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Full text of "History of the Eighth regiment Kentucky vol. inf., during its three years campaigns, embracing organization, marches, skirmishes, and battles of the command, with much of the history of the old reliable Third brigade"

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Organization, Marches, Skirmishes, 


Battles of the Command, 







St. Joseph Steam Printing Company 



Cot>y iLi 

Entered recording to Act of Congress in the year 1880 by 
Capt. T. J. Wright. 




















In placing this History before the public, the author takes 
pleasure in assuring his readers that this work is not fiction, 
but a chronological order of facts, wherein runs along the wild 
tide of war and great events ; of fields of blood ; the compara- 
tive succeeding calm ; of the soldier's daily toils, camp duties 
and privations; their many hardships, marches, skirmishes and 
battles; detailing modes of cooking, with many amusing epi- 
sodes of foraging expeditions, being truly the true inwardness 
of the private soldier's life. Written from the author's daily 
journal, kept by him throughout this Veteran Regiment's long 
and eventful service, embracing much of the history of the re- 
nowned Third Brigade, commanded by Hon. Stanley Mathews. 

The author having promised many of his former comrades, 
on taking leave of them when the regiment disbanded, to pub 
lish this work, has this apology to offer for the long delay in 
placing the work before the publie : First — For several years 
immediately succeeding the rebellion, the country was flooded 
with wild, romantic and fictitious story books of the sanguinary 
struggle, written principally by men and women whose sources 
of. information were vague newspaper reports, lavishly colored 
by their own fruitful imaginations, causing the reading public 
to tire of literature relating to the late war. Second — The au- 
thor's unsettled affairs, in making a new home in the West ; 
and, thirdly, the scattered condition of the survivors, making 
it difficult to obtain from brother officers certain statistical mat- 
ters material to the work. 

Hoping the true and moral character of this work, free from 

any of that bitter sectional feeling usually found in such books, 

will make the following pages a welcome and interesting visitor 

in every home, and especially to all old soldiers and their nu- 
merous friends. 





The Clouds of War. Kentucky's Neutrality. Union Home 
Guards. Invasion. Enlisting. Recruits Arming themselves 
with Rifles and Shot guns. Rendezvousing at Estill Springs. 
Awkward Drilling. Organizing the Regiment. Flag Pre- 
sentation by Loyal Ladies. Response of the Eighth. 


Marching Orders. Taking Leave of Friends. A Rainy March. 
Loyalty in Richmond, Ky. A Snow Storm. Officers Pay- 
ing for Chickens. Arrive at Lebanon. Putting on Style. 
Drilling. Serious Sickness. Moving Camp and Making 
Beds. Married Soldiers Desirous to be Furloughed. A 
Shrewd Woman and a Sharp Lieutenant. Kindness of Cit- 
izens. Our Death Roll Increases. Pay Day, Marching to 
Louisville. Boat Ride. An Indignant Boat Crew. Excited 


A Silent Southern City. Buell's Unpleasant Orders. Cutting 
ReJjels' Timber. Moving South. Wading Stone River. 
Heavy Camp and Picket Duty. Ward fools the Doctor and 
is caught. Shooting a Rebel fool. Pig Skins. The Eighth 
at Wartrace. Catching a Rebel Surgeon. Fortifying. Cut- 


ling Railroad Timbers and Guarding Bridges. On the 
Mountains under Gen. Dumont. Hard Living. Returning 
to Camp at Wartrace. A detail wash ''Dobins" neck. 
Fourth of July. 


Night Ride to Elk River Bridge. Marching in a Rain Storm. 
A Knapsack Squabble. Fortifying TuUahoma. The 35th 
Indiana joins the Brigade. Picketing and Foraging. March 
to Murfreesboro. Putting the Darkies to Digging Rifle-pits. 
A silent Night Move ends in Hard Marching. Nelson ex- 
pecting Attack at Murfreesboro. A hot March to McMinn- 
ville. Morgan Evacuates. Expedition over Cany Fork, 
A hard set of Teamsters. Rain. Hard work, wet clothes 
and no grub. Counter-march. Green Apples. Nelson's 
Drills. Expedition to Liberty. Nelson and the pie vender. 
" Thirty-fives " run a Distillery. 


Loyalty leaving McMinnville. March back to Murfreesboro. 
Scarcity of Greenbacks. An Accommodating Sutler. Troops 
passing through Nashville. On to Kentucky. Pants only 
for the ragged Gray-backs in camp. Leaving Tennessee with 
full Stomachs. The Flag and Loyalty in Kentucky. Bran- 
son and the Goat. On half Rations. Grating Corn Hard 
Marching. Drinking Mule Soup. Skirmishing ahead. Ar- 
rive at Cave City. Novel Cooking. Wormy Flour. Soldiers 
Distrusting Buell. Sleeping with wet garments, A Race 
for the Ohio. Famishing with Thirst. Midnight Entrance 
into Louisville. Condition of the Troops, 


Expecting Pay, but Double-quick after the Johnnies. Skirmish- 
ing. Scarcity of Water. Battle of Peiryville. Rebels 
Retreating. Indignant Kentucky Soldiers. Hunting a fight 
at Danville. On toward Crab Orchard. Night attack on 


the Johnnies. They leave a hot Breakfast, Rebels Blocka- 
ding the R.oad near Wildcat. The Sth Surprise and Capture 
a Camp of Rebel Recruits. On to Somerset. Early Snow. 
March to Columbus. Sad Reports from Home. The 8lh 
and 2 1st desire a few Greenbacks. Married Men wanting 
Furloughs. Pay day at Glasgow. Moving on to Tennessee, 
A big day's Washing at Galatin. 


Slipping on to Morgan at Lebanon. Heavy Rations of Flour, 
Bacon and Whisky. A novel Supply Train. Foraging at 
Silver Springs, Guarding Supplies to Rural Hill. Attack 
at Breakfast. Discomfitted Rebels leave seven dead. Wise- 
man tumbling a " Jip." Col, Hawkins Compliments the 
Eighth. Camp nearer Nashville, Changes in the Command, 
Move to the Murfreesboro Pike. Rosecrans Inspects the 
Army. Foraging and Battle at Dobins' Ferry. Our Dead 
and Wounded. Another move. After Absentees in Louis- 


The Army moves on the Enemy, The Eighth's Company 
Commanders, Skirmishing in the rain, A Sunday in Bi- 
vouac. Pickets' Armistice. Arrival at Stone River, Two 
Armies Facing. Heavy Skirmishing. Terrible Battle the 
last day of 1862. Wading cold water. Third Brigade a 
Bait to Rosy's Trap, Magnificent War Picture, A gallant 
Resistance by the Third Brigade, Breckenridge falls into 
the trap. Terrible Slaughter. Murfreesboro ours. Burying 
Dead. Bad Weather. Loss of Comrades. Irishman's No- 
tion of Putting Down Rebels. 


Torn Battle Flags in Kentucky Legislature. A Hospital 
Town. Picketing and practicing Economy. Death of three 
gallant Officers, Foraging on a large scale, A Rebel dis- 


likes his Voucher. Fortifying M, The Status of the Slaves 
discussed. More Deaths from Wounds. Guarding Pontoons. 
On a Reconnoissance. Rain, mud and songs. Camp on 
Lytle's Creek. A stylish Inspector Wets his Pants. Off to 
Snow Hill with one hundred rounds. Charging the Enemy. 
Victory. Return to Camp. 


Heavy Drills and Picket Duty. Col. Matthews' Farewell. A 
Mammoth "Nigger" Dance causes Alarm. Maj. Broadhus' 
and Col. May's Departure. Capt. Mayhew and Adjt. Clark 
Promoted. Officers being Married to Commissions. Mark- 
ing Comrades' Graves. Swap for Enfield Rifles. Smith's 
Gun the Brightest. Dobin Spikes tries Bean Juice. Wit- 
nessing the Shooting of a Deserter. Army moves Forward. 
Marching and Scouting. Union Songs and Rebel Hate. 
At Woodbury. At McMinnville again. Ornamenting Camp. 
Unwelcome Harvesters. The last Man ever Tied up. 


Over the Mountains. Topography of Sequatchie. Rattlesnakes. 
Pikeville. Brains Hockersmith and the Rebel Beauty. Liv- 
ing on Produce. The Loyal Refugee Preacher. A good 
Work begins. Down the Valley. Crossing the Tennessee. 
Wet Men. Guarding Supply Train. A piled up Country. 
Passing the Gate City. Three Miles of Fight. Entering 
Ringold, Ga. Frightened Women. Back to Gordon's Mills 
and McLamore's Cave. A Sweet Incense of Frying Mutton. 


Reconnoitering and Skirmishing at Chicamauga. A Cold 
Night and Piteous Cries of the Wounded. Description of 
the. Two Days' Battle. Gallant Charge by the 51st Ohio and 
8th Kentucky. Return to the city, war worn and brush torn . 
Loss of Comrades. 



Siege of Chattanooga. Digging Day and Night. Under Fire. 
On Quarter Rations. Picket Repartee. Another Picture of 
War. Religious Worship. Frank Captures Rebel Beeves. 
Rosecrans and Crittenden Farewell. The Command Changed 
to the 4th Corps. A Detail of the Brigade at Field Hospital. 
Forage for a Living. At Moccasin Point. Wauhatchie and 
Shell Mound. Dilapidated Clothing. Building Winter 


Over Bad Roads with three days' Rations and Sixty Rounds. 
Facing Frowning Lookout, Pile Knapsacks and Climbing. 
Surprising the Enemy in day-light. A Rich Harvest of 
Prisoners. Novel Missiles. Ward Silencing a Sharpshooter. 
Battle above the Clouds. Carrying the Flag on Point Look- 
out. Capturing Camp and Commissaries. An exciting Battle 
Scene. Finishing Winter Quarters. Consolidation of the 
Regiment at Shell Mound, Parting with Brother Officers. 
Maj. Clark's Farewell. 


Re-enlisting. Manner of Doubling Companies. Leaving the 
'' Illegant" Shanties. Incidents of the March to Cleveland, 
Tenn. Self Reliance of the Soldiers. Form new Camp and 
Acquaintances. Veterans get Pay, and an Expedition to 
Buzzard's Roost. In Leaky Tents at Blue Springs. A 
Rainy March and Miserable Night Ride. A Supperless Set. 
Camp at Chattanooga. Chuck-a-luckers Burying Mules. 
Snow-balling. Veterans Dressing up. An Officer's Advice 
to his Men. 


Veterans take a Thirty Days' Furlough, Soldiers' Home. In 
Louisville. Leaving Lexington. Cleaning out a Hotel. 
Good Behavior. Home and Friends. How a Southern. 


Rights Woman became Union. Returning to the War. A 
Reinstated Cook. Garrison and Picket Duties around the 
" Gate City." Some Characteristic Citizens. Afraid of a 
Yankee Gun. A sad case of Sudden Poverty. 



Guarding Trains Front and Rear. A hard lot of Bounty 
Jumpers. The Fourth of July. Steadman's hard Orders to 
Citizens. Rebel Raid on Dalton increases our Duty. A 
Hot Valley. Fanciful Reverie of a Thunder Storm. Soldiers 
taking Interest in Religion and Politics. A Characteristic 
Debate. Model Worship. Forest's Raid on our Cracker 
Line. Platform Cars to Cumberland Tunnel. Waiting for 
Attack at Block Houses. 


Life Tvi^enty Days at Elk River. A Destitute Country. An 
Impressive Funeral. Night Ride to Bridgeport. Returning 
to Chattanooga. Picketing with Colored Troops. New 
Clothing. Arrival of the Fourth Corps. A Camp of Dis- 
couraged Atlanta Citizens. The Eighth sent to Reseca and 
Calhoun. Turning over Government Property. Making 
Muster out Rolls. Bidding good-bye to Lieut. Pucket and 
the Veterans. All aboard for Nashville. Receiving Pay at 
Louisville. Disbanding. 





Eighth Kentucky Volunteers. 


In the month of December, i860, the State of 
South Carolina passed the rash and fatal Ordinance 
of Secession. This dark, ominous cloud of civil dis- 
cord that arose in the South and gathered strength 
and blackness as it rolled northward, threatening soon 
to burst in a terrific storm of civil war, blood and 
carnage, and convulse this mighty Government from 
center to circumference — a war that was soon to 
stain hundreds of battlefields with the blood of many 
thousands of brave and good men from every part 
of our glorious Union. Early in the winter of 1861 
all classes of our citizens in Central Kentucky be- 
came intensely interested in the question of the pro- 
priety of Kentucky's seceding and casting her for- 
tune with the other Slave States, which had been, 
by excitement and forced elections, hurled out of 


the Union into the so called Southern Confederacy, 
where slavery instead of freedom was to become the 
chief corner-stone of this new national edifice. 

In Central Kentucky, and especially in those coun- 
ties bordering on the southern part of the '^ Blue- 
grass region," debates became decidedly warm and 
spirited. A small majority of the best citizens im- 
mediately took a firm and decided stand against 
secession and rebellion, while many whose love for 
the " divine" institution of African slavery assumed 
that peculiar cloak for treason called neutrality, and 
loudly demanded compromises instead of coercion ; 
and many were from the first rebels at heart, who 
openly proclaimed on the streets of our towns their 
wicked and treasonable designs to destroy or divide 
this Union of States. 

The winter passed. The mad fire of secession 
continued to rage. Active preparations for war were 
carried on in the seceded States. Union men were 
astonished at the inactivity of Buchanan's weak Ad- 
ministration ; while rebels rejoiced and exulted over 
the surrender of that brave and good man, Major 
Anderson, and his gallant little band of heroes at 
Fort Sumter. Rebel companies were drilling in 
Central and Southern Kentucky, and open, out- 
spoken Union men were threatened with hanging or 
banishment. We began to think the time had come 
when we should rub up our old shot-guns and trusty 
rifles, and instead of discussing secession meetings 
were called to consult as to the best methods of self- 


The legerdemain by which the extreme Southern 
States were juggled out of the Union had so far 
proved a success. Only let it be granted that where 
thirteen or more parties have entered into a solemn 
contract with each other either of the parties can 
rightfully withdraw from the arrangement when he 
pleases without the consent of the others, and you 
can prove anything. Any man whose mind can be 
taught that, could be made believe anything, and the 
Southern people were carefully taught to believe it. 
They contended that while the States which chose to 
secede could not be rightfully coerced to remain in 
the Union, those States which chose to remain must 
be forced to secede. But the Confederate logicians 
in Kentucky hatched a new lie called neutrality, and 
declared that Kentucky should be neutral until the 
rebellion should become strong enough to swallow 
her at a mouthful. Governor Magofifm, whose sym- 
pathies were strong for the South, issued a procla- 
mation calling for the organization of the State 
Militia, and also convening the Legislature to con- 
sider the crisis. The 226. of May, 1861, the Senate 
passed a resolution declaring '' that Kentucky will 
never sever her connection with the National Gov- 
ernment, nor take up arms for either belligerent." 
This resolution was lost in the House of Represent- 
atives by a large vote. The secessionists of Ken- 
tucky began to be alarmed, and their fears were not 
diminished when the result of the election held the 
first of July showed a majority for the Union candi- 
dates of more than fifty-five thousand votes ; and 


Kentucky Union men began to take courage at the 
action of the President, and the hearty response by 
troops from the Northern States to his call for 
75,000 three-months' men to meet the rebel army 
then gathered in Northeastern Virginia. And many 
believed the " sectional troubles'" would soon blow 
over without the loss of much blood. Union home 
guards were organized in most counties along the 
Kentucky River and throughout the north part of 
the State — probably the best move that could have 
been made at that time. But, as subsequent events 
proved, to have attempted to put down the rebellion 
with home guards and three months' men was about 
as wise as to try to put out the flames of a burniifg 
building with a squirt-gun. The writer had the 
honor to command one of these home guard com- 
panies in Estill County. We met twice a week, 
every man with rifle or shot-gun ready for any 
emergency, but principally to drill. The military 
display and general awkwardness of both rank and 
file on these occasions would have excited the pro- 
fanity of a West Point general. But we had the 
best of raw material of which to make soldiers. 
These undisciplined companies contained brave and 
fearless men, accustomed to handling firearms from 
early boyhood. They were excellent marksmen^ 
and only needed schooling and discipline to make 
them what most of them afterward proved, the best 
of soldiers. 

Before the first of August, 1861, so many of these 
home guards were organized throughout the coun- 


try, those would-be Confederate soldiers who had be- 
gun to drill and bluster in our midst, began to think 
it would be more healthy a little further south, and 
in their attempt to join ZoUicoffer's forces (then in- 
vading the State) many were gobbled up as prisoners 
by these undisciplined home guards, among them 
James B. Clay, son of the great statesman, who, 
with a large number of followers, were sent under 
guard to Louisville. Most of them took the oath of 
loyalty and were released. This invading army of 
rebels caused many of us to doubt the efficiency of 
our home organizations, lacking combined co-opera- 
tion and discipline. 

In August, 1861, Sidney M. Barnes, a lawyer 
gifted with more than ordinary talent as a speaker, 
and proprietor of the noted watering place ''Estill 
Springs," near Irvine, Ky., addressed the citizens of 
Madison, Estill and some of the adjoining counties, 
at a series of meetings, principally held at the times 
and places where the home guards met to drill. He 
ably pointed out the many disadvantages under which 
we would labor, and the danger of the State being over- 
run by the rebel army, the necessity of being armed 
with guns of the same caliber, of uniform clothings 
and of a more perfect organization, with some assur- 
ance of remuneration for our services. The Colonel 
humorously remarked: "Notwithstanding your 
bravery, which is undoubted, should the rebel army 
succeed in advancing this far, all you married men 
in the home guards will be sure to want to go home 
and see after Sally and the children." 


On the 14th of September, 1861, a battalion mus- 
ter of half a score of home guard companies met at 
Texas, in Madison County. The loyal citizens of 
the surrounding country came with well-filled baskets 
of the choicest provisions the country could afford. 
A picnic of mammoth proportions was the result to 
which everybody was welcomed by the loyal, kind- 
hearted women, who formed a large part of the great 
throng of people. Captains Powell and Wilson, who 
had partially formed two companies of three years' 
volunteers, were present with their new recruits 
beating up for volunteers, and no less than four 
other parts of companies were represented by as 
many flags, followed by drums and fife, appealing to 
the patriotism of the young men to take arms in de- 
fense of the best Government ever vouchsafed to 
man on earth. There are many ' survivors of the 
Eighth that dated their enrollment from that bright 
14th of September, 1861, and became members of 
Companies B, C and H. The two former compa- 
nies, under Powell and Wilson, had obtained their 
full quotas by the 22d, and on that day were given a 
bountiful feast by the good, old, loyal fathers and 
mothers of Station Camp, in Estill County, as a 
farewell token of their love to the " boys" and de- 
votion to the cause of union and liberty. That long 
table extending half across Uncle Eb. Wilson's pas- 
ture, loaded with rich and savory food, surrounded 
by kind mothers, sisters and sweethearts, insisting on 
us partaking of more when we had eat to repletion, 
was a scene and pleasure we often recalled to mind 


when on quarter rations '' Away down south in 
Dixie." These two companies rendezvoused the 
23d at Estill Springs, carrying with them many good 
shot-guns and rifles " borrowed" from reluctant 
rebel owners. The new encampment was armed 
principally by " loaned guns" of all kinds and 

The 26th September, Capt. R. Winbourn and 
myself left Estill Springs on a recruiting tour, each 
of us taking different routes, he going up the Ken- 
tucky River into Owsley County, and myself with a 
few recruits rode to the farm of Mr. Wills, where 
our first appointment to beat up for volunteers had 
been previously announced. The surrounding hills 
re-echoed the sound of our martial band, the music 
of which was not of the best, but the patriotic ardor 
being augmented by the rumored invasion of the 
State by the rebels under Zollicoffer, caused men, 
women and children to collect from all directions, 
some bearing large baskets filled with provisions, all 
with hearts full of love for our old flag and freedom. 
At 10 o'clock a. m. several hundreds of eager, ex- 
pectant persons had assembled. The poor music 
was followed by an equally poor speech from the 
writer, and this was followed by loud and boisterous 
cheering. We hoisted our flag, headed by our three 
amateur musicians^ playing their one and only tune, 
''Sally is the gal for me." As each recruit fell into 
the moving line loud cheers rent the air. In a short 
time we had about eighteen recruits, among them the 
brave and lamented Lieut. W. B. Cox, who gave his 


life's blood as a sacrifice for human liberty on the 
battle-field of Stone River. After partaking of a 
bountiful dinner, a la pic nic, we agreed to meet 
within two days, the 28th, at one Mr. Berryman's, 
where the bad speaking and music were again fol- 
lowed by a call for recruits. Several handsome young 
women took the flag and marched after the music, 
appealing to the young men to fall in and go fight 
for the best government on earth. These appeals 
were not in vain, as one boy said "none but traitors 
or cowards could stand back now." Nor did the 
tearful, pleading eyes of fond and affectionate wives 
restrain husbands from enlisting. Here our numbers 
were increased to upwards of thirty. According to 
instructions from Col. Barnes, we proceeded to col- 
lect a sufficient number of guns from rebels and rebel 
sympathizers to arm each new recruit. Many laugh- 
able incidents occurred in thus collecting arms. I 

will recite only one of the many : One T , near 

the Spout Spring, had openly and publicly swore that 
'' no Lincolnite should ever take his rifle to Estill 
Springs unless he first received the one charge it 
contained. Knowing the truth of the old saying 
that "a barking dog doesn't bite," I went alone to 
his cabin door and demanded the loan of his gun. 
He first denied having one — with trembling limbs 
and husky voice he declared his brother in Clark had 
it. When told that was "too thin," and that no 
fooling would be permitted, he acknowledged that it 
was behind a wide board over the door, and told me 
to take it down, which I declined to do, telling him 


of his previous threat, and to hand it to me himself. 
This he did. With tears in his eyes he said, "Capt., 
take care of her, fur she cost me twenty-five dollars, 
and I split rails at fifty cents a hundred to pay most 
ov it." He was told if he conducted himself as a 
good, loyal citizen, he would receive his gun again. 
In justice to many of these men of whom guns were 

taken, be it said that they, like Mr. T , proved 

to become Union men, and regained their reluctantly 
loaned property. 

On the 3d October, in company with Lieut. Cox 
and twenty more of the recruits, we returned to Es- 
till Springs, and were sworn into the U. S. service 
for three years or during the war, unless sooner dis- 
charged by proper authority. 

Recruiting parties with squads were daily arriving. 
The Colonel's long rows of neat cottage buildings 
were full, and a large quantity of lumber procured 
to build quarters. We were bountifully supplied with 
excellent beef and bacon. The services of an expe- 
rienced baker was secured, who furnished us good 
bread, full rations of coffee and sugar, and often a 
wagon load of potatoes were dumped into camp as a 
donation from some good old farmer. But the in- 
sufficient number of skillets, frying-pans and coffee 
pots, promiscuously gathered up and brought in by 
thoughtful recruits, and the great num.ber of self-ap- 
pointed, inexperienced cooks, caused confusion and 
no little discord. To avoid this a certain number of 
cooks were selected for each company or part of 
company, to attend to culinary affairs alone. After 


this judicious arrangement we lived well for soldiers, 
and many of those company cooks were there given 
" nick names" that they carried throughout the war. 
One Harris, of Company H, for his scrupulous 
cleanliness and dexterity in handling the dish-cloth, 
received the affectionate name of ** mother." I. 
Ward, Company F, kindly answered to the name of 
"Aunt Sally," &c. 

The 4th October, Capt. Jamison arrived with a 
full company from about the three forks of the Ken- 
tucky River. A i'ew days later, Capt. Winbourn 
with another squad arrived and joined us, thus aug- 
menting our company, H, to about sixty. Lieut. C. 
Benton soon after came in with a large squad, that 
subsequently became Company E. By the i8th 
October there were no less than fifteen parts of com- 
panies and full companies in camp. Col. Barnes 
informed us that companies could have only until the 
loth November to complete their organizations. 
Then considerable splicing of squads took place, and 
parts of squads bolting to other parts of companies, 
the men not being pleased with tne selfish arrange- 
ments their recognized leaders were trying to make 
with others, securing to themselves a lieutenantcy. 
and making no provision for even a non-commissioned 
officer for any of their devoted followers. Thus men 
were, after being sworn in, allowed to leave any 
company not full and join what company he chose, 
and then have a choice in the selection of company 
officers, even down to 8th corporal. 

The 23d October our encampment was thrown into 


a furor of excitement on the receipt of the news of 
Gen. Zollicoffer and his rebel horde being defeated 
in the spirited little fighi at Wild Cat Mountain, by 
a few regiments of Indianians and a few raw Ken- 
tucky recruits. About the 28th October, Captains 
Mayhew, McDaniel and J. B. Banton's companies 
from Barbourville and Manchester arrived at the 
Springs. Our reception of this important addition 
to our command was enthusiastically warm and noisy. 
These companies had smelt powder at Wild Cat, and 
we met them in the town of Irvine with music and 
much cheering, and escorted them as conquering 
heroes to our camp. 

The measles had broken out among us, and not- 
withstanding good medical aid was secured, several 
hundred of the 8th boys went through this sickening 
contagion. Though none died immediately from 
the disease, it no doubt subsequently caused the 
death of a large number. 

Several hours each day was spent in an awkward 
attempt at drill. Progress was unavoidably slow, as 
nearly all the self-appointed officers and drill ser- 
geants were as little skilled in tactics as the men, 
who found it difficult to habituate themselves to be- 
ing discipUned by such awkward superiors. Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel May, Major G. B. Broadhus and 
Captain Powell had served in the Mexican war as 
Lieutenants, and Captain R. B. Hickman had at- 
tended a military school a few months previous to 
joining the Eighth. All the other officers were 
novices in tactics and regulations. 


From the ist to the loth of November the prin- 
cipal excitement in camp was the splicing of squads 
into companies and the election of officers. With 
so much electioneering, discipline existed only in 
name. Some exciting and uncomfortably close 
races, but the best of humor prevailed, defeated as- 
pirants cheerfully acquiescing in the choice of the 

The 13th November, ten companies being organ- 
ized, with maximum number, making an aggregate of 
a few over nine hundred. The newly elected com- 
pany officers met and decided upon the letter and 
rank of each company, as follows : 
Co. A — Captain, J. D. Mayhew. 

I St Lieut., Wm. Ketchen. 
Co. B — Captain, A. D. Powell. 

ist Lieut., L Neal. 

2d Lieut., J. Blackwell. 
Co. C — Captain, John Wilson. 

ist Lieut., Wm. Park. 

2d Lieut., Cassius Park. 
Co. D — Captain, R. B. Jamison. 

ist Lieut., J. P. Gumm. 

2d Lieut., T. Carson. 
Co. E — Captain, R. B. Hickman. 

1st Lieut., C. D. Benton. 

2d Lieut., Perry Nickolls. 
Co. F— Captain, John B. Banton. 

ist Lieut., Barton Dixon. 

2d Lieut., Newton Hughes. 
Co. G — Captain, L. C. Minter. 



ist Lieut., Caleb Hughes. 

2d Lieut., Winfield S. Spencer. 
Co. H — Captain, Rhodes Winbourn. 

ist Lieut., Wade B. Cox. 

2d Lieut., T. J. Wright. 
Co. I — Captain, Wm. McDaniel. 

ist Lieut., Crooks. 

2d Lieut., -Amy. 

Co. K — Captain, Henry Thomas. 

ist Lieut., Wesley Stewart. 

2d Lieut., Wm. Smalhvood. 
Co). S. M. Barnes chosen Colonel ; Reuben Mav, 
of Clay county, Lieut. Colonel ; Green B. Broadhus, 
of Madison, Major ; John S. Clark, of Irvine, Adju- 
tant, and Timothy Paul, of Clay, Chaplain. 

Three days after, we received an entire outfit of 
camp and garrison equipage, except tents. The 
arms were the old altered muskets. With our new 
clothing the Eighth began to assume quite a martial 
appearance, and the officers were becoming indefati- 
gable in study and drill. 

By the 26th November the majority of our 
measles-stricken comrades had become convalescent. 
About this time the Colonel received orders from 
General Thomas to break up camp and march to 
Lebanon. The evening of the 27th November a 
delegation of loyal ladies from the town of Irvine 
and vicinity assembled on the long veranda of the 
principal Springs building, one of them bearing 
above her a large and beautiful silk flag, made by 
them expressly for gift to the Eighth Kentucky. 


The regiment formed dress parade, though the offi- 
cers' uniforms were as varied as the habiliments of 
any thirty or forty citizens usually are. The proper 
salutation had to be made with the hand, as none of 
us had purchased swords or uniforms. We closed 
column by division, when Joseph Clark, Jr., made 
the presentation speech for the ladies, winding up 
with the admonition to " Carry that flag to victory; 
never let it be deserted or dishonored by brave 
Kentuckians I" The throbbing hearts and quivering 
lips of our brave mountain boys responded, "Never!" 
" Never !" then gave three cheers for the loyal ladies 
of old Estill. 


The morning of the 28th November, long 
before the light of day made its appearance, the 
echoes from " Sweet Lick Nob" resounded the 
music from our drums. Instantly all became astir. 
Much bluster, loud talking and hasty cooking, 
mixed with considerable profanity, was indulged in, 
something not unusual with new troops preparing to 
march. Acting Quartermaster Curtis had procured 
the services of a few citizens with teams and wagons 
for this especial march. About sunrise the regiment 
formed, amid music and some cheering. Every man 
appeared eager to be moving, as if the suppression of 
the rebellion mainly depended on their individual 
exertions. Many of those scarcely recovered from 
measles were in the ranks with well-filled knapsacks, 
arms and accoutrements buckled on, scorning to be 
left behind. Many were bidding hasty farewells to 
near and dear friends, not thinking it would be the 
last with ah, so many manly, ruddy boys, in the 
bloom of youth. Some time was spent in ferrying 
the command over the Kentucky River, at White's 
Ferry, where many good, old loyal fathers and tear- 
ful mothers and sisters had collected to take, per- 
haps, the last look at son or brother. 

" 'Neath war's dark clouds, the sturdy volunteer, 
By Freedom taught, his country to revere ; 
Bids home and friends a hasty, sad adieu, 
And treads where dangers all his steps pursue." 


The threatening clouds began to shed their tor- 
rents of water on us about ten o'clock a. m., and 
continued to pour all day. The road, principally a 
mud pike, soon became a loblolly of mud and water. 
At four p. m. we entered Richmond, Ky. The loyal 
citizens there, not only welcomed us to the spacious 
Court House and two large churches, but gratui- 
tously furnished victuals to both men and officers. 

The 29th the rain continued to fall. Every sol- 
dier who drank whisky was allowed to purchase his 
canteen full before starting on the march, to counter- 
act the unhealthy effects of the inclement weather. 
This well-meant kindness on the part of the Colonel 
and some other officers proved in most cases an in- 
jury to the men, as quite a number through the day 
used this precautionary beverage too freely while 
marching the thirteen miles on the Lancaster Pike. 
We camped near Miller's Mills, and soon had the 
Woodland pasture of T. Burnham dotted with blaz- 
ing log fires, drying our thoroughly soaked raiments. 
The wagons containing our Company tents met us 
here. The rain ceased and the thermometer went 
down very fast. Tents were pitched amidst a first class 
snow-storm. Here we eat our first "hard-tack," 
The commissioned officers held a consultation and 
chose from among several aspirants T. Burnham 
as Quartermaster, and he was soon after commis- 
sioned. The morning of the 30th, Colonel B 

did considerable swearing at some of the men, whose 
whisky had proved a hindrance to their alacrity in 
loading camp and garrison equipage. That evening, 


the 8th, we marched through Lancaster, county seat 
of Gerrard County, and camped within one and a half 
miles of that place. A good supply of straw made 
our tents quite comfortable. After dark a disturb- 
ance among Mr. Robinson's chickens caused the 
Colonel to detail a guard, as the boys said to prevent 
the minks from feasting on poultry. The first day 
of December we passed through Danville and en- 
camped within two miles of town. Before dark a 
report was circulated through camp that the citizens 
of that vicinity were rebel sympathizers, conse- 
quently next morning the ground about camp was 
covered with feathers and occasionally spots of hog 
hair, indicating that the men had devoured the 
poultry and made a fair beginning on pork. In jus- 
tice to the neighborhood I will state that we after- 
ward learned that the people were generally good 
Union citizens, and proved it by their conduct to- 
ward us the next October, after the rebels had been 
eating their chickens. 

Snow began to fall early the 2d, and before we 
halted in camp, in the neighborhood of Perryville, 
five or six inches of snow covered the earth. We 
suffered much with cold feet and fingers in pitching 
tents and building fires. The following morning 
the company officers, upon learning that old Mr. 
Bloomfield was a staunch Unionist, made up money 
and paid him for the chickens that had found their 
way into camp from his premises. 

The 3d day of December ended our first march. 
On arriving within one and a half miles of Lebanon 


we were met by Colonel Fry, in command of the 
Fourth Kentucky, with colors and music. We were 
conducted to a piece of woodland, south of the 
Danville Pike, near the quarters of the latter regi- 
ment. The deep snow was scraped away, and tents 
erected in regular order. Marquees were issued to 
the officers, two to a company. The next day the 
men were organized into messes of eight men each. 
Officers' messes were also established, with regular 
cooks. Thus we began to live quite in military 
style. The officers' commissary bills were light. 
The men drew more rations than they could con- 
sume, but instead of this surplus being accounted 
for as company savings, the men cheerfully gave it to 
their Captains and Lieutenants. But the reader will 
remember that the science of war has to be learned 
before it is practised. We remained here at " Camp 
Swamp" seventeen days, drilling vigorously whenever 
the weather would permit. About ten days after our 
arrival here some of the men began to sicken with a 
kind of fever — afterward called camp fever — which 
proved fatal to many of the Eighth during the win- 
ter, especially those who had recently recovered 
from the measles. Our first death occurred the 
1 8th — Granville Lady, Company C. We buried him 
according to regulations. The convalescents arrived 
from Irvine the 15th, the men continuing to increase 
the sick list. Colonel Barnes decided to move camp 
to a higher and dryer place. 

The 20th we moved camp half mile east of Leba- 
non, and pitched tents in Spaulding's apple 


orchard — a high piece of ground, but unprotected 
from the cold winds. Our Quartermaster appeared 
to experience much difficulty in procuring sufficient 
straw for bedding. The few teams of citizens which 
came from Estill County with the regiment were 
kept busy all day in transferring the camp and garri- 
son. A large number of the men were sick, and the 
company officers began to look more closely after 
the health and comfort of the men. Details were 
sent into adjacent cornfields to gather dead grass. 
Captain Powell gave Company B permission to take 
hay from a stack near camp, but Colonel Barnes soon 
stopped them, when the Captain and the Colonel 
indulged in some short words about unauthorized 
and promiscuous foraging. The men gathered up 
old boards and placed under the straw on the ground 
for bunks. Neither surgeons, officers nor men ap- 
peared to realize the importance of having the bunks 
raised off the ground, where the straw soon absorbed 
moisture enough to kill a healthy man in two weeks. 
But the line officers were anxious to do all they could 
for their men, and money was made up by them and 
sheet-iron stoves purchased for each tent. Still the 
sickness increased at a fearful rate. 

The last of December our Quartermaster received 
our transportation outfit — twelve old army wagons 
and a number of unbroke mules. Our newly-ap- 
pointed teamsters had some lively times drilling their 
awkward squads of drafted four-footed recruits. 
Hauling our daily supply of wood gave them an excel- 
lent opportunity to practice the ''Mule in the mud." 


As the Christmas holidays approached a number 
of married men of the Eighth began to importune 
Colonel Barnes tor furloughs to visit their fami- 
lies. Some had enlisted only a few days before the 
regiment marched from Estill Springs, and had left 
their domestic affairs in a very bad condition. But 
the wise old Colonel well knew that if he granted 
the married men leave of absence the boys would 
urgently plead to be allowed to go home to see their 
intended wives, and as it was impossible to furlough 
all, none were granted. As we had not yet been 
mustered into the United States service, a good 
many believed they would risk the terrors of a court 
martial, and on the morning of the 26th several 
members of Companies H and F failed to put in an 
appearance at roll-call. A few days after Lieutenant 
Cox, of Company H, proceeded to Madison and 
Estill Counties with orders to bring back the ab- 
sentees. Several amusing incidents occurred while 
the Lieutenant was collecting these fond husbands, 
who afterward proved to be the best and bravest of 

Isaac T , the father of several children and the 

husband of a good-looking, shrewd woman, was sup- 
posed to be enjoying the company of his family 
during this snowy Christmas night. The Lieutenant 
cautiously approached the now happy home of the 

T s. A vigilant watch-dog warned the family 

of the approach of an intruder. A rap on the 

door, followed by the inquiry if Mr. T was at 

home, brought the response from a feminine voice 


within: ''Oh, no sir! he's in Mr. Barnes' regi- 
ment." After some parleying the Lieutenant was 
permitted to enter and warm himself. He then be- 
gan diligent search to see if any lurking husband 
could be found about the premises. At last the 
Lieutenant said he was very sorry to have disturbed 
the lady, and turning to the bed recently occupied 
by the woman, in which lay a small sleeping speci- 
men of the T family, he tenderly lifted the lit- 
tle white-headed infant out, and turning toward Mrs. 

T , said : "You will please take this child." 

''Oh, sir, I pray you let the dear, sick child lay !" 
The Lieutenant insisted, and she reluctantly re- 
lieved him of the precious charge. Then he lifted 
off the nice feather bed, and behold there lay the 
missing Isaac, who crawled out laughing, acknowl- 
edged that the Lieutenant had outwitted his wife, 
terminated his "French" furlough, and broke up the 
happiness of his holidays at home ; though not until 
that cheerful but defeated woman had prepared a hot 
supper, which Lieutenant Cox and her husband 
enjoyed together before starting on their return to 

The new year of 1862 began with a warm rain, and 
the remaining winter months were exceptionally wet 
and muddj. The number of .our sick increased 
alarmingly. Dr. John Mills began to find a regi- 
mental surgeon's position quite a responsible one. 
He not only had two churches full of sick, but a 
large number were at private houses in town, where 

they received the best of treatment at the hands of 



the loyal men and women of the place. In many 
instances they not only allowed our sick boys shel- 
ter, but prepared suitable food with their own hands, 
and doubtless saved the lives of many of the survi- 
vors of the Eighth Kentucky. The author, among 
many others, will never in life forget the kindness of 
Dr. Mudd, Mr. and Mrs. Speed, Mrs. Milbourn and 
Mr. Philips, with a host of others. The Misses, 
Selby, though strong " Southern Rights" women, 
owners of a large hotel, gave up some of their rooms 
to our sick, and were very kind to those quartered in 
the Selby House. These old maids were untiring in 
their care for Captain Minter, and probably saved 
his life, as his doctors said nothing but their nursing 
could have returned to us one of our best young 
officers, who subsequently lost his life in action at 
Stone River. Notwithstanding the good citizens of 
Lebanon and the well portion of the regiment did all 
they could for our sick, with the attention of several 
resident physicians, deaths through the latter part of 
January and first half of February were of almost 
daily occurrence. 

The 15th of January, by laborious work with us 
inexperienced officers, we had our muster-in rolls 
prepared, and were that day mustered into the 
United States service for three years or during the 

Captain Mayhew, with Company A, returned from 
the Rolling Fork of Salt River, about eight miles 
distant from Lebanon, where he had been two weeks 
guarding a bridge, Buckner's rebs, who had made 


their appearance there and committed some depreda- 
tions on private individuals, having fallen back to- 
ward Bowling Green, where the enemy was said to 
be in large force. 

The 2ist January we received the welcome news 
of the defeat of the rebels at Mill Springs, Ky., and 
the death of their General, ZoUicoffer; and his Ad- 
jutant-General, Payton, by our forces under General 
Thomas. We made many demonstrations of joy 
over this great victory, as it was called at the time. 
We did not then know that such a battle was a mere 
skirmish compared to some of the bloody engage- 
ments some of us would participate in before the re- 
bellion would be whipped into peace. But as 
anxious as we were to see such a result, we did not 
desire that other troops should gain all the honor 
and victories, therefore we were very desirous to leave 
Lebanon and be in more active service. 

The Fourteenth Kentucky Infantry and the First 
Kentucky Cavalry had, in December, taken an active 
part under Colonel Garfield in routing Marshal and 
his rebel horde out of Southeast Kentucky. Ngw, 
the Fourth Kentucky, which contained many of our 
neighbor boys, had been winning bright laurels at 
Mill Springs, while here we were guarding a few 
quartermaster stores, nursing our sick, and burying 
our deceased comrades in numbers almost as great 
as were slain on our side in gaining this much 
talked-of victory at Mill Springs. The continuous 
rains and consequent mud prevented drilling what 
few men were able for duty, and most of them were 


daily on duty as guards, nurses, or haulers of wood 
and other fatigue duty. 

About the first of February we moved our camp 
down near the depot, and remained there doing gar- 
rison duty until the loth of March. Before this 
Forts Henry and Donaldson had fallen into our 
comrades' hands, Bowling Green had been evacuated 
without any serious engagement, and Kentucky was 
nearly cleared of armed bodies of the enemy. We 
daily chafed at our being held back. 

The 7th of March the Eighth was paid up to the 
31st December, 1861, having previously received 
one month's pay from the State. Two of our line 
officers. Lieutenants Crook and Amy, had resigned, 
and during the winter forty-three of our men had 
died, three times that number were yet unable to 
leave their beds, with about 250 convalescents, most 
of them quite feeble. 

On the 9th Colonel Barnes called the company 
officers together and informed them that we would 
march toward Louisville the next morning. Our 
men, sick and well, received this order with enthu- 
siastic cheers. The remainder of the day was a 
busy time with rank and file. Many had debts to 
settle with citizens, others letters to write home in- 
forming dear friends that at last we were " bound for 
Dixie." Captains Hickman and Winbourn, Lieu- 
tenants Nickols, Martin and Carson, being reported 
unable for duty, were ordered to take charge of the 
convalescents able to leave the hospitals and private 
houses, where many were quartered, and follow in a 


few days on the cars to Louisville and join the regi- 
ment there. 

On the morning of the loth of March, 1862, the 
camp of the 8th Kentucky was all life, everybody 
hurrying his comrade in loading up our garrison 
equipage. A cold, misty rain was falling. At last 
all the good byes had been said to our kind Lebanon 
friends^ and the column marched out the Louisville 
pike. Having learned by sad experience not to let 
men just out of sick beds to unnecessarily expose 
themselves, our column did not cover half the space 
It did when we left Estill Springs. The rain contin- 
ued to drizzle, and the limestone road became quite 
sloppy. At four o'clock p. m., we halted in Spring- 
field, the county seat of Washington, and quartered 
the men in the court house. Company commanders 
borrowed several cook stoves of citizens, and the 
men soon had the town perfumed with frying bacon 
and boiling coffee. The nth we camped near Bards- 
town. Here Col. Barnes informed us he had just 
learned that we were brigaded with the 23d Ken- 
tucky, Col. Munday, and the 3d Minnesota, Col. 
Lester, and that he had orders to march directly to 
Louisville, and probably thence to Tennessee. We 
passed through Bardstown the 12th, with our colors 
unfurled, keeping step to the lively music of our 
martial band. That night we procured abundance 
of straw for bedding, and the owner of the pasture 
being a home rebel, talked loudly of private rights, 
until Maj. Broadhus told him if he said another 
word he would arrest him and march him to Louis- 


ville before a musket. The 13th we pitched our 
tents at Hays Springs, on the bluffs of Salt River, 
where we also found the 23d Kentucky. During the 
night and next morning a heavy rain fell, making 
the cooking a difficult task, and marching very disa- 
greeable. Col. Barnes proceeded to Louisville in 
company with Col. Munday. 

