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Drill.jpg

Union army at drill

Capt. Hill,
 
Per your instructions, this is my After Action Report of the Battle of Tribbey, June 11-12, 2005.
 
 
Secession was threatening to cast its ugly shadow south of the Seminole Nation on Chickasaw lands of the Indian Territory.  Loyal forces were needed to intercept this pestilence and drive it back before it could infest this country.  In anticipation of the Rebel menace, Union men from across the Plains began to gather on June 10 near the tiny outpost of Tribbey, I.T.
 
When it became apparent a Cesh army was camped nearby, Loyal forces set up a command structure of two battalions.  The 77th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry was assigned to fall in with the Union Rifles under their illustrious commander, Capt. Cal Kinzer, to form the Fourth Company of the First Battalion.  Battalion commander was Major Don Gross, under the overall command of Col. Mike "Mahone" Kirk.
 
Many of the 77th Pa had been waylaid en route, so Unit numbers were lower than anticipated.  Those Bell Guards answering the call (in event rank) were:  First Sgt. Cleon Plunk, Cpl. Devon Woodruff and Pvts. Richard Ballou, Wayne Frisby, Scott Gray, Rex Griffin, John Miller and Scott Sproat.  Union Rifles filling out the company were Second Sgt. Robert Bledsoe, Cpl. Matt Swayzie and Pvts. Eric Froyd, Alex Lee, David Peterson and Tom Yearby.
 
Weather for the weekend was expected to be almost as dangerous as the Johnnies, with alternating storms and intense heat anticipated.  But Saturday morning dawned clear and cool as Union commanders plotted a surprise attack on the unsuspecting disloyal army.
 
Formed early for battle, we marched over rolling hills planning to flank their camp and take it by surprise.  They, too, had plotted a surprise assault, expecting to take our camp by a similar roundabout march and charging down on us out of the hills.  As they moved to their right, we moved by the left and slammed into each other in the uneven hills to the west of our camp.
 
Our company was marching into a ravine, the rest of the battalion to our left across a wooded ridge, when contact was made.  Though both sides were surprised, neither hesitated to open fire.  The bark of their muskets tore into the ranks to our left, while our volleys were crisp, clean and accurate.  The fight was brief.  They stumbled back before us as we charged across the gully and up the other side.
 
Amongst the woods, hills, ridges and ravines, it was difficult to know what was happening outside our immediate front.  Once out of the gully, we were still facing uphill.  We rested for a moment and reloaded, each man breathing heavily not from the climb but from the excitement as adrenaline surged through our blood.  Before us the enemy screen fell back, revealing a cannon pointed downhill in our direction.
 
Orders were almost superfluous as each man could see what needed to be done.  But the order came anyway, "Take that cannon!"
 
With a mighty, "Huzzah!" we charged up the hill.  As we charged, the trees broke open to our right, revealing an enemy company on our flank.  I said aloud, "We're dead!", but the Johnnies, unbelievably, never fired.  We didn't wait on them as we swept over their artillery in one powerful surge.
 
Before we could catch our breath, we wheeled right and our battalion faced the main body of the Reb army, which revealed itself coiled like a serpent in the open air between the woods.
 
Just as we readied to open fire the Confederate commander rode before us, calling us to halt.  A truce ensued.  Soon both armies marched from the battlefield, fully expecting to come to blows again.
 
The rest of the morning was spent in company drill, then battalion drill.  The cloudy coolness of the morning gave way to sunny heat by noon.  But neither storm nor sun would dissuade our Loyal army from putting down the Rebellion.
 
After taking our hardtack in the shade, we were ordered to fall in.  Our commanders had found the Johnnies and were determined to attack and drive them from the field.
 
We marched over a barren hill with a lone tree at its center.  At the top of, and behind the hill, we rested in a wooded ravine.  We were waiting for our cavalry to entice the Rebs into the open field.
 
Word came that the cavalry had done their work.  We formed and marched over the rise, headed right down atop the Cesh infantry.  They must have been surprised as our infantry crested the hill.  Within moments, our artillery bellowed and roared, cutting huge gaps in the enemy ranks like a scythe slicing through wheat.
 
Fronted in line of battle, we marched to near the lone tree and, as calmly as on the drill field earlier, took our positions.  With a single command, our lines came alive with fire, hissing flame and iron, ripping into the men lined up against us.
 
The Johnnies have always been brave fighters and gave as good as they got.  In an eyelash the air was alive with the song of battle.  We could hardly hear our orders amidst the cacophony of screeching minie-balls, the hard "thunk" of metal into flesh, the curses of the men, the blast from our own muskets and the cries and moans of the wounded.
 
My wool was drenched between the intensity of the sun and the battle.  We fell back and moved forward--once-twice--as murderous iron swirled around us like a swarm of maddened bees.  The Rebs pushed us again, but our cavalry rode up on their flank and they fell back.  With a might, "Huzzah!" we surged at them, our artillery moving alongside, our lines spitting fire from cannon and musket.
 
Rebeldom couldn't hold before our onslaught.  The Disloyal forces melted away.  We had carried the day and held the field.  We were proud, and satisfied that we had struck a blow for liberty.
 
That evening, we had sort of a German supper.  Three different kinds of sausages with special break to hold them, small slivers of round hardtack and baked beans was the fare for the evening.
 
The next morning there were rumors of a terrible storm headed our direction.  But the Almighty smiled on our cause, holding the storms of both days at bay.  The sun smiled on us, too, bathings us in its golden exhuberance all weekend.
 
Sunday our company practised Bayonet Drill.  After church services, the entire battalion fell in for inspection of weapons and knapsacks.  (It never ceases to amaze me how men who are otherwise honest and true break every rule in loading their knapsack, Sgt. Plunk.)
 
After inspection, we rested in the shade.  But the Johnnies weren't resting.  They had reformed their forces and snuck around behind us, with intentions to charge into our camp from above.
 
When our commanders learned the Rebs had taken the field we were ordered to fall in.  Our battalion was hidden in the woods while the other battalion marched out to confront them.  The Johnnies were there in force, and we were ordered onto the field to support the other battalion.
 
We had barely cleared the woods when the first scream of Rebel fire hit us.  The air was alive with the hum of angry iron, but we never wavered as our own muskets roared into action.
 
The sun was hot, but the Cesh fire was even hotter.  We were showered with a storm of Rebel lead as men screamed and fell beside me.  We kept getting the order,"Right About March."  We would turn and our lines would spit lethal flame and murderous iron into their ranks.  But each time we turned, our ranks were thinned as the unerring lead of their deadly marksmen took us down.  Minie-balls were so thick that if a bucket were held aloft, it could be filled in moments.
 
I caught a ball, went down.  Around me was a carpet of blue, crawling and twisting with the agonies of the wounded.
 
The Rebels surged past, driving our army from the field.  Secession had won the day.  But it was only one day.  Loyal Union men will not be held back.  Our forces will fight with dogged fierceness, determined not to rest until the last vestiges of Secession, Slaveocracy and Treason are crushed, broken and eradicated from American soil.
 
 
 
I have the honor to be your most humble and obedient servant,
Capt. Rex Griffin
Coy. E, 77th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry
The Bell Guards

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