Saville and the Red River Campaign
April A.D. 1864
The following is an account by Kevin Saville of the Red River II campaign of 1999. Saville used "Jacob Abraham Saville" as a persona name for Civil War reenacting.
Kevin Saville's great-great-grandfather was Jacob Abraham Saville, born January 17, 1841 in Rockbridge County, Virginia. J.A.S. served in Companies E & G, 63rd Army of Tennessee (C.S.A.) from May 4,1862 until December 2, 1863 when he deserted and went north to Ohio, Illinois, and finally to Ringgold County, Iowa where he lived the rest of his life.
Pvt. J. A.
35th Iowa Volunteer Infantry Co. G
Muscatine County, Iowa
J. A. S.
Born January 17, 1841, in Rockbridge County, Virginia
Immigrated to Muscatine County, Iowa, in 1856
Send personal effects to father and mother:
John A. and Sarah P. Saville,
Muscatine County, Iowa
Day 1. Saturday.
I got up at 4:30 a.m. Cooked breakfast of oats and grits for pard Karsten Almskaar and me. Departed for Shreveport railway station by wagon at 6:45. This was to catch train to Pleasant Hill at 7:00. Train didn't arrive until 11:30. Played cards (poker and hearts) until the locomotive was in sight. It was very crowded.
Arriving in Pleasant Hill, I debated for the last time whether to take some articles along on the campaign. Decided to go lighter and miss them than take them along. We then met some of the boys and lounged around in the shade of a big tree. Karsten and I had our image made in front of the other troops. Met more folks. Met Col. Dom Dal Bello, a very nice gentleman. Also met Steve Florman and Doug Dobbs who planned to coordinate a church service. Got the hymnals I brought along stashed in an ammunition box. Have packed away eight more of Root's latest song books to sell or give away. Karsten and I worked on new song verses. I went and saw the Welcher's shebang. Had to hurry back at Karsten's signal as Co. G was forming up. Loaded up in a wagon and were transported approximately five miles where we established our first night's camp.
Got first roll call off and broke up into mess groups. Got camp made and gathered firewood. Got cartridges delivered to ammunition boxes. There was high praise for Karsten's and mine.
Met all of my messmates for the campaign, in addition to Karsten Almskaar:
Cpl. Steven Mahaney, Somerset, New Jersey.
Pvt. Joe Allison, Yreka, California.
Pvt. Bryan Duncan, Edgewood, California.
Got rations after Karsten made fire. They included:
Per man: one large Irish potato, one large carrot, one onion, three pieces hardtack, one small loaf bread, large handful of goober peas, one chunk (1/2 to 1 pt.) spiced meat, frozen
Per mess: one sugar cone, one bag (1 pt.) grits, 1 large bag (3 pts.) coffee, 1 chunk (3/4 lb.) bacon, one large bag parched corn.
In the evening, we fried bacon then sliced and fried spuds and onions. Cooked most salt beef. Cleaned up and turned in before most. Beautiful warm evening. We were located along a fence line with overhanging trees. All blankets were lined up along tree line. A gent down the line a ways read bedtime stories to us about a Russian princess. They brought delight to all.
Day 2. Sunday.
I awoke and watched for signs (since it was well before dawn) as we did not know what time it was. I at last signaled Karsten and he made fire. I cooked potatoes and onions and meat in frying pan with water and grits in Karsten's cup. Beans Karsten had brought had soaked overnight in mucket. With his little hot fire, everything cooked up well. Hit the trench after breakfast and cleaned teeth. Pink sunrise...some clouds but mostly clear and beautiful. About 55-60 degrees was the coldest it got overnight. Got ready well in advance of most. Had heard night before that we'd leave shortly after reveille at 6:00. However, there was no reveille. They decided later to have quiet time until 6:00, reveille at 6:30, and take off at 8:00. We shall see. We left with no drill or nothing.