The night of the 14th we camped within three 
miles of the city, where we remained several days. 
The 15th our sick and convalescent arrived at the 
depot. The officers not knowing where to find the 
regiment, quartered the men in barracks, where they 
remained several days. When those able to join the 
regiment reported they appeared proud to once more 
take their arms and places in the ranks with their 
comrades. All the men not able to march were 
given descriptive rolls and sent to the hospitals in 
the city, principally to No. 7. 

We exchanged our old army wagons for new ones, 
cleaned up our guns, prepared five days' cooked ra- 
tions, and early the morning of the 19th struck tents, 
and, during the prevalence of a heavy rain storm, 
marched through the city to the wharf, where the 
remainder of the day was spent in transferring our 
camp and garrison equipage, including mules, 
wagons and horses, to two steamers, the '* Nash- 
ville" and '* Lady Jackson." The Twenty-third 
Kentucky was assigned to the '' Jacob Strader,'' and 
the Third Minnesota, Colonel Lester commanding, 
to the "Undine" and the ''Denmark.'' Captain 
Rice, of the Third Minnesota, once a citizen of 


Estill County, and an old personal and political 
enemy of Colonel Barnes, met the latter on the 
wharf. The Captain extended his hand, saying, 
*' Colonel Barnes, I am happy to see you occupying 
the position you do." The Colonel clasped the 
hand, and replied : " I am equally pleased, Ben, to 
see you enlisted on the side of law, order and good 
government; henceforth let us be friends." And 
these two brave men, who, a few years before had, 
in the heat of passion, engendered by bitter remarks 
made in a public speech, tried to shoot each other 
in the court-house at Irvine, Ky., buried there, by the 
surging waves of the Ohio, all their old differences 
of Whig and Democrat, henceforth to be brothers in 
arms against treason and rebellion. At 5 o'clock, 
p. m., all aboard, the planks were drawn in, and our 
fleet of five large river steamers rounded out into the 
swollen current of the river, the excellent band of 
the Third Minnesota playing "Hail Columbia." 
The men and officers of the fleet, being principally 
on the hurricane deck, cheered a long and loud 
adieu to Louisville. The swift current, aided by 
the revolving machinery, soon carried us from the 
view of the large crowd of spectators we left on the 

The commissioned officers all took cabin passage, 
and we very soon discovered ourselves to be unwel- 
come passengers, especially on the "Nashville." 
Captain Barkley, part owner and captain of this 
boat, was evidently mad, as his boat had been 
pressed into the United States service for this trip. 


He complained bitterly about the men being noisy, 
and objected to a few who were yet feeble occupying 
the spare berths in the rooms taken by their officers, 
who agreed to pay for them. While seated at the 
well-supplied supper table, Captain Banton and my- 
self were speaking of Colonel Barnes and Captain 
Rice's mutual reconciliation, when our attention 
was drawn to the other end of the table by rather 
loud talk from one of the Eighth's officers and the 
engineer of the boat. Said the latter : ''I cannot 
help sympathizing with the South ; the Northern 
people have persistently for many years done all they 
could to cripple the interests of the slave-holding 
States, and their domestic institutions." 

Captain Hickman — "There you are slightly mis- 
taken, sir. When the Southern people, by the aid 
of a President favorable to slavery, tried to spread 
that curse of human rights over our fertile plains of 
the Northwest, the Northern emigrants there simply 
out-voted the advocates of negro slavery, and adopted 
Free-State constitutions." 

To this the engineer only replied: "You've a 
d — d big job on hand, anyhow." 

Lieutenant Park then said : " Well, sir, if your 
sympathies are so strong for the South, why don't 
you go and fight for your principles ?" 

To this the engineer replied : " I was not talking to 
you, sir, whom I take to be an impertinent puppy !" 

Lieutenant Park, hastily pushing back his chair 
and raising to his feet, said: " I left home to shoot 
rebels and Jeff. Davis dogs, and will begin on you !" 


Had it not been for an officer on each side of the 
Lieutenant seizing his pistols, no doubt we would 
have had a dead engineer on board. This same en- 
gineer hastily left the room, and we did not hear 
any more Southern gush during the trip, from him 
or any of the boat's crew. 

On the morning of the 20th our fleet landed at 
Connelton, Ind., where a good supply of coal was 
taken on. During our stay a large crowd of citizens 
of the town, men, women, boys and dogs, collected 
on the bank, some, apparently, to show their loyalty, 
the girls their beauty, and the boys and dogs their 
combativeness. Two of the dogs yoked for a fight. 
Two boys, evidently the respective owners of the 
canine combatants, in endeavoring to command the 
peace, got mad, and with equal ferocity pitched into 
each other's wool. This animated scene caused loud 
cheers from the soldiers. Instantly all the bands of 
the fleet struck up lively music, and the machinery 
was soon in motion bearing us on down the Ohio. 
The officers of the Eighth on the ''Nashville" over- 
ruled Barkley's objections to the men occupying 
spare berths, and had many of them take their meals 
at the table. 

The night of the 20th being very dark, and the 
river out among the trees, with much drift in the 
center of the stream, our boat ran against a tree and 
threw every sleeper out of bed. Fortunately no 
serious injury was done to passengers or boat. 

The evening of the 21st our fleet arrived at Smith- 
land, situated at the mouth of the Cumberland River, 


and turned up that stream at 6 o'clock. We made 
slow progress against the strong current, and did not 
attempt to run after dark. A short run on the 2 2d 
brought us in sight of Fort Donaldson. We landed 
here, and some of us, understanding that the fleet 
would lay here several hours, struck out over the 
hill to view the late battlefield. We had only time 
to arrive on the rebels' old encampment, when the 
whistle of the boats gave us warning to return, and 
we did some tall double-quicking to secure further 
passage. Very soon we came in sight of the ruins 
of the once flourishing iron-works owned by the 
presidential aspirant, John Bell. Here about fifty 
negroes of both sexes, all ages and colors, had gath- 
ered themselves together on the river's bank. They 
made many demonstrations of joy, clapping their 
hands, swinging their hats and patting and dancing. 
The cheering of our men appeared to stimulate 
them to more vigorous bodily exertion. One old 
white-headed negro broke forth into singing : 

" O, praise and tanks ! de Lord he eome 

To set de people free ; 
An' massa tink it day ob doom, 

An' we ob jubilee, &c." 

The entire dusky crowd joining in the chorus, viz : 

*' O, neber you fear if neber you hear 
De driver blow his horn !" 

Our fleet lay by near Clarksville that night, and 
arrived at Nashville early on the 23d, meeting with 
no serious accident until early that morning. Pri- 
vate Frazier, wagoner of Company A, while attend- 


ing to his mules, was by one of them pushed over- 
board and drowned before assistance could reach 
him. His body was not recovered, and probably 
became food for the fish. Thus, another good man 
was lost to the regiment and his country. Several 
hours were spent in disembarking and unloading for- 
age, and at 2 o'clock, p. m., we left the boats. One 
boat officer at least was not sorry to part company 
with the ''noisy Eighth," as he called us. 


As we marched through this beautiful Southern 
city on that pleasant, bright spring afternoon, sol- 
emn, silent sadness was depicted in the faces of the 
few white men that appeared on the sidewalks. 
Doors and windows of stores and dwelling houses 
were principally closed. Feminine curiosity caused 
a few ladies to peep from behind window shades. 
But hundreds of smiling " darkies'^ could be seen 
peeping around corners, and crowded into the un- 
frequented alleys, silently making demonstrations of 
joyous welcome to us. 

We pitched our tents near the Murfreesboro Pike, 
two miles from Nashville, where our three regiments 
were joined by Colonel Duffield and the Ninth 
Michigan Infantry. Colonel Duffield immediately 
took command of the brigade. He proved to be a 
strict disciplinarian. During the six days we re- 
mained here we were not idle. There was vigorous 
drilling six hours of the day, winding up with dress 
parade, at which the Adjutants read to their respect- 
ive regiments lengthy general orders of Major-Gen- 
eral Buell, one among them being his " Roasting- 
ear Order," strictly forbidding soldiers entering pri- 
vate grounds or premises, on any plea whatever, 
without authority of their officers ; private property 
on no occasion to be taken for public use without due 
compensation, &c. 


On the 28th, the Eighth received a new supply of 
clothing, dress coats and hats taking the place of 
soldier jackets and caps. 

The 29th, the brigade marched six miles south on 
the Murfreesboro Pike. The rear guard, commanded 
by the author, had to wait at our old camp two hours 
for some wagons. During this time several aristo- 
cratic-looking slave-owners, followed by a train of 
little darkies, came to the vacant encampment, and 
began to gather up the many half-worn garments 
cast off by our boys. I said to one of the men : "I 
thought you Tennesseeans hated us Yankees so bit- 
terly you would disdain to pick up our old clothes." 
He replied : '^O, they will do for the niggers to 
wear.^' By my orders the guards soon had every 
rag heaped upon the fires, deeming it best not to 
furnish rebel spies suitable uniforms in which to en- 
ter our lines. 

We pitched our tents that evening on an old rebel 
encampment. Here we made our first acquaintance 
with those army pests commonly called ''greybacks." 
The rebels had, like ourselves, left cast-off garments, 
which appeared to be too lousy even for " nigger's" 

Our mode of picketing at this time was to station 
a platoon out on all the roads leading into camp, 
and as John Morgan was reported to be scouting 
around Lebanon, Tenn,, our pickets manifested 
great watchfulness. 

The 30th, the Twenty-third Kentucky and the 
Ninth Michigan resumed the march southward. Col- 


onel Barnes being ordered to remain here a few days 
with the Eighth Kentucky and furnish men and 
teams to cut and haul timber to rebuild the railroad 
bridge over Mill Creek, recently burned by the re- 
treating rebels. The rank and file of the Eighth 
were much displeased to be left behind and do 
" drudgery," as some of the officers called it, while 
other regiments, no more experienced, were ordered 
on front, where probably fights and fame awaited 
them, and the Eighth were just '^spoiling" for a 
battle. Big Bill Moore, Company H, remarked 
with much bitterness: '' Now, Colonel Munday's 
regiment and them long-legged Michiganders will 
jest go ahead and scare out all the secesh, and won't 
leave a chicken or a pig in the hull country." 

The next day eighty men, with teams and axes, 
were detailed for fatigue duty, and were early play- 
ing destruction with a fine grove of oaks. A much- 
excited Southern gentleman named Whitmore made 
his appearance, and in angry tones ordered the men 
to leave his premises. Lieutenant McDaniel pointed 
to Major Broadhus, who was seated on a log enjoy- 
ing a quiet smoke, and told the indignant owner 
" That's the officer for you to consult. " 

Mr. Whitmore to Major Broadhus — "Sir, you ap- 
pear to be doing me great injustice, taking my prop- 
erty without my consent." 

Major B. — "Well, sir, what are you going to do 
about it?" 

Mr. W.— "I don't know.'' 

Major B. — "Well, neither do I know or care. Did 


you try to persuade the rebels not to burn that 

Mr. W. (excitedly) — "No, sir; that was none of 
my business." 

Major B. — ''Well, neither is this any of your 

The Major, pulling out his watch, said : " Now, 
you infernal rebel, I'll give you just three minutes 
to get out of sight, and if you don't, I will teach 
you by whose authority we are here, by trotting you 
all the way to Nashville about three inches in ad- 
vance of a bayonet.'" He left instantly, but I have 
no doubt received in due time compensation for his 
fine timber. 

Having finished our timber hauling, the 3d of 
April the regiment marched on the Murfreesboro 
Pike to Lavergne, there took the cross pike toward 
Woodbury, and camped on the West Fork of Stone 
River, near an ancient-looking little village called 
Old Jefferson. Resumed the march the 4th, and on 
arriving at the crossing of Stone River, on the Leba- 
non Pike, the rebels had burned the bridge, and 
during a hard rain we waded the stream. The stones 
were slippery and the current very swift, causing a 
great many self-immersions. Those who fell were 
about as comfortable as the others, all being thor- 
oughly wet. We halted long enough to wring our 
stockings, arriving at Murfreesboro at 4 o'clock, p. 
m. We marched through town in column by com- 
panies, our musicians playing ''Yankee Doodle." 
We saw but few of the inhabitants. They were evi- 


dently not pleased to see this second edition of 
Yankee troops. 

Here we found Colonel Duffield, with the Ninth 
Michigan and the Twenty-third Kentucky, en- 
camped near a large spring southeast of town. Two 
companies of the Seventh Pennsylvania Cavalry 
were also here. We remained here nearly one month. 
Our time was spent in drilling daily all those not re- 
quired for camp guards and picket duty. The latter 
required 150 men and four officers from the Eighth, 
daily. Commissioned officers met two hours each 
morning in school, and one hour in practice of 
manual of arms. Lieutenant- Colonel May being a 
tight ''school-master." Add to this the reviews, 
dress-parade, cooking, washing, 8zc., gave us but 
little time to idle. This constant duty and drill 
probably caused a few men to try feigning sick. At 
7 o'clock, a. m., the bugle would sound that doleful 
call, and the sick assembled at the surgeon's tent, where 
they were excused from duty and prescribed for. 
Some of the boys concluded that others " were play- 
ing off" on Dr. Mills. One morning B. Ward, 
Company F, on being notified by his Orderly to 
''get ready for picket," replied: "Sergeant, I'll 
be blasted if anybody can't get excused that'l go to 
sick call, an' ef you'l let me, I'll prove it," and 
Ben's name was put down. At the bugle signal 
Ben wended his way slowly to the surgeon's tent, 
assuming a countenance of pain and misery calcula- 
ted to deceive the "very elect." He awaited his 
turn. Surgeon Mills, knowing him to be a faithful 


soldier, asked the usual question : '' What's the 
matter with you?" *'0, *Doc/ I am wrong every 
way in my innards." Ben soon had the satisfaction 
of seeing '' ex" written opposite his name, and the 
steward gave him his pills, with directions. Ben 
had a fine day's sleep, and in the evening arose re- 
freshed, and around the cook fire was engaged in a 
tight wrestle with one of his comrades. Doctor 
Mills just then passed, and was astonished to- see 
such improvement in his late patient. With a vol- 
ley of oaths he told Ben if he did not explain his 
evident deception he would have him tied up by the 
thumbs. Seeing an honest confession the safest way 
out of the dilemma, he gave the surgeon the cause of 
his assumed illness. This had the eifect desired, 
and the surgeon became more careful in the future ; 
also causing Ward, about a week later, to go on duty 
a very sick soldier, dismissing him from sick call 
with the command, "Sergeant, put that d — d hypo- 
crite on duty ; I don't believe he looks half as sick 
as he did when up here last." Ward never tried 
that dodge on Dr. Mills again. 

Our manner of picketing all the roads with fifteen 
or twenty men and a cavalry vidette was kept up. 
On the 1 2th April a squad of the Eighth was posted 
on the Franklin Pike. Private Joe King, Company 
H, as sentinel, a little distance from the reserve, 
commanded a citizen to halt. As he was about to 
pass without paying any attention to the command, 
it was repeated. This time the man said, with an 
oath: "I'll not be halted by no d — d abolition 


Yankee !" Seeing King raise his gun, the fellow- 
broke to run, when King fired, killing him instantly. 
Colonels Duffield and Barnes both rode out to in- 
vestigate the affair, and decided that the soldier only 
did his duty, commending him for his faithfulness. 
The citizens about town complained to Colonel 
Barnes bitterly of the shooting of a man whom they 
claimed was crazy. The Colonel told them if that 
was the case he was sorry, but if they did not want 
their fools killed they must take better care of them. 
People passing our pickets after that about Mur- 
freesboro were careful to halt at the word. 

During the two first weeks of our stay here many 
slaves came to our pickets, generally after dark. 
Colonel Daffield's orders were to send them in to 
the provost-marshal, their owners being allowed to 
come in and reclaim their slaves on condition of the 
masters taking an oath of loyalty to the United 
States Government, which some of them reluctantly 
did. But the general aversion of masters to comply 
with the condition very soon had Captain Rouns, 
provost-marshal, overstocked with this valuable spe- 
cies of Southern property. Colonel Duffield sug- 
gested to the officers of the Eighth the propriety of 
hiring our cooks from among these ''contrabands," 
but we declined the idea of runaway negro cooks, as 
did also the Twenty-third Kentucky, we having not 
yet properly considered the slave a factor in this 
great war. The dusky sons of toil poured into 
the picket stations in such numbers we had to stop 
them from coming in, some of the officers threaten- 


ing to punish them if they did not immediately re- 
turn to their masters. 

In looking back at this soft and easy policy of 
General Buell, we cannot wonder that the efforts of 
the first eighteen months to put down the rebellion 
were a failure. These hundreds of stout, able-bodied 
men, driven back into rebel corn and wheat-fields, 
that they might toil to produce subsistence for a 
large rebel army the next fall and winter, was any- 
thing but wisdom. But then we were trying to put 
down insurrection and let slavery alone, notwith- 
standing we knew the cruel taskmasters of these 
slaves to be the worst of enemies and rebels at 

On the 15th our brigade made quite a parade in 
the streets of Murfreesboro, and hoisted the stars 
and stripes on the court house. Nearly all the in- 
habitants of the town were silent spectators of what 
they evidently thought to be an insult to their 
Southern pride. Lieutenant Colonel Parkhurst, of 
the Ninth Michigan, made an appropriate and sensi- 
ble speech to the citizens, in which he admonished 
them to return to their loyalty, "And," said he, "we 
will then kill the fatted calf." But as long as we 
remained there we heard of no fat calf being sac- 
rificed in welcome to returning rebels, though we 
have good reason to believe, had a careful search 
been made in Stone River, quite a number of pig 
skins could have been found, securely attached to 
stones to insure their remaining at the bottom. Nor 
did we hear of any citizen ever being invited to feast 



on the savory pork those same skins once enveloped. 
Colonel Duffield had profound respect for Buell's 
orders regarding foraging, holding the officer imme- 
diately in command responsible for any violation of 
said orders. The author remembers having to pay 
three dollars for a sixty-pound shoat some of ray 
picket guard had killed while I was absent visiting 
another post under my command. In this instance 
the old rebel complaining to Colonel Duffield, 
lyingly alleged the pig to belong to one of his old 
negro men. On hunting up this much-injured 
darkey, with the full intention of healing his lacer- 
ated feelings, and carrying out ''general orders," 
the old fellow said: " Fo' de good Lord, Mars 
Cap'n, 'twant no mo' my pig dan dis farm is j ole 
mars' pig, sho'." On confronting "ole mars'* 
with his bogus owner of the defunct swine, with much 
fear and trembling the old darkey lyingly confessed 
the pig to have been his. I gave the poor old 
scared nig the money, at the same time telling Mil- 
ler if he took the money away from the negro we 
would surely call on him again, and that to his sor- 
row. Colonel Duffield was satisfied with the manner 
of my settlement for pork, but no more complaint 
was heard from Miller of lost pork, though some of 
the Eighth boys said when we left there that Miller 
was not overstocked with hogs.* 

On the evening of the 23d April a dress-parade 
order was read detailing Lieutenant C. Park assist- 
ant brigade quartermaster. That night we were 
aroused from sleep by loud cheering and beating of 


drums in the Ninth's camp. Very soon Colonel 
Barnes had the Eighth assembled before his tent. 
He mounted a cracker box and said: "Brother 
officers and soldiers, we have just received orders to 
march to-morrow morning for Pittsburg Landing; 
boys, are you ready to go?" The response was 
loud and long cheering. At repeated calls Major 
Broadhus stepped on the box and said : ''Boys, I 
am no speaker, but if we go. to Pittsburg, I want it 
understood I'll try to make one in the fight." Or- 
ders were given to prepare three days' rations and 
have arms cleaned up. The regiment spent the 
balance of the night in cooking, washing and letter- 

At 9 o'clock the 24th we were ready formed, wait- 
ing the order to march, when an order was received 
countermanding the order of the previous night, 
John Morgan, with quite a force of rebel cavalry, 
having made a raid on Wartrace, and still being in 
the cedars toward Lebanon, being the cause of our 
detention here. 

The 26th, Companies C, E, D and I, of the 
Eighth, under command of Major Broadhus, were 
ordered on the train to Shelbyville, thirty miles fur- 
ther south, to relieve some troops there. Many 
flying rumors of Morgan's near approach caused us 
to be on the qui vive. 

The 28th, Colonel Wolford and Colonel Clay 
Smith, with two regiments of Kentucky cavalry, suc- 
ceeded in overtaking Morgan, at Lebanon, Tenn., 
completely routing the rebels and driving them into 


Kentucky. We were rejoiced at the news of the 
capture of New Orleans. 

Paymaster Hunes paid off the regiment the 29th — 
two months' pay. 

The 3d day of May, Colonel Barnes, with the 
balance of the regiment able for duty, except Captain 
Thomas and Company K, double-quicked to the 
depot, boarded a train of platform cars, and were 
soon landed at War trace. Company K, with the 
baggage wagons, arrived in a few days after. The 
four companies under Major Broadhus, a few days 
after, rejoined the regiment. Company C, Captain 
Wilson commanding, was detached to guard the 
railroad bridge over Duck River, about one mile 
south of Wartrace, and Company H, Captain Win- 
bourn commanding, to the bridge over Carter's 
Creek, one and a half miles north of the latter place. 
The eight companies there worked with their usual 
vigor for more than a week, felling trees and forming 
abattis, and otherwise fortifying against cavalry. For 
the first two weeks of our stay here some rebel cav- 
alry, under Colonel Starnes, hanging around Beech 
Grove, between us and McMinnville, kept our 
pickets on the qui vive^ almost nightly expecting an 

Colonel Runkle, with a part of the Fourth Ken- 
tucky Cavalry, encamped also at Wartrace, suc- 
ceeded in picking up a few rebel prisoners. Scout- 
ing parties from the Eighth also occasionally brought 
in a few prisoners, principally men who had been 
temporarily connected with or given material aid to 


the rebel cause. Some of them took the oath of 
loyalty, and were released. Others, who were evi- 
dently active enemies, and somewhat saucy, Colonel 
Barnes put to grubbing out stumps from the Eighth's 
drill grounds. 

Colored men from the surrounding country, in 
their well-meant zeal to be of service to us, often 
came at night to our camp, with alarming reports 
that a body of rebel cavalry were about to attack us. 
These reports generally proved to be unfounded, 
though on one occasion, timely warning by a colored 
man, who came to Captain Winbourn, at Carter's 
Creek, and reported that Colonel Dibrell's cavalry 
were only five miles from us, proved true, and proba- 
bly saved Company H from attack, as reinforcement 
of that company by the cavalry at Wartrace, and rebel 
citizens living near us gave Dibrell this intelligence, 
and the intended attack was not made. The com- 
pany lay on their arms behind the railroad embank- 
ment all that night, however, and rather anxious to 
be attacked, and our cavalry reinforcement returned 
to camp also disappointed. 

This Company H, to which the author belonged, 
kept about one-half on guard at a time during the 
night, as long as we remained here, with the other 
half dressed, with accoutrements buckled on, ready 
for instant action. But the oft-threatened attack 
never came while we remained. 

At dusk on the evening of the 6th May, Colone^l 
Barnes sent a squad of the Fourth Cavalry to our 
company camp, with an order for Lieutenant Wright 


and a squad of the company to go with the cavalry 
and assist in capturing a rebel surgeon who had re- 
mained in the neighborhood since the little fight 
here two weeks before. The cavalry had twice ran 
him from his home into a heavy wood near and failed 
to effect his capture. I selected Sergeant Win- 
bourn, and privates Dennis, P. Elliot, H. Morris 
and two others. We proceeded, in company with 
the cavalry. On the way we met a negro man. I 
stopped him and inquired if he knew where Dr. 
Nusen lived. "Yes, sah ; he's ole mars' son-en- 
law, an' he's de berry debbel on niggers." Said I, 
"Do you know if he's at home or not?" "Yes, 
mars, I speck he's dah." We took the negro along 
for a guide. The cavalry halted half a mile from 
the doctor's house, which was situated near a new 
pike road, while the infantry, accompanied by the 
guide, took a circuitous course through a dense for- 
est, coming up in the rear of the premises. After 
we were properly deployed behind the garden fence, 
the preconcerted signal was given to the cavalry, 
which charged down the rough pike, making a terri- 
ble clatter. At the same time we rushed up in the 
back yard, where a savage-looking dog made a spring 
at one of the boys, who succeeded in thrusting his 
bright steel bayonet through the savage beast, and 
left him howling piteously. As we closed up around 
the house, I met the object of our search at the back 
door, dressed in his night clothes, with an overcoat 
and a quilt on his arm. He was about to jump out 
into the darkness, when he caught sight of my pistol 


and heard my command to surrender about the same 
time. He said : " I suppose I shall have to, as 
you have the drop on me." Three of us entered the 
house with the prisoner, where he was allowed to 
dress. This sudden and somewhat noisy proceed- 
ing, with continued deafening howls of the dog, had 
frightened the two women and other gentleman very 
much. After assuring them no one should be hurt, 
I asked for all the firearms about the place. They at 
first denied having any except the pistol taken from 
the doctor. But when informed that a search would 
be made, Mrs. N. said she had a little '' lady's pis- 
tol/' which proved to be a good-sized five-shooter, 
ready capped and loaded. I informed her that, if 
that was the kind of jewelry that was fashionable 
with the Southern ladies, we were decidedly opposed 
to it, and took the pistols, and placed them and the 
doctor in charge of the cavalry, who reported to 
Colonel Barnes. As we left the premises we heard 
our black guide trying to suppress his laughter, be- 
ing hid near the road. 

About the 12th May, the small pox broke out 
among the soldiers of the regiment, but the prompt 
and judicious management of Surgeon Mills pre- 
vented it from spreading, and confined it to the five 
first cases. 

After our fortifications were completed the regi- 
ment's duty consisted principally of guard duty and 
drill. Lieutenant Colonel May generally conducted 
the battalion drills of the eight companies at head- 
quarters. At the same time Companies C and H, 


Stationed at the bridges, improved much in company- 
drill. But as the author only made a few short 
visits to headquarters during the six weeks we re- 
mained at Wartrace, many interesting events of per- 
sonal adventure by that part of the command cannot 
be given, and I shall only give a few relating to- 
Company H. 

Our tents were pitched in the creek bottom, where 
the land had many years before been cleared of tim- 
ber and well set in grass. The cows of the entire 
neighborhood ran at large, and about one-half of 
them wore bells. At night the noise of the bells on 
cattle trying to browse on our drill ground annoyed 
us so much that we notified the citizens to keep them 
away, or we might be forced to shoot them. Our 
greatest danger was attack from cavalry, and 
quietude enables a sentinel to hear the trampling 
horses a great distance. 

After we suppressed the cows, it seemed that 
as soon as night spread its shades over earth 
every worthless cur within five miles (and there 
were many) tried to make night hideous with 
barking and howling. Many of these half-starved 
whelps came nightly to our camp on the hunt 
for waste grub. Anxious as were the boys to 
shoot them, it could not be done without causing 
unnecessary alarm in the regiment, only one and a 
half miles distant ; therefore, during the day, many 
little piles of stones were placed convenient for use 
after dark. In two weeks it was perfectly safe for a 
stranger to approach residences in that vicinity, as 


every dog that survived was utterly unable for duty 
as a watch dog. 

The 29th May, the Union citizens in the neighbor- 
hood held what was intended to be a Union meet- 
ing. The principal part of the Eighth Kentucky 
attended and enjoyed the hospitality of the citizens. 
Many inhabitants were also there of well-known 
rebel sentiments. Colonel Barnes made the princi- 
pal speech, pointing out to his audience the advan- 
tages to the South, especially Tennessee, to remain 
in the Union, and the certainty of ultimate defeat 
of the rebels, and consequent disgrace, and the 
financial ruin the South would suffer, winding up, in 
his usual earnest manner, with a warning to the dis- 
loyal to '* flee from the wrath to come." That night 
many of the officers and men of the Eighth wound 
up the meeting with a ball at the hotel, kept by 
Haley, alias ' ' Pig-tracks. ' ' I was informed by those 
present that many of the fair damsels of the coun- 
try attended, and took much pleasure in whirling 
their high-priced calico in graceful cotillions with 
the hateful Yankees until daylight. 

Probably every regiment and company in the ser- 
vice had their slovenly, awkward, but good-natured,, 
lazy member. Company H certainly had one in 
Aldrich, whom the boys nick-named " Dobin 
Spikes." If any member of the company was later 
getting out at roll-call than "Dobin," he was inva- 
riably marked "absent." On inspection he was 
sure to have the rustiest gun, and his knapsack con- 
tained the dirtiest clothing. The captain had been> 



mildly reprimanding ''Dobin" for his untidy ap- 
pearance, but he seemed not to heed the reproof. 
One Sunday morning, at Carter's Creek, Captain 
W. was absent, and Lieutenant Cox inspected the 
company. " Dobin," as usual, had on a dirty shirt, 
face and neck ditto, and hair longer than usual. 
Lieutenant Cox gave him a severe scolding, and 
cautioned him never to appear at inspection again in 
that condition. The next Sunday morning, Lieu- 
•tenant Cox being sick, the duty of inspecting the 
company devolved on the author. '' Dobin's" shirt- 
collar and neck had no appearance of recent contact 
with soap and water. His tangled flaxen locks had 
gained one more week's growth, his gun and accou- 
trements were in keeping with his neglected person. 
I passed him by without a single reproof or remark. 
After dismissing the company, I ordered the sergeant 
to arrest " Dobin," and bring him to the captain's 
tent. Sergeant Morris, with a sharp pair of scissors, 
soon parted ''Dobin" and his cherished, but 
neglected, golden locks. S. Wood and two other 
boys were then ordered to take "Dobin" to the 
creek and wash his neck for him. Feeling certain 
they would do up a good job, I laid down in my 
tent. Soon after, hearing much loud laughter at 
the creek bank, interspersed with terrible oaths from 
*' Dobin's" well-known voice, I walked down. In 
the middle of the stream stood the now furious 
"Dobin," firmly held by two stout men. Wood, 
with a bar of soap in one hand and two corncobs in 
^the other, was rubbing the swearing, struggling vie- 


tim's neck, which, with rubbing and his anger, had,, 
chamelion-like, assumed a clean, reddish appear- 
ance. I told the men to let Mr. Aldrich finish his 
morning ablution unassisted. After that no more 
orders had to be given about hair-trimming, and 
'* Dobin" thereafter paid considerable attention to 
his Sunday toilet. 

The regiment was again paid the yth of June, by 
Major Davies, up to the ist of May. On the 9th, a 
large number of the Eighth were detailed to cut tim- 
bers for the rebuilding of the railroad bridge over 
Duck River, and on the evening of the loth the 
camp was in unusual commotion, with orders to cook 
two days' rations, and be ready to march early the 
next morning. At sunrise, the nth, Captain Win- 
bourn, with Company H, and Captain Wilson and 
Company C, joined the regiment, leaving the tents 
and the principal part of the garrison equipage in 
charge of some convalescents. At 9 o'clock, being 
joined by the Twenty-first Kentucky, a part of the 
Fourth Kentucky Cavalry, and a few pieces of artil- 
lery, marched toward McMinnville, passed through 
Fairfield, and camped for the night in the hills at the 
head of McBride's Creek, in Coffee County. The 
1 2th we camped within six miles of McMinnville, on 
Collins River, having passed through poor, brushy 
country. The inhabitants appeared to be still poorer,, 
and evidently much alarmed at the sight of so many 
real live Yankees. Early the 13th, we waded Col- 
lins River, which was waist deep and very swift. A 
good number of us got our greenbacks wet. We en- 


tered McMinnville, the county seat of Warren 
County, about 8 o'clock a. m., ajid bivouacked in 
the suburbs, near a large cotton factory, working 
about one hundred women, making cloth for the 
Confederates. But as we were now carrying on the 
war under General Buell's policy, i. e. respecting pri- 
vate property — though we had every reason to be- 
lieve it would be used to feed or clothe the enemy — 
the spindles and looms kept on. 

We were here joined by General Dumont, with 
three or four thousand troops from Murfreesboro, 
and early the 14th the whole force passed through 
town and struck out for the Sequatche Valley, over 
the Cumberland Mountains. We had seven miles of 
good road to the Barren fork of Collins River. Here 
the troops were allowed to undress before wading 
the river. This mode of ferrying was rather enjoyed 
by the troops than otherwise. But to the great dis- 
pleasure of our regiment, we were detailed as train 
guard, and the whole regiment assisted the drivers 
in getting up the mountain, which, here at Hill's 
Creek Gap, is two miles from the base to the sum- 
mit, in many places so steep our men were compelled 
to push the entire weight of the loaded wagons and 
artillery, it being all the mules and horses could do 
to carry up their own weight, the teamsters 
and men swearing profanely enough to have 
disgusted the "Army of Flanders." Near sun- 
set we reached the top of the mountain, weary 
and foot sore ; every canteen in the regiment empty, 
'with twelve miles of mountain ridge road before us, 


and not a spring, stream or a human habitation near 
our road ; at the same time our lank haversacks 
admonishing us to diet light. The lumbering wagons 
and profane teamsters rolled ahead while we tramp- 
ed on nearly famishing with thirst. About one 
o'clock a. m. the 15th, we came up with our main 
force, bivouacked at a large mountain spring of good 
water. We ate the last of our ratians and for two 
hours enjoyed refreshing sleep, but before sun-rise 
the whole force were drummed and bugled up, and 
off again on sore feet and empty stomachs,, Near 
noon, as we were marching on at the head of the 
column, bright visions of the fat hens and smoking 
pones of corn bread just a few miles ahead in the 
promished land of Sequatche Valley, where we were 
promised plenty, if not peace. Alas, "there is many 
a slip between the cup and the lip." General 
Dumont met a courier with a dispatch from General 
Mitchell to return with his troops to their former 
camps. At the command ''counter-march by file 
right, march," as the head of our column filed 
around on the back track, some of our boys gave 
vent to their disgusted feelings. One member of 
Company D yelled out, " Now, by G — d, I feel like 
killing something." That afternoon we did kill a 
few poor cows the Fourth Kentucky Cavalry brought 
in out of the brush. Late that evening we arrived at 
the spring we left in the morning. The line officers 
of the Eighth remonstrated against the order to pro- 
ceed on to Collins River. We informed Colonel 
Barnes that our men went no further until we had 


opportunity of cooking and eating some of our scrub 
beef, which we did there and then,* broiling it on the 
coals, and, without salt or bread, this tough, stringy, 
burnt meat was eaten, being washed down with 
coffee, which our boys were fortunate in having. In 
spite of Dumont's orders, our regiment slept here 
until 2 o'clock next morning. Our band awoke us, 
and by a bright, full moon we made good time to 
Collins River, keeping our men well in ranks. We 
passed whole companies of stragglers from other 
regiments, whose officers had tried to force their men 
to comply with Dumont's order. On arriving at the 
river at noon we met wagons with rations of hard 
bread and good side bacon, and a couple of barrels of 
whisky for the 6,000 troops. Men who one hour 
before had been cursing "old Dumont,'^ were now 
praising him as the best of generals. We arrived at 
McMinnville near night, and the general compelled 
citizens to furnish his troops bread. Some of them 
certainly knew how to make the staff of life palatable. 
The following day the Eighth and Twenty-first 
Kentucky marched twenty miles on our road to- 
ward Wartrace. While at halt that evening a mem- 
ber of Company K accidentally discharged his gun, 
severely wounding Jo. Derbin, Company D, in the 
foot. The night of the i8th we bivouacked near 
Beach Grove, and arrived at noon, the 19th, at our 
respective encampments at and near Wartrace, and 
resumed our regular guard duty and daily drilling. 
That evening Company H had two of its company 
mules killed by a locomotive, upsetting the train and 
killing the engineer. 


The 23d June, Adjutant John Clark and Captain 
Winbourn obtained leave of absence and started to 

The afternoon of the 4th day of July our company 
drill suddenly stopped by the reception of an order 
from Colonel Barnes for Company H to get aboard 
the train that bore us the order and rejoin the regi- 
ment forthwith. Leaving our tents and garrison 
equipage in charge of a sergeant and ten men, wear- 
rived at Wartrace at sun set, where all the regiment 
except details from each company to guard the tents, 
&c., boarded our train of platform cars, and, as the 
whistle sounded and the iron wheels began moving 
South, the Eighth gave three cheers, and bid War- 
trace and old "Pig-tracks" farewell; halted two 
hours at Tullahoma, and as we were settling down 
to a pleasant nap of sleep, orders were given to " fall 
in," ''fall in;" "all aboard for Alisona!" The 
moon shone brightly. A short run of nine miles 
brought us to Elk River bridge, or where the bridge 
had been destroyed by the rebels. Near midnight 
the Eighth left the train, crossed the stream, many 
getting wet by slipping off the treacherous old dam 
that once turned the water on to the busy wheels of a 
flourishing cotton factory, the charred ruins of which 
made us feel sad. Viewed by'the light of a waning 
moon, the desolation was doubly solemn. We took 



possession of the score or more of vacated houses 
that constituted the town where the toiling employes 
had dwelt, and were soon oblivious to things past 
and present. 

Early the 5th, a large detail from the Eighth were 
put to cutting timber to rebuild the railroad bridge. 
^Several days were spent in assisting the government 
employes. The 7th July the Eighth made a general 
cleaning of arms, and many washed their clothes. 
A few rebel citizens came into camp, and others, 
who had been in the confederate service, were 
brought in by the Seventh Pennsylvania Cavalry. 
Some of them appeared more eager to trade with 
'•you ens" than they were to take the oath of loy- 
alty. One tow-headed fellow swore, " I haint heda 
chaw uv terbaccer nor a grain uv salt in my house 
fur four months." 

Our accommodating sutler, R. Keneday, fol- 
lowed us up the 8th with a fresh supply of army 
goods, but scarcely had time to unload before we 
were ordered back to Tullahoma, and the greater 
part of that night our cooks were busy boiling and 
frying the two days' rations. 

Early the 9th, one of those hot, sultry, spiritless 
mornings, our men were ordered to pile their knap- 
sacks by the railroad track in charge of the orderlies 
of each company, and thus, freed from some of the 
weight, the regiment marched northward. The low, 
distant thunder and ominous, dark clouds came 
nearer. At 9 o'clock, a. m., the rain began to pour 
down on us in torrents. Arriving at Tullahoma 


depot, the regiment stacked arms, and the men 
sought shelter until the train and the sergeants, with 
the knapsacks, arrived. The men had neglected 
marking their property, so as to readily recognize it 
from that of their comrades, which resulted in much 
confusion, swearing and overhauling of knapsacks. 
Meantime Colonel Barnes added to the confusion by 
hurrying and swearing for the regiment to form. 
Our camp and garrison equipage having met us here, 
we pitched our tents half a mile west of town. As 
the rain continued nearly all night, almost every 
member of the regiment got thoroughly wet in erect- 
ing tents. The next day was spent in sunning and 
drying bedding and clothing. To avoid another 
knapsack squabble, several of the Eighth officers 
procured paint and lettered the knapsacks. 

Here the Thirty-fifth Indiana, the Irish regiment, 
was added to the Eighth and Twenty-first Kentucky, 
forming the Twenty-third Brigade, Colonel Barnes 
temporarily in command. The nth, the First 
Kentucky Battery and Fifth Kentucky Cavalry, Col- 
onel Haggard, arrived from Wartrace. The 12th, 
Companies D and I, of the Eighth, were sent as 
guard to Elk River, as the enemy's cavalry were 
menacing several points north and south of us. 

Early Sunday morning, the 13th, while the Eighth 
were generally engaged in devouring salt pork and 
crackers, cannonading could be heard north of us. 
Late that evening we learned that Forrest, with a 
force of cavalry, had, after a brief fight with Colonel 
Lester, Third Minnesota and Ninth Michigan, 


taken Murfreesboro and burned the depot, taking a 
good many of the Ninth prisoners, and among them 
Lieutenant Park, Sergeant Elkin and private John- 
son, of our regiment. The latter part of the report 
proved untrue. Lieutenant Park, by the assistance 
of the family with whom he was boarding, eluded the 
rebels by secreting himself in the cellar. The other 
two played off citizens on the rebels, who only held 
the town a few hours. 

