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After Action Report, Hillsborough
To Major General Jake Jennette
1st Division, Army of Northern Virginia, commanding
I herewith submit my report on
the actions of the 6th Regiment, (Liberty Greys), in the vicinity of
Hillsborough, this past August 15-17, 1964.
regiment consisted of good turnouts from the 7th Tennessee, 12th
Georgia, 1st Co. Richmond Howitzers, Headquarters Company, elements of
Co. B 35th Virginia, and the 15th Alabama, with the welcome
assistance of the 4th Alabama. Our total field strength was
approximately 30 soldiers, boosted by the late arrival of the 6th
lovely wife unable to accompany me, I steeled myself for the long trip
by rail and carriage, arriving at the site at around 3:30 Friday
afternoon. Our engineer, Major John LaPointe, was able to precede us,
and had selected a camp area for us, which, while hilly, allowed us to
pass the weekend in some comfort. Major Tom Feraby had also made an
early arrival, so matters were well in hand on my arrival. Looking out
from our vantage point on top of the hill, we could espy the Federal
camp in the distance, as well, as the most likely area of engagement
with the enemy, as reconnoitered by Major LaPointe. Fortunately the
early arrival of both the 7th Tennessee and 12th Georgia allowed for
the headquarters company to set up without concern from the distant
Federal detachment. Once camp was set up, I settled in with my banjo,
playing tunes and enjoying the company of Major LaPointe. I was then
joined by Sergeant Dan Spinner, of the 12th Georgia, who, wearing a
sort of vest contraption resembling a simple washboard, used it
as a percussion instrument, and we spent quite an enjoyable time in
sharing music together. We were joined by some local townspeople, who
were most interested in our instruments. After enjoying this most
pleasant company, we retired and, despite the early chill, spent a
broke, bright and beautiful. We were awakened by the sound of the
morning gun from the distant Federal artillery, which reverberated
along the hills. As the companies began their daily routine, Major
LaPointe and I took advantage of the opportunity to look over the
likely field of engagement first hand. Major Lapointe was able to
point out several features of the land, which proved most helpful later
in the morning. After this profitable endeavor, we returned to our camp
for Officers' Call, where our company officers were apprised of our
strategic situation. During this meeting, we were visited briefly
by a trooper who bore a striking resemblance to our recently departed
Colonel, Paul Gliniewicz. On his departure, another seeming apparition
passed by, appearing to be our former Major, Tim Cipriani, but in the
uniform of a Federal private soldier.
Officers' Call was dismissed, a truly amazing apparition
appeared. Troops who seemed to be Indians, as well as many
soldiers, some conversing in the French tongue, who well have been our
grandfathers, marched or walked by the Headquarters' camp. A few
minutes later, the sound of gunfire was heard clearly, so some sort
action was taking place. About half an hour later, the ghosts marched
modern aside, this event was rather unlike our normal event, in that it
has traditionally been a French and Indian War event The War of
Northern Aggression component was a new addition this year.
apprised, due to our earlier reconnaissance, of impending Federal
activity, and this formed the regiment shortly after 10:00 AM. We were
heartened by the arrival of the 4th Alabama, who had been delayed in
fighting a rearguard action, covering our march. Thus
strengthened, we crossed the plank bridge over the stream, and marched
through the town to the most likely field of engagement, in order to
confront the enemy.
arrival, I deployed the infantry into the woods, in hopes of taking our
enemy unawares, and sent Major Paul Brundige's cavalry to scout, and
draw the Federals into our trap. As he rode on his mission, Federal
artillery opened up, but was ably answered by Captain Wayne Rowe's
Richmond Howitzers, who had placed himself in the perfect location to
meet the challenge. Major Brundige was himself attacked by a
small detachment of Federal cavalry, but after a short but sharp
fight, was able to beat them off, as the Federal Infantry appeared on
seemed to be working, but the Federal skirmishers figured us out
quickly. Despite Captain Larry Todd's quick action in deploying his
company from the woods, the skirmishers faced to our front quickly,
covering their main body. Captain Todd just as quickly deployed the
12th Georgia as skirmishers, and, in a sharp firefight, was able to
mask our main body as we emerged from the woods.
Moving quickly, we pressed the attack, driving the Federal infantry back
field. Our skirmishers tiring, Captain Stephen Feid deployed his
first platoon as skirmishers, allowing the 12th to rally on the
battalion. Covered by the 7th Tennessee, the 12th Georgia was
soon back in line.
Federal resistance stiffened, and the weight of their numerical
superiority began to tell. 1st Sergeant Jack Jenkins attempted to turn
the Federal right flank with the 4th Alabama, but our numbers were too
few, and the Federal marksmanship was beginning to take a heavy toll.
We began a fighting withdrawal back to the woods, looking for an
opportunity to fight our way out, but to no avail. Finally, boxed
into a corner, I had no choice but to parley with Colonel Kenworthy,
who allowed us to collect our wounded and withdraw, to fight another
bandaged our wounded, and made our way back up the hill, where we were
able to refresh ourselves, it being time for lunch. We had a
splendid repast, and I picked a few airs upon my banjo, as we rested.
after lunch, the sounds of music wafted their way up the hill from the
direction of the town. The sound of banjos, fiddles, and assorted
percussion could be made out, and singing was clearly heard.
Interested in music as I am, I made my way down the hill in search of
the sound. Entering the town, I found a concert in place, by a
band of Confederate soldiers who identified themselves as the 2nd South
Carolina!. I listened for a time, enjoying the performance greatly.
