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After Action Report, Red Apple Farm
To Major General Jake Jennette, 1st Division, Army of Northern Virginia
herewith submit my report on the actions of the 6th Regiment
ANV (Liberty Greys) in the area of Phillipston, this past July
regiment consisted of good turnouts from the 7th Tennessee, 12th
Georgia, 1st Maryland, Co. A, 35th Virginia, Co. B, 35th Virginia,
1st Company Richmond Howitzers, and Headquarters Company. We were
joined by elements of the 3rd Arkansas. Our total field strength with
these elements was approximately 65 soldiers.
and I arrived on the site after a lengthy journey by rail and carriage.
We arrived to find a most agreeable campsite, which had been selected
for us by Ordnance Sgt. Mike Flye, acting as our advance scout, being
very familiar with the locale. The regimental camp had been most ably
laid out by Lt. Col. Paul Plante and Sgt. Major Brian Patton, who had
done their usual splendid job. We had arrived at about 5:30 PM,
to find many soldiers already gathering. Camp was placed on the
outskirts of the small village of Unity. In the distance, on the
other side of unity, appeared to be a building encampment of Federal
infantry. Fortunately our soldiers who had already arrived in camp
allowed us to set up in peace and safety. Camp being set up, we spent a
most pleasant evening, renewing our acquaintances with many friends who
stopped by, and gathering with a group of staff members under our fly
to enjoy the company, and the most pleasant evening. There were
many such groups dotted around the camp. Eventually, we retired,
and passed a most comfortable night.
broke, bright and clear, and the camp was roused by reveille at 6:00
AM, and we went about the business of the day. Sergeants' Call was held
at 7:00 AM, and our companies took full advantage of the time allotted
for company drill at 8:00.
this time, I took an opportunity to reconnoiter the nearby field, which
Sgt. Flye had pointed out as the mostly likely ground of engagement
with the Federal detachment, due to its proximity to the road to Unity.
I noted some features of the land, such as possible locations for
placing our artillery, and the most propitious areas for using our
cavalry detachment. I then returned to camp, and managed to find solace
and relaxation by playing some familiar airs upon my banjo.
company officers arrived promptly at 9:00 AM for the morning banjo
recital, um, I mean Officers' Call. Assignments of places in line
of battle were made, as well as some idea of the ground, and the
possibility of an engagement that afternoon. The meeting was short, and
followed by a further examination of the field with Lt. Col. Plante,
and Sgt. Major Patton.
AM, the companies arrived on headquarters row in good order, in
readiness for Battalion drill. Drill focused on evolutions that might
be required in the possible engagement, particularly the march in
column of companies right in front, deploying that column into line of
battle by inversion, and changing front when in line of battle by
inversion. We then made a beginning of forming a column on the Right
into Line, an evolution unfamiliar to many of our newer officers. I am
happy to report the the battalion performed in its usual most able
manner, allowing for an active 45 minute drill, after which we returned
AM, we had an activity new to us, the Drill Elimination
Competition. Some 12 or so soldiers participated, most in
uniforms of an odd shade of blue, although many of them appeared
familiar. I took command, with Sgt. Major Patton, and Aide de Camp Lt.
Todd Purcell, who was acting as Provost Marshal, serving as judges.
Soldiers were eliminated, of course, by flaws in their performances of
the Manual of Arms, and facings. Since the soldiers were so well
drilled, they had a further challenge. Since this was a company size,
commands had to be prefaced by the caution "Company", as in "Company,
Shoulder Arms". A command of "Battalion, Shoulder Arms", or simply
"Shoulder Arms was to be ignored. Also and improper command, such as
"Company, Port Arms" should be ignored, since the proper command would
Company, Arms Port".
proved to be a great deal of fun for all involved. All soldiers who
participated performed so well that it was difficult to eliminate them.
