Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers
Company A, Inc.
Borderland Event Report
New England Brigade Borderland Reenactment
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Borderland State Park
June 15-17, 2007
Mid-June found the 8th on combined duty with the 2nd Ct Heavy Artillery. The units were camped in a small valley near Leech Pond. The unit began arriving on Friday June 15th and stragglers continued coming until early on the 16th.
After a surprising chilly night's sleep on the 15th and a good breakfast we had our usual battalion dress parade and drill. The focus of the drill was having the first company deploy as skirmishers and then one by one the remaining companies relieved each other on the skirmish line.
The eighth's contingent included two fresh fish, Pvt. Greg Lake and Pvt. Dylan McCartney. CPL Bayreuther spent part of the day instructing the new recruits in the manual of arms and proper technique for firing.
During the early afternoon, two members of the 8th unexpectedly deserted leaving us somewhat weakened in firepower. Around mid afternoon the battalion was formed up and marched out in search of Rebels. We found them behind a large stone mansion where they were positioned on a hilltop. The colonel deployed the 1st company as skirmishers and sent them forward. The were greeted by a fierce fire from the Rebels. The second company also deployed as skirmishers. After a brief battle, the colonel ordered the skirmish lines to rally and sent the 3rd company, made up of the 8th and 2nd into the line. We fired several volleys and were soon joined by the 4th company. The entire line then moved forward and drove the Rebels from the field. We marched back to camp and made plans for a quiet evening.
Our plans were disrupted in the late afternoon when the colonel once again formed the battalion and marched us off to the east. The march didn't lack for excitement as we marched through the woods an order suddenly came to clear the road and the entire battalion scrambled for cover as a mad horse minus its rider raced through the ranks. The battalion was no sooner back on the road, then we were once again scrambling out of the way as a cavalry officer raced by on his horse in pursuit of the runaway. Forming up once again, we prepared to continue down the road, but alas, yet another cavalry soldier went racing by forcing us once again off the road. Over the next several minutes we formed up and scrambled out of the way as several other cavalry rode by in pursuit. Finally with all of the runaway horses and pursuing cavalry out of the way we continued our march. We soon came to an area with large open fields on either side of the road. The colonel halted us as several Union cavalry approached the line from the front. The cavalry informed us there were Rebs in the woods up ahead, so the first company deployed in a line of battle and slowly moved out. Shortly after passing an abandoned house, they came under fire from Rebels hidden in the woods. The colonel ordered our company to form up in support. We were then directed around the house and began marching down a different road. A short way down the road, we were ordered to advance into the trees. We kept our formation as best as possible as we threaded our way through the thick growth. We soon came upon the Rebel flank and poured hot lead into them. With the first company hitting their front and our company hammering the flank, the Rebs were forced to surrender. We captured a railroad and the colonel ordered us to tear up the tracks. The tracks were ripped from their ties and wrapped around tree trunks to prevent further use of the tracks by the Rebs. The colonel detached the first company to guard the captured railroad and ordered the remaining troops back to camp.
After arriving back in camp, there were yet more desertions from the unit bringing our depleted ranks down even further. Those of us who stayed had a good meal and spent a quiet evening in the camp. After a day of hard marching and fighting the entire Union camp turned in early.
Dawn arrived with word from the 1st company that they encountered Rebel pickets during the night. The colonel formed up the remaining battalion and marched us off toward the 1st company. We soon encountered the 1st company, which informed us they had driven the Rebels toward us. The colonel assumed the Rebels were in the woods, so he ordered the first company into the woods on the right. The second company, which consisted of the 2nd and 8th was sent down a road to the left. After marching down the road for awhile, we encountered no sign of the Rebels, so the lieutenant ordered us to march back to the main road. The first company had pushed far out on the right, so the colonel ordered us to deploy into the woods on their left and begin moving forward. We moved slowly through the woods until reaching a large swampy area. With no sign of any Rebels, the colonel reformed the battalion and we marched off in the direction of our camps. Assuming the Rebels were not in the mood to fight and since our guns were loaded and in need of clearing, the colonel marched us to the Confederate camp where we cleared our weapons into their camp apparently killing 1 cook. We then marched back to camp where we later found the 8 Rebel pickets had been returned to camp in a strange vehicle.
Following our arrival in camp there were yet more desertions from the 8th leaving us with just 2 brave souls. After a hearty breakfast the battalion was formed up for dress parade. Capt. Manzi commented on the reduced numbers of men from the 8th. He was informed the shirkers and cowards had all departed and only the brave remained.
Private Dylan McCartney soon found himself in serious trouble as Capt. Manzi placed him under arrest for not properly acknowledging his father on Father's Day. The private was given the choice of either rectifying the situation or being shot. He chose the former and was released from custody with a warning to never do it again.
In the early afternoon word arrived of Rebels in the vicinity so the colonel marched the battalion off to find them. We took up position on a large hill near a mansion. We had a battery on the right and cavalry off to the left. We noticed several Rebels hidden behind a stone fence, so the colonel ordered the battalion forward. After passing a group of trees we suddenly came under fire on our left flank. The colonel turned part of the line over to the right to meet this threat. The company fired several volleys into the Rebel lines. Nearly every volley sounding like a single gun. Suddenly we had Rebel cavalry in our rear. With Rebels on three sides, the battalion had only one choice left - run. We raced to the rear and reformed on the hillside with our battery. The Union cavalry rode out to meet the Rebel cavalry and a fierce battle began in which the Union captured 1 hat and drove the Rebels from the field. The Rebel infantry then advanced to drive the Union cavalry from the field. The colonel moved the battalion forward in support and a bitter back and forth battle ensued. The Union took many casualties, but our superior numbers soon made the difference and we drove the Rebels from the field.
The colonel then ordered the battalion south and we all headed for the wagons and began our pursuit of the Rebels.
Your humblest servant,
Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, Co.A, Inc.