November 22, 1861 (+160)
Camp Near Fort Gatlin
This report serves as my recollection of the recent engagement at Dade City.
The effort put forth by Major Everette Jones and Pvt. Andy Warrener to ensure all needs were met for the soldiers cannot be understated. They worked tirelessly for the soldier's benefit and the result was a superb event. Their battle scenarios were unique and allowed the Command to use every inch of battlefield. It is doubtful any soldier returned home unfulfilled.
Approximately 680 students attended School Days from 9 AM to 1 PM on Friday. A good representation of the era was presented with 16 stations covering topics such as topographical map making, flag history and use, iron working, wood working, 1860s clothing, School of the Soldier, music presented by 7 Lbs of Bacon and much more.
Saturday Morning Parade began at 9:30 AM with Major Dwight Dorr presiding. Troop strength for Saturday's battle was 21 Federals and 58 Confederates. Captain Adam Bocken’s 2nd Florida galvanized adjusting the number to 32 Federals and 47 Confederates. It is important to note that every major faction of the Confederate army in Florida was represented: Hardy’s Brigade, Florida Battalion, PACS, and the Liberty Guards, and combined to form one army. Another major faction, the Pawnee Guards, were present but served as Federal marines for the entire conflict.
Initial deployment for Saturday’s conflict was as follows: Captain Van Leuven’s 7th Florida occupied the Beville House, Captain Turnbull’s 37th Alabama was positioned to reinforced Van Leuvan if needed, Lt. Col Kohl’s PACS Battalion was positioned on the extreme right of the battlefield and Captain Porterfield’s 8th Florida (with the Liberty Guard serving as Color Bearers) held the high ground in the center.
The battle began at the Belville House. After Van Leuvan was attacked and pushed back, Turnbull entered the fray and their combined forces pushed the Federals into the battlefield. At that moment, Porterfield advanced in unison with Kohl. The resulting three-pronged front (left to right) of Turnbull, Porterfield and Kohl effectively pushed the Federals to the other end of the field. As fate insisted, a reinforced Federal army with two guns reversed the outcome and the Confederates were repelled with many casualties. But the day had only just begun.
At 4PM a growing crowd of spectators witnessed Pvt. Logan Davis retaining his FASTEST RUNNER distinction. It is significant, however, to recognize one of his challengers - Pvt. Gaven Preisser of the Pawnee Guards. In the first race, Gavin edged Logan by an inch but stepped forward to state he was wearing tennis shoes, not brogans. Demonstrating that honesty is alive and well in the Brigade, Gavin offered to rerun the race in brogans. The result was still a close race but reigning champion Logan Davis evolved the victor.
The FASTEST SHOOTER contest was “almost" one for the record books. Reigning champion Sgt. Andrew Sealing won for the third time but not without a serious challenge from Brian Lynch’s Howitzer crew. As the contest is determined by the first to fire three rounds, this contest began by the Howitzer winning the first round, Sealing tying with the second round, then pulling ahead by only seconds with the third round. It was surprising to witness the speed with which Lynch's crew executed their operation. Ultimately, Sealing won by firing three rounds in 1:05 minutes (this compares to his other victories of 1:04 and 1:03). The record for this competition is still held by Cpl. Nathan Rost from the 37th Alabama with a time of 59.6 seconds. I suspect we have not seen the last of Lynch’s Howitzer in this competition.
Pvt. Logan Davis and Sgt. Andrew Sealing, both from the 2nd Florida, are to be congratulated.
At 5:30 PM on Saturday, word was received that Federal marines were occupying the town. With one gun (Lynch's Howitzer) and the combined forces from the 2nd FL, 7th FL, 8th FL, and PACS, they were expelled from the town and fled to the open field. The engagement ended in the dark with the failed charge of Captain Ron Boyce's marines attacking the right flank of the Confederate line.
Sunday's Colors began at 9:30 AM with Major Dwight Dorr presiding. For Sunday’s 2 PM engagement, Captain Turnbull’s 37th Alabama galvanized and the battle was repeated. On this day, the battle’s conclusion saw the 8th Florida attacking and capturing a Federal gun on their right flank and the 2nd Florida capturing the gun on their left flank. The resulting Confederate victory was well received by the spectators. Of particular note, the on-going effort of utilizing the bugle call as it is intended is progressing as Sgt. Ron Doyka formed the Brigade for the Final Salute bye sounding assembly (hear attached).
In conclusion, it is the opinion of this soldier the condition of the Confederate Army in Florida is alive and well. By recognizing individual strengths and working together, we are fielding a minimum of 50 soldiers at every event. The large number of students and spectators at Dade City is evidence that we are, indeed, keeping the history alive.
The next engagement is expected to occur in the vicinity of Otter Springs, January 14-16, 2022. This concludes my report.
Your Obedient Servant,
Lt. Col. Clay Kearney
Battalion Commander, CSA