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Isaac Gause 

Sergeant, Co. E, vSecond Ohio Volunteer Cavalrv 


Four Years with 
Five Armies 

Army of the Frontier, Army of the Potomac , 

Army of the Missouri, Army of the 

Ohio, Army of the Shenandoah 



Late of Co. E, Second Ohio Cav. 

New York and Washington 





'U \ 


Two CoDiM Hecejvvw 

JAN 27 1908 

OU$S A^ XXe. Nu 

' 5COPY a. 

Copyright, 1908, by 


It is not the object of the author in this little 
book to give a history of his life, or of the 
company, or of the regirnent in which he 
served. But it is his purpose to relate some 
of the causes that led him to enlist; and what 
he observed during four yearS' service. 

Being only seventeen years of age at the 
time of the war, reared in a rural district, with 
little knowledge of men and their ways, and 
no knowledge whatever of military organiza- 
tion; with no ambition but to do his part in 
coercing the seceded States to return to the 
Union ; and with nothing to indicate the length 
of time required to accomplish the task; with 
no thought of ever being able to write any- 
thing that would interest people, he now finds 
himself poorly prepared to do justice to the 

Having seen many claims made for official 
recognition for deeds done in the ordinary 
line of duty, it now appears to be his duty to 
his comrades to rehearse these extraordinary 

It was his custom to keep a diary when start- 
ing on a campaign, but owing to the toilsome 
march, together with the task of procuring 

4 Preface 

something for his horse and himself to sub- 
sist on, the diary was either abandoned or 
lost. So, guided almost entirely by memory, 
he can write only a short history of the long 
campaigns, privations, and engagements. 



I. Observations in a Rural District . 9 

II. Camp Life at Cleveland . . . . 17 

III. Winter Quarters at Camp Dennison 31 

IV. My First Picket Duty .... 48 
V. My First Skirmish 56 

VI. The Indian Expedition . . • . 75 

VII. Provost Duty at Fort Scott . . 102 
VIII. In Quarters at Camp Chase . .113 

IX. In Kentucky 122 

X. On Morgan's Trail 148 

XI. The Capture of Morgan . . .160 
XII. Events Succeeding A Furlough . . 176 

XIII. Campaigning in East Tennessee . 183 

XIV. More Tennessee Service . . . .199 
XV. The End of the Campaigns of '63 . 213 

XVI. In the Army of the Potomac . .217 

XVII. Service in Virginia 232 

XVIII. Rough Times in the Old Dominion 247 
XIX. The Fortunes and Misfortunes of 

War 267 

XX. The Wilson Raid 275 

XXI. General Kautz in His Element . 286 
XXII. Reorganizing and Hustling . . 298 

6 Contents 


XXIII. Capture of the Eighth South Caro- 

lina Infantry 306 

XXIV. Battle of Cedar Creek .... 330 
XXV. Custer's Raid 343 

XXVI. Winter Quarters 348 

XXVII. James River Canal Raid . . . .352 

XXVIII. The Last Battles 366 

XXIX. Mustered Out 375 

XXX. Political and Military Effect of 

Morgan's Raid 381 

XXXI. The Army Horse 383 


Isaac Gause Frontispiece 

Medal of Honor Facing page 9 

Franklin Ackley " " 22 

Charles Grandison Fairchild . " " 54 

G. W. Byard " " 86 

A. V. Kautz " "108 

Mathias M. Springer ..." " 140 

William W. Wurts .... " " 172 

E. P. Smith " " 204 

George A. Wilkins .... " " 242 

F. F. Rexford " "272 

Warner Newton " " 302 

Four Years with Five Armies 



I WAS born in Trumbull County, Ohio, 
December 9, 1843, and began going to 
school when I was five. When in my 
seventh year I moved with my parents 
to Mahoning County, and at the age of four- 
teen I went to live with my uncle Elijah 
Shinn, on a farm in Goshen Township. 
About that time my attention was called to the 
political condition of the country, because of 
the radical change that had recently taken 
place in the old parties. 

The people in that locality were of many 
religious faiths and political opinions, among 
whom were many Abolitionists, who refused 
to vote because there was a clause in the Con- 
stitution which permitted chattel slavery. 

When an effort was made to admit the Ter- 
ritory of Kansas into the Union the contro- 
versy was so bitter that the Abolitionists 
showed a disposition to vote provided they 
could get some concession from the Whigs, 
then under the able leadership of the Hon. 
Joshua R. Giddings, who conceived the plan 
to form a new party that would admit them, 

lO Four Years with Five Armies 

and also suit the liberal or free-State Demo- 

In i860 Abraham Lincoln was nominated 
Presidential candidate by the new party. The 
demonstrations in towns and villages fired the 
children in the rural districts with a spirit of 
patriotism, a spirit to which I was able to con- 
tribute by driving to town and purchasing a 
flag that we were able to raise on a fifty-foot 
pole in front of the schoolhouse. After the 
election of Lincoln, secession being threatened, 
the probability of war in the near future was 
much discussed, but there were only a few 
who thought such a calamity would befall the 
country. A small per cent., however, thought 
that a division of States was assured from the 
fact that the Southern men were accustomed 
to the use of firearms, and that they were 
trained to the code and followed the chase. 

During the winter of i860 I was much of 
the time in company with two brothers, who 
took an interest in the pending question from 
the fact that their former schoolmates, the 
Copic brothers, were members of John 
Brown's company, and were with him on 
the noted raid on Harper's Ferry, Virginia, 
when they took possession of the United States 
Arsenal at that place. One of my com- 
panions had also been in Kansas during the 
border troubles, or '56 war. Consequently I 
listened to many stories of encounters that had 
taken place between the free-State men of 
Kansas and the pro-slavery party in Missouri, 


Mrdal of Honor 

This medal contains the following words : 

" The Congress to Corporal Isaac Cause, Co. E, 2d Ohio Cav. Vols., 
for Gallantry near Berryville, Va., vSeptember 13, 1864." It was 
given to Corporal Cause on the recommendations of Generals Wil.son 
and Mcintosh. 

In " Medals of Honor," a publication issued by the War Depart- 
ment, September 19, 1864, will be found the following in relation to 
Mr. Gause: " Corporal, Co. K, 2d Ohio Cavalry ; Action, near Berry- 
ville, Va. ; Date, September 13, 1864. Capture of the colors of the 8th 
S. C. Infantry while engaged in a reconnoissance alons: the Berry- 
ville and Winchester pike." 


Observations in a Rural District 1 1 

the details of which gave me some informa- 
tion concerning the strategy that profitably 
can be practiced in the enemy's country. 

I will relate a story that will serve to show 
how one may be compelled to pay the penalty 
of another's crime. This 1 give as near as 
possible in my friend's language. He said: 
" When I made up my mind to come back 
to Ohio," said he, " I was in Wyandotte, Kan. 
In order to get to the railroad I must travel 
thirty miles in Missouri. It was fatal for a 
free-State or Kansas man to be caught in that 
part of the country, so I prepared myself ac- 
cordingly, and if suspected, I would claim to 
be a pro-slavery man. I had a full beard and 
long hair, and I put on a white shirt for the 
first time in a long while, then buckled on a 
belt with revolver and dirk. I crossed the 
Missouri in an unfrequented place at night, 
and hurried along so as to arrive at Weston 
to take the train at nine o'clock in the morn- 
ing. About three o'clock, when passing a 
plantation, a large dog, of which every planter 
kept one or more, jumped out of the gate and 
sprang at my throat, but by catching him by 
the paw and giving it a sudden wrench I pre- 
vented him from getting hold. To prevent 
making a noise I drew the knife, and after 
a desperate struggle I killed him. I imme- 
diately left the road in order to cover my trail, 
for if the planter should follow and overtake 
me I would meet the fate of my victim. When 
I came to a creek about daylight I washed 

12 Four Years with Five Armies 

the blood off, leaving a stain on one cuff of 
my shirt. It was about sunrise when I ar- 
rived at Weston and sat down in the waiting- 
room. Soon after, on looking out, I saw a 
party ride toward the depot. It was evident 
they were in haste, and thinking they were in 
search of a runaway slave I gave the incident 
little attention until they dismounted, came on 
the platform, and began looking about the 
depot. Finally, one of them walked up, 
reached out his arm, saying at the same 
time, 'Ain't this our man?' Thinking he 
wanted to shake hands, I reached out mine, 
and so uncovered the stained cuff. Before 
there was time to think, they covered me with 
two revolvers and dragged me out and ad- 
justed the rope for my neck. There was no 
time allowed for explanation, as they were 
wild with excitement. One of them, however, 
more cool than the others, insisted that they 
had the wrong man. But the others said, 
' Here is the stain on his cuff, and the rascal 
has tried to wash it off.' ' No,' he said, ' I 
know the man that killed Bill.' The last re- 
mark explained matters sufficient for me to 
catch my breath, inasmuch as I thought they 
were going to hang me for killing the dog 
during the night. When an explanation about 
the stain was given, they apologized for the 
rough treatment and rode away." 

The many stories, combined with the in- 
creasing animosity constantly agitated by the 
press, convinced me that nothing short of war 

Observations in a Rural District 13 

would settle the political differences between 
the North and South. At that time it would 
have been considered presumptuous to inti- 
mate that I could engage in any way in the 
struggle, although my mind was made up 
from the time Brooks of South Carolina 
struck Sumner of Massachusetts in the United 
States Senate, that should war be declared I 
would bear my part in one capacity or an- 
other. It was my secret, however, until the 
war was in full progress and the President 
had made the second call for troops. As no 
opportunity presented itself for me to enlist 
in the cavalry, I formed a plan to go away 
with a neighbor boy and enlist in the infantry. 
But we were both under the care of guardians, 
and our plan by some chance became known 
and was thwarted by them. 

My uncle, havins; been raised a Quaker and 
being of a very mild disposition, had seldom 
spoken in a positive manner. I had lived with 
him four years, and that was the first time 
he had refused to let me have my own way, 
although the previous requests had not been 
of an important nature. 

One evening in August my aunt read an 
article from the Mahoning County Register, 
stating that Professor Hall was recruiting a 
company in Canfield, to join what was to be 
known as Wade and Hutchins's cavalry. The 
names of the enlisted men were attached to 
the article. There were four with whom I 
was slightly acquainted, one a former school- 

14 Four Years with Five Armies 

mate, of whom mention will be made in the 
future. My mind was made up at once. I 
would go, let come what would. I had al- 
ways had one or more horses at my command 
from the time I could mount one from a 
stump or fence corner, for I was fond of a 
good horse, and delighted to run races with 
my associates whenever meeting them, whether 
going or coming from fairs, camp-meetings, 
and so on, and I had had many adventures 
and some narrow escapes. The next Saturday 
there was another article in the paper that my 
aunt also read to me. It stated that Captain 
Hall's company had nearly its complement of 
men and would depart from Canfield to join 
their regiment at Camp Wade, Cleveland, 
Ohio, on the following Tuesday. That was 
short notice for one who had made no arrange- 
ments. But, being fully determined, I set 
about formulating my plans. There were 
many things to be taken into consideration, 
many of which had been crudely revolved in 
my mind, but with no definite conclusion as 
to the result of any of them. My uncle and 
aunt were my guardians, and were the same 
as father and mother to me. I could not have 
loved them better had they been such in fact. 
My home was equal to the best of my asso- 
ciates\ and to break my family ties was no 
small concern to me. Besides, I was bound 
by a contract between my mother and uncle 
to remain with them until I was eighteen, and 
I would not be eighteen till the 9th of the 

Observations in a Rural District 15 

next December. Moreover, by breaking the 
contract I would forfeit all the financial bene- 
fit that had accrued to me by the last four 
years' labor. At the expiration of my time 
niy uncle was to pay me one hundred dollars, 
give me a horse, saddle and bridle, and a new 
suit of clothes. As at that time the aggregate 
of this was equal to two hundred and twenty- 
five dollars, it was considered a very fair start 
in life for one at my age. It did not occur 
to me there would be another chance to go 
into the cavalry, and therefore I thought to 
myself, now is the time to go. 

The worst of all was to leave without the 
consent of uncle and aunt. Weary with my 
ponderings, sleep overtook me, and next day 
I went to church. As soon as the service was 
ended I collected my associates, and we went 
to the woods for a council. I told them all 
about the cavalry company, and that we 
should all go together and enlist, but there 
was no response from them. After describing 
the difference between the cavalryman and 
the infantry, those that must plod through 
mud and snow, I gave up the task and started 
home. On the way I met some young men 
that consented to go with me. The next thing 
to do was to notify my uncle. After sitting 
down to dinner I told them what my mind 
was made up to do. To my surprise and 
gratification my uncle said, "• If he thinks he 
must go I will take him to Canfield to-morrow 
and let him enlist." Much gratified to think 

i6 Four Years with Five Armies 

there was no opposition from this source my 
arrangements were made accordingly. 

On Monday morning, when the work had 
been done as usual, I made preparation to go, 
but it began to rain and my uncle did not want 
to take his carriage out. But rain was no ob- 
stacle in my way, and I walked over to the 
home of my neighbor, who was presumably 
to be my future companion, and found him 
putting the saddle on his horse. When he saw 
the way I was situated, he hitched the horse 
to a buggy and drove over to get our other 
man. He had made no arrangements to go, 
so we drove to Canfield, put the horse in the 
stable at the Bostwick House, and here we 
met those with whom we were acquainted, 
among them George A. Wilkins. With a cor- 
dial greeting, he shook hands and asked, 
''Well, are you going with us?" " I surely 
am," I replied, " if there is room for one 
more on the rolls." " Come right in here," he 
said, and then addressing the sergeant, he con- 
tinued, " Here is another one to add to the 
list." "How old are you?" asked the ser- 
geant. " Eighteen, of course," Wilkins re- 
plied, and down went my name. 



WE went to the Meeker House, where 
the men were selecting the horses 
they were to ride in the service. 
Those horses that had been in- 
spected and accepted by the government in- 
spector stood in stalls in the long stables, and 
the many horse-dealers that had horses to sell 
occupied the open sheds on an adjoining lot, 
each with a bunch that he was anxious to dis- 
pose of. After inspecting three or four lots 
without finding one to suit me, I passed on to 
another, and there found one. The owner 
said, " You know a good horse when you see 
it, but that one does not come up to the stand- 
ard height; it has been inspected and re- 
jected on that account. She is the best animal 
in the stable and can outrun anything in the 
county, but she is nervous and unreliable in 
harness. If you can get her accepted, you 
will be the best mounted man in the com- 
pany." He put the saddle on the mare and 
brought her out. She was anxious to go, and 
every motion was as quick as a cat, and when 
I lit in the saddle she shot out of the stable like 
an arrow. After galloping up and down the 
street and turning short on the slippery plank 


1 8 Four Years with Five Armies 

pavement to the delight of the bystanders and 
to my own satisfaction, I rode to the stable. 
" Now," he said, ^' you tell the inspector that 
if he does not accept this mare you will not 
go with the company." I carried out his in- 
structions, and after much quibbling and hesi- 
tation, and by the earnest request of the by- 
standers who had witnessed my horsemanship, 
the animal was accepted and " U. S." branded 
upon her. 

After dinner we returned home and made 
hasty preparation for my departure. The 
next morning I mounted a horse at daybreak 
and rode to Damascus, a distance of three 
miles, my cousin having gone there to stay all 
night with friends, and driven the horse and 
carriage that was wanted to take me to Can- 
field. As soon as we had breakfast we went 
home and found that my uncle had changed 
his mind. He wanted to sell a horse and con- 
cluded to go on horseback. It was fourteen 
miles to Canfield and the company would 
leave at ten o'clock, so we hurried away as 
soon as possible after taking leave of those I 
might not see soon again. When we had rid- 
den about three miles we were overtaken by 
a horse-buyer who wanted artillery horses. I 
galloped the one I was riding up and down 
the road to show him off to the best advantage. 
The trade was soon made by the dealer ad- 
vancing my uncle five dollars with instruc- 
tions to deliver the horse at Salem the follow- 
ing Monday. 

Camp Life at Cleveland 19 

When within a mile of Canfield my uncle 
said he was tired, as he was not used to riding, 
and would like to return if I was satisfied to 
walk. We dismounted, and after an affec- 
tionate leave-taking, I walked toward town, 
while he rode in the opposite direction. We 
were scarcely out of sight of each other when 
the cannon began to boom the farewell salute 
to the company as it departed for Youngs- 
town, where they were to embark by rail. I 
soon met one of my neighbor boys who had 
ridden over to see the company start. When 
I explained to him my dilemma, he rode into 
town to make some arrangement by which I 
could get to Youngstown. The streets were 
deserted and the houses closed, with but a few 
people to represent the place. Every avail- 
able horse and harness had been put into use 
to take the company and its friends to Youngs- 
town. But it so happened that one doctor had 
one more buggy than horse, which his wife 
graciously loaned us. We found an old 
breast-strap, and by using ropes for traces, 
were enabled to hitch my friend's horse; but 
as there were no holdback straps, we had to 
get out and hold the buggy back going down 
hill. We arrived at our destination just in 
time for dinner. The scene was to me a new 
and novel one. A vast crowd had gathered 
around the hotel where the dinner had been 
prepared and placed on a long table for the 
company. It was so closely packed that it 
was almost impossible to gain an entrance. 

20 Four Years with Five Armies 

My friend interceded for me, and told them 
that here was a member of the company who 
had been left behind and wanted dinner be- 
fore train-time. That was all that was nec- 
essary, as everyone was anxious to show 
gratitude to the soldier. As word passed 
along, " Here is one, let him in," we finally 
managed to reach the table. After the dinner 
was concluded, the people gathered around 
the empty cars by the already overcrowded 
platform. These cars were destined to take 
us away, and it was announced that it was time 
to board the train. I walked around to the 
opposite side, where I could gain the step to 
the car without coming in contact with the 
crowd, and there, with a hearty handshake, 
and many thanks for the assistance he had 
rendered me, I took leave of my friend, to 
meet him again more than a year afterward 
on his deathbed. 

When I entered the car the scene that met 
my eye was heartrending indeed. There were 
fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and wives 
with tears and sobs, taking, for aught they 
knew, their last leave of their dear ones who 
were going to combat in what was destined 
to be a long and bloody struggle. My atten- 
tion was called to one group in particular, 
owing to its peculiar variance from the others. 
A middle-aged couple, whose attire would 
indicate that they were poor people, stood at 
one end of the car, and as the woman handed 
her husband some small token, she said: 

Camp Life at Cleveland 21 

" Remember me, when this you see, 
Though many miles apart we be." 

Then, with a fond embrace, and tears rolling 
down her face, she boo-hooed, and left the car. 

When the train pulled out, its occupants 
consisted of the company, and a few of the 
most influential men from Canfield and 
Youngstown who wanted to see their friends 
safely in camp. Now that we were away from 
the women, the flask became a frequent visi- 
tor. I was in a car whose occupants were 
entire strangers to me, but it was not long until 
my friends, who had not time to think of me 
before, came in search of me, and with hard 
persuasion succeeded in getting me to take 
the first drink of liquor that ever passed my 
lips. The most of them became jolly as the 
train moved along, and it was a great contrast 
from the hours before. I thought, how easily 
and soon they forget! 

We arrived at Cleveland about sundown, 
and when we were out of the cars the captain 
ordered us to fall in line. I had never been 
in line, and had seen but one company of 
recruits march. We crossed the Cuyahoga 
River and marched up a long hill. It was 
awkward work for me, but I managed to step 
on the heels of the man in front as often as 
the man behind me trod on mine. We ar- 
rived at the top of the hill, where we found 
preparations going on for our reception. By 
details from companies the eleven tents had 
been stretched, and there was a colored cook 

22 Four Years with Five Armies 

for each mess. Supper was almost ready. 
Our tables consisted of forked sticks about 
four feet long set in the ground for legs, with 
short poles from fork to fork, on which rested 
two boards twelve inches wide and about 
twelve feet long. Each cook had a tent called 
'' the cook-tent " for him to sleep in, and to 
store away the rations. After supper the as- 
signment to the different messes began, but 
most of these had been done by mutual con- 
sent before leaving Canfield. There were 
four or five of us, however, that were on the 
stray list, we either having no acquaintance 
with the others or not having had time to 
make arrangements. The different messes 
went by the name of the town in which the 
men lived; as, the Salem mess; Canfield mess; 
Youngstown mess, Girard, Nilestown, Board- 
man, Jackson. All of my acquaintances were 
in the Salem mess, and as they had only ten 
men I was invited to join them. They soon 
found another young man, Frank Ackley, 
about my age and size, to be my '' bunky," 
and to complete the required number for the 
mess. We each then drew a single blanket, 
and I lay down in a tent for the first time in 
my life. My bunky, like myself, was igno- 
rant of camp life, and had come without any 
bedding, therefore we were not so comfort- 
ably fixed as some of our comrades who 
brought quilts and blankets with them. The 
ground seemed very hard, and we turned over 
often during that first night. In the morning 

Franklin Ackley 

Corporal, Co. E. Second Ohio Volunteer Cavalry 

Camp Life at Cleveland 23 

we began to look about to learn something of 
our surroundings. We learned that our com- 
pany was the last of twelve to arrive in camp, 
but that some of them did not have their full 
quota and therefore could not muster, al- 
though they occupied their place in camp. 

Professor Hall had opened the rolls for en- 
listment on August loth, and recruited the 
first man for the regiment. We considered 
him captain and accordingly elected him as 
such, with Bales Fawcet for first lieutenant, 
and Peter L. Rush for second lieutenant. 
There was a great deal of fault found with 
Captain Hall's conduct and management of 
the company, but his selection of non-com- 
missioned officers showed his judgment was 
good in that respect. It saved a great deal of 
trouble in the future, with Warner Newton 
for first sergeant, a man with executive ability 
to command a brigade; Dan Arnold for 
quartermaster sergeant, who had some experi- 
ence in that line, having been with Walker's 
expedition across the plains some years before. 
The other non-commissioned officers were the 
best men in the company, though none had 
any military knowledge except Corporal 
William H. Arnold, and he had been in the 
three months' service and was at the battle of 
Manassas Junction. 

Two days after we arrived in camp our 
horses, which had been brought on foot, were 
tied to a picket rope on the flats between 
Camp Wade and the Cuyahoga River, where 

24 Four Years with Five Armies 

they were taken care of by a detail termed 
'^ horse guards " until late in the fall. At 
Camp Wade there was also camped a battery 
of artillery and a small detachment of Ohio 
boys enlisted for the noted Jim Lane's com- 
mand in Kansas. It was in that detachment 
that the first fatality occurred at Camp Wade. 
The boys had been furnished with guns and 
used them when on camp duty. There were 
two brothers who slept together. One of 
them, when on camp guard just behind the 
tent where his brother then lay, saw a cat cross 
the beat on which he was walking. He at- 
tempted to kill it, and at the noise of the gun 
everyone was awakened in the vicinity. His 
brother cried out, '^ I am shot!" His com- 
rade told him to go to sleep, and said, '' You 
have been dreaming of battle, and when you 
heard that shot it awoke you." At first he 
thought they were right, and he tried to go 
to sleep. As he attempted to turn over, how- 
ever, he put his hand into a pool of blood. He 
told his companion, a light was brought, and 
it was found that the ball had passed through 
his body. He died at seven the next morning. 

The first week passed away without any 
unusual event in the Second Ohio; the time 
of the trooper was fully occupied, and, since 
I had left home on short notice, I was anxious 
to return for a visit to assure my friends that 
I did not regret what I had done. 

The location of Camp Wade was on Uni- 
versity Heights, a high plateau situated south 

Camp Life at Cleveland 25 

of the Cuyahoga River. The Heights con- 
sisted of several hundred acres of land cov- 
ered with grass, sloping to the southeast, and 
bounded on the south by the University. Our 
camp was located on the north side of the 
plateau overlooking the city, the suburbs of 
which extended out to the University on the 
west side of the plateau. The open ground 
for a distance of nearly a mile was used for 
drill and parade ground, and was a popular 
resort for pleasure seekers. 

There was a continual stream of visitors, 
excursions, and picnics from the counties and 
towns where the companies were recruited. 
Soon after the uniforms were issued we had a 
review and a dress parade, and a flag was pre- 
sented by the ladies of Cleveland to the Sec- 
ond Cavalry. The ceremony took place in 
front of the University, where the regiment 
formed in hollow square. The presentation 
was made by one of Cleveland's fair daugh- 
ters. To the presentation address a fitting 
response was offered. The regiment was 
pledged not only to defend that banner of 
silk and gold, but to carry it on wings of vic- 
tory into the heart of the enemy's country. 
Then three cheers were given, patriotic songs 
were sung, the band gave its choicest selection, 
and the companies were marched to quarters 
and disbanded. 

Everything went along lovely until Novem- 
ber, when the cold north winds swept down 
across Lake Erie and struck Camp Wade a 

26 Four Years with Five Armies 

broadsider that made the tents totter and the 
teeth of the trooper chatter. The elevated spot 
that had been so pleasant during the autumn 
months had now to be abandoned for a better 
protected one. By the recent rains the flats 
had become soft and the horses were standing 
in mud up to their knees, and many sickened 
and died. The regiment was ordered to move 
to the old fair ground, known by the name of 
'' Camp Taylor." 

With no horse equipments but rope halters 
we mounted bareback and marched through 
the streets of Cleveland to the new camp. 
The horses, glad to be liberated from their 
muddy prison, pranced and jumped about, 
and it was impossible to keep them in any- 
thing like a column. 

The change in some respects was good for 
man and beast, or at least it was until the rains 
set in again, and then it was worse than Camp 
Wade, for there the horses were kept away 
from camp, so that we were not constantly 
kept in mind of their suffering. But in the 
new camp they were tied in front of the tents, 
and they tramped and lashed the mud until 
everything for rods around was covered 
with it. It was discouraging indeed to the 
trooper on duty to go on guard and walk back 
and forth by a string of horses for two hours, 
then go into the tent and lie down in wet 
clothes for four hours, alternately during the 
whole day. 

To do justice to the regiment, it is necessary 

Camp Life at Cleveland 27 

to give a better explanation of the mount and 
its treatment. Our horses were the best that 
could be selected from the stables of northern 
Ohio. Each man was permitted to choose 
his own horse, sell it to the Government, and 
retain it for his mount. This brought out the 
choice horses from each neighborhood. Many 
of them were worth more than the established 
Government price, the difference being at the 
trooper's expense, and he was willing to sac- 
rifice the money in order to have his favorite 
animal. The treatment the horses received 
was, for some unaccountable reason, without 
doubt cruel, and for which cruelty those who 
were responsible have need to be forgiven. 
A man had to depend on his faithful animal 
and companion to carry his burden on the 
long, weary march, and in the brilliant charge 
they were destined to carry the Second Ohio 
Cavalry. While we were at Camp Wade the 
horses were picketed on the flats in open 
ground with no care but feed and water twice 
a day. The rations of forage were scant, and 
were strewn on the ground for the poor ani- 
mals to scatter and waste, while they would 
kick and strike and bite at each other, crip- 
pling, and spreading disease from which 
many died. After we moved to Camp Tay- 
lor it was a daily occurrence to see one or 
more carcasses drawn out of the hospital, 
where they were under the care of veterinary 
surgeons, after having been reported unserv- 
iceable. Fresh horses were daily bought by 

28 Four Years with Five Armies 

the quaiiennasier to take their place, so that 
when the order came, about the ist of Decem- 
ber, for the regiment to report at Camp Den- 
nison, there were enough horses to give each 
trooper his mount. During the month of No- 
vember we had been furnished with a com- 
plete set of horse equipments. When the 
weather would admit we went to the commons 
north of the camp and went through with the 
mounted drill, and this furnished recreation 
from the now dreary and loathsome camp. 

We received our first pay, all in coin, and 
this was a red letter day indeed. Many had 
been entirely without money for three months, 
and could not even write a letter without bor- 
rowing the material. 

About December ist an order was received 
for the regiment to report to Camp Dennison 
forthwith; but "forthwith" is about nine 
days with a raw cavalry regiment that has 
been accumulating all kinds of articles too nu- 
merous to mention. Now there were great and 
new events in store for the Second Ohio Cav- 
alry, that caused the monotonous and grew- 
some scenes of Camp Taylor to slip from 

On the night of the ist of December I was 
on camp guard, and my beat was between the 
string of miscellaneous horses and the high 
fence that closed the fair ground. It was a 
cold and rainy night, and I was drenched to 
the skin, my boots were full of water, and my 
new cavalry overcoat was covered with mud 

Camp Life at Cleveland 29 

splashed there by the horses as they plunged 
about. The boards that had been thrown down 
for us to walk on were all afloat. The close 
proximity of the horses to the fence made 
this a favorite place for the boys that were 
in the habit of running the guard to make their 
exit to the street. For that purpose there had 
been one board knocked off from the fence, 
and just as day was breaking a man made his 
appearance at the opening. Our instructions 
were to converse with no one while on duty, 
but as there was no danger of being seen by 
anyone, I ventured into a conversation with 
him. He produced a pint flask and offered 
it to me. I declined, saying, ^' I do not drink." 
But he urged me. " You are wet and cold 
and it will do you good." So I took a pretty 
good draught. Having informed him that 
we were ordered away, he appeared much 
grieved, for he had become much attached to 
some of the boys that frequented his house. 
Producing the flask frequently, he took a large 
drink each time, and it did not appear to have 
any effect on him. Although drinking but 
little, I began to feel quite jolly, and before 
the relief came I had forgotten the misery of 
the poor animals and was endeavoring to 
keep them quiet by slapping them with the 
dummy gun furnished to arm the guard with. 
Preparation for moving began from the 
moment the notice was given until the morn- 
ing of our departure, there being some 
changes to make, such as shipping surplus 

30 Four Years with Five Armies 

baggage, writing letters, and so on. Notice 
was served that transportation would be fur- 
nished for but one man, who would be known 
as " company cook." In Company E each 
mess wanted to retain its man to occupy the 
position, but the seniority rule prevailed, and 
the old man, Munson, having done the hon- 
ors for mess No. i, was retained, and was 
proud of his position. He superintended the 
packing and caring for the private property 
of his old mess as long as he remained with 
the company, not leaving until after the In- 
dian expedition returned to Fort Scott. 



ON the morning of the 9th of December, 
1 861, we left our snow-covered tents, 
packed our blankets, saddled up, and 
at ten o'clock took up the line of 
march for the depot. It was the first time the 
regiment had been on the move, mounted, 
equipped, and in uniform. Twelve hundred 
and forty men with blue overcoats on chafing 
steeds passed down the snow-covered streets 
of Cleveland; the band, mounted on gray 
horses, led the way, playing '' The Star 
Spangled Banner." Then came Colonel 
Doubleday, as fine a figure as ever sat in a 
saddle, with his stafif officers, in their dress 
uniforms, and with finely equipped steeds. 
Following in regular order came the com- 
panies. When the shades of night came over 
Cleveland, we were speeding our way south 
about as fast as steam could carry us. Every- 
one rejoiced to know that we would escape the 
severe winter of the North, which had now 
fairly set in, and as the train glided along 
through towns, villages, and country, we fell 
asleep in our seats. About four o'clock the 
next day we arrived at Camp Dennison, which 
is situated on the Little Miami River, six- 


32 Four Years with Five Armies 

teen miles from Cincinnati, and a few miles 
above the mouth of the river, and is sur- 
rounded by hills. The camp was situated on 
a level valley about one and a half miles wide 
and two miles long. 

It had been raining, and when we arrived 
at the depot the valley looked like a lake; but 
we plunged through it, and were soon quar- 
tered in barracks with kitchen and dining- 
room large enough to seat one-half of the 
company at one time. And then we were 
given our first lesson in cooking, being de- 
tailed in turn to assist the company cook. 
There were fifteen thousand troops there, 
drilling and equipping for active service, and 
among them the Sixth Ohio Cavalry. The 
companies having been recruited in the same 
counties from which the Second had come, 
most every trooper met a relative or school- 
mate, and the two regiments were sometimes 
called the half-brothers. 

It was in these old barracks that I became 
involved in a controversy with one of my 
mess-mates. My bunky and I both having 
learned to smoke, one cold, rainy day when he 
was on guard, the stem in my pipe being 
broken, I took his and sat smoking, when he 
came in wet and cold. That put him out of 
humor and he said some bad things about the 
man who had stolen his pipe. Good- 
naturedly, I asked him to take back what he 
had said. But he went further, and without 
a second thought we got together. I gave him 

Winter Quarters at Camp Dennison 33 

such a thrashing that he called enough, and 
we got up, shook hands, and never mentioned 
the affair again. 

We were quartered in the old barracks but 
a few days when the carpenters finished large 
and commodious barracks, with room enough 
to house one company in each, and they com- 
pleted comfortable stables for the horses a 
few days later. The mud had dried up by 
this time, and we were put through the 
mounted drill every day. Our company had 
two men that took '' French leave," and it was 
here the first man of our regiment was killed 
by gunshot. One day, while drilling, a com- 
pany was making a left wheel at a gallop, and 
swung around in front of a battery at the in- 
stant the gunner received orders to fire. The 
battery was at target practice, and the gun was 
loaded with solid shot that carried one of the 
troopers out of the saddle and killed him 

At Camp Dennison our mess lost one mem- 
ber, which made the third. At an election 
Bales R. Fawcet was chosen lieutenant. J. C. 
Sheets was transferred to headquarters. Kin. 
Miller, trumpeter, exchanged places with C. 
C. McCane, Miller going to the Sixth Ohio 
Volunteer Cavalry, and McCane coming to 
the Second Ohio Volunteer Cavalry. 

Patrols and scouting parties were sent out 
daily to accustom the officers and men for the 
duty they were soon to do in the field, and 
they were taught to pick up the men that ran 

34 Four Years with Five Armies 

the guard and bring them into camp. Up to 
this time we had no arms of any kind. When 
the orders came for the Second Ohio to send 
a scouting party to Warsaw, Kentucky, to dis- 
perse a band of bushwhackers that were depre- 
dating in that locality, Captain Welch, who 
was detailed to command the detachment, had 
to borrow guns and revolvers from the post 
ordnance officer. Boxing gloves were pur- 
chased and sparring indulged in, and we had 
some sailors who were well up in the art, and 
we witnessed some very fine trapeze and 
dumbbell exercises. We were taught, also, 
the art of evading sentinels, and the advan- 
tages a mounted man can take over the dis- 
mounted man, and many other of the arts of 
war. It was at this camp I saw the first soldier 
buried with military honors. 

There was another incident that occurred 
here that cast a gloom over the whole regi- 
ment. One morning the musicians had taken 
their horses from the stable and tied them to 
a rail fence. The ground was frozen, but the 
morning was bright and clear, and the horses 
felt the efifects of the warm sun, and in caper- 
ing about, pulled the fence down. This 
frightened them, and one of them ran with 
such force that a heavy rail to which he was 
tied struck his rider on the head, crushing his 
skull. He lived but a few hours afterward, 
never having regained consciousness. 

It was about the 20th of December the ord- 
nance officer issued sabers, revolvers, and 

Winter Quarters at Camp Denmson 35 

belts. We had been in service so long without 
arms that now that we were partially armed, 
we felt proud that the authorities had recog- 
nized the fact that we could be trusted with 
the most harmless instrument in modern war- 
fare. For my part, I was so proud of my 
saber that I borrowed a long knife, strung it 
on my belt also, stalked over to the picture 
gallery, and had my picture taken, and placed 
it in the nicest case that could be found and 
sent it home. The picture is in existence yet, 
and well preserved, but to an experienced eye 
it looks like anything but a soldier. 

On the 24th of December I went to Cin- 
cinnati to spend Christmas with my uncle, 
John Woodruff, who was editing a paper and 
lived with his family on Vine Street. After 
a merry Christmas and a royal time, I re- 
turned to camp, and there were all kinds of 
rumors afloat. We were to be mustered out 
of service immediately. All sorts of reasons 
were assigned for this sudden change. Some 
had it from good authority that there was too 
much cavalry; that it was a too expensive 
branch of the service for the little good it did. 
Many other things were circulated until the 
3d of January, 1862, when Colonel Double- 
day announced that he had orders from the 
War Department to report with the Second 
Ohio Cavalry to the commanding officer at 
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Preparations 
now began for a more extended journey and 
adventures than we had in our wildest imagi- 

36 Four Years with Five Armies 

nations anticipated. Old ways had to be de- 
parted from. The convenience of wagons to 
carry surplus bedding and baggage must be 
abandoned, as we were ordered to carry our 
personal effects on the saddle. There was lit- 
tle going on in camp but the routine duty and 
preparing to move until the 15th of January, 
when, about seven in the morning, we were 
led into line. After mounting and dismount- 
ing about seven times, we finally moved out 
in the direction of Cincinnati, while our horses 
were loaded down with blankets, quilts, bed- 
ticks, and the thousand unnecessary articles 
that had accumulated in camp. Some of these 
were abandoned on nearly every mile from 
Camp Dennison to Fort Gibson. However, 
we arrived in Cincinnati in fairly good shape 
after a march of sixteen miles. We put in 
the night loading horses and equipments, and 
as soon as the train was loaded, it pulled out 
for St. Louis, Missouri, taking with it a small 
detail of men to take care of the horses. 

After the long and weary night's task, we 
fell into line and marched to a long train of 
coaches, and followed our horses westward, 
passing the stock trains one by one. Fatigued 
by the march of the day and the night's work, 
we took to our seats in quite a different way 
from that of our journey to Camp Wade and 
Camp Dennison, and most of us soon fell 
asleep. For want of experience there had 
been but little proper preparation for the long 
journey before us, although we had been mak- 

Winter Quarters at Camp Dennison 37 

ing ready for several days; yet our prepara- 
tion had been loss of time, as it did not apply 
to the required wants of the occasion. The 
company equipments had been packed and 
loaded in cars at Camp Dennison, and shipped 
direct to Fort Leavenworth, and the haver- 
sacks had been filled with light bread and 
boiled beef, which had been nearly consumed 
during the first twenty-four hours. The 
troopers were mostly young and hardy and 
soon became hungry. There was a stampede 
at every station by those who had money, for 
whatever eatables there were in sight. Ar- 
rangements had been made by the commissary 
officers to have meals prepared at two differ- 
ent places, but that was very tedious for 
hungry men. The dining-rooms did not af- 
ford room enough to seat more than two com- 
panies at a time, and all kinds of trading was 
resorted to to satisfy the gnawing appetites. 
There was a great deal of grumbling, but the 
officers were not blamed for the inconven- 
ience. Each man took blame to himself for 
not having provided properly for his own 
needs, as each man considered he knew just 
as much as the officer, who, in this case, was 
often his old schoolmate and neighbor. But 
with all the privations there were many 
amusing incidents on the journey. In our 
company there was a man who had served in 
the French army, and on such occasions he 
would always fill up with " Oh, be joyful," 
and would explain, very emphatically, how 

38 Four Years with Five Armies 

he could pierce his enemy with his saber. 
With the drawn weapon in hand he would 
demonstrate how they used it in the French 
army, and then he would sing the Marseil- 
laise. He had a grudge against Captain Hall, 
and kept showing us just how he would thrust 
him. The performance, in course of time, 
became uninteresting, and Brandyburg was 
relieved of his saber, and settled down to a 
profound sleep. 

It was a long and tedious journey, for the 
trains did not glide over the rails as they do 
nowadays. The track was rough and the ends 
of the rails were not bound together with iron 
straps. Every joint was down, and in many 
places the ties would rise and sink in mud 
and water as the train passed over them. 
There was one place where an Illinois regi- 
ment had been thrown from the track and 
nearly all killed or injured, while making 
special time a few days before. 

On the morning of the 19th we arrived at 
East St. Louis, then known as '^ Bloody 
Island." The Mississippi was frozen over, 
and teams pulling heavy loads were crossing 
in the same order that they pass on the road 
or street, but the mayor of the city notified 
the Colonel that the ice was in a dangerous 
condition, and anyone venturing upon it did 
it at his own risk. The river was gradually 
swelling from melting snow and the rain that 
was falling. The owners of the ferryboats 
were aware of the condition and had steam 

Winter Quarters at Camp Dennison 39 

ready for work as soon as the ice gave way. 
It was almost impossible to keep the regiment 
at Bloody Island, for there was no shelter, no 
cooking outfit, and the ground was covered 
with ice and slush. The rain poured down at 
intervals and wet our blankets and clothes, 
and there was little wood to build fires. Col- 
onel Doubleday was not the man to sit down 
*and wait for nature to do its work when his 
men were in such a horrible plight. He 
ordered lumber to be purchased and laid on 
the ice to strengthen it until we could cross. 
The lumber began to arrive that very day, 
and on the morning of the 20th, after stand- 
ing around all night, a detail was sent to lay 
stringers across the river with planks on them 
bridge fashion. We stood and walked about 
the banks watching the work progress until 
about four o'clock, when it was complete. 
While the men were still on the bridge Col- 
onel Doubleday, with his staff, came out to 
inspect it. When they were about half-way 
across, the ice, with a terrific heave, gave way. 
Huge blocks, between two and three feet 
thick, and all lengths and widths from ten to 
one hundred feet, shot up, and then settled or 
sank down to take their places with the great 
mass that crashed and ground together as it 
floated down in the seething water to disap- 
pear in the Gulf at the mouth of the Missis- 
sippi. There was now a rush for life; the 
officers mounted, and the detail dismounted, 
rushing for shore. The bridge served a good 

40 Four Years with Five Armies 

purpose, for in many places it enabled the 
men to cross the gaps between the floats. Some 
of the men farthest from the shore were un- 
able to escape until after the bridge had en- 
tirely gone to pieces; some of them, floating 
down a distance, watched their chances and 
jumped from one drift to another, until at last 
all were safe. The shore on both sides of the 
river was crowded with soldiers and citizens, 
and the wildest excitement prevailed. Men 
rushed hither and thither, shouting and 
screaming all kinds of words of precaution 
to those in danger; but the roar and creaking 
of the ice made the din unintelligible, and the 
men paid no attention to it. Each looked out 
for himself and secured his own safety, and 
there was no loss of life or limb. The hos- 
pital record in the days following told the 
woeful tale of the devastation of health 
caused by the working and tramping about 
and lying around in mud and rain, with little 
to eat, and many times with nothing. 

During the day we had been treated to all 
kinds of stories concerning our future, pur- 
porting to come from officers who knew all 
about it. Good barracks, good stables for 
horses, and, above all things, carbines, awaited 
us in the beautiful beyond. Fortunately, the 
break up of ice extended only about a mile, 
and in an hour we were crossing the river in 
ferryboats that had steamed across it at the 
first opportunity. We marched through the 
streets of St. Louis to Benton Barracks, where 

Winter Quarters at Camp Dennison 41 

we arrived in the night and in a drenching 
rain. Instead of being quartered in com- 
fortable barracks, after an hour or two of 
parleying around we were compelled to go in 
the arena of the fair ground, with no wood 
for fires to dry our clothes, and no shelter or 
feed for the horses. We were compelled to 
lie down on the seats of the arena in wet 
blankets until morning, when we got some 
wood. We then proceeded to dry our clothes 
and blankets, and wait for rations and forage 
that came later in the day. Our privations 
and our intense hunger convinced every man 
that he should know how to cook and care for 
his own rations. It was very apparent that a 
company mess arrangement could not be ef- 
fectually used while on the move, and the 
service of the regiment must necessarily be 
very much impaired with cook and rations in 
one place and hungry men in another. All 
agreed that a mess of four troopers could carry 
the necessary cooking utensils and rations for 
that number, but we were not called on to put 
this new method into use for many months. 

The Second Illinois and the Second Iowa 
Cavalry were also camped at Benton Bar- 
racks. Among them we met many old school- 
mates and neighbors formerly from Ohio, but 
now living in Illinois and Iowa. After a de- 
lay of two days at Benton Barracks, we took 
up the line of march to St. Charles, a distance 
of twenty-five miles on the north bank of the 
Missouri River. The ice was still intact at 

42 Four Years with Five Armies 

this place, and we marched across in column 
of fours by deploying to widen the space be- 
tween the sets so as not to have too much 
weight on the ice at one time. A large part 
of the regiment took quarters in the female 
seminary and the remainder in unoccupied 
houses wherever they were to be found. 
Company E occupied a warehouse in the 
center of the city, with a large lot adjoining, 
with sheds for the horses. At this place ad- 
ditional arms were issued, one battalion being 
provided with revolving rifles and the others 
with what was called the Australian carbine, 
which was nothing more than a musket sawed 
off, making a short muzzle-loading gun with 
the old-fashioned paper cartridge and the 
regulation army cap. St. Charles was a lively 
little city at that time, and seemed to be the 
rendezvous of all kinds of people. Spies for 
both armies, desperadoes, gamblers, and spec- 
ulators collected and made headquarters 
there. It was useless for one to ask another 
where he was from, or what he was doing, or 
if he sympathized with the North or the 
South. If your question was answered at all, 
it would be with a shot or a look that would 
tell you at once it was none of your business. 
Now that we were armed and equipped, 
we began to think we had been organized for 
some purpose, and could venture into the 
enemy's country. After resting at St. Charles 
two or three days, observing the ways of the 
people, which were very different from any- 

Winter Quarters at Camp Dennison 43 

thing we had witnessed before, we reloaded 
our horses and boarded the train for another 
long journey by rail. It was the custom for 
the field officers, and such line officers as they 
saw fit to invite, to occupy the rear coach, 
which was done on this occasion. About day- 
light it was noticed that the coach had been 
detached and left behind. At the first stop- 
ping-place the train was side-tracked and the 
engine went back to pick up the lost officers. 
It found them twenty miles back, in the mid- 
dle of a large snow-covered prairie, sur- 
rounded by horsemen at a long range, who 
had intended an attack, but for some reason 
had delayed until too late. It was presumed 
to be some roving band of guerrillas, of which 
there were many at that time, and one of their 
spies, who had been in St. Charles, had 
boarded the train in uniform, and when they 
had come into the neighborhood of their 
band, he had pulled the coupling-pin and 
made his escape while the officers were sleep- 
ing. Most all of those bands had confed- 
erates in St. Charles and St. Louis. In fact, 
Quantrill, a most desperate leader of one of 
the bands, was at that very moment on our 
train, enlisted as a member of a company. 
We will speak of him hereafter. 

The weather was bitter cold, and it was im- 
possible to have any comfort in the moving 
train, as it was tickety-tick and bumpety-bump 
as the wheels passed from one rail to another. 
At Hudson, now Macon City, we fed and re- 

44 Four Years with Five Armies 

loaded on the Hannibal & St. Jo road. We 
found some Missouri troops stationed there, 
and they extended us a hearty welcome and 
rendered all assistance they could, and gave 
us much information of the kind of enemy we 
had to meet, their methods of warfare, and 
so on. After a delay of forty hours we again 
moved westward. After leaving Hudson our 
journey was marked by ruins of bridges and 
smoking embers of houses, for the bush- 
whackers and guerrillas had been busy every- 
where, waging war and devastating every- 
thing they came in reach of. Neighbor 
against neighbor, with knife and gun, they cut 
and shot each other to pieces. At every bridge 
or crossing there was a blockhouse occupied 
by a guard of soldiers to save the bridge from 
destruction. At the crossing of the Platte 
River a full regiment was stationed, and a 
strong stockade and blockhouses had been 
erected for its defense. A few days previous 
this bridge, while unguarded, had been partly 
burned, and a train loaded with soldiers had 
run into the river, causing great loss of life. 
Our train arrived at Weston, Missouri, on 
January 30, where we caught up with our 
culinary department, and then we were served 
with the first hot meal for seven days. 

Weston is at the extreme end of the Hanni- 
bal & St. Jo R. R., and was, at that time, many 
miles beyond any other railroad. After tak- 
ing a little rest, we marched to Platte City, a 
distance of six or seven miles. There were 

Winter Quarters at Camp Dennison 45 

Still a few patches of snow and the road was 
covered with ice. Before we reached our 
destination we were treated to one of those 
freaks of weather peculiar to that section of the 
country — a heavy thunderstorm, that made 
day as dark as night. It continued about 
thirty minutes, and then with a sudden change 
of the wind it began to snow, and by the time 
we were all quartered there were three inches 
of snow on the ground. At Platte City the 
regiment began to make history. We were 
ordered by a dispatch from the commanding 
officer at Leavenworth to quell a factional 
fight which had resulted in the killing of sev- 
eral men and the burning of some houses. 

Platte City was one of the oldest towns in 
Missouri, and had been for many years a fit- 
ting-out and resting-place for freighters and 
emigrants crossing the plains. In the palmy 
days, with the aid of slave labor and slave 
trade, the inhabitants had accumulated much 
wealth. The buildings, both business and 
residence, were well built and handsome, and 
the people lived in luxury and ease. After 
the time of the border troubles of '56 between 
the free-State and pro-slavery parties, there 
was a division of sentiment, and after the war 
of '61 had been declared, factional fights were 
of common occurrence. They caused a great 
exodus, and when we took possession of the 
place there was scarcely a man or a horse to 
be seen. Large livery barns, of which there 
were several, were empty, and made com- 

46 Four Years with Five Armies 

modious and comfortable places for our 
horses. There were plenty of empty houses 
to quarter two or three regiments, but they 
were not very suitable for soldiers' quarters. 
Many rooms had no place for fire, and others 
had but a small fireplace, not suitable to cook 
for so many men. A fierce snowstorm raged 
for twenty-four hours. It was impossible to 
build a fire and cook outdoors. The men were 
compelled to gather around the few and small 
fires we were able to make in the fireplaces. 
It soon became known that provisions were 
scarce in the town, and the women remaining 
at home, whose husbands had gone to the 
army, were glad of the opportunity to cook, 
and take the surplus rations. The surplus 
would maintain them, as it was large in such 
things as beans, rice, hominy, and bacon, all 
of which had accumulated, as we had had no 
chance to cook for several days. This ar- 
rangement proved very convenient for both 
soldiers and citizens. We were all pleased 
with our stay in Platte City. 

Notwithstanding the severe cold weather, 
our experience was novel and varied. It was 
new and interesting to the boys from the rural 
districts of Ohio, and taught us to be vigilant 
soldiers. The first real eye-opener was the 
disaopearance, while on the road from Weston 
to Platte City, of a man who had made his 
appearance at headquarters in St. Charles and 
asked to be enlisted in the regiment. He con- 
clusively proved to Colonel Doubleday that 

Winter Quarters at Camp Dennison 47 

he was well acquainted with the western part 
of Missouri and eastern Kansas, and had been 
compelled to leave home on account of his 
Union principles. The Colonel, thinking he 
would be of valuable service and wishing to 
do something to gratify a Union man, enlisted 
him and assigned him to a company. It has 
since been learned that the man was no other 
than the noted Quantrill. The first move on 
entering the town, the Colonel put guards in 
all parts and notified all parties that private 
rights would be protected. A favorable senti- 
ment was thereby cultivated in a very short 
time. Many Union flags appeared. Some of 
the flags were painted in water colors so that 
they could be washed in case it was necessary. 
This enlightened us on another point. It 
proved that people were compelled to guide 
their actions in accordance with the surround- 
ing conditions, and it was necessary to have 
two flags in one family. As this had to be 
practiced by both parties it was not often that 
one would publicly make known the actions 
of the other. If this were done the informer 
would surely meet a tragic fate. Company 
D and Company G were sent to guard im- 
portant and strategic points some distance 
away. Scouting parties and patrolling guards 
were constantly patrolling the town and the 
country to protect the Union people. Pick- 
ets were stationed on all the roads to prevent 
the command from being surprised by the 



MY first picket duty was performed 
here during the first week of our 
sojourn. Our company was called 
on every day for a detail to scout or 
do picket duty. When it came my turn, a full 
detail, with Corporal Arnold in charge, sad- 
dled horses, and with instructions from the 
adjutant, moved out on a public road and re- 
lieved the guards there. It was a bitter cold 
day, and during the night the ice would rise up 
and pop open in the road where it had been 
tramped down by the horses. The instruc- 
tions required that one man must be constantly 
in the saddle and at a short distance in ad- 
vance of the dismounted men. We relied a 
great deal on our corporal. He had seen 
active service in Virginia during the first 
three months' campaign. Our surroundings 
were very different here in Missouri. There 
were no large armies in close proximity, but 
the country was infested with bands of guer- 
rillas, whose deeds of daring and miraculous 
adventure could not be surpassed by the 
knights or gladiators of old. Those parties 
were not confined to the army alone; some 
were secessionists, and others Union, while 

My First Picket Duty 49 

others were, strictly speaking, seeking revenge 
for actual or supposed wrongs perpetrated on 
themselves or families, and still others were 
depredating for the spoils. They were con- 
stantly making raids, driving off stock, and 
carrying off provisions of every kind, robbing 
and burning houses, and it was no uncommon 
thing for one or two to ride along the road 
like innocent people, get into conversation 
with the sentinel, and at the first opportunity 
get the drop on and capture him. The whole 
party would then make their appearance from 
the woods or some place where they had been 
secreted, and charge into the camp, yelling 
and shooting, killing men and driving off the 
stock, and burning houses. 

We had been attentive listeners to these 
stories from the time we crossed the Missis- 
sippi, and, therefore, knew the necessity of 
constant alertness. We took turns on mounted 
guard during the day, and one at a time would 
go to town for his meals, but at night no one 
was allowed to dismount but the corporal. 
The trying ordeal was terrible during the long 
winter nights, but our safety depended upon 
our vigilance. After hearing of so many dar- 
ing adventures and hairbreadth escapes, to 
verify which there were plenty of facts in evi- 
dence, we had about come to the conclusion 
that nothing was impossible, and we deter- 
mined that no such accident should happen 
to us from neglect of duty. We can now re- 
fer with pride to the fact that we were not 

50 Four Years with Five Armies 

surprised and that we lost no stock during 
the campaign in the West. How we kept 
from freezing is a wonder. We bundled up 
our feet and patted them on the bottom of the 
stirrups, and swung our arms, but the suffer- 
ing was almost unbearable. 

I was not very anxious to engage in a skir- 
mish, but sometimes I would try to make my- 
self believe that I would rather see the enemy 
charging up the road than to remain there for 
the remainder of the night. I think the light 
of day has never been so welcome to me as it 
was on those clear frosty mornings. The sun 
rose and shone brightly, and at nine o'clock 
we were relieved, and went to our quarters 
with the satisfaction of having been fully in- 
itiated to picket duty in the enemy's country. 

As our regiment was destined to be a part 
of an expedition to move farther to the south 
and west, and as we were now at the extreme 
end of the railroad, other kind of transporta- 
tion for supplies and baggage had to be pro- 
vided. Mules and wagons were brought over 
from Fort Leavenworth. D. H. Arnold, 
quartermaster-sergeant of Company E, was 
promoted to be regimental trainmaster. He 
began at once to fit out a regimental train. 
He was, perhaps, the only man in the com- 
mand who could throw a lasso on a wild mule, 
or, as the modern cowboy would say, put " the 
tug" on a broncho. He proved a valuable 
man in that capacity, and performed his duty 
long and well. The fitting out of the train 

My First Picket Duty 51 

interested me very much. I would go to the 
corral every day to see them handle the wild 
mules. Arnold offered me a team to drive, 
but, as it did not compare very favorably with 
my notion of a cavalryman, I promptly de- 

The company mess was yet in vogue, and as 
the cooking-vessels were large and could not 
be carried by the detachments that went on 
long trips, many men suffered for want of 
food. But with all the privations there were 
many fond ties connected with the sojourn 
here. Many of the boys kept up a corre- 
spondence with people there, and some later 
went back and married young ladies with 
whom they became acquainted at Platte City. 
On the 1 8th of February we left Platte City 
and marched to Fort Leavenworth, where we 
arrived six weeks from the time the orders 
were received at Camp Dennison to report 
forthwith to the commander at that fort. 

