The Battle of Sailor’s Creek

Lady and Gentlemen,

Attached you will find a more detailed description, excerpts of the Official Records, of the Engagement near the Lockett Farm. I have highlighted sections I feel are key points that we can use as steps in our script of the scenario. As stated before, I am offering these as a starting point, so that we may refine these to where it fits our needs.

Engagement at the Lockett Farm

Phase I:

The forces will position themselves at the staging areas and artillery placed. If we have artillery units that have crews with mountain howitzers, as this is a rear guard action scenario they may be able to work with the infantry to the various positions of the engagement. Also, this engagement is the one with the wagon train behind the rear guard, so they lead the retreating CSA forces as they fall back. See attached.

Phase II:

The first stand by the confederates would be a skirmisher vs skirmisher engagement, followed up by a push by the Union forces. The confederates fall back to a new MLR (Military Line of Resistance).

Phase III:

The second line of confederate forces can be, supported by artillery and (if available) cavalry make another holding action. The union artillery full scale pieces, placed in the rear,  now open up upon this confederate line. The confederate forces, after a time, being pressed by the union forces and artillery fall back. Maybe a good place to capture a confederate gun on the field. The crew can take hits around the gun.

Phase IV:

The third stand made by the confederate forces is composed of a skirmish line that is engaged by the union forces, and after a time, is forced to retreat.

Phase V:

 The forth and final stage is engaged by lines of infantry on both sides and mobile artillery, the last stand so to speak. After a time, the Union forces advance dislodging the confederates from their MLR and captures a few more guns and some, but not all of the wagons. The remaining confederates retreat over the rise and the scenario ends.

This engagement would be a series of holding actions where there would be  hot and slow spots in the battle. It would be good if there were hasty breastworks made to mark the four MLR’s and for the CSA troops to fight behind. If we don’t rush this, it should again last 40 minutes. There should be plenty of time for powder burning and use of infantry, artillery and cavalry.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Attached is a draft of a schedule for Mesopotamia 2020. I have made this with broad strokes, as it will most certainly be added to and amended. I have loaded Saturday as the busiest day and Sunday as the day of the basic activities. With three battle reenactments, there is no need for a tactical.

In addition I have also attached, from the CW Preservation Trust, maps of the three battles proposed.

Looking forward to our continued efforts at getting this event together and successful.

Regards,

Paul Baltzer

Safety, Safety, Safety is the Number 1 Priority!!!

  1. SAFETY, SAFETY, SAFETY is the number one rule and supersedes all other rules. When in doubt take the safe way out.
  2. All uniforms must be of proper period materials and construction.
  3. Civilian attire must conform to the style of the day and be of proper materials and construction.
  4. ONLY period glasses will be permitted unless safety is affected.
  5. Shoes and boots must be of proper period construction. Jefferson booties and brogans and period cut boots. NO combat boots, cowboy, work boots or sneakers.
  6. All officers must have the proper uniform and accouterments. No one above the rank of Captain without prior approval of the Event Staff.
  7. No pets will be allowed in camps without prior permission.
  8. Fire pits will be allowed in designated areas only. No fire pits in Sutlers’ row. Units are expected to FILL IN fire pits at the end of the event and accept full responsibility for fires.
  9. All modern equipment, packages, containers or foods are to remain out of sight at all times.
  10. Vehicles WILL NOT be allowed in the camping area during the hours open to the public. If you have to leave the event during the weekend, please make arrangements with the event staff to enter the camps with your vehicle before or after spectator hours. All vehicles must park in the re-enactor lot.
  11. No live ammunition or fireworks allowed. Gunpowder will be carried as pre-rolled cartridges only.
  12. NO illegal substances will be tolerated. Abuses or possession will be referred to local law officers.
  13. All participants are expected to cooperate with and follow directions of local law enforcement authorities, Event Staff, Land Owners and Provost Marshall.
  14. All participants are expected to conduct themselves in a way that positively reflects on them, their unit, the event, and the re-enacting hobby. Rowdiness, abusive language, or public drunkenness will not be tolerated. Unit commanders are responsible for the conduct of their unit members both military and civilian.
  15. All units are expected to bag all trash and deposit it in a prearranged spot, daily.
  16. All participants are expected to assist in guard and/or fatigue details.
  17. At all times, children will be accompanied by an adult. Please encourage children to take part in the living history presentation with appropriate games, etiquette & dress.
  18. Every unit and Unit Commander is responsible for the conduct of their unit, civilians and their guests. Any rules violated may be grounds for an individual or unit to be suspended from the event.

