(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Children's Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Civil war sketches and incidents"

CIVIL WAR 



SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS 



PAPERS READ BY COMPANIONS OF THE 
COMMANDERY OF THE STATE OF 

NEBRASKA, MILITARY ORDER OF THE 
i) 

LOYAL LEGION OF THE, UNITED STATES 



VOLUME I. 




OMAHA: 
PUBLISHED BY THE COMMANDERY. 

1902. 



"f- 



A? -f ?a- 



Printed and Bound by 

Bur k ley Pig: Co. 

Omaha. 



CONTENTS. 



THE LOYAL ELEMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA James W. 

Savage i 

JACKSON S ATTACK ON THE RIGHT AT CHANCELLORSVILLE 

O. O. Howard 6 

THE MISSISSIPPI FLOTILLA Wm. H. C. Michael 21 

How THE MISSISSIPPI WAS OPENED Wm. H. C. Michael . . 34 
THE POWDER RIVER EXPEDITION OF 1865 Henry E. 

Palmer 59 

PEA RIDGE CAMPAIGN Nathan S. Harwood no 

MARCH OF THE SIXTH MASSACHUSETTS THROUGH BALTI 
MORE John B. Dennis 122 

THE BATTLE OF NASHVILLE John R. Brooke 141 

GEORGE H. THOMAS James M. Woolworth 145 

WILLIAMSBURG, VIRGINIA Amasa Cobb 152 

A PRISONER OF WAR Rollin M. Strong 163 

DEFENSE OF ROBINETTE J. H. McClay 167 

. THE BORDER WAR WHEN WHERE Henry E. Palmer. . . 173 

t THE LAWRENCE RAID Henry E. Palmer 190 

THE TELEGRAPH IN THE CIVIL WAR L. H. Korty 205 

\ AN OUTING IN ARKANSAS, OR FORTY DAYS AND A WEEK IN 

THE WILDERNESS Henry E. Palmer 213 

FORTY YEARS IN THE FIELD S. D. Mercer 226 

CHATTANOOGA TO WASHINGTON AFOOT John T. Bell 232 

THE LAST BATTLE OF NASHVILLE O. A. Abbott 236 

THE CAMPAIGN IN EAST TENNESSEE Abraham Alice 243 

EXPLOSION OF THE SULTANA Wm. H. C. Michael 253 

THE BLOODY ANGLE Edward E. Jackson 258 

BATTLE OF CEDAR CREEK Don C. Aver 263 

NEBRASKA COMMANDERY HISTORY 269 



On page 34 read W. H. C. Michael, instead of W. A. C. 
Michael, as the writer of the article entitled "How THE MIS 
SISSIPPI WAS OPENED." 



M78931 



PUBLICATION COMMITTEE. 



This volume was published by the Nebraska Comman- 
dery, Military Order of the Loyal Legion, under the super 
vision of the following-named Committee on Publication : 
Henry E. Palmer, Lyman Richardson, Horace Ludington 
and John T. Bell. 



THE LOYAL ELEMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA DUR 
ING THE WAR. 

BY 
COL. JAMES W. SAVAGE, I2TH N. Y. CAVALRY. 

(Read May 5, 1896.) 

Remembering the apparent unanimity with which the people 
of the south sustained the secession movement after hostilities 
had actually begun, we are apt to forget how devout was the love 
for the Union in some sections of the Confederacy. Nowhere, 
not even in Eastern Tennessee, was this sentiment stronger than 
in portions of the state of North Carolina. 

On the 1 7th of January, 1861, I was passing through the last 
named state on my way to Milledgeville, Georgia. The southern 
heart was fast catching fire, and there were plenty of hot-heads 
to apply the kindling torch in North Carolina. Georgia had just 
passed her secession ordinance,, and the half-grown, tar-heel boys 
were shouting for the side which promised relief from the dreary 
monotony of their lives. At every cross roads, and at every rail 
way station, you were pretty sure to see two or three young men 
with the blue and white cockade (at that early day the emblem of 
treason) in their hats. Most of the old men on the train looked 
grave and troubled, but kept quiet. Ex-Governor Moorhead, 
however, a frank, plain-spoken old patriot, who had not long be 
fore quitted the gubernatorial chair of North Carolina, left no one 
in doubt as to what his sentiments were. He denounced seces 
sion as a crime and secessionists as fools, in language which was 
not to be mistaken. At one station where the shouting was un 
usually loud, and the symbols of disloyalty quite numerous, the 
old governor could keep his patience no longer ; and going out 
to the rear platform of the car, he advised the shouters in terse, 
nervous and forcible Angle Saxon words, by no means above the 
comprehension of the crowd, to take the rebel cockades from their 



2 CIVIL WAR. SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

hats, and replace them on more ignoble, even if quite as conspicu 
ous, portions of their bodies. 

But persuasion, sarcasm and sneers were alike unavailing 
against the tide. North Carolina was literally forced out of the 
Union four months later by a convention possessing neither the 
legal authority nor moral right to pass such an ordinance; and 
as the conflagration spread, such men as the ex-governor soon 
found themselves in a hopeless minority. 

As for himself, he did not long survive to witness miseries 
which he could not alleviate or crimes which he had striven in 
vain to prevent. But there were many sharers of his sentiments 
who survived the war, and who could truthfully say at its close, 
"We have kept the faith." The western part of the state, bor 
dering on Tennessee, was to the full as loyal as West Virginia. 
Captain Hock of the I2th New York Cavalry, who was captured 
at Plymouth in April, 1864, after enduring some months of con 
finement at the camp in Salisbury, made his escape, started west 
ward, and reached, after toilsome wandering and perilous adven 
tures, a force of Union troops in East Tennessee. He found in 
North Carolina an underground railway, as systematic and as 
well arranged as that which existed in Ohio before the war. Its 
objects were twofold: First, to protect or secrete loyal North 
Carolinians who wished to avoid the rigid conscription of the 
south ; and, second, to aid in the escape of such Yankee prisoners 
as might choose that precarious route to freedom. 

From the time that Captain Hock, by accident, happened 
upon one of the stations of this road., his sufferings and troubles 
were, in large measure, over. He found food and resting places, 
stations in secure spots, guides over intricate mountain paths and 
a hostility to rebellion which the north, bitter as it was, hardly 
knew. Sometimes he would spend the night at the house of a 
prosperous farmer, sometimes in a cave with two or three young 
fellows who were seeking to baffle conscripting parties, and some 
times alone in the forest. But wherever he was, he was sure to 
find either explicit and unmistakable directions for the next stage, 
or a conductor, alert, active and cautious, who accompanied him 
over the more dangerous part of his way. Nor was this help 
withdrawn until from a mountain peak near the Tennessee bor 
der he was shown the Federal flag floating over an outpost of 
our army. Without the aid and comfort thus afforded, it would 



LOYAL ELEMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA. 3 

have been impossible for the Captain, lame and sore from travel, 
and weak from starvation, to attain his liberty, and he must 
either have perished on the inhospitable hills or been returned to 
hopeless captivity. 

But fidelity to the Union was not confined to the western or 
mountainous portions of the state. There were few counties of 
the interior where the old traditional love for the country, handed 
down from Guildford and other battle fields of the Revolution, 
did not assert itself. At Spring* Hill,, not far from Goldsboro, 
there was a community of loyal citizens so large that it might 
be said to embrace the entire village. The fate of their brethren 
at Kinston, of which I shall presently speak, had kept them quiet 
while they were under the malevolent eyes of Confederate lead 
ers ; but they were well known to be disaffected to what was 
called the cause of liberty, and as soon as the regiment to which 
I belonged marched into the place, and they realized that speech 
was once more free, their unaffected joy at our coming, and their 
undisguised terror when there was a rumor that we were to be 
ordered away, were clear proofs that their loyalty to the Union 
was no pretense. Leaving 1 out a strip of varying but of no great 
width along the coast, and also the counties bordering South Car 
olina, and I doubt if one could go ten miles in any direction with 
out finding some family, either openly or secretly, but at all 
events heartily devoted to the north. Certainly it was so in every 
portion of the state to which my personal observation extended. 
On long scouting expeditions, on raids to cut a railroad or de 
stroy a bridge, the places where it was safe to rely on what you 
heard were as well ascertained as the lighthouses along our coast. 
There was, of course, much fear among them, and they were ex 
cessively cautious, for no reign of terror was ever so despotic as 
that in the south during the war ; but whenever they were assured 
of safety, they were very free and outspoken. 

A planter near Mosely Hill was, in my opinion, as true and 
honest a patriot I speak with all due reverence as Lincoln 
himself. Nor did he falter in his allegiance when the locusts of 
Sherman s army afterwards swarmed over his place and left him 
with literally nothing but the four walls and roof of his house. 
He visited me a few days after their interview with him, cheerful 
and happy in the prospect of a speedy victory for the Union 
arms, careless of his own personal losses, and refusing to accept 



4 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

anything from me except some trifling commissary stores, and a 
horn comb which he thought would please his wife, who hadn t 
been able to comb her head for a week. 

The line and non-commissioned officers made many acquaint 
ances, which, if not in the most refined circles, served to make 
scouting parties sucessful, and, at all events, to while away the 
tedium of many a long march. I recall the dawn of a summer 
morning after an all-night s journey. Just as it became light 
enough to distinguish faces, the head of the column, marching by 
twos, approached a log hut by the wayside. A young girl of 
fifteen, of that exquisite type of beauty only seen at the south, 
which seems angelic while it lasts, but is so fleeting that it fades 
utterly away before the coming of womanhood, rushed hurriedly 
down to the roadside with her hair flying, and her bare, brown 
feet and ankles twinkling in the grass. Scanning, evidently with 
a fixed purpose, the face of every soldier that rode by, her pretty, 
fascinating features lighted up as she caught sight of an officer 
who a few weeks before had been sent on a reconnoitering expe 
dition over that very road. Oh, Lieutenant !" she cried, in a 
voice which was audible far down the line, "Oh, Lieutenant ! 
where s my fine toothed comb? Where s my bladder of snuff?" 
The story of woman s weakness and man s perfidy could hardly 
be told in fewer or more eloquent words. The laugh of the men, 
heard at intervals from the rear as the story was repeated, indi 
cated that the gallant Lieutenant had not heard the last of the 
appeal. 

It was asserted that with a bladder of snuff, after that deli 
cacy became scarce, a Yankee could travel throughout the entire 
state, and meet everywhere only good treatment and unbounded 
hospitality. But this fact, perhaps, is hardly to be relied upon as 
an evidence of loyalty, for the loss of their favorite stimulant 
was a sad deprivation to the women of the south, to whatever flag 
they were devoted. 

Most of the loyalists of North Carolina would have been 
contented after the breaking out of hostilities to remain quiet on 
their plantations or patches and take active service in neither 
army. But the time soon came when they were obliged to choose 
their colors. Conscripting officers enrolled every able-bodied man 
in the Confederacy ; and, in anticipation of a speedy muster-in 
and enforced service in the rebel armv, numbers made their wav 



LOYAL ELEMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA. 5 

into our lines as soon as the success of the Burnside expedition 
had established a foothold at New Bern, and offered themselves 
to the Federal army. A regiment of these men was formed, to 
which was given the name of the First North Carolina Union 
Volunteers. They were mainly employed in manning the fortifi 
cations, for it was well understood that if captured these con 
scripts, rebels against a rebellion, could expect no quarter. The 
melancholy fate of a detachment of these men forms one of the 
darkest pages in the history of the war. 

About 2 o clock in the morning of the ist of February, 1864, 
a furious assault was made upon the Union outposts near New 
Bern, which, although stoutly resisted, resulted in the withdrawal 
of all our forces behind the fortifications of that city. Unhappily, 
in the suddenness of the rebel advance, a masked battery hidden 
in the forest, so constructed as to command the Neuse river, ami 
occupied by about forty of these North Carolinians, was cut off 
and completely isolated from our troops, though from its situation 
it remained for a long time undiscovered. Attempts were made 
during the night to communicate with these men. A brave young 
officer, who did not survive the war, volunteered to carry an 
order to them, and actually made his way through the rebel forces 
during the night, but, owing to the darkness and rain, lost his 
way in the swamp and was obliged to return. The liveliest sym 
pathy was felt for these beleaguered patriots, and as the siege of 
New Bern was soon abandoned, it was hoped that either the 
enemy had failed to discover the work, or that the commanding 
officer had instructed his men to disperse, and seek each to save 
himself as he might. But the post when visited by us was silent 
and tenantless, and it was not until weeks afterwards that we 
learned that their commander, from a mistaken sense of duty, had 
resisted all their entreaties to allow them to save themselves by 
individual flight ; that they had been captured, and, after a hur 
ried military trial, every one hanged at Kinston. Some months 
later I was shown the grove in which they were executed. The 
trees of North Carolina never bore nobler or more spotless fruit. 



CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 



JACKSON S ATTACK ON THE RIGHT AT CHANCEL- 

LORSVILLE. 

BY 
MAJOR GENERAL OLIVER OTIS HOWARD, U. S. A. 

(Read January i, 1888.) 

In order that the student of a battle scene may gather any 
clear views of the story, he must in some way acquaint himself 
with the region of country where the battle occurred. But the 
country around Chancellorsville, being for the most part a wilder 
ness, with but here and there an opening, affords a poor tract 
for neighborhood descriptions, pencil sketches, or shapely dia 
grams. 

If, however, we consult the recent maps (no good ones ex 
isted before the battle), we notice that the two famous rivers, the 
Rapidan and the Rappahannock, join at a point due north of 
Chancellorsville; the waters, now in one river bed, the Rappa 
hannock, run easterly four miles till suddenly at the United States 
ford they turn and flow south for three miles, and then turning, 
again course to the east and northeast so as to form a handsome 
horseshoe bend. 

Here on the south shore was General Hooker s battle line 
the morning of the 2nd of May, 1863. Here his five Army Corps, 
those of Meade, Slocum, Couch, Sickles and Howard, were de 
ployed. The face was toward the south, and the ranks mainly 
occupied a ridge nearly parallel with the Rapidan. The left 
touched the high ground just west of the horseshoe bend, while 
the bristling front, fringed with skirmishers, ran along the Min 
eral Spring road, bent forward to take in the cross roads of Chan 
cellorsville, and then stretching on westerly through lower levels, 
retired to Dowdall s Tavern. Just beyond Dowdall s was a 
slight backward hook in the line, partially encircling Talley s hill, 
a sunny spot in the forest between the Orange plank road and 



ON THE RIGHT AT CHANCELLORSVILLE. 7 

the pike. This pike is an old roadway which skirts the western 
edge of Talley s farm and makes an agle of some forty degrees 
with the Orange plank road. 

At dawn of this eventful day General Hooker was at Chan 
cellorsville ; Slocum and Hancock were just in his front; infantry 
and artillery deployed to the right and left. French s division 
was in his rear. Meade occupied the extreme left, and my corps, 
the Eleventh, the right. Sickles connected me with Slocum. Our 
expansion covered between four and five miles frontage, and 
Hooker was near the middle point. The main body of our cav 
alry, under Stoneman, had gone off on a raid upon Lee s com 
munications, and the remainder of the Army of the Potomac was 
under the sturdy Sedgwick nearer Fredericksburg. 

Our opponents, under General Robert E. Lee, the evening 
before, about two miles distant towards Fredericksburg, were 
facing us. His army was thus between us and Sedgwick. Lee 
had immediateely with him the divisions of McLaws, Anderson, 
Rodes, Colston and A. P. Hill, and besides some cavalry under 
Stuart. He held, for his line of battle, a comparatively short 
front between the Rappahannock and the Catherine Furnace, not 
to exceed two miles and a half in extent. His right wing, not 
far from the river, was behind Mott s Run, which flows due east, 
and his left was deployed along the Catherine Furnace road. 

Could Hooker, the first day of May, have known Lee s exact 
location, he never could have had a better opportunity for taking 
the offensive. But he did not know, and had decided not to take 
the offensive, when he had that day disengaged the few troops 
which had met the approaching enemy, and ordered all back to 
the "old position," the Chancellorsville line, which I have just 
described. 

On the preceding Thursday, the last of April, the three Corps 
which constituted the right wing of the army, Meade s, Slocum s 
and mine, had crossed from the north to the south side of the 
Rapidan, and by 4 o clock in the afternoon reached the vicinity 
of Chancellorsville, where Slocum, who was the senior com 
mander present, established his headquarters. I halted my di 
visions at Dowdall s Tavern and encamped them there. Then I 
rode along the plank road eastward the two miles through the 
almost continuous forest to the Chancellorsvile House. There I 
reported to Slocum. He said that the orders were for me to 



8 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

cover the right of the general line, posting my command near 
Dowdall s Tavern. He pointed to a place on the map marked 
Mill" near there, on a branch of Hunting Creek, and said : 
"Establish your right there." General Slocum promised, with 
the Twelfth Corps, to occupy the space from his headquarters to 
Dowdall s clearing ; but finding the distance too great, one of his 
division commanders sent me word that I must take the last three- 
quarters of a mile of the plank road. This was done by a 
brigade of General von Steinwehr, the commander of my left di 
vision, though with regret on our part, because it required all the 
Corps reserves to fill up that gap. 

The so-called Dowdall s Tavern was at that time the home 
of Melzie Chancellor. He had a large family, with several grown 
people. I placed my headquarters at his house. Before us, fac 
ing south along a curving ridge, the right of Von Steinwehr s 
division was located. He had but two brigades, Barlow on the 
plank road and Bushbeck to my front. With them he covered a 
mile, leaving but two regiments for a reserve. These he put some 
two hundred yards to his rear,, near the little "Wilderness 
Church." 

Next to Von Steinwehr came General Carl Schurz s division. 
First was Captain Dilger s battery. Dilger was one of those 
brave, handsome, hearty, active young men that everybody likes 
to have near. He aimed his guns to the southwest, and also to 
the west along the Orange plank road. Next was Krzyzanowski s 
brigade, about half on the front and half in reserve. Schurz s 
right brigade was that of Schimmelpfenning, disposed in the 
same manner, a part deployed and the remainder kept a few yards 
back for a reserve. Schurz s front line of infantry extended 
along the old Turnpike and faced to the southwest. 

The right division of the Corps was commanded by General 
Devens, who was our Attorney General in the cabinet of Presi 
dent Hayes. Devens and I together had carefully reconnoitered 
both the plank road and the old Turnpike for at least three miles 
toward the west. After this reconnaisance he established his di 
vision, the Second brigade, under McLean, next to Schurz s first ; 
and then pushing out on the pike for half a mile, he deployed the 
other, Von Gilsa s, "at right angles facing west," connecting his 
two parts by a thin skirmish line. General von Gilsa s brigade 
was afterward drawn back, still facing west, at right angles to the 



ON THE RIGHT AT CHANCELLORSVILLE. 9 

main line, drawn back so as to make a more solid connection, and 
so that, constituting as it did the main right flank, the reserves of 
the Corps could be brought more properly to its support, by ex 
tending its right to the north, should any enemy by any possible 
contingency get so far around. A section of Dieckman s bat 
tery, which looked to the west along the old pike, was located at 
the angle. 

The reserve batteries, twelve guns, were put upon a ridge 
abreast of the little church and pointed towards the northwest 
with a view to sweep all approaches to the north of Von Gilsa, 
firing up a gradually ascending slope. This well-marked ridge, 
where I stood during the battle, was central and, besides, enabled 
the artillerymen to enfilade either roadway or meet an attack 
from south, west or north. 

Here on the ridge epaulments for the batteries were con 
structed, and a long line of cross intrenchments for the battery 
supports dug, extending from the little church northeasterly 
across all the open country which stretched away from the Tav 
ern to the right of Devens line. The lines of my Corps, including 
the reserves and cross intrenchments, thus formed a fairly good 
iort of large dimensions, with an opening towards Chancellors- 
ville House, and this covered by a forest. 

To my great comfort General Sickles, who loved to do gen 
erous things, came up on Friday, and with his Corps took from 
our left Von Stein wehr s three-quarters of a mile of plank road. 
Thus he relieved from the front line Barlow s large brigade, giv 
ing me, besides the several divisions reserves, General Barlow 
with 1,500 men in reserve. These were massed near the cross 
intrenchments and held avowedly to support the reserve batteries 
and protect General Devens exposed right flank. 

As to pickets, each division had a good line of them. My 
aide, Major Howard, assisted in connecting them between di 
visions, and during the 2nd of May that fearless and faithful 
staff officer, Major E. Whittlesey, rode the entire circuit of their 
front to stimulate the pickets and skirmishes to special activity. 
Those of Devens were *"thrown out at a distance from a half mile 
to a mile and stretching well around covering our right flank," 
and those picket posts in front on the pike were over two miles 
bevond the main line. 

*See General Devens report of Chancellorsville. 



IO CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

The nature of the country in the neighborhood of the three 
adjoining farms, Dowdall s, Taley s and Hawkins , was well 
known to the Army of the Potomac in subsequent experiences, 
never to be forgotten. It is the terrible "Wilderness" of Spottsyl- 
vania, where, later in the war, so many brave men fell. Here 
were stunted trees, such as scraggy oaks, bushy firs, cedars and 
junipers, all entangled with a thick, almost impenetrable, under 
growth and criss-crossed with an abundance of wild vines. In 
places all along the southwest and west front, the forest appeared 
impassable, and the skirmishers could only with extreme difficulty 
work their way through. 

To the officers of the Eleventh Corps the position was never 
a desirable one. It presented a flank in the air. We were more 
than four miles south from Ely s Ford, where were Hooker s 
nearest cavalry flankers. 

In his report after the battle General Schurz says : "Our 
right ought to have been drawn back towards the Rapidan, to 
rest on that river at or near the mouth of Hunting Creek, the 
Corps abandoning so much of the flank road as to enable it to es 
tablish a solid line. Yes, but we were ordered to Dowdall s Tav 
ern and not to the Rapidan, three or four miles to our rear. And 
our right was fixed for us at the "Mill," which, it is true, no 
longer existed, but the point required was not doubted. Again,, 
this position, which Schurz recommended in his report subsequent 
to our battle, was that very one into which Hooker s whole army 
was finally forced. Hooker was so cramped by it that he did not 
dare to take the offensive. In that position, "solid" and fortified 
as it was, our army, more in number than Lee s, was so badly 
handled by the enemy that Hooker at last decided it safer to take 
it to the north side of the Rappahannock. 

The strength of Hooker s five Corps, and still another, Rey 
nolds*, which was not far behind, had on the morning of the 2nd 
of May about ninety thousand effectives. The right Corps, the 
Eleventh, had in all, artillery and infantry, 12,000 men. Lee 
faced us with his five large divisions, having on the spot about 
40,000 rifles, with considerable artillery. 

W T hen a youth, my brother and I had a favorite spot in an 
upper field of my father s farm, from which we were accus 
tomed, after the first symptoms of a coming storm, to watch the 



ON THE RIGHT AT CHANCELLORSV1LLE. II 

operations of the contending winds, the sudden gusts and whirl 
winds ; the sideling swallows excitedly seeking shelter ; the swift 
and swifter, black and blacker clouds, ever rising higher and 
pushing their angry fronts toward us. As we listened we heard 
the low rumbling from afar ; as the storm came nearer the woods 
bent forward and shook fiercely their thick branches, the light 
ning zig-zagged in flashes, and the deep-bassed thunder echoed 
more loudly, till there was scarcely an interval between its omin 
ous crashing discharges. In some such manner came on that 
battle of May 2nd to the watchers at Dowdall s Tavern and Tal- 
ley s farm house. 

The first distant symptom occurred the evening of May ist. 
There was the sudden crack of rifle shooting. It began with Von 
Steinwehr s skirmishers, and then passed on to Schurz. Schim- 
melpfenning pushed out a brigade straight forward toward the 
southwest and received a sudden fire of artillery from the intrud 
ers. They left him and pushed on. 

It was "a rolling reconnaissance" evidently to determine, for 
Lee s and Jackson s information, the position of our flank. They 
had, however, some more certain knowledge, gained from one or 
two of the enterprising residents let loose during that Friday by 
our general forward movement. We forgot these friends to Lee 
as we excitedly marched to Friday s battle. When we unexpect 
edly came back some of these residents, with little baskets of pro 
visions in hand, were gone beyond recall. I suspect that the com 
mander of the "rolling reconnaissance" and the said residents 
formed part of the famous night conference of Lee and Jackson, 
where cracker boxes served as seats and chairs. General Lee 
says : "It was, therefore, resolved to endeavor to turn his 
(Hooker s) right flank and gain his rear, leaving a force in front 
to hold him in check and conceal the movement. The execution 
of this plan was entrusted to Lieutenant General Jackson with 
his three divisions." 

Jackson s movement, a stronger indication of battle, began at 
sunrise Saturday, May 2nd, Rodes, Colston and A. P. Hill, in 
order, following the old road by the Catherine Furnace and then 
shoving off farther south to get beyond sight of our men ; and 
then beginning to s.weep around by a crossroad, well known to 
them, up to the Orange plank ; and then on, perhaps a mile far 
ther, through the wild forest till the old Orange pike was found 



12 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

and crossed. The Catherine Furnace, nearly opposite Sickles 
right, and Steinwehr s line ,two and a half miles distant, gave an 
open reach and fully exposed the moving column to view. Ex 
cept at that point, the entire Confederate force was completely 
covered by woods and by Stuart s busy and noisy cavalry. 

About sunrise at DowdaH s I heard cheering. It was a hearty 
sound with too much bass in it for that of the enemy s charge. 
It was occasioned by the coming of General Hooker, with Colonel 
Comstock and a few staff officers, riding along slowly and in 
specting our lines. Sickles says of this : "It is impossible to pass 
over without mention the irrepressible enthusiasm of the troops 
for Major General Hooker, which was evinced in hearty and pro 
longed cheers as he rode along the lines of the Third, Eleventh 
and Twelfth Corps." 

I was ready, mounted, and with my officers joined the ever- 
increasing cavalcade. Hooker observed the troops in position. 
Barlow, who joined me and filled the cross trenches an hour later, 
had not yet come out of the front line, so that my reserves just 
at that time were small. He noticed the breastworks, unusually 
well built by Schurz and Devens. He passed to the extreme right 
and then returned by the shortest route. As he looked over the 
barricades, while receiving the salutes and cheers of the men, he 
said to me: "How strong! How strong! 1 

I still had much extension, so that there were gaps along 
Schurz s and Devens front. Colonel Comstock spoke to me in 
his quiet way: "General, do close in those spaces!" I said that 
the woods are thick and entangled ; will any one come through 
there?" "Oh, they may." His suggestion was heeded. 

During the forenoon General Sickles discovered Jackson s 
moving column. It was passing toward Orange Court House 
so everybody said. Sickles and I forwarded all reports to General 
Hooker, now returned to Chancelorsville. Hooker seemed to di 
vine Jackson s purpose, but was in error, to-wit : Lee, caught be 
tween us and Sedgwick, an upper and nether millstone, was surely 
retreating. 

About 12 mid-day Sickles received General Hooker s orders 
to advance southward cautiously. Soon after, perhaps by 2 p. 
m., there was a stronger apprehension of a conflict, for there was 
a sharp skirmish in the direction of Catherine Furnace. The rat 
tle of musketrv followed ; then in a little time was heard the 



ON THE RIGHT AT CHANCELLORSVILLE. 13 

booming of cannon. I sent the news to every division, and said : 
"Be ready !" Slocum went forward to the aid of Sickles, and 
Hancock was behind him with support. 

Next, the enemy was reported to be in full retreat. General 
Hooker so telegraphed to Sedgwick, and Captain Moore, of his 
staff, who had gone out with Birney to see the attack upon Jack 
son, came hurriedly to me with an order from General Hooker 
for my general reserve of 1,500 men, Barlow s brigade, which im- 
mediateely drew out, all being in readiness. Major Howard rode 
rapidly to Sickles that he might find out exactly where to locate 
the brigade. He was also to ascertain the nearest route, so as to 
save time and not to weary the men by a circuitous march. 

It was already past 4 p. m. There was much ex 
citement among the groups of officers at the different 
points of observation. We, who were at Dowdall s, had 
been watching the enemy s cavalry, which kept push 
ing through the woods just far enough to receive a 
fire and then withdrawing. Devens and his brigade and regi 
mental commanders gathered, in various ways, all the information 
possible, while from a high point they obtained glimpses of a 
moving column crossing the plank road and apparently making 
off. I sent out scouts, who returned with reports that the enemy 
was not more than three or four miles off and in motion. Schurz 
was anxious, and, with my approval, moved a part of his reserves 
to the north on Hawkins farm into good position to cover 
Devens flank. Devens held at least two regiments well in hand 
for the same purpose, and Von Steinwehr s whole division I knew 
could just face about and defend the same point. A few com 
panies of cavalry came from Pleasanton. I sent them to the 
woods. "Go out beyond my right ; go far, and let me know if an 
assault is coming." All my staff Asmussen, Meysenburgh, 
Whittlesey, C. H. Howard, Captain Skofield, Dessauer, Stinson, 
Schierer and Hoffman were keenly on the alert. We had not a 
very good position, it is true, but we did expect to make a strong 
fight should the enemy come. 

General Hooker s "joint order to Slocum and Howard" 
neither reached me nor, to my knowledge, did it come to Mey- 
senburg, my Adjutant General. From some confused notion, it 
was issued to "Slocum and Howard," when General Slocum was 
no longer within two miles, and had not been in command of my 



14 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

corps at all after Hooker s arrival at Chancellorsville on the pre 
ceding Thursday. Slocum, naturally supposing that I had a copy, 
would not think of forwarding a joint order to me after that, and 
certainly no such order came to me. But yet General Devens, 
Schurz and Steinwehr, my division commanders, and myself did 
precisely what we would have done had that order come. The 
three reserve batteries were put in position and the infantry re 
serves held well in hand for the possible emergency. 

My aide-de-camp had now returned from Sickles near the 
Furnace and reported in substance that he (Sickles) was glad to 
receive the help ; that he was about to make a more general at 
tack, having been for some time driving the enemy and expected 
soon a brilliant result ; that he desired to place my reinforcement 
upon his right flank in the forward movement. 

Such was the state of things when, through Captain Moore, 
his aide-de-camp, General Hooker directed to Sickles attack at 
the Furnace all of my general infantry reserves, consisting of 
Barlow s staunch brigade. General von Steinwehr and I, with 
Major Howard as guide, went far enough southward to see what 
was to be done with our men, and to see if Steinwehr s whole di 
vision, as was probable, must not swing up to the right in support 
of Sickles promised attack. There was no real battle away out 
there at the Furnace, and General Steinwehr and I returned rap 
idly to our posts at the Tavern and dismounted. 

Meanwhile the Confederate General Rodes, masked by the 
thick woods, had been reaching his point in the wilderness. At 
4 p. m. his men were in position; the line of battle of his own 
brigade touched the pike west of us with its right and stretched 
to the north ; beyond his brigade came Iverson s in the same line. 
On the right of the pike was Doles brigade, and to his right Col- 
quitt s. One hundred yards to the rear was Trimble s division 
(Colston commanding), with Ramseur on the right following 
Colquitt After another interval followed the division of A. P. 
Hill. The advance Confederate division had more men in it 
than there were in the whole Eleventh corps, now in position. 
Counting the ranks deep of this formidable column, beginning 
with the enveloping skirmish line, we find seven ranks, besides 
the three of file-closers. The majority were brought into a solid 
mass by the entanglements of the forest, and gave our men the 



OX THE RIGHT AT CHANCELLORSVILLE. 15 

idea that battalions were formed in close columns doubled on the 
tenter. 

With as little noise as possible, a little after 5 p. m., the 
steady advance of the enemy began. Its first lively effects, like a 
cloud of dust driven before a coming shower, appeared in the 
startled rabbits, squirrels, quail and other game flying wildly 
hither and thither in evident terror, and escaping where possible 
into adjacent clearings. 

The foremost men of Doles brigade took about half an hour 
to strike our advanced picket on the pike. This picket, of course, 
created no delay. Fifteen minutes later Doles reached our skirm 
ishers, who seem to have resisted effectively for a few minutes, 
for it required a main line to dislodge them. Doles, concerning 
the next check he received, says : "After a resistance of about 
ten minutes, we drove him (Devens) from his position on the left 
and carried his battery of two guns, caissons and horses." This 
was the fire which Von Steinwehr and I heard at Dowdall s Tav 
ern after our return from Barlow. Somebody s guns thundered 
away for a few short minutes, and then came the fitful rattle of 
musketry ; and before I could again get into the saddle there arose 
the ceaseless roar of the terrible storm. 

I sent out my chief of staff, Colonel Asmussen, who was the 
first officer to mount, saying: "The firing is in front of Devens; 
go and see if all is in order on the extreme right." He instantly 
turned and galloped away. I mounted and set off for a prom 
inent place in the rear of Schurz s line, so as to change front to 
the northwest of every brigade southeast of the front of attack, 
if, perchance, the attack should extend beyond Devens right 
flank, for it was divined at once that the enemy was now west of 
Devens. Very soon I could see numbers of our men not the few 
stragglers that always fly like the chaff at the first breeze, but 
scores of them rushing into the forest opening, some with arms 
and some without, running or falling before they got behind the 
cover of Devens reserves and before Schurz s waiting masses 
could deploy at all or charge. 

The noise and the smoke thrilled the air with excitement, and 
to add to it Dieckman s guns and caissons from the extreme 
right, with battery men scattered, rolled and tumbled like run 
away wagons and carts in a thronged city. The guns and the 
masses of the right brigade struck the second line of Devens be- 



l6 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

fore McLean s front had given way, and, quicker than it could 
be told, with all the fury of the wildest hail storm, everything, 
every sort of organization that lay in the path of the mad cur 
rent of panic-stricken men, as at the close of "Bull Run," had 
to give way and be broken into fragments. 

My own horse seemed to catch the fury ; he sprang, he rose 
high on his hind legs and fell over, throwing me to the ground. 
My aide-de-camp, Dessauer, was struck by a shot and killed, and 
for a few moments I was as helpless as any of the men who 
were speeding without arms to the rear. But faithful orderlies 
helped me to remount. Schurz was yet doing all he could to face 
regiments about and sent them to Devens northern flank to 
help the few which still held firm. Devens, already badly 
wounded, and several of his officers were doing similar work. 

I rode quickly to the reserve batteries. A staff officer of 
General Hooker, Lieutenant Colonel Dickerson, joined me there; 
my own staff gathered around me. I was eager to fill the 
trenches which Barlow with the absent reserves would have held. 
Bushbeck s second line was ordered to change front there. His 
men kept their ranks, but at first, to my impatience, they ap 
peared slow. "Will they never get there?" Dickerson said: 

"Oh, General, see those men coming from that hill way off 
to the right, and there s the enemy after them? Fire, oh, fire at 
them ! You may stop the fight !" 

"No, Colonel," I replied, "I will never fire upon my own 
men !" 

As soon as our men were near enough the batteries opened, 
firing at first shells, and then cannister, over their heads. As the 
attacking force emerged from the forest and rushed on the en 
emy s front men would halt and fire, and, while these were re 
loading, another set ran before them, halted and fired, these in 
no regular line, but in such multitudes that our men went down 
before them like trees in a hurricane. 

By extraordinary effort we had filled all our long line of 
cross intrenchments mainly with fragments of organization and 
individual soldiers. Many officers running away stopped there 
and did what they could, but others said, "We ve done all we 
can," and ran on. Schierer managed the reserve artillery fairly. 
Dilger, the battery commander on Schurz s left, rolled his balls 
along the plank road and shelled the woods. General von Stein- 



ON THE RIGHT AT CHANCELLORSVILLE. I? 

wehr was at hand, cool, collected and sensible. He had, like 
Blair at Atlanta, made his men,, who were south of Dowdall s, 
spring to the reverse side of their intrenchments and face north 
ready to fire the instant it was possible. 

Let us pause here a moment and follow Doles, who led the 
enemy s attack. He states that after his first successful charge : 
"The command moved forward at the double-quick to assault 
the enemy, who had taken up a strong position on the crest of a 
hill in the open field." This position was the one on Hawkins 
farm where Devens and Schurz reserves began their fight. But 
wave after wave of Confederate infantry came upon them, and 
now even their left flank was unprotected the instant the run 
aways had passed it by. To our sorrow we, who had eagerly ob 
served their bravery, saw them, too, give way, and the hill and 
the crest on Hawkins farm were quickly in the hands of the 
men in gray. 

Doles, who must have been a cool man to see so clearly 
amid the screeching shells and all the hot excitement of battle, 
says again: "He" (meaning our forces from Schimmelpfen- 
ning s and Bushbeck s brigade, and perhaps part of McLean s, 
who had faced about and had not yet given away) "made a 
stubborn resistance from behind a watling fence on a hill thick 
with pine." 

Among the stubborn fighters at this place was Major Jere 
miah Williams, of the 25th Ohio. The enemy was drawing near 
him. His men fired with coolness and deliberation. His right 
rested among scrubby bushes and saplings, while his left was in 
comparatively open ground. The fire of the enemy as he ap 
proached was murderous, and almost whole platoons of our men 
were falling, but they held their ground. He waited, rapidly fir 
ing, till not more than thirty paces intervened and then ordered 
the retreat. Out of 323 men and sixteen commissioned officers 
in the regiment (25th Ohio), 130 (including five officers) were 
killed or wounded. Major Williams brought a part of the living 
to the breastworks near me ; the remainder, he said, were carried 
off to the rear by another regimental commander. 

By the delays we had thus far occasioned to the first di 
vision of our enemy all his rear lines had closed up, and the 
broad mass began to appear even below me on my left front to 



l8 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

the south of von Steinwehr s knoll. Then it was, after we had 
been fighting an hour, that Sickles and Pleasanton s guns began 
to be heard, for they had faced about near the Furnace and 
moved obliquely toward the northwest, and were hurrying ar 
tillery, cavalry and infantry into position to do what they could 
against the attack of Stonewall Jackson, whose skirmishers were 
now reaching them. 

I had come to my last practicable stand. The Confederates 
were slowly advancing, firing, at first, with rapidity, but the bat 
tery men kept falling from death and wounds. Suddenly, as if 
by an order, when a sheet of the enemy s fire reached them, a 
large number of my men in the supporting trenches vacated their 
position and went off. No officer ever made more strenuous 
exertions than those which my staff and others about me put 
forth to stem the tide of retreat and refill those trenches, but 
the panic was too great. Soon, indeed, our artillery fire became 
weaker and weaker. I next ordered a retreat to the edge of the 
forest toward Chancellorsville, so as to uncover von Steinwehr s 
knoll the only spot yet firmly held. The batteries, except four 
pieces, were drawn off and hurried to the rear. The stand at 
the edge of the forest was made but necessarily a short one. 

Von Steinwehr being now exposed from flank and rear, 
having held his place for over an hour, drew off his small rem 
nants and all moved rapidly through openings and woods, 
through low grounds and swamps the two miles, to the first 
high land south of Hooker s headquarters. Dilger steadily kept 
to our rear along the plank road, firing constantly as he retired. 
The Confederate masses, partaking of Stonewall s energy, 
rushed after us in the forest and along all the paths and roads 
with triumphant shouts and redoubled firing, and so secured 
much plunder and many prisoners. It was after sundown when 
I met General Hiram Berry, commanding a brigade, and grow 
ing dark as I was ascending the high ground at Chancellors 
ville. "Well, General, where now?" he asked. I replied: "You 
take the right of this road and I wil take the left and try to de 
fend it." 

Our batteries, with numerous others, were on the crest fac 
ing to the rear, and as soon as von Steinwehr s troops had 
cleared the way a terrible cannonade was begun and continued 
into the night. The battery men fired into the forest, now re- 



ON THE RIGHT AT CHANCELLORSVILLE. IQ 

plete with Confederates, all disorganized in their exciting chase, 
and every effort of General Jackson to advance in that direction 
in face of the fire was effectually barred by the artillery and 
supporting troops. 

It was here that the gallant General Berry met his death. 
Stonewall Jackson also fell that evening from bullet wounds in 
the forest between Dowdall s Tavern and Berry s position. It 
was here that officers of the Eleventh corps, though mortified by 
defeat, successfully rallied the scattered brigades and divisions, 
and, after sheltering the batteries, went eventually during the 
night to replace the men of the Fifth corps and thereafter defend 
the left of the line. 

Twenty-seven years ago in my report to General Hooker I 
wrote substantially : 

"Now, as to the causes of this disaster to my corps : 

"ist. I was limited by orders to the position to be de 
fended. Though constantly threatened and apprised of the mov 
ing of the enemy in a westerly direction, yet the woods were so 
dense that he was able to mass a large force, whose exact where 
abouts neither patrols, reconnoissance nor scouts accurately as 
certained. Jackson succeeded in forming a column nearly three 
times my strength behind the forest opposite to and outflanking 
my right. 

"2nd. By the panic produced by the enemy s reverse fire 
from flank and rear regiments and artillery were thrown sud 
denly upon those in position. 

"3rd. The absence of General Barlow s brigade, which I 
had previously located in reserve and in echelon with Colonel 
von Gilsa, General Devens right flank, so as to cover that flank. 
This was the only general reserve I had." 

Stonewall Jackson was victorious. Even his enemies praise 
him, but, fortunately for us, it was the last battle which, under 
Providence, he waged against the American Union. For, in 
bold planning, in energy of execution, which he had the power 
to diffuse in indefatigable activity, and moral ascendency, Jack 
son stood head and shoulders above his confreres, and after his 
death General Lee could not replace him. 

Once I was asked : "How can you believe in prayer with 
two Generals equally sincere both praying, but upon opposite 
sides?" My response is: "Both were favorably answered." Jack- 



2O CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

son doubtless plead for success, and never for his own life. He 
attained a wonderful success for himself and for Lee, and that 
against great odds, and amid the great joy of victory his spark 
of life went out in a meteoric splendor. As for me, I was beaten, 
mortified beyond expression till, like Jonah watching Ninevah, I 
wanted to die; but success followed success from that time to 
the end of the war, so far as my corps and my men were con 
cerned, and though I went at Chancellorsville through the valley 
of the shadow of death, I lived to see my petition fully and 
abundantly answered in the success of the Union cause and the 
reunion of all the states. 

Since preparing the foregoing paper I have had a conversa 
tion with General Fitzhugh Lee, who commanded a cavalry 
brigade at the battle of Chancellorsville. He said that he was 
reconnoitring when he came upon a wooded knoll opposite von 
Gilsa s position. Sitting on his horse he could see von Gilsa s 
men, who appeared to occupy the right of our line, and also the 
troops of General Schurz in the open field in his rear. He rode 
back at least a quarter of a mile to where Jackson had intended 
to start his left when he should advance upon my position. He 
begged Jackson to ride with him to the wooded knoll, which he 
did. He says that on reaching the knoll Jackson took a good 
look through an opening in the trees and, not saying a word, 
rode rapidly back and moved the left of his command a quarter 
of a mile farther, resting it near that knoll; then they all made 
ready and were advanced as I have described. It was that last 
move which put so many men beyond my right flank. 



THE MISSISSIPPI FLOTILLA. 

BY 
W. H. C. MICHAEL, LATE U. S. NAVY. 

(Read October 6, 1886.) 

In a conversation with the writer in 1880, General Grant re 
marked that "without the gunboats on the Mississippi and its 
tributaries any attempt of the army to wrest from the Confed 
eracy the Mississippi valley must have proved futile ; indeed, the 
Confederate states could have prolonged the war indefinitely but 
for the services of the Mississippi squadron." 

It fell to the lot of that gallant officer, Commander John 
Rogers of the navy, to be assigned to the duty of forming the 
nucleus of the Mississippi squadron, which, though considered 
of little significance at first, w r as destined to become an indis 
pensable force in the prosecution of the war. In May, 1861, he 
purchased at Cincinnati three river steamers the Tyler, Lexing 
ton and Conestoga. These he immediately had altered into 
gunboats by raising around them perpendicular bulwarks of oak, 
five inches thick, that should be proof against musketry and 
pierced for ports, but without iron plating. The boilers were 
dropped into the hold and the steam pipes were lowered as much 
as possible. The heaviest guns carried by these vessels were 64- 
pounder smooth-bore and 32-pounder rifled Parrott s. When 
completed they were at once taken to Cairo, Ilinois, where they 
arrived in August, 1861. 

A contract for the construction of seven ironclads was 
awarded to that universal genius, Captain James B. Eads. These 
were to be 175 feet long, plated with two and one-half inches of 
iron forward, backed by twenty-four inches of oak. As strange 
as it may now seem, they were left without plating in the after 
parts and stern, for the reason that it was intended that they 
should be fought head-on, and never expose their sides or sterns 
to the enemy. This circumstance alone shows how crude were 

(21) 



22 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

the ideas of even such men as Eads respecting the character of 
naval service on inland waters. This oversight in the construc 
tion of these vessels proved a source of weakness, and, hence, of 
danger, in almost every instance in which they were engaged 
with the enemy. The casements of each one of the seven were 
pierced for thirteen guns. The first armament was of very doubt 
ful character, but the best a plundered and unprepared govern 
ment could furnish. 

The vessels were named after cities on the Ohio and Mis 
sissippi rivers, namely : Cairo, Carondelet, Cincinnati, Louisville, 
St. Louis, Mound City, Pittsburg. It may be said without re 
flection on other vessels that these, with the Benton, formed the 
main strength of the Mississippi squadron throughout the war. 
More pretentious vessels were built, but owing to extreme bad 
workmanship, or appearing too late upon the scene, bore no pro 
portionate share in the fighting. The Benton had twice the ton 
nage of either one of the seven, was 202 feet long and well con 
structed, the latter being explained by the fact that she was not 
built by, but purchased for, the government. She was built for 
a snag boat. Her armament at first consisted of sixteen guns, 
the heaviest being 9-inch shell guns. Aside from her sluggish 
ness she was without doubt the most formidable boat in the 
squadron. The Essex was next to the Benton in size, and su 
perior to her in armament, but after the reduction of Fort Henry 
it was not her fortune to be identified with many of the impor 
tant achievements of the Mississippi squadron. The ironclads, 
when finished, were turned over to the Quartermaster s depart 
ment in December, 1861. It is amusing to reflect that gunboats, 
at the beginning of the war, were listed among quartermaster s 
stores. Just imagine a requisition on a Q. M. for one ironclad 
or one wooden gunboat ! 

The idea of a river navy in 1861 was so novel that the au 
thorities seemed at a loss to know whether the "auxiliary," as 
they styled it, belonged to the army or navy. The idea was 
hooted at as an impracticable one by many of the most prominent 
officers of both branches of the service. The Secretary of the 
Navy, referring to the subject in his report as late as 1862, says: 
"The service was anomalous in its character, and there was with 
many great credulity as to the utility and practicability of gun 
boats in carrying on hostilities on the river, where it was be- 



THE MISSISSIPPI FLOTILLA. 23 

lieved batteries on the banks could prevent their passage." 
Neither department seemed willing to assume the responsibility 
of caring for and directing the novel force. Confusion and delay 
resulted from this condition of things. There was lack of inter 
est in the enterprise, lack of money in carrying on the work, lack 
of men for crews and lack of armament. What men there were 
knew nothing of the duties aboard a man-of-war. They were of 
a very heterogeneous description, some being from the lakes, 
some from the steamboat service on the river and some from the 
army. An order was issued from Washington to detail 1,100 
men from the army to supply the deficiency, but General Hal- 
leek would not consent to the detail unless the soldeirs were ac 
companied by their officers, who should command them aboard 
the vessels. 

Luckily at this juncture Captain A. H. Foote, one of the 
most level-headed men in the navy, succeeded to the command 
of the embryo squadron. He immediately set about placing the 
fleet in order, and sought to secure for it the recognition from 
the Navy Department which it subsequently, received. He 
promptly refused to accept soldiers detailed from the army on 
terms proposed by General Halleck. The Secretary of War and 
Secretary of the Navy were both informed that it were far bet 
ter for the vessels to go into action half manned rather than 
to have such an endless cause of confusion introduced into the 
flotilla. It was a fortunate circumstance that Foote was thrown 
into contact with General. Grant as the commanding officer at 
Cairo just at this critical moment in the formation of the fleet. 
These two men were of the same general type of mind. They 
were both intensely practical and as free as possible from red- 
tape foolishness. Their happy co-operation overcame many ob 
stacles and prepared the way for successes that would have been 
lost to the Union cause under less favorable circumstances. 
Neither Grant nor Fremont cared to exercise any control over the 
flotilla, and all the former asked was co-operation, which Foote 
gave promptly and heartily. It soon became apparent, however, 
that the "river navy" rightly belonged to the Navy Department 
and should be under its direct and absolute control. Accordingly 
Captain Foote was made a flag officer with the rank of Major 
General, which relieved him for the time being of a certain class 
of petty annoyances to which he had been subjected, and a few 



24 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

months later the flotilla was formally transferred to the navy. 
Flag Officer Foote was now able to write to the Secretary of the 
Navy: "If the flotilla does not now accomplish something for 
the Union cause, it will be the fault of the Navy Department 
and the officer in command of the flotilla." 

At the time Captain Foote took command of the fleet it was 
composed of three wooden gunboats, nine ironclads and thirty- 
eight mortar boats. Some of the latter were not yet finished. 
The mortar boats were rafts of blocks of solid timber, carrying 
each one 1 3-inch mortar. This was the beginning of a squadron 
which, before the war came to a close, numbered more than one 
hundred vessels. 

While preparations were making for more vigorous work, 
the Tyler, Lexington and Conestoga were by no means inactive. 
They were constantly employed in reconnoitering up and down 
the Ohio and Mississippi, the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers. 
In these excursions they were present when Grant seized Padu- 
cah and Smithland ; covered the advance of troops on the Mis 
souri side in a feint on Columbus ; drove a rebel gunboat under 
the batteries at that place ; broke up a rebel camp on the Cum 
berland, killing several of the enemy and capturing considerable 
Confederate property, and did much to keep alive attachment to 
the Union where it existed along these streams. 

On November 7, 1861, the Lexington and Tyler convoyed 
3,000 troops, under command of General Grant, to Belmont, a 
point nearly opposite Columbus, where there was a Confederate 
camp. After a short and sharp fight the enemy were driven from 
the field and took refuge behind the high bank of the river under 
cover of the guns on the opposite side. The victory somewhat 
demoralized our soldiers, who scattered about shaking hands and 
congratulating each other upon how they had got away with the 
Johnnies. Some of the officers mounted stumps and delivered 
eloquent eulogies upon the gallantry of their men and upon the 
flag. While these remarkable performances were going on the 
enemy was throwing reinforcements across the river and taking- 
advantageous positions. The cry soon ran through our little 
army that they were surrounded by the enemy. Unused to such 
predicaments our men thought the proper and only thing to do 
by an army thus surrounded was to promptly surrender. But 
Grant rode among his men and told them that as they had fought 



THE MISSISSIPPI FLOTILLA. 25 

their way in they certainly could fight their way out. Under the 
inspiration of this, to them, new idea they were ready to follow 
their leader anywhere. The enemy had succeeded in wedging 
in between our men and the transports so effectually that it 
looked very much as if he would gather in a pretty good run of 
shad. At this crisis the Tyler and Lexington got the range of 
the rebels, dropped shrapnel and five-second shell among them 
so recklessly that they fell back in confusion, and before they 
could reform for a second advance our men succeeded in reach 
ing the transports and embarking. General Grant was the last 
one of the army to cross the gang-plank. The gunboats covered 
the retreat of the transports and succeeded in punishing the en 
emy a good deal. The transports had not gone far when it was 
discovered that forty men of the 7th Iowa infantry had been left 
behind. The Tyler returned, shelled the enemy back, made a 
landing and took the soldiers aboard. They had missed their 
course in getting back to the transports and found safety in se 
cure hiding places in the jungle on the river bank. 

The importance of this little fight centers in the fact that it 
was the first pitched battle of the war in the Mississippi valley 
proper ; the first battle of the war in which General Grant com 
manded and the first battle in which the gunboats took part. And 
it should not be overlooked that the gunboats on this occasion 
not only rendered a service to the army and to the country in an 
ordinary sense, but, in the light of General Grant s subsequent 
career, in a larger and more particular sense. It may be claimed 
in all fairness that at the very beginning of hostilities on the 
Mississippi river the gunboats by their great service embalmed 
their memory in glory and took their place in undying history. 

Fort Henry was the next point fixed upon by General Grant 
and Flag Officer Foote for a combined attack of the army and 
gunboats. This fort was an earthwork with five bastions, situ 
ated on the east bank of the Tennessee river, on low ground, and 
so favorably located as to command the river below for a dis 
tance of three miles. There were mounted in the fort one 10- 
inch Columbiad, one 6o-pounder rifle, two 42 and eight 32- 
pounders. The flotilla was in position below the fort at the time 
agreed upon, but the army was detained by heavy rains and mud. 
After waiting in vain for three days for the army to come up, 
Foote determined to attack the fort alone. A little after noon 



26 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

on February 6, 1862, he advanced upon the fort in the following- 
order : The armored vessels formed the first line and the wooden 
ones the second. Firing began at 1,700 yards, the vessels advanc 
ing to within 600 yards of the works.. The fighting was sharp 
and decisive. In one hour and forty minutes after firing began 
the rebel flag was hauled down and General Tilghman sur 
rendered the fort and garrison to the navy. Upon the arrival 
of Grant s army, a few hours after, the prisoners and all were 
turned over to it. 

In this fight the first one in which the ironclads were en 
gaged these vessels demonstrated their ability to stand the se 
verest battering the enemy was able at that time to give them, 
provided the boats could fight head-on." Some of them were 
struck fairly over thirty times, sustaining only slight indentures. 
But for a serious disaster to the Essex the fort would have been 
captured without loss on our side. A shot penetrated the port 
bow of the Essex, killing several people, passing through the 
middle boiler and causing the vessel to fill with scalding water 
and steam. All who could do so jumped overboard to escape a 
more horrible death. The fleet lost two killed and nine wounded, 
besides twenty-eight badly scalded, many of whom died. There 
were nineteen soldiers on board, nine of whom were scalded, four 
fatally. The fate of the Essex made fearfully apparent a class of 
accidents to which high pressure gunboats were liable. This was 
a. handsome fight. The enemy s guns were about on a level with 
the boats, and hence, in the matter of elevation, neither held the 
vantage ground. The results were very encouraging to the offi 
cers and men of the flotilla, and the experience derived went a 
long way towards preparing them for the succession of fights in 
which they were soon to take part. 

The Tyler, Lexington and Conestoga pushed on up the Ten 
nessee river for the purpose of destroying a railroad bridge 
twenty miles up, and capturing some boats that were known to 
have sought safety in flight. In this they were successful, be 
sides capturing the Eastport, a ram that the rebels were building, 
and destroying a rebel camp at Savannah. Part of the flotilla 
went round to Fort Donelson and assisted in the capture of that 
important point. From here the ironclads returned to Cairo and 
soon found employment at Island No. 10, while the Tyler and 
Lexington kept in hailing distance of Grant on the Tennessee. 



THE MISSISSIPPI FLOTILLA. 27 

Opportunity to serve that General and his army, much in 
the same manner as at Belmont, presented itself April 6th. That 
they performed their duty well is attested by the reports of both 
commanding officers, as also others officers who watched with 
eagerness the fortunes of the first day at Pittsburg Landing. 
Grant says : "At a late hour in the afternoon a desperate attempt 
was made to turn our left and get possession of the landing, 
transports, etc. This point was guarded by the gunboats. And 
in repulsing the enemy much is due to them/ Unfortunately he 
does not say how much. Those who met the terrific and mad 
dened onslaught of the enemy on the left, and who know that 
they could not have maintained their position without the aid of 
the gunboats, are competent to testify. General Hurlburt, who 
commanded on the extreme left, in his report says : "From my 
own observation and the statement of prisoners the fire of the 
gunboats was most effectual in stopping the advance of the en 
emy on Sunday afternoon and night." 

The absolute truth is, the Tyler lay with her broadside at 
the mouth of the ravine upon which the extreme left of our army 
rested, and when the enemy hurled their dense ranks into this de 
pression to reach our sadly weakened line she rained shell and 
cannister and shrapnel upon him so thick and fast that he with 
drew precipitately, leaving his dead and dying piled one upon 
the other in the ravine. Those who saw that winrow of mangled 
human forms after the battle needed no other proof of the awful 
havoc wrought by the fire of the gunboats at that critical moment. 
Beauregard says in his report : "The enemy broke and sought 
refuge behind a commanding eminence covering Pittsburg Land 
ing, not more than a half mile distant, under cover of the gun 
boats, which kept up a fierce and annoying fire, with shot and 
shell of the heaviest description." He gives as his reason for 
his army being unable to withstand the onslaught of our boys 
the next day to be that, "during the night after the first day s 
fighting, the enemy broke the men s rest by a discharge at meas 
ured intervals of heavy shells thrown from the gunboats." In 
other place he refers to the Union army as "sheltered by such an 
auxiliary as their gunboats." The impression among the Con 
federates was that the two gunboats saved Grant s army from 
capture. And our boys, who laid on the banks of the Tennessee 
in the rain and muS throughout that awful Sunday night, will 



28 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

not withhold the statement that the screech of the 64-pound shells 
from the Tyler and Lexington, as they flew over their heads into 
the disturbed ranks of the enemy, was a sweet lullaby to them; 
that they felt secure for the time under the guns of the black 
watchdogs that moved up and down the river close behind them 
all that long night. I think it may be said in the light of all the 
testimony that Grant and his army were saved at Shiloh by the 
gunboats. 

While the Tyler and Lexington were doing such important 
service at Shiloh the ironclads and mortar boats were co-operat 
ing with General Pope in operations for the reduction of Island 
No. 10 and the capture of New Madrid and Tiptonville. After 
bombarding the island for about a month circumstances war 
ranted the hazard of attempting to run a vessel by the batteries 
on the island under cover of the night. With the support of 
gunboats below General Pope felt confident that he could bag the 
entire rebel army confronting him. In a dispatch to Foote he 
said: "The lives of thousands of men and the success of our 
operations hang upon your decision; with two gunboats all is 
safe." Only one of Foote s commanding officers favored the 
plan. Save Captain Walke all agreed in the opinion that any at 
tempt to run a single vessel by six forts, under fire of fifty guns 
with the muzzles almost touching the vessel s sides, must result 
in certain destruction to the vessel. Nevertheless, Walke was 
ready to make the venture. The passage of the Carondelet was 
a highly dramatic as well as daring event of the war. At 10 
o clock when the vessel swung loose and headed down stream on 
her perilous trip, a terrific thunderstorm came on; in the midst 
of thunder that almost drowned the noise of the enemy s guns 
and with the lurid lightning playing all about her, she plunged 
down through the narrow and foaming channel, exposed alike to 
the fury of the storm and the enemy s terrific fire ; now wrapped 
in impenetrable darkness, now in the full blaze of the lightning s 
glare, hardly knowing whither she was heading, yet held firmly 
in her course by the steady hand of her pilot, William R. Hoel, 
aided by Charles Wilson, who stood knee deep in the foaming 
water on the forecastle heaving the lead, crying "n-o b-o-t-tom," 
she made the passage in safety and well-earned glory. 

It has been thought that the first feat of this character was 
accomplished by Admiral Farragiit in his passage of Forts St. 



THE MISSISSIPPI FLOTILLA. 29 

Phillips and Jackson. But that event occurred three weeks after 
the event just described,, and instead of several vessels co-operat 
ing to distract and confuse the enemy s fire, as was the case with 
Farragut s fleet, there was but a single vessel in this instance to 
face the peril of the passage. Later in the war such undertakings 
came to be looked upon as less dangerous, but this fact does not 
cleract from the gallantry of Walke nor diminish the glory of 
the precedent set by his vessel. 

The success of the Carondelet sent dismay to the heart of the 
enemy, which was shown by the confusion and indecision of his 
conduct. The Pittsburg followed the example of the Carondelet 
on the night of April 6th. With the aid of these boats Pope 
crossed his army and pursued the enemy to Tiptonville. Unable 
to escape on account of an impassable swamp in their rear and the 
river being in possession of the gunboats, the rebel army of 
7,000 men and three general officers laid own their arms. The 
island surrendered to the navy that night. Thus within three 
days after the passage of the Carondelet the entire rebel force, 
with the batteries and a vast amount of property, were sur 
rendered into our hands. Without any delay the flotilla pro 
ceeded down the river in hope of finding some rebel gunboats 
that were reported to be in the vicinity of Fort Pillow. 

Fifty miles below New Madrid five of the enemy s armed 
vessels were sighted. But without showing fight they retreated 
under the guns of Fort Pillow. The "river navy" had now been 
tested as an immediate auxiliary of the army in battle, had fought 
single-handed a formidable fort, had run by a series of batteries 
under cover of darkness, and now it was hoped the time had come 
when she would be able to meet an enemy in open water. The 
Confederate gunboats, however, did not seem eager to meet our 
vessels, and the latter settled down to a regular bombardment of 
the fort. With the co-operation of Pope s army it was confidently 
hoped that it could be taken within a week. Plans had been 
agreed upon and the army was ready to do its part, when an 
order came from General Halleck, ordering Pope with his army 
northward. The flotilla continued to shell the fort by towing a 
mortar boat down within easy range, where under the protection 
of an ironclad it would throw a given number of shells, when a 
relief would take their places. 

While this work was progressing Flag Officer Foote, whose 



.30 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

health had been seriously impaired by a stubborn wound re 
ceived at Fort Donelson, turned the command over to Captain 
Charles H. Davis and went north to recruit his shattered health. 
He had taken the flotilla at its birth, organized and equipped it, 
proved its utility and gave it an honorable place in history. He 
was loath to leave it, even for a brief period. Bearing with him 
the love and admiration of his officers and men, he took his de 
parture May 9, 1862, never to be permitted to return. The men 
tal strain and draining wound so long endured was more than he 
could bear and he died within a year. 

The enemy had eight gunboats and rams lying under the 
guns of Fort Pillow. They were officially known as the River 
Defense Fleet. On the morning of May 10 four of these vessels, 
the Bragg, Price, Sumter and Van Dorn, came up and attacked 
the Cincinnati, the latter being on duty guarding the mortar 
boat. The attack was characterized by spirit and dash. Owing 
to the fog the signals of the flagship were not seen or under 
stood by the other boats, and a half hour elapsed before rein 
forcements came to the relief of the Cincinnati, who was making 
a most gallant fight with her four powerful antagonists single- 
handed. The Mound City, Carondelet, Pittsburg and Benton 
got under way and came down one at a time. They soon drove 
the enemy under cover, but not until he had done serious damage 
to the Cincinnati and Mound City. Whatever the damage done 
to the rams by our boats, they were all ready for action at Mem 
phis a month later. Altogether the affair was not very creditable 
to the flotilla. The damages to the Cincinnati and Mound City 
were promptly repaired and, with the addition of the rams Queen 
of the West and Monarch, the flotilla was considered by Captain 
Davis the equal of any emergency the River Defense Fleet might 
thrust upon it. 

Fort Pillow was evacuated June 5th, and the flotilla moved 
down the river immediately and came to anchor at the head of 
"Hen and Chickens," a group of islands five miles above Mem 
phis. The rebel fleet, under command of Commodore Montgom 
ery, was lying at the levee in front of the city. It consisted of 
eight boats, all fitted for rams, in addition to their armament. 
They were the Little Rebel, General Lovell, General Price, Gen 
eral Bragg, Sumter, Van Dorn, General Beauregard and Thomp 
son. The Union fleet consisted of five ironclads and two rams. 



THE MISSISSIPPI FLOTILLA. 3! 

They were the Louisville, Carondelet, Benton, Cairo and St. 
Louis and the rams Queen of the West and Monarch. 

Early in the morning of the 6th of June the rebel vessels 
moved out into the stream and formed in double line of battle 
ready to meet our advance. The eneemy had not long to wait, 
for our vessels were already moving down upon him. The 
heights were crowded with people who had gathered to see, as 
they doubtless hoped, the Yankee gunboats cleaned out. But in 
this they were doomed to sad disappointment. The Confeder 
ates fired the first gun. Our vessels reserved their fire till 
within certain range. In fact, we had some scruples about firing 
towards the women and children on the heights. But a few shots 
from the enemy dissipated these scruples and the enemy s fire 
was returned with liberal interest. The ironclads had hardly 
got down to business when, contrary to the plan of battle, the two 
rams, commanded by the impetuous Ellet, sped down through 
our fleet and dashed into the midst of the enemy, exposing them 
selves not only to the combined attack of his boats, but to our 
fire as well. The Queen made a. dive for the Lovell and, striking 
her amidships, sent her to the bottom and out of sight. As she 
was rounding to for a chance at the Price the Beauregard 
rammed her in the stern and sent her limping to the Arkansas 
shore. The Beauregard and Price made for the Monarch from 
opposite sides, but were not quick enough, and came together with 
? crash that cut the Price down to the water line, and she put into 
the Arkansas shore. The Monarch turned and successfully 
rammed the Beauregard ; at the same time the Benton gave her a 
raking shot, and the Monarch towed her to the Arkansas 
shore, where the Little Rebel soon after went with her steam 
chest exploded and her plating pretty much all knocked off. The 
River Defense Fleet by this time had had all the defense punched 
and knocked out of it and the remnant lit out down the river, 
with the Monarch and ironclads close in their wake. The excit 
ing chase continued for ten miles below the city and resulted in 
the destruction of all the fugitives save one the Van Dorn. 
Thus the River Defense Fleet was literally wiped out of exist 
ence in its first encounter with our fleet. Naval history does not 
furnish an instance of a more complete victory or one that in 
volved greater consequences. 

This victory opened the Mississippi to the mouth of the 



32 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

Yazoo and transferred the most important military operations 
from the outskirts to the very heart of the Confederacy. Had 
our flotilla been beaten the enemy could have laid siege to Cairo, 
Cincinnati, Louisville and St. Louis, and accomplished other mis 
chief beyond calculation. Memphis surrendered the same day. 

A few days after this decisive and important victory the St. 
Louis, Mound City, Lexington and Conestoga started for the 
White river to co-operate with General Curtis, who was coming 
down through Missouri and Arkansas. On the i/th of June the 
boats discovered two well built earthworks at St. Charles, eighty 
miles up the White river. An attack was immediately determined 
upon and the boats were formed in line, the Mound City taking 
the advance. This vessel had hardly entered the fight when a 
shot penetrated her casemate and exploded her steam drum. The 
scene that followed was heartrending in the extreme. The vessel 
filled with scalding water and steam, and her crew, to escape being 
cooked alive, jumped overboard. To make the scene yet more 
horrifying the heartless enemy fired upon the men who were 
struggling in the water. Out of a crew of 175 only three officers 
and twenty-two men escaped. The fight was continued to a 
finish, the works being carried by storm by Colonel Fitch, in com 
mand of an Indiana regiment, after the gunboats had dismounted 
several guns and otherwise damaged the works. 

Joseph Fry, formerly an officer in the United States navy, 
commanded the works and the indignant manner in which he was 
treated by our officers after the surrender served to remind him 
of the heartless, cowardly dog that he was. The capture of St. 
Charles opened White river, and a few days later, July i, the Mis 
sissippi flotilla shook hands with Farragut s fleet at Vicksburg. 

Thus, in one year, one month and fifteen days after the first 
hammer was struck in the construction of a gunboat for service 
on the Mississippi river a navy had been created, which had 
saved Grant and his army at Belmont, had reduced Fort Henry, 
had co-operated with the army in the capture of Fort Donelson, 
had saved the day at Shiloh, had challenged the admiration of 
the world by its daring and dramatic passage of Island No. 10, 
which resulted in the bagging of an entire army of 7,000 men, 
had driven the enemy under cover at Fort Pillow, had destroyed 
the enemy s entire fleet at Memphis, and without stopping to take 
breath pushed on down into the very heart of the enemy s coun- 



THE MISSISSIPPI FLOTILLA. 33 

try, where it struck the heavy blows that compelled the surrender 
of St. Charles on the White river; and having opened the two 
rivers, thereby splitting the Confederacy assunder, it was ready 
to enter upon a career, with the mouth of the Yazoo as its base, 
which for novelty, desperate situations, grand achievement and 
duration is without parallel in naval history. 



34 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 



HOW THE MISSISSIPPI WAS OPENED. 

BY 
W. A. C. MICHAEL, LATE OF THE U. S. NAVY. 

(Read January 6, 1887.) 

Farragut dragged his fleet of seventeen vessels, carrying 154 
guns, through the mud at the delta into the Mississippi river in 
April, 1862. All of these vessels were built for ships of war, un 
able to fire head-on, and were, hence, ill adapted for river service. 
In addition to these vessels he had five armed steamers, hastily 
equipped for service, and a number of mortar schooners. With 
this force, by the most skilled and gallant fighting. Forts St. 
Philip and Jackson were speedily reduced and the enemy s de 
fense fleet wholly captured or destroyed. Forts Pike and Ma- 
comb, guarding the approaches to New Orleans by way of Lake 
Pontchartrain, Fort Livingston at Barrataria bay and Fort Ber 
wick at Berwick bay, were hastily abandoned, thus opening un 
disputed way to that city. All the guns the enemy could remove 
from the latter forts were taken to Vicksburg. New Orleans 
was surrendered. Without taking time to repair his vessels the 
energetic Admiral dispatched seven of them, under Captain 
Craven, up the river to take possession of Baton Rouge and 
Natchez, and to destroy such boats and property of the enemy as 
they might find. The fleet met with no opposition until it 
reached Vicksburg. The civil and military authorities of this 
city replied to the demand for surrender that "Mississippians 
know not how to surrender." No wonder they felt defiant in 
their natural stronghold ; for, indeed, the rugged hills above, be 
low and in the rear, with their frowning tops standing in defiance, 
were enough to make their possessors bold and haughty and to 
deter a foe, without the miles of entrenchments bristling with 
cannon, that afterwards defied for months the combined genius 
and energy of our army and navy. 



HOW THE MISSISSIPPI WAS OPENED. 35 

The fleet under Craven arrived before Vicksburg the 22nd of 
May, 1862. With a land force of 20,000 men to co-operate with 
the navy at this time it can hardly be doubted that the city might 
have been taken and held. As it was the vessels were powerless 
to do more than silence the river batteries temporarily and then 
remain idle spectators while the fortifications were extended and 
strengthened. This was the condition of affairs when Farragut 
arrived, a short while after, with several other vessels and mortar 
schooners under David D. Porter. Though the damaged condi 
tion of the boats, the low stage of the river and the absence of a 
land force were against him, Farragut determined to attack the 
place. 