We were quartered in the regulation bar- 
racks, and the horses were sheltered in good 
stables. Here we learned something about 
regular army life, as there were some regular 
troops doing post duty. Leavenworth was the 
fitting-out place for all Government expedi- 
tions for the South and West. Large quanti- 
ties of clothing, rations, and forage were con- 
stantly being shipped up the river and stored 
there until they could be loaded on wagons 
drawn by six mules, and sent to their destina- 
tions. These trains were numerous, and usu- 

52 Four Years with Five Armies 

ally consisted of sixty wagons, some of which 
made long journeys to Salt Lake and other 
points. It was not uncommon for the trains 
to be gone a year before reporting back for 
another load. They were frequently at- 
tacked by Indians, who would drive off or 
kill some, and, at times, all of their mules. 

During our stay at Leavenworth we saw an 
old soldier drummed out of camp. One side 
of his head was shaved and a big D branded 
on his skin, denoting that he was a deserter. 
This brought a new problem before us, and 
some of us discussed the question whether it 
was or was not our duty to defend a govern- 
ment that treated men in that manner. I be- 
lieve we did not reach any definite conclusion. 
I know it is not fully settled in my mind yet; 
but the stirring events allowed no time for 
much thought and it was soon forgotten. 

The ordnance officer at the fort had six 
field-pieces with caissons and harness, but no 
horses or men to handle them. When the 
officer in charge saw the fine horses of the 
Second Ohio, he proposed to Colonel Double- 
day that he let him have enough to fit him out. 
The proposition was made to the men, and 
there was a call for volunteers. Enough men 
responded at once. To my surprise and regret 
one of our messmen volunteered, Theodore 
Campbell. He was one of the most reliable 
men in the company, of a quiet disposition, 
and one from whom we had never heard a 
word of discontent or complaint. He said 

My First Picket Duty 53 

afterward that when he saw that battery stand- 
ing there the day we came, he thought how he 
would like to be one of the men to go with it. 
This appeared strange to me, for money could 
not have hired me to leave my fleet-footed 
animal and go with those lumbering wagons 
with a big log of iron on them. 

We were not destined to stay at Leaven- 
worth long. The post quartermaster was fit- 
ting out a train of more than a hundred wag- 
ons, the destination of which was Fort Scott, 
Kansas, and the Second Ohio was to be its 

When everything was ready the roads were 
very bad. The frost had come out of the 
ground, but, as the supplies were needed at 
Fort Scott, it was necessary to put them on 
the road. On the 19th of February we moved 
out. The horses looked well, having had good 
stables and plenty of feed, and having been 
well groomed every day, both at Platte City 
and Fort Leavenworth. We had every rea- 
son to be proud of our mounts. We were in 
a country where the people were used to see- 
ing cavalry, and they all agreed that we were 
the best-mounted troops they had ever seen. 
Our route lay along the east line of Kansas. 
With the bands of bushwhackers and marau- 
ders infesting the country it was essential to 
have troops to protect the trains from being 
plundered. The train moved slowly, and 
there was plenty of time for scouting parties 
to patrol the roads. 

54 Four Years with Five Armies 

A few miles from the fort, when we left the 
pike, the roads were very soft, and the wagons 
sank to the axles in many places. The train 
strung out for miles, and did not all meet at 
the same camp. This necessitated a division 
of the regiment. One battalion was in ad- 
vance, one in the center, and one in the rear. 
The battalion to which Company E belonged 
happened to be in advance. On the evening 
of the second day we camped at Wyandotte, 
twenty-eight miles from Fort Leavenworth, 
on the west side of the Kaw River, and di- 
rectly opposite Kansas City, Missouri. The 
officers and men soon made their appearance 
on the streets and in the hotels of Kansas City, 
and at that time there were many refugees 
there. Some were business men of Inde- 
pendence and other towns who had been com- 
pelled to leave their homes because of their 
Union sentiments. 

A delegation of them waited on Colonel 
Doubleday, and explained to him that Quan- 
trill with a band of about a hundred men was 
camped a few miles from Independence, 
twelve miles from Kansas City, and that he 
was in the habit of riding into town every 
night and running it to suit his own notions. 
They had, with the aid of companies of local 
troops, tried to dislodge him, but in the many 
engagements he had always come out victo- 
rious. They said they would go and act as 
guides and scouts, and fight as well as the 
troops, if the Colonel would give them the 

CharlEvS Grandison Fairchii^d 

Second Ohio Volunteer Cavalry 


My First Picket Duty 55 

opportunity. But he said a move of that kind 
had to be made with the utmost caution and 
secrecy. If a hint should be dropped to any- 
one in sympathy with the South, notice would 
reach the band before a detail could start. 



AFTER we had answered to our names 
at retreat the next day, the captain 
- said there was to be a scouting party 
to make a night raid, and the major 
wanted ten men from Company E. He 
wanted to know if that number would step to 
the front as volunteers. I was standing in the 
front rank, and I stepped to the front as quick 
as possible, but was not there any too soon, 
for twenty were there as soon as I, with more 
coming. The captain ordered all but ten to 
break ranks. As no one disputed my right, I 
was permitted to go as one of the detail. A 
sergeant was put in command, with instruc- 
tions to put us in light marching order and re- 
port to Lieutenant Nettleton. It was neces- 
sary to have in charge of that detail an officer 
who had seen some active service, and Lieu- 
tenant Nettleton was the only one in our bat- 
talion who had been on a scout of any 
importance. He had been with Captain 
Welch on a few days' scout in Kentucky, but 
as they did not engage the enemy his experi- 
ence was of little or no value to him on this 
occasion. It was nine o'clock when we 
marched down the street of Kansas City, 


My First Skirmish 57 

where we were joined by a party of citizens 
of Independence. They were well mounted 
and armed, dressed in hunting-suits, and 
looked every inch the men they afterward 
proved themselves to be. They took the ad- 
vance and did the scouting. The road from 
Kansas City to Independence is a limestone 
pike, and the hillsides and shady places were 
covered with ice. Our horses were sharp- 
shod, but the ice was thin and gave way in 
many places. 

A drizzling rain fell all night, but we ar- 
rived at our destination about three o'clock 
in the morning. It was as dark as Egypt. 
Our guides were well acquainted with their 
position, and we at once surrounded a livery 
stable in which it was the custom of Quantrill 
and his men to stable their horses while they 
stayed in town; and they usually, it seemed, 
came there to sleep in the loft. It was the plan 
of our guides to catch them in that position, 
as it was a bad night to be out, but to our dis- 
appointment the stable was vacant. Some of 
the scouts visited their homes, and returned 
with the information that Quantrill had not 
been in that night, but he was expected for 
breakfast. We sat on our horses in anxious 
expectation until daylight, which was at a 
late hour owing to the heavy fog that had set- 
tled down after the rain. Meantime, Lieu- 
tenant Nettleton had stationed some of the de- 
tail in different parts of the town unknown to 
the rest of us. He then marched the remain- 

58 Four Years with Five Armies 

der of the detail out into the country about a 
half-mile and turned into a meadow. Two 
large stack-pens were in the center of the 
meadow, and we were ordered to tie up to 
the fence, loosen the girths, and feed corn from 
an adjoining field. After the horses were fed 
we ate our hardtack and bacon. The Lieu- 
tenant had ridden away to a farmhouse some 
distance from the stack-pen to feed his horse 
and get his breakfast. As we had been in the 
saddle all night, some of us had stretched our- 
selves out on the hay to take a nap. I had been 
lying down but a few moments when the sharp 
report of a rifle and a revolver told us that 
Quantrill had come to town for breakfast. We 
sprang to our horses, put on the bridles, tight- 
ened the saddles, mounted, and were ofif for 
town, pell-mell, every man for himself, try- 
ing to see who could get there first. 

1 was not the first in the saddle, but I was 
first to gain the road. As I turned into it I 
met Shorty Armstrong coming at full speed, 
shouting at the top of his voice, '' Quantrill 
is in town!" As we passed some residences 
on the street I saw one of our guides entering 
his door with his revolver in his right hand 
and a stream of blood running down the fin- 
gers of his left hand. 

''All right, Mr. Quantrill; the Second 
Ohio will settle with you for that!" The 
thought had scarcely passed my mind, when 
I saw Quantrill's men pouring out of a cross- 
street and down the very one we were entering. 

My First Skirmish 59 

The fog was rising a little, and as the distance 
was only about three blocks, we could see 
them very distinctly. They were going as 
fast as we were, down hill into the creek where 
the fog still hung on the low ground, and for 
a minute or two they were lost to view. The 
street terminated at the creek, and the road 
turned down and followed the bed about one 
hundred yards, and then turned at right 
angles on a little flat at that time covered with 
water. They were quick to take advantage of 
this spot, and turned to make a stand. The 
creek was swollen and deep enough to come 
half-way up to the horses' sides. I saw this, 
and was going too fast to dash into it, for 
that would surely have thrown my mare from 
her feet. I reined her to the left on a vacant 
lot that terminated abruptly at the creek about 
twelve feet above the water and about one 
hundred yards from the enemy. We began 
to exchange shots without any further cere- 
mony, and the rapid firing to my left told the 
effectual work our scouts were doing, who had 
taken a short cut and were at the creek below 
us. I was now surrounded by our detail, and 
we were all emptying our guns as rapidly as 
possible, when I saw the men that had come 
down the hill last were entering the creek. 
When Quantrill's men turned and began to 
run, I dashed into the creek, and my animal, 
true to her instinct as a racer, was bound to do 
her best to be in the lead. As we came out in 
shallow water with fearful bounds, she leaped 

6o Four Years with Five Armies 

over the body of one of the enemy that had 
fallen on his back and was nearly covered with 
water. It was the first dead Johnny I ever 
saw. They had made another stand at the 
foot of the hill, and I heard the words, '' Halt, 
halt, surrender!" I came to a halt, and on 
looking back I saw our men, some already 
dismounted, with their guns through the 
fence, taking prisoners. It was the enemy's 
intention to win a victory by making a stand 
in that place. Some had dismounted and 
crouched behind the fence, but we had made 
such an efifectual dash on them that when 
their mounted men gave way the riderless 
horses went with them, and left their riders to 
their fate. Four or five dead men lay there, 
to say nothing of the wounded who had made 
their escape. The result showed the efifect of 
the firing from raw troops. 

When the prisoners had been gathered to- 
gether, we began to look around to see where 
we were, and after pinching ourselves to see 
if we were alive or dead, we concluded we 
were somewhere. Just at that moment our 
noble commander appeared and wanted to 
know what was the matter with us, but when 
he saw a half-dozen prisoners and as many 
dead lying about, he concluded not to lecture 
us on military discipline. After hearing all 
the particulars, he ordered a forward move- 
ment, and taking the advance at a very moder- 
ate gait we went in the direction the enemy 
had gone. The men appeared to chafe under: 

My First Skirmish 6i 

this unnecessary delay. If he had not come 
we would have started some minutes earlier 
and at a more rapid gait, and we would doubt- 
less have engaged and defeated Quantrill. 
My animal, having had one heat, was eager 
for another; she was champing the bit, scat- 
tering froth at every toss of the head, dancing 
and prancing until the white foam was drop- 
ping to the ground. All this was so annoying 
to the Lieutenant that he looked at me with 
a scowl on his face, and ordered me to keep 
my horse back where it belonged. After 
traveling about half a mile we came upon the 
dead body of one of our boys. He had been 
shot in the back and pitched forward, the 
cape of his coat falling over his head. I did 
not know how he had come there, but some- 
one suggested that his horse had run away 
and carried him into the lines of the enemy. 
Taking this to be true, we dismissed it from 
our minds. Two men took his body back to 
town, and the column moved on. 

I, for one, and I believe also the others, 
expected to hear the order to gallop, that we 
might dash into the retreating foe and avenge 
the death of our fallen companion. But it 
was apparent that there was no such order 
ready-made. We traveled on another half- 
mile, it seemed to me at a snail's pace. At 
that point there was heavy timber on both 
sides of the road, with a heavy rail fence on 
the right side but no fence on the left. A few 
hundred yards ahead and to the left a point 

62 Four Years with Five Armies 

of the mountain terminated with a steep bluff, 
known as Bald Knob. The thought must have 
entered every man's mind at the same time, 
for it was easy to distinguish many suppressed 
voices saying, ^' Look out! they will ambush us 
here." The next thought was to throw down 
the fence and go around and attack in the 
rear, but this was an idle thought. The Lieu- 
tenant suddenly ordered us to halt. We came 
to a standstill. An ashy paleness spread over 
the commander's face as he gazed at the death- 
dealing hill, and he remarked that the enemy 
had a good start of us and it was no use to 
follow them now. It is doubtful if one man 
agreed with him on that point, as no one be- 
lieved that Quantrill had taken any start of us 
with the intention of making an escape. We 
afterward learned that this was no mere con- 
jecture, for the enemy had left their horses 
a half mile beyond the hill, and had made 
their way back through a cornfield, and were 
waiting at the hill for a foe that never came. 
It was, however, a victory for us and the 
people of that locality. Quantrill disap- 
peared and never afterward harassed the 
people of Independence. 

After returning to town the dead and 
wounded were to be cared for, and as 
we had no ambulance, light wagons were 
procured, and when the preparation was 
being made details in small squads went back 
to pick up the camp equipments we had so 
unceremoniously left at the stack-pen. 

My First Skirmish 63 

About three o'clock we said good-by to 
Independence, with the loss of one soldier 
killed and three or four scouts killed and 
wounded. As we were riding back to Kan- 
sas City someone told me about the detail 
being stationed in town to do guard duty; the 
man we met at the bars and the one killed on 
the road being a part of that one going to 
warn us, and the other having been captured 
and taken away by Quantrill's men. 

By forced march we arrived in camp about 
dark. The wagon-train not having all ar- 
rived, and as it was raining more or less, the 
command was compelled to remain until the 
mud had settled. It turned cold, however, 
and froze hard enough to bear the horses on 
top of the crust. It was my misfortune to be 
detailed on picket duty one of the cold nights, 
and it was not much improvement on the first 
night of picket duty at Platte City. We con- 
tinually heard reports of intended night at- 
tacks, and we were required to remain in the 
saddle and keep quiet all night. It was not 
considered necessary to keep pickets out dur- 
ing the day, as there was no large force near 
and a small force would not venture to attack 
so large a force in open day. 

We were now duly initiated and accepted, 
and we were considered competent to take 
part in frontier warfare. We came in daily 
contact with ways and customs new and odd 
to us, and with a conglomeration of peo- 
ple, such as the ex-slave, Indians of vari- 

64 Four Years with Five Armies 

ous tribes, Mexicans and other foreigners that 
hailed from every corner of the globe — people 
who had come to the New World seeking 
fortune or adventure. We soon became fa- 
miliar with their ways, and were treated to 
many exhibitions of skilled horsemanship, 
marksmanship with gun and revolver, throw- 
ing the lasso and such things. Among the 
most noted of these reckless, all-around per- 
formers was a Texan whose raven black hair 
covered his shoulders. While riding at full 
speed he would gracefully drop down, hook 
the rowel of his spur in the cantle of the sad- 
dle, and drag his hair on the ground. For 
hours at a time we sat and watched the per- 
formances of these men and listened to the 
stories of the daring deeds accomplished along 
the Kansas and Missouri line between 18^6 
and 1862. We also learned the names of many 
things about the equipment in daily use by the 
Western people. 

When the mud had settled we moved out, 
keeping the route that had been followed by 
Colonel Denison the year before. It lies on 
the Missouri side of the line. All that was 
left to remind one that the country had pre- 
viously been inhabited were a few fence rails, 
orchards, and the old-fashioned chimneys that 
stood to mark the places where the planters' 
houses had been. 

When we arrived at the State line we were 
greeted by the troops stationed there, amongst 
them the Tenth Kansas Infantry, many of its 


My First Skirmish 65 

members being from Ohio, our old neighbors 
and schoolmates. Some of them had settled 
in Kansas, and others had enlisted in Ohio 
with the express purpose of joining and cam- 
paigning with the noted Jim Lane in the 
year 1861. They had been in the West a long 
distance from home and far from railroads for 
many months, and were greatly rejoiced at see- 
ing so many from their old homes. It had 
been some months since we had been at home, 
but the news we brought was new to them. 
The scenes of boyhood days returned fresh to 
our memory as we sat by the camp fire and 
talked of home and friends we had not seen 
for so long, many of whom we were destined 
never to meet again. It would be impossible 
to give an adequate idea of the feelings the 
rehearsal of the tales of the schoolboy days 
awakened in the bosoms of those strong men 
who had entered upon a life of the most in- 
tense hardship, privation, and almost certain 
death. It is not likely that a similar oppor- 
tunity will ever be offered to the coming gen- 
erations. The country is now settled with 
many improvements, interspersed with cities, 
towns, and villages, with a network of rail- 
roads and telegraph lines. At that time west 
of the Missouri line was a vast plain, the most 
of which was prairie covered with buffalo, 
deer, antelope, myriads of small game, and 
the favorite haunt of the red man. Travel 
was by the use of private conveyances, and 
was tedious and uncertain. The distances 

66 Four Years with Five Arm 


from place to place were frequently \ whr^ong. 
The teams employed, often oxen, beca 'x\ tired, 
and had to be rested, or long delays \ ere oc- 
casioned by swollen streams. The utm st cau- 
tion and watchfulness were necessary .o keep 
the stock from straying away or being driven 
off by the Indians or border ruffians w' o in- 
fested the country. It is hard to reali e the 
difference between thirty-five years ag and 
to-day. Where you now count your tra ing 
by hours as you glide over the rails, yoi hen 
counted it by weeks and often months. un- 
dreds started, never to reach their destina on, 
leaving their bones to decay on the bleaching 

The only public conveyance used on the 
military roads between the forts was the lum- 
bering stage-coach drawn by four or six ani- 
mals. The stages carried the mail and the 
Government officers from post to post. As 
they had to contend with some of the difficul- 
ties that beset the private conveyances, they 
were often delayed, sometimes plundered of 
everything of any value, and left to make their 
way as best they could. 

The troops at the State line were compelled 
to depend upon their own efforts in great 
measure for their supplies, which were se- 
cured and brought from Missouri, and these 
supplies were often confiscated from slave 
owners and Southern sympathizers, and had 
to be brought a distance of fifty or sixty miles. 
Small parties of ten or twelve went on foot, 

My First Skirmish 67 

marcP vv> by night, and secreting themselves 
by da^ until they came to the plantation 
where »vas an abundance of such things as 
they v\ inted. They would then make their 
presence known to the slaves, and enlist them 
as conf'^derates. The slaves were always ready 
and \\ filing accomplices, for it meant freedom 
for t em to gain the Kansas line. Two or 
thre lays of preparation were often required. 
Th' ,oldiers were always secreted in some 
sec t place until the time arrived to move. 
Wl 1 everything was ready, as soon as it was 
dai , the men would enter the planter's house, 
take possession of all the firearms, turn them 
over to the blacks, and everything on the 
plantation that was movable was set in mo- 
tion. The blacks would hitch up the teams, 
and load the wagons with flour, meat, beans, 
potatoes — in fact, everything that was of any 
value. By morning they would be many 
miles on their road. Sometimes the planters 
would collect a crowd, follow, and attack 
them in an effort to regain the lost property; 
but it usually proved a failure, and the attack- 
ing party suffered heavy loss. The men who 
went on such expeditions were brave and de- 
termined, and armed with the Sharp rifle, the 
best that was in use at that time; while the 
Missourians were chiefly armed with revol- 
vers, shotguns, and an occasional Kentucky 
rifle. It happened now and then that a force 
superior in number was able to accomplish 
its object. 

68 Four Years with Five Armii 

I listened to the story of one man hrxQ was 
with a party, and, while on the road wl ti their 
booty, were surrounded by superior numbers, 
of which a part was a band of bushwhackers. 
After a hard-fought battle that lasted several 
hours, they made their escape under the cover 
of night by separating to meet at a ford known 
to all of them on the Osage River. They 
crawled through the lines, leaving half their 
number and many of the blacks dead on the 
field. When they met at the appointed place, 
fatigued and reduced to the small number of 
five, they were in a deplorable plight; but as 
the only object of their expedition was sup- 
plies, to return to camp empty handed was not 
to be thought of. They at once set ofip on a 
return trip to the settlements, and made an- 
other effort which proved more successful. 

We remained at the State line several days 
to rest the teams, which were very much fa- 
tigued from dragging the heavily loaded 
wagons over the heavy roads. This country 
was destined to make a great record in his- 
tory. It was here John Brown commenced 
and fought the border war of 1856, which had 
then lasted for nearly six years. 

When the teams had rested we moved to- 
ward the south until we reached our destina- 
tion. Our principal labor was camp guard, 
with a few scouting parties daily sent out for 
one purpose or another. 

We finally arrived at Fort Scott, situated 
on the west side of the Marmiton River. 

My First Skirmish 69 

Camp was pitched on Bourbon Creek, south 
of the fort. Our horses were in good condi- 
tion, and everything went pretty well until 
the rainy season set in during the latter part 
of March. The supply of grain we had 
brought with us gave out, and we had to de- 
pend on foraging in Missouri for a supply. 
We had to go fifty or sixty miles, and with 
the heavy roads and swollen streams there was 
no dependence to be put on the time we 
would return. The horses were put on short 
allowance, often not having more than four 
ears of corn a day. These were given at two 
feeds, with no fodder of any kind. Stand- 
ing in the mud, they began to fail in flesh and 
strength, and were soon reduced to a very bad 
condition. The company wagons were used 
to haul the supply of wood from the bottom 
of the Marmiton River. Each company 
would send six men to cut and load the wagon 
with logs and poles fourteen or fifteen feet 
long. The team would return to camp and 
come for another load after dinner. This 
work fell to the men who did not get up in 
time to answer to their names at roll call, and 
was a great benefit to the horses, for they got 
the opportunity to be released from the muddy 
camp, and could browse the now spreading 
buds and tender limbs. Wishing to keep my 
mare in the best possible condition, I would 
lie in bed every morning in order to be de- 
tailed with the wood-train. The plan worked 
all right until it was noticed that three or four 

70 Four Years with Five Armies 

were going every day, and then regular de- 
tails were made that all might have an equal 
opportunity. There was some joke about this 
change of front, as it was usually considered 
a penalty for being tardy. 

When working with the wood-train we 
learned a new trick that was of some benefit 
and much satisfaction to us, if it was not 
profitable to the few settlers who had cows 
that ranged on the river. Having practiced 
more or less with the lasso, we were able to 
catch the cows, fill our canteens with milk, 
and so enjoyed nourishment and luxury com- 

When the rainy season was over the camp 
was moved to a flat near the river. The grass 
sprang up rapidly, and half of the men would 
go each day and picket the horses, and remain 
with them all day. An iron spike fourteen 
inches long with a link on one end to which 
a rope was attached and tied to the halter, was 
driven into the ground, and ordinarily was 
sufficient to hold them. But one day Com- 
pany E's horses stampeded and broke the 
ropes or pulled the pins and ran away, and it 
was some hours before they were rounded up. 
This was termed picketing the horses. Many 
pranks and various kinds of sport were in- 
dulged in. Some of the boys formed ac- 
quaintance with the settlers, and went to dine 
with them. One evening when our company 
came in it was short two men. Instead of 
picketing their horses they had obtained leave 

My First Skirmish 71 

of the officers in charge to visit some friends 
living on the Leavenworth road, some dis- 
tance from the river. We were not held to 
very strict discipline, so no one thought it 
strange when the men did not answer to their 
names at retreat; but as they were not there 
at tattoo, they were reported absent without 
leave. Next morning there was an order to 
send after them, as it was believed by some 
they had taken that plan to get away, and were 
now on their way to Ohio with twenty-four 
hours' start. Lieutenant Rush, Sergeant 
Harris, Private Nesbit, and myself were de- 
tailed to go in pursuit. 

Our horses had picked up a little on the 
fresh grass, and mine, as usual, was prancing, 
tossing her head, trying to get some advantage 
in order to run. Lieutenant Rush, who was 
fond of racing, owned a good horse and in- 
dulged in the sport with the other officers 
every Saturday on a track that had been pre- 
pared and kept by the regular officers at the 
post. After we had got out of camp and on 
the way he said that an officer in the regiment 
had a horse that had beat his and he wanted to 
get one that could outrun his contestant's. He 
asked me if I thought my mare was fast. I 
assured him that in my judgment she was; 
that she could beat anything in the command. 
He said with my consent he would place a 
wager on her when we returned. I gave my 
consent, and then the conversation turned to 
the mission we were on. 

72 Four Years with Five Armies 

We laid plans to leave our horses at Leaven- 
worth and take the cars for Ohio, each going 
home to search the locality and to have a good 
time. I did not take any stock in the opinion 
that the two men had gone, but did not say 
as much. I joined in with the plan and hoped 
we would miss them, and, while they would 
be back in camp, we would make the trip. 
We were exultingly planning, but we were 
doomed to disappointment. When we had 
traveled four miles we met the two men walk- 
ing quietly and unsuspectingly, leading their 
horses, talking and laughing about the good 
time they had had with the young ladies they 
had been visiting. It was a sore disappoint- 
ment to us, but had to be endured, and we re- 
turned to camp with our prisoners. The next 
Saturday night I had the satisfaction of know- 
ing that my animal had outrun the fastest 
horse owned by the officers of the regiment. 

The weather was now fine, the prairies 
were covered with green grass and beautiful 
flowers, which made camp life as pleasant as 
it is possible to be. Papworthe would blow 
the horn for reveille, and then treat us to the 
tune of '^ Annie Laurie," or some other melody 
which he could render to the queen's taste. 

Our revolvers and guns still contained the 
old loads that had been placed in them some 
weeks before, and for fear the wet weather had 
damaged them, there was an order to shoot 
them out and clean and reload them. Some 
of the companies went out and fired at targets 

My First Skirmish 73 

set up for the purpose; others stood in line 
and fired in the air. Our captain ordered us 
to shoot ours at will. With this opportunity 
I went to the river bottom in order to see how 
good a marksman I was. After tacking a 
piece of white paper on a tree and stepping 
off fifty paces, I began to fire. After two or 
three shots, and, as I raised the hammer to 
take another shot, a man with a book or paper 
sat down by a tree on the other side of the 
river, directly in line with my target. I con- 
cluded to change my position, and as 1 walked 
away I accidentally touched the trigger and 
discharged my revolver. The ball just grazed 
the heel of my boot. Fortunately no damage 
was done. It taught me a lesson never again 
to carry a revolver with the hammer set. 
After emptying all the chambers I walked 
along the river, the banks of which are very 
steep and eighteen or twenty feet high. At 
length I came to a narrow path that by tramp- 
ing of stock and rains had cut deep into the 
loose soil. I saw a man riding down the op- 
posite bank, and watched him as he sat in the 
saddle and let his horse drink. As he came 
by me he said, " Young man, you are standing 
on a very noted spot. Every man, woman, 
and child in Bourbon County has seen or 
heard of that ground." On inquiry as to why 
it had become so noted he said, '' Two brothers 
died there. Their father, who had lived at 
Fort Scott, had left them a large amount of 
property, and they had disagreed about the 

74 Four Years with Five Armies 

division of it, and become mortal enemies. 
One day one was coming and the other was 
going across the river. They met in that nar- 
row path, and, like the brave McPherson and 
Grant, neither would give the road to the 
other. They dismounted, drew their knives, 
went together, and died on the spot." 



THE troops then gathering at Fort 
Scott, preparatory to a movement 
into the Indian Territory, required 
the use of every available wagon to 
transport their supplies, and the cavalry was 
ordered to Missouri, where forage could be 
more easily procured. They were separated 
by battalions, ours going to Lamar. 

Picket duty had to be resumed at this place, 
there being numerous bands of bushwhackers 
in the locality. We were compelled to be 
vigilant, for reports were brought into camp 
that they were determined to have the horses 
from the Second Ohio Cavalry. At this time 
we did not do that duty in the usual way be- 
cause of their peculiar method of attack. Al- 
though there were no pickets in daytime, the 
night trick meant twelve hours in the saddle 
for the vidette. 

It was considered a great protection to re- 
main in one position and stay quiet all night, 
and it was the custom to place the vidette on 
high ground as a proper position for day duty. 
The first night it was my turn to go out on 
mounted duty the officer of the guard with 
corporal went with two of us out on the Car- 


76 Four Years with Five Armies 

thage road. After traveling for a mile and 
a half through woods with underbrush on each 
side, we came to open prairie on the left of 
the road. A lone tree stood out on the prairie 
about two hundred yards from the woods. 
It was just twilight when the officer and cor- 
poral left us with every precaution to remain 
quiet that we might not attract the attention 
of the bushwhackers. It was believed that 
they would not attack the camp without first 
disposing of the picket. The officer and the 
corporal were no more than out of hearing 
than we remarked to each other that we did 
not like our position. It was about the full 
of the moon and the open ground was almost 
as light as day, the shade of the tree helping, 
if anything, to make our presence more con- 
spicuous to anyone that might happen at the 
edge of the timber. If we had our choice 
we would have taken our position in the edge 
of the brush with the open ground in front 
of us. This would give us a superior advan- 
tage over anyone that approached from either 
direction; but situated as we were we were 
easy prey if the bushwhackers had happened 
that way. 

We had not been there more than an hour 
when we heard a noise in the brush across the 
road directly opposite us. In our mind it was 
the bushwhackers, of course. The noise con- 
tinued at intervals, and we expected to be 
picked off from our saddles as soon as they 
could get a position to make sure of their 

The Indian Expedition 77 

game. We talked it all over in a low voice 
not much above a whisper. The suspense 
was terrible to bear. Just imagine sitting 
and waiting a death sentence. Hours seemed 
like days. The cold chills crept over us and 
our hair seemed to rise up every time the 
brush rattled. When the moon was straight 
over us two animals not larger than jack rab- 
bits jumped out of the brush, one apparently 
chasing the other. Then they ran back again, 
making, to our relief, the same noise we had 
been hearing. We continued to hear the 
racket until morning, but we felt no more 
uneasiness, and at daylight went to camp. 
We talked about our peculiar position on the 
night before, and learned that others had 
found themselves in the same unpleasant 
predicament. All agreed that the sentinel 
should be on the low ground at night. 

A good chance presented itself in a few 
days to get a full expression on the subject. 
The officer of the guard placed a vidette on 
a hill looking over a ravine, but he moved 
some hundred yards in advance of where he 
had been left. The officer returned during 
the night, and was halted by the sentinel when 
he arrived at the top of the hill. He rebuked 
the man for leaving his post without orders, 
had him take his place at the top of the hill 
again, returned to the reserve, ordered the 
corporal to arrest the sentinel, and put another 
one in his place. 

The next day the case was investigated by 

78 Four Years with Five Armies 

the major commanding the battalion. The 
man was released. A general order was is- 
sued to take more care in the selection of out- 
posts, and, if there was any advantage in lo- 
cation, it should be in our favor. After that 
the vicjette usually chose his own position. 
The duty was heavy while in camp at Lamar. 
It was an everyday occurrence for foraging 
and scouting parties to be fired on from am- 
bush. The next time my name was called for 
picket duty there was also an extra detail for 
horse guard. Before breaking ranks the cap- 
tain told the men on duty that they were 
expected to use extraordinary precaution. 
There was a large body of bushwhackers as- 
sembling on the other side of the river and it 
was reported that an attack would be made on 
the camp that or the next night. For that 
reason the guard had been doubled through- 
out, and they would be expected to carry their 
arms at all times. He concluded by saying 
that they were not apt to attempt to cross the 
river at the ford, where there was a strong 
guard, but would try some other place, which 
would be done in skiffs or on foot-logs, that 
would necessarily put them into the swamp 
that lay between the river and camp and af- 
ford them an excellent opportunity to come 
into the camp unknown to us, take the horses, 
and get away before we could do anything to 
prevent it. 

After breaking ranks the sergeant told me 
to make no preparation except to have my 

The Indian Expedition 79 

gun in good order, with plenty of ammuni- 
tion, as I would stand dismounted at a place 
he would show me when the proper time 
came. As soon as it was dark the sergeant 
took me and we wound our way through the 
woods for a distance of half a mile. He 
said, ^' This is the place." He then gave me 
instructions to remain there during the night. 
He continued the instructions by saying if 
anyone should appear in the swamp I was to 
fire the alarm and return to camp as quickly 
as possible, or if there should be firing at any 
other place that would indicate an attack of 
any importance. Under no other condition 
was I to move or make a noise that would 
assist anyone to locate my position. He said 
there need be no one to visit me during the 
night, for no one but the major and himself 
knew anything about my location. 

And there he left me in solitude dreary 
enough; on low ground, in a dense forest, a 
swamp in front with myriads of croaking 
frogs, swarms of musquitoes, and thousands 
of screeching whippoorwills and crickets to 
make night hideous. It was a calm moon- 
light night, with not a breath of air to stir 
the leaves. The long specter-like shadows 
that reached out across the brush that grew 
in the swamp only lent a loneliness to the 
dreary scene. There was a hostile and deter- 
mined enemy, so far as my information and 
imagination went, beyond the swamp. Being, 
as I was, at the logical point of attack, of 

8o Four Years with Five Armies 

course there was little possibility that I would 
be permitted to remain until morning. I sat 
by a large tree, wrapped in thought of my 
dreary surroundings, and reflecting upon the 
possibility of escape should my conjectures 
prove to be reality. I pictured the enemy 
stealthily felling trees across the river and 
crossing over to the swamp, which they would 
consider a sure protection and cover for their 
movement until they were in our camp. Of 
course I would be sure to thwart them in their 
adventure, for they would come blundering 
through the swamp, jumping from tussock to 
tussock. I would discover them, fire on them, 
and alarm the camp, which would be in arms 
ready to receive them. My ruminations even 
went so far as to plan how cautiously I would 
approach the camp, calling out who I was to 
prevent them from firing, as that would di- 
vulge their presence to the enemy, who would 
then take the best aim and get a man with 
every shot. 

I was getting along nicely, when splash 
went something in the water some distance 
from me, and mv whole plan went to smither- 
eens. My flesh began to crawl, my hair rose 
up, and my mind was so completely muddled 
that it was impossible to form anything like 
two links of thought. If I had seen an enemy 
it is doubtful if I could have moved a muscle 
until a reaction set in. After a few seconds 
my thoughts began to return. I thought what 
a pity to turn a splendid victory into defeat 

The Indian Expedition 8i 

without a plausible excuse. I still believed 
the splash was caused by the blundering of 
some of the advancing bushwhackers, who 
had now had plenty of time to cross the swamp 
since the felling of the trees. It kept me in 
a continual strain until minutes appeared as 
hours, and hours as days. At last, when 
morning came, I felt twenty years older, 
wearily strolled to camp, dropped down on 
the blankets, and went to sleep without any 
breakfast, to dream of the spirit of him that 
had a peculiar ear that induced him to write 
the lines about the low, sweet voice of the 

The regular detail already mentioned in- 
cluded but a small part of the duty we had 
to perform. There were horse guards, dis- 
mounted camp guards, scouting and foraging 
parties, upon each of which we had to take 
our regular turn. It was not an uncommon 
thing to be relieved from guard at nine o'clock, 
and before night to be called to the saddle 
to make a forced ride. I remember two dis- 
tinct times this happened to me while in the 
camp near Lamar. One of these was the very 
day after my long night by the swamp. At 
one o'clock Quartermaster-Sergeant Mason, 
with a prisoner, rode into camp on a jaded 
horse, from which the foam was dropping to 
the ground, and wanted reinforcements with 
an ambulance to bring in his dead and 
wounded comrades. 

A foraging party that had left the camp in 

82 Four Years with Five Armies 

the morning had been attacked at a creek 
about twenty miles away. We saddled up, 
and by dark arrived near the scene, but as we 
had no one with us who knew the country 
we were unable to find the unfortunate party 
until the next morning. This trip was made 
by trotting, and often galloping our horses. 
My animal was a very rough trotter, which 
brought on a pain in my left side that con- 
tinued to bother me during the rest of the time 
I served in the army. I was often compelled 
to hang my side-arms on the saddle instead of 
wearing them. 

At another time we were ordered to saddle 
up at dark. Someone had come to camp for 
a party to go forty miles to capture the chief 
of a noted band of guerrillas that was at his 
home on a visit to his family. The party was 
led by Captain, afterward Colonel, Brooks, 
the noted scout and guide. The forty miles 
was covered and the house surrounded before 
daybreak, and a charge made. We could 
hear shots about the house, the result of which 
we were never able to learn, as we marched 
away before it was fairly light. At the first 
plantation we came to we took a rest, and by 
the next morning reached our camp. 

The place where we rested was a typical 
frontier ranch with double log-house, with 
log stables, and corn-cribs well filled with 
corn and fodder, to which we helped our- 
selves. This was the common custom and 
had become a matter of course with us. The 

The Indian Expedition 83 

owner, if a Union man, could get his pay, 
and if he was " Secesh " he was not likely to 
make any complaint. These excursions were 
of so common occurrence that I seldom re- 
membered one from another, often not know- 
ing the name of the officer in command, and 
much less the man that handled the minor de- 

The method then in use for this work 
was a cumbersome one, and it took from one 
hour to two hours to get ready and move out. 
When a corporal called for a detail to do 
duty and did not know his men, he often had 
much trouble to find them. This caused 
much annoyance, not only to the corporal but 
to everyone in the party, for he would go 
about pulling the blankets from the sleeping 
men, and often the man he wanted was the last 
to be found. I have known a corporal to take 
the names of his relief, and, by misunder- 
standing, misspell the names, and when he 
called third relief the men fell in line, and in 
calling the names as he had written them the 
men did not know their own names. This 
method was soon abandoned and a much more 
convenient one adopted. Instead of an hour 
and a half being: wasted, the detail would be 
out of camp and on the march in fifteen min- 
utes. This was done by the companies taking 
turn instead of details from different com- 
panies. While the men saddled up, the cap- 
tain would get his instructions from head- 
quarters. Officers and men being acquainted 

84 Four Years with Five Armies 

with each other, the ofBcer would know where 
to find his men. 

We returned to Fort Scott to join the ex- 
pedition, but they were not ready to move, 
and one battalion of the Second Ohio under 
Major Seward returned to Missouri, and 
some time in June the expedition rendez- 
voused at Fort Scott, consisting of two bri- 
gades of white troops and 1000 Indians, moved 
out. Their destination was Fort Gibson, situ- 
ated on the Arkansas River in the Cherokee 
nation. The cavalry, going by the route that 
led through Humboldt, left all settlements, 
touching two or three abandoned Indian mis- 
sions and an occasional stock ranch occupied 
by half-breeds. These ranches were always 
situated on a river or creek where there were 
both timber and prairie. 

One part of the troops on this expedition 
consisted of 1000 Osage Indians. They were 
regularly enlisted, armed with the Kentucky 
rifle, and organized with white officers. They 
were accompanied by their squaws and pa- 
pooses, and they had their ponies and all their 
equipments. They danced the war dance all 
night at the Verdigris River, the night before 
the battle of Round Prairie, and also at Flat 
Rock Creek. 

The command lay over on the Fourth of 
July, and the battery in firing a salute threw 
a few shells over the Indian camp, as a test 
to see how they would stand the fire of big 
guns. The result was that they stampeded, 

The Indian Expedition 85 

and some of the runaways did not return for 
fifteen days. 

After crossing the Verdigris River we met 
and engaged Stanwaity at Round Prairie. 
After a short skirmish he retreated, and the 
Second Ohio captured their beef herd, with 
ponies and pack-mules, twelve hundred in 
number. Lieutenant Rush of Company E 
was a professional stock man. He was de- 
tailed to take what men he wanted from our 
company and deliver the cattle to the beef con- 
tractor at Fort Scott, Kansas, a distance of 
sixty miles. We moved at noon, and when the 
herd strung out on the road the strong cattle 
as usual took the lead. Lieutenant Rush, 
being an expert in his business, with plenty 
of help, divided his men into small squads, 
each under the command of a sergeant. He 
cut the herd into small bunches and pushed 
them along. We had in that way covered a 
distance of many miles at ten o'clock, when 
we camped for supper. The cattle were 
turned on the prairies to graze. Many of 
the boys from Ohio had no experience with 
cattle, and the cavalry horse was also awk- 
ward. The cattle, used to being handled in 
the Texas style, discovered this very quickly, 
and when we rounded them on the bed 
ground, they gave so much trouble that cattle 
and men got no rest. At this juncture an am- 
bulance came up, carrying Colonel Double- 
day on his way home. He had resigned his 
commission, and was now a citizen. He 

86 Four Years with Five Armies 

brought orders to Lieutenant Rush to push on 
as fast as possible, for Stanwaity's cavalry 
were on a scout, and were expecting to over- 
take and recapture the herd. 

The cattle were put on the road at once, 
and at sunrise we camped at Dry Creek, twelve 
miles from Fort Scott. While making some 
coffee, the beef contractors, whom Colonel 
Doubleday had notified of our approach, rode 
up with a spring wagon. This was a big 
plum for them, and when they got the news 
that we were on the road they supplied them- 
selves with six demijohns of old Bourbon. 
When they met us it flowed freely. Every- 
one must drink as often as he wanted. Some 
men took the first drink they had ever tasted, 
and became very hilarious. It was decided 
to drive in without breakfast. The mess kit 
was tossed into the wagon, and the men met 
us at Bourbon Creek and took charge of the 

In order that the reader may form a cor- 
rect conception of the enthusiasm aroused on 
that occasion, it is necessary to give a little 
better description of that drive. I have 
been engaged in cow hunting on the fron- 
tiers of Texas, made three trips across the 
plains, and had some lively drives many years 
afterward. Some of the movements were 
accelerated by the sudden appearance of hos- 
tile Indians in the neighborhood of the herd, 
but none compared with this one for speed, 
efficiency, and hilarity. Although we had 

Second Ohio Volunteer Cavalrx 

The Indian Expedition 87 

made more than double the distance of an 
ordinary day's drive before camping, the 
news that Stanwaity's cavalry was no doubt 
then in the saddle and in pursuit prompted 
us to an extraordinary effort to keep out of 
their way. Our party was not strong enough 
to defend the cattle against an attack if 
one should be made, and the cattle would 
have to be abandoned in order to protect 
ourselves. The mess-kit was thrown hastily 
and recklessly into the wagon, and the cat- 
tle strung out. All were in good spirits, 
laughed, sang, and shouted. The last twelve 
miles was a wild ride. It was most ridicu- 
lous after taking the drink with the beef 
contractor. The rapidity of the move and the 
rough manner of loading the kit into the mess- 
wagons cannot be compared with anything I 
have seen or heard of before or since. The 
cattle appeared to catch the spirit of their 
drivers. The first squad pushed their bunch 
on to the road at full run, men shouting, and 
charging their horses at full speed, and a 
cloud of dust rose that soon put them out of 
sight; and so on until the last of the five 
bunches was on the full run. 

At Fort Scott the army was being paid off 
by the paymaster, who had arrived before 
us. When the troops had all been paid they 
moved south, and would usually camp as 
near the water as possible, which was gen- 
erally in holes of what had been a river or 
creek, and on the valleys of which the grass 

88 Four Years with Five Armies 

had grown tall and coarse. The horses were 
taken out to the high ground for grazing, 
with one-fourth of the men to herd them. 

One morning they came in with my picket 
rope, but no mare. After searching the camp 
without success my horse equipments were put 
in the mess-wagon, and I walked, and helped 
the cook to get wood and water. Four days 
after I went to the creek, at least three-fourths 
of a mile away, carrying two large camp- 
kettles. The Second Kansas cavalry horses 
were passing. I saw my mare so completely 
jaded that she stumbled as she walked, and 
the points of her ears were hanging down. I 
was so excited I dropped the kettles, ran up, 
and untied her from the other horse that was 
being led with her. The man leading her 
said she did not belong to him. I told him 
he had better not claim her. I forgot every- 
thing else, and led her to camp without water. 
When I arrived at the wagon and explained 
how I had got her, I thought of the camp- 
kettles, and went back, to find them gone. I 
had to return to camp for other kettles and to 
make another trip for the water. This nat- 
urally delayed dinner, and I was completely 
exhausted after making so many long trips 
in the hot sun. 

I lay down on the hot ground under the 
wagon. When I looked at my poor animal, 
in which I had taken so much pride, and 
saw her standing with her head down, too 
tired to eat, with the crust of dry sweat and 

The Indian Expedition 89 

dust that showed the hard usage and the little 
care she had had for the last four days, I 
would cry and blame myself in turns for not 
following the company of horses, and finding 
the man that had ridden her. She must have 
been on a long trip, for the horses she was 
with did not look so bad. 

In the morning I saddled up, but my poor 
mare was destined to be more of a burden 
than benefit. We had no grain to feed, and 
had had none since we left Missouri. All the 
horses in our regiment began to show it more 
than the others, from the fact that it was their 
first year, and they had not become accli- 
mated to western prairies. 

From that time on the horses were giving 
out all the time, and were shot or abandoned. 

When we arrived at Flat Rock Creek the 
army went into camp, where it remained for 
several weeks. After a few days' rest a cav- 
alry raid in light marching order was moved 
out to make a feint on Price's left by driving 
Stanwaity out of Fort Gibson. It was light 
marching order sure enough, with no grain 
for the stock and no rations but sugar, cofifee, 
fresh beef with no salt, and half rations of 
hard tack. My mare had recruited, or at 
least had rested a little, and I went with them. 

The column moved out after dark one night, 
with Colonel Ware, who was then in com- 
mand of the expedition. I do not know what 
he had to eat, but I know he had a ten-gallon 
keg strapped on a mule, and of course that 

90 Four Years with Five Armies 

means he did not lack for drink. And there 
was plenty of evidence of it before morning, 
in the bungling moves made on the prairie in 
the dark, and in the morning we were hardly 
out of sight of the camp. 

Late in the afternoon the Second Ohio was 
thrown out as skirmishers, and, as we ad- 
vanced, Stanwaity's men fell back with but 
little resistance. We followed them, keeping 
the best line we could through the thick un- 
derbrush that skirts the Arkansas River. 

When I arrived at the road the left of our 
line had crossed, but the right had not come to 
it. I could see a small squad of calvary on 
the other side of the river. They were firing 
a few shots that appeared to be intended for 
somebody farther up the road, as they went 
far above my head. Just in front of me was 
a trooper in blue uniform. He rode out and 
saluted, and said he belonged to the Second 
Kansas Cavalry, and had been down in Ar- 
kansas on scout. He rode off in the rear of 
our skirmish line. 

We halted there until a regiment of Kan- 
sas cavalry came down in column, crossed the 
river, and, to judge from the sound we heard, 
they had a skirmish, driving Stanwaity out 
of the post. We then moved back a few 
miles and halted for a rest, and resumed the 
march, following the belt of timber that 
skirts Flat Rock Creek. 

My mare was now very weak and I had 
to walk, and later in the night she refused to 

The Indian Expedition 91 

move at all. I was some distance behind the 
column, but one of the company had stayed 
with me, and he rode up and reported my 
condition to the captain, who sent me word to 
leave her, and carry the saddle, or pay for it 
from my next pay. It was a bitter pill just 
at that time, when everyone expected the 
enemy to overtake or intercept us at any mo- 
ment. Wakefield, who had come with the 
message, told me to pull the saddle ofif quick, 
and he would help me along. ^' No," was 
my emphatic reply. '' Go to the company as 
quickly as you can, and I will get there with- 
out assistance." 

By the time the sound of his horse's 
hoofs had died out, the sound of which was a 
dull thud on my ear, I had learned something 
new in the makeup of human nature. It 
caused a peculiar congested sensation that I 
cannot describe, how I felt when I was or- 
dered to carry the saddle or pay for it. When 
those words fell on my ear, my heart was 
seared against all fear of danger. I replied to 
my companion, who cautioned me about fall- 
ing into the hands of the enemy, that it would 
not be possible to fall in with a more bitter 
enemy than the one who had issued that order. 
I said that I would bring in the saddle or die 
on the trail. 

The column had left the timber a short dis- 
tance from where I left the mare, and it was 
easy to follow the trail on the soft prairie. 
My load was heavy, and it had to be let down 

92 Four Years with Five Armies 

very often for rest. My cavalry boots, now 
well worn out, began to give way so as to let 
in the dirt. I was obliged to empty them 
frequently, because it was galling my feet. 
The more I tried to stop the holes with rags, 
the larger they stretched. 

About three o'clock in the morning, com- 
pletely exhausted, I lay down in my blanket 
and fell asleep. When I awoke the sun 
was up, and it was evident that I was within 
two or three miles of camp, which was to my 
right. The column had gone farther out on 
the prairie. There was a round knoll near 
by. I hid the saddle near it, left the trail, 
and was in camp as soon as the column. 

One of the boys volunteered to go for the 
saddle, for I was worn out and foot sore. I 
had been without water for several hours, 
my lips were parched, and my tongue swollen. 
But although I had firmly resolved to bring 
the saddle in myself, I finally accepted the 
ofifer. After giving him directions how to 
find it, I lay down to take a rest. 

From this time on there was a great change 
going on in the camp. There was a growing 
discontent throughout. We had no prospect 
of anything better than flour, and no way to 
bake it except in frying-pans, without salt or 
soda. We had fresh beef in abundance, but 
without seasoning it brought on dysentery to 
all who ventured to eat it. 

It had been many months since we had a 
chance to draw clothing. There was none 

The Indian Expedition 93 

at the front, and our old clothes were fast 
giving out. Some of the ragged shirts, 
blouses, and pants were discarded every day. 
The men on duty with the horses, a duty at 
which we took turns, who were out on the 
high open ground, had no shade except what 
they made by stacking the guns and spreading 
blankets over them. 

From this kind of treatment men were 
dying every day with fevers, dysentery, and 
other diseases. The best of men became sul- 
len and disagreeable to one another. The 
condition was growing worse every day, un- 
til at retreat we were notified to make ready 
to march on a forward movement. 

The dissatisfaction that existed on account 
of the maladministration of the expedition 
was soon expressed by the many maledictions 
pronounced as soon as we broke ranks. The 
men rushed hither and thither. Some even 
went to the horse herd, a mile and half 
away, to express their dissatisfaction to their 
friends on duty. It was soon learned that the 
dissatisfaction extended throughout the bri- 
gade among officers and men alike, and it was 
very evident that something decisive would 
be done to prevent a move until the arrival 
of a train with supplies. 

Colonel Solomon's regiment, the Ninth 
Wisconsin, felt the want of rations. They 
had always had not only the common fare 
such as we got, but had everything allowed in 
the line of army rations, including butter, 

94 Four Years with Five Armies 

kraut, pickles, etc., furnished from Wisconsin 
and paid for by a mess fund. The Colonel 
felt the sting of seeing his men falling victims 
to the ravages of disease that was daily carry- 
ing them off to answer the last roll call. 
Colonel Solomon was in command of the Sec- 
ond Brigade, consisting of the Ninth Wiscon- 
sin Infantry, Rab's Indiana Battery, and Sec- 
ond Ohio Cavalry. Colonel Ware was in 
command of the First Brigade, and also the 
entire expedition, so Colonel Solomon went 
to him and made a plea for delay until 
the arrival of supplies; but as there was 
not a satisfactory response he returned to 
his tent to study the situation over. After 
reporting his brigade at tattoo he repeated his 
entreaties, and asked Colonel Ware what the 
men were to live on. 

"Jerked beef, damn you! If you have any 
more communications, send them to me in 
writing," was the prompt reply. " Go to 
your quarters and remain until sent for." 
He returned as ordered, but on his arrival 
he called the officer of the guard, gave him 
orders to have the guard fall in line, march 
to Colonel Ware's quarters, arrest him and 
bring him to Colonel Solomon's quarters. 
By the time they reached Colonel Ware's 
quarters he had retired for the night. 

" You are my prisoner! " shouted the officer 
of the guard, in broken English. The Ninth 
were all Germans, and used the German lan- 
guage altogether among themselves. Colonel 

The Indian Expedition 95 

Ware refused to obey, and ordered the guard 
away, but the officer, in German, ordered his 
men to take him dead or alive. No sooner 
said than done. He was dragged out of his 
tent, and, bayonets behind him, he double- 
quicked in his bare feet and nightshirt to Col- 
onel Solomon's quarters. 

" You are under arrest," was Colonel Solo- 
mon's order. " Go to your tent and remain 
there till further orders." Colonel Ware was 
frightened, but replied that he was the supe- 
rior officer, and that he refused to take orders 
from him. 

Colonel Solomon ordered the officer of the 
guard to keep Colonel Ware under guard, and 
if he made any trouble to put him in irons. 
This order was also put into execution at 

By this time everything in camp was in mo- 
tion. Some were getting their arms, and some 
running for the horses. The infantry fell in 
with fixed bayonets; the batteries loaded with 
grape and canister, and muzzles turned to- 
ward the first brigade. 

By three o'clock the army was on the move 
toward Fort Scott, and Colonel Ware was 
placed in an ambulance with shackles on. 

The Second Ohio was the last to move, 
and it was daylight before we strung out. 
There were many dismounted men, of whom 
ten or twelve were in our company. As the 
march progressed the number was augmented 
every day. Five of us were barefooted, two 

96 Four Years with Five Armies 

of whom had one old boot each. They were 
Math Park and Bissell. One wore the boots 
one day and the other the next. On the third 
their feet were so swollen that neither of them 
could get the boots on. 

The wagon-train, that was six miles long 
when we left Fort Scott, had dwindled down 
to consist of the regimental headquarters and 
company wagons, with the exception of three 
or four sections of twelve wagons each. Our 
company outfits were bulky and encumbered 
the movements very much. The arms, bed- 
ding, and horse equipments of the sick and 
dismounted had to be loaded. The wagons 
were full up to the bows, with many things 
hanging on the outside. 

The ground was as loose as an ash pile, and 
there had been no rain for two months. The 
clouds of dust would rise up from under the 
feet of the thousands of animals so that the air 
was often stifling and blinding. 

In some places the grass had been burned, 
and in crossing these places, although the 
barefooted men followed the wagon track as 
closely as possible, the splinters would stick 
in their feet like so many needles. The ashes 
of the burned grass, mixed with alkali, 
caused our feet to swell and crack open until 
they bled profusely. As I hung to the feed 
box of a government wagon, I thought every 
step must be my last. 

The water had dried up so that we had to 
change the route, which necessitated our go- 

The Indian Expedition 97 

ing many miles farther. Much of the way 
there was no road, and a new one had to be 
broken. The distance between the water holes 
was great. In one instance it was forty miles, 
which required about forty-eight hours' time, 
including stops, to feed and rest. 

When we arrived at the water, Indians, 
Mexicans, negroes, whites, with mules and 
horses, plunged into it, stirring the green scum 
which was two or three inches thick on top 
of what little water there was, with the sedi- 
ment from the bottom. All was soon a thin 
mortar. Both animals and men were so dis- 
tracted for the want of something to slake their 
thirst that they crowded in so thick that many 
could not get their heads down, and others 
that had shoved their heads under were brac- 
ing forward for fear they would be crowded 

They quafifed the mud down as if it was 
good. I noticed one man slip his feet down 
between a horse and the bank. With his left 
shoulder against the horse's leg he pushed it 
forward, and with his right hand he dipped a 
cupful from where the horse's foot had been, 
and without changing his position, except to 
throw his head back, he drank as if it had 
been of the finest nectar. A second one fol- 
lowed the first, and a third cupful he brought 
away with him. 