19.The Event Staff and the Land Owners reserve the right to remove any participant or any unit from the event for any act or violation felt to be unsafe or improper.

  1. No recruiting posters or recruiting items are to be displayed except by approval of the Event Staff. Any unit caught breaking this rule will be asked to remove the item or items and may be asked to leave the event.
  2. Any units other than the host unit(s) may not sell, raffle or charge for any items unless they are designated a sutler and have paid the proper fee. Any unit caught breaking, this rule will be charged a sutler fee and/or asked to leave the event.
  3. No soldiers may wear earrings, sunglasses, wristwatches etc. or anything not deemed period appropriate by the host units.
  4. Additions, subtractions or alterations of these rules may be done by the Event Staff / host unit at any time felt necessary to improve authenticity or safety of the event.
  5. Event registration ribbons and passes must be on your possession when away from your tent/camping area. Unit officers should have a ribbon/pass check prior to formations.
  6. Any Unit Commander directly disobeying the order of their respective overall commander will be subject to removal from the event.
  7. Recruits should be properly drilled prior to the battles. New recruits should always be in the front rank (infantry) when ever possible and in all branches surrounded by veteran troops for assistance.
  8. NO “Flag grabbing” will occur unless Army, Battalion and Unit Commanders agree to it, in advance.
  1. Minimum age to carry a weapon is 16 years old. NO exceptions. Proof of age may be requested.
  2. Weapons will be three band rifles or muskets. Proper 2-banders and breechloaders, if documentation agrees with the unit impression, will be allowed. NO Remington Zouaves, carbines, Hawkins, shotguns, or flintlocks allowed. When possible short rifles or muskets should be placed in the front rank when in close order formations
  3. All weapons (Muskets, Rifles and Pistols) will be inspected by the Infantry Commanding Officer of each respective army or his designee each time before taking the field for any reason.
  4. ABSOLUTELY NO discharge of firearms except by permission of the Commanding Officer and only in areas designated outside the camps by the Commanding Officer of the encampment or his designee.
  5. No weapons will be discharged within 25 yards of the “enemy”. Elevation of guns when firing within 50 yards of the “enemy” is required.
  6. Ramrods will not be used in any scenario. Ramrods may be used during inspection and for Living History presentations only.
  7. Bayonets are not to be fixed on the field. All bayonet scabbards should have a metal tip securely fastened on the end. Bayonets may be used during formation of the battalion, stacking arms, Dress Parade, inspection and for Living History Presentations only.

1. All state required shots including recent Coggins certificate will be required and proof of such will be needed to take the field.

2. All mounts or horses will be under the direction of the Event Staff or their appointee.

3. All mounts or horses will be inspected by the Event Staff or their appointee before taking the field.

4.All riders are responsible for the safe handling and care of their mounts. Anyone thought to be unsafe or mistreating their mount will be asked to leave the field and or the event.

5.Spectators and Civilians will not be permitted to ride the horses.

6.Horses will not be permitted in the sutler area or in the spectator area.

7.All horses must be kept on a designated picket line when not in use.

