4th Mo Co E, AAR Pilot Knob September 25th -26th, 2010

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen:

The Good:

  1. 20,000 spectators on Saturday. There were so many people piling through our camps I got tired of talking to them.
  2. Don and Kathy McGowan first time out with us. It was great to have them.
  3. The First Missouri Battalion should up in force.
  4. It was good to see a large number of our Arkansan brothers.
  5. Colonel Rob Sanders falling in with a musket as a private for the entire weekend.
  6. Scott George tirelessly talking to spectators, trying to get them to join up and/or come to the dance.
  7. Charles Gentry taking over as First Sergeant. A thankless job considering who the captain is.

The Bad:

  1. Your Captain playing poker with the 9th Texas late Saturday evening. I lost the $20 in Confederate money given to me by Captain Cox within 15 minutes. That is just one more reason for me to never gamble.
  2. Jim Moran leaving due to a family emergency Sunday morning.

The Ugly:

  1. Battalion Drill. It was horrid. We should never go a year without drilling as a battalion again. It really showed. Of course you drill to get better so in a way it was good.
  2. The deluge we received after Sunday’s battle before we could get loaded up.

Those in attendance:

Soldiers

  • Captain Daniel Keith
  • 1st Lieutenant Scott George
  • 2nd Sergeant Charles Gentry
  • 1st Corporal Ryan Truster
  • 2nd Corporal Clayton Kelly
  • Private Jim Bearden
  • Private Diz Carver
  • Private Ethan Davis
  • Private Jeremy Delker
  • Private John Duff
  • Private Greg Gentry
  • Private Don McGowan
  • Private Jim Moran
  • Private Dalton Wright

Civilians

  • Carolyn Carver
  • Katy Kelly
  • Kathy McGowan
  • Maxine Moran
  • Terri Spencer
  • Jamie Stepaniak

Dear Colonel Amend:

Most of the Fourth Missouri arrived at Pilot Knob, Missouri Friday evening. We did have a few show up Saturday morning. Revile was at 6 AM at which time we fixed breakfast and updated the morning reports. The company drill went superbly even with two brand new soldiers in our ranks.

It was quite evident that we had not done battalion drill, but we it was good to work out the kinks in our performance.

When I received our orders to charge the well defended fortifications, I knew it would be at a costly toll. I took the men so that they had a fine view of the fort. I told the men that the cost would be heavy and offered to let those who felt compelled to guard the encampment while we took the fort. I drew a line in the dirt and ask for those who wished to overcome the Union invaders to take one step over the line. You will be happy to note that all they took that brave step and none wished to leave his comrades behind.

After an artillery duel the 1st Arkansas was sent out as skirmishers to probe for weakness in the enemies lines. Soon we were called on to take the fort. The first push was just to harass them. Our second push worried the enemy even more so they engage their cavalry. Our cavalry made them pay dearly. The third push was the most deadly. The right wing, which the Fourth was a part of, was given the task of taking the guns on the left side of the fort. Although we came within rock throwing distance, the canister fire was to hot and heavy. Our loses were severe with 6 wounded and 4 killed.

In the evening a dance and an officer sortee was schedule by the locals I am sure in support of the Missourians back in the state to bring it back out of the hands of the evil over lords of the Union.

Sunday morning we woke to a much cooler and cloudy day. We had breakfast and church service. Like an eerie dream we were given the order to take the fort again as if nothing had happened the previous day. Our attack was to be staged farther on the Union’s right flank. Again, we pushed three times each time losing more and more men and what seemed like a futile attack. As if the lessons of the war over the last three years had been ignored. In our finally attack the entire battalion made to the mote but we were unable to scale the walls. The enemy had us in such a fix that it was like shooting fish in a barrel. One officer was captured along with three enlisted men. Four men were wounded and six were killed. At the end of the battle as if the heavens were sadden by the heavy price paid by fine Southern gentlemen a very hard rain wept upon the dead and wounded.

Your obedient servant

Captain Daniel Keith

Company E

Fourth Missouri Infantry Regiment

Second Sergeant Charles Gentry's report:

We arrived for battle on a crisp morning ready to crush the invaders of our land. Several heroic charges were made, but the fort provided to much protection. As we prepared to attack the next day, we were awaken by a loud explosion from the fort and found the fort empty. The cowardly scum had slithered out in the night and were heading back to St. Louis.

The good:

  1. Great turn out of our young men in the unit.
  2. Getting to drill and yell "penny" at the Captain.
  3. Having the battle on the actual battle field.
  4. Massive turnout of spectators. Crowd was estimated to be between 18,000-20,000.
  5. Care and concern from the Captain when he awoke us due to the midnight rains (for those of us campaigning) and sharing blankets.
  6. Scott George's fly...the tent type.
  7. Breakfast Sunday morning.
  8. Charge to the ditch of the fort, the rains holding off until after the battle on Sunday, and Captain Keith's heroic grenade throw in front of most of the battalion.
  9. Tremendous support from the event organizers (especially in the form of giving away caps).
  10. Was only demoted twice.

The bad:

  1. Having to pack in the rain.
  2. Jim Moran receiving news on a family emergency (our prayers are with you).

The Ugly:

  1. Work not getting down to the troops on the field that there was to be a moment of silence and playing of music for the fallen (either from the commanders or event organizers).
  2. When close enough to know that a moment of silence was being observed, very rude and discomforting to hear confederate soldiers on the right wing talking and laughing (especially one that is high enough rank that should know better).

Charles Gentry

Acting 1st Sgt

Company E, 4th Missouri

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