When we arrived at Baxter Springs, Kan- 
sas, there was an abundance of good water, 
and the command halted for rest and to 

98 Four Years with Five Armies 

await a train of supplies that was expected 
at any time. 

One section of an empty train was dis- 
patched and the drivers of another section 
went on a vacation. They were allowed leave 
to go with the empty train, leaving the mules 
and wagons with the trainmaster and two men 
to herd. The next day a courier arrived and 
reported there was no train on the road. 
Camp was at once notified to get ready to 
move. The train that had no drivers was as- 
signed to the Second Ohio, and we had to 
furnish them with drivers, I being detailed 
for one. We went to the train and the mules 
were soon brought in. 

The trainmaster told us to tie up the mules 
and then come down to the end of the train. 
We did as we were directed and collected 
around him. We then marched behind the 
train, and he assigned us to our teams. I was 
by the side of his mule, and was expecting to 
be the next man assigned, but it was not so. 
He would order one man to take one team, 
another man to take another team, and so on 
until there were only two men left. He hesi- 
tated for some reason and then said to me, " I 
will give you this team." His words and ac- 
tions were emphasized in a way that led us 
to think there was something special about 
that team and that I had been selected for 
some other particular reason. We did not 
understand it, but asked no questions. 

He told us to harness and hitch up, and as 

The Indian Expedition 99 

he rode away the next man to me said, 
'' Gause, that team must be a darling." 

I remarked that I thought as much. Our 
supposition was that it was a bad team, that he 
had mistaken me for a good driver. When 
we had hitched the mules he sent some men to 
take a few boxes of cartridges that were in my 
wagon to make out a load in the wagon of one 
of the old drivers. He then said to me that 
I had the best team in the train when I got to 
know them, but they were tricky, and that I 
being a stranger might have some trouble with 
them. He said their driver was fond of them 
and very proud of the way they could handle 
a load, and he dreaded having to entrust them 
to others. I was sitting in the front of the 
wagon, and wondering how I should make 
out mule '' skinning," as it was termed there. 
I had never driven more than two horses at 
a time, and had not used a jerk line. But I 
would rather have undertaken anything than 
to walk to Fort Scott barefooted. 

There was a funeral squad burying a sol- 
dier a few yards in front of the train, and, as 
they were about to fire the volley to denote the 
last of the ceremony, the trainmaster told us 
to look out for our teams, as they would be 
apt to start when they heard the report. I 
jumped on the wagon ton8:ue and into the sad- 
dle, but none too soon. When the volley was 
fired all the mules started. I was the only 
driver in the saddle. I jerked viciously at the 
line, which served to guide them far enough 


lOO Four Years with Five Armies 

to the right so as not to interfere with the 
others except to catch some harness on the 
wagon wheel. Once clear, away they went, 
and I began pulling, which served to turn 
them to the left, and by cutting a large circle 
brought them up in the rear of the train with 
no damage but the breaking of a stay chain. 
The other teams were all piled up together. 
They had all swung to the left in an attempt 
to turn short around. Many mules were down 
with others on top of them, wagons joined to- 
gether, and such a mix-up I never did see in 
times of peace. 

When everything was straightened out the 
empty wagons were distributed among the 
companies of the Second Ohio. My wagon 
was loaded to the top of the bows, and when 
they were tying on the loose articles the train- 
master came by, and said nothing, but rode 
away with a look of disgust on his face. 

Everything went on all right that day. 
The next morning I pulled out with the same 
load. We crossed a dry branch. There was 
a short turn in a narrow cut, and, as I had not 
learned how to control the wagon by the 
wheelers, I was trying to do all the guiding 
by the leaders, the front wheel struck the bank 
and turned the wagon over. 

The train came to a standstill, as the wreck 
completely blocked the road. A detail soon 
straightened things up. The trainmaster 
came along while they were loading, and said 
he wished I would turn that load over every 

The Indian Expedition lOl 

mile. I did pretty well at it, for I turned it 
over twice more before we arrived at the four- 
mile house, where we camped for the third 
night's rest. 

It was my turn to herd the mules. I went 
out and did my duty. When we had tied them 
up and fed them I went to our company to get 
a square meal. A train load of rations had 
met us there. The next day I walked to Fort 



WE arrived at Fort Scott in the month 
of August. The plans that fol- 
lowed were a verification of the old 
adage, " Lock the door after the 
horse is stolen." Already impregnated with 
fevers, and all kinds of diseases that follow 
starvation and hardship, everyone was looking 
for sanitary conditions to prevent sickness. 
To this end a high plateau, a mile from the 
Marmiton River, was selected for a camp 
ground. The water could only be procured 
from the river. Barrels were provided, 
placed in army wagons, and each company 
had only one barrel to store drinking and 
cooking water. 

At all times during the day men could be 
seen plodding the long paths with clothes to 
wash or with two large camp-kettles full of 
water. In addition to this was the old usual 
camp guard to walk back and forth in the hot 
sun. Without a shade tree near, the camp be- 
came a hot-bed of dust, and every day men 
were carried to the hospital. All looked as 
if life was a burden to them. 

New clothes were furnished to us, and sub- 
sequently the Second Ohio was called on to 

Provost Duty at Fort Scott 103 

furnish provost guard in the post, to guard 
hospital headquarters' supply stores, to do 
patrol and other duties. The dismounted men 
were accordingly detailed, and I was thus 
separated from my bunky, and it so happened 
that we never bunked together again. 

We were established in camp in close prox- 
imity and east of the old fort on a high bluff 
that stands over Bourbon Creek. 

One-half of our detachment mounted guard 
the next morning and marched to the jail and 
relieved the infantry doing duty there, who 
were then under marching orders to leave the 

The jail was an old stone structure that had 
been previously used for the post guard-house. 
The dimensions were about thirty by forty 
feet, with one partition running through it, 
and one opening or doorway. The only door 
to the outside wall of the building was a grat- 
ing made of iron bars which hung on its heavy 
hinges, set deep in the stone wall. There were 
five window openings, also obstructed with 
iron gratings, and no glass in them, but board 
shutters which were removed for comfort dur- 
ing the hot weather. 

The jail was filled to its utmost capacity 
with prisoners of various classes, some, no 
doubt, having been falsely accused; but the 
majority were of a desperate class and had 
participated in some more or less desperate 
deeds. They were accused of bushwhacking 
Union troops, or acting the spy, or conspiring 

104 Four Years with Five Armies 

against the United States Government. Most 
of them came from Missouri, but that does not 
imply that they were natives or citizens of that 
State. They had been picked up by the scout- 
ing parties sent out for that purpose during 
the previous year. 

Many of the prisoners had friends who fre- 
quently visited them, bringing clothes, pro- 
visions, and fruit to afiford them some little 
comfort. There were others who had been 
there one year, and had not seen a friendly 
face, received a letter, nor one word of en- 
couragement during their long confinement. 
They could not even conjecture their future 
fate. There were four or five of another class, 
called local prisoners, who belonged to some 
of the military organizations at the fort, and 
these were accused of desertion and minor 

Among them was one whose exploits and 
deeds of daring were well known from Fort 
Leavenworth to the Indian Territory. He 
was employed as a government scout, for 
which service he received the usual salary of 
$5 per day. He enjoyed many privileges not 
allowed his fellow-prisoners. The guard was 
divided into three reliefs with a large super- 
numerary force to attend the wants of the 
prisoners, and be ready for any emergency, 
such as patrol, and other things. 

It so happened that my name was on the 
supernumerary list, and the first time I was 
called for duty the sergeant told me to guard 

Provost Duty at Fort Scott 105 

the scout on a visit to his wife, then living 
wath her mother three doors from the jail. 
He instructed me to keep my eyes on him at 
all times, not let him get anything to make his 
escape with, and to watch his wife, who might 
hand him a revolver, as she was a very smart 
woman, and would do anything he wanted her 
to do. It occurred to me that this was a pecu- 
liar position to be placed in, and it might be 
a case like that of Willie Brinnen. When 
Brinnen was in the street his wife handed him 
a blunderbuss from underneath her cloak, 
and the sheriff was immediately made to de- 
liver back what he had taken from Brinnen 
by law. 

I took my position by the door, and when 
the heavy grating swung on its hinges the 
scout stepped out. He was rather an impos- 
ing personage, about five feet ten inches tall, 
with black eyes, and black hair that had not 
been cut for several years, the curls clustering 
around his shoulders. He had small hands and 
feet, and well-developed muscles. He was 
scrupulously dressed with broad-rimmed 
planter's hat, ruffled shirt, and vest with buck- 
skin jacket, and leggings tied with ribbons 
and trimmed with fringe around the border. 

As he moved out in front he said he wanted 
a private interview with his wife in order that 
she might dispose of some property at his 
ranch. To comply with his request was to 
disobey my orders, and, as the distance trav- 
eled was short, there was but a minute in 

lo6 Four Years with Five Armies 

which to make up my mind. I at once con- 
cluded to give him full liberty, and to take my 
chances, for if he was determined to escape it 
would only be an accident, anyway, if the 
guard would be able to prevent it. The 
instant he stepped in the door he could pick 
up a revolver, and an ordinary man would be 
at his mercy. As he stepped in the door I told 
him I would remain at the end of the house, 
and when he was ready to go he could let me 
know. After watching closely for an hour, I 
stepped into the house and found him talking 
to his wife, a handsome girl about eighteen 
years of age, a most devoted wife, who at- 
tended to all the wants of the scout and kept 
him supplied with clean clothes, and cooked 
for and brought him three meals a day to the 
jail. She said they would like a little more 
time, which was granted. 

When we were walking to the jail he said 
he liked to be out as much as possible, but as 
I had treated him so well he did not want to 
keep me waiting too long. He wanted me to 
take him to see an attorney, as he was anxious 
for a trial. He also remarked that some of the 
boys were afraid he would get away, and did 
not allow him one minute to talk to his wife. 
I replied that I knew if he wanted to escape 
the guard would have but little chance to pre- 
vent him. 

This little sally inspired his confidence, and 
I was enabled to get much of his history with- 
out soliciting it. He was born in Illinois, and 

Provost Duty at Fort Scott 107 

in his early 'teens, while engaged in a con- 
troversy at some public corner, he chanced to 
strike a fatal blow with a knife or something 
he had in his hands. To avoid arrest he 
crossed Missouri, and entered Kansas on foot, 
a distance of three hundred miles through a 
sparsely settled country. There he was taken 
into employment by some freighters. He 
grew up amid the wild scenes of border trou- 
bles, Indian raids, and massacres. His only 
education was to ride and shoot. Thus the 
first law of nature, self-preservation, became 
his principal guide. He was often challenged 
to meet and fight to the death with a desperate 

When war was declared, he entered the 
service which he had since been following. 
One of his favorite escapades was to approach 
the picket of some of the bands that infested 
the border. He would halt when challenged, 
and pretend to be a planter or a friend. When 
called up for close inspection, he would grasp 
the bridle-rein in his teeth, dash the spurs into 
the horse, and, with revolver in each hand, 
would shoot the guard and dash through the 
camp and out at some other point. A feat of 
this kind is only possible from the fact that 
the report of the revolver is accepted as an 
alarm shot to warn the camp of the approach 
of an enemy. In the hurry to saddle up they 
do not recognize the approaching horseman 
until he is out of reach. 

He told me that he had shot some of his 

lo8 Four Years with Five Armies 

victims through misunderstandings on his 
part. They were strangers, he said, and he 
had misunderstood them, and thought they in- 
tended him some harm. The most of them 
were a desperate class of criminals who had 
been released from Southern prisons to engage 
in the border war of '56. When he heard of 
any of them at any of the little towns or stores 
making threats of what they would do, he 
would mount his horse and go in search of 
them. A desperate encounter would follow, 
from which he had always come out un- 

His last exploit, and the one for which he 
was then confined, was for going on a tear, as 
he termed it, and resisting arrest. Like most 
all frontiersmen, he would indulge in too 
much liquor at times, and proceed to paint 
the town red. On the last occasion a battalion 
of regular cavalry surrounded the place where 
he was drinking, for the purpose of arresting 
him. He mounted his horse, and with the 
rein in his teeth, revolver in each hand, made 
them give way, while he rode through the 
line at full speed. He went to his ranch and 
remained until duly sober. Then he came 
into the fort and surrendered to the provost 
marshal, turning over a pair of revolvers, the 
hilts of which were covered with notches, cut 
there to denote the number of victims that had 
fallen from the unerring aim of the owner. 

A few days later the Second Ohio was 
treated to a surprise. When the stage rolled 

Coi<. A, V. Kautz 

Second Ohio Volunteer Cavalry 

.ij^ Provost Duty at Fort Scott 109 


up to the Bourbon House among its passen- 
gers was an unpretentious-looking officer, 
who, with others, walked in and registered as 
a guest. There were many officers and men 
of the Second about as usual, but no one 
noticed the newcomer as he mingled with the 
nher guests. He wore the cavalry uniform 
Qy^th captain's bar. Next day he walked leis- 
riurely up the hill to the camp of the Second. 
The first one that took any notice of him was 
the camp guard, who saluted him and was 
saluted in return. 

'' What are you doing here? " was the ques- 
tion of the officer. 

'^ On guard," was the prompt reply. 

'^ I see nothing here to guard," said the of- 
ficer. '' You can go to your quarters." 

" But I am on camp guard, and can't go 
until released by the corporal." 

" Go to your quarters," said the officer, 
" and if anyone says anything to you, tell him 
Colonel Kautz relieved you." 

It was soon known that the Second Ohio 
had a new colonel. The camp was then 
moved to a shady place by the river, and many 
other noticeable changes took place for the 

Up to that time I knew nothing about the 
aspirations of men, and thought they accepted 
office in the ordinary line of duty. But many 
things leaked out soon after this change, and 
the scales began to fall from my eyes. Several 
resignations followed. Early in September, 

no Four Years with Five Armies 

while on duty pacing a beat in front of the old 
stone jail, I was suddenly taken with conges- 
tion followed by nausea and high fever. My 
companions took me to the hospital, where I 
lay at the point of death for several days. My 
complaint was pronounced by the doctor to be 
typhus fever. He had no hopes of me, bu^ 
directed the nurse to give me special care 
While lying there I saw many a poor fellow 
carried out to the morgue, sometimes at the 
rate of from five to eight a day. After three 
weeks had elapsed, being able to mope about, 
I made application to the doctor for permis- 
sion to go to camp. He replied that, as he 
was in need of every bed, I could go, if I 
would report to him at sick call every morn- 
ing. I promised to do this and I fulfilled the 
promise the next morning, but neglected it in 
the future, something that has caused me some 
regret, as I have never regained my normal 
weight or strength since. 

In the provost guard we knew but little that 
was going on in the regiment, only making 
note of the most conspicuous changes that we 
heard of from day to day. One sergeant was 
detached from each company to recruit men 
to fill them up to the full complement. The 
best horses were selected to mount the bat- 
talion that was armed with revolving rifles; 
the others being turned over to the post quar- 

When General Price made his second raid 
into Missouri, the regiment went in pursuit. 

Provost Duty at Fort Scott in 

The dismounted men were transported in 
army wagons, making a forced march on short 
rations. The Salem mess lost one more of its 
members, Lewis Campbell accidentally crip- 
pling himself by discharging his revolver, the 
contents taking effect in his foot. Time had 
now begun to drag heavily on our hands. 
The regiment was unfit for service in its pres- 
ent condition, and no one appeared to guess 
our future fate or destination. Finally, one 
day in December, an order came for the de- 
tachment to make ready to march. The next 
morning a train of wagons pulled in for us, 
and after loading, we moved out, riding or 
walking at will. That day at our first camp 
we all reported to our companies. The march 
north faced the cold December winds, and 
continued for several days. At last we 
reached the east side of the Missouri River, 
at Weston, where nearly a year before we had 
unloaded as fine a lot of horses as had ever 
entered Kansas. 

We were now divested of all government 
property, and so we had nothing to look after 
but our personal effects. A train of box-cars 
was backed up to the station, the railroad 
companies having long since quit furnishing 
coaches to transport soldiers. But even this 
was much better than we were now used to, 
and without a word of complaint we took our 
blankets and boarded the train. 

We moved along through Missouri, Illi- 
nois, Indiana, and Ohio, until we arrived at 

112 Four Years with Five Armies 

Columbus, and went into quarters at Camp 
Chase. Here we met the men called the '62 
recruits. Many of them were our cousins, 
brothers, and neighbor boys, boys that were 
not old enough to enlist the year before. In 
fact, some were yet under the acceptable age. 
There were not yet enough to fill up the 
regiment, and one battalion was divided and 
enough put into each company to fill out two 
battalions. One battalion that had been or- 
ganized for the Eighth Ohio Cavalry was 
added to ours, making a full regiment. 



WHILE the reorganization was going 
on, we took furloughs to go home 
for thirty days. Meantime, the 
battalion we left in Kansas arrived, 
and they brought their revolving rifles and re- 
tained them through the next campaign. 

When I arrived at home I heard that my 
friend William Engle, who so kindly assisted 
me to join the company on our departure for 
Camp Wade, had since enlisted in the One 
Hundred and Fifth Ohio, had been to the 
front, and was then lying at his home mortally 
wounded. I called to see him the day after 
I got home. One week later I was called on 
to perform the last mark of respect to our de- 
parted comrade. 

The thirty days' leave having expired, I 
returned to Camp Chase, and was treated to 
a surprise when Sergeant Harris informed me 
that a raid had been recently planned to 
clean out the Crisis office, and invited me to 
join the party. The Crisis was a sheet pub- 
lished in Columbus, the sentiments of which 
were antagonistic to the Union, and it pub- 
lished the writings and speeches of C. L. 
Vallandigham. When the regiment was in 


114 Four Years with Five Armies 

Kansas, the Crisis published one of his 
speeches, in which he expressed the wish that 
no soldier that crossed Mason and Dixon's line 
would live to return. That speech, coupled 
with many others of like nature, raised our 
ire, and some threats were made at the time, 
and it appears that some took it to heart so 
much as to put it into execution at the first 
opportunity. Although I could see no reason 
why anything Vallandigham might have 
said would affect us in any way, there were 
others that should know more about such mat- 
ters, and they belonged to the Second Ohio, 
and I was willing to help them get revenge. 
It was snowing at the time, and I observed, 
'' It's a bad night." " It is," was the reply, 
'' but the leaders have been waiting for the 
boys to return from leave, and everything is 
now ready and it will be carried out to-night. 
The principal reason being that we are ex- 
cused from tattoo and can pass the sentinel 
and enter the city under the guise of a church 
party on Sunday, whereas a pass would be re- 
quired on any other night." 

After retreat the usual call for volunteers 
to form the church party was made, to which 
none would respond on such a bad night but 
those understanding the significance of the 
movement. We arrived at the appointed 
rendezvous, where more than one hundred 
had preceded us. They were armed with 
clubs, hatchets, and axes. There was no time 
lost, but we were put in line and were on the 

In Quarters at Camp Chase 115 

move at once, Sergeant Harris being selected 
to take command of the advanced guard. We 
moved out at a double-quick to gain the usual 
space between the advance and the head of 
the column without causing any delay. Ser- 
geant Harris and I had no arms, so we pulled 
pickets from a farmyard fence. 

The bridge across the river was a long 
covered structure, and a guard was always 
stationed at the end next to the city. When 
we were near enough, he called, ^^ Halt, who 
comes there? " '^ A party to church," was the 
reply. The man personating the commander 
stepped to the front and was granted permis- 
sion to pass his men. 

On our arrival at the street in which the 
office was located, we turned to the right. 
When we came to the corner someone said, 
^' This is the place," and turned and went up- 
stairs. Sergeant Harris directed the move- 
ments of the advance guard. He sent two 
men to each of the three corners with orders 
to prevent any interference from any guard 
or police. He then took me, and we crossed 
the street to the other corner. 

We had no sooner taken our positions than 
a column of men poured into the building. 
The smashing of windows and a stream of 
furniture, books, paper, maps, and charts 
poured out of every opening into the street. 
The noise attracted the police, who sounded 
the alarm. The first one that arrived came 
directly to us. We were standing with the 

ii6 Four Years with Five Armies 

pickets behind us. He did not know that we 
were concerned. He asked us what was going 
on over there. We promptly replied that 
some soldiers were wrecking the Crisis office. 
He started to go over, but we told him that 
resistance would be useless, and that we were 
there to prevent any interference. 

By that time he was joined by another of- 
ficer, and many citizens were coming from 
every direction. The new arrival insisted on 
making an effort to stop the destruction of 
property, but we told him that to attempt such 
a thing would be fatal to him. The two of- 
ficers walked off a short distance, and while 
talking were joined by another officer, but 
they walked quietly away, as was to be ex- 
pected. They were no doubt in sympathy 
with the soldiers. 

The work was of but a few moments' dura- 
tion, and the order was given to fall in for 
camp. We moved off quickly, as we did not 
expect to escape the provost guard as easily 
as we had escaped the police. 

When about halfway to the river, Sergeant 
Harris was informed that they had not found 
the type. He said that was a very important 
point, and that it must be found and de- 
molished. He thought it was at the steam 
printing press, five or six blocks farther in the 
city, and we would go there and see. 

At this time I made my first suggestion in 
the way of directing the movement of a body 
of men. I told them it was necessary to send 

In Quarters at Camp Chase 117 

men enough to the bridge to hold it, as it was 
our only means of escape. They all recog- 
nized the wisdom of the proposition and acted 
accordingly. Thirty men went with Sergeant 
Harris, and the others went to the bridge. 

The sergeant called on the foreman at the 
steam press, but he said the Crisis type was not 
there and he did not know where the paper 
was printed. 

With no information, there was nothing to 
do but return to the camp. We went to the 
street that leads directly to the bridge, and 
while passing opposite the State House we 
could see patrol, guards, police, and many 
others, on the double-quick, crossing the street, 
going in the direction of the Crisis office. 
Some stopped to look at us, but as we were 
marching in perfect order they passed without 
any questions. 

When we neared the bridge, a squad with 
an officer in front double-quicked down the 
other side of the street. As we were passing 
the guard at the end of the bridge, they called 
out to him, '' Have you seen anything unusual 

'' No," was the reply. 

'' Who are those men? " 

" A church party, sir." 

We had now joined our party, who had 
secreted themselves inside of the bridge, only 
a few feet from the guard. As we passed 
along they fell in, and we marched unmo- 
lested to camp. When we arrived at the bar- 

ii8 Four Years with Five Armies 

racks the boys produced many things, such as 
books, maps, manuscripts, pens, and other 
relics, which they had concealed under their 
coats. I protested, and advised them to burn 
those things, as the raid was not intended for 
plunder. They did not heed my advice, how- 

The next day at 9 A. M. there was a ru- 
mor that the authorities were making strenu- 
ous efforts to find the perpetrators, and that 
we were under suspicion. 

Many articles were then thrown into the 
fire and burned. The more valuable articles 
were concealed under the floor of the bar- 
racks, and at 11 A. M., regular officers' call, 
the officers were ordered to search their com- 
panies and report the result. 

When we fell in line a sergeant and two men 
were ordered to search for property belonging 
to the Crisis office. Nothing was found, and 
the result reported accordingly. 

A special call was then made for the offi- 
cers. Colonel Kautz gave them some instruc- 
tions that we were unable to learn until after 

After the roll had been called, the Captain 
said that Colonel Kautz was anxious to have 
a fine pipe that had been taken from the Crisis 
office the night before. If he could get it 
there would be no more effort to implicate 
the regiment. Someone asked what Colonel 
Kautz's pipe was doing in a Copperhead place. 
The captain said that they asked him the same 

In Quarters at Camp Chase 119 

question, and the Colonel had answered that 
he had purchased the pipe as a present for an 
old and respected classmate who was then 
serving in the Navy. A person who had kept 
in continued communication with him, 
worked in the Crisis office, and the pipe had 
been left with this person by Colonel Kautz 
to forward to its destination. When the com- 
pany broke ranks there was a consultation 
among the members, and some denounced our 
Colonel as a Copperhead and in sympathy 
with the Crisis people, and no one appeared to 
know anything about the pipe. Gold pens, 
fine inkstands, and other trophies were 

I took an active part in the discussion, and 
defended the Colonel, as did the majority. 
He had inaugurated many reforms, and had, 
in fact, been our benefactor. We decided that 
he was loyal, and that the connection of the 
pipe with the Crisis office, as he had said, was 
only a coincidence. 

We then dispersed, and a man six foot three, 
who belonged to our company, stepped up to 
me and drew from a side pocket a morocco 
case, with the gilt letters A. V. K. on one side. 
At the same time he said to me that he had the 
pipe. He opened the case and displayed a 
fine meerschaum. 

'^ I think like you do, and want to return it, 
but not to let them know where it comes from. 
Only three men know that I have it." 

He named them. They were called into 

I20 Four Years with Five Armies 

consultation. As a result the pipe was 
wrapped up and addressed to Colonel A. V. 
Kautz, and intrusted to me. I strolled leis- 
urely up to the officers' quarters, and when 
there was no one to see me, slipped the pipe 
through the slot into the mail box at head- 

During the winter, being fitted out with a 
complete new outfit, with the exception of one 
battalion retaining their revolving rifles, the 
other two battalions were furnished with the 
Burnside carbine, a breech-loading gun with 
metallic cartridge, the best in use at that time. 

Being on duty when the horses were issued, 
of course I got Hobson's choice, having only 
one to choose from. She was rather nice-look- 
ing, but frail built, not calculated to carry 
heavy loads or endure long marches. Com- 
pany E was now controlled by an entire set 
of new officers, the captain and first lieutenant 
being transferred from the now defunct bat- 
talion, with Warner Newton promoted to sec- 
ond lieutenant. 

As soon as spring opened we were on the 
move. We traveled by rail to Cincinnati 
and ferried over to Covington, where we re- 
mained a few days, and then embarked on 
transports and landed at Maysville, Ken- 
tucky. From there we took up the line of 
march southward, through the noted blue- 
grass country. 

Many changes were now made that were 
noticeable to the old members of the regiment. 

In Quarters at Camp Chase 121 

Instead of long wagon-trains to block the road 
there was but the one wagon to each company, 
which traveled with the quartermaster's train, 
and in place of the large Sibley tent each 
trooper was furnished with one-half of what 
was termed a dog-tent, that he strapped on the 
saddle. In place of the cumbersome mess- 
kit, the cooking utensils and rations were car- 
ried on the saddle. Three days' rations were 
usually issued. The company marched in ad- 
vance, divided into squads, and went on the 
different roads and did picket duty until the 
next morning, when they were relieved. 



AS we marched along through towns and 
Z-\ villages, we saw troops in every place, 
X jL but nothing of importance occurred 
until we arrived at Somerset, Ken- 
tucky. A large body of troops was there, 
among whom was the noted Colonel Wool- 
ford's First Kentucky Cavalry, a terror to the 
Johnnies, and whom the noted John Morgan 
held in awe. They were a set of men peculiar 
in their own way, never doing anything like 
anybody else. They were scattered every- 
where, and they were always on the alert. By 
some means known to themselves they always , 
got together when there was a chance for an I 
engagement with the enemy, and then they 
scored one for the First Kentucky. 

It was impossible for the enemy to surprise 
a camp in that part of the country, for the 
First Kentucky knew every Union man and 
every ford and bridle path in southern Ken- 
tucky. As soon as the enemy moved some- 
one knew it, and soon they all knew it. They 
usually rode the thoroughbred Kentucky 
horse, and, if occasion required, the man 
would light into the saddle with his foot 
through the stirrup to the heel of his boot, 

In Kentucky 1 23 

and, with his trusty carbine across the saddle, 
he would glide over forty, fifty, or one hun- 
dred miles, as the case might be, with a rapid- 
ity that always brought him to the right place 
at the right time. 

When in a skirmish Colonel Woolford 
would say: '^ Huddle up and scatter out, boys; 
you know as well how to do it as I do." 

Somerset is situated on the north of the 
Cumberland River and three or four miles 
from it. There was an old-fashioned rope 
ferry with two boats at the river crossing on 
the road leading south to the town of Monti- 
cello, at that time the headquarters of the 
rebel General Pegram. The north side of the 
river was guarded by Union troops and the 
south side by the Southern troops. There 
were also fords above and below the ferry, a 
few miles apart, that required a small outpost 
or picket guard, and we took our turns at that 

Trading coflfee for tobacco and exchanging 
papers was an everyday occurrence. This was 
done by meeting in the middle of the river in 

The general in command at Somerset ap- 
peared to get some satisfaction out of tantaliz- 
ing Pegram. Every week he would send a 
small cavalry force to drive in his pickets to 
the main force, and then fall back. I remem- 
ber going three different times, and it was 
done the same each time. The way was a very 
peculiar one. 

124 Four Years with Five Armies 

The crossing was effected at what was 
known as the upper ford, several miles from 
Somerset. On the north side of the river is 
a line of rough foothills through which the 
road passes and enters the water directly op- 
posite a bluff, several hundred feet high, that 
rises perpendicular from the water. The top 
of the bluff is fiat and covered with timber, 
and on this Pegram's pickets were posted. 
They could see us some time before we were in 
range of their guns, and had all the time they 
wanted to assemble at the brink or edge of 
the bluff. When we entered the water they 
would begin to fire. At this point the bed of 
the river was full of boulders from the size of 
your hat to the size of an army wagon. The 
water was very swift, tumbling against the 
boulders and the horses' legs, and this, with the 
spatting of the leaden hail, made a deafening 

We had to pass the bluff to the landing on 
the opposite side, and that necessitated at least 
a half-mile's travel in the water, under the 
fire of the enemy, and in a perfectly helpless 
condition so far as defending ourselves was 

The landing was at the mouth of a canyon, 
and the road skirted the edge of the canyon by 
a steep grade, winding about until it reached 
the flat top of the mountain, a mile from the 
river. At this point the Johnnies who had 
fired from the bluff would give us a parting 
volley and disappear to form on the next open 

In Kentucky 125 

ground; but, as their number was compara- 
tively small, after a few shots they would fall 
back until reinforced, when a heavy skirmish 
would continue until night put a stop to 
active operations. 

In the morning we would find ourselves 
confronted by Pegram's command, and a hot 
little engagement would follow. 

One time the Second Ohio made a charge 
and dislodged the enemy. In front of them 
there were many dead and wounded lying 
about. Those that had been killed but a short 
time had turned black as charcoal. The pris- 
oners said it was caused by drinking rye tea in 
camp, as a substitute for coffee and whisky, 
mixed with powder, before going into an en- 

The fourth time we crossed the Cumber- 
land, all the effective men moved in light 
marching order, consisting of cavalry, artil- 
lery, and infantry. Pegram having retreated, 
we met no opposition. There was only a small 
squad of cavalry in Monticello, but they with- 
drew at the approach of our advance guard, 
and left the town undisputed to our possession. 
The infantry halted there and the cavalry pur- 
sued Pegram into Tennessee. Heavy rains set 
in while on our return. The roads became 
heavy and the cavalry frequently had to drag 
the artillery and wagons out of the mire. 
Many of the horses gave out. 

We passed through Monticello. Every- 
thing was moving back to Somerset. In a 

126 Four Years with Five Armies 

heavy rain we went into camp in a strip of 
timber on the ridge where most of our 
skirmishes had taken place on our former 

That evening orderly call sounded im- 
mediately after stable call. The orderly re- 
turned and said it was Colonel Kautz's 
orders not to groom the horses while they were 
wet. I made the remark that in some things 
it was good to have a regular officer, for he 
knew at least how to take care of the horses. 
Some officer who felt sore because he had 
been superseded by a regular, overheard the 

I was on camp guard that night, and did not 
get out to the stable call as soon as I might 
have done, but had my bunky feed my 
mare, a common custom in our company. 
When assembly sounded, and I was packing 
up, my bunky said he had orders to lead my 
mare and to make me walk. I thought he was 
joking. Someone spoke up and said, " It is 
a fact. I heard the order." 

It was the first sentence or reproof that had 
been passed on me except at Fort Scott, where 
I was tardy, with the view of getting my horse 
out of the mud while I chopped wood. I felt 
it keenly, and threw down the articles in my 

hand and said, '' I don't care a if I never 

see the mare again! " 

The order was to punish me for what I had 
said the evening before. I packed up my car- 
bine and started. They said, " You had bet- 

In Kentucky 127 

ter saddle up and pack your things," to which 
I replied, " A man on foot needs no saddle, 
and if the captain wants it worse than I, he 
had better see that he gets it." 

I trudged away through the mud, already 
well mixed by passing troops, and in many 
places sank in ankle deep. 

The bottom land was covered with water 
and the river was up to the top of its bank. 
With the steep grade as it leaves the moun- 
tains the water tumbles and roars as it lashes 
into foam along the bank and among the large 
boulders in its bottom. The troops were 
crossing as rapidly as possible with the facili- 
ties at command. 

The river is very wide at that point and 
there were two cables stretched across, both of 
which were fastened to the same tree on the 
north side; the other end to two different trees 
on the south side, about fifty yards apart. 
There were two boats, called the little and 
the big boat. The artillery were using the 
big boat and the infantry the little one. The 
one used by the artillery was just large enough 
to carry one gun with caissons, men, and har- 
ness, while the horses were made to swim by 
the side. One company of infantry was 
marched to the other boat with all their ac- 

On my arrival at the river it was my inten- 
tion to cross and keep on going. I did not 
care much where, but intended to go to any 
place other than the company. They would 

128 Four Years with Five Armies 

not let me on the boat, as they had the right 
of way, and were as anxious to cross as I. 

I made myself as comfortable as possible 
on some baggage that was piled near the ferry, 
and watched the troops crossing. There was 
one New England regiment whose time of 
service had expired, under orders to proceed 
to their State to be mustered out. When this 
regiment was crossing, about the middle of 
the afternoon, one company of ninety men 
were lost, all being drowned but one man. 
When a company marched on the boat it was 
pushed off shore and permitted to swing 
around lengthwise with the stream, and four 
men on the upper end of the boat would pull 
the cable hand-over-hand. On this unfortu- 
nate occasion the man let go of the cable and 
the boat glided down to the lower one. The 
men on the lower end of the boat caught hold 
of it, which movement checked the boat and 
caused it to swing rapidly around until it was 
crosswise with the current. With the order 
to let go they stooped down until past the 
cable, then they all reached for it, and many 
caught hold, throwing the weight all on the 
upper side, with the weight of the current 
against the flat side of the boat. The lower 
side now being light, it turned over on top of 
the men. But few ever came up again, and 
they only to sink, with one exception, an ex- 
pert swimmer that had presence of mind to 
extricate himself and swim ashore. 

Remaining there with wet feet and with 

In Kentucky 129 

nothing to eat until it was late in the evening, 
I was about to make a move in some other 
direction, when Hopkins, then on duty at 
brigade headquarters, arrived with a dispatch 
for some officer at the ferry. When he saw 
me there he advised me to go back to the com- 
pany, then in line on the opposite side of the 
valley, where they would remain all night to 
protect the ferry against attack from a small 
party of the enemy's cavalry then annoying 
the rear-guard. 

I had studied the matter over during the 
day, and as his advice did not conform to my 
previous decision, the only reply I could give 
him was that if they wanted me to have the 
mare they must send her to me ; for I should 
not go back one step. He galloped away, and 
in about thirty minutes my bunky came with 
the mare, whereupon I mounted and joined 
the company. 

As there was now only one boat, it was kept 
busy, and by daylight the troops had all 
crossed but the one brigade of cavalry, and 
by twelve o'clock we were in our old camp at 

The recent engagements had taught us that 
it was policy to husband our ammunition, for 
with the convenient carbine the ordinary 
trooper would shoot away one hundred rounds 
so quickly he would declare he had lost or 
someone had stolen part of it. 

The next day a board of survey condemned 
and turned in all the unserviceable property. 

130 Four Years with Five Armies 

They said my mare looked pretty well, but 
being of slender build and a mare they would 
condemn her. That made five horses from 
Company E that were condemned. After 
turning them over to the quartermaster, D. H. 
Arnold, the regimental trainmaster, a good 
judge of stock, was directed to take them to 
Lexington, turn them in, and draw serviceable 
stock to take their places. The captain took 
leave from the company about that time and 
we never saw him again. 

Information being received at headquarters 
that the noted cavalry leader. General John 
H. Morgan, was preparing to make a raid 
north, the cavalry division, under command 
of General Shackleford, was ordered out in 
light marching order to intercept him. 

Light marching order at that time consisted 
of one blanket, one poncho, one change of 
underclothes, one hundred rounds of ammu- 
nition, one pair of horseshoes with nails to 
fasten them on, three days' rations, and three 
days' forage for the horses. We moved out 
about June 25th, taking the effective men and 
leaving the dismounted men to take care of 
the camp. 

On July I the detail arrived from Lexing- 
ton with the fresh mounts. When issued to 
the companies five were led over and tied to 
the picket line near the sergeant's tent. Being 
the last to arrive on the spot I heard someone 
say, " Here is a mare, Gause can have that." 
A little surprised at the joke, I inquired, 

In Kentucky 131 

" Who has a right to select my mount for 
me? " But after inspecting them I remarked, 
'' They are a good lot and the mare is the best 
one amongst them." My observation brought 
out the laugh and I said, '^ I told you so." As 
so much prejudice had recently developed 
against that kind of mount, and they had re- 
cently condemned one for me, I thought it 
would not be wise to select another right away. 
The others all declared they would not have 
her, and each selected his choice and led it 
away. The sergeant, seeing the difficulty 
ahead, ordered them to let the horses be and 
he would issue them by lot. 

At this time Arnold came galloping up, 
and said, " Gause, I selected a fine mare for 
you." " They have just condemned one for 
me," I said. " I know they did, but this was 
the best animal in the corral ; and I wanted to 
bring her, and as you have had no other kind 
of mount and made no objection when the last 
one was issued to you, I thought you would 
accept her. She was turned in with the 
captured stock after the battle of Stone River, 
has been well cared for, and if you will ac- 
cept her you will never regret it; but if you 
do not they will blame me for bringing 
her." ^' You will not be disappointed," I 

I led her to my tent, and trimmed off her 
tail, for it was dragging on the ground. The 
mare was as handsome as a picture, with every 
point that makes a horse perfect. She was a 

132 Four Years with Five Armies 

dark bay with black tail and mane, and lacked 
one-half inch of fifteen hands high; of gentle 
disposition, never worried by useless moving 
or chaffing, and she could be trusted to stand 
in the same place in which you left her until 
wanted again. 

Well pleased with my mount, I began to 
pack up. Someone inquired, " Where are you 
going? " '' To the company," I replied. 

The sergeant was soon notified of my in- 
tention, and he said I could not go. That set- 
tled the matter for the time, but I made ap- 
plication to higher authority, and on the 
morning of the 3d of July they sent for me to 
take the regimental mail to Jim Town. 

I lost no time, but reported at once to head- 
quarters. The adjutant gave me a pass and 
an order for the mail. I went to town, pre- 
sented my order and got the mail, which I 
assure you was no small load for a horse, for 
when it was packed it was with difficulty that 
I gained the saddle. 

The postmaster followed me to the street 
and cautioned me about the mail. " You have 
a hazardous route to go and the mail is a 
great inducement. I want to warn you in 
time," he said. But there was no time to con- 
sider the question then, and I went on. As I 
rode through camp many called out, " Good- 
by, look out for bushwhackers!" 

The mare moved along quite briskly. I 
was familiar with the first ten miles of the 
road, having been on picket at the lower ford 

In Kentucky 133 

and having grazed the horses at different 
times in widow Campbell's pasture. 

The widow, who lived ten miles from Som- 
erset, had induced Colonel ZoUicoffer to 
attack the Union troops at Mill Springs in 
1862, an attack which resulted in his death 
and the defeat of his forces. It was believed 
that spies and bushwhackers frequented her 
place, and this fact gave me some reason to 
be more cautious, as word sent out from there 
to the numerous bands that the mail had 
passed would soon bring out at least enough 
of them to make an effort to capture it. 

There was a fine spring of cool water near 
the house, so I dismounted, and refreshed my- 
self and horse. After a little breathing spell 
I walked up the long slope to the top of the 
ridge where the road enters the mountains. 
With deep gorges and covered timber, this 
range of small mountains or hills skirts the 
north side of the Cumberland River. 

There were no more settlements for several 
miles, and with nothing to do but make the 
best time I could under the circumstances, 
and keep watch that I did not run into am- 
bush, I mounted and moved on down the long 
slope through ravines, following the creek 
bed and through brush, walking now and then 
up and down the steep hills to give my mare 
all the rest I could. 

Of course I thought of all the reckless and 
daring deeds I had seen and heard of, and of 
what the postmaster had told me, that some of 

134 Four Years with Five Armies 

them would see me and try to get the mail. 
But my mind said, "Take care of yourself 
and you will come out all right. They must 
get you at the first shot, or you will make it 
cost them more than it is worth." 

After traveling about ten miles without 
meeting anyone, I came to a farm. There was 
a lane cleared out leading to a house which 
set back of the cornfield. It was about noon 
and I turned in. It occurred to me that a 
halt might prove fatal; but with no danger 
in sight I would prove to my new animal that 
I was not a hard master. The place was not 
an uncommon one for that part of the coun- 
try. There was a one-story log-house with a 
porch in front, and only a few feet from the 
cornfield. One end opened on the lane. A 
fence was around the house with one gate at 
the lane and another gate to the cornfield. 
There were a few fruit trees, and a dense 
growth of lilacs and rose bushes, all in bloom, 
which almost hid the house from view. No 
one could see me as I approached until I ar- 
rived at the gate. There were two women, 
apparently mother and daughter, sitting on 
the porch. I asked if I could feed my horse 
and get some dinner. They said, " Yes, go 
into the field and get corn, and then come in 
and we will give you dinner." 

They laid down their work and went into 
the house. I unsaddled, and placed the mail 
on the porch, where I could see it from both 
outside and inside the house. 

In Kentucky 135 

After feeding my mare I took a seat on the 
porch in front of the door, that I could ob- 
serve who went and came. The front room 
w^as large, with a door and a window in the 
rear which opened into the kitchen. There 
was a door at the end of the kitchen next to 
the lane. By looking through the window I 
could see out of that door. The women had 
some trouble starting a fire, but finally they 
got dinner going. I could not see them, but 
could hear all they said. 

They had set the table, and were about ready 
to bring dinner in, when a sudden exclama- 
tion from the women attracted my attention. 
I saw a man in the act of stepping into the 
kitchen door. His right hand was raised, and 
he shook his head as if to say, " Be quiet." 

He had not seen me, but had evidently seen 
the mare feeding at the gate, and knew there 
was a Union soldier near. 

The women said in concert: '' What brings 
you here at this time? " 

'' Nothing uncommon about it, I am here 
every day," he replied. 

This was only a sally to mislead me, for he 
saw me at once. His words were lost to them, 
for they grasped and embraced him at the 
same time. If I had not had a good look at 
him I would have thought that the postmas- 
ter's surmise had proved true, and that a sig- 
nal from him would have brought half a dozen 
desperate men from the woods. My first im- 
pression was that he was not that type of man. 

136 Four Years with Five Armies 

They all passed out of sight, and I saw no 
more of them for some time. I heard every- 
thing they said, and as I thought of the differ- 
ent desperate gangs that have been led by gen- 
tlemanly appearing men, I did not let myself 
be thrown off my guard. They asked him 
many questions, which he evaded by talking 
of something else, and in doing this he dis- 
played much tact. If he had answered all 
the questions the women put to him I could 
have got a history of who he was, where he 
had been, and what his business was; but he 
chatted freely, and they were all pleased and 

At last the dinner began to arrive, one plate 
at a time. The chat would continue for a 
while, then another plate would be set on the 
table. Finally dinner was announced. The 
young woman entered with the coffee-pot, and 
told me to take my seat at the table. I chose 
a seat facing the doors so as not to Have any 
disadvantage in case of a skirmish. I had the 
mail sacks to my right, the mare in front of 
the window, and the kitchen door to the left 
front, with a solid wall to my back. I was 
master of the situation, as I could see anyone 
approach from any direction before they 
could see me. 

I sat down to the table with the butt of the 
carbine on the floor and the muzzle to the left 
of my left elbow, and hitched my revolvers 
so that my hand was at the hilt without a lost 
motion. I awaited the entrance of the family. 

In Kentucky 137 

Tiie women entered first, then the stranger 
walked up and spoke to me with some passing 
remark about the weather, gracefully took his 
seat opposite, then went on chatting pleas- 
antly with the ladies. 

I now felt perfectly at ease. Whoever he 
was and what his intentions were made little 
difference. I had my eye on him, and if any- 
one had approached from the outside I could 
take the drop on him and use him in my own 
defense. But I soon dispelled all his thought, 
having made up my mind that the gentleman 
— for no doubt such he was — would defend 
and not plunder me. 

Dinner was of minor importance to them, 
and still dragged as it had ever since the new 
arrival. But I finished, handed the lady a 
greenback dollar, excused myself, walked out 
and picked up two sacks and returned for the 
others. I endeavored to show no anxiety to 
get away, but at the same time made every 
move count for something to that end. 

Once more in the saddle, my mare appeared 
to show her appreciation for good treatment, 
for she tripped ofif gaily, and my thoughts 
turned to the family I had left at the dinner- 
table. That there were women at the house 
and no men was to be expected, for this was 
the case all over the country. The men were 
in the army, or had to leave home on account 
of their political opinions, and were either 
bushwhacking or were refugees in a foreign 

138 Four Years with Five Armies 

The man in question was now undoubtedly 
at home, but where he had been and what he 
had been doing could only be conjectured by 
his appearance. He was over six feet tall, 
dressed in a new black suit, with frock coat 
which fitted neatly. His graceful movements, 
easy manners, and conversation showed him 
to be a man of education and culture. He had 
black hair and mustache, the ends of which 
were sunburnt. His face was brown, the neck 
and lower jaw a shade lighter than the rest, 
which would indicate that a full beard and 
long hair had just been removed. This led 
me to believe that he had returned from the 
Southern army or from a long exile in the 

While indulging in these thoughts I met 
three men, two of whom belonged to our com- 
pany. They were leading their horses leis- 
urely along, but appeared much surprised at 
seeing me ^ alone with the mail, and said, 
" You will never get to Jim Town with it, for 
the woods are full of bushwhackers " ; but I 
replied that they seemed to be taking it very 
easy themselves. They said it was very dif- 
ferent with them. Eighteen or twenty were 
strung along with disabled horses and they 
had no mail. I then inquired more about the 
woods being full of bushwhackers. They said 
reports had been coming in all day yesterday 
and to-day of men being seen, and they had 
seen some themselves. I wanted to doubt this 
report, but there was no ground for doubt. 

In Kentucky 139 

They expected to be fired on at any mo- 

With all their warning, I felt much safer 
on the last part of my journey, for I was pretty 
sure if anyone desired to intercept me he 
would have done so before now. 

At eight o'clock I was halted by the vidette, 
who demanded the countersign. I showed 
him the mail pouches, and he said, " That is 
sufficient to pass anyone," and the officer of 
the guard sent a man to show me to Colonel 
Kautz's headquarters. It was a mile beyond 
the dark woods in which the troops were 
camped. Headquarters was at a double log- 
house enclosed by a rail fence. There were 
officers, guards, and horses, the customary 
scene that usually surrounds such a place. 
They were all glad to see the mail arrive, and 
the guards carried the sacks in as I took them 
from the saddle. An orderly appeared and 
said the General wanted to see me. I en- 
tered the room. He greeted me cordially, 
gave me a chair, and the first question he 
asked me was about the men out on the road, 
and he appeared a little uneasy that they 
would not get through all right. 

By that time some mail was handed him, 
and he told me to wait a few moments. I now 
began to look about me. It was the first time 
I had been in a brigade commander's quarters, 
and I did not feel so much at home as at the 
dinner-table watching the mail which I 
thought was in jeopardy. 

140 Four Years with Five Armies 

The General soon laid down his mail, and 
asked many questions about the camp at Som- 
erset, to which questions I gave satisfactory 
answers. He said they were expecting Mor- 
gan to cross and were ready to move at any 
moment. He was much pleased to get the 
mail, as there were no troops passing and he 
had not expected it to be brought by one man. 
He told me to report to my company for duty. 
I took my leave, and was soon among the 

They were camped in a thick woods as dark 
as Egypt, and when my arrival was announced 
their shouts could be heard all over camp. 
They were always glad to get the mail that 
brought news from home, and especially in- 
terested, as I had a new horse which I assured 
them was a good one. It had to be led up to 
the camp-fire for inspection. To the surprise 
of all it was a mare, and an explanation of 
how it all came about had to be given. 

The company had already been detailed to 
go on picket in the morning, and when the 
sun rose we were packing our saddles, and 
soon moved out through Jim Town and re- 
lieved a company about two miles below town 
on the river road. 

It was the fourth day of July, and a celebra- 
tion had been arranged to take place in town, 
with Colonel Woolford as speaker and 
Kautz's artillery to fire the salutes. 

There was a heavy thunderstorm late in the 
afternoon, and it was still raining when a 

Mathias M. Springer 

Second Ohio Volunteer Cavalry 


In Kentucky 141 

courier arrived from Colonel Kautz's head- 
quarters with orders to draw in the pickets. 
When we arrived at camp we learned that 
Morgan had crossed the river, and a part of 
Company B had engaged him at Columbus 
on July 3.* Among the wounded was one of 
my boyhood acquaintance, Henry Palmer. 

At two o'clock on the morning of the 5th 
we moved out. I began this march with no 
rations or forage, one talma, one change of 
underclothes, and no blanket. I was not able 
to carry anything from Somerset, and three 
days' rations and forage had been issued to the 
company on the 3d. There had, of course, 
been no provision made for me. and I was 
compelled to depend on my friends for what 
I ate and fed. At daylight we arrived at the 
main road on which Morgan had passed, and 
at 9 A. M. we were well started on his trail, 
and saw the relic of the first depredation. A 

* Basil W. Duke, in speaking of that affair in his " History of 
Morgan's Cavalry," said that on the morning of the 3d the divis- 
ion resumed its march, pushing on to Columbus. Colonel Mor- 
gan's regiment, although included among those of the First 
Brigade, returned to the field, was detached and used as the 
advanceguard of the column. In the afternoon, as we neared 
Columbus, this regiment came upon the enemy moving out of 
town. In the skirmish which ensued. Colonel Morgan lost a 
few wounded, and among the number Capt. J. S. Cassell, who 
was shot in the thigh as he was charging with his accustomed 

After hearing Sergeant Polhemus's version of this engagement, 
and from what I can remember, it is probable that both accounts 
are correct. Woolford's brigade was camped near Columbus, 
and had a detachment in the town. They were driven out by 
Colonel Morgan, who halted near by town. The detachment of 
Company B, Second Ohio, came into town by a side road, and 
in the rear of Colonel Morgan, and did not know of the previous 
engagement which Duke mentions. 

142 Four Years with Five Armies 

wagon was standing in the road, the team hav- 
ing been taken from the owner by Morgan's 
men. Complaints were coming in from all 
quarters of the loss of all kinds of valuables, 
but the chief complaint was about the horses 
that were stolen or captured. 

After taking an hour's rest to feed and make 
coffee, we moved out at a brisk pace. Forage 
was plenty, with fields of green corn and 
shocks of wheat in abundance, but for men to 
procure something to eat was altogether 

After the three days' rations had been ex- 
hausted we were compelled to live entirely ofip 
the country, and to take second choice, for 
Morgan, passing before us, was doing the 
same thing. More or less troops were sta- 
tioned at every town, and it was expected that 
they would be able to cripple the raiders and 
to force them to change their course, or to 
check them until we could attack them from 
the rear. But all efforts of these guards proved 
fruitless, for, after a short engagement, they 
would surrender or retreat and leave the road 
unobstructed. There were some hot little bat- 
tles; one at Green River bridge, another at 
Lebanon, and others at places now out of my 

There were no more regular halts made, as 
it would be impossible for all to get some- 
thing to eat at one place. The men would fall 
out, refresh themselves as best they could, and 
then gallop up until they overtook the column, 

In Kentucky 143 

which was diminished to about one-half its 
number by these constant departures. 

Some of the men would go to every house 
in the town. Large crowds were always gath- 
ered about the farm-houses, and often they 
would carry away everything in sight. When 
the women were cooking for one party, some 
new arrivals would enter the kitchen and carry 
away everything, and leave the party waiting 
until something more could be prepared, or 
they had to go away hungry. 

I was waiting for a meal one day, when a 
man rushed into the kitchen, pulled the pan 
of half-baked biscuits from the oven, turned 
them into his haversack, and walked out with 
his prize as unconcerned as if they had been 
his own. This was only one of a thousand 
such cases. 

The scenes and incidents along the line of 
march were varied, and marked with destruc- 
tion, disaster, and death. Houses were 
burned, men were killed in every town, rail- 
road trains were ditched, bridges and boats 
were destroyed, the contents of stores and pri- 
vate houses were scattered and torn, postoffices 
were looted of everything, and the mail was 
scattered along the road for hundreds of miles. 
Many letters were opened and read by the 
captors and thrown down to be read by their 

The day before we arrived at the Ohio 
River I was very hungry. About ten o'clock 
I began to look for something to eat, and for 

144 Four Years with Five Armies 

two hours I rode to many dififerent houses, and 
had fallen behind everything but the rear- 
guard. About twelve o'clock I saw a large 
plantation house a half mile from the road 
to the right, and there was no one going or 
coming from it. It appeared to be the best 
chance I would get, and so I rode over. A 
servant came to the door. I told her I would 
like something to eat. She told me to sit 
down and wait, that dinner would be ready 
soon. I sat down in the front door. It 
opened into the hall, and a door stood open 
to the left of the hall. I could see in, and at 
once discovered it to be a very large dining- 

A table was spread from one end to the 
other, and there were several servants with 
white aprons and caps carrying in the smok- 
ing dinner. My first impression was that I 
had come to a party of officers who had 
stopped for dinner, but a second thought dis- 
pelled the first, as there were no horses or 
orderlies about the place. That caused me 
to wonder what all the preparation was for, 
although it made but little difference to me, 
as I was huns:ry, tired, sleepy, and covered 
with dust. That there was plenty to eat was 
evident. I sat there for perhaps thirty min- 
utes, the rear-guard had passed on the road op- 
posite, and no one was coming from the com- 
mand to eat that dinner. 

A door opened at the other end of the din- 
ing-room, and a procession of gentlemen 

In Kentucky 145 

marched in, each with a lady on his arm, from 
whom he disengaged himself at the end of 
the table. The gentlemen marched down one 
side and the ladies the opposite side of the 
table. The servant spoke to the middle-aged 
lady and said there was a soldier who wanted 
dinner. She very pleasantly directed the ser- 
vant to bring me in and to place me at the 
table. Some of the young ladies said I could 
wait, and one said I should not eat with them, 
but the gentleman they called Colonel told 
me to come in, that there was plenty of room. 
The lady directed me to a seat and told the 
servant to wait on me and see that I got what 
I wanted. Some of the ladies feigned dis- 
gust at the turn things had taken. They were 
very glib when they entered, but some of them 
had but little to say while I was there, except 
an occasional slur about the Yankees. The 
gentlemen paid no attention to this irony, but 
kept on talking. 

The whole proceeding mortified me enough 
to occupy my thoughts until I was in the sad- 
dle and was riding away. I did not annoy 
them long. As I never expected to see them 
again, I filled the aching void, thanked them, 
and took my leave. 