The enemy had at this time in position to repel attack from 
the river twenty-six guns. One Q-inch, three 8-inch and one 18- 
pounder rifle were planted on the highest point on the bulffs above 
the city in the bend, where they had a raking fire on the vessels 
and were as little exposed as possible; just above them were 
works containing 24-pounders ; a half mile below the city, fifty 
feet above the water, was a battery containing six 32-pounders 
and four 42-pounders, commanded by Captain Todd, a brother- 
in-law of President Lincoln. The other eleven guns were scattered 
along the ridge in the most advantageous positions for a mile or 
more. It will be seen by this that the rebel batteries at this time 
extended over a distance of three miles and would have our ves 
sels in range for at least three-fourths of an hour. The fleet got 
under way June 28, and after a well sustained fight, lasting sev 
eral hours, the enemy s guns were silenced and the boats came to 
anchor above the city, having lost fifteen killed and thirty 
wounded. The vessels were repeatedly struck, but none disabled. 
After the passage of the fleet Farragut wrote to the Secretary of 
the Navy that "his vessels had run by the batteries and could do 
it repeatedly, and that the enemy s guns could be silenced tem 
porarily, but to accomplish more than that a sufficient land force 
was necessary." 

Orders were received directing Porter to proceed at once with 
his mortar schooners to Hampton Roads, whither he started 
July 2. Davis with his flotilla and Farragut with his fleet were 
at anchor below the mouth of the Yazoo with no special work to 
do. The one had fought his way down and the other had fought 
his way up the river to the point where they were lying. All the 



36 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

fortified points on the river had been wrested from the enemy 
with the exception of Vicksburg and Port Hudson. It had been 
demonstrated that these strongholds could not be taken by the 
navy alone. While the government was extremely anxious to 
capture Vicksburg, an army could not be spared at this time to 
co-operate with the navy in its reduction. 

It was rumored that the rebels were building a powerful iron 
clad ram at Yazoo City, and that she would swoop down on the 
Yankee gunboats as soon as she was ready to move. After wait 
ing a few days in vain for her to put in an appearance the Tyler, 
Carondelet and ram Queen of the West were sent up the Yazoo 
to look for her. They started on the I5th of July, and had not 
ascended the river many miles when they suddenly found what 
they were looking for. A running fight followed, in which the 
rebel ram proved herself a match for all three of her antagonists. 
She was heavily plated with railroad iron and was provided with 
an iron prow. The shells from our guns glanced off her armor, 
doing little damage. One or two shells entered her portholes, and 
it was thought a shot penetrated her hull, as she was observed 
pumping a constant stream of water. She fought her way out of 
the Yazoo and headed for Vicksburg, notwithstanding this would 
take her through both fleets. Fortunately for her every vessel 
had steam down except the Bragg, and her captain waited for 
orders. Farragut, in referring to the failure of the Captain of the 
Bragg to avail himself of so unique a chance, said : "Every man 
has one chance ; the Captain of the Bragg had his and missed it." 
The ram Lancaster had but little steam up, yet she made a move 
towards the bold enemy and received a shot through her mud- 
drum, which ended her performance. The ram, which proved to 
be the Arkansas, received a terrible hammering from our guns, 
but she was so heavily armored that only one shot crushed 
through her. She soon passed out of range of our vessels and 
tied up at the wharf in front of Vicksburg. Had our vessels been 
ready for her she would undoubtedly have been destroyed. 

Farragut and Davis were both chagrined at the bold and suc 
cessful achievement of the Arkansas and determined to attack 
her under the batteries where she lay. The Essex and Queen of 
the West were detailed for this hazardous duty. The Queen 
succeeded in ramming her and the Essex raked her at short range 
with n-inch shot, killing many of her crew, but they failed to 



HOW THE MISSISSIPPI WAS OPENED. 37 

sink her as they had hoped to do. The Essex went on down and 
the Queen returned, neither having sustained serious injury, al 
though struck many times. 

The hot season was at hand and the crews were rapidly yield 
ing to the ill effects of the climate and vicious water. Forty-five 
per cent, of the men and officers were on the sick list and unfit 
for duty. Under the circumstances it seemed the imperative duty 
of the commanders of both fleets to take their vessels away from 
the sickly locality. Farragut determined to go down the river im 
mediately, while Davis concluded to stay as long as General Wil 
liams with his small command remained. But Williams wisely 
determined to go along with Farragut, and Davis moved his base 
of operations to Helena. Here he reorganized his crews and filled 
the places of several hundred men whose terms of shipment had 
expired. The ironclad Essex and ram Sumter remained between 
Vicksburg and Baton Rouge, their nearest support being the 
Kinneo and Katahdin at the latter place. 

On the 1 5th of August General Breckenridge attacked Gen 
eral Williams, with a superior force, at Baton Rouge. Although 
our little force fought desperately it was gradually driven back 
to the river. When the gunboats could do so without endanger 
ing our men they opened up on the enemy with shrapnell and shell 
and in a short time drove him back. General Williams was killed 
and his command badly cut up, but the loss of the enemy, owing 
the destructiveness of the heavy shells and shrapnell from the 
boats, was much larger. 

It was intended that the ram Arkansas should support Breck 
enridge in his attack on Williams, but she failed to put in an ap 
pearance. The Essex lost no time in going up the river to ascer 
tain why she had thus failed. The ram was sighted not many 
miles above lying against the Louisiana shore apparently engaged 
in repairing her machinery. The Essex made for her at once. 
Without showing any resistance the ram s crew set her on fire and 
escaped to the shore. Before the Essex could send a force to ex 
tinguish the flames they had reached the magazine and the famous 
vessel blew up. Thus ended the career of the most formidable 
ram the rebels had yet built for service on the river. 

The Union force at Baton Rouge was withdrawn to New 
Orleans and the river between Vicksburg and Port Hudson was 
left in undisturbed possession of the enemy for over three months. 



38 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

This recoil from Vicksburg was not brought about by the enemy, 
but was solely the result of the army not being ready to co-operate 
with the navy in a final attack on the Sebastopol of the south. But 
this period of comparative inactivity from July to November 
was the calm before the storm. Yet it must not be understood 
that the navy was idling during this interim. An expedition was 
sent up the Yazoo in August, which spread terror and destruc 
tion along that stream as far as the Big Sunflower. Many valu 
able steamers were captured and burned, and Confederate prop 
erty valued at a half million dollars destroyed. The vessels sta 
tioned along the Mississippi and in the Tennessee and Cumber 
land were constantly on the move in keeping those rivers open for 
army communication, in convoying transports, in supporting weak 
points and chasing the irrepressible guerrilla. 

On the 1 5th of November, 1862, Commander David D. Por 
ter, holding the local rank of Acting Rear Admiral, assumed com 
mand of the squadron. Davis had already built several tinclads, 
a class of vessels found to be necessary in low stages of water 
and in operating on the tributaries to the Mississippi. Porter in 
creased their number as rapidly as possible. These vessels were 
light draught, stern and sidewheel steamboats, with half-inch iron 
bulkheads built up all around as high as the boiler deck. The 
pilot house was lowered to the hurricane deck and plated with 
inch iron. Additional protection was built around the boilers and 
steam pipes. The cabins and state rooms were altered very little. 
On the whole they were comfortable vessels for the crews and 
officers. They were armed with 12 and 24-pounder brass howit 
zers mounted on friction carriages. Later in the war some of 
the stronger vessels of this class were armed with 32-pounder Par 
rots. 

A more pretentious class of vessels was added to the squad 
ron, such as the Tuscumbia, Lafayette, Indianola, Choctaw and 
Chillicothe. These vessels were heavily plated and armed with 
loo-pounder rifles and u-inch guns, and had they been deliber 
ately built, would have been equal to any emergency on the river. 
The old ram Sampson was converted into a floating blacksmith 
and machine shop for the use of the squadron, and the Red Rover 
was altered into a hospital ship of the most convenient and com 
fortable character. Thus equipped Porter was impatient for 
work. 



HOW THE MISSISSIPPI WAS OPENED. 



39 



His wish was realized in November, 1862. Captain McAl- 
lester, Quartermaster at Cairo, gave a supper to army and naval 
officers aboard his steamer one evening. When the guests were 
about to sit down to supper a small, travel-worn man in citizen s 
clothes was ushered in and introduced as General Grant. He and 
Porter were soon engaged in conversation alone. After a few 
preliminary remarks Grant said : "When can you move with 
your gunboats?" Porter replied that he could "move within 
twenty-four hours with all the old gunboats and five or six new 
ones, together with the Tyler, Lexington and Conestoga." "Very 
well, then," replied Grant, "I will leave you now and write at once 
to Sherman to have 30,000 infantry and artillery ready to start 
for Vicksburg the moment you get to Memphis. I will return to 
Holly Springs tonight and will start with a large force for Gren 
ada as soon as possible. I will draw Pemberton, with the larger 
part of his army, out of Vicksburg and in his absence you and 
Sherman will be able to take it." Without partaking of any sup 
per the quiet, unpretentious man took his departure and rode in 
the saddle most of the way back to Holly Springs. 

This brief interview between these two great men was the 
first practical step towards the capture of Vicksburg. Grant drew 
Pemberton out of his stronghold according to the plan and Sher 
man made his attack, but the unexpected strength of the enemy s 
works, the heavy rains that came on, and the sudden return of 
Pemberton s army were obstacles that Sherman was not prepared 
to overcome, and he withdrew his army to the transports and re- 
embarked. 

The gunboats, however, accomplished their work thoroughly. 
They prepared the way for the landing of the troops. To do this 
they encountered the batteries and exposed themselves to the hid 
den danger of torpedoes planted everywhere in the river. The 
Cairo, one of the original seven ironclads, had two of these en 
gines of destruction exploded under her and sunk in thirty feet 
of water. 

The torpedoes found here were of the crudest design, being 
common demijohns filled with powder, anchored in pairs and so 
arranged as to be exploded by sufficient pressure on a connecting 
wire attached to friction primers. With the loss of the Cairo and 
the repulse of Sherman s army, the expedition was a failure in 
everything save valuable though sad experience. The army 



4O CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

learned that Vicksburg could not be reached by way of the Yazoo, 
and the navy had learned a lesson in the art of fishing for tor 
pedoes, and that demijohns filled with powder were as dangerous 
to run afoul of as when charged with average commissary whisky. 

Porter treated the affair as an episode of the war, while Sher 
man was very much cast down by the failure. The latter declared 
that he must go somewhere and clean out the rebels to raise the 
spirits of his men, and proposed going at once to Arkansas Post 
for that purpose. This fort was eighty miles up the Arkansas 
river, and was a convenient rendezvous for guerrillas, who were 
constantly embarrassing unarmed transports. Porter readily as 
sented and set about getting things ready for the expedition. At 
this juncture General McClernand arrived with orders to relieve 
Sherman of his command. Porter was greatly disappointed and 
declined taking any part in the proposed expedition if Sherman 
should be relieved before it was made. McClernand treated the 
matter very gracefully and, waiving his right to the immediate 
command, asked if there would be any objection to his going 
along. 

The expedition entered White river and passed through 
Smith s Cut-off into the Arkansas river twelve miles from its 
mouth. The army landed four miles below Arkansas Post Jan 
uary 9, 1863. The fort was a square bastioned work containing 
eleven guns, the heaviest being 9-inch. Rifle pits and trenches 
extended out from the fort, but these were made untenable by the 
gunboats. Sherman moved his army around to the rear of the 
fort and the ironclads approached near enough to send in a few 
feelers, which drew forth a vigorous response. Everything being 
in readiness, the De Kalb, Louisville and Cincinnati moved up to 
within 400 yards of the fort and opened the ball in earnest. Each 
boat was assigned to a particular casemated bastion with orders 
to reduce it. This plan was carried out completely. The gun 
boats dismounted or destroyed every gun in the fort, and when 
the army was at the point of making a general assault the enemy 
ran up a white flag. The fort, commanded by a former naval 
officer, surrendered to the navy and army of 5,000 men to Sher 
man. Immediately after the surrender McClernand assumed 
command of the land forces and wrote the report of the engage 
ment, although he had taken no part in it. 

Navy people have always looked upon the work done here by 



HOW THE MISSISSIPPI WAS OPENED. 4! 

the gunboats with no small degree of pride. The enemy was 
protected by a strongly built fort, casemated with railroad iron. 
His guns were of heavy caliber and his range perfect. In the face 
of this opposition the ironclads laid head-on and continued their 
deliberate and destructive fire till every gun in the fort was either 
dismounted or rendered unfit for use. As at Fort Henry, the ele 
vation was just right for the boats, and their iron plating forward 
afforded ample protection. Yet they sustained some damage and 
lost several men killed by the enemy s shots entering the port 
holes. The DeKalb and Louisvile lost six killed and twenty-five 
wounded. The Cincinnati, though struck often fairly and squarely, 
sustained no losses. 

The fall of Arkansas Post caused the hasty evacuation of 
St. Charles on the White river. The enemy escaped on steam 
boats, taking with him great guns and everything of value. But 
cur boats followed so closely that the guns which he had un 
loaded at Duvall s Bluff, and was in the act of loading on the 
cars for Little Rock, fell into our hands. Our vessels continued 
the chase as far up as was prudent to go. 

Orders came for the army to return to Vicksburg, where, on 
the 3<Dth of January, 1863, Grant assumed command in person and 
entered upon one of the most wonderful military performances 
of history. The tinclads were scattered along the Mississippi be 
tween Cairo and the mouth of the Yazoo, each with a defined beat, 
for the purpose of keeping open communications. The ironclads 
and rams were near the mouth of the Yazoo ready to co-operate 
with the army in any move against Vicksburg. Other tinclads 
were patrolling the Cumberland and the Tennessee and the Ohio 
between Paducah and Louisville. 

Upon Porter s return from Arkansas Post he ordered the 
ram Queen of the West to run the batteries at Vicksburg, and to 
break up communication between that place and the Red river 
country, from which locality Pemberton s army was drawing its 
principal supplies. The Queen protected her sides with cotton 
bales and started on her perilous mission at 4 120 in the morning 
of February 2nd. With thirty or more guns playing on her, she 
rammed the rebel ram Vicksburg, which was lying at the wharf, 
doing her considerable damage. She was struck several times and 
the cotton bales set on fire, but without serious damage or loss 
she accomplished her exciting passage. 



42 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

The Queen entered upon her work of destroying flatboats 
and other craft used by the enemy in running supplies across the 
river. She made several important captures of steamboats, and 
was in the midst of a most remarkable career of usefulness when, 
through the rashness of her young commander, Ellett, not then 
twenty years of age, she ventured too far up Red river and was 
disabled off Gordon s Landing by a battery that was too heavy 
for her. Unable to move his vessel, and prevented from burning 
her by having a wounded officer aboard, Ellet escaped with a part 
of his crew on cotton bales to a prize steamer lying below. Some 
of the crew had taken the small boats and made their escape 
without their commander s knowledge. Their explanation was 
that they desired to hurry up the steamer for the removal of the 
wounded officer. Thus the best ram of the fleet had passed into 
the hands of the enemy with nothing but her steam pipe cut. 

When Ellet got out into the Mississippi he found the power 
ful ironclad Indianola, which had run the batteries on the I2th, 
awaiting him with coal and supplies. She had arrived a little too 
late to curb the impetuosity of young Ellet and save the squadron 
from humiliation and loss. The Indianola turned her head up 
stream with the coal barge in tow, but made very slow progress 
against the current. 

The Queen was hastily repaired and in company with the 
ram Webb started in hot pursuit of Ellet s fleeing party. When 
they entered the Mississippi and found the Indianola they hur 
riedly retreated into Red river, where they were joined by two 
armed cotton-clad steamers. Thus reinforced they returned for 
the purpose of attack. The Indianola offered them fight in day 
light, but they declined it, preferring to take their chances under 
cover of darkness when their antagonist would find it difficult to 
use her heavy guns to advantage. The fight was carried on for 
two hours with spirit and dash on the part of the rams and with 
dogged determination on the part of the Indianola. But in the 
darkness the rams had the advantage and by rapid movements 
escaped the shots of the ironclad and succeeded in repeatedly 
ramming her in her weakest parts till they sank her. Thus two- 
of the best vessels of the squadron passed into the enemy s hands 
within two weeks, and the river between Vicksburg and Port 
Hudson was again in his undisturbed possession. 

In the hope of causing the enemy to blow up the Indianola,, 



HOW THE MISSISSIPPI WAS OPENED. 43 

which they were already trying to raise, a mock monitor, con 
structed out of an old mud scow, with barrels for chimneys, and 
mud furnaces from which poured forth volumes of dense smoke, 
was sent down. The dummy drew forth from the rebel batteries 
a most terrific fire, but in dignified and contemptuous silence she 
floated by. The Queen of the West had come up for pumps to 
use in raising the Indianola, and when she saw the formidable 
looking dummy bearing down on her she turned and fled precipi 
tately. She carried the alarming news to the Webb and together 
they lit out for Red river, leaving the party at work on the In 
dianola to take care of themselves. They hurriedly placed a 
couple of the Indianola s guns muzzle to muzzle and fired them 
off, set her upper works on fire and escaped to the shore. 

The dummy accomplished more than was expected of it, and 
while the ruse caused unbounded fun on our side of the river, the 
enemy, when he discovered the trick played on him, could hardly 
suppress his rage. The newspapers published in Vicksburg de 
nounced the officers in command of the batteries as consummate 
stupids because they couldn t tell an old scow from a monitor. 

The Queen of the West did not venture again into the Mis 
sissippi, but went on some mission into the lower bayons, where 
she fell in with some of Farragut s vessels and was destroyed. 
The Webb remained very quiet above the falls in Red River till 
the close of the war when she nearly succeeded in escaping into 
the gulf with a valuable cargo of cotton. The telegraph was 
swifter than she and our vessels overhauled her below New 
Orleans, where her crew ran ashore and set her on fire. 

Hearing of the loss of the Queen and Indianola, Farragut 
determined to run the batteries at Port Hudson, and if possible 
recapture them before they could be repaired; and take up posi 
tion under the batteries at Vicksburg or Port Hudson. After a 
hard and most gallant fight with the batteries, in which he sus 
tained severe losses, he succeeded in getting by with the Hart 
ford and Albatross. When he arrived at the wreck of the In 
dianola he learned that the dummy had done the work for him, 
and he proceeded on up to the lower batteries at Vicksburg. He 
communicated with the squadron above, requesting that a ram be 
sent him so that he would be prepared for the Queen of the West 
and Webb should they venture out to attack him. Porter was 
absent on the Deer Creek expedition and there was some hesitancy 



44 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

about complying with Farragut s request. General Ellet, how 
ever, concluded to send the rams Switzerland and Lancaster be 
low, though neither vessel was fit to make the venture. The for 
mer got through, considerably damaged, while the other was so 
completely riddled that she sunk within range of the enemy s 
guns. Her crew was compelled to make their escape on cotton 
bales. 

With this force Farragut blockaded the river between Vicks- 
burg and Port Hudson effectually, and it was never again in 
possession of the enemy. Vicksburg being thus completely cut 
off from her main depot of supplies was greatly weakened, and in 
the event of Grant s success in the rear the reduction of the place 
was now only a question of time. 

All sorts of expedients were resorted to by both army and 
navy to get to the rear of Vicksburg. An attempt was made to 
cut a canal across Young s Point, but the water would not flow 
in ; another attempt was made to cut a canal from the river to 
Lake Providence, in the hope of getting below through bayous, 
the Tensas, Wachita and Red rivers. A desperate attempt was 
made to get behind Haine s Bluff by a tortuous route through 
Yazoo Pass, and another similar attempt was made through 
Steele s Bayou and Deer Creek, but all in vain. The only one not 
yet tried was the one that proved successful, but which involved 
a hazard that even Grant and Porter hesitated to take till every 
other means that could be thought of were tried. 

To show the extraordinary character of some of the work 
done by the gunboats it is only necessary to give a brief descrip 
tion of what is known as the Steele Bayou and Deer Creek expe 
dition, which was made under the personal direction of Admiral 
Porter, whose untiring energy, indifference to all kinds of danger 
and wonderful resources of genius would have made it successful 
if it had been possible to succeed. While this remarkable expedi 
tion was being made, another by way of the Yazoo Pass was mak 
ing almost identically the same history. 

The ironclads Louisville, Carondelet, Mound City, Cincin 
nati, Pittsburg, two mortar boats and four tugs were selected for 
the expedition. Sherman was to accompany the boats with 10,000 
men. Grant had gone with Porter on a tug some miles in the 
direction the expedition would take and was hopeful that it might 
succeed, and Porter admits that he was quite confident at the start 



HOW THE MISSISSIPPI WAS OPENED. 45 

that he would be throwing shells into Vicksburg from the rear in 
a week. The rains had swollen the Mississippi and Yazoo to an 
unprecedented height, and the back-water had converted the 
country into a vast sea, studded with trees. The average depth 
of the water was seventeen feet. Great forests had become chan 
nels, and wherever open places were found the vessels could run 
at good speed. Into this forest-sea the fleet plunged and for 
many miles enjoyed most novel and comfortable sailing The ani 
mals of the forest that could climb had taken refuge in the im 
mense trees as their only arks of safety. Coons, wild cats, mice 
and reptiles were everywhere seen clinging to the limbs overhead 
and looking down in apparent wonder and alarm at the singular 
intrusion. Porter says : "It was a curious sight to see a line of 
ironclads pushing their way through the long, wide lanes in the 
woods without touching on either side, though occasionally a rude 
tree would throw its Briarian arms around the smokestacks of an 
ironclad or transport and knock them out of perpendicular. It 
looked as if the world had suddenly turned topsy-turvey. The 
situation was so wild and unnatural that I would not have been 
surprised to have seen a rebel ram lurking somewhere in the 
bushes, ready to spring upon us ; or if one had suddenly slid down 
a tree and attacked us it would hardly have added to the novelty 
of the experience." The fleet had gone perhaps ten miles, when 
it came to a forest of very large trees old monarchs of the woods 
whose branches were so dense that a ray of sun rarely pene 
trated them. Here the line of battle was broken. The boats 
could not squeeze through the trees, and as a last resort the ex 
periment of ramming them down with the heavy ironclads was 
tried and proved successful. In the thoroughly soaked earth the 
roots gave way and the boats butted their way through. 

Sherman disembarked his troops on the banks of Cypress 
Bayou and gave the pleasing assurance to Porter that the "boats 
would have a devil of a time getting through," the force of which 
remark was fully realized ere long. This bayou was a kind of 
canal between the Big Sunflower and the Yazoo, entering into 
the latter not far from Maine s Bluff. On one side was a high 
levee, protecting finely improved plantations. On the other side 
was a vast overflow. There was about nine feet of water in the 
ditch, and the wide ironclads nearly touched each side. Sherman 
was to follow along the levee, and find no fault with the gun- 



46 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

boats if they failed to "keep step." But somehow the boats got 
ahead kind o fell out of ranks, as it were, and came near being 
bagged for their want of discipline. A few miles on several hun 
dred bales of cotton were found lying piled along the levee. Sud 
denly they burst into a blaze and men were seen sneaking from 
pile to pile with torches setting them on fire. A truthful contra 
band informed Porter that it would require two days for the cot 
ton to burn up. Rather than wait he gave orders to keep the 
exposed side of the vessels wet down with hose and go ahead 
fast. It was a red-hot undertaking, but the vessels got through 
slightly scorced and a few men blistered. The darkies lining 
the bank looked on in utter amazement, but when the advance 
ironclad crashed through a bridge spanning the ditch, as if it had 
been made of straw, they exclaimed in concert: "De good Lo d, 
what will dem Linkum gunboats do nex ?" Two more bridges 
were butted down and the Cincinnati fetched up in a patch of 
small willows, which caught in the cracks of her overhang and 
bound her as tight as the threads of the Lilliputians held Gulli 
ver. By cutting under the water with jackknives and by back 
ing and pushing the boats got through, only to meet yet other 
and not less insurmountable obstructions. The ditch got nar 
rower and the large trees that lined the banks were so near to 
gether that men had to hew down the sides of many of them to 
allow the boats to squeeze through. Dead limbs would fall down 
on the skylights and small boats, making a wreck of all. Some 
times rat, mice, squirrels, lizards and snakes would fall upon the 
decks or upon the head of some luckless sailor who was trying 
to keep the decks clear and dodge the falling limbs at the same 
time. An old gray coon fell upon the deck, and although stunned 
by the fall recovered himself and fought his way overboard. The 
boats made eight miles that day, and when they tied up Sherman 
was nowhere in sight. 

Things looked rather discouraging. Pirouetting through 
the woods with ironclads, tugs and mortar boats, while rich in 
novelty, was not the kind of cruising Jack Tar would fall in love 
with. In fact, it had already grown tedious and depressing. The 
boats tied up for the night, and Porter hoped that Sherman 
would certainly come up by daylight. The darkies who were 
standing about at sundown mysteriously and suddenly disap 
peared. Faint strokes of axes were heard in the dim distance. 



HOW THE MISSISSIPPI WAS OPENED. 47 

All this was suggestive and a tug was sent ahead to reconnoiter. 
She soon discovered that the enemy was "onto the gunboat 
racket" and had rounded up the darkies, and with pistols and 
guns to their heads was forcing them to ply the ax in felling trees 
into and across the ditch. A few shells from a 12-pounder how 
itzer dispersed the choppers, and the tug returned to report. The 
iron-clads moved ahead by the light of the lanterns carried by 
men on the banks. In the morning it was discovered that the 
Rolling Fork was not far off, and though Porter felt uneasy be 
cause of Sherman s tardiness he concluded to enter the Rolling 
Fork in the hope of rinding more sea room. The ironclads 
pushed ahead and were again bound fast by millions of little 
willows that seemed to have sprung up in the interest of the 
southern Confederacy. While cutting and slashing at these pro 
voking tough little withs the enemy, hidden from our view by a 
dense undergrowth, suddenly opened on the boats with a rifled 
battery. 

Sunken clown between the banks of the ditch the guns of the 
ironclads were utterly useless. Our only defense was the clumsy 
mortar, so taking the distance by sound, the mortar boats were 
able to drop a few thirteen-inch shells among the enemy with 
surprising effect. He was silenced for the time being. It was 
now painfully apparent that Sherman was needed by the gun 
boats. A darky who called himself a telegraph agreed to take a 
message back to Sherman for fifty cents. He tucked the folded 
message into a pocket in his thick "calabash kiver" and darted 
off. Soon after a steamboat came up the Rolling Fork and 
landed troops below, and as nearly as could be made out was 
landing troops evidently from Vicksburg. A battery of Whit- 
worth guns soon opened on us with shells, which burst over the 
boats, but did no harm so long as the men kept between decks. 
But somebody had to get out and cut willows. The mortar boats 
were again brought into play and succeeded in silencing the en- 
-emy s guns. But he was no sooner silenced in one place than he 
would open fire from a new position. It was getting decidedly 
uncomfortable for the navy. A tug went back to hurry Sher 
man up, but was headed off by the enemy in the rear. Learning 
this Porter ordered a retreat, but how could the boats run back 
wards when they could hardly run forwards ? The rudders were 
unshipped and after much trouble a backward movement in the 



48 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

true sense of the term was begun. After a while the ironclads 
could use their guns and the enemy was made to realize the dif 
ference between a 12-pound shell and a loo-pound shrapnell. 
Thus the strangest of all rights raged until dark. No attack was 
made on the boats during the night, but next morning when the 
enemy seemed about to make another charge it was noticed that 
he made a most sudden and inexplicable retreat towards the Roll 
ing Fork. This was soon explained by one of Sherman s officers 
riding up and saying that he guessed the army had come up in 
just about the right time. 

When Sherman came up on an old white horse his boys had 
captured, he hailed the admiral and said: What the deuce did 
you get into such an ugly scrape for? So much for you navy 
fellows getting out of your element. This is the most infernal 
expedition I was ever on," he continued. "Who in thunder pro 
posed such a mad scheme anyway? Your gunboats look sick 
like half-picked geese. But I am ready to go with you anywhere." 

Porter said that he d had enough of bushwhacking and pro 
posed hunting deeper water and a more open sea. Besides, it 
was reasonable to suppose that an enemy as wary as the rebs had 
proved themselves to be would make an effort to dam up the 
mouth of the 1 bayou with cotton and leave the boats literally wal 
lowing in the mud, or else would plant torpedoes to blow them 
into smithereens. So the boats got out of there as fast as they 
could back and bump along. The soldiers as they marched along 
jibed the sailors with such remarks as: "Jack, you d better stick 
to the briny/ How do you like playing turtle anyway Better 
let bushwhacking out to Old Tecump s boys." 

The boats in a badly used up condition finally got out and 
returned to anchorage above Vicksburg, where they were speed 
ily put in repair. 

The other expedition through Yazoo Pass returned in much 
the same condition, neither having accomplished more than to 
show the enemy and the country that Grant s army and Porter s 
squadron were bound in some way or other to "get there." Grant 
and Porter shared the opinion of President Lincoln, as the latter 
had expressed it, that "Vicksburg was the backbone of the re 
bellion and the key to the situatiton," and they were determined 
that the important point should be taken. When every other 
possible expedient was tried the last and only true one was 



HOW THE MISSISSIPPI WAS OPENED. 49 

adopted. Grant and Porter agreed upon the plan, but Sherman 
with all the other corps commanders except McClernand dis 
agreed. 

Grant in his quiet way said : "Porter, I will go below Vicks- 
burg and cross over if I can depend on you for sufficient naval 
force. I will prepare some transports by packing around them 
cotton bales and will be ready to start as soon as the navy is 
ready." Porter was ready that night. The next night the Ben- 
ton, Lafayette, Louisville, Mound City, Pittsburg, Carondelet 
and Tuscumbia, with the transports Silver Wave, Henry Clay and 
Forest Queen in convoy, made the dangerous passage a graphic 
description of which would be as exciting as any drama. The 
Clay was burned and sunk before she got by. The other vessels, 
though punished considerably, escaped any material damage. 
Thirteen men were wounded. The next night six more transports 
made the attempt, and all but one succeeded. 

The army, except Sherman s corps, marched around a dis 
tance of thirty-five miles. The point at which Grant desired to 
cross over and make his base of operations was Grand Gulf. This 
point was well fortified by the enemy. The banks were from 
eighty to one hundred and twenty feet above the water. On these 
were mounted a loo-pounder rifle, a number of 8-inch guns and 
other guns of smaller calibre. The gunboats undertook to silence 
these guns preparatory to crossing the army. The fight was a 
handsome one and lasted parts of two days, but the rebel works 
were too high for the boats to reach them easily, and the most 
they could do was to silence them temporarily. In the fight the 
boats lost eighteen killed and fifty-seven wounded. The work 
of the gunboats was sufficiently demoralizing to allow the trans 
ports to slip by uninjured. The next morning, April 30, 1863, 
the work of ferrying the army across to Bruensburg began, in 
which the gunboats did their share. 

The same day the gunboats that remained above Vicksburg 
made a vigorous attack on Maine s Bluffs. The attack was char 
acterized by so much vigor and earnestness that the enemy was 
wholly deceived as to its real purpose, which was to keep Pem- 
berton from sending reinforcements to Grand Gulf to dispute 
Grant s landing on the Mississippi side. After this feint the ves 
sels withdrew from the Yazoo, and Sherman rejoined the main 
army with his corps. 



5O CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

On the 3rd of May, after the army was crossed over, the 
gunboats went up to engage the batteries at Grand Gulf, but they 
found them abandoned. Grant immediately moved up and made 
that point his base of supplies. Thence began that wonderful 
march to the rear of Vicksburg, in the course of which Grant, 
with 40,000 men, defeated Johnston on the right with an army 
of equal size, and drove Pemberton on the left with an army of 
nearly as many men, into the fortifications of Vicksburg, an 
achievement that placed Grant in the list of the foremost cap 
tains of any age. 

Leaving enough vessels to protect Grant s base and to render 
him any needed service, Porter took three ironclads and the ram 
Switzerland and ascended Red river, destroying a number of 
Confederate transports and large quantities of Confederate stores. 
The enemy evacuated Fort De Russey before the boats got there. 
A raft at this point, which had cost the enemy one million and a 
half dollars to build, and which he considered impregnable, was 
destroyed in a few hours by our rams, and the fleet without fur 
ther opposition went on to Alexandria. The enemy had removed 
nearly all of his stores from the place and evacuated it a few 
hours before the gunboats arrived. The low stage of water on the 
falls prevented any further advance towards Shreveport and the 
fleet returned to Grand Gulf, but on their way back ascended the 
Big Black some distance and destroyed $300,000 worth of Con 
federate stores. 

On the 1 5th of May heavy firing was heard in the rear of 
Vicksburg, which indicated the approach of Grant s army. A 
number of vessels went up the Yazoo and attacked the batteries 
at Haine s Bluffs. Sherman was moving down between the 
Bluffs and Vicksburg, and the enemy who had defended the lat 
ter so gallantly now deserted their guns and fled to the defenses 
around the city. The DeKalb worked her way very cautiously 
up the Yazoo, destroying whatever Confederate property fell in 
her way. 

The mortar boats were placed in position and the ironclads 
assigned to the most available points, preparatory to a regular 
siege. The bombardment began at 10 a. m., May 21, and was 
kept up with terrible effect until after Grant s general assault. 
The fight between the water batteries and the ironclads Porter 
considered the hardest they had been in, though only a few men 
had been wounded aboard of them. 



HOW THE MISSISSIPPI WAS OPENED. 5! 

The enemy had made some changes in the position of guns 
in the hill batteries, and Grant was anxious to know if they had 
moved any of the guns from the extreme left. The ironclad 
Cincinnati was sent down to feel the battery at this point. She 
soon discovered that the guns were "still there," and in rounding 
to on her return the enemy poured such a vigorous fire into her 
stern her weakest part that she was wholly disabled and finally 
sunk. She lost five killed, fourteen wounded and fifteen drowned. 

The city was now subjected to a regular and persistent bom 
bardment, which lasted forty-two days, in which every gun of 
the navy of sufficient calibre was brought into requisition, and 
the mortars were kept at work day and night. Some navy guns 
were landed, and under command of naval officers rendered most 
efficient service. The navy threw 16,000 shells into the city. 

An expedition was sent up the Yazoo, composed of some 
boats that could not be used at Vicksburg. These vessels de 
stroyed the shipyard at Yazoo City and other property valued at 
two million dollars. They extended their trip one hundred and 
eighty miles up the Big Sunflower, and made several important 
captures of steamboats and stores. It is interesting to note that 
the further progress of this expedition up the Sunflower was 
stopped by the sunken hull of the Star of the West, the same 
vessel sent by the government with supplies for the relief of Fort 
Sumter in 1861. 

The Confederacy was thrilled with a sense of the danger 
threatening Vicksburg, which they had come to regard as beyond 
the possible reach of the Yankees. Every man and boy that could 
load and fire a gun was impressed into the service and sent some 
where to make it lively for the "invaders." Guerrilla bands with 
field pieces appeared along the river at the most advantageous 
points and attacked our transports. Several were captured, and 
after being robbed were burned. This attempt to interfere with 
our communications entailed on the gunboats additional work, 
which kept them on the move day and night between Cairo and 
Vicksburg. It is a creditable showing for the squadron that at 
no time after the river was wrested from the enemy were our 
communications cut. The gunboats kept the river open and made 
it safe at all times for transports commanded by men of average 
loyalty and fair prudence to go up or down. Several transports 
loaded with government stores fell into the hands of guerrilla 



52 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

bands doubtless through the connivance of disloyal pilots and 
captains. Nevertheless the enemy was checkmated in his efforts 
to distract the federal forces operating against Vicksburg from 
first to last. 

On the 4th of July Vicksburg surrendered, and five days 
after Port Hudson followed her example. This opened the Mis 
sissippi river, completely cut the confederacy in two, and estab 
lished an unfaltering conviction in the loyal hearts of the north 
that the Union would be saved. The Mississippi river ever after 
wards remained in our hands, and was under the control of the 
Mississippi Squadron till the close of the war. Farragut went 
north for needed rest, and the indefatigable Porter assumed com 
mand of the entire river. He went to Cairo immediately to per 
sonally look after the building of more and a better class of light 
draughts, and to reorganize his squadron. He divided his com 
mand into eight districts, six of which were on the Mississippi, 
the seventh from Cairo to the mouth of the Tennessee, including 
that river, and the eighth embraced the upper Ohio and Cumber 
land. This number was increased to eleven before the close of the 
war, and the number of his vessels of all classes was increased to 
more than one hundred. From this time on the work of the squad 
ron was wonderfully systematic and as thoroughly efficient as 
was possible. 

On the day Vicksburg surrendered, General Price, on his way 
from Arkansas with a force of 18,000 men, to seize some point on 
the river in the hopes of cutting off communications for the re 
lief of Vicksburg, made a sudden and vigorous attack on Helena. 
This point was garrisoned by 3,5000 troops, part of whom were 
colored, under command of General B. M. Prentiss. The rebels 
carried all of the outworks, and reached the crest of the hill over 
looking the town. Here they formed for a final charge on Fort 
Curtis, and while executing it crowded their dense ranks into a 
ravine. The Tyler poured in her heavy shell and schrapnell, the 
two 3O-pounders in the fort belched forth canister, and between 
them the enemy was literally mowed down in swaths. Many of 
them threw down their arms and fled in a panic. The Tyler fol 
lowed the retreating mob with her guns for miles, and evidences 
of the destructiveness of her shells were seen along the route of 
the retreat in mangled men and horses. The enemy s loss in killed 
quite equalled half the number of our garrison, and the number 



HOW THE MISSISSIPPI WAS OPENED. 53 

of prisoners taken was about the same number. Thus the gar 
rison of 3,500 men, supported by the Tyler, killed and captured 
an army of its own size. History hardly furnishes a parallel. 
General Prentiss wrote a letter of most grateful acknowledge 
ment for the timely and efficient services rendered by the gun 
boat. In view of the cry of the rebels to give the "niggers no 
quarter," it was peculiarly fortunate that the Tyler was there. 

General Taylor, commanding the Confederate forces in West 
Louisiana, determined to surprise Milliken s Bend and Young s 
Point, while Grant was forcing his way to the rear of Vicksburg, 
in the vague hope of communicating with Vicksburg or causing 
some diversion in its favor. The force at Young s Point number 
ed about five hundred men, and that at Milliken s Bend consisted 
of a brigade of negro troops and a few companies of the 23rd 
Iowa Infantry. The Confederates blundered on their way to 
Young s Point, reaching there in broad daylight. Seeing a gun 
boat there ready for them they wisely abandoned the attack. The 
other Confederate force under McCulloch reached its destination 
before daylight, drove in the pickets, and in a hand-to-hand fight 
drove the colored and white troops back to the river bank, where 
they found shelter and safety under the guns of the Choctow. 
The fire of the heavy guns of this vessel was so terrific that the 
enemy, though flushed with victory, and drunken with rage at 
the colored troops, withdrew precipitately. In view of General 
Taylor s suggestive remark that "unfortunately some fifty of the 
niggers were taken prisoners," it may be inferred that had the 
gunboat not been there to drive McCulloch s savage soldiers back, 
the colored troops would have fared as badly as they did sub 
sequently at Fort Pillow at the hands of Forrest and his murder 
ous fiends. 

After the fall of Vicksburg the De Kalb, accompanied by 
General Herron, ascended the Yazoo as far as Yazoo City to as 
certain how much truth there was in the rumor that General John 
ston was fortifying that point. A battery was found there, but 
a combined attack of the army and De Kalb caused its abandon 
ment. Six heavy guns, one armed vessel and four steamers fell 
into our hands. Much Confederate property was destroyed and 
the river generally cleared. Unfortunately, however, the De Kalb 
was blown up by torpedoes, one exploding under her bow and one 
under her stern, so shattering her that she was never raised. She 
was the third of the original seven ironclads to go down. 



54 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

During the year 1863, engagements between roving bands of 
guerrillas with field pieces and the gunboats on the Tennessee and 
Cumberland, were of frequent occurrence, and while they do not 
individually possess much importance, they show how unending 
and important was the work accomplished by the squadron, in 
keeping down guerrilla warfare. 

In January 1863 Colonel Harding, commanding at Fort Don- 
fclson, which was garrisoned with 800 men, was attacked by 4,500 
confederates, under Forrest and Wharton. The garrison fought 
gallantly, and kept the enemy off till their ammunition was ex 
hausted. The rebels had taken position for a final charge, when 
the Lexington and five tinclads came up and soon drove them 
back inflicting great loss. 

The little tinclad Moose followed Morgan and his band of 
raiders for a distance of five hundred miles up the Ohio, and pre 
vented them from crossing back into Kentucky, several times 
punishing him severly. Generals Burn side and Cox both wrote 
letters acknowledging the service rendered by this gunboat. 

The participation of a part of this squadron in the famous 
Red river expedition furnishes a chapter in naval history that is 
not a repetition of any previous expereince. There was anxiety 
on the part of the government to get control of Mobile and Texas 
on account of considerations of public policy not wholly uncon 
nected with the French invasion of Mexico in June, 1863. Far- 
ragut turned his attention to Mobile, and the Red river expe 
dition was understood to be in some way calculated to establish 
Federal supremacy in Texas. While it failed to establish that 
kind of supremacy to any considerable extent, it proved itself the 
supreme fiasco of the war, and made a fearful draft on Yankee 
genius in devising ways and means for getting out of scrapes. 
But for General A. J. Smith, Lieutenant Colonel Bailey and 
Porter, the bare probability is that Banks would be somewhere 
in that locality now, and the wreck of Porter s fleet would be 
pointed out as a monument to military folly rarely if ever 
equalled. 

Porter took his ironclads above the falls at Alexandria against 
his better judgment, and had not A. J. Smith been with the expe 
dition he would have utterly refused to do so. Porter had con 
fidence in Smith and was willing to co-operate with him, as he 



HOW THE MISSISSIPPI WAS OPENED. 55 

was always with Grant and Sherman. Smith and Porter agreed 
perfectly in their opinion of the expedition, that, as it was being- 
conducted, it was a stupendous farce and a disgrace to the gov- 
eernment. While Franklin and Emory were forcing their way 
through Banks panic-stricken wagon train to get at the pursu 
ing enemy at Pleasant Hill the gunboats were wallowing through 
the mud and bushwhacking their way towards Shreveport. As 
an illustration of the experience of the gunboats for several days 
in succession, we will give their fight with General Green s com 
mand at a point 10 miles below Shreveport. Several transports 
and a gunboat were hard aground, and a number of other boats 
were pulling at them to get them afloat, when 7,000 rebels with 
artillery attacked them from the west bank of the river a few rods 
away. The gunboats replied as soon as they could and in about 
two hours drove the enemy off, killing 700 of his men, including 
their commander. The canister and shrapnel! thrown from the 
heavy guns of the boats into the dense ranks of the enemy massed 
on the bank and just back of it proved awfully destructive. 

The next day the enemy made a similar attack on the boats 
from the other side. The Eastport, one of the best of the iron 
clads, grounded hopelessly and had to be blown up; the river 
began to fall rapidly, the enemy was banging the boats right and 
left, when they could hardly defend themselves on account of the 
high banks. The tinclad Cricket was knocked all to pieces and 
captured and the other light draughts had been severely handled ; 
the ironclads had floundered through the mud for days, and 
Banks, after fiddle-faddling to his heart s content, was anxious 
to get out of the country. In fact, all hands were willing to get 
out. When they got down as far as Alexandria, as was expected 
by Porter, not a vessel could be run over the falls. Here was a 
pretty kettle of fish. The river would not rise for months ; Banks 
said his forage was nearly gone and that he could not wait many 
days on the gunboats. Things looked blue for the navy. Relief 
came through the genius of Lieutenant Colonel Bailey, who pro 
posed to raise the water on the falls by a system of dams. Ten 
thousand soldiers and the entire naval force under this officer 
lent willing hands, working in water up to their waists to com 
plete the work within the few days given them by Banks, whose 
uneasiness to get away increased day by day. The dam was com 
pleted and the water had risen high enough to let the boats over, 



56 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

when it gave way. Nothing daunted, Bailey and his willing 
helpers went to work building wing dams, and before certain 
officers high in command had done lamenting over the catastrophe 
the new dams were thrown out and the fleet saved. The water 
on the rapids was raised six feet, and considering the few days 
in which the work was completed and the difficulties overcome it 
was, as Porter characterized it, a most marvelous piece of en 
gineering. Bailey received the thanks of Congress and was pro 
moted to Brigadier General, all of which he richly deserved for 
his great services to the country. 

While our army was laying at Alexandria the enemy by a 
spirited maneuver got by and planted a powerful battery on the 
bank below. Two light draughts, the Covington and Signal, 
started down the river with a convoy of transports. They were 
surprised by the battery and sharpshooters, and though they made 
a gallant fight, were so badly handled that one was captured and 
burned and the other was abandoned by her crew and set on fire 
to keep her from falling into the enemy s hands. This was the 
last effort of the enemy to obstruct the river. The army and fleet 
soon moved down and the enemy gave them a wide berth. On 
the 2Oth of May, 1864, while the army was returning, General 
Banks was relieved by General Canby, and the remarkable expe 
dition was over. 

During the summer Admiral Porter was relieved. Captain 
Pennock taking charge until November, when acting Rear Ad 
miral Lee took command. He found the squadron in such ad 
mirable shape and so well organized and its work so nearly done 
that his new command entailed comparatively little labor or re 
sponsibility. 

Guerrillas and light detached bodies of rebels continued to 
operate along the banks of the Mississippi, Cumberland, Tennes 
see and White rivers, greatly to the annoyance of unarmed trans 
ports. The Red and Yazoo rivers were effectually blockaded by 
the gunboats, though not traversed. The other rivers named were 
constantly patrolled by the gunboats until the close of hostilities. 
The squadron was kept busy with this kind of duty, for it seemed 
that every Confederate command had detached large numbers 
of desperate men, full of dare-devil spirit and eager to rob some 
body, nearly all of whom had gathered along the rivers as the 
safest and most promising field for their nefarious work. But 



HOW THE MISSISSIPPI WAS OPENED. 57 

the gunboats gave them little rest, and often inflicted the severest 
punishment upon them. Sometimes the gunboats were roughly 
handled by roving batteries, and in several instances tinclads were 
destroyed by them. At Clarendon, Arkansas, in June, 1864, Gen 
eral Shelby planted a battery during the night bearing on the 
Queen City, and at break of day fired into her as she lay at an 
chor, with most of her crew in their bunks and hammocks. She 
was completely disabled, and that part of her crew who failed to- 
escape by swimming to the opposite shore were taken prisoners. 
Before Shelby could remove the heavy guns of the captured vessel 
he was compelled to blow her up by the sudden appearance of 
the Tyler and two light draughts. These boats immediately at 
tacked him and blew his guns clear out of the works, killing and 
wounding many of his men. The loss of the boats, however, in 
the engagement was nine killed and twenty-seven wounded, and 
one boat disabled. 

The main cause of the war in the west had now drifted away 
from the Mississippi valley to the region south and southwest of 
Nashville, embracing southern and eastern Tennessee and north 
ern parts of Georgia and Alabama, and Mississippi. This gave 
the tinclads on the Tennessee and Cumberland more work to do. 
In an engagement with General Forrest in October, near Johns- 
ville, on the Tennessee, after a desperate fight, the Undine, Key- 
west, Elfin and Tawah, light draughts, were burned to keep them 
from falling into the hands of the enemy. Had they been able 
to hold out a few hours longer the arrival of General Schofield 
would have relieved them. But they had fought the enemy, who 
had heavy rifled pieces planted above and ,below them, till their 
last round of ammunition was gone, and the only thing left for 
them to do was to burn the boats and escape to the opposite shore 
from the rebels. 

On the 24th of October, 1864, a superior force of rebels at 
tacked General Granger, who was stationed with a small force 
at Decatur, Alabama, above the Muscle Shoals. The garrison de 
fended itself heroically, but the enemy had gradually forced it 
to the point of surrender, when the little tinclad General Thomas 
arrived and drove the rebels off with considerable loss. 

In December, 1864 ,the rebel army under Hood moved 
against Nashville. The Carondelet and five light draught gun 
boats hurried to the support of our army. The enemy planted a 



58 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

battery of four 2o-pounder rifles four miles below the city on the 
river. After a severe fight the gunboats silenced this battery and 
drove the encampment back. But other batteries were planted 
the following night in more advantageous positions, and for days 
the gunboats had plenty of hard fighting. Two batteries while 
fighting the boats were surprised and captured by the cavalry. 
Thus the gunboats moved up and down the river thwarting 
Hood s plans and harrassing him in such a manner as to aid Gen 
eral Thomas very materially. For thirty days and nights the offi 
cers and crews of the vessels had very little rest, so constantly 
were they called upon to head off Hood in his efforts to escape. 
But for the almost impassable roads and the inability of the gun 
boats to get above the Muscle Shoals in the Tennessee the bulk 
of Hood s army would have been captured. General Thomas 
wrote a letter to Admiral Lee thanking him for the efficient co 
operation of the gunboats. 

On the I4th of August, 1865, Admiral Lee was relieved, and 
Ihe Mississippi Squadron, as an organization, ceased to be. 



POWDER RIVER INDIAN EXPEDITION OF 1865. 
WITH A FEW INCIDENTS PRECEDING THE SAME. 

BY 
CAPT. H. E. PALMER, IITH KANSAS CAVALRY. 

(Read February 2, 1887, and Revised February 2, ipooj 

In August, 1864, I was ordered to report to General Curtis, 
who commanded the Department of Kansas, at Fort Leaven - 
worth, and was by him instructed to take command of a detach 
ment of the nth Ohio cavalry, sixty men, every one of them 
lately Confederate soldiers with John Morgan on his raid into 
Ohio, captured there and confined at Columbus. They had en 
listed in the Federal service under the pledge that they were to 
fight Indians and not rebels. I was to conduct these men to Fort 
Kearney and there turn them over to Captain Humphreyville of 
the iith Ohio. 

On my way out, near Big Sandy, now Alexandria, Thayer 
county, Nebraska, I met a party of freighters and stage coach pas 
sengers on horseback, and some few ranchmen, fleeing from the 
Little Blue valley. They told me a terrible story; that the In 
dians were just in their rear, and that they had massacred the peo 
ple west of them none knew how many. All knew that the 
Cheyennes had made a raid into the Little Blue valley, striking 
down all before them. After camping for dinner at this place 
and seeing the last citizen disappear toward the states, I pushed 
on to the Little Blue and camped in the valley, where we saw 
two Indians about five miles away on a hill as we went into camp. 

Next day I passed Eubank s ranch, where we found the 
bodies of three little children, from three to seven years old, who 
had been taken by the heels by the Indians and swung around 
against the log cabin, beating their heads to a jelly. Found the 
hired girl some fifteen rods from the ranch staked out on the 
prairie, tied by her hands and feet, naked, body full of arrows and 

(59) 



6O CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

horribly mangled. Not far from this was the body of Eubank 
with whiskers cut off and body most fearfully mutilated. Mrs. 
Eubank was missing. The buildings had been fired and the ruins 
were yet smoking. Nearly the same scene of desolation and mur 
der was witnessed at Spring Ranch. Camped that night at Lib 
erty farm. Next day we passed wagon trains, in one place seventy 
wagons loaded with merchandise, en route for Denver. The 
teamsters had mounted the mules and made their escape. The 
Indians had opened boxes contained dry goods, taking great bolts 
of calicos and cloths, carried off all they wanted, and had scat 
tered the balance around over the prairie. Bolts of cloth had 
been seized by Indians on horseback, who had dropped the bolt, 
holding on to one end of the cloth, and galloped off over the 
prairie to stretch it out. Five wagons loaded with coal oil, in 
twenty-gallon cans, had been inspected by the Indians ; some fif 
teen or twenty cans had been chopped open with hatchets to see 
what was inside. None of them had sense enough to set the coal 
oil on fire, otherwise the entire train would have been destroyed,, 
though several wagons had been fired and burned. These In 
dians had attacked the troops at Pawnee ranch August 9, 1864, 
under the command of Captain E. B. Murphy of^the 7th Iowa 
cavalry, and had driven them into Fort Kearney. Murphy had 
only thirty men. (T. J. Potter, late Vice President of the Union 
Pacific Railway, was one of Murphy s Lieutenants in this fight.) 
Captain Murphy returned August I5th with no soldiers and 
plainsmen and a mountain howitzer and renewed the fight. By 
this time, about August 2Oth, the main body of the Indians was 
far away in the Republican valley, en route for Solomon river. 
I followed their rear guard to a point near where the town of 
Franklin, in Franklin county, Nebraska, on the Republican, now 
stands. Camped there one night and then marched north to Fort 
Kearney. On that day s march we saw millions of buffalo. 

This raid on the Blue was made by the Cheyennes under the 
command of Black Kettle, One-Eyed George Bent, Two Face 
and others. Mrs. Eubank and a Miss Laura Roper were carried 
away captives. We ransomed them from the Indians, who 
brought them into Fort Laramie in January, 1865. Just prior to 
this outbreak on the Little Blue a number of the same Indians 
had attacked a train near Plum Creek, thirty-one miles west of 
Fort Kearney, on the south side of the Platte, and had killed sev- 



POWDER RIVER EXPEDITION. 6l 

eral men. From Plum Creek they moved on down the Little 
Blue, passing south of Fort Kearney. 

Colonel J. M. Chivington, commanding the 1st Colorado, was 
in command of the District of Colorado, headquarters at Denver, 
and during October and November, 1864, made several raids after 
these Indians. On the 2Qth of November, 1864, Colonel Chiving 
ton, with three companies of the ist Colorado and a detachment 
of the 3rd Colorado under command of Colonel George L. Shoup, 
attacked Black Kettle, who with White Antelope, One-Eyed 
George Bent and other bands were encamped on Sand creek, 175 
miles southeast of Denver. He attacked them just at daylight 
after a forty-mile ride in the dark by the troops. The Indians 
were surprised and 416 were killed men, women and children. 
The fight was made in the village and the troops had no time to 
pick for the men and save the squaws. This was the first great 
punishment the Indians of the plains had received since Harney s 
fight at Ash Hollow. 

On the 7th of January following the military and stage sta 
tion at Julesburg, at the old California crossing on the south bank 
of the Platte, was attacked by the Indians. Captain Nicholas J. 
O Brien, familiarly known among white men as "Nick O Brien," 
and by the Indians as O-sak-e-tun-ka, was in command of the 
troops. The Indians (Sioux and Cheyennes) to the number of 
about one thousand, chased the stage coach into the station, kill 
ing one man of the escort and one horse. Captain O Brien left a 
sergeant and twelve men in the fort to handle the two pieces of 
artillery, and, mounting the rest, thirty-seven men and one offi 
cer beside himself, went to meet the savages. As the men neared 
the top of the hill they saw the larg e force opposed to them, but 
never flinched. The Indians charged on them with great fury 
and killed fourteen of the soldiers. Captain O Brien ordered his 
force to fall back, which they did in good order, leaving their dead 
comrades to fall into the hands of the Indians. The redskins 
endeavored to cut them off from the fort, and came very near 
doing it. The men finally gained the fort and held the enemy at 
bay with the artillery two mountain howitzers. Night put an 
end to the conflict. The Indians withdrew during the night, and 
in the morning no one was in sight. The soldiers went out to 
find the bodies of their dead comrades ; found them, but nearly 
all were beyond recognition stripped of clothing, horribly mu- 



62 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

tilated, their fingers, ears and toes cut off, their mouths filled with 
powder and ignited, and every conceivable indignity committed 
on their persons. The Indians, as they afterwards admitted, 
lost over sixty warriors. None were found on the field, as they 
always carry away their dead with them. 

These events emphasized the fact that there was an Indian 
war on the plains, extending from the settlements bordering on 
the Missouri river in Nebraska and Kansas from the Arkansas 
river to the Platte. There were at this time no settlements in 
Nebraska Territory north of and along the Platte river except 
the little hamlet of Fremont, a few buildings at Columbus, a 
ranch at Lone Tree (now Central City) and a ranch and black 
smith shop at Grand Island. Fort Kearney was located on the 
south bank of the Platte about six miles from the present city of 
Kearney, Nebraska. The Platte route, Smokey Hill and Arkan 
sas river routes were the three great highways from the Missouri 
river to the mountains and the Pacific coast beyond. More than 
five thousand teams loaded with freight and passengers, passed a 
given point on the Platte in one month in 1864. Russell, Majors 
& Waddell were transporting millions of pounds of freight for the 
Government. Colorado with its population of 60,000 people, 
Utah with as many more, and Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Cali- 
iornia were depending largely on freighters and overland travel. 
Ben. Holliday s overland coach, a daily stage with a capacity of 
irom twelve to fifteen passengers fourteen days from Atchison, 
Kansas, to Sacramento, California and the Pony Express, ten 
days, were the fast means for communication until Creighton s 
telegraph line was completed in 1864. This was the situation 
when the Indian war startled the frontier settlers. Only four 
years previous, April, 1860, I had crossed the plains from Omaha 
to Denver all the way on foot, part of the time alone, never more 
than seven in the party; hundreds of thousands of people, men, 
women and children, had crossed in straggling parties, armed and 
unarmed, and not one Indian outrage had been committed. From 
some cause unrecorded the storm had gathered, and without warn 
ing savage hosts were assailing citizens and soldiers along a thou 
sand miles of unprotected frontier. 

In the winter of 1864, some time in December, I think, Bre 
vet Brigadier General Tom Moonlight was placed in command, 
of the District of Colorado and, until in May, 1865, had his head- 



POWDER RIVER EXPEDITION. 63 

quarters at Denver. Some time during this month he made his 
headquarters at Laramie. March 30, 1865, the District of the 
Plains was created and General P. E. Conner was ordered from 
his command at Salt Lake to take command of the new district,, 
with headquarters first at Fort Kearney, then at Denver, and in 
June at Julesburg. At Laramie General Moonlight 
organized an expedition to punish these maraud 
ing Indians. Before starting out on his expedition 
he learned from some of the trappers that two white women 
were with Two Face s band near the south base of the Black 
Hills. Through interpreters, trappers and Ogalalla Sioux com 
munication was opened up with these Indians, and for a large 
number of ponies, Blankets and a quantity of sugar, etc., the two 
white women were purchased from the Indians and brought into 
Laramie. Two Face and two of his best warriors, Blackfoot and 
Black Crow, came in with the prisoners to surrender them. The 
armistice was violated. Two Face and his warriors were ar 
rested and hanged in chains about two miles north of the fort on 
the bluffs, where their bodies were allowed to hang until the crows 
carried away all the flesh from their bones. 

One of these women, Mrs. Eubank, was the wife and mother 
of the massacred party at Eubank s ranch, near Spring Ranch, on 
the Little Blue in Nebraska, now one of the best settled portions 
of this state. I had known Mrs. Eubank before the Indian 
troubles met her at her home in the spring of 1861, just after 
she had moved from Ohio to brave the dangers of a pioneer life 
and do the cooking for stage coach passengers on the old Ben. 
Holliday line. She was a fine looking woman, full of youth, 
beauty and strength, but a short time married, w r ith bright pros 
pects for the future. I remember, too, that her log cabin was 
unlike anything else I had seen on the road west. The dirt roof, 
supported by heavy timbers, was hidden by cotton cloth, which 
gave to the interior of the cabin a clean, tidy look ; the rough 
board floor was covered with a plain carpet ; real china dishes, not 
greasy tin pans and cups, appeared upon the table. That, with a 
fine dinner, made an indelible impression upon my mind. As I 
stood at the smoking ruins of her home in August, 1864, knowing 
that her body could not be found, and wondering if she were a 
captive among the Indians, I thought then : would I ever see her 
again alive ? A few weeks after her rescue from the Indians I 



64 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

met her again at Fort Laramie. The bright-eyed woman appeared 
to me to be twenty years older. Her hair was streaked with gray, 
her face gave evidence of suffering, and her back, as shown to 
General Conner and myself, was a mass of raw sores 
from her neck to her waist, where she had been whipped and 
beaten by Two Face s squaws. The sores had not been permitted 
to heal and were a sight most sickening to behold. The poor 
woman was crushed in spirit and almost a maniac. I sent an 
escort with her and her companion. Miss Laura Roper, with an 
ambulance to Julesburg, where they were placed upon a coach 
and returned to the east. Miss Roper lived and married in Beat 
rice, Nebraska. Mrs. Eubank went back to her friends in Ohio, 
and I have never heard from her since. 

Moonlight s raid after the Indians was a failure. Through 
mismanagement he allowed his command to be ambushed, June 
1 8, 1865, his horses captured and several men killed, retreating to 
Fort Laramie in time to receive an order from General P. E. Con 
ner to report to the commanding officer at Fort Kearney, Ne 
braska, for muster out of service. 

My regiment, nth Kansas cavalry, was ordered upon the 
plains in February, 1865. We left Fort Riley, Kansas, on the i6th. 
After experiencing a most fearful snow storm and blizzard the 
command, about 600 strong, reached Fort Kearney, Nebraska, on 
the 3rd day of March, 1865, and in a few days pushed on to Lodge 
Pole creek and camped near the present town of Sidney, where 
they went into winter quarters ; remaining there, however, only 
a few weeks ; when they were ordered to Mud Springs, where 
they again attempted to build winter quarters ; from there to Lar 
amie, Platte Ridge and Fort Halleck ; then they were strung out 
on the overland stage route with some 2,500 men in all, guarding 
the through mail line. I had returned to Fort Leaven worth from 
Fort Kearney on detached service, and in June, 1865, was ordered 
to report to General Conner, whom I found at the old California 
crossing on the Platte. 

General Conner had with him two companies, L and M, of 
the 2nd California cavalry, and a detachment of the nth Ohio, 
under command of Captain Humphreyville, and Captain O Brien 
with his companv of the 7th Iowa cavalry, and two mountain 
howitzers, manned by Captain O Brien s men and .commanded by 
him. The command was delayed several hours trying to cross the 



POWDER RIVER EXPEDITION. 65 

Platte, June 24, 1865, which was then receiving snow-water from 
the mountains, and was even bank. The crossing was made by 
swimming the stock and floating over the stores, wagons, etc., in 
wagon boxes covered with tarpaulins. The men were also 
crossed on these rafts. We camped on the Lodge Pole. In the 
afternoon after the first day s march from the Platte the men in 
dulged in fishing in Lodge Pole creek. Trout and pike were 
hauled out by the bushel with gunny-sack seines. While we were 
cooking our fish forty mules (that had made themselves useful 
drawing headquarters wagons and ambulances, etc.) feeding on 
the opposite bank of the creek, about one hundred yards from 
headquarters, were frightened by a jack rabbit. One of the mules 
leading the band was feeding close to a large jack rabbit sitting 
behind a bunch of sage brush. Lieutenant Jewett, aid-de-camp, 
and myself happened to discover the rabbit just before the mule 
saw it. Jewett remarked that he thought we would see some fun 
when the mule got a little closer to the rabbit. Sure enough, when 
the mule got within a few feet of the bunch of sage brush, Mr. 
Jack gave a monstrous jump to change location. The mule gave 
a snort and started back among the herd on a gallop. All the rest 
of the mules joined the leader, becoming more frightened at every 
jump, and away they went for the hills about a mile away, 
no stop or halt until they disappeared. The General ordered a 
squad of cavalrymen to gather their hobbled animals and start in 
pursuit. This was done, but "nary" a mule was seen afterwards. 
When the cavalry reached the hills they were met by a band of 
Indians, who beat them back. Before we could assist them, both 
Indians and mules were far away, and before we got near then: 
they were across the North Platte, near Ash Hollow, en route for 
the Black Hills. Next day, June 26, 1865, we were attacked by 
Indians near Mud Springs and gave them a lively chase, the fight 
not ending until about 10 o clock at night, when the men gathered 
in camp to prepare supper. 

Soon after the return to camp General Conner decided he 
must send Lieutenant Oscar Jewett, his aid-de-camp, who had 
had great experience in Indian warfare, to Chimney Rock, some 
thirty miles north, where a large supply train in charge of Leander 
Black was encamped. Overhearing the instructions to Lieutenant 
Jewett, that he must go alone and run the risk of riding among 
the Indians, I begged General Conner to allow me to accompany 



66 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

r 

Jewett. At that time I had not been assigned to any particular 
duty was simply a passenger in the General s ambulance, en 
route to join my company, which was supposed to be stationed at 
Platte Bridge, on the North Platte, west of Laramie. To im 
press the General with my claims I gave him to understand that 
I had seen much of the Indians and was as capable of dodging 
their arrows as Lieutenant Jewett. After some hesitancy the Gen 
eral consented that I might go, but instructed us to ride at least 
600 yards apart, one behind the other. We left at 1 1 o clock and 
before daylight next morning were in the camp of the supply 
train, and had the men aroused ready to meet an attack expected 
at daylight. The ride was a very interesting one, the night being- 
as dark as I ever experienced, and neither one of us heard or saw 
the other until we met in Black s camp. 

Next day General Conner issued an order assigning me to 
duty as Acting Assistant Adjutant General, District of the Plains. 
Our march from this point (Chimney Rock) to Fort Laramie 
was devoid of anything particularly exciting. We were detained 
at Fort Laramie until the 3Oth day of July awaiting supply trains. 
During this time expeditions were organized by General Conner, 
supplied with trains of provisions and munitions of war, and 
started for a general rendezvous at the mouth of the Rosebud, 
near the south bank of the Yellowstone river. One of these ex 
peditions, composed of the i6th Kansas, under command of Lieu 
tenant Colonel Samuel Walker, left us at Laramie, marching in a 
northeasterly direction up the Rawhide, across the Cheyenne to 
the Belle Fourche, along the west base of the Black Hills to the 
right of Devil s Tower toward the Little Missouri until he inter 
cepted Colonel Coles command. Walker s command, designated 
as the center column, was composed of 600 men of the i6th Kan 
sas cavalry. He was ordered to march July 29, but his command 
mutinied and refused to go, claiming that they had enelisted to 
fight rebels, not Indians ; that the war for which they enlisted was 
over and they should be mustered out. Two mountain howitzers 
double-shotted with grape and canister were sent to Walker s 
camp to help him enforce his order ; the ringleaders were arrested 
and his command marched away July 3Oth, and did valiant service 
before their return in October. He took forty days supplies 
packed on mules. 

The right column of the Powder River Indian expedition 



POWDER RIVER EXPEDITION. 67 

was commanded by Colonel Nelson Cole of the 2nd Missouri light 
artillery, and was composed of 797 officers and men of the 2nd 
Missouri light artillery serving as cavalry and 311 officers and 
men of the I2th Missouri cavalry in all 1,108 men, not including 
guides. He marched from Omaha, Nebraska, to Columbus, 
thence up the Loup, north fork, to its head, thence north across 
the Niobrara, Cheyenne river, to the east base of the Black Hills, 
around the north side, through the present site of Fort Meade, 
near the present city of Spearfish, on to the Little Missouri and 
to Powder river, intercepting Walker s command on the Belle 
Fourche. He was ordered to meet Conner at the mouth of the 
Rosebud. 

About the 9th of July I was relieved as Acting Assistant Ad 
jutant General by Captain C. J. Laurant, a regular Assistant 
Adjutant General, who had been sent by General Dodge to report 
to General Conner. The General refused to let me join my com 
pany and issued an order announcing me as his Acting Assistant 
Quartermaster, and instructed me to provide transportation, 
forage, etc., for the expedition. 

I found that there were only about seventy Government 
wagons at Fort Laramie ; that the commissary stores and forage 
required for the expedition and required by the command under 
Colonels Cole and Walker would require in the neighborhood of 
200 wagons to transport the same. I was compelled to press citi 
zens outfits into service. I pressed into service forty wagons be 
longing to Ed. Creighton, which was under the charge of Thomas 
Alsop ; captured Tom Pollock s train of thirty wagons and other 
trains until I had a train of 185 wagons. General Conner s com 
mand left Fort Laramie on the 3Oth day of July, 1865, en route 
for Powder river. Our column was known as the "Left Column 
of the Powder River Indian Expedition," and was composed of 
68 men belonging to Company F. 7th Iowa cavalry, under com 
mand of Captain N. J. O Brien, with First Lieutenant John S. 
Brewer, Second Lieutenant Eugene F. Ware ; 60 men of Company 
E, nth Ohio cavalry, under Captain Marshall; 70 men of Com 
pany K, nth Ohio cavalry, Captain J. L. Humphreyville ; 67 
men of Company M, 2nd California cavalry, commanded by Cap 
tain Albert Brown ; 49 men of Company L, 2nd California cav 
alry, commanded by Captain George Conrad ; 14 men, a detach 
ment of the 2nd Missouri artillery; 15 men, a detachment of 



68 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

the signal corps of the United States Yols., under com 
mand of Lieutenant J. Willard Brown, assisted by Second Lieu 
tenant A. V. Richards; 15 men on detached service from Com 
pany G, nth Ohio cavalry, commanded by Lieutenant John B. 
Furay, serving in the Quartermaster s Department ; 95 Pawnee 
scouts under command of Captain Frank North and 84 Winne- 
bago and Omaha Indians under command of Captain E. W. Nash, 
together with six companies of the 6th Michigan cavalry, num 
bering about 200 men, under command of Colonel J. H. Kidd. 
The Michigan troops were intended as a garrison for the first 
military post established, to be located on Powder river, and were 
not properly a part of the left column of the Powder River In 
dian expedition. Not including the Michigan troops we had, all 
told, 358 soldiers and 179 Indians, together with about 195 team 
sters and wagon masters in the train, which was in the direct 
charge of Robert Wheeling, chief train master. The General s 
staff was limited to five officers : Captain C. J. Laurant, A. A. 
G. ; Captain Sam. Robbins, ist Colorado cavalry, Chief Engineer; 
myself as Quartermaster; Captain W. H. Tubbs, A. C. S., and 
Lieutenant Oscar Jewett, A. D. C. 

