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 Gettysburg 2013

Check Captains Corner for Notes on Drill and related matters

 

Fireside reading at Cowtown.

 

Sgt. Randy Downey

Pvt. Staab and Pvt. Waters before the battle opens.

 

Just for Fun; comics, drawings and outtakes.

 

 

 Sgt. Shively looking exceptional in Federal Blue!  

 

Priv. Driscoll awaits execution at Humboldt.

 

Sgt. Bell installs the Ninth's ceiling tile at the Tip On Inn.

 

The Ninth applies the torches to the town!

 

Pvt. Shemwell tries to calm the civilians!

 

Three comrades enjoy the Humboldt event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

The Journal of the Ninth Texas Regiment of Infantry: 

Updated Feb 2, 2019

 

After Action Report of
the Actions at Gettysburg PA, 
July 5-8, 2018

The 2018 Gettysburg Campaign presented a rare experience - the travel, the shared sacrifice, the camaraderie, the history, the hubbub, the weather, the many battles confined in time and space - and  I was honored to have participated in the campaign and privileged to write this report. I thank those faithful readers who will read this report to the end and apologize for the delay.

The soldiers …       

The 9th Texas has attended every major Gettysburg campaign for as long as I have been in. Those soldiers making the 2018 campaign for the 9th Texas:

Captain Brian Cox (your humble correspondent)
Pvt. Daniel Young
Pvt. Tony Mattia
Pvt. Mark Isbell

Present for the First Missouri Battalion staff:

Major/Colonel Chris Visser (9th Texas alum)
Major Howard “Catfish” Rollins
Sgt. Major Gary Sutton (9th Texas alum)

Col. Brad Amend and Color Cpl. Dave Jepsen, both planning to attend, had last second emergencies which kept them away from the campaign. Major Visser took charge of the Battalion and did a great job.

The 9th Texas was consolidated for the event with soldiers from other companies, noted here, and I could not have asked for better soldiers:

Acting First Sgt. Marcus Katzer (3d MO)
Acting First Cpl. Elisah Burrough (4th MO)
Pvt. John Jehlie (4th MO)
Pvt. Mike Hall (4th MO)
Pvt. Walker Hall (4th MO)
Pvt. Jeremy Johnson (5th MO)
Pvt. Richard Burton (5th MO)

The 9th with its additions was the First Missouri Battalion’s first company and Capt. Brian McCarthy’s 9th MO Sharpshooters which itself had additions from the 2nd Missouri, constituted the Battalion’s second company. Although a small battalion, the First Missouri stood as its own battalion for the event, including the climactic Pickett’s Charge on Sunday. Of that, I am immensely proud.

(The event was designated as a “maximum” or preferred First Missouri Battalion event, and it is unfortunate that we did not have greater attendance from the Battalion.)

The road …

Part of the adventure of reenacting is the travel to and from the event with your pards, men of generally like mind and tastes. Of course, Gettysburg presented the considerable challenge of just getting there and getting home again with all your gear and mind intact.

In the event, I could not have asked for better travel mates than Sgt. Major Gary Sutton and new man Daniel Young. Although the distance to the event - about eighteen (18) hours out of Topeka as a point of reference - was somewhat daunting, I can say that every minute was worth it (given the time change, we lost an hour going but picked it back up returning). Every one took his turn driving, and we had no troubles on the road, including driving through the night both ways. This time, we rented a Chrysler Pacifica van - which had more than enough room for three men and their gear - at a cost of somewhat over $200 per man. Gas and toll roads turned out to be about $85 per man.

Mr. Sutton picked an itinerary prior to the event which included leaving on Monday, July 2 and returning on July 9, with an anticipated one night stay in a hotel in Gettysburg town, which was reserved long prior to the event, on July 3. The latter was a prescient call given what would be our exhaustion from the trip in all night on July 2-3.

The trip took us mostly on I-70 through or near major cities - Kansas City, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Columbus, Dayton, Wheeling, Chambersburg, etc., - and one time change as noted. Much of the scenery seemed the same as eastern Kansas, although those roads through Indiana were a little rough. Notably, Pennsylvania presented stunning vistas of rolling, green-forested hills and well-kept farms. Otherwise, the drive east of Chambersburg was a little unnerving especially at night with the ups-and-downs, lack of shoulders, the passing of trucks, and construction zones including numerous lane shifts. The many runaway truck ramps gave you pause concerning the nature of traffic conditions here.

In our only real miscue of the trip, we arrived at the registration site somewhere around 4 am on Tuesday, well prior to opening. But we got in a fitful hour or two of sleep, and were literally the first to register for the event when it finally opened at 8 am. We filled out the necessary paperwork and were made to wear a paper wrist bracelet with the warning that this was to be worn at all times. This time, they apparently meant it, as Pvt. Burrough, whose bracelet later dissolved for one reason or another, was denied re-access to the event until he went back again to registration and secured another. The souvenirs for sale there - t-shirts and coffee cups - were nothing out of the ordinary. Indeed, on close inspection, the uniformed reb and yank on the latter bore some noticeable errors.

Gettysburg town …

According to Wikipedia, Gettysburg’s population is a little over 7,200, and that expands substantially during the influx of reenactors and spectators every July to commemorate the pivotal 1863 battle (as per Wikipedia, “[y]he Gettysburg National Military Park receives an annual 3 million visitors per year.”).

Much of the town, certainly the part which we frequented, caters to the history buff, and the main streets are clogged with souvenir, militaria, and book stores. Several sutlers are also based here - Dirty Billy’s, S and S, and Regimental Quartermaster. I found of particular interest the two toy soldier stores although made no purchase this trip (The Antique Center of Gettysburg and Gettysburg Miniature Soldiers). We made our way through many of these, each of us having our own interests. We did have three very satisfying breakfasts at the Lincoln Diner which had excellent fare and help.

Our quarters for two nights was a motel centrally located in Gettysburg town, in a suite of three rooms and four beds, up a wooden staircase, and overlooking a small pool. Mr. Mattia joined us for our stay at the place.

Our room 33 and indeed the entire motel turned out to be haunted, at least as promised by the staff. In support of the claim, the manager offered up a notebook of photographs of ghostly visitors, mainly in the form of “orbs” including one floating ominously over our room 33. None made their appearance, however, while we were there.

In what might be considered an additional reenactor pilgrimage, we had dinner on Tuesday night at Gen. Pickett’s Buffet, a reenactor favorite, not only for the food but for the sheer history of the venue, every wall filled to the brim with  mostly limited edition prints of the battle. And we could not have asked for a more helpful and vivacious waitress than Marie.

Our second night’s stay at the motel was on very short notice:  we had checked out and were going to spend the day (Wednesday) touring the battlefield and then retire to the reenactment site late in the day, when we found out that rain had closed access to the event site, into and out. Surprisingly, the smattering of rain which fell on us at the NPS site didn’t seem enough to be cause for closure but we were not on-site at the time and obviously they may have had it differently. The motel was good enough to book us for an additional night on this very short notice in our old room. We had a pleasant meal across the street at a microbrewery/restaurant and were joined by others from the Battalion. Pvt. Isbell who was already on-site, was effectively locked down, and so went to bed. We spent the rest of the night touring again the small shops which make up the bulk of this part of the town.

The battlefield …     

No pilgrimage to Gettysburg is complete without a complete tour of the actual battlefield, maintained by the National Park Service, and we took a full day to visit it and its mammoth Visitor Center. Pivotal aspects of the Battle such as the railroad cut, the Angle, Little Round Top, Cemetary Ridge, Devil’s Den, the Wheatfield, the Copse of Trees, and the like, come alive when you are actually there (of course, we spent too much time arguing the proper pronunciation of the word “copse”).

Monuments of course are everywhere on the grounds - to units, to points in the battle, to particular personalities; some relatively small, others quite grand (e.g, the Pennsyvlania monument on Cemetery Ridge) - and that alone could take up all your time. Wikipedia informs us that:

“The monuments of the Gettysburg Battlefield … represent "one of the largest collections of outdoor sculpture in the world.” … As of 2008, the National Park Service unit managed 1,320 monuments and markers, 410 cannons, 148 historic buildings, and 41 miles (66 km) of roads (8 miles of them, unpaved).”