I was some distance behind, and it was no 
easy task to overtake the rapidly moving 
column. As the mare galloped along I won- 
dered where so many men had come from, 
and that so many looked like our guest at 
dinner on the 3d; but as they all wore the 

146 Four Years with Five Armies 

same style clothes, that looked as if they had 
been cut and made in the same shop, and were 
in the fashion of the times, and as they were 
all Kentuckians, I accounted for the coinci- 
dence, and concluded that I had only chanced 
to meet a church or wedding party, and I dis- 
missed the matter from my mind. After 
many years I learned that Morgan's dis- 
mounted men had traveled through Kentucky 
on foot, in wagons, and by rail, and in new 
clothes, for the purpose of getting what re- 
cruits they could in Kentucky. They were to 
mount themselves on Northern horses in Indi- 
ana and Ohio and there take charge of 
the three thousand new troops they had been 
promised when they crossed the Ohio line, 
and these were the men that had been seen 
and mistaken for bushwhackers as they passed 
singly through the woods near Jim Town. 
The gentlemen at the dinner were one con- 
tingent, and the man I met at dinner on July 
3d had no doubt come from the same camp. 
They had discarded their uniforms, put on 
citizen's clothes, cut their long hair, and with 
a clean shave, leaving the moustache, with 
sun-burnt faces, gave them the semblance of 
citizens. Any move they would have made 
to antagonize the Union soldiers would have 
exposed and interrupted their plans, and 
therefore I was not molested by them. 

We arrived at the Ohio River some time 
in the night, and rested for some hours at 
Brandensburg. Morgan had captured two 

In Kentucky iaj 

boats at this place, and after crossing on them 
to the Indiana side had set fire to them All 
boats below had retreated to Cairo and those 
above to Louisville. We had to wait until 
they came from the latter place to ferry us 



ON morgan's trail 

ON the march many horses had cast 
their shoes, and mine had lost one. 
One farrier was busy and the other 
unable to work. I borrowed his 
shoeing tools, and made my first effort at 
horseshoeing, and when the shoe was on I 
passed the tools to someone else, and this 
practice became common in our company for 
the future. 

On the northern side of the Ohio River the 
trail of Morgan was more marked. In the 
first town he captured and paroled eight thou- 
sand troops, consisting of militia, volun- 
teers, and other organizations equipped for 
the occasion. He burnt mills, factories, and 
private property when the owner refused to 
pay ransom. 

Our march continued night and day, and 
the only halt was when the bridges or ferries 
were destroyed by the raiders and we had 
to wait until a way was procured for us to 
cross. When there was a halt a sheaf of 
wheat or some corn from the nearest field was 
thrown to the horse, and his rider would drop 
on the ground and be sound asleep before he 
was fairly stretched out. 


On Morgan^s Trail 149 

The last day's travel in Indiana was Sun- 
day, and we arrived at the White Water 
River, the line between Ohio and Indiana, in 
the night, to find the bridge destroyed, and it 
was four or five hours before a ford could be 
found ; but we crossed, and tied up in the small 
town of Harrison before daylight. Here I 
procured some writing materials, went to a 
private house, and after making arrangements 
for breakfast, wrote a letter home, in which 
I told the folks that we were on Morgan's 
trail, that he was now in Ohio and was going 
in the direction of their home, but that 1 
thought he would not get so far north. 

From the time we crossed the Ohio until 
the last few days of the raid the citizens would 
fall in and march in the rear of the column, 
declaring they were going to see us catch 
Morgan. At daybreak this miscellaneous 
crowd would begin to gather, and in the 
thickly settled places would amount to as high 
as four hundred, mostly mounted, but on 
horses not used to the saddle, and many with- 
out shoes. The men were armed usually with 
squirrel rifles or shotguns, and some with 
pocket pistols. We became used to the cry, 
''You will catch them before night; they are 
only four hours ahead." Or it might be one 
hour or two hours. However, it seemed we 
were close to them all the time. That crowd 
would gather and march with a great deal 
of vim at first, but a few hours cooled them 
ofif, and they would begin to fall out, and by 

150 Four Years with Five Armies 

midnight there would be but a few , left. In 
the morning new ones would begin to recruit 
again. Some stayed a week, and four or five 
followed to the last. 

There was a delay of an hour at Harrison. 
Colonel Kautz wired General Burnside that 
the command was too cumbersome, and that 
a smaller command could make better time. 
He received a reply to take his brigade and 
move on, and let his judgment be his guide. 

Woolford was sent to the other side of the 
Ohio River to intercept Morgan should he 
cross. At 7 A. M. we moved out. 

Colonel Kautz's brigade consisted of the 
Seventh Ohio Cavalry, Ninth Michigan 
Cavalry, Second Ohio Cavalry, and Second 
Tennessee Mounted Infantry. 

As this day's march was a record breaker, 
I will endeavor to give a more accurate de- 
scription of it. It was near the middle of 
July, and the sun shone down intensely hot. 
Most of those that had tenaciously held to 
their blankets and cooking utensils discarded 
them during the day. We passed through a 
fertile and thickly settled part of the country, 
and the towr^ and villages were occupied by 
wealthy people. The most noted was Glen- 
dale, a residence town, seventeen miles from 
Cincinnati, the residence of business and pro- 
fessional people who received their supplies 
from that city. Here it was not necessary to 
leave the ranks for something to refresh our- 
selves. The streets were crowded with ladies 

On Morgan's Trail 151 

carrying buckets of water and lemonade, 
pies, cake, bread and butter, ham sandwiches, 
and in fact everything that one could wish for. 
Many of the ladies were extravagantly 
dressed, but they worked hard and paid no 
attention to the dripping water or flying dust 
that covered them from head to foot. They 
felt jubilant to know that they were permitted 
to help us on our journey, which they thought 
would result in the capture of the raiders be- 
fore night, as they had passed but three hours 
before us. 

The bridge was destroyed over the Ohio 
Canal, and boats had to be brought from a 
distance on which a temporary bridge was 
built. This delay gave us one and a half 
hours' rest. We passed by Camp Dennison, 
and here the road crossed the railroad track. 
Close to the bridge that spans the Little 
Miami River to our left, we saw a train of 
cars and an engine that Morgan's men had 
derailed. They lay on their sides at the foot 
of the bank. To our right we could see the 
barracks where we had quarters in Decem- 
ber, 1 86 1, in which the troops were now 
camped who kept Morgan from burning the 
bridge. This he had made repeated efforts 
to do. 

During the twenty-four hours we covered 
a distance of seventy-five miles, and at 7 
A. M. the next day went into camp for a little 
rest. I took a bath in a running brook, put 
on the clean underclothes, and threw away 

152 Four Years with Five Armies 

those I had worn from Somerset. It was 
the first time I had taken off my boots since 
leaving Jim Town. 

When we resumed the march it was evident 
that the pursuit was a desperate effort. 
Troops had been shipped by river and rail in 
and from all directions. They had failed to 
intercept Morgan to any advantage, and the 
trail showed the ruthless hand of a defiant 
enemy, taking horses, wagons, and stores of 
all descriptions, and capturing and paroling 
troops. The country was thoroughly aroused 
and indignant at the invasion. We pushed 
along with about the same routine every day, 
until Friday evening the advance was enabled 
to engage the enemy's guard at Cheshire, or 
Manhattan Island. 

On the next Saturday it happened to be the 
Second Ohio's turn to take the lead, with 
Company E in advance of the regiment. Ser- 
geant Harris had charge of the extreme 
advance that consisted of himself, James 
Camp, and myself. We continued during the 
day and until night when we entered the 
heavy sycamore timber. The trees stood far 
apart, and the dense foliage made it so dark 
we could not distinguish the road. It was 
impossible to remain awake long at a time, 
and we made application for a guide. We 
were now in the country where the members 
of the Seventh Ohio Cavalry lived, and they 
soon gave us a man who had carried the mail 
over the road for ten years. We now had four 

On M organ* s Trail 153 

men, and, relieved from the responsibility of 
keeping the road, we could sit and nod as 
much as we chose. 

During all this time our ranks had been 
dwindling down, and they had dwindled very 
rapidly for the last week. Men gave out by 
falling sick, by having disabled horses, and 
from various other causes. There was a 
standing order for men unable to keep up 
with the column to report to the nearest pro- 
vost marshal for supplies and transportation. 

Our force now consisted of only such men 
as were fully determined to do their best to 
be present at the termination of the now des- 
perate pursuit. At daybreak on Sunday 
morning the guide said we did not need him 
any longer, reined his horse to one side, and 

The road was dry under the large trees, 
and we could not tell about how much time 
had elapsed since the last troops passed. 
About three hundred yards from where the 
guide left us there was only brush at the road- 
side, and the dust having been laid by the dew, 
it was easy to see that a small squad of cavalry 
had very recently passed, turning the dry dust 
on top of the wet. The road wound around 
on a low brushy ridge with a field on one side 
and a cabin on the other. There was a 
woman in the cabin, and on making inquiries 
of her, she said that some of Morgan's men 
had just left since day. 

A half mile beyond, as we moved along, 

154 Four Years with Five Armies 

a man stepped out of the brush in front of 
us and started to run, but we halted him 
and demanded to know who he was. He said 
he had been pressed by Morgan for a guide, 
and they had shot at him when making his 
escape. As there was nothing unusual about 
this, it having occurred several times during 
the raid, we accepted his story, and after an- 
swering a few questions moved on and left 

A few yards beyond the road makes a short 
turn down a steep grade to the valley that runs 
parallel with the road we were then traveling. 
As we were about to turn, the sergeant cried, 
'' Look out, there they are!" A horse, with 
equipments and a pair of large saddle pockets 
on, was standing in the brush, no doubt where 
the man we met had just left him. We led 
the horse out and examined the contents of 
the pockets, which consisted of dress-patterns, 
women's shoes, boxes with pocket knives, sil- 
ver spoons, needles and thread, with many 
other things too numerous to mention. 

As we were making our examination the 
company arrived. The lieutenant said, 
^' Gause, take the horse to Colonel Kautz. He 
asked me to get one for him, and this is the 
first opportunity I have had." It occurred 
to me that it was a good opportunity to get 
breakfast, and some of the goods would be a 
reward for the favor. So I threw a dress- 
pattern and a pair of shoes on the saddle, 
mounted, and road away. 

On Morgan^ s Trail 155 

The column had halted for a rest. On ar- 
riving at the head of it I inquired for Colonel 
Kautz. On hearing his name pronounced, he 
raised up and answered '' Here." After the 
customary salute I said, '' Lieutenant Newton 
sends his compliments, with a fresh horse." 
He apparently paid no attention to what was 
said, but inquired: 

'^ How far is it to the river? " 

'' About three miles." 

"Where did you get your information?" 

" From a woman at the cabin and a man 
we met on the road." 

" How long since Morgan passed? " 

" The rear-guard left that cabin since day- 

He sprang to his feet and exclaimed, 
"We've got them, we've got them! Saddle 
my horse, sound assembly!" 

The orderly took the halter from my hand 
and I galloped away to the cabin. After dis- 
mounting, I walked in and inquired for break- 
fast. The woman said there was not a mouth- 
ful to eat in the house. Morgan's men were 
there all night and ate them out. I walked 
out and brought in the goods and threw them 
on the table, whereupon she gave me a re- 
volver she had found in the yard where some 
of the men had dropped it during the night. 

The column was now passing, and as no 
breakfast was to be had, I mounted and gal- 
loped on to the company, where they were all 
soundly sleeping. Being pretty well ac- 

156 Four Years with Five Armies 

quainted with our hazardous situation, I 
shouted, " Get up or Morgan will get you I" 
They were up in a moment, and the trumpet 
sounded forward at the head of the column. 
Sergeant Harris moved out with his squad 
to gain the proper distance. Before we 
reached the foot of the hill Morgan's videttes 
fired on us. We put spurs to the horses and 
they fled into camp, leaving a large quantity 
of goods, and one dropped his gun, which I 
picked up on my return after assembly call. 
Morgan's camp was situated in a field, a part 
of which was green corn, and the other part 
wheat, cut and standing in shock. 

The fields are situated on a level plateau 
(apparently a valley), surrounded with hills, 
and is about one mile long and three-quarters 
of a mile wide. At the lower end of the 
plateau there is a high hill, around which 
the river makes a short bend. At that point 
the gunboats were lying and guarding the 
ferry. The upper end of the plateau is cut 
off by a deep ravine, the mouth of which is 
the landing for the ferry. The ravine runs 
back into the hills and is intercepted by a 
ravine that runs to the left parallel with the 
plateau, at the upper end of which the road 
crosses at the point where we entered it. By 
the time the sergeant's squad had returned to 
take our places on the right of the company 
the men had dismounted, and with the Second 
Ohio in advance were moving down the ra- 
vine at a double-quick pace. Being number 

On Morgan's Trail 157 

one, I was required to hold the horses for 
the first set of fours, and with nothing to do 
but sit on the horse and observe the move- 
ments, I was able to witness a grand 

Morgan's men were saddling and hitching 
to the vehicles, while Kautz's men were pour- 
ing through, dismounting without forming in 
line, and running to catch the rear of the 
column as they went into the ravine. The 
Colonel sat on his horse as if there was nothing 
unusual going on, and when the men were 
all dismounted, said to the men holding the 
horses, '' If I send a messenger for you, come 
quickly. Tie the horses to trees, turn them 
loose, or anything to get there quick." He 
then rode away, following the column. He 
was scarcely out of our sight when the firing 
began at the head of the dismounted column, 
simultaneously with the gunboats that had, 
unknown to us, taken warning of our ap- 
proach at the first alarm shots, their guns hav- 
ing to be set at an elevation that would carry 
the shells over Morgan's camp and explode 
about halfway between the opposing forces. 

At that time the excitement was intense. 
Everything in Morgan's camp broke; many 
of the teams were hitched and others partly 
hitched. So many of the horses having been 
recently taken from farms were fresh and 
strong, and not used to the sound of artillery, 
so they tore away, breaking the lines, one end 
of which would fly up in the air and then 

158 Four Years with Five Armies 

recoil. Others had the swingle-tree to one 
trace that would lash from one side to the 
other. Wagons were turned over, scattering 
the goods they had taken from stores on the 
route. The ground being loose, the air was 
soon full of smoke, dust, corn-stalks, sheaves 
of wheat, silk, cloth, muslin and calico, one 
bolt of which was more attractive than the 
others, for one end caught to a horse and un- 
wrapped as he ran and the other end flew in 
the air for a moment like a streamer from a 

The road runs diagonally across the valley 
and enters the ravine by a steep narrow grade 
to the ferry. The artillery and teams that 
were hitched went to that point, and as it 
was soon blocked they pitched over the steep 
embankment and the artillery lay at the bot- 
tom in a heap with the mutilated bodies of 
the men and horses that went down with it. 
The cavalary that made their escape plowed 
deep furrows as they slid from top to bottom. 

The firing at the head of the column served 
to cut the fleeing raiders in two parts. Those 
having passed the junction of the ravines made 
good their escape, but all the others were com- 
pelled to surrender, about two thousand in 
number, with every wheel they had in pos- 
session. When an order came for the horses 
we delivered them in close proximity to Mor- 
gan's deserted camp, in less than one and a 
half hours after the first shot was fired. 
There were plenty of valuable spoils to be 

On Morgans Trail 159 

gathered there, of every description, from 
needles to fine guns, sabers, bolts of cloth, silk, 
silverware, gold and silver coins, greenbacks, 

The treasure I stood most in need of w^as 
something to eat and a good sleep, and I at 
once prepared for it. Some of the men w^ent 
to the neighboring valley to dinner, but Mor- 
gan's deserted camp furnished the most of 
us. We found sacks of green coffee, flour, 
etc., with frying-pans and coflfee-pots. We 
soon satisfied our appetite, and went to sleep. 
When we awoke the valley was full of men, 
women, and children picking up the scattered 



AT four o'clock we took up the trail 
J-\ through the woods, but before night 
^ A. overtook us we had turned into a 
by-road. During the night it rained 
and owing to the darkness and the crossing 
of other roads it was impossible to tell which 
route Morgan had traveled, and we were com- 
pelled to halt until morning. We were wet 
and chilled. At daylight we moved on. , 

As I had only had one meal since some 
time on Saturday, a period of at least forty 
hours, I began to skirmish for breakfast, 
which I obtained at a farm-house about eight 

Morgan's march was accelerated from the 
fact that he had no train or artillery. After 
traveling north a short distance he turned his 
course and headed for Cheshire. The march 
for seven days was uneventful. The next 
Sunday we came upon Morgan's rear-guard 
prepared for an attack. They would hold 
the advance in check until our column was 
brought up in line prepared for an engage- 
ment, and then they would fall back to an- 
• other position. This was continued and re- 
peated until 9 P. M., when they sent in a 


The Capture of Morgan i6i 

flag of truce and surrendered. They said 
Morgan was camped over the hill, and would 
come in in the morning, as they were too tired 
to do so that night. It was late before we 
got into camp, and before day it was learned 
that Morgan with a few men had escaped 
and gone north. We were allowed to sleep 
until sunrise, when the trumpet sounded as- 
sembly. We were then notified that volun- 
teers were wanted to continue the pursuit. 
Colonel Kautz pronounced the command 
unserviceable, but under the circumstances the 
men with the best horses, that were willing to 
go, would start at once, as he would like to 
get one thousand men that would remain in 
the saddle until Morgan surrendered. 

Six men from Company E volunteered. 
We reported to headquarters, where we joined 
the squads from the other companies, and 
about one thousand men from the brigade. 
Without delay we moved out, and as we left 
the valley we met two of Morgan's men. 
They reported that Morgan had issued an 
order for all who could not stand a march of 
forty-eight hours without food for the horse 
or man had better return and surrender. 
Only two men had returned. Our com- 
mander issued the same order and two men 
went back with the prisoners. The road over 
which we had to travel was through the yellow 
clay hills of Jackson County and the country 
was very thinly settled. I was able to get only 
one piece of corn-bread about three inches 

1 62 Four Years with Five Armies 

wide and four inches long, split in two, to di- 
vide with a comrade during the forty-eight 
hours, and then I was fortunate enough to put 
my feet under a farmer's table and eat a hearty 

On the next Friday the Second Ohio was 
in advance with Jim Camp, Polly Hopkins, 
and me in the extreme advance-guard. We 
learned that Shackleford had shipped his 
troops on transports up the river, and that he 
was marching a few miles to our right at the 
present time. 

It was evident we were crowding the raiders 
pretty hard, for the people that had left their 
houses while the raiders passed had not re- 
turned yet. When we entered the town of 
Washington, Guernsey County, Ohio, the 
houses were all closed, and not a person was 
seen until they knew that we were Union 
troops. Then some came out and said that 
Morgan was in a field over the hill. We 
moved on, and when we came to the end of 
the street that terminated abruptly at a 
meadow fence, we threw off the top rail and 
went over. This brought us in full view of 
Morgan's whole command. We opened fire, 
which they returned. 

We advanced down the slope, until within 
two hundred yards of them. Camp and I 
dismounted. Camp went to the fence that 
ran in front of us, and I turned my mare 
broadside to them, and fired by taking rest 
across her shoulders. Their fire was so brisk 

The Capture of Morgan 163 

that they were soon obscured by the cloud of 
smoke. Only the heads and front legs of the 
horses in the front rank were visible. The 
range was so short that the bullets sounded 
like yellow jackets. 

The grass was soon all cut away from 
around our feet by the shower of bullets 
that fell like so much hail. When the Second 
Tennessee dismounted and came over the hill 
in line, Morgan's men broke and ran. A 
volley that passed over us was sent after them, 
but fell short of its mark. 

We held our ground during the skirmish 
without a tremor until the last few moments, 
when a few shots were fired at me from the 
road which ran some distance to the left of 
our position, and came from the enemy's 
picket. The balls passed directly behind me, 
and made me a little squeamish, as a cross-fire 
is sure to do. Miraculous as it may appear, 
three men and three horses stood in front of 
that command and shower of lead for fully 
ten minutes, and not a hide or a hair was 
touched, while the enemy left some men on 
the field that never returned to the sunny 

I mounted and loped to the road, and tried 
to capture some of the stragglers who were 
foraging, but my animal was tired, and they 
all outran me. That little run finished my 
mare. Her ears dropped down, and she 
moped about, a sure si^n of collapse. We 
stopped at the first cornfield for a short rest. 

164 Four Years with Five Armies 

When we moved out with some other detach- 
ment in the advance, it was about five o'clock, 
and I soon discovered that I would have to 
change my mount or abandon the pursuit. I 
continually lost ground from that time until 
morning, walking or staggering along much 
of the time. 

No horse was to be had during the night 
or soon in the morning, for Morgan had 
stripped the stables and pasture fields near 
the road, and no one had made an appearance 
from a distance. At sunrise I was some dis- 
tance behind, but I was not alone. There 
were always plenty of stragglers with worn- 
out horses, and some of them had worn out 
the second one and were looking for the third. 

I was on the alert, and about eight o'clock 
a party of farmers came in from a cross-road, 
and we proceeded to dismount them. We 
told them to pull of¥ their saddles. They 
fervently protested, but we had orders to take 
horses wherever we found them. 

I had now a dreadful task to perform. I 
had to part with the most noble animal it 
was ever my fortune to mount. Her limbs 
were trembling, and every muscle quivered as 
the saddle was removed from where it had 
been since the last Sunday morning. When 
the decayed saddle-blanket, which had been 
wet with rain and sweat for weeks, was re- 
moved, the skin came with it, leaving the ribs 
bare. The underfolds fell to pieces, and I 
was able to save only enough to keep the sad- 

The Capture of Morgan 165 

die from the back of my new mare. My con- 
science hurt me for the treatment I had given 
my faithful animal, and I dared not look at 
the poor thing. The tears rolled down my 
cheeks as I rode away, telling the farmer to 
take good care of her. I assured him he 
would not regret his labor. 

The new mount was a dark iron gray, more 
than seventeen hands high, and I had to get 
on a bank to reach the stirrup; but once in 
the saddle I decided to have some breakfast, 
as I had had nothing for twenty-four hours. 
I left the main road and ate some breakfast 
at a farm-house, and then proceeded to see 
what I was riding. I found her to be too 
heavy and too awkward to strike a lope, but 
with a long sweeping trot she was able to 
make fair time, and I kept her at it until I 
overtook the column, and I was in the ranks 
of the Second Ohio by twelve o'clock. 

Only twenty of them were left, and one 
half of these were either exhausted or dis- 
mounted. That evening we received word 
that Shackelford was still moving on our right 
a few miles away. His command consisted 
of Woolford's brigade and a part of Kautz's. 

We took a short rest that night. Our de- 
tachment happened to stop in front of a coun- 
try church, and I lay down on the stone steps 
with my head on the door-sill and covered 
with the talma, holding the bridle-rein in my 
hand. When we moved off I heard someone 
who had a watch and a lighted match in his 

1 66 Four Years with Five Armies 

hand say that we had been there one hour and 
a half. We then proceeded without a halt 
until we entered the village of Salinesville 
on the P. &. C. R. R., and then we learned 
that Morgan had been attacked in town by 
the Ninth Michigan Cavalry that had been 
sent out on a scout from Shackelford's com- 
mand, and they had just missed getting Mor- 
gan by his jumping from his buggy, leaving 
his driver to be taken prisoner. 

We delayed a while in town, and I got 
some dinner and rode over to the depot. A 
man challenged me for a trade. He said he 
had a good saddle horse, but it was breechy 
and balky. He gave me five dollars and we 
made the exchange. I was glad to ged rid 
of the one I had, for it would not be safe to 
undertake a fast gait on her. By the time I 
was ready to go the troops had been moving 
for some time, but were going back the way 
they came. The people pointed across the 
hill, and said that Morgan had gone that 

There was no road, the one going up the 
hill in the way they pointed being separated 
by a farm from the one on which Morgan had 
traveled. Thinking that two miles or more 
could be saved by crossing the farm, I went 
that way and turned in to the first lane. The 
short cut enabled me to join the advance, 
the troops being at once noticeable as new 
arrivals from the fact that their horses were 
fresh, uniforms and equipments bright and 

The Capture of Morgan 167 

clean. They told me they were West Vir- 
ginia scouts, having recently reported to Gen- 
eral Shackelford, and as scouts were assigned 
the position in advance. I gave them some 
detailed account of the raid. 

After traveling about one mile, when near- 
ing a cross-road, to our right we saw men 
both on foot and mounted coming at full run 
down that road and trying to cross the one 
we were on. The mounted men were suc- 
cessful, but the dismounted men turned back 
and ran into the woods. I rode toward them, 
halted one that was in the field at least three 
hundred yards from us, and ordered him to 
come to us. After some parley he ran into 
the woods near by him. These men were 
dressed in citizens' clothes with clean white 
shirts, and we could not know whether they 
were Morgan's men or farmers who were 
frightened, and fleeing from what they sup- 
posed to be Morgan's men. 

The scouts continued in the same direction 
we had been moving on the Lisbon road. I 
returned to them, and said that I would shoot 
the next man that refused to come to me when 
I called him. They were surprised that such 
were the orders, and this revealed to me that 
they had had no experience as scouts. I asked 
how long they had been in the service, and 
they replied two months. We had now 
traveled a half mile beyond the cross-road, 
and I began to make observations for myself, 
and discovered that no cavalry had passsed 

1 68 Four Years with Five Armies 

that road, and told them that we were on the 
wrong road and that the men we had met 
must be Morgan's. At the same time we saw 
three men at a house that set back from 
the road to the right of us. We called 
to them to know who they were. They 
mounted and rode away at a gallop, and 
all leaped from the saddle at the same 
time to throw down a fence in front of 
them. I said they were Morgan's men and 
did not intend to be taken. We opened fire 
on them, and at my first shot one of the scouts 
said that I had knocked the splinters from 
the fence by the side of the man that was then 
passing over. We gave chase and crossed the 
fence where they did. At the next fence they 
left their horses and took to the woods. 

This was the opposite end of the same 
woods that the first man ran into, and the 
scouts wanted to know what we would do 
with the horses. I said they might do what 
they liked with them, but I wanted one, a 
fine filly, that had not been under the saddle 
more than a few hours. 

Just then a man from Morgan's command 
rode to the edge of the woods and called to 
us not to shoot any more, that Morgan was 
going to surrender, and had already sent in a 
flag of truce. 

We returned to the road, and in a few 
moments a courier arrived with orders for us 
to return to the cross-roads, where we waited 
to see the prisoners pass. 

The Capture of Morgan 169 

If I had followed the first man I halted 
I would have run into Morgan's camp, from 
which they were now filing out to lay down 
their arms. General Shackelford took them 
in charge. I dropped down in the grass by 
the roadside, and watched the last remnant 
of Morgan's men file by. 

The great strain was over, my nerves re- 
laxed, and I was as weak as a child. The 
only thing that stimulated me enough to keep 
me awake was the knowledge that I was only 
twenty-four miles from home, though there 
was a standing order against furloughs. I 
had been in the saddle twenty-seven days and 
nights almost continuously, had traveled an 
average of twenty hours, covering a distance 
of fifty-five miles each day, over hundreds of 
miles of hot, dusty roads, and ate and slept 
but little except in the saddle, and now that 
the most noted cavalry raid known to man 
had collapsed, I wanted to go home and rest. 
But the order to report to the provost mar- 
shal would be revoked, and therefore I must 
not report to anyone, and thus escape the 
responsibility of disobeying orders. I wanted 
to see my friend, Sergeant Harris, that we 
might go together. This had to be done 
quickly. I mounted, and instead of trying 
to find the Second Ohio detachment, I was 
trying to evade it. I soon found my friend. 
He was stretched on the grass, and said that 
the sergeant who had command of the detach- 
ment, of which there were now only eighteen 

170 Four Years with Five Armies 

men, had gone to see Colonel Woolford, who 
had temporary command. He soon returned 
with orders for the Second Ohio to scout ten 
days to pick up stragglers. It was only a 
pretext to evade the general orders. 

We marched straight for Lisbon, four miles 
on our road. My friend was mounted on an 
old sway-backed horse, and did not want to 
ride it home. He turned it loose and saddled 
the one I had captured from what appeared 
to be Morgan's picket guard. 

Of the eighteen men, six belonged to Com- 
pany E, and could reach home before the next 
morning. The other twelve lived about 
Cleveland, sixty miles farther west, and that 
distance would require one more day's march. 
They went into camp near Lisbon, while we 
went to the hotel for supper. It was sun- 
down when we went to the stable for the 
horses. To my surprise and disgust the relic- 
hunters had rifled my saddle pockets and taken 
every cartridge I had, not leaving me one to 
show the people at home what they looked 

We moved at a lively gait to Franklin 
Square. Some of the boys were acquainted 
with the landlord, and we watered the horses 
and took a little stimulant. We moved on, 
and about nine o'clock a farmer came in from 
a side road and joined us. He had the same 
old story to tell that we had listened to for 
many days. He had ridden all day notifying 
the people of the approach of Morgan. He 

The Capture of Morgan 171 

was so tired, and his animal was so foot sore, 
etc. We told him about the surrender of 
Morgan, and it was news to him. 

At length we loped out, but he called to 
us to wait, and said we had better go with 
him, as there would be pickets out at Salem. 
He thought we had better let him go ahead. 
We told him we had been in the service long 
enough to know how to approach a picket. 

It appeared now we had an opportunity for 
some fun. We concluded to take all risk, 
and when the picket halted us, — the pickets 
we knew would be the home guards, with 
squirrel rifles, — instead of halting, we would 
put spurs to our horses, fire a few shots into 
the air from our revolvers, and go by them. 
But the news had come by wire and the pickets 
had been withdrawn. So we lost the oppor- 

We entered Salem on Lisbon street. I 
stopped at my uncle's, who lived on that street, 
and after an hour's rest I went to Main street 
to the residence of my friend, got my filly, 
and moved out for North Benton, a distance 
of ten miles. 

I was well acquainted with the road, and 
knew everyone living between the towns. I 
thought I would lope over it all right in an 
hour, but as soon as the horse checked his 
speed to breathe a little, I fell asleep. When 
I nodded a little too far, it waked me. The 
first thing that struck my mind was that I 
had lost my prize ; but she was walking along, 

172 Four Years with Five Armies 

dragging the halter. After this had occurred 
three times, I tied the halter to the saddle. 

Between twelve and one o'clock I arrived 
at my uncle's gate, and I called, but received 
no answer. I found it impossible to stand 
still without falling asleep. I led the horses 
around to the stable. The door was fastened 
inside, and I had to climb the fence. I man- 
aged to get the horses in and the saddles ofif, 
but it was all done in a half-conscious con- 

As I staggered about, half asleep, I was 
determined to get into the house before 
tumbling over. I went to the house and 
called again. My uncle wanted to know who 
was there. I replied, and they soon opened 
the door. My uncle said he had been after 
Morgan. As soon as I got in I pulled the 
cushion from a lounge, laid my head on it and 
was asleep before my aunt could lay a cover 
over me. 

The next day the twelve men we had left 
at Lisbon passed by, and that was the last I 
saw of them until we met in Cincinnati two 
weeks later. 

For the first three days I slept almost con- 
tinuously. Many people came from the sur- 
rounding country to see the arms and horse 
equipments of a trooper, and often I would 
be talking to them and would cut the conver- 
sation short by falling asleep in the chair. 
On Wednesday afternoon an old schoolmate 
drove up to see me, and persuaded me to get 

Second Ohio Volunteer Cavalry 


The Capture of Morgan 173 

in the bu^gy. We drove to Salem. When 
we arrived at Mead's mill, three miles from 
Salem, we began to meet buggies, carriages, 
and wagons, driving as hard as they could go. 
Many of the people knew me, and would call 
out, ''Have you got your gun? Morgan is 
in Lisbon with five hundred men." 

We stopped at a farmhouse to water the 
horses, and the farmer's wife came out with 
tears running down her cheeks, and begged us 
to go back and get our guns. I was dressed 
in citizen's clothes, but I tried to convince her 
that there was nothing in the report, that I 
was a soldier, and had seen Morgan a pris- 
oner. As we drove on she said, " You are 
afraid, or you would go and get your gun." 
This was a little trying, but nothing to what 
we had to contend with when we walked the 
streets of Salem. 

The country people had all left town, and 
the home guards were mustering, and 
marched about. A small battery was on the 
commons. The ladies were moulding bullets, 
and cutting patches, on the sidewalk. All 
the excitement about nothing awaked no en- 
thusiasm with me, as I was scarcely able then 
to put one foot before the other. My partner 
tried to be very serene because I pronounced 
it all humbug. I told him Morgan's ad- 
vance-guard of twenty men would have cap- 
tured the whole town without losing a single 

The women did not like to see us moping 

174 Four Years with Five Armies 

about without our guns, and would call us 
Copperheads, or Butternuts, and declare we 
did not care if Morgan did come. 

These tantrums were not only occasional, 
but continued from one end of the street to 
the other. It was pretty hard on me, but they 
were ladies and I could not talk back. How- 
ever, I kept thinking what I would like to say. 

We called to see my friend Sergeant Harris, 
and found his mother, whom I had met 
the Sunday night before, very uneasy. She 
gave me the first straight account of what it 
all meant. She said that the report had come 
in that Morgan had surrendered only a part 
of his men, and that the others with him were 
near Lisbon. The Sergeant, and a few more 
soldiers who were at home on leave, had gone 
on a scout to see if it was so. I pacified her 
by telling her that perhaps some few strag- 
glers had slept in the woods and were now 
making their escape. She said the Sergeant 
had told her the same thing, but she was 
afraid we were mistaken. Finally the news 
came that there was nothing in the report, 
and Salem was herself again. When we 
drove out we met wagon-loads of farmers with 
guns coming back into town. 

The provost marshal relieved me of the 
captured animal before the week was out, and 
Deacon Hartzell, who wanted a relic from 
the raid, gave me a fine saddle-horse and five 
dollars for the one I rode home. Of course 
I was responsible to the Government for one 

The Capture of Morgan 175 

horse, and I expected to ride the one I got 
from the deacon. 

When the ten days expired the Company E 
boys met at Alliance, and reported to the mar- 
shal for transportation. He had no authority 
to send our horses and their equipments, but 
he gave us a receipt for them and sent us to 

The horse I turned in would have sold for 
twice the money the Government was paying 
for horses. But there was no help for me 
and it had to go that way. We did not grieve 
about small things anyway in those times. 

The following are the names of the men 
of Company E who were in the squad: Ser- 
geant J. B. Wilcox, Sergeant A. H. Harris, 
Privates James Camp, Charles R. Truesdale, 
John W. Reed, and Isaac Cause. 



AFTER turning in the horses and equip- 
ments, with transportation furnished 
^ by the provost marshal, we boarded 
the first train west to Crestline, where 
we changed cars for Cincinnati. We arrived 
in due course of time and reported to the pro- 
vost marshal of that place. We asked for 
transportation to our regiment, but we did not 
know where it was. For some reason un- 
known to us he regarded us rather sus- 
piciously; but, as we thought, without a just 
cause. We explained to him that we had left 
the camp at Somerset, Kentucky, and the 
regiment at Cheshire, Ohio. He would do 
nothing for us unless we furnished evidence 
from an officer that we belonged to a regiment 
and that the commanding officer wanted us 
to report to it. 

He finally agreed to make an efifort to learn 
the whereabouts of the regiment. We left the 
office, and returned two or three times, only 
to learn that he could not find the whereabouts 
of our regiment. As we had now spent our 
money, we applied for rations. And he gave 
us an order on what was termed Camp Distri- 
bution. We presented the order to the officer 


Events Succeeding a Furlough 177 

in charge. He said they were so crowded 
that we would have to be there one hour be- 
fore each meal. 

This camp was the second and third stories 
of a large block situated in the business part 
of the city, and, if my memory serves me, it 
was on Second street. The entrance to the 
camp was by way of stairs from the back yard. 

We were on hand promptly at eleven 
o'clock for dinner, and found a horrible con- 
dition of afifairs. The entrance to the dining- 
room was by a narrow hall from the steps. 
The soldiers would fall in line, beginning at 
the dining-room door, make a solid packed 
line that extended down into the lot, and 
in the line were enough men to fill the dining- 
room three times. In this crowd there were 
but few men that were actually soldiers. The 
most of them had their names on the rolls 
of some organization, and of course eventually 
got pay, and no doubt a pension. They were 
the raggedest, filthiest, lousiest set I ever saw 
in the center of a civilized community. They 
did not know where their command was, and 
did not want to know. For that reason they 
had neither money nor clothes. They would 
fall into that line and crowd up tight together 
like a pack of hungry wolves, and wait from 
one half to one hour and a half three times 
a day, rather than go to the front to do duty. 
Some of them had been there four months, 
and to all appearances would be there till 
their time expired. No doubt they are now 

178 Four Years with Five Armies 

holding office or standing in some conspicuous 
place with a G. A. R. badge pinned on the 
breast of their coats. 

The table was set with a tin plate, knife, 
fork, and spoon for each one, and a cup for 
coffee. At dinner there would be a few pans 
of boiled beef or beans, with plenty of bread. 
At breakfast the pans were full of potatoes 
boiled with the skin on. Supper consisted of 
coffee and bread. At nieht we were shown 
the sleeping-apartment. It was a large room 
with three tiers of bunks. Each tier was 
three bunks high, and each bunk had 
a sack of straw and one single blanket 
in it. All had been used. The room 
was poorly lighted, and the floor was 
covered with filth. To lie on the ground 
was a luxury in comparison. We could do 
no better for the present, and looked hourly 
for some of the Second Ohio officers to help 
us out. 

The Burnett House was the popular resort 
for officers, and we would call frequently to 
hear the news and see if anyone came we were 
acquainted with. We also called frequently at 
the office of the camp to inquire if they had 
received any word from the regiment. 

Finally the clerk told us that we might stay 
there as long as we wanted to, that no one 
would hurry us away, and that the supply 
contract was worth more to them than men 
at the front. This was equivalent to saying 
that they did not care what became of the 

Events Succeeding a Furlough 179 

army. They made money from the miserable 
rations that they were daily dealing out to 
the half-starved men, which were too good 
for those who were willing to stay there and 
eat them. 

However, it was revolting to intelligent 
men whose object was to prosecute the war to 
a speedy termination, and to shrink from noth- 
ing to help to bring it about in order that 
they might enjoy something better in the fu- 
ture. Yet we must be insulted by the offer 
of a miserable existence like that! We felt 
as if all we had done was lost. 

We managed to get a letter through to 
Lexington, Kentucky, and received an order 
to the provost marshal to forward all Second 
Ohio boys to that place. This was the ter- 
minus of the railroad and the supply camp 
for the troops operating in southern Kentucky. 

We lost no time in leaving, and we landed 
in Lexington in a few hours. The army was 
then fitting out for a campaign in East Ten- 
nessee, and we reported to the commanding 
officer. He told us there was an officer fitting 
out a train-load of supplies, and he would be 
glad to have us go to assist in guarding the 
train. He said he had just sent out a squad 
with some Second Ohio boys in it, and he 
thought they had taken all the horse equip- 
ments. He did not know how soon he could 
fit us out, but he would do what he could. 
We explained to him that we had nothing, 
not even a blanket to sleep on. He gave us 

i8o Four Years with Five Armies 

an order to the officer mentioned, and told 
us to do the best we could until the next day. 
He would see what could be done then. 

We soon learned that the officer was 
camped with the train some place out of town, 
but no one knew exactly in what direction. 
We wandered about in search of information, 
and when night came on we were scattered 
about town. Some had been fortunate 
enough to find something to eat and others 
had done without. My friend Harris and I 
wandered about until late at night, and for 
the want of better accommodations lay down 
on a board in a large camp building that had 
neither floor nor doors. 

The night was cold, and we would get up 
and walk about now and then to warm our- 
selves, then we would lie down again for a 
short nap. In the morning we all met at the 
corral. Some had fared pretty well, but the 
most of them were no better fixed than we 
had been. 

At an early hour the officer referred to 
reported to the quartermaster. He was 
hustling about as the average officer is when 
in charge of that kind of business. He had 
heard of us at headquarters, and had inter- 
ested himself in our behalf. Everything we 
needed was at hand except horse equipments. 
We drew rations for the first time since the 
3d of July. Fortunately, a load of con- 
demned horse equipments arrived and was 
turned in to the quartermaster that day. He 

Events Succeeding a Furlough i8l 

gave us the privilege to take anything we 
could use. 

We set to work at once, and picked out the 
best we could find in the lot. We replaced 
the broken and missing part of one article 
with the good part of another article. If a 
bridle-bit was broken we would take the head- 
stall and replace the bit from one that had a 
broken head-stall. In this way we were able 
to fit ourselves out fairly well, and before 
night we were in the saddle again. I am 
unable to describe from memory my new 
horse. I know that I exchanged it in a few 
days for another one that I will describe later 

We reported to the officer at his camp 
where he had collected his train loaded with 
supplies. He had a miscellaneous squad of 
men belonging to different regiments, includ- 
ing ourselves, who numbered thirty. Some 
of the men belonged to infantry and artillery 
and were dismounted. 

We m.arched out next morning, and after 
a few days we arrived at Crab Orchard, Ken- 
tucky, where the army was camped, and re- 
ported to our regiment. We were greeted 
with cheers and shouts of welcome, and we 
felt as if we were home again. We arrived 
too late to get any clothes, and I was unable 
to get any trace of what I had left at Somer- 
set, which included an overcoat. 

It was not long until the army took up its 
march south. Owing to the cumbersome 

182 Four Years with Five Armies 

trains and artillery the march was necessarily- 
slow and easy on our horses, but very tedious 
to the trooper who, being used to more active 
service, wanted vent for his restless spirit. 
Finally the order came for the cavalry to 
pull out and cross the Cumberland Moun- 
tains at Winter's Gap. 



THE main army was traveling on the 
road that leads from Crab Orchard 
to Knoxville by way of Cumberland 
Gap. The division to which we be- 
longed moved along the base of the mountain 
to Big Creek Gap, and there we met the 
enemy. A small force of cavalry had been 
stationed there to prevent invasion of East 

As soon as the long column of cavalry made 
its appearance the outposts withdrew, and 
gave us an open road to Loudon, a small manu- 
facturing town situated on the Richmond and 
Nashville railroad. 

We were now thoroughly installed in the 
enemy's country, and the old routine of skir- 
mishing, picket, and patrol duty, with tear- 
ing up railroads, destroying supply cars and 
bridges, etc., began in earnest. But there 
was one feature new to us and worthy of note. 
The men who were compelled to remain in 
the mountains to escape military duty, who 
were commonly called bushwhackers from 
the fact that they never missed an opportunity 
to fire on their enemies, were Union men in 
that locality, and instead of harassing us, acted 


184 Four Years with Five Armies 

as a protection by furnishing us with informa- 
tion about the movements of the enemy. 

The Union men were compelled to live in 
the mountains to evade the conscript officers, 
who had been scouring the country far two 
years, pressing every man they could find into 
the ranks of the Southern army. Our 
previous campaigns had been in the Border 
States, where the bushwhackers belonged to 
the other side, and watched every opportunity 
to pick off the videttes, or pick up a single 
trooper if he chanced to get behind the com- 

After effectually destroying everything that 
could be of any use to the enemy, we marched 
to Knoxville. Every inch of this road was 
bitterly contested, but the enemy's efforts 
proved fruitless, for we marched into Knox- 
ville by a series of flank movements modeled 
after the Morgan method, which proved very 
disastrous to the enemy, with little or no loss 
to us. 

General Burnside commanded this raid in 
person, and on his arrival at Knoxville found 
himself not only in possession of that place, 
but in possession of the only road that would 
afford an escape for Pemberton's forces at 
Cumberland Gap. We moved up to the base 
of the mountain from the south side. 

The Second and Seventh Ohio cavalry 
were detached, and under command of 
Colonel Kautz, moved to the west of the road 
to go to the top of the range and attack the 

Campaigning in East Tennessee 185 

fort on the flank. This was a very hazardous 
march, and from a military point of view im- 
practicable. We climbed for fourteen hours 
up the steep mountains, along the sides, and 
around the head of apparently bottomless 
ravines or gorges. Some of these places 
terminated abruptly at perpendicular bluffs, 
and to cross we rolled trees across them, 
covered the trees with brush and dirt, and 
passed over in single file, leading our horses. 

About ten o'clock on the second day we 
passed the summit and came to an open glade 
that descended on the north side of the range 
with easy traveling. 

We mounted, and after marching a mile or 
more the head of the column turned to the 
right, crossed a ravine, and passed a point 
that extended a little below us on the opposite 
ridge. To the surprise of everyone, we found 
ourselves right in the midst of Pemberton's 
wagon-train. The teamsters were eating din- 
ner and were as much surprised as we were. 
They said that they had an early dinner be- 
cause their commander was then negotiating 
terms of surrender with General Burnside. 
They also said that there had never been a 
guard on that side of camp, as it was believed 
by everyone that a footman could not ap- 
proach from that direction. We could see the 
flag that floated over Pemberton's headquar- 
ters at the fort on top of the mountain. 

The column halted, and Colonel Kautz sat 
on his horse asking questions of the teamsters. 

1 86 Four Years with Five Armies 

There was a little stir among Pemberton's 
troops that lay in the breastworks for a few 
moments, and then the flag descended, and the 
surrender was complete. White flags could 
now be seen at various points, and we marched 
up the main road, along the line of breast- 
works, full of men that had stacked their arms. 
We met General Burnside at the top of the 
mountain, and stopped to rest and get dinner. 
The troops from the north side of the moun- 
tain — the Ninth Corps — marched up and took 
possession of everything. We joined our bri- 
gade and marched toward Knoxville, and the 
cavalry took up the trail of Buckner as he re- 
treated up the Jonesboro pike toward Vir- 
ginia, destroying the railroad and salt works, 
and then withdrew to Tennessee, followed by 
a large force of cavalry that had been con- 
centrated to oppose us. Engagements with 
them became of daily occurrence. At one 
time we did not miss a single day in the week. 
Sometimes they gained an advantage, and at 
other times the advantage was in our favor. 
In this way the road between Massey Creek 
and Jonesboro was traveled over several times 
before winter set in. During that campaign 
we subsisted from the supplies gathered from 
the country, with the exception of sugar and 
coffee. Forage was plenty the first time we 
passed, but it soon began to be scarce near the 
main roads. We would press the mills and 
grind flour, and by using corn-cob ashes in the 
place of soda made slap-jacks, the only kind 

Campaigning in East Tennessee 187 

of bread we had for four months. With ham 
gravy and honey, of which there was an 
abundance, we did well for a time, but this 
soon gave out, and we were often fortunate to 
have parched corn. Supplies being scarce on 
the main roads, foraging parties were sent into 
the unfrequented neighborhoods to bring in 
what they could carry. I was with one of 
these parties one time when we left camp at 
Jonesboro and went out twelve miles. 

I concluded to have some honey, as there 
were several hives on a bench by the house. 
The hives were hollow trees cut off about 
thirty inches long, with a board nailed over 
one end for a top, the other end resting on the 
bench, with small holes cut for the bees to 
pass through. When the hive is lifted from 
the bench the bottom end is open. A hive of 
honey full of bees is not a very nice thing to 
handle, unless one understands the insect per- 
fectly, but the ordinary trooper had learned 
to subject the bee to discipline on some oc- 
casions. To carry a hive twelve miles on 
horseback was not to be undertaken for the 
mere pleasure of it. However, my partner 
and I thought that we were equal to the task, 
and proved that we were. 

Each trooper collected from a half-dozen 
to a dozen chickens, a sack of corn, and two 
bundles of fodder, which he placed on either 
side of his horse. This had come to be a com- 
mon thing with us. Often we had to ford the 
Halsten River with our loads, when the water 

1 88 Four Years with Five Armies 

would carry the fodder or hay, as the case 
might be, above the horses' backs, and only the 
straps prevented it from floating away. 

The reader will want to know how we 
gathered the honey. It takes three good men 
to capture a well-protected hive. It is best 
accomplished in this way: Two men take a 
talma, and a third man picks up the hive very 
carefully. The- talma is slipped under it and 
gathered up very quickly around the hive. A 
saddle strap is buckled around it, and then it 
can be managed with safety. Sometimes this 
was not done properly, and then there was 
trouble in camp. We succeeded admirably this 
time. The hive was about as much as one 
wanted to lift. My partner and I each had 
a full sack of corn on the pommel of the sad- 
dle, and this made a very steady resting-place 
for the hive. We would shift it from one sad- 
dle to the other about every mile. It was late 
in the night when we passed through the 
streets of Jonesboro. The inhabitants had all 
retired, and the boys thought they would have 
a little fun. They shook the chickens, made 
them squall, and raised such a din that the peo- 
ple got out of bed and looked out the windows 
to see what was going on. This was very un- 
usual, for many times we marched through 
towns and seldom saw anyone after bedtime. 
We arrived in camp, and it is needless to say 
we had honey on our slap-jacks before going 
to sleep. 

While I am in the honey business I may as 

Campaigning in East Tennessee 189 

well mention another honey expedition in 
which we did not fare so well. It also was 
near Jonesboro. When foraging, someone 
saw some honey about a mile from camp and 
as soon as it was dark we went on a raid. The 
house was situated in the edge of the woods 
and was the usual type of farmhouse made of 
hewed logs, with chimney on the outside. The 
bee shed extended from the corner of the 
house to the chimney, with a bench under it. 
On the bench the hives were arranged. The 
chinking was knocked out, which left a hole 
by the side of the chimney about large enough 
to throw a cat through. 

We could see the family standing in front 
of a blazing fire, and talking to some soldiers. 
We approached cautiously, and took the hives 
without the knowledge of anyone inside the 
house. Grant Reed picked it up, after the 
talma had been strapped around, and walked 
away with it on his shoulder. It was about 
all one wanted to carry. When we had 
crossed the first field he said, " Take it, it is 

I was next to him, and I quickly shifted it 
to my shoulder. It was heavy, it is true; but 
it was evident that there was another reason 
for sudden transfer. The bees covered my 
neck and head at once. I ran along a few 
steps, and called to Truesdale, who was just 
ahead of me, " Charlie, take it quick; it is too 
heavy for me." 

He ran up and took it on his shoulders, but 

190 Four Years with Five Armies 

he did not go any distance, and down went the 
hive. He did not like the joke very well when 
he saw us fighting the bees away. I had 
stripped off my shirt to get them from the in- 
side. As we were all stung but one, Trues- 
dale said he had made a mistake by not shift- 
ing the hive to the fourth man, and joined in 
with the fun. 

In folding the talma in a hurry we had 
not been careful and had left a wrinkle 
in the talma that made a hole for the 
escape of the bees, and the more time the more 
bees, and Charlie had the full benefit. 

The hive now lay on the ground split in two 
pieces. A new plan had to be adopted. We 
took two rails from the fence, and put the 
pieces on the rails just as they lay on the 
ground. Each man took the end of a rail. 
This could not have been done in daylight, 
but the bee is not much of a night campaigner, 
and we got to camp a little worsted, but con- 
sidered the spoils repaid us for our wounds, 
which were all healed inside of two or three 

We were finally compelled to fall back on 
the main army by a superior force of the 
enemy under the command of General Long- 
street, whose object was to drive General 
Burnside out of Tennessee. When we arrived 
at Strawberry Plains there was no forage at 
Knoxville, and the cavalry was ordered to 
withdraw to the base of the Cumberland 
Mountains. There had been many troopers in 

Campaigning in East Tennessee 191 

that section, and they had consumed every- 
thing but the corn in the fields. As there 
was no mill in the neighborhood, we lived on 
parched corn for a few days. 

The siege of Knoxville was now at its worst 
stage. The troops in the besieged town were 
in a starving condition, while trains loaded 
with supplies could not approach nearer than 
Cumberland Gap. Our position protected 
them from being taken by the enemy's cav- 
alry. When Longstreet concluded to evac- 
uate, a part of his forces moved under his per- 
sonal command toward the base of the moun- 
tain, and it was thought to be his intention to 
take possession of the Gap, which would com- 
pel Burnside to evacuate Knoxville through 
Middle Tennessee. As soon as it was learned, 
we moved out to intercept him, taking a posi- 
tion at the fords of the river. The force was 
divided to guard two fords five miles apart. 

Our regiment was stationed at what was 
called the upper ford. The crossing was only 
a country road, but the ford was an excellent 
one. When the advance of Longstreet's army 
arrived at the main ford they found it well 
guarded by three regiments of our brigade, 
who gave them a lively reception which lasted 
until night. There was no more effort made 
to cross, but troops continued to arrive all the 
next day, and they made a formidable ap- 

The next day it was evident that the enemy 
was making a move of some kind, and an order 

192 Four Years with Five Armies 

came to the Second Ohio to reconnoiter. 
Company E was detailed to cross the river 
and to march to the first road that turned 
down the river. Sergeant Wilkins took com- 
mand of the advance-guard, of which I was 
one. We traveled about two miles, and came 
to the cross-road and turned to the right, which 
we followed about two miles, then stopped at 
a house. At first sight it was evident that there 
had been much tramping about the yard and 
road very recently, but no one appeared to be 
there then. By close inspection, however, we 
found a man who had had a hard tussle with 
old man corn juice, and after rubbing his eyes 
open and attempting to straighten up his but- 
ternut suit, he said the Johnnies had been there 
drinking and carousing all night, and he had 
had a hard time to get rid of them. 

The column came up and halted, but the 
conversation was uninteresting to me. I rode 
on to see what was over the hill beyond, went 
down the first hill, crossed a bridge, and up 
another steep hill. As I started up at the bot- 
tom two men started down, coming from the 
opposite direction. Of course, they belonged 
to Longstreet's command. 

There was nothing left for me, according 
to my way of thinking, but to make the best 
of the situation. We met on the side of the 
hill. I had shown no surprise at seeing them, 
and that threw them ofif their guard. I hailed 

'' Hello, boys! How far to the command? " 

Campaigning in East Tennessee 193 

" Just over the hill. Don't you hear the 
wagons moving? " they said. 

At the same time I laid my left hand on the 
neck of the horse next to me, and with my 
right hand placed my revolver in the face of 
the rider, and said, '' You are my prisoner." 

" I told you he was a damned Yank," one 
of them said. 

I told them to unbuckle their belts and to 
let their arms fall to the ground. They said 
they had no arms. I told them to ride on 
down the hill, and I turned to follow them, 
when Sergeant Wilkins made his appearance 
on the other hill and met us at the bridge. I 
turned the men over to him and rode back to 
the top of the hill, and I could see the enemy's 
train passing so near I could hear the whips 
crack as the drivers hurried their teams along. 

Our mission was now performed, and we 
returned to camp as fast as possible to give the 
news. The next day we moved out. 

Burnside's army was in hot pursuit. Col- 
onel Woolford, who had been stationed some 
place on the opposite side of Knoxville, had 
flanked them, and the Ninth Corps fell on 
their rear-guard and almost annihilated it. 
We came into the Jonesboro pike and kept up 
the pursuit until near the Virginia line. The 
enemy's cavalry had now been reinforced, and 
they instituted a new method of assault, of 
which we were informed before they at- 
tempted it. 

By this time the nights were getting cold. 

194 Four Years with Five Armies 

and we were almost naked, not having drawn 
clothing since we left Crab Orchard. I, for 
one, had but one shirt, that had not been 
washed except in a cold stream for a long 
time. This compelled us to build large fires, 
which revealed our position to the enemy. 
They intended to surround us in the night, 
but our information enabled us to prevent any 

The proposition to employ a little strategy 
came from the Second Ohio, and General 
Carter detailed us to carry it out. While the 
enemy was sleeping in order to be ready for 
the night work, our command built big fires, 
and all moved out but our regiment, which 
kept pickets out until about ten o'clock, when 
we moved also, and by daylight the enemy 
charged in to find nothing but the fires. This 
was repeated three or four times, until we fell 
back to Greenville, and we were preparing 
for the same thing the following night. 