8. All picket lines must have a guard on duty at all times when a horse(s) is presentArtillery Rules:

  • All Artillery pieces will be inspected by the Chief of Artillery prior to being placed on the field. Any pieces found unsafe will not be allowed to take the field.
  • All units drill (including misfire) will be inspected and approved by the Chief of Artillery or his designee before being allowed to be operated on the field or for demonstrations. (Preferred drills are National Park and National Civil War Artillery Assoc.)
  • All units will drill at least once a day prior to taking the field for battle or demonstrations.
  • All artillery units will adhere to a fifty (50) yard minimum safety zone within 180-degree radius of the front of the muzzle of the piece.
  • All rounds must be rolled before coming to the event. No rounds are to be rolled on the event sight.
  • Artillery rounds will be kept in the Tupperware type or other approved weatherproof
  • container inside their ammo or limber box at all times except when loading the piece.
  • All limber or ammo boxes containing black powder or rounds will be locked at all times except when loading the piece and/or limber/ammo box, or being inspected.
  • The Bounty for the artillery will be given only to units that participate in the event for the entire weekend.
  • The maximum rate of fire for any one cannon will not exceed one (1) round per minute, from time of discharge to placing the next round into the muzzle. Slow rates of fire are encouraged.
  • There is to be no filler added to any rounds. Gunpowder Only!!!!! This means no flour, wading, sawdust etc.
  • The bore of the cannon will be wormed and thoroughly sponged with water after each shot is fired.
  • The No. 1 man shall not double or triple tamp the round to the breech. It should be rammed home in one motion.
  • Crew member No.1 and No.2 will wear their jackets/coat with sleeves down while servicing the piece . They will also wear a pair of heavy welding gloves or other gloves approved by the Chief of Artillery.
  • No enlisted cannoneers shall wear a pistol, revolver or sabre while serving on a crew.
  • No one under the 15 years of age may serve on positions 1-4 or Gunner of an artillery crew. Positions 5-7 must be no younger then 13 years of age.
  • The use of mortars, scale pieces and the like will be allowed at the event only by the discretion of the Chief of Artillery and the Event Staff.

9.Each Piece shall be equipped with the following equipment and implements be in good working order.

A) Sponge rammer- Shall fit the bore and be capable of sponging the bottom of the breech

with spare sponge covers on hand.

B) Worm- Shall be of a size capable of dislodging all foreign objects. Tines shall be sharp

and not compressed.

C) Sponge Bucket

D) Thumbstall

E) Priming Wire

F) Powder Passers Haversack

G) Gimlet and or Vent Punch

H) Friction Primer Tube Pouch

I) Vent Brush

J) Two Pairs of Heavy Leather Glover for Positions No 1 And No 2.

K) Lockable limber or ammo chest of proper period construction.

L) Lanyard.

M) Needle nose pliers.

Engagement at Hillsman House

O.R.–SERIES I–VOLUME XLVI/1 [S# 95]

MARCH 29-APRIL 9, 1865.–The Appomattox (Virginia) Campaign.

No. 275.–Report of Lieut. Gen. Richard S. Ewell, C. S. Army.

On crossing a little stream known as Sailor’s Creek, I met General Fitz Lee, who informed me that a large force of cavalry held the road just in front of General Anderson, and was so strongly posted that he had halted a short distance ahead. The trains were turned into a road Bearer the river, while I hurried to General Anderson’s aid. General Gordon’s corps turned off after the trains. General Anderson informed me that at least two divisions of cavalry were in his front, and suggested two modes of escape–either to unite our forces and break through, or to move to the right through the woods and try to strike a road which ran toward Farmville. I recommended the latter alternative, but as he knew the ground and I did not, and had no one who did, I left the dispositions to him. Before any were made the enemy appeared in rear of my column in large force preparing to attack. General Anderson informed me that he would make the attack in front if I would hold in check those in rear, which I did until his troops were broken and dispersed. <ar95_1295>

I had no artillery, all being with the train. My line ran across a little ravine which leads nearly at right angles toward Sailor’s Creek. General G. W. C. Lee was on the left, with the Naval Battalion, under Commodore Tucker, behind his right. Kershaw’s division was on the right. All of Lee’s and part of Kershaw’s division were posted behind a rising ground that afforded some shelter from artillery. The creek was perhaps 300 yards in their front, with brush pines between and a cleared field beyond it. In this the enemy’s artillery took a commanding position, and finding we had none to reply, soon approached within 800 yards and opened a terrible fire. After nearly half an hour of this, their infantry advanced, crossing the creek above and below us at the same time. Just as it attacked General Anderson made his assault, which was repulsed in five minutes. I had ridden up near his lines with him to see the result, when a staff officer, who had followed his troops in their charge, brought him word of its failure. General Anderson rode rapidly toward his command. I returned to mine to see if it were yet too late to try the other plan of escape. On riding past my left I came suddenly upon a strong line of the enemy’s skirmishers advancing upon my left rear. This closed the only avenue of escape, as shells and even bullets were crossing each other from front and rear over my troops, and my right was completely enveloped. I surrendered myself and staff to a cavalry officer who came in by the same road General Anderson had gone out on. At my request he sent a messenger to General G. W. C. Lee, who was nearest, with a note from me telling him he was surrounded, General Anderson’s attack had failed, I had surrendered, and he had better do so too, to prevent useless loss of life, though I gave no orders, being a prisoner. Before the messenger reached him General Lee had been captured, as had General Kershaw, and the whole of my command.

