To Major General Jake Jennette, 1st Division, Army of Northern Virginia
I herewith submit my report on the actions of the 6th Regiment
ANV (Liberty Greys) in the area of Hudson, this past April 24-26, 1865.
Our battalion consisted of excellent showings from Co. G, 12 Georgia,
Co. B, 35th Virginia, as well as good elements from Co. F, 12th
Georgia, Co. D, 7th Tennessee, Co. G, 15th Alabama, and CO. H, 1st
Maryland. Co. A, 351h Virginia and 1st Co., Richmond Howitzers also
attended, though not as part of the infantry battalion, of course.
My lovely wife Jane Claudia and I were able to travel Friday afternoon,
with a most convenient train schedule allowing us to arrive at about
3:30 PM. We were greeted by Major Tom Fearabay, who presented us
with lovely medallions which had been struck especially for the
Our campsite had been laid out expertly by Capt. Mal Grant, who
performed his function as quartermaster officer most ably, despite
having suffered a cracked rib earlier in the week. By the time of
our arrival he had left camp, but we are in his debt. The ground was
flat and spacious, and the earth was very good. As we set up, we were
surprised with a visit from Sgt. Major Patton, accompanied by his
lovely wife Charlene, whom we had known to be necessarily absent this
weekend. They made the trip simply to see us all. Heartened by
such good friends, we set up our tents and arranged our equipment
before settling in for an evening with friends.
We were particularly glad to be able to spend a good share of the
evening in the2 company of Ordnance Lt. Mike Flye, Capt. Randy Porteus,
acting as the adjutant for the weekend, and also joined by Capt. Steve
Feid of the 7th Tennessee. It was most enjoyable, but the cold weather
came in quickly, along with a biting wind, leading to a very chilly
Morning broke, and I forced myself from my bedding, having finally
warmed to a point of comfort, in order to begin my daily duties.
allowing my lovely wife to remain in bed for a while until the sun
could work its magic. The bright sunshine quickly brought the
temperature to a reasonable level.
Morning reports came in, and companies went out for morning drill at
8:00 AM. Returning to camp for a brief respite, Major Fearabay and
Major LaPointe formed the battalion for morning drill,, at 10:00 AM,
under my command.
Our drill focused on facing and doubling, with the goal of retaining
the best possible alignment when the soldiers moved. With that
accomplished, we then drilled marching, looking at retaining our
spacing so as to front out with an absolute minimum of dressing the
line needed, both when marching by the flank and when marching in a
column of companies. These goals were accomplished very well,
maneuvering both by the right and left flanks, and with right and left
in front, respectively. All three methods of forming column from line
of battle were practiced, with very good effect.
Drill concluded after about 45 minutes and the men were allowed an
interval for rest and the refreshment of luncheon. I took the
opportunity to bring out my banjo, and play some merry airs to pass the
time. Those in camp appeared to enjoy the music.
At 1:00 PM, the battalion was formed again fro afternoon drill. The
mornings work was reviewed and improved upon for the first half of the
drill. For the remainder of the time, I turned command over to
Major Fearabay, who most ably instructed the men in forming forward
into line, and changing front. These important tasks being
accomplished, we broke to allow the men an interval of rest before the
At 2:15, we formed yet again, this time for the memorial ceremony at
2:30. We were led out to the appointed ground by our newly found
fife and drum field music. It was a pleasure to hear the stirring
martial music again. Once at the ground, we deployed in front of
the array of flags, with a vacant chair, and accoutrements of a
soldier. Capt. Perkins caused the field music to troop the line, and
then we continued with prayer and scripture.
Capt. Pincins of Co. G, 12th Georgia, memorialized Lt. Tom Bailey, whom
we lost this past year. Then others of the battalion brought
forth the names of significant members who had also passed recently.
Music was presented by the ladies present, under the able direction and
accompaniment of my lovely wife.
Capt. Perkins then took command of the firing detail, and fired a three
volley rifle salute, answered in the distance by the Richmond Howitzers
piece, during which the battalion presented arms. The most moving
ceremony being concluded, we marched the battalion back to our camp.
With afternoon well advanced, more banjo music seemed appropriate, as
well as some shopping at the local merchant. With these pursuits, as
well as renewing our many friendships after a seemingly endless winter
quarters, we passed the time until evening.
My lovely wife prepared an excellent repast for us, after which we
settled in for a lovely evening. Of course, I once again took my
banjo, and began to play. Quite quickly we were joined by Sgt. Dan
Spinner of the 12th Georgia, with his vest contraption. My wife
took her guitar, and we spent a most enjoyable evening with music, both
vocal and instrumental. Too quickly, however, the approaching cold,
though not nearly as difficult as the night before, numbed our fingers
to the point of forcing us to stop.
The evening continued, however, and once again we were joined by Lt.
Flye, Capt. Porteus, and Capt. Feid. Temperature dropped, but, without
the wind of the night before, we remained comfortable enough in our
wool. The company of good friends was, as always, welcome. Still,
the comfort of our tents beckoned, and, one by one, we betook ourselves
Morning broke again, as is its wont, but this time with a cloud cover,
which did help keep temperature from plummeting as they had the night
before. Morning reports again came in, and again the companies drilled,
as I prepared for the service of Morning Prayer. Having read
through the service and the readings from scripture, I took a walk of
some distance around the perimeter of the field upon which we had
gathered, which allowed for both meditation and contemplation.
At 9:00 AM, the faithful gathered. I was very gratified to see such a
large congregation gather to give thanks for the excellent weekend, for
the incredible gift of life, and most surely, the wonderful gift of
friendship, remembering those friends gathered together with us, and
those from whom we must, at least at times, be separated.
Soon after, Capt. Porteus and Major LaPointe set the line for battalion
formation. One by one the companies gathered, and we began the
time honored military ceremony of Dress Parade.
Dress Parade, that formal ceremony in which the troops are formed,
assessed, reports of roll calls received, and important orders read, is
one of the great unifying factors in military history. It was held at
least once daily, often twice, during the time of the American Civil
War. We have always tried to honor and continue that great tradition.
Capt. Porteus, in his role as adjutant, ran an excellent parade. As
usual, we went directly from the parade into morning battalion drill.
Drill consisted of review of yesterday's work and much improvement all
around. Important work was done on the improvement of the oblique step,
and the maintaining of front when marching at the oblique. Once again,
Major Fearabay took command, and reviewed the work he had done
yesterday, as well as practicing On the Right into Line, and important
Drill was concluded by 11:00 AM, and, at its conclusion, Capt. Pincins
gave a most heartfelt thank you to all who had come. Wagons were
allowed to enter camp at 12:00. In the intervening time, I once
again took my banjo, and played some favorites. The time for
leave taking having arrived, the wagoners entered camp, and we set
about striking the tents.
Perhaps the most important point in this scouting expedition, is to
report the dearth of Federal military activity in the area. This
was quite unexpected, but very welcome.
I would like to thank all who took the time to be with us this weekend,
and most particularly to thank Capt. Dave Pincins, and all of the 12th
Georgia, who have been hosting this event for us for the last 20
seasons. I, for one, can no longer imagine beginning a season without
Respectfully submitted this 28th day of April, 1865,
Colonel Bradley Tyler Johnson (aka Leonidas Jones) commanding
6th Regiment, 1st Division, Army of Northern Virginia
The Liberty Greys