Thursday, October 12, 2006

Reflections of Perryville - Day 3

Sunday was a bit tougher going for me. My knee kept me up for most of the night, as well as the usual hip pain. And it was cold. Colder than the night before. I've had similar nights, so I just sucked it up and soldiered on. Daylight was slow to come, but it did arrive.

The good news was that there was no drill for the morning. We did however, indulge in a bit of practice hand-to-hand combat, which was part of the scenario we were in. The neat thinf too wa that we were H Company, and Sunday, our regiment to portray was none other than the First Tennessee. We were all Sam Watkins that day.

The Sunday battle started out as a heck of a march from camp to the base of Open Knob. Mike of Mike's Civil War Musings (Hat tips to Civil War Interactive and reader David Corbett) has a few shots of the Confederates on this march, these shots are of units behind mine. Some of the marching was due to a detour around a horse that had died of a heart attack. Then we did some more marching in the quickly rising tempartures. By the time we were in position, I was becoming a bit drug out, but I did well considering.

After a nice break in the shade, we formed up for the assault on Open Knob. We were the last to go up the hill, being the ones who were to engage in the hand-to-hand fighting. Mike has some awesome picts of the Confederates coming up to Open Knob. His shots are of units behind (I think) my position on the field. The series of photos also show the Feds on top of the knob prior to the Confederate assault.

I have to admit one thing, the going got tough for my out-of-shape body going up to the knob. We were driving the Feds before us, with quite a few confused volleys from us. We would have been cut to ribbons at this point. The battleline was in confusion, with more of the same jostling going around. This time we were spread out to the spectators on the left of us, and we had trouble fitting all companies into the space provided. By the time we pushed the Feds back into a small cornfield, I was pretty played out by the tug o'war between my company and an add-on company that again wasn't on the same page. This will be a rant for another time.

Went we emerged from the cornfield, we got hit hard by some dismounted cavalry who emptied their pistols on us at short range. I took a hit then and managed to drag myself to a fence just past the cornfield. It turned out to be a great vantage point to watch the battle unfold. Another "moment" of being there. I looked down the fence row and saw the brigade form up along it. I read of similar scenes in books, but now it was right in front of me. The brigade moved up to the knob in seeming piece-meal fashion, and was repulsed a few times. It all seemed a bit anti-climatic to me after seeing the brigade formed on the fence, but we all have our own bits of time to remember.

Postscript
Now that I've been, I consider Perryville 2006 one of the better events of my reenacting career. I put it on par with Corinth. There was probably more to Perryville, though. I didn't take advantage of all the sights and sounds the event had to offer, but I wish I had the time to do so. There was so much to see, just not enough time. I would only hope any group with asperations of doing an event takes note of the Perryville example.

Despite the field organization problems within my own unit, they were actually very minor and part of the functioning of any group. The 9th Texas is a Grade A group of guys that I want to fall in with time and time again. Sometimes though, groups like the 9th are "asked" to accomodate other smaller units so they have equal time on the field. Sometimes they're more than willing to work out, sometimes they want to do their own thing. Thus my many urges to rant about this when these groups want to do their own thing.

Lastly, I certainly recommend anyone who wants more out this hobby to exercise regularly. Even though I was close to the end of my rope, I was able to enjoy all of the event without feeling like I was hit by a bus. The day afterward I felt great - none of the usual aches, pains and stiffness I had before.

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