By the time we departed after 9:00, it was getting hot. Oh--we had a bit of humor before we took off. The officers stood around at officer's call for a long long while, so us privates formed a private's call as well. Then we had a monkey gig--a very good ape impression by Pvt. Ben Noga that had us in stitches. He had to carry a log around the camp perimeter earlier for some misdeed.
Back on the trail. We took off at a fast pace on a gravel road. It got the boys into this campaign in a hurry. I think we started out resting more than the planned 15 minutes per hour as men were having problems. We marched about 8-9 miles in total over the next 5-6 hours. Got to our destination late in the afternoon. We were to settle in the trees so we took off our traps. However, we found the area full of poison ivy so headed across the road to a pasture where the cavalry had already settled. After another move, we got settled for the evening. Karsten and I got well under the trees (oaks) to stay out of the morning dew. We got our rations and cooked supper. They included: Per man, an onion and good sized sweet potato; 1/4 lb. cheese, apple, 3 pieces hardtack, a small loaf of soft bread, five dried apricots, and three pieces white chocolate. Per mess, we got a chunk of bacon and a 1" (very meager) piece of sausage. Their hardtack was skinny which reduced its volume but made it easier to break. Karsten liked his tack fried in bacon grease. I thought it was o.k. that way but also liked to eat it at dinner time with the cheese. In the frying pan I broke up some hardtack with the onions and sausage. Fried the bacon, then hardtack. This night I cooked for the five of us...last night I just cooked for Karsten and myself.
After we supped, we sang some songs and I sold one book to messmate Bryan. It was a beautiful evening; warm and clear.
Day 3. Monday.
It was clear and cooler this morn. Slept on my haunches as it cooled toward dawn, like I'd seen Karsten do to stay warm. After a while I toppled over on my side and was warm and snug as a baby. Made trip to sink by candlelight before dawn. Some poor fellow had left his canteen there, presumably in the night darkness. I propped it up for all to view. Karsten reported it still there later in the morning. Cooked grits and cornmeal with some sugar cone in it for breakfast. Threw sweet potatoes in the coals. They turned out good.
We were to have started off at 8:00 but it was after 9:00 as the cavalry were not ready. They had a bit too much to drink last night...like a hogshead of beer and four gallons of Jimmy Bean "with more on the way for this night" one reported. So we finally headed out with frequent derision in the cavalry's direction. One was nicknamed "Gerber" due to his small pudgy form and pubescent features. After a while our officers began to warn us we'd better say nice things about the cavalry. So nice things they heard. So very flowery nice and mushy it was disgusting.
We went about four miles with frequent long rest breaks. The day warmed up and the air got thick enough to slice and serve on a platter...or nearly so. Company G got to be the skirmishers and/or advance guard...name as you wish since we were on a narrow road with thick undergrowth on both sides. They challenged a couple of horsemen but that was about it. We reached the village of Pleasant Hill and engaged the Rebel army for the first time. After a few volleys, they retreated in the woods.
We advanced on the refugee camp and pillaged the community, much to the dismay of the inhabitants. I spied beeswax candles in Mrs. Welcher's shebang and helped myself to one after she consented. She also gave me water from the well which tasted mighty good. Sasparilla was had from one of the sutlers...it was even better than the water. Filled up my mucket, right kind folks they were. Another Yank peeked in a dutch oven and found a good stash of sweet potatoes all cooked and ready to eat. I was the second to help myself to one of them. A pot of sweet brown syrup was on the table; dipped the potato in that for a great treat. Some of the boys dug up a grave and found someone's silver service. Karsten thought grave robbing was going too far and tried to break them up but he was threatened with arrest by their officer. I was going to support his Christian stance but he managed to run off when they weren't looking so all was well. Threats were made to burn the whole village down. However, the boys seemed to loose some of their spunk and settled down for the evening even though it was barely midafternoon. I made some images with my camera pulled from its hiding place. Also visited Mrs. Welcher once again. Had a right nice conversation with a local lady who told me all about the Bourbon Street "ladies" in 'Nawlins. Such is life in Pleasant Hill.
