Our base camp was next to an old barn. The next morning, we packed the knapsacks with everything for an overnight bivouac over a mile from a camp. After a short march, the company drilled for around three hours including at least a solid hour of skirmish drill. The drill increased in speed, complexity, and terrain throughout the day. The company performed with distinction. Special recognition should go to our company runner, who for his first time, picked up the commands and handled the stress like a pro. We decided that our runner, while too young to carry a rifle in the WCWA, should have the safety, knowledge, and confidence of sharpshooter weapons and maneuvers. All sharpshooters learn the position up, and our runner exceeded all expectations.
After drill, we grabbed our packs and marched to our bivouac site. Privates carried additional tools as needed. Pvt. Soderling packed the axe, Pvt. Deven packed the cook pots and shovel, and so on. It was a beautiful piece of prairie full of deer, elk, and wild turkeys. We rested, collected firewood, and cooked supper over the fire. We even took some time to practice our death scenes which was a hilarious affair. After a peaceful evening, we all collected by the fire, cuddled up under our gum and wool blankets and slept the best we could through the cold night. I must have woken up at least four times to get more wood and stoke the fire. As soon as the sun rose, we were up and cooking coffee, potatoes, beans, and oatmeal over the coals. Refreshed, we cleaned camp, packed our gear, and marched the mile up hill back to base.
This training really gave everyone an opportunity to continually improve in drill, tactics, theory and appreciation of the Civil War experience. We all agreed this should become a new tradition. We couldn't be more proud of the hard work and dedication of everyone in the company. Our next Sharpshooter only event is the 4th of July weekend at Fort Stevens. We hope you can make it!