Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers

Company A, Inc.

Borderland 1997 Event Report

Borderland State Park
Easton, Massachusetts
June 20-22, 1997
June 22d, 1864

Dear Friends,

I write to you in order to let you know how we are getting on of late, and the news from these parts. The honorable 8th Conn. Vols. has been active recently, but the papers will probably not see fit to include mention of our adventures, due to their scale. I certainly see fit to let our friends at home know the details since the scale to you is singularly important.

We marched through the first real heat of the season, and arrived here on Friday last, set up a camp in a nice grassy meadow on the grounds of the Ames Mansion, the plantation being called Borderland. The house looks like a castle, and the grounds are opulent. Of course, no enlisted men are allowed near the house, but the imaginations of the men review the contents.

We had a fine supper of beef cooked in port wine, rice, and peppers. How did it relish. The evening was spent around the fire, enjoying the cool after the sun had set. The boys got just a little tight, and determined, that since the Captain was off on rounds acting on the brigade staff, that it might be fun to sneak into officers country, and reverse his tent. This was done by manning the sides and ridge, pulling all the stakes, completing the about face by a right wheel maneuver, and staking it back down. Four minutes flat. Then the Captain returned unexpectedly, and the crew sort of scattered quickly, pointing to our guilt. The Captain was a slight bit befuddled in the dark at the end of the tent that used to be the front, then realized all. He barked a few orders, the tent was turned again, and the company retired under orders to be in full gear and ready to move at 5.30 in the morning, an hour before revielle.

This was accomplished in fine form, the Captain was awakened at the appointed hour with a nice cup of coffee, the roll was taken, and all was soon forgotton. The boys then had time to prepare a leisurely breakfast before the sun and the heat got started. Shortly after that, the orders came down that the enemy was lingering hard by, and that the bridage was going to push them away. We were attached to the Andrew's Sharpshooters under Capt. Hobbs, as a platoon under our own 1st.Lt. Boucher. We proceeded away from camp, into the woods, along a narrow track that lead down hill, past a lone boulder the size of a house, and deployed in skirmish line along a rocky ridge, this being the right flank of the Union dispositions. Soon, the sound of fire came from the left, and after determining that this flank was not threatened, we proceeded to work our way to the right. We came up against a regiment of Alabamians, and pushed them hard, but they were reinforced, and we were flanked some. We refused the line smartly, and repelled a charge on the left with the help of the 28th Mass. whom we had linked up. We then continued to the left, and attempted to get around to the right flank of the action by crossing some swampy ground in the woods that was thick with brush and poison ivy. This took too long, and when we arrived at the scene, the action was over, the Union victorious. We rested from the exertions and the heat, then proceeded back to our camp.

The heat of the forenoon and noon was doing a job of sapping the boys. We all looked for shade, and did little more than just drink water. Very little activity was undertaken. At least until the command ordered us up once more. We were put in line, and were sent forward, this time to the south, down a hill, across a soft bottom land, and across two stone walls. There we met a good size force of confederates in line, and a number of rebel cavalry. The fighting was close and fierce, and we were obliged to retire, but were quickly relieved by fresh troops and artilery which kept the enemy at bay. The lines did waver back and forth in that dell, and the ground collected many a soul. After about an hour, the contest was over, and the rebels once again melted away.

Back in camp, we made the most of the cooling evening, made a great company meal, and had a good discussion round the fire. For the next several hours, the companionship of the military was the order. Visits, songs, discussions, and cheer. There was a dance held, some attended, some did not. Late, a civilian woman came into the camp offering Tarot readings, which she did for one. This lead to a long and deep laycium between us on the religions of the world. In all our time in the service of the government, I do not recall a discussion of such impact on the members of our small band that reaffirmed our Christian beliefs more. Soon thereafter, we retired to our bedrolls.

Sunday morning brought the usual roll call, breakfast, and our regular habit of a scripture reading gathering. That was cut somewhat short by new orders to form with the Andrew's and go back out in the woods for the purpose of once again discouraging the rebels from close proximity.

We were conducted this time to the east by Capt. Hobbs, and soon were skirmishing our way down woods roads at the head of the US column. There were several contacts with what seemed like rear guard actions, since the rebels would appear across our path, fire a volley or two, then disappear. They left debris and abatis across our path at points intended to slow down the advance of our guns in support of us. We skirmished forward using street fighting, and were in extreme danger for some time, until, we were sent off to the left, along a trail, and were to secure the left flank, under orders of Capt. Kurtz. Capt. Hobbs complied, and then turned the assignment into a grand flanking motion, by getting us in good time down the paths, then to the front, then the rear of the rebel force. They turned out to be somewhat pinned by a pond, and we then split into two platoons, the 8th on the right, and Andrew's on the left. They went forward, and we too, until we located the enemy. The 8th then left wheeled and took the rebel right flank, while the Andrew's had their rear. They were our captives without a shot. We had captured the remainder of the 12th Georgia and the 10th Louisiana. They were convinced that resistance was in vain, and were complimentary on our tactics. We all returned to the camps, and beat the heat of the mid day sun, satisfied with our morning work.

Hal once again tried his hand at cooking by preparing a fine apple pie, of delicate crust, and of apple slices, cooked in a dutch oven. It was a smashing success, and disappeared as soon as it was cool enough to eat. What a treasure it is to have one of the boys so accomplished in the culinary ways. The afternoon wore on, and the boys were idle, until, once again, we were called out. Again, the rebels were detected to our south, behind the walls at the far side of the dell. Capt. Hobbs lead the first skirmish line out, and we were holding our own, with a field howitzer in the line, when a hoard of confederates rose from behind the wall, charged, and fired. Many in our line were taken down, and the rest were obliged to retire. Our main body came forward, with the 54th, 28th, 18th, and 7th Mass, and the 27th CV among them. The artillery, being the 2d R.I. Batt. B, were there firing in support. The cavalry of both sides were seen over on the left flank, having a saber fight. Smell the powder, hear the roar. After a short time, the rebels were finally repelled, and it seems this time the nose was broken, not just bloodied. They seemed to be moving away to the south now, and therefor, our new orders were to break camp, and take up the march after them. Just about the time the last canvas was folded, the sky clouded over, the wind picked up, the thunder roared, and the lightning struck. The rain was very welcome, cutting the heat. It seemed that the good Lord had rewarded us for breaking the will of the enemy in these environs.

And we also were glad that the fighting resulted in the success of our arms. We are mostly well, of strong will, and continue to fight for the Union. I know not, nor am I well posted on where we might be next, so please direct your missives to Washington as is usual. Our mails do follow us, though sometimes, after long delays. Please remember us, as we do you.

Your obedient servant,

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