Sailor's Creek After Action Report

"Never a Complaint", Don stivers



The Don Stivers print "Never a Complaint," which depicts the "Old Second" on campaign during the Mormon Expedition, does a pretty good job of capturing the weather at Sailor's Creek this year and the last.  That said, it was an honor to camp and ride on the actual field of battle and a pleasure to do so with a group of uncomplaining and helpful troopers.  Proximity in time to the Namozine Church event and cold, windy weather conspired to limit our numbers to five mounted and one dismount on the field.  We were reinforced by two narrators and a Bureau of Military Information specialist, who did their best to make us look like a full company.  While our numbers were a little disappointing the energy of those that came out made up for it and the spectators who braved the gale force winds appreciated our demonstration.  After the demonstration we rode the battlefield and toured the newly restored Hillsman House, which served as a Union Officers' hospital after the battle.  We also toured the new museum at the Visitor's Center, which has an excellent depiction of the Army of Northern Virginia's movements in its last weeks.  As a bonus a van full of blind guests arrived just as we finished the ride and they had an opportunity to experience the horses, tack, and weaponry up close and personal.

Everyone is mentioned in dispatches this time around since our numbers were few.  Corporal Harry drove all the way from the frontier and ably led the drill on Saturday because we didn't have the size to warrant an officer.  Lt. Sopko provided his usual humor and positive waves to what could have been a wretched day if we had let it.  Trooper Brad Thomas did a superb job with logistics and camp selection: it was a great location and everything went smoothly with the park officials due to his hard work.  Huzzah!  Trooper Sam Womack was his usual helpful self and kept things in order in camp and on the picket line.  As our resident authentic trooper owing to his size and age he got to exercise his riding skills when Coco went "Red" and he handled it with the skill and patience that are becoming his hallmarks.  Bravo.  Our dismount, Trooper Tony Blanco, ably provided a third of our dismounted firepower and was a huge help in camp and on the horse line.  Dave Mize and Mike Riggleman provided their expertise in narrating the demonstration and patiently teaching the finer points of Sharp's Carbine maintenance.  Lastly, Chappie took some excellent photos and assisted with spectators in and around camp.  Good Bureau of Military Information official that he is, he also reconned the camp area a day early sent a spot report to us that was timely and accurate.

In the spirit of the "third time being a charm," I think Sailor's Creek deserves some consideration as a larger scale event for the unit next year.  The ground is excellent and the camp area comfortable (when it isn't snowing or blowing tents down).  It offers space for drill and is on the ground of a pivotal battle, so it would be a good place for mounted training in addition to demonstrations.  As the event is new to both the organizers and participants I expect some evolution in how it works and there is some talk of a tactical being added to the mix.

Our next events are Yorktown and the fist Morgan's Raid, both of which occur the last weekend in April.  I hope to see you on the field in the near future.

Very Respectfully, Your Obedient Servant,
Scott E. Womack
Captain, Commanding
2nd U.S. Cavalry Company A/9th Virginia Company D