Many of the monuments have their own story and the visitor is well-advised, as we were, to obtain some reference material. For example, the Gen. Buford monument contains an artillery tube at its foot said to have fired the first artillery projectile of the fight; the 90th Pennsylvania’s monument had a bird’s nest atop, said to memorialize the act of one of its soldiers who returned it to its tree which had been toppled during the fighting. And there was much more.

I was the beneficiary of having two travel mates who knew or studied up on considerably more of the battle than I did or had, Sgt. Major Sutton and Pvt. Daniel Young, and they provided considerable detail to the points we visited on the battlefield.

We also went to the Gettysburg Cyclorama (a favorite of mine), now owned by the NPS, a massive circular painting, which Wikipedia describes as follows:

“The painting is the work of French artist Paul Dominique Philippoteaux. It depicts Pickett's Charge, the failed infantry assault that was the climax of the Battle of Gettysburg. The painting is a cyclorama, a type of 360° cylindrical painting. The intended effect is to immerse the viewer in the scene being depicted, often with the addition of foreground models and life-sized replicas to enhance the illusion. Among the sites documented in the painting are Cemetery Ridge, the Angle, and the "High-water mark of the Confederacy". The completed original painting was 22 feet (6.7 m) high and 279 feet (85 m) in circumference. The version that hangs in Gettysburg, a recent (2005) restoration of the version created for Boston, is 42 feet (13 m) high and 377 feet (115 m) in circumference.”

The Cyclorama is itself housed in the Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center, redone in the past several years, and the latter is quite an experience in itself, with exhibits, a movie of the battle, bookstore, and amenities, and packed to the brim with visitors when we were there. I was a little disappointed as to the number of exhibits, which I expected to include more uniforms, flags, and weaponry. That said, kudos to the NPS for maintaining a first rate facility.

The camp …

Although others, apparently those arriving sooner, had first dibs on flat, open ground, freshly mown, the First Missouri Battalion was relegated to an overgrown little hollow, at the edge of the property, somewhat removed from the center of activities.

I was wary prior to the event of the prospect of armies of ticks ready to attack, however, in the event, I had reports of a total of two (2) tick sightings. More numerous, however, were the chiggers  and mosquitos which attacked some of us. I was relatively unaffected, this year having sprayed my clothing with Permithrin and my skin and the ground under my groundcloth with Deep Woods Off, which seemed to do the job. There was also ample poison ivy. There were some spiders, but no snakes or other critters. I think I heard, or dreamed, of a couple of owls who got close and made a ruckus.

We had several A-tents and shebangs and others campaigned it; given the size of the site, and limitations of the terrain, we made no effort to maintain company streets.

Amenities were sufficient. There was ample firewood although substantial deadfall was available. A water buffalo and porta-johns were some fifty yards away. We were allowed to drive in to off-load our gear, and then drive away to the parking area about a quarter of a mile away. There was hay but we either were not provided any or just did not bring any down.

Sutler’s row, as at most “national” events, was awesome, with just about everything a reenactor could desire including top of the line sutlers, activities tents, food venders, and others. One quite adamant fellow had a display pushing the idea of Black confederates; twin sisters had a table with books and figurines telling the story of Gettysburg through cat figures.

The climate on-site was mostly hot and humid and that was compounded by our location with dense woods and little breeze; it was literally sweat-through-your-vest hot. Against all odds, it fell to about 58 degrees one night, and rained a bit during the first day’s fights.

Camp activities …      

Because we had some relatively new men, we had about an hour of drill and were able to practice several things which we were ultimately called upon to do during the actual fights. Not much space for the effort ‘tho. Mr. Katzur capably stepped up as acting First Sgt.

Some South Carolina veterans also joined us for the weekend including several of the fights. One of their number proved adept at banjo and singing and regaled us with a number of period songs, in many of which we readily joined.

Mr. Isbell cooked up a Cornish hen on his recently-acquired squirrel cooker, and I had a taste. Raw rations were issued for part of the stay - coffee, onions, and potatoes. And Private Burrough proved a capable cook for the time we were there.

We spent some time around the campfire discussing the motivations of the reb soldier, religion, and other issues.

We were happy to have Pvt. Tony Mattia, a preacher from Wamego, fall in with us again. Pvt. Mattia not only gave pre-battle prayers, but also a stirring sermon and service Sunday morning, the latter using an actual 1863 ANV soldiers’ tract.

Many ghosts of Gettysburg stories were told, including several in the lull before battle. One related by Major Visser was of his being accosted by a soldier on the site during the 1992 filming who offered a pack of cartridges, saying “you’ll need these.” The pack was heavy by reenacting standards and indeed, it contained ten real rounds including greased rounds. No one else was camped nearby and this person was nowhere to be found after he made the delivery.

We did have some discipline problems in camp. On Saturday night, Pvt. Jehle was charged with and convicted of straggling and disrespecting an officer. The private was brought in under guard to the undersigned and the specifications read. Witnesses testified, most apparently truthfully, the accused only partly so, although giving a spirited defense (including in part, that he had been so instructed by Gen. Lee). Upon conviction, the sentence was bucking and gagging for eight hours and half rations for three days (the bucking and gagging was actually done for a short time, Pvt. Jehle howling and growling the whole time).

On Sunday, a Brigade Court of Inquiry - not entirely serious - was also convened, the judges of which were several “big bugs” and the undersigned as the Missouri Battalion representative. Prior to hearing the charges, the presiding judge poured out a shot of home brew to aid our judicial demeanor and insight. The sundry accused were brought forward by their guards and mostly made to stand with a noose around their necks. One was charged with stealing a chicken, another with wasting food, and another gambling. Two of our boys were charged with misconduct before the enemy, here failing to fall in with the army for the Saturday afternoon battle. The defense was that they were foraging but the panel was unpersuaded, and the punishment meted out at my recommendation was bucking and gagging.

And then, there was the kerfuffle with the NPS. Majors Visser and Rollins apparently made an after-hours visit onto the battlefield prior to the event, and were accosted by a small army of law enforcement (including all of five enforcement vehicles, with three NPS and two Gettysburg officers), one of whom approached with his hand on his gun. The hapless duo, although recognized as reenactors, were made to wait with hands raised for 30 minutes while the matter was investigated. Ultimately, Visser was given a $50 federal ticket for a “closure” violation with the warning that if he ignored it, a warrant would be issued for his arrest, and the stern admonition that after hours access is forbidden. Just my two cents, but it seems like all this was mostly unnecessary, and a simple admonition to move on and don’t do this again, by a single officer, would have sufficed.

The fights …

The point of the event, of course, was the five (5) battles over three (3) days, culminating in Pickett’s Charge on Sunday, July 8. An estimate of numbers was north of 7000 with one estimate of 1200 walk-on’s from Thursday night to Friday morning.

Friday. July  6 -

The morning battle, perhaps the best and longest, was against the Iron Brigade. We were pushing their skirmish line on the other side of a small creek when a solid line of blue appeared coming over the hill on our front - it was the Iron Brigade - much to our surprise. The temps and humidity remained high but there was periodic rain throughout but not a drenching rain and nothing to dull the action.

We did have several medical emergencies on Friday, on the federal side, which stopped the action. I don’t know if any of these was due to heat exhaustion but such reinforces the point that reenacting can be a demanding hobby and all should take steps to ensure an appropriate level of fitness and acclimation to the heat and humidity.

Saturday, July  7 -

We had two more fights including the Wheatfield. On the latter, we made three charges in, and prior to the third, were treated to some hand-to-hand between some of the Rebs and the Yanks; it was short but great to witness, as it was wholly unexpected by us and they did a great job. In the event, our little consolidated company had 100 percent casualties. The temps and humidity was considerably better than the past two days.