We did eventually work down to the four prize winners. I hope
this can happen again at our events.
arrived for luncheon, accompanied by more airs upon the banjo. Time
passed quickly, and at 1:30 PM, the battalion formed for patrol, an
possible encounter with the Federal detachment. Weapons were, of
course, inspected, with no problems other then trifles.
trudged though the woods, we heard the sound of our mounted cavalry
detachment, who had encountered a similar detachment of Federal
cavalry. Under the able command of Major Paul Brundage, the threat was
neared the opening into the field, we heard the distant rumble of
Federal artillery. Fortunately Captain Wayne Rowe of the Richmond
Howitzers had positioned one of his pieces in the perfect location to
answer back. We were able to emerge into the brightness of the
marched into the field, about a third of its length, when a strong
detachment of Federal infantry came out of hiding in the woods and
attacked the left flank of our column. Thinking quickly, Captain Tom
Fisher of the 35th Virginia immediately deployed his troopers, who,
fighting dismounted, held off the Federals while we deployed our column
into line of battle. Our combined firepower reduced the threat.
quite soon after, another strong body of Federal infantry appeared,
reinforcing. them, then another. The initial party fell back upon
the main body, while we continued to push, with dismounted troopers
from Co. A 35th Virginia harassing their left flank, and the troopers
of Co. B 35th harrying their right, the enemy was driven back to their
line of fortification.
promptly and steadily, Captain Christian Svejk of the 1st Maryland
supported the attack on the Federal left, overrunning the artillery and
allowing us freedom of movement. Captain Steven Feid of the 7th
Tennessee moved in similar manner on their left. With our men firing on
them from all directions, the enemy was forced out of their
fortification and into retreat. Despite fighting hard and with much
valor the day was ours. Colonel Paul Kenworthy of the New England
Brigade called fort a parley accepting his defeat. where, being much
diminished ourselves we offered the courtesy of allowing his men to
tend to their wounded. We took advantage of the opportunity
ourselves to do the same. I am very glad to report that we did
emerge successful and victorious on the field that day.
return, we were able to refresh ourselves. I was most gratified to met
by my lovely wife, Jane Claudia (aka Liz) with a pitcher of lemonade,
which soon restored me to vigor. I reached for my banjo, and began to
play. Others in the camp also reached for instruments, another banjo, a
guitar, even a violin. Soon, all those in the camp were treated to the
accidental harmonies created by the different airs being played
concurrently. I am sure it was much enjoyed. Then again, perhaps they
were simply pleased that my banjo playing was finally being drowned
out! No, surely it must be the former, rather then the latter.
helped the afternoon pass quickly and most pleasantly. Soon it was
evening. My lovely wife presented me with a most delicious stew,
which surely she must have worked over the entire day. I am a
most fortunate man! All our companies were well fed as well, and all
seemed happy. While we did have a brief shower, it passed quickly and
cleared. Lt. Col. Plante, Sgt. Major Patton and myself made a
tour of the company streets to ensure that all were well, and content.
awe then returned to Headquarters Row, this time to Col. Plante's fly,
where a wonderful evening was passed in the company of good friends.
On my way
to the sinks that night, I chanced to look up to the heavens, and, on
that moonless night, beheld such a display of stars in their beauty,
that i was without words. I had just been talking with a good friend
about the beauty of a starry night, and the wonder of that heavenly
display, and behold there it was. What a blessing has been given to
us!. With that thought before my eyes, I retired happy and at peace.
most refreshing sleep, morning broke again with sound of reveille at
6:00 AM, the beginning of another days tasks, despite the gloom of the
overcast skies. Sergeants' Call again at 7:00, and company drill
at 8:00, while I took the opportunity to prepare to read Morning Prayer
on the Lords's Day. About 30 of gathered at the appointed spot. We
prayed for friends who were in need of the Lord's help, and prayed for
those unknown to us by name, who might also be in need. We gave our
thanksgivings for the many great blessings we have received, and
enjoyed the fellowship greatly.
prayer behind us, we returned to the realities of military life. Our
companies, one by one, marched to the parade ground for dress
parade where we were pleased to see the late arriving 4th Alabama,
delayed by heavy enemy action on their route, and resplendent in their
newly captured blue uniforms! Our adjutant, Captain Tim Perkins, did
his usual outstanding job in running this time honored military
modern aside, the 4th Alabama had been intending to do this event in
grey, but, in order to even the sides, making the event more
successful, they attended in their alter egos, the 15th
Massachusetts. They decided they wanted to participate in our
dress parade, and even took part in our succeeding battalion drill.
dress parade, the rains began to fall. I had been concerned that
we might have to cancel the battalion drill. While this would not
have been a real disaster, this was to be Lt. Col. Plante's first time
conducting battalion drill. Fortunately, the rain abated to a
drizzle, perhaps more of a mist, and drill went on as planned. To no
ones surprise, Col. Plante ran a most efficient and excellent
drill. My congratulations go out to him. With him and Major atom
Fearaby,who sadly could not attend this event due to illness, our
Regiment is in good hands!
the 4th Alabama, exhausted form their hard fought trip in, and further
drained by their determination to drill, were forced to retire.
weather held as nothing more then a mist for the drill, but, on our
return to camp, the skies opened up! Our gear was stored, so we
weathered the storm. At one point, the wind gave us sideways
rain, and our only recourse was to retreat to the safety of our tents.