We arrived at the south bank of the Platte August ist, ex 
pecting to cross at the old La Bonta crossing. The General, with 
his guides and advance guards, had arrived the night be 
fore, expecting from information furnished by his guides 
that he would find a good crossing here. Our guides, 
ten in number, chief among whom were Major James 
Bridger, Nick Janisse, Jim Daugherty, Mick Bouyer, 
John Resha, Antoine LeDue and Bordeaux, were supposed to 
be thoroughly posted on this country, especially with the region 
so near Fort Laramie, where they had been hundreds of times. 
But the treacherous Platte was too much for them. The spring 
flood that had just passed had washed away the crossing, and 
after ten hours diligent searching not one of the cavalry escort 
could find a place to cross the river without swimming his horse 
and endangering his life. Coming up with the train, which did 
not reach camp until afternoon, I found the General thoroughly 
discouraged and more than disgusted with his guides. The river 
had been examined for four miles each way from La Bonta cross 
ing and not a place could be found where it would be possible to 
cross a train. The alternative was presented to march to Platte 



POWDER RIVER EXPEDITION. 69 

bridge, 130 miles out of our regular course. Soon after parking 
the train I rode off by myself on my Government mule up the 
river, searching for an antelope. Without noticing the distance 
traveled I was soon nearly five miles from camp and out of sight 
of the same over a sharp bluff near the river. Just beyond this 
bluff I discovered a fresh buffalo trail leading down into the 
water, and across the river on the opposite side could distinguish 
tracks that the buffalo had made coming out of the stream. Curi 
ous to know how they could cross so straight without swimming 
in the rapid current, I rode my mule into the river and crossed on 
a good, solid bottom. 

Returning by the same route, I marked the location in my 
mind and rode back to camp in time for supper. Soon after feast 
ing on antelope steak that I had captured on my expedition, and 
having lit my pipe, I strolled up to General Conner and asked if 
he proposed crossing the Platte at this point, or if he intended 
to go around by the bridge. The General seemed put out by my 
question, which, under the circumstances, he considered aggra 
vating, and answered me rather roughly that we would have to 
go round by the bridge. I told him that if it was the train that 
bothered him about crossing, I would guarantee to have it on the 
opposite bank of the river by daybreak the next morning. The 
General s reply was: "Very well, sir; have it there." After 9 p. 
m., when all was still in camp, I detailed a gang of teamsters, 
about forty men, with picks and shovels and marched them up the 
river to the buffalo trail and set them at work making a road. 
It being a moonlight night, the work was easily prosecuted, and 
by break of day on the morrow the lead team of the 185 wagons 
stood, leaders in the river, waiting the command to march. As 
soon as it was light enough to distinguish the opposite shore I 
rode in ahead of the leaders and gave the command "Forward!" 
There was no break or halt until the train was parked opposite 
the General s camp, all before sunrise. In fact, the entire train 
was parked, the mules turned loose to graze and the men prepar 
ing their breakfast, when the sentinels on the opposite bank of the 
river discovered the train beyond the Platte and gave the alarm 
to the General, who rushed out of his tent undressed to see what 
he did not believe was true. He immediately ordered "Boots and 
Saddles" to be sounded, and in a short time the entire command 
was with us. After breakfast our column moved on, passing over 



7O CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

a country perfectly destitute of grass or timber and scarcely any 
water. 

August 2nd and 3rd we made thirty-three miles, following up 
the north bank of the Platte. 

August 4th opened with a cold, drizzling rain. Broke camp 
at 6 a. m. Weather soon cleared off. Found roads hilly ; in fact, 
no roads at all. No wagon had even been near our line of march. 
Captain Brown with two California companies was ordered to 
push on, following up the Platte, while we struck off to the right. 
They were to march by way of the south slope of the Big Horn 
mountains into the Wind River valley and thoroughly recon 
noitre that region of country, and to rejoin us within twenty or 
twenty-five days near the Crazy Woman s fork of the Powder 
river, which stream they were to strike near its head and follow 
down until they intercepted our command. The Omaha or Win- 
nebago scouts under command of Captain Nash, eighty-four men, 
accompanied them. Flanking parties were reinforced on our line 
of march today, the Pawnee scouts composing same ; also a party 
of the same scouts two or three miles ahead of the command. 
Every precaution was taken to guard against surprises. Parties 
w r ere sent ahead for Indian signs, the guides reporting several 
strong indications of war parties having traveled the country 
ahead of us. Our course after leaving the Platte was in a north 
westerly direction. Camped in some hills, where we found stag 
nant pools, grass very poor, country very rough, almost impossi 
ble to get the train through. We marched only ten miles and 
reached camp at half past I p. m. Teams were "doubled up" 
nearly every hill ; no wood at this camp. 

August 5th. Moved from camp at sunrise, traveled over sev 
eral high ridges and made camp at Brown s Springs at 10 o clock 
a. m. Grass and water excellent. Stock looking well so far, no 
accidents of a serious nature having happened since we started. 
General Conner very vigilant and careful about being surprised ; 
he superintends every movement himself and is very sanguine 
that our expedition will be successful. Distance traveled today, 
eight and one-half miles, as measured by the General s ambulance 
odometer. 

August 6th. Left Brown s Springs at 6 o clock a. m., Sun 
day Everything moves off in the usual manner; course nearly 
north. Saw Pumpkin Buttes at I o clock p. m., which the guides 



POWDER RIVER EXPEDITION. 71 

say is thirty miles from Powder river. Some careless soldiers 
fired the grass near our camp last night. The fire, getting beyond 
control, serves as a beacon light to the hostiles and gives great 
uneasiness to our guides, who fear that the Indians will be sig 
nalled thereby and may congregate in large numbers too large 
for our little command. At the starting of this fire the flames 
ran across the camp toward two powder wagons. Volunteers from 
the General s headquarters camp, together with some soldiers, 
rushed through the fire to the powder wagons and dragged them 
to a place of safety ; in doing so had to pass over burning grass. 
Today our left flankers killed three buffalo. Made camp on the 
dry fork of the Cheyenne at 10 o clock a. m. Grass and water 
plenty. No water visible, but any quantity of it within a few 
inches of the surface in the sandy bed of the river. Empty cracker 
boxes were sunk in the sand, sand scooped out and soon water 
could be dipped up by the bucketful, enough to water all the 
stock and to supply the camp. The last of the train did not reach 
camp until dark ; distance marched only twelve miles. 

August 7th. Broke camp at the usual hour; roads very 
heavy today ; distance traveled eighteen miles. The train did not 
all arrive in camp until after midnight. Our camp was at some 
springs in a cosy little valley, where we found plenty of grass and 
enough wood to cook our buffalo meat. Five buffalo killed and 
brought in today; any quantity of buffalo and antelope in sight 
on both flanks. Teams gave out today, many of the mules refus 
ing to pull. 

August 8th was spent in recuperating the stock ; not a wheel 
was turned today. 

(I refer to my dairy from this date on for only important 
events of the expedition ; will not try to record the incidents of 
each day s march.) 

August 9th. We obtained our first view of the Big Horn 
mountains at a distance of eighty-five miles northwest, and it was 
indeed magnificent. The sun so shone as to fall with full blaze 
upon the southern and southeastern sides as they rose toward 
Cloud s Peak, which is about 13,000 feet above sea level, and the 
whole snow-covered range so clearly blended with the sky as to 
leave it in doubt whether all was not a mass of bright cloud. Al 
though the day was exceedingly warm, as soon as we struck this 
ridge we felt the cooling breezes from the snow-clad mountains 



/2 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

that was most gratefully appreciated by both man and beast. In 
front and a little to the northeast could be seen the four columns 
of the Pumpkin Buttes, and fifty miles farther east Bear Butte. 
and beyond a faint outline of the Black Hills. The atmosphere 
was so wonderfully clear and bright that one could imagine that 
he could see the eagles on the crags of Pumpkin Buttes, forty 
miles away. 

August nth. Broke camp at the usual hour; traveled down 
Dry Creek ; passed two or three mud holes, where the stock was 
watered. After eight miles marching got to a spot where we 
could see the long-looked- for Powder river. Saw columns of 
smoke down the river, indicating an Indian village a few miles 
away. It proved to be a fire which the hostile Indians had made 
a day or two before. Powder river is, at this point, a very rapid 
stream, water muddy like the Missouri ; timber very plenty, rang 
ing back from the river from one-half to one mile ; grass not very 
good. Train reached camp at 2 o clock and camped in the timber 
on the river bank. In the evening the General, some members of 
his staff and the guides, with an escort, went down the river to 
see if there were any signs of the Indians. Found a "good In 
dian" very lately sewed up in a buffalo skin and hung up in a 
tree. Many such sights along Powder river. The country trav 
ersed by the General was similar to the camp ground. 

August 1 2th. Train remained in camp. An exploring ex 
pedition was sent up the river under the command of Lieutenant 
Jewett, with orders to proceed twenty miles, to look for a better 
location for a military post. Twenty-five of the 6th Michigan 
cavalry went up the river with Lieutenant Jewett to the crossing 
of the old traders trail from Platte bridge to the Big Horn moun 
tains, and past the same to the Bozeman trail, made in 1864 by 
J. M. Bozeman of Montana. Lieutenant Jewett found bottoms 
on both sides of the river, banks heavily timbered, flanked by 
high, bold bluffs, with Indian signs all along the stream scarcely 
a mile where there had not been Indian villages, some within a 
few weeks, some that were probably made years and years ago. 
Some camps gave evidence that the Indians had very large droves 
of horses, as the trees were badly girdled. Numerous Indian 
burial trees were found with lots of "good Indians" tied up in 
them. Several bands of buffalo were seen during the day. Lieu 
tenant Jewett returned to camp the same day, having made a 
fifty-mile march. 



POWDER RIVER EXPEDITION. 7J 

August 1 4th. The first timber was cut today for building 
a stockade, the General having decided to erect a fort on the west 
bank of the river at this point on a large mesa rising about 100 
feet above the level of the river and extending back, as level as 
a floor, about five miles to the bluffs. A very fine location for a 
fort, the only disadvantage being scarcity of hay land. Our 
stockade timber was cut twelve feet long and was from eight to 
ten inches in thickness. These posts were set four feet deep in 
the ground in a trench. Every soldier and all the teamsters who 
could be urged to work were supplied with axes, and the men 
seemed to enjoy the exercise, chopping trees and cutting stockade 
timber. 

August 1 6th. Command still in camp waiting for a train of 
supplies from Fort Laramie before we proceed. Indian scouts 
discovered a war party today and the soldiers gave them a run 
ning fight, Captain North s Pawnees in the advance, with only a 
few staff officers, who were smart enough to get to the front with 
the Pawnees. Captain North followed the Indians about twelve 
miles without their being aware of our pursuit ; then the fun 
began in earnest. Our war party outnumbered the enemy, and 
the Pawnees, thirsty for blood and desirous of getting* even with 
their old enemy, the Cheyennes, rode like mad devils, dropping 
their blankets behind them and all useless paraphernalia, rushed 
into the fight half naked, whooping and yelling, shooting, howl 
ing such a sight I never saw before. Some twenty-four scalps 
were taken, twenty-nine horses captured and quite an amount of 
other plunder, such as saddles, fancy horse trappings and Indian 
fixtures generally. The Pawnees were on horseback twenty-four 
hours and did not leave the trail until they overtook the enemy. 
There was a squaw with the party ; she was killed and scalped 
with the rest. On their return to camp they exhibited the most 
savage signs of delight, and if they felt fatigued did not show 
it; rode into camp with the bloody scalps tied to the ends of 
sticks, whooping and yelling like so many devils. In the evening 
they had a war dance instead of retiring to rest, although they 
had been up more than thirty hours. The war dance was the 
most savage scene I had ever witnessed. They formed a circle 
and danced around a fire, holding up the bloody scalps, brandish 
ing their hatchets and exhibiting the spoils of the fight. They 
were perfectly frantic with this, their first grand victory over their 



74 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

hereditary foe. During the war dance they kept howling "Hoo 
yah, hoo yah, hoo yah, hoo yah," accompanying their voices with 
music (if such it could be called) made by beating upon an in 
strument somewhat resembling a drum. No one who has never 
witnessed a genuine Indian war dance could form any conception 
as to its hideousness the infernal "Hoo yahs" and din-din of the 
tom-tom. These howling devils kept up the dance, first, much to 
our amusement, until long after midnight, when finally the Gen 
eral becoming thoroughly disgusted, insisted upon the officer of 
the day stopping the noise. After considerable talk Captain North, 
their commander, succeeded in quieting them, and the camp laid 
down to rest ; but this war dance was kept up every night until the 
next fight, limited, however, to 10 o clock p. m. 

August i Qth. Several of the staff officers, myself included, 
went on a buffalo hunt in the afternoon. We killed several buf 
falo. One of the scouts reported having seen a large body of 
Sioux Indians. Captain North started with his company in pur 
suit ; killed one Indian chief and captured six head of horses. 
Colonel Kidd went out in another direction with twenty-five men 
and reported from 500 to 1,000 Indians. Captain O Brien and 
Lieutenant Jewett with fifteen men went ten or twelve miles down 
the river and camped until 3 o clock on the morning of the 2Oth, 
then struck across the country toward camp, but saw no Indians. 
Captain Marshall, with forty men of the nth Ohio, went in pur 
suit of another band of Indians and captured eleven head of stock. 
All of these scouting parties returned to camp; some on the iQth, 
some not until the 2oth. 

August 22nd. Broke camp at surise; started from Powder 
river going north, leaving part of the train at the fort, also all 
the 6th Michigan cavalry. Traveled twenty-three and one-half 
miles and made camp on Crazy Woman s Fork of the Powder 
river, so named because of the fact that some fifteen years before, 
^ poor, demented squaw lived near the bank of the river in a 
"wickiup" and finally died there. The water of this stream is not 
as good as that of the Powder river, more strongly impregnated 
with alkali ; grass not very good ; sage brush abundant, some tim 
ber on the stream. Saw some signs of Indians, but none very re 
cent. About noon today Captain Albert Brown, with his Com 
pany L, 2nd California cavalry, joined us. He had been on a 
three weeks scout left us August 4th for the Wind river country 



POWDER RIVER EXPEDITION. 75 

had followed the Wind river valley to a point west of the south 
end of the Big Horn range, and then east to Crazy Woman s Fork, 
and down this valley to our command ; had seen no Indians ; game 
in abundance. 

August 23rd. Left Crazy Woman s Fork at 6 o clock a. m. ; 
traveled north five miles ; came to a dry creek ; passed several of 
the same kind during the day ; did not find any running water ; 
stock suffered some from want of same. The country is rolling, 
still seems more compact and gives us a much better road than we 
had on the south side of the Powder river. The Big Horn 
mountains lying right to our front, seem to be within rifle range, 
so very near that we could see the buffalo feeding on the foot 
hills ; the pine trees, rocks and crags appear very distinct, though 
several miles away. Fourteen miles from Crazy Woman s fork 
we struck the Bozeman wagon trail, made in 1864. Made camp 
at 3 o clock ; grass splendid ; plenty of water, clear and pure as 
crystal and almost as cold as ice. The stream was full of trout 
and the boys had a glorious time in the afternoon bathing in the 
ice water and fishing for trout with hooks made of willows. Sev 
eral bands of buffalo had been feeding close to camp, and about 
5 o clock p. m. about twenty-five cavalrymen rode out and sur 
rounded a band and drove them into a corral formed of our 
wagons, and there fifteen were slaughtered and turned over to 
the commissary department. 

The General and a few of his staff officers, myself included, 
went up the stream to a high mesa some three miles above camp 
and got a beautiful view of the country and the surrounding hills ; 
returning ran upon a monstrous grizzly, which took shelter in a 
little plum patch covering about an acre of ground. One of our 
party, Train Master Wheeling, with more daring than the rest of 
us cared to exhibit, rode up within a few rods of the patch ; the 
bear would rush out after him, when he would turn with his mule 
so quickly that the bear could not catch him, the bear close to 
his heels snapping and growling, at the same time receiving the 
fire of our Sharpe s rifles. After receiving the same Mr. Grizzly 
would retire, and again Wheeling would draw him out of the 
plum patch, and again we would pour cold lead into his carcass. 
The fight was intensely interesting. When we downed the grizzly 
we found we had perforated his hide with twenty-three balls. The 
animal was one of the largest of its species ; we agreed that it 
weighed about 1,800 pounds. 



/6 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

From this point on to Montana in fact, along the whole base 
of the Rocky mountains to the British Possessions the country 
is perfectly charming, the hills are covered with a fine growth of 
grass, and in every valley there is either a rushing stream or bab 
bling brook of pure, clear snow water filled with trout, the banks 
lined with trees, wild cherries, quaking asp, some birch, willow 
and cottonwood. No country in America is more picturesque 
than the eastern slope of the Big Horn mountains. 

August 25th. Broke camp at the usual hour; pushed on 
north, passing along the base of the Big Horn mountains. Crossed 
several streams, one of which we named Coal creek, because of 
the fact that near the center of the stream lay a block of coal about 
twenty-five feet long, eight feet thick and about twelve feet wide, 
the water having washed through a vein of coal that cropped out 
at this point. We found coal here enough to supply our forges 
and to enable the blacksmith to do some needy repairs. Seven 
miles from Coal creek we came to a very pretty lake about two- 
miles long and about three-fourths of a mile wide, which Major 
Bridger told us was DeSmet lake, named for Father DeSmet. 
The lake is strongly impregnated with alkali in fact, so strong* 
that an egg or potato will not sink if thrown into the water. Large, 
red bluffs are to be seen on both sides, and underneath the lake 
is an immense coal vein. Not many miles from this lake is a 
flowing oil well. A scheme might be inaugurated to tunnel under 
this lake, pump the oil into the lake, set the tunnel on fire and boil 
the whole body of alkali water and oil into soap. Made our camp 
on the Piney fork of the Powder river about two or three miles 
below the present site of Fort McKinney, where now is a flourish 
ing city known as Buffalo, county seat of Johnson county, Wyom 
ing. Just after we had gone into camp a large band of buffalo 
that had been aroused by our flankers came charging down the 
hill directly into the camp. Many of them turned aside, but sev 
eral passed through among the wagons, much to the dismay of 
our animals, most of which were tied taking their meal of grain. 
One monstrous bull got tangled in the ropes of one of our tents 
and was killed while trampling it in the dust. 

August 26th. Left Piney fork at 6 o clock a. m. Traveled 
north over a beautiful country until about 8 a. m., when our ad 
vance reached the top of the ridge dividing the waters of the 
Powder from that of the Tongue river. I was riding in the ex- 



POWDER RIVER EXPEDITION. 77 

treme advance in company with Major Bridger. We were 2,000 
yards at least ahead of the General and his staff; our Pawnee 
scouts were on each flank and a little in advance; at that time 
there was no advance guard immediately in front. As the major 
and myself reached the top of the hill we involuntarily halted our 
steeds. I raised my field glass to my eyes and took in the grand 
est view that I had ever seen. I could see the north end of the 
Big Horn range, and away beyond, the faint outline of the moun 
tains beyond the Yellowstone. Away to the northeast the Wolf 
mountain range was distinctly visible. Immediately before us lay 
the valley of Peneau creek, now called Prairie Dog creek, and 
beyond, the Little Goose, Big Goose and Tongue River valleys 
and many other tributary streams. The morning was clear and 
bright, with not a breath of air stirring. The old Major, sitting 
upon his horse with his eyes shaded with his hands, had been tell 
ing me for an hour or more about his Indian life his forty years 
experience on the plains, telling me how to trail Indians and dis 
tinguish the tracks of different tribes ; how every spear of grass, 
every tree and shrub and stone was a compass to the experienced 
trapper and hunter a subject that I had discussed with him 
nearly every day. In fact, the Major and myself were close 
friends. His family lived at Westport, Missouri. His daughter, 
Miss Jennie, had married a personal friend of mine, Lieutenant 
Waschman, and during the winter of 1863 I had contributed to 
help Mrs. Bridger and the rest of the family, all of which facts 
the Major had been acquainted with, which induced him to treat 
me as an old-time friend. 

As I lowered my glass the Major said: "Do you see those 
ere columns of smoke over yonder?" I replied : "Where, Major?" 
to which he answered : "Over there by that ere saddle," meaning 
a depression in the hills not unlike the shape of a saddle, pointing 
at the same time to a point fully fifty miles away. I again raised 
my glass to my eyes and took a long, earnest look, and for the 
life of me could not see any column of smoke, even with a strong 
field glass. The Major was looking without any artificial help. 
The atmosphere appeared to be slightly hazy in the long distance, 
like smoke, but there were no distinct columns of smoke in sight. 
Yet, knowing the peculiarities of my frontier friend, I agreed 
with him that there were columns of smoke, and suggested that 
we had better get off our animals and let them feed until the Gen- 



78 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

eral came up. This we did., and as soon as the General with his 
staff arrived I called his attention to Major Bridger s discovery. 
The General raised his fieldglass and scanned the horizon closely. 
After a long look he remarked that there were no columns of 
smoke to be seen. The Major quietly mounted his horse and rode 
on. I asked the General to look again ; that the Major was very 
confident that he could see columns of smoke, which, of course, in 
dicated an Indian village. The General made another examina 
tion and again asserted that there were no columns of smoke. 
However, to satisfy curiosity and to give our guides no chance to- 
claim that they had shown us an Indian village and we would not 
attack it, he suggested to Captain Frank North, who was riding 
with his staff, that he go with seven of his Indians in the direction 
indicated to reconnoitre and to report to us on Peneau creek or 
Tongue river, down which we were to march. I galloped on and 
overtook the Major, and as i came up to him overheard him re 
mark about these damn paper collar soldiers" telling him there 
were no columns of smoke. The old man was very indignant at 
our doubting his ability to outsee us, with the aid of field glasses 
even. The joke was too good to keep, and I had to report it to 
the General. In fact, I don t believe the Major saw any columns 
of smoke, although it afterwards transpired that there was an 
Indian village in the immediate locality designated. Bridger un 
derstood well enough that that was a favorable locality for In 
dians to camp, and that at most any time there could be found a 
village there. Hence, his declaration that he saw columns of 
smoke. 

Our march down Peneau creek was uneventful, the road 
being very good, much better than we had before found. This 
stream takes its name from a French trapper by the name of 
Peneau, who had been trapping for beaver. A band of buffalo 
close by tempted him to take a shot, which he did, slightly wound 
ing a large bull. The bull took after him and Peneau fled for his 
life. Just as he reached the steep bank of the creek, some fifteen 
or twenty feet above the stream, Mr. Bull caromed on his rear 
and knocked Peneau clear over the bank head foremost into the 
creek, the bull tumbling in after him. Fortunately the fall was 
more disastrous to the bull than to the man, who was able to make 
his escape. Such is the story as told to me by Major Bridger. 
Our camp that night was in the valley of Peneau creek, not far 
from Tongue river, sixteen miles from Big Piney. 



POWDER RIVER EXPEDITION. 79 

August 27th and 28th. Traveled down Peneau creek and 
Tongue river ; country near the river very barren ; no grass. After 
camping four of the Omaha scouts went a short distance from 
the camp and met a grizzly, which they imprudently fired upon. 
The grizzly closed upon them, killing one of the scouts and fear 
fully mangling two others before a relief party could drive away 
the bear. Just after sunset of this day two of the Pawnees who- 
went out with Captain North toward Bridger s columns of smoke 
two days previous, came into camp with the information that Cap 
tain North had discovered an Indian village. The General imme 
diately called me to his tent and instructed me to take command 
of the camp, keeping the wagons in corral, protect the stock and 
hold the position until he should return ; that he was going out to 
fight the Indians. I had never been baptized with Indian blood, 
had never taken a scalp, and now to see the glorious opportunity 
pass was too much. So I begged the General to order Lieutenant 
Brewer of the 7th Iowa cavalry, who had just reported to me as 
being ill, to remain with the train and that I be allowed to accom 
pany him in the glorious work of annihilating the savages. The 
General granted my request. The men were hurried to eat their 
supper, then being prepared, and at 8 p. m. we left camp with 
250 white men and eighty Indian scouts as the full attacking 
force. From our calculation as to distance we expected to strike 
the village at daylight on the morning of the 29th. Our line of 
march lay up the valley of Tongue river, and after we had passed 
the point where our wagons had struck the stream we found no 
road, but much underbrush and fallen timber; and, as the night 
was quite dark, our march was very greatly impeded, so that at 
daylight we were not within many miles of the Indian village. 
The General was much disappointed at this delay, which com 
pelled us to keep closely under cover, and in many instances to 
march along by the water s edge under the river bank in single file, 
to keep out of the sight of the Indians. I had worked myself to 
the extreme advance, and, like possibly many others in the com 
mand, had begun to think that there was no Indian village near 
us, and that we would have no Indians to fight. Arriving at this 
conclusion, I had become somewhat reckless and had determined 
that Captain North, who had joined our command soon after we 
left camp, should not reach the village in advance of myself. As 
we rode along close together conversing I managed to forge in 



8O CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

ahead of him just as we dropped down into a deep ravine ; the 
bank on the side just beyond the stream was much higher than 
the bank from which we came, and the trail led up to this steep 
bank. 

As I rode up the bank and came to the top my eyes beheld 
a sight as unexpected to me as a peep into sheol. Just before me 
lay a large mesa, or table, containing five or six hundred acres of 
land covered with Indian ponies, except a portion about one-half 
mile to the left, which was thickly dotted with Indian tepees full 
of Indians. Without a moment s hesitation I grasped the bits of 
my horse with my right hand and his nostrils with my left to 
prevent him from whinnying, threw myself from the saddle, drag 
ging the horse down the bank against Captain North s horse, and 
whispered to him that we had found the village. Captain North 
held my horse while I ran back, motioning the men to keep still. 
In fact, the General had issued orders when we left camp that no 
man should speak above a whisper, and that when the horses at 
tempted to whinny they should be jerked up with a tight rein. 
During the last half hour of our march several men had become 
somewhat careless and were not as cautious as they had been 
during the night. I soon met the General, who was close to the 
advance, and told him of my discovery. The word was passed 
back for the men to close up and to follow the General, and not 
to fire a shot until he fired in advance. General Conner then took 
the lead, rode his horse up the steep bank of the ravine and dashed 
out across the mesa as if there were no Indians just to the left ; 
every man followed as closely as possible. At the first sight of 
the General the ponies covering the table land in front of us set 
up a tremendous whinnying and galloped down toward the In 
dian village. More than a thousand dogs commenced barking, 
and more than seven hundred Indians made the hills ring with 
their fearful yelling. It appeared that the Indians were in the act 
of breaking camp. The most of their tepees were down and 
packed for the march. The ponies, more than 3,000, had been 
gathered in and most of the warriors had secured their horses ; 
probably half of the squaws and children were mounted, and some 
had taken up the line of march up the stream for a new camp. 
They were Arapahoes, under Black Bear and Old David, with 
several other chiefs not so prominent. The General watched the 
movements of his men until he saw the last man emerge from the 



POWDER RIVER EXPEDITION. 8 1 

ravine, when he wheeled on the left into line. The whole line then 
fired a volley from their carbines into the village without halting 
their horses, and the bugles sounded the charge. Without the 
sound of the bugle there would have been no halt by the men in 
that column ; not a man but what realized that to charge into the 
village without a moment s hesitancy was our only salvation. We 
already saw that we were greatly outnumbered, and that only 
desperate fighting would save our scalps. I felt for a moment that 
my place was with the train ; that really I was a consummate fool 
for urging the General to allow me to accompany him. I was re 
minded that I had lost no Indians, and that scalping Indians was 
unmanly, besides being brutal, and for my part I did not want any 
dirty scalps ; yet, I had no time to halt ; I could not do it for my 
horse carried me forward almost against my will, and in those few 
moments less than it takes to tell the story I was in the village 
in the midst of a hand-to-hand fight with warriors and their 
squaws, for many of the female portion of this band did as brave 
fighting as their savage lords. Unfortunately for the women and 
children, our men had no time to direct their aim; bullets from 
both sides and murderous arrows filled the air; squaws and 
children, as well as warriors, fell among the dead and wounded. 

The scene was indescribable. There was not much of the mil 
itary in our movements ; each man seemed an army by himself. 
Standing near the "sweat house," I emptied my revolver into the 
carcasses of three warriors. One of our men, a member of the 
nth Ohio cavalry, formerly one of John Morgan s men, a fine 
looking soldier with as handsome a face as I ever saw on a man, 
grabbed me my the shoulder and turned me about that I might as 
sist him in withdrawing an arrow from his mouth. The point of 
the arrow had passed through his open mouth and lodged in the 
root of his tongue. Having no surgeon with us of a higher grade 
than a hospital steward, it was afterwards, within a half hour, de 
cided that to get the arrow out of his mouth the tongue must be, 
and was, cut out. The poor fellow returned to camp with us, and 
at this date I am unable to say whether he lived or died. Another 
man, a sergeant in the Signal Corps, by the name of Charles M. 
Latham, was shot in the heel. He had been through the entire war 
in the Army of the Potomac, and wore a medal for his bravery ; 
had passed through many battles and escaped unharmed. This 
shot in the heel caused his death ; he died a few days afterward 



82 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

with lockjaw. The Indians made a brave stand trying to save 
their families, and succeeded in getting away with a large ma 
jority of their women and children, leaving behind nearly all of 
their plunder. They fled up a stream now called Wolf creek, 
General Conner in close pursuit. Soon after we left the village 
General Conner advised me to instruct Captain North to take his 
Indians and get all the stock he could possibly gather. This was 
done, and with a few stragglers I followed a small band of In 
dians up the main Tongue river about three miles, until they 
gathered recruits enough to turn upon us and force us back. Gen 
eral Conner pursued the fleeing savages fully ten miles from camp, 
when he found himself accompanied by only fourteen men ; our 
horses had all become so fatigued and worn out that it was im 
possible to keep up. The General halted his small squad and at 
tempted to take the names of his brave comrades, when the In 
dians, noticing the paucity of his numbers, immediately turned 
upon him and made a desperate effort to surround him and his 
small squad of soldiers. They fell back as rapidly as possible, con 
testing every inch, reinforced every few moments by some strag 
glers who had endeavored to keep up. With this help they man 
aged to return to camp, where Captain North and myself had 
succeeded in corraling about 1,100 head of ponies. One piece of 
artillery had become disabled. The axletree of the gun carriage, 
a mountain howitzer, was broken. We left the wheels and broken 
axle near the river and saved the cannon. The command ren 
dezvoused in the village and the men were set to work destroying 
Indian property. Scores of buffalo robes, blankets and furs were 
heaped up on lodge poles, with tepee covers and dried buffalo 
meat piled on top, and burned. On one of these piles we placed 
our dead and burned their bodies to keep the Indians from mu 
tilating them. During our halt the Indians pressed up close to 
the camp and made several desperate attempts to recover their 
stock, when the mountain howitzer, under the skillful manage 
ment of Nick O Brien, prevented them from completing their 
aims. Our attack upon the village commenced at 9 a. m. The 
rendezvous in the village was about 12:30. We remained there 
until 2 130, and in the time intervening we destroyed an immense 
amount of Indian property fully 250 Indian lodges and contents. 
At half past 2 we took up the line of march for the train. 
Captain North, with his eighty Indians, undertook to drive the 



POWDER RIVER EXPEDITION. 83 

stock ; they were soon far ahead, while the rest of the force was 
employed in beating back Indians. The Indians pressed us on 
every side, sometimes charging up to within fifty feet of our rear 
guard. They seemed to have plenty of ammunition, but did most 
of their fighting with arrows, although there were some of them 
armed with muskets, with which they could send lead in dan 
gerous proximity to our men. Before dark we were reduced to 
forty men who had any ammunition, and these only a few rounds 
apiece. The Indians showed no signs of stopping the fight, but 
kept on pressing us, charging upon us, dashing away at the stock, 
keeping us constantly on the move, until fifteen minutes of 12 
o clock, when the last shot was fired by our pursuers. At this time 
I had gone ahead with an order from General Conner to Captain 
North relative to handling the stock. Having completed my work, 
I halted by the side of the trail and waited for the General, who 
was with the rear guard. I remember, as I was getting of! my 
horse, I heard the last shot fired some two or three miles in the 
rear. After I had dismounted I realized that I was fearfully 
tired, so tired that I could not stand up. I sat upon the ground 
and in a moment, in spite of myself, was in a sound sleep, and 
was only awakened by being dragged by my horse, which was an 
Indian pony that I had saddled from the captured stock. Nearly 
all our men had remounted themselves while we were rendezvous 
ing in the Indian village, otherwise we would not have been able 
to keep out of the w r ay of the pursuing Indians. My lariat was 
wrapped around my right arm, and with this the pony was drag 
ging me across the prickly pears when I awakened. Realizing 
that I was on dangerous ground, I quickly mounted my pony and 
listened long for the least sound to indicate whether the General 
had come up or not. There was no noise not a sound to be 
heard, the night intensely dark and myself so bewildered that I 
scarcely knew which way to go. Again jumping from my horse, 
I felt with my hands until I found the trail and discovered that 
the footprints of the horses went in a certain direction. Taking 
that as my course, I rode away as rapidly as possible, and after 
three miles hard riding overtook the General and his rear guard, 
who had passed me while I was asleep. All congratulated me on 
my narrow escape. We arrived at camp at daylight, after march 
ing fully 130 miles without any rest or refreshments, except the 
jerked buffalo with which the boys had filled their pockets in the 
Indian village. 



84 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

The incidents of this fight would make interesting reading. 
Many acts of personal bravery cannot be recorded. Suffice it to 
say that every man was a general. Not a command \vas given by 
the General after the first order to charge not a man in the com 
mand but that realized that his life was in the balance. We must 
either whip the Indians, and whip them badly, or be whipped our 
selves. We could see that the Indians greatly outnumbered us ; 
that our main dependence was upon our superior equipments we 
were better armed than they. As for fighting qualities, the sav 
ages proved themselves as brave as any of our men. The fight 
commenced at 9 o clock, and was offensive until after n, when 
the General was driven back into camp with his small squad of 
men ; from that time until midnight we fought on the defensive. 
Yet .we had accomplished a grand victory. Two hundred and 
fifty lodges had been burned with the entire winter supply of the 
Arapahoe band. The son of the principal chief (Black Bear) 
was killed, sixty-three Indians were slain and about 1,100 head 
of ponies captured. While we were in the village destroying the 
plunder most of our men were busy remounting. Our own tired 
stock was turned into the herd and the Indian ponies were lassoed 
and mounted. This maneuver afforded the boys no little fun, as 
in nearly every instance the rider was thrown or else badly shook 
up by the bucking ponies. The ponies appeared to be as afraid 
of the white men as our horses were afraid of the Indians. If it 
had not been for Captain North with his Indians it would have 
been impossible for us to take away the captured stock, as they 
were constantly breaking away from us trying to return toward 
the Indians, who were as constantly dashing toward the herd in 
the vain hope of recapturing their stock. 

Many exciting scenes were witnessed upon the field of battle. 
During the chase up Wolf creek with the General one of North s 
braves picked up a little Indian boy that had been dropped by the 
wayside. The little fellow was crying, but when picked up by the 
soldier Indian fought like a wildcat. One of our men asked the 
Indian what he was going to do with the pappoose. He said : 
"Don t know ; kill him, mebby." He was told to put him clown 
and not to injure the bright little fellow. The Indian obeyed, and 
at least one pappoose owed his life to the kind-hearted soldier. 
Several of our men were wounded, some of them quite severely. 
Three or four afterwards died of their wounds. Two of our sol- 



POWDER RIVER EXPEDITION. 85 

diers, white men, I forget their names, were found among the 
dead, and three or four of North s Indians were killed. Lieuten 
ant Oscar Jewett, the General s aid-de-camp, the General s bugler 
and orderly were among the wounded. Lieutenant Jewett was 
shot through the thigh and through the hand, and yet was com 
pelled to ride over sixty-five miles after receiving his wounds. We 
were absent from camp thirty-three hours, had marched 130 miles 
and during that time had had nothing to eat except a few hard 
tack and some jerked buffalo meat. If there is a better record to 
the credit of the volunteer cavalry soldier I am not aware of the 
fact. We brought back to camp with us eight squaws and thir 
teen Indian children, who were turned loose a day or two after 
wards. 

August 3Oth and 3ist we marched twenty-two miles down 
Tongue river. September ist early in the morning a cannon shot 
was heard. No two persons could agree from what direction the 
sound came, but as this was the day fixed for the general ren 
dezvous of Cole and Conner s commands near the mouth of the 
Rosebud, some eighty miles away, it was supposed that the sound 
came from that direction. General Conner directed Captain 
North with about twenty of his Indians and Captain Marshall 
with thirty men of the nth Ohio cavalry to push on rapidly to 
the rendezvous to communicate with Cole. Marched fifteen miles. 
September 2nd. Did not leave camp until I p. m. Marched 
down the river eight miles. Valley has narrowed up very much 
and the country appears rough and irregular. Last night several 
"medicine wolves" were heard prowling in the hills near camp. 
Ever since we left Fort Laramie our camp has been surrounded 
with thousands of wolves, making the night hideous with their in 
fernal howling ; but not until tonight have we heard the "medicine 
wolf," which old Bridger claims to be a supernatural sort of an 
animal whose howling is sure to bring trouble to the camp. 
Bridger, Nick Janisse and Rulo, being very superstitious, were 
so frightened at this peculiar howling that they took up their 
blankets and struck out for a new camp which, according to their 
theory, was the only way of escaping from the impending danger. 
They went down the river about half a mile and camped in the 
timber by themselves. 

September 3rd. Has been a cold, dreary day, raining most 
of the time ; some snow. Weather very disagreeable for a mounted 
man compelled to march sixteen miles in the snow and rain. 



86 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

September 4th. Weather not quite so cold as yesterday not 
so disagreeable ; country very rough ; scarcely any grass, not a 
spear was seen for miles on the march. Passed down Tongue 
river ; was compelled to cross the stream dozens of times. A mes 
senger from Colonel Sawyer s train of emigrants came into camp 
tonight with the news that his train was attacked by the Indians, 
supposed to be the same ones that we had fought ; that Captain 
Cole of the 6th Michigan and two of his men were killed ; that 
the train was parked and the men doing their best to defend them 
selves. From him we learned that Colonel Sawyer with about 
twenty-five wagons and 100 men were en route from Sioux City 
to Bozeman by way of the Big Horn, or "Bozeman route ;" that 
they had passed over the country by way of the Niobrara, north 
fork of Cheyenne, between Pumpkin and Bear Buttes, intersecting 
with our trail near Fort Conner, and Colonel Kidd, commanding 
Fort Conner, had sent Captain Cole with twenty men as an addi 
tional escort for the train to help them through the Arapahoe 
country. 

Captain Brown and two companies of California troops were 
hastily detached from our command and marched west about forty 
miles to relieve the train. When they reached the train they found 
that the Indians had given up the attack, and on the next day the 
train pushed on, Captain Brown accompanying them. Our com 
mand continued their march fifteen miles down the river. 

September 5th. Remained in camp all day waiting for some 
word from Captain Marshall. The General is very anxious to get 
some news from the column under the command of Colonel Cole. 
Captain Marshall s guide returned from the Rosebud tonight with 
no news. from Cole s command. Captain Marshall reached camp 
with his men soon after, having been to the rendezvous and find 
ing no evidence of our supporting column there. 

September 6th. The command about-faced today and marched 
back up the river fifteen miles to find better grass for the stock, a 
scouting party under Captain North having returned from the 
mouth of the Tongue river on the Yellowstone and reported no 
grass and no sign of Cole s command. 

September /th. Marched upon the river fourteen miles ; 
found good grass and camped. 

September 8th. Captain Frank North with twenty of the 
Pawnee scouts left for Powder river this morning. Captain 



POWDER RIVER EXPEDITION. g/ 

Humphreyville and a part of his company were ordered to the 
Rosebud. Small scouting parties were sent in every direction to 
obtain, if possible, some news of Cole s command. No signs of 
Indians. Weather very cold and disagreeable. 

September gth. Still raining and snowing ; roads are fright 
fully muddy ; almost impossible to move the train ; has been rain 
ing and snowing for three davs. 

September loth. Stopped raining this morning. Several 
mules and horses have died from the effects of the storm. No 
news from the other column. Tongue river has risen about two 
feet, and we find it impossible to cross. 

September nth. Moved the camp one mile up the river to 
better grass. Captain Humphreyville returned from the Rosebud 
todav, reporting no signs of Cole s command. Captain North 
also returned from Powder river and reports that he found from 
500 to 600 dead cavalry horses, undoubtedly belonging to Cole s 
command ; most of them were found shot at the picket line. From 
that it appears that Cole had been hard pressed by the Indians 
and had been compelled to dismount his men and shoot his horses, 
the Indians giving them no chance to forage. A large number of 
saddles and other property had been burned. His trail was well 
marked and showed that he had pushed on up the river in 
an opposite direction from the course which he had been ordered 
to take. This startling news gave evidence that we were nearing 
the end of our expedition, which we feared must end disastrously, 
and explains the distant report of cannon September 1st. As 
acting commissary of subsistence, as well as Quartermaster (Cap 
tain Tubbs had remained at Fort Conner), I realized that Cole s 
command must be out of provisions ; that they had provisions until 
only the 3rd or 4th of September, when they were supposed to 
meet our train. That by this time, September nth, they must 
be either out of provisions or had been living on half rations for 
some time. 

The situation was, indeed, a critical one. Here a superior 
force had been attacked by the Indians at a point only fifty miles 
east of us, had been driven from its line of march to take another 
route, and had been so hard pressed by the savages that they were 
compelled to shoot their horses to save them from falling into the 
hands of the enemy and to enable the men to do better fighting on 
foot. Our fighting force was only about 350 men, counting sixty 



88 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

men with Captain Brown, who was then 100 miles away; theirs 
1,700 nearly five times our number. What would be our fate 
should these Indians return from the pursuit of Cole, cross over 
from the Powder river to Tongue river and concentrate with the 
Arapahoes in an attack upon us? We knew, or at least Captain 
North and his Indians knew, that the Indians who were pressing 
Cole were the Sioux and Cheyennes, and that they numbered 
thousands according to the best estimate five or six thousand In 
dians. Nearly all the men realized that we must be prepared to do 
some very good fighting ; that our only chance of escape from the 
country depended upon cautious movements as well as good luck. 

Early on the morning of September I2th we took up our line 
of march for Fort Conner. By doubling teams, as many as thirty 
span of mules hitched to several wagons, we managed to drag our 
loads across the river and by hard work made twenty miles today. 
Saw two very large herds of elk that had been driven into the 
timber by the storm. Last night General Conner dispatched one 
white man, Sergeant C. L. Thomas, Company E, nth Ohio cav 
alry, who volunteered to go with two Pawnee Indians at the risk 
of his life and join Cole s command with dispatches from the 
General, directing Cole to push on up Powder river to Fort Con 
ner, where he would find supplies for his men, a fact unknown to 
Colonel Cole. This move was an important one, and the scouts 
were instructed to travel only bv night and to run the gauntlet at 
all hazards, otherwise Cole and his men might perish within close 
proximity to the fort, where there was an abundance of food and 
ammunition. This party made the trip safely. Traveling only 
by night, they managed to reach Cole s camp and told him which 
to his starving troops was glorious news that if they pushed on 
rapidly they would find plentv to eat. ( Sergeant Thomas lives at 
Dwight, Kan., and is certainly entitled to a medal of honor from 
Congress for this brave deed.) 

September I3th. Continued our march up the river eight and 
one-half miles, when the teams were so badly played out that we 
could march no farther. 

September i4th. Marched thirteen and one-half miles. An 
other detachment of scouts, Pawnee Indians under command of 
Captain North, and also Captain Marshall with a small squad of 
the nth Ohio cavalry, started for Powder river this evening with 
instructions to fight their wav through to Cole s command. The 



POWDER RIVER EXPEDITION. 89 

General is risking our entire force for the salvation of Cole s men. 
If our force should be attacked now it would be short work for the 
Indians to massacre the entire party. 

September I5th and i6th were spent in recuperating our 
stock, as we found the mules too weak to pull the wagons. 

September I7th. Marched up the river fourteen miles and 
camped. About 3 p. m. today, while the train w r as crossing the 
river and experiencing a great deal of trouble, I straggled on 
ahead of the command to the advance guard beyond. I had my 
Sharpe s rifle with me and thought I would push on a little far 
ther and see if I could not shoot an elk. Crossing over a little 
divide I found that to reach the next point of timber I had a 
bottom of about two miles in width to cross. Not seeing any In 
dians or signs of Indians, I recklesslv gave my fast-walking mule 
the rein and continued on. Soon after reaching the timber I con 
cluded I was getting too far ahead of the command, led my mule 
a short distance off the road, tied him to a sapling, took mv gun 
and sat down on a log, when suddenly I heard the clank of horses* 
hoofs upon the rocks just ahead of me. Glancing in that direction 
I saw just before me a party of Indians. I sprang to my feet and 
raised my carbine as they pulled their reins, having noticed me. 
Just at that moment the face of a white man appeared behind the 
Indians and they threw up their hands to show that they were 
friendly. The white man, who proved to be Lieutenant Jones of 
the 2nd Missouri artillery, rode up. He was irom Cole s com 
mand and had been sent by Cole with Sergeant Thomas and his 
two Indians to advise General Conner of the safe arrival of our 
scouts, and that he would push on to Fort Conner. Jones had left 
Cole s command in an opposite direction from the Indians ; had 
gone around them, striking our trail near Big Piney, and followed 
down Peneau creek to Tongue river to the point where we met. I 
was so rejoiced at hearing from Cole s command that I could 
scarcely keep back the tears, and when I rode back to the train 
the news set the men wild with joy. Cole s command had been 
found. Lieutenant Jones reported that soon after passing to the 
right of the Black Hills they were attacked by the Sioux and 
Cheyennes, who had continued to fight them from that time until 
they reached Powder river. By that time their stock had become 
so worn out for want of feed that they were compelled to shoot 
many of their horses and burn up a large supply of saddles, stores 



9 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

and accoutrements, and to turn from their course towards the 
Wolf mountains and the Rosebud, the country before them being 
so rough that they could not drag their wagons after their com 
mand. Colonel Cole, being so early surrounded by Indians, made 
up his mind that General Conner s command must have been mas 
sacred, and that if he ever reached the Rosebud he would then be 
in a more dangerous position than he was east of Wolf mountains ; 
that his only chance for escape now would be in marching up 
Powder river, making his way if possible to Fort Laramie. Sev 
eral of his men had been wounded by the Indians, and for several 
days the men had to subsist on mule meat, beinjj absolutely out of 
provisions. 

September i8th and iQth. We continued our march up the 
river, camping on the I9th on Peneau creek, three miles above our 
old camp. Large bodies of elk passed the command today, and 
several of them were halted by our bullets. 

September 2Oth. Continued our march up Peneau creek six 
teen miles. 

September 2ist. The command marched twenty-one miles 
today. Just before we left camp this morning I prevailed upon 
the General to allow Lieutenant Jewett, Captain Laurant and my 
self, with three men, to ride two or three miles to the right of the 
command, to the front of the right flankers, to give us an oppor 
tunity to kill some elk ; the country seemed full of of them. The 
General made us promise that we would keep together, and, being 
well armed, we might fight off the Indians if they should attack 
us and make our way back to the train. We extended our ride 
some two or three miles to the right of the line of march and out 
of sight of the train in the foothills of the mountains. About 8 
o clock we ran across a large band of buffalo, and, as we were out 
upon a hunt, we dashed among them to see how many we could 
kill. I took after a fine bull, one of the best in the herd., which 
with a small band of buffalo struck up a ravine. It was short 
work to down the fellow and cut out his tongue as a trophy and 
to remount, when I discovered that there was not one of the party 
in sight I was entirely alone. I rode up on a hill, expecting to 
see the party a short distance away, but saw nothing, except here 
and there a buffalo, all on the gallop, and here and there an an 
telope. Thinking I was pretty close to the men, I pushed on in 
my regular course south parallel to the train, obliquing a little 



POWDER RIVER EXPEDITION. 9! 

to the left, expecting soon to come in sight of the wagons. After 
riding about half a mile and reaching the top of a little ridge I 
discovered, just before me, an antelope so close that I could not 
resist the temptation to chance a shot. Jumping from my pony, 
which, by the way, was a wild Indian pony captured out of the 
herd a day or two before, I threw the lariat over my arm, raised 
the gun and fired. The pony made a jump and dragged the rope 
through my hands, blistering them badly, and escaped, galloping 
off in an opposite direction from the course I was traveling. My 
first impulse was to fire at the pony to save my saddle and other 
accoutrements. Turning, I saw that I had shot the antelope and 
that he was getting onto his feet again. As he was so close by 
I dropped my gun to the ground, pulled my revolver, ran up 
towards the antelope and fired as I ran. The antelope gained his 
feet and started down the slope. I had fired the last shot from my 
revolver and had no time to reload, and as I had wounded the an 
telope I continued the pursuit. For nearly half a mile I followed 
the antelope in a winding course, until finally he fell to the ground 
in his death struggles. I cut his throat and took the saddle the 
two hindquarters. Started back to the hill to get my gun, but 
found I was on the wrong hill. Was finally compelled to return 
to the carcass and retrace my steps to where I fired at the antelope, 
tracking my way by the blood. This work delayed me fully an 
hour, but I was rewarded by finding the gun. Then, as I was so 
far behind the train (it was now 10 o clock), I concluded it would 
be dangerous to attempt to follow it, and as I was afoot my only 
salvation was in keeping at least four miles to the right of the 
train and to make camp in the night time. I hung on to the saddle 
of antelope and with my gun took up the tramp. After walking 
two or three miles I came to a ridge overlooking a little valley 
and in the valley saw a horse, which upon closer inspection I de 
termined to be my own, and which had by a roundabout course 
struck the valley ahead of me. The animal was feeding by himself 
not another animal in sight. I resolved at once to make an 
effort to re-capture him. Slipping down to the creek I deposited 
my gun and antelope meat in the limb of a dead cottonwood and 
commenced to crawl through the grass, which was very high, 
towards the horse. After more than an hour s work, slowly drag 
ging myself along, I just managed to get hold of the end of the 
rope, but not with sufficient grip to hold the startled pony, who 



9 2 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

again escaped from me. This only aggravated me and made me 
resolve that I would have the pony or die trying. One, two and 
more than three hours passed before I could again get hold of the 
rope, and finally it was about 4 o clock p. m. when I managed to 
capture the pony. I had worked up the valley three or four miles 
above where I had left the antelope meat and my gun, but after I 
had mounted my pony it was a short ride back to these articles^ 
and without further incident of importance reached the camp at 
daylight next morning, having gone fifteen miles out of my way 
to avoid the possible chance of meeting Indians. The other mem 
bers of the party had joined the command about 3 o clock in the 
afternoon, and after 9 o clock that night nearly every man in the 
camp had given me up for dead. 

September 22nd. Captain Marshall and a detachment of his 
company came from Fort Conner with a letter to General Conner 
with the news that he had been relieved of the command of the 
District of the Plains under an order from Major General John 
Pope, commanding the Department of the Missouri, dated at St. 
Louis, Missouri, August 22 ,1865, abolishing the District of the 
Plains and ordering Conner to Salt Lake. This was the first com 
munication or dispatch received by Conner since August I5th, and 
not a man of our command had received a letter from the States 
of a later date than July 20. We also learned that Colonel Cole, 
with his two regiments of Missouri troops and the i6th Kansas 
cavalry, had reached Fort Conner in a very destitute condition, 
half of the men barefoot, and that for ten days they had had no 
rations at all and had subsisted entirely upon what little game 
they could get close to camp and on mule meat, and that they had 
been obliged to burn a large portion of their train, together with 
camp equipage. 

September 23rd. Camped on Crazy Woman s fork, and on 
September 24th reached Fort Conner, having traveled twenty-five 
miles today. The General and staff reached the fort about n a. 
m. The train got in just before sundown. 

Cole s men looked as if they had been half starved, and are 
very ragged and dirty ; the men resemble tramps more than they 
clo soldiers. They have had little but suffering since they left the 
Platte river, and are as disgusted and discouraged an outfit as I 
ever saw. They report having fought the Indians six days on the 
Powder river and claim they killed 300 or 400 of them. This day s 



POWDER RIVER EXPEDITION. 93 

march ends the story of the Powder River Indian expedition. 
General Conner will return with a small escort of men, leaving 
the command of the expedition to Colonel Cole, who will make his 
way back to the States by slow marches. General Frank Wheaton 
has been assigned to the command of the District of the Plains, 
and we expect to meet him at Fort Laramie. I pursuaded General 
Conner to allow me to take back to Fort Laramie the captured 
stock that we might have credit therefor. 

On the 26th of September the General pushed out for Lara 
mie with three ambulances, Captain North and his Indians driving 
the stock. The General remained at Fort Laramie until October 
4th, when I received receipts from Captain Childs, A. Q. M., for 
610 horses all that had been saved of the 1,100 head captured 
from the Indians. Horses had escaped from us every day on the 
march, and during the storm on Tongue river several had per 
ished. On our march up Tongue river at least 300 or 400 made 
their escape at one time a band of more than fifty in one drove. 
In the four days lay-over at Fort Laramie I had completed my 
reports to the Quartermaster and Commissary Departments, re 
ceiving the General s approval on all my papers and his thanks 
for services rendered, and was enabled to accept his invitation to 
a seat in his ambulance and rode with him to Denver, where we 
had been invited by the citizens to a reception in his honor. We 
left Fort Laramie with an escort of twenty men, who accom 
panied us as far as Fort Collins. From that point we pushed on 
to Denver without an escort, arriving there about the I5th of 
October. We were received with all honors that could be be 
stowed ; a grand feast was prepared for us at the Planter s Hotel 
and the best people of Denver, almost en masse, turned out to 
the reception. The next day we were escorted by more than 
thirty carriages filled with prominent citizens to Central City, 
forty miles away in the mountains, where we were again received 
and toasted in the most hospitable manner. 

I returned to Denver in time to leave on the first coach that 
had been started from Denver for three weeks. Captain Sam. 
Robbins and Captain George F. Price (who had been chief of 
cavalry for the General, and whom he had left at Fort Laramie 
in charge of the office as Adjutant General of the District of the 
Plains while we were on the expedition), together with Bela M, 
Hughes (Attorney General of Ben. Holliday s overland mail line) 



94 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

and two Pacific railroad exploring engineers, with Johnnie Shoe 
maker as messenger (who had with him $250,000 in 
treasure), were fellow passengers. We left Denver at 10 
a. m., October igth ; met with no incidents of an ex 
citing nature until we reached Larry Hay s ranch about 
daylight the second day out. Just as we were driv 
ing up to the station we heard the rattle of musketry and the in 
fernal yells of the Indians, who had attacked a train camped 
close to the station. The chief wagon master, Wells of Fort 
Lupton, was killed in this attack. I had just climbed out of the 
coach to a seat with the driver, Johnnie Shoemaker was in the 
boot asleep and every one in the coach was asleep except the 
driver and myself. I had remarked to the driver that it was day 
light, and asked him how far it was to the station. He said it was 
close by a mile or two ahead. Just then we heard the firing. 
The driver whipped his six mules into a run and away we went 
pell mell for the station, expecting momentarily the arrows and 
leaden messengers of death. Fortunately for us the Indians were 
on the opposite side of the station, and before we reached the 
same had been driven away by the teamsters and wagon men. At 
O Fallon s Bluffs, near Baker s Ranch, we were again attacked by 
the Indians and ran into the station, where we defended ourselves 
until morning. 

Next day pushed on with the coach with all the passengers 
on foot as an advance guard and flankers. Fortunately two com 
panies of a West Virginia cavalry regiment were on the line of 
march up the Platte and happened to meet us in the worst part of 
the hills. Their presence had driven away the Indians and we 
were enabled to drive through the bluffs in safety. This is the 
last incident worthy of record of the Powder River Indian ex 
pedition. 

As a summary of general results I can only say that (even 
with the disastrous ending of Cole s expedition) the Powder 
River Indian expedition of 1865 was not a failure. The General s 
plan to " carry the war into Egypt" succeeded admirably. The 
warrior element, by the movement of these columns, were com 
pelled to fall back upon their villages to protect their families, and 
during the progress of the campaign the overland line of travel 
became as safe as before the Indian outbreak. It was not until 
General Conner retracted his steps, by order of the War Depart- 



POWDER RIVER EXPEDITION. 95 

ment, back to Laramie with all the soldiers that the Indians, think 
ing that he had voluntarily retired from their front, again hastened 
to the road, passing General Conner s retiring column to the east 
of his line of march, and again commenced their devilish work of 
pillage, plunder and massacre. 

General Conner s ability, sagacity and courage and, best of 
all, his success as an Indian fighter remains unchallenged in all 
the western country. His early schooling in Indian wars espe 
cially fitted him to become, as he was, the "big medicine man" of 
their hereditary foe. Ben. Holliday, the proprietor of the great 
stage coach and mail line Atchison, Kansas, to Sacramento, 
California wrote the Secretary of War, E. M. Stanton, October 
15, 1864, urging the assignment of Conner to the command of 
the District of the Plains. He was the best Indian fighter in our 
service at that time. This was General George Crook s opinion 
as expressed to me by him in 1887. 

General Patrick Edward Conner first enlisted in the regular 
army November 29th, 1839; was discharged November 29th, 
1844; was commissioned Colonel 3rd California Infantry Volun 
teers September 29th, 1861 ; fought the famous Bear River fight 
(263 dead Indians to tell the tale) January 29th, 1863 ; was pro 
moted Brigadier General March 29th, 1863; fought the battle of 
Tongue River August 29th, 1865 ; promoted Brevet Major Gen 
eral for gallant and meritorious conduct March 29th, 1866. This 
grand old warrior was a Captain of volunteers in the Mexican 
war and was three times severely wounded. He was stationed at 
Council Bluffs, Iowa, a member of the 4th Dragoons, in 1840 
sixty-one years ago. He died in Salt Lake City, Utah, December 
T7th, 1891. The remarkable recurrence of the date, 29th, as above 
noted in General Conner s career, is worthy of notice. 

Let the fact be recorded that General Conner led the first mil 
itary expedition into this region. Traders and trappers had been 
there. James Bridger was there in 1830, his eighth year on the 
plains. Malcolm Clark was there in 1841. Sir George Gore 
passed through on an exploring expedition in 1854. J. M. Boze- 
man and John M. Jacobs, accompanied only by Jacobs little 
daughter, passed by the eastern base of the Big Horn mountains 
from Montana to the States in 1863. Bozeman returned as the 
Captain of a large emigrant train in 1864 and made the first wagon 
trail. Captain James Stuart, brother of Granville Stuart, so well 



96 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

known in Montana, led a party of fourteen men, viz : Cyrus D. 
Watkins, John Vanderbilt, James N. York, Richard McCafferty, 
James Hauxhurst, Brewer Underwood, Ephraim Bostwick, Sam 
uel T. Hauser (late Governor of Montana), Henry A. Bell, Wil 
liam Roach, A. S. Blake, George H. Smith, Henry T. Gerry and 
George Ives prospectors searching for gold. 

A chapter, aye, a book, properly written, detailing the varied 
experiences, thrilling and exciting, fights with Indians, with 
grizzly bears, the chase for buffalo, antelope, deer, elk and other 
game that had never before heard the crack of a rifle or listened 
to the music of a musket ball, would make a story as interesting 
as the Arabian Nights, if not exactly on that order. (The In 
dians, until after 1863, scarcely ever used a gun on their hunts, 
correctly agreeing that the use of firearms would frighten the 
game and make the chase more difficult ; consequently they relied 
almost entirely on the bow, arrow and spear.) 

We found it an easy matter to ride up within fifteen or twenty 
rods of a band of buffalo before they would scamper off, and the 
strange sight of a moving train, signal flags and the large column 
of cavalry so excited the antelope and deer that they were to be 
seen at almost any hour of the day on neighboring hills, some 
times in close proximity to the train. It was an easy matter to 
ride up to within good revolver range of an antelope. Members 
of the Signal Corps enjoyed themselves hugely by hiding behind 
some little hillock or clump of sage brush and signaling to the 
incautious, confiding antelope to come up and smell of their pis 
tols. While on this subject I will state as a matter 
of truth and history that our entire command, the left 
column of the Powder River Indian expedition, num 
bering, with officers, soldiers, teamsters and other em 
ployes, 747 souls, from August loth to September 25th, 
depended entirely on wild game for meat. Some bacon was 
used for grease only, and out of 226 head of beef cattle that were 
driven along for the commissary department only three were 
slaughtered, and those because the animals had become footsore 
and could not keep up with the column. Fifteen buffalo were 
driven into the wagon corral and killed at our camp on Clear 
Fork of Powder river August 24th, and at one camp five grizzly 
bears were slaughtered. Men on the march would, with their re 
volvers, without danger to the flankers, who were at least a mile 



POWDER RIVER EXPEDITION. 97 

away, pick up antelope, and occasionally the more cautious deer, 
every day enough to satisfy the mess cook. 

A chapter giving but two days experience, May I3th and 
1 4th, of Captain Stuart s party of prospectors is but a fair sample 
sheet of such a book (my own experience in 1866, next year after 
General Conner s expedition, after my muster out of service, when 
I tried to become the first white settler in the Big Horn country, 
and did build the first house there ; lost four teams, $6,000 worth 
of goods and was held for three weeks a prisoner in "Old Davy s" 
tepee on Little Big Horn, near where Custer lost his life ten years 
later). Governor Hauser of Stuart s party kept a diary, and at 
the risk of becoming wearisome I quote from his report to the 
Montana Historical Society. Governor Hauser says, speaking of 
Captain Stuart : "As an illustration of his sagacity and moun 
taineer knowledge, I would state before going into the details of 
that dreadful night that, as we were riding along the day before, 
he remarked that we were being dogged by a war party. As I 
had seen no Indians nor any signs of any, I asked him how he 
knew. He replied : Do you see those buffalo running at full 
speed off there next to the mountains? Looking in that direc 
tion some six or eight miles I saw what he described, and an 
swered that I did. Well/ said he, you will shortly see those 
others a couple of miles or so ahead of them start also/ Sure 
enough, in the course of about half an hour, they, too, stampeded, 
thus showing clearly that they were frightened by something trav 
eling in the same direction as we were ; and it was also evident 
that it was something beyond them, for they all ran toward us. 
This convinced me that he was correct, and after he had explained 
and drawn my attention to the circumstances it was easy enough 
to comprehend. 

"Reaching the spot selected for camp, we busied ourselves 
with our various duties some preparing supper, others starting 
off with pick, pan and shovel to prospect, etc., but I noticed that 
the Captain quietly took his rifle and started off alone for the roll 
ing hills next to the mountains. In about an hour he returned 
and, throwing down a pemican, remarked : Those thieving scoun 
drels are close around here, so close that in their haste to keep me 
from seeing them they dropped that, and if we don t look sharp 
we will get set afoot tonight/ 

"As night approached it clouded up and threatened rain, so 



9 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

we carried in all our flour and most of our bag-gage, saddles, etc., 
and placed them around next the walls of our tents, making our 
beds inside of this circle, which proved to be a providential act. 
Night coming on, the Captain remarked that there would have to 
be a sharp watch kept, as he felt confident the Indians would make 
an attempt to get our horses, and said he would go on guard him 
self. As it grew dark we all retired to rest, except the two guards, 
without any misgivings, for during the last three weeks the In 
dians had been around our tents nearly every night trying to steal 
our horses, and as the) 7 had never attempted to fire into or molest 
us since our first meeting, when we stood them off, we had ceased 
to have any apprehension that they would attack us. The only 
precaution we took (that of taking our rifles and revolvers to bed 
with us) was to be ready in case they attempted to stampede our 
horses by dashing in among them. 

"The only one who seemed to have any premonition of the 
coming tragedy was Watkins, who several times during the day 
had called my attention to the mournful cooing of a dove, saying 
that it made him sad and caused him to think of his boyhood days 
and of his mother s home and that he couldn t get over it, etc. It 
was strange to hear him talk in this strain, for he was the most 
reckless of the party and usually did not seem to think of home, 
death or anything else. Drew, Underwood and I slept under the 
same blankets, and in the same tent were also York and Mc- 
Cafferty. Gerry, Bostwick, Ives and Watkins occupied a tent, as 
did also Bell, Vanderbilt, Blake and another, while Hauxhurst 
and Roach did not put up anv tent, but simply spread it over 
their bed. 

"We all fell asleep without fear, having been accustomed to 
having Indians around our camp, trying to steal our horses only, 
as we had learned to suppose, when I was startled by the Captain 
shouting : Keep close to the ground ! Instantly following his 
voice came the most unearthly yelling and firing that I had ever 
heard, and so very close that the crash, seemed directly against 
my head and inside the tent. I was fairly lifted to a sitting posi 
tion and my first realization of what was the matter was hearing 
Underwood say: Tm shot through and through / My God, this 
is awful! was my reply, adding instantly: So am I/ for feeling 
the shock and sting of the ball and blood trickling down my side 
I thought it was all over with me. Hurriedly thrusting my hand 



POWDER RIVER EXPEDITION. 99 

under my shirt, I drew a sip-h of relief, for I found that the ball 
had not gone through me, it having struck a thick memorandum 
book that was in my left shirt pocket, which it passed through, 
and flattened and stopped against a rib near my heart. 

"Instantly seizing our rifles we crawled out of the tent, but 
before we got out the yelling and firing had ceased. It was pitch 
dark, dark as Egypt, and what followed was even more trying 
to our nerves than what had passed. We could distinctly hear the 
demon-like whisperings of the murderous fiends in the ravine that 
we knew was not more than ten paces from us, yet so dark was 
it that we could not see even the outlines of the bushes that bor 
dered the ravine ; in fact, we could not see our hands before us. 
Add to this that we did not know how many of our little band 
were left alive. Some we know were dying, from the moans we 
heard, yet we could not see them or offer a word of consolation, 
for one audible word would have brought a shower of arrows. 
As it was, they were flying in all directions, and it seemed im 
possible to escape being pierced by them. We could hear them 
whizzing through the air every second, and so near that we 
often felt the wind., and so close were the Indians that we could 
hear them twang their bowstrings. Too shrewdly the cowardly 
murderers had resorted to their bows and arrows after they had 
emptied their double-barreled guns, knowing well that if they 
used their guns after we were aroused the flash would afford us a 
mark to return their fire, but arrows gave no guide and they were 
safe in the ravine and darkness. 

"Crawling to our Captain as best we could, constantly admon 
ished by the flying arrows to crawl low, we found him lying be 
tween and among five dead horses, all shot by the Indians in their 
efforts to kill him, guided by his voice when he had shouted to us 
to Keep close to the ground ! an order given upon his hearing 
them cocking their guns just before they fired, which order was 
given at the imminent risk of his own life, but it saved ours, which 
was always the aim of his big heart at any risk ; and as fortune 
sometimes favors the brave, so in this instance she did him, for 
the dead horses furnished him a complete barricade, from which 
he whispered his directions to us. On reaching him I asked, in 
a whisper, how many men were killed. Don t know; you are 
the third man that has reported, he said, to which I replied: 
"Great God, Jim, this is awful! He answered: Never mind; it 



IOO CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

is rough, but we will give them a game yet. You and Underwood 
crawl toward the river about fifty yards ; don t fire until you can 
punch your guns against them. Wait ; there will be a general rush 
on us before morning. Remember, don t shoot until the rush is 
made and you can touch them with your guns. If you fire sooner 
the flash of your guns will direct a hundred shots to you. Keep 
cool and we can stand them off. 

"So Underwood and I dragged ourselves over the horses and 
for the distance indicated, requiring no further orders to keep 
close to the ground, for the whiz of arrows made us lie flatter 
than ever, if possible. And here we lay, face downward, for three 
long hours, with cocked rifle in one hand and revolver in the 
other, in the most fearful suspense, expecting every moment that 
they would renew their yells and rush upon us. With every nerve 
strained we watched and waited, with nothing to relieve our sus 
pense except the gratitude we felt at being still alive and the hope 
of succoring our wounded comrades, whose dying groans were 
heartrending. Add to this the audible whisperings of what we 
supposed to be directions and preparations for the final charge 
and the peculiar, never-to-be-forgfotten sound of the arrows which 
we heard, but could not see, each one so close that we felt that 
the next one must strike. Yet we dare not fire in return, but 
could only wait for what seemed inevitable death. In this way 
hours passed hours that seemed weeks when, to my utter sur 
prise, our Captain came, walking erect and almost stumbling over 
me. In a whisper I said : What are you walking for ; why don t 
you get down and crawl? You will be killed/ to which, in the 
same whispered tone, he replied : Oh, I m going around to see 
how the boys are and to get some water for Bell and Bostwick. 
There s enough of us left to give them a lively rattle in the morn 
ing. At that moment an arrow came so close we could actually 
feel the wind of it. I again appealed to him to crawl. His answer 
was : I was not born to be killed by these red devils, and he 
calmly walked down to the river and p-ot a cup of water and took 
it to the wounded men, and to this day God only knows why he 
was not pierced by a dozen arrows, and it seems almost a miracle 
that he was not. 

"Underwood was not more than four feet from me, and yet 
he never dared speak ; only watched and tried to see through the 
darkness and prayed for morning or light enough to see to shoot. 



POWDER RIVER EXPEDITION. 1OI 



Yet what were we to hope for with the coming of daylight? 
knew that they were ten to one against us. Still, it would be 
better than the great disadvantage at which they had us. And 
the uncertainty ! Anything was better than that. 

"Morning came at last, and what a sight it re 
vealed ! There was poor Watkins, shot through the tem 
ple and unconscious, but crawling around on his elbows 
and knees ; Bostwick shot all to pieces, but still alive, 
and five others wounded. The men scattered all around 
the camp ground, face downward, with cocked rifles and revol 
vers in hand, eagerly watching the bushes and ravine from which 
the fatal fire had come. Five horses were dead and six or seven 
others had arrows sticking into them. On the side of the moun 
tain in plain sight were the Indians moving around among the 
trees and rocks. With the approach of day the cowardly wretches 
had quietly retreated up the ravine to the side of the mountain out 
of danger, yet keeping in sight of us so as to watch our every 
movement. We were in a most trying and desperate situation, 
surrounded by merciless Indians, hundreds of miles from the near 
est white men, with the whole tribe between us and our home and 
with seven of our little band wounded, two fatally and three 
others severely. 

"We gathered into a little knot to talk over the events of the 
night and to ascertain the extent of our wounds. This done, I 
asked Jim (as our Captain was familiarly called among us) what 
we had better do. He answered : Have a hot cup of coffee first ; 
we will all feel better and will then decide. 

"I forgot to mention that just at break of day, and as we 
were about rising to our feet, an Indian sent an arrow right into 
our midst, but from a greater distance up the ravine. Jim in 
stantly seized his rifle and started to cut him off from the moun 
tain by getting between him and those above, but he proved too 
quick and escaped. According to instructions we proceeded to 
make a fire and prepare some coffee, although none of us felt like 
either eating or drinking. Within a radius of thirty or forty feet 
of where Underwood and I had been lying I picked up forty-eight 
arrows, and the tents were completely riddled. Probably 300 
balls and arrows passed through them. 