As I left
the concert, walking through the little town, a miraculous
transposition took place. I found myself in the midst of what would
appear to be a military camp, but the surroundings with which I am so
familiar. I found, English soldiers, French soldiers, fur
traders, and Indian braves! The attire was more that which I would have
expected my grandfather to have worn. I wandered the camp, making
quick sketches of the seeming apparitions, seeming to be the same
ghosts we had observed this morning in the woods near our camp.
While I must admit to questioning my sanity, it was a wondrous sight
none the less. I continued my wandering, and came upon a row of
merchants, selling all sorts of wares, again, all of a bygone
time. Whether it was a vision of the past, or my reaction to the
pressures of war, I know not. While not trusting my eyes fully, I
made my way back up the hill to our camp, and retired for a rest, to
purge my mind of the spectres of the past.
arising from, nap, I found myself secure in perceiving the present of
1864, and the duties of camp life. I took advantage of the opportunity
to converse with Majors Fearaby and LaPointe, and had an excellent talk
with Captain Perkins, as we enjoyed the view from the top of the hill,
as the sun worked its way into the west.
fine repast I once again heard the sounds of music from the direction
of the town. I joined a party of other officers, including Major
LaPointe and Captain Perkins, and made our way down the hill and over
the bridge, where we found this time, not a concert, but a ball in
progress. Wonder of wonders, a good half of the dancers appeared to be
from that bygone era I had dreamed of this afternoon, while others
appeared to in truly outlandish costume that must have been from some
far future time!. I made a note to see our regimental surgeon, Captain
Porteus, to see if he might give me some relief from the ill humors
causing these strange mirages to appear before my eyes.
at the ball for some time, enjoying the music and the dancing, before
making our way back up the hill in the darkness to our camp.
under my fly, I strummed a few chords upon my banjo, when I heard music
again, this time emanating from our own camp. Again, I
could hear banjo, fiddle, and percussion instruments. Walking
again to the sound of the music, I discovered a band of musicians in
the 12th Georgia camp. I went to my tent and took my own banjo to
join them. A lovely time was had for the balance of the evening,
sharing the joys of music. The hour becoming late, I betook
myself back to my camp to spend a few minutes preparing for the morning
divine service before retiring to a well deserved and needed night of
rest, the gentle rain which began to fall lulling us to sleep.
dawned, somewhat cloudy, but blessedly dry. My exertions and ill humors
of the previous day caused me to oversleep my time, but I managed to
get organized and appear on time to lead Morning Prayer. We were
gifted with the appearance of the sun, and a spectacular view of the
town and camps at the foot of the hill. Prayers were given for many of
our friends who are in need, for the recently passed, and those unknown
to us who are suffering and in need of God's help. We were blessed to
be together that morning.
returned to headquarters refreshed in spirit, but lo, the apparitions
would not leave me in peace. Again, Indian brave and soldiers of
the past stole past me on the road to our camp. This time, I determined
to see what I could discover, and so followed them at a discreet
distance. The ghosts had melted into the woods, from whence could be
hear the sound of gunfire, and orders being called out in the French
tongue. I decided to leave the visions to their strange work, and
returned to our camp in the present, for the battalion formation.
most heartened by the arrival of the remainder of the 4th Alabama,
giving us a third company to fend ott our foes. After weapons
inspection, we made our way across the stream via the plank bridge, and
through the town to the same field where we had encountered them
before. We determined to attempt the same ruse as before, enticing the
Federal forces with a small screen of cavalry. Again, the keen
eyed Federal artillery opened on us, answered again by our own. Again,
Federal infantry refused to be drawn in, expecting our advance from
within the woods. We had no choice but to fight our way
out. Captain David Pincens brought his Georgians out of the woods
in advance, and through sheer determination, opened a small way for our
our main body to emerge. Fighting, pushing, firing, we made our way
almost inch by inch into the field, driving the Federals before us.
able to rally the gallant Georgians, replacing them with the sturdy
lads of Tennessee. Captain Feid fought his way over to our right,
opening the way for the battalion to advance. Our relentless fire
began to take its toll. The Georgians, refreshed, moved quickly to
menace the Federal right flank, and we began to push them into a
corner. After a continued withering fire, there were only a few
soldiers in blue standing. Colonel Kenworthy appeared with his
hat on his sword, asking for a cease fire. When I moved to meet
him, a rogue group of Federals fired upon me. All went black.
i awoke under the ministrations of Major LaPointe, and found I had
suffered a mere glancing blow. With his assistance, I made
my way to Colonel Kenworthy, and gave him generous terms. Tending
to our wounded, both armies retired from the field.
marched back to our hillside camp, broke ranks and refreshed ourselves
with an excellent luncheon. I again heard the sounds of music from the
direction of the town, but this time duty called instead. It was time
for dress parade.
believe this to be the only time our dress parade was conducted in the
afternoon, after fighting an action. however, regulations are clear
that this should be done. We were pleased to be joined by the men
of the 4th Alabama, straight from their picket line in close proximity
to the Federal encampment, having ensured our safety from attack.
Captain Perkins conducted his usual excellent ceremony, and an
effective battalion drill followed the parade. We then broke ranks and
returned to camp, tired but content with the product of our labors.
rested awhile in the shade of the woody hillside. Finally, after
a time, the teamsters appeared with their wagons, and we began to break
camp, in order to progress to our next campaign.
Respectfully submitted this 19th day of August, 1864,
Colonel Bradley Tyler Johnson (aka Leonidas Jones) commanding
6th Regiment, 1st Division, Army of Northern Virginia
The Liberty Greys
Any Fate But Submission