Sunday, July  8 -

The climax of course was Pickett’s Charge on Sunday, and we formed up behind the artillery line. The pre-charge barrage was a little short but the reb assault was inspiring. The First Missouri Battalion was in the second wave after the first was completely broken. We dutifully advanced in perfect order to the beat. Federal artillery was not in action on our charge, but ours too was nevertheless broken, and only several who offered to surrender actually made it to the wall. As the assault was breaking, the feds chanted “Fredericksburg, Fredericksburg!”

Epilogue …

We utilized an old vet’s trick of breaking down prior to the Sunday battle, enabling us to go directly from the fight to our vehicle. That worked like a charm and we got on the road after the fight at 3 pm. We had no trouble on the way home and were well-satisfied with our week’s venture to Gettysburg, and hoped that we, as well, gave sufficient tribute to the lads of 1863, blue and gray, who fought and died following their convictions. The campaign is now down in the books and has to rank with one of the best that the 9th has been to. 

I am, respectfully,
Brian Cox
Captain commanding
9th Texas Reg’t of Infantry
First Missouri Battalion
_________

I have compiled here some comments of others about the campaign:

Appendix One (comments by Major Visser, First Missouri Battalion):

Greetings, Men of the 1st Missouri Infantry Regiment,

It has been nearly 3 weeks since we marched to Pennsylvania, and I apologize that it has taken me so long to tender these remarks to you. However, I can only offer by way of explanation that I have not had access to a real computer in that time, and my thoughts were more than I thought I could do justice by merely typing on my phone. So please forgive me for it taking so long. Without further ado, I will got on with it.

So. Wow. That’s the only thing I can say at the start of any thoughts about the experience that we had in Pennsylvania. We had been looking at this event approach since I first gave General Hunt our commitment to attend in March 2017, a few weeks prior to even going to Shiloh. From that time, I have watched the even approach and grow nearer and nearer, and I still was caught completely unaware of how profoundly amazing the weekend would turn out to be. Given the unfortunate but random combination of life events by the men of this regiment, we can all agree this has been a tough year for us to get together and live and fight as one in the field. As the registration process got underway, I was never discouraged by the number of men I saw (or did not see), and I decided that I would commit myself as totally to helping the men of this battalion enjoy the weekend as those men had committed to showing up.

And boy, did you commit. We have gone to a lot of national events, good and bad, together over the years. But I don’t think I have felt anything as close and tight-knit as I did at Gettysburg 155. We all started arriving at different times, some us of us (much) earlier than others. We came from different states in different cars, and some of us had never met before we arrived there. However, by Thursday night, having endured heat, rain, chiggers, closed roads, closed event sites, and constant asking of “Do you have your wrist band?!?!”, we somehow already felt to me like a single group, comrades-in-arms who had been together every second for years, and the camp felt right away like one at summer camp after several weeks of living there together and sharing experiences.

When we awoke on Friday morning to kick off the fighting for which we had traveled there, the gloomy clouds and the sprinkling of rain didn’t dampen your spirits a bit. We arose from our bedrolls ready to accomplish the work before us, and we did it. We marched in the rain, stood in the steam cooker waiting, and then attacked in the renewed rain to drive the Iron Brigade back from that ridge. I know that for those who were not there, they will never know just how different and memorable our first glance of the enemy line was that morning. When we saw those black hats pop over the hilltop and then saw the massive Union line coming fast at us, all our hearts stopped in unison.

The weather for the rest of the weekend was only beat by how amazing the rest of the weekend with you guys was. I never heard a complaint, never saw you balk. And believe me, there was plenty we COULD have complained about. But you men acted through every hindrance like the professional soldiers you strive to portray, and I personally could not be prouder.

The fight in the Wheatfield on Saturday afternoon, even with the spectators close and the small size of the field, ranks in the top five battles I think I have ever fought. We were grim. We were gritty. There was nothing pretend about us pushing through that fence at the Emmitsburg road and pouring into the wheatfield like locusts, and then standing firm as the 1st Minnesota charged us at the double-quick until they stopped 25 yards from us and we traded volleys into each other’s faces. That moment there was one of the most realistic and connected moments I have experienced in my nearly 30 years reenacting. And that’s what reenacting is at its finest- realistic and connected.

I could go on and on about the weekend before I get to what I really came here to say, but I won’t, except to finish something I started to say to you on Sunday morning, and as you remember, couldn’t finish. When I was imparting to you some advice on how to carry out the final battle of the weekend, I wanted to explain what it was that rendered me unable to finish speaking. As I was talking, I was also thinking about you. As I stood and spoke, I saw you staring back at me. I do not know what it was at that moment, but I was suddenly overcome not with tears about the men who made the charge in 1863, or even about how “this is Gettysburg, man!”. What you saw was the moment I was swept over by the profound honor it was to be your leader that weekend. It was only because of circumstances that I was in that position for that weekend. But the ease at which you men gave me not only your attentiveness but your trust to give you orders and direct you, not just in camp but on the battlefield moves me even now as I write this. You men can never know what a great privilege it was to sleep, eat, scratch, cook, and die beside you in Gettysburg. I will hopefully see you over and over in the future, but I know that this weekend will always be a one-of-a-kind in my heart. It was truly humbling, and you have my most sincere thanks for the privilege of being your colonel.

As I told you in Gettysburg, I am also very thankful that those of you who did came, and that goes to each and every one of you. I am grateful that I was able to shake every one of your hands on Sunday to tell you that in person.

We have a rest of the season to still accomplish, and I look forward to seeing all of you very soon. You are the reason I reenact, and my door is always open for you. God bless you all.

Always leading beside you,
Christopher C. Visser

Appendix Two (comments by MAJ McCollum, AAG, First Arkansas Battalion):

Members of the First Arkansas Battalion, I hope that you all have returned safely to your homes by now. I also wish to convey my sincere gratitude and thankfulness to you and your very competent leadership for your conduct on the field of battle as well as in camp at G’burg. The TMB is definitely a force to be reckoned with and demonstrated this fact very well at the event thanks to your strong showing in numbers and excellent training. I look forward to our next event and time spent together. Until then I remain your most humbled and obedient servant MAJ McCollum, AAG

Appendix Three (comments by Marcus Katzer, Acting First Sgt., First Company, First Missouri Battalion):

Today was one of the most powerful and somber experiences of my career as a reenactor. This past week has been a childhood dream come true. The battles were incredible. The formations of infantry on both sides seemed endless at times. Re-creating Pickett's Charge today however, shed a whole new light on my perspective of the event. We reenact as a hobby, yet coming up to the fence and seeing the decimated battalions of your comrades to meet the enemy cannot be explained, even in recreation, unless you've experienced it yourself.  The bravery and courage shown by both sides of this engagement is insurmountable. The men who fought and died on this field 155 years ago deserve the utmost respect, regardless of the flag or cause they fought for. Thank you Christopher Visser, Howard Rollins, Brian Cox, Mark Isbell, and anyone else I forgot to mention for making these past few days ones I'll never forget. Acting First Sgt. Marcus Katzer

Appendix Four (comments by Brian McCarthy, Captain, Second Company, First Missouri Battalion):

I’m not sure how to tell everyone how much fun we had. Gettysburg is an incredible place. I/we have made our pilgrimage to the hollowed ground. My comrades and I spent a week touring and fighting this battle. It’s staggering to think about the size and scope of this engagement in Pennsylvania. Gettysburg is a great town. We paid our respects to the beer gods at the Blue and Gray cafe yet we behaved ourselves around the throngs of tourists. All and all a [sic] successful trip. I’ve never seen so many blue coats in my life and the Rebel Army was an impressive sight to see. Capt. Brian McCarthy


 

9th Texas 2018 Campaign - Retrospective



9th Texas 2018 Campaigns
Retrospective

With the 2018 campaigns, the 9th Texas has completed its thirty-sixth (36th) consecutive season (1983-2018) as a reenacting group, second oldest in the Midwest. New men and old vets alike can take enormous pride in what the 9th Texas is and what it has done. Here is what we did during 2018:

The 9th Texas began the 2018 campaigns in April with the four-battles-over-two-days campaign at Cowtown (Wichita KS) and also completed an extended company meeting there. Cowtown presented the strongest company with seventeen (17) rifles, tied with Humboldt. Some retired vets joined us for the fights and contributed gear. We had some great food (including senator’s bean soup) compliments of the ladies from the Verdrigris militia and special refreshments in the saloon compliments of our brothers in the Missouri Irish Brigade.