About this time Bragg's and Kirby Smith's troops 
in and below Chattanooga began to feel their way 
northward, which caused a part of Buell's army, 
under General Smith, to concentrate about 12,000 
infantry and cavalry here to resist an expected attack 
from rebel cavalry. About 3,000 of General Wood's 
command arrived at Elk River, and our two compa- 
nies rejoined us. The morning of the 15th, we 
moved -into town, and, with other troops, began for- 
tifying the place, as later reports confirmed the 
rumor of a large rebel force from Chattanooga 
making their way toward this place. A large force 
felled trees while others threw up a line of earth- 
works encircling the town. At the same time a large 
number of wagons were sent out over the country 
under strong guard, to collect a supply of flour and 
other provisions. A string of pickets were placed 
around the place, and artillery placed in good posi- 
tion. All this began to look like war in earnest. To 
husband our half rations of beef and flour, Compa- 
nies C and H of the Eighth, while on picket the 
1 6th, took the precaution to lay in a good supply 01 


pork and potatoes, the latter, as S. Wood, remarked, 
he "jest found growing wild up yonder in a patch of 
weeds," and Burgess, Company H, said " the rebel 
hog hadn't the countersign." After all this prepa- 
ration for a siege, our men appeared somewhat dis- 
appointed, the evening of the 8th, to learn that the 
enemy had fallen back, and we were ordered to 
march back to Murfreesboro, via Shelbyville. Ac- 
cordingly, the 19th, we loaded our train, and, with 
the other three regiments of our brigade, marched 
northwest, over poor country, meeting part of Gen- 
eral Wood's division. Encamped early, within ten 
miles of Shelbyville. The 20th, after passing over a 
very rough road, we arrived at that town at noon, 
where we cooked and ate dinner. That evening we 
made a short march of eight miles, and bivouacked 
on the Murfreesboro Pike, in a fine section of coun- 
try, large, well cultivated fields of splendid crops of 
corn and cotton, with occasional stacks of wheat. 
The slaves were yet generally at home. The face of 
the country showed no ravages of war, thanks to 
Buell's orders and the mild manner of the adminis- 
tration in dealing with these aristocratic slave-own- 
ers, who were principally in the field fighting to de- 
stroy the government, while their slaves were raising 
bountiful supplies to feed the rebel army the coming 
winter. It mattered not how much our tired, hun- 
gry soldiers wished a mess of green corn as a change 
from our hard-tack, not an ear of corn, or peach, or 
apple could be had without violating general orders. 
Many staff and line officers had become disgusted 


with enforcing these strict orders and this "concili- 
atory policy" of putting down the rebellion, and did 
not see a few green cobs lying about camp fires be- 
fore the boys had managed to bury or secrete them- 
The 2ist July, we arrived at Murfreesboro, where 
we made our first acquamtance with Colonel Stanley 
Matthews and the Fifty-first Ohio, that regiment 
here being added to our brigade, formed the Third 
Brigade of the Third' Division of the Twenty-first 
Army Corps. Colonel Matthews being sick, Colonel 
Barnes continued in command. General Nelson, 
commanding the division, on the morning of the 
22d, went with all the division except the Third 
Brigade on a scout toward Manchester, while our 
four regiments marched back through town, crossed 
the river near the charred remains of the depot, and 
laid off a line of rifle pits. A heavy detail from each 
regiment was put to digging. Colonel Barnes also 
sent out guards under commissioned officers in every 
direction, with orders to conscript every able-bodied 
negro man they could find and bring them in to as- 
sist in fortifying. By lo o'clock a. m., we had about 
two hundred stout, well-pleased darkies heaving up 
the earth. The officers and men that had collected 
this dusky force related some amusing incidents of 
the talk and action of some of those '' masters" who 
remonstrated against having their ^' niggers" do 
work for the Yankees. Capt. Minter and a squad of 
the 8th entered the premises of a rich planter, whom 
with his two sons were in the rebel army, an old 
negro man named Jim, conducting affairs on the farm 


for his mistress. Soon the guards had " Boss" Jim 
and seven or eight other negro men assembled in the 
road near the fine house. The mistress appeared on 
the portico, and totally ignoring the presence of the 
captain and his men, she addressed '' Jim," saying, 
"I would like to know what you mean by leaving 
your work and bringing in the other hands ?" Jim, 
pulling off his hat, replied, '* Missus, we's gwine to 
town wid dese jemmen to work." Lady — " Now 
you take the hands right back to that field this 
minute or you'll have to account for it, certain." 
" Missus, I can't, Tse bound to 'bey dese sojers. 
Dese are malicious orders, missus, and I'se bound to 
'spect dem." The captain with his conscript force 
moved off, leaving the indignant '• missus" in the 
porch heaping abuse on the whole Yankee army. 
The darkies worked zealously — they evidently 
thought themselves honored by such service and 
enjoyed their ration of ''hard tack" and coffee 
very much. By sunset the long line of earthworks 
were completed. Col. Barnes received a dispatch 
from General Nelson, stating if we were not attacked 
before, to march with the 3d Brigade precisely at 
2 o'clock next morning out on. Lebanon pike, to 
attack a force of rebel cavalry, then at the river six 
miles from us. One day's rations were cooked, a few 
hours for sleep, then all the command able for duty 
formed column without a loud word or any noise 
that could possibly be avoided. The measured 
tramp, tramp of our feet through the silent streets of 
Murfreesboro by the dim starlight, awoke many of 


the slumbering citizens. Heads were thrust out of 
windows, but no questions asked. We silently but 
speedily moved on arriving at the ford of Stone 
River at the first glimmer of dawn, hoping and ex- 
pecting to be able to dash on to the enemy and try 
our hand at mortal combat, but the cautious John- 
nies had mounted their "critters" and left one hour 
before. Some of our men petulantly remarked, 
" That's jest our luck." After wading the river, we 
halted one hour for breakfast. 

Colonel Barnes then ordered us forward on the 
Lebanon Pike, and to march as fast as we could, and 
keep the men well in the ranks. The day was op- 
pressively hot and water scarce. At noon we were 
within ten miles of Lebanon, and halted for a little 
rest before proceeding to where we were assured we 
would have all the fighting we wanted. Just then a 
courier from Nelson handed Colonel Barnes an order 
for us to countermarch to Murfreesboro as quick as 
possible. Nearly every man had sore feet, but at the 
word of command, knapsacks were slung, arms 
taken, and, ho! for Murfreesboro again. When 
within two miles of Stone River, our advance guard 
fell back and reported a large force of rebel infantry 
at the ford. Colonel Barnes instantly had skirmish- 
ers put forward. The brigade trampled down a 
good-sized field of corn in hastily forming line of 
battle. We were all ready, and just then in the 
humor to fight anything, human or devil. A courier 
came dashing up and informed our colonel that the 
supposed enemy was General Nelson and the balance 


of the division. Many of the Eighth swore they 
had rather it had been the enemy, for, said they, 
'' Here we've been out soldiering nearly twelve 
months, and but few of us have seen an armed 
rebel." The brigade bivouacked at the forks of the 
Lebanon and Woodbury Pikes. Our men did very 
little cooking or eating. We were too tired for any- 
thing except sleep, which we enjoyed with no more 
preparation of beds than a drove of stock. 

We were bugled up early the 24th, and had hastily 
marched to within three miles of Murfreesboro, when 
we were again met by one of General Nelson's orders 
to countermarch. At this unexpected command. 
Chandler Branson, Company D, yelled out, " Now, 
by the blood of Balaam, ef this don't beat all." Some 
member of Company A, Eighth Kentucky, retorted, 
" I bet, by G — d, old Nelson or somebody's drunk." 
Our brigade returned to the cross roads before al- 
luded to, and were reinforced by a squadron of the 
Fifth Kentucky Cavalry. We remained here two 
days, keeping out a strong chain of pickets to pre- 
vent any force of the enemy passing toward Nash- 
ville. Several bodies of rebel cavalry were then 
scouting around through the cedars that skirt the 
mountains in Middle Tennessee. 

The 25th, General Nelson reviewed the Third 
Brigade, after which he put us through a " knap- 
sack" drill, in brigade and battalion movements, 
cursing the Eighth for some blunders, but praising 
us for the correct performance of other movements. 
Wha«:cver may have been his opinion of the Eighth, 


we certainly did not form a favorable one of this 
swearing, blustering old tar. A month's acquaint- 
ance did not increase our respect or love for him, 
though we all became thoroughly convinced of two 
prominent traits of Nelson's character : First, brave 
in the face of the foe ; second, overbearing to all 

The 26th, a foraging party, commanded by Major 
Broadhus, of the Eighth Kentucky, and composed of 
Companies H and C, of the Eighth, and two com- 
panies of the Twenty-firstj with twenty wagons, pro- 
ceeded through the cedars, up Stone River, eight 
miles to a mill owned by a violent rebel named Til- 
ford, where the soldiers, assisted by a lot of slaves, 
loaded the wagons with corn. No white man or 
woman could be seen. Major Broadhus said to a 
patriarchal darkey: 

"Old man, where are the white people of this 
place ?" 

"" Missus an de chillen is to her mudder's, an I 
speck mars is wid dem oder kind ob sojers." 

Major Broadhus — " Did he leave you to manage 
affairs here ?" 

" Yes, sah ; doh he tole me dis way to do, say he : 
' Jake, you keep de mill a grinden de corn, an if you 
see de Yankees comin wid wagons, you jes set fire to 
de cribs and burn up de corn.' " 

Major B. — " You don't seem to obey your master. 
When you saw us, why didn't you burn it ?" 

" Yah, yah, mars, I knowed den it do nobody 
any good, nor him, neder." 


The wagons returned to the command witliout ac- 
cident, and while the Eighth were at supper, the 
bugle sounded the officers' call. Soon we were col- 
lected around our chief. Colonel Barnes said : 
''Officers, I want you to get your men ready to 
march to Murfreesboro, and that d — d quick, for the 
General expects to be attacked by 8,000 rebels before 
dayliglrt." As we had no baggage, we were soon 
wading the river, being the fourth time within four 
days. We arrived at Murfreesboro about midnight, 
and lay on our arms in line of battle near town, on 
the Woodbury Pike. Our men began to think this 
very hard soldiering, but it was only the beginning 
of our hardships. The line of battle was maintained 
until after sunrise the 27th, but the 8,000 enemy 
did not appear. 

We received orders from General Nelson to pre- 
pare for a march in light order, specifying that the 
men would turn over their knapsacks to the quar- 
termaster, the officers to be allowed to carry only 
one trunk or chest to three officers, and two tent- 
flies to a company of officers. Accordingly, all this 
extra baggage was marked and stored at Murfrees- 
boro. This being completed by noon, General Nel- 
son ordered every regiment out to drill two hours — 
the first and last time we ever drilled on Sunday. 

We remained here without any further alarms 
until the morning of the first of August. The whole 
division, 8,000 strong, marched out on theMcMinn- 
ville road, all with canteens full, as Nelson never 
allowed a man to leave ranks. The sun shone down 


on the stone road with powerful heat. We called a 
halt at noon for two hours, at a creek, then kept our 
men well in ranks, and arrived at Woodbury, the 
county town of Cannon County, at dark, having 
marched twenty-eight miles. As we had bat little 
cooking to do, those not on guard were soon sleep- 
ing the sleep of the weary, if not that of the just. 

The 2d, the division was aroused by the bugles- 
and drums long before daylight, our hasty breakfast 
over, and the column in motion before the sun had 
showed his burning face. 

We had correct information that General Forrest, 
with a brigade of rebel cavalry, was at McMinnville, 
and our men generally were anxious to bring the en- 
emy at bay, and try our hand in a battle. General 
Nelson's threat to catch Forrest or kill the last man in 
the division, increased our desires to come up with 
the foe at as early a date as possible, for many of the 
command believed our general to mean what he said ; 
and before that month had passed nearly all of the 
Eighth began to think him to be in dead earnest. 

About 3 o'clock p. m. our advance came on the 
rebel pickets within a few miles of McMinnville. As 
they caught sight of our advance cavalry, they fired 
a few shots and fled toward town. We hastened on, 
arriving there near night, but no armed enemy could 
be seen. We stacked arms on the skirts of town 
and were anxiously expecting a distribution of rations. 
We had began to get used to disappointments and 
unpleasant surprises. One was here ready for Com- 
panies C, D, E and H, of the Eighth — we were or- 


dered out on picket without the desired and much- 
needed grub. Several hours were spent is estab- 
lishing the picket line so as to connect with the reg- 
ular chain around town. 

A few of the officers, including the author, called 
at some of the suburban residences and succeeded 
in arousing the not overly pleased inmates and suc- 
ceeded in procuring some provisions, paying a good 
round price ; thus our men, on a divide, secured 
sufficient to abate their gnawing hunger. 

The whole division was kept in suspense all day 
the 3d, all being held in readiness to "march at a 
moment's warning." We slept there in line on our 
arms, and at daylight, the 4th, the whole command 
marched in quick time toward Sparta, Tenn. Five 
companies, B, H, G, K and I, of the 8th Kentucky, 
were detailed as rear guard, a duty all soldiers dis- 
like, having to march behind the wagon train and 
artillery. We had not proceeded but a few miles, 
when, at the ford of Collins river, in a narrow piece 
of road, one wagon upset, and delayed the whole 
train for over two hours. This put us a long distance 
behind our column. Our Quartermasters and wagon- 
masters having more dread of old Nelson than they 
had of the enemy, made everything double quick 
for about ten miles, before the rear was properly 
closed up. We guards, of course, were compelled 
to regulate our march to keep pace with the hurrying 
train. Near night the artillery and wagons began to 
cross Cany Fork of the Cumberland River. The 
troops had crossed and climbed the mountain on the 


south side. Some of the teamsters while at a halt 
had found a house where they procured a supply of 
Tennessee brandy, and had followed the example of 
our division general, and imbibed too freely of the 
exhilarating fluid. On arriving at the stream, these 
boozy commanders of mules had, without orders, un- 
hitched their teams. A few of the wagon-masters, 
no less sober, were powerless to command their 
trains. At this unpleasant state of affairs, the rain 
began to pour down in the manner it usually does in 
this latitude. All teamsters and their superiors that 
were yet sober, appeared to be like our guards, not 
in an enviable temper, and had Gen. Nelson been 
present, and refrained from swearing long enough to 
have heard the amount of profanity indulged in at 
that ford, he certainly would have been disgusted with 
this foolish habit. In the meantime we arrived upon 
the scene, and Col. Barnes, who could, on slight pro- 
vocation, swear equal to an army teamster, rode 
around with a drawn weapon among the boozy team- 
sters and made them hitch up, and cfnce more put 
the train in motion. 

Tjie principal part of our five companies worked 
hard all night by reliefs pushing wagons and artil- 
lery up the mountain. Every one of us, from col- 
onel down, had our clothing thoroughly wet. In 
order to get a few hours' sleep without laying down 
in mud and water, I lashed my weary body to a tree 
trunk, using one of the men's gun straps and my 
own sword belt. While thus suspended, I slept quite 


About sun rise the next morning the last wagon 
topped the mountain. Without taking time to eat 
breakfast, we struck out in quick time to overtake the 
division, and soon came up with the column. After 
forced march of five miles, the head of the division 
met a scout. General Nelson had a brief interview 
with him, then commanded the column to '^ counter 
march, quick time, march !" This was to us dis- 
couraging, to say the least. But Nelson had been 
informed by Buell that we were about to meet the 
principal part of General Bragg's army, and ihat dis- 
cretion was in this case, probably, the best. But 
our men said, ^' Here, we've lost sleep, waded rivers 
and ran around in the cedars until our shoes are 
worn out trying to meet the enemy, and now, when 
we are about to find the armed rebels, to retreat is 
worse than to fight and get whipped." 

At the crossing of the river, the Eighth refused to 
go farther until we had time to get some rations out 
of the trains and get on the outside of that grub, 
which we did, regardless of friends in front or foes 
behind. Satisfying our hunger, we resumed the 
march and arrived at McMinnville a little before mid- 

On this nineteen miles of rough road this division 
of as good men as the United States had in the field 
left more stragglers than they probably ever did af- 
terward. They all came up during the next day. 

We pitched our tent flies in a large apple orchard 
northeast of town. The heavy crop of green fruit 
of that orchard totally disappeared within twenty- 


four hours — fried, witn plenty of sugar added, 
making a good dish to a hungry soldier. 

On the evening of the 6th, at dress parade, several 
of Nelson's troublesome orders were* read ; one of 
them requiring every regiment in the division to have 
battalion drill for two hours before breakfast ; that 
at 7 o'clock, compelled us to be up and in line at 5, 
and from that until supper no time was lost from drill 
and other duties, except two hours for dinner. This 
lively exercise to men whose feet were yet very sore, 
was anything but pleasaat recreation. 

On the 9th of August, the Eighth escaped the or- 
deal of a knapsapk drill, by an order sending us one 
mile out on the Smithville road as pickets. We re- 
mained there in the brush until the morning of the 
nth, encountering no worse enemy than innumer- 
able little insects called "seed ticks." The enemy 
was reported to have a large force at Smithville, 
twenty miles distant from us, and our boys were 
given strict orders. At a late hour on the night of 
the loth. General Nelson and staff passed outside 
our pickets and returned by the Smithville route. 
Leaving the main road they came tearing along the 
by-road, evidently to try the mettle of our pickets. 
When within hailing distance, John W. Barnett, 
Company H, commanded "halt." Nelson and es- 
cort appeared not to hear, and John, in aloud voice, 
repeated, "Halt, there! or by Jupiter, I'll put a 
hole through one of you," at the same time all six 
of the men's pieces gave that ominous click that gen- 
erally causes even a brave man to halt, and the Gen- 


eral did, at the same time he said, '' Who in the 
hell are you, to presume to halt a general officer and 
staff?" The 'reply was, "One of you dismount, 
advance and give the countersign, or we'll show you 
who we are, and that devilish quick." An aid obeyed 
this last summons, and Corporal Harris hallowed 
out, "The General and escort can pass in." 

The moon shone brightly, and the boys knew 
Nelson before he advanced. His only remark as he 
passed in was, "By G — d ; these Kentucks won't do 
to fool with." 

As the force reported at Smithville did not come 
to attack us, on the morning of the nth our brigade 
now under command of Col. Matthews, received or- 
ders to go in search of the Johnnies. The dirt road 
was rough from the dried mud of recent rains, and 
the weather continued excessively warm. After a 
hard march of twenty miles, we arrived late in the 
evening at the village where we expected to find the 
much-sought but little-loved rebels. 

The citizens informed us that John Morgan's force 
of cavalry passed through there the day before, go- 
ing north. Our command bivouacked there, and 
resumed the march early the 12th, over rough roads, 
through the hills northwest, thirteen miles, and we 
were in the village of Liberty. 

Our brigade remained here until the next evening, 
living principally on green corn. The citizens here 
appeared to be more loyal than any we had found in 
Tennessee^ displaying the stars and stripes as we 
marched through town. The loyal women here 



came out to our camp, and cheerfully loaned the sol- 
diers their cooking utensils. This day's rest among 
these people, and the benefit of a good bath in the 
clear stream, which most of us enjoyed, greatly re- 
freshed us in soul and body. 

At 4 o'clock, p. m., the 13th, we again formed 
column, and, as usual, took the back track. The 
moon shone bright, and we halted at 10 o'clock at 
Smithville, and rested until morning. The officers 
and men of the Eighth about this time became very 
solicitous to be mounted, so we could have a chance 
to catch some of the rebel cavalry, for, said our men, 
we find it impossible to either head them off or catch 
them on foot. 

We left Smithville at sunrise the 14th, and at 5 
p. m. re-entered our camp at McMinnville. The 
following ten days, when not on picket or other duty, 
the time was spent in vigorous drilling. One even- 
ing, at dress parade, we were rejoiced to learn that 
General Nelson was relieved from the command, and 
would proceed immediately to Kentucky to take 
command of raw recruits then arriving at Louisville 
and Cincinnati. We did not envy those same raw 
recruits their pleasures in obeying the orders of their 
general. Though, with all Nelson's harsh, over- 
bearing, and often wanton cruelty to his subordi- 
nates, he often did a good thing in protecting his 
soldiers from the grasping greed of sutlers or citi- 
zens, with whom our boys often traded. One day, 
before Nelson left us, a crowd of soldiers were col- 
lected around a lank-looking, long-haired Tennes- 


seean, who bore on his arm a basket containing some 
tough-looking pies. Between the two thick crusts 
was a darker streak of woolly peaches. General 
Nelson came along the street, and noticing the citi- 
zen, stepped up, saying: "Here, my man, what 
have you there to sell ?" 

Citizen — "Pies, sar ; unly fifty cents apiece, sar. " 
The general broke one open, and dropped it back 
in the basket, exclaiming, '' Only fifty cents apiece !" 
Drawing his sword, he continued: "Now, you in- 
fernal, lecherous, spindle-shanked devil ! those 
things wouldn't digest in the stomach of a hyena. 
How many have you?" 

Citizen tremblingly replied : " Six, I b'leve." 
General Nelson, raising his sword more threaten- 
ingly, said : '* Now, eat the last one in short order, 
or I'll cut your infernal head from your worthless 
carcass !" The poor, frightened fellow munched 
and swallowed in painful haste, until his eyes, which 
continuously watched the uplifted steel, assumed a 
frog-like prominence. Thus, he worried down over 
two dollars' worth of his dark, choky pastry. Nel- 
son then ordered the would-be pie vender outside 
our pickets, telling him if he should ever see him 
here again on any pretext, death would certainly be 
his doom. We saw no more of that enterprising 

Brigadier General Amnion assumed command of 
the troops in and around McMinnville. The 24th 
August, we were ordered to prepare two days* ra- 
tions, load the baggage and be ready to march at 


I o'clock, p. m. At that hour we were in column, 
and the general wish and belief was that we were 
leaving this "rebel hole" for the last time. The 
Eighth halted in the town to assist the division quar- 
termaster to burn some old worn out tents and quar- 
termaster stores that had been condemned as unser- 
viceable. We came up with the main force at mid- 
night, at the forks of the Tullahoma and Altamont 
roads. The next morning our little army was, by 
some misunderstanding of the guards and buglemen, 
permitted to sleep later than the general intended, 
consequently many of us ate our breakfast while on 
the march. Before noon we arrived at the foot of 
the mountain, on the Altamont road. Here the 
rebels had just passed over, and had obstructed the 
naturally difficult, narrow road by felling trees, 
and our artillery and wagons were completely 


Our supply of rations was quite limited. A great 
deal of musket firing around the neighboring farms 
began soon after we halted. Officers and men knew 
there was no enemy on our side of the mountain ex- 
cept those unarmed, but they were often thought to 
not be entirely docile. One member of the Eighth 
came walking into camp, soon after the shooting be- 
gan, with a quarter of mutton, and apologetically re- 
marked to his captain : ** Cap'n, I do respect Gen- 
eral Buell's orders, but darn me ef a rebel sheep 
shall butt me." Judging from the quantity of roast 
and fried mutton consumed that evening in the 
division, especially by the Eighth Kentucky and 


Thirty-fifth Indiana, people in that locality must 
have owned a goodly number of belligerent sheep. 

The 26th, the whole division returned to our re- 
spective camps around McMinnville, drilling and 
picketing as before. 

Some of the Thirty-fifth Indiana, on the 27th, 
went outside our picket lines and took possession of 
Mr. Argoe*s apple and peach brandy distillery, and 
when found, a few days after, were doing a 
thriving business working off the tubs of bruised 
fruit on hand. When these modern '' moon- 
shiners" were brought up before Colonel Matthews 
for violation of orders and taking private property, 
Dennis McLew, the leader, when asked why he did 
so, replied : '^Plaze yer honor, Colonel, but it wuz 
too bad, indade ; the cowardly spalpeen ov a ribel 
had taken himself away, and the paich mash wuz 
sphoilm intoirely ; an', yer honor, tho' I do say it 
myself, I'm the boy as can make the rale ould cray- 
ther as will warrum up the boys' stummicks before 
atein' the indacent food we get here in this haythen 
counthry." As some of the "boys" had taken too 
much of the "crayther," Colonel Matthews had the 
self-appointed distiller and a few others tied up until 
their stomachs cooled off a little. 


The 2d day of September, all the troops about 
McMinnville had orders to prepare to march, and 
early the 3d everything loyal to the United States 
was leaving this part of Tennessee. It was now an 
evident fact that the rebels in large force were in- 
vading Kentucky. Many of the most loyal citizens 
with their families joined our column, which was now 
raising clouds of dust on the Murfreesboro road. 
We bivouacked at Logan's Plains, where we joined 
General Wood's division. The 4th of September 
our column arrived at Bradyville, and the next day 
at I o'clock p. m. were once more in Murfreesboro. 
Here all the sick and those unable to march were 
ordered on the train for Nashville. About half a 
dozen officers of the Eighth, including myself, with 
a few of the Twenty-first Kentucky, got aboard the 
cars. If we were not all of us equally sick we were 
certainly about on an equality in present cash assets. 
At the Nashville depot, while we were holding a 
committee of the whole on our financial standing, 
the sight of our cheerful and accommodating sutler 
was a pleasant surprise to us. We instantly sur- 
rounded "Uncle Bob," and soon relieved him of 
his surplus cash, and once more were able to face an 
extortionate landlord or a frowning rebel landlady, 
and were soon registered on Mrs. Peace's books. 


For several days our troops poured through the city 
northward in a living stream. 

The 7th, late in the day, our command were pass- 
ing through. Sick and feeble, as some of us were, 
we had no notion of being left in Dixie while the 
rebels were invading the '^sacred soil " of Kentucky. 
Captains Powell and Thomas and the author being 
scarcely able to walk, had, through the assistance of 
Chaplain Paul, purchased ahorse of a Union citizen 
at a very low price intending to try to keep up with 
our command by riding, each by turn. It was agreed 
that as I was the most feeble, I should have the first 
ride, while they with the others joined the column. 
I spent some time trying to find a saddle for sale 
cheap — one dollar being all the money we three had 
left after paying for our steed. I at last concluded 
to postpone the luxury of a saddle, and gave a grin- 
ning darkie twenty-five cents for an old bridle, threw 
my gum blanket and fatigue coat on Carlo's back, 
and mounted, with sword and pistols balancing my 
haversack across the withers of the horse. I made 
better time through the streets of the city than was 
agreeable to my aching bones. I overtook the regi- 
ment about 10 p. m. encamped near Edgefield Junc- 
tion, on the Louisville pike. All the men were cov- 
ered with dust, and their clothing badly worn, espe- 
cially shoes and pantaloons. The men had been 
compelled to wear their underclothing so long without 
change that many of them had become infested with 
vermin — in army parlance called '' graybacks." Our 
requisitions for clothing here were only partially 


filled, and orders were given to company command- 
ers to issue only to those of their men that were in 
greatest need, and as about all were eager claimants 
for pants, the captains generally settled the matter 
by calling the company into line and passing along 
in the rear raised each man's coat skirts, and those 
whose pants had given out worst in the most embar- 
rassing places, were ordered to step forward and re- 
ceived a new pair. 

The 8th, our command moved a short distance up 
the pike and bivouacked for the night. Here Gen. 
T. L. Crittenden took command of the Twenty-first 
Army Corps, composed of the First, Second and 
Third Divisions, to the latter our brigade belonged, 
still commanded by Ammon. 

The army was all life and bustle early the 9th. 
Canteens filled with water, and a fresh supply of 
forty rounds of cartridges in our cartridge boxes, we 
marched on the pike through Goodlettsville, then 
Quiet Hill, and halted for the night at Tyre Springs. 
Here a few more of our ragged boys received another 
partial supply of clothing. Before dark several of 
the Fifty- first Ohio and Eighth Kentucky boys had 
straggled off into the woods to hunt paw-paws, and 
were captured by a company of rebel cavalry within 
a half mile of camp. All our boys escaped except 
John Townsend, and he made his escape a few days 

The loth, our column moved on fourteen miles 
and halted near Mitchellsville at an old rebel rendez- 
vous they called Camp Trauser. Here our brigade 


alone slaughtered fifteen beeves and over one hun- 
dred sheep, also a few porkers and many chickens 
were taken and dressed in a private manner. Pri- 
vate Carmoody, ''our Irishman," remarked, " Faith 
an' we'd not be afther lavin* the State with lank 
haversacks or empty stomachs aither. " 

At 6 o'clock on the morning of the nth, our 
columns were again in motion and soon passed the 
large stone in the road that indicated the State line. 
As the Eighth passed over the line the boys gave 
three lusty cheers. We were delayed several hours 
waiting for our long train of wagons to cross Sharp's 
Branch — the rebels having torn up the bridge. That 
evening we passed through the pretty town of Frank- 
lin, Ky. Here crowds of women had collected on 
porticos and in front yards and displayed several 
Union flags, causing loud and long cheering from 
the troops. We halted for the night within five 
miles of town. 

On the following morning, orders were given by 
General Buell that, until further orders, only half 
rations would be issued to the troops of this com- 
mand. The Third Division (from cause probably 
never known only to General Buell himself) was de- 
tained here two days; during that time the rebels 
had torn up portions of the L. & N. Railroad. The 
half ration order caused considerable foraging on an 
individual scale. Col. Barnes and other officers of the 
8th remonstrated with the men against foraging in our 
native State. As the Colonel said, '' setting a bad 
example for other State's regiments to follow." 


But Other troops did not wait for any bad examples 
to influence them when their half rations did not 
half satisfy their keen appetites. A flock of goats 
and a good-sized sweet potato patch had already con. 
tributed largely to supply the 35th's lacking half 
ration, and without following their example, our boys 
thought the immediate future not very promising for 
bounteous living, and our camp guards had been 
standing with their backs toward the aforesaid potato 
patch and had failed to heed the bleating of more 
than one goat in the corn near by. At last Chan- 
dler B., of Co. I, caught the old billy of all the 
billies in the corn. The old, bearded patriarch 
proved too stout for Chandler. He not daring to 
shoot, caught his prey by the horns. The goat, in 
its frantic efforts to regain freedom, came tearing 
through the regiment, our heroic forager holding on 
to the horns with the tenacity of " grim death to a 
dead African," sometimes on top the goat, at 
others being dragged on the ground by the mutter- 
ing goat. The loud cheering of the men, nor the 
terrible oaths of the colonel did not make him break 
his hold, nor lose his determination for fresh meat. 
Thus the two re-entered the high corn where the 
guards soon found Chandler with a few of his more 
timid comrades taking off the goat's hide. Qur con- 
quering hero was marched to colonel's tent. Colonel 
B. — " Now, sir, give your reasons for this flagrant 
violations of my recent orders, and be d — d quick 
about it, too." Chandler — " Colonel, I never 
meant disrespect to you, but I see'd them durned 


35 Irishers agoen fur the whole flock, and they'd 
killed all but that old tough devil. He run over 
to our side and by golly I was 'termined they 
shouldn't have him, an' I jist went fur 'em." This 
earnest explanation came near making the colonel 
relax his assumed sternness. Chandler was put on 
extra duty, but said extra rations made it all right. 

The 1 2th a considerable skirmish took place one 
and a half miles east of us, between our cavalry and 
some of Forrest's rebels. 

The 13th, we resumed the march, and late that 
evening halted within two miles of Bowling Green, 
at a large spring, issuing from a cave. In a short 
time that stream ran dirty soap suds, as thousands 
availed themselves of the opportunity to bathe and 
wash dirty shirts. One day's rations were issued, 
but was barely sufficient for one meal. The corn 
crop was just sufficiently soft to be easily grated into 
meal. Our men made graters of half canteens and 
every piece of old tin or sheetiron that could be 
found, and these were kept constantly in use while 
we were at a halt. The varied sounds of these 
many shapes and sizes of graters throughout a di- 
vision made a noise that will long be remembered by 
surviving Union soldiers of this war. We remained 
here three days. The second day three days' full 
rations of damaged, wormj flour were issued, and 
the bacon was worse than the flour. 

The 15th, we heard cannonading north of us, 
which we soon after learned was at Mumfordsville, 
Ky. The soldiers of our army, and especially our 


Kentucky boys, were impatient at what we conceived 
to be useless delays, while the enemy were out- 
stripping us in the race for the city of Louisville, and 
overrunning the best portion of the State. At 3 
p. m., the 1 6th, the welcome bugle sounded, and we 
marched through town, crossed Green River on pon- 
toons, halted and spent the night in sight of Bowl- 
ing Green. The following morning the bugle 
sounded the assembly. At the first dawn of day- 
light, without breakfast, we formed column and 
marched quick-step for five miles. We halted half 
an hour at a filthy pond, where the men were 
allowed to fill their canteens with what they called 
''mule soup," as there were several dead carcasses 
lying putrifying in the water, probably intentionally 
placed there by the armed "Southern gentlemen." 
By 3 o'clock, p. m., we had put eighteen miles more 
behind us, without anything to eat since the pre- 
vious night, and the commissary wagons far behind. 
Our boys were too tired to forage for something to 
-eat, and it would have been a fruitless search, as we 
had now struck the recent track of the famishing 
rebel army. About 2 o'clock next morning the 
long looked for commissaries arrived, and everybody 
was aroused, in the midst of a hard shower of rain, 
to draw and cook one day's rations. Flour was 
issued, and as pans and other means of cooking 
were quite limited, we were being hurried into col- 
umn while a great many of the men's ''cakes were 
dough." We made a quick march to Bell's Tavern, 
seven miles north, where we expected to find a 


force of the enemy. We only found the telegraph 
wires cut, and some damage done to the railroad. 
A few miles further, and we made a halt until sunset. 
We then moved on up two miles to Cave City. The 
night was very dark, but soon the whole surrounding 
country was lighted by the blaze of our fence-rail 
fires. We drew three days' rations, with orders to 
cook them and be ready to march by early morning. 
The wormy flour was here cooked in all the known 
ways, and many ways hitherto unknown — at least to 
the writer. There were biscuits, slapjacks, pan- 
cakes, fried dough, and some placed the dough on 
the cleanest boards or flat pieces of rails, and propped 
it up johnny-cake style, while a great many roped 
the dough around sticks, which were kept constantly 
turning before the fire until cooked. After all, 
scarcely any of it could have been eaten in daylight 
by any other than soldiers or Digger Indians, as the 
numerous long worms one was forced to eat or pick 
out would not have much suited an epicure. 

After all this night's hurry and worry we were not 
ordered to move from here for three days. This 
delay caused the men to swear and fret. Many of 
the officers now, as well as the men, began to swear 
that they believed General Buell did not want to 
press the enemy^hard enough to bring on a general 
engagement ; and from here on to Louisville, when 
there was a general halt, there were many such ex- 
pressions as "What's up now?" ''Nothing, only 
Bragg's got a wagon broken down, and old Buell's 
stopped to wait for him to get started." While at 


Cave City, our cavalry and that of the enemy skir- 
mished around ahead a little, which was repeated 
daily until we neared the Ohio River. 

At last, after we had about disposed of our three 
days' cooked rations, the evening of the 21st Sep- 
tember, we again took to the dusty road, and 
marched by midnight to Mumfordsville, fifteen miles ; 
waded the river, waist deep, stacked arms and lay 
down, not feeling much like praising our general-in- 
chief for the discomforts of our wet clothing. Cap- 
tains Hickman and Winbourn both had to be left 
here at a private house, being too sick to be carried in 
the ambulance further. 

The 2 2d, before forming column, about forty 
rebel prisoners, picked up by our cavalry, passed 
south, being paroled. We halted at Bacon Creek 
for water, where another installment of paroled 
rebels met us. Our men cheered them, and said to 
each other: "May be we will get to fight the 
hungry, dirty rascals yet." 

Late in the evening the whole command halted 
near Upton Station, having marched hard the most 
of the previous night and all day in dust, often six 
inches deep, causing a cloud almost suffocating, ren- 
dered less endurable by the scarcity of water to 
quench our famishing thirst. One day's rations 
were issued, with orders to cook and prepare for the 
next day. Water and wood both being scarce, or 
very inconvenient to get, the exhausted men gen- 
erally fell down to sleep without converting their 
spoiled flour into bread. Consequently, on the 


sounding of the assembly the 23d, the majority of 
our division had only began to prepare breakfast. 
The most of the men crammed their uncooked 
dough and bacon into their haversacks, swearing at 
thus being hurried off. Some in their wrath un- 
wisely threw away their flour or dough. From 
Upton Station until we halted in Louisville our com- 
mand was scarcely given time to eat or sleep, as the 
main force of the enemy had been forced by our cav- 
alry to turn off toward Lebanon and Bardstown. 

Now commenced the race between us and the en- 
emy for Louisville. By 2 o'clock^ p. m., we marched 
twenty miles to Elizabethtown. Here we halted 
three hours, and cooked and eat of what little was 
left of the last night's issue, the majority being too 
exhausted to go to the fields to forage. At 5 p. m. 
the bugle's warning notes bid us get into column, 
and off again. Ten miles further, great numbers 
gave out with blistered feet, or were overcome from 
want of sleep, and dropped by the roadside, but be- 
fore daylight all came up to where the main force 
had halted. 

The morning of the 24th, we did not require 
much time to cook, as we had little or nothing left. 
When we arrived at West Point, at the mouth of 
Salt River, at one o'clock, p. m., we learned that 
Bragg's main force was at Bardstown, Ky. We 
crossed Salt River and stopped, three miles further 
on, on the southern bank of the Ohio River. ^ 

On the 25th of September, by a severe, march 
of twenty- seven miles through the dust, which 


was for miles from six to eight inches deep, we ar- 
rived in the lower edge of the city of Louisville near 
midnight, our eyes and feet sore from the hot dust, 
and the hungriest, raggedest, tiredest, dirtiest, lous- 
iest and sleepiest set of men the hardships of this or 
any other war ever produced. This was the general 
condition of all the troops that came through from 
Tennessee. The 27th, we moved out two miles 
from the city, on the Nashville pike, where our divis- 
ion washed up what clothing we had worth that 
trouble, drew new clothing, some camp equipage, 
with the promise of again obtaining sight of that 
important and ever welcome individual, the 
paymaster. Company commanders went to work, 
and many of us did not stop to sleep until the pay- 
rolls were ready for the men's signatures, as all 
the officers and men were without money. Those 
who had not spent nor sent their pay home, had 
been importuned by less prudent or less lucky com- 
rades, and borrowed and spent about every green- 
back the regiment could command. 

The 30th, the long looked-for paymaster appeared 
in our division, and paid off many of the troops. 
Our men were beginning to feel ''bully," by the 
little rest, clean, new clothes and prospect of pay ; 
and, to add to many of their jubilant feelings, some 
one came in from the city and reported that General 
Jefif. C. Davis had killed General Nelson for abusive 
language. No one considered Nelson a coward or 
friend to the'enemy, but he was pronounced a tyrant 
of the '' first water." 


About this time all the oldest regiments in the 
army were desirous, and many of them clamorous, 
for General Thomas to supercede General Buell. 
Apparently all had lost that confidence in our gen- 
eral-in-chief that is so essential for the efficiency of 


We received general orders to leave all trunks, 
officers' desks, company books and extra baggage at 
Louisville, and prepare to march in light order at 6 
o'clock the next morning. The enemy's cavalry 
had been skirmishing with our advance pickets out 
ten or twelve miles southwest. Our men said : 
"Well, we would like to have a few more green- 
backs, but we want to be led to the enemy." Many 
of the Eighth said : "That old poke-easy general of 
ours has allowed the thieving rebels to overrun the 
best portion of the State, and they are now in full 
possession of our homes. All we care for now is to 
be allowed to have a chance to thrash and drive the 
lousy devils out, or kill or capture the whole army 
of thieves, with all their long train of stolen goods." 


The morning of the first day of October, 1862, 
was one of those bright, pleasant days so exhilerating 
after a few white frosts. With one day's grub and a 
full supply of cartridges, our brave, hardy boys, 
without a murmur for pay, cheerfully formed in col- 
umn, and in quick time marched toward Bardstown, 
where we understood the main force of Bragg's 
army were. Now that we had succeeded in placing 
ourselves between the enemy and our immense 
stores of supplies, every man appeared eager for 
battle. After marching eight miles, we heard the 
lively popping of carbines ahead. We broke into a 
double-quick, and in three miles further came to 
where the Fourth Indiana Cavalry and the rebels 
had a few minutes before been engaged in a skirmish. 
Our brigade was ordered to halt, front and cap every 
piece of ordinance. We then marched in line of 
battle to the brow of a hill as supports to the cav- 
alry, but the Johnnies kept going on South, and 
again not an Eighth gun was fired at the enemy. 
As we filed off to bivouack for the night the men of 
the Eighth and Twenty-first Kentucky gave many 
expressions of disappointment. One of the Eighth 
shouted to the Twenty-first: '^ The thieving devils 
always serve us that way. They'll never stop long 
enough for us to get a shot at 'em.". 


The Ninth Division (General Woods) passed us and 
formed the advance of our corps. We camped at Hays 
Springs, having made a short march. The Ninety- 
ninth Ohio, a new regiment only two weeks from 
their homes, was here added to our brigade, the 2d of 
October. Their new outfit and crowded knapsacks, 
with two wool blankets and new great coats neatly 
folded and strapped on top of knapsacks, contrasted 
strangely with the appearance of our boys, in light 
marching order, who had learned by sad experience 
not to make beasts of burden of themselves, carrying 
weighty articles that would not, probably, be needed 
for months. 

The advance of General Woods' division con- 
tinued to skirmish with the rear of the enemy's 
force, a few miles ahead of us, especial about Mount 
Washington. On the 3d, skirmishing for an hour 
was quite spirited. On that night we bivouacked on 
the south fork of Salt River. Here we drew and 
cooked three days' rations, expecting to engage in 
some sanguinary work with the rebels before we ate 
them, as it was reported the main force would cer- 
tainly make a stand at Bardstown, eighteen miles 
southwest of us. Every man in the Eighth, at the 
sound of the assembly, with loud cheers, took their 
places in the column, eager to have a trial at short 
range with the invaders, but the evening of the 4th, 
on arriving near Bardstown, we learned with some 
regret that, after a little skirmishing with our ad- 
vance, the enemy had fled toward Danville and 
Springfield. We began to think, from the uniform 


distance these two large bodies of belligerents kept 
apart, that neither commander-in-chief desired a 
general engagement. 

The 5th and 6th October we made short marches, 
reaching Springfield, twenty miles, in two days' 
march. It now became evident to all that General 
Bragg had abandoned the scene of conflict. By 
somebody's management, or mismanagement, we 
were not ordered to march until near noon the 8th. 
During that forenoon Rousseau's, Gilbert's and 
Jackson's divisions, of McCook's corps, were hotly 
engaged with Bragg' s main army, while here lay, 
scattered around within from two to eight miles, two 
whole corps of as brave, reliable troops as ever 
shouldered a musket, lying impatiently awaiting or- 
ders to move on the enemy. At last we received 
orders, and were only two hours in double-quicking 
to within supporting distance of our comrades — 
McCook's corps — who had by this time all become 
engaged, as also a part of the Fourth Corps, General 
Thomas. Up to 2 p. m. many had been slain on 
both sides. At 3 o'clock, just as we arrived within 
a mile of the engagement, only the artillery was 
playing freely. General Bragg led a ferocious charge 
in person on the center of our lines, where General 
Rousseau's division maintained its position, and 
hurled the tumultuous rebels back with complete suc- 
cess, our artillery plowing avenues of death through 
their serried columns, while the musketry mowed 
down whole ranks of '*grey-backs" as they rolled 
frantically forward toward the federal lines. They 


were compelled to retire from that portion of the 
field in confusion, leaving the ground strewn with 
their dead, dying and wounded. But another 
charge, led by General Buckner, on General Jack- 
son's division, met with better success, and exceeded 
in ferocity anything yet exhibited iii the war. The 
overwhelming numbers of the enemy threw this 
division into disorder. Generals Jackson and Ter- 
rill both fell. Then Generals Sheridan and Mitch- 
ell's commands became engaged, and exhibited that 
heroism characteristic of western troops. But lean- 
not enter into further details of this bloody fight, as 
the author's designs are only to follow the fortunes 
of the Eighth Kentucky. Thus the battle raged, in- 
decisively, with only a part of our forces engaged, 
and our whole corps ready, willing and waiting, 
within supporting distance, like eager greyhounds 
straining at the leash, praying and pleading to be led 
on to support our brave, battling comrades. But no 
orders came. Brigade and regimental commanders, 
like their men, were instantly expecting orders and 
ever ready to spring forward at the word. At sunset 
the battle merged into an artillery duel, and as dark- 
ness spread its sable mantle over these sanguinary 
scenes, the Union army reposed upon their arms. 
During the night the enemy leisurely resumed his 

The loss in Rousseau's division alone was nine- 
teen hundred killed and wounded. In all the 
other troops the loss was about four thousand killed, 
wounded and prisoners. The enemy's loss was only 


a little more than the federal, proving little more 
than a drawn battle. 