O.R.–SERIES I–VOLUME XLVI/1 [S# 95]

MARCH 29-APRIL 9, 1865.–The Appomattox (Virginia) Campaign.

No. 105.–Reports of Maj. Gen. Horatio G. Wright, U. S. Army commanding Sixth Army Corps.

The next morning (the 6th) the corps was put in motion at 6 a.m., in conjunction with the rest of the army, toward Amelia Court-House, where it was supposed the enemy still was, with the intention of attacking him at that place. Without regard to roads the troops were moved across the country, but after proceeding some three miles information was received that the enemy had left during the night and was endeavoring to pass around our left. The corps was at once halted and this information sent to army headquarters. Orders were soon received for <ar95_906> the corps to take the right of the army in the pursuit; but these orders were: shortly after changed by instructions to move via Jetersville to the vicinity of Deatonsville, and take position on the left of the Second Corps and of the army. In obedience to these instructions the corps was promptly started. Following for a time the road from Jetersville, parallel to the railroad, and then turning square to the right, the road passing Deatonsville was reached at a point to the southward of that place. Here I found the Second Corps was engaged in, skirmishing in advance of the road; and awaiting the arrival of the column the ground on the left of that corps was reconnoitered with a view to taking up that position, but finding the country to be a difficult one through which to advance, and hearing the cavalry heavily engaged some distance to the left, I moved on the arrival of the head of the column down the Burkeville road, perhaps a mile, and, turning sharp to the right, proceeded across the country toward a nearly parallel road on which the enemy was moving with troops and trains, and along which he had throwing up some slight breast-works. As soon as Seymour’s division, which was leading, could be formed it was moved upon the road held by the enemy, which was carried after a slight resistance. This movement compelled a part of the enemy’s force to move off by a branch road to the right, and in front of the Second Corps, which was rapidly coming up. The road being carried, the Third Division was wheeled to the left, with its left on the road, and Wheaton’s Division, which had come up, having been rapidly formed on Seymour’s left, the line was advanced down the road against a pretty sharp resistance for about two miles, when reaching Sailor’s Creek, a marshy and difficult stream, it was found that the enemy had reformed his line on the opposite side, and that he had thrown up such breast-works at various points of his line as time permitted. Readjusting the lines somewhat, the First and Third Divisions keeping their previous formation of the Third on the right, the creek was crossed, and the attack made, the artillery, previously established in position, opening with great effect upon the enemy, while the Second Division still in rear, was hurried up to take part in the battle in ease it should be needed, and at any rate to sustain the batteries which were without support. This division was rapidly brought forward at the doublequick by Brevet Major-General Getty, and though not actually engaged performed an important part by its presence. The First and Third Division charged the enemy’s position, carrying it handsomely, except at a point on our right of the road crossing the creek, where a column, said to be composed exclusively of the Marine Brigade and other troops which had held the lines of Richmond previous to the evacuation, made a countercharge upon that part of our lines in their front. I was never more astonished. These troops were surrounded–the First and Third Divisions of this corps were on either flank, my artillery and a fresh division in their front, and some three divisions of Major-General Sheridan’s cavalry in their rear. Looking upon them as already our prisoners, I had ordered the artillery to cease firing as a dictate of humanity; my surprise therefore was extreme when this force charged upon our front; but the fire of our infantry, which had already gained their flanks, the capture of their superior officers, already in our hands, the concentrated and murderous fire of six batteries of our artillery within effective range, brought them promptly to a surrender.

