Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers

Company A, Inc.

Genessee Country Village

July 17-18, 2010
Mumford / Le Roi, NY

July 18, 1863

Dear Friends,

We were called to the west of our normal seat of war, and were pleased to heed the call to duty. We arrived in the west of New York, in the town of Mumford, or Le Roy, or whatever. It did not seem that the municipalities in the area were large, or distinct. We were sure that we were in the middle of now where, as we are used to do.

The little town of Genessee Country Village quickly was adopted as home, and we made our way through the twilight hours to the camp of our hosts, the 28Ma.Co.K, behind the pioneer farm, and hard by the barn, corn crib, and sheep and fowl pens. We pitched our summer dogs on the fence line there of the barnyard, and made the acquaintance of the sheep, ducks, and more importantly, the hissing geese, and the preoccupied turkeys. Several monetary offers to the farmer did not liberate any of these fowl, but the bayonet was needed to keep them from nipping us in our bedrolls. The corn crib was freshly completed, and Hal and I had our eyes on it if the weather required. However, the door steps were guarded by the local militia, a good size nest of ground bees that demanded a wide berth, and we ended up drawing sentry duty upon their hole, warning all passing of their masked battery.

We liked the situation very well, until the morning reveille and roll call, then rations issue soon revealed that we were concentrated there to protect the town from the rebel hoards that were massing and thrusting through the region. The rations from the army of pork, coffee, sugar, soft bread,were amended from the townsfolk with smoked ham and dozens of eggs, and the boilers were active in putting them all hard by.

We were formed in battalion and brigade in the early morning hours, under Col. Robert Minton, a level headed and honest man of the Ohio volunteer army. Our drill went quite well, and the company under Capt. Bryda and Sgt. Tom Bierly behaved like hardened veterans.

The mid day brought the call to arms once more, and we proceeded into the town, and arranged our defences around the village green. Soon enough, the onslaught from the rebels came from the west, through the town, and made a good street fight for us all. It was a hard fight, and our boys were dropping like flies, while taking a toll on the enemy. It was soon apparent that Pyro and Hal were missing, and we were all scared that they were captured wounded. The battle soon flushed the rebels from the town, but our comrades could not be found.

We were maneuvered to the west of town, where we tried to catch our breath, but were once more moved to the right, and rested some more. Water was not available, and hunger was a principle concern. We were soon pressed forward after an artillery brawl, with our first company on the far right. The rebel lines were coming and going, but their artillery support marked a line that was hard to break. Once we were able to overwhelm the guns, the rest of the enemy melted from the field, and we were able to rejoice in our victory.

We returned to camp, and got a little cooled off, when the missing were found, and chastised for skulking during the battle. The citizens of the town treated us all very well with iced lemonade which was reatly appreciated. The afternoon, the popular dice game we know as BearTrap made a strong comback. Hal and I started it up, then got Dylan, and then Dave involved. After a time, we have played out a full elimination championship. It was a little pleasure, and a good way to pass the time between duties. We ended the return with a rather large four way that Sabbath morning, which brought some looks from the faithful, and some descriptions of the game as a numbers game, and not a game of gambling or chance.

The evening soon brought a good cool off once the sun retired, and a wonderful supper offered by the pioneer civilians upon whose farm we were camping. A bully good ham and bacon meat spread were provided along with the best corn relish and corn bread offering we ever received. We were all gratefully appreciative for the effort and the kind hospitality.

The evening soon devolved into a county agricultural event at the towns pavilion. This was a very large gathering of the community. It was a grand scene, with men, women, soldiers, children, and all. There was a fine string band playing all the best for the enjoyment of the dancing feet. There was music and spirit in unlimited quantities that made all hearts glad in all manners possible. The night was spent in blissful sleep, and the morning brought a repeat of the reveille, roll, rations, and drill.

We were soon called out, and deployed once more to defend the town. We proceeded past the green, and engaged the enemy beyond the town. They pushed us back through the streets, and the fighting became even more severe than the day before. We were pushing and concentrating on the town, and soon were successful. We were reformed and rested on the town green for a time, where we wolfed our rations and drinks to refresh ourselves. We were sequentially filed past the Christian Commission tables at the local church where lemonade, cookies, and pies were the treat of the day. Many cheers were had for the kindness of the town that we had saved once more.

But our rest was short. We were called into line before our rest had rested us, and marched off to the north. We were presented with a wide field, with the rebel artillery and cavalry deployed ready on the far side.

Our first company was quickly deployed as skirmishers, and we threatened, advanced, and engaged the rebel cavalry once they dismounted. This was the most intense skirmish I ever was in, and I had fired and fired, and supported my file mate, Wheeler, until my hands were burning on my barrel. Let me just say that my Enfield rifle treated me well, did not foul, and kept me safe every time I needed to unload.

After the skirmish, the rebel columns came on in droves. We were rallied back onto the brigade line, and fought hard on the left flank. We were eventually pushed so hard, that our entire lines were collapsed, we retired in order, and that was the end of that.

We once again rallied on the cars, and headed back to our familiar camps. All of our boys who served in this campaign were pleased to be part of it, and took the oath that we would come again to the service of the little town of Genessee once more at a moments notice.

Your humble servant,

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