Brick House AAR

Colonel Joseph Leo, commanding
6th Battalion, 1st Division, ANV

I hereby submit my report of the operations of Co. H, 1st Maryland Infantry, in the actions at Montgomery, the past October 8-10.

A small detachment of 7 soldiers and one civilian from Company H arrived on Friday afternoon to set up camp. We found our campsite on high round, avoiding any possible repetition of last year's mud fest. The camp had been ably laid out by Sgt. Major Sullivan (John Maloney) and was set up expeditiously. The travel time was most reasonable, even on the Columbus  Day Weekend, and access to the highway made finding the site very easy indeed. Registration was very efficient, although I understand some other units did encounter some problems. Temperatures were warm for the season, and a comfortable night was passed.

Saturday dawned a lovely fall morning. Since our numbers were so small, we distributed our forces between Jackson's Flying Battery and a composite infantry company with elements of the 12th Georgia, under the command of Captain Duckett. I was detached to staff in the absence of Lt. Col. Boyle, who had taken ill. I am happy to report that he is now nicely recovered

Battalion drill was held at 10:00 AM, despite the rather odd setting of a football field (it was, however, both dry and level, which could not be said for much of the rest of the terrain), was well run and effective. The battalion consisted of the aforementioned composite, a composite of the 16th North Carolina and 55th Virginia, under the command of Captain Rathbun, Lee's Light Horse, and two non-battalion units, the 30th Virginia and an Alabama unit whose designation I did not catch. Companies were aligned as 16th-55th-1st, 30th-2nd, 12th-1st-3rd, the Alabamans 4th, and Lee's on the  left flank as 5th company. The redoubtable Sumter Rifles again performed ably as color guard. I had command of the right wing, and Major Pereira had  the left. While our drill was new to the non battalion units, much was accomplished.

The infantry was ably supported by two guns from Jackson's a mountain howitzer from Middlesex Artillery, and a gun from a non-battalion unit, the 7th Tennessee. There was also a small dismounted cavalry unit, and one mounted trooper.

After the morning drill, the field officers went for a meeting with the Federal commander, Col. LaRocca, to plan for the afternoon battle. For those unfamiliar with the site, while there is a fairly large area in which  to fight, the open ground visible to spectators is rather small and narrow. This field was very wet from the recent heavy rains, but was greatly improved with some remarkable breastworks erected by the host unit, the 127th New York.

The interval before the battle was spent with trips to the smallish selection of sutlers, and viewing the lovely grounds, and the excellent Farm Museum at which the event is held. It is a very pleasant place to spend a weekend.

We formed for battle and marched to the field. We occupied the first line of fortifications, with support from the Middlesex mountain howitzer back on the hill, Jackson's in the woods on our left, and the Tennessee gun in the center of the works. We were attacked by a company of Federal infantry,  but, after a spirited firefight, they were driven off. Since it seemed as though we had won the day, Confederate infantry withdrew to the second lin  of breastworks, and began to take our ease. However, as the Tennessee gun, guarded by the dismounted troopers, was brought back, there was renewed attack from the Federal infantry. Advancing quickly across the field, they took the first line of fortifications before we could form our line. However, acting quickly, the left wing formed and resisted the Federal advance.

Working our way back down to the first line, we drove the Federals and reoccupied the line, putting in place both the Tennesseans, and the Middlesex mountain howitzer. Another fierce firefight ensued, which was brought to a close by Major Pereira's brilliant flanking maneuver with the right wing. That and Jackson's raking fire won us the day.

After a brief ceremony for the crowd, we marched back to our camp, and settled in for the evening. We enjoyed an excellent meal, as usual, cooked this time by our able Chaplain, Hal Hoffner. We were honored to share our excellent repast with you.

We held a very brief unit meeting for October, and began to socialize. We had been invited to the Federal camp to share their fire, but most of us chose to remain in our own camp. After a time at our camp, I wandered over to HQ for some socialization. In the interim, music broke out from the camp of the First. It seemed to be in a style with which I was not familiar, but was performed with great relish. After I time I took the opportunity to go down the hill to visit my friends in the 16th, who had chosen to camp on the old campsite. There I was introduced to the cult of Phil, the god of Insufficient Light.

There is much to be told of Phil, but I fear that moat of it is beyond the scope of this report (Darn it to Heck!). I will confine it to a report that Phil seems to have possessed the physical being of Corporal Jacob Lamitie. Either that or Jacob has possessed Phil, I am not sure which.

On my return to camp, I found that the revelry had died down, and most of the revelers were asleep. I soon joined them, and spent a very comfortable night.

While the patter of rain on canvas can be a most comforting sound, it is not one calculated to warm the hearts of most reenactors. Unfortunately, Sunday dawned rainy and rather dismal. The scheduled 7:00 AM tactical was put off for an hour, and then canceled altogether. Soon after, Col. LaRocca came over and informed us that the forecast was very poor, and that the events of the day were canceled. Therefore, after a staff meeting, we broke camp and were on the road by noon.

In all, weather aside, our second year at this event was quite enjoyable. The location is convenient for all our units. The drive home for us was well under two hours. Plans for next year include clearing more land for the Confederate camp, allowing us to place all of together without undue crowding. There are also plans to acquire the land that is now a football field, use it for parking, and use the current parking area for spectator battles. If these plans are followed through, what is already a fine event could become an excellent one. I recommend that we continue to support it in the future.

Respectfully submitted,
Bradley T. Johnson (Lee Jones)
Captain, Co. H, 1st Maryland Infantry
Major, 6th Battalion, 1st Division, ANV
The Southern Legion