In May at Kingston MO, the First Missouri Battalion staged an ostensibly judged tactical, the contending forces to reach and secure certain points in the terrain and be judged thereby. The 9th was chewed up twice, missed any contact on a third outing, but thereafter crushed a federal rear guard. It was quite a change of pace from the usual fare.

The June Hulston Mill MO event was lightly attended by the 9th but the boys galvanized as Yanks for the Sunday fight in period buildings. We also inaugurated Pvt. Isbell as company cook - many thanks for his excellent efforts!

A small contingent of 9th men made the eighteen (18) hour drive to Gettysburg PA in July for the 155th and fought the heat and humidity and four battles over three days. Although small in numbers, the Battalion stood as its own unit. Some of us were also able to thoroughly tour the Battlefield and the town, staying two nights in the latter in a haunted motel. The anticipated plague of ticks did not materialize. the 9th has previously been to Gettysburg for the 150th and the filming of Ken Burns’ The Civil War.

The Brownville NE event in October turned into a one day affair after the weather forced the cancellation of the eagerly-anticipated immersion march-in sponsored by the 4th Arkansas. Even so, we had two furious fights with the Yanks through the town, and a hot lunch to boot.

Thereafter, the 9th attended the triennial event at Humboldt KS, also in October, executing Pvt. Keidel as the federal deserter, burning down the facade town, and drilling into the night on Friday. We put seventeen (17) rifles on the field, tied with Cowtown for the top number. Issued rations were compliments of the City. Three (3) new men made the campaign.

A scheduled October Lexington MO event was cancelled for reasons not altogether clear.

The 9th finished the season on a high note in December at the biennial campaign at Prairie Grove ARK consolidating with our brothers in the “other” 9th Texas from Dallas/Fort Worth, and had a first rate time. There were near-ruinous thunderstorms on Friday night, a Christmas box from home on Saturday (including a couple of letters), and as much drill as we had time for. Sadly, Prairie Grove was also Sgt. Major Gary Sutton’s last event after 30 years in reenacting and the 9th presented him a framed collage of photos over the years with signed regrets filling the back side. Gary is a 9th Texas man, and will be greatly missed.

Smaller events along the way were Round Mountain (Yale OK) in February (several 9th men galvanized as federal in weather not as cold as you might expect); and Pipestone MN in August (where we had a pay call amid intense heat and humidity). We also did some recruiting at the Kansas Muzzleloaders Association Trade Show in Manhattan KS in February and at the Shawnee KS militaria show in April; and did some living history at the Mine Creek Battlefield (KS) in August and at Crawford County’s (Pittsburg KS) Civil War Days on Labor Day weekend.

Rank structure was stable:  Captain Brian Cox; First Sgt. Randy Downey; First Cpl. Herb Shemwell; and Second Cpl. Jamie Ralph. Several men capably stepped up to fill acting roles. We also inaugurated Pvt. Isbell as company cook and picked up three (3) new men:  Hayden Laurance, at Prairie Grove in December; Richard Fitzwater at Humboldt in October; and Daniel Young at Gettysburg in July.

Recruiting - every man’s duty - remained a high priority for the 9th as it has been in the past and will continue for the future.

No dues were assessed as we have several hundred in the bank. No new equipment was acquired.

Our excellent webpage at ninthtexas.com - instituted in 2006 - continues to spark interest and our Facebook page - instituted in 2009 - continues to be an excellent source of communication. We continue to hand out our business cards.

With high hopes for the future, and thanks to the rank and file for their continued support, I proudly state, “there is none finer.”

Respectfully submitted,
Brian Cox
Captain commanding,
9th Texas Reg’t of Infantry
First Missouri Battalion
December 27, 2018

_____________

9th Texas Soldiers on the 2018 campaigns:

Captain Brian Cox
First Sgt. Randy Downey
Cpl. Jamie Ralph.

Pvt. Brad Amend (Col.)
Pvt. Bard Anspach
Pvt. Kevin Belt
Pvt. Kyle Buntin
Pvt. Nathan Edwards
Pvt. Richard Fitzwater
Pvt. Gene Hainstock
Pvt. Chris Hayhurst
Pvt. Mark Isbell
Pvt. Robert Johnston
Pvt. Chris Keidel
Pvt. Bridger Keyes
Pvt. Wyatt Keyes
Pvt. Hayden Laurance
Pvt. Sam Lowery
Pvt. Dawson Manning
Pvt. Carl Rader (Lt., ret)
Pvt. Aaron Stabb
Pvt. T. Stick
Pvt. Gary Sutton (Sgt. Major)
Pvt. Braxton Thomas
Pvt. Chris Visser (Major)
Pvt. Kelton Wilson
Pvt. Daniel Young

Campaign at Prairie Grove Arkansas, Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 2018 - After Action Report

 
The 9th Texas attended its umpteenth campaign at Prairie Grove ARK the weekend of Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 2018, reenacting the December 1862 battle. It turned out to be a great event some rain notwithstanding. Submitted herewith, faithful reader, is an After Action Report for the campaign.

I picked up Pvt. Young at Sgt. Major Gary Sutton’s place in Blue Springs and we made our largely uneventful way down to the site, approximately 5 1/2 hours out of Topeka as a point of reference, and got in very early. Registration was prompt but we needed to carry the token issued as a sign of the same, and it was a $10 charge this time.We found the Missouri camp and commenced to set up. Kudos to (now Lt.) Paul Dittemeier for setting up the companies’ streets.

Attending for the 9th Texas:

Capt. Brian Cox
First Sgt. Randy Downey
Acting First Cpl. Jamie Ralph
Pvt.’s Robert Johnston, Bridger Keyes, Wyatt Keyes, Daniel Young, Mark Isbell, and (new man) Hayden Laurence.

Please join me in welcoming Pvt. Laurence to the ranks.

Work, health, and sundry commitments kept others away. That said, I urge that the enjoyment of events by the rank and file increases synergistically with healthy numbers.

Attending for Battalion staff:

Col. Brad Amend. Lt. Col. Chris Shuster, Major Howard Rollins, Major/Adjutant Chris Visser, Sgt. Major Gary Sutton, Color Sgt. Shawn Bell, Color Cpl. Dave Jepsen.

The 9th fell in with the lads of the “other“ 9th Texas from the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and they were every bit as capable, hard-fighting, well-drilled, and well-led as we had expected. Their Lt. Ron White has acted as their captain in the absence of their regular captain. Attending for the “other” 9th Texas:

Lt. Ron White
2nd Sgt. Keyes Larsen
Musician Robbie Matlack
Pvt.’s Jeff Cheatham, Trey Barton, Jay Reid, Brian Larsen, Kevin Otter, Tyler Larsen, Dave Rodin, Frank Harewick, Zach McCraig, Rob Matlack (please excuse my misspellings or omissions, if any)

Musician Robbie Matlack is the son of (Cpl. ret.) Rob Matlack and spent his very first years in the 9th, and has developed maturity and considerable prowess as a drummer, and acted as such for the Battalion. I head nothing but great things about his performance.

Pvt. McCraig of the other 9th proved to be a skilled musician, regaling us on Saturday night with trumpet and fiddle.

Other Battalion units in attendance to a greater or lesser extent:  1st Mo, 2nd MO, 3d MO, 4th Ark, 5th MO, 9th MO Sharpshooters.

