View Full Version : The Report of the Acting Assistant Quartermaster of Leadbetter's Brigade

08-16-2010, 04:30 PM
The Report of the Acting Assistant Quartermaster of Leadbetter's Brigade

8 August 1862
Near Clinton, TN

Major Murray, Assistant Quartermaster

Upon receipt of my commission as Acting Assistant Quartermaster of General Leadbetter’s Brigade and your verbal instructions I took charge of the wagon train on the evening of 3 August and ensured they were ready for movement with the Division Train. The morning of the 4th dawned warm and despite previous instruction there were a pair of wagons unable to move at the appointed time and we unfortunately departed an hour late at approximately 7:30 in the morning. At this point the wagon train consisted of five wagons, two drawn by five mules, two drawn by four horses and a single drawn by four oxen. The wagoners in support of the effort consisted of 17 souls (10 men and 7 women). The military escort was Company A of the 57th Georgia Infantry commanded by First Lieutenant Joseph Beedle with Sergeant Brian Hicks as his Orderly Sergeant, Corporals Biederman and Kosek and 12 soldiers. There were also two civilian scouts attached. On 4 August we advanced approximately six miles and arrived at our designated camp at Noon. The movement was steady over mostly open ground, out largest foe was the oppressive heat and humidity. We had originally planned to have a nooning but our rapid rate of advance had us arrive there before 9:00 in the morning I decided the rising heat may prevent us from advancing later in the day and since the stock was fresh still after a short halt we continued. The second part of the movement was more difficult with the rising heat. The ground continued to be open and flat which facilitated rapid movement and gave no relief from a blazing sun. We did arrive in good order at our evening camp which was blessed with a pond ideal for bathing. Most of the train took advantage of the pond to bathe and cool their limbs after the day’s exertions which you are already aware of. We rested during the heat of the day and in the evening we sent a scouting party to ride our route planned for the next day their report was not promising and we revised our route to avoid identified obstacles. We passed an unruly night threatened by passing thunderstorms and packs of coyotes howling. The morning of 5 August rose with a clearing sky and cool temperatures, my discussions with the wagoners the previous day turned out effective and we were able to depart on time at 6:30 in the morning. Our advance that day was rapid and without incident covering five miles in four hours. The chosen camping spot was good with ample forage and water for the train. Prior to this day we encountered no resistance to our movement. In a wooded area we heard a pair of pistol shots and encountered a simple roadblock of dead fall timber but had no sight of any hostile individual or local inhabitant. To relieve the monotony of issued rations of Indian corn and green apples I purchased several chickens for the wagoners. The soldiers purchased several also to supplement their meal, they were issued corn meal cut with rye flour to make Johnny cakes and corn pone to sustain them on the march for two more days. The heat continued oppressive and was shortly relieved by a passing thunderstorm which yielded little rain but cooled the air greatly for a period of time. On the 6th we departed at our accustomed hour without incident however within the first half mile our advance guard was fired on by a handful of armed men. The advance guard was sufficient to drive off these bushwackers who could not be identified as either brigands or unionists. I had Lieutenant Beedle reinforce his advance guard and pressed on only to encounter similar resistance in a large open field. The strengthened force easily flushed the cowards from the field by advancing in skirmish order but were unable to capture a foe to determine their intent or loyalty. After a further advance of over a mile we encountered further resistance near a turn in our route the advanced guard cleared our route of movement easily and drove the interference up a wooded lane. I ordered this force to remain in place until the passage of the train and to return to the rear guard once the last wagon was passed and then I continued the movement of the wagon train. After moving two hundred yards, additional shots were heard from the rear. Sergeant Hicks was involved, a pair of his soldiers were separated and captured by these bushwackers. The initiative he displayed ordering his force forward, overwhelming the hostile band, and rescuing his comrades is worthy of mentioning in dispatches. The foe did not fare well, Sergeant Hicks reported the he dispatched the entire group of three that refused to release our soldiers. After this excitement we continued without delay and we completed the move of three and a half miles in four hours. We camped near an abandoned cabin which we did not disturb other than using the front porch as an impromptu headquarters. The loyal citizens provided us with a sturdy meal of chicken, rice and beans with condiments including a firkin of lager beer which was rationed to those who chose to partake. This bounty led to an unplanned but excellent show from the men of the Company that included songs, a skit of humor and a dramatic recital of Shakespeare which was enjoyed by all in attendance. On the 7th we started at our assigned time without problem, the soldiers marching with a spring in their step and a song from the lips. The morning was clear, bright and pleasant for all. We covered the remaining miles without interference and entered our designated camp at 8:30 in the morning. I am pleased to report all consigned supplies accounted for. Our stock was tired by the journey and save for some slightly galled mounts (which are expected to fully recover in a few days) are in excellent shape. The wagons fared worse, damage included a pair of snapped hounds and a pair of damaged seats. Repairs are already commenced and will be complete in time for our next movement. In addition to Sergeant Hicks, I wish to acknowledge the service of Mr. Padraic McAlister, a civilian scout in Confederate Service. His Keen eye and intellect were invaluable and added immeasurably to our successful movement and success against the hostile inhabitants of this area.

Your Obedient Servant,

Peter M. Berezuk
Capt A.A.Q.M.
Leadbetter’s Brigade

08-16-2010, 05:41 PM
Nice job Pete.

08-19-2010, 11:50 AM
Very nicely done, Sir. I love the hand-written original! This inspires me to practice my own penmanship!

08-19-2010, 02:18 PM
Thanks for the kind words. I enjoyed the event greatly and the opportunity to lead that was provided to me.

08-19-2010, 06:44 PM
Tight and period. Period. Are you sure you didn't copy that out of the ORs?. I learned a few things about the event I didn't know about, and I was there.

08-19-2010, 06:51 PM
Todd, I aimed to provide a proper report of the events and appreciate your acknowledgement of that. I will also say your diary is a good bit entertaining and I enjoyed reading it greatly. Thank You.