Down The Valley Article

Don Collins with photos from Bob Williams


On 16/17-June the 1st NC Arty. went Down the Valley with Gen Stonewall Jackson. We fielded 1 gun and had 13 crew members present.  The morning was spent performing gun drill and making sure the camp passed inspection. That afternoon we took the field representing the Rockbridge Artillery. We opened up the festivities and began moving around the battlefield covering advancing companies and sometimes their systematic withdrawals. We had moved to many locations and finally anchored a position on the right flank along a rail fence. We managed to hold our own until the left flank began to crumble where as we managed to retreat by prolong and fire along the way. This would end the days fighting.  Sunday morning brought more heat as the weekend had been fairly hot and humid. We took the field at noon and set up to mainly cover all units advancing under fire. With our ability to move about the battlefield and press the other units (which by the way is what makes us different from all the rest, "The Horses”) we were able to drive the Federal Artillery. units from the field and win the day. As always the 26th was there for us and helped put the infantry units on the run also.
This past weekend I was given what I feel was an awesome amount of responsibility. I was able to command the unit and got chance first hand to see some of the things that go on that I never realized took place. Logistics, camp, food, water, the horses and most of all the people. What I'm trying to say is there is no way I could have made things work if the people that were there had not made it work. The drivers performed as professionals, the outrider that kept order and scouted every movement before that gun was moved and kept order as the team waited. The gun crews for every step they made and most of the time running and last but not least "The Cook". We always have a wonderful meal, plenty of fluids and lots of great fellowship when we gather together. Thanks to you all for making it easy and enjoyable. I look forward to the next campfire.