As always, the cooperation of Mother Nature was fondly prayed for but that cooperation was not forthcoming, at least in part. We all read the forecast but rain and high winds came in in near-ruinous waves later in the evening on Friday night, the storms ferocious in intensity, with some units drenched to the point of deciding to pick up and leave, and most others with some gear and clothing wet. That said, the rain did not stop us from playing some cards under the 9th’s fly, with the Keyes men and Capt. B. Dodson of the 3rd MO. Against all odds, I think that I was the big winner. And, we were given an additional hour in bed on Saturday morning by the Sergeant Major, undoubtedly due to our rough night with the thunderstorms.

Temperatures during the day were very tolerable although Saturday night turned chilly, into the mid-30’s.

Sutler's row was pretty spare as I saw it during my one visit:  James Country and Fall Creek. I was also told that Robert Serio of Missouri Boot and Shoe was in attendance. I saw no food venders although I think breakfasts were served in the Latta Barn. A water buffalo was a short walk from our camp, as were the sinks (which were kept quite clean), and firewood and straw sufficient for our purposes; of course, no fire pits were to be dug. One complaint as I saw it - almost no effort was made to keep cars out of camp.

We had received a “stack arms” challenge  from the Arkansas Battalion, and so spent considerable time drilling and picking our fastest entrants. That competition was postponed indefinitely, but in the event, we arranged our own little intra-company competition between the 9th and our comrades, the 9th Texas from Texas. The latter edged the boys from Kansas but only by a bit. (Examination of the drill manual is always a good idea. As to the stacking of arms, see Hardee’s (1862), SOS, no. 410-12.)

On Saturday night, a couple of ladies - one carrying a bat and an unpleasant demeanor - with a gaggle of Yanks, came into camp looking for Lt. Col. Shuster, and later Sgt. Major Sutton, on a claim of the man having fathered a child by a particular woman, and wanting him to do the right thing. I don’t know how that turned out but this appears to be a continuation of the court martial at Pilot Knob.

This event, of course, was the weekend of Sgt. Major Gary Sutton’s retirement after some 30 years of faithful service (Gary is a 9th Texas product). Much has been written elsewhere about Gary and how irreplaceable his presence  for the Battalion. That said, ceremonies were held all weekend for Gary:  a nice presentation sword from Staff and comments by Colonel Amend on Saturday; a presentation engraved watch from Staff and a written tribute read by Major Visser; and a framed collage of photos of Gary over the years from the 9th Texas. (I was scurrying around until nearly 4 pm on Saturday trying to get signatures/comments on the back by those who knew or knew of Gary; I was mostly successful and filled up the back with regards from the lowliest private to Gen. Huckabee.)

Following that presentation, we brought up a Christmas package which had arrived from family back home in Texas which included something for everyone:  cookies, fried pies, bottled peaches and eggs, canned oysters, some “moonshine cherries,” cheese and sausage, cigars and chewing tobacco, candles, knives, small bibles, a shirt, a domino game (I think that is it) and two letters from wives back home, Ms. Heidi Keyes and Ms. Lesa Isbell.

Once again, Pvt. Isbell capably cooked three meals on the weekend, transported the foodstuffs and cooking materials, and supervised the cleanup, without complaint.

On Saturday we had company drill, then battalion parade, then battalion drill, and some more company drill for new men. And more drill on Sunday. We did skirmish drill both days and that is progressing, I think. We do need work on a movement of the company from column of fours to a battle line facing right, i.e. “on the right by file into line,” and I will bone up on that. Relevant text from Hardee’s is set out in a note below.*

The comment of Oliver Norton of the 83rd Pennsylvania Infantry bears noting:  “The first thing in the morning is drill, then drill, then drill again. Then drill, drill, a little more drill. Then drill, and lastly drill. Between drills, we drill, and sometimes stop to eat a little and have roll-call” (we have it easy).

I had some very good discussions with Lt. White about the running of the company generally and with Sgt. Downey about the 9th specifically. Of note, as to the former, good advice offered was that non-coms need to understand that a positive attitude at all times is paramount (for an overall exposition of the duties of the rank and file including non-coms, Kautz’ Customs of Service (1864) might be examined. See, e.g., the link at 64thill.org/drillmanuals/kautzs_customsofservice/enlisted/index.htm)

Two picket/trading-between-the-lines scenarios with the Yanks were put on hold as we simply ran out of time, but we are going to try to get that done at Cowtown with the 8th Kansas.

As to the battles, Prairie Grove presents the rare opportunity to fight on the same ground as the 1862 campaign and it is splendid ground for the fight, with relative advantages for both sides. The main topography aside from the Borden House is the steep hill extending from its front, the forested areas on either side extending down the hill and confining movement some, and the broad plain beyond that from which a stand up fight could be had.

Both days’ fights opened with the customary artillery bombardments, then our infantry moved forward by a “passage of files” through the pieces, then to form up into a battle line beyond. (I am advised that the movement can be found in Hardee’s (1862), SOB, no. 105 and following. There is also a discussion of passing obstacles in an article found at drillnet.net/.)

The Yanks staged preliminarily both days around the Borden House from which we pushed them down the hill, and their main troops then came up from the plain. Inexplicably, both days, the federal’s main force was divided into three main pieces, divided by some space, and as far as we could tell, not coordinating each with the other. I am still a little uncertain what was the purpose of those fellows seeking cover around the Borden House, but plainly not in the fight although between competing firing lines.

On Saturday, the First Missouri Battalion was to have gone in first to get at the federals, but another rebel unit preempted us and went in instead. We waited a bit and then went in and drove the federals away from the Borden house. They left a number of casualties and retreated down the hill. One of our units was driven off and we were forced off once but advanced again and with substantial casualties drove the federals back to their starting point. The battle ended after about an hour.

Sunday’s battle was better by accounts than Saturday’s. We started in after the bombardment and immediately encountered the federals at the Borden House. It was back and forth there awhile but we eventually pushed them off and down the hill where we regrouped. It was back and forth here again for awhile and we took 50% casualties. There was here eventually some firing at distance including by their artillery, and unfortunately, the remaining men in the 9th went down at the bottom of the hill from canister, except Lt. White who was wounded.

The Sunday battle was over at 2 and we were on the road by 3:15.

Both battles were viewed by a substantial number of spectators kept back but close by yellow tape.

Overall, it was a very good event, the rain on Friday night notwithstanding. The 9th Texas boys did everything I could have asked for and it was an honor to have the 9th Texas from Texas fall in with us. (I have reproduced below an after action communication from their Second Sgt.**)

I am respectfully,
Brian Cox
Captain, Commanding
9th Texas Reg’t of Infantry
First Missouri Battalion

________

*  Hardee’s (1862), SOC, no. 148-50:
ARTICLE IV. - The company being in march by the flank, to form it on the right (or left) by file into line of battle.
148. If the company be marching by the right flank the instructor will command: 1. On the right, by file into line. 2. MARCH.
149. At the command march, the rear rank men doubled will mark time;

the captain and the covering sergeant will turn to the right, march straight forward, and be halted by the instructor when they shall have passed at least six paces beyond the rank of file closers,

the captain will place himself correctly on the line of battle, and will direct the alignment as the men of the front rank successively arrive;

the covering sergeant will place himself behind the captain at the distance of the rear rank;  

the two men on the right of the front rank doubled, will continue to march, and passing beyond the covering sergeant and the captain, will turn to the right; after turning, they will continue to march elbow to elbow, and direct themselves towards the line of battle, but when they shall arrive at two paces from this line, the even number will shorten the step so that the odd number may precede him on the line, the odd number placing himself by the side and on the left of the captain;
the even number will afterwards oblique to the left, and place himself on the left of the odd number;

the next two men of the front rank doubled, will pass in the same manner behind the two first, turn then to the right, and place themselves, according to the means just explained, to the left, and by the side of, the two men already established on the line;

the remaining files of this rank will follow in succession, and be formed to the left in the same manner.