On the morning of the 9th, when it became known 
that Bragg's whole army had retreated south, with 
his long train of well loaded wagons, the general 
feeling of chagrin and disgust was truly great. Said 
our men, "After all our hard marching and bad liv- 
ing, we had rather met with defeat in battle than to 
have let the enemy slip off with their spoils without 
more severe punishment." Many officers and men 
openly expressed their doubts of General Buell's 
fidelity. Some of the men swore if we could not 
have a better department commander they would 
send the present one to ** happy Canaan after Nel- 
son." The intelligent reader will not wonder at 
the ill feeling of the Kentucky soldiers when he is 
reminded that Bragg's long train contained fifteen 
hundred wagon loads of provisions, clothing and 
other necessaries for his army, together with several 
thousand horses and beeves, and an immense amount 
of groceries and goods, gathered from the principal 
towns of Kentucky, and now, in all probability, they 
would make a safe retreat in possession of all this 
plunder. Buell had only engaged the enemy once 
within five months, and then against his wish. Thus, 
Bragg had been allowed to traverse the richest por- 
tions of our native State, almost undisturbed ; to 
even perpetrate the fraud of inaugurating a governor 
at Frankfort ; to rob, defraud and terrify the Union 
citizens and our friends in one of the most populous 
States in the Union ; and was now about to make 


his escape, almost without interference. This was 
more than the furious, patriotic temper of our moun- 
tain boys could endure. It is not singular, after all 
this, that the federal government removed General 
Buell the same month (October), and appointed 
General Wm. S. Rosecrans in his stead; but not in 
time for the latter to inflict any of the well-deserved 
punishment the willing troops desired to give the 

The 9th we moved up and bivouacked on the east 
side of Perryville. The loth our brigade moved out 
near Harrodsburg, and on the morning of the nth 
some rebel cavalry made a dash at our picket lines, 
but were sent off in a hurry by a well directed fire. 
None of our regiment received any wounds. 

The 1 2th, our brigade marched in line of battle 
towards Dicks River, over some very fine bluegrass 
farms for miles. We left a number of fences leveled 
as we advanced by right of companies to the front. 
Some of the brigade once came in sight of a small 
detachment of rebel cavalry, with whom a few shots 
were exchanged. At night we bivouacked near 
Camp Dick Robison, on Dick's River, where we 
learned a large body of the enemy had j-usl left. 
The 13th we marched into Danville, the county seat 
of Boyle County, near which place we bivouacked. 
The people generally, being loyal, made many demon- 
strations of joy at being once more delivered from 
rebel rule, by waving numerous flags. We were pre- 
paring our evening meal, when we heard skirmishing 
ahead. Colonel Wolford's cavalry had stirred up a 


few of the enemy's rear guard. Our regiment was 
instantly into column and double-quicked four miles 
out to support Wolford, and try, as the boys said, 
*' to get a few shots at them Johnnies." They had 
cleared out before we arrived. We returned to camp, 
drew two days' rations, and received orders to be 
ready to move at 6 o'clock next morning. At that 
hour we took up our pursuit, with all the division, on 
the Crab Orchard road. We halted for the night at 
Stanford. About midnight we were all aroused and 
into line, and in five minutes were in column double- 
quicking out toward Crab Orchard, to support the 
Thirty-fifth Indiana, who, being on advance picket, 
were fired on by the enemy's rear guard pickets. 
Three miles from Stanford we found the Thirty-fifth-, 
who had discovered the enemy's camp fires half a 
mile from them, at the bridge over Sugar Creek. 
We had two pieces of artillery, with which we threw 
a few shells at the fires and then advanced, but the 
rebels had made a hasty retreat, leaving us sundry 
skillets and pots, containing their now smoking 
pones of corn bread and meat, which we relished for 
our breakfast, notwithstanding it was somewhat over- 
cooked. Some of the Eighth boys found a sleeping 
rebel in a barn near by. From him we learned that 
we were not far behind the rebels' long wagon train, 
consequently there was skirmishing occasionally all 
day, and our artillery was constantly shelling the 
timbered districts ahead. We did not halt for the 
night until 9 o'clock. The Eighth was placed half 
a mile in advance of the division on picket near the 


town of Mount Vernon, but everything was quiet 
except a lumbering noise to the southward, which 
proved the enemy felling trees to prevent or impede 
our pursuit. 

The 1 6th we halted near Rock Castle River, and 
sent forward heavy details to cut and clear the ob- 
structions from the Wild "Cat Mountain road. On 
the i8th, the Eighth Kentucky, under Lieutenant 
Colonel May, was ordered out on a scout near the 
"Big Hill/' where the regiment about dark suc- 
ceeded in surprising and capturing forty of Chen- 
ault's new rebel cavalry and thirteen good horses. 
Had it not been for the eagerness of a few of Com- 
pany A, firing before orders, we would have bagged 
the principal part of that regiment, who were abou| 
to dismount and camp for the night. AH those yet 
on their horses made a precipitate retreat, while those 
who had tied their horses were left hors de combat^ 
and surrendered. The Eighth then returned that 
night with their prisoners to Mount "Wild Cat," 
where we remained until midnight of the 21st. 
We returned to near Mt. Vernon, and on the 2 2d 
passed through that place. There we took the direct 
road toward Somerset, bivouacked within thirteen 
miles of the latter, and arrived there the evening of 
the 23d. 

The Kentucky troops began to think a little pay 
from Uncle Sam would be in order. We had many 
married men in the command who had not heard 
a word from their families for three or four months, 
and knowing that had the invading rebels left 


them unmolested, the cold weather was beginning, 
and admonished them to try and send their anxious, 
loving wives and children a few dollars, to make 
them somewhat comfortable for the winter. We had 
passed by our home (or the majority had), without a 
murmur ; but now tidings began to reach them by 
loyal fathers and friends just from home, who, being 
anxious to see sons or brothers, began to overtake us, 
that in many instances Union families had been 
stripped by the invaders of what little some of them 
had, and in many instances entering their houses and 
taking all their meat, cutting out and carrying off cloth 
from the loom, that the frugal soldier's wife had toiled 
to spin and weave to clothe their dependent little 
ones. There being in Kentucky no organized relief 
for poor soldiers' wives and children, as was the case 
in more Northern States, and in the terror and 
excitement of the presence of the two great con- 
tending armies every one at home appeared to think 
that seeing after the safety and comforts of his own 
was all that patriotism or selfishness required. These 
well confirmed rumors made many of the mar- 
ried men of the Eighth and Twenty-first Ken- 
tucky consider the probable condition of their 
dependent families. But on the 28th the column 
formed without complaint, and many sad faces 
and anxious hearts were moving on further from 
the loved ones at home, who needed the long 
expected pay. The snow had fallen several inches 
deep, and the young timber bent over our road with 
the unshed foliage weighted with wet snow. Our 


supply train had been sent on to Columbus, in Adair 
county, thirty-six miles from Somerset. We were 
two days in reaching there. Our rations were there, 
but the long promised paymaster again disappointed 
us, and a good many of the men began to complain 
bitterly about their pay. Col. Barnes called the line 
officers together and asked us to persuade the men 
to refrain from any words or actions that might- 
bring the command into disgrace. The Company 
commanders collected their faithful soldiers around 
them and readily admitted their wrongs and griev- 
ances to be such, but that we now had a commander 
who would, when appealed to on their behalf, not 
only have them paid but would, on the colonel's 
request, grant the men who had families short fur- 
loughs. After this advice, and Col. B. saying he 
would use his influence to obtain furloughs for the 
married men, the ist day of November the boys 
shouldered their muskets with more cheerfulness, 
saying : " We will still do our duty and see if this 
new general will not do us justice, and give us a 
chance to fight a little instead of wearing our bodies 
and patience out trotting around after the enemy 
without getting a chance to fire a gun." 

The brigade marched thirteen miles and bi- 
vouacked on a large creek. Our sutler overtook us 
and sold out one load of goods to the men, on credit, 
of course. 

The evening of the 2d our camp fires lighted up 
the banks of Beaver creek, within three miles of the 
town of Glasgow. We passed through that place 


the next morning and camped on the Louisville pike, 
four miles from town. 

Here we met the balance of our corps, and 
were paid on the 4th by Major Nunes up to the last 
of August. 

The principal topic in the Eighth were the mar- 
ried men's promised furloughs. Col. Barnes ap- 
pealed to General Crittenden in behalf of his mar- 
ried soldiers, but without success. When this became 
known that evening (the 4th), there was some ex- 
citement, and many unjust imprecations privately 
heaped on our well-meaning colonel, whose wife, in 
company with Captain Thomas' wife and Mrs. and 
Mr. Creed had arrived in camp to see their husbands. 
The men, in their bitterness and disappointment, 
swore that the colonel and some of the other officers 
did not care, so they could see their families, while 
•theirs were not able to visit them. That night sev- 
eral companies of the Eighth and Twenty-first did not 
get quiet before midnight. Next morning there 
were quite a number out of those regiments absent. 
Their officers knew very well that those men had not 
•deserted, but chafing under the circumstances and 
their real and imaginary wrongs, had determined at 
all hazards to see their families and leave them some 
money and return. I will here state that nearly 
every one did, and by their officers making long and 
earnest petitions to the corps and division com- 
manders to have those men reinstated without loss of 
pay and allowances, succeeded, and after, as before, 
they were the best of soldiers, many of them only 


remaining at home a few days, others probably two 
weeks. Fifty men thus absented. 

The 5th of November we resumed the march 
south. Halted for the night on the barren fork of 
Green river. On the 6th arrived at Scottsville, the 
county seat of Allen county, thirty miles from Glas- 
gow. The 7th we re-crossed the State line and bi- 
vouacked in Tennessee. As we passed over the sup- 
posed line our regiment gave three cheers. One man 
in Company A, at the head of the column, shouted 
out: ''We buys no more chickens." Some one 
else replied, " No, not of rich rebels ! but, boys, 
spare the poor." Many voices were raised, "that's, 
right ! " " but we guard no more d-m rebel's corn- 
fields and hen roosts." Three cheers were given for 
old Kentucky and the Union. We spent a wet^ 
snowy night, by large log fires. 

The 8th we arrived at Gallatin, Tennessee, and 
camped two miles south of town, on the bank of 
the Cumberland river; 

The 9th our men did a big day's washing of 
clothes, as some of them said, "If it is Sunday." 
At this time the men absent from the Eighth out- 
numbered those present for duty, a large percentage 
having been left sick at Nashville, Louisville, and 
Danville, Kentucky. With the late absentees made 
the number of fighting men present less than 300. 


At one o'clock, on the morning of the loth of 
November, the regiments in the Third Brigade were 
■aroused from their slumbers by the adjutants quietly 
passing around to the company commanders, say- 
ing : " Captain, get your men ready to march in ten 
minutes, without noise." Tent flies and blankets 
were hastily rolled up and piled into wagons, with 
cooking utensils, and in less than thirty minutes the 
brigade was silently crossing the Cumberland, on a 
temporary tressel foot bridge. We were trying to 
slip up on John Morgan's two thousand rebs at 
Lebanon. We had learned the importance of keep- 
ing our movements from the knowledge of the peo- 
ple of Middle Tennessee, and the only noise made 
was the unavoidable sound of our feet. We halted 
at daylight, ate a hastily prepared breakfast and off 
again, every man in the brigade keeping his place 
and number with a promptness that would be com- 
mendable on a holiday drill. 

There were very many very sore feet in the com- 
mand. But with determination and cheerfulness 
beaming in every face, we hurried along the dusty 
stone road. Our advance guard came on to the rebel 
pickets within a mile of Lebanon. A well directed 
fire from our men brought one of the Johnnies down, 
and the others of the squad fired off their pieces into 
the air as they fled toward town, leaving their wound- 


ed comrade. We quickened our pace and entered 
the deserted town at 9 a. m., the enemy having made 
a disorderly retreat down the Murfreesboro road. 
Our men were not idle the six hours we remained 
here. A large lot of flour, bacon and whisky fell 
into our hands. As we had no means of transporta- 
tion, Col. Matthews gave orders to press every wagon, 
mule, horse and buggy that could be found. All 
who were not engaged in collecting this novel forage 
train, were put to cooking the flour into bread. Our 
men not being very well supplied with utensils, the 
majority of the Eighth boys paid many of the 
poorer class of citizens liberally in flour to convert a 
large portion of that article into bread. All the 
whisky, except two barrels, the colonel wisely de- 
stroyed by knocking out the heads and letting the 
contents flow on the ground. But, by some means, 
a considerable quantity of the ''precious" fluid 
leaked into many canteens. Carmoody, '' our Irish- 
man," said, " 'dade, 'an it's wicked we are, to be 
wasiin' the pure ould stuff"; but thin, them thavin' 
gorreelas '1 be dry es a fish when they come stalein' 

Having accomplished all we could, at 6 o'clock 
p. m. our column formed behind our captured com- 
missaries, drawn by old broken-down horses, that 
had seen hard service under Morgan's men. Vehicles 
of all kinds, except good ones, were in the train, 
driven principally by citizens, whose anxiety for the 
safe return of the pressed teams prompted them to 
volunteer their services. The men's haversacks were 


crammed full of smoking bread, and yet we had not 
room to store the large quanties which remained, 
but Captain Wilson, on the eve of leaving Leb- 
anon, spied a buggy that had been overlooked.' 
This was soon loaded, and the men of Companies C 
and H drew it along, in the ranks, by turns. All 
were in jubilant spirits, and marched up briskly on 
our return toward Nashville. About the middle of 
the night we came up with the Twenty-first Corps, 
at Silver Springs, having marched thirty-five miles 
in the last twelve hours — the last fifteen miles with 
extra loads, which made all of us enjoy that refresh- 
ing sleep none but the weary know how to appre- 

We remained at Silver Springs six days, being the 
longest halt we had made for near three months. 
The rain fell in such quantities that drilling had to 
be dispensed with, and we were allowed to rest and 
enjoy full rations, with occasionally the luxury of a 
taste of our captured whisky, for a few mornings. 

On the 13th the Eighth formed the guards to es- 
cort a forage train into the country, to collect forage 
while the wagons were being loaded. Our boys did 
not forget their own creature comforts, for on their 
return to camp nearly every man brought a little 
donation for his particular mess, such as a chicken, 
or a few potatoes; also, a good sized pumpkin 
graced the bayonet of nearly every gun. 

At noon, the 17th, the regiment formed, and 
marched as guards to a supply train going to the 
Fourteenth Brigade, under Col. Hawkins, stationed 


at Rural Hill, twelve miles southeast of Silver 
Springs. The camp and garrison of our regiment 
were left in charge of the few men not able for duty, 
and after a tedious, muddy march, arrived late in the 
night and took up quarters on an old Methodist 
camp meeting ground, situated one-fourth of a mile 
from the brigade, the old plank shanties affording 
good protection from the drizzling rain, which had 
not ceased when we awoke early the morning 
of the i8th of November. The surrounding country 
was shrouded in a smoky mist. The 8th boys were 
within the shanties busily preparing and eating our 
morning meal, when we were a little surprised to 
hear a few of the 14th pickets fire and immediately 
after about two hundred rebel cavalry came charging 
toward our shanties yelling like savages, evidently 
unaware of our sheltered position. The officers and 
men of the 8th did not fool away any time to form 
in line, but every man seized his gun, choosing each 
his window or crack, while some knocked off boards 
for port-holes. On came the yelling Johnnies. 
When within easy range of the innocent looking 
shanties. Col. May gave the command, ^' Steady 
boys, fire." The volley that was poured into those 
unsuspecting Johnnies emptied so many saddles, they 
checked up in great confusion, and before they could 
realize their situation the deadly popping of our 
guns began again with such telling effect, the enemy 
were glad to retreat as fast as they came, leaving 
seven of their comrades dead and wounded on the 
field. A number of their wounded were carried off 



with the retreating party. In the pockets of a rebel 
lieutenant were found several ''rat-tail" files, that 
some of their wounded acknowledged were to be 
used in spiking the artillery belonging to the Four- 
teenth Brigade, which were situated rather too far 
from the infantry for ready support. As soon as the 
disconcerted rebels were well out of sight and hear- 
ing our men stacked arms and began hunting up 
their scattered cooking utensils, and proceeded to 
finish their breakfast. 

When the firing of the pickets were first heard by 

us, Lieutenant S seized one of the idle guns, at 

the same time was frantically urging his company to 
get into line. Little Ab. Wiseman, of Company K, 

ran up to Lieutenant S , holding out his cup of 

coffee, saying: "Lieutenant, if you are not going 
to use my gun, just hold my coffee, and watch me 
tumble one of them jips." Wiseman made good 
use of his gun. After the action he asked the lieu- 
tenant what he had done with his coffee. The lieu- 
tenant had forgotten. "Well, lieutenant/' said 
Ab., " you may do to trust in a fight, but you can't 
hold coffee for me again, sure." 

Colonel Hawkins complimented the Eighth for 
their timely and efficient services, and, expecting 
another visit from the enemy, detained the regi. 
ment here until the next day, the 19th, when the 
regiment marched toward Nashville, and bivouacked 
near Stone river, and on the 20th moved two miles 
down the stream to the crossing of the Lebanon pike, 
where our convalescents and camp equipage, with the 


remainder of the brigade, had moved. The next 
day we crossed to the north side of the river, and 
laid off a regular camp near the Nashville and Leb- 
anon pike. 

The quartermaster issued to us some clothing that 
requisitions had been sent in for at Gallatin. Burnham 
was a man we all liked, but like many good men, he 
let strong drink too often get the better of him, and 
he resigned. Lieutenant Thos. Carson was ap- 
pointed acting quartermaster. 

Lieutenants W. Park and Jackson, with two men 
from each company, were here detached and assigned 
to the Mechanic's Corps. 

The 24th, being a nice day, the Eighth drilled and 
had dress parade for the first time since the first of 
September. Colonel May made the regiment one of 
his interesting speeches. Some of our men that had 
been left sick in Nashville rejoined the command, 
and Sergeant Lewis, Company H, was appointed 
regimental wagonmaster. 

The 25th we loaded up and marched across to the 
Murfreesboro pike, where we remained until the 
28th. On that evening we moved near the deaf and 
dumb asylum, four miles south. 

The regiment, as well as all the brigade, worked 
hard the 29th, clearing off brush and trying to ar- 
range our old, leaky tents and flies, so as to protect 
us from the cold wind, that began to have an icy 
tinge. Here Captains Winbourn and Hickman re- 
joined us, both having been sick, and had -been 
absent nearly two months. 


The ist day of December the Third Division Was 
reviewed by General Rosecrans^ not merely as a 
military custom, but to see the actual condition of 
his army. The men returned to camp much pleased 
with " Old Rosy." As he slowly passed along the 
line he was sure to notice any and all unsoldierly 
appearance. An untied shoe, or a badly adjusted 
knapsack, was mildly pointed out ; if the fault ap- 
peared to be the neglect of the soldier, he would 
stop and administer a short but pointed good-humored 
lecture, often'saying : " My men have to be clothed 
and fed if it takes the last dollar the government can 
raise to do it with. Now, boys, if you need pants, 
shoes or anything allowed the soldier, get after your 
captain ; let the captain get after the quartermaster, 
and let him get after the brigade and division quar- 
termastersj until the complaint reaches the quarter- 
master general, and our needs supplied ; then, by 
the help of God, we will put down this rebellion." 
The old saying that ''first impressions are lasting 
ones" proved true in this case. " Old Rosy" was 
ever after loved and respected by the men of our 
brigade, and his orders were at all times our law, 
and obeyed with cheerful alacrity. 

The weather continued cold for several days, and 
our men suffered for want of overcoats. On the 7th 
of December Colonel Barnes left for Kentucky on 
leave of absence, but before he started he did a 
good act in calling Chaplain Paul to account for 
speculating off the men, by buying up at a very small 
per cent, all of the first issue of greenbacks, or demand 


notes, that were at all times worth their face in gold. 
He soon after sent in his resignation as chaplain of 
the Eighth, and it was accepted. '' Timothy " had 
not proved of much advantage spiritually to the 
Eighth. But all the fault may not have been his 
He had preached but few sermons, for the boys gen- 
erally believed, from his general conduct, that he 
was not spiritually minded. 

The 9th of December the Third Brigade and fifty 
wagons went out on Stone river, near Dobbin^s Ferry 
on a foraging expedition. The rebel cavalry had on 
several occasions attacked our foraging parties, and 
Colonel Matthews had two pieces of artillery taken 
along with us. Passing outside our outer videfetes, we 
were soon near the ferry, on what we termed neutral 
ground. The Twenty-first and Eighth Kentucky pro- 
ceeded to load the wagons from full cribs of corn on 
two adjoining farms. The Fifty-first Ohio and 
Thirty-fifth Indiana formed a good chain of pickets. 
We had been engaged in loading but a short time 
before a regiment of rebel cavalry made an attack 
on the Thirty-fifth, and for fifteen minutes the fight- 
ing was sharp, the Thirty-fifth being reinforced by 
the Fifty-first and part of the Twenty-first Ken- 
tucky, caused the Johnnies to fall back, leaving 
three of their men dead and several badly wounded 
The Thirty-fifth lost three killed and sixteen 
wounded, principally slight. Adjutant Mullen bein^ 
tlie first to fall, with a ball through his fair temple 
I he train was at last loaded and put in motion. Col- 
onel Matthews, with the Thirty-fifth and Fifty-first 


in frontjthe Twenty-first deployed, marched along by 
the wagons, and the Eighth commanded by Lieuten- 
ant Colonel May, forming the rear guard. A few 
stray shots fell among us from a body of mounted 
rebs on the opposite side of the river ; but we knew 
that was done to attract our attention while a part of 
their force endeavored to cut us off from the train. 
The adjutant being absent, Colonel May asked me to 
mount a mule and act to him in that capacity. A 
half mile from the ferry the road ran through a dense 
growth of low cedars. Here we were attacked by 
two regiments of rebel cavalry on our left. We 
halted, fronted and opened a deadly oblique fire, our 
front rank kneeling to obtain clear range under the 
cedar boughs and give the rear rank better oppor- 
tunity to fire low, and thus for twenty minutes we 
held them in check and did them serious injury. 
By Colonel May's order I went down the road a 
short distance and discovered part of the enemy's 
force were moving toward the rear of the train, evi- 
dently with the intention of trying to cut us off. I 
hurried back and reported to Colonel May that fact. 
He gave the command right face, forward, double 
quick, march, for one-fourth of a mile, and we came 
opposite the last named force, who were now dis- 
mounted. Again we halted, and returned their 
sharp fire, each man firing about four rounds. See- 
ing the danger of having our little regiment sur- 
rounded by such superior number, our brave old 
colonel's voice again rang out above the rattle of 
musketry, " Right face, forward, double quick, 


march!" Our column crowded the narrow road, 
Colonel May and myself being on the side of 
the column and mounted, were compelled to fall in 
to the rear of the regiment, and became special 
targets for the enemy, who came pressing on after 
us, after the boys cleared the road, the colonel and 
the author followed on. I was minus a cap, that 
had been shot from my head. The Colonel's over- 
coat had two bullet holes in it, and one through old 
Black's ear. We double-quicked in an oblique di- 
rection through the woods, and soon came to the 
other regiments, who had with our two pieces of 
artillery started back to assist us, while the wagon 
train went lumbering on .safe into camp. The 
Eighth took position on the left of the brigade, 
the solid shot from the rebel battery whizzing un- 
comfortably near our heads. We lay in line, sup- 
porting our two pieces, until the last charge in the 
caissons were fired. The enemy appeared not to de- 
sire any more close work with small arms, and as 
night came on they fell back, and we marched back 
to our encampment. Our loss in the Eighth was 
two killed, fourteen wounded and five prisoners. Of 
the wounded were Lieut, McDaniel, slight wound in 
shoulder ; private Ross, Company G ; Fillpot and 
Corporal Landrum, Company A ; one of Company 
C, one of Company I, and private B. Frailey, Com- 
pany H, badly. Surgeon Mills amputated Lan- 
drum's arm the morning of the loth. He and Frailey 
soon after died of their wounds. The enemy's loss was 
reported by the detail who went with flag of truce to 


bury our dead, to have been more than twice our loss, 
where we were first engaged. It would be unjust in me 
to mention any particular or individual act of brav- 
ery, when all nobly did their duty. The evening of 
the loth our whole division moved back two miles 
nearer Nashville, where all remained until the 25th, 
the Eighth doing their share of forage and picket duty. 

The 14th the author received an order from Gen- 
eral VanCleve, now commanding the division, to 
proceed to Louisville and bring forward all the offi- 
cers' desks and trunks, belonging to the Eighth, 
stored there ; also, to collect and bring to the front 
all men there in hospitals or barracks belonging to 
the Third Brigade. Lieutenant McDaniel accom- 
panied me to Nashville. Next morning I took 
the train for Louisville, where, by the 23d, 
I had collected twenty-eight men of our brigade, 
had the officers' baggage carted to the depot and 
put on the train that was to follow the one myself 
and men occupied. We arrived at Nashville before 
daylight, the 24th, that being the last train that 
passed over the road for several weeks, Morgan's 
guerrillas having on that night destroyed a portion of 
the road behind us. 

At 8 o'clock I procured a pass for Sergeant Elkin 
and the men to get out through the pickets and sent 
them on to the command. I remained in the city 
until the next day, waiting for our baggage, when I 
learned by telegraph that the train containing our 
trunks was safe at Elizabethtown awaiting repairs to 
the road. 


By the 26th December, 1862, General Rosecrans 
had, by incessant labor, accumulated a large supply 
of quartermaster stores, and put the reorganized 
Army of the Cumberland in the best possible trim. 
He did not wait for clear weather, but early that 
rainy morning had the army all in motion on the 
several roads leading south from Nashville. The 
tents and camp and garrison equipage were left be- 
hind in charge of convalescents. Every soldier and 
officer, in light marching order, moved on through 
the incessant rain, which before night thoroughly 
soaked their clothing ; but, with unabated courage, 
every man was careful to "keep his powder dry. " 
On that dark, rainy night I came up with the Eighth, 
bivouacked in the cedars north of Lavergne. 

A few days previous Captains Powell, Company 
B, and Wilson, Company C, with Lieutenants Gumm 
and McDaniel, Company I, had been granted per- 
mission, and had returned to Kentucky on leave of 
absence; and Captains Jamison, Company D, and 
Winbourn, Company H, and Lieutenant Neal, were 
left sick at Nashville. This reduced our line officers 
considerably, and, Company D having no commis- 
sioned officer present, Colonel May, now in com- 
mand, put the author temporarily in command of 
that company. The other companies were com- 
manded as follows : 


Company A — Second Lieutenant Jacob Phips. 

Company B — Second Lieutenant Joseph Blackwell. 

Company C — First Lieutenant Wm. Park. 

Company E— Captain Robert B. Hickman. 

Company F — Captain John B. Banton. 

Company G — Captain Landrum C. Minter. 

Company H — First Lieutenant Wade B. Cox. 

Company I — Lieutenant Newton Hughes. 

Company K — Captain Henry Thomas. 

Skirmishing commenced at early dawn the 27th, 
and increased into a sharp battle. As we advanced 
on Lavergne, at 8 o'clock, our shells soon set the 
town on fire, and two hours after, as our brigade 
passed through, the majority of the houses were in 
smoking ruins. The enemy gave way and fell back 
across Stewart's Creek, within ten miles of Mur- 
freesboro. Near dark we bivouacked in the cedars 
just north of Stewart's Creek. The Eighth Ken- 
tucky did not have time to kindle their fires before 
we were ordered on picket, one-half the command on 
the line at a time. The rain had been pouring 
down all the afternoon, and our clothing, which was 
wet to the skin, felt anything but comfortable to a 
supperless man. We were not disturbed by the 
enemy throughout this disagreeable night, which at 
last gave way to a bright, pleasant morning. Being 
Sunday, our good Catholic general did not move his 
army, and all of us who were not detailed for forage 
and picket duty had a quiet rest. 

The rebel pickets, though in easy hailing distance 
of ours, kept very quiet, and, in some instances re- 


laxed their sullenness enough to indulge in a friendly- 
chat with our pickets. This privates' armistice re- 
sulted in a squad from each belligerent army laying 
down their arms and advancing to the creek. Thus 
separated by the stream, the following conversation 
ensued : 

Rebel — "What command does you-ens belong to?"^ 

Federal— "The Third Brigade." 

Rebel — " Who commands that ar brigade ?'' 

Federal—" Colonel Matthews. What is your 
command ?"- 

Rebel — " We ar Wheeler's ; an' I believe you-ens 
are the fellers we fit at Dobbins' Ferry." 

Federal — " You bet we are ! What did you think 
of us?" 

Rebel — ''Darned good marksmen; but whar yer 
fellers tryin' to go ter?" 

Federal — " To Murfreesboro. " 

Rebel — *' Well, you-ens '11 find that ar a mighty 
bloody job, sho." 

After an exchange of newspapers, thrown over by 
attaching to them a stone, each party retired to their 


During the night the rebels fell back, and early 
the 29th our division moved over the creek, and 
thence through farms, meeting no opposition except 
very tall cedar rail fences. We could hear heavy 
skirmishing on the Franklin road. At sunset we 
halted near Stone River, within two miles of Mur- 
freesboro, where our engineers and mechanics were 
in a sharp skirmish with rebel sharpshooters. The 


former were trying to construct a bridge over the 
river near the Nashville Pike. The division formed 
line of battle in supporting distance of the pickets, 
who became quiet as darkness spread her sable cur- 
tain over the earth. We lay on our arms, ready for 
any night attack. The bare earth in the trampled- 
•down cornfield was wet and cold, and but few men 
could feel comfortable enough to sleep. 

The 30th day of December, 1862, passed without 
-a. general engagement. Both armies appeared to be 
feeling around with their skirmishers. Occasionally 
a sharp rattle of musketry would ring out through 
the cedars, caused by our lines crowding their 
pickets, especially in the afternoon. As the atmos- 
phere was heavy with considerable fog and misty 
rain, the pickets on our right ran against those of 
the enemy, and a sharp battle for half an hour was 
the result. Then darkness again covered the two 
armies that now lay here confronting each other, 
only awaiting the light of day to enable them to en- 
gage in a mighty conflict of arms, that was destined 
to have great influence in deciding the future destiny 
of this great, free government. 

Our division, after dark, formed column by division, 
and lay again in the open field. The rain ceased, 
and the wind shifted around from a cold quarter, 
making us feel sadly the need of a blanket, but no 
complaints were made by any one. Each man re- 
ceived sixty rounds of fresh cartridges, and laid 
down, expecting to engage in bloody work as soon 
as morning should appear. 


In order that the reader may better understand 
subsequent events in this battle, we will give the 
order in which our army of 47,000 was placed. The 
Union line of battle extended in the form of an arc. 
The left of our division rested at a ford on Stone 
River, one mile west of the NasKville Railroad, and 
was the left of the line. The right wing lay near the 
Franklin Pike, and was composed of McCook's 
corps — Johnson's, Sheridan's and Davis' divisions. 
General Thomas' corps occupied the center, and 
consisted of Negley's and Rousseau's divisions, 
while General T. L. Crittenden's corps, composed of 
Woods' Palmer's and VanCleve's divisions, formed 
the left. 

About daylight, the last day of the year 1862, our 
brigade, now under command of Colonel Price, of 
the Twenty-first Kentucky, was ordered, and double- 
quicked to the above named ford on our left. We 
waded the river, waist deep, the water being cold 
enough to make one catch his breath as it reached 
the hips. We hurried into line of battle in sight of 
the rebel pickets, and advanced on them about one- 
fourth of a mile. The Johnnies made the bullets 
sing over our heads as they fell back from our skir- 
mish line, who gave them back a sharp fire. During 
this maneuver the firing on the extreme right had in- 
creased to a heavy battle. The constant roar of 
artillery and ominous crashing, rattle of small arms, 
told us plainly that the rebels were making a des- 
perate attempt to turn our right wing. We were 
ordered to fall back and re-cross the river. The 


Third Brigade, including the Eighth, formed a re- 
serve line of battle near the ford, while the remain- 
der of the division was ordered on to support the 
right, which was now evidently being pushed back 
by the combined force of three rebel corps — Mc- 
Coun's, Cheatham's and Claiborne's. Johnson's 
command had first given way. The exultant rebels, 
partially intoxicated on whisky and gunpowder, fol- 
lowed up. Davis' division was next compelled to 
fall back. This left Sheridan's right exposed, which 
the rebels soon took advantage of. After standing 
the shock of the now furious foe for some time, they 
in turn were hurled back toward the center, where 
old "Lion-Heart" Thomas was riding back and 
forth in front of his lines of sturdy heroes, encour- 
aging them. All the available force that could be 
taken from the left was concentrated here to rein- 
force the center, our little brigade being all that was 
left to watch the left wing. These were terrible mo- 
ments. The horrible spectacle of thousands of our 
comrades fleeing before the enemy, a continuous 
stream of stretchers, bearing bleeding, torn and 
mangled bodies, coming back through our ranks, 
made our hearts quiver with sympathy for our bleed- 
ing comrades. But all interests were centered just 
then in the right center, and our boys chafed at 
being compelled to stand inactive and witness the 
fight and misery. The enemy, in heavy columns, 
emerged from the cedars, exulting in the belief that 
victory was theirs. The long line of blue-coats was 
still. The word of command was at last given. A 


dazzling sheet of flame burst from the blue ranks, 
which riddled the thick mass of the enemy. This 
was quickly followed by the roar of our artillery, 
shaking the earth and crushing into fragments whole 
regiments of grey-coats. Then the tide of battle 
turned, and the enemy was driven back over one 
mile, leaving the ground covered with their dead 
and dying. Mixed and mingled was the blood of 
the slain of both armies. General VanCleve, our 
division commander, was wounded, and Colonel 
Sam. Beaty took command of the division. 

During the battle, a regiment of rebel cavalry made 
a dash at the house near the ford, used as a hospital. 
Our brigade charged down to the river bank and 
gave them a volley, and the one battery left with us 
gave them a few solid shot, that made them scamper 
back, leaving our doctors and wounded unmolested. 

The battle ceased at 5 p. m., with our army con- 
siderably worsted. That night, at '' Rosy's " head- 
quarters, all the corps generals were assembled in 
council. General Rosecrans asked the starred crowd 
what he should do. General Crittenden said : '' We 
may be able yet to whip the enemy here, general." 
Rosecrans, bringing his fist down on the table with 
much force, said: '' Yes, and we will, if we have to 
fight them one week and live on parched corn all 
that time." 

The Eighth spent this frosty night on the skirmish 
line near the river bank, above the ford. The rebel 
pickets showed no disposition to advance, and our 
orders were not to fire unless they did, the stream 


being between us. The night passed in comparative 
silence except the groans and shrieks of the wounded 
laying in the hospitals. 

At 3 o'clock p. m. the heavy booming of the can- 
non ceased. Then we discovered the immense col- 
umns of the enemy moving toward us. They made 
a grand scene, moving over the wide, undulating 
field, with their numerous bright flags unfurled and 
fluttering in the wind, their several generals mounted 
on magnificent chargers, surrounded by their staff 
officers. This scene presented to my mind one of 
those sublime spectacles of the pomp of war, which 
form the bright, delusive side of a picture, in which 
horror, misery and death sadly predominated. On 
they came, regiments in close column by division. 
Our little isolated brigade, that "Old Rosy" had 
placed out as a bait to lure on the enemy into his well 
arranged trap, ordered in their skirmishers, but not 
until the brave and gallant Captain Banton and sev- 
eral of his men had fallen. For a few minutes our 
line was as still as the grave, but it was only the calm 
that preceeds the storm. A small elevation imme- 
diately in front concealed the mighty host of 
well disciplined grey coats from view for a few 
minutes. The gallant old Fifty-first Ohio on our 
right on higher ground opened their crashing 
sheet of fire first, then as the heads of the 
advancing enemy re-appeared within eighty rods 
of the 8th, our sturdy mountain boys received the 
anxiously desired order, " fire by file, fire." A blaze 
of fire and smoke ran along down our ranks, every 

After the word " hospitals^'' at end of paragraph on page 
128, read : 

Early on New Year's morning our brigade waded 
the river. The water, about hip deep, was very cold 
to our already chilled legs. We hurried into line 
and advanced on the enemy's pickets, driving them 
from the timber into a large field. At the edge of 
this wood we halted and maintained our position ; 
but the rebel pickets and sharp-shooters made it 
risky to stand erect, as the pickets kept up an irreg- 
ular popping throughout the day, and we were not 
sorry when darkness permitted us to send details to 
the rear and prepare coffee. We suffered during the 
night on our regimental bed of weeds, as our blankets 
had been cheerfully donated to the wounded. 

The 2d, before the sun appeared from behind the 
dark-green cedars, picket firing was resumed followed 
by heavy artillery all along the lines. Our advanced 
position made us an especial target for their artillery, 
while the skirmish balls kept up that ominous sing- 
ing. Before noon several of Companies B and F 
had fallen on the picket line, and Shepherd, Com- 
pany C, was killed ; others were wounded by the 
enemy's shell, and our flag-staff was shivered by a 
solid shot. 


man taking a deliberate aim. The effect of this mur- 
derous fire became visible to all our men, which in- 
fused them with fresh courage. True, our brave lads 
were falling fast, but the enemy was checked and 
not a mounted rebel in sight of our line. Company 
commanders w^ked along behind their men with 
encouraging words and to " shoot low." The brave 
old " thirty-fives" on our left were also doing nobly. 
The ground on top of the ridge in our front was in 
fifteen minutes covered with dead, dying and wound- 
ed rebels, and many of our men were falling by the 
terrible fire of the enemy, who now began to work 
around to the right of the Fifty-first Ohio with an 
overwhelming force. At the same time another 
large force of the enemy were completely flanking 
the Thirty-fifth Indiana. The enemy were not more 
than forty steps in. our front when we received the 
order to fall back, which we were compelled to do, 
leaving many of our brave comrades cut down by 
leaden messengers of death. As we reached the 
north bank of the stream, followed by the wildly 
cheering rebels, whose bullets came pattering the 
water like a first-class hail storm, the mass of 
rebels emerged from the timber into open land. 
The opportune moment had come for *' Rosy " to 
spring his well laid trap. On the rocky bluff above 
us a long mass of cedars, which to a casual observer 
appeared a natural growth, suddenly became pros- 
trate. Simultaneously the terrific discharge of sixty 
pieces of artillery, well charged with grape and 

canister, went crashing over our heads, plowing gaps 



of death and destruction in the heavy columns of 
the enemy. This threw them into disorder. Gen- 
eral Jeff. C. Davis' division, and the greater part of 
Negley's division, rushed forward to the bank of the 
stream. Meanwhile, the scattered members of our 
brigade fell into line wherever opportunity afforded 
the best chance to return the enemy's fire. A des- 
perate close range fight ensued. Our artillery con- 
tinued to pour a deadly fire over our heads, and be- 
fore the water ceased to squirt from our boot-legs 
the greater part of our command that remained alive 
and not dangerously wounded, re-entered the river, 
this time the pursuers. The enemy made a desperate 
and confused resistance, and at first were forced to 
gradually fall back, but soon were fleeing in a per- 
fect rout. They continued this until they had 
reached the timber near Little's Creek. A dozen 
men, of Companies D and H, of the Eighth, were 
the first to straddle one piece of the noted Wash- 
ington Battery, taken here from the enemy. Among 
them were Coe Howard, H. Harris and Samuel 
Everman, Company E. A few brave rebels were 
trying to drag off the piece, having thrown down 
their arms for that purpose, and the boys succeeded 
in capturing three of them, also. About this time 
darkness put a stop to the bloody day's work. The 
spirit of Bragg's army was broken. As one of the 
half drunken prisoners expressed it. *'We are 
whooped, fur our rations and whisky 's about out." 

But we had suffered terribly. Every officer of the 
Eighth engaged in this battle was either wounded 


or killed, except four, Major Broadhus, Lieutenants 
Blackwell, Phips and myself. All of us had bullet 
holes in our clothing. The greater part of the un- 
injured of our boys spent the first half of the 
night on the field among the dead, dying and 
wounded of both armies, thickly strewn over 
the field and woodland pasture, in many places 
half a dozen men on a square rod of surface. We 
built up fires, and carried our bleeding comrades to 
them, and loaded them into ambulances as fast as we 
could procure them. Major Broadhus, of the 
Eighth, was indefatigable in procuring conveyances 
for our wounded comrades, riding from hospital to 
hospital, urging up the tired, sleepy ambulance 
drivers. Captain Banton had fallen on the picket line. 
Captains Minter and Hickman and Lieutenant W. 
B. Cox were mortally wounded. The other wounded 
who did not fall into the enemy's hands as pris- 
oners, whose names will appear hereafter, were 
Lieutenant Colonel R. May, Lieutenant Wm. Park, 
Company C; Lieutenant Burley, Company G ; Cap- 
tain H. Thomas, Company K; Sergeant D. C. Win- 
bourn, and thirty-seven other non-commissioned 
officers and privates of the Eighth were found and 
carried to farm houses in the vicinity of the battle 

Among the dead on the field, were Sergeant Baker, 
Company I ; Moses Dunaway, Company D ; B. 
McGuire, Company D ; George Keaton, Company 
E ; Jasper Collins, Company B ; John Dearbin, 
Company D ; Henry Sheppard, Company C ; Chas. 


Moore, Company B, and several others died of 
their wounds the next day. Our total loss was, five 
days after, reported to be seventy-nine killed and 
wounded, out of less than 300. 

A short account of my own experience on this 
bloody field on that night will probably assist the 
reader to form a more correct idea of men, and their 
feelings and actions immediately after such a san- 
guinary engagement. 

We turn from the fleeing enemy, flushed with vic- 
tory, though purchased at, oh ! what a price. We 
gave three cheers, and return to the timber, with 
those fluctuating emotions of exultations^ mixed with 
pity, that often stirs the heart of the soldier. The 
deadly conflict is over, the fierce bloodthirsty lion 
of our nature gives way to the better and finer 
promptings of the human heart. As we tenderly 
lift the bleeding, mangled forms of our unfortu- 
nate comrades, four of us to a body> and carry 
them into prostrate groups around the fires, made 
to warm alike friends and now helpless foes. Our 
work of mercy goes on, and ambulance after ambu- 
lance is loaded with wounded. The cries and groans 
of familiar voices cause the rough, rude appearing 
soldiers' hearts to soften, and they become as sym- 
pathetic as our sisters and mothers. The surgeon 
had just finished probing and bandaging a mortal 
wound, and we were urging him to try and do some- 
thing for the five ominous holes in the body of our 
brave, and now lamented messmate, Lieutenant Cox, 
who, with a score of others, was lying in a circle 


around the fire, on coats and blankets, the 
flickering fire causing their pale faces to wear 
a ghastly or unearthly appearance. Many of 
them were pronounced too far gone to be moved. 
While the surgeon was attending to his squad, 
myself and two others, of Company H, made a 
search for a stretcher, most of them now being at the 
various houses containing our suffering brethren, 
which a stream of armless and legless humanity were 
fast filling up. We went stumbling over the dead, 
now almost the sole occupants of the field. A man 
in a sitting position attracted our attention. We 
went to him, and tightened the bloody handkerchief 
around his thigh, that had a wound partly severing 
the main artery of that limb. He wore the uniform 
of a rebel lieutenant, and said he was from Woodford 
County, Kentucky. He asked us our State, and, 
upon being informed, took from his pocket a well 
worn miniature case, and requested me to send it to 
Miss M. Nickerson, Versailles, Kentucky. After a 
long hunt the stretcher was found, and at 3 o'clock 
a. m. of the 3d, during a hard rain, H. Harris, C. 
Howard, a soldier of the Fifty first Ohio and my- 
self, toiled over the slippery path, bearing upon our 
shoulders the body of our uncomplaining, but suffer- 
ing comrade, Lieutenant Cox. On our arrival at 
the house we soon became very sick, the sight and 
smell of so much human blood, together with the 
fatigue and our long fast, causing us to leave the 
shelter and seek out a few comrades, on the river 
bank, around a struggling fire, where we got a 


cup of hot coffee. At that time Major Broadhus 
rode up, having just left the field, saying: "Lieu- 
tenant, I am about as near dead as any man with a 
whole skin in the army." He drank a cup of coffee, 
and, with a good blanket over us, we were soon 
asleep by a log, on a pile of drifted leaves, and for 
two hours forgot there had been a great battle, or 
that the rain was pouring down and soaking our leafy 
bed and clothing. 

