After Action Report of 77th Pennsylvania Infantry
Round Mountain, Indian Territory
Day 1 - 21 February 2009
On Friday evening, after an exhausting march, the company had stopped on top of some rolling hills in Yale, Indian Territory to make camp. The men were tired but were relieved to stop for awhile. Even though the Rebs were in hot pursuit, Cav
scouts reported that they were far enough behind to make a camp overnight, but advised to us moving again in the morning hours.
The men poured in about every 15-30 minutes as their tired feet dragged their tired bodies into camp. The men that were there
before them dropped what they were doing to assist them into camp and help them get settled in for the night. Seeing that
the grounds were really dry and the air was cold, we decided to keep a fire going throughout most of the night so that other
men can warm their bodies if they became cold. This fire would also help guide any other lost soldiers we might have out there
from the previous engagements in the days before.
At daybreak, the men were awaken and told
to get their breakfast going on what little time we had. Lt. Plunk came over to me and asked if my scouts and I were good
enough to make a scouting in the area. I had replied that my scouts have not yet returned and are presumed missing since the
last engagement. He then told me to find some replacements and in 15 minutes, we need to be moving out of camp. I had chosen
Sgt. Griffith to come with me and we moved out of camp in 15 minutes as ordered. Along the way, Sgt. Griffith and I had run
into a familiar face. 1ST Sgt. Luke Garrett from the 2ND Colorado
was out looking for some of his men and trying to find other units. They went to a town called Stillwell just a few miles
west of our position and settled there overnight. They heard that we were out here and began to move this way in the early
morning hours. I told him that we were on a scouting mission for friendly units and to see how close the enemy is to us. He
asked if it would be a bother to join us being that we knew out way back to camp.
About a few miles more in the woods, we
came across a couple of companies of Rebel soldiers resting. It was strange to us as we had noticed that there was not one
person on guard. We have stumbled upon the enemy in plain sight, just about 2 miles south of our camps position. I said for
us to quietly withdraw from the area and get this information back to Lt. Plunk not matter what happens. As we turned around,
we heard one of the Rebel soldiers yell out, Yankee Soldiers! I saw the entire camp stirring like a hornets nest as they ran
for their weapons. A few of their cavalry began to ride upon our position from behind their camp. I told my scouts to shoot
at what you can hit only, but get back to camp in different directions and join back up at the creek just south of out camp.
1ST one there reports the findings to Lt. Plunk. We split up and ran back towards camp as the bullets began to
buzz by our heads. With their cavalry right at our heals, we ran away long enough to reload our weapons, only to turn and
shoot our pursuers. We all made it back to the creek just south of camp and found that the units there have already formed
up to assist us. We reported the findings to Lt. Plunk and Capt. Trent of the 2ND Colorado, who made it
in shortly after we left on patrol, to which the order was given to move out in skirmish order.
We continued to move throughout the heavily
wooded area south of camp and came upon a clearing where the Rebel Solders were last seen. We went into the clearing to find
that we and the Rebels had moved around each other in the searching for one another. We had no choice but to fight here and
win the day if we were going to make the safety of the Kansas Border. We were in between, if not surrounded, by enemy forces.
But I don’t think that they had figured that out yet. So we stayed in this place. We had 2 partial companies at roughly
30% all together, a handful of cavalry, and some dismounted, signal corpsmen 3 artillery pieces, and some of the civilians
that are with us for services. They had at least 5 companies at roughly 40% strength each, 20 cavalry, and 3-6 artillery pieces
based on what we know of. 2 companies and a few cavalry are the closest enemy in the area to us.
As predicted, the enemy force that we scouts
ran into came back to their camp. We let them settle in as our artillery opened up on them spraying canister shot through
their camp, sending the enemy into confusion. The cavalry rode in on attacks between artillery fire, and the infantry marched
out of the tree line and pushed the enemy away from the field of battle. The sounds from our cannons traveled throughout the
air, so they’ll be back. So will the rest of their forces. With hope, our missing forces heard the battle and will come
to our aid. We’ll hold here for the night. Hopefully our guys get here before the enemy does. We had minimal losses,
but we can go another round with the force we fought if we had too. We were already cutoff from our supplies, but our spirits
were high after running off the enemy from their camp and supplies. The men began to forage through the enemy’s stuff
to see if there is anything we can use. We took in a supply count and distributed it between each soldier and rations were
prepared as a whole. The men ate great for the first time in months. That evening, we took a head count and found that Lt.
Col. R. Griffin had been shot in the gut and died later on in the day, I was shot in my left hand, Pvt. C. Nicely took a bullet
in the head, but he’ll be ok, and Pvt. M. Wilson lost his leg due to a bullet wound. Our company lost 6 men total in
that attack, but we can hold another one if those Rebels decide to come back. The way to the Kansas is now reopened
to us. But Capt. Trent wants to wait for other friendly units to find their way here. He wants all Federal units to join back
up and head for the safety of the state line together.