"Having drank our coffee we held a council of war, or rather 
got together to hear what Jim suggested, which was that it would 



IQ2, CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

he hope]c3S to tjj ,io return to Bannock the way we had come, as 
we would have not only the bloodhounds up on the side of the 
mountains after us, but the whole Crow nation that we had passed 
three weeks before. Therefore, we would have to return by the 
way of the South Pass and Fort Bridger, although it was some 
ten or twelve hundred miles, and part of it over a totally unex 
plored country, inhabited by the hostile Sioux, which fact, Jim 
said, would prevent the red devils up there, pointing to them, 
following us more than seventy-five or a hundred miles, and we 
might, by a scratch, miss the others. 

"The route being decided upon, we determined to wait till 
noon or later to see the last of poor Watkins, Bostwick and Bell, 
by which time we thought they would breathe their last. The 
other wounded we thought could all ride. We decided that we 
would throw away all of our outfit but five or six days rations to 
lighten up the packs for the purpose of riding our horses seventy- 
five miles the first twenty-four hours, the object being to get the 
Indians following us too far from their main camp to return for 
reinforcements should they succeed in surrounding us and com 
pelling us to entrench ourselves. Jim then said it was important 
to show the Indians that we had good medicine, and that our 
hearts were not on the ground, by challenging them then and 
there for a fight, stating that he didn t know whether they would 
fight or not ; that if they were Bannocks or Snakes they would 
give us a brush, that he was not familiar enough with the Crows 
to know whether they would or not, but if they would we might 
as well fight them there as anywhere, and it would have a good 
effect on them in their future attacks. We then proceeded to 
throw away all but six days rations and a few other necessary 
articles, and, being all ready to start, we prepared for the fight. 
But before going out Gerry, Underwood and myself, who be 
longed to the fraternity (Masons), had a little side talk, which 
resulted in each one declaring that if he got mortally wounded he 
would reserve one shot that should prevent unnecessary sacrifice 
of the party by remaining to defend a man that must soon die any 
way, and also to prevent torture if captured. In order to ascer 
tain when we were mortally wounded we agreed to have Jim ex 
amine and decide. On the other hand, we agreed to remain by 
and defend each other as long as there was hope of the wounded 
man living. This understood, we talked it over with Jim and, 
finally, with all the rest, who all came to the same agreement. 



POWDER RIVER EXPEDITION. 



103 



"This fearful determination was prompted by our desperate 
situation, as it then seemed impossible for any of us to escape ; 
but we all had a great desire for some of the party to do so and 
report where, when and how we had died. We felt absolutely 
desperate and reckless, yet determined that some of us should live 
to report our fate if a brave resistance could do it. I doubt if 
there was a single one who thought he would be the fortunate one 
to escape, but there was no desponding or lamenting all were 
resolved to die righting. Our Captain said he thought about half 
of us might live to tell the tale by keeping cool and sticking close 
together and every man doing his duty. All being ready, we 
started in single file for an elevated plateau about 300 yards off 
and diagonally toward the Indians a forlorn hope, but resolute 
and determined. Arriving at the place he had selected for the 
fight, our Captain went through the whole manual of signs, call 
ing them cowards, thieves, murderers and everything else, and 
defied them to come down and fight us. At first they signalled an 
acceptance and began moving around as though they were com 
ing, but finally settled down behind rocks and trees, evidently con 
cluded they would wait a better chance. After waiting until satis 
fied they would not come we returned to camp. It was now about 
3 p. m. and Jim said we would soon have to start. Bell had given 
up all his valuables and given me directions what to do with his 
property if I escaped, but when Jim felt his pulse he expressed 
surprise at not finding him sinking yet, for from the nature of his 
wounds he could not hope for his life. On asking him if he 
thought he could ride he expressed a willingness to try, saying 
he might go a little ways at any rate. While helping Bell on a 
horse poor Bostwick blew his own brains out. Gerry, who was 
sleeping with him, said that when Bostwick found he was shot he 
asked him (Gerry) to cock his revolver and put it in his right 
hand, stating that he wanted to sell his life as dearly as possible ; 
that he had not long to live, but would save some of the Indians. 
He was sinking rapidly and refused to let us try to put him on a 
horse, saying that it was utterly useless and that it would increase 
his sufferings for nothing, as it was impossible for him to live. 
This was some time before and the report of his pistol surprised 
me, as I supposed him to be in a dying condition. 

"Succeeding at last in getting Bell on a horse, we moved off 
slowly, as, of course, he could not go fast. Riding up to Jim I 



IO4 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

said I said I believed Bell would live, to which he replied he feared 
not; that it was only a spasmodic effort, and that he would prob 
ably fall dead oft* his horse within an hour or so. 

"As we began to move the Indians mounted their ponies and 
moved along parallel to us, but out of gun shot. Bell apparently 
got stronger, and when we reached a little stream about five miles 
from our camp Jim called a halt for consultation and a further 
examination of Bell s pulse and wounds, after which he announced 
that there was a show for his life ; therefore, we would camp right 
there and then and give Bell a chance to recruit up, adding that 
we would stay by him at all hazards so long as there was hope 
for his life, but that it would now be impossible for us to go more 
than fifteen or twenty miles a day. This was a serious and des 
perate change in our plans, as we had thrown away nearly all our 
provisions, expecting to go seventy-five miles in the first twenty- 
four hours and thus get beyond reinforcements to, and possibly 
out of reach of, the Indians, who were at that moment gathering 
about us on the hills. Still, the men all cheerfully and heartily 
endorsed the Captain s resolution, and we accordingly halted and 
remained some two or three hours, getting supper and allowing 
Bell to rest. 

"May I4th. Traveled twenty miles toward nearly all points 
of the compass; general course west, twenty-five degrees south. 
Very rough mountains all day ; had difficulty in getting through 
the snow. After going five miles we stopped at a spring for break 
fast, and then twelve miles more, and after a very difficult and 
tedious descent into a gorge to get water we halted about 4 p. m. 
to get supper. All of us were intensely wearied and worn out. A 
few men were thrown out as pickets and the rest busied in un 
packing, when, in the midst of our preparations for supper and 
rest, York announced that he saw Indians approaching on the 
point above us. All hands flew to arms, but were startled and 
checked by the report of a rifle right in our midst. We knew it 
must be one of our own guns, but whether accidentally or pur 
posely discharged we did not at first know ; but, looking inquir 
ingly around, all eyes at last centered upon Gerry, who with a 
deathly pallor on his face, stood erect, but his body partly leaning 
against his rifle. He answered our looks by answering: I have 
foolishly but accidentally destroyed my life/ 

"Rushing up to him, we eased him down to a sitting posture. 



POWDER RIVER EXPEDITION. 1 05 

He then, with great deliberation and calmness, opened the bosom 
of his shirt and pointing to the ghastly wound about three inches 
above his left nipple, said: My life is fast ebbing away only a 
few hours more ; but that is too long for you all to remain here. 
See, the sun is fast declining behind the mountains ; the Indians 
will soon be upon you and it would be impossible for you to de 
fend yourselves in this place. Jim, tell the boys, I am fatally 
wounded/ This request but too plainly indicated his dreadful 
resolution, and too soon brought us to an awful realization of our 
desperate but determined agreement on the morning after the at 
tack, and we all appealed to him not to think of so rash an act, 
telling him that he might live and using every argument that we 
could think of, collectively and individually begging him not to 
think of such a thing. During the whole time he had held his 
revolver firmly grasped in his right hand, and warned us that any 
attempt to take it from him would only hasten his action. No one 
attempted to force it away from him; we only reasoned or tried 
to reason with him, but we could not make him lose sight of the 
inevitable fact that he must die within a few hours anyway, but 
that in the meantime darkness would be upon us, and with it the 
Indians, who were already approaching and whom we could not 
successfully resist in such a place. Finally he called upon Jim 
again to Tell the boys I can t live over a few hours at most/ 
Jim, who was in tears and his big heart almost breaking, could 
not truthfully answer him in the negative ; therefore, he evaded a 
direct reply by answering: Never mind, Gerry, we will stay by 
you ; all the Indians in the world cannot drive us away from you/ 
"This reply only seemed to fix the resolution in his noble soul 
to do what he probably knew would save the party, or most of 
them; yet how few men there are who could so reason and act 
under such circumstances. Turning to us, he said : See, com- 
lades, Jim knows that I am fatally wounded and must die soon, 
but he avoids telling me, and the fact that you would all, I know, 
stay by me and die for me has determined me. Remember (put 
ting the muzzle of the pistol against his breast), I am not commit 
ting suicide. Bear witness to my friends that I am only shorten 
ing my life a few hours to prevent you from uselessly and fool 
ishly sacrificing yours in defense of mine. God knows that I 
don t want to die, that I fear death, but have a Christian hope in 
eternity ; yet must die, rather to save than to sacrifice. Remem- 



IO6 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

ber this gorge in the mountains and the spot where I am buried ; 
describe it to my friends some day, if you ever live to tell of it. 

Those strong men were all weeping over him as he continued : 
God bless you all, comrades ; I must die, and in time for you to 
bury me and escape before dark. Bury me in this coat and here/ 
He was about to fire the fatal shot when Jim said : For God s 
sake, Gerry, don t ! But if you will do it, don t shoot yourself 
there; it will only prolong the agony (the muzzle of the pistol, as 
before stated, was against his breast). If you must do it, place 
the pistol to your temple/ to which Gerry replied : Thanks, Jim, 
and may God bless you all and take you safely out of this/ 

"As he placed his pistol to his temple the men, with weeping 
eyes and full hearts, all turned to walk away, as they could not 
bear to see him fire. He pressed the trigger and the cap only ex 
ploded. I never heard one sound so loud before ; it echoed in all 
directions, as if to make him realize what he was doing. I then 
appealed to him, saying: Gerry, for God s sake desist; this is a 
warning F To this he paid no attention, but rather seemed to be 
soliloquizing, and said : T know not what to think of that ; it never 
snapped before/ Cocking his pistol again, he engaged a few sec 
onds in mental prayer and again pulled the trigger that launched 
him into eternity. The report of the fatal shot was awful and 
sent a thrill through our swelling hearts that will never be for 
gotten. We gathered around his dying form, and it was indeed 
a fearful thing to see the human soul take wing, especially as he 
had so nobly died to save us. Never before had I seen our little 
band give way; they all wept like children and seemed far more 
disheartened than the morning after the massacre. Waiting half 
an hour after he had drawn his last breath, we buried him, as he 
desired, in his soldier overcoat. We had scarcely finished his 
burial when the pickets announced that the Indians were ap 
proaching us and were within gun shot, yet there was no firing. 

"After our last sad duty was finished Jim directed us to pile 
limbs and brush on the grave and burn them, so as to conceal it 
from the Indians and prevent them from digging poor Gerry up 
for his scalp and clothes. We then gathered our things together 
as best we could and, packing up, moved on in single file out of 
the gorge, camping, or rather hiding, in the sage brush some six 
miles away, where we arrived in the night/ 



POWDER RIVER EXPEDITION. IO/ 

The report of this "Yellowstone Expedition" reads like a ro 
mance. From the day Stuart s party crossed Shield s river and 
entered into the sacred precincts of the country known as the Big 
Horn country they met with a daily repetition of thrilling experi 
ences and hair-breadth escapes, and for many of the party no es 
cape except in death. They found the Crows, as all who have 
ever known them could testify, the most consummate, cowardly 
thieves and rascals of all the red devils in America. Tis true that 
a Crow cannot enjoy a good meal, even on the point of starvation, 
unless he can truly say that he stole the food. They are treach 
erous, more so than their neighbors, the Sioux, Cheyennes and 
Arapahoes, yet withal they are arrant cowards. Thirty years ago 
they held by occupation and hereditary Indian title all the region 
of country north of the Cheyenne river, south of the Yellowstone, 
east of the Big Horn mountains and west of the Black Hills, a 
country large enough to make a bright gem in the sisterhood of 
States. With all this territory naturally fortified, with many war 
riors, rich in horses, game on every hill and in every vale, they 
allowed themselves to be driven back on every side by their braver 
neighbors until, had it not been for the general Government in 
terfering, the pusillanimous Crow r s would have long ago gone to 
their, if possible, happier hunting grounds. 

Of Conner s Officers. Captain George F. Price became Ma 
jor of the 5th United States cavalry and died in the service about 
ten years ago. Captain Sam. Robbins was appointed to the reg 
ular army in February, 1866, and died in Virginia three or four 
years later. Laurant was last heard of in New Orleans. Lieu 
tenant Oscar Jewett gave me his diary to check against mine for 
this article and is now living at Saginaw, Michigan. Captain 
Brown of the 2nd California cavalry was for many years in the 
general office of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company at San 
Francisco. I am quite sure that he is now numbered with the 
dead. Captain Conrad, Captain Frank J. North, Captain Mar 
shall and Lieutenant Brewer are dead. Captain N. J. O Brien is 
living at Cheyenne, Wyo. Lieutenant Eugene Ware, known in 
the literary world as "Ironquil," lives at Topeka, Kansas, a mem 
ber of the firm of Gleed, Ware & Gleed, attorneys. Lieutenant J. 
Willard Brown of the Signal Corps lives at West Medford, Mass. 
Lieutenant A. V. Richards is dead. His brother, W. A. Richards, 
was Governor of Wyoming and is now (1901) Assistant General 



IO8 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

Land Commissioner, Washington, D. C. Captain W. H. Tubbs, 
A. C. S., who remained with Colonel Kidd at Fort Conner, was 
living a few years ago at New London, Conn., where he was post 
master. Colonel Nelson Cole became a Brigadier General in the 
Spanish-American war, and died soon after that conflict at his 
home in St. Louis, Mo. Colonel J. H. Kidd is a prominent leader 
in the Republican party of Michigan. 

Lieutenant Ware has kindly given me a copy of the muster 
roll of the Pawnee scouts, Captain North s company, which served 
with General Conner in the Powder River Indian expedition, and 
if I mistake not was one of the first companies of Indians regu 
larly mustered into the United States service. I give the same 
here as a valuable addenda to this paper, as follows : 

Joseph McFadden, Captain. 

Frank J. North, First Lieutenant, promoted Captain in 1864. 

Private Soldiers. She-te-le-lah-we-tit, Tuck-ta-shah-ki-rick, 
Lah-roo-suck-hoo-la-shar, La-re-roo-tah-ka-chicks-ooke, She-te- 
le-lah-wis-sha-rit, Lah-roo-rit-kah-hah-la-shar, Ah-shah-wuck-ke, 
Te-ah-kah-chicks-tus-peke, Kah-kah-roo-re, Too-ke-tah-we-he-ris- 
ah, Tah-sah-hah-tah-he-ris-ah, Koot-tah-we-koots-oo-te-lah-lah, 
Te-lah-kah-ooh-ke, Suck-koo-roo-te-wa-re, Te-suck-koo-loo-le- 
wits, See-te-kah-ricks-tah-hoo-re, Kah-roo-re-ah-ris, Tuck-ke-teh- 
i e-wah-tucks, We-tit-te-la-shah-ris-pe, Kee-wuck-oo-te-lah-we, 
Too-lah-we-oo-roo, Ke-wuck-oo-roo-re, Ke-wuck-oo-la-shar, 
Koot- tah-we-coots-oo-kah-lah, Lah-hes-ris-oo-rick, La-shah-too- 
rou-tah-we, Tel-re-kit-tah-wa, Tah-woet-too-re-kah, Te-hus-tah- 
we-re-kah-wah, Ah-roosh-ah-lah-kah-hoo-la-shar, Lah-roots-chah- 
koo-re-hoo, Kid-e-kah-ris-oo-too-rouh-tah-we, La-shah-roo-te- 
wah-re, La-shah-roo-pit-coo, Tah-we-li-he-ris-shah, Te-reh-re- 
kucks-shah, To-rah-re-chi-e-tus, Teck-ta-re-roo-hut, Koot-tah-we- 
coots-oo-la-shar, Kah-kah-lah-la-shar, Tah-hoo-rah-routs, Ke- 
wuck-oo-lah-li-e-coots, Lah-we-teh-re-oots, She-rer-re-hoo-le-tah- 
we, Koot-tah-we-coots-oo-te-rer-reh, Koot-tah-we-coots-oo-te-lah- 
we-la, Pe-tah-war-ucks-tee, La-hock-tah-we-la-shar, Koots-tah- 
we-cootes-oo-rooh-kah, Roo-kit-tah-we-its-pah, Koot-tah-we- 
coots-oo-let-kah-hah, Lah-li-e-coots-ta-shah, La-kit-tah-we-la- 
shah, Te-lah-kah-we-rick, Lah-li-e-coots-ta-shah, Te-ah-ke-wah- 
hoo-re-kick, Ta-ker-re-rah-we-hoot, Ta-rock-kots-lock, Roo-rah- 
rooh-kah-we, Ta-sah-hah-kah-roit, Koot-tah-we-coots-hoo-kah- 
lah-ha, Koot-tah-we-coots, Kah-wa-hoo-roo, La-shah-kip-pe-re, 



POWDER RIVER EXPEDITION. 1 09 

Ter-er-re-ta-cosh, Le-re-ru-tah-kah, Lah-we-li-ish, Te-ah-ke-la- 
rick, La-shah-roo-roo-te-lah-kah-ta-rick, Lah-roo-wuck, Co-rooks- 
te-cha-rick, Ta-lah-wih-kah-wah, Cha-kah, Te-kah-ricks-tah-kah- 
lah-ta, La-tah-kots-too-ri-ha, Roo-lal-re-roo-che-lah, Lah-li-e- 
coots-kit-e-butts. 



HO CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 



THE PEA RIDGE CAMPAIGN. 

BY 
NATHAN S. HARWOOD, LIEUTENANT 46TH IOWA INF. 

(Read June i, 1887.) 

I have included under this head the march from Rolla, Mis 
souri, to Cross Hollows and Bentonville, Arkansas, and the bat 
tle fought on the ground known as Pea Rid^e. Since this paper 
was assigned to me, I have examined several histories of the 
late war to see what had been recorded on the subject I had in 
hand, but I am surprised to find the account of the battle of Pea 
Ridge related in three or four pages, and the campaign which 
led up to that battle, and which was the hardest part of the work 
accomplished, elucidated in as many sentences. It may be con 
ceded that the battle of Pea Ridge was not one of the great bat 
tles of the war. It was not decisive of any great result. It was a 
victory for the army, but not a great victory. It drove the enemy 
Irom the west bank of the Mississippi, onlv to have them re 
appear on the eastern side, at luka and Corinth, in still greater 
force. In numbers engaged and in losses sustained, it was 
greatly overshadowed by battles fought later on in the war, so 
that, historically, it seems to have lost much of the importance 
which at the time it was thought would attach to it. Still, when 
the whole campaign is taken into consideration, the season of the 
year in which it was made, the fact that the troops were untried 
volunteers, it does seem to me that it is entitled to a much higher 
position in the annals of the war than it occupies ; and, in fact, 
if not one of the great battles of the war, it is one of the remark 
able ones. I doubt if there was any campaign in the whole war 
where there was greater physical suffering and more manly en 
durance displayed than in this campaign. 

It was on the 28th of January, 1862, that the little army 
gathered at Rolla, Missouri, struck tents and moved on in the 
direction of Springfield, which was then occupied by the rebel 
General Price with a considerable armv, which seemed to be 



PEA RIDGE CAMPAIGN. Ill 

preparing for a northern raid. Our army numbered about 10,500 
men, in four divisions, the first commanded by Osterhaus, the 
second by Asboth, and these two divisions grouped into corps 
under the direct command of General Sigel ; the third division by 
Colonel Jeff. C. Davis, and the fourth by Colonel E. A. Carr, all 
under the command of General Samuel R. Curtis. This army 
had been recruited during the early fall preceding. The men 
were in no sense veterans, they had seen no fighting and their 
marching, generally speaking, had been confined to the parade 
ground. It was an army of young men recently from the farm, 
the workshop, the office and the school room. It was a patriotic 
army ; the men had enlisted after the battles of Bull Run and 
Wilson s Creek, when they knew full well that the war was no 
holiday affair, and that there must be hard marching and fighting 
and exposure. They had enlisted when the pay was $13 per 
month, and no big bounty promised as an inducement for en 
listing. They had gone to the army from a sense of duty to 
their country and their families, and because they could not have 
a decent respect for themselves and stay at home. They ex 
pected hardships and were willing to endure any amount of vicis 
situde, provided they could see that any good was accomplished 
thereby. Of all things, they dreaded most the lazy monotony of 
camp life. Therefore, when this winter campaign was announced 
it was everywhere hailed with delight. They had been accus 
tomed to comfortable beds at home ; here was a promise of a bed 
in the snow. They had been used to plenty of wholesome food ; 
here was scant, unwholesome fare. 

But what mattered these inconveniences and privations if 
the blows they should strike helped to crush the rebellion ? They 
were cheerful and hopeful, although the outlook was anything 
but pleasing. Snow covered the ground to a depth of from three 
to six inches, the air was frosty, it was thawing and sloppy in the 
middle of the day, perhaps snowing and raining, and at night 
freezing. The roads were either mud and slush or rough and 
frozen. I have lost the memorandum I made at the time, so that 
I am unable to state the exact number of miles made per day 
through such weather and over such roads, but my impression is 
now that we arrived at Springfield on the evening of the 8th of 
February, and that the distance is 120 miles, thus making an aver 
age of about twelve miles per day for the whole army. Of course, 



112 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

this made a much greater distance for many regiments, as all 
could not march on a single road to advantage, and some were 
compelled to take circuitous routes. The men were unnecessarily 
encumbered with traps and accoutrements. They were supplied 
with forty rounds of cartridges, although there was no enemy 
nearer than 120 miles. They had their overcoats, a heavy woolen 
blanket, a rubber blanket, besides an extra change of underwear 
and various trinkets, haversacks, canteens, etc. Much of this 
extra weight, however, was heaved overboard as the march pro 
ceeded, like the extra ballast of a ship. Many a package of let 
ters written in a delicate hand were deposited in the fire on the 
evening after the first day s march ; extra clothing met with the 
same fate. We were also armed with the old Enfield rifle, a 
weapon not only very heavy, but dangerous from either end, es 
pecially the one next to the man s shoulder. Fremont may have 
done a good thing in purchasing these guns from the French, but 
the men who had to use them did not think so. The army mule 
wasn t a circumstance to these Enfield guns for kicking. There 
used to be a big six-footer who stood in the ranks next to the 
subscriber whose gun knocked his shoulder out of joint nearly 
every time he shot it off. 

We were supplied with the big, round Sibley tent, an un- 
wieldly affair and discarded later on in the war, but they were by 
far the most comfortable for that inclement season of the year. 
Into these tents men were packed like sardines in a box, heads 
out and feet to a common center. So closely were they compelled 
to lie that when one turned over all must turn, and it was not an 
uncommon thing in the middle of the night to hear some tired 
fellow roar out the command, "Spoon right or "Spoon left," 
and then after a good deal of pounding and kicking, with such 
choice bits as these thrown in, "Fhy in h 1 don t you spoon? * 
and "D n it, spoon," there was a general rolling over to the right 
or left, and all again settling down to sleep until some other man,, 
whose ribs got to pricking the stones too hard, roused up and 
went through the process of another "spooning." 

When we entered camp at night each squad, that is, a tent 
full, was divided into three parties, one whose duty it was to 
clean away the snow and pitch the tent ; another to find wood, 
usually rails, build a fire and cook the supper, and a third ta 
gather twigs and leaves for the bed. Generally our camps were 



PEA RIDGE CAMPAIGN. 113 

near streams where there was an abundance of oak underbrush, 
the twigs of which, with the leaves remaining thereon, made the 
best material for beds. The supper, in the early part of the cam 
paign, before rations grew short, consisted of "hardtack" fried 
in grease, a little fat meat, better known to the old soldier as "sow 
belly," coffee and occasionally a little boiled rice. It would be 
more appropriate to call it burned rice, for I never knew it to 
be properly cooked, and I can taste that burned flavor in rice to 
this day. There were two reasons for frying the "hardtack." 
The frying had a tendency to make it more brittle, and hence a 
little easier to masticate ; and, secondly, it was thought that the 
animal food it contained was rather more palatable cooked than 
raw. The conscience fund in the United States treasury will 
never be large enough to save the souls of one-tenth of the army 
contractors from eternal perdition for the fraud practiced on the 
army, especially in the early days of the war. 

It would be tedious to give the details of each day s march 
from Rolla to Springfield. There was nothing to lighten the 
burden of one day over that of another. It was the same weary 
tramp day after day. We would think it particularly hard now 
adays to tramp all day through snow and mud and over frozen 
ground, though we slept in good warm beds at night, had bacon 
and eggs for breakfast, boiled cabbage and meat for dinner and 
toast and tea for supper. As I look back upon the picture today 
it seems almost incredible that so much cold and fatigue could 
have been endured, and yet there was very little complaining. 
The men endured the hardships patiently and heroically. We 
reached Springfield in the early evening. It was believed that 
Price occupied the town with a considerable force ; that it was 
our mission to bag that wily old gentleman and his rebel hordes 
right then and there, and send them back as trophies of war. 
What a delusion ! Accordingly our lines were drawn about the 
town and gradually pressed forward as near as possible to the 
enemy s works, and then we were compelled to lie down upon 
our arms without fire until daybreak, when our lines were re 
formed and pressed rapidly forward. When we reached the 
point where we were entitled to a warning salute from the en 
emy s guns, there came no salute; there was, in fact, no enemy, 
and we had lain out in the cold all night for nothing. The report 
was that Price had gone during the night. The men generally 



114 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

believed that he had been going, and intending to go all the while, 
and there was a good deal of disappointment because the gentle 
old rebel had not allowed himself to be surrounded and captured. 

However, without much delay, we were hurried on in pur 
suit, Sigel taking the Mount Vernon road to the west, and Cur 
tis, with Carr and Davis divisions, the Cassville road over the 
old battle ground of Wilson s Creek. The roads were dryer and 
harder than they were on the other side of Springfield, but very 
much rougher. They went up hill and down, through heavy tim 
ber and deep ravines. Much of the road had for a base small 
stones, which were very hard on the feet. The marches were 
from this on forced marches. The writer hereof had the honor 
to occupy the exalted position of Fourth Corporal in Company 
G, 9th Iowa infantry. That regiment took the advance of Cur 
tis command and held it to the end. Camp was broken at day 
light and the march kept up as long as there was light enough 
to see at quick step, stopping only ten minutes out of every hour 
for rest. It was remarkable how quickly men would drop to 
sleep at these intervals of rest, and put in nine minutes out of ten 
in nature s repose, and how quickly they were on their feet again 
and moving forward at the command, "Fall in!" Occasionally 
the commissary and baggage trains were left far in the rear and 
failed to reach camp until a late hour. There were no tents nor 
supper then, unless, perchance, a stray pig or fowl happened to 
come in our way. There were, of course, stringent orders in 
those days against promiscuous foraging; still, it was done, and 
winked at by the officers in immediate command. As the pur 
suit continued, day by day, rations grew shorter ; finally the hard 
tack gave out and we depended on such flour as could be gathered 
in by the way from mills. This flour was wet up with water and 
fried into an indigestible flapjack. At this time a rigid guard 
was kept over the commissary, and especially over the poor mules, 
to keep the men from stealing their corn to parch. 

On the evening of the I4th of February Carr s command 
came up with Price s army at Crane Creek. They were totally 
unaware of our approach and were engaged in preparing their 
supper in a valley far below us. It would seem, to the uniniti 
ated, that the rebels ought to have been kept in blissful ignorance 
until their retreat was cut off, but some officer in the front, hav 
ing a few mountain howitzers, thought it would be sport to drop 



PEA RIDGE CAMPAIGN. 115 

a few shells into the enemy s coffee just for seasoning, and so 
the only good opportunity we ever got to capture Price was 
wasted. The rebels fled pell mell, leaving their coffee and supper 
for us. The pursuit was continued on the i$th and i6th, and 
on the 1 7th Price, having been reinforced by a brigade of Texas 
troops, made a stand at Sugar Creek on nearly the same ground 
where the battle was afterwards fought. His artillery was 
planted and infantry drawn up in line of battle about two miles 
in our advance. Our artillery was ordered to gain a foothold on 
the high ground in their front and to shell the enemy, and the 
infantry to support the artillery. It was down one hill and up 
another long one, a mile and a half, made at double quick, and 
the hardest run made during the campaign. Not more than half 
of the regiment reached the top of the hill with the artillery. The 
position having been gained, the infantry lay down close to the 
battery, which opened a vigorous fire on the enemy. The fire 
was kept up for an hour or more and then the cavalry charged, 
driving the enemy from the field. Price continued his retreat 
into the Boston mountains fifty miles away. 

It was useless for Curtis to think of pursuing the rebels far 
ther. We were out of provisions, many of the men had worn 
holes through the soles of their shoes, and the feet of nearly all 
of the infantry were blistered and so sore that it was with great 
difficulty that they could march at all. Had they been in the 
north they would have been entitled to the protection of Bergh s 
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. They had 
marched 240 miles in the dead of winter in about twenty days. 
Rest and recuperation were imperative. Accordingly, in order 
that food and provisions might be the more readily obtained, 
Davis went into camp at Sugar Creek ; Sigel moved out to the 
north of west, about four miles southwest of Bentonville and 
some sixteen or eighteen from Sugar Creek, and Curtis, with 
Carr s division, went into camp at Cross Hollow, twelve miles 
southwest of Sugar Creek. Grist mills were seized, grain brought 
in, and in a few days the men were feasting on the fat of the 
land. For the next fortnight the army led a life of ease and 
comparative security. Every time we had come within reach of 
the enemy he had fled. We had not got even an opportunity to 
level our old Enfields at him, so that instead of one "Reb" being 
able to lick five "Yanks," we felt quite confident that one "Yank" 



Il6 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

was good for at least six "Rebs." In fact, we were completely 
disgusted with an enemy that would not stand up and suffer him 
self to be shot at. However courageous the rebels had shown 
themselves to be in the east, we felt very sure they had no army 
in the trans-Mississippi that could stand up against ours. In 
deed, we were quite full of conceit over our own bravery and 
importance, and had a very poor opinion of the qualities of our 
enemy. Imagine, therefore, our astonishment on the 5th day of 
March, 186^; at about n o clock at night, to hear the long roll 
sounded, the hasty command to fall in, strike tents, to burn such 
material as could not be quickly loaded, and to hear that the 
rebels were upon us in great force and that we were to fall back 
upon Davis to make a stand. The idea of any retreat was re 
ceived with rather bad grace by most of the men. "Why not 
fight them here?" they said; "Carr s division can lick all the 
rebels in the Boston mountains. 

But our commander knew better. The dull rumble of Van 
Dorn s artillery practice had been heard for many days, and 
scouting parties had brought in pretty accurate information of 
the enemy s strength. Still, I think the coming of the enemy at 
this time was a good deal of a surprise. Our movements w T ere 
hurried and full of confusion. Snow was falling rapidly and a 
cold north wind swept across the Ozarks when we took up our 
line of retreat. Artillery, cavalry, wagon trains and infantry 
floundered along in the mud and darkness, now a complete jam 
and blockade and then a rapid rush ahead until another blockade 
was encountered. We arrived at Sugar Creek at daybreak. To 
the writer that night was the most wearisome and painful of his 
whole life. He had run away from the hospital, where he was 
convalescing from measles, to join the army at Rolla. The ex 
posure and privation of the long march culminated in an attack 
of pneumonia at Cross Hollows, from which he had not fully re 
covered when this renewed exposure and fatigue were encount 
ered. Arriving at Sugar Creek, men were detailed to fell trees 
and make such hasty preparation to receive the enemy on the 
west and southwest as could be made in the short time at com 
mand, and had the enemy attacked from that direction there is 
no doubt he would have been knocked out of time at short notice. 
Any respectable enemy, well versed in the arts of war, would 
have respected our hospitality and marched upon our works in 



PEA RIDGE CAMPAIGN. 



117 



solid phalanx and allowed themselves to be shot, but these rebels 
were just mean enough to slide around to our rear, to get between 
us and our homes and fight us from the rear from our back 
door yards, as it were where we were not prepared to receive 
them. 

It will hardly be expected that a Fourth Corporal would 
have the time to spare from his arduous and responsible duties 
to give a critical analysis of a fight from an enlarged personal 
view, hence the writer feels compelled to pass rapidly over the 
plans, details and positions of the various forces and confine him 
self mainly within the narrow limits of his own observation and 
experience. Where he does chance to step beyond this, it will 
be upon the borrowed judgment of others for which he pretends 
not to originality and assumes no responsibility. When the enemy 
moved out of his lair in the Boston mountains he moved rapidly 
northward, striking Sigel on his retreat to Sugar Creek. It had 
evidently been his intention to cut Sigel off, capture his corps, 
and whip Curtis in detail, but that little Dutchman was equal to 
the emergency. He executed one of his masterly retreats and 
reached the main army at Sugar Creek with comparatively small 
loss. Van Dorn, being foiled in his plan, pushed rapidly around 
to the north and east and came into the main road about eight 
miles in the rear of Curtis army. A small force was thrown out 
in our front to make a feint in that direction and a considerable 
body of men, mostly Indians, were massed on our right. 

The position of our army on the morning of the second day 
was across Pea Ridge, facing southwest, Davis holding the left 
wing and Sigel the right. Carr s division was sent to the rear 
to guard against surprise, and not, I am satisfied, with the ex 
pectation that the main attack was to come from that direction. 
Carr s division moved out some two and a half to three miles to 
the rear, Colonel Dodge s brigade deployed to the right of the 
road by the Elkhorn tavern, and Vandever s brigade to the left 
of the road and about a half mile below the tavern. Scarcely 
had his brigade wheeled into line when they received their bap 
tismal fire from the rebels massed in great numbers in the thick 
timber in their front. Many of the rebels were armed with double- 
barreled shotguns loaded with ball cartridges, and at short range 
were terribly effective. More than three score of men from the 
9th Iowa fell at this first fire. It was a staggering blow. As this 



Il8 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

fire was delivered the rebels dashed down upon us with a yell 
and a fury that had a tendency to make each hair on one s head 
to stand on its particular end. For a moment the regiment 
wavered, then rallied and delivered a well-directed shot into the 
enemy, now in full view, which had a tendency to check the im 
petuosity of his movements. No attempt after this was made to 
keep the men in line of battle, each man sought a tree, a stump or 
a rock, loaded and fired as rapidly as he could, now pressing for 
ward upon the rebel lines, now falling back as their wings over 
lapped our flanks ; so the fight was kept up as long as it was light 
enough to see. Although calling loudly for help, yet with dog 
ged pertinacity Carr held his position, losing only about one-half 
mile during the day. Toward evening it became evident that Carr 
was fighting the main body of the rebel army, and reinforcements 
were hurried to his support. Davis took position on his right 
and Sigel drew closer down upon his left. The firing ceased and 
the men laid down on their arms on the field where they had 
fought, tired and cold. We were so close to the rebel lines that 
neither side dared to kindle fires. 

It was a gloomy night on that battlefield ; a cold March wind 
swept across the ridge and struck a chill like a death damp to 
the hearts of the men. Many a comrade who had started out 
on that morning full of life and hope was missing. All knew 
too well the reason he was absent. This one had fallen shot 
through the heart at the crossing of the road below the Elkhorn ; 
that one had received a bullet through the head at the same 
place ; another had fallen in the retreat back by the rail fence, and 
on retracing our steps afterwards we found him scalped by the 
red devils, and so, one by one, the absent were accounted for. In 
one company they numbered fourteen. The men called over the 
list of thse comrades who had fallen while they had been spared 
and moodily speculated upon the results of the morrow. All felt 
that tomorrow would be the crucial test. It would decide whether 
we were to be prisoners of war or victorious freemen. 

Jefferson Davis, in his account of the downfall of the Con 
federate Government, says that Van Dorn reported his strength 
at 14,000. It was, in fact, much larger. It was well understood 
that Price had 9,000 Missouri troops, that he was joined in the 
Boston mountains by Van Dorn with five Texas regiments, and 
by McCullough with six Arkansas regiments, and by Mclntosh 



PEA RIDGE CAMPAIGN. 119 

and Pike with three or four thousand Indians from Indian Terri 
tory, making, all told, about 20,000 men, nearly or quite double 
Curtis army. In Carr s division it was known that we had been 
greatly outnumbered. It was not known that all parts of our 
lines had not suffered as badly as we had. The prisoners cap 
tured were confident. We were given to understand that their 
captivity would be of short duration ; that on tomorrow night 
we would probably be their guests. Our respect for the rebels 
ability to fight had been greatly increased during the day, and I 
doubt not there was many a young patriot that night in the 
Union army who wished himself "far from the madding crowd." 
Men speculated upon retreat, when it was perfectly evident that 
the enemy lay across the only avenue of escape. Gradually the 
weary night wore away and the gray dawn appeared. The forces 
upon neither side were idle during the night. The enemy had 
planted some of their heavy batteries on a bluff about two hun 
dred feet above the general level, sloping to the north, but pre 
cipitous on the side before us. Our lines also were reformed and 
our batteries planted at commanding and convenient intervals. 
The line of battle formed a crescent, the wings pressed forward 
near the enemy s position and the center pressed back so as to 
allow the guns to be trained along the whole line of the enemy s 
strong position. As the mist slowly lifted and revealed our mag 
nificent line of battle, the stars and stripes floating boldly out 
from right to left, the gunners standing at their posts, their guns 
loaded with solid shot and shell, a new hope dawned in every 
breast. The doubtful and despondent took new hope. They saw 
that the talk of trying to retreat and of surrendering which had 
taken place during the previous night had been idle speculation. 
Whatever doubts they may have had were wafted away with the 
morning breeze. The men were inspired by the confidence and 
courage of their leaders, the tower of strength of an army in bat 
tle. By 8 o clock the smoke and mists had lifted, revealing 
clearly the enemy s position. The infantry were commanded to 
lie flat on the ground and listen to the music in the air; grand 
music it was, too, for those men by the stars and stripes. 

There is a grandeur in an artillery drill that infantry cannot 
attain, and only compares to it as a hail storm to a cyclone ; and 
now the battle which was to decide the fate of the Union army, 
which was to decide whether they were prisoners of war, subject, 



I2O CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

perchance to the tomahawk and scalping knife, was about to open. 
A stillness pervaded the air like unto that which nature adopts 
when some great storm is about to burst forth. Men waited with 
bated breath ; then from the Union crescent from right flank to 
left, from the throats of more than sixty gods of war, there burst 
a perfect deluge of iron hail. The enemy made quick reply; 
their shells came singing through trees and dropping down upon 
our heads like birds of evil prey. The roar was incessant and 
deafening. But our cross fire of shot and shell was better di 
rected and more effective. It swept the rebel promontory like a 
cyclone; caissons were exploded, men, horses and gun carriages 
were cut to pieces and jammed into a confused mass, large trees 
were literally smashed into kindling wood, and the woods were 
set on fire and burned fiercely, destroying many of the rebel 
wounded. Every shot dealt death and devastation. To the rebels 
it must have seemed like the very besom of destruction. No 
human courage could long withstand such fury, and the rebels 
would have been gods, not men, had they stood up against it. 
Under cover of this storm of shot and shell the infantry crept 
forward through a last year s cornfield. Nearer and nearer they 
approached the enemy; they halted and fixed bayonets, then the 
glad order rang out, "Charge!" and the men sprang forward 
with a shout and a yell never excelled by any rebel yell uttered 
during the war. The rebels gave one feeble fire, turned and fled. 
In ten minutes there was not on the field a rebel who could get off. 
When we realized that the rebels were gone, that victory 
was ours, men threw their caps high in the air, shouted and 
danced with joy, wrapped the old flag around them and sang 
"The Star Spangled Banner." Little effort was made to pursue ; 
our men were too much exhausted. They were sufficiently re 
joiced to have a clear title to the road north and were quite 
willing to let the rebels go. In fact, they didn t just exactly see 
what need they had at that particular time of a body of rebel 
prisoners, part of them wild Indians, twice their own number 
provisions were scarce anyhow. The rebels had not stood on the 
order of their going. They had gone, and gone rapidly. I heard 
no objection to this from any quarter, nor any reproach cast 
upon them for lack of courage. Attention was given to putting 
out the fire on the bluff, which was burning up the rebel wounded, 
and to burying our dead. It was a sad sight, as here and there 



PEA RIDGE CAMPAIGN. 121 

\vas found a dead comrade scalped by the red devils. This was, 
I think, the only battle of the war, where the rebels made use in 
any considerable numbers, of the Indians. The experiment was 
a costly and unsatisfactory one to the rebels, as they were com 
pelled to engage in a sharp conflict with them in the midst of the 
battle. In his eagerness for the white man s scalp the Indian 
forgot that he was to scalp only white Yankees, and turned him 
self loose on his allies. 

After resting and recuperating Curtis continued his march 
down the White river, through the heart of the enemy s country, 
bringing up at Helena, making altogether, from Rolla to Helena, 
a march quite as long and perhaps more hazardous than Sher 
man s famous march from "Atlanta to the Sea." It would afford 
me pleasure to pay a passing tribute to the distinguished officers 
who commanded this expedition ; to speak of the splendid courage 
of Carr, upon whose division fell the brunt of the fighting, and 
whose loss numbered more than half of the total losses of the bat 
tle, and to give the first meed of praise to the commander-in-chief 
for that nerve, coolness and tenacity which held on until defeat 
resulted in victory. It might have been of interest to inquire 
how it happened that others did pretty much all of the fighting 
while Sigel reaped the glory, but I am warned that I have already 
trespassed too long upon your patience. Such work must be left 
to other and more competent hands ; besides, this paper was not 
intended for history its only purpose was to give a few personal 
recollections of a memorable campaign. 

Those were great days, my brethren, from 1861 to 1865, and 
fortunate are we who lived at that period and had some part in 
that great conflict. And perhaps, when the history of American 
patriotism comes to be written, it will make but little difference 
whether one led or followed. If he did his whole duty he will 
rank as a patriot, which is, indeed, the highest rank a free and 
liberty-loving country can confer upon a citizen. 



122 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 



MARCH OF THE SIXTH MASSACHUSETTS THROUGH 

BALTIMORE. 

BY 

EVT. BRIG. GEN. JOHN B. DENNIS, A PRIVATE OF COMPANY G, 6TH 
MASS. VOL. MILITIA. 

(Read June 6, 1888.) 

You all remember the election of Abraham Lincoln to the 
Presidency of the United States in November, 1860, the excite 
ment which followed, the tone of the southern press commenting 
upon his election, and the threats made by the people of the 
south, that they would secede from the Union and set up a gov 
ernment of their own. 

Such threats as these had so often been made and repeated 
by the southern people, and so often a great majority of the 
northern people looked upon them as the utterances of a few 
southern fire-eaters, while others, like myself, believed that the 
time had come for which the secessionists of the south had long 
been looking an excuse for advocating the immediate dissolu 
tion of the Union. 

These southern leaders well knew that they must have some 
sort of a pretext to go before their people with, although they 
knew equally well that in reality there was not a shadow of an 
excuse for the step they were about to take, for from the life 
long utterances of the man who had been elected to guide the 
ship of state they knew he had not the slightest intention of in 
terfering with their "peculiar institution" or of deviating one 
iota from the course laid down by the Constitution of the United 
States; but secede they would, and now was their opportunity. 
Speakers went ranting and tearing through the southern states, 
firing the people and picturing to their hearers Lincoln s army of 
Abolitionists coming down south to steal and take away their 
slaves, and destroying their homes and firesides, unless they by 
their delegates assembled in convention should throw off the 
oath of allegiance which bound them to the Government ; and 



SIXTH MASSACHUSETTS IN BALTIMORE. 123 

telling them that if the north saw they were really in earnest 
about it, they would be let go without any war, and if war did 
come a true son of the south was equal any day to five of the 
northern mudsills, for northern men were a pack of cowards 
and would not dare to meet them in open warfare, and it would 
be but child s play to give the whole Yankee nation a good whip 
ping. One of their speakers, whose name I cannot now recall, 
said he would drink every drop of blood that would be spilled. 

A convention was first called in South Carolina; delegates 
were elected, they met in Columbia, and after a short session on 
the 2Oth of December, 1860, they passed what was known as the 
ordinance of secession, announcing to the world that they had 
separated from the United States forever. When this news 
reached Charleston the United States District Court was in ses 
sion. Judge Magrath was on the bench. With the air of a Ro 
man Senator he arose, threw off his official robe and announced 
to the assemblage that South Carolina was henceforth and for 
ever an independent state ; that they were no longer a part of the 
United States, and there could be no United States Court in 
South Carolina. He then left the bench and the other officers of 
the court followed the example of the judge, and so the District 
Court of the United States for South Carolina passed out of ex 
istence for over four years. 

This is but a sample of the news that was heard from the 
south at that time, and a little later on other states followed in 
the lead of South Carolina, and we heard of soldiers being raised 
by them, a regular army organized on the plan of the regular 
army of the United States, batteries being built on the coast, 
etc., all of which tended to keep the feelings of the people of the 
north stirred up to a fever heat ; still, there were some who 
laughed at the idea of anything like war coming out of it. 

I was at this time living in Worcester, Massachusetts, al 
though my home was really in Norwich, Connecticut, of which 
place I was a native. Some years previous to this, when quite a 
lad, I had lived a short time in Worcester, and 
being fond of military drill I joined as a mem 
ber of the Worcester Light Infantry, an independent 
military organization, which at the beginning of the 
war was commanded by Captain Harrison Pratt, who had at 
one time been a private in the ranks with me. I was one of those 



124 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

that firmly believed we were on the eve of a terrible civil war, 
and that I knew the least perhaps of any of them. That it af 
forded good opportunities for being killed was well understood, 
and that was the important thing to know about it. Notwith 
standing my ignorance of the whole matter, I wrote a letter to 
Captain Pratt a few days after the passage of the ordinance of 
secession by South Carolina, saying "that I felt sure a conflict 
was inevitable, and if war comes I think your company will be 
ordered out to take part in it, and if such be the case I ask you 
to give me a place in the ranks." 

Living in the city were two brothers-in-law of mine who be 
longed to the class that believed we would have no war and 
laughed and scouted at the idea. Many and earnest were the 
arguments we had over it, and whenever they came within speak 
ing distance of me they would exclaim : "Hello ! Old Civil War, 
when are you going to commence ? " 

There was another man then living in Massachusetts ; his 
name was John A. Andrew, the newly elected Governor of the 
commonwealth and who became the great war Governor of 
Massachusetts. He believed that a war was imminent, and when 
the Legislature of the State convened he called their attention 
to the condition of the country, and after stating his belief con 
cerning the war he asked them to make immediate appropria 
tions for the purpose of putting the militia of the State on a war 
footing. 

The message of the Governor was taken up not only by the 
press of the south, but by the entire northern press, and he was 
cartooned and lampooned from one end of the United States to 
the other, but all their ridicule was useless to turn him from his 
purpose. The Legislature made promptly the appropriation 
asked for and the work began. He purchased 4,000 overcoats 
made after the pattern of a soldier s overcoat and of the best 
material, and Governor Andrew s overcoats became the laughing 
stock and byword of the land. Still, the work was all the time 
going on, knapsacks, haversacks, blankets, coarse cotton shirts, 
drawers, woolen undershirts, stockings and other necessary sup 
plies were being put in the warehouses, and still the press con 
tinued to poke fun at Governor Andre. w He of all men knew 
what he was building, and how well he built a grateful country 
was verv soon to know. 



SIXTH MASSACHUSETTS IN BALTIMORE. 12$ 

All the long winter the papers were full of what the south 
erners were doing, and what they intended to do, while the loyal 
north were looking on in amazement. Mr. Buchanan left the 
presidential chair to be occupied by our new president and the 
public pulse beat much stronger and quicker. The regular army, 
which was very small, had been scattered to the four winds by 
that traitor, John B. Floyd, then Secretary of War, and what 
little we had of a navy had been sent to the four quarters of the 
globe by his able coadjutor, the Secretary of the Navy, Isaac 
Toucy, a man from my own native state, but I believe that Con 
necticut does not feel very proud of him, and he is only men 
tioned there now as a sort of a twin to that other Connecticut 
man, "Benedict Arnold." 

News came of the condition of Fort Sumter, of Anderson 
and his brave garrison, and that the rebels were building bat 
teries all or nearly all around them. Anderson had some time 
previous left Fort Moultrie, on Sullivan s Island, opposite 
Charleston, and taken quarters in Sumter, and Moultrie was soon 
taken possession of by the rebels and put in condition for both 
offensive and defensive warfare. Sumter, being nearly sur 
rounded, was completely at their mercy and the people of the 
north still continued to look on in astonishment and wonder what 
would come next. They did not, however, have to wait a very 
long time, for the political kaleidoscope was fast revealing new 
surprises. 

There were no demonstrations of any kind made by the 
northern people. They kept right along in the even tenor of 
their ways, each and everyone attending to his particular busi 
ness, until Friday, the I2th of April, when the news was flashed 
the length of the wires, sending a thrill through the entire length 
and breadth of the land, that General Beauregard had opened his 
batteries on Fort Sumter, followed next day by the report of the 
capitulation of Major Anderson and the turning over to the 
rebels of Fort Sumter. There was no wild commotion or dem 
onstration even then. People could be seen in little squads about 
the streets discussing the situation, and even the next day the 
ministers from their pulpits barely mentioned the fact, but made 
no lengthy discourses upon it. There seemed to be all that day 
and the next that kind of stillness which precedes the storm. 
All day Monday there was deathless suspense. The message 



126 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

sent over the wires by the President calling for troops did not, 
for some cause, reach Massachusetts, or even Albany, New York, 
until the day following. But when it did come, that request 
from the loyal north to furnish 75,000 troops to put down the 
rebellion, which was now fairly inaugurated, the excitement was 
intense. It seemed to be just what was needed to arouse the 
people. Then came John A. Andrew s turn. When that dis 
patch reached him at his office in Boston he sent a message flash 
ing back over the wires to the President in Washington : "I have 
four regiments ready. How will you have them, by rail or 
water?" 

I had been at my place of business all day and evening, and 
it was about 10 o clock when I started to my boarding house. As 
I came in sight of Horticultural Hall, which was used by the 
old Worcester Light Infantry for their armory, I saw it all 
lighted up, and went up to see what it meant and to get the latest 
news from the seat of war, and was told that the Worcester 
Light Guards, another independent military organization of the 
city, had received orders to proceed to Boston by the 4 o clock 
south, and that the Worcester Light Infantry had volunteered 
to escort them to the depot, and the offer had been accepted, 
train the next morning to go from there to some point in the 

The crowd increased to a jam and soon was heard the cry, 
"Make way; make way for Colonel Wetherell, one of the Gov 
ernor s staff, who has orders for Captain Pratt !" The crowd 
opened for him to pass through, and going to the center of the 
hall he mounted a chair and, taking a paper from his pocket, pro 
ceeded to read an order which countermanded the order for the 
Citv Guards to go to Boston and ordered the Light Infantry in 
their stead and to leave on the same train the Guards were in 
tending to leave on and to report to Colonel Ed. F. Jones (now 
Lieutenant Governor of New York). This was a very short 
notice, but the boys were equal to the emergency. When the 
order was read three rousing cheers went up, and it seemed for 
the moment as if the roof would be lifted from the building. 
Quiet being partially restored, J. Stuart Brown, the company 
Secretary, took down the book for those to sign who were willing 
to march as ordered. I took the book from him and wrote my 
name, and Stuart cried out : "Good ; a first rate name to start 
with." By my side stood a lad who seemed to be a few years 



SIXTH MASSACHUSETTS IN BALTIMORE. 

younger than myself ; he was thin, spare, with a pale face and 
looked anything but able to stand a military campaign, and as 
I handed the book back to the Secretary he reached up and took 
it, saying: "You need not think you are going to get away from 
here without me," and in big, bold letters wrote the name of 
Church Howe. I think that Church and myself were in the 
service for the war as soon as any of the volunteers. 

How many signed that book then I do not know, and no one 
else knew, but when we reached Washington and had our roll 
corrected we found we had one Captain, four Lieutenants and 
no men in our company. (The organization of the Massa 
chusetts militia provided for four Lieutenants, and they were ac 
cepted by the United States, as they were under the State or 
ganization, and we found with such a large company four Lieu 
tenants were not too many.) 

After the signing of the roll commenced messengers were 
started off on horseback to warn those of our men who lived in 
suburban towns of the Governor s order, and though it was cold 
and the snow quite deep, there were numbers ready and willing 
to do this duty, and it did not seem long before the absent mem 
bers came pouring in from all directions young men, as you 
might say, eager for the fray, and these were a part of the men 
soon to be so severely tried, men who knew nothing of the art 
of war and whose officers were in reality no better informed. As 
the Irishman said, "They did not know Shoulder up from 
4 Ground arms/ They were without any training whatever 
going out to do battle for their country. History is explored in 
vain for a parallel to such an uprising as was at that time to be 
seen all over the land. 

I have often heard comrades at their campfires tell of their 
sweethearts and of the girl they left behind when they went off 
to war, and of the letters they received from them while away. 
I, too, left a girl behind me, a little sweetheart, from whom it 
was hard for me to tear myself away. I had barely time to go 
to her boarding place, arouse the household and say good-bye. 
I. was admitted and my little sweetheart was lying in her cradle 
sleeping the sweet sleep of innocence, knowing nothing and car 
ing nothing for "wars or rumors of wars." I stooped over the 
cradle and planted a kiss on her little lips without awaking her 
and tore myself away. Her mother I had laid away about six 



128 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

month before in the beautiful City of the Dead on Grove street. 
I went from my child s cradle to my own boarding place to say 
good-bye and started off thinking that we would be gone but a 
few weeks at the outside, and then back to my friends again. No 
one then looked forward to a long, dreary four years of war. 

It was impossible for the company to get started at the hour 
named in the order of the Governor, for the cars were not ready 
and marching at a moment s notice was not known to us then. 
The line was formed promptly in the armory and we were ready 
to start as soon as the announcement should be made that the 
cars were ready for us. While waiting patiently the time was 
taken up by some of the prominent citizens making patriotic 
speeches, and others less prominent telling us how patriotic we 
were in thus going to the defense of the national capital and as 
suring us that if they were needed they would follow. Ex- 
Governor Washburn came in with a large basket of Bibles on 
his arm and presented each member of the company with a copy. 
We were all anxious to have one, for we had read that in one 
of the European wars a soldier s life was saved by a ball striking 
a Bible in his pocket, which otherwise would undoubtedly have 
gone through him and ended his mortal career. 

It was about daylight when the announcement was made 
that the cars would be ready to start by the time we could reach 
the depot, and the march was commenced. We had to press 
our way through a solid mass of humanity and were soon on 
board the cars steaming out of the depot amid the wildest shouts 
and huzzas of the people and rolling along towards Boston. It 
was so early in the morning the people of the country towns did 
not know that the early train was then taking a part of the first 
regiment of the war to Boston. When we reached the city we 
found the utmost activity prevailing. Aides and orderlies were 
riding about the streets as though the old boy himself was after 
them, endangering the lives of the pedestrians, and crowds of 
people filled the sidewalks and every available place that could 
be obtained, all anxious to get a glimpse of the boys who were 
going to the war. Each company was marched up to the State 
House, where their old Harper s Ferry muskets were exchanged 
for bright new Springfields of a later pattern and a knapsack, 
haversack and one of the overcoats of which so much fun had 
been made, a nice large woolen blanket, two coarse white shirts, 



SIXTH MASSACHUSETTS AT BALTIMORE. 129 

two woolen undershirts, two pairs of woolen drawers, two pairs 
of woolen stockings, and so many other things were dealt out to 
us that when we got our knapsacks strapped on our backs we 
looked very much overloaded, as recruits of 62 and 63 generally 
did. So early in the war canteens had not been thought of, so 
we had to leave without that valuable auxiliary to a soldier s 
outfit. 

In Boston we found that Colonel Jones had been on hand 
since the evening before receiving the companies of the regiment 
as they came in from Acton, Lowell, Groton, Stoneham, Lynn, 
Lawrence and other places. He was a host himself, wonderfully 
active and wiry and built for just such an emergency as now 
presented itself, and he should have been made a Brigadier 
General the next day after reaching Washington, if for no other 
reason than that he commanded the first regiment arriving in 
defense of the capital. It was nearly night when our company, 
the last one, was marched into the State House and received its 
arms, clothing and equipments, after which the regiment was 
drawn up in line to receive its colors, which were presented to 
us by Governor Andrews himself in the following words : 

"Soldiers, summoned suddenly with but a moment for 
preparation, we have done all that lay in the power of man to 
do, all that rested in the power of your State Government to do, 
to prepare the citizen soldiers of Massachusetts for this service. 
We shall follow you with our benedictions, our benefactions and 
our prayers. Those whom you leave behind you we shall cherish 
in our heart of hearts ; you carry with you our utmost faith and 
confidence. We know you will never return until you can bring 
the assurances that the utmost duty has been performed which 
brave and patriotic men can accomplish. This flag, sir, take and 
bear with you ; it will be an emblem on which all eyes will rest, 
reminding you always of that which you are bound to hold most 
dear." 

Colonel Jones took the flag and said : "Your Excellency : 
You have given me this flag, which is the emblem of all that 
stands before me ; it represents my whole command, and so help 
me God I will not disgrace it." 

To these sentiments uttered by the commander the regiment 
responded with one loud "Amen !" 

There was another man in Massachusetts at that time of 



I3O CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

whom all of you have heard since. In the Democratic conven 
tion held at Charleston the year before he had gained considerable 
distinction by voting fifty times for Jefferson Davis to be the 
candidate of the Democratic party for President of the United 
States. His name is Benjamin F. Butler. With him politics was 
laid aside, as it was also by nearly all Democrats, Republicans, 
Free Soilers, Abolitionists and Know Nothings. Butler at this 
time held a commission as Major General of the Massachusetts 
militia. He stepped to the front of the court house piazza and 
addressed the regiment as follows : 

"Soldiers, we stand upon the spot to which the good pleasure 
of our commander-in-chief and our dearest wishes have assigned 
us to lead the advance guard of freedom, of constitutional lib 
erty and of perpetuity to the Union is the honor we claim and 
which, under God, we will maintain. Sons of Puritans who be 
lieve in the providence of Almighty God, as He was with our 
fathers, so may He be with us in this strife for the right, for the 
good of all, for the great missionary country of liberty, and if 
we prove recreant to our trust may the God of battles prove our 
enemy in the hour of its utmost need. 

"Soldiers, we march tonight, and let me say for you all, to 
the good people of this commonwealth, that we will not turn 
back until we show those who have laid hands upon the fabric of 
the Union that there is but one thought in the north the union 
of these states now and forever, one and inseparable." 

Little did any of us think, as we stood there beneath the 
folds of that flag listening to the presentation speech of the Gov 
ernor, that so soon were some of our number to give their lives 
in its defense, but such was to be the case. 

The command was given and we turned our backs upon the 
State House. We had eaten nothing since morning except little 
lunches obtained from hucksters, who seemed to be everywhere; 
we were escorted to the armory of the Boston Tigers, an inde 
pendent company of the city, where a splendid collation was set 
out for us, to all of which we did ample justice before going to 
the cars. It was nearly dark when we took up our line of march 
to the depot, and as during the day the excitement and interest 
kept up, streets and byways to the depot were full of people, all 
anxious to take a last look at the veterans (which we had be 
come since the night before). Once on board the cars we pulled 



SIXTH MASSACHUSETTS AT BALTIMORE. 13! 

out of the depot amid the acclamations of the populace, firing oft 
guns, ringing of bells and discharge of fireworks. 

All along our line the towns were lighted up with bonfires 
and fireworks were set off. At Worcester there appeared to have 
been no lessening during the day of the excitement, and the 
crowd which met us at the depot seemed, if possible, greater 
than when we left in the morning. Mothers, wives and sweet 
hearts were in the throng trying to push their way through to 
get a last look or a kiss and a good-bye from the departing one ; 
but as our stay there was only long enough to take wood and 
water, many there were who went away disappointed, and we 
pulled out of the depot amid the loud huzzas, discharge of can- 
iion, ringing of bells and bursting fireworks. 

These scenes were repeated all along our route wherever we 
stopped for a few minutes, and the small towns we passed 
through were all ablaze with bonfires, and it seemed as if there 
was one continuous line of fire, broken only by the rivers we 
crossed between Boston and New York. Although late at night 
or nearly in the morning when we passed through Springfield, 
Hartford and New Haven, the people were out to greet us with 
their loud acclaims, and, as at Framingham and Worcester, with 
cannon, bells and fireworks. 

We arrived in New York City about 7 130 on the morning 
of the 1 8th and it looked as if the whole populace had turned out 
to welcome us and cheer us on our way. The 7th New York 
National Guard, the only really famous regiment at that time in 
the north, met us at the depot and escorted us in detachments, 
one to the Metropolitan, one to the St. Nicholas and one to the 
Astor, for breakfast. Their kindness was fully appreciated, and 
I think we ate as we had never eaten before. 

After breakfast our line was formed and we started for the 
Jersey City ferry, and I doubt if Broadway had ever before pre 
sented such a spectacle. The windows, balconies and house tops 
along the route were thronged with people of all ages, sexes and 
conditions eager to catch a view of this, the first regiment to 
leave for the seat of war and to the defense of the capital of our 
country. The sidewalks and street were also thronged and the 
Broadway squad of police was obliged to march in front of us to 
clear the way. 

At the Astor House we were joined by the other detachments 



132 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

of our regiment. The building s on either side of the street had 
on a holiday appearance and the Stars and Stripes were flying 
from the tops of them. Embarking on board the ferryboat we 
were soon in the Jersey City depot. Here the scene beggars de 
scription by me. It would take the pen of a Dickens to depict 
it. The galleries, which at that time ran completely around the 
inside of the depot, were crowded with ladies and their enthusi 
asm exceeded all bounds ; they became so carried away that 
handkerchiefs, gloves, pieces of ribbon, and even curls cut from 
their heads, were thrown down to the boys, while the band 
played the national airs and patriotic songs were sung. Amid 
such a scene, \vhich made every man there proud to be a soldier 
and to have so much loveliness to fight for, the train pulled out 
of the depot. 

All along the route through New Jersey the enthusiasm 
kept up, and our progress was one complete ovation from the 
time we left Boston until we reached the staid old Quaker city 
of Philadelphia early in the evening. You will remember that 
troops were not moved as rapidly at first as they were later on 
during the war ; it took us over twenty-four hours to reach Phil 
adelphia from Boston. The people of Philadelphia, although not 
as demonstrative as at some other places we passed through, were 
not lacking in kind words and deeds towards us.- We were taken 
by a committee of citizens to the Girard House, which at that 
time was closed to the public, a supper was provided for us, and 
we did not need any urging to partake of it. After supper knap 
sacks were unslung, our blankets were spread out upon the floor, 
and here was the first bivouac of our regiment. 

As we were beginning to drop off into sweet dreams the 
order came to get up and sling knapsacks and resume our march. 
This was a new phase of soldier life for the boys, but the order 
was quickly obeyed and the line soon formed. News had come 
by telegraph that the Secessionists in Baltimore were preparing 
to resist our march through their city, and it was thought best by 
Colonel Jones to start at once if we were to get to the City of 
Washington at all. The managers of the Pennsylvania railroad 
were ready to do anything they could to facilitate our march and 
soon had a train ready for us, but some advised the Colonel to 
wait until morning and go by steamer to Washington, to which 
Colonel Jones replied that his orders were to go to Washington 



SIXTH MASSACHUSETTS AT BALTIMORE. 133 

by way of Baltimore, and that he was going that way, and to 
report to General Scott as directed. He requested the manager 
of the railway to furnish a pilot engine to run ahead of the train, 
which was granted, and about midnight, with our haversacks 
filled with sandwiches provided by the Philadelphia ladies, we 
were again in the cars moving toward Washington. As daylight 
dawned we entered Maryland, and could see the people come to 
the windows and doors and look at us in a sullen way as if they 
wished us no good. 

I will here relate an incident that occurred at Havre de 
Grace, which plainly shows how a very small thing may affect a 
general result : When the train reached the river the cars were 
taken on board the steamer Maryland, the large boat used to 
take the trains across (it was before the bridge was built). The 
train was divided into three sections and taken on board in regu 
lar order, ist, 2nd and 3rd, but when taken off on the other shore 
the order was by a mistake changed and they were taken ist, 
3rd and 2nd, which placed our company in the center of the 
train instead of in the last two cars on the extreme left, where 
we belonged. In this order the train reached Baltimore. It will 
be seen further on that it was the left of the regiment that suf 
fered most during the passage through the city. The left of the 
line belonged to us, and but for the mistake of the railroad hands, 
and through no fault of our own, we would have occupied the 
position of greatest danger. The mistake was not noticed until 
we reached the city. 

When about ten or fifteen miles from the city ammunition 
was issued to us and orders given to load. Colonel Jones passed 
through the train and gave orders that we were to march through 
the city, not to cast our eyes to the right or left, but to keep 
straight on unless fired upon by the mob that was likely awaiting 
us, and then not to fire without orders from him. 

Here was a little handful of men, about six hundred all told, 
fresh from the counting room, the shops, schools, stores, banks, 
the plough and other peaceful avocations, who knew nothing of 
war, many of them had perhaps in their whole life never fired a 
gun, and these were the men so soon to be participators in one 
of the severest trials of the whole war. Nothing daunted, how 
ever, we loaded our guns and awaited the meeting of the enemy, 
every man of us feeling as if we had God and the right on our 



134 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

side and remembering "that thrice armed is he who hath his 
quarrel just." When we reached President Street depot we were 
met by the Mayor of the city and Chief of Police, Marshal Kane, 
who said to Colonel Jones : "You take care of your regiment and 
we will take care of our rowdies. You will remember that at 
the time of which I write the cars were drawn through the city 
of Baltimore by horses. 

Before the Colonel had time to give his orders for the regi 
ment to file out of the cars horses were hitched on and the cars 
were again in motion. The train, being a long one, was divided 
into four or five sections. The mob had begun to gather and 
we could see the companies in their armories equipping. We 
had not proceeded far when we were assailed with bricks, pav 
ing stones and firearms. They did not know to what state we 
belonged, but had somejiow obtained the idea that it was the 
7th New York National Guards, I suppose, probably, from the 
promptness with which we had moved, and we were greeted with 
howls and imprecations, and some of them said : "You damned 
7th New York, you are the fellows that said you would not 
fight against the south !" referring, I presume, to some statements 
made when the 7th visited Richmond the year before. As we 
reached Pratt street the mob had increased to such an extent 
that it was with difficulty the horses could be made to draw the 
cars, and the shower of stones and bricks came the faster. Rifles 
and pistols were also brought into use and we were frequently, 
with an oath hurled at us, told that we were a little too early for 
them, alluding to the fact, I presume, of our having left Philadel 
phia at midnight instead of waiting until morning, as they ex 
pected we would and as we at first intended doing. 

The men in our car, where the Colonel was a part of the 
time, were ordered to lie down, and to this some of us objected, 
not knowing at the time that lying down was a part of the tactics 
of war, and but for this precaution, in all probability, many more 
would have been killed or wounded, for as we went along the 
mob rapidly increased in numbers and violence, and they were 
armed with every conceivable weapon, from a scythe fastened to 
a long pole to an improved rifle. Heavy stones were carried 
and placed upon the bridges that we had to pass under, and they 
were rolled down upon the roofs of the cars with the intention of 
breaking through the roof and demolishing all within, and in 



SIXTH MASSACHUSETTS AT BALTIMORE. 135 

this way the cars all got through to the Mt. Claire depot without 
anyone being killed or seriously wounded, except the last section 
of the train, which had to wait awhile at the President Street 
depot before starting on account of there not being horses enough 
to take the whole train at once. At the point we had now reached 
the mob had greatly diminished and the Colonel became very 
anxious about the detachment that was still behind, and as he 
was about to form the regiment to go back to their assistance a 
messenger arrived with the intelligence that the detachment under 
command of Captain Folansbee of Lowell had been obliged to 
file out of the cars and was fighting its way through and would 
soon be with us. It seems that after the first section of our train 
had left the President Street depot the horses suddenly gave out 
and none could be obtained to draw the last section, and as the 
officers of those companies that were on the left saw the first 
sections being taken away with the horses, they concluded that 
the Colonel had changed his mind about marching through the 
city, and awaited the arrival of more horses for them. 

The mob having failed to cut off the main body of the regi 
ment and thus prevent it from reaching the Mt. Claire depot at 
the other side of the city, started to join the increasing mob at 
the other side of town. When Captain Folansbee saw the first 
sections of the train moving away he also came to the conclusion 
that the Colonel had changed his mind about marching through 
the city, and when he was told by some of the railroad men that 
horses would be provided in a few minutes to take the remain 
ing section through he felt no apprehensions regarding the mat 
ter, but waited patiently until the horses came and were attached 
to the cars and commenced to move. The mob then turned its 
whole attention to his little detachment, trying to impede the 
progress of the horses and even battering the cars and until Cap 
tain Folansbee saw that the only salvation for himself and his 
command was in filing out of the cars and fighting his way on 
foot ; he therefore gave the orders for the detachment to form in 
line by the side of the track. This was just as they reached 
Pratt street, which is by the side of the bay, and, at the point 
where the railway runs into it, is very narrow. The mob had 
torn up some rails and had, from the ships lying at the wharves, 
procured heavy anchors and chains, which they put across the 
track, completely barricading the passage of the cars. 



136 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

Obeying the order to leave the cars and form in line, our 
men seemed to throw themselves right into the arms of that howl 
ing mass of hungry rebel wolves, as they appeared to be. It was 
with the greatest difficulty that the men could file out of the cars, 
and to form a line was a much more difficult task. It was how 
ever, done, although it was hard to distinguish the orders of the 
commanding officer above the how r ls of the mob, which at the time 
acted and looked much more like a pack of wild beasts than hu 
man beings. The troops pressed the crowd backward a little and, 
notwithstanding all the boys had put up with, the officers dis 
liked to give the order to fire. When Mayor Brown of Baltimore 
had worked his way through the crowd in some way to the side 
of Captain Folansbee, he snatched a rifle from the hands of one 
of the soldiers, turned it and deliberately fired right into the 
crowd, which for an instant seemed to recoil. This firing of the 
mayor acted as the signal for the officers and the command was 
given to fire. 