After breakfast a part of Company E was 
detailed for picket duty. The company was 
short in commissioned officers, and a lieu- 
tenant was detailed from Company M to take 
command of the guard. We went out through 
the town of Greenville to the female seminary 
that stood on a hill near the Jonesboro pike. 
A small reserve was left there, with instruc- 
tions to keep a vidette out beyond the semi- 
nary. We then returned, and another reserve 
was sent out on the road that intercepted the 
pike between the town and the seminary. We 

Campaigning in East Tennessee 195 

then went to the town and out on the road run- 
ning north, where the officer established the 
main reserve. A corporal was instructed to 
post two videttes in advance of this reserve. 
He called Hopkins and me out to take the first 
relief. As we went out, Hopkins said he was 
well acquainted with the road, having been 
out to a doctor's house several times while we 
were up the country. The first time, he said, 
he had remained at Greenville with the 
wagon-train for several days. 

About three-fourths of a mile out we passed 
over a hill at the foot of which the road 
forked. One road wound around to the left 
and followed the creek which flowed through 
a narrow ravine, and the corporal left us on 
the side of this hill, where we could watch 
both roads. There had been a cold rain fall- 
ing all the morning. It was now about eleven 
o'clock, and Hopkins said if I would hold 
the posts he would go to the doctor's to get his 
dinner, and have some prepared for me. 

I was not much of a hand for that kind of 
expedition, but told him to go, and if every- 
thing turned out all right I might go when 
we were relieved. The doctor lived out on 
the main road, and Hopkins was scarcely out 
of sight when a woman with a small boy and 
a sack of apples on a horse made their ap- 
pearance on the same road. I supposed that 
he had met them. I halted her and she said 
she was going to town to dispose of the apples. 
I told her I was sorry to put her to so much 

196 Four Years with Five Armies 

trouble, but she would have to obtain a pass 
from Lieutenant-Colonel Purrington, who 
was in command at camp three miles from 
town, if she wanted to return. She made no 
reply but rode on. 

Having had occasion to remove my belt 
that held my revolver, I had hung it on the 
fence and forgotten to replace it. I had some 
fresh pork in my saddle pockets, and as we 
had killed the hog since breakfast, we had not 
eaten any of it. I built a fire by the side of a 
log, with some difficulty, however, as the rain 
was still falling, and began cooking the meat. 
While I was at work at the fire I thought 
there was some kind of dead sound mingling 
with the falling rain, but I could make noth- 
ing out of it. 

The mare that I have promised to describe 
had a coat as soft and blue as a mole. She was 
about fifteen hands high, strongly built, quick 
and active, always ready to go, but not very 
fast. She was standing on the bank about four 
feet above the road, with the bridle-rein 
thrown over the end of the rails. My back 
was to the road, and just as the meat began to 
broil, I was startled by a voice behind me. I 
turned quickly, and, to my surprise, there was 
the woman. I ran down the bank, and she 

^' I did not get a pass." 

^^ Why didn't you?" I asked. 

^' The rebels are in town." 

^'In Greenville?" 

Campaigning in East Tennessee 197 

^' Yes," she said; "did you not hear the 
shooting? " 

" No; but where are our men? " 

" They are all killed and captured." 

I ran up the bank, threw the rein over my 
mare's head, put my foot in the stirrup, and 
before I could straighten up in the saddle, she 
was in the middle of the road. I heard horses 
coming as hard as they could run just over 
the hill. 1 took up the rein and brought up 
my gun, which had the stock broken off, and 
thought I would give them one shot and then 
take leg bail. I intended to take the left-hand 
road, when two men dashed to the top of the 
hill, almost obscured by rain, fog, and the 
flying mud the horses were throwing. 

I called, '' Halt! " but they did not halt, but 
shouted out, "• Don't shoot! " 

I recognized the officer and sergeant of the 
guard. The woman had already disappeared, 
and they said, " Which way can we get to the 
camp? " 

" Take the left-hand road. But we must 
get Polley, he has gone foraging." 

" To hell with Polley! " was the reply, and 
they were already dashing down the byroad. 
My mare was nagging the bit, and I let her 
go, and the way we splashed the water when 
we struck Stony Creek crossing was a cau- 
tion. A sheet of water would fly up in front 
of me that I could not see through. In some 
places the road followed the creek a hun- 
dred yards or more. I now realized the dis- 

198 Four Years with Five Armies 

advantage I had from the mare I rode. Her 
hoofs were soft and would not hold the nails. 
I had not gone five miles until she was bare- 
footed all around. I heard every shoe whiz 
through the air, and one went straight up by 
my head. The last shoe was gone, and the 
hoof was liable to break next, and then I 
would be on foot. I could not bring them to 
a halt, although the horses had all begun to 
show signs of fatigue, and had to be urged to 
keep from slacking their gait. After travel- 
ing the main road about six miles we arrived 
at Maloney's store. 

There was a cross-road from the pike, and 
we met the farmers that lived near it driving 
their stock to the mountains. They said a 
courier had notified them that the Second 
would fall back to Bull's Gap. We discussed 
the situation, and argued as to what was best 
to do. I contended that we should travel the 
cross-road to the pike and meet the regiment, 
but they said we would fall into the hands of 
the enemy. 

I said that the Second would not stampede. 
Unless they did, we would have plenty of time 
to reach the pike before they passed. I argued 
that it was policy to get to the regiment at the 
earliest possible moment to save ourselves 
from censure. As they were in the majority 
by rank and numbers, we continued our jour- 
ney, and arrived at Bull's Gap a little after 
dark. We reported to General Carter, in 
command there at that time. 



MAN and beast were covered with 
mud. Blankets and clothes were 
wet, and our boots were full of 
water. I held the horses while the 
others went in and told the lamentable tale, 
that was bad enough at best. They pictured 
it in its worst colors, and told of the capture 
of the guard which they had been in command 
of, which I feared was too true. They were 
sure the regiment had been captured. I con- 
sidered this erroneous, and not calculated to 
help us in any way. 

General Carter heard their story, and from 
the tone of his voice I knew he gave it but 
little credence. He told them to go to his 
boarding-house and put up for the night and 
report to him for orders in the morning. The 
General and his headquarters people slept in 
their tents, but took their meals and stabled 
their stock at the hotel. The buildings were 
of hewed logs and had been erected to accom- 
modate many people. Each stable had five 
or six cribs and was surrounded by a shed. 

Our first care was our horses. We went to 
the stable, where the horses were already in 
great numbers, and with no light it was some 


200 Four Years with Five Armies 

time before room could be made for us. We 
succeeded at last in getting them comfortably 
cared for, and went to the house, a large 
double one, two stories high, with huge fire- 
places. They had blazing fires and the rooms 
were well lighted. It looked nice and com- 
fortable. One of the large rooms was used for 
a dining-room and the other for a sitting- 
room. The kitchen was built by itself, as 
was the usual custom in the South. 

The house was crowded with officers, wait- 
ing supper. We took seats near the fire, and 
the steam soon began to rise from our wet 

The table had been cleared after one supper, 
and we had to wait until it was prepared 
again. Supper was announced and we sat 

The fate of my comrades being uncertain, 
my thoughts were very sad. Every once in a 
while my thoughts were interrupted by the 
declaration from my companions, who were 
talking to each other, that the regiment were 
prisoners. The more they talked it, the more, 
firmly they became convinced of it, and the 
more ridiculous it appeared to me. 

After we had finished supper we took seats 
by the fire, until another table full of officers 
took their seats. Then we went to the stable, 
with our clothes still wet and smoking from 
the eflfect of the fire. We became suddenly 
cold, for the air felt like ice as soon as we got 
outside. Our teeth began to chatter as if we 

More Tennessee Service 20l 

had chills, and we made all haste to get under 
cover. We went into the hay loft, and each of 
us dug a hole in the hay, spread the muddy 
blankets, pulled off our boots, and crawled in 
with our coats on. Then we reached out with 
one hand and pulled the loose hay over us, 
and were soon warm and went to sleep. 

In the morning we crawled out, fed the 
horses, and prepared for breakfast. We were 
a motley looking set, to be sure, to sit down 
with officers in their polished uniforms. It 
made but little difference to me, as there 
would be no attention paid to a private's uni- 
form, clean or dirty. With the others it was 
different They brushed and scraped to re- 
move the mud and wrinkles that had dried in 
their clothes. It was of no use. The cloth 
showed the hard usage it had received. 

General Carter took breakfast at the first 
table, and most of the meal was eaten in si- 
lence. At last one of the staff officers ventured 
to ask the General about the man who had 
come in the night before and reported the 
Second Ohio had been captured by the enemy. 
The General gave the staff officer to under- 
stand that he discredited the report and he 
finished the conversation by saying, '^ Lieu- 
tenant, you can report to your regiment this 
morning." Then the staff knew that they 
were sitting at the table with the man in 

Breakfast finished, we saddled up, and they 
led out on the back track. I followed close 

202 Four Years with Five Armies 

behind, and had I been a stranger and listened 
to what they said I would have believed 
that the boys on picket were all lost except 

This doleful tale made me feel bad, and I 
was comforted by saying to myself : " You 
know those boys too well to believe any such 
thing. You, too, escaped from the place, why 
might not some of them have done likewise. 
They are as full of resources as you ever dared 
to be. As for moral courage, they can dis- 
count either of you. Your trip to Bull's Gap 
is proof of this." 

While I was thinking about it, we came to 
a camp of those men from the regiment who 
had had disabled horses and had been ordered 
out in advance. Among them was Jim New- 
ton, who had been in our detail. He was 
mounted on a mule, and had made his escape 
after a desperate run. 

From them we learned the true state of the 
case and of the capture of some of our boys, 
and of the hard run for liberty made by the 

There was a pond of water by the side of 
the pike between Greenville and our camp, 
where we used to water in passing that way. 
While those who had escaped were passing 
it, Newton's mule dashed into the pond to 
drink: It was then the rider used the ex- 
pression that afterward became famous: 
'' Damn a mule! He hain't got no more sense 
than to try to drink in a scare like this." At 

More Tennessee Service 203 

the same time he dashed the spurs into its al- 
ready bleeding side. 

We learned from them that as soon as the 
news reached camp, which was as soon as the 
fleetest horse could get there, a battalion was 
ordered out to reestablish the picket posts. 
They followed about the same tactics we had 
followed, the enemy having disappeared be- 
fore they arrived in town. 

When they came to the post I had aban- 
doned, they found Hopkins, often called Pol- 
ley, sitting calmly by the fire I had built, with 
a stomach full of the doctor's best, and think- 
ing about the doctor's girls. He knew 
nothing about what had happened, and was 
loath to tell them anything about me. He was 
finally compelled to tell them that he had been 
away, and when he came back I was gone, 
and he expected me at any moment. When 
he was informed of the facts he took my re- 
volver and went to camp. That night they 
drew in their pickets, and made the customary 
night march, which brought them several 
miles nearer to Bull's Gap. 

When we arrived we went to headquarters. 
I held the horses and they went in to report. 
It was Lieutenant-Colonel Purrington that 
did the talking. It was evident there was 
trouble ahead for my unfortunate companions. 

The lieutenant resigned and the sergeant 
had to take his place in the ranks. We rode 
to the company, and were greeted with shouts 
and jeers, such as, '^ Can't stand a scare better 

204 Four Years with Five Armies 

than that," and everything else that would 
make a fellow feel unpleasant. As I felt in 
no way responsible, I did not take it to heart 
very much. 

Our company lost Corporal Arnold and six 
men in the skirmish. 

I looked for Hopkins, and he said he had 
my revolver, and he told me all about the 
doctor and his girls. The girls had no doubt 
waited all the afternoon for me to come to 
dinner. The curious part about it was, he had 
not seen a woman and a boy on a horse. The 
only conclusion we could reach was that she 
had come into and left the road just around 
the first bend, which was but a few hundred 
yards away, although he said there was no 
road or lane. 

We heard the stories of the boys who had 
made their escape by strategy and downright 
hard riding. Charlie Truesdale, for one in 
particular, who was hard pushed, and riding 
at full speed through the streets of Greenville, 
was saved by a woman who opened a gate and 
beckoned him to turn in. He entered, for his 
horse was near given out. She told him to 
go into an outbuilding that stood near by and 
she pulled off the saddle and went into the 
house with it. His pursuers saw the horse, 
but did not know it was a cavalry horse, and 
kept right on. After the enemy had left town 
he saddled up and went to camp. He is now 
a prominent attorney in Youngstown, Ohio. 

We moved again that night. The Johnnies 

Edward P. vSmith 

.Second Ohio \'oluiiteer Cavalry 

More Tennessee Service 205 

still kept up the night attacks on the fine fires 
we had built for them. 

The next day all the force withdrew from 
Bull's Gap, and our brigade tried to make a 
permanent stand. The enemy pushed us to 
the utmost with a superior number and flank 
movements, and drove us back to Massey 

What is known as the battle of Massey 
Creek was on a cold December day, and the 
rain and battle continued until late in the 
night. There was nothing to indicate the posi- 
tion of the troops but the flash of the rifles as 
they spit forth their blaze of fire like a line 
of lightning bugs. 

The enemy advanced, dismounted, and we 
held our fire after the skirmish line had been 
driven in, until they were close to us. A 
charge was ordered, and as we poured out a 
blaze that was plainly visible for a mile in 
length, we rushed forward, and the troops be- 
came badly mixed from one end of the line 
to the other. The two lines were now one. 

The troops engaged were all men of ex- 
perience, and they at once recognized the fact 
that a shot was as liable to take eflPect on friend 
as foe. 

In the effort to extricate ourselves a pecu- 
liar incident occurred. Each man in calling 
out the name of his regiment gave the enemy 
the tip, and they too would take up the call, 
which decoyed the unsuspecting into their 
lines. They would then be told to lay down 

2o6 Four Years with Five Armies 

their arms. Both sides lost many men by this 
clever trick. 

The night was employed in getting into 
some kind of shape, and there were only a 
few that got any rest at all. 

The Second Louisiana Tigers had fought in 
front of us, and we had made several of them 
prisoners. When day broke and before the 
fog rose we discovered a cavalry force at our 
left and rear. The situation was now consid- 
ered a grave one. It was well known that 
General Carter had crossed the Holsten 
River, leaving his trains behind to be pro- 
tected by the cavalry, and that the last of it 
had left Massey Creek only the day before. 
They were notified that it was uncertain 
whether or not we could hold our position, 
and to move back farther was not only to lose 
the train, but to expose the front of General 
Burnside's half-naked soldiers who were daily 
dying from starvation. It would also cut us 
ofif from any further supplies, the country be- 
hind us having been stripped long since. 
Many a poor infantryman had lain down on 
the roads to die of weakness. There was de- 
termination written on every man's counte- 
nance. It was evident that there would be a 
desperate struggle before we would yield. 
The eyes of all this suffering mass were on us, 
and to give way was to flee to some place where 
supplies could be obtained, and to let the 
enemy prey upon the starving infantry. 

The fog soon gathered around, and all was 

More Tennessee Service 207 

obscure except in our immediate vicinity. 
After a few minutes we were in line. Coffee 
was cooked. We were ready for action. The 
trumpets sounded officers' call, and the pallor 
that spread over the countenances of the men 
showed their anxiety, fearing the worst, but 
hoping that the order would be to advance 
and intercept the flanking party. This could 
be done with safety under cover of the fog. 
Our lieutenant returned with a large envelope 
in his hand. He spoke a few words to the 
first sergeant, who rode out in front and said, 
'^ Cause, ride to the front." 

I promptly obeyed. He told me to report 
to the lieutenant at once, who handed me the 
envelope, and told me to deliver it to the 
officer in command of the dismounted men 
of our brigade! at Strawberry Plains. As I 
passed through the line the boys all looked 
after me, as much as to say, '' We will not see 
you again soon." 

The sergeant rode some distance with me, 
and cautioned me to be on my guard, as I was 
in danger of meeting the enemy at any time. 
I felt the weight of my responsibility, and, 
half in jest and half in earnest, I said, '' I be- 
lieve you are determined to get me killed or 
captured, any way." 

His look and reply showed my remark 
to be a cruel stab, and I was sorry I had 
said it. 

'^ That is not it," he said. '^ They wanted a 
man that would go and get back, and we 

2o8 Four Years with Five Armies 

thought if there was one in the regiment that 
could do it, you could." 

^' If that is it, I would attempt it if I knew 
I would not get two hundred yards," I re- 

With no other ceremony I rode away. The 
roads were badly cut up, and I kept in the 
woods and fields until I arrived at Newmar- 
ket, where I overtook the rear end of the 
wagon-train. They had pulled through the 
mud all night, and had gone into camp. They 
said they had but little hopes of ever getting 
any farther. Within a mile of the river, the 
road was narrow, and was hemmed in by a 
ravine on one side and an embankment on the 
other. It was blocked up by the artillery and 
wagons waiting their turn to cross. Had it 
not been for the large envelope tucked under 
my belt I would have had to await my turn, 
but that gave me the right of way, and, after 
an hour's delay, crowding and jamming, I 
reached the pontoon, crossed, and delivered 
the dispatch. 

Then I went to find our company boys, with 
whom I stayed all night. We soon learned 
that the dispatch was an order for all men that 
were able, to return to the command with me. 
Only one man reported he was not well, but 
said he would rather be at the front than 
starve to death there. To go to the pontoon 
to cross might detain us all day, so we con- 
cluded to go to the ford, which was high and 
considered dangerous. 

More Tennessee Service 209 

We got information from a farmer who 
lived near by. He regarded it as dangerous 
to anyone that did not know the ford, and ad- 
vised us not to attempt it. The river was wide 
and the landing narrow on the opposite side. 
Nothing daunted, we bolted in, and about half 
way across the water took the horses off their 
feet, and there was nothing to do but hold our 
breath and stick to them. The landing was 
in the mouth of a deep canyon. The moun- 
tain terminated abruptly ^t the river on each 
side of it. The road was along the side of the 
ravine by a steep, narrow grade that brought 
us out on level spot with a farmhouse on it. 

It was raining, and before we reached the 
road we were enveloped in a dense fog. Our 
horses took advantage of that and circled 
around to the house again. When we took a 
fresh start they repeated and brought us to 
the house. It was now noon, and the fog hav- 
ing lifted a little we were able to pursue our 

At Newmarket we stopped at a hotel. After 
supper we went to the stable to take a sleep. 
People were coming and going all night. As 
fast as the women could cook there were 
plenty of men waiting to eat. In the morn- 
ing we fed the horses, made some coffee, and 
pursued our journey. 

To our surprise, we found the command 
farther up the valley. The enemy had been 
badly used up in the night engagement, and, 
instead of resuming the attack, had gathered 

2IO Four Years with Five Armies 

up their dead and wounded and withdrawn. 
We continued to follow them, but not aggres- 
sively, for the command was pretty well used 
up from the long and hotly-contested cam- 

One instance is worthy of note. When we 
came to where the enemy appeared to have 
made a permanent stand the troops were dis- 
mounted and advanced in line. When the 
order sounded to charge, John Z. Johnson of 
our company fell, and to all appearances was 
dead and was left for such. The line gained 
the position they wanted and held it. In 
about one hour John Z. got up and walked 
away. He was yet dazed, and did not appear 
to know that he had been hurt. The surgeon 
with his knife extracted a ball that had struck 
fairly on the point of the skull at the back of 
his head, and had flattened out between the 
skin and skull. After Johnson was shot in the 
head he was always known as " Hard-head," 
and he appeared to enjoy the distinction. 

Of the numerous engagements that we took 
part in my memory fails to serve me as to the 
details. I remember the names of some of 
the places, which were Jonesboro, Blue 
Springs, Bluntville, Rheatown, Bristol, Wau- 
tago Station, Blaine Cross-Roads, and Dand- 

By the 2^th of December winter had set in 
severely. The snow fell continually for two 
or three days, and attained a depth of at least 
twenty inches. We camped in the woods near 

More Tennessee Service 21 1 

Massey Creek, and only kept from freezing 
by felling large trees, cutting them into logs, 
and making fires around which we stood 
night and day. By clearing the snow away 
and piling brush on the bare ground and 
spreading the blankets on it we were able to 
get a short nap. But the frost drawing from 
the ground by the heat from the fire would 
soon drive us out. 

Daily reports came in of the number of men 
that had frozen to death in the infantry camps, 
where they were poorly clad, not having 
drawn clothing since August. The cavalry 
were in the same condition, and the squad re- 
turning last from the Morgan raid had drawn 
none since June. My shirt, the only one I had 
had for the last three months, was hanging in 

The year's campaign having ended with no 
prospect of a termination of hostilities, many 
of the strongest Union supporters were dis- 
couraged and disheartened. To strengthen 
their position the authorities concluded to 
prove that the men in the field were deter- 
mined to have victory or die in the struggle. 
To that end they gave the three years' men 
an opportunity to enlist for a continued term. 
The rolls were opened, and we made short 
work of the severe privations by availing our- 
selves of the opportunity. 

There were some little inducements how- 
ever, offered for those who reenlisted. We 
were to be known as veterans, a kind of bre- 

212 Four Years with Five Armies 

vet rank, and the unexpired time of the first 
enlistment was to be canceled and the full 
bounty paid. The new term was to commence 
immediately, with four hundred dollars' 
bounty and immediate transportation to the 
original place of enlistment, with a thirty-day 
leave of absence. 

To my surprise and astonishment, my friend 
Harris did not respond to this call. I went in 
search of him and asked him his reason. He 
said he thought when his time expired he 
would have had enough of it. I was sorry, 
but did not blame him. He was a man of 
honor and integrity. The pay was small and 
we had no thanks, and our visit to Cincinnati 
had indicated that there was no reward for 
the perils and privations we had to endure. 

With me it was different. I had left home 
to see the Union preserved, and anything short 
of that was no reward for me. 



AT the expiration of one week we had 
/-\ turned in all the government property 
X JL and were on our way home. Thus 
ended the noted campaigns of 1863. 
The movements of the Second Ohio had been 
full of toil, hardships, and perils. We had as- 
saulted the enemy and had been assaulted in so 
many different places and in so many different 
ways that memory can now scarcely compre- 
hend, much less retain it. 

We boarded a train at Knoxville and went 
to the Tennessee River. The bridge had been 
destroyed and the railroad was out of repair 
to Chattanooga. We camped by the river 
near Sheridan's division, then stationed there 
to protect the workmen, while they repaired 
the bridge. 

Our officers called on General Sheridan, 
and he told them that he had watched the 
campaign in East Tennessee with great satis- 
faction. It had confirmed him in his opinion 
as to what cavalry could do as an independent 
command, but in advancing his theory he had 
met with much opposition from his brother 
officers, who had gone so far as to call him a 
fanatic on the subject. 


214 Four Years with Five Armies 

The next morning we began to cross the 
river. There was but one small boat, and we 
went into camp on the opposite side to stay 
all night. When crossing, the wind took what 
was left of my hat, the top and part of the 
brim having disappeared previously, and I 
had to continue the march bareheaded. Some 
of the boys, thinking it easier to ride than to 
walk, fixed up a raft to float down the river. 
We were compelled to lie at Chattanooga two 
or three days for them, owing to fog and other 

I met an old neighbor, Peter Venable, of 
the One Hundred and Fifth Ohio, who had 
two hats, and he divided. We finally boarded 
cars, and moved out, and in crossing the 
canyon near the foot of Lookout Mountain 
the temporary bridge, commonly called the 
military trestle work, gave way, and settled 
about four inches on one side. The drive- 
wheels of the engine, with the exception of 
one, had passed on to the rail that rested on 
the ground. That one came up against the 
end and stopped. The train was jerked back 
and forth a few times, and when we found out 
the trouble, there was a panic in those box- 
cars. Talk about a battle, it is no comparison ! 
We looked out of the side doors of the cars 
to see the bottom where we expected to be 
dashed at any second, and it was no less than 
two hundred feet below. I seized my blanket 
with the intention of fastening one end to the 
slide bar of the door, and by swinging down 

The End of the Campaigns of '63 215 

to the trestle try to make my escape that way. 
But before I could accomplish my design the 
train pulled out with a terrible jerk, as 
each set of trucks came to the break in the 

After a short stay in Bridgeport, Nashville, 
and Louisville, we finally arrived at Camp 
Chase, near Columbus, Ohio. After being 
paid, we were furloughed, with orders to 
rendezvous at Cleveland, Ohio, March 22, 
where we remained until March 24. Then 
we went to Cincinnati, and the ladies of the 
city furnished us with meals in the market- 
house. As there were plenty of open houses, 
and we had blankets with us, we found little 
trouble in finding a place to lie down. 

We had now many new men who had joined 
us to take the place of those lost during the 
year of 1863. 

Grant had taken command of the army, and 
was concentrating his forces to make a vig- 
orous campaign in the East. He had ordered 
General Burnside to Annapolis, Maryland, 
with his Ninth Corps, to fit out a secret ex- 
pedition. The General had become very 
much attached to the Second Ohio. He had 
requested and received orders from the Sec- 
retary of War for us to remain in his corps. 
The boys hailed the news with enthusiasm. 

We had served in many different armies. 
That we were now to enter a new field met the 
wishes of all, and we were particularly glad 
that we were to go East, where the daily pa- 

2i6 Four Years with Five Armies 

pers continued to say, " It is all quiet on the 

We disembarked from the train at Camp 
Parole near Annapolis, Maryland. There 
we met the boys we had lost at Greenville, 
Tennessee, having recently been exchanged, 
and found them in a pitiable condition. We 
marched to camp, and were well pleased with 
our situation by the Ninth Corps, to which 
we had become attached during the former 
campaign, although our hopes were some- 
what blighted on our arrival at Annapolis; 
for we learned that there was no certainty 
as to the destination of Burnside's expedition, 
and that we were the only cavalry regiment to 
accompany it. 

We had prepared ourselves with cooking 
utensils, large enough for four men, at our 
own expense, and divided accordingly. Col- 
onel Kautz had made an effort to have this 
mess-kit furnished, but the Government had 
no such proviso, and it would require an order 
from the War Department, and would there- 
fore apply to the cavalry forces throughout 
the army. It met with strong opposition and 
had to be abandoned. The Second had found 
it too convenient to abolish it, and so we drew 
a few large kettles for boilers in which to heat 
water, etc., which kettles were turned in when 
we moved camp. 



ON our way to Annapolis there was 
another of those miraculous acci- 
dents. While traveling over the B. 
& O. road in box-cars, it was discov- 
ered that Logan Moore, who had been sleep- 
ing in front of the car door, was missing. Dur- 
ing the day a dispatch was received that he 
had been picked up unconscious under a 
bridge by the section hands. He had rolled 
against the door, which was not fastened at 
the bottom, and had fallen through the 
bridge, a distance of twenty feet. 

It was while in this camp that I had my 
second disagreement in the company. It was 
all about nothing, and I would not mention it, 
only that the next and last one proved of a 
serious nature. I want to illustrate how a 
simple matter may involve one who has not 
the slightest thought or intention of doing 
another an injury. I was engaged in a game 
of hop scotch in front of the tent, and Good- 
man, who had procured some tangle-foot, 
came by and pushed me over. When I re- 
proved him he was in for combat. Although 
there was no blow struck, it resulted in his 
arrest and confinement for several days. 


21 8 Four Years with Five Armies 

We remained in that camp until April 21, 
1864, and marched to Camp Parole, and on 
the 22d embarked on a train for Washington, 
D. C. Here we were quartered in barracks 
for the night. That was our first view of the 
Capital, and we strolled about the city at 

We met many of our old schoolmates and 
relations of the Sixth Ohio Cavalry. On the 
23d we moved to Camp Stoneman, located on 
the Potomac River, nearly opposite Alexan- 
dria. The ground was covered with large 
trees, but otherwise was as bare as a floor. It 
had been used for a camp for a long time, and 
the ground was worn low in places, which 
held the water from the rain then falling. A 
more desolate place could not have been found 
on the Staked Plains. When we set our dog- 
tents, we felt very solitary, although we were 
surrounded by hundreds of men and in sight 
of two large cities. 

There is something peculiarly sad about 
being placed on a bare spot of ground without 
a blade of grass to be seen. It is an unnatural 
condition, and there is nothing to occupy one's 
time and to make one's self comfortable. 
This condition did not last long. The horses 
began to arrive by company installments, and 
on the 26th our company drew theirs. 

They were tied in line, and the men fell in 
single file and marched in front of them. 
Each man had to accept the horse directly op- 
posite him. It was my lot to get a farm horse. 

In the Army of the Potomac 219 

pretty fair for everything, and not much 
good for anything in particular. 

On the 29th the horse equipments were dis- 
tributed, and I mounted my new horse and 
rode to Washington City. On the 30th we 
drew arms, and got a different and better car- 
bine than we had at any previous time. It 
was the Spencer breech-loading, with maga- 
zine that held seven fifty-calibre ready- 
primed metallic cartridges. 

On Sunday, May i, we took up the line of 
march through the City of Washington, 
marched up Pennsylvania Avenue, and thence 
to the Long Bridge, and over it into Virginia, 
to join in the memorable campaign with the 
Army of the Potomac, already on the move 
toward Richmond. 

The secret expedition had been abandoned, 
or had only been a ruse to cover the actual 
object for moving the Ninth Corps to the 
East. We joined and acted rear-guard for 
them. That night we camped at Bailey's 

The next day we moved to within seven 
miles of Warrenton Junction, and the next we 
moved to the Junction, and camped near 
General Burnside's headquarters. We were 
joined by three other cavalry regiments, which 
formed a brigade. 

A brief description of these regiments will 
not be out of place, as my story is more or less 
connected with them for several months. The 
Fifth New York Cavalry had seen much serv- 

220 Four Years with Five Armies 

vice, but, like all the cavalry in the East, 
could boast of no decided victories. The 
Twenty-Second New York Cavalry was a new 
regiment, and had not yet been under fire. 
The Third New Jersey was an old regi- 
ment but had not seen active service. 
They had been on duty in the City of Wash- 
ington, and were known as the Hussars. They 
were all Germans, and uniformed in blue 
cloth, cut after the German cavalry uniform. 

When Grant moved he had no need for 
ornaments of this kind, and ordered them to 
the front. As Jersey was short in its quota of 
men, they were credited to that State, and 
were known as the Third New Jersey Cav- 

The army had all crossed the Rappahan- 
nock, except the Ninth Corps. The infantry 
and artillery made a night march, and in the 
morning our brigade, the rear-guard, crossed. 
We were now thoroughly started, and in the 
enemy's country. 

The effect of the almost constant roar of 
cannon and musketry in front, that had been 
going on three days, was now in evidence on 
all sides, and the old soldiers of the Second 
Ohio Cavalry speculated on and discussed our 
peculiar situation. We were no longer in 
company with the ''Old Reliable Brigade," 
but with two regiments that had not been 
under fire and had done no picket duty. Al- 
though the Fifth New York had met the 
enemy many times, so far as we could learn 

In the Army of the Potomac 221 

they did not know what a complete victory 
was. But the Fifth had the right stuff in 
them, as they afterward proved to the satis- 
faction of all that knew them. 

We were confronted by the enemy's cavalry 
guarding Lee's left flank. They were contin- 
ually reconnoitering for information, trying 
to keep track of Grant's movements, and look- 
ing for any gap that would afford them any 

We felt almost like strangers in a strange 
land. Everything was so different from what 
we had been used to. There were many young 
staff officers that appeared to want to do some- 
thing, but they did not appear to know what 
to do but to make some fuss. They would gal- 
lop about with an orderly behind them, giv- 
ing orders about anything and everything, and 
creating confusion among the raw troops. 
They rode a little flat saddle we called the 
terrapin shell. 

We were busy holding our part of the line 
with a heavy skirmish line, and carrying in 
the wounded who had been left by the troops 
in advance of us. They consisted of men from 
both sides, and we assisted the hospital corps 
all we could. 

As Grant moved right along, leaving the 
rear open for the enemy, many of the wounded 
were left to be taken in by Lee's army, which 
took advantage of the gap between the Ninth 
Corps and the Rappahannock. This was of 
no particular advantage to them, but threw 

222 Four Years with Five Armies 

the burden on the rear-guard to hold them in 
check for the time being. 

On the morning of the 6th, before daylight, 
there were orders to move on rapidly, and a 
regular stampede was created by the rush 

An effort was made to move the cavalry 
through the forest, as flankers for the infan- 
try, which must necessarily prove a failure. 
Officers were charging back and forth, shout- 
ing, ^' Hurry up ; there is nothing in front of 
you; you will be cut off; the line is broken! " 
and all such nonsense, which caused the poor 
soldiers to abandon everything they had, and 
run for life. 

They would duck their heads, throw up 
their shoulders, and away would go their 
knapsacks, blankets, and, in fact, everything 
they had except gun and ammunition. The 
ground was literally covered with everything 
which could be used in camp by soldiers. The 
hospital corps had hatchets, and they cut holes 
in these things so as to render them useless to 
the enemy. Thousands had abandoned their 
fine toilets they had enjoyed in camp during 
the winter months. The jam was complete. 

The cavalry had to stop and look on, as 
there was no way to pass without riding over 
the sick or wounded, of whom there were 
many hundreds to be left to the mercy of the 
enemy. When the officers came about the Sec- 
ond Ohio Cavalry, cursing with their " whoop- 
em-up " orders, they were received with re- 

In the Army of the Potomac 223 

marks and looks of contempt. They soon 
became scarce in that locality, and we could 
now see why the cavalry of the Army of the 
Potomac had fallen into bad repute. They 
had no chance to show what they could do. 
They had been trammeled with incompetent 
officers, or, in other words, by infantry officers 
trying to handle the two distinct arms of the 
service together, to the disadvantage of all. 
The consequence was we were hooted and 
jeered at, and called all kinds of names at 
every turn. The worst feature that we had to 
contend with was a provost guard from 
Meade's headquarters, that kept in the rear 
of everything but the skirmish line. With 
drawn sabers they would drive the helpless 
sick and wounded in front of them, often 
striking them with their weapons, but the 
Second Ohio put a stop to that work in short 

Some threats were made by their officers 
as to what they would do with us for inter- 
fering with their orders, but it was not a good 
day for enforcing discipline, and they had to 
yield, and soon left us in complete control of 
that duty. 

On the 7th we came out on an open place, 
perhaps one mile square. The road ran 
across the center of it. The Fifth New York 
and the Second Ohio formed in line, and re- 
mained there for an hour, after all the other 
troops were out of sight. There was a heavy 
row of fallen trees along the west edge of the 

224 Four Years with Five Armies 

open field, with the exception of a few rods 
at one corner, where the enemy's artillery was 
stationed, and trained on the open gfound. 

The enemy's line lay behind the row of 
fallen trees, and remained quiet, with the 
usual taking of observations, and appeared 
surprised at the sudden disappearance of 
troops from in front of them. 

When the order came for us to move on we 
entered the woods, following the road south- 
ward, and saw the infantry of the Ninth 
Corps massed, lying down in the heavy timber 
to our left, with their right flank exposed, and 
not even a light skirmish line to protect them. 

We did not understand the move, and were 
as much mystified as the enemy appeared to 
be, but when we moved a little farther on the 
position revealed the facts to us. We were 
formed in close ranks, or, in fact, massed in a 
little open field, where the Third New Jersey 
and the Twenty-Second New York had pre- 
ceded us in front of General Meade's line, 
who had used his left for a pivot, and by left 
wheel had changed front. His line now ex- 
tended across the road, instead of parallel with 
it. The Ninth Corps was placed in front with 
line parallel with the road to receive the at- 
tack of the enemy, and to fall back to the east, 
in order to draw the enemy down in front of 
Meade's line. The cavalry was to move out 
and cut them off. The first sight of this posi- 
tion showed an experienced soldier that this 
was another of those plans that must prove 


In the Army of the Potomac 225 

fatal to the cavalry, and also destroy the 
effective use of the infantry in their rear. 

It also explained the cause of the stampede, 
by changing front with General Meade's line, 
which was some three to four miles long, and 
left a gap of that distance between his line and 
the left flank of the Ninth Corps. The hurry 
orders sent out had been delivered in such a 
way as to cause a panic, and thousands had 
lost their blankets and clothing. 

The wily enemy did not see any advantage 
in advancing on the abandoned ground, and 
after waiting for an hour the Twenty-Second 
New York was ordered to move out to the 
open ground to decoy them. They had barely 
got into the open place when the front of the 
column began to form into line. Then the 
enemy opened fire with a six-gun battery, and 
the Twenty-Second broke and ran in con- 
fusion, throwing together all the strength and 
energy that could be gained by one thousand 
men and horses. 

The tumult was awful to hear. The shouts 
and yells and flying dust that rose above the 
trees enabled the enemy to keep the range, 
and the shells came screeching and crashing 
through the trees. Some of the shells burst 
in their ranks, or rather in the mass of men 
and horses, and this howling mass was hurled 
on to Meade's line, which gave way to let 
them pass. It so happened that General 
Meade's tents and hospital were on the road, 
and they were torn down by the fleeing 

226 Four Years with Five Armies 

cavalry. About three acres of ground about 
Meade's headquarters were covered with 
wounded, and these wounded were run over — 
the most horrible feature of the stampede. 

The Ninth Corps then moved, and went 
into camp in the rear of Meade's line. As 
soon as the road was clear, Meade's corps 
began a forward movement. Troops passed 
until 4 P. M.^ when the Ninth Corps began 
to move out. It was late in the night when 
our brigade moved. From then until day- 
light we were passing troops — brigades, divi- 
sions, and corps — standing in line in every 
open strip of ground, waiting for a clear road 
in order to move on. It looked to us as if 
they were afraid to sit down and take a little 
rest while they had the opportunity. 

They were all General McClellan's old 
army, and they now firmly believed they were 
whipped and on the retreat. Little Mac was 
the watchword, and thousands of times we 
heard the shout, and, indeed, we needed Little 
Mac to pull us out of this scrape! 

" You Western men don't know how to re- 

To this we would retort, "You are right; 
stay with Grant and he will take you to 

The Second Ohio were the only men to 
raise their voice for Grant, and then they 
would ask what regiment, and to answer was 
to bring a shower of maledictions on Grant 
and Western men in general, with shouts 

In the Army of the Potomac 227 

from all quarters, " Five dollars for a dead 
cavalryman! " 

We told them we would show them yet that 
there was one cavalry regiment that knew as 
much about fighting as they did, and if they 
had the nerve to stick to Grant he would 
prove to them he had not studied the art of 
retreat. This war of words was kept up all 
night. By daylight we had passed every- 
thing that was able to move, but we were sur- 
rounded by the dead and wounded that had 
been left by the corps in front that had moved 
and left the field to its fate. There had been 
charges and countercharges, as the uniforms 
of the dead indicated, blue and gray being in- 

We carried the wounded to the main road, 
where we halted. In one place was an old 
log-house, with a cleared field near it, that 
was covered with victims of the fierce strug- 
gle that had been going on there for the two 
previous days. 

In carrying the wounded we took them as 
we came to them, and carried them to the 
house that they might be protected from the 
sun. When they carried one Johnnie in he 
recognized his brother who had been brought 
in before him. They had fallen within a few 
yards of each other, but neither one knew that 
the other had been wounded. 

The ambulance corps was busy conveying 
away the wounded, but was altogether inade- 
quate for the occasion. Meade's corps flanked 

228 Four Years with Five Armies 

this part of the road altogether, and in an en- 
gagement to our left the woods took fire, and 
the fire was consuming everything before it. 
The hot black smoke drove us out, and it was 
impossible to save the hundreds that were 
doomed to perish in its ravages. But the bul- 
let and fire were not the only messengers that 
called for men. I saw one man lying on his 
back, waving a piece of paper, and when I 
approached him he could not speak, but he 
smiled when he handed the paper to show that 
he had leave from his surgeon to be absent on 
account of sickness. 

At another place a boy not more than seven- 
teen had sat down on the log step of an empty 
cabin. He leaned back with his knapsack 
resting on the floor of the porch with his 
shoulders on it, and his hands folded across 
his breast with a peaceful look on his face, as 
if asleep, but he was cold and stiff. There was 
nothing to indicate the cause of death. 

We camped on the field of Chancellorsville, 
and during the afternoon a soldier in some of 
the infantry camps cut his throat with a razor. 

We lay on our arms that night on the 
ground where the first battle of Chancellors- 
ville had been fought. The ground was cov- 
ered with the bones of those that had fallen 
the year before, and the corpses of those that 
had just fallen. We threw out a skirmish 
line in the woods where Stonewall Jackson's 
brigade had massed, a spot designated by hun- 
dreds of graves marked " Stonewall's Bri- 

In the Army of the Potomac 22^ 

gade " on a rough board at the head of each 

It was in a pine wood, and most all the 
trees were shattered or trimmed by shot, shell, 
and minies. The trunks of some of the large 
ones had been pierced, and the tops hung 
down. In passing through these woods to 
and from the vidette line in the dark and on 
rainy nights, horses would plunge into the 
half-filled graves, then full of a yellow look- 
ing water that would splash all over the rider. 
There were ten or twelve in every detail, 
some of whom staggered about from the time 
we entered the woods until we got out of it. 
The trooper would frequently be pulled from 
the saddle, or would lose his cap, blankets, or 
something else, by running under the hang- 
ing limbs. 

The cavalry was camped in front of the in- 
fantry, another one of those awkward posi- 
tions, and the Second Ohio had the weight of 
this responsibility. It was expected that the 
enemy would attempt to regain that strategic 
point, and in that case we also expected the 
cavalry would repeat the ridiculous perform- 
ance of two days before, for they could not 
remain between two lines of opposing in- 
fantry. It could be heard from all quarters 
that we must hold this ground or break 
through the enemy's line, and not have it said 
we had run through our own infantry. 

On the 13th the Ninth Corps moved out to 
Todd's Tavern and swung into the main line 

230 Four Years with Five Armies 

on the right center, with Eraser's division of 
colored troops on the right flank of the Ninth 
Corps. We were placed in front of them, 
forming the front line of battle, and in close 
proximity to the enemy, so near that we could 
hear the challenge as they relieved their 
guards every two hours. We were under the 
immediate command of General Fraser, and 
he required us to report to him every two 
hours. This duty fell upon me. The colored 
division was camped in heavy timber, and, of 
course, it was very dark. No fires were al- 
lowed, and the guards were posted around the 
camp. When riding in to report, the guard 
would call " Haiti" and fire before I could 
answer him, and the whole line would repeat 
it. I reported to the General, and explained 
the situation to him. He said they were all 
raw troops, and it was hard for them to under- 
stand how to halt anyone without firing, and 
he would instruct the officer of the day, and 
see if it could not be done better. The Gen- 
eral was always up and dressed and ready for 
action, and I do not know whether he stayed 
up all the time, or arose when the guard fired 
the alarm. I told him I would just as soon 
report to the rebel general, and that I did not 
think I would be in any more danger. I 
thought it was all nonsense to report to him, 
for there was no chance to be surprised. He 
would not hear of an abandonment of the 
plan, and I had to continue until morning. 
The boys would ask me when I returned if I 

In the Army of the Potomac 231 

had repulsed the colored troops yet. When 
I would start out they would say, " Gause is 
going to charge the colored troops again." 

Fortunately, the Ninth Corps changed po- 
sition the next morning, and left a space of 
some miles between the cavalry and infantry. 
The enemy made an assault all along the line 
during the day. The cavalry on either flank 
fell back so far in trying to get favorable 
ground that our regiment was completely cut 
ofif for a short time, but with our Spencer car- 
bines we were able to hold our ground with 
but little loss until reinforcements came to 
our rescue. 



THE enemy being compelled to retire 
toward Richmond, owing to the 
movements on some other part of the 
line, we made a change in our posi- 
tion. After the engagement I was detailed, 
with others, to bring forage to the front, and 
we each brought a sack of oats a distance of 
seven miles. It was now sundown. When 
eating supper Lieutenant Newton said, 
" Cause, you go with those men. You need 
not take anything but your gun and ammu- 
nition, and take one of the men with you to 
bring the horse back, as you will not need 
it, and I will send it to you in the morn- 

Wakefield volunteered. After finishing 
supper we mounted, and reported to the men 
in question, two strangers to us, one being an 
officer and the other dressed in citizen's 
clothes. After galloping for two miles or 
more, they came to a halt, and told Wakefield 
to return to camp with the horses. After dis- 
mounting we handed the reins to Wakefield, 
who turned and galloped away. 

The man in citizen's dress — apparently a 

Service in Virginia 233 

secret service employee — said, " You have 
been selected to watch this path. Spies are 
constantly coming into our lines and this is 
one of the paths used by them. We will de- 
pend on you to do your duty, as you are well 
recommended. And in case the line is driven 
in you must depend on yourself to make your 
escape. This end of the path will lead to a 
safe place, but it will be necessary to ap- 
proach the vidette line very cautiously. It is 
dangerous, as they are liable to think you one 
of the enemy. I warn you in time — you are 
liable to have a hand-to-hand conflict, for the 
men that travel this path are not the kind that 
surrender, and it would be well to go far 
enough from the road that anyone passing 
will not disturb you." 

After bidding me good-night they galloped 
away, and as the sound of the horses' hoofs 
died away, I began to look around. 

'' Well," I thought, '^ we passed this place 
to-day. It did not look dangerous, dreary, and 
lonely as it does now. A fellow that can't 
hide in this thicket, so that a rebel spy can- 
not find him, is no good." However, there 
was no good reason to evade my duty. I was 
there first, and, with the squatter's right and 
a good gun to back it, a newcomer would not 
be apt successfully to contest my claim to 

A dense thicket was on the lower side of the 
road, that wound around a low ridge, and as- 
cended to the top of the slope at the place 

234 Four Years with Five Armies 

where I then stood. The path in question 
was an ordinary hog-path that had grown over 
with briers and vines, and could only be trav- 
eled at that place by crawling on hands and 
knees, no doubt as many spies had done. I 
proceeded to do the same, and after going 
about one hundred yards, and choosing a po- 
sition about five feet from the path, I lay down 
flat on the ground with gun at hand. There 
was nothing to do but indulge in thought, and 
what passed through my mind would be hard 
to recall now. I only know that I was look- 
ing for a red-eyed, bow-necked spy to appear 
at any moment, and pounce right down on 
me. Rabbits and vermin of different kinds 
were playing hide and seek about me, but 
they were easy to distinguish from the mon- 
ster pictured in my mind. The gun lay at 
rest with the hammer set, so that it would 
make no noise to alarm the approaching spy, 
and on the slightest notice, could be used. 
Now and then I would go through the mo- 
tion of using it, to keep in practice. It ap- 
peared easy enough, and the long night wore 
slowly until about two o'clock, then, sud- 
denly, it appeared as if the fullest expectations 
were to be realized. There was something 
approaching from the front. It was evidently 
moving toward me, and my eyes had become 
so thoroughly used to the darkness that it was 
easy to see that the outline was the proper 
size of a man on all fours. I was looking for 
spies, and of course I could see nothing but 

Service in Virginia 235 

spies. A man was surely crawling on his 
hands and knees stealthily toward me. Hav- 
ing chosen a position so close to the path that 
he could not pass me, an encounter must there- 
fore take place, and the night appeared to 
have turned suddenly cold. In fact, it was 
cold to the freezing point, and I could feel 
the blood freeze in my veins when I attempted 
to pick up the gun. 

It was now close to me, the creeping thing, 
coming very slowly but surely. I could al- 
most reach it with the gun, and it looked as 
big as a house. A reaction was necessary, for 
with a moment more of this suspense I would 
not be able to move at all. Besides, I must 
know the result of my first shot in time to 
have equal chance in the struggle that must 
surely take place if the shot did not prove 
fatal. I was able to cast ofif the spell. 
Slowly I raised the gun, only raising my 
hands, letting my elbows rest on the ground. 
I was just placing my finger on the trigger 
when the object in question gave a low grunt 
that revealed its identity, and turned around 
and ran away. It no doubt retreated to the 
deep hidden forest which had so long pro- 
tected it from slaughter by the hungry soldier. 
My relief was inexpressible, and lying there 
in quiet and ease I enjoyed the satisfaction 
of feeling that I had at least stood the test, 
and, had it been really a spy, the victory 
must have resulted in my favor. 

In my soliloquy I argued the circumstances 

236 Four Years with Five Armies 

and position from all sides. I had heard and 
read of the adventures of men who had dis- 
guised themselves with bear and wolf skins, 
and I admitted, for the sake of argument, 
that it was possible to do the same with a hog 
skin, but it was not likely that a spy in such 
disguise would have discovered me and dis- 
appeared in so short a time. 

I was satisfied that all danger was now at 
an end from the fact that, if it were a spy, 
he would not return again, and, if it were 
what it appeared to be, a hog, any spy coming 
there would meet it and turn it back, and 
that would warn me in time. In that peace- 
ful mood my mind turned to a different chan- 
nel. After thinking over the daring ad- 
ventures of Daniel Boone, and many other 
adventures, and all the novel and ghost stories, 
I passed to my own ghost experience. The 
first one was in my schoolboy days, while on 
my way from some night gathering at the 
schoolhouse. It so happened that there was 
no one going that way. The distance was two 
miles, and it was a very dark night. The 
road was familiar to me, as I had passed it 
twice each day for several months in succes- 
sion, and had not seen anything that looked 
frightful or out of place. When I stepped 
on a bridge that was located at the junction of 
two roads a horrible object appeared a few 
yards from the bridge, and near the place 
where the path left the road. I advanced 
cautiously, as there was no other place to cross 

Service in Virginia 237 

the creek, and the nearer I approached it the 
more horrible it became. It looked as though 
it was a giant with outstretched arms, stand- 
ing ready to crush me. When I got to the 
end of the bridge, with a desperate lunge I 
took the right-hand road, until I was some 
distance from the monster, and then I cir- 
cled around through the woods at a safe dis- 
tance, until I reached the path, was out of 
breath and compelled to walk. 

The next time I came that way in daylight, 
and to my surprise there was nothing but brush 
and fence, but when it was shrouded in dark- 
ness it presented the horrible appearance, as 
I observed the next time we passed the place 
at night. 

I thought on and on, recounting one after 
another the apparitions down to within a 
few nights before, and not very far from 
the place where we were now on duty. 

I was on the vidette line in the edge of 
heavy timber skirting an old field, now 
grown up with small pines, and a creek with 
heavy brush ran a few yards in front of us, 
and behind it was the enemy's line. We could 
hear them change guards every two hours. A 
light breeze was blowing, and all at once I 
discovered what looked like a man with a 
musket at right-shoulder shift. I raised 
my gun to be ready, for it was absolutely 
necessary that the alarm should be given as 
soon as the enemy made his appearance. 
They were liable to advance at any moment. 

238 Four Years with Five Armies 

as the constant roar of cannon and musketry to 
our left indicated. The second look con- 
firmed my first convictions. The man ap- 
peared to be standing still, and I thought he 
was waiting orders to advance, or was waiting 
a chance to catch me off my guard and slip 
past me. The more I looked at it, the more 
convinced I became that I was right. I had 
not been on post long when this apparition ap- 
peared, and my suspense became unbearable. 
I gently let my gun slip down by the horse, 
until the full weight hung on the sling, and 
drawing my revolver I dashed the spurs into 
the horse, which lunged forward, and then 
drew rein by the side of a small pine with 
my revolver in the limbs of the tree instead 
of in the face of a bold enemy. 

'' Gause, what is the matter? " the sentinel 
to my left called out in a low tone. 

" This d horse thought he saw some- 
thing," I said, and returned to my post. I 
have not seen a ghost from that night to this. 
After pursuing these thoughts so long, my 
mind had become so detached from my actual 
mission that it was wrapped in perfect secur- 
ity, and I came near going to sleep ; but for- 
tunately light was breaking, and on hearing 
the sound of horses' feet as they approached, 
I crawled out to the road and met Wakefield, 
who had come with my horse. We rode into 
camp and found them preparing to move. It 
had been rumored some days before that Gen- 
eral Sheridan had been given command of 

Service in Virginia 239 

the cavalry, and had now defeated J. E. B. 
Stuart's cavalry. 

We moved out, and the brigade all went 
into camp except our battalion. We were 
ordered to picket the right wing of Eraser's 
division, and on the i6th our company stood 
picket, the rest of the battalion being held 
in reserve. On the 17th we were relieved 
at noon, and before dismounting a staff offi- 
cer came out, talked with Lieutenant Newton 
a few moments, and rode away. 

^' Cause," said the Lieutenant, ^' you take 
what men you want, follow this road, and 
learn what is going on in front of the Ninth 
Corps. The enemy is doing something down 
there, and they cannot make it out at head- 
quarters. Return as soon as possible and re- 
port your observations." 

I rode out and called for volunteers. Of 
course, plenty of men wanted to go, but I 
thought four of us were enough. From the 
little knowledge we had of the enemy's posi- 
tion it was pretty sure we would have a tight 
run to make it. The enemy was in evidence, 
and had kept up a desultory firing all the time. 
The picket line ran diagonally across the road 
that entered the ravine a short distance be- 
low. The Ninth Corps occupied the ridge 
on one side, and the enemy the other. It was 
impossible to know anything about their num- 
ber, for we could only catch a glimpse of 
them as they passed back and forth through 
the open places. We passed the picket line, 

240 Four Years with Five Armies 

and down the hill into the ravine. This at- 
tracted the attention of the enemy, who would 
ride out on the ridge to see if we were making 
an advance. Our number would indicate the 
advance-guard of a column of cavalry, and 
appeared to puzzle them, as they loped about 
on the ridge. We thought sure they would 
attempt to cut us of¥ as soon as they discovered 
that we were not to be reinforced. We were 
now in easy range of the enemy, and of the 
colored division of the Ninth Corps. In fact, 
we were within easy speaking distance of the 
advance line of either side. My experience 
of a few nights before caused me to be cau- 
tious in front of them, and I instructed the 
boys, as we rode along, if the enemy closed 
in on us, we must make a run for life, and 
the safest way would be to keep straight on 
the road, until we had passed Eraser's division, 
then wheel to the left, raise a white flag, 
and enter our lines in front of the white 

We found the place designated in our in- 
structions, but there was only one man there 
and he was wounded. He had crawled out 
of his blanket and down to the spring for a 
drink. He said there had been a hospital 
there, and they were falling back, and had 
been moving the wounded all day. We asked 
him if he would like to go into our lines. 
He said no, they would come after him, and 
that would suit him better. 

On our return we rode quietly along to all 

Service in Virginia 241 

appearances as if there were no one else in 
the neighborhood, but we realized the fact 
that the slightest thing would precipitate a 
shower of lead. We returned and reported 
without any accident, and I lay down to take 
a good rest. 

The enemy withdrew that night. The 
Ninth Corps moved near White House Land- 
ing, and we joined our regiment, where they 
were camped, guarding the Ninth Corps 
train, and taking a few days' rest prior to 
our transfer to the cavalry corps. We drew 
ammunition, as the hundred rounds issued in 
Camp Stoneman were now exhausted. None 
of the ammunition had been wasted, but had 
all been used in engagements. 

The Second Ohio had long since learned 
to husband their cartridges, and very few 
were lost or thrown away, as it was of as 
much importance to have cartridges as it was 
to have rations and forage. If a trooper 
went to the hospital he did not carry his cart- 
ridges, but distributed them in the company, 
and we frequently picked up those left by 
other troops. 