Day 2 - 19 October 2008
After a few small gunfights in the outer
woods throughout the night, we collected a few more men that became separated from their units in the previous engagements.
This ment that the Rebels were out there around our camp and attacking anyone coming in to rejoin their unit. A few were lost
trying to break through, but our numbers grew to 15 more than we had the day before. Rather than having separate companies,
Capt. Trent decided that we would collaborate our units into one. That way, things will be easier to handle. Everyone would
hold their same rank in the line, and would remain this way until we reach the safety of the state line or reinforcements
arrive to relieve us.
With little sleep in the night we watch
the sun come up and had noticed that there were many camp fire smoke columns rising into the skies around us. We had to make
a decision on whether we wanted to stay an attempt to fight off the enemy, or make a run for the state line. With the officers
and Sr. NCOs in the meeting, it was a unanimous vote to stay and fight off the enemy. The decision was decided when someone
mentioned that what if there are no reinforcements coming to our aid and what if there are no units on the border to stop
the Rebels from invading the state when we cross. It would be up to us to stop them. We were the assigned Federal force to
run them out of Indian Territory, and now we are scattered in the northern areas of this land. We had to stop them here.
At dawn, we piled rocks, stacked wood, and
used whatever we had to take cover behind in the upcoming battle and waited for the enemy to attack. We saw their cavalry
ride up and stop on the other side of the field to the south. Shortly behind, was their artillery of 4 guns. As they were
setting up, Infantry came marching out of the woods to the southeast and southwest. They have fielded roughly 150 men to our
of 50 total. Our cannons opened fire on their artillery with counter battery fire to keep them from digging us out from behind
the safety of our earthworks. Between cannon salvos, our cavalry rode out to harass their cavalry. Our cannons soon fell silent.
1 to enemy fire, the other 2 ran out of ammunition. The cannons were spiked and left on the field as the enemy infantry began
to march on to the field. When they were in range, we opened fire taking down some of the enemy with it. They followed up
with a volley that hit some of our men, but no real damage was done.
Our cavalry rode out to harass their left
flank and turn the attention onto them so that we can get a clean volley on them, but their lines kept marching towards us
in the face of all that. On their next volley, Lt. Plunk took a hit in the left shoulder and handed the left wing command
to me. I sent a runner to Capt. Trent to inform him of Lt. Plunks wound and to ask permission to reform my flank into a skirmish
line to minimize causalities. Permission was granted and I reformed my flank and ordered an independent fire until our ammunition
was expended or otherwise ordered to cease fire. We held the enemy in that place on the open field. Capt. Trent saw the devastation
we were causing the enemy and ordered the right flank to do the same. The extended their lines into a skirmish line to the
right of us and resumed the battle with independent fire.
Their cavalry rode out in the center between
the 2 enemy lines and attacked our center, but were turned back after taking heavy losses. We sustained 7 killed and 4 wounded
in their attack. With the attention on the enemy cavalry, their infantry was able to move closer towards us with light opposition.
They were continuing to fire at us with volleys which allowed us to have time to hide behind the safety of trees and earthworks
in between volleys. As they loaded, we were able to knock down on average of 3-6 per firings. The cavalry fell in behind our
line and dismount as our reserves. The enemy infantry then charged upon us as artillery shells ripped apart trees, earthworks
and men hiding behind them. Capt. Trent then called out for each man to fire 1 shot at intervals, and retreat to the state
line where we will regroup and defend Kansas. The cavalry was ordered to ride non stop to find assistance for us.
Half of the company fired and left. The other waited for 15 seconds and fired and left the field as well. As we were leaving
the field of battle, their artillery was dropping exploding shells all around us. It was now every man for himself now. We
could hear the Rebels cheering between explosions as we left.
When we arrived, only a handful of our men
were there. Exhausted the men once again came in one by one. The surgeon had issued an order to all those coming in to rest
and receive a hot meal. I came in to see that Lt. Plunk was doing fine in the hospital and that he was to be sent home in
a couple days after he gets his strength back. I took to the outer wall that night to see if the men from Round Mountain comes in. I
fell asleep around 11 pm according to the guards on duty. When I awoke, the 77TH had reunited. 1ST
Sgt. Krumweide took command until Lt. Plunk was well enough. He had decided to not go home, and to stay with his men. We now
have a company of 47 men. We lost roughly 32 in the Territory Campaign.
2ND Sgt. Daniel Hucker
Platoon / Company E.
77th Pennsylvania Infantry