This partially had the desired effect ; it opened the way suf 
ficiently for the troops to make a start. The mob returned the 
fire of the troops, and here it was. on that beautiful April morn 
ing the I9th day of April, 1861, a day ever memorable, now made 
doubly so ; the anniversary of the day that our forefathers fought 
the battle of Lexington, where the first blood was shed by Mass 
achusetts soldiers in the cause of constitutional liberty, so here 
was the first blow struck and the first blood shed by Massa 
chusetts soldiers in the cause of human freedom. Here in Bal 
timore, only about thirty-six hours from the quiet of their own 
homes, our comrades were to receive their first baptism of fire. 
Here the demons commenced their onslaught upon them with 
fifty times the number of that devoted little band ; here it was 
that Ladd, Taylor, Whitney and Needham fell, the first martyrs 
of the war of the rebellion. 

Ladd was a native of New Hampshire, a voting man who had 
come to Lowell, Massachusetts, to improve his condition. He 
sprang forth at the call of the President, and in less than forty- 
eight hours lay a mangled, bleeding corpse on the pavements in 
Baltimore, his body having been pierced by more than a dozen 
rebel bullets. His last words were: "All hail to the Stars and 
Stripes !" Whitney was a young man formerly from Maine who, 
living in Lowell, like his comrade Ladd, responded to the call 



SIXTH MASSACHUSETTS AT BALTIMORE. 137 

for troops and took his place in line at the first warning of dan 
ger. He, too, lay dead on the pavement, a traitor s bullet having 
entered his right breast, causing instant death. Needham was 
also a native of Maine, but had for some time made his home in 
Lowell, Massachusetts. Seizing the opportunity to serve his 
country, he, too, had linked his fortunes with the Lowell com 
pany and was here mortally wounded and taken to the hospital, 
where he died eight days thereafter. Nothing much was known 
of Taylor except that he joined the Lowell company at Boston. 
He was, however, a brave and fearless soldier. After he was 
shot and fell to the ground he fought with his pistol, but in his 
condition he was no match for them, and they beat the life out 
of him with clubs and stones, leaving his blood and brains to 
mingle with the filth of the street. In addition to the four killed 
quite a number of officers and men were wounded. 

At once, upon the news of the slaughter of our troops 
reaching Boston, Governor Andrew telegraphed the following 
message to Mayor Brown of Baltimore : "To His Honor, the 
Mayor : I pray you to cause the bodies of our Massachusetts 
soldiers, dead in Baltimore, to be immediately laid out, preserved 
with ice and tenderly cared for and sent forward by express to 
me. All expenses will be paid by this commonwealth." 

To which the Mayor of Baltimore responded, promising com 
pliance with his request. He took advantage, however, of the 
opportunity to administer a rebuke to Governor Andrew for send 
ing his Massachusetts soldiers to invade the soil of Maryland. 

The New York Times, in speaking of the message of Gov 
ernor Andrew to the Mayor of Baltimore, beautifully said : "Few 
men can read it without shedding tears. Those bodies, battered 
and bruised by the brutal mob, are sacred ; tenderly is not too 
gentle a word to be used for the care of them. Yes, bear their 
bodies tenderly; they are more sacred than the relics of saints. 
Wherever they pass let the nation s flag, which they died to de 
fend, wave over them ; let cannon thunder the martial honor, and 
let women and children come to drop a tear over the Massa 
chusetts dead, who died for country and liberty." 

It may be said, however, to the credit of Maryland that 
while she has a great deal to answer for on account of her actions 
at the commencement of the war, her legislature, a short time 
after the murder of our comrades in Baltimore, did a very mag- 



138 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

nanimous act in appropriating the sum of $7,000 for the relief 
of the families of the Massachusetts soldiers killed and wounded 
in Baltimore. 

The State of Massachusetts and the city of Lowell have im 
mortalized these heroes and patriots by erecting a massive and 
costly monument to their memory, beneath which they will sleep 
until "the sublime celestial bugler shall ring out the reveille." 

Let us go back to the little detachment which we left with 
Captain Folansbee, fighting their way through the city. At the 
first exchange of shots the mob fell back with quite a loss in 
killed and wounded, how many we never knew, as they kept it as 
secret as possible, but a well directed volley was poured directly 
into the crowd. As they recoiled before the fire of the troops 
Captain Folansbee seized upon the advantage momentarily gained 
and pressed on. The regimental band and a detachment of men 
without arms from Pennsylvania, under a man named Smalls, 
were all driven back. Without any further loss of life or injury 
to the men, Captain Folansbee succeeded in joining the main 
body of the regiment, and also bringing with him all the wounded, 
who were cared for on board of the cars, as no time was lost in 
getting on board and starting off, for fear that the rails in ad 
vance of us would be torn up. 

Nothing further of note transpired until we reached Wash 
ington, where we had been anxiously looked for since morning. 
It was nearly night and as we filed out of the cars old men and 
old women who were loyal to their country threw their arms 
around our necks and kissed us, and with great tears streaming 
down their cheeks blessed us and called us their deliverers. After 
getting into line we were marched to the United States Senate 
chamber, which was assigned us as quarters. We had eaten 
nothing since morning and were very hungry, but we had to wait 
until the next morning before anything could be procured for us 
to eat. 

The wounded were here taken care of by Miss Clara Bar 
ton, formerly of Worcester, Massachusetts, a lady who has since 
become known the world over for her deeds of heroism in the 
hospital and on the field of battle. She took them to her own 
house, nursed them and cared for them as tenderly as their own 
mothers or sisters could have done, and here at her house was 
organized the first army hospital of the war. She was certainly 



SIXTH MASSACHUSETTS AT BALTIMORE. 139 

the pioneer nurse of the army, and from that time forward all 
through the long, dreary war she was to be seen where she was 
the most needed, in the field hospitals, and even upon the battle 
field, administering to the comfort of the poor wounded soldier 
like the ministering angel that she was, and has been ever since. 

In 1865 we find her organizing a force to go to Anderson- 
ville, and there she laid out the cemetery and located the graves 
of over thirty thousand of our comrades who were starved to 
death in the prison there, and who, but for her, would today be 
sleeping in unknown graves. To her we are indebted for the 
beautiful national cemeteries that are to be seen in so many of 
the states of the Union, and particularly in the southern states, 
in which lie so many of our brave comrades who were stricken 
down by disease or by rebel bullets. When the Franco-German 
war broke out we find her with the Grand Duchesse of Baden or 
ganizing the army hospitals and going to the field with them ; and 
through her efforts, a work of years, we find our Government 
the thirty-second on the list of civilized nations to sign what is 
known as the Geneva Treaty of the International Society of the 
Red Cross, the most humane institution of the world; and now 
instead of our hospitals floating the little yellow flag, as hereto 
fore, they will float the Red Cross banner, that sublime emblem 
of the world s humanity. And the Red Cross is now painted on 
all of the army ambulances. I know you will excuse this digres 
sion when it is understood that Miss Barton was so early and so 
kindly connected with the old 6th Massachusetts ; that to us she 
has always seemed a part of it, and as she was proud of the old 
6th, so are we all of us proud of her and the noble work she has 
done, and is still doing. 

The old 6th being now safely quartered in the Senate cham 
ber of the United States with one little incident, we will leave 
them. 

At this time there were grave apprehensions as to what the 
rebels were about to do, and many there were who thought they 
were intending to make an attack upon the city, and in all prob 
ability if they had done so would have had but little difficulty in 
capturing it, for we were ill prepared for a combined attack of 
their forces. It was in this emergency that Cassius M. Clay of 
Kentucky formed a company of soldiers picked from among those 
northern men who had gone on to Washington to attend to the 



14 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

distribution of federal offices. He had enrolled about a hundred 
men and they were known as Clay s Home Guard. Jim Lane of 
Kansas was also on hand, and from the patriots of the west had 
organized another company of about the same size as the Clay 
Home Guards and known as the Frontier Guard. 

About 9 or half past 9 on the evening of our arrival President 
Lincoln came into the Senate chamber escorted by these two com 
panies. "Honest Old Abe !" I can look back and in imagination 
see that great and good man as he entered the room, and with 
body bent forward passing around the Senate chamber, shaking 
hands with each soldier, with a pleasant smile and a kind word 
for all. 

After the handshaking and a few remarks by the President 
congratulating us on the honor of being the first troops to arrive 
for the defense of the capitol, a lady, the only lady present, and 
if I remember right she was the wife of the state geologist of 
Wisconsin, stepped to the platform and sang the "Star Spangled 
Banner," all present joining in the chorus, and I assure my com 
panions that never in your life did that old song sound as well 
in your ears, nor did that dear old flag look bettter in your eyes 
than it did that night to us after our march through Baltimore. 



THE BATTLE OF NASHVILLE. 

BY 
MAJOR GENERAL JOHN R. BROOKE. 

(December 16, 1889.) 

During the war in which occurred the battle of Nashyille 
there was a great deal done, such as has been done here tonight. 
Substitutes were provided. My friend, Major Paddock, has per 
sonated another gentleman ; I am here to personate my old friend, 
General Nathan L. Kimball. A braver man and better soldier 
never lived. 

The battle of Nashville commenced when Sherman started 
on his march to the sea and Thomas started back to head off 
Hood. The contests which followed were numerous, although 
verv severe, notably that of Franklin in Tennessee in the latter 
part of November. A. J. Smith, that old soldier whose operations 
are remembered well, and whose corps was a noted one in the 
Mississippi valley, was a little late by some means in getting to 
Nashville. He reached there in time, however, to take a hand, 
and history shows how thoroughly he did it. Time is a little 
short to give any such description as the battle of Nashville de 
serves, but I have made some few extracts in case my memory 
fails me, which I will read from in proper time. 

George H. Thomas in the fights that resulted in the dawn of 
peace led the van. That I may say, I think, without fear of con 
tradiction. From Nashville came the first sure sign that the bub 
ble was pricked and that the Confederacy was gone forever. In 
his indomitable courage, moral courage, against the greatest dan 
gers which our country was ever threatened with, as so graphic 
ally depicted and presented, he displayed one of the grandest fea 
tures of soldiership that it has been my good fortune to study, and 
to profit by, should the occasion ever come. He stood quietly in 
Nashville gathering his troops from far and near, and from 
among the rag and tag and bob-tail of all the armies. I do not 



142 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

mean that the rag and tag and bob-tail were not good soldiers 
and good men, for they were. At that time in the several armies 
all men, no matter where they might stand or what position they 
might fill, remained in their places and died like men when the 
time came without shrinking. I do not mean to have the term 
rag and tag and bob-tail taken in its general acceptation. 

Thomas stood there when Grant urged him that man be 
fore whom no man was found able to stand and said to him, 
"I am not ready," feeling in his heart that the stake was too great 
to strike before he was ready. He wanted to gather behind him 
those things which are necessary in a swift pursuit, while he un 
questionably contemplated and he meant to destroy Hood s army, 
and we all know that for all practical purposes of war Hood s 
army ceased to exist on the night of the i6th of December, 1864. 

The battle of Nashville commenced actually in its bloody 
features about 10 o clock on the morning of the I5th of Decem 
ber, pursuant to this order : 

"Major General A. J. Smith, commanding detachment of the 
Army of the Tennessee, after forming his troops on and near the 
Harding pike in front of his present position, will make a vigor 
ous assault on the enemy s left. Major General Wilson, com 
manding the Cavalry corps, Military Division of the Mississippi, 
with three divisions, will move on and support General Smith s 
right, assisting as far as possible in carrying the left of the en 
emy s position, and be in readiness to throw his force upon the 
enemy the moment a favorable opportunity occurs. Major Gen 
eral Wilson will also send one division on the Charlotte pike to 
clear that road of the enemy and observe in the direction of Bell s 
Landing to protect our right rear until the enemy s position is 
fairly turned, when it will rejoin the main force. Brigadier Gen 
eral T. J. Wood, commanding Fourth corps, after leaving a 
strong skirmish line in his works from Lawren s Hill to his ex 
treme right, will form the remainder of the Fourth corps on the 
Hillsboro pike to support General Smith s left and operate on the 
left and rear of the enemy s advanced positions on the Montgom 
ery Hill. Major General Schofield, commanding the Twenty- 
third army corps, will replace Brigadier General Kimball s di 
vision of the Fourth corps with his troops and occupy the 
trenches from Fort Negley to Lawren s Hill with a strong skirm 
ish line. He will move the remainder of his force in front of the 



THE BATTLE OF NASHVILLE. 143 

works and co-operate with General Wood, protecting the latter s 
left flank against an attack by the enemy. Major General Stead- 
man, commanding District of Etowah, will occupy the interior 
line in rear of his present position, stretching from the reservoir 
on the Cumberland river at Fort Negley with a strong skirmish 
line, and mass the remainder of his force in its present position 
to act according to the exigencies which may arise during these 
operations. Brigadier General Miller, with troops forming the 
garrison of Nashville, will occupy the interior line from the bat 
tery on hill 210 to the extreme right, including the enclosed work 
on the Hyde s Ferry road. The quartermaster s troops, under 
command of Brigadier General Donaldson, will, *if necessary, be 
posted on the interior line from Fort Morton to the battery on 
hill 210. The troops occupying the interior line will be under 
the direction of Major General Steadman, who is charged with 
the immediate defense of Nashville during the operations around 
the city. Should the weather permit, the troops will be formed 
to commence operations at 6 a. m. on the i5th, or as soon there 
after as practicable." 

History records no more complete order of battle than this. 
History records no more close attention and close compliance 
with the original plans than does the history of the battle of the 
1 5th of December. It is in keeping with the character of the man 
who won that battle that he had all things ready when he moved. 
Had it not been for a severe storm which covered the country 
with ice and, old soldiers, you know what those storms were 
he would have moved some days earlier and Hood would have 
met his fate that much sooner. There were some slight modifi 
cations when the general plan was carried out in its entirety. Let 
us hear what General Hood says : 

Finding that the main movement of the Federals was di 
rected against our left, the Chief Engineer was instructed to care 
fully select a line in prolongation of the left flank; Cheatham s 
corps was withdrawn from the right during the night of the I5th 
and posted on the left of Stewart Cheatham s left flank resting 
near the Brentwood Hills. In this position the men were ordered 
to construct breastworks during that same night." 

General S. D. Lee says : "During the night Cheatham s 
corps was withdrawn from my right and moved to the extreme left 



144 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

of the army. The army then took position about one mile in rear 
of its original line, my corps being on the extreme right." 

They did not like to say whipped, but Hood says it there in 
that little expression of his ; so does S. D. Lee, and we know what 
occurred on the I5th, and we know why they had to form a new 
line we had the old line. For the action of the i6th I would 
quote again from General Thdmas report : 

"At 6 a. m. on the i6th Wood s corps pressed back the en 
emy s skirmishers across the Franklin pike to the eastward of it, 
and then swinging slightly to the right, advanced due south from 
Nashville, driving the enemy before him, until he came upon his 
new main line of works, constructed during the night on what is 
called Overton s Hill, about five miles south of the city and east 
of the Franklin pike. General Steadman moved out from Nash 
ville by the Nolensville pike and formed his command on the left 
of General Wood, effectually securing the latter s left flank, and 
made preparations to co-operate in the operations of the day. 
General A. J. Smith s command moved out on the right of the 
Fourth corps (Wood s) and, establishing connection with Gen 
eral Wood s right, completed the new line of battle. General 
Schofield s troops remained in the position taken up by them at 
dark on the day previous, facing eastward and towards the en 
emy s left Hank, the line of the corps running perpendicular to 
General Smith s troops. General Wilson s cavalry, which had 
rested for the night at the six-mile post on the Hillsboro pike, 
was dismounted and formed on the right of Schofield s com 
mand, and by noon of the i6th had succeeded in gaining the 
enemy s rear and stretched across the Granny White pike, one of 
his two outlets towards Franklin. As soon as the above disposi 
tions were completed, and, having visited the different com 
mands, I gave directions that the movement against the enemy s 
left flank should be continued. Our entire line approached to 
within 600 yards of the enemy s at all points. His center was 
weak as compared to either his right at Overton s Hill or his left 
on the hills bordering the Granny White pike. Still, I had hopes 
of gaining his rear and cutting off his retreat from Franklin." 

Companions and old soldiers, what more is there for me to 
state than the history of the battle of Nashville as written by his 
order of battle and by his final modest report of it ? 



GEORGE H. THOMAS. 

BY 
HON. JAMES M. WOOL WORTH. 

(December 16, 1889.) 

The choicest treasures of a people are its historic names. The 
story of the deeds and the contemplation of the civic virtues of 
the great of a past generation feed, quicken and exalt the senti 
ments and passions which make the savors of life unto life. Like 
the tonic of gracious cordials, the winds from mountains and 
salted sea, they carry men beyond the customary bounds of action 
and of thought. Uncounted riches may be gathered from fields 
and mines and by trade and industries. But the disasters of war 
and the elements may sweep them all away ; the decay of public 
virtue may turn them all into dust and the withered remnants of 
sorrowing memories. 

It is not so with the heritage of great names ; that is above 
and beyond calamity. The legends of the Codes and the Horatii, 
and the tales of the Scipios and the Fabii, told and retold, around 
the campfires of the armies in Gaul and Africa, roused to the 
highest pitch the spirit of the Roman soldiers. The single word, 
"Napoleon," ever an inspiration and a glory to the son of France, 
made possible the splendors of the second Empire and the vic 
tories of the third of that mighty name. 

In our civil war, when men s hearts failed them for fear, 
what revived the will of the nation, steadied the hopes of states 
men, and nerved the arm of the soldier, as the story of the courage, 
the deeds, the words of Washington ? 

I share your disappointment that General Stanley could not 
be with you tonight to speak of General Thomas. Himself a 
splendid soldier and accomplished officer, who at a supreme mo 
ment in the retreat on Nashville, saved the army by an act of 
intrepid courage, unsurpassed in the annals of the war, General 
Stanley could have given an adequate account of the career of 

(H5) 



146 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

his great commander. He could have told you, in picturesque 
phrase, the story of what he did. I shall be happy if in simple 
words I can help you to dimly see what he was. 

In mien and stature Thomas was grand. His countenance 
was, in features, large ; in caste, grave. A broad and heavy brow, 
an eye of color blue, like that of great warriors, steady and far- 
seeing; a square jaw and firm mouth, a complexion dark and sal 
low ; the expression was, when in the midst of serious business, 
not so much rigid and severe as impassive. Men who looked upon 
it then felt the imperturbable soul. And yet at times, though they 
were infrequent, there sat upon that grave face benignity and gen 
tleness and grace. The large head, well covered with dark hair, 
sat strong upon the broad shoulders. The stature, rising above 
the height of most, was massive. The frame was large and well 
covered with flesh, or, rather, with the strength of muscle, so that 
the idea was not of inactivity, but of momentum. There was a 
certain heaviness, but it was saved from sluggishness by strong 
nerves that gave to weight vigor and power, and carried the im 
pression of health, strength, endurance, force. \Ve may apply 
to him the description of Thomas Coventry, in Charles Lamb s 
account of the old Bencher of the Inner Temple : "His step was 
massy and elephantine * his gait was peremptory and path- 

keeping, indivertible from his way as a moving column." And 
thus countenance, figure and bearing gave promise of the man. 

His character was solid and massive, calm and impressive, 
consistent and symmetrical. If I were to state his characteristic 
in one word, I would say it was firmness, which implies many 
things. He was slow in his mental operations. Although in 
part of French descent, he had none of the Gallic vivacity of his 
mother s ancestry. He patiently went over the matter to which 
his attention was addressed in all its details, following it through 
to the end ; no element in the problem overlooked or slighted ; no 
contingency unscanned ; and when at last the conclusion was 
reached, he rested in it with perfect confidence. His convictions 
were ardent, hearty and earnest, and he clung to them with tenac 
ity and firmness. But if he was slow, he was sure. One of his 
earlier friendly nick-names was "Old Slow Trot," and another 
"Old Sure Enough," and his troops sometimes called him "Old 
Pap Safety." 

As such men always are, he was systematic. He accepted 



GEORGE H. THOMAS. 147 

with natural aptness the instructions of West Point, and was 
given to routine. He might yield to exigencies, but not without 
hesitating at the irregularity. Accordingly he planned his cam 
paigns and battles with extreme care and exactness, applying to 
them the approved rules of war. He did not make an experiment 
of what study would teach in order to find out that he had erred. 
He provided for dilemmas, and suffered no surprises, and thus 
organized victory before he sought to grasp it. 

Such an officer was well fitted to be wise in counsel. And so 
he was. Considerate of the opinions of others, withholding his 
own as long as he could, he expressed himself with few words, 
with directness, clearness and candor, without an appearance of 
ostentation or self-assertation. He prayed for a calm and con 
siderate justice without sign of wrath or passion. 

But he was not only great in counsel. On the field of battle 
he was calm, self-poised, self-possessed and imperturbable. When 
the supreme moment came, that tries the reins and the heart, then 
he was greatest; he was roused to fullest action, and the battle- 
fire flamed from his steady, quiet eyes. He had that great quality 
of the true commander, which inspired his soldiers with perfect 
confidence. He reached this end by none of the little arts that gain 
a short applause and fictitious popularity. It came of the sim 
plicity, robustness and hardness of his character. He was too 
straightforward and magnanimous to excite jealousy or envy; 
too decorous and dignified for familiarity. 

Always a good student, as must be one to whom life is a 
serious business and duty an ever-present and absorbing motive, 
he studied and mastered and made a part of himself the principles 
of the American Government. He cherished the maxims of lib 
erty on which it was founded, and understood its complex system 
and the relation of the States to the nation. He not only read, 
but he thought upon these things, profoundly and wisely. No 
officer of the war thought more profoundly and wisely, no matter 
whether he was educated for the army or the forum. 

With this bare outline of a portraiture of General Thomas 
character, I know that I have not impressed you as I could wish 
with its grandeur. I beg you to indulge me while I attempt to 
illustrate it by two passages in his career. They were the crises 
of his life and illustrate his character. Both branches of his fam 
ily were among the earliest settlers of Southeastern Virginia, and 



148 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

he was born on the soil of the Old Dominion. He was held in 
the highest esteem in the aristocratic community of that proud 
State. In token of appreciation for his services in the Mexican 
war he was the recipient of a splendid sword from his native 
and well-beloved Virginia. At the breaking out of the rebellion 
he was the junior Major of the Second Cavalry the crack regi 
ment of the old army. The Colonel was A. S. Johnston ; the 
Lieutenant Colonel, Robert E. Lee ; the senior Major, W. J. 
Hardee ; Van Dorn, Kirby Smith, Fitzhugh Lee, Hood and others 
were the junior officers. All, inspired by that State pride which 
overleaped their love for the old flag, espoused the cause of the 
south. He shared the general sentimnts of his State. He felt in 
tensely that what seemed to him attacks upon her social institu 
tions were fatally wrong. He was on leave and in the midst of the 
most violent of the southerners. His ears were filled with the 
denunciations of Abolitionists and Yankees, and exultant boasts 
of the issue of the conflict. Evervthing drew him to the south. 
The other officers of his regiment held out their hands in entreaty ; 
the friends, men and men, of his childhood and manhood drew 
him ; the State on whose soil he had his birth, which had greatly 
honored him, which he fondly loved, supplicated his aid. All the 
affections of his heart, all the blandishments of ambition, and, 
above all, a deep sense of wrong and injustice to his people, were 
on one side. On the other were his profound knowledge of the 
relations of the States and the nation and his sense of duty to 
the power to which he had sworn allegiance. We do not know 
how long he held the high debate within his own soul, how un 
certain was the issue, how hard the struggle. All we know is 
that when the first shot was fired on the flag at Sumter he took 
his way, that "peremptory and path-keeping" way, to his regi 
ment at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and there renewed his consecra 
tion to his country. 

It is an easy thing to float with the tide. All that is needed 
is to surrender to the mighty forces ; they will do the rest. And 
it is hard to feel that drawing out to the open sea with almost 
irresistible power, and strike out for the land. But it is harder 
to stem the rapid, sweeping current of opinion, to breast its waves 
bellowing with possion, and strike for the right, with no voice to 
cheer, no hand outstretched to help. 

Take not too much to yourselves that vou chanced to be on 



GEORGE H. THOMAS. 



149 



the right side in the war. Ask rather where you would have 
gone had you lived in the south. You know now where was the 
right and where the wrong, but would you have withstood the 
multitude to draw you to the wrong, and chosen the right alone 
and undisputed? Would you have gone with Lee, or with 
Thomas ? He who hath conquered his own spirit is greater than 
he who taketh a city. 

When, hereafter, this passion of patriotism shall die in the 
hearts of Americans, and they hesitate to answer the call of duty 
and heroic sacrifice, then shall be told in their ears the story of 
Thomas ; then will be pictured before their eyes the grandeur of 
his character, and their hearts shall be lifted up and their spirits 
refreshed, and they shall do deeds of daring until the country is 
scved again. Tell me what choicer treasure has America than 
the historic names of such as George H. Thomas ? 

There was another crisis in the history of this grand man. 
Sherman lay at Atlanta doubtful whether to march to the sea 
or return to protect Tennessee and Kentucky. Hood was at the 
head of an army of 50,000 veterans, the flower of the southwest. 
Himself gallant and daring to rashness, he was, of all others, the 
commander for an army whose spirit was not broken by its long 
retreats and successive defeats, and believed that he would re 
cover what, under Johnston, had been lost. Hood s object was 
to draw Sherman from Georgia. In hopes of bringing his adver 
sary to an engagement, Sherman did pursue the Confederate 
army, but soon found the chase useless. Then he abandoned his 
line of communication with the north and set forth on his great 
march. His sucess, however, called for some measure to occupy 
Hood s attention and protect Tennessee and Kentucky. Thomas 
was with him in the Atlanta campaign, commanding 60,000 troops 
three-fifths of the army. Sherman knew Thomas well and se 
lected him for the task. The troops which were given Thomas 
were ill-fitted for so severe a service. Fifteen thousand veterans 
had gone home, some to vote, others because their enlistment had 
expired. They were partially replaced by raw men, convalescents 
and stragglers, gathered from all parts of the department. The 
cavalry had been dismounted to provide Sherman s army with 
horses. As soon as Sherman left Atlanta for the sea, Hood re 
solved on the counter strategy of a like march to the Ohio, in the 
expectation that he would compel Sherman s return, or inflict 



I5O CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

upon the north punishment for the march through Georgia. The 
movement has been denounced as foolhardy and Hood called the 
Hotspur of the south. Sherman says it was what he desired of 
all things. Jefferson Davis disclaimed all responsibility for it. 
But had Thomas failed to defeat the Confederate General, suc 
cess would have approved the strategy of Hood. 

The movement forward began on the I7th of November from 
Florence, and, as you know, followed the railroad to Nashville, 
where Thomas headquarters were established. Schofield was in 
command of the Army of Observation. Then began the retreat 
of our army, so full of heroic courage and severe trials. It is 
not within my purpose to follow it. Upon three occasions Scho 
field was saved from imminent peril by Hood s failure to seize 
them, and by the valor of his troops and the skill of his subor 
dinates. At last the army was within the fortifications of Nash 
ville, and on the 2nd of December Hood invested the city on 
three sides and began to cut the communications. Two weeks 
slipped away without his attempting an attack. These days were 
golden to Thomas. He employed them in remounting his cavalry 
and in bringing in reinforcements. A. J. Smith, ordered from 
Missouri with 5,000 men, after many vexatious detentions, at last 
reached Nashville. Bodies of detached troops of all sizes, from 
companies to brigades, were brought in from Missouri and Louis 
iana, Kentucky and Georgia. No less than twenty-one regiments 
joined Thomas. And all these forces had to be organized and a 
new armv formed. At last the 9th of December was appointed 
for the attack upon the besieging forces. But on the night be 
fore a violent storm sheeted the earth with ice and made the move 
ment of troops impossible. On the I3th a thaw came; the next 
day the ice embargo was removed. In the afternoon Thomas 
called his corps commanders to his headquarters and, according 
to his custom, went over the plans of the battle with great care 
and Exactness. The next morning the battle opened ; you know 
with what magnificent result. There was no failure anywhere 
no surprise, no unexpected exigency occurred. More than any 
battle of the war, it was fought precisely according to the plan. 
The retreat of the Confederates followed and was pursued, until 
the army that was to duplicate Sherman s march xvas annihilated. 

I have recounted these events, already familiar to you, for a 
particular purpose namely, to illustrate the great characteristic 



GEORGE II. THOMAS. 15! 

of General Thomas. While yet his army was falling back on 
Nashville the authorities at Washington were greatly chagrined 
at the retreat, and hardly had he withdrawn his troops within the 
works before the taunt was thrown in his face that he was imitat 
ing the do-nothing policy of M Clellan. The irritation increased 
at his persistent maintenance of the defensive. General Grant, 
from City Point, peremptorily ordered him to make the attack 
without waiting for reinforcements and without regard to 
weather. Still he would not move. The order was repeated, and 
not obeyed. Then followed the threat that if he did not move at 
once he would be relieved. Still he held his own. General Logan 
was sent with an order that Thomas should hand the command 
over to him. Grant himself started from City Point to take com 
mand in person. Logan reached Louisville and Grant reached 
Washington on their way to Nashville, when they received news 
of the victory on the first day of the battle. Had Thomas risked 
a battle while his forces were retreating on Nashville, he would 
have been overwhelmed by the superior army of Hood. Had he 
brought on the final battle before he was ready, before his forces 
were in some measure equal to the Confederates and well organ 
ized, and his cavalry remounted, the issue would have been doubt 
ful and pursuit and the destruction of the Confederate army im 
possible. He knew this, and he dared to risk his own fame by 
following his own judgment, rather than that the country should 
miss the opportunity to crush the rebellion in the west. On the 
one side of the balance was his name on the other, his country. 
As he sat in brooding silence in his open window, looking upon 
the country sheeted in ice, holding in his hand the order to move 
regardless of the weather or be disgraced, his fate seemed hard ; 
but he would not sacrifice victory to save himself. There was 
the hero greater than Napoleon or Caesar. There was an act 
more sublime than the rout of the Confederate army. To my 
mind, in some respects, the grandeur of the character of Thomas 
surpasses that of any other General of the war. 

Oh, my country ! blessed art thou among the nations, for 
thine are the treasures of historic names. 



152 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 



WILLIAMSBURG, VIRGINIA. 

BY 
BRIG. GEN. AMASA COBI3, U. S. VOLS. 

(Read March 2, 1893.) 

The Army of the Potomac having been held in front of York- 
town and its line of defenses for an entire month, on the morning 
of the 4th of May, 1862, found the works of the enemy in its 
front no longer occupied. My regiment, the 5th Wisconsin In 
fantry Volunteers, being on the right of Smith s division of the 
Fourth corps, had the lead of that part of tjie infantry that in 
following up the retreating rebels took the Williamsburg and 
Lees Mills road. 

Some time in the afternoon we learned that the division of 
our cavalry, with several batteries of horse artillery, under the 
command of General Stoneman, had, by an intersecting road, 
passed to our front, and by artillery firing, which soon opened, 
we knew that it had come up with the enemy. We hurried for 
ward for the purpose of supporting it ; but soon the firing ceased, 
and upon proceeding about a mile farther we met the cavalry re 
turning, when we were ordered to wheel out of the road to let 
the cavalry pass to our rear. General Stoneman coming up, en 
tered into conversattion with General Hancock, in which I heard 
him say that he had been engaged with a cavalry force of the en 
emy, and that the reason why he had fallen back was that he had 
found the enemy were armed with carbines, while his cavalry had 
only pistols and sabers, and they could keep out of the way of his 
fire and still reach his men and horses with their carbines. 

Marching on and crossing King s Creek, we came to a large 
farm, upon which was a white farm house, sometimes called the 
White House. Here, under command of General Hancock, our 
brigade was formed in line of battle and marched across the farm 
and nearly to the woods west and north of it, when we were over 
taken by General E. V. Sumner. This officer, being senior in rank 



VVILLIAMSBURG, VIRGINIA. 153 

to General Hancock, assumed command and ordered an assault 
upon Fort Magruder. As I had never heard mention of Fort 
Magruder, and as no fort or enemy was in sight or hearing, Gen 
eral Hancock then telling me to make ready to obey the order, I 
asked for information as to the direction and distance of the work 
to be assaulted. In reply General Sumner pointed to a smoke 
curling above the tree tops about a mile away in our left front 
and said : "That smoke is rising from Fort Magruder." I then 
ordered the pioneers of my regiment to throw down the rail fence 
in our front enclosing the field, and which was nearly hidden from 
view by thick briars and undergrowth. I asked General Hancock 
whether I should dismount for the purpose of leading the charge, 
as the timber and undergrowth were very thick. General Sum 
ner, overhearing this inquiry, replied that a mounted officer on 
duty should never leave the saddle, and that cavalry had been all 
through the woods that afternoon. General Hancock then said 
to me, soto voce, to do as I pleased. I immediately dismounted 
and, turning my mare over to my servant, at a signal from Gen 
eral Hancock commenced the movement. It was now near sun 
down and dark clouds were rising over the James river, towards 
which we were moving. The woods and underbrush, quite thick 
at the point at which we entered, grew thicker as we proceeded, 
so that it as impossible for troops marching in line of battle to 
make any considerable progress or keep to alignment for any dis 
tance, and even before it began to grow dark it was impossible 
for me to see more than the length of one of the ten companies 
constituting my command. Upon entering the woods the column 
of smoke given us as marking the point upon which we were to 
march was entirely hidden from view by the tree tops. Just as 
it began to grow dark we reached a point where the timber had 
been felled by the enemy for the purpose of constructing an abat- 
tis, and in such a manner as to render it almost impenetrable. 
This continued for about two hundred yards, and before the 
troops got through it night had come on, and the darkness of that 
order designated as Egyptian. Upon emerging from this abattis 
we found ourselves upon ploughed ground. 

After advancing some distance and endeavoring, with the 
assistance of the company officers, to rectify our disordered line, 
we were somewhat startled and quite exhilarated by a loud cheer 
ing by the troops well to the left of the brigade line. I was fearful 



154 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

that our line had inclined so far to the right that instead of strik 
ing Fort Magruder and having the glory of its capture, my regi 
ment, by swerving too much to the right, had passed that strong 
hold and allowed it to fall within the prowess of the 43rd New 
York, the extreme left regiment of the brigade. But the cheering 
soon ceased, and it turned out that the point charged on with 
these cheers was marked with burning leaves set on fire by shells 
from the artillery engaged in the skirmish that afternoon, and 
was about a mile and a quarter from Fort Magruder. In ignor 
ance of this, however, and expecting every moment that the open 
ing fire from advancing friends and retreating enemies would in 
dicate the point of attack, we continued to advance across ; and 
just as we were expecting to enter the outer ditch of the enemy s 
defenses our line was brought to a sudden halt by a rift of cord 
wood marking the westerly side of the field across which we had 
marched, considerably longer than my regimental front and at 
least eight feet higliT 

Just as we had ascertained the character of this obstacle, and 
had commenced pulling it down for the purpose of passing over 
it, an order reached me from General W. F. Smith, our division 
commander, through his mounted orderly to halt and hold our po 
sition until morning. So the troops continued to tear down the 
wood, but for the purpose of lying upon it, for, rough as it was, 
it was preferable as a bed to the fast accumulating mire. Despite 
my downy couch I awoke between 4 and 5 o clock. The men 
were nearly all sleeping soundly, but amongst those who were up 
before me was my bandmaster, Joseph Craig, who had arisen 
and taken a walk in the woods in our front. Here he had been 
captured as a rebel spy and carried before General Joseph E. 
Hooker, by whom, as he gave the name of his Colonel, he was 
sent to me under guard for identification. Almost at the moment 
of my learning in this way that General Hooker with his di 
vision was in our front the artillerv at his command opened fire, 
and very soon thereafter the return shots of the enemy from Fort 
Magruder, as it proved, fell very near our position. 

Stepping a few paces to the right, past a corner of the woods, 
that strong-hold was in full view, though about a mile away and 
across what seemed to be a large mill pond. I mounted and went 
to the left to find my superior officers. About a quarter of a mile 
to the south of the point where the 43rd New York made the 



WILLIAMSBURG, VIRGINIA. 155, 

charge the night before I found General Hancock, General Sum- 
ner and other officers. I informed General Hancock of the inci 
dent of my bandmaster s arrest by Hooker s pickets, which those 
present scarcely believed, as they said that Hooker ought not to- 
be on that road. General Hancock ordered me to return to my 
regiment and retire it into the woods in its rear, that the men 
might cook and eat their breakfast. 

After breakfast the brigade was marched to the left and rear 
back to the Whittaker farm near the point from which we started 
the evening before. Here we found the other two brigades of our 
division, several batteries of artillerv and a part at least of the 
cavalry division, all drawn up and apparently ready to move. 
About 9 o clock the rain became very heavy and fairly poured. 
Meantime the infantry stood in line and the artillerymen by the 
guns ; cavalry and mounted officers sat in the saddle. All the 
time the engagement in the direction of Fort Magruder and Wil- 
liamsburg continued. By this time it had become known to the 
general officers and many of the rest of us there present that Wil- 
liamsburg was fortified by a succession of dams of a small stream 
running nearly across the peninsula from northeast to southwest 
from near York river to the James river. Those dams were com 
posed of earth and were barely broad enough at the top to make 
a single roadway for a cart. The water on either side was of 
considerable depth, sufficient, with mud upon which it rested, to 
render the stream, which was thus given a breadth of about one 
hundred and fifty yards, impassable to either horse or foot, and 
the northwest end of each dam was crowned by an earthwork 
pierced for cannon on the side next to the stream. 

About 10 a. m. General Hancock rode to the right of my 
regiment, accompanied by two other mounted officers, one of 
whom was Captain West, an officer of engineers, attached to the 
staff of General W. F. Smith ; the other he introduced to me as 
Lieutenant Custer of General McClellan s staff, and said : "He 
says that he has found a place where he can cross the stream and 
turn the enemy s left flank. You will follow him with your regi 
ment and effect a crossing if possible. Keep a sharp lookout for 
surprises and keep me advised of everything of importance. I 
will be near you with the brigade." 

I immediately put my regiment in motion, takmg an obscure 
wagon track through heavy timber to the north, Lieutenant Cus- 



156 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

ter and Captain West leading the way. In about a mile, our road 
debouching from the woods upon an open field, we came in sight 
of an earthwork of the enemy at the farther end of one of the 
>dams above described. Here, turning to the left, I put my regi 
ment at double quick, and, still following Custer, crossed the dam 
and entered the work, which was found unoccupied. Since that 
day, on many fields and in more than one war, thousands have 
followed Custer to glorious victorv, and once, only once, to sad 
and fatal, yet victorious, defeat. But of all his followers, on any 
field, I claim for the 5th Wisconsin precedence in point of time. 
Marching out of the earthwork, I formed in line perpendicular 
to the stream and fronting the west. Lieutenant Custer, now re 
turning to the south side of the stream, informed General Han 
cock of the success of the crossing, when the latter hurried for 
ward with the 6th Maine and 49th Pennsylvania regiments of his 
own and the 33rd New York of Davidson s brigade. Coming up 
he ordered me to march by the right flank and thus increase the 
space between my left and the stream sufficiently to admit the 
three regiments accompanying him. 

Again facing to the left, the brigade inarched upon the next 
earthwork, situated about eight hundred yards from the first, 
Companies A, E and G of my regiment being deployed as skirm 
ishers covering the brigade front. We were also followed by 
Cowan s battery, New York Light Artillery, of six guns, and some 
time afterwards were joined by Wheeler s battery of four guns 
from the same State. Advancing, we found the second fort also 
unoccupied. Upon passing the fort, and reaching the brow of the 
low hill upon which it was situated, three larger forts were in 
sight, from each of which the rebel flag was displayed, besides 
giving other evidence of their being occupied by the enemy. We 
were also now in sight as well as hearing of the battle being 
fought by General Hooker. Here three companies of the regi 
ment occupying the left of our brigade were placed in the earth 
work in our rear and the other seven companies placed upon the 
right of that position with its right well refused, as a protection 
against a possible attack from the woods to our right. 

From General Hancock s report of this day s operations I 
learn that we were accompanied also by the 7th Maine of David 
son s brigade, and that this regiment was placed upon our extreme 
right and rear to guard any possible flank movements of the en- 



WILLIAMSBURG, VIRGINIA. 157 

emy from that direction. The three regiments of Hancock s 
brigade were thrown forward in echelon on the right, in order 
much more open than usual in that formation. The right regi 
ment, my own, advanced about four hundred yards to a position 
in the rear of a large frame house, negro quarters and barns, 
pointed out to me by the General. The 6th Maine advanced about 
two hundred and fifty yards ; the 49th Pennsylvania, occupying 
the left of the troops participating in this movement, halted some 
hundred yards in the rear of the line of the 6th Maine, and my 
three companies of skirmishers advanced some 300 yards beyond 
my position. Here, under the General s orders, I detached Com 
panies D and K of my regiment and sent them forward under 
the immediate command of Lieutenant Colonel H. W. Emery to 
form a support to the line of skirmishers,, with direction to take 
a position in a skirt of timber on which the right of said line was 
supposed to rest. This left me five companies with which to sup 
port the guns which went into battery a little in advance and from 
one to two hundred yards to the left of my position. 

The making of these dispositions consumed considerable 
time, besides the General delayed the opening of fire by the artil 
lery upon the enemy s works for the arrival of additional troops, 
which he said had been promised him, but learning that the 
promised reinforcements would not be sent, at about 4 o clock he 
ordered the artillery to open fire. Very soon the guns of the en 
emy at Fort Magruder were turned upon us. The fire continued 
with considerable rapidity for about half an hour. I observed that 
the guns were one at a time being limbered up and sent to the 
rear. The horses of the mounted officers of the 5th Wisconsin 
had been sent to the rear to keep them out of range of the enemy s 
fire. When most of the guns had been retired Sergeant George 
E. Bissell of Company B called by attention to what was going 
on in our rear and left, where I saw the 49th Pennsylvania 
marching to the rear and a mounted officer, Lieutenant Isaac 
Brown Parker of General Hancock s staff, galloping rapidly from 
the late position of the 49th Pennsylvania to that of the 6th Maine. 
He made a slight halt near that regiment and then came rapidly 
towards us, the 6th Maine immediately facing by the rear rank 
and following the 49th Pennsylvania. Just at this time Major 
C. H. Larrabee and one of the battery officers were about a hun 
dred yards in the rear of the only one of our guns remaining in 



158 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

the field, searching for a shell thrown by the enemy that had 
struck about there and had not exploded, as they wished to ascer 
tain the caliber of the enemy s artillery. 

The Major thus being at a point some two hundred yards 
nearer the approaching Lieutenant, and shells exploding with 
great frequency near that officer, he delivered his order to the 
Major instead of myself. I heard it, however; it was from Gen 
eral Hancock to retreat. The use of this word retreat on a field 
of battle had already become the unpardonable sin in military 
theology. To it had been attributed the disasters of Bull Run and 
Ball s Bluff, and it had endangered the withdrawal at Belmont, so 
that it was with horror that I heard the Major repeat this odious 
word and give the name of Hancock as the authority for it. At 
this moment the last gun was limbered up and taken off the field 
in great haste. 

A sharp fire of musketry now opened along my line of skirm 
ishers, announcing the approach of the enemy, who appeared in 
a long line of infantry and cavalrv at a distance of about four 
hundred yards in my front, and penetrating the skirt of timber 
upon my right front heretofore spoken of, as the location of the 
skirmish support under Lieutenant Colonel Emery. Seeing a 
large mounted force advancing upon my force of five companies, 
and realizing the impossibility of either resisting it in line or of 
executing the General s order by retreating to the main line, I 
hastily put in execution the somewhat novel military movement 
of forming a five-company square to resist the cavalry with the 
bayonet until succor would come from my General, whom I knew 
was observing me at a distance of four or five hundred yards. I 
formed the square, and by the assistance of an athletic young offi 
cer of my regiment, who climbed to the top of one of the build 
ings in my immediate front, discovered that the mounted force 
had been checked by the fire of my skirmishers and was falling 
back and behind the skirt of timber, but that the line of infantry 
was advancing with rapidity and only about two hundred yards 
away. I immediately reduced the square, bringing my five com 
panies into line, and my right company opened fire on a part of a 
regiment of the enemy which had commenced firing upon us from 
the right hand side of the farm house. They immediately took shel 
ter behind the buildings. I now faced my command to the left 
and marched in that direction until unmasked by the buildings. 



WILLIAMSBURG, VIRGINIA. 159 

I now found myself in front of the enemy s center, and less 
than two hundred yards distant. A heavy regiment, afterwards 
ascertained to be the 5th North Carolina Infantry, was in our im 
mediate front and was supported on either flank by other troops, 
all of whom advanced rapidly, concentrating upon us a rapid and 
heavy fire. I halted my men, faced them to the right and delivered 
a fire by the entire command, which perceptibly checked the ad 
vance. Just at this time I saw my other five companies falling 
back along the edge of the skirt of timber on our right. We then 
faced to the rear and marched at quick time while the men loaded 
their pieces, which were Austrian rifles of the bright pattern, the 
best muzzle-loading arm of which I ever had knowledge. When 
I saw that the pieces were generally charged I ordered a halt, 
about face and fire. As the men were raising their pieces I heard 
Lieutenant Enoch Token of Company F calling their attention to 
the "Bastard Flag" which was following us, and calling to the 
men near him to knock it down, and I had the satisfaction of see 
ing the man fall who carried it. In this way my men, exhausting 
nearly or quite their supply of ammunition we fell back to the 
position held by the brigade and took our place in the line. After 
firing a few shots from the artillery and a few rounds by the in 
fantry the General ordered a charge, using the unusual military 
language: "Now, gentlemen, charge!" In response to this the 
whole line sprang forward with a cheer. This movement extended 
to the brow of the hill and a short distance down the slope, when 
the enemy, having hastily withdrawn and it already beginning to 
grown dark, the line was retired to its former position, and sev 
eral detachments were sent out to bring in the wounded on either 
side. The casualties of the 5th Wisconsin were : Killed, enlisted 
men, 8 ; wounded, officers, 4 ; enlisted men, 66 ; captured or miss 
ing, enlisted men, I ; aggregate, 79. The only officer severely 
wounded was Captain W. A. Bugh of Company G, who fell in the 
skirmish line. From this wound he lost a leg and died a few 
years later. 

General Hancock in his official report of this battle to General 
McClellan says : "The enemy s assault was of the most deter 
mined character. No troops could have made a more desperate 
or resolute charge. The 5th North Carolina was annihilated. 
Nearly all of its superior officers were left dead or wounded on the 
field. The 24th Virginia suffered greatly in superior officers and 



l6o CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

men. The battle flag of one of the enemy s regiments was cap 
tured by the 5th Wisconsin Volunteers and sent by me as a trophy 
to General Smith. For 600 yards in front of our line the whole 
field was strewn with the enemy s dead and wounded." 

General Jubal A. Early in his official report of this day, after 
speaking of his being ordered by General Longstreet to move the 
troops under his command to the left of Fort Magruder, etc., says : 
"The brigade advanced through the wheat field and then through 
the woods, about half a mile in all, when it came upon an open 
field in view of Fort Magruder, at the end of which farthest from 
the fort the enemy had taken position with a battery of six pieces, 
since ascertained to be Wheeler s New York battery, and some 
two or three pieces from another battery called Kennedy s, which 
were supported by a brigade of infantry under the command of 
Brigadier General Hancock. In this field were two or three re 
doubts previously built by our troops, of at least one of which 
the enemy had possession, his artillery being posted in front of 
it near some farm houses and supported by a body of infantry, 
the balance of the infantry being in the redoubt and in the edge of 
the woods close by. The 24th Virginia regiment, as I had antici 
pated, came directly upon the battery, emerging from the woods 
over the fence into the field within musket range of the farm 
houses at which the battery was posted. This regiment, without 
pausing or wavering, charged upon the enemy under a heavy fire 
and drove back his guns and the infantry supporting them to the 
cover of the redoubt mentioned and of the woods and a fence close 
by, and continued to advance upon him in the most gallant man 
ner. I looked to the right to see if the other regiments were com 
ing up to the support of the 24th, but not observing them I sent 
orders for them to advance. These were anticipated by Colonel 
McRae of the 5th North Carolina regiment, who was on the ex 
treme right of my brigade, and marched down with his regiment 
as soon as it was possible for him to do so to the support of the 
24th and the attack of the enemy, traversing the whole front that 
should have been occupied by other regiments. 

"Having received a severe wound shortly after the charge 
made by the 24th Virginia on the enemy s battery, I became so 
weak from the loss of blood and suffered such excruciating pain 
that I was unable to direct the operations of the brigade and was 
compelled to retire from the field just as the 5th North Carolina 



WILLIAM SIJURG, VIRGINIA. l6l 

regiment, under the lead of its gallant Colonel, made its charge 
upon the enemy s artillery and infantry, but its conduct has been 
reported to me by impartial witnesses. * * * A number of 
valuable officers were killed in both regiments. The 5th North 
Carolina regiment lost its Lieutenant Colonel, J. C. Badham, a 
most excellent and gallant officer. It lost also several Captains 
and Lieutenants while gallantly performing their duty. The 24th 
Virginia regiment did not suffer so severely in killed, but Captain 
Jennings and First Lieutenant Radford, two officers of great 
worth, were killed on the field, and Captain Hayden mortally 
wounded." 

Colonel D. K. McRae, 5th North Carolina Infantry, com 
manding the brigade, in his report, after stating that his brigade 
on this day consisted of his own regiment, the .5th North Carolina, 
the 23rd North Carolina (Colonel Hoke), the 38th Virginia 
(Lieutenant Colonel Whittle) and the 24th Virginia (Colonel 
Terry), and stating that in marching upon the batteries and 
troops attacked, his line became broken and that he "could neither 
see Colonel Hoke with the 23rd North Carolina nor Lieutenant 
Colonel Whittle with the 38th Virginia," proceeds: "About this 
time a regiment, which I found afterwards was the 24th Virginia, 
Colonel Terry, engaged the enemy at some 300 yards to my left 
in front and drove him out of some houses toward his redoubt. 
Finding the 23rd and 38th still absent, I saw the necessity of 
connecting my line with this regiment to support it, and at the 
same time to get the cover of the houses referred to. I ordered 
my line to advance, obliquing to the left, and when I found my 
men advancing too rapidly and not sufficiently obliquing I or 
dered a halt, passed to the front of the line and urged my men to 
move less rapidly and to press more sensibly to the left, and to 
compose them I ordered them to lie down. The enemy had now 
commenced to fire upon us with rifles, which began to be fatal, 
and at this moment I saw Captain Early, General Early s aide, 
waving me on. I then pushed on. My color bearer was first 
struck down and his comrade seized the flag, who fell immedi 
ately ; a third took it and shared the same fate ; then Captain 
Benjamin Robinson of Company A, who carried it until the staff 
was shivered to pieces in his hand. * * The fire was ter 

rific ; my men and officers were falling on every side. The 24th 
Virginia on my left was suffering in like proportion. 



l62 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

At this time Colonel Terry fell upon my left ; Lieutenant Colonel 
Hairston also, and the horse of Major Sinclair had been shot 
from under him. Lieutenant Colonel Badham fell upon my right, 
and I found that Major Maury of the 24th Virginia and myself 
were the only field officers remaining mounted. * * * The 
charge upon the battery was not attended by success." 

Again referring to the report of General Hancock, I quote : 
"By the evidence of an officer who noted the time, the action con 
tinued twenty-three minutes from the time of the enemy s appear 
ance until his repulse. When it commenced the contest in front of 
Fort Magruder appeared to have ended." The enemy s appear 
ance here referred to by the General doubtless was his charge 
upon the battery and the five companies with me, and not the at 
tack upon my line of skirmishers or the reserve in the skirt of tim 
ber, and I will say that even then it seemed much more than 
twenty-three minutes to me. During the following night the en 
emy evacuated Fort Magruder with its line of defense and Wil- 
liamsburg and took up their line of retreat, to make no further 
resistance until behind the line of the Chickahominy. 

The next day while the sth Wisconsin regiment was on 
parade for inspection and review, General George B. McClellan 
rode to its front and, addressing the men, thanked them for their 
gallantry of the day before and said that by their bravery and dis 
cipline they had saved the day. The regiment maintained the 
character thus earned until the close of the war, adding to the 
name of Williamsburg, which was placed upon its flag, those of 
Games Mill, White Oak Swamp, Malvern Hill, Antietam and 
Fredericksburg under my own command ; under the command of 
Major Enoch Totten those of the Wilderness and Spottsylvania ; 
under the command of Major Charles W. Kempf those of Win 
chester and Opequan, and under the command of Colonel T. S. 
Allen those of Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Rappahannock Sta 
tion, Petersburg and Savior s Creek. 



A PRISONER OF WAR. 

BY 
LIEUT. COL. ROLLIN M. STRONG, IQTH WISCONSIN INFANTRY. 

(Read March 7, 1894.) 

In October, 1864, I was called to Richmond, Va., by a medi 
cal necessity and other causes over which I had no control I 
was a Prisoner of War. I arrived in that distinguished city at 
midnight. There was no delegation with a band to welcome me 
(though the band came later) and the only welcoming speech was 
from a very sleepy guard to the effect that "Here was another 
load of d n Yankees wounded." This was not particularly ex 
hilarating at the time, as I had ridden in on my back in the bot 
tom of an ambulance twelve miles, over a corduroy road, with 
one knee shot away and the tower leg flopping about loose when 
ever I would get faint and half lose consciousness and neglect 
to hold it. With me was Sergeant Nolan badly wounded and 
who died the next day, but who, during this long, painful ride, 
never groaned or whined, and but for his sand and bravery I 
believe I should have howled with pain, but did not dare in the 
presence of such unflinching manhood. 

We were received with all the care and solicitude with which 
prisoners were received (wounded or otherwise) by the world- 
famed chivalry of the south. (See records of Belle Isle, Libby, 
Anderson ville, etc.) My first breakfast consisted of two and 
one-half inches square of cornbread (and I found in that a half- 
inch piece of cob), parched corn or barley coffee and rancid 
bacon. This was a fair sample of all my breakfasts for five weary 
months, varied at times with a small allowance of beer. 

After breakfast a surgeon came and informed me that my 
leg must be cut off. I had a racket with him and finally drove 
him off, telling him I thought they intended to disable us by am 
putation or otherwise and that I would not submit. 

Dinner consisted of cow pea soup and the top was covered 



164 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

with the shells of worms which infest the peas. I did not relish 
the soup and gave it to a hungrier man than I, who went under 
the stairs where it was dark and with his face to the wall ate it. 
I made my dinner off a bit of ox rib, and thought then, and do 
yet, that the ox came over with John Smith of Pocahontas fame, 
and a cup of James river water to drink. My supper was what 
I saved from my rib and breakfast bread. This was substantially 
the bill of fare at Hotel de Libby of fifty-five wounded men in 
the winter of 1864-5, an d the hospital was considered the Del- 
monico of Libby. 

Three days after my arrival at Libby, through the earnest 
solicitation of prisoners who had been there some months and 
knew the surgeon, I concluded to have the amputation performed, 
which was done that afternoon, and well done, too. That sur 
geon I never saw again. The day following a surgeon came to 
look us over, but was too drunk to be of any use, and no sur 
geon ever saw my limb in Libby thereafter. Several days after 
the amputation, while lying on my back counting the knots in 
the floor above, my attention was attracted by a small scrap of 
paper dangling on the end of a string from a crack in said floor. 
Calling the nurse, he reached and read : "Colonel, for the love of 
God, send me some money. I haven t had a bit of tobacker for 
four days." This was from one of my Company A boys, known 
as "The Wild Irishman of Company A," who now resides in Holt 
county, Nebraska, and declares that the money I then sent saved 
his life. We had no means for killing time but to talk, and I 
soon knew the history of every man in that room and each knew 
mine, even to the color of the eyes and the weight of the last 
baby. 

We obtained cards and played all known games, and would 
have played marbles, but we had no marbles ; we had plenty of 
Confederate money and wagered it with great recklessness at 
poker, faro and other games of chance. A Richmond daily paper 
was bought at 50 cents per copy greenbacks or $10 graybacks. 
This was read to squads and passed around, and many a laugh 
we enjoyed over the predictions that Johnston had Sherman just 
where he wanted him and was just about to smash him, and that 
Grant was played out and that Lee was about to climb on his 
back. The laugh was intensified at night by the prison guard, 
which, except officers, was composed of boys, many of whom were 



A PRISONER OF WAR. 165 

just changing their voices. They would start off with a good 
bass voice and change to a childish treble their cry of "Twelve 
o clock and all s well !" We were counted every morning by 
Dick Turner, and to make the ceremony more impressive he 
would bring into our room a drum corps of ten pieces and order 
them to play while he counted. You can imagine the effect upon 
men with arms; and legs just off and others shot through and 
those sick with fever. After a time we drove him out of the 
room, and then he would open wide the double doors and have 
them play on the walk. Dick Turner s reputation is so well es 
tablished I will not elaborate, but anathemas will arise whenever 
I think of that beast. 

We had a red-hot election in November, and a ward caucus 
was not in it with ours Lincoln and a-fight-to-a-finish, McClel- 
lan and the-war-a-failure arguments were loud and long, though 
the Mac men were in the hopeless minority. On election day 
polls were regularly opened with three inspectors and a clerk, 
and nearly every man in the room voted within an hour. Lin 
coln received (as I remember) all but three or four of the fifty- 
six votes cast, and those three or four flocked by themselves for 
several weeks after. 

About these days the weather was getting cold and we were 
under our blanket (only one thin one each) most of the time, 
and then not at all comfortable. Finally we were granted some 
stove wood and one armful per day was our allowance. The 
stove was a small cannon ball kind such as you see in a railroad 
caboose ; the wood was two feet long, and we could only burn it 
by allowing it to stand on end and out of the stove door. The 
room was no feet long and 45 feet wide, and the only comfort 
we enjoyed from the fire was knowledge of the fact that we had 
a fire. One tallow candle was our allowance per week, and that 
was saved for the nurse at night. Some poor fellow would be in 
great pain, or some sick or wounded man parched with thirst 
would desire a drink of water, when the nurse would light his 
candle, assist as best he could to get the drink, blow out his 
candle and grope back to his cot. 

When we began to get stronger singing at night was a favor 
ite amusement, and "America," "John Brown" and negro melo 
dies made the old walls ring, and often brought the guard in with 
plenty of curses, loud and deep, and wishing that all the d d 



l66 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

Yankees were in hades, though I don t think he used that word. 
Whenever a particularly irrascible officer of the guard was on 
duty, the singing continued until the wee small hours, until the 
poor devil was near having an apoplectic fit from anger and worn 
out from the loss of cuss words. 

Christmas came and with it thoughts of home and all that 
appertains to that dear word and occasion, and what to do and 
how to celebrate that day was the question. Finally it was de 
cided to bribe the guard at the front door and have him bring 
us a canteen of whiskey, which was done; then we arranged lor 
a gallon of milk and one nutmeg, the latter costing us one dollar 
in greenbacks, and somehow we managed to get some sugar. 
Christmas morn this was mixed in a horse bucket and every man 
received his portion with thankfulness and "a merry Christmas 
to each and all, and best wishes to the loved ones at home." I 
would state that I was most fortunate in my capture, as I was 
not robbed, and took into Libby all my personal belongings (ex 
cept sword, pistol and spurs), which included my watch, knife 
and greenbacks, and the only greenbacks in Libby at that time. 
I have the watch and knife now. 

We all had the blues at times, but never all at once, and so 
passed the blue times with the help of each other, and but for the 
unflagging energy and high courage of a few comrades we would 
have all sunk in despair. God alone knows the suffering of Libby 
prisoners from semi-starvation, enforced idleness and ceaseless 
monotony. Then would come rumors of a flag of truce boat and 
hopes for a word or box from home. ( Many were sent, but none 
reached us.) Then talk of exchange of prisoners, but Butler 
was mad and would not allow it, and so we remained until Feb 
ruary 22, 1865, when the long-looked for exchange came and 
we could see with the eye of faith God s country. Soon we were 
on the boat with some 300 other prisoners and were landed some 
miles down James river. After a brief ride we climbed up the 
bank, and there two or three miles away was "Old Glory," and 
such shouts as we could give were given with a will, and tears 
were in every eye and on every cheek, and we wept and cheered 
and were glad. 



DEFENSE OF ROBINETTE. 

BY 

LIEUT, j. H. M CLAY, 4/TH ILLINOIS INFANTRY. 
(Read November 6, 1895.) 

More than thirty-three years have passed into history since 
Confederate guns at Sumter sounded the proclamation of an in 
ternecine conflict that has no parallel in the annals of either an 
cient or modern wars, a war in which Greek met Greek, and gave 
to history and to the world examples of heroism not surpassed 
at Marathon or Thermopyle, nor by the six hundred led by Car 
digan at Balaklava. Looking back through the vista of all these 
years, the mists of time, perhaps, obscure our mental vision and 
we are surprised, in attempting to call from the recesses of mem 
ory scenes and incidents of the march, the camp or the battle 
field, that our recollection does not always coincide with what is 
today accredited as history. 

At Corinth, Mississippi, on October 3rd and 4th, 1862, there 
was fought one of the most notable and decisive battles of the 
war. The Federal forces, commanded by General Rosecrans, 
numbered about 20,000. The Confederates, under command of 
Generals Price and Van Doni, numbered 40,000. The advan 
tage on the first day of the engagement has been claimed by both 
General Rosecrans and General Van Dorn. General Rosecrans, 
in his Century account of the battle, writes as follows : 

"At nightfall, on the 3rd, it was evident that unless the en 
emy should withdraw he was where I wished him to be." Gen 
eral Van Dorn in his account says : "I saw with regret the sun 
sink behind the horizon as the last shots of our sharpshooters 
followed the retreating enemy into their innermost line. One 
hour more of daylight and the victory would have soothed our 
grief for the loss of the gallant dead, who sleep on that lost but 
not dishonored field. The army slept on its arms within 600 
yards of Corinth, victorious so far." 

(167) 



l68 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

I am willing to confess that the remnant of my regiment 
(less than 100 men), as we lay on the porch of the Tishamingo 
House at 9 o clock that night, felt thoroughly defeated. In fact, 
at that hour, so far as I was able to judge, there was nothing to 
hinder the Confederate army from marching in unbroken line 
through the town, and do not understand the reason for General 
Grant s satisfaction with the situation, unless it was his hope 
and determination to retrieve a bitter defeat, which he did on 
the following day. I desire to speak more particularly of that 
part of this engagement that came under my personal observa 
tion on the second day of the battle. 

The second brigade of Stanley s division was assigned to 
the defense of Fort Robinette. This brigade was composed of 
the 47th Illinois, nth Missouri (enlisted from Illinois, but ac 
credited to the State of Missouri), 5th Minnesota, 8th Wiscon 
sin and 2nd Iowa battery, known in war times as the "Eagle 
Brigade/ for the reason that the 8th Wisconsin carried with it 
in company with the colors the eagle, "Old Abe." Stanley s di 
vision had been on forced march since the battle of luka, Sep 
tember i Qth preceding, and after an all-night march went into 
action at Corinth at 9 o clock on the morning of the 3rd. Fort 
Robinette was a small three-gun redan situated to the northwest 
of the town, between the two railroads, on a high ridge, natur 
ally a strong position. Forts Powell, Robinette , Williams, Phil 
lips, Madison and Lathrop were constructed in a semi-circle, en 
closing the town from east to west by way of the north, Robin 
ette being on the outer angle. Our brigade got into position 
about midnight, the 47th Illinois and 8th Wisconsin supporting 
on the left, the nth Missouri and 2nd Iowa battery on the right, 
with the 5th Minnesota in reserve directly in rear of the fort. 

Thus the army lay on arms, hungry and tired, thinking of 
the morrow and what might be its fortune, listening to the enemy 
200 yards away, cutting passages through the felled timber, 
bringing artillery into position and hearing the commands of 
their officers as they changed and advanced their lines. Just be 
fore daylight the enemy opened on our lines directly in front of 
Robinette with heavy field guns, their shots going over our ranks 
down into the town, creating a stampede among the wagon train, 
hospital corps and stragglers. Our guns did not reply until day 
light, when the gunners in Robinette got the range, and the en- 



DEFENSE OF ROBINETTE. 169 

emy s guns being 1 not more than 200 yards in our front, grape 
and cannister could be used effectively. 

The enemy s guns were soon silenced, the artillerymen, as 
sisted by the infantry, making a gallant effort to get the guns to 
the rear, but neither horse nor gun was taken from the field, and 
more than one-half of those manning this battery found a last 
resting place with gun and horse, trampled under foot of the 
charging hosts in the terrible encounter soon to follow. At this 
time General (then Colonel) Mower was ordered to take a strong 
skirmish party and, if possible, locate the enemy s line of battle, 
they being covered by a heavy abattis of felled timber. For this 
service Mower took the 5th Minnesota, which regiment, being 
composed for the most part of Indians, was well adapted for this 
work. The skirmish line had not advanced more than 300 yards 
when it came in contact with the enemy s main line of battle and 
was driven back with heavy loss, Mower himself being wounded 
and taken prisoner. The enemy could now be seen strongly 
massed in front of Robinette and about one-fourth of a mile 
away, evidently about to attack. Their object was not long in 
doubt ; their columns began to advance in the direction of the 
fort at once. They came on, through and over the abattis. Our 
artillery with grape and cannister, added to the infantry fire, cut 
down their ranks by sections and platoons. Their places were 
filled by others and the advance continued to the open ground, 
extending about 200 feet in front of the fort, reforming under a 
most terrific fire of artill ery and musketry. They advanced to 
the ditch surrounding the fort, when they wavered and fell back 
into the woods. The second attack was made and repulsed as 
was the first. 

When the smoke of battle cleared away the enemy could 
be seen occupying their old position in our front, greatly rein 
forced, forming for the third assault. At this time General Rose- 
crans rode down our line from its right to Robinette and gave 
commands in person, no doubt anticipating that the enemy would 
gain possession of the works at their next attempt, and arranging 
for such an emergency by ordering an enfilading fire from the 
forts on the right and left rear angles of the defenses, and the 
infantry to lie flat on their faces at the rear of Robinette, chang 
ing somewhat the position of the support on the right and left. 
The enemy outnumbered the Federal forces so greatly that troops 



170 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

could not be spared for any part of the lines to reinforce at 
this point, there being heavy and continuous fighting- along our 
entire front. The enemy began to advance, as before, in column, 
but in much greater numbers. They came on over the abattis 
and every obstacle covering the open space in front of the fort 
without formation of any kind. Notwithstanding the constant 
and rapid fire of infantry and artillery, doing fearful execution, 
the enemy showed no signs of wavering. They swept over the 
ditch and into the fort like a human hurricane, carrying infantry 
and artillery before them, literallv filling the standing space en 
closed by the works, many stand of Confederate colors appearing 
\.n the fort and on every gun. Tremendous cheers by the ap 
parently victorious enemy, added to the clash of battle on every 
side, bursting shells in our verv midst, thrown from our forts on 
the inner angle of the line, united to create a perfect pande 
monium. 

This was the supreme moment. The enemy, elated with what 
appeared to them to be a certain victory, allowed themselves to 
fall into utter confusion, many running over our line as it lay at 
the rear of the fort. These were all killed or taken prisoners by 
the stragglers from our army held in reserve near the public well 
in the town. The artillerymen, having armed themselves with 
rifles, lav in line with the infantry. The support at right, left 
and rear of the fort advanced simultaneously, delivering their fire 
at pistol range and charged with bayonet. The enemy was taken 
completely by surprise and driven from the works. The retreat 
ing mass coming in contact with advancing columns of the en- 
tmv threw them into confusion. At this time our gunners got 
to their pieces, and finding them undisturbed, double charged 
with grape, poured shot after shot into the retreating foe. The 
smoke of battle, enveloping the enemy and shutting them from 
view, aided them in making such a retreat as a terrible defeat 
would permit. This practically ended the battle, the Confederates 
not halting in their retreat until they reached Tupelo, sixty miles 
from Corinth. 

The third assault on Robinette was led by Colonel Rogers 
of the 2nd Texas, carrying the Confederate colors. He and his 
staff rode through one of the numerous passages cleared from 
the felled timber by the Confederates during the night of the 3rd. 
His horse was killed, as well as those of his staff, as soon as they 



DEFENSE OF ROBINETTE. 

appeared on the open ground, Rogers himself falling, shot 
through the forehead by a musket ball or grape shot, and many 
of his officers falling near him. It is stated that he planted the 
Confederate colors on our works. He fell about forty feet from 
the ditch. In all my service, covering a period of nearly five 
years in the front, I have never witnessed such matchless bravery 
as was displayed by Colonel Rogers in leading his men in the 
charge of Robinette. Who can blame his people for revering his 
memory? Plumed knight in chivalric days never won his spurs 
by deeds more heroic, acts more courageous ! 

In closing his report of the battle of Corinth and referring to 
the assault on Robinette, General Van Dorn says : "A hand-to- 
hand contest was being enacted in the very yard of General Rose- 
crans headquarters and in the streets of the towns. The heavy 
guns were silenced and all seemed about ended, when a heavy fire 
from fresh troops from luka, Burnsville and Rienza, who had 
succeeded in reaching Corinth, poured into our thinned ranks. 5 
Van Dorn may not have known of the fact, and General Rose- 
crans does not mention it in his account, but it is a fact not 
withstanding that these "fresh troops" spoken of by Van Dorn 
were none other than Stanley s division, who, as before stated, 
left luka on the morning after the battle at that place September 
1 9th, marched by way of Burnsville and Rienza and, after march 
ing all the night of the 2nd, arrived at Corinth and went into 
action on the morning of October 3rd. 

General Van Dorn closes his report in these words : "The 
attempt at Corinth has failed and in consequence I am con 
demned and superceded in my command. In my zeal for my 
country I have ventured too far without adequate means, and I 
bow to the opinion of the people whom I serve, yet I feel that 
if the spirit of the gallant dead who now lie beneath the bat 
teries of Corinth see and judge the motives of men, they do not 
rebuke me, for there is no sting in my conscience, nor does retro 
spection admonish me of error or of reckless disregard for their 
valued lives." 

General Price, in his report of this engagement to the Con 
federate War Department, speaks as follows : "The history of 
war contains no bloodier page than that which will record this 
fiercely contested battle. The strongest expressions fall short of 
my admiration of the gallant conduct of the officers and men 



172 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

under my command. Words cannot add luster to the fame they 
have acquired through deeds of noble daring, which, living 
through future time, will shed about every man, officer and sol 
dier who stood to his arms through this struggle a halo of glory 
as imperishable as it is brilliant. They have won to their sisters 
and their daughters the distinguished honor of the proud ex 
clamation : "My brother, father was at tire battle of Corinth !" 