At 6 o'clock a. m. the rattle of drums aroused the 
slumbering troops. Wringing out some of our cloth- 
ing, and taking some more of the black but invigor- 
ating coffee, our squad, accompanied by the major, 
struck out to find the remnant of our brigade. In 
retracing a part of the battle ground we found our 
rebel lieutenant still in death, having doubtless bled 
to death. During the day the Third Brigade col- 
lected and bivouacked on the north bank of the 
river. On account of the incessant rain, and 
having so much hospital work to do, nothing more 
than picket firing toward Murfreesboro occurred. 
During a heavy thunder storm, on the night 
of the 3d, the enemy made a feigned attack 
upon the center of our army. A short, but severe, 
skirmish ensued, causing us to £;rouse suddenly from 
our cozy beds of weeds and corn stalks, and stand 
in line two hours. We were not very anxious for a 
renewal of the fight, and, as the firing ceased, were 
not displeased to resume our peaceful if not luxurious 
couches. We remained here in the mud and water, 
with very little to eat, until the 7th, furnishing de- 


tails to bury the dead of both armies, the enemy 
having made safe their retreat to Tullahoma. The 
inclement weather had delayed the unpleasant work. 
Our own dead were cared for first, and buried in 
single graves. But this mode was abandoned as too 
tedious, and several of the rebel dead were made to 
occupy one ditch, their "last." Company H's old 
Irishman, Tom, being among the fatigue party, was 
engaged in placing the bodies in the common grave. 
Some of his co-laborers remonstrated with Tom for 
tramping on the dead with his feet in order to 
straighten out their rigid limbs. This rough son of 
the "Emerald Isle" straightened up and cast a look 
of contempt at his more feeling comrades and said : 
"Hot, tot, mon ! and what did ye's come dow*n here 
for, then, if it weren't to put down the ribbils ? 
Faith, an' it's more uv thim traithors I'd loik to be 
puttin' down this same way. May the saints save 
us, but indade I would. Now, b'ys, hand me in that 
long yeller-haired one nixt," and the solemn work 


The rebels evacuated Murfreesboro and their snug 
winter quarters during the hard rain on the night of 
the 3d January, and many of the inhabitants also 
fled from their comfortable homes, taking their 
slaves with them. 

On the morning of the 7th, the Third Brigade 
marched from their muddy bivouack on the river 
bank, and crossed the river on the remains of the 
railroad bridge. We passed through the once pretty, 
neat county seat of Rutherford county. Its war- 
worn and torn, tumble-down appearance, caused 
some of us to feel sad. All public and many private 
buildings were full of wounded of both armies. Sur- 
geons, wearing both the blue and grey, could be seen 
hurrymg to and fro on the streets. Cavalry horses 
and ambulance mules were hitched to ornamental 
and shade trees, the nice fencing having disappeared 
from many fine suburban residences. Our command 
halted one mile from town on the Lebanon Pike, 
and were making preparations for supper, when we 
were hurried out on picket, Major Broadhus com- 
manding the Eighth, and were until after dark estab- 
lishing the lines, with about one-third of the com- 
mand on duty and the remainder in reserve. Rations 
were scarce, large quantities of government stores 
having been destroyed during the battle by rebel 
cavalry, and the L. & N. Railroad yet unrepaired, 


caused us to economize the half rations we were then 
subsisting on. Some of the Eighth boys, during the 
night, were lucky enough to knock over a fat porker, 
which added materially to the weight of our lank 
haversacks and stomachs. 

On returning to where the brigade was on the 8th, 
we were as much pleased as surprised to again see 
our old, leaky Sibley tents and cooking utensils. 
We had felt the need of these useful, almost indis- 
pensable articles for over two weeks. The brigade 
quartermaster also replaced the boys' blankets and 
overcoats they had so readily and willingly parted 
with after the battle, that the wounded might have 
the benefit of them. 

The 9th, myself and several others of the Eighth 
went into town to look up wounded friends. In an 
old vacated store house we found James Moreland 
and John Wilson, of Company H, John Wise and 
about half a dozen other boys, all of whom got over 
their wounds except Wilson, who, though danger- 
ously wounded, gave a weak little cheer as we en- 
tered. In another house we found private Waters, 
Company C, in the same room with one of his 
brothers, wearing the grey rebel uniform, who also 
had a serious wound, having received it while in the 
rebel ranks in our front on the 2d. 

On the 10th, I procured a pass and the loan of 
Major Broadhus' horse, and rode back across the 
river to the field hospital, where Captain Hickman, 
Lieutenant Cox and the principal part of our wounded 
were. H. English and Wm. Herndon, Company B, 


each had lost a foot ; Ike Thomas, Company H, a 
leg ] Sergeant Winbourn had a hole through his 
chest ; and in the next room lay the above named 
officers, evidently within a few hours of death. They 
recognized and talked to me. Captain Winbourn 
had arrived from Nashville, and, being yet feeble in 
health, was performing the self-imposed task of re- 
maining -with his two dying comrades. Captain 
Minter had died the day previous, and the other two 
officers above named gave up their young, cheerful 
and promising lives the following day. Their re- 
mains were sent home to be buried by kind friends 
and relatives. 

The morning of the 13th we moved camp into a 
piece of timber midway between the Nashville and 
Lebanon Pikes and one and a half miles north of 
town. Major Broadhus appointed a board of offi- 
cers to survey and condemn our old tents. We re- 
ceived new ones of the Bell pattern, and men and 
officers generally turned out to brick masonry, erect- 
ing chimneys from the same materials the rebels had 
used for a like purpose. In a few days we were well 
quartered and drawing full rations once more. 

The i8th, Colonel Barnes returned, and the follow- 
ing day Lieutenant Smallwood arrived with a few 
absentees, whom Morgan's raid had prevented from 
joining us before the battle. 

As soon as we began to get comfortably settled in 
our new tents, orders for heavy details began to pour 
in from headquarters for pickets, fatigue and forage 
duty. A large part of the command worked daily 


on fortifications. Some days the regiment would 
guard a long line of empty wagons into the country, 
and collect corn, oats, fodder or corn blades. On 
these expeditions the Eighth boys never forgot that 
men had to be fed as well as army mules, and many 
little creature comforts were brought in to season 
and vary our regular rations. The 25th our regiment 
escorted a train out five miles toward Lebanon, and 
returned with heavy loads of corn. Again, the 27th, 
the Eighth and Thirty-fifth Indiana, under Major 
Broadhus, with fifty teams, proceeded through and 
three miles beyond the place we had been a few days 
before, and turned into the plantation owned by a 
portly old rebel named Atkins. He had a great 
quantity of corn, and when he saw how many wagons 
we had, and with what speed the soldiers, with the 
help of his willing, grinning " niggers," could lower 
his well filled cedar log cribs, he indulged in con- 
siderable profanity, until Major Broadhus informed 
him that he should have a government voucher for 
his produce. After having explained to him what 
''.voucher" meant, and seeing that his blowing 
threats were not heeded, the old fellow cooled down 
a little. Meantime some of the boys were trying ta 
persuade the no less portly and equally indignant 
landlady to sell them a few chickens. Being refused 
in not over mild language, some of the Thirty- fifth 
undertook to help themselves. The major then 
ordered the writer to take a guard of five men and 
protect the house and poultry. By this duty I soon, 
assumed the role of especial protector and friend, and 



succeeded in purchasing from her two nice bacon 
hams. After weighing them, she ^' 'lowed they'd 
fetch four dollars." I handed her a V greenback. 
She scornfully refused the legal tender, saying, '*I 
won't have nothin' to do with you'ensshinplasters." 
Then she smilingly gave me change for a confeder- 
ate "blueback." By this time, the train being 
loaded and in motion, Major Broadhus and the puff- 
ing old southerner came in to fill out his voucher. 
This done, he set out his bottle of " old peach and 
sugar." After we had tasted and praised his liquor, 
and were about to leave, the now genial old fellow 
said: ''Well, me nor the old 'oman nuther kin 
read, and the gals is off; you jest read that ar 
voucher fur me." When the major came to the 
closing sentence, i. e., "to be paid on proof of loy- 
alty," a sudden change came over our hospitable 
friend ; his anger and profanity were fearful. As we 
reached the yard fence we heard him say: "By 
h— 11 ! ef it depends on that, I know I'll never get a 
cent." We did not tarry to discuss the probabili- 
ties of the case. Some of the teams "stalled," as 
the drivers call it, delaying us so much it was very 
late when we arrived in camp. 

The 30th, the entire regiment able for duty worked 
on fortifications. About this time our absent officers 
returned, and with them came the remainder of our 
absentees able for duty, a few of them having been 
absent without leave since November. All these ex- 
cept one were restored to their proper standing, with 
loss of pay while absent. The exception was private 


''Scabber," who, through the influence of some bad 
men, enemies to the government, had shunned and 
tried to evade the officer, to whom he should have 
reported, and consequendy he had to face a general 
court martial. 

February ist, at dark, the regiment had orders to 
be ready at 6 o'clock the next morning to escort an- 
other forage train. The bugleman overslept him- 
self, and we just had fifteen minutes to prepare and 
eat our breakfast. The reader will understand that 
military orders, like time and tide, wait for no man. 
Many of us, therefore, ate our hard tack and drank 
our tin of coffee marching along the Lebanon Pike. 
This time we went eleven miles before we began to 
load our wagons. A heavy rain retarded our work. 
As there were some indications of attack by rebel 
cavalry, the Eighth formed the rear guard and the 
Fifty-first Ohio the advance on the return. We saw 
no armed enemies that day, and arrived in camp 
near midnight, tired and ravenously hungry. 

The 3d day of February there were several promo- 
tions in our line to fill vacancies occasioned by 
death. Several of these commissions from the gov- 
ernor of Kentucky bore the following clause : " Pro- 
moted for gallant and meritorious conduct at the 
battle of Stone River. " 

The loth, the news of the action of Congress, 
authorizing the employment of "contrabands" as 
teamsters, laborers and cooks, in the United States 
service, also that a bill was before congress for the 
arming and equipping of a certain number of negro 


troops, was received, and became the one great 
theme of discussion with the soldiers, especially in 
Kentucky regiments. A few of our officers and quite 
a number of the men appeared to still favor the idea 
of putting down the rebellion without seriously mo- 
lesting the ''divine institution" of slavery, some 
contending it foolish, as the " nigger wouldn't fight, 
nohow," while others, with indignation, declared 
that every white soldier would be disgraced by fight- 
ing in the ranks along with the colored troops. Two 
or three officers became so jealous of their " honor, 
sir," they privately talked of resigning. But a very 
large majority of the Eighth, rank and file, con- 
tended that it was plainly the duty of the govern- 
ment to empower our generals to ''use all and every 
available means to suppress or put down this wicked 
and useless rebellion." Captain Smallwood and 
several other officers immediately took a firm stand 
favoring the measure, and in a discussion between 
the former and one of his company, who had be- 
come very boisterous about "nigger equality," the 
captain said, in the hearing of his company, "Boys, 
when we entered the service we each took a solemn 
oath that we would obey the orders of the president 
of the United States and other superior officers. 
We then were desperately in earnest, and meant just 
what we said, and I have no reason to wish to vio- 
late that pledge, and by the help of God I intend to 
keep it to the very best of my ability. Nor do I yet 
believe that any of you who have done and suffered 
so much are willing to see this grand old republic 


Split up into contemptible little provinces, always 
fighting to destroy each other. No, boys, we must 
maintain our nationality, whatever becomes of 
slavery. I know, and you all know, that the south- 
ern slave-holders have themselves given the first mor- 
tal wound to slavery. Now we say, let the accursed, 
barbarous, traitor-breeding institution die. Let no 
true soldier try to staunch its wound, or care that 
the consequences of this war gives the poor slave his 
freedom." Continuing on the subject, he said: 
*'Boys, havn't you learned that Buell's policy of 
trying to whip the rebels with a part of our forces 
and protecting their property with the other part, 
guarding cornfields and chicken roosts for rich 
rebels, will no longer do ? I say no ! Let the fet- 
tered slave loose ; let him flee to our camps to cook; 
drive mules, dig earthworks ; and if congress and 
the president see proper to arm them to help crush 
the rebellion, we should not object. No, I would 
not object, if it were possible and practicable, to arm 
a regiment of mules or jackasses and let them charge 
the enemy ; and, I conclude, if Cuffee is to have his 
freedom, he should be allowed to place his carcass 
where it may save the lives of many good white men. 
Now, Company K, you have my opinion. You all 
have an equal right to yours^ but I shall do my duty, 
and expect you all to do the same." Before the 
close of the war nearly every man of the Eighth 
began to look at the negro question like the captain. 
During the month of February a good many of 
our wounded boys died ; among them George Eng- 


lish, Company B; I. Thomas and John Wilson, 
Company H. Also, Lieutenant Newton Hughes 
and Sergeant Combs, Company I, and private Rich- 
ardson, Company H., died from disease contracted 
by exposure. I attended a few of these burials. 

The bodies of Hughes, Richardson and Combs 
were put into rough coffins, which a few of our men 
constructed out of rough boards taken from a vacant 
dwelling. It was the best we could do under the 
circumstances, and much better than the majority of 
our dead could be treated. We felt our need of a 
chaplain in this sad duty. But a few remarks and 
a short prayer, then we laid them away, placing 
cedar slabs with name, company and regiment, cut 
in plain letters, at the head of each. The last few 
days of February the company commanders were 
very busy preparing pay rolls. 

On the evening of the 3d of March, the Eighth 
and Fifty-first Ohio had orders to prepare lo march 
early next morning, consequently preparations were 
made, and at 7 o'clock a. m. all the Eighth, except 
a few sick, were marching on the Lebanon pike, 
commanded by Major Broadhus, Colonel Barnes be- 
ing again called to Kentucky on official business. 
We halted at the ford of Stone River and pitched 
our camp on the south side, for the purpose of re- 
maining here to guard a pontoon bridge, that the 
rebel cavalrj had tried twice to destroy. By dark 
we were tolerably well quartered, but felt sadly the 
loss of our good fire places and chimneys, it being 
cold and damp weather, and expecting to remain 


here some time. The 5th we demolished a large 
brick smith shop, and at night the majority of us 
were enjoying the cheerful warmth of fires in our 
rudely constructed chimneys. 

The morning of the 9th we were ordered to .re- 
turn to Murfreesboro. On our return the men ap- 
peared much pleased at the idea of again occupying 
their original encampment. When opposite that 
place our wagons, containing camp and garrison 
equipage, halted, and we were joined by the balance 
of the brigade, with orders to make reconnoissance 
or demonstration against the enemy's picket, on the 
Shelbyville road. Five miles south of town we 
passed our outer pickets, and two miles further came 
in sight of their mounted videttes. The brigade 
formed in line of battle, with a strong line of skirm- 
ishers in advance. We pressed forward a mile 
further, the enemy only exchanging a few shots with 
our skirmish line, and then fell back to Hoover's 
Gap. We bivouacked in line of battle among the 
dense growth of cedars, with orders to keep forward 
a .strong line of pickets, and wait the enemy's at- 
tack. About midnight our cavalry videttes and the 
rebels' advance commenced a lively popping of 
pistols and carbines. The darkness prevented any 
serious harm. Soon after, the rain began to descend, 
and continued to fall all day, the loth, on our un- 
protected bodies. In the afternoon of that day the 
rain increased into a miniature flood. This ap- 
peared to keep the Johnnies in our front quite peac- 

able, and as we had no orders to advance, we felt 



satisfied to hover over our smoking cedar rails, more 
to protect the rain from extinguishing our fires than 
to derive any comforting warmth therefrom, and to 
add to our unpleasant situation, our rations were out, 
or rather, had been left in the wagons on leaving 
Stone River, the previous day. At last, as the 
gloomy darkness of this miserable day began to set- 
tle over the earth, we gladly received the order to 
form the brigade with as little noise as possible, 
after which we halted on the pike in column, where 
we were forced to stand in the cold mud and water 
for two hours, waiting for two companies of the 
Twenty-first Kentucky, who had been placed out on 
picket during the day, in the thick cedars. The 
night being very dark, and no loud talking per- 
mitted, the adjutant and brigade picket officer had 
much difficulty in finding them. The welcome com- 
mand, ''forward," was at last given, and we soon 
measured off the seven miles to Murfreesboro. As 
we marched through that quiet city our boys struck 
up this song : 

" Sometimes we have to double-quick ; 
This Dixie mud is mighty slick. 
The soldier's fare is very rough, 
The bread is hard, and beef is tough, 
That's the vi^ay they put us through, 
I tell you what, it's hard to do. 
But we'll obey duty's call, 
To conquer Dixie, that is all ! " 

We entered our old encampment, north of Mur- 
freesboro, at midnight, and were much pleased to 
find the wagoners and convalescents had all our tents 
up for us. 


The i2th of March, 1863, Major Johnson paid 
the Eighth Kentucky four months' pay. Full pock- 
ets generally caused smiling faces ; but many of the 
boys were in debt to the sutler, while others had 
wives and families at home that needed, and gener- 
ally received, all the husband could spare. Soon the 
majority of our men only had left a little '' tobacco 


The 13th General VanCleve, " grandpap," as the 
boys called him, returned, healed of his wound, and 
again took command of the Third Division. 

The 1 8th the Twenty-first Army Corps was re- 
viewed by General Rosecrans. The next day we 
moved our camp a half mile further north, in the 
edge of a cotton field, near Little's Creek, where 
the other regiments of the Third Brigade were al- 
ready encamped. 

The 2 2d Colonel Barnes returned from Kentucky 
and took command of the brigade. Colonel Mat- 
thews being absent on leave of absence. The same 
day Captain Winbourn, Company H, and Captain 
Jamison, Company D, resigned on account of ill 
health, and returned home. Here all the brigade 
decorated our well arranged encampment with long 
avenues of cedar trees, planted to shade and beautify 
our white tented village. 

The latter part of March we began daily drills. 
Our stylish, vigilant (and as some of our boys 
thought, over particular), brigade inspector. Cap- 
tain Woods, of the Fifty-first Ohio, having reported 
some of the Eighth boys for a trivial omission, in- 


voked the displeasure of the whole command. 
From some cause, one morning, the inspector made 
his morning trip around our pickets rather earlier 
than usual, and was galloping along near the bank of 
Little's Creek, where the thick timber and dense 
fog in the early dawn made objects at a short distance 
very indistinct, when, from the opposite side of the 
muddy stream, came in unmistakable distinctness to 
the captain's ears : 

^' Halt ! who comes there ? " 

He replied, ''brigade inspector." 

Sentinel — ''I know no man in the dark. Dis- 
mount, advance, and give the countersign." 

The captain looked at the miry, filthy stream, and 
began to parley with the obdurate sentinel. 

The repetition of the word '' advance," accom- 
panied by the ominous click of the gun lock, settled 
the matter instantly. With hands raised, his pol- 
ished boots and gold-corded pants reeking with 
muddy water, that official leaned over the point of 
Campbell's bayonet, and spoke the password : *' You 
are too soon, captain." 

April ist we had orders to draw and cook five 
days' rations, each man with 100 rounds, and be 
ready to march at sunrise, the 2d. Accordingly, our 
brigade, now under Colonel Matthews, a battery of 
light artillery and two regiments of cavalry, all under 
the command of General Stanley, marched early out 
the Liberty road. The day was warm for the season, 
the long rest had refreshed our men, and we tripped 
along after the cavalry lively, but before night many 


of the men became much wearied. We bivouacked 
twenty miles from Murfreesboro, near a village called 
Auburn. At midnight the troops were all awakened 
without bugle or drum, and in comparative silence 
resumed the march toward Liberty, where we ex- 
pected to find about 5,000 mounted rebels, under 
Robert Breckinridge. About sunrise we waded 
Smith's fork of Duck River, halted and ate our 
breakfast. Here we were joined by some East Ten- 
nessee cavalry. At 11 o'clock we passed through 
Liberty, and hurried on up Dry Creek, and found 
the Johnnies occupying the mount on the south, 
called Snow Hill. The brigade formed line with 
two companies from each regiment thrown forward 
as skirmishers, and the cavalry sent round to flank 
the enemy, with orders to gain their rear. With 
quick-step we ascended the steep, rocky mountain. 
When near the summit the enemy's pickets opened 
a scattering fire on us, that went harmlessly over our 
heads. Our advance charged on them before they 
could reload. They fled down the opposite slope to 
their second line of dismounted cavalry, who lay 
protected by a rude breastwork of logs and stone. 
We engaged them in a short skirmish. By this time 
our artillery had got in position and began to shell 
the Johnnies. General Stanley, who, like all the other 
staff" officers, was on foot, walked down among our 
boys, and asked, "What regiment is this? " 

" The Eighth Kentucky, was the response. 

"Well, Kentuckians are not afraid! charge on 
them rascals, and shoot their heads off"." 


With a yell, our skirmishers, Companies A and B, 
and a score of volunteers from other companies, 
pitched forward at a double-quick. The rebels fled 
to where their horses were, over another hill, leaving 
several dead and six prisoners in our hands. The 
cavalry now attacked, and ran the enemy off toward 
Smithville. Our loss was only three wounded. This 
ended our Snow Hill battle. 

Our infantry force returned to Liberty, where we 
bivouacked for the night. 

The 4th we started on our return, and reached Al- 
exandria, county seat of DeKalb County, ten miles 
west of Liberty. We awaited the return of the cavalry, 
and near night moved seven miles toward Lebanon. 

The 5th, early in the morning, we resumed 
the march through Cherry Valley, a beautiful 
farming district. At Sharp's Springs, a small village, 
we found a store containing a considerable quantity 
of Confederate stores. We had no transportation 
to remove them, and before all the force had passed 
the store ^*took fire." We then passed through 
Lebanon and bivouacked seven miles from that place. 
Our peaceful sleep was interrupted twice during the 
night by the reports of our cavalry's carbines. They 
brought in three prisoners the next morning, said to 
have been bushwhackers. We arrived at our old 
camp, near Murfreeboro, on the 6th. 

We resumed our usual routine of dailv duty, to wit ; 

Reveille, at 5 a. m. 

First — Regiments form on their respective parade 
grounds, and stand to arms one hour. 


Second — Breakfast at 7 o'clock. 

Third — Guard mounting, at 8 o'clock, of thirty- 
five men and two officers for picket, ten men and 
one officer for camp guard. 

Fourth — Company drill from 9 to 11 o'clock. 

Fifth — Dinner. 

Sixth — Battalion and brigade drill from 2 to 4 p. m. 

Seventh — Dress parade at 5, supper at 6, and 
tattoo at 8 o'clock p. m. 

Thus life again begun with us. So constantly 
was every soldier employed, that one day each week 
was allowed for " wash day. "" Washing with us was 
as much of a duty as fighting. Woe unto the un- 
lucky sloven that appeared at Sunday morning in- 
spection with dirty clothes, dirty hands, long hair 
or untrimmed beard. Wash day with the Eighth 
boys brought its amusements, as well as its vexations. 
The latter grew less with us as we became thoroughly 
initiated into the mysteries of washing, rinsing and 
wringing, and some fastidious boys would worry over 
an imperfect or badly washed shirt as much as their 
mothers or sisters ever did over their soiled linen. 

In the House of Representatives of the State of 
Kentucky, March 2d, 1863, Messrs. Cleveland and 
Burnham were appointed a committee on the part of 
the House to receive from the Governor certain flags 
of Kentucky troops. At the appointed hour the 
Senate repaired to the House for the purpose indi- 
cated in a former resolution. At noon Mr. Wick- 
liff, Secretary of State, appeared with the storm- 
tossed and war worn flags of the Fifteenth, Seven- 


teenth, Sixth, Ninth, Eighth and Twenty-first Regi- 
ments of Kentucky volunteer infantry, together with 
a message from the governor, giving a short history 
of each flag. In that message, in referring to the 
flags of the Eighth and Twenty-first, he said : 

''These mementoes, which I have the honor to 
place at your disposal, were brought from Tennessee. 
They are storm- tossed and leaden-tattered flags pre- 
sented to me for preservation, along with other 
mementoes of the terrible realities of the existing 
convulsion. Under these riddled colors many 
cherished sons of Kentucky have met death in this 
cruel and unnatural war. We are pleased to have 
been the bearer to this body of these flags, that were 
borne amid the storm of battle by our gallant sons. 
It will be observed that the colors of the Eighth 
Regiment (Colonel Barnes) is almost completely de- 
stroyed. It was upheld, amid showers of shot and 
shell, by Edgar Park, Company C, until the missiles 
of the foe had pierced again and again its every fold. 
Finally, the staff was struck and shivered to pieces. 
The enemy was crowding closely around the un- 
daunted standard-bearer. The broken staff could 
no longer be grasped, but he quickly gathered the 
remnants of the flag and bore them rapidly to those 
who so nobly defended it, with an intrepidity rarely 
equaled and never surpassed. These standards, 
around which cluster so many glorious memories, it 
is hoped, will be placed in the archives of the State, 
while others will be furnished to take their places in 
ihe field.'' 


The loth of April our encampment was aroused 
by the report of rebel guerrillas capturing a train near 
Lavergne, and robbing the passengers of money and 
other valuables, our jolly musician, P. D. Schull, 
being among the unfortunate victims. 

As the weather grew warmer our battalion and 
brigade evening drills became less enjoyable. All 
the survivors will long remember the amount of toil 
and sweat these knapsack drills cost them on that 
old cotton field. On this same old field, the 13th, 
the brigade formed. The men had all blacked their 
shoes, and donned their best appearance, and the 
officers were in dress parade outfit. We passed in 
review of General VanCleve (" Grand-pap"), who 
had just returned, with his wound healed. The 
command then formed square by divisions, closed in 
mass. Into the center rode Colonel Matthews, 
seated on his noted yellow horse, and accompanied 
by his staff. He made us his farewell address, 
having been elected mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio. He 
had endeared himself to every regiment, and many 
regretted his having to leave us, though the Eighth 
boys felt some pride at Colonel Barnes taking his 
place as commander of the brigade ; and as Lieu- 
tenant Colonel May had been promoted to colonel 
of the Seventh Kentucky, Major Broadhus thus took 
command of the Eighth, but his failing health and 


emaciated looks convinced many of us th^ we would 
soon lose him too. 

The 2oth April our pleasant faced old paymaster 
again paid us a visit and our allowance of green- 
backs for January and February. The last company 
had received pay by 9 o'clock, p. m., and many had 
retired to bed, when we were ordered to march im- 
mediately toward Lebanon. The enemy was reported 
to be advancing. Our new rolls of greenbacks were 
hastily left with a few convalescents, fearing the for- 
tunes of war might place them in the hands of rebels, 
who were anxious to get some of **you'ens money." 
With a fresh supply of cartridges and rations, the 
brigade hurried out past the pickets, who were now 
on the qui vive. Our blood was up, and a cheerful 
inclination for fight pervaded the ranks. This san- 
guinary feeling increased when we came in hearing 
of a clattering noise in advance of us, supposed to be 
rebel cavalry on the hard stone road. We hurried 
from column into line, and, with fixed bayonets, 
awaited the expected charge of the mounted enemy. 
A few cavalry videttes of ours returned and reported 
to Colonel Barnes that the supposed enemy was 
about a hundred negroes at a vacant house in front 
of us holding a mammoth jubilee, and their vigorous 
dancing was so spirited and executed with so much 
vim that our pickets mistook the sound for advanc- 
ing foes. Our men received this explanation with 
loud cheers, and returned to camp, leaving the inno- 
cent but noisy darkies enjoying themselves over their 
newly-found freedom. 


April 27th, Major Broadhus resigned. The line 
officers met and passed resolutions expressing their 
high esteem for the major. His bravery and cheer- 
ful company had made him the lasting friend of all 
of the command, and general regret was felt at the 
loss of his company. The next day the writer was 
present when Lieutenant Carson presented the^ major 
with a copy of the resolutions. He appeared much 
affected, and expressed his thanks, through an officer, 
to the regiment, saying his love for all and sorrow at 
parting admonished him to avoid a public leave- 
taking. Regret was depicted on every face as he 
silently took each man by the hand to say farewell. 

Again, the evening of the 8th of May, we were 
made sad to part with another one of our good 
officers. Lieutenant Colonel Reuben May, having re- 
covered from his wound received at Stone River, had 
returned to the regiment only for the purpose of 
arranging a few small private affairs and bid us fare- 
well, having been promoted to colonel of the Seventh 
Kentucky Infantry, for gallant and meritorious con- 
duct on the battlefield of Stone River. That even- 
ing, at dress parade, he made us his farewell address. 
I can give only an extract of his appropriate little 
speech : " Boys, we have made many hard marches 
together. We have met the enemy more than once, 
and have always driven them. This regiment has 
the name of being the bravest of the brave, and I 
have been promoted for my gallantry and bravery, 
but I do not deserve it. It is you boys who have 
won for me that honor. I shall ever remember and 


honor every one of you." At the conchision of the 
lieutenant colonel's remarks, Major Clark proposed 
three cheers for Colonel May. They were given 
with a will, but the writer noticed many of the men's 
voices quivered with emotion. 

The 1 2th May, Lieutenant Colonel Mayhew and 
Major Clark were '' married " to their late commis- 
sions, having recently been promoted. As custom 
required, every officer, when promoted, was expected 
to give his brother officers in the regiment a wedding 
supper, and this double wedding, at Keneday's sut- 
ler tent, will long be remembered by the survivors of 
the old Eighth. 

In our cheerfulness and banqueting over our 
recently promoted officers, we did not forget our 
fallen brave comrades, whose decaying bodies lay 
within one mile of camp, in their rude bare graves. 
On Sunday morning, the 17th of May, a squad of 
officers and men, being provided with a picket pass, 
and a well lettered cedar board for each one of the 
dead of the Eighth (bearing the name, rank, com- 
pany and regiment), and a spade, proceeded to that 
part of the battlefield where, on the 2d of January, 
1863, Breckenridge's half-drunken rebels fought our 
brigade. After a long search among the thousands 
of unmarked or indifferently marked graves, we found 
the particular ones sought for. Placing the proper 
boards well into the earth, the graves were refilled, 
and a nice mound made over the once brave and 
cheerful comrade. After paying this last tender 
tribute to our dead, we took a walk over this mem- 


orable field and woodland, now converted into a vast 
graveyard. We noticed in many trees not larger 
than a man's body as many as sixty musket ball 
holes, and great numbers of trees were shivered and 
torn to splinters by solid shot. The tiny, delicate 
flowers, springing fresh from this blood-enriched 
soil, reminded us of how much, indeed, like the 
flower or grass are we poor mortals — some, like the 
aged man, grow to full maturity, and the hoar frosts 
of winter cause them to wither and die; while 
others, like those we plucked so fresh, reminded us 
of our youthful, heroic dead comrades, cut off in the 
full bloom and vigor of life, both by the index finger 
of man's hand. The bad odor from many of the 
shallow graves rendered our stay much shorter than 
it would otherwise have been. 

About this time Surgeon Morton was assigned to 
our command. 

The ist of May the officers of the Eighth or- 
ganized themselves into a class for the study of 
Casey's Tactics. One hour each day was spent in 
''school " recitations, but the various duties of the 
officers seriously interfered with regular attendance. 
In about three weeks our studies were, as before^ 
principally confined to private study. 

The 25th of May our men were much pleased at 
being ordered to turn in the old Springfield muskets 
and receive therefor the Enfield rifles, the arms they 
had long been desiring. Two days later we thought 
we would soon get to try their efficiency at flesh and 
blood, as General Rosecrans issued an order for all 


the troops to hav€ five days' rations constantly on 
hand, especially as " Captain" Bragg' s forces began 
to show hostile demonstrations about Wartrace and 
Hoover's Gap. 

During our long stay here we had many reviews 
and inspections by brigade inspectors, beside our 
regular Sunday morning company inspection. The 
third week in May we had no less than three of these, 
as the boys called them, "troublesome parades," 
where knapsacks were packed and repacked, the en- 
tire contents of the soldiers' scant wardrobe, to the 
smallest article, viewed and reviewed. Some of the 
men, having overdrawn regulation value of clothing 
the first year, now began to economize, and many 
could not parade more than one well worn clean 
shirt. After the regular Sunday inspection, the first 
Sunday in May, Sergeant Wood presented himself at 
my tent and inquired if there would be any issue of 
clothing soon. He was asked why. "Well, Cap'n, 
that old shirt of mine has been viewed so often lately, 
and old Captain Wood looked so infernal contempt- 
uous the other day when he asked me if that was all 
the underwear I had, and you were good enough 
not to say anything this morning, I want to get a 
new shirt, just to please my namesake, as inspections 
appear to be increasing. One fellow in Company A 
got thunder from the division inspector, the other 
day, just because he had only one pair of socks in his 
knapsack. Set me down", captain, 'underwear.'" 
About this time Lieutenant Colonel Mayhew ordered 
that the man who could show the cleanest gun and 


equipage at weekly inspection should have a free 
pass for one week within the picket lines. There 
was much interest manifested and much labor ex- 
pended in polishing arms. At dress parade, the 
13th, the adjutant read the lieutenant colonel's order, 
" That Corporal Wm. Smith, Company D, be excused 
from all duty and have a free pass for five days.'' 
This increased the number of aspirants for the 
brightest gun, and gave rise to an amusing incident 
in Company H. " Dobin Spikes," noted for 
spending the least time and labor on washing clothes 
and rubbing his gun, now became equally interested 
in the various materials used in polishing guns. At 
supper he said: •* Gosh, boys, what does Conner 
and Smith and these other fellers put on their guns 
to keep 'em bright?" One of his comrades, with 
much secresy, informed him that it was nothing else 
but "bean juice." At the expense of his stomach, 
'* Dobin" gave his musket a good coat, and, as the 
inside was not the brightest, he also filled it up and 
set it away for the night. Early next morning the 
orderly notified " Dobin" to get ready for picket. 
In his hurry about breakfast he gathered his gun, 
hastily rubbed off the thick mixture of dissolved 
beans, grease and salt, and forgot all about the con. 
tents of the barrel, until in line, and the adjutant 
gave the command, "Spring rammers !" '' Dobin," 
in his great dilemma, exclaimed : " Good God ! 
mine's full of bean soup!" ''Dobin Spikes" was 
ordered to be put on extra duty for appearing at 
guard mounting with his gun unserviceable, and 


spent the greater part of the day extracting bean 
soup from the rusty bore of his prize gun. 

The ist day of June, First Lieutenant Gumm, 
Company D, Lieutenant Ketchins, Company A^ 
Lieutenant Smallwood, Company K, Lieutenant 
Martin, Company I, and Lieutenant Wright, Com- 
pany H, all received commissions as captains of 
their respective companies, Captains Jamison, 
Thomas, McDaniel and Winbourn having resigned, 
and Captain Mayhew having been promoted to the 
position of lieutenant colonel. The second lieuten- 
ants and first sergeants of those companies also re- 
ceived promotions at the same time, to fill vacancies 
occasioned by these new captains. The marriage 
supper at our sutler's on this occasion was a lively 
and expensive, if not an extensive affair. The ma- 
jority of the Twenty-first Kentucky officers were 

The i6th June, General VanCleve's division, in- 
cluding the Eighth, formed into three sides of a 
hollow square, and witnessed the execution of a de- 
serter from the Ninth Kentucky, named Minx. It 
was a sad and shocking scene, causing a soldier to 
feel different from witnessing a true, brave comrade 
falling in battle. This was the first, and, I am proud 
to say, the last military execution we witnessed. 

The i8th, the division was reviewed by General 
Rosecrans. The same day Colonel Barnes put our 
brigade through a two hours' knapsack drill — not a 
pleasant recreation in hot weather^ at least that was 
the general verdict of the Eighth boys. 


The sentence of the court martial that tried 
" Scabber" was read by Adjutant Park, on dress 
parade, the i8th, which was, " To wear a ball and 
chain in and about the camp of the Eighth Regiment 
Kentucky Volunteer Infantry six months." The 
command generally felt the shame and disgrace that 
the good-natured, light-minded offender should have 
felt, and when the smith fastened on John's "jew- 
elry/' nearly every man sympathized to some degree 
with him as being made an example of. 

At last, by great diligence and energy, General 
Rosecrans succeeded in bringing the Army of the 
Cumberland up to its best possible condition. 

On the 23d June, our commander ordered a gen- 
eral forward movement of all the forces about Mur- 
freesboro, except the Third (our) Division of Crit- 
tenden's corps. The rebel army occupied a strong 
position, extending from Shelbyville to Wartrace, 
about parallel with Duck River, with their base of 
supplies at TuUahoma. To follow up this victorious 
army in its respective movements, which resulted in 
forcing Bragg's army to flee to the south side of the 
Tennessee River, would increase this volume to 
greater size than contemplated ; therefore, we will 
refer the reader to a general history of the war, and 
follow up the movements of our particular regiment 
and brigade. While our comrades in front were 
marching through the rain and mud to dislodge the 
enemy, our division struck tents and moved inside 
the earthworks, trying to make ourselves as comfort- 
able as the circumstances would permit, believing, as 



our division general was an old man, that we had 
been left to garrison the place, and would probably 
remain here a considerable time. We sympathized 
with our comrades in front, whose guns we could 
hear thundering away at the enemy. 

On the 29th we were rejoiced to see 500 rebel 
prisoners brought back, captured at Shelbyville, 
where General Stanley's troops had rescued from 
sentence of death our brave and daring female spy, 
Miss Major Cushman. 

The 30th day of June the Third Brigade, under 
command of Colonel Barnes, received orders to 
march immediately toward McMinnville, with no 
baggage except shelter tents and blankets ; all tents 
and officers' desks to be left in care of the convales- 
cents of each regiment. At that time all the wagons 
and teams were in constant use dragging supplies 
through the mud and rain to the front. At 4 o'clock 
p. m. we formed column and moved out on the 
Woodbury Pike. The continued rains had made the 
much used roads very muddy. A march of ten 
miles brought us to Cripple Creek, where we bivou- 

July ist was one of those still, clear, hot days, 
that usually succeeds a heavy rain in that climate. 
The power of the sun on the steaming earth and 
vegetation caused many of. the boys to give out be- 
fore noon. At that hour we arrived at Woodbury. 
Our shelter tents were soon pitched near this rebel- 
lious town, twenty miles from Murfreesboro. The 
next morning the Eighth, with a small squad of cav- 


airy, made a scouting party, and went nine nriles to- 
ward McMinnville, where Robert Breckinridge and 
a force of rebel cavalry were reported to be. The 
heat was oppressive, and quite a number of our men 
"fagged out," really overpowered with heat. The 
writer, being one of the number, will never forget 
the kindness of Major Clark, who, always ready to 
do an act of kindness to a comrade, placed me on his 
horse, while he footed it back to town. Our cavalry 
went quite near McMinnville, but found no sign of 
the enemy. I was told by Surgeon Robison that I 
had fever. He procured lodging for me in the house 
of a Mr. Burger, the only Union man of the town. 
His__ loyalty, and kindness to myself and Captain 
Millard, of the Twenty-first Kentucky, probably 
caused him the loss of his house and contents. We 
will give the reader this one incident of hundreds of 
similar cases of rebel hate and revenge. On enter- 
ing the commodious dwelling, my feebleness caused 
an immediate introduction to a good bed — the first 
feathers I had reclined my weary limbs on for many 
•months. I soon discovered that I had fallen into 
the hands of real Samaritans. Captain Millard and 
a few other sick occupied other rooms. There were 
also about twenty Union refugees, women and men, 
returning to their homes, yet inside the enemy's 
lines. The next day all our division arrived, bring- 
ing the good news of " Rosey's" recent victory over 
Bragg at Tullahoma. Mr. Burger's two daughters 
and some of the refugees gave vent to their joy by 
indulging in a few patriotic songs. Soon after one 


of the daughters of Burger came to my bed with a 
tempting morsel of supper for me. I asked : ''Do 
many of your citizens rejoice with you over Union 
victories?" ''No, indeed, captain; I greatly fear 
for papa when you all leave. I have seen some of 
them paying close attention to our house. They are 
indignant at us for sheltering you and those good 
Union people.'' About 8 o'clock everything be- 
came quiet except rhe heavy breathing of some 
weary sleeping refugees, and at last the extra dose of 
morphia caused me to drop into a troubled sleep. 
At length I awoke with a smothering, choking sen- 
sation. When first I struggled to consciousness 
smoke and flames were -bursting into my room. I 
cried ''fire !" as loud as my weakness permitted, and 
rolled out on to the floor, and gathered my clothing, 
haversack, sword and pistol from the chair into 
my arms. Unable to stand, I lay yelling "fire!" 
and kicking a snoring refugee, who suddenly 
sprang up, with half a dozen others. One 
heavy fellow rushing around the room in the blind- 
ing, hot smoke, hunting for the door, jumped 
on my chest, and I lost all consciousness un- 
til I felt myself being dragged through the dewy 
dog fennel in the yard. Some one had burst open 
the door just in time to save me from the horrid 
flames. All the inmates were in the yard, most of 
them destitute of raiment, except that in which they 
slept. I still had my effects (except my watch, 
which was lost,) clutched in my arms. The fine 
house and its valuable contents were entirely con- 


sumed, and from where the fire originated, it un- 
doubtedly was a base act of incendiarism. Surgeon 
Robison and a soldier of the Eighth assisted me to a 
place near called ''The Hotel," where I lay until 
daylight, a prey to the hungry bedbugs. As the am- 
bulance, which contained myself and another sick 
man, drove out of town the next morning after our 
command, we passed an old smith shop, where Mr. 
Burger's family had taken refuge. I paid my bill 
and called for Miss Melissa, who had waited on me> 
and gave her ten dollars, and we left this sad, good 
man, almost penniless, but, as he said, yet loyal. 

The division marched to within six miles of Mc- 
Minnville, where the whole command arrived next 
day, the 7th of July, and formed an encampment 
half a mile east of town. While erecting shelter 
tents, a heavy rain was pouring down, I was fortu- 
nate enough to get quartered with a citizen of the 
town, where I remained ten days. 

