Monday, May 6, 2013

Report on Actions at Chancellorsville May 3-5, 2013


I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of our organization in the series of battles at this past weekend’s reenactment of the Chancellorsville campaign, May 1-3 1863. The soldiers of our organization performed valiantly with Capt. A. Hooks, 3rd Cpl. Harkleroad, Pvt. Bello, newly recruited Pvts. Hudson and Isabel, and myself as 2nd Sgt. Although surprised by some organizational and administrative setbacks with registration, location venues, and scheduling, the 78th enjoyed its time in company and a fantastic ‘campaigner’ camp with our sister unit, the 63rd PVI, and in the ranks with guests from the 1st Minnesota. 

We missed our overall commander of the 3rd USV, Col. Buffington, but Lt. Col. Peacock admirably led our battalion in scenarios that neither officer nor private expected to be as limited as they were because of the nature of the terrain that is penetrated by many major roads through the grounds surrounding the original battlefield. On Saturday, we portrayed a company in the 17th Connecticut of Howard’s XI Corps—those that were surprised by Jackson’s flank attack. In this scenario, our company was distinguished for its attempt to reenact this surprise by taking onto the battlefield camp equipment as well as putting up quite the fight as we fell back, taking cover in an entrenched creek bed as the rest of the battalion crossed a land bridge over it. 1st Sgt. Schwartzel (63rd PVI) personally rallied our line and superintended its fire after we were forced out of our protected position. In Sunday’s scenarios, the fights for Hazel Grove and Salem Church, we were honored to portray our sister company’s regiment, the 63rd PVI of the III Corps and protect its colors in the former, and portray the ‘Jersey Blues’ of the VI Corps in the latter. 

Capt. Hooks expertly maneuvered our company into more effective fighting positions on several occasions as we continued to be pressed by Confederate lines and took heavy casualties. 
I commend Cpl. Harkleroad on superbly and personally overseeing and attending to his squad throughout the weekend while urging historical authenticity in all scenarios. 
To the men of the company, I grant my thanks for your unending patience and support as I continue to adjust to my new duties and responsibilities. Stepping into the position of 2nd Sgt was an arduous challenge, but an incredible honor for which I will be ever grateful. I look forward to our next campaign, and urge all to participate in the proposed drill to be organized the weekend prior to it (details to follow).

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
J.M. Wasko, 
Co. F, 78th PVI, Commanding.