Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Battle of Corinth, MS 9/30-10/2 2005

It was one long-ass trip to the innards of the deep south. It started in Fayetteville, NC, and thirteen hours later we were camping in on the cold, hard ground just north of the sleepy town of Corinth, MS in rural Tennessee.

The ride there was pretty interesting with George driving. I think George has driver's ADD. He kept driving toward where his eyes were pointed, and oftentimes not on the road. On more than one occasion we heard the wail of the "wake-up" strips carved on the shoulder of the road. So it was George, "Big Nasty" and myself heading out to see the big show.

From Fayette-nam we pick up John, sometimes known as "Jonas Sobel"; Tudd, our first sergeant and spiritual leader; Tyler the quiet guy; ex-Marine vet John; Wes, the fun and lanky (and most Confederate-looking) guy; Dave and Josh, father and son; and finally Ryan, otherwise known as "Rusty" through an earlier experience through the group's ritual "letters to the soldiers" readings in camp.

The trip was damned long. We took a wrong turn at Chatanooga and merrily started driving to Birmingham. A few miles out of the 'ham we realized the mistake and headed cross-country to get back on track. What started at 1:00 Thursday afternoon ended at 4:00 the following morning. Being the hardcore reenactors (known as "campaigners") we were, quickly unfurled bedrolls outside of the van and slept best we could. It was colder than the balls on a brass monkey.

The next morning consisted of us finding the registration tent, which by the way, is always a pain in the buttocks. The Corinth reenactment battlefield itself was pretty large, and it took awhile for us to learn the roads around it. The intenerary included a tour of the Shiloh battlefield and lunch at the Catfish Hotel. It was a great few hours.

Read more about Shiloh battlefield.

In the afternoon, we were slated to fall in with the 9th Texas, a grade A reenactment group and great bunch of guys. Soon, we were on the march toward our first encounter with Federal forces near the recreated Battery Robinette. I must admit at this point I have admiration for the events out west -- the Friday battle was equal to any Saturday battle here in the east. Maybe some people should take note of this.

After the fight, we came back to camp and received rations of cured ham, parched corn, raw carrots and potatoes. Maybe much for the time period, but nice to cook and eat.

Slept much better - actually was able to sleep for a good while. The evening was a perfect temparture to get cozy. It was a good thing, because we were all over the field in the afternoon. Although reenacting is but a miniscule taste of the life of a CW soldier, it is still physically demanding, which makes you appreciate more what an actual soldier had to have gone through at the very minimum, on a daily basis. It also brings into perspective the type of soldier we attempt to portray, men who we are are mere shadows in comparison.

We were assigned to the first company of the 9th Texas (who were representing the 2nd Texas, the historical regiment that stormed Battery Robinette), a fun-lovin' group of guys - a great fit for fun lovin' Carolinians. Our first assignment on Satuday morning was to serve as pickets for the Confederate forces. Typically, the Saturday battles are unscripted affairs known as "tacticals". The picket started out peaceful enough - just took potshots at a couple Union cavalrymen.

Soon afterwards, the Federals infantry skirimishers came. The company reforms and drives into the open field next to our pickett position. By this time, other Confederate units have already formed a skirmish line and were dueling the Feds. Our job was to sweep the Feds off the field by overwhelming numbers. If the truth be known, we had our butts handed to us on a platter. The Feds were well organized and had control of the field. In realistic terms, our company would have been taking heavy losses going out into the field, and more losses dues to the fact we were grouped in a column and then in battle line. Alas! We be merely reenactors.

We had more more fight later in the afternoon in front of the Battery Robinette. By this time, I was feeling like my butt had been thoroughly kicked. My back as squealing. Tudd was concerned. I was cursing my luck. Then it rained.

Jeez, I felt old! My back was howling from Saturday evening, and sleep was scarce. Getting up was a bitch and I was trying to dry out from the thunder shower. As long as I could walk around, I was doing good. Sitting down was not fun. Fortunately, good luck prevailed -- the weather proved to be kind and my back settled down.

The actual assualt on Battery Robinette involved a march through a series of fields, driving the Feds in front of us. Since this was a scripted battle, we were picked at random to take hits, but the final assualt survivors were kept secret. Jonas and myself went down in the first volley. The battle and final assault looked great from our vantage point.

It was a grand time. We marched to the van, packed up and headed back to the Old North State. It took me from 4:00 Sunday afternoon to 7:00 Monday morning to get home. This blog only hits the highest of the high (and low) points of the trip.

I've hacked on this entry quite enough. I might come back with more juicy bits later on.

After action reports
Civil War Battle rages again through Corinth


Blue Bellied Yank said...

I've never heard of Manahan Farm before so I learned something new. Marching through the fields all geared up must be a real period rush...

Blue Bellied Yank said...

I really want to go to the Shiloh Battlefield! I like Tennessee and have even thought about moving there but I've never been to Mississippi. Although, I've spent plenty of time along the Mississippi River.

Ernest said...

How about coming to an event a little closer? How about Bennett Place on Oct. 13-14. Early CS recruiting event.
Let me know,
Ernie D.