The lapse of these many years since the full sunrise of per 
fect peace has brought us to the "meridian," the 12 o clock of 
life ; our heads frosted by the magic touch of time. These years 
have brought to us a better light, maturer judgment, tempering 
our judgment of the actions and motives of all men with char 
ity, remembering the past as a lesson taught and learned for the 
good of men and of nations, facing the present with brave hearts 
and looking to the future for fulfillment of our brightest hopes. 
They have changed foemen into friends and countrymen years 
in which our flag has floated to the loyal winds in every part of 
our perfect Union and in every part of the known world with no 
hostile hand raised against it, feared, loved and honored the more 
for the sacrifice that has been made in its behalf by a loyal peo 
ple and for its baptism of blood. 

These years of peace have crumbled to dust the bastion and 
the earthwork, and with their returning seasons have clothed in 
verdant green the scarred fields of battle, and garlanded in beauty 
alike the graves of friend and foe. 



THE BORDER WAR WHEN WHERE. 

BY 



(Read July 6, 1898.) 

A soldier s first duty is obedience to orders from his superior 
officer. Little did I think when I first heard of the firing on Fort 
Sumter, nearly three months after the dastardly act was com 
mitted, that I should ever volunteer or that my service would be 
needed. I thought all traitors would be promptly arrested and 
hanged. I was in far-off Colorado, and there were no railroads 
or telegraph lines west of the Missouri. Coming to Denver about 
July 7th, 1861, I learned that war had been declared and 75,000 
volunteers were wanted. Colorado had not been asked for help. 
I met two young men unemployed, Crawford and Goodrich, and 
proposed that if they would go with me to the States and enlist 
I would "pay the freight." They accepted, and on July 9th, 1861, 
we left Denver in a light wagon drawn by two mules driven by 
a Missourian homeward bound. We made a remarkably quick 
trip, onlv eighteen days from Denver to Leaven worth, Kansas. 
We tried to enlist at Fort Kearney, Nebraska, where there were 
two companies of regular troops, but were refused and advised 
that our nearest enlistment station was at Leavenworth. 

At Marysville, Kansas, Crawford and myself (being in 
splendid physical condition, having averaged about eight miles a 
day on foot and fearing that the war would be over before 
we could reach Fort Leavenworth) left the wagon at 4 p. m., 
just after our Missouri teamster had camped for the night, and 
pushed on on foot, walking and trotting until 3 a. m., then laid 
down on the prairie for sleep and rest. Having no overcoats or 
blankets, two hours exposure was all we could stand ; then we 
"doubled-quicked" about eight miles to the first ranch, where we 
received a good breakfast and two hours rest and sleep, then 
until 3 p. m. we tried to outwalk and outrun each other. A good 



174 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

dinner and three hours rest at an Indian agency gave us strength 
for an all-night rapid march to Atchison, Kansas, 127 miles in 
forty consecutive hours, feet blistered and tired beyond descrip 
tion. 

A short steamboat ride brought us to Leavenworth on the 
eve of July 3Oth. By 10 a. m. on the 3ist day of July, 1861, my 
twentieth birthday, I enlisted, and was mustered out November 
2nd, 1865, Crawford joining with me and Goodrich 
a few days later on his arrival. If I had 
dreamed that my four years, three months and three 
days service was to be all the time west of the Missis 
sippi on the border, on the extreme right wing of our great army, 
that obedience to orders and soldierly duty would deprive me of 
the glory of the "Army of the Tennessee," the "Atlanta Cam 
paign," the "Army of the Potomac/ the march in the "Grand 
Review;" that the twenty-four general engagements and hun- 
-dreds of bushwhacking fights in which I participated were to be 
comparatively insignificant, to be barely mentioned in the history 
to be written of the great struggle ; if I had but dreamed of the 
possibility of such a fate I would have walked to Washington 
before enlisting. 

Within ten days I participated in the fight at Independence, 
Missouri, and only a few days later in a fierce little battle at Mor- 
ristown, Missouri, where I learned my first lesson of the horrors 
of what was then called the "border war." In a charge upon the 
rebels commanded by General Rains, Colonel Johnson, a gallant 
officer of the 5th Kansas Cavalry, was killed. \Ve won the fight 
and captured several Confederates, seven of whom were called 
before a drumhead court martial and sentenced to death , their 
graves dug and they were compelled to kneel down by the edge 
of the grave, when they were blindfolded and shot by a regularly 
detailed file of soldiers, the graves filled up and we marched 
away. It was a sickening evidence that we were fighting under 
the black flag. This execution was in retaliation for the murder 
only a few days previous of seven men of our command. 

The story of the cowardly murder that caused this reveng 
ing retaliatory act is thus told by the brilliant editor, author and 
rebel soldier, John Edwards, who used his masterly pen to paint 
Quantrill a hero in his book, entitled "Noted Guerrillas, or the 
Warfare of the Border:" 



THE BORDER WAR WHEN WHERE. 1/5 

"A military execution is where one man kills another ; it is 
horrible. In battle one does not see death. He is there surely 
he is in that battery s smoke, on the crest of that hill fringed with 
the fringe of pallid faces, under the hoofs of the horses, yonder 
where the blue or the gray line creeps onward, trailing ominous 
guns but his cold, calm eyes look at no single victim. He kills 
there yes, but he does not discriminate. Harold, the dauntless, 
or Robin, the hunchback what matters a crown or a crutch to 
the immortal reaper ? 

"The seven prisoners rode into Missouri from Shawneetown 
puzzled ; when the heavy timber along the Big Blue was reached 
and a halt was had they were praying. Quantrill sat upon his 
horse looking at the Kansans. His voice was unmoved, his 
countenance indifferent as he ordered : Bring the ropes ; four on 
one tree three on another ! All of a sudden death stood in the 
midst of them and was recognized. One poor fellow gave a cry 
as piercing as the neigh of a frightened horse. Two trembled, 
and trembling is the first step towards kneeling. They had not 
talked any save among themselves up to this time, but when 
they saw Blunt busy with some ropes one spoke up to Quantrill : 
Captain, just a word; the pistol before the rope a soldier s 
before a dog s death. As for me, I m ready. Of all the seven 
this was the youngest ; how brave he was ! 

"The prisoners were aranged in a line, the guerrillas oppo 
site to them. They had confessed to belonging to Jennison, but 
denied the charge of killing and burning. Quantrill hesitated a 
moment. His blue eyes searched each face from left to right 
and back again, and then he ordered : Take six men, Blunt, and 
do the work. Shoot the young man and hang the balance. 

"Hurry away ! The oldest man there some white hairs were 
in his beard prayed audibly. Some embraced. Silence and twi 
light, as twin ghosts, crept up the river bank together. Blunt 
made haste, and before Quantrill had ridden far he heard a pistol 
shot. He did not even look up : it affected him no more than the 
tapping of a woodpecker. At daylight the next morning a wood- 
chopper going early to work saw six stark figures swaying in the 
early breeze. At the foot of another tree was a dead man and 
in his forehead a bullet hole the old mark." 

I was a member of the original ist Kansas battery, then 
equipped with one 12-pound brass cannon and a mountain how- 



176 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

itzer. We were attached to the 4th Kansas Infantry, commanded 
by Colonel William Weer. The 3rd Kansas, then part infantry 
and part cavalry, was with us and was commanded by Colonel 
James Montgomery, a border warrior since 1856 and a co 
partner in the John Brown conspiracy. We had also part of the 
5th and 6th Kansas Cavalry with us, all commanded by United 
States Senator "General" James H. Lane and called "Lane s 
Brigade." 

The battle of Drywood, Missouri, east of Fort Scott, Kan 
sas, September 2nd, 1861, was a dash by Colonel Montgomery 
with about 1,200 men and our mountain howitzer, then known as 
"Moonlight s Battery," against over 5,000 rebels with six Parrot 
guns, the famous "Bledsoe Battery," the Confederate force com 
manded by General Rains a late regular army officer. So bold 
and determined was our assault that Rains was content, after he 
had shaken us off, to move on south without trying to capture 
Fort Scott, as he intended to do. 

At Bald s Mill, September 26th, we charged upon Colonel 
Rosser s Confederate regiment, about 600 men, and whipped them 
badly. Here I saw a man escaping through a cornfield. Being 
on horseback I gave chase and soon came up with him. He 
threw himself on his knees and prayed for life. Though he was 
nearly six feet high, yet he was only a 1 6-year-old boy, son of 
Colonel Rosser, his home at Westport, Missouri, and had just 
reached his father s command with letters and clothing sent by 
his mother. I took him to General Lane, then at Fort Lincoln, 
and having won General Lane s friendship and commendation 
for services rendered at Drywood, I pursuaded him to let young 
Rosser go to his home and mother out of what he thought was 
the jaws of hell. For this act Rosser, seven months later, saved 
my life by preventing my capture by Dick Yeager s band of guer 
rillas. 

About October ist, 1861, we captured Osceola, Missouri, de 
feating a large force of rebels, securing about 400 mules and a 
large amount of stores gathered for the Confederate army. Among 
these supplies were several wagon loads of liquors stored in a 
brick building. Our men were dangerously thirsty. Some offi 
cers and men, myself among the number, were detailed to break 
in the heads of the barrels and spill this stock of "wet goods," to 
prevent the men from indulging too freely. The "mixed drinks" 



THE BORDER WAR WHEN WHERE. 177 

filled the side hill cellar and ran out of a rear door down a ravine, 
where the boys filled their canteens and "tanks" with the stuff, 
more deadly for a while than rebel bullets, and nearly 300 of our 
men had to be hauled from town in wagons and carriages im 
pressed into the service for that purpose. Had the rebels then 
rallied and renewed the fight we would have been captured and 
shot. The town was fired and was burning as we left. 

After Osceola we camped at West Point, Missouri, on the 
Kansas line. I was on dutv as sergeant of the guard on picket 
nearly a mile from the main camp. It had been raining all night, 
a cold, drizzly October rain. At 10 a. m. we saw a woman ap 
proaching from down the dreary, uninhabited roadway. She was 
on foot and was carrying a babe hugged to her breast, with four 
little children also walking, two boys and two girls, the oldest a 
girl of seven years. All were in their night clothes and all wet 
to the skin, children crying and suffering with cold and hunger. 
We soldiers quickly shed our coats to shelter them from the storm 
and gave them our dog tent by the rail camp fire. The babe was 
dead. I sent for a wagon and soon we had them in camp. The 
mother died from this exposure within thirty-six hours. The 
four children were sent to four different homes by friendly offi 
cers and soldiers. 

The story told by the woman before her death revealed the 
fact that her husband had, as a member of the Missouri legisla 
ture of 60 and 61, bitterly fought the secession scheme. He was 
a rich man, owned 500 acres of improved land, fine house, barn 
and other outbuildings, and owned several slaves ; yet he loved 
the flag and was for the Union. In January, 1861, he freed his 
slaves and then his neighbors damned him as a "black abolition 
ist." They finally in July, 1861, drove him from his home. The 
Union army was the only safe resort, so he joined Montgomery s 
Kansas regiment and was on this October day no miles south of 
West Point. Bushwhackers had at divers times robbed his home 
until every head of stock had been driven away save a yoke of 
old, worn-out oxen. His wife with one old black aunty had re 
mained at the persecuted home, and during her confinement in 
August no friends came to see her, only the old slave woman, who 
would not accept her freedom, being left to help her. On this 
cold, dreary October night the bushwhackers came for their last 
damnable raid, burst in the doors suddenly, drove her and her 



178 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

children out into the storm, set fire to the house, barn and other 
outbuildings. The burning" home gave generous heat until morn 
ing, when the old colored woman yoked the oxen to an old wagon, 
filled the box with straw, loaded in the children and started for 
Kansas. Within four miles of our camp a band of bushwhacking 
fiends rode out of the brush and asked: Where are you going?" 
Answer, "To Kansas. "Go on, and give our compliments to 
your husband." With this reply they shot the oxen and rode 
away, leaving a helpless mother and five children, near no habita 
tion, to walk in the rain and mud to our camp. W^hen the sol 
dier-husband and father heard the news only four survivors of 
his once happy family were left, and they in four different homes 
widely separated. Did he thirst for revenge? 

In October, 1863, Mr. Lawrence, a Virginian, a rebel sym 
pathizer, nearly sixty years old, feeble and weak, unable to do 
harm to anybody, was living near the Big Blue in Jackson county, 
Missouri, three miles from my headquarters, where I had 130 
men specially detailed to fight the guerrilla chief, Quantrill. Law 
rence owned a fine home, was a slaveholder before the war and 
reputed quite wealthy. It was a lonesome neighborhood, and he 
lived quite alone with his wife and two daughters between 25 
and 30 years old and two or three old darky servants. An un 
married son about 35 years old lived in New Mexico, serving as 
clerk for Jesus Perea at Cimmaron. He had gone to New Mex 
ico some years before the war and at this time, October, 1863, had 
not taken side in the struggle. Captain J. B. Swain, commanding 
Company K of the I5th Kansas Cavalry (which regiment was 
then commanded by Colonel C. R. Jennison, late commander of 
the 7th Kansas Cavalry "Jayhawkers"), with seven of his 
squadron, made a night raid on Mr. Lawrence on the very day 
of the death by disease of Mrs. Lawrence. Mr. Lawrence was 
ordered to produce his money and silver plate, to which he an 
swered that his money and silver were in a bank in Canada. Cap 
tain Swain s party dragged old man Lawrence into the orchard 
in front of his home and three times hung him to a tree to force 
him to produce the money and valuables wanted. Lawrence had 
told the truth and his persecutors, leaving him nearer dead than 
alive, commenced a search of the house, opening drawers with an 
ax when locked, emptying trunks upon the floor and ripping open 



THE BORDER WAR WHEN WHERE. 179 

bed ticks. Passing 1 from room to room, they had passed the cof 
fin containing the remains of Mrs. Lawrence resting on chairs in 
the parlor. One fellow, Beardsley, suggested that maybe money 
was hid in the coffin, and with that he knocked off the lid of the 
casket and searched for gold. A ring on the finger of the dead 
woman attracted his attention, and whipping out his bowie knife 
he cut off the finger to release the ring. Before leaving this gal 
lant party of Union defenders said to the two terror-stricken 
daughters : "If you want to plant the old lady drag her out, for 
we are going to fire the ranch." Unaided they dragged the coffin 
from the burning home, nursed their father back to life and 
watched for the dawn of day. A colored servant came to tell me 
the story early next morning. I did all I could to relieve their 
distress, tried to locate the villains, but did not for over a year 
learn who the night raiders were. My vote as a member of a 
court martial held in March, 1865, helped to give this same Cap 
tain a dishonorable dismissal from the service, which he had from 
the first disgraced. Young Lawrence came home from New 
Mexico and joined Quantrill for revenge in fact, "revenge" was 
the watchword from the north line of Kansas south on the line 
between Kansas and Missouri into Arkansas. Old scores from 
the early Kansas troubles had to be settled. The war was not 
commenced at Fort Sumter; it started in Kansas in 1856, and the 
fires had been kept bright until the Fort Sumter breeze had fanned 
tne entire border counties into a flame. 

Thus from early spring of 61 until in October, 1861, Lane s 
brigade fought, under the black flag, the rebels opposed to us. 
Up Hayes, General Rains, Davidson, Standwatie and his Choc- 
taws and Chickasaw Indians ; Coon Thornton, the worst dare 
devil of them all ; Quantrill, Thrailkill, Bill Anderson, Arch 
Clements, Jesse James (who made Missouri notorious after the 
war), his brother Frank, Cole Younger, Si Porter, Si Gordon, 
Bill Todd, Dick Yeager all officers under Quantrill, command 
ing guerrilla bands started in under the war cry : "No surrender 
except in death !" The Kansans under Lane, Montgomery, 
Blunt, Jennison, Anthony, Hoyt and others accepted the challenge 
and until General Fremont in October, 1861, issued his order 
against this retaliatory work and forced a reorganization of Lane s 
brigade which forced Lane out of the army and back to the 



ISO CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

Senate there was no pretention to the common amenities of civ 
ilized war, and, in fact, with the guerrillas and bushwhackers, 
there was no quarter given or taken until the surrender of Lee. 
It was a fight to the death on both sides all through the war. The 
bushwhackers, who were the demon devils of this border war 
personally more for plunder and dare-devil notoriety than for 
patriotic impulses were led by men holding roving commissions 
from the Confederate Government ; they paid and supported them 
selves by robbery, by plundering homes and villages, wrecking 
and robbing trains, attacking weakly-protected supply trains and 
ambushing soldiers. In fights with Union men they were treated 
as pirates should be no quarter was given and of course our men 
expected like treatment from them. Two of my troopers were 
scalped by Quantrill s men, and I saw five of his men hung on 
the present site of the New Coates House, Kansas City. 

This demoralized, inhuman condition of affairs in the "Dis 
trict of the Border" was not confined to one side. The 7th Kan 
sas Cavalry, organized October 28th, 1861, commanded bv Charles 
R. Jennison, gained under Jennison s control a world- wide repu 
tation as the "Jayhawkers." Returning from their first raid into 
Missouri, they marched through Kansas City nearly all dressed 
in women s clothes, old bonnets and outlandish hats on their 
heads, spinning wheels and even grave stones lashed to their sad 
dles ; their pathway through the country strewn with, to them, 
worthless household goods, their route lighted by burning homes. 
This regiment was little less than an armed mob until Jennison 
was forced to resign May 1st, 1862. As might be inferred, this 
man Jennison brought only disgrace to Kansas soldiery. He was 
a coward and a murderer, and for shooting, while he was com 
manding the 1 5th Kansas Cavalry, four brave Kansas State mili 
tiamen October 23rd, 1864, was tried in June, 1865, by a court 
martial, of which Major General George Sykes of Antietam fame 
was President and myself the junior member. The death sen 
tence was changed by the commander of the department to im 
prisonment for life, and finally, through the great influence of 
Senator James H. Lane with President Andrew Johnson, to sim 
ply a dishonorable dismissal from the service. Lane was a warm 
friend of Jennison s and morally nearly as bad, and died a cow 
ard s death suicide. 



THE BORDER WAR WHEN WHERE. l8l 

William Clark Quantrill, the bravest, most successful guer 
rilla of the War of the Rebellion and chief bushwhacker of the 
Border War," was bom in Canal Dover, Ohio, in 1837. His 
father, Thomas H. Quantrill, was principal of the public school. 
Both parents were from Hagerstown, Maryland. The elder 
Quantrill was a Whig a religious, enthusiastic educator. Young 
Quantrill enjoyed the best advantages, was under strict religious 
training. At sixteen he taught a country school, and in 1857, in 
his twentieth year, he went to Kansas to secure a homestead. 
Being under age, he was compelled to trust a supposed friend, 
who proved false. This embittered the young man and from 
that time it seems he lost control of the moral instincts that should 
be the guiding star of true manhood. For two or three years he 
taught school in Kansas ; between terms worked with the im 
mortal John Brown, who was stealing slaves from Missouri, and 
as slaves were chattels he also took horses, mules and anything 
else of value to compensate himself and companions for the risk 
incurred and to supply the sinews of war, for the freedom of a 
suppressed and benighted race. John Brown could pray, shoot, 
steal slaves or horses, and really thought he was serving God in 
his almost single-handed war against slavery, an institution sup 
ported by the laws of our country and enforced by the courts 
and by the army, but not a dollar s worth of Brown s captured 
booty was used by him for selfish purposes. Quantrill became 
one of Brown s best men. The false friend and an embittered 
mind caused him to start with his elder brother in 1860 for Cali 
fornia by team. They were attacked by Indians on the Little Cot- 
tonwood in Kansas, when the brother was killed and scalped. 
Young Quantrill, badly wounded, escaped to the brush, and after 
the Indians left with the horses and provisions he crawled to the 
creek and laid there for nearly three days, when a friendly Indian 
found him and nursed him back to health and strength. From 
this date Quantrill became one of the most cruel and desperate 
robbers and murderers that ever lived. He was a blonde-haired, 
handsome, mild-mannered man with nothing indicating the des 
perado or robber in appearance. 

Edwards in his "Noted Guerrillas of the Border War" tells 
of Quantrill s interview, in Richmond, Va., with the Confederate 
Secretary of War in November, 1861, after Quantrill had been 
for more than seven months murdering his Kansas neighbors and 



1 82 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

comrades in the name and behalf of the southern cause, which he 
had so suddenly and so unexpectedly espoused, after years of 
work on the opposite side of the question. Like Saul of Tarsus, 
this fiend had experienced a change of heart, but the devil had 
engineered the change. I quote the interview as reported to Ed 
wards and written up by him in his laudatory work of showing 
Quantrill as a hero, a patriot, a chivalrous southern soldier, who 
was willing to lay down his life for the south, as was Gushing, 
who sunk the Albemarle : 

"His interview at Richmond with the Confederate Secretary 
of War was a memorable one. General Louis T. Wigfall, then 
a Senator from Texas, was present and described it afterwards in 
his rapid, vivid, picturesque way. Quantrill asked to be commis 
sioned as a Colonel under the Partisan Ranger act, and to be so 
recognized by the department as to have accorded to him what 
ever protection the Confederate Government might be in a con 
dition to exercise. Never mind the question of men; he would 
have the complement required in a month after he reached West 
ern Missouri. The warfare was desperate, he knew, the service 
desperate everything connected with it was desperate ; but the 
southern people, to succeed, had to fight a desperate fight. The 
Secretary suggested that war had its amenities and its refine 
ments, and that in the nineteenth century it was simply barbarism 
to talk of a black flag. 

Barbarism! and Quantrill s blue eyes blazed and his whole 
manner and attitude underwent a transformation ; barbarism, 
Mr. Secretary, means war and war means barbarism. Since you 
have touched upon this subject, let us discuss it a little. Times 
have their crimes as well as men. For twenty years this cloud 
has been gathering ; for twenty years, inch by inch and little by 
little, those people called abolitionists have been on the track of 
slavery; for twenty years the people of the south have been 
robbed, here of a negro and there of a negro ; for twenty years 
hates have been engendered and wrathful things laid up against 
the day of wrath. The cloud has burst. Do not condemn the 
thunderbolt. 

"The War Secretary bowed his head. Quantrill, leaving his 
own seat and standing over him as it were and above him, went 
on: Who are these people you call Confederates? Rebels, un 
less they succeed outcasts, traitors, food for hemp and gun- 



THE BORDER WAR WHEN WHERE. 183 

powder. There were no great statesmen in the south or this war 
would have happened ten years ago ; no inspired men or it would 
have happened fifteen years ago. Today the odds are desperate. 
The world hates slavery; the world is fighting you. The ocean 
belongs to the Union navy. There is a recruiting officer in every 
foreign port. I have captured and killed many who did not know 
the English tongue. Mile by mile the cordon is being drawn about 
the granaries of the south. Missouri will go first, next Ken 
tucky, next Tennessee, by and by Mississippi and Arkansas, and 
then what ? That we must put gloves on our hands and honey in 
our mouths and fight this war as Christ fought the wickedness 
of the world ! 

The War Secretary did not speak. Quantrill, perhaps, did 
not desire that he should. You ask an impossible thing, Mr. Sec 
retary. This secession, or revolution, or whatever you call it, 
cannot conquer without violence, nor can those who hate it and 
hope to stifle it resist without vindictiveness. Every struggle has 
its philosophy, but this is not the hour for philosophers. Your 
young Confederacy wants victory and champions who are not 
judges. Men must be killed. To impel the people to passion 
there must be some slight illusion mingled with the truth : to 
arouse them to enthusiasm something out of nature must occur. 
That illusion should be a crusade in the name of conquest, and 
that something out of nature should be the black flag. Woe be 
unto all of you if the Federals come with an oath of loyalty in 
one hand and a torch in the other. I have seen Missouri bound 
hand and foot by this Christless thing called conservatism, and 
where today she should have 200,000 heroes fighting for liberty, 
beneath her banners there are scarcely 20,000. 

What would you do, Captain Quantrill, were yours the 
power and the opportunity ? 

" Do, Mr. Secretary? Why, I would wage such a war and 
have such a Avar waged by land and sea as to make surrender 
forever impossible. I would cover the armies of the Confederacy 
all over with blood. I would invade. I would reward audacity. 
I would exterminate. I would break up foreign enlistments by 
indiscriminate massacre. I would win the independence of my 
people or I would find them graves ! 

" And our prisoners, what of them ? 

" Nothing of them ; there would be no prisoners. Do they 



184 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

take any prisoners from me? Surrounded, I do not surrender; 
surprised, I do not give way to panic ; outnumbered, I rely upon 
common sense and stubborn fighting ; proscribed, I answer proc 
lamation with proclamation : outlawed, I feel through it my 
power ; hunted, I hunt my hunters in turn ; hated and made 
blacker than a dozen devils, I add to my hoofs the swiftness of a 
horse, and to my horns the terrors of a savage following. Kan 
sas should be laid waste at once. Meet the torch with the torch, 
pillage with pillage, slaughter with slaughter, subjugation with 
extermination. You have my ideas of war, Mr. Secretary, and I 
am sorry they do not accord with your own, nor the ideas of the 
Government you have the honor to represent so well. And 
Quantrill, without his commission as a Partisan Ranger or with 
out any authorization to raise a regiment of Partisan Rangers, 
bowed himself away from the presence of the Secretary and away 
from Richmond." 

General Thomas Ewing while in command of the "District of 
the Border," headquarters at Kansas City, Mo., detailed June 
I7th, 1863, my company, A, nth Kansas Cavalry, and fifty 
picked men from ten companies of cavalry to trail and hunt 
Quantrill, who had become the terror of the country. His men 
were mostly toughs and desperadoes from the plains, Northern 
Texas and the Kansas border, were dead-shots, the best riders 
in the world, and while he could concentrate in a day or two 500 
men, he generally moved in small squads of from ten to forty 
men, and occupied the timber and brush of every border county 
south of the Missouri river to the Boston mountains of Arkan 
sas. He was enabled bv his daring and dashing, unexpected at 
tacks to keep 4,000 Federal cavalry busy for three years, and four 
or five thousand infantry guarding towns, trains and supply 
depots. The hairbreadth escapes of this guerrilla chief, the won 
derful experience of his men and the daily adventure of his pur 
suers, our men, who were lost in wonderment if we failed to have 
half a dozen fights with bushwhackers each week ; the miles of 
night riding, skulking through wooded ravines ; the byroads and 
cow paths traveled, hunting for an enemy worse than Indians ; 
houses, villages and cities sacked and burned by guerrillas and 
retaliatory acts of our commanders resulted in a perfect "hell of 
a war." 



THE BORDER WAR WHEN WHERE. 185 

The story of the events from Sterling Price s first march to 
the south ; of his several attempts to wrest Missouri from the 
Union ; of Joe Shelby s raids and up to Price s last disastrous 
raid in September and October, 1864; of Quantrill s Lawrence 
raid, August 2ist, 1863, when he slaughtered in cold blood 143 
unarmed non-combatants and sacked and burned the undefended 
city ; of Quantrill s escape from eighty men of Pomeroy s com 
mand, the 9th Kansas, when they had him and five of his men in 
a house surrounded and the house on fire ; of the ambuscade and 
cowardly murder June I7th, 1863, of eighteen of Captain Flesh- 
er s men, Company E of the 9th Kansas Cavalry, at Brush Creek, 
within a mile of Westport, Missouri, then a military station, by 
Bill Todd ; of Bill Anderson s wrecking and capturing a railroad 
train on the North Missouri railroad at Centralia in November, 
1861, and slaughtering eighty unarmed and wounded soldiers; 
of the massacre of Blunt s band and teamsters at Baxter Springs 
October 6th, 1863 ; of Captain Cleveland s desertion with part of 
his company of the 7th Kansas Black Horse Cavalry, turning 
highwayman, and how it took nearly 2,000 cavalry four months 
to disperse his band and kill him ; how George H. Hoyt, the 
young Boston lawyer, came to Kansas after defending John 
Brown at Charlestown, Virginia, was first Captain of Company 
K, 7th Kansas Cavalry, with John Brown, Jr., as First Lieuten 
ant, and after resigning raised a band of over 300 Red Legs (an 
organization sworn to shoot rebels, take no prisoners, free slaves 
and respect no property rights of rebels or of sympathizers) ; of 
our chase for Quantrill from the Missouri river to Arkansas and 
back before and after the Lawrence raid ; how the sacking of 
Lawrence and the massacre of 143 people might have been 
averted had it not been for a mistake of judgment on the part of 
one of our best and most loval officers ; of how we finally drove 
Quantrill and his men beyond the Mississippi and of his tragic 
death near Louisville, Kentucky, in February, 1865. 

All these incidents come before my mind as a panorama, 
vivid as life, a story that can never be told, the record of which 
would fill a hundred volumes of intensely interesting matter, a 
storv which can never be forgotten by anv one of the men who 
were active witnesses of the sickening details. I have cited a few 
instances to show barely a sketch of the "Border War" near the 
Kansas and Missouri line, a war that forced fully 80 per cent, of 



l86 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

the male population of that region between the ages of fifteen 
and fifty into the army, made mourners in every household, and 
left monuments of desolation and war in burned homes, marked 
by stone and brick chimney, from the north to the south line of 
the district covered. 

The two incidents cited near the beginning of this story are 
given as extremely aggravating cases not as everv-day, com 
monplace affairs. With the exception of the 7th and I5th Kan 
sas Cavalry there were no better disciplined or better behaved 
troops in the Union army than the Kansas men. The 1st Kansas 
Infantry, organized in May, 1861, fought like regulars under 
General Lyon at Wilson Creek and lost in that fight August loth, 
1861, 51 per cent, of the entire regiment in killed and wounded, 
stood their ground to the end and won the fight. The seventeen 
Kansas regiments, three batteries and three colored regiments, 
with the exception above noted, gave the enemy no good cause for 
guerrilla warfare, but all left good records for brave and sol 
dierly conduct, and the 7th fully redeemed itself under Colonel 
Lee with Sherman s army, 1862 to 1864. 

The guerrillas who fought with Quantrill under the black 
flag, excusing their bloodthirsty acts as deeds of revenge, charged 
the first cause to acts committed before the war, 1856 to 1861, and 
to the early campaigning of Lane, Montgomery and Jennison to- 
October, 1861. As all the guerrillas were outlawed by that time, 
there was no possible way of ending their crimes except in an 
nihilation. While our men had become desperate hunters of des 
perate criminals, and had for years given and asked no quarter, 
yet when General Sterling Price and Joe Shelby led their armies 
into our field they were met and fought with as much chivalry 
and soldierly courtesy as was accorded to the regular Confederate 
army by our men on the Potomac. When General Marmaduke, 
General Cabbell and seven Confederate Colonels surrendered 
with over 1,000 men at Mine Creek, Kansas, in October, 1864, 
some of their captors were Kansas men of my company and regi 
ment, who were prompt in according them fair treatment, and no 
spirit of revenge was manifested. Our men divided the contents 
of their haversacks with the hungry rebels. So at Prairie Grove, 
Van Buren, Newtonia, Westport and wherever and whenever we 
met the regular Confederate army (an organization that wore the 
gray, supported and carried a flag) no regular Confederate sol- 



THE BORDER WAR WHEN WHERE. l8/ 

dier had cause to complain of ungenerous or unkind treatment 
from Kansas soldiers. 

I might tell of deeds of individual heroism and bravery, of 
devoted loyalty to our country and our flag, and of loyalty to a 
wrong and losing cause. Sufferings in camp and on the march, 
short rations, no medicine and poor surgeons (fully 80 per cent, 
of the amputations at and immediately after the battle of Prairie 
Grove, Arkansas, December 7th, 1862, were fatal) ; of the 1,100 
miles tramped on foot by my regiment in ten months before we 
were mounted ; of five days and nights scout of myself and 
twenty men on the front and flank of Joe Shelby s command in 
October, 1864, with no sleep except in the saddle and yet we 
were not at Vicksburg, at Donelson, Nashville, Gettysburg or in 
any of the great battles of the war save at Wilson Creek, Pea 
Ridge, Cane Hill, Prairie Grove, Van Buren and two Lexington 
fights, Little Blue, Big Blue, Westport, Mound City and New- 
tonia. 

We were regularly mustered and drew our pay ; wore the 
blue and fought the grey ; obeyed orders and after Lee s surren 
der fought Indians from the Missouri river to the crest of the 
Rockies and north to the Yellowstone. The soldiers constituting 
the large armies east of the Mississippi were indeed fortunate in 
comparison with troops in the "Army of the Frontier" and "Dis 
trict of the Border" and others detailed on the fearful and thank 
less duty of fighting bushwhackers. Were the former killed in 
battle and left in the hands of the enemy, an honorable burial 
and unmutilated body was awarded them ; were they wounded, 
medical aid and care was bestowed upon them; if captured, the 
prospect of an exchange of orisoners was ever before them. Con 
trast this treatment with the unfortunate fate of the Union soldier 
on the border in the hands of the guerrillas. If killed, their poor, 
inanimate bodies were outraged and mutilated ; if wounded, they 
were often forced to suicide, or torture and death in the end. 
There were practically no captures, for surrender meant death ; 
no battle-stained flags, no heroic pages in history, no honor or 
special credit. "Murdered by bushwhackers ; killed by Indians," 
is the brief record to be found in the Adjutant General s office. 
Don t forget that our enemy was as often clad in the Union blue 
as in the butternut or rebel gray. We met sometimes face to face 



l88 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

with hands on our weapons, both parties in doubt ; some short 
questioning, a faltering answer, a sign, a move, draw, fire ! and 
let the dead bite the dust. 

I quote again from QuantrilFs historian, Edwards: From 
Jackson county to the Arkansas line the whole country was 
swarming with militia, and but for the fact that every guerrilla 
was clad in Federal clothing the march would have been an in 
cessant battle. As it was, it will never be known how many iso 
lated Federals, mistaking QuantrilFs men for comrades of other 
regiments not on duty with them, fell into traps that never gave 
up their victims alive. Near Cassville, in Barry county, twenty- 
two were killed thus. They were coming up from Cassville and 
were meeting the guerrillas, who were going south. The order 
given by Ouantrill was a most simple but a most murderous one. 
By the side of each Federal in the approaching column a guer 
rilla was to range himself, engage him in conversation, and then 
at a given signal blow his brains out. Ouantrill gave the signal, 
shooting the militiaman assigned to him through the middle of 
the forehead, and where upon their horses twenty-two confident 
men laughed and talked in comrade fashion a second before there 
were now twenty-two dead men." 

Edwards in his laudatory history of the guerrillas says, on 
page 327, speaking of Arch Clements, who succeeded to the com 
mand of Anderson s guerrillas, that on one raid lasting but a few 
days he kept an accurate diary of each day s work killing Fed 
erals : Those shot to death, 152; killed by having their throats 
cut, 20; hung, 76; shot and scalped, 33; shot and mutilated, n, 
a grand total of 292, a ten days job for 60 men something 
worth boasting of. 

In the same book, in describing 183 engagements by the 
bushwhackers with Federals on the border, Edwards reports a 
grand total of 6,388 Federal and Union sympathizers killed. The 
reports of these engagements are Quixotic in the extreme. The 
actual number killed by the bushwhackers could not have been 
more than 2,000 to 2,500, bad enough, and fully 70 per cent, of 
those killed are among the unknown dead. 

A picture of the horrors of border warfare as painted by 
the enemy. 

We saved Kansas and Nebraska from the rebel horde; 
saved our western settlements from General Albert Pike s Chris- 



THE BORDER WAR WHEN WHERE. 189 

tian scheme of annihilation by his Indian allies ; kept open and 
comparatively safe communication with the Pacific coast, and 
preserved the proper alignment of the right wing of that grand 
phalanx of army corps that extended from the Atlantic to the 
crest of the Rockies ; served where we were commanded to serve> 
and have the consciousness of having done our duty. Kansas 
furnished for the war in defense of the Union 20,097 soldiers out 
of a population of 160,665 ne out f eight a soldier. The cen 
sus of 1860 shows 107,110. Enlistments from Kansas were 3,443 
more than the quota and no draft was ever suggested. The pro 
portion of deaths in action or from wounds was 2.79 per cent, 
more than that of any other of the twenty-four loyal states, and 
25.91 per cent, above the average of all the States. 



IQO CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 



THE LAWRENCE RAID. 

BY 
CAPT. H. E. PALMER, I ITH KANSAS CAVALRY. 

(Read May j, 1899.) 

For several months prior to the "Lawrence Raid" my com 
mand, consisting of Company A, nth Kansas Cavalry, and a 
detachment of the ist Missouri State Militia Artillery (two 
mountain howitzers) had been constantly employed scouting 
through Jackson, Saline, Bates and Butler counties, Missouri, 
with instructions from General Thomas Ewing, commanding the 
District of the Border, to destroy bushwhackers infesting that 
region, and by all means to prevent the gathering of any large 
force of the enemy at any one point. Westport, Missouri, was 
designated as headquarters the point to come for rations^ am 
munition, horses, etc. 

To better prosecute this dangerous and thankless work, I di 
vided my command into squads of from seven to twenty men 
and patrolled every road and cowpath in all that region of coun 
try, covering as much of the territory as possible. We were forced 
to adopt bushwhacking tactics, keep in the brush, follow wood 
roads and trails, watch fords and other crossings of streams 
where the bushwhackers were apt to come day and night with 
constant vigil hunting as one would hunt Indians. Hardly a 
day passed without meeting the enemy, and many unburied and 
unknown dead marked the meeting place. This scouting and 
everlasting vigilance on our part was made necessary by the rapid 
and desperate moves made by the enemy. Quantrill had enrolled 
under his black flag 600 men. Like ourselves, they were divided 
up into small bands under able captains and lieutenants. His 
men were brave and more dangerous than the Apache or Co- 
manche Indians, better riders and armed with carbines and from 
two to four Colt s revolvers to the man. They were industrious, 
bloodthirsty devils, who apparently never slept. Today they 



THE LAWRENCE RAID. 19! 

would attack with a mad rush of twenty or forty men against a 
hundred if they could see a chance of surprise, and in one night s 
ride they would be fifty miles away. As they possessed the entire 
country south of the Missouri river to the Arkansas line a re 
gion well stocked with good horses they would swap their jaded 
steeds for anything better that came in the way jfamiliar with 
every cowpath, knowing nearly every farmer, 95 per cent, of 
whom would give his all to help a bushwhacker" fighting the 
"northern invader," the "Lincoln hirelings." 

The bushwhacker or guerrilla had the advantage of Union 
men in more ways than superior mounting and knowledge of the 
country. A great advantage was in their being untrammeled by 
anv of the rules of civilized warfare. Taking no prisoners, they 
had no encumbrances ; wearing no regular uniform except for 
disguise and carrying no flag, except in saddle pockets, to be 
used to decoy unsuspecting Union soldiers into the ambush for 
slaughter. To meet these devils on anything like equal terms we 
had to learn new tactics, drill by signs and signals and learn to 
read a villainous face whose heart was covered by Federal blue." 
We had to know whether or not other Federal comrades were 
hunting guerrillas in our territory. Our work had to be prose 
cuted within certain limits absolutely so, otherwise we might 
be firing upon friends instead of upon foes. 

To make my work more effective it was agreed between 
General Ewing, commanding the district ; Major P. B. Plumb, 
Acting Provost Marshal, and myself that I might select two men 
from my command to desert to the enemy and serve as spies. I 
selected two men who were patriotic enough to accept the detail 
without one word of protest, volunteering for the very dangerous 
work promptly. To anyone familiar with the border war" or 
the character of Missouri bushwhackers under Quantrill, made 
up of desperadoes of the frontier, from the Missouri to the gulf 
and from the Mississippi to the mountains, the bravery of these 
two Federal soldiers who volunteered to take their lives in their 
hands, engaging in the most dangerous service of the war, will 
be fully appreciated. One lost his life within ninety days, shot 
in the back of his head by the notorious Captain Bjl] Todd with- 
out one word of warning. Sitting at the campfire, laughing and 
joking with his comrades, the assassin Todd stepped out from 
the dark, placing his pistol close to the back of his victim s head ^ v, 






V /<? 



192 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

and fired and Henry Starr, the spy, fell forward near the feet 
of his unsuspected comrade the other spy. Captain Dick Yea- 
ger, who commanded the guerrilla band of which Starr was a 
member, sprang forward with drawn revolver and demanded of 
Todd an explanation. Todd replied by asserting that Starr had 
sent a letter to Palmer that he was a spy. The soldier who had 
joined the guerrillas with Starr remained with the band until the 
end of the war and is now a resident of Texas. 

It will be understood from the foregoing statement of facts 
that everything possible was being done to protect the State of 
Kansas and the loyal districts of Northern Missouri from the 
guerrillas and rebel raiders. There were fully .3,000 troops in the 
District of the Border, and as many more in the Department of 
Kansas. Troops were stationed, within from ten to fifteen miles 
apart, from Kansas City to Fort Scott ; there were soldiers north 
of Kansas City, at Parkville, Leavenworth, Weston, latan, Atchi- 
son and St. Joseph, and at nearly every county seat town in 
Northern Missouri and in the border counties between Missouri 
and Kansas to the Arkansas line ; scouting parties were con 
stantly passing from post to post, and my command was espe 
cially detailed to trail and bushwhack the bushwhackers. 

Quantrill was not the only enemy to be feared. Joe Shelby, 
the most daring rebel raider that ever straddled a horse, was often 
hammering our lines when we thought him hundreds of miles 
away; Quantrill was not advertising his raids or billing himself 
to be at a given point on a certain date. No one in Kansas, in 
Kansas City or Westport had an inkling even of Quantrill s inten 
tion to raid Lawrence until I received the news at n p. m., Au 
gust 2Oth, 1863. Not a man in Quantrill s command except 
three or four of his best officers knew of the intended raid until 
8 p. m. that evening. I was expecting a serious attack at some 
point near Kansas City. I had seen messengers, here and there 
well mounted guerrillas passing north and south near the east 
ern line of Jackson and Bates counties ; for weeks I had been 
breaking up their rendezvous in the Sni Hills. Finally I had 
fallen back to Westport for supplies and ammunition and to be 
near the point of attack. My men were ready, horses saddled day 
and night, men sleeping with their carbines in their arms, every 
man fully dressed and ready at any hour of the night to respond 
to the bugle call, to spring to his horse s side, tighten the girth, 



THE LAWRENCE RAID. 



slip the bits in the animal s mouth, mount and ride into line, call 
ing their numbers as they rode into their places. 

An orderly mounted was at mv house, a bugler on the porch, 
my horse in care of my colored servant ready for the signal. At^ 
ii p. m., August 2Oth, 1863, I received a cipher dispatch from/-.-. 
Henry Starr, the spy in Dick Yeager s band; it was handed to Q^jjiyQ 
me by his sweetheart, a sister of the notorious bushwhacker / 
chieftain, Bill Anderson. She had ridden ten miles from Little ~. 
Santa Fe, Missouri, to hand me the message which she thought > 
was to allure me to my death. Translated it read : "Quantrill ty 
300 strong crossed the line at Santa Fe 9 130 p. m., going to Law- < \* 
rence." I gave the signal and the bugle sounded the alarm. I - 
wrote a copy of the dispatch and directed the orderly to ride as **** 
fast as he could to Ewing s headquarters at Kansas City, three j*r 
miles away, adding that I would move on a walk on the direct 
road to Lawrence, awaiting his return with orders, if any. I left 
West port at 1 1 105 p. m. About four miles out my orderly re 
turned with an order signed "Thos. Ewing," directing me to take 
the most direct route for Little Santa Fe, find Quantrill s trail and 
follow it, engaging him if possible. This fatal dispatch and my -.H 1 5 
answer were read and written by the light of matches while the ^\u Vo v \ t? tav 
command was halted. I wrote in reply that a mistake was cer- L 
tainly being made ; to go now to Little Santa Fe" meant more 
than fifteen miles out of my way to Lawrence. I advised that I 



should still keep moving slowly towards Lawrence ; that I could 
put my entire command, 130 men and two pieces of artillery, in 
Lawrence by 3 130 a. m. A fresh mount was sent back to Kansas 
City, or to meet Ewing s command, which was then on the march. 
In less than fifty minutes he returned with a most positive order 
for me to go to Little Santa Fe, then fully twenty miles out of 
my way to Lawrence. The order stated that Lawrence was not 
in danger; that a messenger had been sent there. To disobey 
this order twice repeated meant death. 

I called Lieutenants Thornton, Slane and Wachsman, my 
junior officers, for council. They all said: "Obey orders; don t 
chance the consequences of disobedience/ I reluctantly turned 
to the left. Instead of going to Little Santa Fe I pushed on di 
rectly south and at Aubrey, Kansas, several miles west of Little 
Santa Fe and that much nearer Lawrence, I struck Quantrill s 
trail going to Lawrence. I turned to the right and followed the 




t 

194 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS./ * J 



f . (j 



broad trail straight across the prairie. The grass for a space of 
twenty feet wide had been beaten down deep into the soil, so that 
for more than two years the trail was well marked. Here I found 
myself, twenty miles in the rear, about 3 a. m., with horses 
Digued and a trot over level ground was the best I could do. 

[At sunrise I was within about seven miles of Lawrence, my 
horses so tired that I could not move faster than a walk. The 
smoke of the burning city indicated that I was too late. One 
hundred and ninety buildings had been burned and 143 lives had 
been sacrificed. Starr had told the truth Quantrill was bound 
for Lawrence. I had obeyed orders against my best judgment; 
against a premonition that I was doing wrong in obeying the 
order to turn south. There was an intuition, a first thought, that 
directed me to go to Lawrence ; a second thought that argued 
that the General commanding had sent messengers to alarm the 
city possibly other troops were en route for Lawrence or al 
ready there and that if I did not push on towards Paola, Kan 
sas, where there were several hundred thousand dollars worth of 
military stores, guarded by only 100 infantrymen, there might 
occur a terrible massacre and the loss of a large amount of Gov 
ernment stores, badly needed at that time. Certainly Paola seemed 
to be a point worthy of attack by a commander serving the rebel 
cause. Realizing that it was too late to save Lawrence, and that 
the logical route for Quantrill s retreat was via Paola, I turned 
to the left and at Lanefield (three horses having dropped to the 
ground, unable to move a step farther) I stopped an hour, bathed 
the horses in cold water, rubbing them dry, gave them a light 
feed of oats and then pushed on to Bull Creek, en route to Paola. 
At Bull Creek I ran into Quantrill s command and then com- 
L V C^, mencecl a running fight, or rather a walking fight, as my horses 

, could not move faster than a walk. The heat was intense, at 

least 100 degrees in the shade. The enemy had captured many 
fresh horses in Lawrence and could ride all around us, yet they 
had many of their weary nags and many loads of plunder and 
could not move much faster on the march than ourselves. We 
turned their column, for instead of pushing on to Paola as he 
intended, Quantrill turned towards Missouri. Major Plumb s 
command coming from Kansas City struck Quantrill s left flank 
about 5 p. m., but Plumb s stock was exhausted. We all followed 
, firing as often as we came near his rear guard, until 



? 



RAID - 

after dark, when we had reached the Grand River timber directly < ; f|rr 
east of Paola. As we could go no further, we camped there until j 
morning, when we found only tracks of the bushwhacking fiends. 
They had pushed on during the night and were safe in Missouri fa ^ 
brush, their band scattered and divided into small squads, withy^^ t x 



no possible show of overhauling or capturing them. 

My horses had travelled over seventy-five miles with only an 
hour s rest ; we had fought Quantrill for about ten miles on his 



route and turned him from Paola, where he undoubtedly in- ^ ^ ^^ 
tended to go. We had no rations, except a few pieces of hard 
tack which I had ordered my men to store in their saddle pockets f 
along with an extra supply of cartridges ; no blankets except our 



* A N J** 

wet saddle blankets; the men slept on the green grass under the^ 
starry canopy of heaven, huddled together spoon fashion to keep^* *\ f 
off the cold night air ; no supper, no breakfast or dinner. 

The next day, August 22nd, after scouting Grand River ?. 
valley and timber for over ten miles, we gave up the fruitless ^ : 
chase and marched toward Westport, foraging among the farm-^ O"S. 



. 

ers for something to eat, and camped that night near Little ** 

Santa Fe. August 24th we reached W 
day General Ewing, who was stopping 



Santa Fe. August 24th we reached Westport by 9 a. m. Next^ ^> 

ing temporarily at my head-; 
quarters, issued General Order No. n, as follows: 



"Headquarters District of the Border, Kansas City, Mo., 
August 25th, 1863. 3 ^ 

"i. All persons living in Jackson, Cass and Bates counties, x " 



Missouri, and in that part of Vernon included in this district, ex-rS 
cept those living within one mile of the limits of Independence^ 
Hickman s Mills, Pleasant Hill and Harrisonville, and except* 
those in that part of Kaw township, Jackson county, north of^ ; 







X 5 I * 

Brush Creek and west of the Big Blue, are hereby ordered to re-~ 

move from their present places of residence within fifteen days:., 
from the date hereof. Those who, within that time, establish^ 
their loyalty to the satisfaction of the commanding officer of the^^. ^ 
military station nearest their present places of residence will re-M 
ceive from him certificates stating the fact of their loyalty andM 



the names of the witnesses by whom it can be shown. All who?^ 
receive such certificates will be permitted to remove to anv mili- 

^> 



* : *- 
; ^ 



tarv station in this district or to any part of the State of Kansas, 

except the counties on the eastern border of the State. All others N I ^ ^ 

^T^f ^ x,* ^ I 

;f 5*5 



196 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

shall remove out of this district. Officers commanding companies 
and detachments serving in the counties named will see that this 
paragraph is promptly obeyed. 

"2. All grain and hay in the field or under shelter, in the 
district from which the inhabitants are required to remove, with 
in reach of military stations, after the 9th day of September 
next will be taken to such stations and turned over to the proper 
officers there, and report of the amount so turned over made to 
district headquarters, specifying the names of all loyal owners 
and the amount of such produce taken from them. All grain and 
hay found in such district after the 9th day of September next, 
not convenient to such stations, will be destroyed. 

"3. The provisions of General Orders No. 10 from these 
headquarters will be at once vigorously executed by officers com 
manding in the parts of the district and at the stations not sub 
ject to the operation of paragraph I of this order, and especially 
in the towns of Independence, Westport and Kansas City. 

"4. Paragraph 3, General Orders No. 10, is revoked as to all 
who have borne arms against the Government in this district since 
the 2oth day of August ,1863. 

"By order of BRIG. GENERAL EWING. 

"H. HANNAHS, A. A. A. G." 

The reference to General Order No. 10, in paragraph No. 3, 
of this order refers to sections I and 2 of No. 10, which reads as 
follows : 

"Headquarters District of the Border, Kansas City, Mo., 
August 1 8th, 1863. 

"i. Officers commanding companies and detachments will 
give escort and subsistence, as far as practicable, through that 
part of Missouri included in this district, to all loyal free persons 
desiring to remove to the State of Kansas or to permanent mili 
tary stations in Missouri, including all persons who have been 
ascertained, in the manner provided in General Order No. 9 of 
this district, to have been the slaves of persons engaged in aiding 
the rebellion since July I7th, 1862. Where necessary the teams 
of persons who have aided the rebellion since September 25th, 
1862, will be taken to help such removal, and after being used 
for that purpose will be turned over to the officer commanding 



THE LAWRENCE RAID. 197 

the nearest military station, who will at once report them to an 
Assistant Provost Marshal or to the District Provost Marshal, 
and hold them subject to his order. 

"2. Such officers will arrest and send to the District Provost 
Marshal for punishment all men (and all women not heads of 
families) who wilfully aid and encourage guerrillas, with a 
written statement of the names and residence of such persons 
and of the proof against them. They will discriminate as care 
fully as possible between those who are compelled by threats or 
fear to aid the rebels and those who aid them from disloyal mo 
tives. The wives and children of known guerrillas, and also 
women who are heads of families and are wilfully engaged in 
aiding guerrillas, will be notified by such officers to remove out 
of this district and out of the State of Missouri forthwith. They 
will be permitted to take, unmolested, their stock, provisions and 
household goods. If they fail to remove promptly they will be 
sent by such officers under escort to Kansas City for shipment 
south, with their clothes and such necessary household furniture 

and provisions as may be worth removing. 

*##**#*** 

"By order of BRIG. GENERAL EWING. 

"P. B. PLUMB, Major and Chief of Staff." 

This order he read to a few of his officers ; I was present. 
All agreed that it was the best thing that could be done ; it was 
the only plan that would make it impossible for Quantrill to 
maintain and support a large command in that district ; his 
friends and supporters must be brought to military camps where 
they could not feed guerrillas. 

After the issuance of this order and after the other officers 
had left, being alone with General Ewing and Major Plumb, I 
asked how it was possible that my message to them about Quan 
trill s intended raid on Lawrence should have been misunder 
stood. Major Plumb, afterwards Lieutenant Colonel of my regi 
ment and after the war for many years a United States Senator, 
explained that General Ewing had gone on the 2Oth to Leaven- 
worth City, Kansas, outside of his own district, into the district 
of Kansas, to visit his sick wife, no serious danger from bush 
whackers being apprehended. It was not considered a serious 
matter for the commanding officer to absent himself from his 



198 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

command for twenty-four hours ; if, however, an attack was made 
by the enemy the absence of the commander without leave was a 
serious question. And considering the horrible masscre that had 
occurred, General Ewing was nearly prostrated with grief. The 
District of Kansas and District of the Border were in the Depart 
ment of the Missouri, headquarters in St. Louis, then under the 
command of General John M. Schofield. To get a formal leave 
of absence to cross the line on unofficial business meant a week s 
work of red-tape formality, so it had been considered that a 
French leave" for a few hours was all right. He had left his 
command under the control of his chief of staff, Major Plumb. 
For himself, Major Plumb said he had other information that 
Quantrill was bound for Paola. He felt sure that there could be 
no doubt on this point and that he had sent a messenger to Law 
rence. Afterwards it transpired that this messenger got lost ; 
rode several miles out of his way, and finally reached a point near 
Lawrence in time to see the charging hosts of Quantrill s band 
filling the streets of the doomed city. The man fled back to Kan 
sas City and never boasted of the service rendered on that night s 
lonely ride on the timbered "Kaw" bottom to Lawrence. 

Two or three days after the issuance of General Order No. 
ii startling news came from Kansas to the effect that General 
James H. Lane then a United States Senator from Kansas, who 
had escaped from Lawrence and Quantrill s murderous gang by 
fleeing in his night shirt through the back yard of a house where 
Quantrill did not think of finding him and into a cornfield 
(Quantrill s excuse for raiding Lawrence, which had been his 
home, was to kill "Jim Lane") that Lane, with over 500 coun 
try and towns people, was marching on Westport, Kansas City 
and Independence, Missouri, vowing vengeance against the citi 
zens of these three towns and swearing to burn every house in 
retaliation for the destruction of Lawrence. A majority of Gen 
eral Ewing s force were Kansas men. Feeling ran high. The 
naked, half-burned and otherwise mutilated corpses of 143 inno 
cent non-combatants just buried by the grief-stricken citizens of 
Lawrence cried aloud for revenge. The border spirit of rapine 
and murder and the frontier instinct of self-protection by de 
manding life for life, with big interest for the first transgressor, 
prevailed to a large extent. 

The people of the three threatened Missouri towns were in- 



THE LAWRENCE RAID. 199 

nocent nearly all of them of any sympathy for Quantrill s hor 
rid act. Yet reason and right cannot stand against mob law. 
The people became terror stricken. General Ewing sent for me 
and asked if I could depend on my men to fire on Kansas men if 
necessary to stop Lane. I replied that I thought I could, and he 
ordered me to meet Lane on the Kansas line. With 130 men, 
cavalry and artillery (two mountain howitzers), I formed my 
command in battle line on the open prairie about four miles south 
west of Westport. When Lane appeared I rode forward half a 
mile in advance of my men and met him at the creek crossing. I 
saluted and asked him to receive a paper which I handed him. 
He said if it was from General Ewing he would not take it. Gen 
eral Lane knew me well, as I had served on his staff in 1861, when 
he commanded Lane s Brigade. 

I said : "General, I must read it then. 1 

"No," said he, "you need not do it. Damn Ewing; tell him 
to keep out of my way ; all hell can t stop me !" 

I said : "Ewing has issued an order forcing all people in 
Jackson, Bates, Butler and Saline counties to abandon their 
homes. This means an end to bushwhacking as soon as we can 
destroy their supplies, and, further, the people of Westport, Kan 
sas City and Independence denounce Ouantrill for the Lawrence 
raid. A few may be sympathizers, but they are old men and 
women non-combatants." 

"Palmer, you must not plead with me," replied the General. 

"I have orders to stop you and must obey them," I replied. 

"May I talk with vour men?" Lane asked. 

"Yes, General," I said, "if you will halt your command here 
and ride up to my command with me." 

Lane conceded to this and I introduced him to my little army. 
He made one of his typical speeches ,a fiery, red-hot talk for ten 
minutes, in which he told us of the horrors of the massacre. After 
he had finished I said: "Now, General, I will reply to your 
speech." I said : "Men, if there is a man in line before me who 
will not shoot, and shoot to kill, at yonder mob at my command 
to fire let him ride out ten paces to the front." Not one man stirred 
from the ranks. I then commanded "In battery!" to the gun 
ners and ordered the cavalry to load their carbines. Turning to 
the General I said : "General Lane, I wish you would go into camp 
where you are and let us all sleep over this affair before opening 



2OO CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

the ball, for just as long as I have any command left I am going 
to forcibly oppose your crossing the line, and I shall try not to 
waste any ammunition/ 

General Lane went into camp and the next day started back 
to Lawrence, and from there he went to Leavenworth, where, a 
few days later, he spoke from the Mansion Hopse steps to over 
10,000 people, denouncing General Ewing in the most scathing, 
bitter manner possible. General Ewing had sent me to Leaven- 
worth in citizen s dress to report Lane s speech. Before opening 
the harangue Lane said that Ewing had sent one of his Captains 
to Leavenworth to report to him what he (Lane) had to say of 
Ewing, and he called on Captain H. E. Palmer of Company A, 
of Swing s old regiment, the nth Kansas, to step up and take a 
seat on the platform. The crowd yelled their approval of this 
complimentary attention to me and I had to go to the front, and 
could not say that I did not hear all that Lane said. 

The Lawrence Raid" was the culmination of border out 
rages that had grown from bad to worse, unchecked for seven 
years. Considering the fact that there were no troopes in the 
fated city, except a few sick, unarmed soldiers, and that of the 
male population nearly all the able-bodied men were far away 
fighting for the flag of the Union, it could not be expected that 
brave men, no matter how bloodthirsty, could for one moment 
consider the question of murdering the few unarmed boys and 
old men destroying the city with fire and sword. No wonder 
that Major Plumb should believe that I was mistaken ; that Quan- 
trill was en route for Paola to massacre the few soldiers there 
and destroy half a million dollars worth of ordnance stores, quar 
termaster and commissary stores. 

Preston B. Plumb was intensely loyal and brave to a fault ; 
no better soldier ever took the oath that bound him to his coun 
try s service. He was loved by his men and highly respected by 
every officer who had the pleasure and honor of his acquaintance. 
Ninety-nine out of 100 officers would have done just what Plumb 
did, but there is nothing so damning as a mistake that causes de 
feat and loss of life. The entire country from Maine to Califor 
nia, and I might say from the lakes to the gulf, was appalled by 
the diabolical deed of Quantrill s band ; such warfare might be 
expected from Indians, but not from white men who spoke the 



THE LAWRENCE RAID. 2OI 

same language and who only a few years previous had been 
neighbors and friends. 

The people who had lost their relatives and their homes did 
not feel disposed to forgive anyone, officer or soldier, who could 
not show conclusively that the success of the murderous devils 
was in no wise attributable to lack of courage or caution of the 
troops who were attempting to destroy the guerrillas and protect 
the defenseless citizens of Lawrence and other Kansas towns. 
This was the one question discussed pro and con for many 
months after the raid. General Thomas Ewing, Jr., had to bear 
the burden of all the abuse of those who, if they had a chance 
equal to their self-esteem, might have prevented this raid and 
might have ended the war in three short months. Lane, for in 
stance, saw in this Lawrence affair an opportunity to crush a 
man who, before the raid, stood a fair chance of succeeding him 
in the United States Senate, so he frothed at the mouth and 
charged all the responsibility to Ewing charged that he \vas a 
rebel, traitor, a coward and everything else that was bad. 

The excited and maddened people who had escaped from 
Lawrence and their friends in the country and people from neigh 
boring towns gathered their guns and hastened to join "General" 
Senator Lane in the good work of meteing out revenge by help 
ing in the great and glorious work of destroying the three Mis 
souri towns so full of border war memories Westport, Kan 
sas City and Independence, the last named town having been the 
first to flaunt the rebel flag in Missouri and to raise the first 
Confederate company. Why should Ewing prevent the destruc 
tion of these pest holes of rebellion if he was not in sympathy 
with their treacherous ideas ? Such was the argument of the men 
who wished to retaliate. 

General Ewing was the son of Thomas Ewing of Ohio, a 
brother-in-law of General Sherman. He left the bench to assume 
command of the nth Kansas Infantry, afterwards changed to 
cavalry. He was loved by all of his men, was brave, true and in 
every sense of the word a most worthy officer, and more than 
earned his Brigadier General s commission at Prairie Grove De 
cember 7, 1862. No honest, intelligent Kansan blamed him for 
the Lawrence raid. For his General Orders Nos. 10 and n all 
the "yellow journals," called during the war of the rebellion 
" copperhead sheets," held him up as an infamous destroyer of 



2O2 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

peaceable homes. George C. Bingham, the renowned Missouri 
artist, drew on his rebellious imagination in a painting of Gen 
eral Order No. n, showing Union soldiers burning farm houses, 
destroying crops and personal property and driving women and 
children before them like cattle. This damnable lie of paint and 
canvas was exhibited all over the country, and when General 
Ewing, after the war, stood as the nominee of his party for Gov 
ernor of Ohio, the Bingham painting was credited with his de 
feat. The following letter, copied from the Rebellion Records, 
speaks for itself : 

"Headquarters District of the Border, 

"Kansas City, Mo., August 25th, 1863. 
"Major General John M. Schofield, St. Louis, Mo. 

"Sir: I got in late yesterday afternoon. I send in enclosed 
paper General Order No. n, which I found it necessary to issue 
at once, or I would have first consulted you. The excitement in 
Kansas is great, and there is (or was before this order) great 
danger of a raid of citizens for the purpose of destroying the 
towns along the border. My political enemies are fanning the 
flames and wish me for a burnt offering to satisfy the just pas 
sion of the people. 

"If you think it best, please consider me as applying for a 
court of inquiry. It should be appointed by the General-in-Chief 
or the Secretary of War. General Deitzler of Lawrence is the 
only officer of rank, I think, in Kansas who would be regarded 
as perfectly impartial. He is at Lawrence now on sick furlough, 
but is well enough for such duty and knows the district. 

"I do not make unconditional application for the court, be 
cause I have seen no censure of any one act of mine, or omission 
even, except my absence from headquarters. It is all mere mob 
clamor and all at Leavenworth. Besides, I do not with my want 
of familiarity with the custom of the service in such matters and 
with the horrors of the massacre distressing me feel confidence 
in my judgment as to the matter. I therefore ask your friendly 
advice and action, with the statement that if a full clearance of 
me by the court is worth anything to you or me, or the service, I 
would like to have the court. 

"I left my headquarters to go to Leavenworth the day be 
fore the massacre on public business. I have never taken an hour 



THE LAWRENCE RAID. 2O3 

of ease or rest with anything undone which I thought necessary 
for the protection of the border. No man, woman or child even 
suggested the idea of stationing troops permanently at Lawrence. 
The whole border has been patrolled night and day for ninety 
miles, and all the troops under my command posted and employed 
as well as I know how to do it. 

"I have not the slightest doubt that any fair court would not 
only acquit me of all suspicion of negligence, but also give me 
credit for great precaution and some skill in my adjustment of 
troops. I assure you, General, I would quit the service at once 
if I were accused, after candid investigation, of the slightest negli 
gence or of a want of average skill in the command of the forces 
you have given me. I am, General, very respectfully, 

"Your obedient servant, 
"THOMAS EWING, JR V Brigadier General." 

General John M. Schofield, in his reply to Colonel Town- 
send, A. A. G. at Washington, D. C., under date of September 
I4th, 1863, says pf Ewing: 

"It is possible that General Ewing might have done more 
than he did do to guard against such a calamity as that at Law 
rence, but I believe he is entitled to great credit for the energy,, 
wisdom and zeal displayed while in command of that district." 

Again referring to QuantrilFs destruction of Lawrence^ if 
there is no monument there commemorating this event, one should 
be built, if only to bear testimony of "man s inhumanity to man." 
Testimony of the sacrifice and trials endured by the pioneer set 
tlers of the first strictly abolition city, the place where first ap 
peared the light of "Liberty Enlightening the World." The first 
battle culminating in the most gigantic struggle of armed forces 
of any age of the world s history was fought at or near Law 
rence, Kansas, May 2ist, 1856 nearly seven years previous to 
Quantrill s raid. John Brown and his little band of soldiers were 
the first recruits to inaugurate the great struggle which cost 
nearly a million lives and billions of money. And to think that 
one of John Brown s band was the demon chief, Quantrill, who 
led this unprovoked onslaught of murder and rapine against a 
defenseless, unarmed community of human beings ! We reflect 



2O4 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

that Christ chose twelve Apostles, and one kissed Him as a sig 
nal that twas Him that he had sold for thirty pieces of silver. 

While this long-drawn-out story does not tell of the fearful 
scenes that occurred in Lawrence between daylight and 10 o clock 
August 2 ist, 1863, it does tell of the failure to prevent the raid 
and gives to the world an unwritten history that may be inter 




THE TELEGRAPH IN THE CIVIL WAR. 

BY 
COMPANION L. H. KORTY OF THE MILITARY TELEGRAPH SERVICE, 

The signal service was, up to the time of breaking out of 
the rebellion, the best applied means of communication in the 
great armies of the world, and it was left to our Government to 
make the first practical application of the electric telegraph in 
the operations of warfare and demonstrate the utility of this new 
science to be as potent in war as in the peaceful pursuits of com 
merce. 

In the light of subsequent events, it is conceded by military 
authorities that if Generals Scott, McDowell and Patterson had 
been in telegraphic communication with each other the battle of 
Bull Run, instead of a disaster to our cause, could have been 
turned into a victory so grand and decisive as might have short 
ened the war very materially. This first great disaster to the 
Union army strikingly illustrated the necessity for a thoroughly 
organized and well equipped telegraph system in the army to 
facilitate the operations of our advancing forces. General An- 
son Stager, Superintendent of the Western Union Telegraph 
Company at Cleveland, was commissioned with authority to or 
ganize such a system, and the United States Military Telegraph 
Corps came into existence. To the sagacity, energy and patriot 
ism of General Stager is largely due the important results 
achieved by that organization. He picked his operators from the 
best in the profession men of tried integrity and experience. 

The telegraph was soon extended to all the armies assembled 
and the constantly increasing outposts. It followed the Armv of 
the Potomac, Washington was easily connected with the defen 
sive works around the city, the country about Frederick, Harper s 
Ferry, Cumberland City to Wheeling, the headquarters of the 
principal commanders of the Army of the Potomac and adjacent 
outposts, thus making an invasion into Maryland and Pennsyl 
vania or a movement against the capital, without notice, impos- 

(205) 



2O6 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

sible. Hundreds of miles of wire were put up in Western Vir 
ginia, Kentucky and Missouri in an inconceivably short space of 
time, extending directly to the headquarters in the field of the 
department, corps and division commanders, enabling McClellan, 
commander of all the armies, to receive daily, and even hourly, 
reports from the entire field of military operations. From all de 
partment headquarters radiated those wondrous tongues whereby 
the commanders constantly knew the wants and conditions of their 
forces at all hours of the day and night. It was not infrequent 
that McClellan, on the Potomac, was placed in direct conversation 
with General Halleck and Admiral Foote on the Mississippi and 
General Buell in Kentucky. At Yorktown the wires became Mc- 
Clellan s trusted sentinels. It was here that his operator, Lath- 
rop, a most worthy young man, was killed by a shell while in the 
performance of his duty. 

The importance of the field telegraph to our army became 
more and more apparent and its utility and scope were increased 
as the war progressed. Field telegraph trains were organized 
and equipped. Reels, carrying a mile of fine insulated wire each, 
were fitted to pack saddles borne by mules. Portables batteries 
were placed in the pack saddles. Small telegraph instruments 
capable of being carried in the vest pocket were supplied to oper 
ators in the field. Whenever a marching army took up a posi 
tion, or halted for the night, the much-abused mule was trotted 
off with his load, the wire unreeled and attached to the batteries 
as packed on the backs of the mules, and instruments connected 
at desired points. Thus in a verv short space of time the tele 
graph was ready to transmit orders, exchange advices and exer 
cise a vigilance and protection over the surrounding camps.. 

The telegraph followed McClellan into the Wilderness and, 
threading the forests and swamps of Chickahominy, by day and 
by night, kept him advised of events and made known at Wash 
ington his hopes, his fears and his wants. It followed McDowell s 
force to Fredericksburg, Banks up the Shenandoah and Fremont 
in the Alleghanies, and enabled them to co-operate and drive 
Jackson out of the valley and protect Pennsvlvania and Wash 
ington. 

It followed Foote from Cairo to Fort Henry, whence it was 
extended to Nashville. The telegraph corps quickly gladdened 
the hearts of Union people with Mitchell s wonderful success in 



THE TELEGRAPH IN THE CIVIL WAR. 2O/ 

Northern Alabama, and enabled him to capture valuable railroad 
trains by false telegrams transmitted by our operators over Con 
federate wires ,by means of which forty-eight miles of the Mem 
phis & Charleston railroad were captured and Corinth and Chat 
tanooga menaced. Operations about New Madrid and Island No. 
10 were greatly forwarded by the military telegraph. 

So close and complete were the extensions of the field wires 
in the Vicksburg campaign that Grant was enabled to watch 
Pemberton s every move and to communicate constantly with 
Sherman, who was holding Johnston s Confederte forces east of 
Big Black river to prevent co-operation with Pemberton s army 
at Vicksburg. The announcement of the surrender of that place 
was communicated to Sherman in front of Jackson, forty-five 
miles east, and a congratulatory answer placed in Grant s hands 
within an hour of the occurrence of that important event. From 
his tent on the Potomac General Grant telegraphed his orders to 
all the armies throughout the armed front and kept himself in 
formed daily of the exact state of facts with Banks on Red 
river, Sherman at Chattanooga, Butler at Fort Monroe and Sigel 
in West Virginia. 

