AAR – Cragfont

Elements of the 2nd Kentucky, along with our brethren in the White River Guard, recently attend the War of 1812 Camp of Instruction at Cragfont, estate home of General James Winchester, in Castalian Springs, Tennessee.  The event was hosted by our comrade at the 7th US Infantry.  In attendance as well were elements of the 1st US Infantry, 2nd US Light Artillery and the Tennessean Columbia Light Infantry.

The event opened Friday; upon arrival in camp, Cpl. Grosvenor and I were greeted by Colonel Sheets and Captain Milton and their ladies already raising canvas and our camp areas marked out by the 7th’s advance party.  Camp was quickly completed with the arrival of Captain Stern, Sgt Maj Gabbard, QM Sgt Nelson and Sgt Schumick.  The 7th was camped across from the 2nd’s company line, with the White Rive Guard to our right and the Columbians off to our left.

After a simple supper on Friday, the formal start to the event came with the opening of the 7th’s tavern, Curmudgeon’s.  Officers present reported to Colonel Abolt and Non-Commissioned Officers to Sgt Maj Lanham.  These meeting dismissed quickly, and the evening was enjoyed by all.  Led by Capt. Stern, several of the 2nd found and welcomed a new recruit, Mr. Seth Hancock, of the Commonwealth proper.

Saturday started with reveille and breakfast.  Mess Sgt Harmon & Pvt Korbin Harmon, temporarily waylaid en-route south, arrived in the night was busy along with Capt. Stern as the day began, providing coffee and food to the camp.  Capt. Stern’s coffee pot quickly drew lurkers from the surrounding camps seeking a warm start to the morning.

The day’s formal training began under the tutelage of Major Lundgren, 7th USI, with a block of instruction on formal parade.  The class focused on the interworking elements of the parade, principally field music, the role of the adjutant, officers and NCOs as well as the reinforcement of the chain command visualized in the execution of the parade.  The class led into morning parade, which was unfortunately curtailed due to a sudden bout of rain.  Sadly, this was not an isolated occurrence thru the weekend.

After the rain curtailed, a second block of instruction under Sgt Maj Lanham, 7th USI, began.  This evolution focused on the role of the company 1st Sgt and forming the company in proper order, through the evolution of ‘Rank and Size’.  The author was reminded that falling in at the end of the company rank at the beginning of the maneuver is key to performing this maneuver quickly.  Mr. Kreisher of the WRG was appointed consolidated company 1st Sgt by Colonel Sheets, with Capt Schoening, WRG, in command of the consolidated company.  Capt Stern and Lt Wagner happily fell in as privates in rank, albeit temporarily.

The day’s third block of instruction focused on patrolling.  Colonel Sheets and Sgt Maj Lanham conducted a practical course on some basic patrolling techniques after a brief discussion of the commentary on direction for patrolling providing in the Smythe manual.  Cpl Grosvenor and Sans-Lt Wagner, along with Mess Sgt Harmon, Sgt Schumick, Sans-Capt Stern and Pvt Hancock formed an ad-hoc advance guard, which skirmished in front of the patrol element, which was under the command of Lt Ward, 7th US.  The first evolution was crossing an obstacle, followed by the clearing and crossing of a linear danger area – a narrow opening thru a tree line into an open area with numerous points of cover and concealment, followed by a two-stage approach to and clearing of a structure.  After the first two stages, those of the 2nd Kentucky were relieved from advance guard duty by the WRG.  After the third evolution – the approach of a possibly occupied structure – the 2nd was pressed into service to clear the interior of the structure after the WRG clear around the exterior and established a far-side perimeter.  The class then patrolled back to camp for dinner

After dinner, the day was curtailed by rain through the afternoon leading up the evening colors, with a brief review of the manual of arms under the guise of Sgt Maj Lanham and a period of instruction under Col Abolt focusing on evolutions of the battalion from a column into a line and back into a column.  The day then moved into evening colors, which was met with a deluge.

As the rain continued, supper call was had, and supper consumed.  The author had the pleasure of dining with Capt Schoening and the WRG, who have taken camp culinary to a new level of execution.  Cpl Grosvenor will have to account for the doings of Saturday evening, as the author retired early.

Sadly, the rains continued through Saturday Night and into Sunday.  Leadership opted to call the Sunday program due to the forecast.  Camp was struck and the rain broke just as the last of the canvas was loaded.

The author is happy to report the roads north were favorable and all arrived home intact.

This being a true and faithful report of the muster at Cragfont,

I remain, YH&OS,

T.P. Wagner
Lt., 2nd Regt KY Vol