Oh, we had mail call, too. I got a right fine letter from my sweet Mary Emma. And a nice card from Mrs. Russell and Miss Sarah. Another one from that disillusioned gent, the German immigrant Karl Schreiber back home, who wrote about how grand the price of corn was, among other things. He claimed my wife had run off with another man and was up on murder charges for killing that man's wife. I think he's mixed up. Can't see how he can keep a newspaper in circulation. A school boy also wrote rather despondently.
I was assigned to assist with rations. Went over when they issued them to all the companies. Ours got food for 36. The mess consisted of : Per man, one 8-10 oz. piece of spiced and salted meat, not sure of origin; one onion, an apple, three pieces of hardtack, and a small loaf of soft bread. Per mess we were entitled to about 2-3 lbs. ham, 2 lbs. bacon, one small bag of split dried peas, a small bag of grits and raisins, large bag of parched corn, and a head of cabbage. I then divided most of it between the men and got more from a mess of three since we're a mess of five. Finally got it all cooked--made salt meat, pea, and onion soup. Fried bacon and heated ham. Cut cabbage with soup and ham. Fried hardtack but it wasn't real good as we had a common fire and it was hard to cook over. Karsten makes much better small fires.
Ate rations as fast as possible as church service was at 7:00 and I had no idea how close that time was. I've been without a time piece this entire campaign and have tired of asking others. I needed to get to service early as I lead the singing of hymns. Had to hit the sink first which seemed amusing to some for some reason. They didn't really know how bad I had to go. Cpl. Steve Florman of Co. B lead the service with passages from the Bible and an inspirational sermon. Pvt. Doug Dobbs of Co. G also read scriptures. I lead in the singing of Old 100, Nearer My God To Thee, and How Firm a Foundation. These were taken from 100 copies of a small paper hymnal I had supplied and issued to the congregation. After church, I cleaned my musket by rinsing out with hot water and swabbing three times. Karsten preferred to break the powder residues with his urine and then some hot water. I assessed my haversack as we were told to pack 100 rounds for the next 2-3 days. There would be no more wagons or ambulances on the trail. I pulled out and tossed my aspirin supply, gauze box, and extra poke bags. Decided I'd cut back on rations to be carried tomorrow. Turned in to bed at sometime that eve but don't know. Another important event was Deutch boy Manuel Gosch went to village to court a girl. He got lots of advice prior to departure and returned empty handed.
Day 4. Tuesday.
Got up a bit later today. It was daylight and more people were stirring. Slept pretty well until near dawn when it was a bit cooler. Slept on haunches then and was warm. A mostly clear morn greeted us. I thought I may have heard rain but decided it was a bug knawing away at something under my poncho. So I got up, drank water, and made a trip to the sink. Heard reveille while there so assumed it was near 6:30. Got back and put water on for breakfast. Some others had already got the fire going. Roll call time. Lost four in Co. G due to sickness overnight. That included two in our mess: Pvts. Allison and Duncan. One of the others was a corporal.
Breakfast consisted of corn meal, grits, sugar, raisins, ham, and a tablespoon of choice honey. Used my mucket and the Cpl. Mahaney's. Didn't cook much after adding stuff to the hot water but it turned out o.k. Spooned out some to Steve; Karsten ate the rest in Steve's mucket. I ate from my mucket and gave Karsten the rest. Got plenty without our other messmates to assist. Cleaned teeth and got packed up. We did get moving earlier than in days past but it was still later than what some of us would have liked. I should say Karsten and I did manage to seek shelter under the trees at the end of our company street once again. Our corporal bunked on the other side of Karsten. There was a deep ravine right behind us and the village was across a field from us.
So we took off. Marched at a pretty good clip into the hills on dirt roads. Found the Confederate army and had to push them up the road. Fired by company with the front companies laying down as the rear companies fired. It was heavy for a while but we managed to drive them back. The day grew very warm. We hit a real wet spot...lots of mud and warnings of snakes. Passed Confederate knapsacks that had been hauled by wagon. Some boys reorganized them to spell various orders. Found a pretty purple towel and insecticide bottle to accentuate one pack top. I located a shovel and road apples to pretty up the towel. Col. Dal Bello thought that was excessive so I shook them off. Hopefully it carried some fragrance back to its rightful owner.