General Eckert, in his report of operations of the telegraph 
corps under his charge on the Potomac, says: My field tele 
graph continues to work like a charm. Instead of letting down 
it has improved every day since we left Brandy Station, and is 
complimented by all. Doran has built and taken down an aver 
age of twenty-four miles daily. Most of his work has been after 
night and under great disadvantages. All corps headquarters and 
many brigades have been in constant connection with Generals 
Grant s and Meade s headquarters during every engagement ; 
also every reconnoissance that has been made in force has had 
telegraphic connection with headquarters. Last, but not least, 
connection has been kept up while on the march. This was ac 
complished by making a halt at stated times (intervals of thirty 
minutes to one hour), reporting any change with the advance that 
might occur, or any change in orders from headquarters to the 
advance or rear." 

Nine operators accompanied General Sherman s army in its 
march to the sea and performed valuable service, frequently tap 
ping the rebel lines and obtaining much valuable information. 
The army, however, was cut off from all communication with the 



2O8 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

north and great anxiety felt throughout the Union for its safety, 
until it reached Savannah and the following telegram sent via 
Fortress Monroe : 

"Savannah, Ga., December 2nd, 1864. 
"To His Excellency, President Lincoln, Washington, D. C. 

"I beg to present you, as a Christmas gift, the city of Sa 
vannah, with 150 heavy guns and plenty of ammunition; also 
about 25,000 bales of cotton. \y x. SHERMAN, 

"Major General." 

This message reached the President on Christmas eve and 
made many a home happy on Christmas day. 

The lines were generally built under very trying circum 
stances and the work beset by difficulties constantly arising in a 
strange country overrun by guerrillas and inhabited by enemies. 
Wires were frequently strung under the enemy s fire and through 
the mountains, among rocky cliffs and along roads impassable to 
troops. 

Plumb s History of the Military Telegraph tells of an oper 
ator with General Porter s force at Games Mill who connected 
his instrument with a wire within 100 yards of the line of battle, 
sat down behind a tree and called "MC," the signal for McClel- 
lan s headquarters, whose operator answered promptly. McClel- 
lan and the officers about him regarded the opening of telegraphic 
communication at that point and moment as a godsend. Order 
lies were placed at the operators command and for several hours 
the beardless youth sat close behind the tree and sent and re 
ceived many messages of the progress of the battle. The roar of 
cannon, rattle of musketry and Federal cheers and rebel yells 
were not favorable to telegraphing by ear, but being one of the 
best telegraphers in the country and daring and brave he was 
not disconcerted. Several of the messages brought to him from 
Porter for transmission to McClellan were bespattered with the 
blood of the orderlies, and he was obliged to forward telegrams 
to Porter by two or three messengers to insure delivery, as sev 
eral were shot on the way. It can be truly said McClellan fought 
this battle by telegraph. This is only a sample of the service per 
formed by the operators in the army. Battles have been fought 
over ground where the insulated wire lay stretched carrying tele 
grams directing the movements and disposition of our forces in 



THE TELEGRAPH IN THE CIVIL WAR 2CK) 

action. The field telegraph oftentimes sped reports of the prog 
ress of battle throughout the land before either side had won the 
day. 

It would be difBcult to enumerate the hazards and obstacles 
incident to the construction, maintenance and operation of mili 
tary lines, but the telegraph was ever to the front occupying the 
post of danger and of honor, and frequently in advance of the 
army, at the foremost picket posts, in the rifle pits and in the ad 
vanced parallel at any hour day or night, and amidst the strife 
of battle and whistling of bullets the mysterious yet intellectual 
click of the telegraph instruments was heard. The operators 
were mostly young, many under age, but their bravery and 
courage was not excelled in any branch of the service, often per 
forming duties in the face of the enemy, exposed to fire without 
shelter day and night. Frequently the operator was the last to 
leave an abandoned position, even when it meant capture and im 
prisonment. Often during retreat he would be left in the rear, 
exposed to the enemy until the last moment, in order to take ad 
vantage of any hope which might be sent in way of intelligence 
that reinforcements were at hand. Often he climbed the telegraph 
pole to connect his instruments with a wire, and would com 
municate while exposed to the galling fire of rebel sharpshoot 
ers. He boldly connected his instrument with the rebel telegraph 
lines, exposing himself in this manner for days and weeks to 
capture and death as a spv. He slept in the swamps and laid 
down his life on the battle field as bravely as the bravest soldier. 
The utmost confidence was reposed in him by his commander, 
and by the special authority of the Secretary of War he was made 
the custodian of the cipher key and all important correspond 
ence, whether sent by wire, by courier or otherwise, was framed 
under cover of the cipher by the operator. Thus information of 
the utmost importance was often confided to him before it be 
came known to even the staff officers. 

Copies of our cipher dispatches frequently fell in the hands 
of the enemy when our couriers were captured or wires tampered 
with by rebel operators, and some of these were published in 
Confederate newspapers with a general request, and offers of re 
ward, for translations, but without success, as the cipher system 
devised by the telegraph corps was too secure to translate with 
out a key, while on the other hand the cipher messages of the 



2IO CIV 7 IL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

Confederates when captured were invariably deciphered by our 
cipher operators and valuable information was thus obtained. 
No cipher operator ever proved recreant to his sacred trust, and 
let it be said to the credit of the average American operator that 
he will not divulge a secret committed to his trust. He has been 
known to burn a message, and even go to jail, rather than di 
vulge its contents. 

General Sherman in his memoirs relates that on the morning 
of April 1 7th, 1865, just as he with some of his staff were start 
ing from Raleigh, N. C., with an engine and car for Durham Sta 
tion to meet General Joseph E. Johnston and arrange terms of 
surrender of the latter s army, his operator ran with bated 
breath to stop the train and inform the General that he was just 
receiving a most important telegram, which he ought to see. 
After some delay the operator brought a long telegram from Mr. 
Stanton, announcing the assassination of Mr. Lincoln. Dread 
ing the effect of such a message at that critical moment upon the 
soldiers, who were peculiarly endeared to Mr. Lincoln, and who 
might retaliate, and that Raleigh would meet a fate even worse 
than that which befell Columbia, General Sherman bade the oper 
ator not to reveal the information to any one until he returned, 
and the startling and important secret was faithfully kept by the 
operator during the entire day. How many of us, companions, 
would have kept silently within our breasts the news of this 
awful calamity, except to hold our breath in horror at the enor 
mity of the deed ? 

The telegraph corps were all civilians, except the superin 
tendents, who were regularly commissioned officers. The corps 
aggregated about 1,200 operators, besides the line builders and 
repairmen. The conduct of the war was so largely dependent 
upon the telegraph that nearly 16,000 miles of military lines were 
built, many miles of which being built under the enemy s fire. 
A large number of operators and linemen were killed or died of 
disease contracted by exposure. Others were wounded, and 
about one hundred were taken to southern prisons to languish, 
with no prospect of parole or exchange, as the Union operator 
was regarded by the Confederates as dangerous to their cause. 
His intrepidity and bold exploits in tapping rebel wires, inter 
cepting dispatches and transmitting false messages, calculated to 
deceive the enemy, was well known to his captor, who was loth 



THE- TELEGRAPH IN THE CIVIL WAR. 211 

to release or exchange him. Many operators remained in rebel 
prisons until the close of the war. 

As a result of the achievements of the telegraph during the 
War of the Rebellion, all the great Governments of Europe now 
have a thoroughly equipped telegraph corps connected with 
their armies, fashioned after the system used by our army. The 
German Emperor recently, in speaking of our war, said that be 
sides the splendid examples of entrenchments, quick transporta 
tion and forced marches, we also taught Europe how to telegraph 
in war. 

General Grant wrote that "the telegraph and the signal 
service, its co-ordinate, were as necessary to our success as the 
railroad is to commerce. Nothing could be more complete than 
this body of brave and intelligent men. The moment the troops 
were put in position to go into camp, all the men connected with 
this branch of the service would proceed to put up their wires. 
Then, in a few minutes longer than it took a mule to walk the 
length of its coil, telegraphic communication would be effected 
between all headquarters of the army. No orders ever had to 
be given to establish the telegraph." 

General Sheridan said : "In my own experience I found the 
military telegraphers invariably active, brave and honorable." 

General Logan said : No part of the army during the war 
discharged its duties more diligently and faithfully than the tele 
graph corps." 

Also General Warren, who wrote of an operator "bringing 
his line and operating his instrument within musket range of the 
enemy under a heavy cannonading," and again of another "under 
a severe musketry fire." 

General Franklin said : "It was always a pleasant surprise 
within an hour or two after a long day s march that the wires 
were brought to my headquarters, thus saving lives and time of 
couriers and horses, and giving a comfortable feeling of security 
which would otherwise be wanting. The duties were so well per 
formed and the men themselves so modest and unobtrusive that 
their merits have not received sufficient notice from the Generals 
with whom they served. I know of no class of men in the army 
who were more faithful and energetic. I always found them alert, 
intelligent and courageous." 

Secretary Santon officially reported : "The military telegraph 



212 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

has been of inestimable value to the service and no corps has sur 
passed few have equaled the telegraph operators in diligence 
and devotion to their duties/ 

General McClellan said : "I do not think that any one appre 
ciates more highly than I do the value of those services and the 
loyal and invaluable devotion so constantly displayed by the men. 
I had ample occasion to recognize the devotion to duty which so 
often kept them at their posts in the midst of danger, the patience, 
intelligence and thorough honesty they displayed and the great 
debt still unpaid, and too little recognized, due them by the 
country." 

Quartermaster General Meigs in his annual report of 1864 
says : "The operations of the military telegraph have been con 
ducted with fidelity and skill. The operators have shown great 
zeal, intrepidity and fidelity. Their duties are arduous and the 
trust reposed in them is great. I have seen a telegraph operator 
in charge of a station in a tent pitched from necessity in a ma 
larious locality, shivering with ague, lying upon his camp cot, 
with his ear near the instrument, listening for the messages which 
might direct or arrest the movement of mighty armies. Night 
and day they are at their posts. Their duties constantly place 
them in exposed positions, and they are favorite objects of rebel 
surprise. It is much desired that some mode of recognizing and 
rewarding the bold, faithful and most important services of these 
gentlemen should be provided. " 

This is the testimony of some of our country s great Gen 
erals as to the proud record of the military telegraph in the War 
of the Rebellion. But to this day the general Government has 
failed to recognize these services, and the army operator who, in 
common with the rest of the army, shared the hardships, expos 
ures, wounds, capture, sufferings, and even death, all from the 
same patriotic impulse, is not accorded the recognition enjoyed 
by the private soldier. 



AN OUTING IN ARKANSAS, OR FORTY DAYS AND A 
WEEK IN THE WILDERNESS. 

BY 
CAPT. H. E. PALMER, IITH KANSAS CAVALRY. 

(Read November 7, 1899.) 

The nth Kansas Infantry, after a march of 300 miles in 
Southeastern Kansas and Southwestern Missouri, crossed the 
Arkansas line on the "wire road" from Springfield to Fayette- 
ville on the 2oth day of October, 1862. We camped for the night 
not far from Elkhorn Tavern, on a part of the famous battle 
ground of Pea Ridge. Just after the boys had finished their sup 
per of hardtack, bacon and coffee, and were busy spreading their 
blankets for the night, the order came to get ready for a night 
march, strict orders being given to preserve absolute silence 
no bugles or drums were to be sounded ; no talking, singing or 
whistling was to be indulged in, and company commanders were 
to be held accountable for any disobedience of these orders. 
They were instructed to give their commands in a low tone of 
voice, to particularly caution the men that we were in the face 
of the enemy, and that it was absolutely necessary for the suc 
cess of our expedition to preserve the most profound silence. 
My duty as company commander was fully acquitted ; although 
only a Second Lieutenant, I was the only officer on duty with 
my company. Over 900 tired, travel- worn, foot-blistered men of 
the nth Kansas, after a hard day s march covering fully 
twenty-five miles rolled up their blankets, slung their knap 
sacks, picked up their heavy Prussian muskets and other accoutre 
ments, and at the command "Fall in twos right, forward route 
step, march !" left their camp ground on a road leading through 
the woods in a westerly direction. Where bound? No one in 
camp, except possibly the Colonel, knew. For more than two 
hours after it had become so dark that we could only see our 
file leaders we continued to plod along ; no music, no singing, no 

(213) 



214 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

talking all as still as death. Then came a halt that appeared 
at the head of the column, whereupon the men, without orders, 
threw themselves on the ground, to the right and left, without 
taking their feet from the beaten pathway, and rested. After 
ten minutes rest the advance started. Those who had not fallen 
asleep while lying upon the ground would kick or pull at their 
nearest comrades and start them on the weary tramp for another 
hour or two, and then another rest. Two or three quite deep 
and rapid streams had to be forded, shoes and stockings in hand, 
naked feet against flinty gravel and sharp rocks, night very dark, 
not a pleasant job of wading, and a mighty unpleasant tramp 
it was. At daylight we camped in an orchard ; cooked our ration 
of bacon by impaling it on sharpened sticks and toasting the 
meat over the camp fire. We made our coffee in our tin drinking 
cups, which we carried hooked on to our belts, and with the hard 
tack from our haversacks enjoyed a sumptuous breakfast. We 
were cautioned to preserve silence in camp, the men being al 
lowed to converse in an ordinary tone of voice, and no hog hunt 
ing or foraging was allowed. 

The day was warm; the flies about to go into winter quar 
ters were very hungry, and so annoying were they that it was 
impossible for one to sleep. We all thought from indications 
that our train would overtake us during the day, when we could 
have our tents and would probably rest for a day or two. I had 
no idea that we would be compelled to resume our march at night 
fall, but we did, and a more sorry-looking crowd never obeyed 
orders than ours. Scarcely a man had slept during the day 
the pesky flies and fool jokers had kept them awake and before 
the dawn of day on this second night s march, having been awake 
more than forty consecutive hours, I thought I would never live 
to see the sun again. I was so awful tired and sleepy, and my 
feet were so badly blistered, that I was compelled to do what 
nearly half my men did, pull off my shoes and march with only 
my stockings to shield my feet from the sharp stones and sticks. 
I swore, and the only sounds I heard during that awful night s 
march one never to be forgotten was a snore or a muttered 
curse from some poor devil who had fallen asleep during the ten 
minutes rest or on the march had stubbed his toes on some in 
fernal rock with which the road was studded. 

Our course was westerlv from near Bentonville, Arkansas, 



AN OUTING IN ARKANSAS. 215 

toward Maysville, Indian Territory, and was up and down the 
rocky flint hills of that region, nearly all the time through the 
timber, with here an there an ice-cold stream to wade. Oh, it 
was hell ! 

It is truly said that " tis a long road that has no turn." Just 
after daylight we heard a few scattering shots ahead ; then came 
the "double quick" order, and more shots, increasing to volleys. 
A battle was on ; our tired feeling vanished ; blistered feet were 
forgotten. It is truly wonderful what a stimulating influence a 
few whistling bullets have, for when the "zip !" "zip !" was heard 
we broke into a run in obedience to the order to swing on the 
right into line and "commence firing." Before sunrise we had 
fought the battle of Maysville, Indian Territory, October 22nd, 
1862; had captured about 250 prisoners and four splendid Par 
rot guns and had thoroughly routed General Standwaitie s army. 
The cavalry did about all the fighting, as the rebels would not 
stand for our infantry attack. 

After pursuing the fleeing enemy for a few miles the cav 
alry returned, loaded down with chickens, turkeys, pigs, apples 
and other appetizers, which they freely divided up with the tired 
"dough boys." By noon our train, which had been kept about 
ten miles in our rear, came up, and then with our tents, camp 
kettles, coffee, baked beans, and with blankets to sleep upon, we 
forgot our blistered feet and aching limbs, sang our songs as we 
never sung before, and when taps sounded slept and dreamed as 
only soldiers can. 

The captured prisoners were turned over to my care, guarded 
by my company, and a dozen large Sibley tents pitched close to 
each other formed the quarters. A chain of armed sentinels 
around a space about 200 feet square completed the prison, or the 
"bull ring;" the sentinels pathway the "dead line." For two or 
three days nothing out of the ordinary routine of camp life in 
an enemy s country happened. I had listed all the prisoners 
names, service and rank, with brief descriptions. 

While seated in my tent writing my orderly announced the 
arrival of an old lady. She had come to camp on horseback 
I might say "critter-back," for the old horse was as poor as a 
crow and nearly as old as the old, white-haired woman, who, 
after the orderly had helped her to dismount, asked to see the 
"General" who commanded the prison camp. I was advanced sev- 



2l6 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

eral rank insignias as the orderly pointed me out. The old lady 
with a courtly courtesy begged my indulgence and permission 
to see and talk to the prisoners. She said she had lived in "these 
ere parts nigh onto seventy years" and knew most everybody. 

I called the sergeant of the guard and instructed him to 
order the prisoners to fall into line, which they did in short order, 
and I escorted the old lady down the line. She shook hands with 
all the captives, and nearly all seemed to know her and all ap 
peared glad to meet her, trusting that she would tell their friends 
of their misfortune, and that they expected soon to be shot by 
the terrible Kansans, or possibly sent north to be tortured by 
the "hairy-horned Yanks ;" perhaps to be burned at the stake. 
The poor devils absolutely expected nothing less than death. It 
was quite interesting to me to hear them tell the old lady to bid 
good-bye to their friends for them. 

When the good old woman left I told her to say to the "folks 
at home" that if anyone wanted to see the prisoners, to give 
them clothing or food, before they were marched northward, to 
come into camp. No woman, child or old man would be harmed 
or stopped from coming or going, and that they would be per 
mitted to pass the guards as she had done. She thanked me 
kindly and rode away. 

Next day about 2 p. m. I was startled by the sound of horses 
feet near my tent. The rustling of a riding habit and, "ye gods !" 
the melodious, angelic sound of a woman s voice. I stepped 
from my tent and beheld, to me, six months from civilization, an 
apparition two beautiful young ladies, handsomely dressed in 
stylish riding habits, on prancing steeds, and this in Arkansas. 
I waived my orderly to one side as he attempted to assist the 
ladies to dismount and said to him: "Hold the horses, sir; I will 
assist the ladies," and I did. I soon had them inside my tent 
away from the vulgar, envious eyes of a thousand men, who 
were as much interested in the apparition as a country boy seeing 
the first circus parade. The elder of the two young ladies, prob 
ably a girl of 20 summers, introduced herself to me as Miss 
Blanche McPhail and the other as Susie, her sister, probably 
two years younger. She said that her only brother, Samuel Mc 
Phail, was a prisoner in my camp ; could they be permitted to 
see their brother and give him a package of provisions and some 
clothes which thev had tied to their saddles? "You bet your 



AN OUTING IN ARKANSAS. 2I/ 

life; yes, certainly they could," and my tent was at their dis 
posal. "Sergeant of the guard, call Prisoner McPhail." He 
came. I dropped the flap of the tent and stepped outside, not 
quick enough, however, to bar my ears from the sound of a 
dozen kisses and joyous hugs of the sisters and brother. And 
yet we are at war and why? I thought and wished myself at 
home, where I might enjoy the same blessing. Soon Miss 
Blanche called me and formally introduced her brother, and 
begged me to advise her what his fate might be. Of course I 
told her it would not be disagreeable ; he would be treated kindly, 
well fed and kept for exchange. We were not murderers, were 
not fighting undr the black flag, were Americans loyal to our 
flag, but humane to our enemies ; no serious harm could come 
to Samuel if he did not attempt to escape. This talk seemed to 
reassure them. The ^irls opened the package of provisions 
fried chicken, nice biscuits well buttered, pickles, cake and cheese 
and insisted that I should share of the feast. Their cordial 
invitation could not be refused. We ate, talked and chatted for 
nearly an hour (only a few minutes by my time) and then they 
called for their horses. 

The brother was fearful that our Cherokee Indians, of which 
we had two regiments, might intercept the girls before they 
could get clear of our lines, and I admitted there was danger. 
"Would I kindly escort his sisters beyond our picket line?" Of 
course I would if the young ladies would accept my services. 
They blushingly assented. "Orderly, go to the cavalry camp and 
ask Lieutenant Blake to loan me his horse." "My kingdom for 
a horse !" I rode with Blanche and Susie before two or three 
thousand envious eyes to the advance picket line, a mile or more 
from my camp. As I passed the Lieutenant and his squad of 
ten cavalrymen he said: "Palmer, don t go far; we saw some 
bushwhackers down the road about a mile away half an hour 
ago." I answered : "No, I won t go far, only to the bend over 
there." After passing the picket a few rods Blanche pulled up 
her horse and rode to my right, remarking that now I was under 
her care and I had better ride between her and her sister, and 
that if I was not afraid I might go home with them ; that she 
would pledge me on her honor that no harm would come to me, 
and I should surely return to camp without any hindrance or 
danger to myself. I asked how she could guarantee this. She 



2l8 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

replied with one of her sweetest, most winning smiles : "You will 
trust me, I know. I will soon prove that my guarantee is a good 
one; you are not afraid?" I was a "goner," a prisoner without 
having been ordered to surrender. I answered : "No, I am not 
afraid ; I will go where you dare to lead, and I believe in you 
heart and soul." 

About three miles from our lines (I had not thought of dis 
tance or location) a mounted man rode out from a patch of 
brush and timber adjoining the road about a quarter of a mile 
in advance. Blanche touched her horse and dashed a few yards 
to the front and waived a white handkerchief to the right and 
left. The bushwhacker, for such he was, waved his hand in sa 
lute and rode back to his hiding place. I halted for a moment, 
thought that perhaps I had been as gallant as any discreet Federal 
officer should be in the wild region of Arkansas, where no quar 
ter was asked by or expected of the guerrillas, who were con 
stantly scouting along our flanks, hunting and killing foragers, 
stragglers, flankers, front and rear guards, shooting at any 
Union soldiers who came in range of their guns or into the 
ambush that they were always planning. My two charmers 
both noticed the hesitating look on my face and laughingly 
chicled me for apparently doubting their ability to fully protect 
me from my deadly enemies. Like the fly that flew into the 
spider s web, or the bird that dropped into the snake s mouth, I 
was where I could not turn back. I felt that I had entered upon 
the adventure and must "face the music." I was too young and 
too reckless to think of anything but the novelty of my position ; 
it was a new and interesting adventure with a beautiful girl who 
was chief of the guerrillas. I would ride on and fight if need be. 
I felt sure she would keep her word. 

It was ten good, long miles from camp to the McPhail home, 
which I found to be a fine plantation, good buildings, a well 
furnished house, piano in the parlor, fine books and pictures, 
showing good taste and cultivattion. The girls had both at 
tended school ( in Boston, but they were intensely southern and 
rebel to the core. The mother was an austere looking woman, a 
good hater. My uniform made her eyes snap fire that looked 
too warm for love. 

Blanche ordered a slave to take my horse and "care for him 
nicely." Inviting me into the parlor, she excused herself for a 



AN OUTING IN ARKANSAS. 219 

moment to bring her mother in and undoubtedly to explain to 
her my presence there, while the darkey women and children, a 
dozen or more, appeared very much excited over my coming. 
Susie joined me quickly, so that I had but little time to myself 
during the absence of Blanche, who came with her mother, who 
thanked me for sparing her son s life and escorting her daugh 
ters home. I was glad to excuse her, and soon both Blanche 
and Susie were doing their best to entertain me. Both sang and 
played well. Dixie Land," "My Maryland," "Richmond on the 
James" and many other southern songs were charmingly sung; 
the music and the lovely songsters were simply captivating. Liv 
ing- in the mountains and in the army for two and one-half years 
previous, I had heard nothing like it. I shall never forget the 
sweet abandon that lulled me to unconsciousness as to time. Not 
until candles were brought in did I think of "home and friends 
once more," with camp ten miles away. No, no, I could not go 
until after supper. It was just ready, and it was a fine one, too: 
nice white biscuits and honey, tender chicken fried in butter a 
supper fit for a king. About 8 p. m. I suddenly became con 
scious for a moment and said / must go. No, they were not 
ready yet. Finally to quiet me Blanche admitted that she was 
awaiting an answer from a message sent to the commanding 
officer of the guerrillas. She had asked for a pledge that I should 
not be harmed on my way back to camp. I thought it was awfully 
good of them, and before I left, at 9 p. m., I swore that they were 
two as nice angels as I had ever seen. I was proud, indeed,- to 
know them, and I would come back again in a few days, "sure." 
It was a lonely ride to camp over a dark and lonely road, a good 
portion of the way through timber, through two covered bridges, 
yet I thought only of my afternoon s experience. "Did I love 
Blanche?" By George, I did. Just then a voice rang out on the 
night air: "Halt! who goes there?" I pulled up my steed, drew 
my revolver and tried to think of what Blanche had said should 
be my countersign. Yes, I had it "A friend from McPhail s." 
"Advance and pass on !" was the reply. The challenge had come 
from in front of a covered bridge. When I reached the spot 
there was no one in sight. The dark passage way of the bridge 
was particularly lonesome just at that time twice was I halted 
before I reached camp. 

The next day I called on General Blunt and explained to 



22O CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

him that Prisoner Samuel McPhail had a widowed mother and 
two sisters dependent upon him ; that, as a matter of fact, he had 
been impressed into the Confederate service ; that if permitted 
he would take the oath of allegiance and never again take up 
arms against the United States. The oath was duly adminis 
tered and McPhail liberated. .The next day we broke camp, 
marched southeast to Elm Creek, where, after a few days, First 
Lieutenant Owens overtook our command and for the first time 
assumed command of my company. As we sat by the rail camp 
fire that night, after the usual camp talk, the question was raised 
as to what we would do with the officer who might die during the 
campaign. Owens said if I should die he would bury me in the 
middle of some well-traveled road and pile up rocks four feet 
high over my grave, to make everybody turn out, as indicative 
of my disposition. That night he was stricken with pneumonia 
and in less than twenty-four hours he was dead, and a few days 
later I was delirious with the same disease. The command was 
ordered to march. With other sick soldiers I was taken to a 
farm house, over which a hospital flag was hoisted and a guard 
was detailed to protect same. 

The next morning, though very dangerously sick, my de 
lirium ceased. I heard that my company had marched away and 
that a great battle was pending. I stole out of the hospital by 
a back entrance, taking my overcoat and revolvers that were 
near the head of my bed. After reaching the road, being unable 
to walk, I drew my pistol on a straggling cavalryman, made him 
dismount and help me mount his horse and then I rode to the 
front just in time to assume command of my company in line 
for the Cane Hill fight, November 28th, 1862. A charge, a sharp- 
contested struggle, then a stampede. We drove the Confederates 
before us through the town up into the Boston mountains, and 
nightfall caught us in the woods with no food, except a little 
hardtack in a few haversacks, which had not been thrown away 
in the charge. (Soldiers will drop everything save their gun and 
ammunition in the race for victorv.) There were no overcoats 
or blankets; all had been left under a guard on the firing line 
just before the charge. Big camp fires were built and between 
two large logs my boys piled up a bed of leaves, in which they 
buried me and held me there for hours while I was shouting and 



AN OUTING IN ARKANSAS. 221 

swearing, wildly insane with fever. Finally, after midnight, I 
fell asleep. 

In the morning I was very weak, but well of the pneumonia 
and without anything to eat until near noon, when we received 
some bacon, hard bread and coffee, and our blankets and over 
coats. My company, A, and Company H of the same regi 
ment were kept on this advance picket line until the morning of 
December 7th, 1862, when at daylight we were attacked by rebel 
cavalry. They did not press us very hard and about 10 a. m. we 
heard the boom of artillery east and north of us far in our rear. 
Orders came to fall back on Cane Hill, two miles away. When 
we reached the town we found that all of Blunt s army was in 
motion. "To the rear, double quick !" was the order. We would 
double quick for half a mile, then walk another half mile. Men 
in the ranks cried out that they could not travel so fast. The 
officers had to tell them that unless they kept up they would cer 
tainly be killed or captured. Andersonville or hell not much 
choice. Every man did his level best to keep up. We walked 
and double quicked twelve miles and at Prairie Grove swung 
right into line before Hindman s rebel army of 25,000 men and 
twelve pieces of artillery. The rebels had made a feint on our 
front, had marched ten miles by our left flank, and were within 
three miles of our train of 600 wagons at Rhea s Mills. Their 
left wing had swung in between us and our train. We were 
350 miles from our base of supplies, and all our stores and am 
munition were at Rhea s Mills, with only the Qth Wisconsin In 
fantry as a guard. The capture of the train meant absolutely 
our surrender. Just then Hindman s advance unexpectedly ran 
into the advance of General Herron, who, with about 5,000 men, 
was hastening by forced marches to reinforce the small army of 
only 5,000 with Blunt. Herron had twelve pieces of artillery, 
Blunt eighteen fine Parrott guns and three mountain howitzers ; 
combined both Herron and Blunt had about 10,000 men and 
thirty-three pieces of artillery. 

We were not fairly matched, but as we had nearly three 
pieces of artillery to one of the enemy the odds were not so great, 
had we had an even start in the fight, but by this flank move 
ment Hindman was enabled to fight us in detail. Before Blunt 
could reach the field of battle Herron had, after a most stubborn 
and gallant fight, been badly whipped and driven across the Illi- 



222 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

nois Creek, simply overwhelmed four to one. When we came 
upon the scene about 3 130 p. m. our first cannon shot was 
towards Herron s retreating forces, but in a moment the rebel 
army swung on the left into line and opened up a line of fire and 
leaden hail that was simply awful. Their two batteries also got 
our range very quickly, but our men stood like veterans. Other 
regiments coming from Blunt s army kept swinging into line and 
our three batteries, Captain Rabb s Indiana battery, Captain 
Hopkins Ohio battery and Captain Tenney s 1st Kansas bat 
tery, were all soon sweeping the rebel lines, filling the timber 
where most of their forces lay with shot and shell and broken 
limbs from trees. We charged into the timber and were driven 
back to our first line, where we rallied our shattered forces. Gen 
eral Herron had soon after our impetuous attack gathered his 
forces and again assaulted the enemy. I witnessed a grand 
charge made by the I9th Iowa and 2Oth Wisconsin Infantry 
through an orchard up a hill to the crest, unmindful of leaden 
bullets, grape and cannister, to capture the famous Bledsoe bat 
tery, the best six-Parrott gun battery in the rebel trans-Missis 
sippi army. They captured the battery, but the rebels rallied 
and retook it and drove the Iowa and Wisconsin boys back. The 
37th Illinois Infantry and 26th Indiana Infantry had captured 
this battery about I p. m. and lost it. Four times in a half day 
were these six guns captured by the contending forces, and over 
300 soldiers of both armies lay dead on less than two acres of 
ground about and in front of it. 

Finally, half an hour before dark, twelve of our Parrott guns 
were massed. Two hundred infantrymen (my company among 
the number) were ordered to lie down twenty paces in front of 
the two batteries. The rebels, 7,000 strong, came sweeping out of 
the timber in solid column more than thirty deep, lifting their 
guns with fixed bayonets above their heads. They came on with 
a yell, like 7,000 demons as they were, and were within 300 yards 
of us when the command "Fire !" was given and twelve guns, 
double shotted with grape and cannister, swept great holes 
through their column. They staggered back like drunken men, 
then rallied and pushed on again. Our cannon belched forth 
death and destruction to their compact ranks a second time. Again 
they wavered, but for only a moment. Men mad with powdered 
whiskey and sight of blood filled the depleted ranks and came on 



AN OUTING IN ARKANSAS. 223 

again. Again the command "Fire !" It was more than they 
could stand. The main body turned and fled. Only a few, about 
200 of the bravest of the brave, rushed past us on to the guns. 
Our caissons were going to the rear, the drivers urging their 
horses under whip and spur. Our infantry rose to their feet 
and, clubbing their guns, drove the few "Johnnies" who had 
pierced our lines to the rear as prisoners. The next day 237 
dead bodies were thrown into one cellar all that was left of a 
burned home just in front of those two batteries 

Night was upon us. Firing ceased. We were whipped and 
driven to a swamp, Illinois Creek valley, one-fourth of a mile 
north of our last line, and such a night ! It was cold, the ground 
frozen ; nearly all the men had thrown their overcoats and 
blankets into the ambulances just before going into the battle 
and the ambulances had unloaded them near the field hospitals^ 
which, with one exception, were still inside our lines. It being 
dark and the ambulances being loaded with wounded, no in 
formation could be had as to where our overcoats and blankets 
were. We were ordered not to build fires, and I was detailed to 
go into the Cherokee Indian camp and stamp out the very small 
fire that some Indians were building and trying to cover from 
sight by blankets stretched around two or three stalwart Indians 
as they crouched upon the ground. The officers and men on 
guard succeeded in completing the misery of the tired, cold and 
hungry men ; we had had nothing to eat since early morn not 
one morsel of food. We drank the dirtiest slough water, dodg 
ing among the horses feet to get it. The men laid down, spoon 
fashion, in rows of twenty to forty, trying to keep warm by nat 
ural heat. Men died from exposure and cold on that battle field 
on this awful December night. Not one living rational soul who 
survived that night at Prairie Grove, Arkansas, will ever forget 
it to his dying day. 

I was relieved at midnight and wandered half a mile to the 
right, trying to find some place where I might keep warm enough 
to fall asleep, not caring whether I ever awoke again or not. 
Finally I came to a wedge tent large enough to keep the night 
air off of five men if they lay reasonably close. I thought to my 
self, these are officers of high rank probably. I crowded into 
the tent and found just room enough to wedge myself in between 
one of the sleepers and the edge of the side of the tent, moving 



224 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

so cautiously that my bed-fellow did not object to my presence. 
He had a blanket over him. I pulled on the edge of the blanket 
and slowly dragged it over me. Lying on the cold ground, with 
the blanket and tent for covering, I was very soon asleep, and it 
was sunrise when I awoke. Many men were tramping and call 
ing outside, and yet my companions slept, unconscious of my 
having gone to bed with them and of my having stolen a part 
of their covering. I raised on my elbow to study the situation 
and saw five sleepers all lying close together all dead. 

A blanket had been thrown over them and the tent stretched 
to protect them from the hogs. They were all officers. A half 
hour later I was sent on the battle field with a flag of truce, ten 
men and an ambulance to help gather up the poor wounded sol 
diers who had lived through that awful night. As soon as I 
reached the field I saw that there was no rebel army in sight 
only a few cavalrymen gathering rebel wounded. I soon learned 
from wounded men of both sides that Hindman had, early in the 
evening, drawn off his forces, believing that reinforcements had 
reached us and that he was severely whipped. His retreating 
column was then at least ten miles away. We found some hard 
cornbread in haversacks of dead Confederates, which we were 
glad to eat. Many of the canteens of the dead rebels contained 
gunpowdered whiskey. 

I quickly returned to our lines and told General Blunt of the 
retreat of Hindman, and then learned that early in the morning 
of December 8th, about 3 a. m., General Blunt had received a flag 
of truce from Hindman, asking for twenty-four hours armistice 
to care for the wounded and bury the dead. Under this arrange 
ment I, with other officers and squads of men, had been sent on 
the battle field. Of course Blunt and Herron took possession of 
the battle field, and no particular effort was made to pursue the 
enemy except to send a few hundred cavalry to reconnoiter and 
locate if possible Hindman s army. 

At the time of our last struggle on the field, about dark De 
cember 7th, our wagon train of over 600 wagons was retreating 
towards Missouri and was strung out for over ten miles. After 
dark many of the teams were mired in a creek between Prairie 
Grove and Fayetteville, and the darkness of the night added to 
the confusion and mixing of things generally until there was a 
jam of teams that made it impossible to move a wheel. It was 



AN OUTING IN ARKANSAS. 225 

fully noon, December 8th, before the teams could be disentan 
gled, straightened out from the mud and mire, and brought to 
camp, when we were soon fed and made comfortable. 

For the forces engaged, there was no more stubborn fight 
and no greater casualties in any battle of the war than at Prairie 
Grove, Arkansas. The enemy s infantry were mostly armed with 
Enfield rifies, at that time the best gun in use. My regiment 
was armed with condemned Prussian muskets, dangerous at both 
ends. They would "kick worse than a mule." We had less than 
7,000 men engaged in both Herron s and Blunt s commands 
(James G. Blunt of Kansas, being senior Brigadier General, 
commanded). Out of our less than 7,000 troops engaged we lost 
in killed and wounded 1,251 more than one out of six. The 
rebels had about 25,000 men, with over 22,000 engaged; 3,000 
of their force were Arkansas conscripts (not the best soldiers). 
About 2,000 of their men were Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians. 
Their loss in killed and wounded aggregated nearly 3,200 700 
men killed and 2,500 wounded. Victory for the Confederates 
meant the annihilation or capture of our entire army with its 
thirty-three pieces of artillery, Blunt s and Herron s trains, fully 
1,000 wagons six-mule teams, and, worse than all, the over 
running and entire control of Missouri, Kansas, Colorado and 
i\ r ew Mexico, and possibly Nebraska, by rebel forces. It would 
have prolonged the war another year. The issue was well under 
stood ; privates as well as the officers knew what the stakes were. 



226 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 



FORTY YEARS IN THE FIELD. 

BY 
S. D. MERCER, LIEUT. AND ASST. SURGEON I49TH ILLINOIS INF. 

(Read November 7, 1900.) 

Forty years, when we look forward in the dim vista of the 
future, seems a long time, but when we take a retrospective view 
it seems but a little while, and we can only realize that so much 
time has passed by comparing "then" and "now," even though 
we must measure events by epochs through which we have 
passed, to make us realize and appreciate what has happened in 
these fleeting years. 

All of us, as actors on the stage of public events, as all 
patriotic citizens must be, can remember the "then," and we 
know much of what came between ; and equally well do we realize 
the zealous, watchful care bestowed on every condition, never 
ceasing, as far as we could, to pluck the evil symptom from the 
current of public events. 

As young men and boys, we commenced life with war, 
learned to be alert, sagacious and daring, so that when our en 
vironments changed to civic life we remained, none the less, in the 
field, and even more alert, because every day was picket duty. 
The enemy, too, were equally strong men, subtile and ever- 
present. Vicious purposes, prompted by selfish motives, came in 
successive squad and phalanx, sometimes with double-quick 
movement. Under this kind of life we started and have lived 
our active years, believing at all times that fruition would be the 
result and consciousness of patriotism the reward. 

To be and to feel patriotic we must consistently approve our 
past acts, reconcile our present motives and philosophically com 
prehend possible results as an entailment of our doctrines and 
influences. 

If the above picture be truly drawn, men of active, truly 
earnest work on such lines are imbued with patriotism, which, 
tersely defined, means love of country. And to love one s conn- 



FORTY YEARS IN THE FIELD. 227 

try it is necessary to love and obey all its laws, conventionalities 
and mandates, whether they be directly from the source of gov 
ernment or indirectly acknowledged as the social laws of society, 
commerce or incidental environment. First of all, to be patriotic, 
we must love and protect ourselves, to the end that we may do 
for and protect others and pay to the nation obligation that all 
owe when duty calls from selfish or personal affairs to the de 
fense of country, the source from which all temporal protections 
come. 

If men would be true, firm and brave as individuals they 
must abandon fear and discard doubt in things earnestly under 
taken, and not look back (pillar of salt) in the immediate affairs 
of life, especially to that which has been sorrowful, evil or of ill 
results. "Forward march!" should be the constant command to 
ourselves. To obey such a command right royally there must be 
an object to which we march, a mark of excellence possible to 
reach, and when attained be a cause, clad with righteousness, 
resting upon a pedestal of strength, securely anchored by sacred 
environments of justice, philanthropy and patriotism. 

After we have passed such a mark, attained such a victory 
and built such a monument, it is not well that we should look 
back and exclaim, even mentally: "We did it," for the reason 
that such expression might deprecate its impressions. If the 
cause is worthy, conception complete, and if the labor on our 
part has produced the results, the influences will be potent, stim 
ulating where they may and prompting whomsoever they can to 
press onward to similar and better things on the same or other 
lines. 

The above suggestions about individuals are none the less 
true in public affairs, because bodies politic are composed of in 
dividuals, each being but an integral part of the whole and all 
having a caste similar to the individual elements which make the 
whole ; hence, in all conditions good or bad prevails according 
to the majority or minority of the good or bad individual elements, 
mentally, morally or physically. Egotism, selfishness nor vain 
ambition should cast no shade on individual or collective charac 
ter, but, on the contrary, all emotions of vigor should be culti 
vated and turned to emulating influences, to the end of our own 
enjoyment and ability to reflect the good of our actions upon 
others. First of all is, therefore, self -protection, home, family, 



228 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

and all the social environments bequeathed to man by Deity, 
for man to have and to enjoy with practical realization of such 
conditions. 

In the midst of such full enjoyment it would seem, in fact, 
that the beatific attainments of life had been reached and that 
man with such environments would have no more to get, no 
more to do, but only to live and enjoy. Yet how false to so 
conceive when more remains, ever present, never done, and al 
ways to do. It is duty duty of life. Duty must be paid to 
every department from which we draw these elements of happi 
ness. The demands must not be met grudgingly or the obliga 
tions discharged indifferently, for such duty is brave, true and 
complete. We think it means patriotism in all things. 

When we are enjoying all these conditions and feel the emo 
tion of satisfaction in recognition that the goal of human happi 
ness and ambition is almost reached, there comes a sudden change 
the call to duty. Our country is in danger. The mandate to 
abandon all and march to the battle field is a duty which, when 
obeyed, constitutes the highest order of patriotism. It gives up 
all other things to pay the debt to the cause of country, upon 
which all civil blessings rest. When such work is done it always 
wins applause, not only for duty, but because it is an extraor 
dinary discharge of duty ; because it involves sacrifice of home, 
life and all, to the end that the institutions of our fathers may 
be maintained and bequeathed to other generations. 

It is not egotism nor misconception of our position when, as 
members of this loyal body of men, we assume to espouse any 
earnest military or civic cause, to the end that we may make the 
momentous results already attained more impressive upon the 
young men. May we not, therefore, without egotism, but with 
complacent pride, point to the splendid monument of this free 
country, established by Washington and the Revolution and 
maintained by us, with equally earnest discharge of duty, valor, 
fortitude and self-sacrifice? 

The splendid ultimate consequences of the war in which we 
served shed honor and glory upon its participants and upon the 
heroic men and women who gave us aid and succor outside of 
military ranks. It is not only America, but all the nations of 
the world as well, that acknowledge and commend that patriotic 
devotion shown by our armies, individually and collectively. But 



FORTY YEARS IN THE FIELD. 22Q 

we, left alone here, are not the only honored ones. Many fell in 
the conflict as we might have done, but as the remnants of our 
equal fellows let us in our associations keep the flame of memory 
burning, so that those who look upon us may be stimulated to 
do likewise should the ever-seething circumstances demand earn 
est, practical patriotism of them. Let us impress upon them 
that the conflict through which we passed, between father and 
son, brother and brother, and all of our own, was in a patriotic 
cause deeper even than life, for we did shed our own and our 
brother s blood not that we loved him less, but our country 
more. 

This nation as it is now was the object to which we looked 
when we obeyed the mandate of our country s call. This is the 
liberty to which we went when we obeyed the command "For 
ward march!" Now, as a result, see our constitution protected, 
repaired and saved with all depending rights resting on and with 
every citizen. The objective lesson is "liberty for all." This 
liberty, law and safety for all, by all, and of all, is beautifully im 
pressed upon the world by our simple but comprehensive motto, 
"The Flag." 

As a body of veterans, though the sands of life are well 
shaken, we must not stand idly by and see the causes grow that 
portend evil. We may differ in detail or manner of doing, but 
upon one thing we never can disagree, and that is our nation s 
honor, and our duty is on land or sea, whether our flag is estab 
lished by conflict or by treaty. To look back in individual mat 
ters perhaps may lessen our ambition or effort to press on, but 
in affairs national we must measure the future by the history of 
the past. If our precepts demand "government by consent of the 
governed," it should not be construed to mean individual con 
sent, for it does mean majority and collective consent. 

When Napoleon sold us Louisiana that quit claim did not 
carry with it the consent of the citizens in that vast territory, but 
we made laws^ and they and their posterity and their acquisitions 
accepted, consented to and lived under those laws as acceptable 
to this nation and thus became a part of the governed. When 
the southern Confederacy rebelled individually they refused to be 
governed by consent, but collectively we persuaded them to con 
sent, and now we are all governed by consent. When Luzon and 
the Archipelago became ours by purchase and treaty her people 



230 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

became our people and we became morally their protectors ; we 
offered them humanity, freedom and protection as part of us. A 
few evil, ambitious and hot-headed emotionalists rebelled, and it 
suddenly became our duty to correct and repress, to the end that 
all might finally be prosperous and happy in a future elevated 
and enlightened condition. To have done less would have been 
negligent, cowardly and unpatriotic, even though it did cost 
blood and treasure. 

During the Revolution, if we interpret history correctly, 
there were days of doubt and years of uncertainty, and such we 
know to have been the case during the Rebellion. In fact, years 
of anxiety, sometimes made alarming by temporary defeat, would 
cause the nation s heart to sink, but soon the throbbing influence 
of patriotic men would clear away the mist of doubt and the fog 
of discontent and then we would press on with earnest good will 
until zeal and confidence were again restored. That mystic 
epoch, dark as it may seem, now tells well the story of self-sacri 
fice, devotion to duty and true patriotism. The young people 
know of it only by history ; we know it as a fact. Let us point 
suggestively to the monument, "Our Country/ and exclaim: 
"There it is ; do likewise." Let us continue to help the work of 
construction at home, on and over the sea, and as a unit continue 
to show the world that we are earnest and just, and finally teach 
all humanity to look with pleasure on our flag on land and sea. 

Many of our comrades were left on the battle field; many 
have since passed from the civil work, and we, too, after forty 
years on duty, must rapidly fall one by one. But when one is 
gone we remember him as almost with us. In fact, they are all 
here, for the impressions they left help to make our caste, so that 
we feel the presence in every meeting of those who have gone 
before. 

It would be pleasing to the writer, and interesting, no doubt, 
to all, if some companion would, as a supplement to this paper, 
write one with a descriptive narrative of the "then" forty years 
ago (1860) and the "now" (1900), setting forth the conditions 
of our nation at that time and the successive events through which 
it has passed, as well as the gradual growth, development and 
expansion of all its resources, politically, commercially and so 
cially, giving due credit also to achievements, scientific and liter 
ary, from "then" to "now." May we hope that some one will do 



FORTY YEARS IN THE FIELD. 23! 

this at an early date, to the end that our successors may know 
that we have taken cognizance of the consequences growing out 
of the labor of patriots in our age. But, nevertheless, let us con 
tinue the affairs of this order that its impressions, effects and 
good work will be felt, as if individuals were ever present, by 
those who come after us in immediate and remote history. 



232 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 



CHATTANOOGA TO WASHINGTON AFOOT. 

BY 
LIEUT. JOHN T. BELL, SECOND IOWA INFANTRY. 

(Read May i, igoi.) 

In April, 1864, 100,000 men with muskets and rifles, with 
cannon and caissons, horses, mules, wagons and ambulances ; 
with blacksmiths to repair broken vehicles and shoe the animals ; 
with surgeons to mend the broken health and amputate the man 
gled limbs of the soldiers if occasion required; with commis 
saries and quartermasters, teamsters and hospital stewards an 
army supplied with all the necessaries and essentials for active 
service assembled at Chattanooga, Tennessee, conscious that 
President Lincoln and Stanton and Grant and Sherman had com 
bined and confederated together in blocking out a campaign of 
large dimensions for the approaching summer. 

Then came the march southward to Dalton and Snake Creek 
Gap, and Resaca, and Kennesaw Mountain, and the Chattahoo- 
chie river, and the investment of Atlanta May, June and July 
occupied with skirmishes and desperate battles, bringing much 
work to the surgeons hands and to burial details ; rapid flank 
movements and weary night watches. A month of digging and 
of slow approaches followed and on the second day of September 
Atlanta was in the possession of the Union forces. Seventy 
days later we turned our faces southward once more, knowing 
that a point somewhere on the sea coast was our destination, if 
we lived to reach it, and that was the extent of our knowledge. 

Through the beautiful pine woods, along the pleasant lanes, 
fording small streams and bridging large ones; marching with 
flags flying and bands playing, generally the air "The Girl I Left 
Behind Be;" down the streets of villages, towns and cities and 
across big plantations, we journey, and thus another month is 
passed and then we see the smoke and spires of Savannah and 
learn that that city is our objective point. Following are ten 
days of picket duty and skirmishing; of chilly, rainy weather; 



CHATTANOOGA TO WASHINGTON AFOOT. 233, 

ten days of rations issued at little better than starvation allow 
ance, when the scanty grain fed to horses and mules is guarded 
to prevent its being stolen by the ravenous soldiers, while out on 
the ocean only a score of miles distant rides at anchor a fleet of 
vessels laden with food, clothing and supplies of all kinds destined 
for Sherman s army when it shall have emerged from the Georgia 
forests and rendered itself accessible. 

Anxious days were those. Back of us a desolated country ; in 
front a brave, disciplined enemy with General Hardee in com 
mand. The capture of Fort McAllister would allow of the dis 
tribution to the army of the supplies it so sorely needs, but Mc 
Allister is a strongly fortified point with ditches, abattis and con 
cealed torpedoes to render an assault upon it most hazardous. 
But it is assaulted by General W. B. Hazen and the brave second 
division of the Fifteenth corps, while Sherman occupies an ele 
vated position on a rice stack in a fever of anxiety as to the re 
sult. Victory means rest, food and clothing for his destitute 
army, the certain capture of Savannah, prestige for the Union 
cause and a hastening of a final day of peace. Defeat means 
what of discouragement, gloom and disaster is not defeat at that 
juncture the sure forerunner? But it is not defeat thank God 
it is not defeat ! Hazen s tried veterans rush forward with an 
impetuosity which cannot be withstood ; through the abattis and 
into the ditch they go, and clambering over the breastworks they 
force a surrender of the garrison, and the stars and stripes 
wave over the fort. Then General Hardee covers with straw 
his pontoon bridges which cross the river (in order to deaden 
the sound) and during the following night marches his army out 
of Savannah and we take possession. 

A month of comparative idleness ensues and then we resume 
our advance on Washington City, for since the early April days 
the capital of the nation has been our real objective point, though 
we knew it not. Via Columbia, South Carolina; Fayetteville, 
Bentonville and Goldsboro, North Carolina, we trudge aiong 
fifty-six days in the enemy s country oftentimes in water waist 
deep, without a word of information as to what is transpiring 
elsewhere, and no more knowledge concerning us is possessed by 
our friends than if we were lost in the Arctic regions. At Golds 
boro we come to the surface once more footsore, ragged, be 
grimed by the smoke of the pitch-pine camp fires, but full of en- 



234 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

thusiasm for our cause and love for the commander, whose thin, 
wiry figure, nervous and quick-motioned, the past years have made 
familiar to us, and with boundless confidence in his ability to lead 
and our own to follow. Then came the capture of Raleigh, the 
capital of the Old North State, where gray-haired men welcomed 
the flag with cheers and tears ; the surrender of Johnston s army, 
and then our faces are turned to the north for the first time since 
the war began. South, southeast, southwest, east,, northeast and 
due west we have tramped for four years, but never until the last 
organized army of the Confederacy had laid down its weapons 
did the army of the west march directly north. 

Petersburg and Richmond are reached, and in the latter 
city Halleck proposes that we shall march in review before him, 
but Sherman will not have it that way. Even if he had con 
sented it is doubtful if his army would have, for the gross insult 
he had recently received at Halleck s hands had so outraged the 
soldiers sense of justice that groans, hisses and general insub 
ordination would have followed had the proposed review been 
attempted. Over the battle fields of the eastern army we march 
from Richmond to Alexandria, and daylight of May 24th, 1865, 
finds us at the head of Pennsylvania avenue, Washington City, 
waiting the order to march down that magnificent thoroughfare 
and perform our part in the Grand Review. 

At last the end approaches ! From Chattanooga to Wash 
ington the distance is not great. In a Pullman, with pleasant 
companions, the journey is delightful and can be made in a few 
hours. But with Sherman s armv it was different. The route 
had been round about. A thousand, fifteen hundred, two thou 
sand miles and more many of those regiments had marched amid 
dangers and difficulties. Barriers, defended by brave and des 
perate men, had confronted them ; bloody battle fields with all 
their horrors had interposed ; wounds, mutilation and agony in 
describable had marked the way ; comrades, loved as men come 
to love each other only in the midst of dangers and suffering 
mutually endured, had been left behind to be seen no more on 
earth forever; others had been sent to hospitals with limbs am 
putated or with wounds most grievous, to result in death or per 
manent disability, blasting hopes and ambitions forever. 

These memories and many more come to the minds of the 
young men and beardless boys from Ohio and Indiana and Illi- 



CHATTANOOGA TO WASHINGTON AFOOT. 235 

nois and Michigan and Wisconsin and Minnesota and Iowa and 
Nebraska and Kansas who have been following Grant and Sher 
man and McPherson and Logan and Thomas for four long years 
as they await the signal which is to send them down the "Chief- 
est avenue" of the capital of the great nation they have helped 
to save, to the end that free government "may not perish from 
the earth." 

The signal is given and in column of companies that mag 
nificent army the best the world has ever known with tattered 
banners blackened by the smoke of battle at Wilson Creek, Bel- 
mont, Henry, Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth, Vicksburg, Perryville, 
Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain, Atlanta and a 
score of lesser engagements, keeping step to the thrilling strains 
of martial music, sweeps past the capitol building, down the 
wide street densely crowded on either side for the distance of a 
mile with thousands and tens of thousands ; windows, balconies, 
doorways and roofs packed with human beings a hundred and 
fifty thousand people gathered from all portions of the civilized 
world to witness the splendid display of this and the day pre- 
ceeding. Cheers, waving handkerchiefs, tears of joy, the sweet 
singing of children, flowers, banners, triumphal arches, mottoes, 
shouts of welcome, music and in the midst of it all the regular 
tramp of these bronzed western soldiers, in steady lines and 
firm, elbows gently touching, eyes to the front and turning not 
to the left or right, with quiet faces, but hearts filled with thank 
fulness to God that the end of days of battles, turmoil and danger 
had come. 

Presenting arms in salutation they pass the review 
ing stand on which are seated the President, his cabinet and dis 
tinguished officers of the army and navy. Glorious day of days 
is this ! Faded and ragged uniforms they wear ; battered are 
their equipments ; thirty men in companies where once there was 
a hundred ; browned by sun, rain and wind all this and much 
more. But these men had marched from the banks of the Missis 
sippi and beyond, and now they are in the nation s capital ; their 
great task done ; to their own dear land peace had come again, 
and not one of them would have exchanged places that day with 
a king ! 



236 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 



THE LAST BATTLE OF NASHVILLE. 

BY 
LIEUT. O. A. ABBOTT, 9TH ILLINOIS CAVALRY. 

(Read October 2, 1901.) 

The flood tide of the Civil war reached its highest point dur 
ing the early summer of 1863, when Grant was behind Vicks- 
burg, with Pemberton intrenched on its impregnable heights in 
his front and Johnston in his rear ; the armies of the Tennessee 
almost in a state of seige at Chattanooga and Lee marching into 
Pennsylvania. 

The decisive battle at Gettysburg sent Lee s beaten, but still 
fighting, legions back to Virginia. The surrender of Vicksburg 
sent Grant with his victorious army to the aid of Chattanooga, 
which was soon relieved and its pent-up army able to resume 
the offensive. The tide was ebbing swiftly and 1864 saw Grant 
in command of all the Union forces, with Sherman in command 
of the army that was moving steadily south from Chattanooga. 

The tide was still receding, but only under the influence of 
vigorous and repeated blows, which were driving Lee steadily 
southward across the James river and Johnston slowly down 
through and past Atlanta. When the day came for Sherman to 
start on that memorable march to the sea Johnston s forces, now 
under command of Hood, relieved of the pressure from Sher 
man s veterans, again flowed northward toward Nashville. The 
Mississippi valley had been cleared of all but irregular predatory 
bands. 

The armies were concentrating eastward. Hatch s brigade 
of cavalry, the 6th, 7th and Qth Illinois and 2nd Iowa, moved 
eastward along the Memphis and Charleston railroad to aid in 
intercepting and delaying Hood on his northward march and 
assist in driving him back. This march of Hood seemed to cause 
Grant no anxiety, for Hood s army was moving away from the 
scene of the final struggle, not towards it, and every mile gained 



THE LAST BATTLE OF NASHVILLE. 237 

took it a mile farther away and by so much prevented its joining 
i^ee s forces or harrassing Sherman in his operations. 

Hood was still passing steadily northward, pressing back 
and apparently victorious over those scattering, intercepting 
forces, giving the stay-at-homes who sat on cracker boxes in 
country groceries and whittled pine sticks another chance to criti 
cize the conduct of the war. 

"Why don t they stop him?" "Why do they surrender such 
dearly- won territory ?" were their earnest and oft-repeated queries 
that apparently received no answer, save that Hood continued 
northward, while our forces were as steadily falling back until 
the sturdy battle at Franklin, under the immediate leadership of 
Schofield, showed there was still life and fight in those retreating 
columns ; yet Schofield still fell back to Nashville. The eye of 
the trained soldier saw more than the retreat of Schofield dis 
closed. If Franklin was a victory for Hood, another such would 
destroy him. His power to successfully prosecute further offen 
sive operations was already gone, still he followed the retreating 
Union forces to Nashville, where he must draw his supplies from 
a distance to carry on a winter campaign. Here were rail and 
river communications for our army; here Thomas was concen 
trating scattered detachments drawn from the west into an or 
ganized army that should soon stop the further northward flow 
of this apparently rising tide. 

Grant may have been indifferent to Hood s progress thus 
far, but it was evidently no part of his plan that Hood should go 
farther north, and while he had great confidence in Thomas abil 
ity as a defensive fighter, he feared Hood might slip by him and 
cross into Ohio, and accordingly sent the order to attack and 
destroy. 

This order was not instantly obeyed, for a cold rain storm 
that froze as it fell covered the earth with ice. A movement 
against Hood, camped on the hills around Nashville, was utterly 
impracticable. The ice was sufficiently strong to sustain the 
weight of gun carriages, whose wheels made no impression on it. 
Thomas army was ice-bound. Hood could not move. Never 
theless Grant was impatient at the delay and sent Logan to re 
lieve him. He came as far as Louisville and, learning the real 
situation, refused to take command, leaving Thomas to reap the 
fruit of the victory he had planned to win. This was a splendid 



238 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

exhibition of manliness on Logan s part. He could see even at 
that distance that Thomas reasons for delay were real reasons 
not timidity s excuses. 

Meanwhile Thomas preparations went steadily forward and 
before the ice had broken on December I3th the cavalry, lying in 
Edgfield (a Nashville suburb north of the Cumberland river), 
was pouring into the city. The railroad bridge was planked, a 
pontoon bridge laid and the wagon bridge closed to all but these 
marching columns, which moved steadily over these three 
passageways four abreast, the men leading their horses in close 
order. From early dawn all day, like some gigantic half-human 
monster, these blue columns moved steadily on, and were still 
moving when darkness hid them from view. On through the 
icy streets of the now sleeping city and out under the shadows 
of the encircling hills they passed to either flank of that newly- 
formed army that was to turn back forever this flow in seces 
sion s tide. They knew none better that the day of action 
was close at hand, but grim smiles were on the bronzed faces of 
these veterans and the rude camp jokes were never more in evi 
dence than then. 

The 1 4th was warm and under the bright sunshine the icy 
mantle of the earth slipped from it like a garment. At daybreak 
December I5th the horses were sent to the rear (they were use 
less among these steep, wooded hills) and, moving dismounted, 
the cavalry advanced quickly, drove the rebel pickets home and 
soon from both sides the artillery opened. The "Last Battle at 
Nashville" had fairly begun. The cavalry were not spectators 
here, but were soon moved towards the center of the line and 
found themselves lying along and partly concealed by a fringe 
of willows and underbrush in a hollow between one of our own 
batteries and the guns of the enemy, protected by hastily con 
structed earthworks on the opposite hill. The cannonade was 
furious at least to our ears. It was our first experience in ar 
tillery support, the first time we had listened so close to that 
modern bird of war, "Steel-rifled Parrott." The eagle may be 
a more poetical emblem of war, mav show better on dress parade, 
but for effective service there is no comparison between the 
"fowls." The firing at this point, our right, kept up until about 
the middle of the afternoon, while we were intently watching the 
enemy s fort for some evidence of the effect of the cannonade, 



THE LAST BATTLE OF NASHVILLE. 239 

when suddenly a caisson inside the enemy s works exploded, send 
ing up a magnificent column of smoke and exploding shells. Had 
we been connected with the fort by an electric wire our action 
could not have been more responsive ; every man was on his feet 
and every foot pointing towards the enemy. A second explosion, 
probably from concussion, followed, and without command we 
rushed up to the hillside for that fort at top speed and were in 
side before a gun could be trained upon us. Greeley in his his 
tory says the charge was made without orders and apparently 
without cause. The absence of the orders may be concealed, but 
the cause must be plain to those who are familiar with the in 
telligent action of American soldiers. 

Early in the history of the 9th Illinois Cavalry provision, 
was made for a battery of mountain howitzers, and a body of 
men and officers detailed from the various companies took charge 
of them and was known as Company "Q." As soon as we were 
well inside the fort Colonel Harper of the 9th ordered Company 
"Q" to take possession of the captured guns and, pointing to an 
other earthwork to the right and south of us, said : "That s the 
one we want now,, boys." Company "Q" lost no time in turning 
the captured guns against their former masters, and we started 
for the other fort more like the wild rush of a mob than an or 
derly charge. The fort was not far away, yet I never reached 
it, but close under it lay down with a bullet through my left lung 
for a long six months relief from camp and scouting duty, and 
I remember with what pride and satisfaction I saw the splendid 
lines of infantry pass on over the field we had fairly won to 
finish our work; pride in their orderly alignment and satisfac 
tion in their steady swing. A mischance might have sent that 
wildly charging column of dismounted cavalry back as quickly 
as they had come and leave me a prisoner in the enemy s hands, 
a prospect never cheerful and at this late period of the war rather 
uncomfortable to contemplate. But no mischance occurred. The 
cavalry captured the second fort without a halt ; as a spectacular 
performance it was immense, but it was not war. 

I saw no more of this splendid engagement that not only 
defeated but destroyed Hood s army as an organized fighting 
force, stopped the northw r ard flow of the tide of war, which was 
never to return, and added to the laurels of General Thomas 
fitly called the "Rock of Chickamauga." Candor, however, com-* 



24O CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

pels me to add that, from my point of view, while his conduct of 
the engagement was admirable, his pursuit of the flying enemy 
was not creditable. The "Rock of Chickamauga," while heroic in 
defense, was impotent in pursuit of a retreating army. Some of 
Hood s men afterwards found their way east to lay down their 
arms, some at Lee s surrender to Grant and others at Johnston s 
surrender to Sherman, when we should have captured them be 
fore they crossed the Tennessee, and probably before they crossed 
Duck river, had the pursuit been as vigorous and well directed 
as was the "Last Battle of Nashville." 

Here this paper might properly end had not your committee 
urged that I go further and tell some of that part of an engage 
ment which is only visible from the rear after the fighting force 
has moved forward to other fields. 

After the infantry line had passed me a surgeon hastily ex 
amined and pronounced my injury "spent ball on the ribs," and 
I was taken back to an abandoned building in the outskirts of the 
citv, where the reaper Death had piled so many sheaves from his 
well-garnered field. I knew it was not a spent ball on the ribs. 
We were much too near the enemy to gather spent balls ; we 
gathered only hot ones that day. But who argues with his doc 
tor? And besides I was not in fit condition for argument had I 
felt so disposed. I was laid on the floor on my back in a row 
with others suffering from all manner of wounds. The ambu 
lances were busy bringing in their grewsome freight from the 
front ; the surgeons and their assistants busy preparing tem 
porary hospitals where the wounded could receive better atten 
tion, emptying churches of their pews and replacing them with 
cots where nurses and doctors might minister to human suffer 
ing in place of those who had but yesterday been ministers be 
fore its altars. I laid all night in this building. In the early 
morning, before the front had provided more of its grim freight, 
the ambulances were busy moving the wounded to those im 
provised hospitals. I was not moved, but heard in silence the 
surgeon in charge say "Leave him; he will die anyway," and 
saw him select others who were thought to have a better chance 
to live. What he said didn t sound cheerful then, and someway 
even now I can t seem to get much comfort out of it. Later in 
the day those ambulances would be needed in front and I must 



THE LAST RATTLE OF NASHVILLE. 24! 

lie there until the next morning on that bare floor in my bloody 
clothes and wait my turn, unable to turn over, spead loud or 
draw a full breath without feeling the ends of those broken ribs 
grind upon each other. 

During these long hours of waiting my heavy Wellington 
boots became instruments of torture, and I suffered severe pains, 
especially in my left foot. To have them pulled off would add 
to my agony. I asked a guard to cut them off and he declined, 
saying: It s a pity to spoil em." Then I wondered if he had 
heard the doctor s remark and was waiting for me to die. Pos 
sibly it was imagination that helped me to see more than mere 
brutality in his face. I became afraid he might be tempted to 
quench the little of life left in me rather than wait for my death 
to get those coveted boots. I selected a man from out of the 
crowd of curious sight-seers that came out of the city and got 
him to cut them from top to toe and lay my feet out of them. It 
was some satisfaction to me to note the look of disappointment 
on that guard s face when he next passed and to hear him say 
it was "too bad to spoil so good a pair of boots." Somehow, I 
didn t feel guilty. They were my boots. 

The end came to my waiting the next day, when I was moved 
to a clean cot in one of the churches. I told the same story 
there about the spent ball that the doctor had told me on the 
field and it passed as good coin, but on the fifth day, in attempt 
ing to brush some cracker crumbs from under my left side I ran 
my thumb into the hole where the bullet had made its exit and 
called a passing doctor to tell him of my discoverv. He changed 
the ticket at the head of my cot, saying cheerfully : When they 
bring in another man in your condition I will find a bullet hole 
or make one." In the meantime I had been coughing violently 
during those slowly passing days and nights from the fluids of 
the body that found their way into the lung cavities. Fortunately 
the fever from my wound was not enough to make me flighty, and 
between coughing spells I gave my lungs their much-needed 
rest Not so with many another man in the same room suffering 
from a like wound who would, at the end of his coughing fits, 
give way to violent screams from the pain, thus allowing his 
lunes no rest. Therein lies the principal danger from such 
wounds. 

Later I was moved to the Crittenclen Hospital at Louisville, 



242 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

where I remained until April, and left there before my wound had 
fully healed, the merest ghost of the physical giant that weighed 
1 86 when I halted close under that fort. Hospital fare did not 
seem to agree with me. Among 1 the relics of that battle I still 
keep my blood-stained diary that was cut open by that bullet ; 
two letters in it, one from my sister, were also mutilated by the 
same bullet. Such grim mementoes of that conflict, if not lost, 
will some day be more highly prized by those who come after 
us than by those who carry as reminders scars they cannot lose. 



THE CAMPAIGNS IN EAST TENNESSEE. 

BY 
CAPT. ABRAHAM ALLEE, l6TH ILLINOIS CAVALRY. 

(Read November 6, 1901.) 

That portion of Tennessee, east of a line drawn from Cum 
berland Gap to the south line of the State, known as East Ten 
nessee was inhabited by a people the large majority of whom 
never acquiesced in the so-called secession of their State from 
the Federal Union. Their vote on the so-called Declaration of 
Independence promulgated in a secret session by the disloyal 
legislature at the instance of Isham G. Harris, Governor, was 
14,780 for and 32,923 against the ordinance of separation, a 
preponderance of more than two to one. 

In deference to this strong Union sentiment the United 
States mails were continued in twenty-six counties of East Ten 
nessee some time after the State gave notice of secession. The 
people of this portion of the State held but few slaves and the 
fallacious doctrine of State rights as preached by the conspira 
tors, who sought to justify themselves for inaugurating civil 
war for the purpose of destroying the Federal Union, found no 
lodgment in the ethics of their political belief. They were not 
cognizant of ever having an injustice done them or having been 
oppressed by the general Government in mind, body or estate, 
and hence saw no valid reason for a change. 

This section has been aptly called the Switzerland of Amer 
ica, and as the inhabitants of the Swiss cantons of Europe broke 
away from the despotic rule of monarchy, so these people refused 
to submit to the rule of an oligarchy forced upon them against 
their solemn protest by voice and vote. They were a liberty- 
loving people, reared amongst the fertile valleys and mountains, 
brave and independent. They believed in the Union and Con 
stitution as expounded by Webster and Clay and squared their 
patriotism by the doctrine of Andrew Jackson, whose memory 

(243) 



244 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

they cherished, and in statecraft he was their patron saint. Many 
of them were the sons of the men who stood with Jackson in 
his campaigns against hostile Indians and at New Orleans, and 
the traditions of those times were well remembered and acted 
on. The Confederate authorities were alive to the fact of their 
hostility and stringent measures were at once adopted to coerce 
them. Many on bare suspicion were arrested, and as prisoners 
were taken into camp, insulted and abused, and disposed of as the 
insurrectionary mob thought proper. All the gaps of the Cum 
berland range were seized and garrisoned to prevent the people 
from leaving the country on the one hand and relief by Union 
forces on the other. 

The sweeping confiscation and conscription acts of the 
Richmond government were soon put in force, and squads of 
cavalry and infantry were scouring over the country, offering 
the people, male and female, every indignity that ruffian bands 
are capable of, destroying property and crops of all kinds and 
taking provisions by force without offering any payment or as 
much as saying "by your leave," to the owners. There was but one 
of two courses for the citizens of this distracted section to pur 
sue. One was to be forced into the Confederate army, as their 
conscript acts were merciless, or to abandon their families and 
homes and secretly by night cross over the mountains by bridle 
paths (as every gap was guarded) to the camps of the Union 
forces in Kentucky. Like the Huguenots in France after the 
revocation of the edict of Nantes, they fled in hundreds and in 
thousands to Camp Dick Robinson and other Union headquar 
ters and enlisted in the Federal army, hoping, no doubt, to be 
enabled to help deliver their families and country from misrule 
and oppression that they despised and most vindictively hated. 
How well they were seconded by the general Government and 
how their country was redeemed we shall notice. In their hasty 
flight to enroll themselves as Union soldiers, 

"They left the plough-share in the mould, 
Their flocks and herds without a fold, 
The sickle in the unshorn grain, 
The corn half garnered on the plain, 
And mustered in their simple dress 
For wrongs to seek a stern redress." 



