New Market AAR,
Arrived in the valley around 4:30 to find a pretty sparse Regiment. Normally New
Market has about 1,000 or so soldiers on the field. This weekend there no more
than 150 including the Cav & Artillery. If the Federal Volunteers had not shown
up, there would have been no Union Troops.
Anyway, the camp layout was a bit confusing, but fortunately Corp Harvey had
arrived earlier and with some help from Major Cobb we set up our street. That was
after one of my friends from the 3rd Maryland ran over one of my stools. Looks like
we will definitely have some furniture to burn at Cedar Creek. Soon we had
Captain Aronhalt, 1st Sgt Brinker & Pvt Freeman, who by the way did not bring
any of his 15 sons nor did he have Sam in tow. That was it! Until the arrival of
Pete & Mark at 1am we had 2 officers, 2 NCO’s and 1 private & 5 civilians. I tried
to enlist Ed’s son Paul, but he would have nothing to do with it. I also noticed
other units who normally have large numbers were very light as well. However, It
was nice to see that we hadn’t scared off Ed’s fiancé Katelyn as she told me she
has seen worse. Sounds like a challenge to me. I tried to stay awake for Pete &
Mark so they would know where to find us, but I was asleep by midnight.
I groggily awoke at 6am on Sat and ran into Pete at the sinks. We did the usual
dress parade and had a good Battalion Drill led by Major Cobb. I was in command
for Dress Parade & drill but I was going out as a private for the battle. Now the last
time we did New Market, the battles were absolute horror shows. Go back and find
one of my AARs from 2 years ago and you will get the details. This year though the
battles went well and the Rebs weren’t the usual riled up never lose yahoo group. I
won’t go into any details on Saturdays battle other than to say it went well and the
drill from earlier in the morning made us look pretty tight. I should note, here New
Market is also famous for its’ weather. Almost always we get rain on at least one
day. I still have visions from several years back of Corp Lynch digging a trench out
of the fire pit so the water could drain out while lightening strikes were hitting the
field around Sgt Sami Barboe’s camper. This time, however, we had beautiful
weather. Low’s in the 50’s and highs around 80, with a good breeze all day.
We finally got to see Don’s new table that he built for the unit. It’s a nice folding
round table that holds the center pole for the camp fly. Perfect for poker! And you
can pole dance on it! Later on I took Lyndsey & her friend Madi along with Major
Cobb & the Captain down to the sutlers. Well it appears the troops weren’t the
only other group that was light. There were maybe 6 sutlers and as we
approached, Dirty Billy was breaking down his shop to leave. Also the food vendors
were already packing it up as no one was there. That is the first time I have ever
seen that before. Fortunately, we found 1 vendor that had some food left over and
gave us a good deal on their scraps.
The night was actually pretty quiet with us just hanging and doing the usual
BSing til about 10pm. I think everyone was pretty tired and even the other
companies were down before 11.
Sunday was a little more casual, but we still did dress parade and had a fair
amount of spectators come through the camp. We may even have one potential
This was to be the Battle of New Market and they lined us up down at the fence
just past the farm buildings. Normally this is a great spot due to the way the firing
echoes between the buildings. You would swear you are really being shot at. I
never heard it this time though so I was a bit disappointed. The Rebs came at us
from the vicinity of the Hall of Valor and slowly pushed us back between the
buildings, then the orchard, over the fence and into the field in front of the
spectators. They continued to push us back up the hill where we went into a flat
out run. I turned to find 3 VMI cadets right on my heels and I fired my revolver at
one of them and guess what..I missed! I turned to the next one and pointed at him
and said “you’d better stop or you’re dead”. His eyes went wide but he moved
towards me so I fired..”Click”He laughed and I took a knee right there gasping for
air as the battle finished. I looked over to see pretty much the entire Union army
laying on the ground weezing. There was a lot more to this battle than I have
described and it was truly a lot of fun, but man we were tired. We marched back
through the sutlers and back to camp to break down to head home.
Overall I had a lot of fun, but I was very disappointed with not just the turn out
from our unit, but the Reb & Union Army alike. Like I have said, just 2 years ago
there would have been 1,000 or more, plus a big sutler contingent. Anyway, for
those that were there you stepped up and did an excellent job. I am also grateful to
Don for the new company table, it’s really nice. One final word, we decided we are
going to have some company shirts made. The Major & Captain will be out this
week to find what will be a type of tartan pattern to compliment our uniforms. You
certainly won’t be required to buy one, but after looking at shirts the 7th MD had
this weekend, I think you will find them to be a nice addition to your impression.
And if anyone wants one I still have 138th T-shirts in various sizes that go for $20
with $2 of that going to unit.
Also, bear in mind the 3 day Gettysburg is just around the corner..already! I
haven’t checked but they charge big time for walk ons so if you aren’t
See you all in 3 weeks for another trip into the valley!
Yours in Service
Lt D. Coleman
138th PVI Co. B
Federal Volunteer Brigade
From the Officers and NCO's to all of you,
Have a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!
Be Safe and Be Well, enjoy the times with family and Friends. Looking forward to another great year with all of you as we continue to do the 138th Penn Vol Co. B proud.
Capt 138th Penn Vol Co B.