With the possibility of approaching thunder, we began to have concern
for the remainder of the event.
worried needlessly. Thie event surely had some sort of Heavenly
blessing. Late morning, the rains abated fully. By noon, the sun
began to peak out. The grounds dried, the canvas dried, all became
rolled around and the battalion formed for our afternoon patrol, and
possible engagement with the Federals. again we trudged along the
wooded road, again, Federal artillery spoke in the distance, only to be
answered by our own. We broke out into the welcome sun, and marched
towards Unity. Our cavalry detachment had been called away, and so we
marched without their welcome screen, though flanked by the dismounted
troopers of Co. B, 35th Virginia. Almost defying credulity, we were
attacked from the woods again in almost exactly the same place. Captain
Fisher was well prepared, and hit them hard. Again we deployed our
column, and quickly drove them from their position. awe pushed hard,
driving them back onto their main body at the field
fortifications. As I looked into the distance at them, I seemed
to see many who had a more then passing resemblance to the 4th Alabama!
Surely the effects of the hard fighting we had endured recently were
playing tricks with my eyes!
hard at their position, but they were well entrenched. Our cavalry
skirmishers were unable to displace their artillery, which continued to
pound us. We stove with all our might to displace the infantry from
their position, to no avail. Sensing our exhaustion, Col. Kenworthy
acted quickly, and moved his troops forward. In our weakened state we
could not hold, and had to fall back. Again and again, we rallied the
troops, and attempted to make stands, field adjutant Captain Randy
Porteus, and Sgt. Major Patton doing yeoman service. Finally, exhausted
and unable to continue, I raised my kepi on my sword, calling for a
parley with Col. Kenworthy. This brave and worthy soldier refused the
offer of my sword, and courteously allowed us to return to the field
and care for our wounded. After an interval, we were able to retire
into the dark safety of the wood.
returned to the comfort of our camp, I was again greeted by my lovely
Jane Claudia (still Liz by the way) with her ever present pitcher of
lemonade, and her kind comfort after our difficulties on the field. Our
brave lads rested and were refreshed, and finally, it came time to
begin breaking camp, and moving on to our next post of duty.
down the road, the wagons appeared and entered our camp, and the slow
process of breaking camp began. As we contemplated striking our tents,
we were amazed to find them completely dry, even after the intense
rains of the morning. What a true blessing easing our labors.
most fortunate to have received a three week furlough, so, one by one,
our parties dispersed into the countryside, leaving, finally, only a
few of us behind. As we loaded the last of our equipment into the
wagons, and prepared to board the carriage for the ride to the train
station for the trip back to Richmond, the rains once again began to
fall. No matter, our labors were complete, and we could rest easy.
try to mention as many of the large numbers of people deserving of
praise for the great success for the event, but, invariably, there are
names omitted. In truth, every member of our organization, soldier and
civilian should be mentioned, but these reports are more then lang
enough as they are. Please consider yourselves all to be thanked, I am
in your debt for your hard work. On this one, I do need to mention
especially, all of the members of the 7th Tennessee, who worked so hard
to make this a great success. Most especially, Ordnance Sgt. Mike Flye,
who conceived the idea of the event last year, and has worked
tirelessly ever since on the site and the logistics. People may call it
a thankless task, but he surely has our thanks. This event will return
in two years, and Mike has secured us access to the property in the off
years. Lt. Col. Plante is developing a non spectator tactical
event for next year, with details to follow.
always, my great thanks and appreciation to all who worked on the event
and all of you who attended. You have my thanks and appreciation, and
you are all in my prayers.
Respectfully submitted this 28th day of July, 1864,
Colonel Bradley Tyler Johnson (aka Leonidas Jones) commanding
6th Regiment, 1st Division, Army of Northern Virginia
The Liberty Greys
Any Fate But Submission