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After Action Report of 2nd Company / 1st Battalion / Frontier Brigade
Westport, Kansas City, MO

Day 1 - 17 May 2008

After some confusion of orders, the men of 2nd company remained cootered up after the order came to stand down. We could hear the battle going on over the hills and decided to make ready for the upcoming battle. At last, the men of 2nd company had their chance to show what they were made of as the order came from Major Prendergast to form the company and make our way to the battlefield to relieve the other half of the battalion.

Upon arriving to the battle, we saw that there was artillery being placed on the hill top in front of us. Skirmishers were deployed from other units from the field as we marched to form a line of battle in the center. The Confederates had marched out of the tree line in 2 battalions as their cavalry rode over the top of the hill to engage our cavalry protecting our left flank. The Confederates had deployed a company of skirmishers to the center over by the northern hills to move in on our flank as the remainder of that battalion had advanced on our position as well causing our lines to refuse the left flank. We held what we could as other units we falling back from the pressure of the Confederate attacks. After numerous right abouts, we reformed our units and went on the offensive and were able to push the 2 Confederates battalions and cavalry back over the North hills.

We held our position about a mile south of the Confederate camps along the eastern tree line. Captain Griffin had agreed to a small scouting party to advance ahead of the battalion to observe the enemy positions and make note of any movement. The Confederates had left pickets in the trees in the middle of the field which stopped any scouting advance to see what could be on the other side of the hill. Major Prendergast asked me to crawl as close to the enemy pickets as he could to get their attention on him, so that the Major could move to the top of the hill to get a clearer view of what was on the other side. Turns out, that the pickets only noticed that the Major was moving towards the hilltop and didn’t even notice that there was a Union soldier about 30 yards in front of them. When the Major was clear of any danger, I rose up and returned to the company quickly noting that the enemy pickets were scrambling for cover behind the trees as I rose up from the grass.

We returned to our old position by the Union cavalry camp in the northeast corner of the field in the tree line. Again, I advanced ahead deep into the trees to observe any movement from the enemy. I reported that you could hide and move and entire company in the ravine below us as I saw a platoon size enemy force looking for a way around our forward position. Had it not been for the heavy brush, we could have been surrounded. With luck, the Confederate army returned back to their camp without even noticing that we were just on the other side of the ravine in smaller numbers. However, there were enemy scouts watching us as the Confederate army returned back to their camp. Foolishly, I removed my gear and sack coat and walked across the field towards the enemy pickets in front us. Looking at the ground, the enemy pickets did not fire one shot at me as they looked on in disbelief. I walked right past them and continued to go to the position where he was before when the Major had asked him to crawl before. He had walked about a ¼ mile into the Confederate lined and back to my company, completely observing the enemy movements from within the enemy lines, without one shot being fired at him.

We finally had our relief after our boys had fought bravely in the heat for several hours. We returned to camp to get our rations and a well deserved rest knowing the enemy had seen that the 1st Battalion can fight. But soon enough, word got out about the enemy movement to attack as we formed the division and moved out to meet them on the field. We fought hard but they enemy just kept coming and pressed us back. We suffered moderate losses and left the field in the command of the enemy.  Thank God the enemy had decided not to pursue us, for we were not capable of fighting another battle in the condition we were in. Those who survived will take their chances another day on the field of death.

Day 2 - 18 May 2008

The morning was oddly quiet as we figured that they would attack being they knew exactly where our camps were. They boys were ready for a fight if it came as each was on edge from the cavalry attack on the union camp over night. We assembled 2nd Company for morning report, weapons inspection, and the daily orders.

In that overnight attack, Pvt. Chris Bruffett had ran off when the enemy cavalry attacked in the night. He was later found miles away from the camp. When he was returned to the battalion commander, he was found guilty for cowardice in the face of the enemy and desertion under fire and sentenced to be branded a coward and executed by firing squad from the men his own company. After being blind folded, he was asked for any last words. He replied, “I am not sorry for what I have done and I would do it again if I had the chance.” Prisoner detail moved away and the order was given as the entire battalion was present as witnesses. When the shot echoes had cleared, there was an eerie quiet in the camp as the battalion broke ranks. I think the point had been made about desertions and cowardice.

Around noon, the order was given to form the division for the enemy was moving towards our camp. We moved out to meet them fighting long and hard, slowly taking more ground as each volley was fired. Pushing them enemy far back, the enemy raised the white flag of truce and accepted their loss. We took a count of our wounded and killed. We lost 3 men and had 6 men wounded in the battle. As I understand it, we suffered the least casualties. The Union one again prevailed and took command of the battlefield. We withdrew from the battlefield in the grand review of the General as he addressed the Division on the victory over the Confederates forces. Returning back at camp, we broke camp and moved south for the next engagement to end this bloody war and preserve the Union.

“Press On Regardless”

Bvt. 1st Sgt. Daniel Hucker

2nd Company / 1st Battalion

Westport Engagement - Kansas City, Missouri