4th Missouri Company E, CSA/MSG

 

Ladies and Gentlemen:

 

WOW! That’s all I can say is WOW! It was a great event. Shiloh ‘07 is one we will tell about for a long time. It was hard. It was cold. It was fun. It was rewarding.

 

This one ranks way up there in fun. One of the best ones I have been on.

 

THE GOOD:

 

  1. Hard fighting Yankees
  2. The tactical
  3. Good company
  4. Night picket duty
  5. Asked to perform almost everything we drilled.
  6. Cool days to fight in.
  7. The food.
  8. Everyone pitching in.

 

THE BAD:

  1. The cold.
  2. Not getting to form a skirmish line.
  3. The cotton field battle.

 

THE UGLY:

  1. Very cold.
  2. My hair when my hat is off. Ask Greg.
  3. Guys in the battalion yelling at me for marching too fast. I am fat and old. If you can’t keep up with me then join the Girl Scouts.

 

Friday & Saturday off site tactical was fantastic. Our job was to push the enemy back until the battle at the hornet’s nest on Saturday at 2:00 pm.

 

 

*** Friday ***

For reasons that only the rank above me understands the 1st MO Battalion was under the command of Col Robbie Sanders for the tactical on Friday and Saturday.  Col Sanders is a very able commander and he served his troops well.

 

Friday started out somewhat daunting for me. The 9th Texas fell in with us and I was Captain for both Friday and Saturday. We were happy to have those fine men with us. We drilled around 08:30 hours until 09:00 hours. Good thing too. We were asked to do everything we practiced that morning with the exception of forming a skirmish line and where told we would be doing that. We were also put in as the number 1 company. My first time as captain and my company is leading the battalion.

 

King’s battalion was in front of us along with the Texas Rangers Cav and they engaged the enemy before we did. The farther we marched the louder the sounds of battle grew. We were finally inserted into the battle and formed a battle line right in front vines, thicket, briars, & tree limbs, when the command of “Forward, March” rang out. We fought through that and went through a creek and engaged the enemy. It was only a taste of what was to come for the next two days. Col Sanders likes to flank the enemy and we went through briars, bogs, creeks, up hills, and over or around all obstacles to get to that end. I once stepped in mud so deep I thought was going to lose my shoe.

 

Finally, we came across nice bottom land with a creek we where camping for the night. To our right on top of a HUGE, STEEP hill was the enemy. I thought to myself. If feel sorry for the idiots that have to go up that hill. Then I hear the Col say “Major take the 1st Company set up a picket line half way up that hill.”  So up the hill we go like idiot mountain goats. To our front was the Union army. To our rear was a 15 foot drop off. Luckily, the Yanks where as tired as we where and not much fighting was done.

 

When we get relieved, I find out that we are not camping in the nice picnic type area but instead we are going to the left and fight our way up a road to the top of the hill across a wheat field and then retreat back into the woods.

 

We start up the hill on the road behind King’s battalion. King’s men engage. Col Sanders sees a way for us to flank the yanks through more vines, brush, thorns and the like. He asks General King to allow him deploy on the left into the thicket. General King says something to the effect of “If you want to fight through all that.” So Col Sanders immediately deploys us through woods again and forward march we go. I am not sure but I think General King was shaking his head as we deployed.

 

We fight are way through the stuff and finally made it through a clearing of the wheat field. We push the Yanks across the wheat field then retreat back into the woods for the evening. It was a hard fight but very rewarding and somewhat painful. We setup camp and posted pickets.

 

Our picket duty was from 21:30 hours to 23:30 hours. I took the 9th Texas boys out to duty at 21:30 hours. We had a little dust up with a few Federals in a pitch dark battle. That was interesting for sure. I went back to camp and got the 4th MO boys and brought them out. We had a little bigger dust up. At the end of our shift the relief company combined with us and we make one major volley and the Yanks had had enough and went back to camp. The Yanks were a fun group to josh around with. We both taunted each other with good humor.

 

*** Saturday ***

 

The next morning I was very sore and cold. We drilled some more, to make sure we felt comfortable with the commands. Because today not only were we the first company of battalion we where the first company of the brigade.

 

Again the Cav engage first. To there credit they were dismounted when fighting with the enemy. We fight along a hill and long a road for about an hour. The Col always trying to flank those blue bellies.

 

To their credit the Yanks fought well and they to be just as tired if not more so than we where. My hat is off to them.

