Whew! I am finally back and trying to get on top of the e-mails etc. The 150th Armies of TN Shiloh was fair. Our numbers were way down from the 145th because of the politics internal to the hobby that caused a lot, such as our friends in the 18th MO from London to decide to sit-out Shiloh all together rather than spend the money to come to what would probably be a smaller event than they had seen 5 yrs ago. The competing BGA Shiloh 5 miles north of the AoT Shiloh had a lot more numbers and from what I am hearing was a spectacular event although it lacked a couple of thousand that had instead gone to the AoT or sat-out the whole shootin match. Well, weather was pleasant even though we had 2 good soaking rains that turned the dirt into slime, which is correct for what the soldiers had to deal with. Marching in that stuff after several hundred men have passed before is torture. We even got hailed on for quite a while Saturday evening with quarter-sized chunks. No torn tentage though, but it covered the ground almost completely.
We had a short tactical Friday evening in which nothing of consequence was accomplished other than to allow us to break the monotany of setting up camp. Those of us who had arrived Thursday especially appreciated that. Saturday morning we were all up and ready before dawn. We marched off a ways and stopped as we listened a while to our skirmishers popping rounds against Reb cavalry scouts up ahead. In the gloom and fog the musket flashes and reports are always interesting.
After a while we wheeled into a clearing and met the Rebs in similar fashion and commenced a short tactical in which we pushed them, got pushed by them, and eventually drove them back, or so I was told. In the confusion of fog, smoke, woods, etc. I had to take the officers' word on that. Later, we met them in another field. My unit was detailed into the woods skirting our left and told to load and get low and wait. More of our troops were doing battle in the field, and conducting a fighting withdrawal which was having its intended purpose of drawing the Rebs into a narrow spot of the field between our woodline and one opposite us. Sure enough, the Rebs were thrilled at having 'pushed' Federals out of the field and advanced their line right in front of our concealed line. All of a sudden, just as they passed my point about 12/ way down the line I heard one of them yell "Thay'ra een da wudz!" They stopped for an instant as if not sure what to do and our bugler sounded the commence-fire call but I took a High-Private's command of the situation and screamed "FIRE!" just as the bugler got his 1st note out and fired myself knowing that sympathetic fire would erupt and it did. Out of the Rebs' right flank came a devastating surprise infilade of musketry, perhaps 30-40 I would guess. Many of them were killed there. Others staggered back loading and firing at us or the Federal line still in the field that was now advancing back at them. In no time we had come out of the woods, formed a crude line and were firing on the advance at them. Some ran, most were killed or wounded, and still others simply surrendered. Awesome plan that actually worked for a change!
As we were marching back to camp, the distant thumps of artillery from the BGA Shiloh 5 miles north could be heard as they had their own tactical going on which added realism to our march home. The men back then often wrote of marching and listening to distant cannonades. (Supposedly the BGA event had 100 cannons.)
Our Saturday main-event battle was 'interesting.' We were to portray the Federals in the Hornets' Nest and get over-run by the Rebs on their 4th charge. Strangely, they refused to charge. They came out, fired a while, retired, came back, etc. We were never sure if they were actually charging us or just out shooting. We on the Federal left flank finally decided to just all die or retreat en masse to encourage them over. Still they seemed oblivious to their wipe-out of the left flank and stood out there on the field shooting at our center and right.
Bunch of idjits did not finally make an actual charge until our officers ordered our center to run away and even then they almost did not take the fence as many decided to get killed on the charge. Finally I think 1 of them jumped our fence and we called it quits. Only interesting thing of note at the fence was about 1/2 way through the Federal left was stormed by a field mouse that had evidently had enough of the horror of war happening on his section of the fence and made a mad break for the weeds behind us. All of a sudden the men just to my right jumped up and looked down which drew my attention to the scurrying rodent. We all remarked about how funny it was and how none of us had seen that happen before in battle. Looking back, I think the little critter had a better command of the Rebs' tactics than they did.
Sunday's main event battle was special to us because we were awarded the honor of leading the Federal infantry battaion we were with under our own colors since we represented the 9th KY which actually did fight at Shiloh on the 2nd day. We were to win the fight of course in keeping with the 2nd day of Shiloh and so did a lot of wheeling and changing of fronts, oblique marching and firing, etc. We captured a Rebel battery, then had the Reb infantry wheel in behind us at one point. We had a devil of a time getting them to leave today. Odd, when they were supposed to win we could not entice them to do so yesterday and when they were supposed to lose today we found they wanted to fight like hell. Eventually we did drive in on them rapidly and captured a number of them in my section of the field as they retired.
And so, finally the 150th Shiloh(s) is at an end. Now off to Resaca next month...