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Colonel Joseph Leo, cmdg
6th Battalion, 1st Division, ANV
I have the pleasure to submit my report of the actions of Co.H, 1st Maryland Infantry, in the operations at Hammonasett this weekend past.
Myself and an advance party of about 10 arrived and set up camp Thursday, in preparation for the educational operation of the next day. This was an unexpected showing in weather most foul. Most were not planning to participate in the school program, but were pressed into service to conduct groups of schoolchildren when reenactor turnout was lower than expected. Special congratulations to soldiers of the 1st go to 1st Sgt Dorsey (Svejk), for conducting the drill demonstration, to brevet Lieutenant Hebb (Plante) for an excellent talk on civilian camp life, and most especially to Sgt. Major Sullivan (Maloney), for his yeoman service in coordinating the project. It was my first opportunity to observe the school program, and I extend my compliments to all concerned.
The remainder of the company came up and set up camp on Friday afternoon and evening, giving us a field strength of approximately 30, including three cadets. Also from our unit serving the battalion were Sgt Major Sullivan (Maloney), Private Russell (Valvo), who served as guidon bearer, and Provost Marshall, Capt. Bass (Prushko), an associate member in our ranks. This was one of our best showings ever, and, we hope, will be a harbinger for the future.
Saturday morning began early, with a quick battalion formation at 8:00 AM, followed by our usual company parade and drill. Company drill consisted of a review of all major company evolutions, plus wheels and turns, than progressed to platoon drill and skirmish drill. Considering that this is the first operation of the campaign season for most soldiers, drill was splendidly sharp.
After a break, we proceeded to dress parade and battalion drill. It is an excellent sign for the improvement of our military impressions that we see the return of dress parade, which went over quite smoothly, considering the long layoff between parades. While the early stages of battalion drill may have shown a little bit of rust, it was quickly shaken off. Major evolutions were reviewed, and a new evolution, On the Right Into Line, was introduced. Drill was conducted in a brisk manner, and consumed no more than 45 minutes. This should be the beginning of an outstanding year for the development of our battalion drill.
One of the main highlights for us at this event, was the formal presentation of our regimental color, by the ladies of Baltimore. This flag was one of the greatest dreams of my great friend, the late Major Charles Barker, and it moistened the eye of more than one soldier and civilian to see it flying in the April breeze.
The afternoon brought us into combat for the first time this season, a recreation of Gen. Jackson's flank attack. Battalion line of battle was formed promptly and effectively, and was manuevered very well in the field. It was particularly heartening to see on of artillery pieces manuevered so rapidly and effectively in support of our infantry line. This too could be an exciting asset in this season's operations. Despite a somewhat unsatisfying ending to the fight, (it seemed simply to stop) in all, it was the most successful Saturday battle in the history of this event.
The early ocurrence of the battle gave us an unusual opportunity for recreation in the late afternoon. A chance meeting with a detachment from the 8th Connecticut led, not to a skirmish, but to a match of Town Ball, with possession of The Bell, at stake. I am happy to report that our lads prevailed at 21 tallies to 8! Capt. Kurtz of the 8th was not present, and so The Bell was not produced, but he was expected in that night.
A capital dinner was served by Janet O'Conner, our company cook, and was followed by our April meeting. While most of the proceedings are of interest only to members of the 1st, I would like to annouce two items of general interest. First of all, our registered field strength for the upcoming Gettysburg campaign, is now at 47, our largest expected turnout ever.
I am also very pleased to announce the promotion of Private Purnell (Roux) aka The Yetti, to corporal. This gives us the distinction of being the only reenacting unit in America with and NCO who is non human! Congratulations Emile!
The evening passed with the renewal of comradeship, both within the unit and the Battalion. I was somewhat surprised to see appearing at our campfire, the aforementioned Capt. Devon Kurtz, of the 8th CT, who had somehow managed to sneak through our rigorous picket guard. :) While a convivial fellow, as always, the scurvy knave had the audacity to appear without The Bell! He was promptly arrested and shackled by the Provost, and brought before the Colonel. His sly tongue saved him again, and he was released, on a promise to return 1st Maryland property.
Sunday began early, with battalion dress parade and drill at 8:00, necessitated by availabilty of the drill field. Dress parade went quite smoothly, and, due to threatening weather, the colonel quite wisely drilled us close to camp. Again, while there were minor examples of winter quarters rust, drill is in an excellent state for so early in the year.
It being my turn to lead our lay worship, 1st Sgt. Dorsey (Svejk) led company drill to good effect, while I prepared the morning's scriptural lessons. Divine services were very well attended, with many civilians, and even some federal pickets who worshipped with us from the back. Our sprits were uplifted, even as the skies began to open on us.
With the rain. it was fortunate that the afternnon encounter with the federal army occurred sooner than our scouts would have had us believe. Our men fought gallantly, although we were forced to make a tactical withdrawal before their large numbers. My compliments to the men, who all came out, despite the weather, and put on an excellent showing.
Before closing, I would be remiss indeed if I did not offer my compliments to you, sir, on an outstanding first event as commander of the united Legion. With such a start to build on, it will be an exciting season, indeed!
Capt. Co. H, 1st Maryland Infantry
Major, 6th Battalion, 1st Division, ANV
The Southern Legion