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Garfield's Ascent - After Action Report - Andy Roscoe, Lieutenant Colonel, Commanding, 22nd Kentucky

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  • Garfield's Ascent - After Action Report - Andy Roscoe, Lieutenant Colonel, Commanding, 22nd Kentucky

    After Action Report Detachment,
    22nd Kentucky Garfield’s Ascent

    BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front) The detached battalion of the 22nd Kentucky was accomplished these objectives during the event:
    -Climbed a mountain in the dark that was slick and muddy
    -Butchered a side of beef by candlelight for rations
    -Set up Sibley tents and stoves, as well as the other tents and parts of a camp in the dark
    -Ran advance guards, pickets, and patrols to cover our advance throughout the weekend. (It was great to see small unit leaders exercising these skills)
    -Built a mile of road by clearing vegetation, removing rocks, corduroying where necessary, and grading it so that a column two abreast could move along it.
    -Removed captured CS equipment via pack mule (Some of our info on CS forces on the campaign actually came from the inventories US Army quartermasters did on such captured equipment)
    -Cooked by messes
    -Moved to contact, crossed a deep stream and assaulted an entrenched enemy position.

    Most of the event coordinators arrived on site on Thursday, 17FEB during a driving rainstorm. Several inches of rain fell throughout the day and prevented any logistical work or site walkthroughs on Thursday. We were able to finalize some plans and organize equipment for placement the following day.

    On Friday, 18FEB, we assessed the damage to the site from the rain and the logistical impacts. The civilian coordinators, the US Commander, the CS Commander, and senior CS Company commander were able to walk the entire march route to the CS Saturday night / Sunday Morning position to pick out camps and ensure it was passable. We began trucking up supplies to the top of the mountain via ATV, but discovered that the paths would not sustain much weight due to the runoff on the mountain.

    Early on, we decided to not place both civilian cabins at the Federal Campsite. They were to represent the dwellings near the edge of Paintsville, KY, where Federal forces pushed off from the day before the battle. While we were able to get Joe Smotherman’s smaller cabin up there, the larger cabin was moved to an alternate location and we adjusted the march routes to ensure both sides had time to interact with those civilians. Tentage and rations were moved to their pre-staged locations, as well as water points set up. At about 1700, CS forces moved off the woman’s civilian site, where they engaged in bartering for food and woolen goods before moving off towards Paintsville.

    During this period, E and K Companies, forming the detached battalion of the 22nd Kentucky operating with the 18th Brigade, Colonel Garfield commanding, formed and drew rations minus meat. At 1745, they moved off to the lower civilian camp to also engage in trade with the women there. At 1820, the battalion began the climb up the mountain in the dark. The trail was slick after all the ran, with a creek running down the middle of the path. The previous troops had left it difficult for us to pass, but all save one man made it up the hill without major incident. At 1930, after having covered about 1 mile and some 450 vertical feet, we moved into our camp on the outskirts of Paintsville.

    Under direction of the officers and Acting Sgt Major Konieczny, Sibley tents were erected and fitted with their stoves, as well as a wall tent for detached battalion staff. A side of beef and mess equipment was discovered abandoned, and added to the equipment and food hauled in by Teamster Mark Cox on his pack mules, we were able to butcher, issue out and cook the beef for rations.

    Reveille was called at 0730 on Saturday 19FEB. At 0900, Captain Ethan Harrington, A Company, McLaughlin’s Independent Ohio Cavalry Squadron, moved out along the Paintsville Road to scout for the enemy position. At approximate 0915, his lead elements ran into an enemy outpost later determined to be from the 5th Kentucky (CS). Following his orders, he returned to camp and reported his contact.

    At 1000, the detached battalion of the 22nd KY and the detachment of McLaughlin’s Cavalry moved out as the advanced force for the 18th Brigade. We moved as an advance guard with cavalry scouts and infantry patrols to the front towards the enemy position. Upon arriving at the location, we discovered the enemy had fled, abandoning food, tents, kettles, and implements and left still smoldering fires. I consolidated the position and directed Captain Harrington and 1st Lieutenant Fulford, Commanding E Company, to put out several patrols to locate the enemy and any possible avenue to continue the advance. We took charge of the captured CS equipment and used our pack mules under Teamster Cox to remove them to the rear. They were turned into brigade quartermaster for disposition.

    Finding no traces of the Confederate forces in our immediate vicinity, I directed Captain Harrington to descend the mountain and attempt to locate the enemy position by an indirect route. At around 1300, firing was heard to the South, from the location of the position the Confederate forces had occupied. Captain Harrington later reported he was able to find the Confederate position and reach their camp, capturing some rations prior to being driven off by enemy pickets. This information was forwarded up to brigade headquarters.

    The remainder of my command was employed conducting patrols in the area to locate other roads or enemy forces as well as improve upon the road. Upon first passage, we found the road in poor shape, with many places that only one man could pass abreast and with many ruts and rocks. Acting Sgt Major Konieczny , Sgt Deboard, and Pvt Buzzard were particularly helpful in supervising the work. The result of which was over a mile of road that was cleared, leveled, rocks removed, corduroyed where necessary, and graded to allow passage of two men abreast along its entire length.

    At this time, we were directed to return to camp outside Paintsville. The remainder of the day was devoted to care of equipment, cooking food, and preparing for the extreme cold coming that night. The temperate dropped to approximately 18 degrees with a windchill in the mid-teens during the night.

    Orders from brigade were received to move out at 0730 on Sunday 20FEB. At 0645, the General was sounded, the men struck tents, burned excess rations, and readying all equipment for collection by the wagon train. Moving off, we covered approximately two and half miles down the mountain. While the rest of the 18th brigade was engaged to our right, we were directed to advance, locate the enemy’s flank, and assault that position. At 0915, Captain Harrington found the enemy’s rifle pits located at the bottom of a steep ridge behind Middle Creek. After discovering the strength of the enemy’s position, he retired as ordered and moved to a reserve position.

    I deployed the battalion into a column of companies with E Company in front and ordered Lieutenant Fulford to cross the stream and storm the rifle pits, which he did with great gallantry. I deployed K Company, Lieutenant Johnson, to the right with orders to move beyond the Confederate flank while E Company provided covering fire. Once both companies were deployed, we continued to engage the enemy works from their rifle pits. We noticed a slacking of fire resulting from misfires amongst their flintlock weapons, and deeming the time had arrived, ordered an assault. E Company fronted the enemy works and drew heavy fire. K Company was able to move beyond the enemy flank and wheel to their right to take the position in a cross fire, at which point the enemy withdrew from their works.

    Taking a position further up the hill, they continued to resist our advance, so we consolidated our position and laid down a heavy fire. I noticed confusion in the enemy ranks and, determining to reach our objective, ordered another charge. After a brief hand to hand struggle, the 5th Kentucky (CS) retreated in confusion. The remaining Confederate units began to collapse in order and additional US troops were able to take the works.

    During this action my detached battalion suffered three wounded, all from E Company.

    I remain your obd’t servant,
    Andrew Roscoe
    Lieutenant Colonel, Commanding
    Jason Brown
    Mess No. 1