On down the road, about noon, we hit the water wagon. A young lad was overheated so quick measures were taken--stripped, watered, and head lowered while flat on ground. He recovered sufficiently for a ride back to the village on the wagon. His attendant, a loud paramedic, seemed to compete with the surgeon for responsibility over his well-being. A talk with the colonel improved that situation. I gained much respect for the surgeon and his trauma nurse background as the event progressed. The situation put everyone on edge to drink canteens full of water.
We hit some steep hills with full sun after that. Karsten and I sang some songs in an effort to lift the spirits but it wasn't much appreciated. We hit another water stop with a big tree which we sat under. That stop allowed me to get caught up on this here journal. Dinner at this point consisted of bread crumbs (from my broken loaf), apple, parched corn, raisins, chocolate (last three combined), and goobers. Have about eaten all of that stuff up. Took off after a spell. Had a quiet march to next camp. Turned onto a road in woods and waited. Co. G was assigned to skirmish. I was on point with some of the others. We led the way down dirt trail where we stopped. It was a twisty trail, surrounded by pines, vines, and bushes. Lots of thorny stuff, ants, etc. Big beetles around us as well. We finally, after over half an hour of waiting, got orders to make camp right there. Skirmishers, consisting of Company G, were at far end. We put our blankets to one side of the trail with a walkway on one side. I said I didn't want to obstruct lane excessively so we put blankets parallel to the length of the trail. A water wagon was stationed at the entry to this lane.
After a while, rations were issued. Per mess, they consisted of approx. two pounds bacon, two pounds stew beef, two to three pounds cheddar cheese, and a bag of cornmeal. Per man, we were issued three pieces of hardtack, one small loaf soft bread, about ten dried apricots, ten pieces licorice (which was very good), an apple, onion, potato, and carrot. I dispositioned food for the three of us (Cpl. Mahaney, Pvt. Almskaar, and myself). We fried beef in frying pan and put my mucket and Cpl. Mahaney's on the fire with spuds and onions. One large potato was retained to bake in the fire. Bacon was sliced and fried as well. We ate all of that grub up and kept the rest for the morrow. In order to avoid cooking then, I put the mucket on with corn meal, leftover raisins from Karsten and I, and some sugar cone to eat for breakfast. Our German immigrant boy, Manuel, is now in the color guard. He came over and joined Karsten, Steve, and I for a smoke of Steve's tobacco. I abstained without tobacco or pipe or interest.
Day 5. Wednesday.
Last night, we (our mess group) were assigned picket duty at camp entrance. Manuel wanted to join us so the four of us went on duty at midnight and stayed until 2 a.m. Cpl. Mahaney really had to shake me to wake me. Karsten went back to sleep until a second wakeup shake from the Cpl. Three horses were picketed at the entrance. I liked listening to the night sounds and paying attention to the horses' senses. The time went by quickly as we watched the candle at our feet flicker and burn ever lower. Three of us were allowed to sit while one stood. Anyone approaching was allowed to leave camp but anyone entering was challenged with "Halt, who goes there?" to ascertain if friend or foe. Then came "state your business" and "what is the countersign?" That night it was "dragoon." It changed every night and sometimes I couldn't remember it very well. It was, all in all, a quiet night. Turned over guard at 2 a.m. and headed to bed. It clouded up and warmed by morn. I decided to improve mobility and ventilation for the remainder of the campaign by removing drawers before retiring.
Slept half heartedly until around 6:00 a.m. Got the shovel and went for a walk. The woods were full of thickets, to say the least. Reveille sounded while I was out. Got back and ate corn mush breakfast with Karsten and Steve. Got packed up and headed out around 8:30. Marched and marched on dirt roads all morning. It began to rain and the wind blew. Lightning flashed and thunder sounded. It was quite the messy day. Very warm and the air thick as could be. We headed into thickly forested country and through muddy bogs. It was very muddy but we managed to keep our feet dry if we hopped from one hole to another quickly. The clay in this area soaks up the water and doesn't allow it to flow into shoes unless in a real wet puddle. Went single file for a distance around the puddles.
