17th Virginia Infantry Regiment
The Old Dominion Rifles
2 days and 2 more battles under our belts. That hill. Chaos and mayhem on the field. Soldiers slipping and sliding on the slopes. Some things will never change HOWEVER ...... This year the Confederates got to fight at the top of the hill on the Sunday!!!
Each year the Confederates march down the long, steep hill to the museum with flags flapping proudly in the wind, accompanied by the rousing sound of crunching boots and manly singing and a secret hope lingering in every fluttering breath - maybe THIS is the year when we don't have to fight uphill. Every year we are dealt the same shattering blow when we hear those famous words: "Confederates to be the bottom of the hill!"
This year, to the astonishment of all we were granted our long-held wish - on Sunday the Federals got to take the trek down that steep incline to be faced with the task of assaulting the Confederates!!!
Both battles were marked with the neat battle lines becoming fractured and the overall battle plan breaking down into vicious hand-to-hand fighting in smaller company, and even platoon, sized mini-battles. Groups of Federals and Confederates constantly out-flanked and out-maneuvered their opposition resulting in, what amounted to, chaos from the perspective on the man on the ground in a constantly changing battle picture. Speaking as a lowly private in the ranks, it was infinitely confusing and fantastic fun for all as no-one (in the ranks at least) knew what was happening from one moment to the next!
Saturday saw the shattered remnants of the Confederate Army take the Federals with a brilliant and bold move by the 16th Tennessee who managed to out-flank the Union right forcing the survivors to lay down their arms. Of course, this is only hearsay as I, with the majority of my fellow Virginians, was lying on the hill. The combined 17th and 55th Va had been in the forefront of the battle from the off and been decimated by attack after attack and our thinned ranks had been shattered in the long advance uphill.
On Sunday, with our forces holding the hill we advanced down to find our foe. Within a few minutes we found them - hiding on our flanks and there then followed a hasty retreat back uphill to avoid our right from being flanked. The Federals flowed constantly up, always threatening our flanks until we stood, once more, on the summit. What followed can only be described as chaos as the battle lines ebbed and flowed culminating in the capture of our artillery and the slow destruction of our forces from then on. The slimmed down Confederate lines shrunk even further and the ragged survivors were forced to lay down their arms allowing the victorious Federals to strut around in their usual fashion.
All in all, 2 very messy battles from the point of the soldier in the ranks but never dull or static! The audience seemed to thoroughly enjoy both days if we are to judge by the amount of applause we received at the end.
Here's to next year where, dare I hope, we might even fight BOTH battles from the top of the hill!!! No, I think that's one wish too far.
The only nominations received by the cut off date was:
Simon Morse for 1st Corporal Unanimous
Widey Pring for 2nd Corporal Unanimous
The rank structure for the 2004 season is as follows:
1st Corporal Simon Morse
2nd Corporal Widey Pring
The following were proposed and voted on and all ratified unanimously:
1. The positions of Chairman and Company Commander shall be the same person so as to prevent the Company having "two heads".
2. Company Treasurer shall be Peter Goldsmith.
3. Company Secretary shall be Anne Goldsmith.
4. Company subscriptions were set at £12 a year for combatant members only. This fee to cover the cost of percussion caps for events and 4 quarterly newsletters a year.
5. Non-combatant members who do not have a related combatant member shall pay £4 a year to cover the cost of 4 quarterly newsletters.
6. Anyone who fails to pay annual subs will not be issued percussion caps or receive their own copy of the newsletter.
7. Voting shall, henceforth be carried out at Bath and will be by secret ballot. Anyone not attending may give a proxy vote by post to be opened at the count at Bath.
8. Those eligible to vote for officers and NCO's of the fighting company may only be those who are active fighting members of the Company. Non-combatant members cannot vote for military commanders but have all other voting rights.
9. Webmaster was confirmed as Steve Gibson.
10. Company editor was confirmed as Steve Gibson.
Previous Rules that remain unchanged.
1. The uniform for all new members or existing members replacement shall be the Richmond II style jacket in medium grey jean wool or cassimere (preferred) or wool if not. Members may purchase Columbus or North Carolina Depot jackets once they equipped themselves with the preferred jacket if they so wish.
2. The rank structure shall remain as it is until such time as;
a) A serving officer/NCO should resign his/her position in which case his/her subordinate shall move up to take his/her place. A vacancy thus created shall be filled in the same way unless there is no subordinate in which case the senior officer shall appoint a replacement at his discretion to be ratified at the annual vote at Bath that season.
b) A serving officer/NCO is removed from his/her position for any reason. The vacancy, thus created shall be dealt with as above.
c) The company increases to such a size of regular attendees that more NCO's are deemed necessary. These positions shall be filled by the incumbent NCO's and filled from the bottom by those members appointed at the senior officer's discretion, to be ratified at the next annual election at Bath. (IE If the position of 2nd Sgt is created, the Corporal nearest in place shall be promoted to this position and so on.)
Old Dominion of the Year Shield
The "Old Dominion of the Year" award was revived and this year was awarded to Corporal Simon Morse and Pte. Steve Gibson, each to hold the shield for 6 months of the year and to return it to the Company no later than Bath, 2004.
Future winners of the award will be nominated and voted on by all members of the Company, voting to take place at the end of season battle of Bath each year.
All nominations for next year's award will be received by the secretary no later than a date to be confirmed.
Voting shall be by secret ballot and the award presented at the annual Company meeting at Bath.
All would agree that this weekend was one of the best of the season. 2 good battles and great fun in the evenings. The weather held out and the atmosphere was great with the re-birth of the 17th continuing.
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Last updated - 28th November, 2003