SIR: In obedience to Orders, I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the 44th Georgia, Company C under the command of Captain Clark J. Van Buskirk in the field from October 18 to October 20, inclusive:

Responding to a call to arms in the Valley the 44th Georgia, Company C made arrangements to join a larger force of the Army of Northern Virginia, along the Valley Pike south of Middletown, Virginia.

Armed with conscious vigilance we gathered one again, two years removed from that unforgettable evening when the whole of the Confederate Army was relocated to an adjacent hill where we formulated an uncommon determination amongst all who oppose us.

Arriving in camp beginning in the afternoon of October 18th we set up the Company street on a knoll east of the Belle Grove plantation, aligning our tents north of Captain Mallette and Major Van Buskirk, who performed his duties as Officer of the Day for 2ndh Battalion.

Friday evening we huddled around the campfire with a watchful eye on the skies as temperatures began to drop. Our view of the camps from the high ground provided us a panoramic view as the tent cities expanded, highlighted by the orange glow of dozens of campfires and silhouettes of canvas tents. In anticipation of future skirmishing we turned in early, our rest sabotaged by the boisterous rantings of neighboring campers, accompanied in their disturbing symphony by the sounds coming from the nearby pike and highway.

Saturday morning we fell in for morning drill around 10 o’clock, knocking the rust off our brogans whilst executing our field maneuvers.

Chicken soup was placed upon the coals as our nourishment for the weekend and in the early afternoon we were summoned to form up and prepare for battle, witnessing the indoctrination of a fresh fish into the fray. Positioned as Flag Company with the banner of the 44th in our lead we advanced northward through the rolling hills and entered a scuffle between two other large forces, driving the Yankees in our fore, both sides taking losses. The Union command busily moved their troops to different areas of the field to address the constant attacks being thrown at them by our Southern units, albeit in a reverse march.

As we approached a stream by the Heater House we met stronger resistance and the unit to our immediate left found themselves hung out alone, having unwisely advanced too far in their excitement, whereupon they were surrounded on three sides and forced to abandon their ambitious perch. The Union forces seemed re-energized upon encouragement from their General having ridden their line. I was informed that the rider was none other than General Sheridan, haven risen from a nap after a long ride from the vicinity of Westminster.

We were commanded to fall back and did so several times, struggling each time to maneuver amongst the rocks and Yankee brains, while climbing the ridges we had so skillfully mastered on the attack. During these adjustments of our position I saw many of our troops fall, observing on the retreat the rout of the right wing of our army.

Altering our line of battle via execution of a right wheel we volleyed several times into the flank of a Union brigade, drawing their attention away from the routed right; a classic rear guard action performed unselfishly for the good of our brothers.

Their focus now fully attended to us, we valiantly stood our ground, and paid dearly for it as, to a man, the whole of the 44th fell, victims of a blue enfilade. I recall witnessing, prone on the earth, the ensuing procession of a blue wave as it passed alongside me and over the Shenandoah countryside to our rear.

All ground which we had gained earlier was lost during the afternoon, and we were obligated to leave the field in the hands of the enemy. When the battle having ended, those of us ambulatory enough to regain our feet reformed and prepared to salute those recently fallen.

We returned to camp, having burned a great deal of powder, prepared to tend to our rifles and sample the soup which awaited our palettes. Throughout the evening some took advantage of the closeness of the sutlers and answered the call for presentation of grievances (none made) at a meeting of the Regiment. We were witness to a cannonade at dusk between the two armies and turned in early to gather a few hours of sleep prior to our obligation of picket duty.

Having fulfilled our term in policing the grounds my guard mate and I returned to our tents relatively dry, although I can not say the same for our replacements. The four of us are wholey convinced of the ability of large rocks to migrate in the mist and dark to positions guaranteed to trip even the most nimble of acolytes.

Sunday morning I awoke rested and took advantage of the opportunity to attend Church service in the large tent. So inspired I was by the Sermon that I returned to camp and promptly baptized my rifle “Emmanuel” (God with Me). Likewise, Private VanBuskirk has aptly named his musket Godspeed.

The smells of bacon (LOTS of it) and coffee infiltrated the air, and, as we had done the day prior, we assembled for weapons. Shortly thereafter we formed up again to participate in an attack in an effort to drive the blue belies from the Valley.

Advancing flawlessly through artillery we maneuvered to a position facing the enemy and commenced the battle, pushing the enemy hard, driving them rapidly northward , pursuing them down the pike with a multitude of volleys. Barely had we fired each round that we advanced, the vanguard of the Southern Army, the flag of the Regiment hoisted on high and leading the charge. We closed to within mere yards of the enemy time and again, led by the most capable of leadership.

Having pressed the Lincoln mob beyond a muddy stream the Brigade was halted and ordered to execute a Brigade Volley. At the Command to Ready, Aim, Fire the hoard of troops in grey unleashed a most loud and perfect fire which was at once recognized by every man and officer in the vicinity as the utmost execution and was greeted by accolades and the Rebel yell in the most excited manner I have ever heard.

A third time the command was given, and again the same result, followed by an enthusiastic charge through the mud and up the opposing bank. A fourth and fifth volley of the same magnitude shook the countryside, and the Brigade maneuvered obliques and wheels with unsurpassed precision, despite the loss of their supreme leadership at the stream.

Were it not for the truce instituted by the beaten Yankees it is evident that we wood have pushed the Yanks beyond the outskirts of Middletown itself. Indeed it is supported that throughout the remainder of the afternoon Northern wagons were viewed leaving the area and heading home along the Valley Pike, their camps packed and armaments stored.

Let us bask in the successes of the weekend and commit to memory the gratification felt by each of us for an absence of reckless, unwarranted or needless dramatic events on hallowed ground so dear to us.

To that end, let us ALL gather soon under the sycamore and march in unison before cheering and adoring supporters, shouting our allegiance and commitment to the 44th Georgia, remembering the sacrifices being made by those in harm’s way in defense of freedom as well as those who offer their support to the cause. May God’s grace fall upon them and their families for their commitment to Duty.

Respectfully Submitted,

Pvt. James Marshall

44the Georgia, Co. C, ANV, CSA