They gave us ample breaks. Nary a sign of rebels in the forest. Sold three song books at one stop to "Weasel" and two others. They had one line to "The Girl I Left Behind Me" that I was missing. Weasel made a table of himself with candelabra for the young Lt. he's been attempting to impress of late. That Lt. has been a source of much talk for the troops as well. Such a pretty and cocky lad is he...generally not well accepted. We're now sitting here waiting to take off. Dark rain clouds are threatening but wind continues to blow to some extent. It rained off and on but not real hard. Wore the ponchos for a while but agreed with our loud paramedic that we get wetter from the inside if on the march so decided to curtail its use unless halted.
We arrived at Sabine Crossroads very weary but in mostly sunshine. There was a moment's pause at the edge of the battlefield's woods to reflect on the history of the area. We then continued on and hit two water wagons. Got watered up and were told we would be heading into battle directly. That went over rather poorly as we weren't too ambitious. Tempers flared and most everyone was in low spirits as the battle progressed. Karsten found a fire ant hill on the field and jumped about for a while. I was chastised by one private for being unsafe in the rear rank. An anachronistic wagon pulled up to the center of the Confederate line. That really raised the troops' dander. After that we marched off, found out where camp would be, and settled in. Karsten and I built a fire between our bunks. It was windy but clear. As in afternoons past, I dried my cotton shirt on some bushes and donned my red wool undershirt as the evening progressed. Socks were rotated as well.
After a spell we received word rations would be issued. I was chomping at the bit to get food so volunteered to go. Glad I did. Our corporal reported to sick call and returned to the village. Our five man mess was now down to Karsten and I. We consequently got put with two other three-man messes and had to go to them to get food. Rations for the day consisted of: Per mess: 2 lbs. bacon, 2 lbs. sausage, bag of grits, bag of raisins, bag of white chocolate, bag of rice. Per man: approx. 1 lb. spiced meat, 1 loaf soft bread, 3 hardtack, one onion, apple, and ear of corn. I cooked the onion, spiced meat, and some bacon in my mucket. Also put some rice in. In Karsten's cup we cooked the balance of the rice. I ate my soft bread with the evening meal. Cleaned gun with hot water and three swabs. Karsten cleaned his as before with urine and water. After supper the Oregon boys got a poker game going. Karsten joined in it as did Manuel. Wild trading ensued for candy, believe it or not. I found "Weasel" who is a good singer and we planned a serenade for Col. Dal Bello Friday night in Pleasant Hill. I wanted to get to bed as it was announced we'd be taking off early in the morning. I have no idea what time but around 10 p.m. I think when I turned in.
Day 6. Thursday.
Got up well before dawn to shake the grates. Heard CSA reveille while in the process. Got back to camp and Karsten asked if fire was needed. I said yes and he was glad to build as it was a cold morn. We then cooked grits with raisins in mucket and I fried bacon (had extra) and sausage. That was the extent of breakfast. Reveille sounded prior to breakfast. Got packed up as it was said we had one hour until pulling out of camp. We departed to engage the Rebs on Sabine Crossroads battlefield. It went pretty well. Karsten had asked to be part of the rear guard so I did, too. It ended up a number of Co. G boys volunteered. We were thus in Co. G during the battle but were split up immediately at the end of battle operations and sent to woods to block the exit path once all Federals were out. As I ran back to join the rear guard, an officer with the Col. asked if I was deserting. Said "no, in the rear guard." That satisfied him. So we pulled out lots of tree branches &tc. and blocked the way. We then took off on the day's march, ending up in the same camp as the night before last. Stopped about four times on the way for water. Rested "dry" another three or four times. It was a nice day--seemed to threaten rain a while but soon cleared up to be a beautiful day. It was easier going back, though. Most men were ready for the day. The weak ones have been cut out.
