withdrawal with a tongue-lashing.

The Gatling Gun:

As we are pushing the Rebels through town, finally come around a building to face a Gatling Gun. The Col. sends the 1st Company down an alley to hit the gun from the right. That left the 4th with the Col. I hadn't noticed the gun, (Didn't have my glasses on) and when I did I said, "Hey, they have a Gatling gun!" I won't repeat what Col. Sanders' response to my obvious observation but I will repeat what he said after that. "Captain Keith, we have to take that gun." I thought but didn't say "What do you mean 'WE' white man!" As I am standing their behind cover trying to figure out how to take a Gatling Gun across an open street with no cover, the Col. instructs me to go around and support the 1st company. I was relieved thinking we had just escaped total annihilation. I was Wrong!

Run AWAY:

As we maneuver through the alley and then through a parking lot, I see Rebels engaging what I believe is the rear of 1st company. I don't know that to be true because we never saw the first company. We hit the Rebels left flank. Caught them by surprise. Moved up on them. Then all of a sudden, it seemed that every Rebel in the world started to engage us from every rock and crevasse. After reassessing the situation I calmly said to the men of the 4th "Let's get OUT OF HERE!" and then I started running back to gladly take on the Gatling gun. Hoping the men had sense enough to follow my flight from danger, I discovered that the Gatling gun had disengaged and retreated. We went around to the left of the Rebel army and took up position just before the bridge across the bayou. A truce was called the Rebels retreated.

It was a hard long fight and the men where very tired. Everyone fought very well. Becky, Rachel, and Jen brought lunch to our camp. It was very good.

Saturday's Main Battle:

We took transport from town to the battlefield about 3 miles out of town. We where positioned behind the artillery. As their dual started dirt from explosions rained down upon us. After the skirmishers finished their initial fight, we moved up to take on a Rebel army that was 3 times our size. The Col. positions the battalion to the left of the artillery. As we are engaging the first set of Rebel forces, enemy cavalry attack the right of the artillery. Col. Sanders sends over the 1st company over to stop the attack. As I am thinking, main I am glad its them that have to double quick all the way over there and not me I hear Col. Sanders say "Captain Keith, take your company over and support 1st company. We start over at the double quick, which quickly slowed, to the double walk. Then I saw Union Cav race over to help the 1st company. I bring the men to a halt and turn around and start heading back to the battalion. I figured, by the time we got there the fight would be over and then we would have to come back.

Back in formation the battalion along with OU start to push the Rebels back. Even thought we where greatly out numbered and could have been easily enveloped we where able to continue the push and drive the Rebels from the field.

There was a dance and other festive activities that evening in celebration of our victory but I was too tired enjoy much of it. I finally hit the sack around 9:30. Too tired to dream.

Sunday's Battle:

We engaged the Rebel army again on the same battlefield. We where overwhelmed. I did get to stab an unarmed wounded dismounted Cav Sgt. in front of a crowd that was nearly all SCV members. They didn't seem to appreciate that too much.

The Good:

  1. Aaron, Jen, and David Thompson joining us. They are good friends and it was an honor to serve with them.
  2. Having Jim Bearden serving with us. He's a good soldier.
  3. Becky's lunch.
  4. Scott dying well on the battlefield.
  5. Charles not being the opossum.
  6. Josh taking care of David.
  7. The fight through town was great.
  8. The afternoon battles where good.
  9. Sleeping in town.
  10. Serving with Col. Sanders and the Ark boys.
  11. Beautiful country and town.

The Bad:

  1. City lights.
  2. Fire Ants
  3. The evening dinner. (It tasted good, but I have had a better meal)
  4. Cars everywhere
  5. The heat

The Ugly:

  1. Having fire ants eat up my right leg.
  2. Not enough blue.

YOS

 

Captain Daniel Keith

4th MO Co E CSA/MSG Inf

Battle Through the Town

Our company, small in size due to the battles fought to get us to Jefferson, TX, followed the lead of Col. Sanders as he lead us on an amphibious assualt. The attack plan was brilliant, but was thwarted by the rebel sympathizer brig driver who stalled us just long enough to miss the Rebel flank. However, this was not all bad, as we would need the ammo saved for the rest of the day. As we marched back by camp, I thought, "I could have found us a faster route to here," but alas, did not deem this insight necessary to share with the good Colonel. We moved quickly, looking to find another oppurtunity to flank them. And did we ever find it.