The rear rank doubled will execute the movement in the manner already explained for the front rank, taking care not to commence the movement until four men of the front rank are established on the line of battle; the rear rank men, as they arrive on the line, will cover accurately their file leaders.
________

** “Captain Cox,
The enlisted men of Company F, 9th Texas Infantry thank you for allowing us to fall in with you at Prairie Grove. I hope we measured up to your standards. Your boys certainly lived up to ours. As 2nd sgt, Keyes was impressed with the discipline in the ranks. I think we may create a traveling trophy for Brigade stacking competition. Just let us know when you're ready to try and take it from us. We particularly enjoyed the time in camp with our pards. Thank you for including us in your "package from home". This was my son Tyler's second event. I think we've hooked him for good. The shirt he received is the first item in his very own kit. He sends his personal thanks.
I hope we get to see some of your boys down at Canton in February. We'll take good care of you. You are welcome in our camp any time.
Best Regards,
Sgt. Brian Larsen
9th Texas Infantry”

 

 

 

Retirement of Sgt. Major Gary Sutton …

Words we will hear no more: 

“First Missouri Battalion; gentlemen, good morning! Gentlemen, get out of your bedrolls! It is 6 am, it is time to join the army for our duty! Gentlemen, get your breakfasts. First Sgt’s, I need morning reports at 6:30. Let’s get up!”*

     *Sgt. Major Gary Sutton, 2018 Gettysburg     PA campaign, July 7, 2018, 6 am.



Many of you will recall these or similar peremptory words of Sgt. Major Gary Sutton, calling on the men to get out of bed, heard many times over battlefields in Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, and elsewhere. These are words which we will no longer hear. With great sadness, I have been advised and report that Gary will retire from reenacting after a thirty-one (31) year career as a soldier in the 9th Texas and the First Missouri Battalion. A few words of thanks, regret, and remembrance on this occasion are appropriate.

Gary's career in reenacting began with his watching a reenactment at Butler, MO. Gary’s wife turned to him and said, “you really want to do this, don’t you.” His career began shortly thereafter in 1988 as a private in the 9th Texas Infantry. Gary relates that he spent time researching as many things as possible about the history and the hobby, listening intently to experienced reenactors along the way, trying all the while not to embarrass  himself and the ones around him (I can safely say that Gary met this test!).

Gary was soon promoted to Corporal in the 9th, and began to study NCO duties to better his knowledge. He was thereafter promoted again to Sergeant after a short time, and he “cherished the idea that someone had thought enough of me to give me that honor. I must have done something right somewhere!”

In about five years, Gary was promoted up to Battalion staff as bugler, and for a couple of years, provided the battalion (then the 4th Extra Battalion, aka “Beck’s Battling Bastards”) with the sound of the bugle, not only in camp, but on the field. “[Gary] studied bugle calls, and drum calls, and felt that [he] was an integral part of the portrayal of a Civil War soldier for the public.”

It was at Prairie Grove, Arkansas, around 1996, that then Col. John Beck  promoted Gary to Sergeant Major – a first for the battalion, and apparently in the region. Gary “studied duties, and NCO relationships to provide the rank and file with an accurate-as-possible representation of the rank [and, is] proud of that accomplishment.” (Again, I can safely say that Gary did so and is rightly proud of his having been an integral part of the Battalion’s presence and success on the field.)

Gary relates his fondest remembrance of reenacting and states “the 135th reenactment in 1998 (to this date the largest reenactment ever held on American soil) at Gettysburg, PA, where, in depicting Pickett’s Charge, 8,000 Confederates marched across the field to the Copse of Trees, where 12,000 Yankees waited. I remember the size of the march and the noise. The spectacle. It was exhilarating.”

Gary states for the future of the hobby:

“the hobby … looks challenging. We must continue to engage the public, share our knowledge of the history with them, and sometimes force ourselves to face possible complacency and difference of thought. I fear if we, as reenactors, don’t face skepticism head on, especially in this age of political differences, we, as a society, will lose interest, and our beloved hobby will shrink in importance.” Good advice!

I have been a fellow soldier of Gary’s since 1993, travelled with him to events, fought the weather, the marches, and the battles with him, and I can say that there is no better pard than Gary. He is well-prepared, loyal, always of good cheer, skilled in the duties of his rank, and knowledgeable of the life of the Civil War soldier and the business of reenacting. Many might say moreover that Gary was more than a pard or a brother in the ranks. Rather, his soft but direct tone, ready wisdom, and steady presence made him something more in the nature of a father to the men in the rank and file. Gary can be justifiably proud of what he has done over the years  for the 9th, the Battalion, and reenacting generally. I can safely say that Gary will be virtually irreplaceable, and we are worse for the loss.

Sgt. Major - you will be missed. There is none finer!

I am, most respectfully,
Your humble servant,

Brian Cox
Captain, 9th Texas Reg’t of Infantry
First Missouri Battalion

 

 

9th Texas at Browville:  AAR oct 13 2018

BROWNVILLE!

The 9th Texas participated in a furious day of reenacting at Brownville NE on Saturday, October 13, 2018. We joined our brothers from Missouri and Nebraska, including our Battalion brothers, the 3d Mo and 4th Ark.

Present for the 9th Texas: Capt. Brian Cox, and Privates Edwards, Isbell, and Young.

Sadly, Mother Nature (mainly rain-soaked terrain with more on the way) forced the cancellation of most of the event including the campaigner march slated for Friday-Sat (kudos to Sgt B. Keller and Major Visser, however, for all their hard work on the project - which may reappear next year). But many of us still made the trek to support the event for the day and were glad we did so

We divided into two companies of about 10 men @, Capt. Arbaugh in charge of Company A and your humble correspondent of B. The 9th’s own Major Visser had overall command

One of the attractions of the event is the street fighting through the vintage town and, literally through the spectators. As anticipated, fighting in the morning was furious through the town, over the trail, across the bridge several times, and at one point down a steep embankment offering no reprieve for any misstep. As with the terrain, the yanks were worthy adversaries.

We broke for lunch of chicken and biscuits with green beans and a choice of dessert. An impressive display of Civil War armaments and sundry paraphernalia was on display in the community hall where we ate.

We were back on again in the mid-afternoon, after a short march out of town and up an impressive hill. This fight was in a more open venue, the site of battles past on sloping terrain and light woodlands. We were supported by a couple of artillery pieces. The fight was mostly in our separate companies, mostly not acting in complete coordination. But our company B was able to put some of the federal to flight at one point, re-captured one of our artillery pieces and in fact ended up the fight in the federal’s rear.

I think we all had a first-rate time, and I commend Brownville as a great event, even truncated as it was. All men were rewarded with a packet of musket caps.

_________

**The following was posted by Sgt. Keller following the event:

“I just want to say a big sincere thank you to those men of the battalion that showed the interest to still come to Brownville even when it was downgraded to just a one day event. We thought for sure when it was said that the event would have no camping due to flooding and that it was a "do what we have with whoever shows up" event, that it was dead. Those of you who expressed interest in still making the trip for the day truly are what makes our hobby great. We turned nothing into something amazing. I would be inclined to say it was even one of the top 5 Brownville events that I can remember having. Each and every one of you should be proud of yourselves. It was because of you that we could even put on such an enjoyable event. Compliments from all around the city is what I heard. The last minute change of plans turned into a success and is a testament to the members of the battalion.”
_________

PSS. The following was also posted by Major Visser following the event:

“Men,

I want to offer my deepest gratitude to those members of the battalion that still made the trip to Brownville. We were only there one day; yet we managed to still fight as many battles as any other standard event we attend, and had a beautiful day for it to boot.

But the truly impressive item of the day was each of you who did not want to stop when the event was "on, off, and on again". We have had other events cancelled this year, and the replacement events didn't draw much enthusiasm. But with this one on the verge of being over, each of you, and the TWICE AS MANY FEDERALS, were not willing to take no for an answer. You MADE this event possible by your insistence to show up and get this one in the books.

I'll try to keep my thanks short in proportion to the day, but I just want to tell you how much Brownville, the organizers, and most of all myself appreciated your help today. You continue to humble me more all of the time. Thank you.