I was pretty disgruntled with the rear guard boys. Ben Noga indicated I was always creeping up on the troops and they didn't like the music, particularly John Brown's Body. I informed them that piece was written for a soldier from Massachusetts. The wind died down and it was clear in the eve. Word came out the temperature might drop to around 30 degrees. Spooning was recommended. Manuel and I were assigned to picket or guard duty from 2-4 a.m. Karsten volunteered to go in my place because he said he wouldn't be able to sleep anyway as cold as it was.
We got rations...per mess: about two pounds of bacon, a chunk of ham, head of cabbage, bag of corn meal, bag of horehound candy, two potatoes. Per man, an apple, 3-6 pieces of hardtack, an onion, and about 1/2 pound of cheddar cheese. The rations are getting skimpier. I cut all of the ham and bacon up for the company after going to fetch it. Sgt. Wooster kept very close track of the rations issued. However, when it came to reporting numbers to the quartermaster, he usually tried to pad our numbers and get more feed. I cooked ham, onions, and spuds in the muckets. Karsten slept quite a while and didn't collect wood so we mooched fire off of the Oregon boys. Manuel and his pard Brian ate with us as their other messmate reported for sick call and returned to the village. I went to clean my gun and had a bad time...one round fired in afternoon didn't clear the wad from in the morning. So, had to cap off to blow it out and reclean with hot water and swabs. It was dark by the time I got done. Karsten and I went to Weasel's camp and sang songs. We then hung around the fire with Manuel and later with the surgeon after Manuel retired. The surgeon enlightened us with information about the battalion and the Confederate forces. He has every confidence in the Federal forces. He also commented that my feet were some of the few he hadn't seen. I gave him my roll of moleskin as I had no use for it. It was after 11:30 when we retired. I had put poncho under low branch in a depression. I went to the far side so Karsten could depart at 2 a.m. for guard duty. Slept back to back to stay warm under our two blankets. It did indeed get cold. After Karsten left I began to get cold so was by the fire by 4 a.m. when he and Manuel returned from guard duty. We then slept a few more hours. The sky was clear and stars bright.
Friday. Day 7.
Woke up in semidarkness to a call from nature. Fires were burning as many were cold. I started to cook bacon when we heard shots ringing out. Quite soon it was obvious we were under attack. The mad dash was on to get packed up. I grabbed a handful of cooked bacon and packed in about five minutes. We were off in short order and marched to the road where the water wagons were located. At that point, our commanders comtempated our situation: our location had been found by the Rebs. Col. Dal Bello indicated we'd messed up this time.
After about 15-20 minutes, the Union forces moved out, bound for Pleasant Hill. Although our departure was hasty and without breakfast, it was the best time of day to march. It was a beautiful morn and we were on a narrow dirt road through heavily wooded hills. Everyone's spirits were good except for those who missed their morning coffee. The woods reminded me much of the northwest but with the addition of thorny vines growing on everything and very brown muddy water. We soon reached a rest stop that was hit on our foray north--a big tree and "mobile home" with "water spigots." We rested there and I ate breakfast of hardtack and cheese...much of it while still in formation. We then took off and soon hit the low swampy area. Shots had been heard from this area prior to us reaching it. The cavalry had engaged rebel skirmishers who continued to press us. However, we had no choice but to press onward as the whole rebel army was behind us. We crossed a log bridge that was left intact. Co. G was sent out to skirmish in swamp. However, no Rebs were now before us. We soon went to work obstructing the road with trees and brush. It was quite impassable by the time we were through. We then marched on and on. Had a couple of water wagon stops. Just outside of Pleasant Hill, we stopped to allow all to catch up. Some that were in ambulances got out to walk.