On our arrival at McMinnville the resident union- 
ists appeared to be overjoyed at their deliverance from 
the ''tender mercies" of John Morgan and his 
band, and to again see their friends return from their 
exile of eleven months. 

The loth of July we received the welcome news of 
the surrender of Vicksburg. About this time we 
had favorable reports from the Army of the Potomac. 
Our artillery was used freely in our rejoicings at the 
prospect of soon subduing the rebellion. Bright 
were many of our anticipations of an early return 
home to friends. But we knew not the manv hard 


marches and bloody battles, death and starvation, 
that awaited many of us before final victory should 
crown our labors. 

The 14th our wagon train arrived from Murfrees- 
boro containing our regimental baggage. 

The 1 8th the Eighth moved a few hundred yards, 
and were soon dwelling in a nicely shaded and dec- 
orated encampment, which was kept scrupulously 
clean during our stay here. Nearly every day heavy 
details from some brigade was sent out foraging, and 
the men usually returned with something "fresh" 
for their messmates. 

The 1 8th I had recovered and reported for duty, 
and the next day took command of a foraging party 
of one hundred men and twenty wagons. I knew of 
a rich old rebel, living seven miles from camp, and, 
arriving there, we found a large field of oats ready 
for the sickle. The men went to work with a dozen 
old mowing scythes and traps of cradles, borrowed 
from farms along our road. It was cloudless and 
hot, but the thermometer did not stand as near the 
boiling point as did Mr. Snipe's temper, while his 
oaths and threats were treated as idle vaporings by 
his unbidden harvest hands. He received his 
voucher without comment, and, as the loaded wagons 
filed out into the road, the high-toned, indignant 
landlord discovered about a score of his chickens 
departing with the train. We left him trying to ex- 
haust his vocabulary of denunciations against 
Yankees in general, and us in particular. 

The 29th Major Johnston paid the regiment four 


months' pay, and the 30th Orderly F. P. Wood left 
for Kentucky on furlough, carrying a considerable 
sum of money for the soldiers' wives and families 
living in Madison and Estill Counties. 

The Eighth Regiment went on a foraging expedi- 
tion the 4th of August. Two men failed to answer 
at roll call. Lieutenant Colonel Mayhew ordered 
them tied up by the thumbs. On our return to camp 
the order was obeyed, but with a strong protest from 
Captain Benton, in whose company the men be- 
longed. Again, the 6th, a part of the regiment, on 
returning from a scout, when near town private Bur- 
gess, of Company H, in his persevering efforts to 
capture a fat hen, on which he had set his eyes and 
heart, failed to overtake the command before our ar- 
rival in camp, as he had promised me he would. 
Lieutenant Colonel Mayhew remained seated on his 
horse until the completion of roll call. When Bur- 
gess failed to answer. Lieutenant Colonel Mayhew 
said, " Captain Wright, I want you to tie that man 
up by the thumbs two hours, in the morning.'' I 
made no reply. After guard mounting, the follow- 
ing morning, the lieutenant colonel sent Adjutant 
Park with a message to me, requesting an interview 
at headquarters. I need not recite here, only that 
I politely, but firmly, refused to tie up Burgess, op- 
posing the mode of punishment, especially for trivial 
offenses, and that it was not through any disrespect 
for the lieutenant colonel, or his authority, that I 
refused to comply with the order. A few high words 
followed, but Burgess only went on extra duty. The 


conversation between myself and the colonel was 
without auditors, save a negro cock, who started the 
report of our high words, which ran through camp 
like fire in dry stubble. That evening, after dis- 
missal from dress parade, the boys of Company H 
caught me up and carried me to my quarters on the 
shoulders of several stout men, meanwhile cheering 
lustily. Orders from division headquarters were 
strict respecting the neat and soldierly appearance of 
pickets, guns bright, clothing brushed, and shoes 
blacked. In order to carry out this red-tape order, 
company commanders purchased blacking. But 
some of the boys found it difficult work to transform 
their worn and rusty shoes into anything like re- 
spectable coverings for the feet. W. Townsend, an 
excellent soldier, but somewhat eccentric, threw 
aside his badly worn shoes, and, as a burlesque on 
the order, took his place with the regular detail, his 
bare feet nicely blacked and polished to his con- 
trasting white ankles, a roll or two in the bottom of 
his pantaloons making the contrast more conspicuous. 
Many of the men in line smiled, but Bill went 
through the ceremonies of inspection without any 
facial or other signs of knowledge of his clownish 
appearance. Lieutenant Colonel Mayhew, who ap- 
peared to know of no other mode of punish- 
ment, promptly had Townsend tied up by the thumbs 
with a guard to stand by him until his time expired. 
Captain Martin, passing by, saw the guard reach into 
Bill's pocket, take out his tobacco, and hold it to 
Townsend's mouth for him to get a chew. The 



captain then walked up, took out his knife, and cut 
the cord, and that was the last man of the Eighth 
that was ever tied up. This cruel and unauthorized 
mode of enforcing discipline would have been a 
dangerous undertaking in the command after that. 


General Rosecrans, having his mind and heart set 
on Chattanooga, had by the loth of August, 1863, 
repaired the Nashville Railroad as far as Stevenson, 
Alabama. Bragg was well known to be fortifying 
the " Gate City " of the South, whither he had re- 
treated. Everything being in readiness for another 
general advance of the Army of the Cumberland, 
we received orders the 15th of August to march over 
the Cumberland Mountains. Accordingly, the Six- 
teenth (.VanCleve's) Division broke up camp and 
took the Hill's Creek Gap road to Pikeville. 

Before proceeding to give the details of our march 
over this rough country, a few words of explanation 
concerning the topography of this part of Tennessee 
will better enable the reader to understand our sub- 
sequent movements. The Cumberland Mountains 
consist of two ridges, divided for more than sixty 
miles by the narrow, fertile valley of Sequatchie. 
The high ridge east of the valley is called Walden's 
Ridge. This butts off agai-nst the Tennessee River, 
opposite a continuation of the same on the south 
side of the river, known as the Sand Mountains, 
which also abutt with towering cliffs on the south 
side of the river, leaving no space for a road, except 
by cutting a space into the sides of the bluff. Along 
the N. & C. R. R. has been made a rough wagon 
road, called the "Narrows." The Cumberland 


Mountains proper slope from this narrow valley 
westward in broken bluffs for over forty miles, toward 
Middle Tennessee. Over these we were about to 

The First and Second Brigades of VanCleve's 
Division (the Second under Colonel Barnes), passed 
through McMinnville, at noon, in the midst of a 
fierce rain storm. We only marched six miles and 
bivouacked at Harrison's Ford, of Collins' River. 
After wading the much swollen stream, by some 
error of the commissary all the commissioned offi- 
cers were without a supply of provisions, taking all 
on hand to supply the soldiers for three days. Of 
course, the only alternative was to borrow at a 
usurious interest. 

Early the 17th, we began the weary task of ascend- 
ing the mountain, and was until noon in getting up 
the ammunition wagons, leaving the rear regiments 
to assist the artillerymen. We proceeded east, over a 
desperately rough road, twelve miles, to a small 
mountain stream, called Rock River, and bivouacked 
in a dense wood. Before dark, no less than six 
large rattlesnakes were killed by our regiment alone, 
and several by the Thirty-fifth Indiana and Twenty- 
first Kentucky. The fear of these poisonous reptiles 
caused our rest on the bare earth anything but pleas- 
ant. The men called this place Camp Snake. 

After a hearty breakfast of crackers and coffee, 
with the luxury of a few potatoes, Captains Wilson, 
Wright and Dixon were appointed by Lieutenant 
Colonel Mayhew to search and overhaul the contents 


of our regimental wagons, and throw out all unau- 
thorized baggage. To the great merriment of the 
men, the of^cers only found and threw out an old 
trunk, the property of one Hall, the wagoner whose 
complaints of overloading had caused the search to 
be made. 

The i8th we marched to within six miles of the 
valley. We saw but few signs of civilization, the 
few houses that we passed being miserable looking 
cabins. The officers were worse off than the men 
for rations, but we managed to eke out enough for 
supper, with promise of some beef for breakfast. 

About lo o'clock the encampment had become 
comparatively quiet, men and officers lying asleep on 
the leafy ground, promiscuously. The drove of 
beeves the division quartermaster had brought over 
the mountain, from some cause, took fright, and 
broke from the corral and came crashing and tearing 
through the brush like a tornado, passing through the 
left of our regiment, frightening some of the slum- 
bering soldiers so much, that many of them climbed 
saplings with the agility of squirrels. 

At 9 o'clock, the 19th, we arrived at the precipi- 
tous descent to this beautiful, picturesque valley, 
which lay several thousand feet below us. We de- 
scended the road, or rather an irregular stone stair- 
way, to the valley, then six miles up northward. We 
entered the ancient looking, mountain walled town of 
Pikeville, the inhabitants of which did not appear 
to be as proud to see us, as we had expected of Ten- 


The following day was excessively hot, still many 
of the houses in this old, rusty looking town were 
closed, an evidence that the inmates were not over- 
joyed to see this first edition of Yankees. But 
the excessive heat, combined with female curiosity, 
overcame some of the inhabitants, and fair faces and 
well arranged toilets appeared at the front windows. 
At one sat the pretty Miss K, with rebellious heart 
and scorning black eyes, contemptuously cast at 
everything blue. Sergeant Hockersmith, of the 
Twenty-first, had a fancy for a well cooked mess of 
beef brains that amounted to 'almost a weakness, and 
was returning from the slaughter yard with his two 
brawny hands together, full of bloody brains. In 
passing the window the sergeant involuntarily turned 
his head to take a glance at so much beauty, beam- 
ing with wrath. With the quickness and spiteful- 
ness of a cat, she spit in the sergeant's face. A sud- 
den movement, the brains were poised on the broad 
right palm, and sent flying through the open window 
at the young lady's face. Fortunately for her care- 
fully arranged toilet, she had the discretion and 
activity to dodge the soft missile, v/hich scattered 
over the nice carpet on to the opposite wall. The 
now furious sergeant strode on toward headquarters. 
Just then, an old, fat negro woman, in the brain be- 
spattered room, exclaimed: '' Dar, I'se tole Miss 
Sally she'd bring deaf an' destruction to dis here 
family yet." A short time after, a guard, accom- 
panied by an officer, called on Miss Sally, and in- 
formed her that General V requested her pres- 


ence at headquarters forthwith. The now frightened 
lady remonstrated with tears, but the captain of the 
guard gallanted her to the general's tent, followed 
by the old, fat darkey, who said : " I's gwine ter see 
what the great boss '1 do wid de chile." The gen- 
eral told her she was about as dangerous to the boys 
as a shell with a short fuse, and for safety to all 
parties, she had best go to her friends, outside the 
the pickets. 

We remained at Pikeville until the ist day of Sep- 
tember, subsisting principally on green corn, sweet 
potatoes, and various other products, collected from 
the hitherto unmolested rich farms along the valley. 
Foraging parties were sent out daily from division 
headquarters, under command of commissioned offi- 
cers, and our rudely-constructed tables were bur- 
dened with the good things of this favored region. 
In a few days after our arrival, the loyal East Ten- 
nesseeans began to come into our camp from their 
caves, dens, and hiding places in the mountains 
lying east and north of Sequatchie. The account 
some of these brave men gave of their hardships and 
hairbreadth escapes, told in their earnest, quaint 
manner, was indeed heroic and romantic. Some oi 
them had dwelt principally since the summer of 
1 86 1 exiles from their homes and families. The 
most of them wore a haggard and careworn look, 
but the.sight of the dear, old flag caused some to shed 
tears of joy. Among the latter was an old gray- 
haired Methodist preacher named Burkett. When 
he arrived in camp he was quite an object of pity. 


He and the poor frame of a mule he rode were al- 
most in a famishing condition. Lieutenant Colonel 
Mayhew recognized him as an old acquaintance, and 
made him a welcome guest i^the Eighth. He 
proved to be a man of consid^ble talent and a 
pulpit orator equaled by few. He had been an in- 
timate friend and co-worker of Parson Brownlow. 
We had him preach for us the night after his arrival, 
and there are few of the survivors of the Eighth but 
will remember the ragged old man's first sermon. 
His zeal for- his Divine Master's cause was warm and 
earnest, but could not excel his patriotic enthusiasm 
for our bleeding country. By the time his sermon 
came to a close every man in the audience was a 
warm friend of old Brother Burkett, and a sum of 
money was immediately collected to buy him a suit 
of clothes. In a few days Colonel Price, of the 
Twenty-first Kentucky, had him commissioned chap- 
lain of that regiment. Our newly appointed chap- 
lain, Kindred, about this time arrived from Ken- 
tucky, and he and Father Burkett united their efforts 
for the promotion of the cause of religion in the 
brigade, and I am proud to record the fact that the 
able and untiring efforts of these good men did not 
prove fruitless. 

General Rosecrans was completing his plans and 
movements for an advance on Chattanooga, the gate 
city of the Southern Confederacy. On the 21st 
August Colonels Wilder and Wagoner's cavalry 
brigades, with some of Wood's division of infantry, 
crossed over Walden's Ridge, via Poe's Tavern, op- 


posite Thurman, and about the last of August shelled 
the city, to the great consternation of the inhabi- 
tants, as well as the rebels in arms, who made but 
slight resistance. ^The movement had the desired 
effect, i. e., to caiK the enemy to leave some points 
below the city unguarded. 

On the ist of September we received orders, and 
marched down this peculiar valley, which is from 
two to four miles wide, and near sixty in length 
from north to south, fenced in by an almost impene- 
trable wall of mountains on either side. The dust 
was several inches deep, and the unclouded sun shone 
into this furnace-like valley with a fiery fierceness that 
caused our feet to blister, and the bugle call to halt 
for night was never before more welcome. Thus, for 
three days, we bore the heat and dust, and at last 
came in sight of Jasper, the county seat of Marion 
County, Tennessee. I was much amused at one of 
the Eighth boys, on coming in view of this irregular 
and rusty-looking town, saying, " I wonder if the 
town ain't yonder, among them old houses?" Our 
division camped here, and on the morning of the 
4th a detail of one company from each regiment of 
our brigade was ordered to guard a large supply 
train, via Bridgeport, Alabama, to cross the Tennes- 
see at that point. Company H, of the Eighth, in 
command of the author, composed part of this guard. 
While the men were preparing their breakfast, I told 
Scarbro to follow me, and proceeded to the brigade 
smith, who, with two hammers and cold chisel, fol- 
lowed the wondering Scarbro and myself to a deep 


ravine near camp, where the rivet in John's "jew- 
elry" was quickly severed, and the dishonorable and 
galling irons were, by my order, cast into the weeds. 
I told the two men not to say anything about what 
became of the ball and chain. During the day 
many asked John where he kept his *' jewelry." He 
invariably replied, "I lost it, and ain't a going back 
to hunt fur it." The subsequent good behavior of 
Scarbro and courage displayed in action by him at 
Chickamauga probably saved me from a court 

On the morning of the 5th the long train crossed 
the swaymg pontoon bridge at Bridgeport, Alabama, 
which had taken the place of the magnificent struc- 
ture recently burned by the rebels. Company H's 
rations were about out, but circumstances favored 
these ever watchful boys of the Eighth, who discov- 
ered two of the bridge guards stealing each a side of 
bacon from one of the wagons while crossing the 
river. On reaching the southern shore they in- 
formed Captain Wright of the theft. That officer, 
who generally had an eye to the creature comforts of 
himself and men, returned with a squad of men, and 
soon had the coveted " ned" brought to light from 
one of the boats, and as the wao:ons were trundlino- 
ahead, I divided the bacon for more convenient 

We had expected to join the division at Shell 

Mound, but on our arrival there, near sunset the 5th, 

we learned that the command had moved on. Early 

the next morning, Major Hoskins, commanding the 



guards, had the train in motion, but owing to the bad 
condition of the road up the river, around the foot of 
Sand Mountain (known as the '* Narrows"), where 
many a stubborn and heroic army mule gave his life 
a sacrifice to our bleeding country, we did not come 
up with the main force until 10 o'clock, p. m., en- 
camped in the mountains, eight miles from Trenton, 
Georgia, the county seat of Dallas County. 

This country is very rough and mountainous. Old 
Carmoody, of Company H, ''our Irishman," re- 
marked, on the following morning, " Be jabbers, an' 
they hev so much counthry down here they jist hev 
to stack it up." What few of the inhabitants of this 
country we chanced to see were apparently ignorant 
and poor. 

On the 8th we marched about four miles, over into 
Lookout Valley, and halted for further orders. Here 
four rebel deserters came to us and reported that 
General Bragg was about to evacuate Cliattanooga, 
which proved to be a true report. 

Quite early on the following morning we were 
marching on to Chattanooga, each soldier carrying 
sixty rounds of ammunition, feeling confident of en- 
gaging the enemy before night. At 9 o'clock we 
met a courier, with a dispatch stating that the enemy 
had evacuated. We soon struck the Trenton & 
Chattanooga Railroad, and with buoyant spirits 
pushed on down the railroad track and over the base 
of towering Lookout Mountain, from whence we 
could look down on the almost deserted little city, 
for many of the citizens had fled south at the approach 


of the "hateful Yankees." We passed on south of 
the city a few miles, and bivouacked at dark, near a 
few old houses the people called Rossville, having 
marched seventeen miles over very rugged roads. 
Weary and footsore, we lay down on the bosom of 
mother earth, with strong hopes of soon striking a 
death blow to the rebellion. 

On the loth, the division marched on the road to- 
ward Ringgold, the county town of Catoosa County, 
Georgia. Late in the afternoon our advance regi- 
ments ran into the enemy's pickets. After a short 
skirmish the enemy retired, and we again bivouacked 
for the night, with a strong guard thrown out, front 
and flank. 

Early the nth, our brigade, under command of 
Colonel Barnes, was put in advance. After passing 
the outer picket, Colonel Barnes ordered Companies 
A, B and F, of the Eighth, and three companies of 
the Fifty-first Ohio, forward as skirmishers, with the 
remainder of those two regiments forming line of 
battle on each side of the road, which ran through 
hills and hollows, heavily timbered, and covered 
with dense brush and undergrowth. The other three 
regiments composed the second line of battle. After 
advancing two miles, our skirmishers encountered 
the enemy's pickets, and commenced a brisk fire, 
the rebels gradually retiring. Notwithstanding the 
uneven country and dense brush, we maintained a 
good line, keeping close behind our skirmishers, 
who kept up a rattling fire on the retreating rebels, 
until they crossed East Chickamauga River, within 


three-fourths of a mile of Ringgold. They took a 
position on the east hill, which rises abrupt from the 
water's edge. The river, though a narrow stream, 
was in some places over six feet deep, and that, too, 
in good pistol range of the enemy's line on the hill 
above. Colonel Barnes said : " Boys, it's pretty 
steep, but we must make those scoundrels ' git.* By 
the right of companies, forward, march !" With a 
loud hurrah we plunged into the cold stream, regard- 
less of wetting our few greenbacks, only endeavoring 
to keep our powder dry. The bullets pattered the 
water somewhat after the fashion at Stone River. 
We scrambled up the rocky hill under a shower of 
bullets, but, fortunately for us, the enemy's aim was 
generally too high in their first volley, and before 
they could reload our line was within a few yards of 
them, and they fled down the other side of the hill 
into Ringgold. Our few pieces of artillery were 
brought forward and shelled the town, while our line 
of battle continued to advance on quick time. On 
arriving in the suburbs, our progress was obstructed 
by light, paling fences. As each company neared one 
of these gardens or yards, a shout and simultaneous 
rush against these fences laid them as flat as if swept 
by a tornado. The terrified inhabitants were fleeing 
in every direction for safety from our noisy boys, 
who continued to fire at the armed rebels, whose 
flight through the streets was hastened by Colonel 
Wilder' s mounted infantry, who came charging and 
yelling down the Knoxville road, trying to cut off" 
their retreat. But we had pressed them too fast, and 


all but a few wounded and prisoners escaped, leaving 
us in possession of the town. 

Our siKiden and noisy entrance into this little 
aristocratic town spread great fear and consternation 
among the women, children and negroes, the prin- 
cipal inhabitants, as the chivalric gentlemen were in 
arms against their country. The former, who had 
never before seen any '' V^ankee vandals," had heard 
many horrible stories of our wanton cruelty, and no 
doubt now thought their time had come. An in- 
stance, witnessed by the writer, will give the reader 
some idea of many like scenes. 

As Company H had just flattened out a paling 
fence, and passing in line through a nice yard, in 
which was a stately brick dwelling, over which our 
screeching shells were passing, a terrified woman, 
with five or six children, black and white, holding 
to her skirts, rushed out into the yard, in front of 
the advancing line, with her hands thrown up, im- 
ploringly addressed me thus : ''Oh, what shall I do, 
sir ! " I was about giving the command, "guide 
right," and added immediately, for answer to the 
woman, '' into the cellar, I say." She replied: 
" Oh, but what will I do when you burn my house." 
I then added in a loud, imperative voice, and, point- 
ing to the open cellar door with my drawn sword, 
" into the cellar, quick." The terrified woman and 
screaming little ones suddenly disappeared under 
ground, undoubtedly expecting soon to be roasted by 
the burning of her home. 

We followed the retreating rebels, pursued by 


Wilder, about three miles up the east fork of the 
Chickamauga, near Tunnel Hill, and bivouacked for 
the night. Before morning we learned that we were 
in close proximity to a large force of the enemy. 
We only had one man wounded. Wilder lost three 
killed. The enem} left several wounded in Ring- 
gold. We subsisted that night on green corn and 

The 1 2th of September our division marched back 
to Lee & Gordon's Mills, on the west fork of the 
Chickamauga River. Our brigade was late at night 
in reaching camp, having to march in rear of a train 
and some beef cattle, we had captured from the 

September 13th the sound of the bugle cut short 
our pleasant dreams. Shaking the cold dew from 
our gum blankets, we formed line of battle for one 
hour. Our advance had driven the enemy from this 
point the nth, and from the wrecked appearance of 
the scattered rebel pay rolls, old trunks, officers' 
desks, etc., strewn over the ground, the Johnnies 
must have left suddenly while we were partaking of a 
breakfast prepared from the remnants of our previ- 
ous day's allowance. 

General T. Wood's division, on the opposite side 
of the river, was attacked by a rebel division. We 
hastily formed, and double-quicked over to his sup- 
port. From the rattle of small arms the battle was 
hot, but was of short duration. Before we arrived 
Wood's men had run them off, but a rebel battery 
paid us a few compliments in the shape of some shell, 


that came uncomfortably near some of us. At 2 
o'clock p. m. we re-crossed the river and rejoined 
the balance of Crittenden's Corps, occupying the 
same ground as we did the previous night. 

September 14th. Reveille at 4 o'clock a. m., and 
orders to march at daylight. As usual, on such oc- 
casions, we had a hurried breakfast. Many were 
the different opinions expressed as to where and 
which way we would move next. It was generally 
known to our men that General Bragg was receiving 
large reinforcements from Richmond and Jo John- 
ston's army at Atlanta, and the boys said: ''If we 
are to cross the river on the east side, there' 1 be 
some unpleasantness, sure." But at 8 o'clock the 
various arguments on that subject were unceremoni- 
ously cut short by General Crittenden marching us, 
with all the Twenty- first Corps, out on the road 
toward Chattanooga. After proceeding about five 
miles we halted in column, and remained there until 
dark. The men were allowed to sit or lie down, and 
those who mere fortunate enough to have any 
''grub " cooked got away with it. 

When darkness began to spread over our wooded 
retreat we resumed the march, and moved to within 
one mile of Lookout Mountain, and bivouacked on 
a small hill in McLamore's Cove. This move was 
to form a closer connection with General Thomas, 
and await the tardy movements of McCook's Corps, 
having been sent around by Valley Head to cross 
Lookout Mountain at Stephen's Gap, and join the 
main army here. 


The most of the Eighth lay down under their gum 
blankets to sleep without supper,- and some were 
too hungry to sleep, but never too tired to grumble 
when their haversacks and stomachs were both empty. 
The writer lay for hours listening to the humorous 
discussions of the men on the wisdom or foolishness 
of this mysterious move. We at last slept, leaving 
the red signal lights still bobbing away on Lookout. 

The ''everlasting bugle," as the boys called it, 
awoke us at 4 o'clock, on the morning of the 15th. 
Soon the effects of so much promiscuous firing 
around the picket line began to come into camp in 
the shape of skinned hog, sheep, and occasionally a 
quarter of beef would come wagging in between 
two soldiers. It was a sweet and savory odor, 
eminating from hundreds of broiling steaks and fry- 
ing mutton, whetting our already keen appetites. 
Soon full stomachs and cheerful faces took the place 
of sad, hungry men. 


At 8 o'clock, on the morning of the 15th, the 
bugles sounded the assembly, and put a stop to our 
cooking and feasting, and at 9 o'clock the Twenty- 
first Corps was marching on the road to the noted 
Crawfish Spring, where we halted for one hour and 
filled our canteens from the fountain that forms the 
head of West Chickamauga River. Three miles 
further south we bivouacked near Owens' Mill, on 
East Chickamauga. Companies H and I were de- 
tailed from the Eighth for picket. We knew the 
enemy to be near our front, and great vigilance was 
therefore necessary, no fire or light being allowed at 
the reserve. But the night passed very quietly, ex- 
cept one alarm, caused by Gabbard, Company I» 
who fired at and badly crippled a cow that he had 
supposed to be a mounted rebel. 

We remained here for three days, expecting an at- 
tack. The night of the i6th a reconnoitering party 
from the Eighth and Twenty-first Kentucky of six- 
teen men and two officers (Captains Wilson and 
Savage), crossed the river and silently crept through 
brush and thickets until they came near the enemy's 
cavalry videttes, two of them standing together. 
Captain Wilson, of the Eighth, heard them convers- 
ng, and crept near enough to hear them debating 
the probability of General Bragg and Longstreet's 
combined forces being able to utterly annihilate the 


Union army under Rosecrans, in case they suc- 
ceeded in cutting us off from Chattanooga. 

The 17th, about noon, there was some firing be- 
tween the enemy and Palmer's division, on our right. 
The morning of the iSth, two men of the Eighth, 
privates M. King and A. Logsdon, passed the pickets 
to go to Owens' Mill, to exchange some confederate 
scrip for some of the old fellow's black flour. When 
nearing the stream King discovered a rebel picket 
perched on the fence near the mill house. King 
stepped behind a tree and instantly fired, killing the 
Johnny. This was like stirring up a hornet's nest. 
The rebel skirmishers immediately commenced ad- 
vancing, and opened on our line of pickets. In a 
few minutes a rebel battery from a hill near the mill 
opened on our camp. Artillery was hurried into 
position. Our pickets were reinforced and held 
them in check, but their shells played havoc with 
our coffee-pots, frying-pans, and a nice lot of beef 
the boys were jerking, as slowly drying it in strips was 
called by our negro cooks. One of the negro cooks 
snatched his coffee-pot from the fire and fled at the 
first shell. We hastily formed and took a position 
behind a slight eminence just in the rear of our 
bivouack fires. The pickets kept up a lively skirmish 
for several hours, the artillery from both sides throw- 
ing shells lively, theirs principally passing harm- 
lessly over our line. At 5 p. m. we were relieved by 
Palmer's troops, and marched to Lee & Gordon^s 
Mills, arriving there near 10 o'clock. Lieutenants 
Williams and Lewis and myself were debating ways 


and means for supper, as Bristo and Simp, with all 
the other colored cooks, had decamped, leaving us 
without supplies, when the white teeth and ebony 
countenance of Bristo appeared at our fire, still car- 
rying his rescued coffee-boiler and contents that had 
been intended for our dinner. Lieutenant Lewis, in 
his joy at this lucky turn of affairs, said, '' 'Bris,' if 
this war ever ends, you shall have a pension for 
heroic conduct." Bristo replied: " Mars lieuten- 
ant, I's mighty feared dis nigger '11 end afoh de wah, 
ef I has ter stan' annuder sich a day." 

It was now evident to all that a great battle was 
inevitable, and we rolled ourselves up in our gunx 
blankets for a few hours' sleep, not knowing how 
many of our little regiment would sleep the sleep 
that knows no waking before the shades of another 
day closed around us. Hoping to be among those 
that would soon see the rebellion subdued into a 
lasting peace, that should be equally a blessing to 
North and South for many generations to come, we 
slept (after committing ourselves and our cause to 
Him who rules the destiny of nations) as sound as if 
no battle was pending or no danger near. 


The battle commenced about 8 o'clock, a. m., of 
the 19th, on the extreme left wing of our line. Gen- 
eral Brannan's division of Thomas' corps, being sta- 
tioned on the Lafayette road leading to Chattanooga, 
was first attacked, the firing rapidly increasing, and 
from that time until sunset was that continuous roar 
of firearms that speaketh death. 


In order that the reader may have a better under- 
standing of the position of the Eighth Kentucky, I 
will state the order of our line of battle. Next on 
the right of Brannan's division was Bird's division 
of the same corps ; next was General Johnson's 
division of McCook's corps, and on the right of 
Johnson's was Palmer's division of Crittenden's 
corps, and next ours (VanCleve's division), and on 
our right Reynolds' division of Thomas' corps, which 
covered the ford at the mills of Lee & Gordon, with 
Wilder's cavalry guarding the extreme right wing. 
Our brigade, commanded by Colonel Barnes, was 
formed in column closed in mass. The colonel 
made us a short but thrilling speech, which I would 
reproduce here had I not lost my memoranda. 

Our brigade was held in reserve near the river, be- 
low the mills, until near 2 o'clock, p. m. The 
superior numbers of the enemy enabled them to 
overlap with heavy force each division of ours as 
they attacked them in succession, and by noon the 
enemy had gained some advantage. Our right and 
center were being hard pressed. At i o'clock, p. m., 
they attacked Palmer's troops, and also overlapped 
them. Our division (VanCleve's) was then ordered 
in. Immediately in our front and between our lines 
and the enemy lay several hundred yards of dense 
undergrowth. We moved through this brush by the 
right of companies, then into line through a small 
cornfield to the edge of the heavy timber in which 
the enemy was posted. While crossing the field 
their skirmish line gave us a scattering fire, then 


hastily withdrew to their main line, not, however, 
until we captured several of them secreted behind a 
low rail fence. 

We continued a steady fire on the enemy's line in 
our front. Our men appeared in the best of spirits, 
notwithstanding the heavy fire they were pouring on 
us. This continued for about thirty minutes, and. 
the enemy's line appeared to be giving back. Sev- 
eral of our regiment had fallen, badly wounded, 
among them being B. Tudor, Company C. We were 
expecting momentarially to . be ordered forward, 
when, to our surprise, we were completely flanked on 
our right by a heavy force, who opened an enfilading 
fire on us, at the same time those on our front opened 
with renewed vigor, this time with several pieces of 
artillery. We were ordered to fall back across the 
field to the thicket above mentioned, which we did 
in tolerable good order under a terrific storm of shot 
and shell, leaving many of our wounded comrades in 
that field. We, however, succeeded in carrying back 
with us Tudor, Company C, Logsdon and Webb, 
Company H, and several others. We straightened 
up our line under cover of the brush, and then by the 
help of part of Wood's Division succeeded in driving 
the enemy back to the timber. When night came 
on the firing ceased, except an occasional picket 
shot. It was with feelings of pride, blended with 
sorrow, that we re-formed our short companies of two 
dozen men each, in that thicket, preparatory to our 
second advance into the field. It was sad to see 
these brave boys, with clouded, but determined faces. 


the tears coursing down many of their powder-black- 
ened cheeks, caused more from chagrin at being 
compelled to fall back than at the loss of comrades. 

At dark, Colonel Barnes ordered Captain Wilson 
and myself with six men to carry a white flag into 
the cornfield after some of our wounded. A shower 
of bullets was the response. But we managed to 
get all of the Eighth off except those taken prison- 
ers — Lieutenant-Colonel Mayhew and five men. By 
this inhumanity, the poor, suffering wounded of 
friend and foe continued their piteous cries and 
groans within easy hearing of both lines throughout 
the cold, frosty night. Never before did the hor- 
rors of war seem to us so cruel. We could distinctly 
hear their lamentable cries, '^O, water, water!" 
and occasionally some poor, half-frantic sufferer call- 
ing the name of some familiar comrade or friend to 
come there. Though we heard none of the Eighth 
wounded that we could recognize, several of our 
brave boys ventured, after dark, to rescue some of 
the wounded of the Fifty-first Ohio. Considering 
the intense cold night, with our great coats and 
blankets far in the rear, our scant, poor rations, and 
being so near so much suffering humanity, without 
the privilege of giving any assistance, this certainly 
was the most miserable night the Eighth experienced 
during the war. 

Early in the night. Company I, commanded by 
Captain Martin, was posted as pickets in an old 
field to the right of where our late engagement was, 
and he was relieved at midnight by the author with 


Company H, of the Eighth. Two hours later, our 
entire force fell back two miles further toward Chat- 
tanooga. With such profound silence was this with- 
drawal made, that we, on the skirmish line, were 
not apprised of the move. 

Darkness prevented any hostilities after lo o'clock 
p. m. The enemy's pickets and ours were in close 
proximity. Their force in our front were busy chop- 
ping and felling trees the latter part of the night, 
making a great noise, and not until 4 o'clock a. m. 
on the 20th did we learn that the whole Union line 
had moved back over one and a-half miles, and the 
officer of the day had not yet notified me to fall 
back, and I did not intend to vacate without orders 
or a fight, and the latter event appeared certain as 
soon as the light of day appeared. I knew I could 
trust my company against any equal number of men 
and went along their line and instructed each, in 
case of being hard pressed, how to retire in line. 
The cold, frosty night made us shiver for overcoats. 
We were aware of our perilous condition, without 
any support, but coolly awaited events. About 
dawn, a heavy fog arose from the river and spread 
over the surrounding country. Under cover of this 
the rebel skirmish line withdrew, probably with the 
intention of being relieved by fresh pickets. They 
fell back over a small hill. At this time General 
Sheridan and staff passed in the rear of our little 
company of forgotten pickets. I sent Lieutenant 
Lewis to the road to hail the general. He gave me 
orders to withdraw my men immediately, adding 


that such gross neglect in a field officer of pickets 
should be looked into. My company retired in line 
until we cleared the open land, and then succeeded 
in joining the regiment, and while trying to boil 
some coffee for breakfast (our dusky cooks had not 
put in an appearance), we were ordered into line 
without the coveted coffee and "ned/' Our brigade 
was detached from the division, and assigned a posi- 
tion near the center of the new line of battle, which 
was generally protected with slight and hastily- 
formed breastworks, made of rails, logs, stone or 
anything that could be conveniently had. The 
enemy's evident intention was to force their way be- 
tween us and Chattanooga. 

The battle was recommenced about 8 o'clock 
a. m., and by ten became furious all along the line. 
Col. Barnes was ordered to go to the support of one 
of General Thomas' divisions on the left center, who 
was being hard pressed. Hastily calling in our 
skirmishers, we double-quicked about one and one-half 
miles, halted, dressed up our line, and had just time 
to wipe the dust and sweat from our eyes, when two 
of our regiments, the 51st Ohio and the 8th Ken- 
tucky, were placed under command of Col. McLean, 
commanding the 5 ist, and ordered to go to the support 
of Gen. Rousseau, one-half mile further to the right. 
We resumed the double-quick, and passed down the 
rear of General Reynolds' regulars, who were busily 
engaged, pouring volley after volley into the rebel 
ranks, the balls of the latter making lively music 
about our ears. We entered a corn-field that had 

After the words " inemory recurs to it^'' nth line from bot- 
tom of page igj, the tolloiaing should appear : 

When we were within twenty yards of the enemy 
they broke into a perfect rout. The Eighth Kentucky 
and Fifty-first Ohio boys kept up the charge, firing 
and re-loading as fast as expert hands could. We 
drove the enemy nearly half a mile, capturing two 
battle-flags and thirty prisoners. Our two regiments 
then took a position on the left of General Reynolds, 
and, during a lull in the continuous roar and rattle 
of small arms, our men labored hard in erecting a 
slight breastwork, gathering loose stones and logs. 
Up to this time neither army had gained any deci- 
sive advantage. 


lately been laid waste, we being in column by 
companies. In our front, at the other side of the 
field, we saw the 15th Kentucky and two other regi- 
ments falling back, having exhausted their ammuni- 
tion. The exulting rebels, under Breckenridge^ were 
pressing forward, but not in very good order, though 
their bullets were making the corn-stalks rattle in 
a very unpleasant manner. Col. McL. gave the 
order, "On the right, into line, march I" This 
command was repeated by the clear, ringing voice 
of our young and gallant Major Clark. We execu- 
ted this maneuver at the double-quick, with as much 
precision as we ever did on the drill-field. As soon 
as Rousseau's men had cleared our front, our boys 
opened " fire at will." When within sixty yards of 
the enemy, the order was given and repeated at the 
top of the' voice of every captain : " Fix bayonets, 
charge !" The cheer the 8th Kentucky then gave, 
as we made that charge, will doubtless cause every 
surviving member's heart to swell with pride as often 
as memory recurs to it. But by some mistake of one 
of General Thomas' aids reporting to him that there 
was a gap in General Brannan's line (one of his 
brigades being in echelon caused this apparent open- 
ing), consequently General Wood was ordered to 
close up on Brannan's right. This move made an actual 
opening of a brigade's length in the line half a mile 
to our right. The enemy had, during the lull spoken 
of, been massing his forces on our right, and they 
took immediate advantage of the opening, charging 
into this gap with a powerful force, striking one 




brigade of Wood's division in flank, and sweeping it 
away, and also driving back the right of Brannan's 
line. Through this wide breach poured a long line 
of rebels, taking two batteries and instantly turning 
them on our right flank and the rear of General Rey- 
nolds' line, sending a perfect storm of grape and 
canister shot into our lines. At the same time we 
were in a brisk skirmish with the enemy in our front. 
This state of affairs made it impossible for us to hold 
our position many minutes without certain capture. 
Many of our noble boys were wounded. Private S. 
Lynch, Company K, was literally torn to fragments 
by a shell. Our retreat was necessarily a running 
the gauntlet between two fires, while the enemy was 
trying to close on us and cut us off". About twenty 
of the Eighth were captured, principally wounded. 

Where a whole regiment, without a single excep- 
tion, does its duty in an action, as our boys did here, 
individual mention, probably, should not be made ; 
but the squad that stuck to Sergeant R. Cox and the 
flag, through the cornstalks, on this occasion, cer- 
tainly deserve exceptional praise : Ab. Wiseman 
and W. Townsend, Company K ; J. Tipton, Com- 
pany C; P. Dennis, " Garl" Conner and C. Webb, 
•Company H; Barnett and a few others. Tipton, 
Barnett and King were wounded and taken, but the 
other boys saved the flag. This coming under my 
immediate notice must be taken for my apology for 
especial mention. 

The principal part of the Eighth, except those 
captured or wounded, rallied to the new line of bat- 


tie, formed about a mile north of our former posi- 
tion, where we remained until 8 o'clock p. m. ^'^'-tcP 

At twilight on that bloody day a large rocket shot 
up from the enemy's line, and firing soon ceased. 
Our loss in this two days' battle was ten killed, 
forty-six wounded and twenty-four prisoners, most of 
the latter also wounded. Lieutenant Colonel May- 
hew was captured the 19th. On the 20th Major 
Clark lost his horse and hat, and many of us had 
bullet holes in our clothing. That night all our 
army except Thomas' corps and the cavalry, made a 
silent, and, for many of us, a sad march to Rossville, 
four miles from Chattanooga, arriving there about i 
o'clock, a. m., the 21st. We threw our weary 
bodies on the ground, and for a short time became 
oblivious to the din, roar and clash of arms, but 
awoke at daylight, most of us feeling sore, with every 
limb and joint aching. The sad, powder-blackened 
faces of the men, their clothing torn into rags by the 
brush, some with pantaloons off at the knees, others 
without hats — all looking war-worn and brush-torn 
as they silently grouped around the bivouack fires, 
preparing our scant remnants for bi'eakfast — would, 
under other circumstances, have caused mirth among 
ourselves at our own dilapidated appearance. But 
we could neither laugh nor ignore the fact, however, 
that for the first time we had left our helpless, 
wounded comrades on the bloody field in possession 
of the enemy. We all knew our army had defeated 
greatly superior numbers in their main object, i. e., 
to regain possession of Chattanooga, from which 


Bragg' s army had retreated eleven days before. We 
also knew that the enemy's loss in killed and wounded 
far exceeded ours, and they had gained only what 
they had before, and lost their boasted ''gate city of 
the south." 



We arrived at Chattanooga at noon, the 21st of 
September, and were assigned our position on the 
extreme left wing of the new line near the Tennessee 
River, half a mile above the city. Though the 
Eighth boys were somewhat dispirited at our loss of 
comrades, they were not the kind of men to mope or 
entertain melanchoUy feelings. Every man in our 
army knew the great importance of holding the city, 
and, notwithstanding we had taken but three hours 
sleep within the last forty-eight hours, our bodies 
aching with pains from fatigue and hunger, as soon 
as the line of rifle pits were staked off the Eighth 
boys siezed picks and spades with eagerness, self- 
confidence and determination beaming from every 
face, vowing the rebels should never take the coveted 
city, and commenced heaving up the red earth, and 
to stimulate each other the boys assumed their 
wonted cheerfulness. The company commanders 
went into the city and each returned with several 
canteens full of whisky, captured from the enemy. 
The writer spent eight dollars for his company's 
spirits, and thought it was a good investment. The 
picks and shovels were not permitted to be idle a 
moment, day nor night. The Eighth officers would 
occasionally jump into the ditch and take some tired 
soldier's place, and allow him a few minutes rest. 


By dark, the 2 2d, a line of good rifle pits extended 
for six miles in a semi-circle around the city, from 
our position to the mouth of the creek below the 

The 23d, the enemy made their appearance on Mis- 
sion Ridge. We expected an attack the next morning. 
That night the officers and men labored hard, carry- 
ing small trees and brush from the river bank, form- 
ing 'an entanglement in front of our works. We 
also stretched a telegraph wire, about one foot above 
ground, secured to strong stakes, among the brush 
in our front, intending to trip up and confuse the 
attacking rebels, should they charge our works. But 
the threatened attack was never made. Their line 
of pickets was established east of Citico Creek, 
along the foot of Mission Ridge. 

The 25th of September, our pickets being much 
annoyed by some rebel sharpshooters, concealed in 
a house east of the creek, one of our batteries at 
Fort Wood sent a few explosive shells over. One 
of them went crashing through and fired the build- 
ing. About twenty Johnnies left there quite sud- 
denly, and our men could raise their heads above 
the edge of the picket holes without so much danger. 
Soon after this, the enemy's pickets lying in hailing 
distance of ours, agreed to cease hostilities, unless 
either should advance. This was a private's affair, 
but was maintained with few exceptions for several 
weeks. However, the rebels would insist on the fun 
of shooting at our officers when they came near our 
line. We often took advantage of them by swapping 



coats with the men, and carrying a gun, and no 
sword. On one of these occasions the writer heard 
the following conversation between a rebel picket 
and one of the Eighth. 

