Thursday, March 9, 2017

On This Day 3 Years Ago

This post came up in my Facebook timeline from today in 2014 and I thought I'd share it...

The "drill till you drop" weekend at Fort Mifflin with Company C of the 28th PA Infantry was significantly better than last year, albeit much more wet and muddy.  I think we drilled about as much as any soldier would on a typical day in camp; pretty much continuously with less than an hour to rest in between each.  It's open to any unit in the Mifflin Guard, but only the 28th PA routinely does it. I was the only Bucktail.

Saturday night while the 28th was having their planning meeting and huddled around inside the bunker for some tight gossip, I decided to go take a walk. I was wandering about the fort like a sentry and saw a large group of Cub Scouts and parents come in to spend the night in the barracks around sunset. A bit later I was cleaning my rifle on the front porch, and the kids started to congregate around me, inspecting my uniform and equipment. So I located the janitor of the Fort and asked if he could unlock the closet where they keep the wooden muskets. Without further ado, I found a wooden crate to stand on and informed the crowd "By the orders of President Abraham Lincoln, on this day March 8, 1864 you are all hereby conscripted into the Federal Army!" Then I put all my gear and wool coat on several of the kids, photos were taken and I gave my musket to each kid in line, to let him hold it briefly and see how heavy it was.

About an hour later I seem to have gotten a field promotion to First Sergeant, as I was instructing 2 5-man "rifle squads" in Casey's manual! Yelling out the right orders was not easy, but the parents told me I did an impressive job. First time ever trying to act as an NCO. We even did an imaginary bayonet charge toward the wall at the end. By midnight, I found myself sharing grilled hot dogs and snacks around an enormous bonfire and talking to the den leaders. Everytime one of the kids walked by they said "by the're awesome." 

Everyone stayed up super late past their bedtime but I think a good time was had by all.

A weekend well spent. 

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