4th MO Co E, Shiloh 2012

 

Ladies and Gentlemen:

 

I really, really enjoyed myself. I know there were problems at all levels and I don’t mean to discount the suffering some people were put through, but there are always problems at all levels, especially at national events. I just tried to make the best of it.  

 

When I am packing up all that gear, I sometimes wonder why I participate in this hobby. Two things brought it back home to me. Friday’s and Saturday’s AM battles stirred my blood deeply. Secondly, the time spent around the camp fire with my friends.

 

I could/should easily name something positive about everybody but this report is already longer than most of you will read.

 

The Very Good:

1.    Sunday on the long hot walk back to camp; Laurence Bryan bought and shared his ice cold lemonade with me. I do not believe anything has ever tasted better in my entire life.

2.    Sunday on the long hot walk back to camp; Jim Bearden carried my musket ¾ of the way back to camp without even asking me if he could. If he hadn’t I probably would have taken me twice as long to make the trip.

3.    Friday’s and Saturday’s AM battle

4.    The Gonzalez sisters making the Hardee’s flag (completely hand stitched) for the battalion on two days notice.

5.    Kris Spenser deserves special attention, because he was the only man among the ranks that was there from the first fight (Thursday battle) to the last (Sunday’s battle). Also, all of the Spencer’s (Terri, Kris, Katelyn) were very nice in the fact that they waited patiently as everyone else packed up before they did, so as not to delay anyone else on their exit.

6.    Most of the 2nd Missouri staying the entire weekend.

 

 

The Good:

1.    Sleeping out campaign style Thursday night.

2.    Water and Lemonade brought to us by the civilians.

3.    Saturday evening’s battle was grand to see what had to be at least 2000 Confederate infantry men sweep down on the hornet’s nest.

4.    Teaching Ana Gonzalez how to play cribbage and twenty people walking by and asking what in the world we were doing. I was wrong about the date of the appearance of the game. It was the 1600’s when it was first introduced.   

a.    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cribbage    

b.    www.cribbage.org/ 

5.    Clayton Kelly on the mandolin.

6.    Alyssa Gonzalez doing most of the driving home. Since my glasses are not period correct, I try to always take them off during re-enactments. Because of that, by the Sunday, I am used to not wearing them. My glasses were packed in my chest and it was buried. I didn’t realize I didn’t have my glasses until I almost missed an exit. Since it was almost dark I thought it best to have Alyssa drive. I drove two hours, she drove six. Usually, I do all the driving, because it is hard for me to give up control

7.    Sixty cannons firing in prefect rapid succession. The earth literally moved under our feet.

8.    The sea of blue marching toward us on Sunday. It was an awesome sight.

9.    Tony Venute’s new song about “Ole dead Tom.”

 

The Bad:

1.    The rain – Nothing anyone can do about tons of rain. It all worked out though. It was all dried up by Sunday.

2.    The heat – Who would’ve thought we would have heat problems in the month of March.  I bought two ice packs and Tony Venute brought at least two. He went through all of them. Mind you, that not one of the men 4th needed them but there were men dropping everywhere due to heat. There were so many heat problems that the medic’s on gators couldn’t keep up with them.

3.    The walk back from Saturday night’s battle. That was a long hard walk. Cavalry and artillery men who plan events love to see old fat infantrymen like me suffer by making them walk very long distances. Apparently if they are not tired riding their horses or in their vehicles pulling their guns to the battlefield, then infantrymen shouldn’t be tired or hot from the walk.

 

 

The Ugly:

1.    Sometimes I am just an idiot!

2.    Port-a-potties

3.    Water or lack of.

4.    I used the power of the 4th for selfishness at Saturday Evening’s supper.

 

 

Dear Colonel (brevet) Williams:

 

On our arrival to area near a church called Shiloh we were told that we would move out on Thursday evening and for the men to cook three days worth of rations. I was giving a brevet to Major and commanded the left wing of the 1st Missouri Battalion.