 

At on point we were to the left of road with a steep incline. The Yanks had barricaded themselves up well and a high position. On our left was a creek with a 5 foot drop off. To our right the rest of the battalion and King’s battalion. Another two companies deploy beyond the creek. We stood there and fired on the enemy for awhile and quickly realized when somewhat alone in the open don’t have your entire company unload at once. You are very vulnerable. Then comes the command to go forward. We march straight up a steep incline to the road. I told the men to help the man behind you. Everyone did that but they all forgot me. 1st company marched up the road as I was still scrapping and clawing my way up. It was funny.

 

At the top of the hill 1st company is again deployed to the left in a flanking movement. This time when do flank them we have two companies turn and face us and start firing on us. I can move more to the left but I am already 50 yards from the battalion and I only have 12 guys. I decide to stay and wait for help. I wasn’t going to be captured on my first outing as captain.

 

Finally the whole battalion is deployed on the road by company and we start rolling thunder. It knocks those Yanks way back.

 

We then march to this HUGE cotton field. I mean HUGE. Our brigade deploys and engages two different battalions and Cav. We also have a whole other brigade to our right just waiting to eat us alive. On several occasions the Yanks could have rolled us up like a bed roll. Either they are inept or they chose to strictly follow scenario and allowed us to push them across the field. I think they were being nice and just following the scenario.

 

I think they should have tried to capture us and then release so we could get in the 2:00 hours fight.

 

We rested for 30 minutes and move to our main fight, The Hornet’s nest. We march our way toward the noise of the crowd. We form up with a tree line to our front. Of course the tree line had thorns and thistles all in it. Forward we march. We fight the Yanks in our front and our right. They slowly work there way back to the hornet’s nest. We come up on another tree line. Straight through that again with the thorns and thistles and a huge ditch. Now we are in front of the crowd and we Yanks retreating every where. This is when it gets intense again. We are on the far right of the battle line and I can almost reach and grab the Yanks as they retreat/fight. The Col stops right in briar patch. That is not too bad considering what we had been through. It was just a minor unconvinced until he started demanding hits. We said “No”. He marched us forward and the hits just kept on coming. We push forward. Then those dastardly Yanks bring around a mountain howitzer. We are told to retreat back into the ditch. We get to the ditch and decide we have had enough of thorns and thistles and stop in front. The Col is told by General King to take a company and capture that howitzer. He did, but when he charged the whole battalion charged. I tried to stop the men but it was useless. Everyone’s blood was up. We take the cannon and get in some unscripted hand to hand combat. We finally retire from the field. We are to form up behind the tree line. Since, I was the lead captain and very tired of the briars I took the road.

 

We watched the rest of the battle. It was an amazing feat to behold. All those confederates descending on the hornet’s nest front. It was cool. One of the coolest things I have seen in a long time.

 

The night fire of the cannons was fine and the dance was fine, but nothing could have been better the previous two days of fighting.

 

 

*** Sunday ***

Sunday morning was pretty lazy. Everyone was too tired to drill. We had church services. Captain Brian Cox took over as captain of the company did a very fine job. I fell in as a private to add fire power to our company. We form as a battalion and only march a short distance to get into the fight. Once in everything happened quickly. We marched up to the enemy and shot point blank at into there flank, yet somehow they still deployed. We are quickly moved to the rear and with a huge battle line press the enemy one more time. We got close we started firing hot and heavy. Then we started taking some hits. The two cannons blast us and three quarters of the battalion go down. The rest of us withdrew. I as a private am sent forward to recover some of the wounded. We fight on for a little ways and then retreated.

 

It wasn’t much of a fight but I was happy with that. I and the rest of the group were extremely tired. A short fight was fine by me.

 

This is one of those to be remembered.

 

 

I would like to thank the following for coming, each one of you contributed greatly:

 

 1st Sgt Jim “The Wizard” Moran;

 2nd Sgt Scott “Lets flank them” George;

 Chris “I hate rabbits” Warrick;

 Nathan “I can sleep in any position as long as I am close to the fire” Barnett;

 Charles “opossum” Gentry;

 Greg “Rambo mission” Gentry;

 Michael “one blanket” Blewett

 

 

Your Obedient Servant,

 

Captain Daniel Keith

Co E, 4th MO, Inf  CSA

 

 

Make a Free Website with Yola.