Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Reflections of Perryville - Day 2

The one thing I don't do well on the first night is get lots of sleep. This time was almost an exception to the rule. It was cold, but I decided to take some advice written in the Authentic Campaigner about how to tide over a cold evening in relative comfort. I didn't get cold, but man, do my hips hurt by morning time!

My group happily opted out of the dawn battle to gather numbers for the next battle in the afternoon. Instead, we drilled. And drilled. And drilled. I can't gripe about the drill, I was rusty and it was nice to be able to learn many new things, including participating in battalion-level maneuvers. By the time it ended though, I felt a bit spent. Soon the drums were sounding the call to battle.

It's nice to be in a group where everyone has fun, but remains focused on the event. The first part of the battle wasn't a battle at all, but a grand review in front of the "Governor of Kentucky" - if you're a private, it's called "extra marchin' ". It was awesome to see the Confederates at this point. Everyone seemed to be spot-on with their impressions, and the Hardee-style flags were a great touch. I felt in the moment. Of course there was the usual hurry-up-and-wait, but I was content with stacking arms and catching a couple winks on the soft grass. Soon enough, the drums were calling us out to do battle.

Our unit was the last in line, and the last to be committed to Saturday's battle. The Federals were on the ridge above us, known as Loomis Heights. They had artillery placed and firing, and the supporting infantry companies shook out their skirmishers. I'm always impressed with how the Federals look and how they operate -- the oncoming skirmish line elicited a bit of excitment in the ranks. Our paltry flankers were the opposition, but I wish they were more convincing. In the historical battle, the Confederates flanked the Feds on top of Loomis Heights, and the battle scenario followed that fairly well.

We had a tough climb up the heights - there were a ton of Confederates, and my company was having a problem getting into position. It turned into a jostling match with an add-on company who apparently wasn't with the battalion program. Oh well, such confusion happened then, too.

My battalion finally got to the top after a couple volleys and some quick movement. It was here I decided to take a hit and watch the battle unfold on the other side of the heights. I have to say it was well worth it. The Feds made an awesome sight as their US and state flags waved in the stiff breeze. It was quite a view - one of those times that I really got lost in the moment.

The remainder of my time was spent watching the battle, and then returning to camp to go back over the battle and discuss how it unfolded for our guys.

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