April 28th, 2007
AAR of the recent actions at Georgetown, Ohio that included the 1st Squad of the 20th Va. Cavalry, aka 6th OVC.
The 1st Squad of the 20th Va. Cavalry answered a call for assistance in John H. Morgan's raid on Georgetown, Ohio, part of his 1863 Ohio Raid. We found the folks of Georgetown, a sleepy little community of 4-5,000 located about 20 miles north of the Ohio River, to be very prepared for the Raid. Since Georgetown is also the boyhood home of General U.S. Grant, they felt they had a true cause to uphold. More of that later.
Joining Sgt. Vance were Troopers Doc. Harris, Eric and Tyler Tapp, and Bill Comisford. When we rode into the local fairgrounds where the Confederate Raiders were reported to be assembling we knew we were in the right place. Familiar faces were all around. Gary Chambers and his side-kick Norm (participants in our 2003 Spring Training and Gary participated in both Morgan's Raid I & II) were there as was Jeff Keith who rode with us on MR 06, David (Bull) Bowles who rode on both Raids, Steve Glaza from MRaid 03, and Bill Nordan from M Raid 03. It was Bill who made and carried the flag for General Morgan in the Bicentennial Raid of 03. Bill is now remounted on another beautiful black and this day was portraying General Morgan himself.
Nearly twenty mounted troopers then proceeded into Georgetown where we met a beautiful blond in an equally beautiful green dress. Heather Tapp and her daughter were riding through the town mounted on a fine pair of horses, one black and one white. Heather was riding sidesaddle. She warned us of some militiamen around the corner. We found them and with a few shots forced them out as we rode into the center of town and took over the Courthouse lawn and square. There were a large number of spectators, including Esther Vance and her grand daughter, gathered on the Courthouse lawn to see what mayhem would ensue. Dismounting and picketing the mounts on a hastily placed picket line strung across the side street from lamp post to lamp post, we proceeded to raid the local shops. The bank was relieved of only a small amount since the creative bank president diverted our attention while the janitor went out the back door with the $10,000. (We understand that the janitor and the money were never seen again!). The local barber was forced to bring a chair onto the square and give several troopers a shave, all-the-while a revolver was held to his head. The Post Office gave up a full bag of mail which the troopers went through in the middle of the street. The general store proved inviting to several troopers who exited with bolts of cloth trailing behind on the street. The bakery gave of its wares readily supplying the troopers with numerous delicacies (the cherry pie was delicious even if it was a bit messy). Nearly all the troopers were fed. A parole table was set up on the square to handle the numerous officials, including the mayor, who were "persuaded" to sign the parole papers saying they would not take up arms against the Confederacy. All of this action did not take place without some opposition. Several locals took some pot shots at the troopers drawing their return fire. One unfortunate was shot from the roof of a second story storefront and fell over the front to the sidewalk below. The women proved to be the feistiest. A couple of troopers got a shower as buckets of water (we hope that is what it was) were dumped on them from the upstairs windows. The raucous time was interrupted by a somber note as a funeral procession filed into the square. A wagon carrying the coffin of the deceased and drawn by two mules was followed by a number of black cloaked mourners ringing a bell and wailing their sadness. All would have been well until someone realized that the mules and wagon could help carry away part of our loot. The precession was halted and troopers assisted removing the coffin from the wagon. Unfortunately, someone slipped and the coffin fell to the ground. The crowd gasped as the lid burst open and the poor passenger rolled out onto the pavement. As the mourners hurridly scooped his pale white body back into the coffin a couple of troopers loaded up the wagon with their booty and escorted the mules out of town leaving the mourners to carry the coffin on to the cemetery on foot. All of this was too much for one of the ladies of the town. An elderly woman with a rolling pin taken from the bakery proceeded to chase our troopers across the town square swinging the wooden weapon with abandon. Disdaining the urge to shoot her our good Southern troopers gave ground. When the cry went up of Yankees coming down the street Gen. Morgan ordered your Sgt. to play "To Horse". The troopers remounted quickly and had to retreat holding off the Yankee mud stompers as we left town. The entire action went on for nearly an hour.
After the troops disbanded Sgt. Vance and Troopers Tyler and Doc assisted Eric with a presentation of "The Union Cavalry Trooper" to an enthusiastic crowd under the big top near Grant's boyhood home. For 40 minutes the civilians were mesmerized by the bountiful information disseminated by the members of the 6th Ohio (now garbed in our traditional blues). A horse was brought into the tent, "Boots and Saddles" played and the troopers began tacking up as they explained each detail of their tack and accouterments. Many questions were asked and answered. A great plug for the 6th Ohio was given by Eric Tapp at the conclusion of the talk. Commendations are due to Eric for his hard work in representing the Union Cavalry and the 6th Ohio. Eric does well in front of a crowd with his joking banter about the quality of the food and clothing the government was supplying him, and the $13 per month pay he sometimes received!
After completing the public responsibilities the troops retired to the Tapp home in nearby Russellville. Their home is beautifully restored from the early 1850's. With everything period we were swept back in time once again. The food was great, thanks to Heather, and the social time most enjoyable. The troops departed after making plans to convoy our horses and metal wagons on our way to Gettysburg this coming Friday where we will rejoin the rest of our fabled and soon to become legendary 6th Ohio brethren.
Sgt. Bob Vance