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Colonel Joseph Leo, cmdg
6th Battalion, 1st Division, ANV
It is my pleasure to report on the actions of CO. H, 1st Maryland Infantry, at the drill encampment at Roseland Park in South Woodstock, CT, April 23rd through 25th.
A detachment consisting of 14 soldiers and 8 civilians began to arrive Friday afternoon in what was at times, a driving rain. Despite the inclement conditions, Private H.J. Hebb (Paul Plante) did an outstanding job in laying
out our camp.
Co. H's new supply wagon made its first appearance, making for a much improved setup. I would also like to take this moment to commend the many soldiers who helped our setup, allowing Miss Liz to stay in the wagon,
resting after her cataract surgery earlier in the week. For all who have asked, she has recovered quite well, although we never did get the chicken back :) Pvt. Markoe (Marc Bassos) was of particular help in this regard.
The cold rain did abate, but the evening was extremely cold, made worse by the soaked firewood. The news of poison ivy vines in the woodpile was a concern, but caused no problem for any of our members. Event coordinators may want to consider a safer and drier location for the wood next year. In all, with the excellent company, the night passed comfortably enough.
Having been in temporary command of the encampment, I was most pleased at your arrival at about 7:30 Saturday. Officer's call developed a good plan for the day, which should set the tone for the year, a regular company drill time of 8:00 am, and a set battalion drill of 10:00 to 10:30, depending on the event schedule.
Company drill was most effective, showing the good effects of our offseason drill schedule. Battalion drill was a particular treat, showing a proficiency well beyond season's opening of years past.
This event has always been a shakedown, so much of the rest of the morning consisted of putting our camp impression in order. While drill took place off season, it was most useful to have this opportunity to fine tune the camp. Perhaps a new camp scenario came to light as a result of our ongoing research into our 19th century personna's. It turns out that, in 1863, Pvt. Henry Schliephake was arrested in a bar. While this may not seem unusual behavior for a soldier escaping the horrors of war, it is odd to note that this Confederate was arrested in a bar in Philadelphia! Pvt/ Schliephacke (Craig Kovacs) was heard throughout the morning, practicing his cry, "I am a drunkard, I am a disgrace to my
The main event of the afternoon was the Memorial ceremony at the flagpole by the lake. Your decision to fold dress parade into the beginning of the ceremony was a happy one, as it lent an air of dignity and formality to the
proceedings. Members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, myself included, were most impressed and touched. The return of President Davis (Jim O'Hara) was also much appreciated. In all, this was the finest ceremony staged at this event.
Another short, but to the point battalion drill followed the ceremony. It was good to see that even the new evolutions learned last year required only a small review before being executed with precision.
For the remainder of the afternoon, I detached myself to the SCV picnic. It is hoped by us all that the Dewitt-Smith Camp will become more active in this coming year. Any New Englander with a direct or collateral Confederate ancestor can contact either Captain Duckett or myself, to be put in touch with the proper authorities.
A feature that was introduced to this event two years ago, the Camp inspection tour, is an informal walkthrough of the camps giving an outside perspective of how we look to the public. I joined part way through, and was
most pleased at how we look as a battalion camp at so early a date.
As afternoon faded to night, unfortunately the small warmth faded with it. Fortuitously, the stiff breeze that had played a few pranks with tent flies during the daylight hours, dropped off, so wind chill was not a major factor.
The wood had dried some, so we kept reasonably cozy, and enjoyed great fellowship around the campfire.
The night was cold again, but we fared well enough. The first activity of the morning was, fittingly, divine services, conducted by the host unit's chaplain, Chaplain Loftus. It is a lovely setting for a service, and it was
Sunday's at CMD have always brought a sharp drop in forces, but we were able to retain three infantry companies for battalion drill, although the 1st and the 7th-15th composite were on the light side. However, the 7th TN is to be cited for their excellent growth, and it was a pleasure to see Capt. Walter in his debut on the battalion drill field.
When it came time to leave, it was with some regret, though also with much anticipation. We should well ready for the Atlanta campaign.
Capt. Co. H, 1st Maryland Infantry
Major, 6th Battalion, 1st Division, ANV
The Southern Legion