On the 19th I was sent out on the main 
road with a small squad to reconnoiter the 
position of the enemy's cavalry, but learned 
they had withdrawn toward Richmond, and 
on the 20th I was sent out to patrol the Na- 
tional road for several miles, and returned 
without any discoveries. During the after- 
noon I paid a visit to my friends in the Sixth 

242 Four Years with Five Armies 

Ohio Volunteer Cavalry. On the morning 
of the 2ist our company was detailed to take 
a position at the junction of the by-road on 
which the brigade was camped and the main 

On our arrival at the place where the main 
reserve was to remain, a sergeant with ten 
men went to the National road to remain un- 
til the next night. The videttes were sta- 
tioned around the main reserve. The object 
of these outposts was to give an early alarm 
in case the enemy's cavalry should swing 
around the right flank. 

The duty at first sight did not appear 
hazardous or arduous under the existing con- 
ditions, but it proved to be both. In the 
evening of the 22d, Sergt. George A. Wil- 
kins left the main reserve with Corporal 
Wise and ten men to relieve the detachment 
on post at the National road. I was favored 
by not being in that detachment, being in 
charge of a relief already on duty at the main 
reserve; but the three men of the mess to 
which I belonged went with the detachment. 
They left about sundown. There was noth- 
ing unusual about it, and their departure 
would never have recurred to my mind if 
something unusual hadn't happened after- 
ward. I had my supper with the mess before 
they started, and kept rations enough to last 
while they were gone. My relief was off duty, 
and I lay down to get some sleep before my 
turn came again. I had barely got to sleep, 


George A. Wii^kins 

Serjeant, Co. K, Second Ohio Volunteer Cavalry 

Service in Virginia 243 

when someone said, '^ Here come the boys; 
there is something wrong!" 

The clatter of horses' hoofs, and equip- 
ments, was heard, and everyone was running 
to his horse. I was on my feet in an instant, 
and heard someone say, " I don't know how 
many are killed." I ran to the road to see 
if it was my bunky, and there stood his and 
Foley's horses with empty saddles. 

Hoffmeier and Corporal Wise came in 
mounted and Thatcher dismounted. They 
said Dick Baird, my bunky, fell from his 
horse while trying to jump the fence, but they 
did not know whether he was shot or not. 
Corporal Wise, who was riding in advance 
by the sergeant, said when the volley was 
fired, which was a surprise to all, the horses 
jumped in all directions. Some attempted to 
go over the fence. He turned and fired one 
shot, as the most of them did, including Wil- 
kins, who then disappeared, and he ran 
for camp. Kelly and Piatt kept the main 
road, and joined the detachment on picket at 
the junction of the National road, who aban- 
doned the post and came in by a circuitous 
route. Before morning all but four had re- 

At daylight next morning Lieutenant New- 
ton took half of the company and went to 
investigate. About one and a half miles from 
camp, Lute's and Thatcher's horses were 
found dead, with equipments stripped ofif and 
carried away. Sergeant Wilkins's revolver 

244 Four Years with Five Armies 

lay in the road with one empty chamber. His 
horse stood in the brush, fifty yards beyond 
the place where the ambuscade was located. 
The saddle was covered with blood, which 
was evidence that he had been wounded, but 
search failed to show the direction he had 
gone. He was not in that vicinity. The 
party had captured Lute and crossed an open 
field, scattering the leaves of his diary as 
they went. 

After the situation had been thoroughly 
gone over, the lieutenant told me to take ten 
men, to patrol the National road, and to re- 
establish the post at the junction, while he 
would make further search. 

We moved out, and after traveling the Na- 
tional road some four or five miles, we 
returned, passing the junction, and went in 
the direction of White House Landing, until 
we were halted by the pickets in front of 
Eraser's division of the Ninth Corps. After 
explaining our mission to the officer of the 
guard, and asking him to keep a lookout for 
Sergeant Wilkins and to render him any as- 
sistance they could, we returned and dis- 
mounted at the junction. 

We were all feeling very blue after the 
cowardly assault that had deprived us of our 
most esteemed comrades, and were discussing 
the question of making a farther search in 
the thicket for Wilkins, when a courier ar- 
rived with orders to abandon the post and 
report to the regiment. 

Service in Virginia 245 

When we reported to the regiment it was 
late in the evening, and they were all ready 
and moved out, and Lieutenant Newton got 
leave to remain with a part of the company 
to make further search for Sergeant Wilkins, 
as he had detected no evidence that he had 
been taken with the others, who were without 
doubt prisoners. The regiment moved to 
Bowling Green, and lay in line until two 
o'clock the next morning. 

The next day Lieutenant Newton joined us 
near Hamilton's Station, but had gained no 
intelligence concerning the missing boys. 
The first news we received from them was 
that Wilkins was in the hospital at White 
House Landing, having been taken in at the 
picket post of the Ninth Corps about five hun- 
dred yards from where we had talked to them 
on the 23d. 

We had actually passed within fifty yards 
of where he lay in the woods, both going 
to and coming from the post. The next 
time I saw him he told me that he saw us 
but did not know whether we were friends or 
foes, and was so faint he did not care, but 
revived afterward and crawled to the road 
and hailed the picket, who came for him after 
he had been lying there for three nights with- 
out food or water. During the first night 
he had gone so far from his horse that search 
failed to find him. He was wounded in the 
left shoulder. The ball lodged in his breast 
and made a wound from which he was al- 

246 Four Years with Five Armies 

ways a sufferer, and which at last was the 
cause of his death. 

We learned afterward that the act was per- 
petrated by some of the enemy's dismounted 
cavalry, who had adopted that plan to re- 
mount themselves. 



THE brigade, now detached from the 
infantry, was on the march to re- 
port to General Wilson, command- 
ing the Third Division of the Cav- 
alry Corps. For the first time we were 
out of hearing of the roar of cannon and the 
rattle of musketry since crossing the Rappa- 
hannock, excepting at short intervals of four 
and five hours when the troops were chang- 
ing position. 

Camp was pitched in an orchard. The ad- 
joining plantation was well supplied with 
forage, which was a treat to the horses, as they 
had had no fodder since leaving Washing- 
ton. Smokehouses full of meat, and poultry 
yards with quantities of fowls were other 
rarities after marching through an army- 
ridden country. Of this branch the Second 
Ohio made a specialty, owing to former edu- 
cation, and the other troops having had but 
little experience, being under orders not to 
forage, we had a monopoly. 

On May 27 the brigade camped at Newton, 
leaving Company E to do picket duty on the 
north side of town. After the first relief re- 
ported to the reserve, O. D. Bannon, who had 


248 Four Years with Five Armies 

occupied the post on the main road, informed 
the lieutenant that he had, by questioning a 
young man, learned of the whereabouts of a 
supply train that had been cut off by our en- 
tering the town. The lieutenant reported the 
fact at headquarters and received orders to 
take his company and capture it. After 
traveling a short distance we turned in to a 
side road, and soon came onto the trail of 
the train and followed it to a farm gate, down 
behind a strip of woods, where we discovered 
the wagons, and charged them from the word 
go. It proved to be a bloodless charge, as 
there was not a living thing there but the 
mules, which were tied in their places, eating 
corn. The harness was thrown onto them, 
and the train of six wagons moved out to 
town. They were loaded with salt pork, 
hams, fish, sugar, and beans. 

On the morning of the 28th, being detailed 
to take charge of a squad to capture some 
horses that were being recruited on a farm 
near by for the use of the army, we moved 
out, and after traveling some miles arrived 
at the place to find them gone, those in charge 
of them having taken warning before our ar- 

In the evening of the 29th Company E was 
on picket, with the exception of a small squad 
left to guard the captured train. We drove 
them to camp, and kept them until morning, 
when Lieutenant Newton received orders to 
let his company plunder and set fire to them. 

Rough Times in the Old Dominion 249 

Our company made a protest against the 
destruction of good provisions, when there 
were hundreds of men who did not get enough 
to eat from one week's end to the other. 
While it is to be admitted that plundering 
may be detrimental and cause demoralization 
when there are spoils of vast quantity and 
duty has to be abandoned to carry them away, 
yet to destroy provisions before the eyes of 
half-fed men is still worse. Especially so, 
when there is not enough to go around. For 
my individual use I was allowed to take a 
saddle horse that had been taken from a farm- 
yard near the train and was supposed to be- 
long to the trainmaster. Our mess took one 
mule and loaded it with hams, beans, fish, 
and sugar. There were many refugees, as 
usual, and we engaged a yellow boy about 
fourteen years old to take care of the pack 
and my extra horse. 

On the 29th the brigade camped on the 
Pamunkey River, and on the -^oth officially 
joined the division, although the two bodies 
of troops did not meet until the 2d of June. 

The Third Brigade of the Third Division 
of the cavalry corps of the Army of the Poto- 
mac moved out to make a feint on the forces 
at Hanover Court House. It was said that 
it was to attract the attention of the enemy 
until General Wilson would burn the bridge 
on the South Anna. 

We soon met the enemy in force. We dis- 
mounted, and advanced in line through the 

250 Four Years with Five Armies 

woods, with thick underbrush to contend with. 
The artillery followed the road to the left of 
the line until, having arrived at a suitable po- 
sition in an open field, that chanced to be 
beyond the enemy's right flank far enough 
away to have room to load and fire, they 
opened the ball before we were able to pene- 
trate the brush. 

Being on the advance line I was one of the 
first to climb the fence that brought us within 
a few rods and in plain view of the enemy's 
advance line, who were changing their posi- 
tion rapidly as they squatted about in the 
long grass, taking deliberate aim at the gun- 
ners. They were unaware of our approach, 
and the Indian yell almost in their ears caused 
them to change their position in another di- 
rection, as we were advancing in double- 
quick time. The trumpet sounded halt, with^ 
orders to lie down and wait for the main line^ 
to get out of the brush and form on open 
ground. The grass was several inches high 
and, being on the ground that sloped toward 
them, we appeared to make a pretty good 
showing, judging from the shower of lead that 
was continually passing over us. Unfortu- 
nately I was wearing a straw hat at the 
time, and as it showed pretty plain it was es- 
sential that it be pressed very close to the 
ground, regardless of the disfigurement of 
the hat. A Johnnie dropped down just ahead 
of me, and calling to the lieutenant to know 
if I should go after him, and receiving no 

Rough Times in the Old Dominion 251 

answer, I concluded to make an effort any- 
way. On rising to my knees I found it was too 
much like attacking a nest of hornets. With 
the shower of lead falling about, I experienced 
a sudden change of mind, and concluded that 
we did not want any Johnnies. 

It was not long until the Indian yell behind 
us told that the Second was in line and on the 
charge. We were soon on our feet, and se- 
cured the Johnnie in less time than it takes 
to tell it. We picked up several more before 
arriving at the woods, where a strong line was 
lying behind the fallen trees. They poured 
out a continual volley, and made it appear as 
if we would not be able to dislodge them. 
But they finally gave way before the galling 
fire from the Spencer carbines and the battery, 
which had a fine range on them. 

We crossed the road and were in the tim- 
ber before they were all out of it. On the 
opposite side of the strip of woods we could 
see them filing into the timber to the right 
and in the ravine to the left. In front there 
was a level field that broke into a ravine on 
the other side of which stands Hanover Sta- 
tion and Court House. There were a bat- 
tery and troops enough to support it near the 
station and in full view. 

Our appearance created a stir among them 
and they opened on us. We thought we 
would intercept some of them who were filing 
into the ravine to our left, and so we kept on, 
and I was so near those in the rear that the 

252 Four Years with Five Armies 

fire from both sides was directed at me. I 
stopped and waved my hat to some of our 
men, who ceased firing, and then I ran to the 
edge of the ravine and headed off two John- 
nies and made them throw down their guns. 
I then took refuge behind the bank, though 
it did not protect me, for the firing was di- 
rected by those that were also behind the bank, 
and as I did not want to be shot by my friends, 
I stood up behind the telegraph pole on the 
enemy's side. Presuming that I was one of 
their men, they ceased firing. 

The trumpets sounded assembly, and we 
returned to the strip of woods, reformed, and 
marched back near the battery, where we met 
our horses. Here our mess was inconven- 
ienced by finding that the pack mule had not 
come to the front. After making coffee, we 
mounted and moved forward to the road, then 
into the woods to the right, and dismounted. 

This move was supposed to be on the quiet 
under cover of the timber, but the enemy 
caught on and shelled the woods to a finish. 
The horses were sent back and the line moved 
forward through the open woods, until we 
came to a ravine, about one fourth of a mile 
wide, with a few small bunches of brush on 
the border of a ditch that ran through the 
center of it. 

It was about sundown, and the brigade had 
maintained a very good line. The Second 
Ohio was on the left with the extreme left 
opposite to the railroad depot, with our com- 

Rough Times in the Old Dominion 253 

pany on the right center of the regiment. 
When we came to the ravine, with the enemy 
in full view on the opposite side, they opened 
fire on us. The Second Ohio raised the yell, 
ran down the bank, and across the ravine, 
firing as they ran. The enemy gave way in 
front of us. I had already crossed the ditch 
when the trumpet sounded retreat. I turned 
back, and to my surprise saw the line in con- 
fusion, a confusion which had been caused 
by the misconstruction of the object of the 

He saw the mistake, and the trumpet 
sounded forward. We were now under fire 
from right to left. This confusion was all 
caused by the different methods of the dif- 
ferent troops. It was the custom of our regi- 
ment, being the only one in the brigade that 
had much experience, to dash forward as soon 
as we got under fire, and dislodge the enemy 
or retreat to a safe distance. 

When General Mcintosh saw us strung out 
all over the valley he thought to rally us by 
sounding retreat. Many of the officers in 
the other regiments thought it applied to the 
whole line and ordered retreat, which left the 
line with gaps in it, some going back and 
some advancing. 

I had recrossed the ditch when the trumpet 
sounded forward, and waited a moment to 
see what was going to be done. All this 
would have given the enemy a big advantage 
had not the first line already given way except 

254 Four Years with Five Armies 

a few who were still lying in small pits with 
hand grenades. When I saw our line was 
coming on all right, and someone was getting 
close range on me, I crossed the ditch and 
ran for the opposite bank of the ravine, then 
an old stock-field. When going up the bank 
some fellow tossed a hand grenade up in front 
of me, and there were several more all along 
the bank; but they were ineffectual, as those 
who threw them did not have the strength 
to cast them far enough. 

When we came to the top of the bank, we 
were met with a fresh volley reserved for our 
reception, but fired too soon to do any dam- 
age. Only two of us were at the top of the 
bank, neither of whom was hit. The others 
were on low ground. The shower went over 
them like a swarm of bees, but it brought out 
the order to lie down. We dropped flat be- 
tween the rows of dead corn-stalks, and they 
had a woeful sound when struck by bullets. 
It was now dark, and Hays, who lay near me, 
said, '^ I am going to get back under the 

'^ Lie still," I said, " we are safer here." 
But he went, and I was left, the only rep- 
resentative on the high ground, and the boys 
were now calling to me to come back. But 
I hugged the ground the tighter, and was 
covered with dirt kicked up by the spatter of 
bullets. It appeared to me as if every corn- 
stalk in that field was hit. The fight was now 
general from one end of the line to the other, 

Rough Times in the Old Dominion 255 

and to the left the roar and shouts and yells 
of every description filled the air and indi- 
cated that something decisive must soon take 
place. In a few moments the din of battle 
ceased, and everything was as quiet as a May 
morning for a moment, then a cheer arose 
from the left of the line and passed to the 
right, telling us that the victory was ours. 

The enemy had abandoned the field, leav- 
ing dead and wounded behind them. A des- 
perate hand-to-hand conflict took place be- 
tween the enemy's right, in possession of the 
railroad depot, and one battalion of the Sec- 
ond Ohio, who had closed in so close that 
shooting was abandoned, and guns were used 
as clubs on both sides. Our men gained a 
position that compelled their whole line to 
retire. We moved on to the ground they 
abandoned. Many dead and wounded were 
lying about, uncared for. 

About eleven o'clock our horses came up. 
Our mess had to borrow some rations to get 
a little supper. A detail was sent to the pack- 
train, and brought some rations, which were 
issued about two o'clock with orders to get 

I did not have much rest that night. A 
wounded Johnnie lay in front of us who kept 
calling for water, and I made three different 
trips to supply him. 

'^ Where did you Yanks come from?" he 
said. " We never heard anybody 3^ell like 
that, and thought it was an infantry charge." 

2^6 Four Years with Five Armies 

"We learned it from the Indians," I said. 

The first charge we made in the morning 
deceived our own brigade, who could not see 
us, and the yell caused them to think they 
were flanked by the rebel infantry. It was 
said that some of them broke and ran. 

We moved out a few minutes after two 
o'clock in the direction of the enemy. Our 
mess ate hard tack and bacon without cofifee. 
The column moved very slowly, and the ad- 
vance had to feel their way through the pine 
woods. The Second occupied the position of 
left center, and were followed by one regi- 
ment and the pack-train. 

When the advance arrived at Ashland Sta- 
tion an order was sent back to patrol the by- 
road that led out into the timber on either 
side of the main road, and I was sent out on 
one of those roads with three men. 

We had traveled but a few hundred yards 
when two men stepped from behind trees and 
fired at us. They were some distance away, 
and we ran toward them; but the forest was 
heavy and swampy, and it was our duty to 
return and report as soon as possible. I 
told the lieutenant we had run against two 
bushwhackers, who were in reality the 
videttes of a heavy force that had withdrawn 
from the road in order to let the column pass 
into their lines. Another party had been sent 
out on the other side on a similar road, and 
Ed. Kelley, one of the party, had captured 
one of the videttes, and brought him in. 

Rough Times in the Old Dominion 257 

When Kelley found himself encumbered 
with a prisoner he asked the lieutenant what 
to do with the man. The answer was : " Keep 
watch over him, or take him to the rear- 
guard." Kelley did not want to watch him, 
and started back to the rear. 

The boys who were taken prisoners that 
day tell a good joke about him, but he denies 
it in part. As they started, Kelley said, 
" Now, Johnnie, I see you have a watch there. 
The other fellows will take it, so you might 
as well give it to me." When he had the 
watch, he said, '^ Now, Johnnie, I don't want 
to impose on you, just because you are a pris- 
oner; but necessity requires that we make 
pretty good time." The prisoner double- 
quicked along by the First Connecticut for a 
short distance, then took a by-road, and met 
the head of the enemy's column as they closed 
in on our column. There was a platoon of 
twenty with drawn revolvers and they de- 
manded the surrender of Kelley. The guard 
became the prisoner, and the Johnnie then 
said, " Yank, I see you have some valuables 
there. These other fellows will take them 
from you, so you might as well give them 
to me." He relieved Kelley of two watches, 
revolver, carbine, money, horse and equip- 
ments, with blankets and clothing, and was 
better fitted out than he had ever been be- 

The First Connecticut rushed past us on 
both sides, carrying everything that came in 

258 Four Years with Five Armies 

their way, until they landed in town. This 
was the proper thing to do, for they could 
do nothing, attacked on both flanks. They 
could not protect themselves, and to ride 
slowly would have blocked the way so that 
the Second could do nothing. 

As soon as the First was out of our way, 
the Second turned into the woods on the left 
of the road, and wheeled about into line. 
The Third New Jersey and the Fifth New 
York did the same on the right of the road, 
and the battle began in earnest. Our com- 
pany was deployed as advance line in front 
of our battalion and D company to our left 
in front of their battalion. The artillery had 
faced about in town to command the road. 
The enemy was now coming down on us in 
solid column of platoons that filled the road 
from one side to the other. The battery was 
pouring shell into them at a rapid rate, but 
it did not check them. We were confronted 
by dismounted cavalry, while a heav^' line of 
infantry fell against the Third New Jersey 
and Fifth New York, and they were com- 
pelled to break. 

Things looked bad for us, and the trumpet 
sounded the charge. Great gaps were torn 
through the enemy. The battery was now 
throwing grape into the solid column and it 
was almost annihilated. The air was now 
thick with smoke, flying leaves, limbs, bark, 
and other missiles. By the time I had passed 
the enemy's advance line the trumpet sounded 

Rough Times in the Old Dominion 259 

retreat, and I said to a foe in front of me, 
^' If I get out of this mess I will want some- 
thing to show that I have been here." Then 
I turned my horse around him, making a com- 
plete about face, placed the muzzle of the 
gun at his right shoulder and demanded his 
revolver; but I was compelled to repeat the 
demand the third time, when he drew it from 
the scabbard and handed it to me, hilt first. 
As he handed it up I noticed that it was of 
a different pattern from any I had ever seen, 
and shoving it under my belt I gave the order 
forward. As we passed through his line, 
two of his men rose up from behind the bush 
and fired, leaving powder buried in my 

When we had advanced a little farther, 
Dixie met us, and called out, '^ You got one, 
did you, Gause?" 

" Yes, take him to the rear, will you? " 

"All right," he replied; "but the Fifth 
New York has gone to h ! " 

On turning I noticed Company D go en 
masse up the road toward the front, which 
proved there was a desperate struggle on. 
When Dixie left me, thinking I would give 
the enemy another shot, 1 rode behind a 
large pine tree for protection and to rest the 
gun, and when about to pull the trigger, down 
went my horse. The collapse was so sudden 
that there was not time to get my balance, and 
he rolled over on my leg. With a desperate 
effort, I was able to get out by leaving my 

26o Four Years with Five Armies 

boot. My only thought when we went down 
was to save the gun and ammunition, and 
without changing my mind I went ske- 
daddling on all fours. 

After putting a little brush between the 
enemy and me, I rose up, and with a few^ 
bounds I was with the company. They were 
startled to see me, for when I went down, 
Keiper, who had been looking through an 
open place, supposed I was killed, and had 
made the remark, ^' Gause is gone." The 
word had been repeated and they took it for 
granted. They said some of the boys had 
been wounded and I could go and get one of 
their horses. There was no time to be lost, and 
I was off with a bound, and as I arrived on 
the open ground an officer with drawn saber 
shouted, " Go back into the brush! " " I am 
going for a horse," I replied, and paid no 
more attention to him. At the same time I 
noticed they were sending the men from the 
broken ranks to the thicket 1 had just emerged 
from. The stafT officers were riding about 
shouting, '' Colonel Purrington is in com- 
mand, and you are ordered to rally on the 
Second Ohio." 

On reaching the hospital where they were 
carrying the wounded, the first man I met 
was Tommy Rees. His clothes were all 
stripped of¥ except the shirt, and he was hold- 
ing that up to keep it from rubbing a wound 
on his left hip. When he saw me coming 
the tears came to his eyes, and he said, " Give 

Rough Times in the Old Dominion 261 

me a chew of tobacco and I can live as long 
as anybody." 

I divided my tobacco with him, and left 
him, and went on with my search for a horse. 
Poor Tommie was left, and remained a pris- 
oner, but after many months he escaped and 
succfeeded in reaching some of our vessels on 
the North Carolina coast. 

While searching for a horse I came to a 
group of prisoners, and among them I found 
the man that surrendered to me. He said he 
was Lieutenant William McGalley of the 
Ninth Virginia Cavalry, and had command 
of a battalion that was engaged from where 
he surrendered to the road. Dixie was one 
of the guards. 

The firing had now ceased, so I perched 
myself on the fence and entered into conversa- 
tion with Lieutenant McGalley. He said 
that he did not intend to surrender at first, 
but he noticed the third time I challenged I 
brought the gun a little closer to my face, and 
he thought it time to act. 

It was not long until the brush began to 
snap behind us in the dense thicket, and the 
prisoners' looks indicated that they knew what 
it meant, for they appeared very much 
pleased, and evidently thought we would all 
have to surrender in a short time. But they 
had yet to learn the ways of the wily Western 
cavalry. I was either too much engaged, or 
too stupid to take the hint, although I looked 
over my shoulder two or three times. It was 

262 Four Years with Five Armies 

not long until a musket exploded behind me, 
and something that sounded like a yellow 
jacket on the wing went by my ear. It was 
followed by several more, but we had taken 
the hint and were on the run. 

Dozens of wounded horses were near by 
with saddles lying about. I threw a saddle 
on the best-looking one and mounted, but he 
could not go. The missiles were flying pretty 
thick. The prisoners had disappeared from 
sight, and alone, in my shirt sleeves, with no 
hat and only one boot, I struck out in the 
same direction they had gone. I passed by 
the village and up the railroad track, when 
a man came dashing by with a led-horse. I 
reached out and caught the halter and said, 
" You have too many horses for one man 
when others are walking." He let go with- 
out a word, and by the time I was mounted 
he was out of sight. 

The ambulance and the caissons had al- 
ready begun to move down the railroad track, 
and it was evident that someone had been 
doing something while the Johnnies were clos- 
ing in on us from all sides. The time had 
been improved by Colonel Purrington in 
making preparations for a lively retreat, and 
leaving the Johnnies to hold the bag with 
a few wounded in it. 

The story goes in this way: When General 
Mcintosh ordered D company to charge, 
it was a last ditch move, as it had to 
charge against a solid column of infantry un- 

Rough Times in the Old Dominion 263 

der the fire of our own grape and canister. 
It nearly annihilated the company, but 
hoping to check their advance in this way, 
he called a council with the field officers, and 
Colonel Purrington was the last to respond. 

As he approached the assembled officers, 
some staff officer said, " General, hadn't we 
better make some terms? " 

" You need make no terms for me. I be- 
long to the cavalry," replied Colonel Pur- 

On hearing this remark, General Mcintosh 
said: " Colonel Purrington, take command of 
the brigade. Here is my staff. The ad- 
jutant-general will see that your orders are 
carried into effect." 

The staff officers assembled about Colonel 
Purrington, and he told them to send all 
the disorganized men into that thicket. They 
asked what they would do there. 

'^ There are plenty of generals there to tell 
you what to do," was the reply. 

They rushed about frantically to carry the 
order into effect. The Colonel then sent 
word to the officers of the Second Ohio to 
put in line all the men that came into the 
brush, and to dismount and send the horses 
to the rear. The most of the Fifth New York 
had returned and reformed their line as soon 
as they saw that the Second Ohio had not 

The horses were moved back by the rail- 
road, and formed in an open field. It was 

264 Four Years with Five Armies 

there the man was going from whom I got 
the horse. I was quietly riding along, hop- 
ing not to meet the man again, and I came 
to the led-horses, and a sergeant from the 
Fifth New York rode out and inquired where 
I had gotten the horse. I related the facts 
to him, and he replied that it belonged to 
his brother who was missing; for all he knew, 
killed. He said if I would wait there until 
the regiment came, and his brother did not ap- 
pear with them, I might keep the horse. 
The offer was a generous one, but after con- 
sidering my position, we thought it better to 
be advance-guard than rear in case we should 
be deprived of the horse. I slipped down 
and gave him the halter and hobbled away 
by the side of the railroad track. 

The ambulances were bouncing along on 
the ties, tossing the wounded men, who 
screamed and called for mercy. There was 
no ballast between the ties, and it was a won- 
der the ambulances did not all turn over. 

We finally came to a road that crossed the 
track, and turned on to it. The column had 
mounted, and were now passing those on foot, 
but the ambulance corps kept out of their 
way. Our regiment came last. When our 
company passed me they said they had ad- 
vanced, dismounted, to where my horse lay, 
and had gotten my coat and blankets, but did 
not get the boot, hat, and rations that were 
under the horse. 

When Captain Nettleton's company was 

Rough Times in the Old Dominion 265 

passing there was one pack-horse, and I said 
to the boy, '' You have too many horses for 
one, when there are some that have none." 

" How am I to lead the horse, and you rid- 
ing it? " he whined. 

" I am a pretty good rider," I said, ^^and 
can get along without a leader." 

I mounted without taking the halter from 
him and without halting the horse, and I sat 
upon the pack like a toad on a harrow all 
night, and took a doze now and then. 

When we arrived at the railroad bridge, 
the one it was said General Wilson should 
have burned, it served us a good purpose. 
There was some lumber near by, and the men 
set to work and laid a floor as far as the lum- 
ber would reach, and then built fires all the 
way across on each side to make it light, and 
led the horses across, and they stepped from 
tie to tie with nearly as much precision as 
the men. Only one now and then missed his 
footing and plunged about for a moment. 

As soon as we were all across, the loose 
lumber was piled on the fires and the bridge 
was soon in flames. 

Every time a trooper of the Fifth New 
York passed us, he would apologize by say- 
ing, " We ran and left you once, but we will 
never do it again as long as there is a man of 
us left to represent the Fifth." 

We wound our way through a hot-bed that 
night. We were in the rear of the right wing 
of General Lee's army, and scouting parties 

266 Four Years with Five Armies 

rode into our column at different times, and, 
when they found out who we were they would 
run away. This could easily be done from 
the fact that they would inquire what regi- 
ment, which was a common question in the 
dark, and the reply would set them right at 
once, and they would turn and disappear in 
the darkness. 



AS we moved along I soliloquized on the 
fortunes and misfortunes of war. 
>^ Twenty-four hours before I had been 
pretty well fixed, with almost new 
high top-boots, two horses and saddles, a pack- 
mule, rations enough for four men and a cook 
for fifteen days, and now I was not only a de- 
pendent, but a usurper, sitting on top of a 
pack that was so high that my feet could not 
reach the stirrups. At daybreak we halted 
until we could investigate our position. 

Our mess was invited out to breakfast, 
which we accepted graciously under the cir- 
cumstances. We had had no coffee since the 
night of the 31st at Hanover Court House, 
and but little hard tack and bacon. 

Early in the morning patrols were dis- 
patched to scour the country, and they re- 
turned with the information that Wilson had 
not passed that way. With the Second Ohio 
in advance, we marched to the wagon-train 
near Hanover Court House, where we ar- 
rived about II A. M. 

I was soon fitted out as good as new. One 
had an extra hat, another a pair of boots, and 


268 Four Years with Five Armies 

Billy Pigeon was sick and had to go to the 
hospital. That left a horse for me; and as 
for rations, we always got something when 
the others cooked, until regular ration day 

A very significant question was asked all 
over the camp. They wanted to know the 
whereabouts of General Wilson, a man whom 
we had never heard of until the 30th of May, 
and whom we had not yet seen. It was the 
all-absorbing question with the Second Ohio, 
for he was now our commander. 

Scouting parties were sent out, and on their 
return reported one brigade camped about 
five miles from us. At four o'clock there 
were orders to be ready to march at five 
o'clock, and at the appointed hour the two 
brigades with General Wilson made their ap- 
pearance, and we moved out. 

By inquiring we learned that they had been 
camped not far apart, and about five miles 
from the wagon-train, doing nothing but 
patrolling the roads for their own security, 
and had sent out the new or Third Brigade 
to do what the whole division should have 
done, to drive in General Lee's right. They 
did not expect us to do any more than fire 
a volley and run like Turks, and General Wil- 
son would then have two brigades to cover 
him when he skedaddled. 

General Sheridan says in his " Memoirs," 
in relating the account of the distribution of 
the cavalry corps after his first raid: 

Fortunes and Misfortunes of War 269 

After the 26th to the 30th, these duties kept Wilson constantly 
occupied, and also necessitated a considerable disposition of his 
force; but by the 31st he was enabled to get all his division 
together, and crossing to the south side of the Pamunkey, at 
Newcastle Ferry, he advanced toward Hanover Court House, 
near Dr. Price's house. He encountered a division of the 
enemy's cavalry under W. H. F. Lee, and drove it back across 
Mechanics Creek, there opening communication with the right 
of our infantry resting at Phillip's Mills. Just as this had been 
done, a little before dark, Wilson received an order from Gen- 
eral Meade, directing him to push on toward Richmond, until he 
encountered the Confederates in such strength that he could no 
longer successfully contend against them. In compliance with 
this order he occupied Hanover Court House that same day, 
resuming his march at daylight. On June 1 he went ahead on 
the Ashland road, while sending Chapman's brigade up the 
South Anna to destroy the bridge on that stream. Chapman suc- 
ceeded in this work. Wilson reunited his whole force, and en- 
deavored to hold Ashland, but finding the Confederate cavalry 
and infantry here in strong force, he was obliged to withdraw to 
Dr. Pierce's house. 

While there can be no misrepresentation 
on the part of General Sheridan, for his mem- 
ory serves him from the report he received 
from the Third Division (he not being pres- 
ent), yet the only conclusion an eyewitness 
can come to is that General Wilson attempted 
to hold Ashland at long range, say twelve or 
fourteen miles; but this usually fails where 
there is an active and determined enemy oc- 
cupying the place. 

If any troops of the Third Division of cav- 
alry except the Third Brigade fired a shot 
or did any marching on the 31st of May or 
the ist of June, the most diligent inquiry 
failed to bring out the facts. Had it not been 
for the timely arrival of Colonel Purrington, 
the Third Brigade would have been a total 
loss to the Union Army, and would not have 

270 Four Years with Five Armies 

had much to do with the future operations 
of the cavalry in the Army of the Potomac. 

We were not even allowed one night's rest 
after the desperate struggle at Ashland. By 
marching with the knowledge already gained, 
and reinforced by two brigades, Colonel Pur- 
rington, had he been in command, could have 
taken Ashland and completely cut off General 
Lee's railroad communication from Rich- 
mond. As it was, the Second was proud of 
the record it had made; and although it cost 
us dearly, nothing less would have illustrated 
the difference between the methods of the 
Eastern and Western cavalry. It proved 
to them that they did not have to withdraw 
or surrender when they confronted the enemy. 

We moved out to Howe's shop on the morn- 
ing of the 3d of June. The Second Brigade 
confronted the enemy, and the Second Ohio 
was detached to support them. It was 
claimed that this was done to give us sufficient 
recognition for gallantry. This was accepted 
as a jest with the Second, for the boys 
said they did not see any honor in being recog- 
nized by a man who was willing to sacrifice 
them to save his own scalp. 

The fact is, however, there was a new order 
of things in the Army of the Potomac, and 
all their efforts to sacrifice the Western men 
had failed. 

Grant had not proved his wonderful tactics 
in conducting glorious retreat. Sheridan had 
proved himself a cavalry officer of no mean 

Fortunes and Misfortunes of War 271 

ability, and the Second Ohio, the only repre- 
sentative of that branch of the service from 
the West, had introduced ntw methods, and 
the Eastern officers saw that they must take 
advantage of the new order of things or be 
lost in the shuffle. 

In the Army of the Potomac the men that 
had been spoken of with contempt were now 
emerging from their lurking obscurity to be 
the heroes of victory, and were now striking 
terror to the hearts of their foes. 

Our reward for gallantry was lying in line 
all day and night with Company A deployed 
as videttes. The enemy advanced, and Com- 
pany E was ordered out to support the videttes, 
and gave Wilson and his troops a fine exhibi- 
tion, with genuine skirmish firing and falling 
back in front of superior numbers. The enemy 
soon withdrew, however, there being only a 
small brigade that had followed Wilson from 
Dr. Price's house. 

On the 2d the First Division of the cavalry 
corps relieved the Third, and with all the 
troops under his command General Wilson 
did not relieve the Second Ohio from duty 
to get even twelve hours' rest. 

On June 6 the division moved behind the 
main line to take a few days' rest preparatory 
to going on a raid into southern Virginia. 
We had staked the horses out to graze, and 
were getting nicely fixed to rest, when the 
pickets were fired on and the trumpet 
sounded. After saddling we moved out, 

272 Four Y ears with Five Armies 

apparently going to some other locality; but 
after traveling a few miles, we turned back, 
and at 9 P. M. camped at the same place. 

The next day Company E went on picket, 
and on June 8 went to Darrow Creek to do 
picket duty with the Third New Jersey, 
where we remained until the loth. At dark 
the picket was fired on. We turned out and 
lay in line all night, and on the nth the Sec- 
ond Ohio made a reconnaissance, assaulting a 
heavy force, apparently General Lee's right 
wing, then confronting General Grant's left. 

After returning to camp we rested until 
9 P. M. on the 1 2th, and then moved to- 
ward Harrison's Landing. It was a dark 
night, and it was not long until the experi- 
enced soldier pronounced the commander in- 
capable of moving a division. There were 
strict orders that no one should fall out of 
the ranks, not even to swing to one side to 
tighten up the girth. When the column was 
standing still the Second Ohio boys said they 
did not wonder the cavalry in that army was 
no good. " We will soon be no good, either, 
if we are to be domineered over in this way," 
they said. 

Staff officers were riding back and forth, 
busying themselves with small details, pre- 
venting the very things that must be done to 
make the trooper efficient and ready for any 

On the 13th the division crossed the Chick- 
ahominy, lay in line all night, then marched 


fe J 


B^|P^PEppi^\C "9 

kI ^ ' 



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—^ ' 1 


.., .1 


* -»l 

F. F. Rexford 

Second Ohio Volunteer Cavalry 


Fortunes and Misfortunes of War 273 

until 2 P. M,, and went into camp. On the 
14th we marched at 6 A. M. to Charles City 
Court House, and camped for dinner, after 
which we took the back track, met a scouting 
party, and a short skirmish ensued at St. 
Mary's Church. 

On the next morning the division marched 
at seven o'clock, traveled a short distance, 
when the advance met the enemy, the Second 
Ohio being ordered to the front, and by orders 
from headquarters held at long range and in 
the woods and brush, with the exception of 
our battalion, which chanced to form in an 
open field. The enemy, being behind a row 
of fallen timber, had a superior advantage, 
and had we not kept up a continual firing that 
kept them down and obscured us in a cloud 
of smoke we would have been a splendid tar- 
get for them. Our loss was comparatively 
few. Company E lost one man and three or 
four horses. 

We finally withdrew, and built a temporary 
works, and named it for the officer in charge 
of construction, Captain Pike. It was com- 
pleted on the 1 6th, and as soon as it was dark 
in the evening we moved out, and at two 
o'clock on the morning of the 17th struck 
camp for a short rest, then resumed the march 
later in the day and camped four miles from 
Petersburg. We resumed the march in the 
morning and camped at Prince George Court 
House, where we remained for a short rest 
preparatory to the raid into southern Virginia. 

274 Four Years with Five Armies 

The division moved behind General 
Grant's line on June 6 for a rest in order to 
be in good condition for the raid, but the want 
of a little experience and courage at head- 
quarters, and the firing on the pickets by a few 
irregulars that were attempting to get sup- 
plies and mount themselves, kept us in the 
saddle or on the aimless march until the i'6th. 



BEFORE daylight on the morning of 
June 22d, the command, under Major- 
General J. H. Wilson, moved out on 
the memorable raid that proved so dis- 
astrous to friend and foe, and no conclusion 
has yet been reached as to who suffered the 
greater loss. 

The troops consisted of three brigades with 
four regiments and one battery of artillery 
each, comprising the Third Division and one 
brigade of the Second Division of four regi- 
ments, and one battery under the command of 
General A. V. Kautz. 

Kautz's brigade moved out in advance, 
struck the left flank of Lee's army at Ream's 
Station, and went through in column. There 
was more or less firing that appeared to cause 
consternation at division headquarters. The 
staff, of which there appeared to be a super- 
abundance, were charging back and forth 
shouting unessential orders, with raving 
enough to create a panic in the coolest and 
bravest ranks. When the column moved they 
would shout, ''Close up, close up!" thus 
keeping the column in a cramped position 
until General Kautz was several miles beyond 


276 Four Years with Five Armies 

the enemy's line. The want of experience 
amongst the staff also caused a breach of dis- 
cipline. The Second did not care to be sub- 
jected to foolish orders from officers who did 
not know their business, and began hooting at 
them as they rode back and forth. 

The commissary stores at Ream's Station 
were set on fire, and some of the men under- 
took to carry a ham with them, but they were 
ordered to leave it, and the adjutant-general, 
a near-sighted man who wore glasses, took a 
position by a gate-post to detect those who at- 
tempted to carry anything with them. When 
the Second was passing, someone who saw 
him make a soldier throw down a ham called 
out, " Here's the man that's got the ham; it is 
on the other side of the saddle." This cry was 
kept up until he rode away, and complaint 
was made to the officers of the Second about 
the want of respect to superiors; but they 
were given to understand that they were not 
even equals, and if the officers would mind 
their own business and not interfere with the 
Second they need have no trouble with them. 

By the time these officers learned that 
Kautz was out of sight they were frightened, 
and rush orders were flying, and they would 
gallop up with a jam that would necessarily 
cripple man and horse, and it was evident that 
incompetency would necessarily defeat the 
command even if it had no greater enemy to 

Little of this work was done by us, and we 

The Wilson Raid 277 

paid no more attention to the orders. We took 
a steady gait, and the men would shout to the 
staff as they galloped by, '' You had better 
save your horse; you will need him before 
you get back." 

Before June 30 they realized the truth of 
this advice. When we reached Lynchburg 
railroad, the Third Brigade was assigned to 
the duty of protecting the rear, and the de- 
struction of the road was assigned to other 
troops, but their progress was slow. As no 
enemy had appeared, we were brought up to 

We received positive orders from the staff 
as to how the work should be done, but it was 
evident that they had no experience in that 
line. They had adopted the same way that all 
new beginners do, and in which we had taken 
our first lessons in Kentucky and Tennessee. 
We carried out orders for a short time, but it 
was too tedious, and was soon abandoned for a 
more expeditious method. We made such fine 
headway that our method was adopted by 
the other troops, and the work of destruction 
was soon completed. 

While the work was going on a few shots 
were fired between the pickets and the enemy, 
which caused some commotion. I was or- 
dered to go to the horses and have them moved 
near the regiment at work. After delivering 
the order, on my return, as I was passing the 
horses of another brigade, an officer who 
charged up also for the purpose of having 

278 Four Years with Five Armies 

them moved near the men, gave the order, 
''Fours right!" The first set of fours w^as 
being held by a boy, and the led-horses 
swung around in front of him, and the officer 
drew a saber and began striking the boy. It 
was nothing more than might have happened 
to anyone, but, more than likely, if the officer 
had given the order in a cool manner, it would 
not have occurred in that particular case. 
When he was raising his saber to strike the 
third time, I called, " Halt! " and put my gun 
in a threatening position. 

'' Who are you? " he said. 

'' If you strike that boy again, you will find 
out," was the reply. 

He galloped toward headquarters, mutter- 
ing something about finding out who I was. 
After helping the boy to get started I went 
back to work. 

On the 24th our company received orders 
to report to General Kautz. He told Lieu- 
tenant Newton that he had sent one regiment 
on a mission, and they were to meet the col- 
umn at a specified place, but, owing to the 
change of General Wilson's plan, the column 
would not go to that place, and the regiment 
must be notified of the change. General 
Kautz had selected Lieutenant Newton to 
carry out the plan, and had borrowed us from 
General Wilson. 

After giving the Lieutenant the orders and 
directions, we moved out to put them in oper- 
ation. We saw a few home guards and a small 

The Wilson Raid 279 

squad of Confederate cavalry, but they gave 
us the road and no trouble. 

Without accident we reached the desig- 
nated point, but the regiment had not arrived. 
By inquiry we learned that they were within 
a mile of us, and we soon found them. Our 
mission performed, we went into camp, fed, 
and cooked cofifee, fell in column with the 
regiment, and joined the command. 

We marched, or at least were on the road 
in column, all night of the 24th, and at 
daylight we saw a country store-keeper, with 
the assistance of some blacks, moving his 
goods into the woods to hide them. Some of 
the boys relieved them of what firearms they 
possessed. We camped about 7 A. M. to 
get rest and breakfast. After breakfast I was 
ordered to take two men, leave the main road, 
take all the horses we could find to replace 
the artillery horses that had given out, and 
join the column at Clover, about twenty-five 
miles in advance. 

Math Park and John Will Reed volun- 
teered to go with me. We left the main road 
at once, and were soon in close proximity to 
the advance of the enemy's cavalry. 

We passed ourselves for W. H. F. Lee's 
scouts, and by that means were enabled to get 
information freely. The people had hidden 
their valuables, and run their stock several 
miles from the main road, as they were all 
advised of the approach of the Yanks. It is 
useless to say we got the best there was to eat 

280 Four Years with Five Armies 

and drink. We learned where the stock was 
and it was freely offered, but as we were sail- 
ing under a false flag we knew we would be 
detected before we could get them, as the 
home guards were near by. We concluded 
to go to another place about ten miles away, 
where our chance would be better. 

After traveling five or six miles we met a 
man from Roanoke, and we inquired if there 
had been any Yanks there. He said no, but 
he had heard that there had been some near. 
It was apparent that there was something 
wrong, for the original plan was not being 
carried out. 

We had left the column only six miles from 
Roanoke, on the direct road to Clover. 
After making inquiry we learned that we were 
now only two miles from Roanoke and five 
miles off the main road. By the route we 
would have to travel it was evident that we 
must either go to Clover or return to the 
Roanoke road. We kept on asking questions, 
and learned that there were many home 
guards and a regiment of regular troops at 
Clover, and some at Roanoke, and several 
horses hid out near the village of Bonsacks. 

After getting the news, we rode away, tak- 
ing the Bonsacks road. We decided to aban- 
don the horse hunt, and when within a mile of 
the village of Giffrafif we saw a schoolhouse or 
country church with an open yard full of 
tents, and we could not tell whether there 
were any troops there or not. We de- 

The Wilson Raid 281 

cided to put our horses at full speed and dash 
by, but before we had checked their speed a 
guard posted over a low hill in front of us 
fired and fled toward the village, and we after 
him. He had a start of us and he kept it. He 
was leaving town when we entered it, and the 
rest of his companions were following his ex- 
ample. Some went across fields and orchards, 
and some horses broke loose and ran away 

Once in full possession of the town, we 
began to inquire about the Yankees, but no 
one knew anything except that they had been 
expecting them all day, and that the home 
guards had been there, but had just left a few 
moments before we arrived. We did not con- 
sider it worth while to dismount, for the home 
guards might come back for their hats, and 
there would be an unpleasant meeting. We 
started out to hunt the command, and at the 
edge of the village one of the boys said, " This 
is the place where the horses are." 

We turned in, and found a servant, but he 
could not show us the horses. One of the boys 
produced the customary argument used on 
such occasions, and he went into the stables 
for the halters. The horses were a mile or 
more back in the woods, and, as it was now 
late in the afternoon, it was time to be look- 
ing for the command. We left at once, aban- 
doning the horse hunt, and traveled about a 
mile, and met the advance-guard of the Fifth 
New York. We turned back with them. 

282 Four Years with Five Armies 

After reporting, we received no more 
orders. We went to a house and got our sup- 
pers. By the time we returned to the street 
the command was looting the storehouses of 
the Confederacy. 

A part of the column was on the move down 
the river. We took the same road with the 
column. We discussed the dilemma we 
would have been in if we had followed our 

We soon came to the railroad crossing at 
the end of the Roanoke bridge. Kautz's bri- 
gade had formed in line, and the battery was 
throwing shells into the village across the 
river. The artillerymen wondered why they 
did not turn the force loose to destroy the 

We turned off from the main road, and just 
at sundown stopped at a house and inquired 
for horses. They told us the horses had been 
driven away, but there was a mule at the barn, 
a half mile below. The boys did not think 
it worth while to bother with a mule, and I 
told them I would go down and see if it was 
any good. 

As I had no revolver then, I borrowed 
Park's. I went to the barn and found nothing 
there. I returned to the house to find my com- 
panion gone. 

It was getting dark, and I took the back 
track to the main road, and was now in the 
rear of the column. I did not catch up until 
late in the night. We went into camp about 

The Wilson Raid 283 

three o'clock in the morning and remained 
until eight. 

Park and Reed did not report, and I was 
not well satisfied with the previous day's work. 
The Lieutenant was in the same frame of 
mind, for he said, '' Gause, you will remain 
with the company to-day." 

At the same time he called for volunteers 
to go in search of a vehicle to haul Sergeant 
Weeks, who was not able to ride. The column 
moved out, and the party that went to find a 
vehicle were soon driven in by the enemy, and 
the project was abandoned. 

About II A. M. I took some canteens 
to fill with water at a spring about three hun- 
dred yards from the road, a common custom, 
and met Ralph Miller of our company. We 
rode away together, and before we arrived at 
the road we came up with Corporal Sherman, 
who was taking care of Sergeant Weeks. We 
told them of the failure to get a vehicle, and 
Weeks thought he could not ride another day. 
We rode on, and talked the situation over. 
Miller said he did not want to see Weeks left 
in the enemy's country. I told him I had been 
ordered to stay with the company, but we 
could remain behind, and if we got a vehicle 
they would overlook everything, and if we 
failed they would know nothing about it. 

The first by-road we came to we turned out, 
and learned that there were two carriages 
standing in the woods about a mile from there. 
We soon found what we were in search of, 

284 Four Years with Five Armies 

with harness all in good order. We stripped 
off the saddles, threw them in the box, re- 
placed the saddles with silver-mounted har- 
ness, mounted the box, and drove out in fine 
style. When we drove into the main road, 
the rear-guard had passed and were out of 
sight, and the enemy's advance was in sight 
behind us. 

We drove at full speed, and were soon in- 
side our lines. We were halted by the provost 
guard. They wanted us to haul a. sick soldier 
and a refugee. We insisted that we had the 
carriage for a special purpose, and attempted 
to drive on; but a guard was placed in front 
of the team, and we were obliged to wait. 
They brought the refugee and said the soldier 
was dead. We drove rapidly with a guard 
over us, and turned out to pass the train and 
artillery that occupied the road. Driving 
through the woods the hub struck the trees, 
and limbs pulled the lamps off and tore the 
top; but we kept on over rail fences that had 
been partly thrown down by the cavalry, not 
checking until we were in the road in front 
of the trains. A large number of sick men 
appeared all at once. The train was full, and 
the wagons were pressed wherever they could 
be found. The first one we picked up was 
Noble Thorn of our company, who was sitting 
by the roadside. We had not driven far un- 
til we found Lanterman, also of our company. 
Miller took his horse, and left us to join the 

The Wilson Raid 285 

We had many applicants for the remaining 
vacant seats. Some of the applicants were of- 
ficers, but we had procured the carriage at our 
own risk for the express purpose of conveying 
Weeks to a safe place in our lines, and we 
were determined to reserve room for him if 
possible. It was dark when the command 
went into camp. Miller had reported to the 
company, and notified them that I was in the 
train with a carriage. A search was instigated 
for Weeks, whom they found and brought 
along with another sick man to be cared for 
and hauled. The seats were now all occupied 
by sick from our company, and I told the 
refugees to find another place to ride. 

In the morning Lieutenant Newtofi came to 
see us, and brought a man to get supplies for 
the men and horses. With a pretty good 
breakfast, and feed for the horses, we were in 
good shape, with the exception of the lack 
of confidence that prevailed throughout the 
whole command. 

We moved along until noon, and our attend- 
ant had failed to get anything but water for 
us. We were now in a locality where there 
was nothing to get in the way of supplies, the 
country having been stripped by Lee's army. 
The column came to a halt. The advance had 
confronted the enemy in force at Stony Creek, 
and at three o'clock the sound of battle indi- 
cated that the contest was no ordinary skir- 
mish, but a battle in which victory or defeat 
must be the verdict, with odds against us. 



WITH the enemy in front and rear, a 
challenge of this character could 
scarcely result otherwise. We, as 
intruders, and already encumbered 
with such disabilities as sick, wounded, and 
spoils, with three thousand black refugees, en- 
cumbered with their baggage, could now only 
hope to protect ourselves and make our escape. 
The challenge was accepted after due delib- 
eration. The commander had held a council 
with the field officers, and it was said that 
General Kautz advised that the enemy's line 
could be successfully severed there by form- 
ing one regiment of light cavalry in front to 
charge in column to open a gap, and followed 
by those armed with magazine guns to widen 
it, and thus make room for the trains. But the 
commander chose open battle, and arrayed his 
force in line, leaving the non-combatants to 
take care of themselves. The train was to 
move in the rear of the line of battle in the 
woods, exposed to the enemy's artillery, which 
kept up a constant fire. 

It was dark by the time we entered the 
woods, and the progress was very slow, owing 
to the jam from thousands of men and animals 


General Kautz in His Element 287 

rushing to a safe retreat. The roadside was 
lined with wounded men and officers, pleading 
for a place to ride. Among them we heard a 
familiar voice, and I inquired, " Is that you, 
Captain Pike?" ''Yes, I am wounded," he 
said. We stopped and took him on the box 
by me. This stopped the train behind us, for 
the road was so narrow that teams could not 
pass. Everyone in reach was furious at the 
delay. The crash of timber, as the shells ex- 
ploded, and the yells of distress were deafen- 
ing. As soon as he was seated we hastened to 
close up the gap caused by our halt, and just 
as the horses were checking their speed the 
pack-animals crowded them from the road. 
One wheel struck a stump and broke a hame 
and one horse went out of the harness. I 
jumped down, and by guiding the pole, was 
able to pull the carriage from the road with 
one horse. I told some of them to bring my 
belt that lay in the bottom of the carriage, to 
fix the harness with, but Weeks said no one 
was there but him and that Lanterman had 
taken the belt and revolver that lay in the cab. 
He also said he thought he could ride a horse 
now, as he felt a little better. 

Taking all things into consideration, we 
concluded to abandon the vehicle, and I sad- 
dled the horses. Weeks mounted Miller's 
horse, and we set out to follow the crowd that 
was still rushing frantically by, but we soon 
pulled to one side, and Weeks lay down until 
they passed. We then fell in the rear of them. 

288 Four Years with Five Armies 

General Kautz, in the meantime, had been 
detached, and by a flank movement had en- 
countered the enemy at Ream's Station. 

It was in the rear of this small force that 
the fleeing non-combatants were rendezvous- 
ing. We went into a strip of open woods 
where General Kautz had established the hos- 
pital and they were already carrying the 
wounded. It was perhaps lo o'clock A. M. 
when we dismounted. We had not tasted a 
drop of coffee or eaten a mouthful since break- 
fast the day before. Weeks being sick did not, 
perhaps, feel the need of it as much as I, for 
he said he could not eat if we had anything. 

I began to cast about, and the first men I 
approached upon the subject told me they 
were all out of supplies long ago, and were 
almost famished, from the fact that their of- 
ficers did not allow them to forage. 

General Kautz had his headquarters in open 
ground with the artillery in position near by. 
The battle line was in front of it, perhaps a 
mile, and parallel with the railroad, in front 
of Ream's Station. The enemy's line was also 
visible, and there was a constant firing from 
end to end of the line. The number of 
wounded that were brought back told of its 
effective work. 

We knew there were plenty of provisions 
with the Second Ohio, but we did not know 
where they were, and we felt homesick, and 
vowed we would never leave Company E 
again as long as we were able to stick to a 

General Kautz in His Element 289 

horse. Time dragged slowly, but at length the 
train appeared in sight and filed into the 
woods, and began to unload the sick and 
wounded, a half mile in rear of Kautz's hos- 

Weeks said they were preparing to abandon 
them. My reply was that it looked like ofifer- 
ing our brothers for sacrifice on the altar of 
incompetency. The refugees also poured in, 
and occupied the swampy ground opposite the 
hospital, but no cavalry made their appear- 
ance for some time. 

General Kautz frequently rode into the 
woods to look at the wounded. It was easy 
to see how delay preyed on his mind, as it was 
slowly but surely thinning his faithful ranks, 
but he made no demonstration and spoke not a 
word. The constant pacing back and forth, the 
pallor that overspread his countenance, told 
the experienced soldier of the pent-up feeling 
that was imprisoned there. He knew that ev- 
ery life laid down, every wound inflicted must 
be placed at the door of incompetence, and 
there was none to appreciate it more fully than 
he. He kept close watch of the road where 
the head of Wilson's column must appear. At 
last they emerged and turned to the left, and 
to our great joy it was the Second Ohio and 
Fifth New York, and the direction they went 
caused us to think they were going to strike 
the enemy at Kautz's left and open up the 
gap and go through. They formed in line on 
a low ridge between the two strips of wood. 

290 Four Years with Five Armies 

Weeks was very weak, and I had to wait for 
him, but we joined the company as soon as 
possible, and learned that they were tied down 
by a tyrannical order to remain there mounted, 
until further orders from Wilson. 