Always with you and never without you,

Christopher [Visser, Major]”
 


 

 

 

After Action Report:  Pipestone, Mn 2018

 

Campaign at Pipestone MN, August 10-12, 2018, After Action Report

The 9th Texas participated in the campaign at Pipestone MN August 10-12, and your humble correspondent can say that, although it has been several years since I was last there, the six (6) hour trip (out of Topeka) was worth the trip for this bi-yearly event.

Present for the 9th Texas:  Capt. Brian Cox, First Sgt. Randy Downey, Pvts. Mark Isbell and Nathan Edwards. Present for Battalion staff:  Col. Chris Visser, Lt. Col. Chris Shuster, Sgt. Major Gary Sutton, acting Color Sgt. Dave Jepsen.

Weather mostly cooperated with temps at mid-60’s night, and mid-80’s day, and dry and clear, but humidity both days pushed the discomfort level quite high, and we had one man go down with the heat on Sunday.

Pipestone is a Civil War “fair” of sorts with an active sutler and food vender row, many presentations, and a battlefield site gauged for the taters. That said, the event was attended by approx. 50 infantry both sides, 3-5 artillery pieces, and battles both days. We invited the Yanks out to fight on Saturday morning to no avail, but to our surprise, they came out on Sunday and we had a spirited engagement before driving them off.

Regular battles both days were in the “bowl” which forms the apex of the event, the Johnnies have the better of it on Saturday and being driven off on Sunday. As to the latter, we attacked several times but were eventually driven off through the taters.

I confess that I had forgotten what an excellent event this was.**

I am, your obedient servant,

Brian Cox
Captain, 9th Texas
First Missouri Battalion.

**A fuller version of events at the event can be found on the 9th Texas’ Facebook page.

After Action Report:  Hulston Mill, MO 2018

After action report for Hulston Mill MO, June 8-10, 2018

The 9th Texas and the First Missouri Battalion have now concluded the first half of the 2018 campaign with the actions at Hulston Mill MO, an under-attended, but action-packed maximum battalion event. The 9th survived the heat and humidity, and the battles, ate well, and lived the life of the soldier.

Hulston Mill is an historic state park and campground about four hours out of Topeka as a point of reference, some 30 miles west of Springfield. The Battalion has been here several times in the past. I encourage all to strive to attend this event when it is held again.

Heat and humidity were blistering with temps in the 90’s and heat indices above that; it was “sweat-through-your-vest” hot. Ameliorating somewhat the temps was our campsite, nestled partly under the trees in a little cul-de-sac against the tree line, and with a water spigot spitting distance away. Of course, nearby lurked the armies of ticks and poison ivy for those who entered the forested areas.

Present for the 9th Texas:  Captain Brian Cox, First Sgt. Randy Downey, acting First Cpl. Brad Anspach, and Privates Mark Isbell and Daniel Young. The latter, an army airborne veteran, with some CW artillery experience, joined the infantry and acquitted himself well in camp, in drill, on the march, and in the three battles.

Present for Battalion staff:  Col. Brad Amend, LC Chris Shuster, Major Howard Rollins, Major/adjutant Chris Visser, Sgt. Major Gary Sutton, and Color Cpl. Dave Jepsen.

Other units present in force were the 3d MO under Captain Boone Dodson and the 4th MO (the largest company) under Captain John Ezell, and Elliott’s Scouts. Several from the 2d MO fell in with us and fought well.

Amenities were adequate although there was no straw. Wood, including that brought to the site by Cpl. Anspach, and water, were plentiful. No rations or bounties were issued but there was a sutler’s row including James Country, Adler’s and Missouri Boot and Shoe. Facilities were a two hole, unisex shed adequate for the purpose.

We instituted a company mess for the three main meals, superbly carried out by Pvt. Isbell in procuring, transporting, and preparing foodstuffs, cooking and serving, and cleaning up, all without complaint or assistance. Sunday morning was the topper with scrambled eggs with sausage, fat patty sausages, grits, and sliced strawberries and bananas. Three such meals at $10 a man was a steal.

We also finally got off the ground roll calls at 12 noon and 5 pm, in addition to that early in the am, and a truncated field shaving scenario.

Other than the heat, there were only two main drawbacks for the event. First, was the wholly unrestricted parking permitted reenactors and civilians. We had a row of reenacts parking in plain sight, and a civilian camper 50 feet away. I expressed my disdain to Capt. Ezell who promised to convey this to the event organizer.

The other was the federal presence. Although there were numbers of federals on Saturday, such were not the numbers we had anticipated when Camdenton was cancelled and the Battalion picked up Hulston Mill. In fact, the federals were down to some eight troops on Sunday, the latter eventuality resulting in the 9th volunteering to go Blue and support the Yanks. Against all odds, perhaps, that lead to the best fight of the weekend in a Ride with the Devil-type assault by the rebs on the several period cabins on the site, after we had been pushed into them from open ground.

We did get our butts handed to us in the two battles on Saturday, including by the substantial federal artillery presence.  Of note, some ground charges were laid and fired off to excellent effect, two 9th men taking impressive casualties.

The Battalion fought as Missouri State Guard on Saturday and generic rebs on Sunday.

The 9th got in drill on several occasions, including practicing skirmish twice, and the men readily picked up on this difficult maneuver. Salient points:  deploying on the line you are on (by the flank); deploying forward (on the file); firing/ceasing firing; advancing; moving in retreat. I encourage those who wish to study further to secure a copy of Hardee’s or you might also want to consult the excellent summary at 6thtx.org/skirmish%20drill.htm

We also had some excellent discussions including with Battalion staff about how we can secure more rifles at Battalion-wide events. I reiterated my belief that securing in writing the event suggestions from the various companies prior to the Battalion planning meeting might be helpful. In addition, I also suggested that Battalion staff needs to find some way to enforce greater attendance by the sundry units at previously-scheduled Battalion max events, such as this one.

We also had considerable interest in a live-fire winter quarters to reprise those held twice in the past on Sgt. Downey’s land near Yates Center KS. We can tentatively scheduled this, weather and promised attendance permitting, for February 2019. Some issues to consider:  molding minie balls, securing targets to fire at, sanitary facilities, and the possible building of one or more wooden huts.

We have had a good season thus far, and I look forward to more hard-fighting in the second half of the year. And now, On to Gettysburg:

I am respectfully,
Brian Cox
Captain, 9th Texas Reg’t of Infantry
First Missouri Battalion


 

 

 

After Action Report: Cowtown 2018

Cowtown, April 27-29, 2018, After Action report

I can state that the 2018 Cowtown event was a resounding success; even Mother Nature cooperated with us this year. Weather was near perfect with highs during the days of 70’s and at night of high 40’s-low 50’s. There was only a small smattering of rain on Sunday morning.

Those who attended:

Captain Brian Cox
First Sgt. Randy Downey
First Corporal Jamie Ralph (from injured leave)
Acting First Corporal Brad Anspach
Pvt. Nathan Edwards
Pvt. Robert Johnston
Pvt. Bridger Keyes
Pvt. Wyatt Keyes
Pvt. Braxton Thomas
Pvt. Kevin Belt
Pvt. (Lt. ret.) Carl Rader
Pvt. Gene Hainstock
Pvt. Chris Hayhurst
Pvt. Mark Isbell
Pvt. (Sgt. Major) Gary Sutton
Pvt. (Major) Chris Visser
Pvt. Chris Keidel

Thanks to the 3d Missouri and the Verdigris Militia for substantial reinforcements. Also aiding the 9th was a man from the 4th Mo., one from the 2nd, and one from the 4th Arkansas. Again, unfortunately, the rebs had no artillery support.

Present for the Yanks were the game lads from the 8th Kansas and the Missouri Irish Brigade, a tube from the 2d Kansas Light Artillery, and Captain Seba’s McLain’s battery.