THE CAMPAIGN IN EAST TENNESSEE. 245 

A cry went up from this people to the Government at 
Washington as from Macedonia, "Come and help us !" and in 
response expeditions were early set on foot for the relief of these 
oppressed loyal inhabitants, and although delayed for a time by 
the exigencies incident to carrying forward military operations 
on such an immense scale and such a widely extended area, 
finally culminated in a permanent occupation of East Tennessee 
by the national army, and although strenuous efforts were put 
forth by the Confederate forces to recover this country, it was 
firmly held by the national forces to the end of the great rebel 
lion. The purpose of this paper is to briefly review the cam 
paigns planned and carried forward for the occupation of this 
section of Tennessee from the commencement of the Civil war, 
including the campaign of the Army of the Ohio in the summer 
and fall of 1863 under General A. E. Burnside. In part, this in 
formation is derived from the history of these campaigns and 
in part from my own personal observation. 

In the spring of 1862 the seventh division of the Army of 
the Ohio advanced to Cumberland Ford under General George 
W. Morgan, who was ordered by General Buell to take Cumber 
land Gap, fourteen miles south, and occupy East Tennessee if 
possible ; if not, to prevent the advance of the Confederate forces 
from that direction. During the preceding winter General S. 
P. Carter, a native of East Tennessee had occupied a position 
near Cumberland Ford, threatening Cumberland Gap. His 
brigade was largely composed of East Tennessee troops. Morgan 
found Carter s brigade in pitiable condition. The winter storms 
had converted the narrow roads into torrents and practically cut 
him off from his base of supplies. In spite of all he could do 
his troops were half famished and suffering from scurvy. Gen 
eral Morgan succeeded, in connection with feints made by the 
forces under General O. M. Mitchel toward Chattanooga, in 
maneuvering the Confederate forces into evacuating Cumberland 
Gap in order to save Chattanooga, which they believed was the 
point in danger. Cumberland Gap was a position that could not 
be taken by direct assault without great loss, hence the achieve 
ment of General Morgan in securing this important position 
without the loss of a man was considered of much moment, and 
the thanks of the President were telegraphed by Secretary Stan- 
ton to Morgan and the troops under his command. 



246 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

The Gap was strongly fortified and large storehouses for 
quartermaster and commissary supplies were built and an ar 
senal for 4,000 stand of arms destined for East Tennessee, which 
had been detained at Nicholasville and Crab Orchard during the 
winter on account of the impassable state of the roads. Large 
supplies of ammunition were also brought forward, and it was 
the hope and ambition of General Morgan and his army to ad 
vance against Knoxville and sweep the Confederates from East 
Tennessee. At that time and until the close of the war a ven 
detta existed between the Union people and the Confederates. 
The Union men regarded the Confederates as criminals and were 
in turn denounced by the Confederates as insurgents. Kirby 
Smith recommended the arrest and incarceration in southern 
prisons of leading citizens not in arms as a means to coerce them 
into supporting the southern cause. On the other side acts of 
retaliation followed. 

A few days after the occupation of Cumberland Gap General 
Spears, commanding a brigade of East Tennesse troops in Mor 
gan s army, sent out at night and arrested a number of Confed 
erate citizens, and would probably have hung them, for arresting 
T. A. R. Nelson while on his way to Washington to take his seat 
in Congress and sending him to Richmond. General Morgan in 
terposed and ordered these citizen-prisoners sent to Indianapolis. 
The Union women were as hostile to the Confederate cause as 
the men ; they admonished their husbands and sons in the refrain 
of the old war song : 

"Take your gun and go, John, 
Take your gun and go, 
For Ruth can drive the oxen, John, 
And I can use the hoe." 

They remained and cultivated their little valley and hillside 
farms and no doubt offered up nightly prayers for their absent 
husbands and sons and the coming of the Union army. General 
Morgan mentions a notable instance of the heroic act of Mrs. 
Edwards, a noble woman, who mounted a horse and crossed the 
mountains by a bridle path and by incredible effort reached his 
headquarters and advised of the advance of Kirby Smith with a 
large force through Woodson s Gap to cut off Spear s brigade, 
who were clearing the road through Big Creek Gap. Couriers at 
full speed were sent with orders to fall back and Smith s plan of 



THE CAMPAIGN IN EAST TENNESSEE. 247 

capture was thwarted. Kirby Smith s forces about the i6th of 
August crossed the mountains south of the Gap into Kentucky and 
occupied Cumberland Ford, after having left General Stevenson s 
force in Morgan s front. He demanded a surrender of the Gap, 
to which Morgan replied : "If you want this fortress, come and 
take it!" 

At this time Kentucky was invaded by three columns of 
Confederates. Bragg s, Smith s and Humphrey Marshall s armies 
overran a large portion of the State, and Morgan s small Union 
force one division was in a critical situation and starvation of 
his troops, completely cut off from their base of supplies, was 
only a question of a little time. General Morgan had no thought 
of surrendering his army, although the situation was desperate, 
as he was apparently completely surrounded by an overwhelming 
force of the enemy. On the night of September i/th he, after 
mining his arsenal and leaving a body of picked men to guard the 
roads leading to Stevenson s camp and to fire the large supply 
buildings and arsenal mines, retreated through the mountains of 
Kentucky by way of Manchester, Booneville and West Liberty to 
Greenup, on the Ohio river, without the loss of a gun or a 
wagon. But a vast amount of property in buildings and ordnance 
stores and heavy cannon were destroyed and the mountains were 
lighted up by the burning buildings as though they were volcanoes 
of fire and the shock of the explosion of the magazine was felt 
fourteen miles away. The wreck of ordnance and ordnance stores 
was fully in evidence when General Burnside captured the Gap 
the succeeding year. 

By the retreat of General Morgan the Confederates were 
again in possession of Cumberland Gap and for the time undis 
puted control of East Tennessee. It was determined by the Gov 
ernment authorities the following summer of 1863 to make per 
manent lodgment in East Tennessee ; not only to seize and hold 
one of the important railway lines of the Confederacy, but also to 
afford relief to a section where it was well known that a strong 
Union sentiment existed, as evinced by the number of men who 
had fled from Confederate rule and were serving in the United 
States army. In fact, the Government determined to carry for 
ward what had been attempted the previous year by General Mor 
gan. Accordingly it was arranged to seize Chattanogoa and 
Knoxville about the same time. The movement against Chat- 



248 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

tanooga was intrusted to General Rosecrans army, then near 
Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The Twenty-third army corps and 
other troops were concentrated at Camp Nelson, near Lexington, 
Kentucky. Later on the Ninth army corps joined the command 
from General Grant s army. This movement against Knoxville 
and Cumberland Gap was under the command of General A. E. 
Burnside, who at once moved his forces across the mountains 
and occupied Knoxville September 2nd, 1863, and on the Qth cap 
tured Cumberland Gap and the Confederate force under General 
Frazer. About 2,000 prisoners were taken. The Confederate 
force under General S. B. Buckner, about 20,000, in East Ten 
nessee, retreated south and joined General Bragg s army. Rose 
crans moved forward and successfully maneuvered Bragg out of 
Chattanooga, and if he had stopped then and fortified all would 
have been well. But instead he moved forward with his army 
badly scattered, and Bragg having been reinforced by the men 
he had sent Johnston in his effort to raise the seige of Vicksburg, 
the paroled men of Pemberton s army, whose paroles were fraudu 
lently declared as expired, and 20,000 men under Longstreet from 
Lee s army. 

Bragg suddenly took the initiative and Rosecrans, caught at 
a disadvantage, had to fall back. The battle of Chickamauga 
was fought on the iQth and 2Oth of September and Rosecrans 
army was badly defeated, with a heavy loss of artillery and some 
16,000 men killed, wounded and captured. The corps under Gen 
eral George H. Thomas stood its ground and covered the retreat 
of Rosecrans army back to Chattanooga. Bragg followed up 
the retreat of Rosecrans and fortified the commanding heights, 
completely enveloping Chattanooga from Mission Ridge on the 
east to Lookout Mountain on the west and holding possession of 
the Tennessee river, both above and below Chattanooga. The 
Army of the Cumberland was cut off from its base of supply, both 
by river and railroad and was practically in a state of seige, 
with a prospect of being compelled to retreat with the loss of all 
its artillery if, perchance, it was not compelled to surrender en 
tirely, thereby bringing disaster to the Federal Government that 
would have offset the earlier successes of the year attained at 
Gettysburg and Vicksburg. 

Mr. Jefferson Davis visited Bragg s army, and no doubt Gen 
eral Bragg had described the situation to him to be as he subse- 



THE CAMPAIGN IN EAST TENNESSEE. 249 

quently stated in his report. "These dispositions," he said, "faith- 
fullv maintained, we hold the enemy at our mercy and his de 
struction was only a question of time." Thus having Rosecrans 
army, as they thought, disposed of, Davis in his great confidence 
in his superior military genius no doubt ordered Bragg to de 
tach a force and dispose of Burnside s force in any event. Long- 
street was sent against Burnside with his corps of about 20,000 
men. 

It was at this critical time that the Government authorities 
created the military Department of the Mississippi and placed 
that imperturbable soldier, General U. S. Grant, in command. 
Mr. Stanton, Secretary of War, came out to Louisville and had 
an interview with General Grant, and while there received a dis 
patch from Mr. Dana, Assistant Secretary of War, then at Chat 
tanooga, informing him that Rosecrans would retreat unless pre 
vented. Mr. Stanton was thoroughly aroused by the grave situa 
tion and directed General Grant to go forward at once and pre 
vent the retreat of the Army of the Cumberland and wired him to 
hold Chattanooga at all hazards, and received in reply a charac 
teristic dispatch from Thomas : "We will hold the town till we 
starve." General Grant hurried to the front in person, and now 
having command of all troops in the Armies of the Tennessee, 
Cumberland and Ohio sent forward reinforcements, opened up 
the communications with Chattanooga, both by river and rail 
road, and being advised of Longstreet s movement against Burn- 
side he wired Burnside to hold out and he would send him rein 
forcements as soon as he had disposed of Bragg s army How 
he successfully attacked Bragg s army, defeated them and drove 
them back into the mountains we all know. The movement 
of Burnside and Rosecrans was part of one general plan hence. 

I have noticed at some length the Chattanooga campaign 
and now recur to the Knoxville campaign. General Burnside did 
not move direct on Knoxville, but struck the valley of the Ten 
nessee and Holston, near London, in order to save the fine rail 
road bridge at Loudon ; but the army pressing forward by forced 
marches only arrived in time to engage in a skirmish with the 
rear guard of the enemy, who burned the bridge and retreated. 
The army then marched to Leoni Station en route to Knoxville, 
which was reached by the General on the 2nd of September, the 
advance having reached there on the ist. As General Burnside 



25O CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

approached Knoxville the inhabitants turned out to welcome him 
and his. As we neared Knoxville the evidences of intense devo 
tion to the Union dwelling in the hearts of the people became 
more and more apparent along the entire route, especially in the 
last fifteen miles the whole population turned out and gathered on 
the roadside to welcome the Union army. 

On the appearance of General Burnside on the outskirts of 
the town the news of his arrival spread and everybody, rich and 
poor, lame and halt, rushed to greet him. It was no vulgar curi 
osity to see a man famous in the world s history, but it was the 
greeting of an oppressed people to their deliverer. Uncovered and 
at slow pace the General rode through the streets to his headquar 
ters. His progress was completely stopped at times and con 
stantly impeded by citizens rushing to his horse s side to seize 
him by the hand and say "God bless you !" On arrival at head 
quarters a large crowd assembled in the yard were clamorous 
for speeches. General S. P. Carter, a native of East Tennessee, 
came forward and in a few words congratulated them on their 
deliverance. In response General Burnside said that his pro 
fession was arms and not speaking, yet he could say to them it 
had been his fervent wish ever since he first took command of 
the Department of Ohio to lead an army into East Tennessee for 
their deliverance, and he took great pleasure in saying to them 
he had come with sufficient means, with their assistance, to hold 
the country permanently and securely. 

On the conclusion of the speaking the garrison flag of the 
United States was flung from the portico and the crowd rushed 
up and took it in their hands, many of them pressing it to their 
lips. While this was going on at headquarters the troops, both 
men and officers, had been waylaid and carried off by violence to 
be feasted on the best the land afforded. The bounteous hos 
pitality of these people knew no difference in rank among their 
deliverers. The i6th Illinois Cavalry, the regiment in which I 
served, was ordered to Camp Nelson, Kentucky, to escort Major 
McDowell and several other paymasters with about two million 
dollars to pay off the forces in Burnside s army, who had not 
been paid for some time, and in addition to the paymasters we 
were also escorting a wagon train of supplies. The roads, soft 
ened by the fall rains, were in bad condition, and as the route is 
through the wildest mountain section of Kentucky, the march 



THE CAMPAIGN IN EAST TENNESSEE. 25! 

was slow and dead animals marked the line of march from Camp 
Nelson to Knoxville. 

We finally reached Cumberland Gap and McDowell, being 
impatient at the delay of the wagon train, took one battalion of 
the regiment as escort and reached Knoxville by forced marches 
just a few hours ahead of Longstreet s army. The siege was on 
and the men were in the trenches, and as the money could not 
be disbursed precautionary measures were taken to burn it in the 
event that the enemy carried the defenses. But such a contin 
gency did not occur. An officer of General W. P. Sander s staff 
told me that he saw at headquarters the money about two million 
dollars prepared for burning in the event the town was cap 
tured. On November I7th the siege of Knoxville commenced and 
was carried forward by the enemy until Sunday, November 29th, 
when they made a determined assault on Fort Sanders and met 
with a complete defeat, with a heavy loss in killed, wounded and 
captured. Though still in their trenches, they did not again as 
sault the defenses. About December 1st Longstreet s forces 
heard an ominous sound down the valley in the direction of Chat 
tanooga. It was Sherman coming with 20,000 veteran troops and 
Granger on the flank with 10,000 more, and they retreated into 
the mountains of the Clinch river. Our forces followed up, and 
during the winter frequent sharp engagements occurred. 

In the spring Longstreet s force rejoined Lee s army and 
East Tennessee was delivered and firmly held as Burnside prom 
ised. The conduct of the troops that stood in the defenses of 
Knoxville was admirable. They endured great hardship, were 
scantily clothed and on very meager rations and would have been 
destitute of food and forage if it had not been for our loyal East 
Tennessee friends of the French Broad valley taking advantage 
of the fact of Longstreet s being unable to make a complete in 
vestment, sent down at night on rafts under cover of the fogs all 
the provisions and forage they could gather. Historians have 
done these loyal people of East Tennessee but scant justice. I 
served in this campaign beside many of them and later on they 
stood with us at Franklin and Nashville under that reliable com 
mander, General George H. Thomas, the memory of whose mili 
tary record is enshrined in the hearts of the American people be 
yond any adverse criticism. They helped us hurl back across the 
Tennessee the last Confederate army that invaded their State ; and 



252 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

when the war was done and the great rebellion suppressed these 
loyal men of Tennessee 

"Shouldered their rifles, unbent their brows, 
And then went home to their bees and cows," 

satisfied to know that the Government at Washington was su 
preme throughout the land, and believing they had done their 
duty to God and humanity in helping to conquer and bring peace 
to our latelv distracted country. 



EXPLOSION OF THE SULTANA. 

BY 
WM. H. C. MICHAEL, LATE OF U. S. NAVY. 

(Read May 4, 1898.) 

The United States steamer Tyler of the Mississippi Squad 
ron, the vessel to which I belonged, was lying at the Memphis 
navy yard, undergoing repairs, in April, 1865. The navy yard 
was located at the upper end of the city. On the 26th of April, 
about 7 o clock p. m., the Sultana, a passenger and freight 
steamer, arrived from New Orleans loaded with over a hundred 
hogsheads of sugar, a number of horses and mules and 2,300 pas 
sengers. 

When the Sultana arrived at Vicksburg she had about 200 
passengers and crew on board. Here she took on 1,965 Union 
soldiers and thirty-five Union officers, who had been but recently 
released from rebel prisons at Cahaba, Alabama, and Macon and 
Andersonville, Georgia. They belonged to Ohio, Indiana, Mich 
igan, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia regiments. In ad 
dition there were two companies of infantry under arms, making 
a total of 2,300 people on the boat. Among the passengers were 
twelve ladies belonging to the Christian Commission, returning 
north after finishing the noble work they had been commissioned 
to do as nurses and in distributing sanitary stores among our 
troops. There were a number of women and children among the 
200 passengers on the boat when she arrived at Vicksburg, where 
she took on the overload of soldiers. When the Sultana arrived 
at Memphis her guards almost touched the water, so heavily was 
she loaded. Every available foot of space was occupied by human 
beings, horses, mules and freight. 

After discharging freight the boat steamed across the river 
to some coal barges, and after taking on coal she cast loose about 
2 o clock in the morning and started up the river. When she had 
arrived at a point about five miles above the city, near the group 

(253) 



254 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

of islands called "Hen and Chickens," her boilers exploded and 
the vessel was burned to the water line. I was officer of the deck 
when the calamity occurred and was first to receive the report of 
the quartermaster on watch that a vessel was on fire up the river. 
We watched the flames through our marine glasses for half an 
hour or so, when we first heard cries for help from the misty 
bosom of the river. I ordered all hands to be called, and the 
small boats were lowered away, manned and immediately sent to 
the rescue. 

Of the many heart-rending tragedies of the war witnessed by 
the writer on land and water, this one remains the most vivid. I 
never think of it without a shudder, nor am I able to dismiss the 
scene without having the same horrible sense of suffocation a 
commingling of sorrow and cursing that raged within me dur 
ing the hours we strove by every means in our power to save 
some of the scalded and drowning people from the foggy river on 
that awful morning. My God ! How can such a scene be tem 
pered even by time ? I can hear the cries rising now from differ 
ent parts of the river, over which hung a veil of fog that made it 
almost impossible to find the drowning. "Help !" "Help !" "For 
God s sake, help ! help !" "Oh, is there no one able to come to 
us ?" From the hundreds of despairing souls came up these cries 
for help. 

When the boat was discharging cargo, with other officers of 
my vessel, I visited the boat and mingled with the living skele 
tons who had been rotting in southern prison-pens for months, but 
who were now happy at the prospect of soon meeting the dear 
ones at home. We cheered them with kindly words and rejoiced 
with them at the bright prospects before them. Some of the 
men were too weak to walk without being supported by more 
fortunate comrades. Others were compelled by sheer weakness 
to lie on cots or blankets spread upon the decks, while their wants 
were cheerfully provided for bv devoted companions, who loved 
them because of the sufferings they had passed through together. 
I shall never forget the touching scene. How in their weakness 
and lingering bodily sufferings these soldiers forced themselves 
to appear happy were happy because the war was over and they 
were on their way home. Poor men! Little did they realize 
that ere the sun rose again the larger part of their number would 
be hurled into the chilly waters of the Mississippi, many of them 



EXPLOSION OF THE SULTANA. 255 

scalded and burned and bruised hurled there, as I believe, by a 
torpedo, loaded and placed by a devil in human form, who gloated 
all that night over the thought that he would murder the Yankees 
before their happy dreams of home were realized. 

The people on board were in their berths or wrapped in 
blankets lying on the decks. The explosion lifted the upper 
works almost bodily into the air. The hissing steam and scalding 
water penetrated to every part of the wreck. Men and women 
were first scalded and then blown into the water. Hundreds were 
killed outright or sunk into a watery grave soon after the awful 
plunge. Some caught on to floating debris and held on with 
maniacal grip. Immediately after the explosion flames burst out 
in every part of the wreck, and the few who had not been blown 
into the water were either burned to death or forced to jump 
overboard. 

The small boats were called away and the Tyler s crew, half 
clad, manned the boats and pushed off into the stream. The wails, 
cries and prayers could be heard, but the morning fog made it 
impossible to see any object distinctly. Even when we had 
reached the nearest to us it was impossible to see the struggling 
men from whom the cries for help ascended. What a position to 
be in ! Surrounded by piteous prayers for help, and yet unable 
to save a single soul. The fog lifted a little and we were able 
to escape the confusion of the wails and moans and prayers and 
pick up as many as our boat could hold. These were landed as 
quickly as strong arms and willing hearts could pull ashore, and 
again we were in the midst of the heart-rending scene. 

Thus we worked till all was hushed upon the surface of the 
river. The boats of the Tyler and the Groesbeck succeeded in 
saving about 280 of all that cargo of precious human beings. No 
such loss of life by catastrophe to a single vessel was ever before 
known. Seventeen hundred and fifty lives were sacrificed to grat 
ify, as I believe, the hellish vengeance of the Confederate, Charles 
Dales. Curses upon his memory ! 

The awful loss of life by this explosion was due to the fact 
that all the boilers were exploded simultaneously, which caused 
a complete wreck of the vessel. The maximum oressure of steam 
was being carried in order to make headway against the stiff 
current caused by high water. The spring rise was at its height 
and the river banks were full, and in places overflowing. The 



256 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

accident occurred several miles above any possible succor, and 
the yawl, lifeboat and life preservers were all destroyed by the 
explosion. Most of the people were so reduced in strength by 
disease and long confinement in rebel prisons that they were 
wholly unprepared to help themselves or render aid, where it was 
possible, to their less fortunate brothers. The discharge of steam 
and hot water was of such volume that every part of the vessel 
was deluged and overwhelmed in an instant and every one more 
or less scalded. All the conditions were unfavorable, except pos 
sibly the trees and debris floating in the river, as is always the 
case during the spring rise, which afforded the only immediate 
help to those who had strength enough to grasp hold of and hold 
on to a floating object. Only those were saved who thus held on 
to pieces of boards, to limbs of trees and other drift until they 
had floated down abreast of the navy yard and the boats of the 
Tyler and Groesbeck came to their relief. 

Out of the sixty-five persons saved by my cutter, not one 
was free from severe bodily bruises or painful scalds. Most of 
them were nearly nude. One poor boy clutched the limb of a 
tree so tightly that we could not force him to let go his hold. We 
took him and the limb aboard together. He was found to have 
lost his reason and was holding on with maniacal grip. Another 
was so badly scalded that the flesh sloughed off when we pulled 
him over the gunnel of the boat. One young lad who had been 
reduced to a skeleton by his confinement in prison had his sight 
destroyed by steam. He thanked God that he was saved, and 
within a few moments breathed his last in the arms of one of 
my sailors. His last words were : "Tell mother How often 
I have wished some good angel would tell me where to find that 
poor, bereft mother that I might break to her the unfinished sen 
tence. A woman was rescued who held on to a plank with one 
hand while she kept her babe above water with the other. The 
babe was dead, but the half-dead mother did not know the awful 
truth till hours after she was saved. For days she was a raving 
maniac. Many of the scalded, chilled and horror-stricken men 
when we would slow up by them to take them in the boat would 
utter a cry of joy at the thought of being saved, throw up their 
hands and, before we could seize hold of them, go down forever. 
The last man my boat picked up, and, as I recollect it, the last 
person saved, had lost his reason and, energized by his maniacy, 



EXPLOSION OF THE SULTANA. 257 

came swimming down by my boat, swearing and laughing alter 
nately in his madness. We had great difficulty in getting hold 
of him and greater difficulty in keeping him in the boat after we 
hauled him in. Within an hour he was dead. 

The cause of the explosion was investigated by a court of in 
quiry which met in Memphis soon after the catastrophe, but it 
failed to fix the responsibility upon any one. Certain officers were 
censured for allowing so many soldiers to be crowded aboard 
the ill-fated steamer, but further than this no responsibility was 
fixed. 

Admiral Porter and many other well-informed officers con 
nected with the Mississippi Squadron believed that the explosion 
was caused by coal loaded with powder by one of the many fiends 
in human form who had banded themselves together and taken an 
oath to destroy Federal gunboats and transports whenever and 
wherever it could be done. I have a list of the names of men 
who had thus sworn to do such work. 

In 1888 William C. Streator, on his deathbed in St. Louis, 
stated that a noted Confederate blockade runner and smuggler of 
mails, by the name of Robert Lowden, known during the war by 
the alias of Charles Dales, concocted and carried out the demon- 
ish plot. Streater says that Dales told him after the war that 
while the Sultana was lying at the wharf taking on coal the night 
previous to the disaster he smuggled aboard a lump of coal 
charged with powder. This he laid on the coal pile in front of 
the boilers for the purpose of destroying the boat and wrecking 
vengeance on the " Yankees/ 

This statement, taken with other evidence in my possession, 
which the limits of this paper will not permit me to give, proves 
to me that the Sultana was blown up in the manner described. 



258 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 



THE BLOODY ANGLE. 

BY 
CAPT. EDWARD C. JACKSON, I25TH NEW YORK INFANTRY. 

(Read February 5, 1902.) 

From the Official Records, War of the Rebellion, Vol. 36, 
part I, page 358, daily memoranda taken at headquarters of the 
Second army corps, Army of the Potomac, I copy the following : 

"May 12, 1864 Before daylight the troops formed for as 
sault as follows : Birney s division on the right on two lines of 
battle but a few paces separated ; Barlow s division in column of 
regiments doubled on the center ; Gibbon s and Mott s divisions 
in the rear of Barlow and Birney in two lines of battle, each di 
vision with but short intervals, this making a solid rectangular 
mass of nearly 20,000 men to hurl upon the enemy s works as 
soon as it should be sufficiently light for our purpose. A dense 
fog fell before daylight, and we all stood shivering with cold and 
wet until 4:30 a. m., when the fog lifted somewhat and the com 
mand was given to advance." 

In this brief manner was recorded at the time the opening 
scene of one of the bloodiest engagements of the Civil war, and 
where we met the enemy bayonet to bayonet. At this time I was 
a private in Company A, I25th regiment, New York Infantry, 
Third brigade, First division, Second army corps, Army of the 
Potomac, and a part of what is above referred to as Barlow s 
division. 

It is somewhat of a task to attempt, after thirty-seven years 
have passed, and for the first time, to reduce to writing personal 
recollections of events which occurred so long ago that much of 
the detail has passed from the memory, but the main facts are as 
vivid as they were at the time they occurred. 

On the evening of May nth, 1864, the end of seven days 
continuous fighting through the "Wilderness," the regiment was 
drawn up in line of battle. We had thrown up temporary breast 
works, finished our supper of fried pork, hardtack and coffee, and 



THE BLOODY ANGLE. 259 

were enjoying ourselves as best we might, considering the driz 
zling rain and the fact that the ground was so covered with pud 
dles of water that he was a lucky man who had a dry spot to 
roost on. With our pipes lighted, we were holding a camp fire 
in front of the shelter tent which we had erected for the Lieuten 
ant commanding our company. It had come down through the 
lines that we were to remain where we were all night, and possi 
bly a day or two, to rest up, but like many another anticipation 
it came to naught, for while we were at our merriest along comes 
the Adjutant of the regiment and gives orders to pack up and get 
into line as soon as possible, ready to march at a moment s notice, 
with arms and equipments so arranged as to make as little noise 
as possible. 

About 10 o clock that night we began to march, and what a 
march that was so black that you could not see your file leader, 
and only knew that he was there when you ran up against him ; 
the trees and brush dripping with moisture, the ground slippery 
from the rains ; through by-paths, down ravines and over hills ; 
march a little ways, then stop, again a little and another stop. 
However, after much weary marching and counter marching, we 
were at last in line ready for the charge. Some time during the 
night, as we were marching through a piece of timber, there came 
near being a panic through the breaking loose of a train of pack 
mules laden with intrenching tools. It created quite an excite 
ment for a time. I have seen it stated that the lines were formed 
that night by the aid of the compass from observations made the 
previous day. It certainly was dark and foggy enough so that it 
needed a compass to go about with any degree of certainty, and 
even as it was we were compelled to retrace our line of march 
several times. 

About 4 130 a. m., it still being very foggy, we commenced 
to move forward to the charge slowly and silently. We had been 
moving in this manner for a short time when we heard the dull 
reports of a scattering volley of musket shots in our front, and all 
was still again. As we commenced to ascend a rising piece of 
ground, the fog lighting somewhat, we caught a dim view of a 
line of works. At this moment some one in our line, having loaded 
his gun against orders, fired it and then the whole line broke into 
a cheer and a double quick at the same time, the line in front part 
ing, some going to the right and some toward the left salient 



258 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 



THE BLOODY ANGLE. 

BY 
CAPT. EDWARD C. JACKSON, I25TH NEW YORK INFANTRY. 

(Read February 5, 1902.) 

From the Official Records, War of the Rebellion, Vol. 36, 
part i, page 358, daily memoranda taken at headquarters of the 
Second army corps, Army of the Potomac, I copy the following : 

"May 12, 1864 Before daylight the troops formed for as 
sault as follows : Birney s division on the right on two lines of 
battle but a few paces separated ; Barlow s division in column of 
regiments doubled on the center ; Gibbon s and Mott s divisions 
in the rear of Barlow and Birney in two lines of battle, each di 
vision with but short intervals, this making a solid rectangular 
mass of nearly 20,000 men to hurl upon the enemy s works as 
soon as it should be sufficiently light for our purpose. A dense 
fog fell before daylight, and we all stood shivering with cold and 
wet until 4:30 a. m., when the fog lifted somewhat and the com 
mand was given to advance." 

In this brief manner was recorded at the time the opening 
scene of one of the bloodiest engagements of the Civil war, and 
where we met the enemy bayonet to bayonet. At this time I was 
a private in Company A, I25th regiment, New York Infantry, 
Third brigade, First division, Second army corps, Army of the 
Potomac, and a part of what is above referred to as Barlow s 
division. 

It is somewhat of a task to attempt, after thirty-seven years 
have passed, and for the first time, to reduce to writing personal 
recollections of events which occurred so long ago that much of 
the detail has passed from the memory, but the main facts are as 
vivid as they were at the time they occurred. 

On the evening of May nth, 1864, the end of seven days 
continuous fighting through the Wilderness," the regiment was 
drawn up in line of battle. We had thrown up temporary breast 
works, finished our supper of fried pork, hardtack and coffee, and 



THE BLOODY ANGLE. 259 

were enjoying ourselves as best we might, considering the driz 
zling rain and the fact that the ground was so covered with pud 
dles of water that he was a lucky man who had a dry spot to 
roost on. With our pipes lighted, we were holding a camp fire 
in front of the shelter tent which we had erected for the Lieuten 
ant commanding our company. It had come down through the 
lines that we were to remain where we were all night, and possi 
bly a day or two, to rest up, but like many another anticipation 
it came to naught, for while we were at our merriest along comes 
the Adjutant of the regiment and gives orders to pack up and get 
into line as soon as possible, ready to march at a moment s notice, 
with arms and equipments so arranged as to make as little noise 
as possible. 

About 10 o clock that night we began to march, and what a 
march that was so black that you could not see your file leader, 
and only knew that he was there when you ran up against him ; 
the trees and brush dripping with moisture, the ground slippery 
from the rains ; through by-paths, down ravines and over hills ; 
march a little ways, then stop, again a little and another stop. 
However, after much weary marching and counter marching, we 
were at last in line ready for the charge. Some time during the 
night, as we were marching through a piece of timber, there came 
near being a panic through the breaking loose of a train of pack 
mules laden with intrenching tools. It created quite an excite 
ment for a time. I have seen it stated that the lines were formed 
that night by the aid of the compass from observations made the 
previous day. It certainly was dark and foggy enough so that it 
needed a compass to go about with any degree of certainty, and 
even as it was we were compelled to retrace our line of march 
several times. 

About 4:30 a. m., it still being very foggy, we commenced 
to move forward to the charge slowly and silently. We had been 
moving in this manner for a short time when we heard the dull 
reports of a scattering volley of musket shots in our front, and all 
was still again. As we commenced to ascend a rising piece of 
ground, the fog lighting somewhat, we caught a dim view of a 
line of works. At this moment some one in our line, having loaded 
his gun against orders, fired it and then the whole line broke into 
a cheer and a double quick at the same time, the line in front part 
ing, some going to the right and some toward the left salient 



2(3O CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

point, I moving with those who swung to the right, and being 
on the left flank of that body brought me about half way between 
the east and west salient points. The line of works around this 
angle was very heavy more like a fort than the usual field breast 
works, with traverse works of equal size and strength, with a 
heavy abattis outside made from the tops of the trees used in the 
works, well staked down, and it was no light task to get through 
them. Just how we got through I have no clear remembrance, 
except that some were cutting, some pulling and lifting limbs to 
one side, and at every opening thus made a stream of men would 
rush through. 

Having reached the top of the works somewhat in advance 
of my companions, I paused for a moment to await the coming 
of my comrades, and I gave a glance backward and saw a sight 
that neither you nor I will in all probability ever see again 20,000 
men en masse charging forward with eager faces, surmounted 
by a waving sea of steel bayonets, and they seemed limitless, for in 
the dim morning light and foggy atmosphere there seemed to be 
no end ; and the enemy inside of the works as they caught sight 

- / o o 

of that scene must have been doubly surprised and paralyzed at 
the sight, so that as our men streamed over the works many threw 
down their guns and leaped the works without firing a shot, only 
too glad to get to our rear. Inside the works all seemed confu 
sion officers rushing here and there rousing the men, who seemed 
dazed and completely surprised. Some were just crawling out of 
their shelter tents, others putting on their equipments, and large 
numbers of them had thrown down their arms or had not taken 
them up and were jumping over the works, going to our rear. All 
this, and more, I saw as in a moment ; then others of our men com 
ing up, I turned to look closer down into the works, and looked 
into the muzzles of uplifted guns. There was a roar of discharg 
ing guns and we were on to them with the bayonet, for this was 
one of the times when we charged with the bayonet and did not 
commence firing until we were in the works. Being inside the 
works, we proceeded to do as others were doing on our right 
and left driving those who still remained over the works at the 
point of the bayonet. 

The charge seemed to be a complete surprise, for up to the 
time we broke through the abattis I heard but two discharges of 
a cannon and some scattering shots of musketry. As we charged 



THE r.LOODY ANGLE. 261 

out of the section which we had first captured, right at the end 
of the traverse work, I saw what you might term. a picture from 
still life, which has ever remained with me as vivid as it was at 
the time. Imagine a shelter tent, somewhat the worse for wear 
and tear, within the opening of which was disclosed the personal 
effects, arms and equipments of a soldier. A canteen with the 
stopper out was propped against the cartridge box ; near by was 
an old haversack open and with flap extended, and lying thereon 
were two cornmeal hoecakes which had been baked in the ashes. 
Immediately in front of the tent was a small fire smoldering; 
among the coals a tin cup with some steaming liquid in it, but the 
soldier owner was not there, and I have often wondered who he 
was and what became of him. I at least owe him for the two hoe- 
cakes, which I took with me, and it was probably this which made 
me remember it so well, for they were very good. 

After our capture of the first line, and as the men kept com 
ing over the works into the salient or angle of the works which 
we had charged, there ensued a scene not easily forgotten. Men 
were hurrahing and shaking hands with friends as they met, some 
with captured standards in their hands, among whom was Michael 
Burke of D Company of my own regiment ; all formations were 
gone and the troops of our own First and Second divisions, to 
gether with those of Mott s and Birney s divisions, were inex 
tricably mixed up in a howling and enthusiastic mob, with officers 
on foot and horseback trying to get some kind of order out of 
chaos; but some one raised the cry "Forward!" and we pressed 
forward towards the second line of works. We soon met the re 
serves of the enemy, who opened up on us with shot and shell, 
and being in such a disorganized condition we retired to the out 
side of the works we had captured in the first charge, where we 
took position four and more deep, the men being packed, as it 
were, on the outside of the works. Very soon the enemy appeared 
and charged up to the works and then it was a hand-to-hand fight 
over the works, we being as determined to hold them as they were 
to retake them, so that the dead and dying were literally piled in 
heaps on both sides, the fighting continuing with brief intermis 
sions during the entire day. I was at or near the west salient all 
the time, and it was near this place that the tree was cut down 
by being literally chewed off by the bullets so that it fell, and I 
believe that the stump was sawed off and was on exhibition at the 



262 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

Centennial exposition, being a tree some sixteen inches in diam 
eter. 

Our division was not relieved until some time in the even 
ing, having been nearly twenty hours under continuous fire. Of 
the many acts of bravery displayed, some foolhardy it may be, I 
will not take up your time to relate, as most of you have been 
there and know how it is yourself. A very large book might be 
written about the many scenes that come under one s observation 
at such a time, some of them so peculiar as to cause you to laugh. 
Among several such I may mention one, that of a man with his 
head shot off running for more than a rod. It occurred early in 
the day, when we had been driven back from the charge on the 
second line. We retired to the breastworks over which we had 
charged, coming out pretty well upon our right on that part of the 
line extending up from the west salient in fact, it must have 
been the extreme right, as I saw no troops beyond us to the right. 
We had been on the outside and had received and repulsed several 
charges of the enemy, when, they having opened a flanking fire 
on us, we were ordered to evacuate all that part of the line down 
to the west salient. Shot and shell were coming in pretty thick. 
Some of the boys crept down the line and others, with myself, 
thought that the quickest way was down hill to the rear, the 
ground being open and slightly descending. We started across it 
on the jump, Corporal Russell of my company and myself run 
ning about a rod apart. Immediately in front of us a soldier, run 
ning like ourselves, was struck in the head by a shell or solid shot 
and his head cut clean from his shoulders, but he continued to run 
for a rod or more before he fell. 

It is a fact that in no other engagement of the war were there 
so many men wounded or killed by the bayonet; but of the loss 
in killed and wounded, the men, guns and standards captured you 
can read in the reports, and are no part of a paper on personal 
recollections. 



BATTLE OF CEDAR CREEK. 

BY 
LIEUT. DON C. AYER, 1ST. VERMONT HEAVY ARTILLERY. 

(Read February 5, 1892.) 

The 6th, 8th and I9th corps were the troops that constituted 
the Army of the Middle Department under General Philip Sheri 
dan and fought the battle of Cedar Creek on the I9th of October, 
1864. I was a member of the Second division of the 6th corps 
and belonged to the 1st Vermont brigade. Captain Lewis, myself 
and seven men of my company were on the extreme right of the 
infantry pickets and were on the reserve, having been relieved 
from the picket line the day before. We were encamped behind a 
bank about 200 yards in the immediate rear of the picket line ; we 
had log fires and were very comfortable. There were about 200 
men in this reserve. 

The first thing I heard was a volley of musketry, which awak 
ened me. I clasped the buckle of my belt and raised up. On the 
bank above I saw a line of rebel infantry and they were the ones 
who had fired the volley. I jumped for my gun that was stacked 
about twenty feet from where I lay and started down the line 
towards the main camp. To get out of the light of our fires I 
stepped behind a tree and at once began firing. I had fired two 
shots, when down the line came a couple of horsemen, who passed 
within twenty feet to the left of my tree. As they passed one of 
them remarked: "Is them Johnnies?" and fell off his horse, shot 
dead. Thev proved to be the field officer of the day and his or 
derly. The orderly wheeled his horse and went to the rear without 
telling. The field officer was a Major in a New York regiment, 
and Captain Lewis has since related to me a talk he had with 
him the day before, when the Major said that his wife had died 
since he entered the army, and he also showed her picture, as well 
as the pictures of two lovely girls, his daughters. His only 

(263) 



264 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

prayer was that he might live long enough to return home and see 
his children once more. 

I fired another shot, and when I had another ball half way 
down the old rifle I looked out from behind my tree and saw that 
the line of "Johnnies" was advancing and had covered nearly half 
the distance between them and me. Well, I did not stop to return 
the rammer, but started down the line at a rate of speed that would 
have made that orderly (who had preceded me) ashamed of his 
horse. I think I ran about a thousand yards, when I came to a 
squad of men that Captain Lewis had gathered from a few picket 
posts and those who got away from the reserve. As I came up 
Captain Lewis said : "Don. I never wanted to see you so badly be 
fore. I want to form a skirmish line to the right and rear of the 
main line." I started off with the men in as nearly a straight 
line as was possible, owing to the darkness of the morning. It 
was densely foggy, which made it very dark. 

When I had posted my last man I retracted my steps, and 
when I had about reached the center of the line I met Captain 
Lewis, who said : "Don, stand here until I go down in front." He 
was gone a few minutes and on his return said : "The Johnnies 
are advancing slowly ; have everv man cock his gun and not fire 
until I give the word." So I gave the order and it was passed 
from man to man. The Captain waited until the rebels were about 
100 yards from the line, then gave the command to fire. Every 
gun was discharged at once. The "Johnnies" immediately re 
turned a volley, which disclosed a line of battle longer than our 
skirmish line. Our little line fell back about fifty yards and we 
came to a rail fence, behind which we formed. Captain Lewis 
then told me his plan of action and went to the left. It was to 
fire when advanced upon and then fall back in as good order as 
possible and he would take the men obtainable from the main line 
and form them on our little line, and I was to extend the line to 
the right as fast as possible. We waited but a few moments, when 
the rebs advanced, and we gave them a volley as before, I giving 
the command to fire. 

Up to this time the rebs had fired over us, but this time they 
did some execution, many of our men being wounded, but we 
fell back as before and by this time it had begun to get light. We 
fell back at least 1,000 yards and reformed our lines. From the 
right the line ran up a ravine and the country was quite wooded. 



BATTLE OF CEDAR CREEK. 265 

In front was a ridge of land, and after consulting with Captain 
Lewis he ordered the line at that point to advance to the top of 
the hill, which was done. We were protected by trees and rocks 
and soon entered into a lively skirmish with the rebs, whom we 
had no trouble in finding, and we held our own for a time. In 
the meantime the army in the rear had been attacked by General 
Early s main lines and the fighting was general. Up to this time 
we had heard nothing from our main forces, but felt good, be 
cause we did not think there were enough rebs in the country 
to make the attack and whip the old Sixth corps. About 10:30 in 
the morning I discovered that the troops in our immediate front 
were supported by a cavalry force and that they were working 
around our right. Now, at this time our line numbered about 
1,000 men, according to my judgment, and we were compelled 
to fall back to prevent capture. We retreated in good order and 
at Captain Lewis command I swung the right of the line towards 
the rear on account of the danger from the cavalry before men 
tioned. The country was more than half wooded, interspersed 
with open fields. The "Jormm es " did not know our true situation 
or they would have crushed us at once. As I have since learned, 
we were fighting General Gordon s division. 

On my way to New York two years ago I met a gentleman 
on the train from Dakota who was going to the National Encamp 
ment of the G. A. R. We were telling stories of the war by the 
way, he was an officer in the I3th Vermont regiment and while 
reciting this story he told me that he had heard General Gordon 
explaining to ex-Secretary of War Redfield Proctor why it was 
that General Sheridan turned the battle of Cedar Creek into a vic 
tory after the whipping General Early gave us in the morning. 
He (General Gordon) had been ordered to attack our right, while 
General Early made the attack on the extreme left of our main 
line, and in the darkness of the morning he had marched farther 
to our right than he should have done, and when he struck our 
line he found that we reformed and fought with such persistency 
and the way we advanced and attacked him he thought he had 
landed on the right of our main line and that the skirmish line 
which received him was supported by the main line of battle. 

He did not find out his mistake until nearly noon ; hence the 
reason we kept him engaged so long and which enabled our sur 
prised and whipped army to get into position to check General 



266 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

Early s advance. If we had let Gordon s division down on the 
right of our main forces there would not have been a victory at 
Cedar Creek. At about 1 1 130 Gordon s division commenced a 
general advance and we could do no better than to fall back in 
as good order as possible. About noon we were forced out of a 
piece of woodland and found that the center of our little line 
had landed on the extreme left of General Early s main line and 
the cavalry (before mentioned) was on our right to a finish. 
Nothing short of immediate capture stared us in the face. Early s 
left was supported by a battery and they gave us a shot of can- 
nister and the gunners dropped to the ground. Their support gave 
us a volley of musketry and demanded : "Halt, you Yankee sons 
of guns !" 

A soldier by the name of James McGafFey, who had acted as 
my orderly all the morning, stood beside me at the time of the 
two volleys one from the battery and the other from the infan 
try support. All was still for an instant; then he said: "What 
shall we do now, Don?" I said: "Follow me, Jim, and don t fire 
oft your gun." He remarked : "i will follow you if you go straight 
through hell !" and then we started to run the gauntlet between 
Early s line (that we had struck) and Gordon s cavalry that was 
flanking us. We had not gone 300 feet when I heard this from 
a little Frenchman of Company C of my regiment that I had not 
before observed during the day. The Rebs were "hollering," 
"Halt, you Yankee sons of guns !" when the little Frenchman 
yells back: "Me no Yankee son of gun; me Peno; me Peno" 
(Peno was his name). The idea that it made any difference at 
that particular time who he was, was very amusing. 

Captain Lewis, McGaffey and myself got through between 
the two lines of Rebs and reached the main line of battle. We 
struck the line near the right of the 6th corps and followed along 
until we came to our brigade and regiment. We joined our 
company pretty well tired out, not having had a chance to get 
anything to eat since the night before. We had barely gotten 
into line when General Phil Sheridan came riding down in front 
of us, and such cheering I never heard before. In less than fif 
teen minutes we were ordered forward and had advanced about 
fifty yards when we came to a stone wall that was occupied by 
the skirmishers. We laid behind the wall, firing, for a few min 
utes and then were ordered to charge. The country in front of 



BATTLE OF CEDAR CREEK. 267 

us was an open field and the Reb lines were behind another stone 
wall running parallel to the one behind which we laid. The dis 
tance from wall to wall was about 1,500 yards. We went over our 
wall and started for the "Johnnies." When we had covered about 
half the distance we were ordered to halt and lie down, which 
order was obeyed. This delay was occasioned by the brigade on 
our immediate left having advanced more slowly and it would 
have left our flank uncovered. 

We always went with a rush in every charge I was in. When 
the brigade saw us lie down it rather took their courage. They 
broke and we were ordered to fall back to our stone wall, which 
was done. When I arose to my feet my canteen strings had been 
cut by a bullet, so it fell to the ground, and as time was rather 
precious I did not stop to pick it up, but got over the wall in 
pretty lively time. We laid there a few minutes, firing, until the 
brigade on our left had reformed and was up even with our line ; 
then we went forward as fast as we could run. I thought of the 
old canteen, as it had water in it, and I picked it up between two 
dead men who were lying on their faces. They had been killed 
while we were lying there and I had not noticed them at the time. 

The "Johnnies" in front made it mighty interesting. Some 
of our boys did not reach the wall and were left behind ; others, 
with myself, did, however, and we scaled it like a flock of sheep. 
Nearly half the "Johnnies" threw themselves on their backs and 
held up their hands, while some made as good a retreat as they 
could, but I think we captured half of them at least. Our brigade 
had made better time than the one on our left, and from our posi 
tion we saw a Reb battery that was pouring it into the brigade on 
our left. About thirty of us charged on the flank of the battery, 
but we were not heavy enough for their support, so we dropped 
down and commenced firing. I directed my fire on a gunner who 
was sighting his gun not more than 100 yards from me. I missed, 
but loaded again, taking a rest over the broken rail of a fence, 
and missed again. Well, I used a little language that would 
hardly do here, then loaded a third time and fired. I had the sat 
isfaction of seeing the gunner ride off astride of his gun. 

By this time Ouster s division of cavalry had come up on the 
left of our position. The ground sloped to the left and there was 
an open field in front of the cavalry, which was covered with the 
battery and its support going at its best speed. I saw General 



268 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

Glister when he gave the command to charge from the extreme 
right of his column, and a more glorious sight never was beheld 
by man. This charge started on the left of the pike that ran down 
the valley. The right of his line was just opposite Middletown ; 
from there to Cedar Creek it was nearly a half a mile, and the 
rush for the creek was a sight 1 never expect to see again. Well, 
I trudged along the pike up to the creek. The bridge over the 
creek had fallen and in the mad rush referred to ambulance and 
wagons had gone over the abutment into the water, twenty feet 
below, until they were a mass of indescribable ruins of horses, 
wagons, men and guns, and the ford across the creek below the 
bridge presented a similar appearance. The army was so mixed 
up that there were few who were acquainted with those about 
them and the way we straightened out was mounted staff officers 
rode along the line saying : "Go back to the camp that you were 
driven from this morning," and that was the way we were col 
lected. 

Such a night ! Dying and dead men were scattered over the 
ground ; men coming in with battle flags they had captured, tak 
ing them to brigade headquarters, and the cheering that was given 
those who were so fortunate was very gratifying to them to say 
the least. Thus closes the day of the I9th of October, 1864. 

I hate a man that blows his own horn, but in this case I have 
had to blow mine or it would be forever mute. 



NEBRASKA COMMANDERY HISTORY. 



The organization of the Nebraska Commandery, Military 
Order of the Loyal Legion, was perfected December I7th, 1885, 
at a meeting held at the Paxton hotel, Omaha, on which occasion 
there was a fine banquet, with toasts and responses and vocal and 
instrumental music, the latter by the 4th United States Infantry 
band. The following named Companions from other command- 
cries were present and took part in the installation exercises : Gen 
eral Ducat and Captain Adams of the Illinois Commandery, 
Colonel Kebourn and Captain King of the Wisconsin Com 
mandery, General Jennison, Major White, Captain Castle, Captain 
Braden and Captain Kittleson of the Minnesota Commandery, and 
Major Ellis of the Missouri Commandery. 

Previous to this and on October 3ist, 1885, a temporary or 
ganization had been effected by a number of the Companions, who 
had joined the California Commandery for that purpose, to-wit : 
Oliver O. Howard, G. B. Dandy, Samuel Breek, Henry A. Mor 
row, Delevan Bates, Robert H. Hall, Jacob Ford Kent, C. I. Wil 
son, Joseph C. McBride, J. Morris Brown, James W. Savage, C. 
H. Frederick, Edgar S. Dudley, W. J. Broatch, James S. France, 
Amasa Cobb, William Wallace, William R. Bowen, Joseph 
Sladen, John R. Clark, Robert R. Livingston, Henry E. Palmer, 
George W. E. Dorsey, Lewis Merriam, James H. Peabody, Hor 
ace Ludington, George W. Humphrey, William Coburn, Charles 
H. Townsend, John R. Manchester, John S. Caulfield, William F. 
Bechel, Frank E. Moores, William H. Ijams, C. M. Terrill, C. 
Ewen, H. B. Rumsey, Church Howe, Joshua B. Davis, Charles E. 
Squires, Simeon T. Josselyn, John J. O Brien, William H. C. 
Michael. 

At the meeting held October 31 the following officers were 
elected : Commander, Colonel James W. Savage ; Senior Vice 
Commander, Captain W. J. Broatch ; Junior Vice Commander, 
Brevet Brigadier General Amasa Cobb ; Recorder, Major J. Mor 
ris Brown; Registrar, Captain William H. Ijams; Treasurer, 
Lieutenant William Wallace ; Chancellor, Captain Frank E. 

(269) 



270 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

Moores ; Council, Lieutenant Edgar S. Dudley, Captain Henry E. 
Palmer, Captain George M. Humphrey, Brevet Major Church 
Howe and Ensign William H. C. Michael. 

All of the above named were also re-elected to their respective 
offices when the permanent organization was effected Dcember 
1 7th, 1885, on which date the forty-three Companions above 
named and sixteen applicants became members of the Nebraska 
Commandery. Those last mentioned are indicated by stars set 
opposite their names in the following list, which, it will be ob 
served, contains the names of many distinguished officers . 



MEMBERSHIP FROM DATE OF ORGANIZATION. 

Commander James W. Savage, William J. Broatch, George 
M. Humphrey, T. S. Clarkson, Amasa Cobb, Joseph W. Paddock, 
John R. Brooke, John B. Furay, Charles W. Pierce, Henry E. 
Palmer, John H. McClay, William Wallace, Charles F. Mander- 
son, Horace Ludington, Samuel S. Curtis and Frank B. Lawrence. 

Senior Vice Commander William J. Broatch, John P. 
Hawkins, T. S. Clarkson, N. G. Franklin, Joseph W. Paddock, 
John R. Brooke, J. B. Furay, Charles W. Pierce, John E. Sum 
mers, John H. McClay, John R. Manchester, John S. Hoover, 
John B. Dinsmore, Nathan S. Harwood, Louis H. Korty and Ed 
ward C. Jackson. 

Junior Vice Commander Amasa Cobb, George M. Humph- 
ery, N. G. Franklin, Joseph W. Paddock, William L. Wilson, N. 
S. Harwood, Charles W. Pierce, Henry E. Palmer, D. W. Ben- 
ham, John R. Manchester, Alvin Saunders, F. B. Lawrence, Abra 
ham Alice, Louis N. Gonden, Edward C. Jackson and Thomas C. 
Shelly. 

Recorder J. Morris Brown Horace Ludington, T. S. Clark- 
son and Frank B. Bryant. 

Registrar W. H. Ijams, Horace Ludington, John B. Den 
nis, Henry E. Palmer, Frank B. Bryant, F. B. Lawrence, L. N. 
Gonden, Dexter L. Thomas, Thomas C. Shelly and George H. 
Palmer. 

Treasurer William Wallace, James S. France, John A. Gor 
don, John T. Bell and John A. Gordon. 

Chancellor Frank E. Moores, James T. Kinsler, Simeon T. 
Josselyn, Lyman Richardson and Don C. Ayer. 

Chaplain Robert N. McKaig and Louis A. Arthur. 



NEBRASKA COMMANDERY HISTORY. 2/1 

Abbott, O. A ist Lieut. 9th 111. Cavalry 

*Allee, Abraham Capt. i6th 111. Cavalry 

Ames, Luther T Capt. 2nd Infantry, U. S. A., Retired 

Atkinson, C. W By Inheritance 

Ayer, Don C 2nd Lieut, ist Vt. Heavy Artillery 

Ayers, James C In Succession 

Abercrombie, William R Capt. U. S. A. By Inheritance 

Armstrong, George Brevet Lieut. Col. 2nd Neb. Infantry 

Andrews, E. Benjamin 2nd Lieut, ist Conn. Heavy Artillery 

Arthur, Louis A By Inheritance 

Barriger, John W Lieut. Col. Sub. Dept. 

Brevet Brig. Gen. U. S. A. 

Barnttm, Morgan L By Inheritance 

Bates, Delevan Col. 3Oth U. S. C. Infantry 

Brig. Gen. U. S. Vols. 

Bechel, William F ist Lieut. io7th Ohio Infantry 

Benham, Daniel W Lieut. Col. 7th Infantry, U. S. A. 

Bowen, William R ist Lieut, ist Neb. Cavalry 

Brevet Capt. U. S. Vols. 

Broatch, William J Late Capt. 4Oth Infantry, U. S. A. 

*Bell, John T 2nd Lieut. 2nd Iowa Infantry 

Breck, Samuel Brevet Brig. Gen. U. S. A. 

Brooke, John R Major Gen. U. S. A. 

Brown, J. Morris Major and Surgeon U. S. A. 

Burnham, Horace B 

. . . Lieut. Col. and Deputy Judge Advocate General U. S. A. 

Brown, Robert L By Inheritance. Capt. U. S. A. 

*Burrell, Thomas ist Lieut. iS>gth N. Y. Infantry 

Balance, Charles By Inheritance 

Benson, H. H Capt. 8th Iowa Infantry 

Briggs, Oliver ist Lieut. iQth Mass. Infantry 

Beardsley, S. W ist Lieut. I54th N. Y. Infantry 

Billingsley, L. W Capt. 44th U. S. C. Infantry 

Brewster, Charles Capt. I3th N. Y. Cavalry 

Brevet Maj. U. S. Vols. 

Bryant, Franklin B ist Lieut, and Q. M. I2th Wis. Infantry 

Casey, Charles B By Inheritance 

Clarkson, Thaddeus S Maj. 3rd Ark. Cavalry 

Cobb. Amasa Col. 5th and 43rd Wis. Infantry 

Brevet Brig. Gen. U. S. Vols. 



272 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

Cochran, John T Capt. 8oth Ind. Infantry 

Coffman, Victor H Maj. and Sur. 34th Iowa Infantry 

Brevet Lieut. Col. U. S. Vols. 

Cook, George W ist Lieut. I79th N. Y. Infantry 

Cowin, John C Capt. io8th U. S. C. Infantry 

Curtis, Samuel S Lieut. Col. 3rd Colo. Cavalry 

Caulfield, John S ist Lieut, i I4th 111. Infantry 

*Carlin, William P Brevet Maj. Gen. U. S. A. 

Clark, John R ist Lieut. iSth Ohio Infantry 

Cramer, H. W Brevet Lieut. Col. 7th Iowa Infantry 

Carson, John L Capt. and A. C. S. U. S. Vols. 

Cobb, M. McK Second Class 

Coburn, William 2nd Lieut. 3rd U. S. Infantry 

Carter, J. O 2nd Lieut. 66th Ohio Infantry 

Deuel, William A Capt. I2th Mich. Infantry 

Dickey, John J By Inheritance 

Dilworth, C. J Col. 85th 111. Infantry 

Brevet Brig. Gen. U. S. Vols. 

Dinsmore, John B 2nd Lieut. 9th N. Y. Cavalry 

Dorsey, Daniel A 2nd Lieut. 33rd Ohio Infantry 

Dorsey, George W. E. . . .Capt. and C. S., Brevet Maj. U. S. Vols. 

Dandy, George B Brevet Brig. Gen. U. S. A. 

Downey, George F Second Class 

Downey, George M Capt. 2 ist U. S. Infantry 

Dudley, Edgar S ist Lieut .2nd Artillery, U. S. A. 

Davis, Joshua B Maj. I22nd N. Y. Infantry 

Dewees, Thomas B Maj. 9th Cavalry, U. S. A. 

Dennis, John B Brevet Brig. Gen. U. S. Vols. 

Evans, Elwood W 2nd Lieut. 8th Cavalry, U. S. A. 

Ewen, Clarence Capt. and Asst. Sur. U. S. A. 

France, James S Capt. I7th N. Y. Infantry 

* Franklin, N. G Maj. 45th Ohio Infantry 

Franklin, Carl T Second Class 

Foote, Dellizon A By Inheritance 

Frederick, Calvin H Lieut. Col. 59th 111. Infantry 

Brevet Brig. Gen. U. S. Vols. 

Funke, Oscar F By Inheritance 

Furay, Edward S Second Class 

Furay, John B ist Lieut. I ith Ohio Cavalry 

Ftirnas, Robert W Col. 2nd Neb. Cavalry 



NEBRASKA COMMANDERY HISTORY. 273 

Gardner, William H Capt. 3Oth Mass. Infantry 

Gordon, John A Capt. I5th Wis. Infantry 

Gonden, Louis N ist Lieut. 2nd Md. P. H. B. 

Grant, John 2nd Lieut. 38th N. J. Infantry 

Gilmore, Melvin R By Inheritance 

Goodall, Joseph ist Lieut. 9th Iowa Cavalry 

Gageby, James H Maj. 7th Infantry, U. S. A. 

Greusel, Nicholas Col. 36th 111. Infantry 

"Harwood, Nathan S ist Lieut. 46th Iowa Infantry 

Henry, R. H ist Lieut. 42nd Wis. Infantry 

Holcomb, William H Capt. /6th U. S. C. Infantry 

Hoover, John S Maj. 3ist 111. Infantry 

Brevet Col. U. S. Vols. 

Home, Othniel ist Lieut, and Adjt. looth 111. Infantry 

Howe, Church Capt. I5th Mass. Infantry 

Brevet Col. U. S. Vols. 

Brevet Maj. U. S. Vols. 

-Hall, Delos E Maj. 97th N. Y. Infantry 

Hall, Robert H Brevet Lieut. Col. U. S. A. 

Hartsuff, Albert Brevet Lieut. Col. and Sur. U. S. A. 

*Hawkins, John P Brevet Maj. Gen. U. S. A. 

Howard, Oliver O Maj. Gen. U. S. A. 

Howard, Guy Capt. U. S. A. 

Hubbard, N. M Brevet Maj. U. S. A. 

Hyatt, Chauncey W ist Lieut. 38th Wis. Infantry 

Humphrey, George M Capt. 42nd Wis. Infantry 

Holmes, C. A Capt. 29th Wis. Infantry 

Hall, Charles L By Inheritance 

Hill, J. E Capt. 1 1 ith Ohio Infantry 

Holcomb, W. H., Jr Second Class 

Henry, Walter B By Inheritance 

I jams, William H Capt. 3<3th Ohio Infantry 

Her, Jacob W Capt. 49th Ohio Infantry 

Jackson, Edward C Capt. I25th N. Y. Infantry 

Jensen, John 2nd Lieut. i2th U. S. C. Heavy Artillery 

*Jones, Samuel B 2nd Lieut, nth Vt. Infantry 

Josselyn, Simeon T ist Lieut. I3th 111. Infantry 

Keifer, J. W r arren, Jr Second Class 

Kell, William H Capt. 22nd Infantry, U. S. A. 



274 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

Keeffe, Joseph Capt. 4th Infantry, U. S. A. 

Kimball, Nathan Brevet Maj. Gen. U. S. Vols. 

Kleutsch, John D ist Lieut. 82nd 111. Infantry 

Kent, Jacob F Brevet Lieut. Col. U. S. A. 

Kelly, Joseph J Col. lO/th 111. Infantry 

Kelly, William R Second Class 

Killgore, William H ist Lieut, ist Penn. Light Artillery 

Kinsler, James T Asst. Sur. 164111 N. Y. Infantry 

Knappen, Prosper L By Inheritance 

Korty, Louis H Third Class 

Lambertson, Genio M By Inheritance 

Lawrence, Frank B 2nd Lieut. 99th N. Y. Infantry 

Livingston, Theo. P By Inheritance 

Ludington, Horace Maj. and Sur. looth Penn. Infantry 

Lowe, W. W Col. 5th Iowa Cavalry 

Brevet Brig. Gen. U. S. Vols. 

Livingstone, Robert Col. ist Neb. Infantry 

Brevet Brig. Gen. U. S. Vols. 

Lynch, Edward ist Lieut. 8th Infantry, U. S. A. 

Majors, Thomas Maj. ist Neb. Vet. Cavalry 

Brevet Lieut. Col. U. S. Vols. 

Manchester, John R Capt. 97th N. Y. Infantry 

Manderson, Charles F Col. I9th Ohio Infantry 

Brevet Brig. Gen. U. S. Vols. 

*McClay, John H 2nd Lieut. 47th 111. Infantry 

McClay, William L Second Class 

McKell, James C Capt. 73rd Ohio Infantry 

Mercer, G. W^ Second Class 

* Mercer, Samuel D. .First Lieut, and A. Sur. i49th 111. Infantry 

Montgomery, C. S First Class in Succession 

Moores, Frank E Capt. 8th Ohio Vol. Cavalry 

Morrison, Samuel H ist Lieut. 2nd \Vis. Infantry 

Morsman, Westel W Capt. 22nd Iowa Infantry 

McNamara, Arthur By Inheritance 

Mercer, John J Capt. 78th 111. Infantry 

Morgan, Frank Capt. I4th Conn. Infantry 

McBride, J. C Capt. 48th Ind. Infantry 

Mason, Oliver P Third Class 

Mills, William Capt. U. S. A. 



NEBRASKA COMMANDERY HISTORY. 275 

Morrow, Henry A Brig. Gen. U. S. A. 

* Montgomery, Milton Col. 25th Wis. Infantry 

Brevet Brig. Gen. U. S. Vols. 

Mulcahy, Thomas Lieut. Col. I39th N. Y. Infantry 

Brevet Brig. Gen. U. S. Vols. 

Masten, George G ist Lieut. Both N. Y. Infantry 

Miller, J. S Maj. nth Wis. Infantry 

McKaig, Robert N 2nd Lieut. 5th Ind. Cavalry 

Michael, William H. C Acting Ensign U. S. N. 

McKeever, Samuel Brevet Lieut. Col. U. S. Vols. 

McParlin, Thomas A Brevet Brig. Gen. U. S. A. 

Merriam, Lewis ist Lieut. 4th Infantry, U. S. A. 

Nye, Chester F Capt. loth Vt. Infantry 

O Brien, John J First Lieut. 4th Infantry, U. S. A. 

Paddock, Benjamin S Second Class 

Palmer, George H Second Class 

Palmer, Henry E Capt. nth Kan. Cavalry 

Park, William Lee By Inheritance 

Parker, Charles H Capt. 9th Cavalry, U. S. A. 

Patterson, William W ist Lieut. I2th Infantry, U. S. A. 

Paddock, Joseph W Capt. ist Neb. Infantry 

* Maj. and A. A. G. U. S. Vols. 

Paddock, Algernon S Third Class 

Patrick, John N. H ist Lieut. 5th Iowa Cavalry 

Patrick, Robert W By Inheritance 

Peabody, James H Maj. and Sur. U. S. Vols. 

Brevet Lieut. Col. U. S. Vols. 

Phillips, Rolla O Capt. 85th Penn. Infantry 

Pierce, Charles A Second Class 

-Pierce, Charles W. . .Capt. V. R. C. and Brevet Maj. U. S. Vols. 
Potwin, George C ist Lieut. I9th U. S. C. Infantry 

Brevet Maj. U. S. Vols. 

Powers, T. Frank Capt. i6th 111. Infantry 

Pratt, James H Capt. and Asst. Q. M. U. S. Vols. 

Pratt, W. McL Lieut. Col. 8th Conn. Infantry 

Pritchett, George E ist Lieut. I26th N. Y. Infantry 

Ouinn, Thomas F Capt. 4th Infantry, U. S. A. 

Rhodes, Darius G Capt. 42nd Penn. Infantry 

Richardson, Lyman Capt. ist Neb. Infantry 



276 CIVIL WAR SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS. 

Rigg, Charles M . . . . ^./. By Inheritance 

Riggs, William H y.%/.^jitLjeutW. Va. Infantry 

Russell, W. H . . ist Lieut, lym Mich. Infantry 

Rucker, Louis H ist Lieut. 8th Illinois Cavalry 

Rumsey, Henry B Lieut. Com. U. S. N. 

Roe, John H Capt. iO4th U. S. C. Infantry 

Savage, James W Col. I2th N. Y. Cavalry 

Sarson, Horace B Capt. 2nd Infantry, L T . S. A. 

Strong, Rollin M Lieut. Col. iQth Wis. Infantry 

Stickel, Joseph H ist Lieut. 33rd Wis. Infantry 

Shepherd, E. A By Inheritance 

Sheridan, Michael V Brig- Gen. U. S. A. 

Sherwood, Thomas H Sur. 27th Penn. Infantry 

Sladen, Joseph A Capt. I4th Infantry, U. S. A. 

Smith, S. T Capt. ist Kan. Infantry 

Stanton, Thad. H Brig. Gen. and Paymaster U. S. A. 

Sturgis, Thomas ist Lieut. 57th and 6oth Mass. Infantry 

Sweet, Franklin Capt. 62nd Penn. Infantry 

Sewell, Thomas Capt. I27th 111. Infantry 

Squires, Charles E Capt. 2Oth Iowa Infantry 

Sanderson, Ira L ist Lieut. 3 ist N. J. Infantry 

Saunders, Alvin War Governor of Nebraska. Third Class 

Shelly, Thomas C ist Lieut. I5th 111. Infantry 

Slaughter, Brad D By Inheritance 

Summers, John E Col. and Sur. U. S. A., Retired 

Summers, John E., Jr Second Class 

*Swobe, Thomas ist Lieut. I2th Mich. Infantry 

Capt. U. S. A. 

Swobe, Edwin T Second Class 

Tisdell, James M Capt. 95th 111. Infantry 

*Tuttle, Benton Capt. io8th U. S. C. Infantry 

Townsend, Charles H 2nd Lieut. 29th Wis. Infantry 

Terrell, Charles M Col. and Asst. Paymaster Gen. U. S. A. 

Thomas, Dexter L Capt. 88th Ind. Infantry 

Turner, William J Capt. 2nd Infantry, U. S. A. 

Terrell, Edwin H By Inheritance 

Thompson, John F By Inheritance 

Tilford, J. G Col. 9th Cavalry, U. S. A. 

Ulio, James Capt. 3rd Infantry, U. S. A., Retired 

Updike, Edward 2nd Lieut. I4th N. J. Infantry 



NEBRASKA COMMANDERY HISTORY. 277 

Van Gieson, H. C > Acting Asst. Sur. U. S. N. 

Van Home, William M. .....:... .Maj. 22nd Infantry, U. S. A. 

Vifquain, Victor Col. 97th 111. Infantry 

Brig. Gen. U. S. Vols. 

Wallace, George Y By Inheritance 

Wallace, William ist Lieut, and Adjt. 4th Ohio Infantry 

Webster, Joseph R Lieut. Col. 44th U. S. C. Infantry 

Wells, A. B Maj. 8th Cavalry, U. S. A. 

Wheaton, Frank Brig. Gen. U. S. A. 

Williams, Rees ist Lieut. n6th Ohio Infantry 

Wilson, Charles H Second Class 

Wilson, Henry D Second Class 

Wilson, William L ist Lieut. I42nd Penn. Infantry 

Wilson, William W ist Lieut, and Q. M. 29th Iowa Infantry 

Wolcott, Francis E Maj. 2Oth Ky. Infantry 

Wright, Henry H . By Inheritance and Capt. 9th Cavalry, U. S. A. 

Wrighter, William D By Inheritance 

White, John P Capt. ist N. Y. Prov. Cavalry 

Wilson, Charles I Maj. and Q. M. U. S. A. 

Wert, Charles ist Lieut. I4th 111. Cavalry 

Wilson, David B Maj. 2nd Infantry, U. S. A. 

W r ildman, William W Capt. 88th Ind. Infantry 



DECEASED MEMBERS. 



Of the foregoing list the following named have died: Com 
panions George Armstrong, Thomas Burrell, William R. Bowen, 
John R. Clark, H. W. Cremer, John L. Carson, M. McK. Cobb, 
Joshua R. Davis, Thomas B. Dewees, John B. Dennis, C. J. Dil- 
worth, Wallace B. Gondall, James H. Gageby, George M. 
Humphrey, N. S. Harwood, R. H. Henry, Joseph Keeffe, Nathan 
Kimball, John D. Kleutsch, Robert R. Livingstone, W. W. Lowe, 
Oliver P. Mason, William Mills, Henry A. Morrow, Milton 
Montgomery, Thomas Mulcahy, George C. Masten, Charles H. 
Parker, R. O. Phillips, William W. Patterson, Joseph W. Pad 
dock, Algernon S. Paddock, Henry D. Rumsey, James W. Sav 
age, Horace B. Sarson Rollin M. Strong, Ira L. Sanderson, Alvin 
Saunders, William W. Wilson.