General Kautz communicated with Colonel 
Purrington. There was but one conclusion to 
be drawn from the surroundings, and the only 
consolation was that those who were able to 
run the gauntlet would escape capture. 

I went to my bunky for something to eat. 
He gave me some hard tack and a small piece 
of raw ham. 

The wagons were set on fire by order of 
General Wilson, and the explosion of ammu- 
nition, the smoke and fire caused a panic 
among the non-combatants, and principally 
the refugees. 

Our anxiety began to increase, and every eye 
was turned to the road where Wilson should 
appear at any moment. 

Time passed as slowly as if Joshua was on 
the field of battle and had commanded the sun 
to stand still, and his command had been 
obeyed. It was late in the afternoon when the 
enemy had completed their plans, and were 
rapidly closing in on us from three different 
directions. A line of infantry was advancing 
on our right and one in the rear, and the cav- 
alry that had followed us from Stony Creek 
were charging in on the road where Wilson 
should have come. They used their revolvers 
freely on the refugees, and the infantry made 

General Kautz in His Element 291 

short work of the hospital, completely an- 
nihilating it. The fire was then all directed 
on us, the leaden hail coming from three di- 
rections. Kautz turned his battery on them 
and did some excellent work, but it could not 
check the advance, which was slow and steady. 

We broke and fled, leaving dead and 
wounded. The heavy line behind us com- 
pelled us to seek shelter, which could only be 
done by passing far enough in front of the 
battery so that we could pass under the storm 
of shell. We then turned to the left, dashed 
into the swamp, and came out near Kautz's 

We halted near General Kautz's headquar- 
ters, and found him in his element. He was a 
changed man from the last time we had seen 
him. Instead of the marble pallor, a radiant 
glow was on his face. He was active, and his 
voice rang clear as he gave orders to the cap- 
tain of the battery to use grape until the last 
spoke was cut ofif, spike the guns, mount the 
horses, and follow the column. There was 
something in the last part of the order that 
reassured every true soldier. There was still 
hope. Apparently he had not noticed us un- 
til now. A smile played over his face when 
he turned to look at a mob of several hundred 
men, among whom there were captains, 
majors, and lieutenant-colonels. He shook 
hands with some of the officers of the Second 
Ohio, and when the last gun had been cut 
down and spiked he said, " Lieutenant New- 

292 Four Years with Five Armies 

ton, take the advance and go that course," 
pointing at the same time in the direction to 
the right of his line, '' and cross the railroad 
about two miles from the station, and when 
you get to the second road, turn to the left and 
join my column on the main road. The Sec- 
ond Ohio men and Fifth New York men 
follow Lieutenant Newton, and ride down 
everything you come in contact with." 

He then gave some directions about mount- 
ing his men, and we were on the move in an 
unorganized condition. 

A narrow neck of timber extended out in 
front of us, and as we passed through it we 
discovered the enemy in front, lined up by 
a ditch. The Lieutenant ordered a charge, 
and everyone went. It was a tumult that men 
cannot successfully withstand on open ground. 
When they gave way it gave us the advantage. 
The men on the outside were keeping up a reg- 
ular fire that held them at bay or running for 
shelter. There was no halt in the speed for 
ditches, fences, and thickets, all of which had 
more or less of the enemy by them. At one 
place we came to a road with high fence on the 
side next to us, and a line of infantry standing 
in the road facing us; but they were no ob- 
stacle in our way. The fence went down as if 
by magic, and the enemy ran to right and left. 

It was the same thing at every ditch we 
came to. The enemy suffered severely at 
every turn. There is something about a charge 
of this kind perhaps not easily understood by 

General Kautz in His Element 293 

those that have not witnessed it. There was a 
seething mass of men and horses rushing on 
like an avalanche, with a constant fusillade 
from its borders that must sweep everything in 
front of it. The bravest men cannot withstand 
it, for the advance cannot check it if they 
wish to, and those who fall in front of it are 
most surely doomed; yet it is possible for a 
miraculous escape. We had one man who fell 
with his horse into a ditch, and, after being 
run over by the cavalcade, was able to walk 
into our lines. Many others never rose again. 
Few men can understand the demoralizing ef- 
fects of such a charge, and had General Wil- 
son understood it as well as Sheridan, Custer, 
and Kautz, he would have passed the enemy 
at Stony Creek, and would not have accepted 
his doom at Ream's Station. 

We encountered the enemy at least a half 
dozen times after leaving General Kautz, and 
before reaching the designated road. When 
we did reach it Lieutenant Newton turned into 
it, and he gave orders for the men to fall into 
columns of fours, without regard to rank, regi- 
ment, or company. Up to this time I had 
managed to keep close to Lieutenant Newton, 
as I had heard every word of General Kautz's 
instructions, and made up my mind if the 
Lieutenant fell I would not be at a loss to 
know what to do. 

Now I could do a little hustling for my- 
self, as we thought we were out of the enemy's 
line. When we joined the company a few 

294 Four Years with Five Armies 

hours before, my partner, who had plenty of 
ham and hard tack, gave me one hard tack 
and a little piece of ham with the promise to 
give me more after a while. He said I had 
better not eat much at first, and now I reined 
to one side of the road and waited for him 
to come along. Most of our company had 
done like myself, and were now in the advance 
of the column. We were near enough to the 
station to see the top of the building. A 
swamp was on the opposite side of the road 
from where I had halted, and behind was a 
pasture covered with small pines. 

Suddenly the warning " Halt! " came from 
hundreds of voices in the pasture. The Lieu- 
tenant checked to see whom it came from, 
when an officer in gray uniform rode in an 
open spot and demanded surrender, but two 
shots, one from Woodruffs and one from 
Miller's gun, brought him from the horse. 
With the cry, '' They are rebs," as they rose 
to fire, we went in a body into the swamp, 
where we floundered about for a hundred 
yards, now in water side deep to the horse, 
again on tussocks, and down into the water 
again, with bullets spatting against the trees, 
making a horrible din. 

The swamp did not extend far, and only 
the advance was compelled to take to the 
water. The others crossed the road, and were 
fast disappearing through the woods when we 
got on solid land, and what had been the ad- 
vance was now in the rear. 

General Kautz in His Element 295 

This was a magical change of front, and 
with all the misery or danger it was laughable, 
as I am bound to testify, not only from my own 
feelings, but we noticed several others who 
actually laughed outright as we wheeled into 
the trail strewn with guns, revolvers, hams, 
sacks of corn, coats, blankets, etc. I was going 
to pick up a ham, but when I thought of the 
poor horse that would have to carry it with 
nothing for him to eat, I left it, and took a 
sack with about thirty pounds of corn, and tied 
it on the saddle. 

The first road we came to ran around a farm 
with a short curve at the point where we inter- 
cepted it. At every cross-road we met picket 
posts, but the few shots they fired made no 
impression on our advance, and some of them 
were shot down as we ran by. 

After making several turns, and with the 
speed checked a little, between sundown and 
dark we spied a column to our left, on a road 
running almost parallel with the one on which 
we were traveling. This created a little panic 
at first. They were moving at a rapid walk, 
a gait that can be maintained by but few. The 
Second boys recognized our former leader in 
the gait, and said that we should not run, for 
it was Kautz's column. This opinion was con- 
firmed when we got close enough to see the 
Stars and Stripes. How grand they looked as 
their successive waves moved with every step 
of the horse, with none in advance of it but 
General Kautz! He moved majestically on, 

296 Four Years with Five Armies 

not appearing to notice us, while the air was 
rent with shouts and hurrahs for the leader 
and for his column that moved in as good 
order as if on an ordinary march in a peaceful 
country. It was indeed balm to the Second 
Ohio, who for the first time had become a 
disorganized mob. 

We moved on until we arrived at the 
Jerusalem Plank Road, and turned toward 
Petersburg. On the morning of July i, about 
two o'clock, we entered our lines. As soon 
as we passed the vidette my bunky and I 
reined to one side, tied our horses, unsaddled, 
opened the sack of corn, and my horse got 
the first mouthful he had had for forty-five 
hours. We had had no sleep for the same 
length of time, and stretched out, and were 
awakened after sunrise by the guards who 
came to see who we were. We saddled up and 
went to the reserve picket. They cooked 
breakfast, but my appetite having entirely left 
me, I was unable to eat. After drinking some 
coffee we mounted and went in search of the 

General Sheridan, having adopted the 
method used in the army in Tennessee, the 
wagon-train was left in a safe place near 
Lighthouse Point, where we joined the com- 
pany. The camp was located on a high piece 
of tableland, with our company camped near 
the bluff, at the foot of which there was a nice 

We were resting on the Fourth of July 

General Kautz in His Element 297 

when it was announced that Major-General 
Wilson had just arrived at the head of his 
cavalry from a raid in southern Virginia. The 
victory was not of such a nature as to elicit 
any response from me, but the most of the 
boys turned out to see them march in. 

Hundreds of refugees and stragglers who 
had been left in the enemy's line from various 
causes were arriving every hour for several 
days. Among them were three from our com- 
pany. One was W. L. Moore, whose horse 
had fallen into a ditch after we had left Kautz 
at the station. The horse was trampled to 
death, but his rider by some means escaped, 
and with the enemy's hurry to right and left 
he escaped them all, and that night, while 
traveling on the main road toward Petersburg, 
the enemy crowded him so close that he took 
to the swamp and curled up on a tussock, and 
heard them sounding the horns they had 
picked up, having a regular jubilee over their 
victory. The two others were J. W. Reed and 
Math Park. The squad that I had lost sev- 
eral days previous was also mixed up with 
that throng, and came into camp, unarmed, 
afoot, and nearly barefooted, and otherwise 
the worse from their rough treatment. They 
had been compelled to abandon their horses, 
owing to the close and persistent pursuit of 
those that had discovered their identity, and 
they had lost their arms in crossing a river in 
sight of the enemy's pickets under the cover 
of night. 



ON the 5th, the division camp being 
laid out by the engineers, the com- 
mand was moved to it. The first 
thing to arrive in the way of sup- 
plies was an order that all non-commissioned 
officers must wear their chevrons, and to em- 
phasize it, the yellow stripes were delivered 
to the quartermaster-sergeant. When ranks 
were broken, the dirty, ragged, and bare- 
footed men walked out to the tent to look at 
the beautiful things, and they remarked that 
it would be better to buy shoes and under- 
clothes for barefooted and naked men than 
decorate them with those stripes. 

The regiment being detailed for picket 
duty moved out on the 7th, taking the effec- 
tive men, and at the expiration of three days 
returned and remained for six days' rest. 
During this stay in camp the order announc- 
ing the promotions, amongst them that of your 
humble servant, was announced — the eighth 
corporal. The order read for gallantry in ac- 
tion, June I, 1864. There was no one more 
surprised than the recipient of this distin- 
guished honor, and I said, '' And must I wear 


Reorganizing and Hustling 299 

those beautiful yellow stripes? " As it did not 
appear reasonable to me that they could afford 
to deck a fellow out that way for riding into 
the enemy's line and afterward sneaking away 
hatless, no coat, and only one boot, I declined 
the rich reward. My resignation was not ac- 
cepted. Although performing the duty, I did 
not wear the yellow stripes. 

The regiment then took another three days' 
turn on picket, and I occupied the same posi- 
tion as before. The main reserve consisted 
of the company camp, each company keeping 
a line in its immediate front. E Company, 
occupying the right, was situated in the woods 
with an open field in front, with thick brush 
to the right, through which a ziz-zag opening 
had been cut to form a line of works that ran 
for miles in front of General Lee's line, be- 
hind which the enemy then was. 

Post No. I was situated one-half mile to 
the right of the reserve and within hailing dis- 
tance of the left of the Fifth Corps, and fol- 
lowed the line of works. Our vidette line was 
about one and a half miles long, and consisted 
of thirteen posts, eight of which were dis- 
mounted when on duty. Six of the posts could 
be reached by following paths that had 
previously been cleared out through the brush 
for that purpose. 

The paths had been used a great deal and 
were perfectly smooth. There were some 
barefooted men that volunteered to do duty 
from the fact that the company was much 

300 Four Years with Five Armies 

reduced and the duty very heavy. They chose 
to stand dismounted for the reason that they 
could follow the paths unobserved by the 
enemy and not snag their feet. 

When a relief was called out each one went 
directly to his post. In that way no friction 
would have occurred had the company been 
numbered so as to be even with the number 
of posts; but it happened otherwise, and 
that brought trouble on my head. The cor- 
poral in charge of the relief would go with 
No. I and then follow the line to see that the 
men had all been properly relieved, and re- 
port the fact to the sergeant. The uneven 
numbers made a slight change in the relief 
by putting a fresh man on each one, who prop- 
erly would be No. 13; but no attention was 
given to it, and in the evening of the third 
day, when making my round as usual, I ar- 
rived at post No. 7, and found there were two 
men — J. W. Reed, having occupied the place 
on my relief, and Lanterman, who had occu- 
pied it on some other relief. Lanterman had 
arrived first and claimed preference. I ex- 
plained that Reed, being barefooted, did not 
have to do duty unless he chose to do so, and 
he having good boots could get to the reserve 
in case of an attack as quickly as Reed, al- 
though the route was not so good. When ar- 
gument proved of no avail, I ordered him to 
go. But he raised his gun in a threatening 
manner and said he would stay there or no 
place on the line. The conversation became 

Reorganizing and Hustling 301 

unreserved, and no doubt the enemy heard 
everything that was said. 

I was now placed in a position that no one 
in our company had ever been in. It was a 
case in which by law I would be justified in 
taking the life of one of my companions in 
arms. Had there been nothing to consider but 
the act it would have been easy enough to 
throw him ofif guard and shoot him, but after 
a little reflection I concluded to let it go for 
the present. 

When I arrived at No. 8, who had now 
been standing twenty minutes over time, I 
found him a little out of humor, and he wanted 
to know what it all meant, as this was such an 
unusual occurrence. When I was giving the 
necessary explanation Reed came and offered 
to take his place, to which I at first objected. 
But as he insisted he was allowed to remain. 

After finishing my round I returned to the 
reserve. The news had preceded me by the 
man from No. 9. Sergeant Wilcox listened 
to what was said, and went to Captain New- 
ton, who was sleeping, and waked him up. 
He told the Sergeant to detail a man to fill out 
the relief and to take Lanterman's arms away 
from him. It was accordingly done, and this 
afterward brought reproach on my head. 
Lanterman was lying about camp with a fat 
horse and no duty, under arrest. When the 
duty was hard I listened to the boys say, 
" Gause ought to do his duty for not shooting 
him in his tracks." 

302 Four Years with Five Armies 

To this challenge there could be no reply. 
The duty on this part of the line was very 
important, and we were liable to be attacked 
at any time. It was the point where if the 
enemy should advance in force they would 
flank the infantry, and our orders, which were 
strictly adhered to with the one exception, 
were to make no noise and to conceal our 
movements and position as much as possible. 

We were liable to be shot at any time we 
rode the line, and the post Lanterman refused 
to go to was the first point of attack, owing 
to being on the road that led through the line 
of works. The other boys said that was the 
reason he would not go there. We had picked 
him up on the Wilson raid and hauled him in 
a carriage, and there was not a man in the 
company who believed there was anything the 
matter with him but fear. 

The next time we went on picket we occu- 
pied a different position in the same line 
farther to the left. The reserve camped in the 
woods with open pasture beside them about a 
mile wide, and sloping gradually up to about 
the center, with lanes running each way 
through it. It was level from that place to 
the timber along the edge, at which the 
enemy's line was posted. Our advance line 
was stationed along the fence that ran at the 
terminus of the slope. The posts lay about two 
hundred yards apart. I was in charge of one 
relief, as usual, and our orders were to with- 
draw at the first sign of an advance of the 

Warner Newton 

Captain Co. E, vSecond Ohio Volunteer Cavalrx 


Reorganizing and Hustling 303 

enemy, and to reform in the edge of the tim- 
ber. A thick brush was along the edge of the 
timber in which the enemy was posted, and we 
could not see them often, as they appeared to 
try to conceal their whereabouts. 

Everything went all right until the third 
day. One of our men, Wakefield, caught sight 
of one of them, and the following conversation 
ensued : 

'^ Ho, there, you Johnnie! What do you 
belong to? " 

" Kershaw's brigade. What command do 
you'ns belong to?" 

" The Second Ohio Cavalry." 
" I thought you'ns were in Tennessee." 
" We were, but we are up here now." 
" Are you'ns followin' we'ns 'round? " 
" Yes, we are the only ones can hold you 

They recognized by this talk that trading 
could be done, as had been done with us be- 

Another one to the left of where I was stand- 
ing spoke up and asked: 

" Have you'ns got any coffee over there?" 
" Plenty of it," I replied. " Have you any 
tobacco over there?" 

" Dead loads of it," was the reply. 
I told him to meet me on half-way ground 
with tobacco and a newspaper, and I would 
bring coffee and one of our papers. He said 
they were not allowed to let us have the paper, 
and the trading could not be done there, but 

304 Four Years with Five Armies 

farther down in front of the tree. The tree 
was near the right of our line, and near Wake- 
field's post. 

We told him to meet us there, and I rode 
along and gathered the coffee. All the boys 
washed to contribute some, and I took a news- 
paper. While riding down the line, more 
heads peeped out of the brush than we had 
seen in the two days previous, all anxious to 
know how much coffee they were going to get. 
After strapping the arms to the saddle, and 
leaving the horse with Wakefield, we could 
see the man at the edge of the brush. We 
knew he was disobeying orders in that negoti- 
ation, and we wanted to give him all the 
chance we could. I started first. He watched 
me for a moment, and when he saw me coming 
in good faith he started at a double-quick gait. 
About a quart of coffee was tied up in a hand- 
kerchief, and he scarcely looked at me, but 
kept his eye on the prize. We shook hands 
like two old friends, and made the exchange. 

"What keeps you so quiet over there?" I 

"You had better look out; we'ns are look- 
ing for orders to advance." 

A shrill whistle was heard from the point 
where he started. He said, " Something is 
up; look out now!" and started back at full 
speed. I walked quickly to my horse, handed 
the tobacco, of which there was at least five 
pounds, to Wakefield, adjusted my arms, 
mounted, and had hardly straightened in the 

Reorganizing and Hustling 305 

saddle, when we heard the exclamation, 
" Here they come! " The man with his coffee 
was just entering the brush when a heavy skir- 
mish line made its appearance and moved at 
a quick pace across the pasture. 

We dropped back to the edge of the timber 
in compliance with our orders, and were rein- 
forced by the reserve, making a heavy skir- 
mish line. They advanced in two lines. The 
advance only came near where our vidette line 
had been, where they reconnoitered for about 
an hour, and the position did not appear to 
suit them. They withdrew to their original 
position, and we reestablished our vidette line 
without exchanging a shot. We were relieved 
that evening, and after resting a few days we 
were supplied with clothing, etc. We went 
on picket in the same place, and were on duty 
there at the time the mine was sprung in front 
of Petersburg, July 30. We could see the de- 
bris and human bodies high up in the air. 



ON August I St General Sheridan was 
assigned to command the Middle 
Military Division, and moved the 
cavalry corps on transports up the 
Potomac River. The customary privations, 
such as no wood to cook with, had to be en- 
dured, the men living on raw bacon and hard 
tack, with the exception of a few that were 
able to intrude on the good-natured fireman 
and make coffee in the boiler-room. 

The weather was hot and the horses were 
crowded into the hold with no fresh water 
to drink. The perspiration poured out of 
them, and when they were taken out on the 
wharf at Washington, D. C, they were very 
much drawn, and as wet as if they had been 
in the river. They were saddled, however, 
and we moved up Pennsylvania Avenue, 
crossed the Long Bridge into Virginia, and 
camped at Bailey's Cross-roads. 

When the division had all arrived it 
marched by the way of Manassas Gap to Win- 
chester. The army there was falling back to 
Opequon Creek, and the tired troops were 
then holding General Early's forces in check 


Capture of Eighth S. C. Infantry 307 

just south of town. It was late in the evening 
when the Third Division moved out and 
formed in their rear to relieve them. 

When the enemy's line approached they 
could only be detected through the darkness 
by the flash of their guns, and as there were 
but few missiles flying, we did not know but 
there were yet some of our men in front of us. 
But one of our company, John Will Reed, who 
had closely observed all the movements, be- 
gan firing. The Captain rode out in front and 
called out, " Don't fire into our men! " " Our 
men, hell and damnation!" was the reply. 
^' Look at the fire from those guns!" The 
Captain then ordered fire, and the engagement 
began in earnest all along the line. When 
Reed had fired twenty-one shots a ball passed 
through his lung and he was taken to the rear. 
John R. Johnson fell a few moments later, 
instantly killed. 

We moved gradually, contesting every foot 
of ground. The Second Ohio, heino- in the 
center of the line, fell back through the streets 
of Winchester. Our being new arrivals, the 
people were anxious to know to what com- 
mand we belonged. When they put their 
heads out of the windows to inquire, they 
would invariably get the following answer: 
" Tell the Johnnies the Second Ohio passed 
them in to town." 

When we formed on a cross-street they 
would mass on the next one, and when the sig- 
nal was given to charge, we rallied on the ones 

3o8 Four Years with Five Armies 

running parallel with the line of retreat. 
Then they would pour out a volley, the most 
of which took effect in the houses, as the smash- 
ing of glass indicated. 

They halted at the north side of town and 
we went into camp. As soon as the infantry 
crossed Opequon Creek, the Third Division 
was detached and went on a tour of observa- 
tion into Maryland, General Early's cavalry 
then being on that side of the Potomac. After 
passing through Frederick City, we arrived at 
Perry's Ford, and engaged the enemy on the 
Maryland side until night, then went into 
camp. Company E having lost two men. 

The enemy withdrew during the night, and 
we crossed over to Virginia unmolested in the 
morning. But an engagement followed before 
night, and continued daily until we passed 
Charles Town. 

One of these engagements is impressed on 
my mind more than the others, from the fact 
that it caused a change in my mount. The 
horse I was then riding was a blue roan, twelve 
and a half hands high, pony built, and as 
tough as a pine knot, but very difficult to shoot 
from. In that particular engagement, being on 
mounted skirmish line, deployed in an open- 
ing between two strips of woods, the firing con- 
tinued for more than an hour, very much like 
sharpshooting. Whenever the gun was raised 
the horse would dodge, and often turn entirely 
around. The enemy's line being dismounted 
in the woods, they had the advantage, as there 

Capture of Eighth S. C. Infantry 309 

was nothing in sight but the smoke from the 
gun; but with all these difficulties I was en- 
abled to stop the firing from one of them, who 
had such close range on me that the air moved 
briskly about my head every time his gun was 
discharged. I then turned my attention to one 
that was causing a great deal of annoyance to 
Wakefield. We soon received orders to fall 
back on the main line, and the column moved 
out toward Charles Town. 

After that day's work I concluded to accept 
a proposal from Pidgeon, who had recently 
returned to the company from the hospital. 
He wanted the horse I was riding, in memory 
of our esteemed comrade. Sergeant Wilkins, 
who was wounded when riding him in the 
Wilderness. The horse he turned over to me 
was a sorrel with a star in the forehead, snip 
on the nose, fifteen hands high, thin in flesh, 
and, in fact, almost no horse at all. 

On August 28 the Third Division moved 
and camped near Berryville, and extended 
General Sheridan's line, then occupying a 
position on the east side of Opequon Creek. 

On the 1 2th of September the Second Ohio 
Cavalry went on picket duty for the second 
time from that camp, and occupied the same 
position each time. 

The regiment was distributed in reserve 
camps, making a line in front of it as usual. 
Company E was on the right with Post No. i 
in hailing distance from the left man on the 
line of the Fifth Corps. I had charge of one 

3IO Four Years with Five Armies 

relief, and on the 13th Captain Newton or- 
dered me to draw my men in on the Pike. 
And when this order was complied with, the 
regiment had concentrated and the First Bri- 
gade in column was approaching. The trum- 
pet sounded forward, and without further 
orders or instructions we moved toward Ope- 
quon Creek. We knew nothing about the posi- 
tion of the enemy, except that their videttes 
were on the summit of the hill on the east side 
of the creek, and we moved on the walk until 
the alarm shot was fired by the enemy, and 
then we galloped after him. 

I had eight men, all experienced soldiers, 
equal to their number on any ground or in any 
country, and dashing down the steep grade 
that curves around the hill and terminates at 
the creek crossing, we arrived at a log house, 
where we rode into their cavalry reserve be- 
fore they were able to mount, and, of course, 
they surrendered. We had gained a long dis- 
tance on the head of the column led by Captain 
Newton, who was rapidly closing up on us, 
so I ordered my men to let the prisoners go 
and follow me. 

At this point the road bears to the left up 
a gradual grade that terminates at the top of 
a ridge running parallel with the creek. On 
the ridge the enemy's infantry line was de- 
ployed, and we were within easy range, and 
they were making good use of their oppor- 
tunity. But our rapid. movement put them to 
a disadvantage and they broke, making easy 

Capture of Eighth 5. C Infantry 311 

prey for my men, who deployed at will, and 
picked them up. At this point there is a 
small grove, rectangular in shape, between 
the pike and a deep ravine. The eastern side 
skirts the top of the main ridge and slopes 
toward Winchester, and the western edge 
skirts the first ravine. 

Granville Reed and I followed the pike 
and picked up two prisoners, who told us that 
the Eighth South Carolina Infantry was in the 
woods to our left. Reed went back with the 
prisoners and I rode beyond the woods and 
turned out on a low ridge beyond the ravine 
for the purpose of making observations, pre- 
suming that the column would follow; but 
was surprised when they opened fire on the 
south side of the ravine. At the same 
time a volley from the woods caused me to 
think a swarm of bees was passing my ears. 
To protect myself I turned into the ravine and 
kept close to the woods until I arrived at the 
pike, just in time to see General Mcintosh 
with staff and Third New Jersey escort halt 
on the ridge recently occupied by the enemy. 
I galloped directly to him and reported the 
result of my observation, and remarked, " We 
can capture them." He said, " Will you go? " 
^' Certainly," was my reply. He turned to 
someone and ordered a squadron of the Third 
New Jersey to follow me. 

I galloped back over the route I had come, 
and when on the low ridge a volley was fired 
at me, and another in quick succession in a 

312 Four Years with Five Armies 

different direction. That caused me to look 
around, and I discovered the Third New Jer- 
sey squadron fleeing in confusion. 

Company E, Second Ohio, had now ad- 
vanced to a high point on the south side of 
the ravine, and, thinking I was one of 
the enemy, was directing their fire at me. I 
waved my cap and motioned them to cease 
firing. I then galloped after the broken 
squadron, hoping to rally them; but most of 
them had fled over the main ridge, and further 
effort on my part to rally them was abandoned. 

I had been wishing for one of the butterfly 
capes worn by the Third, and rode up to a 
wounded horse abandoned with full outfit on 
him. I cut the saddle strap and threw the 
cape across my saddle and galloped toward 

The enemy, who had kept up a constant 
fusillade at me, suddenly ceased firing. I 
slackened the pace of the horse to a walk and 
said to myself, " The dog is dead," meaning 
that the enemy would now take advantage of 
the opportunity to make their escape by going 
down the ravine, the banks being suffi- 
ciently high to hide them from view until 
they were under cover of the next line, consist- 
ing of a cavalry brigade about three-fourths of 
a mile in the rear. 

I arrived at headquarters at the same time 
General Wilson did, he having come from the 
opposite direction. The same old air of excite- 
ment and timorousness that always prevailed 

Capture of Eighth S. C. Infantry 313 

at his headquarters came with him, and he 
said : '' General Mcintosh, you had better get 
your men out of here as quick as possible." In 
reply General Mcintosh said: "There is a 
regiment in the woods; we want to capture 
them. Captain Houghton, send a squadron 
from the Second Ohio to follow this man." 

Major Nettleton chanced to be near with 
part of two companies, about thirty men, and 
Captain Houghton delivered the order to him, 
and I placed myself in advance and urged 
them to a gallop, and also to keep farther down 
toward the enemy's cavalry in order to follow 
the second shallow ravine. We arrived at the 
creek just in time to intercept them, and plac- 
ing my carbine in position to shoot, I de- 
manded surrender. They turned by fours 
left about, and were soon under cover, the 
bank being high at that point. 

Our men wheeled fours into line and 
charged toward the woods, and when we ar- 
rived at the summit of the ridge we were met 
by a volley that sent the line back into the 
ravine. With my eye on the foe, I did not 
notice the men falling back until a ball struck 
my carbine, knocking it from my left hand. 
When I looked around I discovered but one 
man near me. It was Miller, of Company G, 
and I said to him, " Miller, I guess we are 
alone." He replied by saying, '^ They will 
come again; they are reforming." We turned 
and went toward them, and as we approached 
someone said, " We will never get them," in a 

314 Four Years with Five Armies 

tone that would indicate no desire to make 
further effort in that direction. On hearing 
this I shouted, '' For God's sake, men, do not 
let them get away, now we have them sur- 
rounded and they must surrender!" A firm 
voice shouted, '' Gause, we will follow you! " 
I answered, '' Come on, then! " and we went, 
only to meet another volley on the same ridge. 
But the line did not falter, and before they 
could reload we were in the ravine, shouting, 
'^ Stack your arms! Surrender! " I then dis- 
mounted, ran into the woods, took the flag, 
and marched the prisoners out. 

The prisoners were marched up the ra- 
vine, and when they turned over the ridge I 
reined to one side and passed them. The Col- 
onel saluted his flag and the men said, '' We 
have followed it many times." " Under very 
different circumstances," was my reply. 

Soon after passing the prisoners, one of 
General Wilson's staff officers met me and 
ordered me to follow him, then he turned and 
rode away at full speed. My horse, being 
jaded, was not able to travel at such a gait, but 
jogged along in that direction, until the officer 
returned, twitted me for disobedience of 
orders, and told me to turn the flag over to his 
orderly. I then went to my company, who had 
witnessed the whole transaction, and all ap- 
peared to agree that I should have refused to 
part with my captured trophy. 

We then moved rapidly across Opequon 
Creek and passed General Wilson's headquar- 

Capture of Eighth S. C. Infantry 315 

ters, then taking observations of the enemy's 
movements. We also got a glimpse of it, a 
beautiful panorama — General Early's army 
on the move, coming out to meet what they 
supposed to be a general attack from Sheridan. 

We also saw the flag at headquarters, and 
some of the boys proposed that I should ride 
up and demand it, and if refused they would 
assist and take it by force; but I considered 
that preposterous, telling them it amounted to 
nothing, and that it would come out all right 
in the course of time. 

As a reward for that audacious act we were 
relieved from picket duty, and I was further 
rewarded by being allowed to turn in the jaded 
horse and take Lanterman's, a fine fellow that 
had had nothing to do but eat forage since the 
arrest at Petersburg. 

An hour had passed, with everything as 
usual, and I was attending to the camp duties, 
such as cooking, feeding, and so on, without 
the slightest suspicion that my chance for the 
credit was in the slightest danger, when Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Purrington called on me, and I 
soon learned that there was a regular clamor 
at headquarters as to who should have the 
credit. Though there had been thousands of 
witnesses, none appeared to know anything 
about it. One man from the Fifth New York 
claimed that I had taken the flag from him. 
That all appeared strange to me at the time, 
but I soon learned that it was a profession, and 
oftentimes is more profitable than stealing 

3i6 Four Years with Five Armies 

real property. I treated the whole matter as 
a joke, and told the Colonel that I did not 
know the Fifth wore gray uniforms, and as 
the man that surrendered the flag was dressed 
in gray I thought him a Johnnie. 

Even some of the staff officers that had been 
charging about, so rattled they did not know 
whether they were going or coming, were now 
making some pretensions. I have often won- 
dered that the commander of the Third New 
Jersey allowed favorable mention of his regi- 
ment by the General. 

The Second Ohio was not allowed to enjoy 
their respite very long, for we were sent out 
to do picket duty on the extreme left of the 
line, about ten miles from camp. After post- 
ing my relief on the evening of the 17th, I rode 
to the reserve, and Captain Newton informed 
me that he had received orders for me to re- 
port to General Mcintosh at once. 

Immediately after eating supper I mounted, 
and arrived at headquarters about eight 
o'clock. General Mcintosh told me to report 
at five o'clock in the morning to Captain Beau- 
mont of General Wilson's staff. Not having 
had an opportunity to draw clothing for a 
long time, I looked very shabby, and the Gen- 
eral gave me an order on the quartermaster at 
Harper's Ferry for a new suit, and also offered 
to give me an order on the paymaster for 
money. I had ten dollars and my bunky had 
ten more that I could get by asking for it, so 
that offer was declined. He said that I should 

Capture of Eighth S. C. Infantry 317 

be prompt in the morning, as there were many 
officers going to Harper's Ferry with an es- 
cort, and they would start on time. He told 
me to turn my horse and arms over at Harper's 

I went to the company and made my ar- 
rangements to be gone some time. My bunky 
gave me the ten dollars with instructions to 
bring him two dollars' worth of fine-cut to- 
bacco. Bidding them good-by, I rode to bri- 
gade camp, pulled the saddle from the horse, 
and put it on the jaded one, thinking he was 
good enough to turn in, and the other one 
better for the company. After taking a little 
rest, I cooked breakfast and reported on time 
at General Wilson's headquarters. Captain 
Beaumont was still in bed, but proceeded to 
give some crusty orders to a servant about 
blackening boots, breakfast, saddling up, etc. 
At length the horse was brought out by an 
orderly, who held the stirrup in position to put 
his foot in. He mounted, and without saying 
a word dashed out of sight. I inquired how 
long he would be gone. They said he was go- 
ing to Washington and would not be back for 
several days. I mounted and followed the 
road in the woods, not knowing whether it was 
right or wrong. Soon he came dashing back 
and said, '' If you are going with me, you had 
better come on." 

" And if you are going with me, you had bet- 
ter slacken your pace," was the reply. 

He was gone again, and after galloping 

3i8 Four Years with Five Armies 

along for half a mile I came up to him wait- 
ing for me to hold his horse. I took the rein, 
and he went to General Sheridan's tent, 
brought out the flag, and handed it to me. I 
handed him the rein, and could see that he 
was disgusted because I did not act as orderly 
and hold the stirrup for him. I paid no at- 
tention, but mounted, thinking if that was his 
notion, he was off for once anyway. 

When we arrived at the appointed place the 
party was assembled, and moved out to Har- 
per's Ferry, where we arrived at two o'clock 
and waited for the train. After disposing of 
the horses and equipments I showed the 
Captain the order for my clothing, but he said 
that he had no time for that. We went to the 
depot, where he left me, he going to dine with 
the other officers, and I remaining there, an 
object of curiosity for the crowd for two hours. 
Many officers and soldiers told me that they 
had seen the Eighth South Carolina when they 
went through Harper's Ferry on their way to 
a Northern prison. 

Captain Beaumont arrived in time for the 
train, and it was evident he did not want to be 
recognized as one of my crowd; but he 
changed his mind when he saw that the flag 
drew the attention of so many people. There 
was a crowd about me all the time until we 
arrived at the Relay House, and they did not 
appear to notice my worn and dusty clothes. 
While waiting for a train at Relay I bought 
a pair of boots to help out my appearance, 

Capture of Eighth S. C. Infantry 319 

and when the train arrived the Captain con- 
descended to take a seat by me. The Captain 
registered at the Ebbitt House, where we left 
the flag until nine o'clock the next morning, 
when we were to go to the War Department. 

When almost there he asked for a statement 
of the particulars of its capture that he might 
properly state it to the Secretary of War. I 
supposed he had written a statement, and I 
was so disconcerted that I could not explain it 
to him. We were met by a crowd on the steps 
at the War Department, and it was with diffi- 
culty that we were able to pass through the 
corridors. The people asked all kinds of odd 
questions. We were finally ushered into the 
public reception-room, and left to ourselves 
for a few minutes until Edwin M. Stanton, 
Secretary of War, entered the room. He 
threw the door open and the crowd filled the 
room. He went behind the desk and told me 
to unfurl the flag, which was accordingly 
done. He then asked me to explain how I 
had captured it. Hardly having thought of 
the affair, and not being used to making ex- 
planations, I just said, '^ I went up and took 

" Where did you go for it? " he said. 

'' In the woods, down in Virginia." 

He made a nice little speech, and said he 
thanked me and the country thanked me, but 
he could do nothing for me in the Second 
Ohio, as promotions were all made by the Gov- 
ernor of the State. He told me if I under- 

320 Four Years with Five Armies 

stood army tactics and how to make out army 
papers, he would put me in the Regular Army. 
I told him I could not do it. He said that my 
branch of the service had been cavalry, and 
he had issued an order to enlist a regiment to 
be called the First Kentucky Colored Cavalry. 
Then he asked : 

" What position would you like in that? " 

'' None,'' I said. 

^' What excuse have you to offer? " he re- 
plied, his face becoming scarlet. 

" We have been with the Ninth Corps, and 
my observation is that the officers are on duty 
all the time, while the soldiers have relief." 

'' Other men have made the same excuse, 
but official report states they make good sol- 
diers," he said, " and as I can do nothing for 
you I will look for your officers to do what 
they can, and you will report to the Adjutant- 
General, who will give you a furlough to stay 
in Washington as long as you wish. You will 
also be awarded a medal of honor, which he 
will give you." 

He then left the room, and we were con- 
ducted to the Adjutant-General's office and 
introduced. Captain Beaumont signed the 
register and left, and that was the last I saw of 
him. After receiving a furlough for four 
days, with orders to report the next day for 
the medal, which, in the meantime, would 
have to be engraved, I left the office. 

The demand made upon me for the flag and 
its delivery to one of General Wilson's staff 

Capture of Eighth S. C. Infantry 321 

had much significance. It was an infraction 
of General Sheridan's notions of propriety in 
the treatment of men who performed com- 
mendable deeds. The discussion revealed to 
him the strained relations that existed be- 
tween General Wilson and the members of 
the Second Ohio Cavalry, who always hooted 
as the General passed near them, from the 22d 
of June until he left the command. 

On the march or in camp, when Wilson ap- 
peared in sight, the shout was set up, '' Here 
is the man with the ham; here he goes; catch 
him!" and many other things that were un- 
pleasant for him to hear. It was done with a 
sense of shame and pity, but of contempt for 
a man who persisted in holding a position over 
thousands, of whom hundreds were his superi- 
ors in ability and courage. The act of hold- 
ing the office itself made him superior to none, 
and the temptation was such that they could 
not resist joining in the tumult. 

On learning this. General Wilson was as- 
signed to the Western Department, where, it 
is said, he gained fame. 

When my furlough expired, I reported at 
Sandy Hook, Maryland, to the commander 
of the camp for remount. In the course of 
four or five days a party was sent to the front. 

The horse assigned to me at this time was 
a freak. He was about sixteen hands high, 
bay with black mane and tail, and of an un- 
gainly proportion, wind broken and w^ith a 
mouth so hard one man could not hold him. 

322 Four Years with Five Armies 

In fact, the harder one pulled on the rein, the 
faster he would try to go. 

We were escort or guard for a supply-train 
from the depot to the front. We traveled the 
mountain road up the Valley, and nothing of 
importance occurred except the burning of a 
barn that contained thousands of guns and 
cartridges. A fusillade was kept up from the 
explosion of the cartridges for an hour or 

On the afternoon of the i6th of October we 
arrived at the camp of the Third Division, 
now commanded by Major-General G. A. 
Custer. A great change had taken place in 
the division during my absence. General Mc- 
intosh had lost a leg, and Lieutenant-Colonel 
Purrington was in command of the brigade 
by special request of General Mcintosh. 
Major Nettleton was in command of the Sec- 
ond Ohio, being the ranking officer now with 
the regiment. My bunky, William Wiggins, 
was a prisoner in the hands of the enemy, and 
as I did not chew tobacco, I distributed the 
fine cut brought for him among the other boys. 

It was about three o'clock when we reported 
to the company for duty. After eating some 
dinner Captain Newton told me that Major 
Nettleton wanted to see me, and I reported to 
him immediately. After relating to him briefly 
the incidents of the ceremony at the War De- 
partment, he asked, '' What did the Secretary 
say about me?" The question was such 
a surprise to me that it completely upset me, 

Capture of Eighth S. C. Infantry 323 

for it had not been mentioned at all, and I re- 
plied that the Secretary had given him all the 
credit due him. He said they were under 
orders to move. I reported to the company, 
the trumpet sounded, we led into line, and 
soon moved out. The Fifth New York and 
the Second Ohio relieved the line in front of 
General Early's line of battle at Waynesboro, 
and the balance of the division began the 
march to what was known as the back road 
on the opposite side of the Shenandoah Valley. 
The order from General Custer was to fall 
back in case of an advance of the enemy, and 
as soon as the enemy saw the cavalry moving 
out, they began a flank movement. Just at 
dark the main line advanced in front of us. 
We fell back gradually until the information 
reached us that retreat was cut off by the 
enemy's flanking party. The shout could be 
heard from every quarter, ^' Go through 
them!" and with shouts and yells the whole 
crowd went. We had to pass a line that lay 
behind the fence parallel with the line of re- 
treat. It was now dark and the blaze from 
the muskets made a red glare that put the 
horses to their utmost speed, and we passed in 
two columns. A horse went down in front of 
me. I was then pulling the reins with all my 
strength to steady the horse on the hard pike 
and down the hill. The rider of the horse 
that had fallen cried out, "Let me ride!" 
caught the reins, and with a whirl he went 
headlong. His weight added to mine made 

324 Four Years with Five Armies 

no impression on the speed of the hard- 
mouthed animal, for, with mouth wide open 
and the sound, " Ha, ha, ha! " at every jump, 
that could be heard for a long distance, he 
dashed ahead. 

As soon as the two regiments overtook the 
rear of the column, they came to a halt, and 
we lay down in a fence corner and went to 
sleep. At last we moved out, and after march- 
ing about a mile John Z. Johnson reported to 
the captain that his bunky, Logan Moore, 
was missing, and that he knew Moore was with 
the company when it halted. The Captain 
said, " Gause, you take two men and go back 
and find Logan." 

Two of the boys volunteered, and we went 
back. We passed the rear-guard after explain- 
ing our mission. Soon we heard voices of men 
coming in on a side road. We recognized one 
of them and called out, " Is that you, Pol- 
hemus? " 

At the challenge my horse turned and 
started to run. It was impossible to hold him, 
so I turned him into the fence. He hit it 
pretty hard, and by holding the spurs to his 
side I was enabled to remain there until the 
squad had passed. It was Sergeant Polhemus, 
who had been dispatched on patrol to guard 
against a flank attack. We had not gone far 
before we heard horses' hoofs as they pounded 
the hard pike. When we challenged my horse 
went through the same performance as at the 
last challenge. The lone horseman came to 

Capture of Eighth S. C. Infantry 325 

a halt, and we called to him, ^' Logan, is that 
you?" He answered, "Yes," with a voice 
that indicated an uncertainty of his position. 
We told him to come on, and he approached 
and said he was sure he was going into the 
enemy's line and had tried to force the horse 
to go in the opposite direction. But his horse, 
he said, would back up and endeavor to turn 
around, and he finally gave up and let him go 
the way he chose. 

We camped at the back road for a rest, and 
at twelve o'clock moved out. The enemy's 
cavalry was now up with the rear-guard and 
thought to surprise us. They ran two batter- 
ies, twelve guns in all, out in an open field and 
opened fire. Our artillery, already in posi- 
tion, answered the challenge, and the sound 
of their guns was recognized by Sergeant 
Polhemus as the ones abandoned by General 
Wilson on the raid, June 30th. He shouted, 
" Battery B and M, charge! " dashed the spurs 
to his horse, and went straight to the artillery. 
Men and officers followed him, drove away 
the gunners, and brought back every piece but 
one that was crippled by a shell from Custer's 
battery. A New York regiment, coming out 
to support the Second Ohio, saw the gun 
standing on the field, and five of them went for 
it. About the same number of the enemy's 
cavalry met them at the gun, and they fought 
as handsome a duel as was ever fought with 
sabers. The victory was in favor of the New 
York boys, who started with the crippled gun, 

326 Four Years with Five Armies 

but finally abandoned it owing to its useless 

We then withdrew, as it was our orders to 
move farther up the Valley, to take all the 
stock, and to destroy all the supplies on the 
back road. The next day the Second Ohio 
was sent back to support the rear-guard, con- 
sisting of a regiment from some other brigade 
that was hard pushed by Rosser's cavalry. My 
new horse displayed his peculiarities to the 
queen's taste. The engagement was one of 
those genuine skirmishes in which the reced- 
ing line fires until hard pressed, and then falls 
back. The country was rough and inter- 
spersed with woods and fields. We deployed 
in an open field and the enemy appeared at 
the edge of the woods. The horse stood, not 
appearing to mind the noise or motion of the 
gun as it was leisurely fired; but when the 
trumpet sounded retreat and the rein was 
moved, he turned and ran with all the strength 
he could muster. When we stopped we were 
three hundred yards in the rear of the re- 
formed line. The boys gave me the laugh as 
we returned to our place. This was repeated 
three times. The last time was down a steep 
hill with a rail fence running along the side 
and about forty feet from the creek that ran 
at the foot of the hill. By great effort we 
steered to a place where the trumpeter had 
thrown the rider from the fence, and he and 
the Captain were just going over. 

My horse jumped and hit the ground about 

Capture of Eighth S. C. Infantry 327 

half-way between the fence and the creek, and 
at the next leap he landed in it. As the Cap- 
tain was going up the steep bank on the op- 
posite side a ball, presumably aimed at me, 
went over my head and hit the Captain's horse 
in the hip. I saw the ball hit the horse and 
saw the smoke fly, and his horse gave a shriek 
that sent a shiver all through me. My horse 
did not wait for them to get out of the path, 
but jumped up the bank, which was about 
three feet high, and after repeated efforts we 
got to our place in the line. The Captain told 
me to go to the rear, and the next day he gave 
me a new horse. 

The march was continued down the Valley 
for several days, and the smoke from the burn- 
ing stacks and barns could be seen all the way 
across the Valley. The troops on the other two 
roads kept about even, forming a continuous 
line from the Blue Ridge road to the back 

There were some exhibitions of what men 
will do to save their property. One man stood 
on a hay stack and fired into a marching col- 
umn, and it is needless to say he fell riddled 
with bullets. Another man stood in his barn 
door and shot the soldier that was ordered to 
set the barn on fire. He was tried by court 
martial. Rosser's cavalry pressed our rear- 
guard until we arrived at Rapid Rushing 
Creek, where the command halted. The next 
morning Custer turned on them, and sent them 
out of the country in a demoralized condition. 

328 Four Years with Five Armies 

We then moved back to the neighborhood 
of Cedar Creek, and went into camp for re- 

The Captain told me one day he felt as if 
he owed me a favor, and asked me what he 
could do for me. I replied that I would like 
to go home for forty days. He wrote out a 
furlough with a recommendation setting forth 
the capture of the flag as a sufficient reason to 
grant it. When the paper reached headquar- 
ters Major Nettleton signed it, and recom- 
mended one for himself and forwarded them 
to brigade headquarters. About this time 
Major Seward arrived and took command of 
the regiment. 

A court was organized to try the offenders 
of the past few months. One day the Captain 
said that Major Seward wanted to see me, and 
I went up to headquarters where the court was 
convened. The Major met me outside, and 
asked me what I wanted to do with Lanter- 
man's case. He said charges had been pre- 
ferred against him for mutiny in front of the 
enemy and that the lightest sentence was Dry 
Tortugas for life. He said I was the main 
witness and if it suited me he would withdraw 
the charges. I said that I did not want to in- 
flict punishment on anyone, and as Lanter- 
man was a recruit, and as he was prompted to 
do what he did by thinking he was imposed 
upon, we had better let him ofif this time. I 
went to my tent, and in about an hour Lanter- 
man came in with tears streaming down his 

Capture of Eighth S. C. Infantry 329 

cheeks. He grasped my hands in both of his, 
and he was so overcome with emotion that he 
could not speak. I told him I understood 
him, and he went to his tent. That night he 
went on duty. He left camp in a few days and 
was taken prisoner by the enemy. 

The following, copied from the Official 
Records of the Rebellion, is of interest to close 
this chapter: 

Headquarters, Middle Military Division. 

September 13, 1864. 
This morning I sent General Getty, division of the Sixth 
Corps, with two brigades of cavalry to the crossing of the sum- 
mit point and Winchester road over Opequon Creek, to develop 
the force of the enemy in that vicinity. Rhodes, Ramsure, Gor- 
don, and Wharton's divisions were found on the west bank. At 
the same time General Wilson, with General Mcintosh's brigade 
of cavalry, dashed up the Winchester pike, drove the rebel 
cavalry at a run, came in contact with Kershaw's division, 
charged them, and captured the Eighth South Carolina Regi- 
ment, sixteen officers, one hundred and forty-five men, its battle 
flag, and Colonel Henigan, commanding brigade, with a loss of 
four men. (Two killed and two wounded.) Great credit is due 
General Wilson, General Mcintosh, the Third New Jersey and 
Second Ohio. The charge was a gallant one. A portion of the 
Second Massachusetts reserve brigade made a charge on the 
right of our line, and captured one officer and eleven men of 
Gordon's division of infantry. Our loss in the reconnaissance 
was very light. 

(Signed) Maj. Gen. Sheridan. 

In his general report of the maneuvers of 
the troops in the Valley, General Sheridan 
refers to that charge in the following lan- 

Although the main force remained without change of position 
from September 3d until the 19th, still the cavalry was employed 
every day in harassing the enemy. Its opponents being princi- 
pally infantry. In these skirmishes the cavalry was being 
educated to attack infantry lines. On the 13th one of these 
handsome dashes was made by General Mcintosh, of Wilson's 
division, capturing the Eighth South Carolina infantry. 



ON October i6th we were in the saddle 
at daylight, and moved across the Val- 
ley to the Shenandoah River on the 
pike leading to Washington by the 
way of Snicker's Gap. The command com- 
prising the cavalry corps rendezvoused there 
in light marching order, ostensibly for the 
purpose of making a raid to some other lo- 
cality. General Sheridan, with headquarters 
in the saddle on the north bank of the river, 
remained for two hours. The Second Ohio 
Cavalry, by order from General Sheridan, 
moved out in column and halted with the ad- 
vance near the ford of the river. 

After some deliberation Captain Newton 
was ordered to report to Colonel Forsythe, 
adjutant-general at that time on Sheridan's 
staff. He subsequently ordered the Captain 
to move his company across the river. When 
we moved out the General and his staff fell in 
the rear of the company. Advance- and rear- 
guard were accordingly detached and moved 
at proper intervals. We marched up the long 
winding slope to the gap that leads through 
the Blue Ridge. We had not moved far when 


Battle of Cedar Creek 331 

it was evident that no other troops were on the 
march. In discussing the situation we con- 
cluded the movement of the corps was a feint 
to deceive the enemy. I did not know the 
facts until I read Sheridan's " Memoirs." He 
makes the statement that he sent all the cav- 
alry back but one regiment. The fact is it was 
all sent back but one company, and it is doubt- 
ful if the company numbered more than sixty 
men, all told. The General is excusable for 
not retaining such small afifairs in his mind, 
for he was then dealing with a department 
and armies consisting of divisions and corps. 
With me it is different. I dealt with squads 
and minor details, the limit of which did not 
go beyond my sight. I can now see the party 
marching up the slope and the General giving 
instructions to Captain Newton on the plat- 
form at the depot as plainly as if the pic- 
ture were before me, and, therefore, venture 
the assertion and an apology for my state- 

While going up the slope my pipe fell to 
the ground. After slipping from the saddle 
and waiting for the last set of fours to pass, it 
lay directly in front of the General's horse, 
which he checked until I picked it up. I had 
the medal in my pocket, and when running to 
catch the horse, thought of showing it to him, 
but changed my mind. 

After going through the pass we halted for 
a short rest, then resumed the march to the 
terminus of the railroad. We went into camp 

332 Four Years with Five Armies 

with orders to remain there until the General 
returned from Washington. 

About five o'clock he was on the platform 
at the depot, where he met Captain Newton 
and gave him a dispatch with orders to return 
and deliver the dispatch the next day. He 
said he had received important information 
and did not consider it safe to send less than 
a full company. 

Nothing of importance occurred until one 
o'clock in the morning of October 19th. The 
Second Ohio was on picket. The booming of 
cannon as they appeared to be leisurely fired 
in the distance did not disturb the Third Di- 
vision where they lay in camp, and we con- 
tinued to change reliefs as usual until about 
four, when the roar from a heavy volley of 
musketry, accompanied by shouts and yells, 
told the sad tale of a surprise by the enemy. 
The attack was on the right flank of the in- 
fantry line and to our left. We got into the 
saddle and in line as soon as possible. On 
making observations. General Custer learned 
that the infantry line had been completely 
swept away, and that his left flank was ex- 
posed. He proceeded to close up the gap at 
once. The enemy after making the first as- 
sault, withdrew from the point of attack. We 
moved across the ground that the night before 
had been the camp of the living but was now 
the camp of the dead. Many tents were still 
standing, and the ground was so thickly strewn 
with bodies that the column was compelled to 

Battle of Cedar Creek 333 

deploy and march at will. The dead men 
were all in their underclothes, having been 
shot before they had time to dress. 

We moved to the pike and passed through 
a neck of woods. Nearly every tree was the 
support of a wounded soldier or the rest for 
the guns of those who did not intend to re- 
treat farther without showing stubborn resist- 

They were unorganized, but they said they 
were willing to fight it out on that line. We 
crossed the pike and formed by regiments, 
with the Second Ohio in the front. The loca- 
tion was a valley bordered by a gentle ridge, 
with our battalion on the right and the first 
squadron in front. 

We threw a light dismounted line to lie 
near the top of the ridge to observe the move- 
ment of the enemy, and the boys crawled near 
enough to the top of the ridge to observe the 
enemy concentrating in front of them. 

We dismounted and lay down in open ranks. 
General Custer with two brigades formed be- 
hind another ridge. Officers were continually 
riding from our brigade to headquarters, and 
brought the news of the situation. 

Many of the demoralized corps had taken 
refuge behind a stone wall about three-fourths 
of a mile in the rear and on the opposite side 
of the pike. The corps that had occupied the 
line in front of where we now were lay in line 
to our left and rear, in as good order as they 
ever were, with the exception that they had 

334 Four Years with Five Armies 

abandoned their camp and supplies, and with 
the support of the cavalry were in good shape 
for a conflict. 

The first and second divisions of cavalry 
were getting into position on the opposite 
flank of the infantry. 

The sun was well up, and the enemy, on the 
alert, detected our position by the passing of 
officers across the ridge, and opened on us with 
a section of artillery. It so happened that they 
got the range on our battalion, and we were 
ordered to mount and move to the right. 

When I placed my foot in the stirrup I 
noticed that Billy Pidgeon was on the right 
side of his horse. Just as my weight was 
thrown on the stirrup, Pidgeon came down on 
my back and set me on the ground again. A 
shell had passed through his horse, cutting 
the left stirrup and the saddle girth. The shell 
exploded in Company I and wounded two 
men. Had he been in his proper position the 
shell would have taken his left foot off at the 
ankle. We moved, and left a gap the length 
of the squadron, on which the enemy wasted 
many shells. 

We had dismounted when we heard faint 
cheering a long way to the rear. It was no 
doubt the stragglers from the broken corps 
who were cheering, but we could not under- 
stand what caused them to cheer. Had they 
changed their minds and were they coming 
back? Some said they were reinforcements, 
but that could not be, for no troops were in 

Battle of Cedar Creek 335 

the Valley except those at the front, which 
dispelled that suggestion. It was evident that 
the cheering was rapidly nearing us, and that 
the enemy had discovered our ruse and were 
fast getting ranee on us. 