The OU was to be pushing in on them from the front. The tactics by Colonel Sanders here was great. Our attack would relieve pressure on the OU, causing the Confederates to divert attention our way. With our quick strike hopefully the OU would cause them to start pushing back. Unfortunately, Col. Sanders was not made aware of the fact that the OU had been bottle necked and held up by one small company. This left roughly, oh, I don't know, three million confederates to cover the flank. Our war depleted company was in for quite a fight.

First and second company were sent between the houses to attack. Upon our arrival, the confederates diverted four companies to stand against us. We fire 2 or 3 rounds into them, but soon face an inescapable conclusion: We are out manned. Four companies to two is not something that our brave men could not handle. However, due to the above mentioned causalties, their companies were also larger then ours by a two or three to one ratio. Col. Sanders, seeing the OU was no where in sight to offer us support, smartly ordered the retreat. As we go back through the houses, we realize that the Confederates commanders were no slouches themselves. Seeing no one to attack in front of them, the sent two or three companies around the houses to press the retreat. Also, at least two of the four companies for our flanking manuever pursued us through the houses. I do not have an exact count because by these time the only thing in my vision was a sea of gray. We were in a world of hurt. So we kept falling back. We finally held position at the street, unloading as many rounds as possible into the two fronts. As we were holding position, Col. Sanders was cursing the OU, wondering why they hadn't shown up yet.

Having lost all faith in getting in help whatsover, the Col then ordered our two companies to fall back, line up in the street, and push into the town. In doing so, we were hoping to move around and either flank the confederates again or fight our way to the OU, since they weren't coming to use. Well, at the end of the block, we meet yet another two or three companies. I really have no idea where they were all coming from. They had more men then even the worse case scenario called for. To top it off, they were supported by some Confederate calvary. We fought for a little while, but the longer we fought, the more and more confederate troops kept coming to support them. That must have been nice.

Eventually, this position was untenable as well, so we pushed back. It was depressing to find that the reinforcements the Rebels were recieving did not come from the groups that we had been fighting moments earlier, as they were there, waiting for us. After trading a few rounds, a cease fire was called, and troops were repositioned.

The rest of the morning battle was a blur, but was well explained by Captain Daniel.

The Great:
- Aaron, Jen, and David falling in with us. They are very close friends of mine, so having their company for the weekend was a joy. Even better, Aaron and David were great soldiers, learning quickly and taking instruction well. It was a pleasure to serve with them.

The Good:
- Serving with Col. Sanders. He's a fighter.
- Being blue. I actually wouldn't normally say this, but this time it was nice. There were so many confederates that you know they had to jsut be standing there for a half hour before shooting a couple of rounds, then standing again. I went through all of my cartridge box in every battle. Plus there is always the thrill of having to outsmart the opponent, because you won't win by manpower.
- Being with the 4th again. It had been awhile, and I enjoyed serving.
- The town battle. And battle where you fire, run, fire, and get to mentally think, "The command here should be, 'Run Away'" is a good time
- 1st company was a great unit to fight beside. The denied the flank repeatedly, and were a good group of fighters.
- Captain Dan stabbing a wounded Confederate, portraying the North as he should. Also his taunts during the city battle were good.

The Bad
- Fire ants.
- Not having rested enought he week before. I was tired.
- No real "take me back moments". Being constantly flanked in the town battle was close, because of the adrenaline, but the fact that cars were everywhere kept it from being surreal. Which is sad, because that battle was made for it.

Thanks to everyone who was involved!