The position was won, the right of the rebel army was annihilated, and the prisoners secured were counted by thousands. <ar95_907> In the attack upon the road along which the enemy was passing, and already referred to, of General Sheridan’s cavalry operated upon our right, and in the subsequent attack the mass of the cavalry operated on the enemy’s right flank and rear, doing splendid service and completing the successes of the day, capturing most of the prisoners who had been driven back, broken and demoralized, by the attack previously described. Many general officers were captured by the combined forces of the infantry and cavalry, and of those who surrendered to the Sixth Corps were Lieutenant-General Ewell and Maj. Gen. Custis Lee. After the battle General Getty’s division, which was still comparatively fresh, was advanced some two miles to the front, and he pushed his skirmish line some two miles farther, meeting no serious position. The First and Third Divisions following General Getty’s movement, took position on his left and right, respectively, where they bivouacked for the night.

 O.R.–SERIES I–VOLUME XLVI/1 [S# 95]

MARCH 29-APRIL 9, 1865.–The Appomattox (Virginia) Campaign.

No. 106.–Reports of Bvt. Maj. Gen. Frank Wheaton, U. S. Army, commanding First Division.

April 6, received orders to move at 6 a.m. in support of the Second and Third Divisions, and in the rear of the Second on the right, in an advance toward Amelia Court-House, where the enemy were supposed to be in force, prepared for an attack. In accordance with that order, with the Third Brigade on the right and the Second on the left, in two lines each, I advanced by the left of regiment to the front, guiding by the right regiment of the Second Division. Capt. Crawford Allen’s battery (H, First Rhode Island Light Artillery) followed 100 paces in rear. In this manner we advanced two miles, through dense woods and over creeks and ravines, when orders were received from General Wright to return to the vicinity of Jetersville, the enemy having «58 R R VOL XLVI, PT I» <ar95_914> abandoned his intrenched position near Amelia Court-House. At 10 a.m., when near the Smithy house, I was ordered to follow the Third Division, which was moving, via Jetersville, northwest toward Deatonsville. During the last two miles of our march heavy skirmishing by our cavalry and some artillery firing was heard. Halting the trains to facilitate the movement of the troops across the bridges of Flat Creek, we hurried forward in anticipation of an engagement, though the reports made me by cavalrymen from the front who met us on the road was that no infantry force had yet been encountered, and that the enemy’s cavalry were retreating. I never saw troops press on more eagerly or show greater desire to meet the enemy. After an hour’s hard marching we reached a turn in the road and high ground, from which we could see the road running from Deatonsville to Jennings’ Ordinary, upon which our cavalry had attacked the enemy’s wagon guard and train. By the time the head of my column had reached the vicinity of Little Sailor’s Creek we found the Third Division deployed, with its left upon the road referred to, some troops of the Second Corps on its right. Although the division had been pushing forward with the greatest haste, much of the march over plowed fields and rough ground, and the troops greatly fatigued, they doubled-quicked into position with the greatest spirit upon finding themselves in the immediate presence of the enemy. Our lines were soon formed–the right of the Third Brigade, Col. Oliver Edwards, Thirty.seventh Massachusetts Volunteers, commanding, on the left of the Deatonsville road, and at right angles to it; the Second Brigade, Bvt. Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Hamblin, whose troops, being’ in rear, had still harder race to get into position, forming on the left of the Third Brigade. The enemy’s partially intrenched position could be plainly seen in our front, less than one-third of a mile distant, on the crest in the woods opposite Little Sailor’s Creek, which lay at the foot of at long slope of plowed ground between us and their line. As our cavalry was known to be operating in their rear, I was urged by General Wright to hasten the attack and, without waiting for the Second Brigade to be fully formed, the advance was ordered. Our artillery–Capt. Crawford Allen’s battery, of this division, and others–shelled the enemy’s line with great effect as we moved forward; fortunately for us, they trod no guns in position. Our movement toward the creek was in plain view and down a perfectly cleared field for more than one-quarter of a mile. Reaching the creek, instead of finding it like most of the streams we had passed that day, it was discovered to be a swamp, varying in width from 40 to 100 yards, and traversed by several streams, the water in many places above the shoulders of the troops. Both brigades were in one line, in order to cover the front. I was ordered to attack, and none but good troops, knowing that there was no second line behind them, would so gallantly have dashed into and crossed this difficult swamp and stream, while from the moment they reached its edge they were under the enemy’s severe musketry fire. The line after crossing the creek was readjusted under the crest occupied by the enemy, but the slopes in front of the right and center of the Third Brigade were too gradual to afford them protection and they were exposed to a severe front and enfilading fire. The Second Brigade was ordered to charge at once up the steep hills and into the enemy’s line in the woods. This movement was brilliantly executed under a galling fire, and the Third Brigade at the same time advancing against the strong lines in its front, and the battle of Sailor’s Creek was won. A brigade of Southern marines stubbornly continued the fight, but the movements of the One hundred and twenty-firstNew York and Thirty-seventh <ar95_915> Massachusetts Volunteers, which were admirably handled, compelled them to speedily recognize our victory. On the extreme right the Fifth Wisconsin Volunteers rapidly pressed fairly through the enemy’s lines and skirmished directly in their rear, capturing Lieutenant-General Ewell, of the rebel army, his staff, and many other prisoners. The cavalry attacked the enemy in rear soon after our front attack had succeeded, and, of course, took most of the prisoners and material. This division pushed rapidly on in pursuit, the Third Brigade to the right and the Second to the front and left. The number of prisoners taken is not known. I understand that the result of our attack wag the capture of nearly all the rebel troops in our front, which consisted of Ewell’s two divisions and the Confederate Marine Brigade. This division took Lieutenant-General Ewell and General G. W. Custis Lee and several battle-flags–eight have been turned over to the assistant adjutant-general of the corps, and four more are known to have been taken within the four days preceding and including that.