It was good to see Mr. Hainstock fall in for the campaign. Retired 2d Lt. Carl Rader also fell in with us for the fights on Saturday. And Retired Major Brian Albert, Retired 2nd Sgt. Mike Haberkorn, and Private Morris Floyd also dropped by. We received donation of equipment from Floyd and Carl. We also had some discussion about the meaning of Beck’s 4th Extra Battalion which was inscribed on a camp table donated by Carl. Apparently, this was an invention of former 9th Captain and later general John Beck describing the then-Missouri Battalion as an additional unit of the brigade which was often the fourth Battalion, hence the name.

Present for Battalion staff were Sgt. Major Gary Sutton, Major Chris Visser, Major Howard Rollins, and color Cpl. Dave Jepsen all of whom fell in as privates.

The event followed the usual format:  battles Saturday were at 11:30 and 3:00 with action in around the trenches and the fights generally reversed from morning to afternoon; Sunday battles were the tactical at 9 am and the concluding battle at 1. Cowtown presents the opportunity to configure battles of radically different style from an assault on structures, a fight in and for the trenches, house-to-house, and more. We took full advantage of this flexibility.

The (hopefully now) traditional footrace (pulled from Company Aytch) had six entrants this year:  three from the 9th, two from Verdigris, one from the 10th Mo, and one from the 3d. Despite a tight run, Wyatt Keyes edged his brother to claim the title and bragging rights. There was an unsuccessful attempt to throw the race by some rascals.

We also had a spirited 9th Texas annual meeting at which a number of issues were addressed.

On Saturday night, we were treated to senator’s stew with cornbread by the ladies of the Verdigris Militia. It was excellent, and I went back twice. Many thanks to the ladies of the Militia who put together this feast!

In addition, the Missouri Irish Brigade set up in the saloon with substantial libations and some finger food - quite a treat. While there, I had some serious conversations with their Captain (Kevin Christiensen) about how they run their company and I garnered a number of ideas.
My only regrets:  we did not have roll calls at noon and at 5 on Saturday, we did not set out a picket. Also - no saloon gals, and considerably less foot traffic.

Many thanks to the units attending, to the City of Wichita for continuing to permit us access to the side, and to Greg Hunt, the reenactors “roadie” and special friend of the 9th Texas.

I am, respectfully,
Brian Cox
Captain, 9th Texas Reg’t of Infantry
First Missouri Battalion

 After Action Report: Kingston tactical 2018

After action report, Kingston MO, May 18-20, 2018:

The 9th Texas and the First Missouri Battalion commenced the Battalion’s 2018 campaign with some hard-fighting at Kingston MO, northwest an hour or so out of KCMO. The event featured very good, dry weather, rugged woodlands to fight in, and hard-fighting with the federals, in a series of judged, tactical (that is, no spectators) fights, every bit of four or better over the two days. Pickets were placed out for several hours on Friday night. Although we had the edge in cavalry, we were outnumbered in infantry and artillery.

Present for the 9th Texas:

Captain Brian Cox
Acting First Sgt. Brad Anspach
Acting Second Corporal Nathan Edwards, and
Privates Aaron Staab, T Stick, Mark Isbell, and Dawson Manning. The 9th was joined in the effort by elements of the 4th Missouri and the 4th Arkansas.
 


Present for Battalion staff were Colonel Brad Amend, Lt. Col. Chris Shuster, Major/Adjutant Chris Visser, Major Howard Rollins, Sgt. Major Gary Sutton, and Color Cpl. Dave Jepsen.
 


Other units participating were the First Missouri under Captain Steve Montgomery, the Third Missouri under Captain Boone Dodson, and Elliott’s Scouts. I was very disappointed that other units in the Battalion did not turn out for this previously-scheduled, maximum Battalion, and novel event. You were missed and missed out.

Mother Nature largely cooperated with mostly sunny conditions, a little hot and humid on Saturday morning, and a light rain only starting in earnest after we broke camp. Of note - ticks and poison ivy were everywhere.

The novelty of the event was that each side’s command staff received orders during the course of the day advising as to required movements/objectives which inevitably led to a collision between the two sides. In addition, judges imbedded in the ranks were to call out casualties, those to return to the “medical” tent to sit things out for a bit. As of this writing, I am still waiting to see how our company did. We were under Lt. Col. Shuster’s command and Captain Dodson had his own separate company. Col. Amend stayed in camp to receive and send dispatches. From where I stood, we had our asses handed to us mostly on Saturday, with a third effort bringing no contact. We eventually prevailed in the fight on Sunday, encountering a federal rear guard which we bested with a “rolling thunder.”

 

Overall, the spontaneity of the event was superb:  we were sent out with certain objectives with no idea where the other side was, and with additional orders received by courier in the field. That challenge was compounded by the rugged, heavily-wooded terrain, and the heat and humidity.

It bears noting that every soldier should take steps to read up on the duties of the rank above his, given the inevitability of the need to step up. That eventuality appeared this weekend when Private Brad Anspach capably stepped up to take on the important job of First Sgt. Kudos to Mr. Anspach for a job well-done.

On a side note, most of the Battalion went in to Polo MO for dinner Saturday night at the Red Rooster, which just happens to pass for the 9th’s mascot, the rebel chicken of defiance (see the related photo).

Many thanks to all who survived this endurance-testing event. And now, on to Hulston Mill!

I am respectfully,
Brian Cox
Captain, 9th Texas Reg’t of Infantry
First Missouri Battalion

For more pictures click

 

Corporal Bob Albert retires

I am sad to report the retirement of 9th Texas First Corporal Bob Albert, after several decades as a reenactor with the unit; his first year in was 1991. Bob was a reenactor's reenactor, first rate in drill, impression, leadership, and knowledge. Known for his ready sense of humor (some might say his biting sense of humor), Bob had just as ready a smile, and was known as a brother from the lowliest private to the top rank in the Battalion. It is, of course, the rare reenactor who could take on the duties of a private and those of the top officer in the unit, all in the same day, and be happy to do it, but that was Bob. Bob was also one to both set a good example and to instill in us a desire to achieve it as well. And the 9th and the First Missouri Battalion, indeed Civil War reenacting as a whole, will be the worse for our loss of Bob.

Please join me in wishing Bob best success in his future endeavors, and letting him know that he will always have a home in the 9th Texas, wherever and whenever that might be.

I am, most respectfully,
Your humble servant,
Brian Cox
Captain, Ninth Texas

 

Farewell, old Friend - Cpl. Mark Gianelloni retires from the 9th Texas

With great sadness, I report that our own Corporal Mark Gianelloni is seeking greener pastures and relocating with his family to South Carolina.
                                                                
Mark has been a Civil War reenactor for thirty-two (32) years, setting or close to setting a record for the 9th, and has been in our ranks since approximately 1992. Mark was recently promoted to Third Corporal of the 9th and served creditably in that role during recent campaign. Mark was also the owner/operator of Longwood Sutlery, bringing quality goods to the rank and file at the lowest possible price, as many of you can attest. His sons VJ and Atticus also fell in with us and served as good soldiers. And I would be remiss if I failed to mention Mark’s faithful wife Sarah without whose consent and support we would never have had Mark in the ranks.

I remember Mark as a capable reenactor and friend, with a ready laugh or smile. Mark never had a bad word to say about others, was always full of stories about events of long ago and could just as readily discuss current events and politics as he could the history of the War. I was impressed by Mark’s faithful attendance at Sunday Mass even while attending out-of-town events.


Mark promises to stay in touch (and has, as his Facebook posts show), and I hope that we will see him again on some field at some future national event. 

We are worse off without you, and Cpl. Gianelloni - you will be missed!

I am most respectfully, your obedient servant,

Brian Cox
Captain
9th Texas

New Pictures can be found on Facebook: 9th Texas Civil War reenacting

Drill notes Vol. III - Things every soldier, officer, non-com, and enlisted man, needs to know or refresh on - commands.

I have taken this from the text of Hardee’s (see, e.g.,drillnet.net/1862/1862.htm) with some annotations by me given the reality of reenacting practice - these are noted by asterisks (**). I have also deleted those portions of the manual which are not actively used by the 9th or the Battalion   ( In the Captain's Corner)

 


       



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