Of course there were discussions about not taking enough hits on both sides. But what's great about these events is that there are so many opportunities for the battalion commanders to chat it out, find solutions, and in about an hour, we're back at it trying to do better for each other.
On Saturday, our company spent just about 12 hours on the front line after getting up and moving out at 5:30 a.m. We immediately set about doing what we love: building fortifications. We made three lines with additional units building cover in the extreme rear. There were long periods of down time and lots of time for intense fighting, especially when the Rebs cuts trails through the woods for surprise attacks. All of this time gave us opportunities to chat, laugh, and connect, which is something we don't quite get during mainstream events. It's also such a great opportunity to use our gear, learn to use it better, and experience soldier life for more than a couple of hours a day.
My biggest highlight involved the civilians who participated. One time, we were deployed out as skirmishers and while lying down aiming at the enemy camp, they graciously came out to us and gave us all watermelon. It was equally fun, when the once kind civilians turned hostile insurrectionists on Sunday. The women began shooting back at the Union Army, even turning over their kitchen tables for firing positions. That got my dander up in the most fun way. So we devised a plan for Pvt. House-Higgins to spring from the far end of our position on the right flank and capture one of their wooden spoons. We checked our ammo, crept to the boundary of our position, and Pvt. House Higgins and his father stripped their gear off for a mad dash. At the call they ran like the wind only to narrowly avoid capture. Andy got a violent lashing by said wooden spoon and Pvt. House-Higgins nearly met the same fate. Thankfully both managed to escape the civilian terror but not without drawing the attention of Confederate skirmishers. This forced us to retreat as skirmishers to the safety of our lines. Once the rebs turned back, we approached the line again. Tom ran behind the town and got as close as touching the spoon before the Confederates returned with a company to repel to us. Not only that, those rebs picked up the over turned tables and moved with them as a barrier approaching our line. We had to hold for the time being. Defeated but intent on not giving up, I was more determined than ever to get retribution. After our last battle, the Confederate wounded were making their way back to camp. A small handful of 79th were still on the field and Pvt. Renke came up to me to say, "now's our chance." I dashed out to the 79th to call on their support for our joint operation. They deployed as skirmishers and with just a few rounds left a piece, we charged the civilians so Pvt. House-Higgins could take his war trophy and avenge his father's brutal beating. After stiff vocal resistance and world class game play, the civilians, surrounded by armed Unionists, surrendered the spoon and we dashed off to battalion where our youngest private was tossed about as a hero and victor of the Battle of the Wooden Spoon. And, yes, after the event, the spoon was safely returned to its owner.
This light-hearted story is mostly to illustrate how much fun can be had with in the moment game play when everyone is out to have a good time. No scripting, no worrying about making sure it's scheduled for the public, just the joy of a for us by us event. There is growing interest in expanding events like these and of course we're all so grateful for everyone who had the time and interest to join and contribute.