 

Thursday evening on our march out to meeting the enemy we lost several men quickly due to heat exhaustion. As moved into the fight a few more men dropped out. Almost immediately we were pressed by the enemy in our rear. Colonel Sanders reacted quickly and moved our battalion to engage the enemy. A man went down near me due to the heat and I stayed with him because I felt responsible because of first contact. There was some confusion on my part on exactly what my role was with the battalion made up of men from different companies in the entire brigade.  We camped on a hill side between two battalions. There was some fighting throughout the evening but a battalion on either side of us we were in little danger of being engaged. I slept well.

 

Friday morning we were awaken before daylight and got our breakfast as were assigned to go out to battle. We hooked up with a battalion formed by General Huckabee. The fight that ensued was great. We had Yanks everywhere. We pushed and they pushed back all in a steady down pour. The smoke from the musket and artillery fire hanged low over the field. After the battle General Way gave a speech and then we marched back to our base camp. No more fighting was done that day.

 

Saturday morning before light we marched out to link up with the 1st Arkansas Battalion. We marched in a column of companies. The 1st Arkansas was a head of us. The intention was for them to deploy their battalion to the right and we were deploying to the left. I was unable to hear what command they were given but in essences it had the effect of the “On the Fifth Company, Deploy Column, Battalion, Outward – Face, March”  I have to admit that I was jealous because we were giving the command of “Forward Into Line, by Company, Left Half Wheel, March” which is what we always do.  The battle was amazing. The left wing, which I commanded, anchored on the trees. We immediately began fire once the companies were in line. Due to fog and smoke from the musket fire we could not see the enemy who was not more than 50 yards away. When you looked up at the sun it was a dark red due the haze. It was the best fight of the weekend. We pushed the enemy beyond their works.

 

Saturday afternoon battle was something to behold. We marched a long distance to engage the enemy. Once at the battlefield, we were given orders to go forward. We made several pushes to the hornets’ nest, but each time had to fall back. We marched back beyond the guns. The artillery did a splendid job. I was very impressed. Probably the best I have seen in a very long time. Once again we pushed across the field. This time the entire Confederate Army moved ahead to hit the Hornet’s nest. We were doing fine until the battalion on our left “Right Oblique” into us and it cut us off. They were ahead of us and the battalion on our right was behind us.  For us to stay with the battalion on our left would put us in the line of fire of the battalion on our right. If we lined up with the battalion on our right we would get overlapped by the battalion on left. It was very frustrating, but that is what happens when you have 2000 infantrymen march across a field. It was a sight to behold and I was glad to see it and be a part of it. Once we started going into the woods we had no real field of fire because there were some many Rebels everywhere. I pulled our battalion out of the woods because to give the men a rest. Then all of sudden we were moving again. The battalion gets split in two once in the woods, apparently General Huckabee gave brevet Lieutenant Colonel Ron Urlich and me contradicting orders or we interpted the same order differently. Finally, the Yanks had the good sense to surrender.

 

Sunday mid-morning battle was hot work. Our battalion size was reduced greatly by the previous day’s battle, with the exception of the 2nd Missouri. It was really an awesome display to see so many yanks cross the field at us. I really enjoyed seeing that. They pushed off the field quickly.

 

 

 

Your obedient servant,

 

 

Major (brevet) Daniel Keith

1st Missouri Battalion

 

 

Those in attendance:

 

Soldier

Major Daniel Keith

Captain Jim Bearden

Captain Laurence Bryan

Sergeant Major Jim Moran

1st Sergeant Clayton Kelly

2nd Sergeant John Ezell           

Musician Ethan George

Private Doug Cobern

Private Rolf Crockett 16th Mo

Private Ken DuBerry

Private Alex Ezell

Private Ed George

Private Tim Jones

Private Elton Rose

Private Kris Spencer

Private Anthony Venute

Private David Whitby

Private Dalton Wright

 

Civilian

Miss Carolyn Carver

Misses Kathy Crockett

Mister Nicholas DuBerry

Miss Alyssa Gonzalez

Miss Ana Gonzalez

Miss Sara Gonzalez

Misses Maxine Moran

Mister Robert Moran

Misses Katelyn Spencer

Misses Terri Spencer

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