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Hogback Mountain AAR
Colonel Joseph Leo, cmdg
6th Battalion, 1st Division, ANV
It is my privilege and duty to submitt this report of the actions of the 1st Maryland at the recent operations on Hogback Mountain, in Marlboro (VT).
17 soldiers drawn from Co.H took part in this action, accompanied and greatly assisted by 4 members of our ladies aid society. Strengthened by 3 members of Co.H, 21st Mississippi, and 5 from Co. B, 21st Virginia, we formed artillery support for the Confederate battery on the mountain, made up of one gun from
the Palmetto Battery, and one from Lafayette's Battery.
Our advance party, led by Sgt. Daniel Shanks (Frank Valvo) set up the best possible area, but we were truly camped on the side of a mountain. There was no level space, which did pose problems. We made the best of it, but a proper camp setting is a must for this event to continue to prosper.
The reason for moving us across the road to the mountain became tragically obvious when the curator of the LHA museum, Bill Thane, was struck by a car while attempting to cross VT Rt, 9 to reach the sutler area, and was very seriously injured. At last report, a CAT scan showed good brain function, although he had yet to regain consciousness. There is great concern that he may lose a leg. Our prayers are certainly with him and his family.
I would like to give my special commendation here to 1st Marylander's, Capt. Prusko, our Provost, and Pvt. Dan O'Conner and Janet O'Conner, our blacksmith and cook, who took it upon themselves to help direct traffic while the emergency vehicles were en route, rendering great service.
We awoke Sarturday to a beautiful morning. Unfortunately, there was no space available to conduct drill, so the soldiers had their ease for the morning.
There was a heavy skirmish action that afternoon, however. After an extended duel between our battery and the Federal artillery, our guns were menaced by Federal infantry. We responded in quick fashion, and drove back the Federal skirmishers with heavy fire.
The remainder of the afternoon passed peacably enough. That evening, my wife and I took a walk down the hill and discovered a charming little tavern. As I had my banjo, and she her guitar, we decided to play and sing a bit, little realizing that the tavern was well within the Federal lines! However, our music seemed to be appreciated, and an unofficial truce was declared for the next couple of hours.
We arose again to find a beautiful Sunday morning, marred only by an unscheduled exchange of rifle fire, which was quickly put down by Sgt. Major Sullivan (Maloney). The soldiers of Lafayette's Battery mistook the Federal
morning gun for aggressive action, and responded with skirmishers. The misunderstanding was soon cleared up, and no harm was done.
I do, at this point, have a concern to address. In the past, at many events, it has been an acceptable practice to have such unscheduled opposed firing. With the current state of safety concerns in our hobby, I think this practice must end. There is too much chance of a soldier grabbibg an uninspected and possibly unsafe weapon in the heat of the moment, and causing a problem. All opposed firing should be cleared through the command structures on both sides, and no soldiers should take part, unless under the command and supervision of at least a sergeant, who will be responsible for seeing that weapons are inspected before the action.
I hate to ruin anyone's fun, but any continued firearms accidents could damage us severely. We were fortunate this weekend.
There being no chaplain available, I took my turn in leading our lay worship service. As is my custom, I led the Episcopal order of Morning Prayer. I spent a good part of the morning locating a reasonbly flat piece of ground,
and found one between the artillery camps, rather close to the Federal lines. It was most gratifying to see many Federal soldiers and civilians cross the lines and join us for worship. It was a lovely setting, and a service of
sharing and caring.
Colonel, it was about that time when your absence came to be a concern to us all. We all hope there was no serious problem, but as the time advanced, at 12:00 PM, I took command of Confederate forces on the mountain. This was just in time, as at 1:30 PM, we were faced with another action, similar to Saturdays. Fortunately 1st Sgt. Dorsey (Chris Svejk) and 1st Sgt. Wrona had their companies well in hand, as did Capt. Ferris for the combined battery. After a hot artillery duel, we were again faced with Federal infantry advancing on our guns. Our 1st company deployed quickly as skirmishers, and slowed the Federals advance.
Special commendation should be give the skirmishers form the Palmetto Battery, who cleared our left flank, and to the combined 21st's under Sgt. Wrona, who sprang out of the woods and secured our right flank. After a hot firefight, the engagement ended with all guns secure.
The weekend concluded with an awards ceremony. I would like to acknowledge Miss John Davis (Maureen Barker), who won the award for best civil war lady, Pvt Grogan and his wife (Dan and Janet O'Conner) who won best Confederate camp impression, and Miss Liz and myself, who received an award of appreciation for our musical endeavors. These recognitions capped off an excellent showing by members of the 1st Maryland.
Breaking camp was slowed by the difficult vehicle access, which did not permit all the vehicles to enter at the same time, but once again, we made the best of it.
To sum up, this was a relaxed, fun, small event. If it is to continue to grow, attention must be given to a more suitable Confederate infantry camp. The organizers are aware of the problem, and I hope that this can become an important event on our schedule for years to come.
Capt. Co.H, 1st Maryland Infantry
Major, 6th Battalion, 1st Division, ANV
The Southern Legion