Rebel Picket. — '* You'ens got plenty of coffee 
over thar? " 

Eighth Picket. — " You are mighty right, we 

R. P. — '' How'll you swap for some Kentucky 
whisky ? " 

E. P. — '^ Pint for pint ; come over." 

They met each other half way, without arms. Af- 
ter each had taken a drink and exchanged exhilar- 
ating stimulants, the Eighth picket said : 

" How many men had Bragg in the fight, last 
week ? ' ' 

R. P. — '* Some sixty thousand. How many was 
they of you'ens ? " 

E. P. — "Oh, about thirty thousand." 

R. P. — '•'■ See here, Yank, that's too thin; you'ens 
wus more'n we'ens." 

Then each returned to his post. 

With the kind reader's permission, we will look at 
another scene in army life, in strange contrast to the 
bloody scenes we have just recorded. 

Time, the 28th of September. Darkness is 
spreading over the camp and surrounding country. 
The numerous camp fires of the enemy are twink- 
ling for miles along the west side of Mission Ridge, 
and the bright full moon is just looming up over 
the host of the enemy. The last notes of the 


bands of the various headquarters are dying 
in echoes up the broad Tennessee. The rough, 
war-worn veterans of the Eighth and Twenty-first are 
collecting in a circular crowd. Chaplains Kindred 
and Burkett are about to commence divine worship, 
some of the men seated on the ground, some on 
cracker boxes or other hastily improvised seats. In 
the midst rises an aged, white-haired man with open 
book in hand. A lighted candle in a bottle, placed 
on a pile of cracker boxes, complete the pulpit ar- 
rangements. None in camp are yet asleep, but 
unusual quiet pervades. The joker has hashed, all 
profanity ceases. The aged man lines the hymn, 
' 'Ashamed of Jesus." The soldier audience join in 
the song, their clear, rich voices ring far out over 
the placid river. Then follows an able, earnest 
petition to the throne of God for fallen humanity 
and our suffering country. Then the refugee preach- 
er holds his male auditors in rapt attention for more 
than an hour, dwelling at some length on the wick- 
edness of the rebellion. As the old man warmed 
up on this subject, the peculiar curl of his thin lip 
grows sharper, his grfy eyes kindle to fiery orbs, his 
gesticulations grew more animated, and his counten- 
ance more furious. With arms flung on high, as if 
grasping after a thunderbolt to hurl at the leaders of 
the rebellion, he drew a picture of their crimes in 
appalling colors, describing the dreadful horrors of 
this useless destruction of young lives. At last the 
speaker descends from his thunder tones, and his 
voice wailed out such pathetic sorrow for our dead. 


and suffering wounded, as to cause the unaccustomed 
tears to glisten on many bronzed cheeks, winding up 
with a prayer to God, "if possible, to forgive the 
very leaders of the rebellion," and to enable our 
army to save the country and restore the Union. 
Silence taps is sounding and the grand old song, 
"Praise God from whom all blessings flow," is sang 
with a new meaning to many. 

Owing to the difificulty of wagoning supplies over 
the mountains from Bridgeport, Alabama, the army 
only received half rations, and that, too, of a very 
inferior quality. Our boys began to study ways and 
means to supply the much needed grub. 

Sergeant Hironmus, Company D, a brave and ad- 
venturous, but quiet and cautious, man, while on 
picket had observed that the enemy daily drove a 
large herd of Texas cattle from the corral to the 
river, near the pickets, for the purpose of watering 
them. He also observed that the careless, cowardly 
herders frequently allowed the hungry kine to scatter 
along the river bank, browsing on the green cane. 
Frank said nothing, but on the morning of the 7th 
he ordered out a foraging party''composed of Sergeant 
Hironmus, commanded by said Sergeant, clad in a 
rusty, dilapidated suit of butternut jeans. He took 
his trusty old squirrel rifle, which he had found 
somewhere in Dixie, and, under cover of the heavy 
fog, crept along the river bank, protected from the 
view of the pickets by the heavy growth of cane and 
weeds, and secreted himself inside the enemy's lines 
until thirteen head of cattle had passed below him. 


He then managed to give his hat a wave on a stick, 
poked out from his hiding place. The frightened 
cattle did not stop until inside our lines, where they 
were soon converted into beef for our brigade. The 
next day the Confederacy lost several more nice cat- 
tle, branded C. S. After that their pickets were 
strengthened near the river, and we got no more 
Texas beef. 

The loth of October our encampment was visited 
by Generals T. L. Crittenden and VanCleve. They 
both bade us farewell. Our men expressed some 
surprise, and much regret, at thus giving up our 
corps and division generals. 

The next evening, at dress parade, the following 
address was read by the adjutants of each regiment 
in the Twenty-first Army Corps, which lost its desig- 
nation as such by being blended with, and became 
a part of the Fourth Army Corps : 

Chattanooga, October loth, 1863. 

To the Officers and Soldiers of the T%veniy-first Army Corps : 

The general commanding announces with sorrow that the 
name of this corps has been stricken from the army rolls, and 
that he has been relieved from duty and ordered to report at 
Indianapolis, that his conduct in the late battle of Chicka- 
mauga may be investigated. The general regrets the separa- 
tion, and not the investigation. The closest scrutiny, hovv^ever 
it may effect him, can only brighten your future. Your deeds 
at Chickamauga, as at Stone River, will hand down to posterity 
your honored names. You have honored me. The mighty 
hand of the Twenty-first Army Corps has graven the name of 
its commander on the famous pages of the past, and the slan- 
derous tongue cannot revoke that past. Further honors await 
you. May God's blessings attend you. 

T. L. CRITTENDEN, Major General, 


The Third Brigade, to which the Eighth belonged, 
was assigned to the command of General Wat. Whit- 
aker, of the Sixth Kentucky, and Colonel Barnes 
again took command of the regiment. About this 
time the officers of the regiment made and forwarded 
a petition to General Thomas, who had superseded 
General Rosecrans, asking for the consolidation of 
the Eighth Kentucky into a battalion of five compa- 
nies. This was done on account of the reduced 
number of men in each company, not averaging over 
fifty each. 

On the i8th of October a detachment of one hun- 
dred and seventeen men and four officers were de- 
tailed from the brigade, and sent, under command 
of the writer, to the general field hospital, in Spring 
Valley, on the north side of the river. Thirty- two 
of these men were from the Eighth Kentucky. This 
detail remained there until the ist of November, 
doing fatigue duty of various kinds, chopping wood, 
putting up hospital tents, making bunks, gathering 
forest leaves for beds, digging graves, burying the 
dead, and caring for the necessities of the wounded. 

The 23d of October the Eighth moved to the 
north side of the river, into Moccasin Bend, oppo- 
site Lookout Mountain, were they commenced to 
prepare winter quarters. The men went to work 
with their axes, preparing material, trying to be 
cheerful with the scant half rations. 

About the 27th General Hooker's forces, from 
the Potomac, arrived in Lookout Valley, and at- 
tacked the enemy at Wauhatchie on the 28th, and 


after a hot engagement succeeded in driving the 
€nemy south of Lookout Creek, and made connec- 
tion with our army by a pontoon bridge, near the 
foot of Sand Mountain. 

The hospital fatigue party were especially busy 
when the ambulances conveying Hooker's wounded 
began to arrive, bearing over two hundred mangled, 
bleeding and suffering men. A few of them were 
rebels, who received the same care as our own 
men. There was a general moving around of 
the wounded to make room for those coming 
in, twenty dead to bury, with a prospect for 
twenty more in a few hours. These hard worked 
-and poorly fed duty men complained to the 
writer for more grub or less work. I had used all 
my pursuasive powers to induce Boughton, the quar- 
termaster, to increase rations for these duty-men, 
but without effect. I called up six of the Eighth and 
four of the Fifty-first boys, and told them and Lieu- 
tenant Cassidy, of the Thirty-fifth Indiana, that if 
there was any animal fit for human food within ten 
miles of camp, I knew they were the men that could 
find it, and whether it belonged to friend or foe, to 
have it there before night. Just after dark the 
foragers returned, each two of the squad bringing in 
a part of a beef. Before morning the other half was 
brought in and given to the wounded and waiters. 
Doctor Perkins, surgeon in charge, thankfully re- 
ceived a good roast, and commended my course, but 
had too great fears of red tape to take the responsi- 
bility of ordering out a foraging party. I told him 


if the government would not or could not feed my 
men, they should be allowed to feed themselves. 

We found only one of the Eighth boys in the gen- 
eral field hospital. Presley Sloan, Company D, had 
been knocked senseless by a piece of shell on the 
evening of the 20th of September. The leaves that 
had drifted where he fell caught fire, and burned the 
skin from his entire body. He said that he had 
suffered terribly, but was in a fair way of recovery. 
A very sad case of destitution, caused by war, was 
that of Mr. Powell, who, with his wife and six chil- 
dren, were hovering under a few old pieces of tents 
and quilts, near our encampment. They had fled 
from their burning dwelling during the battle of 
Chickamauga, penniless, roofless, and nearly friend- 
less. One of his little boys died a few days after 
our arrival at the hospital, and some of our boys 
made a rude coffin and buried him for the stricken 

The 31st of October the brigade received orders 
to march. Our fatigue duty-men were ordered 
back to their respective regiments, and the ist of 
November, with some reluctance, we left our half 
finished cabins. Some of the men said, '*If we're 
going where we can get full rations once more, it 
is all right." 

When we arrived at headquarters the ist Novem- 
ber, tents, camp and garrison equipage, officers' bag- 
gage, including desks, company books, &c., were 
packed into a pile, a guard detailed and left to guard 
them, and the brigade marched to the river, where 


we had to wait three hours for repairs to the pontoon 
bridge, which had been damaged by large rafts of 
logs set adrift by the rebels. We then marched 
single file over the treacherous, swaying bridge, and 
run the gauntlet up through Lookout Valley, under 
fire of the enemy's heavy guns stationed on the 
northwest slope of Lookout Mountain. None of the 
brigade, however, were hurt. We bivouacked at 
Wauhatchie, the numerous fires of the enemy twink- 
ling like stars on frowning Lookout. At dark, Col- 
onel Barnes received information that the enemy was 
advancing on us. All our cheerful camp fires were 
reluctantly extinguished, and we lay in line of battle 
during the night, ready for any emergency. We were 
not attacked, but spent a sleepless night. At sun- 
rise we ate a hasty breakfast, and marched over a 
spur of Raccoon Mountain and down Clearwater 
Creek. My company, on duty as train guard, was, 
at dark, a long way behind the regiment, caused by 
bad roads and broken down wagons. 

The night of the 2d November, 1863, found us 
back at Shellmound, Tennessee, where General 
Whitaker informed Colonel Barnes we would fortify 
and go into winter quarters. From this time until 
the 1 2th we suffered much from the inclemency of 
the weather, having left the remnant of our old tents 
at Moccasin Bend, and most of the men's overcoats 
and blankets were still boxed up at Nashville, where 
they were sent in the spring by general orders. The 
nights were cold for this climate, but the men of the 
Eighth were not the men to sit still and freeze or 


Starve without an effort to remedy the evil. Procur- 
ing as many axes as could be had, logs were cut and 
large fires built, around which the men at night col- 
lected, sung their songs, and joked each other about 
their ragged appearance, with as much cheerfulness 
as if we were in the best of barracks. Sergeant 
Wood remarked : '' I can stand a heap if they will 
only feed me well." We were kept too busy during 
these days to feel the cold. Cutting down trees and 
building fortifications occupied part of our time the 
first two weeks here. A large part of each regiment 
was detailed to cut trees and prepare material for our 
winter quarters. A daily guard of forty men was 
furnished by our brigade to escort provision trains to 
Whiteside's Station. The horrible condition of the 
road through the '' Narrows" made it hard work 
helping wagons out of mud holes, but supplies for a 
large army at the front could not be neglected. 

The 9th, Colonel Barnes, Major Clark and Cap- 
tain Powell laid off our new encampment. Chaplain 
Kindred, Captain Dixon and myself were appointed 
by the colonel to take charge of and superintend the 
building parties. Our men worked under many dis- 
advantages for want of axes. This was soon reme- 
died by borrowing from the division quartermaster, 
and a few old cross-cut saws, gathered up from the 
surrounding neighborhood. Thus work on our 
cabins progressed daily. 


About the 15th of November General Sherman's 
army began to pass up the river road, toward Chat- 
tanooga, and we all expected more "unpleasantness" 
with the Johnnies soon. 

The 1 8th our brigade was reviewed by General 
Whitaker. Our lines were much shorter than twelve 
months ago, but in marching past old " Wat," he 
raised his hat, and said : " Colonel Barnes, that reg- 
iment of yours is an honor to our state. Gad, but 
they can march without music as well as with it." 

The next day the ever welcome face of the pay- 
master appeared, and we received our allowance of 
greenbacks for September and October. That night, 
after all had retired with full pockets, orders came 
to prepare to march, but recent rains had rendered 
the bad road almost impassable, and . the rear of 
Sherman's force had not cleared the Narrows, there- 
fore we did not move until the morning of the 23d. 

The 2 2d the colonel and Captain Smallwood had 
a few short words, resulting in the latter being put 
under arrest. After a hard day's march, with sixty 
rounds of cartridges and four day's rations, we halted 
for the night at the base of Mount Raccoon, oppo- 
site to and west of frowning Lookout, on whose sum- 
mit and western side the enemy's numerous camp 
fires twinkled like stars in the black, distant horizon. 
Every man in our army, from a private to General 


Grant, knew it would be a desperate undertaking to 
drive the Johnnies from that mountain. Its main- 
tainance was of vital importance to them, therefore 
they had fortified this naturally strong position, 
wherever the best of military skill of the rebel offi- 
cers thought would add to its defense. But the pos- 
session of Lookout was also of great importance to 
the Union army, and General Grant said it must be 
taken. We lay down to rest our weary bodies, for 
the hazardous undertaking before us. Early on the 
morning of the 24th our brigade of the Fourth Corps, 
joined Slocum's troops of Hooker's Corps, and 
moved up Lookout Valley into a dense forest, south 
of the Wauhatchie, where the enemy lost sight of us 
for a few hours. 

Captain Smallwood's company (K) sent a polite 
request to Colonel Barnes that they desired their 
captain's release from arrest, and that he be per- 
mitted to command them in battle. The request 
was at first refused. Then Smallwood appealed to 
General Whitaker, who rode up to Colonel Barnes, 
and said: " Colonel, this captain is only under ar- 
rest for some petty personal slang you and he have 
been indulging in ; now, by G — d, he is too brave 
an officer to miss this engagement. It will be an 
honor to you to overlook the matter, and restore 
him his sword and command." It was done, and 
no more was heard of court martialing Captain 

In this forest we piled our knapsacks, blankets, 
and part of our rations, and left them under a guard. 



We filed off to the left, crossed Lookout Creek on an 
old mill-dam, and commenced the difficult task 
of ascending the mountain through a thicket of 
cedars, that skirted the base of the mountain. Up, 
still up; meeting with no opposition, except inani- 
mate nature, pulling up by shrubs and projecting rocks. 
At last we reached the inaccessible wall of lime- 
stone, a perfect palisade, several hundred feet high. 
This movement was still unobserved by the enemy, 
who were expecting us to attack them in front. We 
faced north, the Eighth Kentucky forming the ex- 
treme right wing of the line, therefore we were near- 
est the cliff. A heavy skirmish line was put forward. 
We moved forward, keeping well up with our skirm- 
ishers. Thus we swept along the steep, rugged mount- 
ain side, over huge rocks, fallen trees and deep ra- 
vines, regardless of the scattering shots sent at us from 
the mountain top. The labor was severe. Soon every 
man, including our_ brave, old fat colonel, was wet 
with perspiration. A heavy fog, that hovered 
over the mountain, enabled us to take the enemy by 
surprise, in the flank and rear of their works. Their 
evident confusion was so great that they made but a 
feeble, unorganized resistance, their defense being 
principally Indian fighting, from behind trees and large 
rocks. We gleaned a rich harvest of prisoners, and 
several pieces of artillery, principally from Stevison's 
Division. Those of the enemy that were not cap- 
tured fled around the nose of the mountain, and 
took a strong position on the southeastern slope, 
just under the towering cliff. About this time two 


of our heav)' seige guns on Moccasin Point opened 
fire, and were replied to by those of the enemy, on 
point of Lookout, almost immediately over our 
heads. By this time, 3 p. m., a dense cloud envel- 
oped the mountain, and the battle which followed 
has passed into history as " the battle above the 
clouds." The enemy made a determined stand, as 
they were strongly reinforced in their fortified new 
position. A good many of the Eighth having been 
sent back to Lookout Valley, in charge of prisoners, 
we were left in reserve on the "nose" of the 
mountain, and being near the wall or palisade, the 
enemy above lis not only shot at us whenever the 
cloud would lift, so as to enable them to see, but re- 
sorted to a novel method of warfare, rolling down 
loose stones at us. Under cover of the fog, a few 
of our sharpshooters took positions, concealed be- 
hind trees and large stones, and soon picked off 
every Johnnie that dared to show his head on top of 
the cliif. Though their ordinance made a terrific 
noise, their heavy missiles passed harmlessly over our 
heads, as their pieces could not be depressed to a 
sufficient angle to reach us.' During the evening, 
and to a late hour of the night, a heavy battle was 
fought, as it were almost under our feet. Our forces 
succeeded in driving the enemy around the mount- 
ain to the Summertown road, and at 10 o'clock the 
struggle ceased, the union forces expecting to renew 
the conflict at daylight. Four of the Eighth were 
wounded by balls, and several injured by rocks, 
rolled at us from above. None were dangerous 


wounds. As usual, every man in the regiment and 
brigade did his whole duty. B. F. Ward, Com- 
pany F, an excellent shot, succeeded in silencing a 
particularly annoying rebel sharpshooter, who had 
secreted himself in a niche of the irregular crown 
of the precipice. The rapidity of his shots were 
only accounted for by his comrades behind loading for 
him. Ben maneuvered until he obtained a position 
commanding a view of the annoying rebel's head. 
As the fog lifted above the mountain, Ben's unerring 
rifle cracked. The rapid shooter sprang forward, 
and fell on a ledge of rock twenty feet below. His 
hat, with a bullet hole in it, came to the base of the 
cliff. Ben lay there a long while, but no other dar- 
ing rebel showed his head*at'that point. 

There was a sudden change in the temperature of 
the atmosphere at the close of this eventful and historic 
day. Within a few hours the sultry, damp air had 
lowered to nearly zero. We felt this change more 
sensibly on account of having exerted ourselves in 
the charge on the mountain side, heating our blood, 
and having our clothing wet with perspiration. Thus, 
in our exalted position, without blankets, great coats 
or fire, our suffering during the night can better be 
imagined than described. Sleep was among the im- 
possibilities. But not a murmur was heard from 
these brave men. The life or death of the cause of 
freedom and good government was in the scale, and 
outweighed any bodily suffering of a few hundreds 
or thousands of men. In our'silent and shivering 
vigils of the night, we could occasionally hear a 


heavy, rumbling noise on the top of Lookout above 
us, that caused us pickets to suspect some movement 
of the enemy. In the early dawn of the 25th, Gen. 
Wat. Whitaker walked up in front of the 8th Ken- 
tucky, and said, *'Col. Barnes, I want a few volunteers 
to climb that cliff and see if the enemy are^ still 
there." The Colonel replied, "Tiiie whole regiment, 
General, if you wish it.*' Every man sprang to his 
feet, ready to obey the expected command. But 
only Capt. Wilson and six picked men were permitted 
at that time to immolate themselves on this high 
altar as a sacrifice to our country's cause. These 
apparently devoted men, carrying the 8th's flag, pro- 
ceeded to ascend this hundred feet or more of almost 
perpendicular wall, at a place where there was an 
irregular kind of a natural stairway, by which hung 
a large wild grape vine. At the base stood the 8th, 
and with bated breath we watched this brave little 
squad, with their guns slung over their backs, climb- 
ing to where, in all probability, sudden death awaited 
them. At last they disappear over the top. Hear- 
ing no noise above us indicating the presence of the 
enemy, we instantly commenced the toilsome ascent 
of Lookout in the same manner the squad had just 

Just as the king of day came peeping up over Mis- 
sionary Ridge, Capt. John Wilson stepped out on the 
projecting brow of Lookout Mountain, and unfurled 
to the morning breeze that dear old emblem of light 
and liberty. As the sight of the flag met the up- 
turned gaze of our vast army below, cheer after cheer 


echoed and re-echoed from camp to camp, from 
mountain to mountain, until the bosom of the placid, 
broad Tennessee River and the beautiful valleys ap- 
peared to shout for very joy. The enemy during the 
latter part of the night had silently fled from their 
works, both on top and along the south-east side of 
Lookout, and joined* the balance of Bragg's army on 
Mission Ridge, leaving over 200 of their sick and 
convalescent, with a thin line of pickets surrounding 
their camp at Summertown, half a mile west of the 
point of Lookout. 

As soon as the 8th reached the top, we hastily 
marched out to Summertown, where the scared and 
sickly looking pickets surrendered to us without 
even firing a gun. We also captured a large quantity 
of corn meal, twenty barrels of very dirty sugar, 
two wagon loads of ''rebel crackers," apparently of 
a mixture of ground peas, middlings or fine saw-dust, 
and of adamantine hardness. Also forty large 
Marquee tents were among the Quartermaster's stores 
that fell into our hands, and provided us shelter the 
week we remained on the top of this high, cold 
mountain. As Gen. Hooker rode up to us (via 
the Summertown road), Gen. Wat. Whitaker ad- 
dressed old '' Fighting Joe" thus : "General, as the 
8th Kentucky had the courage to come up here first, 
I hope you will let the Regiment remain here and 
guard these stores and this position." This modest 
request Gen. Hooker readily granted, remarking, 
"Sir, these western soldiers will fight anything on 
earth like rebels, and even climb above the clouds to 


complete victory and capture the enemy." The 
96th Illinois, commanded by Col. Champion, was 
ordered up, and joined the 8th in throwing a line of 
earthworks near the point or nose of the mountain. 

On this 25th November, 1863, our first day on 
Lookout, we were eye witnesses of one of the grand- 
est, most gigantic and exciting battle scenes that 
took place during this or any other war. From our 
high position we could overlook the country to a 
much greater distance than our natural vision could 
reach. The city of Chattanooga lay almost under 
us. Our vast army of nearly one hundred and twenty 
thousand men, stretched away southward, in dark 
blue lines, in the valley. Parallel to those living 
lines, stretches this peculiar ridge, where the enemy 
in strong force were well fortified, with months of 
incessant and well directed labor, engineered by the 
best of military skill, was added to this already natu- 
ral strong position. Behind these with their hun- 
dreds of heavy guns, we do not wonder the rebels 
felt confident of repulsing any force that could assail 
them. When Sherman's forces began to warm up 
the Johnnies near Fort Buckner into a smart battle, 
many of the officers and men of our two regiments 
seated themselves on the crowning rocks of the prec- 
ipice to view for our first time a great battle at a safe 
distance. I was the fortunate owner and possessor 
of a double lens opera glass, with the aid of which I 
could see the buttons on a man's coat at a distance 
of five miles. Thus situated the whole panorama of 
the great battle of Mission Ridge, with all its har- 


rowing details, passes under our view, except some 
of the assaults made in the forenoon by Corse's and 
Lightburn's Brigades on the northern slope of Tun- 
nel Hill, on which was situated Fort Buckner, on 
which Sherman's batteries near the river and those 
near Orchard Knob, were showering their shot and 
shell with great rapidity and effect. While our bat- 
teries in Forts Wood and Thomas were lively in their 
respects to Fort Bragg, situated near the center of 
the rebel line, about ii a. m., a brigade of Sherman's 
troops made a charge on the west slope of Tunnel 
Hill. The enemy being entrenched withstood them 
for a while, mowing down hundreds of these brave 
men. The line pushed up, leaving the hill side 
strewn with dead and wounded. We could see some 
dragging their mangled bodies back down the slope, 
while their more fortunate comrades were mounting 
over the rebel works and the Johnnies fleeing to the 
shelter of Fort Buckner. At last Sherman had, by 
persistent pounding on the rebels' right, succeeded 
in drawing reinforcements from their center, and we 
could see the head of Hooker's column ascending the 
slope, away to the right, near Rossville. 

At two o'clock p. m. there had been a slight ces- 
sation of the contest and roar of artillery. Six of 
our heavj siege guns, fired at intervals of two sec- 
onds, the signal for the starting of the Fourth Corps 
to assault Fort Bragg. The long blue lines sprang 
at once to their feet, and our vast army made a 
simultaneous forward movement one and a half miles 
to the foot of the bridge. The rebel artillery, con- 


sisting of hundreds of guns, sent storms of bursting 
shells far out over the valley, specking the air like 
mammoth snowflakes, all our heavy artillery return- 
ing the fire, which made the mountains fairly tremble 
with their terrific thunder. 

At the foot of the ridge, our troops encountered a 
rebel earthwork, packed with the enemy, and rim- 
ming it like a battlement. This was carried almost 
without a halt. But we could see our men falling 
thick and fast as they neared these works. And as 
they cleared them the rebel prisoners came streaming 
back, unarmed, toward the city, like the tail of a 
kite, running for their lives to escape the destructive 
missiles of their friends. While the noble old Fourth 
Corps struggled on up in the face of shot and shell, 
Hooker's men, near Rossville, were swinging around 
to flank the enemy's works. As the long blue lines 
of the Union forces ascended nearer the top, the 
sixty guns in the rebels' thirteen batteries concen- 
trated their fire upon the assaulting lines. But now 
to reach them, they could not depress their cannon 
sufficiently. They cut the fuse of their shells shorter 
and shorter, while their rifle pits were ablaze with 
fire of small arms. It did not seem possible to us 
that our men could live to reach the works, for in 
addition to this murderous fire, the rebels began to 
roll down huge rocks and shells with lighted fuse. 
But these heroic men had served too long under 
*' old Lion Heart " to waver only for a few minutes. 
As they did so, and we could see behind them the 
hundreds of prostrate comrades, our hearts appeared 


to be ready to leap out of our throats. I am confi- 
dent my hair more than once came near pushing my 
cap from my head. But onward and upward they 
clamber, and the brow of the ridge is reached, then 
the fighting is more like demons than men. Many 
of the veteran rebels stood at bay like gray wolves. 
This could not last long. We wiped the briny liquid 
from our eyes, and could- see the enemy flying over 
the eastern slope of the ridge, with their own deserted 
artillery playing upon them. The enemy were routed 
completely. The men of the Eighth cheered, slung 
their hats, and gave every expression of joy. Some 
danced, while the tears of joy rolled down their 
cheeks. Big Sergeant Bain, of Company A, said to 
me, after giving me a rib-crushing hug, " Cap., that 
sight's wuth more'n all my wages ; it's just awful 
grand, but powerful dangerous work. " 

On the 26th, Colonel Barnes, in compliance with 
orders from General Thomas, distributed the tents 
and commissaries captured on the mountain, with 
General Geary's division of Hooker's corps. We 
found the C. S. crackers a poor apology for bread — 
could not be eaten without soaking. Then one 
cracker would swell to a spongy, tasteless mass of 
gluey, slimy stuff, revolting both in looks and smell. 
The meal and sugar, though dirty, were palatable. 

We remained here, with little or nothing to do 
but eat and digest our poor grub, until the 2d day 
of December, when we received the welcome order 
to return to our winter quarters at Shell Mound, Tenn. 

The Eighth arrived at our quarters at Shell Mound, 


the evening of the 3d of December. A general good 
and cheerful feeling appeared to pervade the entire 
command. This was augmented by the arrival of 
our much needed blankets and overcoats. 

''Now," as one of the boys said, '' we have run old 
Bragg and his bragging crowd off, I reckon they will 
let us have time to finish our cabins. " Every officer 
and man went to work with a will, and we soon com- 
pleted our little, neat and well laid off town, each 
cabin containing one mess of six men. 

On the 6th, the brigade was reviewed by General 
Whitaker, and the 7th he started to his home in Ken- 
tucky. Colonel Barnes took command of the brigade, 
and Major Clark command of the Eighth Kentucky. 
The loth we received the long looked for order to 
consolidate the regiment into a battalion of five com- 
panies. General Stanley, division commander, ap- 
pointed a board of officers to examine and decide 
upon the commissioned line officers' qualifications^ 
and decide who should be retained in service. 

The 15th of December this board met, consisting 
of Colonel Walters, Nintieth Ohio ; Lieutenant Col- 
onel Cummings, Ninety-ninth Ohio ; Captain Ser- 
gent, Fifty-first Ohio, and two captains of the 
Twenty-fourth Ohio. This board proceeded to 
make a separate examination of one hour, of each 
of the ten captains, on tactics, regulations, guard 
and picket duty, and all other military duties in- 
cumbent on a company commander. On the next 
day the board convened again, and called for the fol- 
lowing named captains : Wilson^, Wright, Benton, 


Ketchins and Smallwood. Colonel Walters ad- 
dressed us thus : " Well, gentlemen, you are the five 
captains that we have decided upon as most efficient, 
and you will therefore remain in command. The 
board then requested that each of us write down the 
names of five lieutenants of each rank, as we were 
acquainted with their circumstances and qualifica- 
tions, to guide them in their selections. After con- 
siderable hesitation we each made a list, without con- 
sulting each other, and handed them to Colonel 
Walters, and then retired. The board decided that 
First Lieutenants W. Park, Harklerhodes, Williams, 
N. Jones and J. Phipps, and Second Lieutenants C. 
Park, G. W. Lewis, J. S. Tye, J. Pucket and J. 
McGuire should be retained in service. All the 
other officers, including Colonel Barnes and Major 
Clark, were by reason of this consolidation dis- 
charged, and started for their homes in Kentucky, 
the 23d of January, 1864. Captain John Wilson 
and the men that first topped Lookout on the 24th 
of November, at the same time received a thirty 
days' furlough, and accompanied the supernumerary 
officers home. The following are the names of this 
brave squad : Sergeants Joseph Wages, Charles Witt, 
Ed. Anderson, privates William Witt and John Gil- 
bert. We felt sad at parting with these brave and 
genial brother officers, with whom we had been inti- 
mately associated for over two years, and in that 
time had together braved so many dangers, endured 
so many hardships, and passed so many pleasant 
hours together, and especially did we regret to lose 


the ever cheerful company of Major Clark, who, on 
the evening previous to starting home, attempted to 
read his farewell address to the regiment at dress 
parade ; but his emotions overcame his utterance, 
and the reading of the following farewell address was 
concluded by Adjutant Park : 

officers and Soldiers of the Eighth Kentucky Volunteers : 

This regiment having been by the casualties of the service 
reduced to less than half the maximum number prescribed by 
law, is consolidated to a battalion of five companies, as pro- 
vided for in General Ordeis No. 86, of the War Department ; 
therefore my connection with the regiment and army ceases. 
In parting with you, I tender you all my sincere thanks for the 
cordial support you have at all times given me, both as an 
adjutant and, subsequently, major of the regiment. My associa- 
tion with you in the service for over two years has created 
within me a brotherly affection for you, which has been prompted 
and authorized by your uniform courtesy and kindness toward 
me. Your willingness and readiness at all times to obey lawful 
orders, have not only excited my admiration, but the admiration 
of all your officers with whom you have been connected. In the 
history of this war the first word to your dishonor remains to be 
written. The coolness and gallantry you evinced at Snow Hill, 
Dobbin's Ferry, Stone River, Chickamauga, and at Lookout 
Mountain, do not foretell ought of dishonor that would cloud 
the bright name the Eighth has won. Those who participated 
in battles for the Union's restoration, both living and dead, will 
be remembered and honored by the grateful and patriotic peo- 
ple as long as the horrors of this accursed rebellion are remem- 
bered and deplored. In relinquishing the command of the 
regiment, I hope and believe that you will give Captain Wilson, 
a good and gallant officer, that co-operation which you have 
hitherto so generously extended to me. May God watch over 
and protect you all. 

JOHN S. CLARK, Major Commanding. 

The writer would be glad to insert Colonel Barnes* 
farewell address, but has been unable to procure a 
copy. But the Major's farewell will convey to the 
reader's mind some idea of the warm friendship that 
existed generally in the command. 


About the 25th of December, 1863, the United 
States Government offered to all able bodied soldiers 
who had served two years or more a bounty of four 
hundred dollars, and a thirty days' furlough to re- 
enlist as veteran volunteers, and serve three years 
from re-enlistment, or during the war, the remaining 
part of the first enlistment to be served out in their 
present organizations. During the last week in the 
departing year re-enlisting in the Thirty-fifth Indi- 
ana and Twenty-first Kentucky was lively, but the 
Eighth boys only talked and joked each other about 
becoming "veterans." 

The night of the 24th of December many of the 
Eighth boys thought to have some old fashioned 
Christmas guns, having saved a quantity of powder 
for that purpose. Many beer bottles exploded in 
their buried security from sight, but not from sound, 
and the officer of the day, at the urgent command of 
Colonel Barnes, called out the camp guards to sup- 
press the Christmas guns, which only partially suc- 
ceeded. But the next night afforded the boys a 
chance for some amusement at the expense of a few 
tony officers. A rebel captain's wife, named Bur- 
nett, living not far from our picket line, gave a party 
of United States officers, and about a dozen of the 
most aristocratic young ladies in that neighborhood, 


a supper. Captain Temple, our brigade commissary, 
and a few other officers, furnished the material for 
the principal part of the supper. A party of ser- 
geants and privates of the Eighth and Twenty-first 
Kentucky, after dark, obtained the countersign, 
and slipped out to the house where music and danc- 
ing, as well as feasting, was the principal programme. 
The boys succeeded in placing a good many of their 
yet unexploded bottles of powder under and around 
the house. As the fuse to each were of good length, 
the bovs were well concealed before those bottles and 
that ball exploded. ► In a few minutes not a girl 
could be found inside the enclosure, but many were 
seen running through the fields as if the day of doom 
had surely come. No person was hurt, but many 
were scared. 

The last it^^ days of December were warm and 
rainy, especially the 31st, when the rain fell in tor- 
rents until late in the evening, when the wind sud- 
denly veered to the north, and grew in cold and 
power. Our boys on picket, with soaked garments, 
suffered terribly. Before daylight, January ist, the 
mud and water which covered the earth had con- 
gealed to solid ice to the depth of over an inch. 
The oldest inhabitants there stated that they had 
never seen ice so thick before, and they verily be- 
lieved that the Yankies brought dow:n all the cold. 

The Thirty-fifth had re-enlisted, and were about 
to start for Indiana to enjoy their brief furlough, and 
for several days this re-enlisting was a fruitful theme 
for discussion among the men of the Eighth, a good 


many opposing re-enlisting on account of the proba- 
bility of serving under new and strange officers at 
the expiration of their first service. Many would 
say, " If we could only be sure we could keep our 
present officers with us after our first term, we would 
not care to fight this infernal rebellion until these 
fool Southerners will be willing to go home and be- 
come peaceable, law abiding citizens; and we kind 'o 
want to see the thing through, anyhow." Col. Moore, 
commanding the brigade, appointed the author re- 
cruiting officer for the Eighth, and in less than one 
week three-fourths of seven of the old companies 
signed re-enlistment papers, viz : Companies F, I, 
D, H, E, K and G. I had a laborious task filling out 
enlistment blanks and muster-in rolls. Several of the 
company commanders, on the eve of starting for 
home, gave all their time and attention to invoicing 
and turning over quartermaster stores, and arranging 
their vouchers preparatory to settling with the gov- 
ernment ; therefore they had no time to assist the 
busy recruiting officers, or any one else. The actual 
doubling of companies was not effected until the 
25th of January, and was as follows : 

Companies C and B formed Company A, Captain 
J. Wilson, commander. 

Companies E and I formed Company B, Captain 
C. D. Benton, commander. 

Companies H and G formed Company C, Captain 
Wright, commander. 

Companies D and K formed Company K, Captain 
W. G. Smallwood, commander. 


Companies A and F formed Company E. Cap- 
tain Ketchins was assigned to this company, but im- 
mediatety resigned, and Lieutenant J. S. Tye took 
command of Company E. 

The officers that were mustered out were : Cap- 
tains Powell, Gunn, Martin and Dixon ; Lieutenants 
Neal, Sail, Carson, Hughes, Blackwell, Elliott and 

Thus our regiment became the Eighth Battalion 
Kentucky Volunteers, infantry, numbering only four 
hundred and eighteen men and fourteen line officers, 
a major, yet in rebel prison. Quartermaster Kindred, 
our chaplain. Adjutant E. Park, and Sergeant-Major 
Mosely. Captain Benton, in Captain Wilson's ab- 
sence, took command, and the evening of the 25th 
we received an order to march on the 26th. Fifty 
non-veterans of the Twenty-first Kentucky were as- 
signed to our command, Lieutenant G. Lewis com- 

Our mules had been hard worked and badly fed, 
many of them having died during this uncommon 
cold weather, and we could only muster eight teams. 
One of these the Twenty-first boys were allowed to 
use to carry their baggage until the return of that 
regiment from Kentucky. Thus we had more bag- 
gage than transportation. 

Early on the 27th the Eighth moved out of their 
warm, snug quarters, which they had flattered 
themselves they would enjoy until the veteran boys 
would be furloughed and return. Another regiment 
marched in as we left, and took possession of our 



neat little ^pwn of cabins. Tim, our Irishman, said : 
*' Captain, we are the boys as obaze orthers ; but 
indade it's bad tratement to have us worrek loik 
nagers to build thim illigant shanties, as any dacent 
ommen would feel proud av, and now, bejabbers, 
thim lazy spalpeens are to have the good quarthers." 
But the men did not generally make complaint. We 
had endured too many sudden surprises and disap- 
pointments to make a fuss, even to leave the " illi- 
gant shanties" in mid winter. True, the veterans 
said, " we would much rather have started home on 
our promised furlough than off down in Dixie, at 
this time." Sergeant F. P. Wood was left in charge 
of our extra baggage and a few convalescents. The 
battalion, under command of Captain Benton, bi- 
vouacked at the ''Narrows." While some of the 
men were playfully placing percussion caps on the 
railroad track for passing trains to pop, one member 
of Company E had his eye put out by a piece of cap. 

The 28th, with the division, we halted for the 
night at White Sides, and the following day reached 
the northern base of Lookout Mountain. 

The 29th the command passed through Chatta- 
nooga, and camped for the night at the foot of Mis- 
sion Ridge, on a portion of the recent battle ground. 
The deserted rebel works, the bullet-riddled trees, 
with scattered shell and shot, were all that denoted 
it to have been the recent scene of a terrible conflict. 

The 30th the division moved on up the Knoxville 
Railroad to Tyner's Station, and went into camp, 
where we remained a few days. 


The ist day of February I succeeded in mustering 
into the veteran service one hundred and forty-five 
men of the Eighth, and, by order of General Stan- 
ley, I returned to Bridgeport and collected eight of 
the battalion, that were in the Pioneer Corps, and 
returned to Ooltevvah Station on the 4th, where I 
found the battalion. 

The 5th our brigade moved on up the railroad, 
making short marches and keeping pace with the 
government employes and construction train, repair- 
ing the road as we went. The work was being pushed 
forward in order to reach and re-build the destroyed 
bridge over the Tennessee, at Charleston, our forces 
having destroyed it to prevent Longstreet from rein- 
forcing Bragg during the battle at Mission Ridge. 

On the evening of the 6th we halted within a mile 
of the pretty town of Cleveland. Colonel Walters, 
commanding the brigade, made his headquarters in 
the house of Rebel Congressman Tibbs', and the 
Eighth Kentucky and Thirty-first Illinois went into 
camp on a hill near by. If there were ever a set of 
men in this world gifted with thorough self-reliance, 
the Eighth boys were the men. It often required 
great fortitude to bear without murmuring the many 
little vexations and disappointments incident to the 
m.arch and camp. We had just left good quarters, 
and were here on a bare, bleak hill, a cold evening, 
our old tents full of holes, the principal part of our 
cooking vessels and extra baggage far behind, but 
no matter where or when we halted, the Eighth boys 
were at home. They had learned precisely what to 


do first, and they did it here. Fires soon began to 
twinkle over the bare hill, and our old, leaky tents 
rose like the work of enchantment. Some had dog 
tents, that lay snug to the earth, like mushrooms. 
Soon the fragrant aroma of coffee and tortured bacon 
suggested creature comforts that were truly animat- 
ing, under any circumstances. We all knew that the 
movements of regiments were as blind as fate ; none 
of us could tell to-night where we would be to-mor- 
row, yet on the morning of the 7th, at the first glim- 
mer of daylight, our camp was astir, and prepara- 
tions began as if every man expected to spend the 
remainder of the winter here. Bricks were hauled 
from an old kiln of secession proclivities. Chimneys 
were built, and some fire places artistically plastered 
with the inevitable red clay, and by 10 o'clock one 
mess had found an old crane, on which swung a 
legless pot, a donation from an old darkey's kitchen ; 
stools and bedsteads were tumbled together by the 
the roughest of carpenters, and before night the in- 
terior of our rude homes began to wear a home look. 
Here, as elsewhere, our[Kentucky boys did not long 
remain ignorant of the surrounding country, and its 
vegetable and animal productions. In less than two 
days they had tasted water from every spring, knocked 
persimmons from the best trees, milked some of the 
neighbors' cows, roasted pigs and picked chickens. 
Not a few made.the acquaintance of the Cleveland 
girls, and knew how many were Union and how many 
were rebels, andl^how many brothers they had in the 
rebel army. Thus life with us began at this place. 


But we did not neglect our part of the labors, throw- 
ing up a good line of rifle pits, and contributing our 
quota for the picket line. 

The loth of February Major Glenn, United States 
Paymaster, gladdened the eyes of the veterans by 
unloading at Captain Wright's quarters his heavy 
money chest. They were all paid up to the 31st of 
December, 1863, and received their first installment 
of bounty, ^200 each. In a few days after Major 
Johnson paid off the non-veterans up to the same 
time. Now the veteran boys were ready, willing 
and impatiently waiting to be furloughed, and they 
expected to start soon. Said they to each other : 
"Old Grandpap Thomas knows what he's about. 
He intends for us to go home while we've plenty of 
money." But these calculations and fond expecta- 
tions were for the present doomed to disappointment, 
for on the night of the 2 2d we received orders to 
march at daylight, the 23d, with only two wagons, 
one for rations and one for spades and picks, and 
only perfectly able bodied men to march. Those 
unable for severe duty to remain in command of a 
commissioned officer. This order, the boys said, 
certainly meant business, if not more unpleasantness 
with the Johnny Rebs. Some of the men that 
did not re-enlist, who did not expect to be fur- 
loughed, joked the veterans, tauntingly saying : 
*' That's the kind of furloughs old Grandpap Thomas 
gives you — a cartridge box with sixty rounds of fresh 
cartridges." The veterans would reply: ''Yes, 
you'll laugh on the other side of your mouths when 



we board the cars for home; it's all right, we will 
bide our time." Colonel Walters ordered that Cap- 
tain Wright be left in charge of the camps and con- 
valescents of the Eighth and Thirty-first Illinois. 