O.R.–SERIES I–VOLUME XLVI/1 [S# 95]

MARCH 29-APRIL 9, 1865.–The Appomattox (Virginia) Campaign.

No. 131.–Reports of Brig. Gen. Truman Seymour, U. S. Army, commanding Third Division.

MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this command on April 6, at Sailor’s Creek:

The division was in the advance on the march during that day, the Second Brigade leading. A severe day’s march had already been accomplished and the men were much fatigued, when at 3 p.m. the head of the column arrived at the point near Amelia Springs, where Major-General Sheridan with a force of cavalry was menacing the flank of the enemy’s line of retreat. The sharpshooters of the Second Brigade, and the One hundred and twenty-second Ohio, were immediately deployed, and advanced to the attack, followed by the remainder of the brigade upon its arrival. The road by which the enemy was retiring was seized, cutting off numerous wagons. A portion of the enemy withdrew by a cross-road leading toward the Appomattox, and commenced from two guns a severe and close fire of canister upon our advancing troops; but the skirmishers already named, supported by the One hundred and tenth Ohio and Ninth New York Artillery, pursued them promptly and soon drove them from before us. The remaining regiments of Keifer’s brigade (Sixth Maryland, Sixty-seventh and <ar95_980> One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania), in conjunction with the First Brigade, were pushed immediately to the left upon the main route. Severe skirmishing ensued, but supported by Carroll’s section of Brincklé’s battery, E, Fifth U.S. Artillery, the enemy were forced a mile across Sailor’s Creek, behind which he formed a strong line of battle to oppose our crossing. That portion of Keifer’s brigade that had been sent on the cross-road found itself in front of the Second Corps, and it was reported to me that the staff officers who were sent to recall it were refused; at all events, it took no further part in this action. The remainder, with Truex’s brigade, were formed in line. Wheaton’s division came up on the left, and an advance was ordered by Major-General Wright. The stream in front of us was edged with marsh waist deep; through this the command handsomely advanced. Brinck1é’s battery played unceasingly upon the rebel lines, which, however, returned but little fire until pressed by our infantry. The contest was then very severe. The Confederate Marine Battalion fought with peculiar obstinacy, and our lines, somewhat disordered by crossing the creek, were repulsed in the first onset. But the valor of the commanding officers brought them again to the attack, and Truex’s brigade somewhat overlapping the enemy’s line, and wheeling to the left, delivered so severe an enfilading fire as soon made resistance impossible.

Lieutenant-General Ewell sent Major Pegram, of his staff, with a flag to surrender his forces to this brigade. The commander of the Marine Battalion surrendered to Brevet Brigadier-General Keifer, whose command captured also two battle-flags.