The cheering increased and was now very 
audible. Men's voices could separately be 
distinguished from one another. In a moment 
more, with a sudden burst, a cheer arose from 
the stone wall which apparently made the air 
tremble. It was as if the very trees had been 
given voices to join in the tumult. 

As we lay flat on the ground we were 
ordered to mount, and when we rose up we 
saw a cloud of dust at the end of the stone wall. 
By the time we were in the saddle someone 
said that it was Sheridan. He was now com- 
ing down the slope about five hundred yards 
from us. The most skeptical could not fail to 
believe it now. I, for one, was loath to ac- 
knowledge it, knowing he had gone to Wash- 
ington by the other route and presumed he 
would return the same way. There was only 
one thing that gave an excuse for a difference 
of opinion and that was that Sheridan had not 
been seen riding a white horse before; but the 
white proved to be only foam from his black 

Sheridan had not noticed the cavalry, and 
was speeding by when we called out not to go 
any farther, that the enemy was over the hill. 
He wheeled to the left and exclaimed, " What 
is this cavalry doing here? Move right out of 

336 Four Years with Five Armies 

this! Send General Custer to me! " Then he 
struck the spurs to the horse, and with a des- 
perate leap that threw the dirt across the pike 
he dashed away. 

The enemy must also have been moved by 
the cheering, for the guns ceased firing at that 

We moved out over the same ground we 
had come in the morning, and crossed the 
creek near where we had been on picket. We 
kept to the right of the ridge. General Custer 
was hurrying the artillery, and they passed us 
on the gallop. When he arrived at the top of 
the ridge in full view of the enemy's cavalry 
he came back and had the guns turned just 
far enough from the top of the hill that the 
enemy could not see them. They were un- 
limbered, loaded, and a company of cavalry 
dismounted to help to run them up. The cav- 
alry was ordered to charge as soon as the guns 
were discharged. The order was carried out, 
and before they could reload we were on the 
low ground on the other side of the ridge, 
driving the first line in. The shelling was 
done over our heads. This was a surprise to 
our adversaries. We were moving forward to 
flank the army and they fled. We reformed 
the line and charged again. This process was 
kept up until we had made seven charges. An 
hour passed at one time between charges, 
when it was said that Custer had gone to see 
Sheridan and report in person the advantage 
he had gained over the enemy. 

Battle of Cedar Creek 337 

During that time the battle was raging at 
its highest pitch. We were in a position to 
see the infantry line from the creek to the neck 
of woods previously spoken of, and they were 
moving at a quickstep across the field where 
the troops had been surprised in the morning. 
The enemy's artillery was plowing gaps 
through them with grape. To judge from the 
number that were dropping the musketry 
must have been as disastrous as the artillery 

We were to the right of them, with a wide 
gap between their right and the cavalry's left. 
The ground was controlled by us from the 
fact that we had long-range guns and could 
move quickly. By the time that line passed 
out of sight behind the woods that skirted the 
creek, Custer made his appearance, and the 
trumpet sounded. We advanced until we 
crossed the pike in front of Early's wagon- 
train. When the teamsters saw us coming up 
the slope they began to turn around. Some 
of them upset their wagons, but we were right 
on them, and the panic was there also. 

Early's right wing had been hurled back on 
the pike by the cavalry of the other division, 
and when they saw Custer's long column com- 
ing up the slope, they hoisted the white flag. 
General Custer led that charge, and when he 
crossed the pike, he turned down the line of 
wagons and appeared to forget his position. 
He was giving orders to the teamsters to get 
off their mules. 

338 Four Years with Five Armies 

I saw the enemy, and when he turned 
around I told him they had surrendered, and 
pointed to the white flag. It was now sun- 
down and the smoke made things look dark. 
I could see the enemy leaving their ranks with 
their guns and running toward the creek. I 
turned to the left and cut them off. The lead- 
ers were scattering, but grew numerous as 
they extended back to the ranks. They were 
leaving by dozens, but when they saw the 
leaders throw down their guns they did like- 
wise, returned to their ranks, and were 
counted with the prisoners. The interception 
of so many brave men by one man would ap- 
pear not only dangerous but fatal under ordi- 
nary conditions, but in this case there was not 
much risk. The fleeing men were under truce, 
and to fire one shot, as they were aware, would 
be a violation of the truce. Although it might 
kill the lone man, it would also be fatal to 
them and their comrades, as it would be re- 
opening hostilities. 

When Custer saw the white flag he ordered 
one regiment to file in rear of the prisoners, 
and the first brigade, which was ours, to go 
into camp and unsaddle. With one regiment 
he rode down the pike, taking possession of 
the captured train as far back as the bridge at 
the foot of Fisher's Hill. 

There was no wood to be had to make coflPee. 
It is quoted in the " Historv of Ohio in the 
War " that the Second Ohio Cavalry went into 
camp that night without their supper. This 

Battle of Cedar Creek 339 

narrative will tell you that the whole division 
went into camp without breakfast, dinner, or 
supper. Had the Third Division been com- 
manded by a man of less prowess than Custer 
the troops that surrendered, with all night be- 
fore them, would have joined Early at Fish- 
er's Hill, and escaped. 

The division moved to wood and water 
early next morning, and after breakfast en- 
gaged the enemy's cavalry, driving them a few 
miles up the Valley, and then returned to the 
old camp. 

On the 2ist the Second Ohio went on picket 
on the same ground we occupied on the morn- 
ing of the 19th. On the morning of the 22d, 
after my relief had come into the reserve from 
the vidette line, at four o'clock, I lay down, 
and had just gone to sleep, when someone 
called me and told me to get up, that my fur- 
lough had come. No time was lost in report- 
ing to the Captain, who told me to get ready 
and report to Major Nettleton, and go with 
him to Martinsburg, where we would take 
the train for home. 

One of the boys had a revolver he wanted 
to send home. Another had a carbine he had 
picked up on the battlefield, which he gave 
me, and I turned mine over to the auarter- 
master-sergeant, and reported to the Major as 
soon as possible. 

He was at his quarters in the brigade camp, 
busy preparing for the journey. While wait- 
ing, I examined my furlough, which was 

340 Four Years with Five Armies 

signed by Major Nettleton, Lieutenant-Col- 
onel Purrington, General Custer, General 
Talbot, and General Sheridan, who had cut it 
down to thirty days. A few days later a gen- 
eral order, issued by the Secretary of War, was 
read to the army, that anyone capturing a flag 
would be awarded a medal and given thirty 
days' furlough. 

When the Major left his tent he had several 
men to see, but he did not have to go to the 
picket line, for the men he talked to were con- 
spicuous for their absence from the front. I 
was too thick-headed to note the significance 
of these calls, only that it was a peculiar coin- 
cidence that the Major who had recently been 
in command of the regiment was so intimate 
and had special business with so many men 
that could neither acquire nor hold up the 
standing or reputation of the regiment. 

We stopped for the night at Winchester, 
and called on another of his friends, who was 
quartered there with a double-walled tent, by 
what privilege or authority I am unable to 
say, but to our way of thinking it was not in 
accordance with the true soldier at the front. 
The Major and his friend occupied one room 
and I the other. The orderly slept in the 

The next night, we stopped at a hotel in 
Martinsburg. The travel at that time was 
enormous and a bed was not to be had in town. 
The clefk said they had one lounge unoc- 
cupied, and the Major engaged that. I lay 

Battle of Cedar Creek 341 

on the floor with a half-dozen more late ar- 

Our train departed at two o'clock. We 
boarded it and went on our way homeward. 
As I sat in the easy seat I said to myself : " You 
are very fortunate in getting a furlough. That 
is the third one since the order has been issued 
from the War Department that no furloughs 
be given. Thousands of men have not had 
even one leave to see their home and friends." 
Then my mind reverted to the toils and priva- 
tions we had undergone. I thought of the day 
on which I applied for that leave, and follow- 
ing the time along I counted six skirmishes 
and one heavy, decisive battle in which I had 
participated, before the furlough was prop- 
erly granted that would permit one humble 
soldier to leave his post of duty at the front. 
Then the conversation of the night before 
passed like a vision before me, and I was sound 

After staying at home thirty days I returned 
to Martinsburg. The snow was boot-top deep. 
I attempted to find the commanding officer, 
and was directed from one place to another, 
but I failed to overtake him. I tramped about 
until I was tired, and then I fell in with a com- 
pany of soldiers on their way to Harper's 
Ferry. With no blankets I lay down in the box 
car during the bitter cold night. In the morn- 
ing I climbed over snow banks to Sandy Hook, 
and reported to the commanding officer of 
Camp Remount. 

342 Four Years with Five Armies 

He directed me to the line of tents occupied 
by the dismounted men of the Third Division, 
where some of our company boys were. I 
bunked with them. Tramping through the 
snow with wet feet, and lying in the cold had 
brought on a severe toothache, and by the ad- 
vice of my bunky I took my first chew of 
tobacco to relieve it, and became an inveterate 
chewer from that time on. 

After remaining there a few days we were 
mounted, equipped, marched to the front, and 
reported to the regiment on December 19th. 
We learned to our surprise and disgust that the 
former Major Nettleton was now lieutenant- 
colonel, and all the men he had called on the 
day we left the front had been promoted to 
commissioned officers. There was much dis- 
satisfaction throughout the regiment on ac- 
count of such methods. 

Men and officers from all parts of the regi- 
ment called on me to express their opinions. 
They all told me they had expected to see me 
return with a commission. This frank expres- 
sion appeared odd to me, as the matter had 
never occurred to me in that light. The men 
and officers were unreserved, and many were 
bitter in their denunciation of Nettleton, and 
one captain who was noted for faithful duty 
and gallantry in action, advised me to go into 
no more actions with the regiment, declaring 
he had performed his last duty unless some 
unexpected change took place. As I was a 

Battle of Cedar Creek 343 

soldier from a sense of duty rather than 
choice, I considered the proposition as un- 
worthy the notice of the citizen-soldier, al- 
though I regarded with contempt those who 
sought and gained undue advantage over their 
comrades in arms. 



THE division was then under march- 
ing orders, and on the morning of the 
20th moved out up the Valley, and 
on the 22d camped at Lacy's Springs. 
Our brigade passed the house, a w^ayside inn, 
where General Custer had established his 
headquarters. Two brigades, the artillery, 
and wagon-train, camped without passing the 
house, but our brigade passed and turned into 
an open field. It was a beautiful evening, but 
turned cold during the night and snowed about 
eight inches, on top of which a crust froze 
strong enough to bear a horse's weight. 

The trumpets sounded at three o'clock. We 
broke the crust from over our heads, and 
turned the saddles over on top of the crust, 
which gave room to crawl out without break- 
ing it over the bed, leaving the bed in pretty 
good condition to crawl into after putting the 
saddles on the horses. 

A number of rails were near by, and some 
of the men built fires, and stood around them; 
but the wind was blowing a gale and the snow 
was melting around the fires, so they could not 
get much benefit from them. We had 


Custer's Raid 345 

crawled into bed and were asleep when the 
sound of musketry startled the camp. 

We came out in a hurry, threw our blankets 
loose across the saddle, put on the bridle, and 
were ready in a few minutes, but not before 
General Custer was up at full speed on a bare- 
backed steed, calling for the Second Ohio. 
He was answered by hundreds of voices, 
"Here, here!" 

" Charge to the pike! They're coming that 
way," he ordered. 

We were in line by battalions. The right of 
each rested at the top of the sloping ground. 
We wheeled by fours, each of the three 
columns facing the pike and going at full 

The movement was made in great haste, for 
we could now hear the clatter of horses com- 
ing down the icy pike at full speed. There 
was slipping and sliding, but the horses kept 
their balance all right until we neared the 
fence that separated the pike and field. There 
some attempted to check the speed of the 
horses, and then there was tumbling in all 
directions. On seeing the danger some con- 
cluded to take their chances for all or nothing, 
and go over the fence without checking their 

The enemy was now passing, and when we lit 
in the pike we cut them into two parts. Those 
on our right turned back and the advance kept 
on. My horse cleared the fence, and when he 
hit the ice he slid across the pike into the other 

346 Four Years with Five Armies 

fence with force enough to wreck it. It 
doubled him in a heap, but soon he scrambled 
to his feet. The clatter that was sounding in 
the battalion to our right told the tale of saber 
strokes. When my horse had straightened out 
the enemy had gone out of sight. 

But few shots had been fired in this last en- 
counter and there had been but few casualties. 
We went into camp and picked up the scat- 
tered things, then cooked coffee, and after 
breakfast, with our brigade in advance, we 
marched out on the back track, leaving one 
brigade to bury the dead and move out later 
in the day. 

The attack had been made on the wagon- 
train. The enemy had evaded the pickets dur- 
ing the snow storm, crossed the woods and 
fields, and the first alarm was the volley fired 
into the train, killing some teamsters. Their 
command divided, part driving away some 
stock, and the others went to capture General 
Custer. He was not napping, and when they 
captured his sentinel he heard the demand, 
ran out the back way, mounted his horse, and 
by going out the back gate evaded them and 
was able to join his command. Having failed 
in their purpose they were endeavoring to es- 
cape up the pike. 

It turned bitter cold during the day, and 
as we passed over Fisher's Hill it appeared as 
if the wind was not checked by our clothing 
but passed right through. It was impossible 
to hold one's head up and face the gale. We 

Custe/s Raid 347 

walked and led, keeping close to the horses 
to break the wind from our faces. 

Forty men were disabled in our regiment by 
freezing. It was said that a greater number 
was frozen in every other regiment in the 



WE arrived near Winchester on De- 
cember 24th, with orders to build 
winter quarters. Among the squads 
from Camp Remount and hospitals 
were several men, most of whom had been 
with the wagon-train during the last raid, and 
joined the company during the day, and who, 
as old partners, now came together and broke 
up the temporary messes. 

I had no partner, but had been sleeping with 
Woodburn while on the raid. He now joined 
his regular partner. Sergeant Sawyer, who 
had bunked temporarily with Pidgeon, both 
having just joined the company. That put 
Pidgeon and me without regular partners, and 
we joined together. A full mess was made, 
but we were without any cooking utensils or 
tools to work with. We borrowed a coffee-pot 
and frying-pan after the others were through, 
and did likewise for breakfast in the morning. 
We sat down on our saddles to eat our Christ- 
mas breakfast, which was disposed of without 
a word spoken. Each was wrapped in his own 
thoughts. When Pidgeon picked up the cof- 
fee-pot to return it to the owner the silence was 
broken by Woodburn, who said that the pros- 
pect was rather blue, as everyone would be 


Winter Quarters 349 

using his ax and hatchet, and there would 
be no chance to borrow. I replied that it was 
so much the better, as it would throw us on our 
own resources and we would have to hustle 
to get tools of our own. Commissa;y-Sergeant 
Sawyer being excused from all such duty, the 
other three of us saddled up and started out in 
search of something to work with. 

We rode together for a mile, discussing our 
odd situation, and then separated. When we 
reported to camp, Woodburn had an ax, Pid- 
geon had an iron kettle, and I had an iron 
plate for the back of the fireplace, with a bar 
for the arch and a chain to drag the logs with, 
which I secured from an old chimney stand- 
ing where there had once been a house. We 
bought a cofifee-pot and frying-pan, borrowed 
a collar from a teamster, and we were now the 
best fitted out of any mess in the company. 
After dinner we began our task. Pidgeon 
and Woodburn cut logs, while I rigged up a 
harness on my new horse. The horse was a 
light cream color, sixteen hands high, and he 
had a rat tail, and a mane only an inch and a 
half long. We called him Claybank. 

We hauled logs before night, and on the 
morning of January i, 1861;, we moved into 
our finished quarters, the first mess housed in 
the camp. We then had an ax to lend to those 
that had none. 

The next day Sergeant Sawyer received a 
Christmas box from home, containing turkey, 
cake, jelly, and delicacies too numerous to 

350 Four Years with Five Armies 

mention. We lived high for a week, and 
realized that with all the misfortunes there 
was also some small good fortune in war. 

Our winter quarters were laid off fronting 
on a straight line, with cabins 8x12, and 
walls six feet high, with chimney and door in 
front gable and two bunks across the back end. 
Our tents formed the roofs. A large oak tree 
was on the line of the walls of our cabin. In 
selecting lots this lot had been left on account 
of the tree. Our mess was unorganized at 
the time of the assignment, and had to take 
Hobson's choice, but this proved an advantage 
rather than a detriment. We cut a notch in 
the tree for the top log or plate, and hung 
the door on the tree, which gave us a side 
entrance with full width of the gable for a 
fireplace by pinning the end of the other logs 
to the other side of the tree. 

Our duty during our stay in winter quarters 
was light. General Sheridan was fitting out 
the cavalry corps as but few knew how. The 
horses were kept well shod, with plenty of 
forage, and had good care. 

The pickets were stationed from six to ten 
miles out, in details of fiftv men, on the main 
road, where they remained three days. I was 
entrusted with this duty twice during the 
eighty days. On one of these turns I committed 
a blunder. We were on the Valley pike with 
one reserve in the woods, a half mile away, 
with a vidette line half a mile in front, out of 
sight from the reserve, and also hid from any- 

Winter Quarters 351 

one passing along the pike by a strip of woods 
that skirted the points of hills divided by 
small ravines. A vidette was stationed on 
each point. It was my custom to inspect the 
line twice a day. On going out in the evening 
I missed Wakefield, who had been stationed 
on the point nearest the pike. This point hid 
the pike from view directly opposite. I heard 
loud talk and the rumbling of wheels. At 
first thought my mind was made up that he 
had been captured and the enemy was making 
oflp with him. This mistake arose from the 
fact that I was not informed about the position 
of the enemy in the Valley. 

I wheeled about without second thought, got 
the men in line, sent a message into headquar- 
ters, and sent a corporal with a squad to in- 
vestigate. When they went to the point they 
found Wakefield on dutv. He explained that 
he saw the wagons coming from Winchester 
with women and children in them, and he left 
the post and went to talk with them. It was 
ration dav and they had been to town to draw 
rations. The Government was then feeding 
the inhabitants of the Valley. 

His absence was a breach of orders, for we 
had no order to demand passes from anyone. 
But nothing was said about it, for Wakefield 
was never known to shirk a duty and was 
always in the front line; but he could not re- 
sist the temptation of a conversation whenever 
he saw a sunbonnet. It was a lesson, and we 
guarded against similar trouble in future. 



AT retreat the Captain notified the com- 
pany that all men unable to march 
^ on a long raid should report their dis- 
ability at once, and that all those with 
disabled horses would change with the dis- 
abled men, who would turn the horses in and 
go to division hospital. Those able for duty 
were to be ready to march at seven o'clock in 
the morning. 

That notice was all sufficient, for we would 
now move better with an hour's notice than 
we could have moved with ten days' notice 
in 1 86 1. We knew just what we could carry, 
and how to pack it to carry it well. Every- 
thing was ready, and at the appointed time we 
marched out of the woods and left the cabins 
that had sheltered us for the winter. 

We formed with the brigade on an open 
field near Winchester, where the Third Di- 
vision rendezvoused. The snow was yet on 
the ground in sheltered spots, but had disap- 
peared with the frost on the open ground. 
The horses sank half-way to their knees in 
mud. The unserviceable and surplus equi- 
page and trains were left to be taken care of 
by officers assigned to that duty. 


James River Canal Raid 353 

With General Custer as advance, our delay 
was short, and we moved out on the Valley 
pike, where the traveling was good. 

When the column arrived at the Shenan- 
doah River we found it very much swollen 
and very swift. It was difficult to cross. Pon- 
toons had to be laid to cross the artillery 
and train. Owing to the width and one 
sloping bank, it was necessary to lay it some 
distance from the ford, which made it neces- 
sary to leave the pike with the train. In many 
places the wagons went down to the axles in 
the soft ground, and the wheels went very 
deep at all places. The column was delayed 
very much and would move up a few rods 
and halt. This was repeated time after time, 
which was evidence that some obstacles had 
to be overcome. 

At last our brigade, which had been march- 
ing in the rear, formed by regiments on a hill 
overlooking the ford, and witnessed men and 
horses floating down the river and struggling 
for life. Few were able to extricate them- 
selves. We detected at once that they were 
endeavoring to do something they had no ex- 
perience in. Not more than a dozen had ef- 
fected a landing, and as manv men and horses 
had found a watery grave. The army in the 
East had no experience in this line. Our boys 
said when they had seen them turn around and 
come back two or three times, that they would 
have to get the Second Ohio to show them 
how to swim. 

354 Four Years with Five Armies 

The staff officers told General Pennington, 
the brigade commander, that the Second Ohio 
could cross. He replied that if the Second 
Ohio could cross any other regiment could 
cross. After several unsuccessful attempts he 
gave it up and said he would wait for the 
pontoons, and reported his decision to General 
Custer, who took exception to this delay, and 
ordered him to cross his brigade at the ford. 
He was now compelled to call on the Second 

Captain Newton was ordered to advance 
with his company. There was not a company 
in the regiment that would not have been 
proud to have the distinction, but they all 
knew the ability of our captain, and had no 
fear or doubts as to our success. The banks 
of the river were crowded with officers and 
men on the side where we entered, and the 
few that had landed on the other side, a part 
of whom were trying to rescue a struggling 
man that was floating down near the bank. 

We were acquainted with the ford, having 
crossed it at low-water mark. A bar or riffle 
ran in a circuitous course from above the ford 
on the side we entered, and was cut off on the 
other side by the current below the landing. 
The riffle was now covered with swimming 
water most of the way. The current was deep 
and running against a perpendicular bank, ex- 
cept a space wide enough for a wagon. This 
space had been graded up the bank. To miss 
that narrow landing was to drift down to take 

James River Canal Raid 355 

desperate chances for one's self and sure death 
to the horse, for there was no place for his 

Our captain uttered but one sentence: 
" Keep closed up, boys; and support me." 

The landing being high up the river, it was 
necessary to gain not only that distance but 
what we would lose in drifting with the cur- 
rent after reaching swimming water. The 
Captain turned up stream, as soon as the horse 
entered the water, and with spurs at the horses' 
sides we closed on each side with shoulder to 
his horse to support him. He forced his way 
against water so rapid that it threw white 
caps as it whirled about the horses' necks and 

At this move the crowd went wild. They 
thought they saw our fatal mistake. Thou- 
sands of voices broke forth with shouts, wav- 
ing hands and hats: "Turn down, turn 
down I " 

Such a tumult would have turned the head 
of a less considerate man than Captain New- 
ton. He did not take his eye from his course. 
They were almost in reach of us. We pushed 
on. There was not a break as we crowded 
against the almost irresistible force of the cur- 
rent, but experience had taught us that to 
break that current was the secret to success. 
It was easy for those to travel on the lower 
side if those on the upper side were able to 
advance; and, gradually turning into the 
stream, we were soon afloat. Every man 

356 Four Years with Five Armies 

turned his horse's head up stream as soon as 
the water took him from his feet. This was 
no experiment with the old members of the 
regiment, of whom there were enough to con- 
trol the movements of the new ones. As soon 
as the horse is lifted from his feet he begins 
to swim and is safe to tie to; but as soon as 
he touches bottom, in his efforts to walk, he 
plunges and rears up. This is the critical 
time for his rider. 

We gained enough by fording against the 
current to land safely, and the regiment 
crossed in an unbroken column, with but one 
accident caused by an unruly horse. The 
horse was determined not to take the water, 
left the column, and by plunging about suc- 
ceeded in dismounting the trooper in shallow 

The division crossed and the march con- 
tinued. Nothing of importance occurred un- 
til we approached Waynesboro. 

We were marching near the rear of the 
column, and heard the cannonading some dis- 
tance in front that told us the advance had 
encountered something more than a crib of 
corn or a haystack. We moved up and formed 
in rear of the troops already engaged, and 
judged from what little we could see that the 
opposing forces were in close proximity to 
each other. 

General Custer's headquarters were on the 
same ground on which the Fifth New York 
and Second Ohio had been surrounded in Oc- 

James River Canal Raid 357 

tober, 1864. Three regiments, the Second 
Ohio, First Connecticut, and Fifth New York, 
were detached from the main command and 
moved ofi to the right. After traveling or 
rather plunging through the soft mud a mile 
and a half, we dismounted and the horses were 
sent back to the brigade. We were then in a 
wide ravine that extended to South River. It 
was bordered with timber except in one place, 
the mouth of another swale that entered from 
our left and skirted by a low ridge on which 
the enemy's line was deployed. 

When we came in front of that open place, 
the enemy, secreted in the timber, who had 
not yet been discovered by us, opened fire. 
With the customary yell we went directly for 
the point or junction of the two open places. 
Where the enemy was the ridge was covered 
with trees and large boulders. We fired as we 
ran, until half-way up the side of the ridge, 
which was so steep we were compelled to halt 
and rest after our run through the mud. The 
enemy was loath to leave that position, pro- 
tected by boulders and trees. They kept up 
a desultory firing, which was answered by our 

When the order was given to advance we 
sprang to our feet, and their line gave way in 
front of us. The firing and calls from us to 
surrender compelled most of them to take 
shelter behind trees and to throw down their 
guns. When we were out of the timber in the 
open ground to our left we could see the smoke 

358 Four Years with Five Armies 

of the guns as they fired from the left of 
Early's earthworks. 

We realized that we were now in the rear 
of Early's army. Had we been mounted not 
one would have been able to make his escape. 
An open field was in front of us, about five 
hundred yards wide, with a fence the end 
which terminated near Early's line and ran 
toward the river and parallel with the street 
of Waynesboro, and about three hundred 
yards in the rear of the village. 

A man was running down by the fence to 
my left. I called halt several times, but he 
would not halt. I fired and he dropped down. 
As I came near him he said, " My God, you 
have shot me! " 

There was no assurance that he was 
wounded, and as I did not intend he should 
wound me, I replied, ^' I know it, and don't 
raise your hand or you will get another." 

I asked him why he had not halted in time, 
and picked up his gun and raised it up to 
break it. He told me not to do that. I asked 
him why, and he said, " Take it and use it, 
we do." With a crash it came to the ground, 
breaking the stock. I tossed it over the fence. 
Patting my gun, I said we had something bet- 
ter, and started to intercept some men that 
were now running from the village toward 
the river. He begged me not to leave him, 
saying they would kill him. I told him they 
would send an ambulance and take care of 
him. '' You seem a clever sort of fellow," 

James River Canal Raid 359 

he said. After assuring him that they were all 
like me, I left him. A few rods from that 
place was a jog in the fence, with a pair of bars 
that opened into a lane. When I arrived at the 
bars, two men that had hid in the fence corner 
rose up and stepped to the middle of the lane. 
Their looks showed that they had no intention 
of giving up ; but I had the drop on them with 
my gun over the bars. I demanded their sur- 
render, but they repeatedly made motions to 
bring their guns into position. They were 
greeted each time with an injunction not to 
do it. I also told them to throw down their 
guns and step ten paces in front of them. 
They made a move to run, but I insisted that 
they obey orders, which they finally did. 
Here I concluded to do something that I had 
never done before and which I had always dis- 
couraged in others whenever talked about. I 
had recently heard of some depredations of 
the kind perpetrated by the enemy, and I felt 
like retaliating. 

I told them to disgorge, and got one pocket- 
knife, a leather pocket-book with two twenty- 
dollar Confederate bills, some Southern 
poetry, and a ring which they said was made 
of a Yankee's bone. 

By that time one of the boys had come up. 
We told the prisoners to go to where the 
wounded man was. A crowd was then gath- 
ered about him. We started on, and my com- 
panion said he had seen two men enter a black- 
smith shop that stood by the lane. We went 

360 Four Years with Five Armies 

in and pulled two men from under the bel- 
lows. One was an Irishman, the first Irish 
Johnnie we had ever seen. After breaking the 
guns we kept down the lane on the run. The 
crowd came on behind us. The fence on the 
left did not extend to the river, but the one on 
the right did. A cabin stood near the end of 
the lane. The ground to the left was open, 
and men scattered all over it, running and en- 
tering the brush that skirted the river. 

We were calling halt to them, and opposite 
me was one with a fine flag. I called out to 
drop that flag, and the flag went to the ground, 
but the man kept running. We did not shoot, 
for we thought they must ultimately sur- 
render. To shoot would slacken our pace, and 
to hit them would be the wanton taking of life. 

When I arrived at the bank some were 
jumping into the river and some were climb- 
ing out on the other side. 

In front of us was a boy about seventeen 
years old, on an island not much larger than 
an army wagon, situated in the middle of the 
river. He was dressed in a new uniform of 
fine gray cloth and nicely trimmed with black 
silk braid. When I appeared on the river 
bank he threw his musket into the water and 
was about to follow it. A demand not to go 
caused him to halt, but he continued to assume 
the posture of one about to plunge, with his 
weight thrown on his left foot, which was in 
advance of the right, with arms stretched up- 
wards. Leaning over the water I requested 

James River Canal Raid 361 

him to return. I made repeated entreaties, 
and was compelled to threaten to shoot him 
every time he moved. A half dozen of his 
comrades stood on the opposite bank watching 
every motion. He said he had nearly 
drowned in his effort to get away and would 
not take the same chance to surrender, but if 
compelled to take any chances it would be to 

While I had no intention of shooting, I was 
compelled to keep up appearances. Several 
of the boys had now assembled on the bank, 
and among them was one mounted man. I 
asked him if he would come back if we sent 
him a horse. He said yes. 

The trooper heard this, and before anyone 
could speak he plunged into the water, swim- 
ming out to him, and the boy got on behind 
the trooper. 

We then returned, picking up the prisoners 
that had hid in the brush. When we were 
even with the place where the flag lay I told 
them there was a flag over there and I would 
go and get it while they took the prisoners 
with them. As I turned I saw a mounted 
man riding at a gallop across the field, and 
after taking about fifty steps saw him dis- 
mount, pick up the flag, and return to the rear 
with it. I then returned, being tired with the 
long chase. At the cabin near the end of the 
lane I exchanged one of the twenty-dollar 
bills for a dozen biscuits and the other for a 
quart coffee-pot. 

362 Four Years with Five Armies 

We soon arrived at the place where we had 
left the wounded man. Our regiment with 
many prisoners had assembled there, where 
we remained until the horses arrived. 

It is a pity that while I relate my own ex- 
perience I am not able to tell of others or what 
they were doing at the same time. My at- 
tention at such times was riveted on what I 
was doing, and there is no time to record even 
those acts of others which I remember. 

About the time we entered the timber by 
the river there were many exploits that would 
be interesting to relate. 

We had a glimpse of one occurrence 
and afterward learned the result. Between 
Waynesboro and the river there is a bank 
about ten feet high, built up for the railroad 
track, and opposite where the man threw 
down the flag. Soon afterward a train was 
pulling out on the bank, and a trooper gal- 
loped by the side of the engine and drove the 
engineer from the lever by firing his revolver 
into the cab. He caught hold, swung into the 
cab, stopped the engine, and captured a train- 
load of rebel supplies. 

When we mounted, and crossed the railroad 
track near the village, we followed on the trail 
of General Early. The few mounted men 
who had escaped had taken time by the fore- 
lock. They left by the time we charged 
through the timber early in the engagement. 

After crossing the river we wound along the 
steep grade that led us to the top of the Blue 

James River Canal Raid 363 

Ridge. We passed empty wagons from which 
the teams had been taken by Early's party, 
who were then fleeing toward Charlottesville. 

When we approached Charlottesville the 
advance was frequently checked by the 
enemy's cavalry, which had concentrated to 
prevent our entering the town. Flanking 
columns moved out right and left, and we 
marched in, and the destruction of Confeder- 
ate stores began at once. 

We camped one night in the suburbs of the 
town. The next morning the Second Ohio 
was detached with orders to destroy railroad 
tracks. When we counted off, my number 
happened to be odd, and I had to stay with the 

My feet had not been dry since leaving 
Winchester, except for a few minutes at a time 
when dried by the fire. Walking through the 
thick mud had worn out my boots, and I was 
now wearing a pair of plantation shoes with 
wooden soles, manufactured, at that place for 
the field-hands. 

After dinner we moved below the town, 
and lay in line until three o'clock, when we 
were again detached to destroy the iron bridge 
across the Ravenna River. We learned that 
two different regiments had worked on it dur- 
ing the day and had given it up. Custer was 
determined it should be finished, and had 
been waiting since noon for the purpose. 

We gathered all the telegraph wire, includ- 
ing coils found at the depot and what there 

364 Four Years with Five Armies 

was strung on the poles, twisted it into cables, 
and ran rails through with two men at each 
end of the rail. When the word heave was 
given, everyone pulled, and in one hour and 
a half we had pulled five spans from the piers, 
and tumbled them into the river about twenty- 
five feet below. 

There was a light skirmish line on the op- 
posite side of the river that kept firing a shot 
now and then. Our horses were massed on a 
hill near by. I went to get some matches from 
the saddle pockets. While there, General 
Custer, who had started everything except our 
brigade on the road, came up to see how the 
work was progressing. 

His staff and escort, with all the flags cap- 
tured at Waynesboro, and his headquarters 
flags, were quite a gorgeous array, and at- 
tracted the enemy's fire. The balls passed 
over our horses, and they sounded rather sharp 
in the evening air. 

One stafif officer who was blustering about 
called out, " We had better move from here, 
had we not. General?" There was no reply 
to the sally, but a withering look from the 
General sent the officer to the rear in short 

It was dark when we moved out, and we 
marched all night. We soon came into the 
richest valley of Virginia, where the Confed- 
erates drew a large amount of supplies for 
their army. The destruction of these supplies 
was almost complete along the route we 

James River Canal Raid 365 

traveled, and with plenty of forage most of 
the stock did well on the latter end of the raid. 

The James River Canal was cut, and locks, 
boats, and cargoes were destroyed when we 
got through with the raid. 

There had been some skirmishing with 
some part of the command at almost every 
hour of daylight since we met them near 
Charlottesville, but no engagement worthy of 
note until we arrived at Ashland, about eleven 
miles from Richmond. 

We were marching into the center, and the 
advance brigade was driving the stubborn 
enemy in front of them. As we passed near 
where my horse had fallen under me on June 
I, and over the ground where Company D 
had charged the sound of the guns in the 
distance, the cold chills ran up my back 
as I thought of the brave boys who fell there 
in what might be properly called the White 
Horse charge. Company D all being mounted 
on white horses. 

At dark we had completely flanked the 
enemy, and moved to White House Landing, 
where Custer's division joined Sheridan, who 
had come on the raid, but bv a different route. 



dered by General Sheridan. The un- 
serviceable horses and property were 
condemned and turned in. My horse 
had a saddle bruise and I was compelled to 
part with him. Claybank was otherwise in 
fine condition. 

The plans were changed, and we moved to 
the Army of the Potomac before the clothing 
and the fresh horses arrived. The dismounted 
men had to walk. There was no enemy to 
contend with, and the march was slow and 
easy. We proceeded to Hancock's Station on 
the 27th of March. 

On the 28th we drew horses. My mount 
was a sorrel pony, less than fourteen hands 
high. On the 29th we moved to the left of 
Grant's line. The rain was falling constantly, 
and the horses were plunging about in mud 
and water. It was impossible to keep in the 
column, and we had to help the supply-train 
along, which was a discouraging task. The 
logs that had been put in for corduroy road 
were in many instances floating, and they were 
an obstacle instead of a benefit. 

The battle was raging within hearing dis- 

The Last Battles 367 

tance, and the continual roar of cannon and 
musketry added to the dreary situation. The 
front line was lonesome without Custer, and 
he was ordered up. We made the best time 
possible, leaving the train to fall to any fate 
that might overtake it. On the route we 
passed hundreds of dead and wounded that 
lay in the mud or sat braced up by trees. Some 
had arms in slings and, with their clothes cut 
open to bind up their wounds, and their faces 
and hands besmeared with blood and powder 
smoke, they made a pitiful-looking sight as 
they hobbled or crawled toward the station at 
the end of the military railroad. 

After traveling two or three hours we came 
to the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac, 
among them the Sixth Ohio Cavalry. When 
we passed I rode over and shook hands with 
some of my old schoolmates. 

Our journey was near an end, for the Sixth 
was then drawing in its skirmish line in order 
to be out of Custer's way. We moved 
on a half mile, and while the cavalry dis- 
mounted, the artillery, which had been kept 
well to the front, opened on Pickett's troops 
at about eight hundred yards. 

We charged in a mass as soon as we could 
get together, in little or no order, driving all 
light lines before us. Hayes, who was run- 
ning by me, went down with the first volley 
from the main line. I kept on firing at every 
step until the magazine was empty, and re- 
loaded while running. I jumped a ditch 

368 Four Years with Five Armies 

about five feet wide, when a minie ball struck 
my left ankle. 

General Custer, with his flag bearer, dashed 
by just at that time. The horses sank to their 
knees at every jump. After running thirty 
steps or more I thought it best to see how bad 
my wound was, and I went back to the ditch 
and sat behind a stump and pulled off my 
boot, which was full of blood. I concluded it 
did not amount to much, and started on again. 
I think at least one dozen balls struck the 
stump while I was there. 

When I arrived at the place from which I 
had turned back I was well in the rear of our 
men, who were lying flat on the brow of a 
little rise of ground in front. A storm of lead 
was flying, and the enemy charged and we 
broke. The ground we had come over was 
sloping and there was such a storm of lead I 
thought it best to follow up the swale, for the 
rise of ground would have a tendency to 
carry the balls high over my head. My 
clothes were cut in several places, however, 
before I reached shelter. 

When the enemy had arrived at the highest 
point I was in the woods and in another bri- 
gade, which was also falling back at will. A 
high rail fence was in front of us, and I 
shouted, " Here is a good place to make a 
stand! Rally on this fence!" 

A lieutenant-colonel was in front of me. 
He drew his saber, halted, and ordered his 
men to form there. The lead was spatting 

The Last Battles 369 

on the trees, one of which I managed to keep 
between the enemy and me until I could catch 
my breath, for I was winded by my long 

When most of the men had dropped over 
the fence I walked up, climbed over, walked 
leisurely to the right, fell in with our regi- 
ment, and nearly the first man I met was Cap- 
tain Newton. He told me to tell Sergeant 
Grist to rally the men on that ground. It 
was now getting dark. I did not tell the Cap- 
tain I was wounded, and when a little farther 
back called for Sergeant Grist and was an- 
swered, "Here!" Before I saw him I was 
repeating the Captain's orders, and I received 
the curt reply that he was then being carried 
back by two men with a bullet through his 
lung. I apologized, of course, although I had 
committed no offence, not knowing he was 

The men were soon in order and they made 
the second charge. My ankle began to feel 
heavy, and pained me so I went with the 
horses to the rear. During the first charge we 
noticed something we had not seen before. 
The work of the battery was fearful. The 
ground in front of it sloped gently down to 
the junction of two draws or swales, divided 
by a point that sloped back to the right. The 
second draw was partly hid bv the point that 
covered all of the enemy's line except the 
right, which rested on the railroad. Every 
time the guns were discharged the grape swept 

370 Four Years with Five Armies 

that part of the line completely away, and the 
line would wheel into column and fill up the 
gap just vacated, only to meet the same fate. 
There was nothing to prevent the artillery 
from recharging and firing, and therefore each 
man knowingly stepped into a dead man's 
shoes. It was an act of suicide, actuated by 
a determined bravado to keep up an appear- 
ance from the fact that they were experienced 
officers, and that the men had engaged in all 
the important battles of the war. At their 
right there was a railroad embankment which 
would have given them ample protection and 
which would have enabled them to control the 
same ground had they chosen to take refuge 
behind it. A small detachment of sharp- 
shooters could have compelled Custer's artil- 
lery to abandon its position. 

When once more in the saddle I laid my 
foot across the horse's neck, cut the top of the 
boot away, and tied up the wound with a 
handkerchief. In the morning, with a com- 
panion to bring the horse back, I went to the 
hospital at Dinwiddie Court House. So 
many were there so much worse than I, and 
who needed all the attention of the force of 
surgeons and attendants, that I told them to 
give me a pan and bandage and I could take 
care of myself. 

" That is the kind of talk we like to hear. 
We are overrun with work," the doctor said. 

By the time the wound was bandaged, they 
brought in Captain Newton. He had been 

The Last Battles 371 

wounded in the leg during the last charge and 
had lain out all night between the lines. 

The enemy abandoned their position during 
the night. 

About noon those able to walk to the am- 
bulance were ordered to get in and go to 
Hancock's Station. I had placed my overcoat 
under Captain Newton to brace him up 
against the wall of the court-house. My medal 
was in the pocket, and I went away and left 
it rather than disturb him. 

My ankle was now swollen and somewhat 
painful. I hobbled about, and we arrived at 
the station a little before dark. The Women's 
Relief Corps was here in force, administering 
to the sick and wounded who were arriving 
by thousands from all along the line, from 
Petersburg to Dinwiddie Court House. 

We were loaded into box- and flat-cars, 
crowded to the utmost limit, and run over a 
military railroad, a track laid on top of the 
ground without grading, to City Point. The 
method of braking at that time was crude, and 
as we went up and down hill the train would 
jerk and crash together with such force that 
the men would slide together on the bottom 
of the cars. 

At daylight we arrived at our destination 
and were placed in tents. The Captain was 
brought in the next day, with his leg ampu- 
tated, and in a dying condition. This was sad 
news to me. He had been the central figure 
of our company, always at his post, intelligent, 

372 Four Years with Five Armies 

reliable at all times and under all conditions, 
patient with toil and privation, and now he 
must die with victory in view. 

The authorities were moving the men as fast 
as they were able, and in a few days we were 
loaded on transports and landed at Washing- 
ton, D. C, where we were placed in Glenwood 

Although I dressed my wound twice each 
day, the doctor insisted on the amputation of 
my foot, and only by appealing to the chief 
surgeon was I able to save it. In a few days 
we were shipped to Philadelphia and placed 
in Chestnut Hill Hospital, where I remained 
until the wound was healed. The sojourn at 
Chestnut Hill was comfortable under the ex- 
isting conditions. We read the daily news 
about the closing events, and received letters 
from men of our company who participated 
for the remaining nine days that brought the 
struggle to a close between the Army of the 
Potomac and the Army of Northern Vir- 
ginia. With letters from home with small 
remittances, and calls from relatives and 
friends from the city, the time passed off 
pleasantly until after the grand rdview, in 
which the Second Ohio marched with their 
old division and went into camp near Alex- 
andria, expecting to be mustered out of serv- 
ice soon. That news made me anxious to go, 
and in the month of June, i86j;, I made appli- 
cation to be released and was booked to go 
with the first squad. When everything was 

The Last Battles 373 

ready they placed an armed guard around us 
with fixed bayonets, marched us into cars, 
locked the doors, and stationed a guard on 
each platform. 

When we arrived in the city we were 
marched to a large building with grated iron 
doors and windows, and locked in. It being 
the first time I was a real prisoner it made me 
feel as if there should be some way to escape, 
and I applied for leave to visit my friends in 
the city, but was promptly refused, although 
I promised to be on time for the train that 
would depart in the evening. 

The same treatment was continued, and on 
our arrival at Washington, D. C, we were 
turned into a large detention building with 
iron gratings near the B. &. O. Depot. There 
we were kept during the night without a 
blanket, being compelled to lie down on the 
filthy floor, which looked as if it had never 
been cleaned and which was alive with ver- 
min. We were without one mouthful to 
eat, and only river water to drink, of which 
there was an abundance to be procured at a 
hydrant placed there for that purpose. 

This treatment caused me to feel bitter 
toward the perpetrators of such a crime. On 
inquiry as to the cause of the treatment, some 
officers would walk away without answering, 
while others would reply, " To keep you 
from getting away." The snobbishness of the 
officers caused me to regret that I had ever 
taken up arms to tear down one set of aristo- 

374 Four Years with Five Armies 

crats who domineered over the blacks, to 
build another class to domineer over the 
whites, which might be regarded as a forecast 
of the political future of the Republic. The 
same method of treatment was continued for 
several hours after our arrival at Alexandria. 
When we arrived in Alexandria we learned 
that the regiment, having been dismounted, 
was then in St. Louis, Missouri. 

A small squad of the Second Ohio men 
having reported at Alexandria from various 
hospitals, we were released and permitted to 
go to quarters with them, and forwarded to 
the regiment. 

On our arrival in St. Louis we learned that 
an effort had been made to take the regiment 
with Hunter's expedition up the Red River 
for the purpose of seizing contraband cotton. 
The war having terminated, the men consid- 
ered their contract fulfilled, and raised a pro- 
test, the result of which was a riot that drove 
Colonel Nettleton from the regiment and 
landed the men in Benton Barracks, Missouri, 
where we joined them. 


ON the first day of July the regiment 
was marched to the depot and sent on 
cars to Raleigh, the terminus of the 
railroad then being built to Spring- 
field, Missouri. After marching on foot for 
two days, we went into camp and lay over the 
4th. There was no demonstration to denote 
that it was Independence Day except the halt 
to rest. 

On our arrival at Springfield we pitched 
camp in a pleasant open grove. There was no 
apparent reason for this movement, and when 
those who should know were approached with 
the question, they would reply that there was 
an unsettled condition somewhere in the South 
but that they did not know exactly where. 
The reply only intensified the already exas- 
perated questioner, who could reach no other 
conclusion than that it was to raise the grade 
of the officers, many of whom had filched what 
they already had. The former worthy officers 
having been killed, wounded, or having re- 
signed on account of bad treatment, the record 
of the regiment began to change after leaving 
Washington, as the men considered their con- 


376 Four Years with Five Armies 

tract fulfilled and claimed the right to go 

The mud-and-water class of officers now be- 
ing in control, and the arch conspirator hav- 
ing gone to gloat over his ill-gotten gains, the 
true soldier burned with indignation when 
put off with evasive answers. So, taking into 
consideration the reward given for faithful 
duty, they threw off all responsibility and did 
not pretend to do anything as it should be 

When horses and equipments were issued 
the regiment separated by battalions, the one 
to which Company E belonged remaining at 
Springfield to do duty at that place. The last 
horse assigned me, and the seventeenth one 
ridden in the regular line of mount, was an 
iron-gray, well built, and sixteen hands 

Before leaving this place, I was informed 
of two things of importance to me. One day 
G. A. Richardson of Company A came into 
our quarters and told me that he had the re- 
volver I had taken from the officer in the en- 
gagement at Ashland. He was with the ad- 
vance of the dismounted line that moved out 
and took possession of our original line. He 
was the first to the dead horse, and picked the 
revolver up from in front of the saddle where 
it fell when he went down. He asked me if 
I would know it, and I replied that it was 
different from any I had ever seen, the cylin- 
der being fluted. He said it was, and pro- 

Mustered Out 377 

duced it. He offered it to me, but, as he had 
come into possession of it by fair means, his 
offer was refused. At another time, a man 
from Company B, whom I was not acquainted 
with, said, " You thought you shot that man 
at Waynesboro." I told him that I thought 
so. He said, "You did not shoot him; you 
fired and the man fell, but you missed him. 
Polhemus was to the right and rear of you 
and his shot brought the man down." 

This news was thankfully received, for I 
had no inclination to retain the thought of hav- 
ing been directly the cause of any man's death 
or misery. As this claim was made for the 
man that had the reputation of being the best 
long-range marksman in the regiment, I will- 
ingly waived my judgment in the case. 

Headquarters and quartermaster and com- 
missary stores were in town. The guards were 
detailed with a sergeant in command, who 
marched to town and remained for three days. 
This duty, as sergeant of the guard, fell to my 
lot several times during our stay. The county 
jail and the stockade for military prisoners 
were entrusted to us and, under the conditions 
and with the frame of mind the men were in, 
the way we performed the duty would be no 
credit to our record, so I will omit it. 

Only two incidents occurred while we were 
here that are worthy of note. One was the 
killing of a man by the name of Tutt by Bill 
Hickok, better known as Wild Bill. They 
fell out over a game of cards and separated. 

378 Four Years with Five Armies 

The next time they met, both drew and fired 
about the same time, and Tutt fell dead. 

They were companion scouts, and were as- 
signed to duty at Springfield, where Tutt's 
mother lived. Bill was placed in jail and the 
sheriff told me to take him out when he wanted 
to go, as he had no authority to do so himself. 

When on duty we walked about together, 
and he told me the adventures of his life, 
which were substantially the same as quoted 
in the book entitled '' The Life of Wild Bill." 

He was acquitted by a jury, afterward, and 
went to Kansas. 

Time wore away slowly, and repeated ef- 
forts failed to get the proper influence to bear 
on the Governor of Ohio to order the regiment 
home to be mustered out of service. Assured 
by letters from the other battalions that they 
would support us in any stringent measures we 
might employ, we held a council and elected 
delegates to wait on the Colonel. 

The delegates elected at the meeting 
previously spoken of chose a spokesman, 
marched to headquarters, and talked with 
Colonel Seward, who told them they were get- 
ting themselves into trouble; but he was 
promptly warned by the spokesman that we 
would be in the saddle at sunrise the next 
morning and would march to the railroad, and 
that if he made a protest he would not follow 
us but would remain to decorate a shade tree 
in Springfield. He suddenly came to terms, 
and offered to bring in the other battalions 

Mustered Out 379 

and march one week from the next morn- 

The delegation reported the result of their 
mission, and we accepted the terms. One 
week found us on our way to St. Louis, where 
we went into quarters at Benton Barracks. We 
turned in our horses, arms, and equipments, 
and were mustered out of service September 
II, 1865. 

We went to Columbus, Ohio, where we 
were paid off and disbanded. 

At the completion of the Second Ohio's 
regimental organization, October 10, 1861, it 
mustered, according to its daily report, 1,177 
men. This enrollment was subsequently 
swollen to a total of 1,240 men. The official 
roster, published at Columbus, shows that by 
casualties, deaths, transfers, promotions, etc., 
2,504 names were, during its time of service, 
carried on its rolls, and that when finally mus- 
tered out, September 11, 1865, it numbered 
757, almost 200 of whom were recruits of less 
than six months' service; showing an actual 
loss from all causes, during its term of service, 
of 1,749 rnen, or 561 more than the whole 
number enrolled within its ranks October 10, 

It is stated in the " History of Ohio in the 
War," that the Second Ohio fought under the 
following general officers: Buell, Wright, 
Hunter, Denver, Sturges, Blunt, Soloman, 
Curtis, Schofield, Burnside, Custer, Gillmore, 
Shackelford, Foster, Kautz, Sedgwick, Wil- 

380 Four Years with Five Armies 

son, Mcintosh, Talbot, Carter, Sheridan, 
Meade and Grant. 

Its horses drank from, and the troopers have 
bathed in, the waters of the Arkansas, Caw, 
Osage, Cygene, Missouri, Mississippi, Ohio, 
Scioto, Miami, Cumberland, Tennessee, Hols- 
ton, Potomac, Shenandoah, Rappahannock, 
Rapidan, Bull Run, Mattaponi, Pamunkey, 
Chickahominy, James, Appomattox, Black 
Water, Nottoway, and Chesapeake. 

It has campaigned in thirteen States and one 
Territory: Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Illi- 
nois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, 
Georgia, Alabama, West Virginia, Maryland, 
Virginia, and Indian Territory. 

It has traveled, as a regiment, on foot and on 
horseback, by railroad and steamboat, on land, 
by river, and on the ocean. It has marched an 
aggregate of twenty-seven thousand miles. It 
has fought in ninety-seven battles and engage- 
ments. It has served in five different armies: 
The Army of the Frontier, of the Missouri, 
of the Potomac, of Ohio, and of the Shenan- 
doah, forming a continuous line of armies 
from the headwaters of the Arkansas to the 
mouth of the James. 

Its dead sleep where they fell from a vidette 
line half across the continent, a chain of pros- 
trate sentinels two thousand miles long. 

Even in their graves may not their prostrate 
dead still guard the glory and integrity of the 
Republic for which they fell? 



f the Morgan raid in 
to abandon all l^opc 

fuUed in the ^Sr^ose ^0^-^'^- 
to the cavalry bureau, w ^^ its proper 

nlaced that branch of *; ^JJL attested by of- 
Sing, which IS suffi-endy 

^."^i tee who ire'quently refers to the 

R. E>- ^^^'> 381 


38a Fo.r Year, „,Vj pi„ ^^^.^^ 

soldier by nature and "w' ^- ^- ^^"tz, a 
Pher, a man who LlTed a oroM °"' ^ P^^'^^^o- 
^ man of indomitable co^,™''^^'"/^ ^ glance, 
f^ountry, and proud of hTs n.f/ '"^"^ ^« ^^' 
'ted to an unin'iportanf .^ Profession. Lim- 
tary genius wanuriedTnTh"''' ^•^'"^^^'"il^- 
^ant of an opportunity " ^^^'^^^^^ f^r the 


tke army horse 

IT has been assorted that the horse has no 
reasoning p()v^ers, and lacks discretion; 
but my experi?nce teaches me that he is 
in possession of both, and in many cases 
o a marked degree. There are some very 
;11 horses and aii occasional desperado that 
is to be subjugattv-c ; a process which usually 
reaks his constitution to an extent that ren- 
ers him worthies*. 

Like men, the a'^cra^ge and superior horse 
jon learns the trui pet calls, is at home with 
t's associates, and J.^apts himself to the vicis- 
"oudes of army lif'r H apparently under- 
bids if he is to r long journey or a 
■ dash, and gau^ ictions accordingly. 
Lioned on the v ine in a lonesome 
^ce on a dark ni feels his position 
k enly, and will exp^ gratitude at relief 
as much as his rider s a good sentinel; 
and by watching h> ears closely one will 
never be deceived by ml unexpected approach. 
He never steps oi la dead, wounded, or 
sic ping trooper, altliot^gh he may pass di- 
recdy over him.|a on a rapid retreat, 
though hungry, thirsty; and tired, he will 
exe *t every energy to keep up with the throng. 
In battle he partakes of) the hopes and fears 

3^3 1 

\ s 

384 Four Years with Fk? Armies 

incidental to the occasion. ; On the skirmish 
line he will mope back QjL<i forth, with his 
head hanging down and ean lopped, is if very 
tired. At the sound of the trumpet he will 
move rapidly to the front.or rear at the will 
of the trooper. When heavy battles are rag- 
ing, if standing in line, it becomes nervous 
with the suspense, and wiJ tremble and sweat 
and grow apprehensive. At an}- ' tha 

indicates a move, the ricU- 
ing the bit with his ton^i 
he seeks to go fasten ■^ 
shows his disapproval n 
He will then grasp the 
ahead as if to brave the \v 
as quickly as possible. 

A horse's actions when ^ 
the nature of the woun' 
the lungs, he will coii >:5 
cough, the blood flowlr 
nostrils. He will mof 
tance and stand wi'^i 
wound is a painful r 
he will utter one pie 
scream that resemb' 
panther, and that - 
through the frame 
a ball passes throu^i; 
ten or twelve leaps «. 
at any time during 1 r 
ily, being dead befo 
the brain all sup nr 
dead weight, and 
another move. 

-^n fee 1 vorl 
As he irioves . 
when restrain 
eigning to bo 
afresh, and da 
L aifd have it o^ 

lunded depend 
If shot throup^' 
rf >ne hard chok 
^. . : of his moutl" 
: v^ $y for a shore 
r-d down. If . 
^ h as a broken 1 g, 
hrit^k or hysterical 
le cry of the \ .Id 
s a shudder to run 
bravest s ' *sr. If 
, heart, h.^ il make 
even more vigor than 
h, and then fall heav- 
ling. If shot through 
o:one, and he falls i 
lightens out withoi t 




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