Sharpshooters Wipe Out 3 Companies, Capture Major
Captain leads division into battle
In short: We kicked butt and had fun. For more detail read on!
This Memorial Day weekend was one of many firsts for Company D and one for heart pounding battles. The Tahoma Marines fell in with us this weekend giving us nine men on the field. In addition to promoting Colt to corporal, we picked up an energetic new recruit, Bryce Cook who is our new man on the target rifle. Corporal Spiekerman quickly proved his skill as second squad leader as the Berdans annihilated three confederate companies on Saturday. Our squad work on Saturday was effective and deadly in part to Captain Whitehall's excellent battlefield map and our pre-battle scouting. Corporal Spiekerman led second squad consisting of the Tahoma Marines. I led first squad including Pvt. Hardway (Aurianna), Pvt. Ternan, and James from the Marines. On Saturday we held the left flank while jumping logs, sliding down hillsides, hiding behind trees and laying down a wall of fire. The one poor survivor from South Carolina met his maker in vain to defend himself against the Captain's sword. Captain Whitehall actually slayed two rebs with his sword this weekend. A few rebs tried to sneak up on the the trail leading to our position. After one bloody volley killing off the remaining threat to our front, I pulled off 1st squad reset the line and sent the threat to an early grave allowing the Captain to sweep down with 1st squad and capture Major Harriman and his sword.
All our efforts in drilling really paid off this weekend as we were often the last company to leave the drill grounds and the only company drilling while firing. Our excellence in drilling and safety led battalion to easily approve our company's request to engage the enemy while prone. Eight sharpshooters hitting the deck in front of the audience made for a great show.
Corporal Spiekerman did an excellent job bearing the colors this weekend which were quickly posted on the field before we set to our deadly work. Due to battalion's need to have us hitting hard we ended up only have to march the colors out half of the time before posting them. Captain Whitehall also did an exceptional job as temporary adjutant for battalion. We were the go to company for all sorts of duties. In addition to our daily fatigue duties we were also employed as battalion escorts to confederate camp.
Another exciting first was Captain Whitehall commanding three companies on Monday's surprise attack on the rebel forces. While Captain Whitehall, along with Corporal Speakerman, led the 79th New York on a long surprise rear assault on the rebels. Captain Whitehall: “After reaching the battalion staging area above Deep Creek Cpl. Spiekerman, myself and the 79th double-quicked along the ridge and crossed the fence on the far side. From there we entered the woods on a knoll overlooking both rebel cavalry camp and the main body of the confederate battalion. For the next hour the 79th and us laid low, Messages were sent by runner (Cpl. Spiekerman) back to the Colonel informing him the Rebs were in camp drilling and having parade with no clue of the battalion intentions. Once they moved from camp and deployed from column of companies onto the field,that is when the 79th led along trails by the Corporal and I sprung the trap, bursting from the trees and forming a firing line behind the Rebels. As planned two companies were pulled off to face the new threat to their rear as our Cavalry screened our rear. While the 79th pushed the rear of the rebels and began a flanking fire maneuver, Cpl. Spiekerman and I ran a small trail through the woods and to our surprise found a Private from the 20th Maine as well as our own Private Ternan.After a quick volley we came from behind the two rebel companies who fired a poorly executed and poorly timed volley into the 79th, who charged them after seeing us smash into their flank, capturing them before the battle ended.”
While the Captain was marching the 79th to the Confederate rear, I led the Berdan's first as a screening force for the battalion. Here we kept throwing ourselves out in a skirmish line to cover the advance of the Colonel, the 20th Maine, and 3rd Michigan as we swept down the hill. After zigzagging from the top of the hill, we rushed to cover the battalion's right flank as the Jasper Greens crept up the trail behind union camp. We fell back in skirmish line to cover the right flank. When the Jasper Greens marched up the main hill trail to sweep down and pressure the right flank, we crashed through the woods on the lower trail, rushed up the hill, threw out a well covered skirmish line and kept the Jasper's not only entirely off the field but out of view of the entire public. Our Sharpshooters performed with valor, fighting with bravery, accuracy, and mass volume of fire.
Our unit was also honored when battalion chose one of us (the 1st Sgt) to be part of the firing detail as part of Monday's Memorial Day service.
Some other key things to quickly review:
- Our guests from the Tahoma Marines were excellent company and fit in and fought amazingly well alongside us.
Adding electrolyte products to our canteens greatly improved our performance and ability to control heat exhaustion.
- Company "bath time" at the hose also kept us cool and comfortable in the high heat.
- Ballistol aided greatly in creating an effective field clean of the rifles. Our developing field clean technique resulted in zero jams for the first time in my memory.
- Military/civilian protocols and farb control were excellent though we are still training other units of our high standards.
- Company officer meetings, company meetings, and civilian meetings seem to be working very well.
- Company speed shooting/drilling while firing before battle "warms up" the rifles ready for battle.
- I'm still fast on the sharps with 3 shots in 28 seconds but I'm under new stiff competition from Pvt. Cook (2nd) and Pvt. Hardway who came in an impressive third so soon.
- We now have a company battle prayer: Ezekiel 25:17 : "The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee"
- So many thanks for those of you who could make it! We can't wait to see you all again at Union Gap!