In Him,
Josh

The corporal wishes to report.  Arrived in Jefferson, Friday about 11 AM.  Scouted the town and found numerous shops, places to eat and hotels.  Also found the town to be supporting the southern rebels.  Found a place to set up camp near the town and close to the Big Cypress Bayou and the railroad.  Waited the arrival of other companies and battalion staff.  Second Sgt. was first to arrive from the 4th. and gladly handed over duties of senior enlisted at camp.  After 2nd. Sgt. set up canvas and other troops arrived, was able to find food at a local establishment.  Later that evening the staff informed the companies of a planned assault on the rebel troops that were in the town.  The town not only supported the rebels but was a major transportation and supply depot for the South.  Supplies were moved by the railroad and river boats from Texas to the other rebel states.  Spent the night as best as could knowing a battle would come on the morrow.  Saturday morning started at 5:30 AM.  Scouted the town looking for food and the 4th. Missouri's Captain.  Hopeful that the Captain had not been captured by rebels as he made his way to the Camp.  Shortly after returning to camp the Captain did arrive bringing additional troops with him.  About 10 AM the companies formed and the battalion moved out to board transport to conduct a crossing of the Bayou and an assault on the town.  Some of the men were a feared of the water and waited for another battalion to cross a bridge down stream.  The water transport went fine and we caught the rebel pickets napping.  They must have left their posts to attend some big party in town.  Bands were playing, soldiers marching and folks cheering.  Our force was able to move around the edge of town unknown to the rebels.  Once in position, we split our forces to begin the attack and plan to drive the rebels from the town.  The plan was bold and required stout hearts to be successful.  Our battalion was up to the task, but alas the other battalion was not.  We were soon engaged with the enemy and were soon outnumbered and flanked because of lack of support.  Fighting hard we were able to break contact with the enemy and rejoin with the other battalion.  You would be ashamed of those men if I told the story.  I will let others tell you.  Once joined we took to the fight again and pushed the rebels from the town.  Stopping to rest and rearm, we took time for food and reflection on the morning's events.  That afternoon we moved out from town to attack the rebels at their camp about 3 miles from town.  After a deadly cannon duel, the rebels came towards our line.  We held firm and were able to push them back.  Our guns showed to be better than theirs and continued to punish the rebels as we moved our line of battle forward.  The rebels finally broke and fell back in good order.  We returned to our camp in town.  Some of the men went to a dance put on by those in the town that were happy to be back under union control, others went looking for spirits.  Some like me looked for food and a rest.

 

Sunday started after 6 AM.  After breakfast, services were held about 9:30 AM.  Preparations were made to move out as our forces were to continue the Red River Campaign.  Our forces moved out and met rebel forces near where the previous battle was fought.  After another cannon duel, our forces moved forward.  The rebels were stubborn and fought well.  They must have gotten more troops during the night as the outnumbered our force.  The numbers soon began to tell and they pushed us from the field.  Our troops fell back in good order and moved away from the town.  The rebels celebrated their victory but the truth be know it was a hollow victory.  Our forces would soon return in greater numbers and smash the rebels and drive them away from Jefferson for the rest of the war.

This will finish the report.

 

The good.

            1. A small historic town.   

            2. Camp near sutlers and town.   

            3. Folks friendly and glad we came.

            4. Lots of Confederates, and I mean lots.   

            5. Shade for the Camp.

            6. Water crossing to assault the town.

            7. Skirmish that turned into battle for the town.   

            8. Large battlefield for afternoon battles.

            9. Col. Sanders, an aggressive, fighting leader.

          10. Fighting with the men from the 4th.

   The bad.

            1. The heat, humidity and ants.

            2. The trains. Closer than Olathe.

            3. Street lights.

            4. Not enough folks willing to wear blue.

            5. Meal on Saturday night.  Short rations. 

            6. The heat, humidity and ants plus wearing blue.

 

    All together a good event.  One that I will gladly make the long drive to do again.  I wish more Missouri boys would come.  With the Arkansas boys and Missouri boys, we make one aggressive fighting force (remember Shiloh).

 

Yours in the Service of the glorious Cause 

Cpl. Jim Bearden

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