Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers
Company A, Inc.
Blizzard Blast Event Report
March 5, 2005
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Camp Sloper, BSA
Saturday, March 5th marked the annual Blizzard Blast fete at Camp Sloper with our Confederate friends, the 1st Maryland. The 8th Connecticut was ably, though not amply represented by Corporal Elwell, and Pvts. Payne and Minor. Most of the day was spent manning an "information station" for the Cub Scouts where they learned about CW tactics, weaponry, uniforms.
However, it is my duty to report that a spurious remark was tendered by our good Corporal Elwell in his recitation on Federal early war, and late war uniform differences. The good corporal, it is believed, made coarse reference to either Pvt. Minor, or his sack coat. The gist of this diatribe was "They made 'em just like a potato sack! fast, quick and easy." The crimson-faced private had no choice but to affirm said remark acceding to this bold allegation with the rejoinder "That's me: fast, quick, and easy."
However, our good Corporal Elwell more than upheld his gourmet fireside cooking traditions with a delicious homemade clam chowder satisfying to all. The 1st Maryland was forced to make do with foraged chili, venison meatloaf, bread and cheese, and other dainty victuals.
Alas, the first battle over the 2005 campaign season proved a rout for the Federals when the 1st Maryland formed a line of battle against the woefully undermanned Federal forces. It is my sad duty to report the entire 8th Connecticut was decimated to the very last in a heroic charge defending a Sanitary Commission aide station. Sadly, at the eleventh hour, a father and youngster defected from the 1st Maryland, and were hastily added to our lines where they too were felled in the slaughter. One disconsolate Cub Scout was heard to moan, "Oh, no! they shot the kid, too."
After a long winter's furlough, a small group of 8th Connecticut veterans independently tried to make our way back to the main body of the company by returning to one of the last known camps. Unbeknownst to us, during the intervening months, the area was overrun by Rebel riff-raff, so one by one we entered the infested camp, and were promptly relieved of our weaponry, and any victuals we might be carrying.
The band of Confederates took great pleasure in the disparity of numbers, and the ease with which we were taken prisoner. They began to proclaim their superiority to members of the general populace who were gathered in the area, until we joined the verbal fray, and extolled the virtues of the Union, its men, its equipment, and its organization to all who would listen. The men in gray and butternut, who turned out to be members of Company H of the First Maryland Regiment, were gracious in the debate, and hospitable enough at mealtime, sharing what food they had prepared, as well as that which we had been carrying upon our entry to the disputed territory.
As the local residents had also repaired to a central pavilion for their mid day meal, and large numbers were gathered, the commanding sergeant decided that the time was ripe for another demonstration of Maryland precision, and leaving us under the guard of two of their number marched off to the area where the civilians were gathered to drill his troops. To his misfortune, his choice of our guard consisted of two privates so disgruntled with the progress of the war, and disillusioned with their grand cause, that they wanted to be as far away from this squad as we did.
Thus after a shared taste of contraband pop-skull, an agreement was reached, and we were supplied with our confiscated muskets, with the intention of leaving the area under cover of the surrounding forest, and finding our way to the true mustering grounds of the old 8th.
As ill luck would have it, one of the sharp eyed youngsters among the locals brought our attempted departure to the attention of the drilling band, who immediately commenced firing upon us. We returned fire from the cover of the trees, but being woefully outnumbered, began to suffer the effects of the massed confederate volleys. During a lull in the firing, I made a desperate charge toward the enemy but was knocked senseless by several rifle butts. Regaining consciousness some time later, I again found myself a prisoner, and the only remaining live federal on the field. I have only now been allowed to write this letter and relate the tale of the inauspicious beginning of our campaign season.
Captive Corporal Elwell
Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, Co.A, Inc.