With bayonets fixed, we marched into Pleasant Hill singing the Battle Hymn of the Republic. There was no contact with rebel forces. After comments were made by Cols. Dal Bello and Dunfee to respect the villager's property, etc. we established camp in the same area as previously occupied. The whole battalion also apologized to a lady refugee whose daughter was exposed to a man urinating at the sink. It was still quite early in the afternoon but we were without breakfast and dinner except for crackers and cheese so I went to work cooking cornmeal and frying bacon. Found a fire in camp near which Mrs. Welcher was sitting. She and others welcomed me to cook there so I did so...bacon in fry pan and two muckets of corn mush. I shared that grub with messmates Karsten, Manuel, and Brian. We then looked about the village. I decided to buy a couple of pipes and tobacco and try smoking. Manuel, Karsten, and Brian all instructed me in the art of smoking a pipe. I found the routine difficult but finally managed to do it except for blowing the smoke out of my nose. Manuel was a patient instructor; Karsten was amazed that I could make it so difficult. Brian had some excellent tobacco which he shared with us.
We were issued rations for the last time: bacon, spiced meat of unknown origin, hardtack, bread, cheese, chocolate, raisins, corn meal, apple, Irish potatoes. Not quite as extensive as before. Our corporal, Steve Mahaney, was back with us again. He foraged at the dogtrot house and brought back corn, cabbage, and more bacon. So, I cooked supper of potatoes, onions, corn, and sliced spiced meat (in muckets) and fried spiced meat, onions, etc. in frying pan. Since I didn't fire a shot and the arms were stacked, I didn't clean my gun. Sometime in the early evening a group of us, including Weasel, Manuel, Karsten, and me, made a trip over to where the Colonel and staff were dining. We at once started in a rendition of "Just Before the Battle, Mother" which was well admired by all in attendance. Well after it was dark, we sang quite a few songs with Weasel's group. Manuel was ecstatic as Col. Dal Bello promoted him to corporal for having picked up the colors in the prior day's battle. Manuel was presented corporal stripes and I pinned them on him. He then sewed them on himself in short order. We had a good singing crew; selections from the Bawdy Songster and Root's Bugle Call were enjoyed this evening as in the past. After that we retired to our bunks. There was much talk about keeping warm as it remained clear and cold. Karsten and I were snug on top of my poncho with our blankets over us and his poncho on top. From my head to my toes, a stocking hat, two shirts, blouse, wool trowsers, and one outer pair of wool socks also helped keep the heat in.
Day 8. Saturday.
I slept in a while longer, 'til well after the first morning light. I don't believe reveille sounded this morn. Got to cooking breakfast. Gunfire was heard in the distance and we knew the rebs were on the move. I wanted to get breakfast eaten so fried bacon and spiced meat in pan over the Oregon boys' fire. Boiled corn mush in two muckets. Added Karsten's raisins and baking powder to mush. Steve, Karsten, and I ate most all of it up. Brian and Manuel had some of their bacon which I cooked as well. I did dishes at spigot and delivered camera to Mrs. Welcher as I knew not how soon we would move. I was right...as the firing intensified, we packed up camp and moved to the far edge of open field adjacent to the village. There we took off our traps and feverishly went to work digging a trench and constructing a breastworks approximately 100 feet long. It was a first rate job I thought. The clay soil was easy digging and picking and there were no rocks. I departed and retrieved camera from Mrs. Welcher and bid farewell and fond wishes to her. They were expecting to flee at any time.
I returned to the troops at the earthworks with a gunny sack half full of licorice, raisins, and dried apricots relinquished by the commissary. The boys thought that was first rate. We lounged most of the afternoon and the cavalry attacked at around 3 p.m. The rebel infantry advanced after 4 p.m. but they stopped before reaching our earthworks. We thus advanced and drove them off the field in retreat. With that work done, we dumped our extra ammunition and departed for the railroad station.
The End of Journal
This has been a journal detailing the Red River II Campaign reenactment held between Mansfield and Shreveport, Louisiana, between Saturday, April 10, 1999, and Saturday, April 17, 1999.
Copyright 1999 by Kevin R. Saville. All rights reserved.
Clothing and Equipment Carried by Kevin Saville Through Red River II.
