Adventures and Trips · American Civil War reenacting · Uncategorized

Battle of Deep Creek – Battle Hill and the Forest of Shadows

Last Saturday was the Battle of Deep Creek, known as the Battle of Spokane. The battle itself was held at Medicine Lake, which is close to the Eastern Washington Hospital. My family and I were staying at O’Sullivan Sportsman Resort over in Moses lake, which is a good two-hour drive from the battlefield. We decided that we would do both of the battles on Saturday since it was a three-day event. So there we were getting ready at 7:10 in the morning to prepare ourselves for war, putting on our wool uniforms on and shoes getting into our horse-drawn carriage (Mitsubishi Outlander). Fast forwarding approximately two hours, and we arrive at our destination where we begin walking up to the main camp.

Photo Credit - The Battle of Deep Creek
Photo Credit – The Battle of Deep Creek

As we arrived at the main camp, we heard loud cries for help, “Quick call 9-1-1 *insert name here* just got stomped in the middle of his back by his horse!” I glance up the hill to see a Calvary officer on his back with several people around him, with his horse off to the side looking at me and back to his owner. We then continue on our way to our unit, and find they’ve all massed into a brigade awaiting orders when several messengers come flying close behind us telling the other brigade staff (those who decide who wins or loses a battle) what happened. Upon receiving the news of a man being stamped by his horse in his back, several re-enactors with red fabric on their arms rushed to the scene. After they rushed on down one of the members on the brigade staff rebutted the messenger saying, “I can’t be bothered with this…” The response shocked me and I nearly fell backwards. I’m all for portraying historical persona’s, provided they aren’t stand offish but you should be disbanding your assembled brigade and helping the poor guy! Alas, he sent his men on their way to battle. Politics.

After recovering my jaw from the ground, we went over to our unit commander who we were told got relieved of command for the upcoming battle. So we quickly made sure our leathers which include; ammunition, canteen, cartridge box, caps, and our belt were all secure before we followed the route our brigade took. Turns out they were all sitting under some shade about 40 yards from where we were.

Welcome to Battle Hill

Photo Credit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Photo Credit – St. Louis Post-Dispatch

We began marching towards the enemy and as the confusion and chaos began to show its face, much like at Fort Steven’s. The frantic shouts resonated over cannon and musket fire. Laying round after round into the Yankee line proved ineffective, as only one Yankee went sprawling in a heap of limps as I shot him square. What we didn’t realize is our company kind of started to retreat, and our commander quit the field so then the real panic struck me. My dad got hit to my right falling down I then proceeded to play dead and wait for the Yankee line to come to me for a surprise attack, just then my guardian angel came in the form of a medic known as Betty told the Yanks, “Don’t you lay your hands on this one” the Yanks passing by replied, “Yes ma’am” She then gave me a wink and helped the other wounded tying dyed bandages on their arms and giving them jellybeans to heal them. I then staggered to towards the Yanks rear, only to hear the sound of taps being played meaning the battle had been concluded. Drat and I was so close!

Forest of Shadows

Photo Credit - Nelleke
Photo Credit – Nelleke

The evening battle was a surprise attack. Our plan was to send half the regiment attacking the Yank line on the bottom of the hill, while the remaining foes through the tree line to pinch the survivors and drive them back. A classic pincer movement. After traversing through the trees, and witnessing the carnage happening below us with units charging and repelling one another, we finally made it. Using the cover of the trees and our Texans’ provide cover fire we formed our battle line and made haste towards the enemy, little did we know we were in the path of a cannon. A plume of smoke followed by screams and shouts as I and most of my company fell in a pile of contorted corpses.

Upon seeing our obliteration the Texas drove at the cannon crew and killed them, reviving (tap on the shoulder) and men they were in arms reach of. As I was flying through the clouds metaphorically speaking, my Dad says, “Hey James, get up lets drive em back more” I then proceeded to get up and the camera that I’ve been recording the entirety of the battle, falls off. The only way I realized it had fallen off was when I went to grab a cap, and there was no camcorder, so the mad search for a small black camcorder in a pile of tall grass began. Like my dad said, “Like finding a hay in a needle stack”. Our brigade drove the survivors back to camp where they surrendered and laid down there arms, all the while I was running around like a mad man trying to find my camcorder. I enlisted the help of my nearby comrade’s, and by some stroke of luck one of them found it. After a thousand blessings to him, we walked back to our unit where they were waiting for us to begin the gun salute. Since I was preoccupied with my camera we got little jests of,”Those boys are taking their sweet time” to where a man who goes by CB said, “James, boy hurry up” with a smile. We then get into position and fire a unified volley, before marching back to camp. The marching must’ve jostled my camcorder loose again, because one of my comrades picked it up and handed it back to me.

The battles were over, the dead counted and buried, and the survivors reminiscing in memories and sharing moments of jubilation. The start of the reenacting season has begun.

– James


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