Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers

Company A, Inc.

Hammonasset State Park Event Report

May 3-5, 2002
Hammonasset State Park
Madison, Connecticut
6 May 1863

My Dear Father,

As you have probably read in the papers, a fairly heavy action occurred here on the coast. I write to let you know that I am alright and came through the action with nary a scratch. I am, however, very weary.

Private Oakley and I joined arrived at camp on the afternoon of the 4th having been on detached service. We found that most of our regiment had been transferred to another theater. Before we even boarded the train to join them, Colonel Adler passed word down that we were to stay, I being detached to his staff. We found a few other of our lads also detained. It seems that the Secesh were out in numbers and every available man was needed. Earlier that day, the men had been hot at work and the enemy was determined to keep the field.

The Sgt. Major put out pickets, and we bedded down for a quiet night. Well, seeing so many of the boys, and joined by the officers of the 54th Massachusetts, many bottles were passed around, Private Oakley pulled out his Violin, and we had a lively night of it. I did feel for the pickets though, as it was a cold night and being on the coast, a dampness was in the air.

Sunday morning was bright and sunny. We fielded for dress parade, the lads did look smart. Soon the Colonel called us out to force the Secesh off the field. Taking half the battalion, we proceeded to march across a wide field. That's when the Rebs hit us! Artillery opened on our left and I threw out two companies of skirmishers. I company of dismounted cavalry hit the rear of the battalion and Major Burbank responded in kind. The regiment was now receiving fire from three sides. The 54th Masstts. and the 79th NY opened fire, having been kept in reserve with our field pieces. Leaving Major Burbank to hold the field. I took my companies and quickly formed up the the 54th and 79th and then covered Major Burbank's withdrawl. With the regiment formed, we poured in heavy fire, forcing the rebs to pull back.

Seeing an opportunity, Colonel Adler ordered us forward, which we did in the quickest time. Pausing occaisionally to fire. It was a ruse, however, as the Rebs had several companies in reserve. We were force to fall back to our original position. So many dead were left on the field that you could walk from one side to the other without stepping on grass. Little seemed to have been accomplished.

My biggest worry of the fight, though, was not the Rebs, but an officer on our own side who refused to follow orders. Several times a runner was sent and he refused to comply. Finally, I sent a Captain on staff to take command of his company if still refused to follow orders. He did eventually comply. The fellow had the audacity to say that he didn't know I was talking to him!

Well, I should go to the hospital, several of our boys were wounded, including Private Oakley, but none are in mortal danger.

Your son,
D.R. Kurtz, brevet Major

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