Worn by Day
Black slouch hat, white cotton shirt, J.T. Martin blouse, kersey trowsers with braces, silk sock liners, period issue wool socks, natural wool hiking socks, and brogans. Pockets contained small knife, Root's Bugle Call song book, and cotton earplugs.
Arms and Equipment
1861 Springfield musket with sling, Federal issue cartridge box with strap, belt with bayonet scabbard and cap box, smooth side canteen, haversack (detailed below), and bedroll (detailed below).
Cap tins containing baking soda (tooth powder), soap, and pills; gun cleaning kit containing patches, extractor, extra nipple, nipple pick, nipple wrench, brush, and combination wrench; utility kit containing knife, spoon, fork, tooth brush, comb, spectacle case, and pencil; housewife containing buttons, thread, needles, and mirror; leather satchel containing pencil, journal, song books, wallet, paper, envelopes, and stamps; leather pouch containing moleskin, camera, and other supplies; leather toilet paper bag; frying pan in leather bag; lid for mucket; wash cloth; extra poke bags and leather grease bag; extra leather straps and laces; tobacco and pipe. Dinner (noontime) rations and cartridges (up to 70 rounds) were also carried in haversack.
Chiefly consisted of Federal issue poncho and wool blanket. Inside were rolled wool stocking hat, red wool night shirt, linen towel, two extra pairs silk lining socks, two extra pairs period issue wool socks, and two extra pairs natural wool hiking socks. Note: Only two sets (silk liner, inner wool, and outer wool) socks were utilized; one set remained in reserve and unused. Bedroll ends were tied off with a heavy leather lace to which mucket was tied.
Interesting Notes About the Event
There was absolutely no company, brigade, or battalion drill at any time.
Loaded rifles were carried every day through all conditions. A paper wad was packed on top of the charge when raining.
Pretty good maneuvers were performed on the battlefield considering the lack of drill.
Registered participants: 550 total; approximately 290 Confederate, 220 Federal, and 40 Civilian.
I think the Federal forces started with about 150 and dropped to approximately 70 by the 6th day.
Confederates had their knapsacks hauled. Federals carried all gear every day.
River Organization--Federal Forces
as of 3/30/99
Col. D.J. Dal Bello, 35th Iowa, com'd'g
Maj. T. Crowder, com'd'g, Cavalry Squadron
Quartermaster: Maj. Jack Whitlock
Sgt. David Cierpiot
Brig. Surgeon: Maj. Gary Beetley
Courier: Jim Timney
35th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 16th Army Corps
Cmd. Col. Dom Dal Bello
Field Officer: Col. Steve Dunfee
Adjutant: 1st Lt. Sean Mills
Reg't. Surgeon: Capt. Dirk Armstrong
Sgt. Major: Dana Edwards
Color Guard: Tim Mulvehill, Ward Yarborough, Mike Bilbo, Carl Clink, &tc.
1st. Lieut. Dave McCloskey
2nd Lieut. Mike Jones
1st Sgt. Kevin Wooster
Sgt. Steve Pelikan
Sgt. Ricky Holman
Cpl. Scott Miller
Cpl. James Tedford
Cpl. Steven Mahaney
Cpl. Mark Lewis
Pvts. Joe Allison, Carsten Almskaar, Lawrence Berra, Brian Chamberlain, James Decker, Steven Dittman, Douglas Dobbs, Bryan Duncan, Manuel Gosch, Thomas Harper, David Jennings Jr., Gary Kiefer, Bryan Kramer, Michael McConnell, Gregory Moore, Ben Noga, Mitchell Rice, Timothy Rounds, Kevin Saville, Robert Simon, Brian Wallace, and Jeff Webb.
35th Iowa Co. A had a capt., no 1st lt., one less cpl. and pvt. than Co. G. Co. F. had no 2nd Lt, two less cpls. and three less pvts than Co. G. Co. B had a capt., no 1st lt., one less cpl. and one more pvt than Co. G.
All comments and suggestions welcomed at:
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Copyright 1999, 2013 Doug Dobbs
Last revised:October 25, 2013