January 17, 1862 (+160)
Vicinity of Fort Gatlin
This report describes my recollection of the recent engagement at Otter Springs.
Confederate forces present included Hardy's Brigade (2nd Florida Co. E, 8th Florida Cos. B & C, 37th Alabama Co. H), PACS and the Florida Battalion (Simmons Company, Leon Rifles and 7th Florida, Co. K). Total strength approximately 70 effectives plus 3 cannon. Overall commander was Lt. Col. Keith Kohl.
Federal forces present were the 17th Conneticut, Marines (Pawnee Guards) and elements from the 4th Brigade. Total strength approximately 30 effectives plus 4 cannon. Overall commander was Col. Andrew Shogren.
Weather was excellent, highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s. The only rain appeared early Sunday morning but winds and sunlight dried the canvas by midday.
Morning Parades were presided by Major Dwight Dorr on Saturday and Lt. Willie Evans on Sunday. Both at 9 AM.
Saturday’s battle began at 10 AM depicting the skirmish at Clay’s Landing. The back and forth movements ended in a stalemate. The armies took to the field again at 2 PM depicting the skirmish at Levyville. In this scenario, the Federals began the action by ransacking the town. The Confederate forces then attacked them by surprise and overwhelmed them, driving them off the field. Both battles on Saturday occurred in a wooded area offering a unique experience for the soldiers. The grounds were wooded but absent of palmettos making formations easy to accomplish. The canopy of the trees and lack of wind created a very smoky fighting environment.
Brigade competition for Fastest Runner and Fastest Shooter commenced at 4 PM on Saturday. Congratulations are in order for four-time champion Sgt. Andrew Sealing (2nd Florida Co E) for retaining his FASTEST SHOOTER title by firing three rounds in 1 minute 2 seconds, besting his previous times of 1:03, 1:04 and 1:05. A new champion for FASTEST RUNNER has emerged: Pvt. Jay Parks (Simmon’s Company). Images of both champions are attached to this report.
Sunday’s battle began at 2 PM in a large area north of camp, in a field excellent for battle. It is the opinion of this officer it offers the best topography in the state for future scenarios. It is easily the size of the Brooksville battlefield but has ridges of undulations, similar to battlefields in Virginia and one in particular in Pennsylvania. The battle depicted on this day was that of Station Number 4, the final engagement at Otter Springs. Only a portion of the field was needed to re-enact this action, which ended with the Confederates running out of ammunition and being driven back into the woods.
The engagement at Otter Springs is a welcomed replacement for Brooksville. This event is made possible by the ForVets veteran support organization and co-hosted by the 7th Brigade Sons of Confederate Veterans. A very special thank you is in order for Clement Lindsay and Lt. Col. Keith Kohl for organizing this event.
This concludes my report.
Lt. Col. Clay Kearney
Hardys Brigade/Florida Brigade