On the morning of the 23d the officers and men, 
especially the veterans, left their money with me, 
each man's bounty and pay being enveloped with 
name endorsed thereon, many of them remarking 
that they desired that their money should find its 
way home to their wives or friends, if they never 
did. Captain Benton, in command of the Eighth, 
joined our old brigade at Blue Springs, and marched 
with the division on a reconnoissance against the 
enemy, near Dalton. 

The 25th and 26th, skirmished with the enemy at 
Buzzard Roost. At times the firing was fierce. The 
Eighth displayed the dauntless courage for which 
Kentucky's sons are noted. Five of the Eighth 
were slightly wounded. 

On the night of the 26th General Thomas ordered 
many fires to be made, having the men light long 
strings of fences, by throwing two pannels together, 
and making much noise, as if receiving reinforce- 
ments. This caused the enemy to fall back. Then, 
at the hour of midnight, our forces silently marched 
back, arriving at Blue Springs, six miles from Cleve- 
land, on the 28th of February, when the writer, 
with the convalescents and baggage wagons, joined 
the battalion. The same day Captain Wilson, Quar- 
termaster Kindred, Adjutant Park and the six fur- 
loughed men returned to the command. We re- 


mained one day at Blue Springs, trying to keep dry 
in our old, leaky tents. 

The first day of March Captain Wilson resumed 
command, and at the same time we received orders 
from General Thomas to march immediately to 
the city of Chattanooga. We loaded up our camp 
and garrison equipage, in a heavy rain, and had a 
slippery, muddy, wet day's march. Arrived at 
Tyner's Station late in the evening, and were pros- 
pecting for a place to bivouack for the night. There 
being a freight train about to start for the city, Cap- 
tain Wilson conceived the idea of giving us a free 
ride of two hours, and a cold one it was, too, for as 
night came on the rain ceased, the wind changed 
to the northwest, and blew cold and fierce. Our 
garments being thoroughly soaked, made our situation 
on the top of the boxes very unpleasant. On arriv- 
ing at the depot, Captain Wilson and myself, after 
considerable difficulty, found General Steadman, 
commanding the post, and reported. The general 
in person conducted us to a small eminence, near to 
and west of Fort Wood, and informed us that here 
we would pitch our camp. But here was dilemma — 
we had nothing to pitch, not even a ration to pitch 
into our gnawing stomachs. Our wagons, contain- 
ing all our equipage and rations, was ten miles in the 
rear. The wind increasing in power and cold, our 
clothing soon froze stiff, and thus, hungry and cold, 
we wore out the night hovering over some small, 
smoky, green wood fires. By much exertion, even 
more than a ten miles march, we jumped, danced 


and burnt our shins alternately; but as every- 
thing earthly has an end, so at last the king of day 
came smiling up over Mission Ridge. Some of us 
officers^ feeling the urgent demands of the ^' inner 
man," hastened into the city on the hunt for some 
breakfast. The Central Hotel being the only house 
open (a place well and long remembered, and noted 
only for high prices and poor fare), we made ener- 
getic efforts to get on the outside of one dollar's 
Worth of grub. As soon as our wagons arrived we 
put the men to hauling the old bricks and boards 
from the numerous deserted camps, and the 
remembrance of our bitter experience of the previous 
night stimulated us to a lively diligence in prepar- 
ing quarters. Here we felt sure we would build our 
last chimney, having enjoyed the luxury of seven 
different winter quarters since October. The men 
built small board houses, using the shelter tents as a 
covering, each with a neat brick chimney, all laid off 
in regulation style. In a few days the camp of the 
Eighth again wore a neat and comfortable appear- 

The 5th March, Quartermaster Kindred succeeded 
in meeting our requisitions for new clothing, many 
of the men, especially the veterans, receiving entire 
new outfits. As they expected soon to be permitted 
to visit home and friends, they not only needed, but 
deserved, the best Uncle Samuel could furnish. 

The 9th March, Captain Wilson issued his order 
the boys called the ''chuck-a-luck order." That 
officer, having a strong prejudice against gambling 


of anj description, also a wish for the best interests 
of the men, ordered every man arrested found play- 
ing cards, chuck-a-luck, or any other game, for 
money, the officer to seize the money up or "staked" 
and appropriate the same for the benefit of the sick 
of the battalion. But little money was ever found 
as '' staked," the sporting men of the Eighth being 
a little too cunning for that. But General Stead- 
man's order was to arrest all men found by the 
police guards gambling, and confine them in the 
military prison there for a specified time. Some of 
our Eighth boys were passing up the railroad cut to 
the Fifteenth Indiana regiment, and stopped a few 
minutes where some soldiers of another regiment 
were '' chuck-a-lucking," when Steadman's guard 
pounced on them and arrested spectators and all. 
After much trouble we succeeded in having our in- 
nocent men released. General Steadman did not 
like to keep healthy, able-bodied men idle long at a 
time, consequently he soon had a large squad of 
would-be gamblers out in the valley burying the car- 
casses of dead horses and mules, causing no little 
comment by the soldiers, such as ''Here's your 
mule. " 

While on picket the night of the loth, the writer 
heard the following conversation between one of our 
sentinels and an officer of the Anderson Cavalry. 
The latter, after giving the countersign, passed in 
and said : 

" What regiment is yours ?" 

Guard—" The Eighth Kentucky." 


Officer — ''Well, see here, I want this flag tale 
settled. Who first took the flag on Lookout the 
25th November?" 

Guard — ''The Eighth Kentucky, you bet !" 

Officer — '' When I was at home in Pennsylvania I 
heard a fellow make a speech, and he lauded the 
Twenty-eighth Pennsylvania for that honorable feat. 
I told him and the crowd that it was the Eighth 
Kentucky, and I came very near having a fight on 
account of my statement." 

Guard — "Well, captain, you was mighty right, 
and you kin git a thousand good witnesses to swear 

to It, too. 

> > 

About this time Sergeant Wood, Company C, re- 
ceived a letter stating that his house and entire con- 
tents were destroyed by fire. His captain soon cir- 
culated a subscription list among his company, and 
got one hundred and fifty dollars in a few hours, 
which was sent to his houseless wife and children. 

The 2 2d March put on a blustering appearance, 
and old Boreas let us know what he could do even 
down in " Dixie" by giving us eight inches of snow. 
The men enjoyed, or rather endured, some lively 
snow-ball battles. Blood flowed from a few noses, 
some phrenological bumps suddenly developed to 
immense proportions, more than one eye was dis- 
colored, and a great many were " shot in the neck." 
After the fight was over general good feeling, even 
among the lately wounded, prevailed. 

The night after this snow-ball battle the long de- 
layed and much wished for transportation order 


came for the Eighth veterans, with the officers of 
such companies as had three-fourths re-enlisted to 
have transportation to Lexington, Ky., consequently 
the 23d was quite a busy day — some of the officers 
inspecting and turning over old, worn-out quarter- 
master stores, and the men preparing rations and 
washing clothing. 

Early the 24th, Captain Benton and Captain 
Wright went to the depot and made arrangements to 
get aboard the cars at noon. They returned and 
had the now exulting veterans to assemble to receive 
some orders about leaving their extra blankets and 
clothing with the non-veterans, who would remain 
with Captain Wilson and a few other officers. I took 
the opportunity to give my company the following 
good advice, which I am proud to record was gen- 
erally heeded by all these veteran soldiers, with only 
a very few exceptions : 

"Soldiers and comrades: We are about to start 
to our homes and friends, to enjoy a thirty days' 
furlough. Now, my desire is that every one of you 
shall have all the enjoyment possible to be had in one 
month's time, and I, your captain, who loves you 
all, feel it my duty to say a few words to you, not as 
commands, but as advice, respecting your conduct 
during that time ; not that I doubt that you can and 
will deport yourselves as become the brave men you 
are. Boys, I feel proud of you and the bright name 
you have so justly won on so many battle fields, 
and my intimate association with you for two and a 
half years, having with you endured so many priva- 


tions and hardships, and saw your cheerful obedi- 
ence to all legal orders, under any and all circum- 
stances, has cemented our friendship, that I hope is 
second to no other fraternal feeling. Let me earn- 
estly request that none of you, in your brief 
holiday, so far forget yourselves and your standing 
as patriotic gentlemen as to become intoxicated. 
Let us show our numerous friends that we can appre- 
ciate and enjoy good society in the peaceful walks of 
life, as well as brave the terrors and dangers of the 
field of battle. For this your enemies, if you have 
any there, will fear and respect you the more, and 
your friends and sweethearts love you better. And, 
recollect, boys, we are not free from the restraints of 
military discipline until we disband ; until then I 
shall allow no absenting from the command without 
permission of one of your officers. Now prepare to 
fall into line at eleven o'clock." 

The conclusion of this advice was greeted by 
deafening cheers. We will now leave Captain Wil- 
son and the non-veterans doing regular guard and 
garrison duty in and around Chattanooga, and, with 
the reader's permission, follow the veterans home 
and back again to the ever changing variations of 
the soldier's life. 




The noon train for Nashville, the 24th of March, as 
it wound around the base of towering Lookout, bore 
the one hundred and sixty-two men of the Eighth, the 
Eighth officers, and three colored servants. Captain 
Benton, Captain Wright, Captain Smallwood, and 
Lieutenants Williams, Harklerhodes, Tye, Lewis and 
Pucket. It is not strange that many of us passed 
unnoticed the grand scenery of snow-capped mount- 
ains, for our minds were busy with cheerful thoughts 
of loved ones at home. Some of us had wives and 
children, others sweethearts and kind fathers, 
mothers and sisters, all of whom had been notified 
by mail of our expected, but delayed, coming. We 
arrived at the city of Nashville at noon, the 25th. 
A recent accident to the railroad caused us to remain 
at Barracks No. 2 until the morning of the 27th. At 
6 o'clock we were flying northward, and arrived at 
Louisville at 5 p. m. We took meals and lodging at 
the Soldiers' Home, where the fare was superior to 
many hotels, and was furnished by the government 

On the 29th we deposited our arms and equip- 
ments at the arsenal, made out furloughs for the men 
and officers, and made arrangements to take the 
Lexington train early the 30th. We had a few men 


in each company that had offered to re-enlist but 
were rejected by the examining surgeon on account 
of physical disability. We officers plead earnestly 
with Major Sidell to have these men furloughed, but 
he as earnestly refused, saying: ''It is entirely con- 
trary to my orders." So we were forced to leave 
these good, willing and obedient men, to take their 
thirty days' leave at Park Barracks. 

On our arrival at Lexington, 3 o'clock p. m., we 
gave the men their furloughs, and formally disbanded, 
but as the majority of them desired to go the same 
road, 30 or 40 miles southwest, into, Madison, Estill 
and adjoining counties, they concluded to go the 
same evening to Clay's Ferry, some fifteen miles dis- 
tant. The officers took early supper at the Phoenix. 
It was thought best that one of the officers proceed 
immediately to Clay's Ferry to make arrangements 
for supper and lodging for the men. Procuring a 
good horse, I proceeded to the ferry and requested 
Mr. Gilbert, proprietor of the one and only hotel 
there, to prepare supper for about one hundred men. 
The astonished landlord replied: ''Why, Captain, 
that will take everything eatable on the place." I 
told him that these were soldiers on furlough and 
were perfect gentlemen, and that I would see that 
every man paid him, which would enable him to 
purchase more supplies. Very soon every member 
of that family were busy preparing and cooking. 
The clock told the small hours of the night before 
the last soldier arose from the table, all being lively, 
but not boisterous. The next morning Gilbert said 



to me : '' Well, sir ; I have seen and fed a great 
many soldiers during this war, but this is the first 
time I ever saw so many together and not had oc- 
casion to notice some ill bred behavior, and when 
you called last night I had no idea of receiving any- 
thing for feeding soldiers, besides, I expected my 
house would be ruined. They are the most genteel 
set of soldiers I have seen." 

The men and officers, early the ist of April, scat- 
tered to the homes of their respective families and 
friends, where the time passed pleasantly and rapidly 
with most of us, visiting friends. The many scenes 
of tender meetings that took place that night and 
the next day, between long separated husbands and 
wives and other dear friends, we will leave the reader 
to imagine. Suffice to say, every veteran tried to 
improve the brief holiday to the best advantage, and 
quite a number of them, during that balmy spring 
month, found time and opportunity to woo and win 
the hearts and hands of blushing brides, so that they 
could have some one with whom to leave their 
money. However, many of these apparently hasty 
marriages had been thoroughly discussed through 
the mails by the contracting parties for many months. 

It would, no doubt, be interesting to follow some 
of these brave youths of the Veteran Eighth, into 
some of the many, happy and festive parties, as well 
as joyous weddings, that took place during this 
bright, cheerful spring month of April, in Central 
Kentucky, but these appear to the writer to be too 
much like trespassing on the private rights or the 


sanctity of home, and the sacred ties that bind in 
union two or more hearts in a sacred love, too pure 
and high to drag before the public gaze. So should 
we not hold up to the reader's view the many tender 
and really affecting parting scenes that took place in 
Estill, Madison, Jackson and a few other counties 
in that part of Kentucky, about the ist of May, 
1864. But we will throw the charitable mantle of 
silence over them, and leave the reader to draw his 
or her own pictures of such scenes. Ah, this re- 
turning to the war is attended with more anxious 
solicitude by friends, than when the new recruit first 
leaves the domestic circle. 

The following incident was related to the author 
by a friend in Clark County while on furlough : 
Young Mrs. C, whose love for the confederacy was 
something like devotion gone to seed, against the 
wish and advice of her loyal husband, one hot day in 
July, 1862, continued the preparation of her flaky 
pies and spicy cakes, with which she declared her in- 
tention to treat Morgan's soldiers. That sultry 
afternoon Mrs. C. mounted her fine saddle horse (a 
gift from her father on her wedding day a few 
months before). The cumbersome basket prevented 
her from using her parasol as she rode, under the 
burning sun, over three miles of the rough country 
road, contemplating the pleasure she would enjoy in 
feasting and cheering the " southern braves." With 
these happy thoughts Maggie neared the long line- 
like cloud of white limestone dust, that rose and 
hung over the hot stone pike on which were passing 


a part of Morgan's dirty, tired and hungry troopers, 
who cheered the heroic Kttle woman as she alter- 
nately waved her handkerchief, cheered for Jeff. 
Davis and handed out the contents of her basket to 
the ravenous chivalry. When the basket was empty 
Mrs. C. still sat on her horse by the roadside to cheer 
and give encouragement to the straggling rear. 
Many of the latter were on foot, having lost their 
horses in a recent skirmish on the south side of the 
Kentucky River. One long-haired, tall Johnnie 
rebel stepped up to Maggie's side. She began to 
lament that her cakes were all gone. He inter- 
rupted her, saying : 

''Never mind, my little queen; I'm not much a-hun- 
gry, but I'm d — d tired, and I want this here hoss." 

Mrs. C. replied : " O, sir ! but I am your friend ; 
I am for southern rights." 

" Wall, now, beauty, if yer'sich a bully friend to 
the south as yer lets on to be, yer'l hev no 'bjections 
ter my havin' a good boss to ride and fight Yankees 
on !" 

Maggie remonstrated, saying she could never let 
" Coaly" go to war. 

The parley ended by the long-armed rebel reach- 
ing up and clasping the small waist with his large 
hands, lifting the little, indignant, screaming woman 
to the ground. Depositing her saddle by her, the 
rebel mounted, and, with mock courtesy, bowed, say- 
ing : "Miss, this ere present does credit ter yer 
principles, and this ere boss shall put in his best 
licks fur our cause," and galloped away. 



Late that afternoon a very tired and mad little 
woman, with face sun-burned, her best dress and 
fine gaiters badly soiled, ?,rrived home, where her 
anxious, loving husband stood awaiting her return. 
With fresh tears she sobbed out : 

" O, John ! I want you to get a horse and follow 
that rotten, thieving gang of men, and take ' Coaly' 
away from them." 

John replied to his wife : " Now, Maggie, you 
have had your little romance, and I hope you are 
satisfied with the loss of one ^300 horse. I am not 
fool enough to put myself to the trouble to follow 
your friends to give them another good horse, and 
probably get a cursing for my pay. No, dear, one 
horse and one little lesson learned will do for this 

Mr. C. said after that day Maggie could not be 
persuaded to sing " In Dixie's Land I'll take my 
stand," but that she came over and took her stand 
by him for the Union, and we have no doubt smil- 
ingly approved his voting for Garfield in 1880. 

The furloughed officers and our three faithful ser- 
vants met the 30th at the United States Hotel, in 
Louisville, and reported at Park Barracks, the ist 
day of May. In a few days all the men reported ex- 
cept a few who were sick. Private Ingram, Com- 
pany D, one of the non-veterans left here, had died. 
On the 6th, about all our men having reported, we 
put on our '' war harness" and boarded the evening 
train, and arrived at Nashville early the 7th, where 
we met Lieutenant C. Park and twenty of the Eighth, 


having in ch'arge a number of rebel prisoners. We 
left Nashville at noon and were delayed at VVartrace 
two hours. Our boys called out our old hotel- 
keeper, Hailey, alias " Pig-tracks," who said he was 
''yit loyal," and he was given three cheers. We 
awoke early the 8th, at Stevenson, Ala., and all took 
breakfast at the new Soldiers' Home. From there 
to the city of Chattanooga we had a hot and unpleas- 
ant ride in the sun on top of the blistering, painted 
box cars. On entering our old camp we were hailed 
with hearty cheering. The familiar valley and sur- 
rounding mountains were now clothed in beautiful 
green, decked with a profusion of flowers. Our en- 
campment also wore a neat and comfortable appear- 
ance ; and we were not at all displeased to learn that 
our little battalion would not move on to the front, 
where General Sherman had just commenced his 
long and bloody summer campaign, but would re- 
main as a part of the garrison guards — not that any 
of the Eighth desired to shirk the sterner duties and 
brave new dangers, but knowing this duty had to be 
performed, were quite willing to remain and endure 
the monotony of settled soldiering, for a while at 
least, though our various duties were almost as con- 
stant. We could have our neat quarters to return to, 
where we could enjoy refreshing sleep, making a 
much better substitute for a home than our brave 
comrades could possibly have at the front. General 
Steadman said he had made a special request of Gen- 
eral Thomas that he be permitted to retain the 
Eighth here. 


Although the recently returned officers were 
pleased with our camp and satisfied with our pros- 
pective duties, a few of us were in a dilemma about 
those important appendages, the cooks. The colored 
boys who had returned with us to Nashville, from 
some cause, failed to get on the train with the sol- 
diers at that place. At breakfast on the morning of 
the loth, Captain Wright and Captain Benton were 
lamenting this grievance, and discussing ways and 
means to have the absent cooks' places filled with 
substitutes. Just then Bristo's ebony countenance, 
with two rows of shining ivory, made its appearance 
at the open tent door. ''Hello, Bristol come in 
and give a report of your conduct in deserting the 
service." *' Dat I will, Cap'n," at the same time 
taking off his hat and making a clownish salute. 
" Yer see, I neber tended to lebe yer, cap'n ; it wuz 
you alls lef dis nigger." ''Well," says Captain 
Benton, '* but where is Simp ?" "I speck he's dar 
wid his folks. He say to me, ' Bris, I'se found my 
mudder an' de odder chilen,' an' we went down dar 
to see em^ an^ we jist got de best kind o' dinner, an' 
I say 'Simp, dey'l lebe us, sho — let's be trablin\' 
Den yer orter seed dat ole yaller 'omen ! She jist 
cling to Simp, cryin'. At last he guv up, and say 
ter me : 'Bris, tell Cap'n Wright I's sorry to lebe 
him, but dat I'll pay him dat ten dollars ef it takes 
till de day ob judgment.' Den I lays roun' dat de- 
pot till last night, den I crep in a box car on de grain, 
an' nobody see me till dis mornin'. Whoop, doh, 
what a cussin' I got from de guard. I gib him half a 


dollar, an* he let me crawl back, an* I here, an* 
gwine to stay, cap'n, ef yer lets me.'* Bristo was, 
duly restored to his former standing as cook for 
Captain Wright and his two lieutenants, without loss 
of pay and allowances, and remained a faithful ser- 
vant until the command was discharged, 



Among our other daily duties as garrison guards 
of Chattanooga, an officer and from twenty to fifty 
men were called for every few days to guard trains to 
the front, or trains and prisoners to Nashville. 
Occasionally an officer and company would be de- 
tailed to help drive and guard a drove of beeves to 
the front. Probably at the same time from twenty 
to thirty men of the Eighth would be ordered to 
unload grain from the cars. Thus, it was often that 
we had over half of the battalion on train guard 
duty, making it close work to furnish our quota for 

On the 1 8th May, Captain Smallwood and Lieu- 
tenant Tye and fifty men went to Nashville with six 
hundred rebel prisoners in charge. On arriving. 
Captain Goodwin, provost marshal, sent them on to 
Louisville, Ky., with the Johnnies. They returned 
the 23d, and again, the 31st, Captain Smallwood 
and fifty men made a trip to Nashville with prisoners 
in charge, each officer being detailed for train guard 
in succession as his name appeared on the roster. 

But, to give a detailed account of all our various 
duties and expeditions as train guards, (Sec, would 


require a much larger volume than the present one, 
therefore we shall only be table to take up a few- 
incidents in their regular order in the next 

Our picket line on the south side of the river ex- 
tended in a circuit of about six miles, from the 
mouth of Citico Creek above to two miles below the 
city. This line was divided into six different sta- 
tions or reserve posts. Details from the Eighth gen- 
erally picketed stations three and four. The latter 
extended across the Rossville road. The post com- 
mander ordered that all citizens coming to or return- 
ing from the city be admitted only at that point, 
those without passes to be guarded to the provost 
marshal, where, if Mr. or Mrs. Citizen was " all 
right," they obtained a pass to return through the 
lines. This post, therefore, required a special guard of 
a commissioned officer and eight men. All the sur- 
viving members of the Eighth Kentucky will doubt- 
less remember many amusing conversations had at 
this Rossville Station, No. 4, with some of the droll 
natives of Tennessee and Upper Georgia, who fre- 
quently came fifteen or twenty miles, often on foot, 
to trade in the city. They were generally old men, 
boys and women. They usually came laden with 
marketable produce, which they exchanged for gro- 
ceries. Some came to beg from the government, 
especially after the war department authorized post 
commissaries in certain localities to issue rations to 
loyal women where they had a son or husband in the 
United States service. 


Among the many that came to Chattanooga to try 
Uncle Sam's generosity were really many deserving 
people, who were no less needy than their disloyal 
neighbors that often came and gave ludicrous reasons 
for claiming aid from the government. 

The 7th June, a droll, middle-aged woman and a 
stout boy came up and were requested by the guard to 
, take a seat in the shade until our escort guards re- 
turned. After wiping the perspiration from her 
tough-looking face with a large red *'bandaner," 
she addressed me, saying : 

" Mr. Cap'n, can one draw rations in Chatternooga 

I gave her a short explanation of the order, telling 
her it depended altogether upon her circumstances. 
Her face underwent what in some countenances 
would have been a blush. She again brought the 
mammoth handkerchief into use, and demurely 
asked: "Well, Mr. Captain, don't you think that 
when the seceshers, that us critters back, eat up all 
our last year's crop, and then you'ens last fall just 
cleaned out the last sweet tater ; and all this from a 
lone widder that's got seven children, that's got no 
daddy, is a sarcumstance enough." I readily ad- 
mitted that if that was her marvelous condition, she 
certainly should be entitled to government rations, 
and she returned in the evening highly pleased, with 
all she and one of the utterly fatherless boys could 

Another day, soon after, I was on duty at the same 
station, as captain of the guard. An old lady and 


a boy drove up in a little, rickety old wagon, drawn 
by a little black scrub ox, very little larger than a 
good Southdown sheep. The harness was a single 
yoke, into which the shafts were secured by wooden 
pins, and a hemp rope around the ox's stubby horns. 
As they halted, one of the guards remarked : "Well, 
that rig beats anything I've seen in Dixie." The 
old lady, with considerable spirit, replied: ^'O, 
sir, if it's Buck and the wagon you calls a rig, 
I can tell you it's so much better'n lots of our neigh- 
bors can do, I kinder feel proud, for it's a sight 
easier'n walking." On the arrival of this primitive 
conveyance at Captain Davis' office he politely re- 
quested the occupants to remain seated in the wagon 
a few minutes^ and that smiling official hurried into 
an artist's tent, near by. Very soon the artist was 
out on the pavement, adjusting his camera. The 
old lady discovered his maneuvers, and instantly be- 
gan to scream and make frantic efforts to leave the 
wagon, saying, " O, for the good Lord's sake, don't 
kill we'uns." 

The captain, after assuring her that no harm 
should be done, that they only wished to take her 
picture, and explaining to her the use of the camera, 
she exclaimed : '' Well, 'pon my soul and body, 
and that's what you'ens makes pictures with. I 
made sure it was some kind of a Yankee gun ; it did 
look so frightful with that are man a taken sight at 
me and Johnny. I tell you, I thought our time had 
come, sure." That evening, as she passed out of 
the lines, the old lady appeared to take great pleas- 


ure in showing us her picture, saying, "See, there's 
me a holding the basket of berries, and there's 
Johnny, the wagon, and old Buck, too; all jest 
looking natural as life, and all done most as quick 
as shootn', only I didn't hear anything pop; but I 
tell you, Mr. Captain, I was scart." We offered 
five dollars for that picture, but it was evidently not 
for sale. The country people generally came with their 
marketables to the city on Saturdays in great num- 
bers, which compelled our guards to economize time 
and travel by escorting citizens to the city in squads 
of a dozen or twenty. The 14th of June, just after 
the guard had left with one of these squads, there 
came to the post two delicate, fair haired girls, the 
eldest probably sixteen and the younger about thir- 
teen years of age, accompanied by an old negro, 
who bore on her head a large basket of huckleber- 
ries. The girls each had a peck basket of this early 
fruit. They took seats in the shade of our tall hedge 
fence, to await the return of my guards. In these 
young ladies' manners and speech I noticed a degree 
of refinement above the ordinary people. Their 
dresses, though somewhat worn and faded, were 
neat fitting and scrupulously clean. I felt interested 
to know something of their peculiar misfortune, 
feeling certain that they had seen better and 
happier days. In compliance to my inquiries, the 
oldest girl gave a short statement, in substance, 
as follows: 

At the commencement of the war their father 
owned one of the best plantations on Chickamauga 


River, and worked about fifty slaves. Their two 
brothers had early joined the rebel ranks, and one 
of them fell in battle in 1861. The father died 
from disease in 1862, leaving their mother, and 
with a faithful old negro man as boss of the slaves, 
they got on very well, until the great battle of Chick- 
amauga. On Sunday the contending armies drew 
near in furious conflict. The mother, two daughters 
and the old black woman, for safety, took refuge in 
the cellar ; but soon a wicked shell exploded in and 
set fire to their fine house. They then fled to the 
woods, in the rear of the rebel line, and found shel- 
ter in the cabin of a poor white woman, whose hus- 
band was also a rebel soldier. The loss of property, 
excitement, and over exertion, proved too much for 
the feeble mother, who, after a few weeks illness, 
died. The slaves all left the houseless and fenceless 
plantation, and they were still sharing the humble 
shelter and coarse, scant fare of the war widow and 
her children. The kind-hearted old colored woman 
yet remained true to them, and they had just learned 
that their only brother was a prisoner in Chatta- 
nooga. He had taken the oath of allegiance, but 
would be sent north of the Ohio River, and they 
desired to see him before he left. 

While she related this sad story, vainly trying to 
keep back the unbidden tears, our hearts ached in 
sympathy for these tender girls, reared in a home of 
luxurious comfort, now homeless and nearly friend- 
less orphans, toiling with tender hands to gather 
wild berries and bearing them over ten miles of 


hot, dusty roads, that they might help buy a few- 
necessaries of life. The old darkey, with tears in 
her eyes, said: ''Dar, Miss Lilly, don't cry befo* 
de boss, fur I'se gwine to stick to yo', chile, 
so lis." 

The next day, after being relieved, I stated to 
Adjutant General Moe briefly the case of the rebel 
prisoner and brother. Before night he was employed 
by the chief of transportation, at Chattanooga, to 
work in the depot rubbing up locomotives, and his 
two sisters found friends in the city, with whom they 
boarded at the expense of the ex-rebel. 


The 2 2d June, 1864, by order of General Stead- 
man, I took command of a guard of forty men — 
twenty of the Eighth and twenty of the Sixty-eighth 
Indiana — to guard 370 federal prisoners to the front. 
They were deserters and bounty jumpers belonging 
to various commands, gathered up principally from 
the large cities, and were as dirty, lousy and reckless 
a set of men as could well have been found on the 
globe. Some of them boasted that they had received 
six bounties. At noon I received the rolls and pris- 
oners, and, with my guards, boarded the top of two 
long freight trains containing ammunition. The 
power of the unobstructed rays of the sun on the 
newly painted boxes was oppressive, and the water 
in our canteens soon became a few degrees above 
blood heat. As the rebels were daily tearing up 
rails, placing torpedoes between the ties, and fre- 
quently cutting the telegraph wires and firing on 
passing trains from the brush, we made short halts 
at all the stations to telegraph front and back. A 
train had been blown up, near Resaca, the evening 
before, by a torpedo, evidently the work of disloyal 
citizens, or emissaries harbored by them. The 
thought of riding over tons of powder and striking 
one of these explosive and inflammable magazines 
was yet more unpleasant than the fear of rebel bullets 
or the blistering heat. At dark we arrived at Resaca, 


and were telegraphed to lay over until morning. We 
passed a sleepless night. Some of our " jail birds**" 
were evidently anxious to give us the slip, but the 
untiring vigilance of the guards, aided by the light 
of a bright, full moon, enabled us to keep our priso- 
ners within prescribed limits, but not until several of 
them had been touched by the persuasive point of 
the bayonet. Early the 23d I made requisition on 
Colonel Moore, commanding the post, and received 
one day's scant rations, which the bounty jumpers 
ate for breakfast. At Kingston we met two long 
trains of hospital cars filled with recently wounded 
men. The floors were paved with bleeding heroes 
of the Fourth Corps. I found Colonel Price, Lieu- 
tenants Brown and Buckley, of the Twenty-first 
Kentucky, and many others whose faces were 
familiar, among the wounded. How our hearts 
warmed toward these brave men who had stood by 
us so nobly at Stone River, Chickamauga, Lookout 
and other places. Looking through the train for 
acquaintances, white, ghostly bandages, with here 
and there a large rusty spot of blood, met our gaze 
on every side. As the attendants came along with 
canteens of stimulating coffee, graced only with 
sugar, tin cups were extended in all sorts of hands 
except strong ones. The dull, pale faces brightened 
as the cups were filled, and the ghost of a cheer 
greeted the coffee man as he entered another car. 
Standing over Lieutenant Brown, I asked him how 
he was. He looked up, with a faint smile, and re- 
plied : *'Why, captain, bully !" Common as was 


this af^y phrase, it sounded from the pale lips of 
Brown, who was badly wounded, manly and noble. 
These and two more car loads were wounded in 
action the 22d at Kulp's House, near Pine Mountain. 
We did not reach Big Shanty until near dark. This 
was the terminus of our railroad travel. After de- 
ploying my guards around the prisoners I went to 
General Sherman's headquarters, in a house near the 
station. The adjutant general readily consented to 
furnish me guides to pilot us to the headquarters of 
General Thomas, where I was ordered to report. 
At that moment the great ^' flanking" general came 
walking in, his heavy sword and spurs clanking over 
the bare floor. The adjutant addressed him, saying, 
"General, here is a captain from Chattanooga, with 
a lot of bounty jumpers and scalawags from our 
army. I have just sent for one of the boys to pilot 
him to Thomas' headquarters.'* The general stood 
meditatively about one minute, then said to me : 
*' Captain, the road is through swamps and thickets, 
full of stubs and mud holes, and it is cloudy. You 
had best form a bull-pen of your guards around your 
pets and wait until morning, then you shall have an 
escort." I thanked the tall old hero, and corralled 
the prisoners for the night. The 24th, our six miles' 
march was slow, many of the prisoners being bare- 
footed and quite lazy. At 10 o'clock, a. m., I 
turned over to Colonel Parkhurst, provost marshal, 
Department of the Cumberland, our pets. His ad- 
jutant proceeded to call the roll and pick out the 
men that belonged to that department. The skirm- 


ishers near the base of Kenesaw Mountain kept up 
an incessant popping during the evening, while the 
cannon of the enemy thundered from their high posi- 
tion east and south of us. At 2 o'clock, p. m., we 
again took charge of our pets, except the 130 belong- 
ing to that department, and proceeded eastward, in 
the rear of the long lines of our vigilant army, to the 
head quarters of General McPherson, Department of 
the Tennessee, situated nearly north of, and near the 
base of Kenesaw. Here Colonel Wilson, provost 
marshal, was kind enough to relieve my guards 
during the night, but said he could not furnish us 
rations. I then called on General McPherson, who, 
after hearing the statement of the supperless condi- 
tion of both guards and prisoners, and the sleepless 
vigilance that had been required to watch these men, 
most of whom dreaded the idea of a court marshal, 
or worse, digging picket holes under fire, approved my 
requisition, and soon a wagon was dispatched to Big 
Shanty, and returned about midnight with the much 
needed grub. The moonlight enabled the pickets to 
keep up a lively skirmish the latter part of the night, 
along the side of the mountain. But the loss of 
sleep for two nights enabled us to sleep regardless of 
hostilities within artillery range of Adjutant F. 
Earl's tent, where we reposed. 

On calling the roll, the 25th, we found eighty- 
eight of our charge belonged to the Tennessee, and in 
accordance with Sherman's order, we took charge of 
the remaining prisoners and started to General 
Scofield's, Department of the Ohio, on the extreme 


right wing. Feeling refreshed, we retraced our 
steps westward, but soon discovered all the right 
wing of the army on another flank movement to the 
right, and it was 4 p. m. before we came up with 
General Thomas and staff, bivouacked. Colonel 
Parkhurst sent his provost guards on to Scofield's 
headquarters with their prisoners, and again we had 
short relief from the bounty jumpers. But early the 
26th the provost guards returned to us ninety-eight 
of our scallawags, that evidently belonged to the 
Army of the Potomac. At the same time we took 
charge of one hundred rebel prisoners, some of them 
captured the evening before. One of them intimated 
to me that he should take the oath to Uncle Sam, 
and quit the South forever. Said he : " I'll tell yer 
ef we couldn't stop your army from flanking us at 
Resaca or Altoona, 'taint no use to try it south of 
Kenesaw, and that '11 be abandoned before to-mor- 
row." I asked him how he knew. " Well, yester- 
day mornin' we had orders to keep everything packed 
up, ready for a move, and we've heard that order so* 
often we all know d— d well it means retreat." Ar- 
riving at Big Shanty at i p. m, we cooped our pris- 
oners in empty box cars and arrived in Chattanooga 
at midnight of the 27th. Escorted our prisoners to 
a large church, during a heavy rain and thunder 
storm, and were relieved, wet and hungry. Some of 
the Eighth boys remarked : ''Train guard duty aint 
no durned soft thing, after all. 

About the ist of July our senior surgeon, John 
Mills, was assigned the position of medical director 


of the large field hospital on Cameron Hill, several 
hundred recently Wounded patients having arrived 
from the front, who were wounded in Sherman's un- 
successful assault on Kenesaw Mountain. 

All the garrison at Chattanooga were up at arms 
on the morning of the Fourth of July, General 
Pillow, with a force of the enemy, haviiig been re- 
ported near Lafayette. 

The 4th, as the sun arose over Mission Ridge, in 
accordance with General Steadman's order, at the 
signal gun, a loo pounder, every steam whistle of 
locomotives, steamboats and shops about the city, 
simultaneously, rent the still morning air with a 
roaring, screeching sound, more unearthly than the 
writer ever expected to hear. Nine salutes and 
screams were repeated at noon and sunset, making 
the mountain-walled valley echo, as I then thought 
and hoped, the death knell of the confederacy and 
rebellion. The day was celebrated by some officers, 
soldiers and loyal citizens^ by a pic - nic and 
dancing fandango at Lookout Mountain. From the 
picket station I viewed the pleasure seekers with a 
field glass, joyous groups of shoulder-strapped and 
blue-coated men, and country maids, tripping their 
light feet in unison with the lively music, contrasted 
with the hostile scenes enacted on the same grounds 
seven months previous, when our boys treated the 
frowning rebels with cold lead, and now their smil- 
ing sisters to expensive ice cold lemonade. 

About this time General Steadman issued orders 
that all male citizens, living between Chattanooga 


and Dalton, within three miles of the railroad, 
should come in and establish their loyalty, or be 
com})elled to leave the country. This seemingly 
harsh order was caused by the frequent obstructions 
found placed on the railroad track, and believed by 
the general to have been done by citizens, or those 
harbored by them. These sweeping orders caused 
the now excited country people to flock into the city 
by scores. One very hot day in July, our picket 
guards escorted to headquarters over two hundred. 
Many of these once slave owning aristocrats, whose 
love for the *' divine institution " of the South and 
hatred for Yankees had kept them from the city for 
many months, now came smiling up to the picket 
line, their fair daughters availing themselves of this 
rare opportunity to once more come to the city to do 
a little shopping, though truth compels me to say that 
the majority of them came on foot. The reader 
must remember that even the wealthy farmers here 
had, by the urgent demands for horses for the waning 
confederacy, been left without even the proverbial 
army mule. At the picket station, these would-be 
aristocratic ladies usually halted under our friendly 
shade to cool, shake off the dust, and rest. Many 
were the sighs and wishes made by them for the re- 
turn of the good, old happy days, before the war, 
when they could ride in the old family carriage, with 
the dressed up darkey driver perched on top. But 
alas, for rebellion's folly, the days of slavery had 
been numbered, and the mere chattel would come 
out of all this blood, carnage, and suffering of many 



innocent people, a man with so called equal rights. 
But few citizens from the country, and seventy from 
the city, were ordered north. 

On the iSth of July, while a few of the Eighth 
guards were passing some women and a wagon load 
of produce into town, some of the Third Wisconsin 
Battery boys stopped the wagon and began to help 
themselves. E. Sparks clubbed his gun and knocked 
two of the battery boys down. Some demonstra- 
tions of hostility caused the Eighth boys to cock 
their pieces, while the sergeant informed them they 
would shoot the first man that came within three feet 
of the wagon. After considerable blustering and 
threats by the Third, they retired, and after that the 
8th boys had no trouble with them robbing wagons. 

Chaplain Kindred, like the faithful soldier, kept 
watch to thwart, if possible, the enemy, or enemies, 
of the soul, for there were many, had our regular 
Sunday sermon, also prayer meeting, and preaching 
occasionally in the evening. Frequently a preach- 
ing brother of the Military Christian Commission 
called and gave us a sermon. To one unacquainted 
with camp life it would have been a novel, if not an 
impressive sight, to see on a beautiful moonlight 
night, at the sound of singing, by a squad of soldiers, 
some old familiar hymn, the brawny, sun-tanned vet- 
erans, each with his camp stool in hand, gathering 
around the singers in the space between the tents, 
where the sermon would b^ respectfully listened to 
by all with as much decorum as in our churches at 


The i8th of July Captain Benton was appointed 
assistant post inspector, thus leaving us one officer 
less for daily duty. 

The 2 2d we were rejoiced at the prospect of the 
fall of Atlanta ; but this news was soon followed 
with the sad tidings of the death of Gen. McPherson, 
and for a few days our wounded came back on the 
cars in fearful numbers ; also, a good many rebel 
prisoners, whom our command guarded on trains as 
far north as Nashville. The Fifty-first Indiana In- 
fantry composed part of our garrison, after the Fif- 
teenth Indiana were mustered out, in May. 

Colonel Streight, of Libby Tunnel notoriety, 

joined his regiment, the Fifty-first Indiana, the 20th. 

About the ist of August all our non-veterans that 

had been assigned to the pioneer corps, returned 

with Lieutenant W. Park to the command. 

Politics began to be a theme of general discussion 
with the soldiers, many earnestly desiring now to 
free the negro, but bitterly opposed allowing him all 
the rights of a white^Jcitizen. 

The 14th of August we were aroused from the 
lethargy of our monotonous picket duty, by the rebels 
making a raid on^Dalton, Georgia, and threatening 
other points nearer. The now terrified Union citi- 
zens came flocking [into our lines for protection. 
Gen. Steadman, with the^Sixty-eighth, Fifty-first and 
Twenty-ninth Indiana, and one regiment of colored 
troops (the Fourteenth"), and several pieces of the 
Wisconsin Battery, hastened out on the train to the 
rescue, the remainder of the colored brigade here 


supplying the place of the Hoosier boys on picket. 
This being the first time the Eighth boys had done 
duty with the darkeys, caused some grumbling at 
being left behind, when there was a chance, as the 
boys said, of helping put down the rebellion. But 
like good soldiers, they did their duty, and only 
laughed at their novel situation, saying : '' We'll do 
anything honorable to cripple the enemy." 

Late on the 15th, General Steadman and the four 
regiments returned, having routed Wheeler's gang. 
The Indiana boys gave us a good report of the col- 
ored regiment, who made a gallant charge, coming 
to close quarters with the enemy, and in several in- 
stances refused to show quarter, but clubbed their 
guns and shouted their watchword, "Remember 
Fort Pillow," and actually beat the brains out of 
several rebels offering to surrender. 

Again, the 17th of August, General Steadman was 
telegraphed that about 2,000 rebels had appeared at 
Grayer's Station, north of Ringgold, and our garri- 
son was reduced so much, and the reports of threat- 
ened attack put us all the qui vive. At sunset the 
Eighth occupied Fort Wood, and lay behind their 
loaded guns, "a little anxious for a brush," as the 
boys said, for we felt confident with our fourteen 
pieces, twelve pound Parrots. The other troops here 
also occupied the other forts ; but no enemj ap- 
peared, and at sunrise we returned to our quarters, 
to endure one of the hottest days of the season. 
The power of the sun's unobstructed rays upon our 
thin tents, without the slightest perceptible breeze 


for hours, made the camp almost unendurable. At 
the close of this terrible, still, hot day, the white 
capped clouds slowly loomed up in the western hori- 
zon, from which played the zigzag streaks of light- 
ning. The camp was unusually quiet. I lay with 
the walls of my tent hoisted, trying to get every 
breath of fresh air. I watched the gathering storm. 
The thunder's hoarse roar, and the continuous vivid 
flashes of lightning, playing around the crown of 
grand old Lookout Mountain, appeared as if nature, 
in her angry mood, was trying to mimic the sad, his- 
toric scenes enacted there one last November's 
night, i. e., ''the battle above the clouds." The 
nearer approach of the coming storm caused me to 
cease my fanciful reverie, and assist Bristo tighten 
down the tent pins. At 8 o'clock, while the terrific 
storm was raging in majestic fury, sitting on my 
camp stool, I suddenly found myself lying on my 
back, with a tingling, numb-sensation through my 
body. In one corner of the tent knelt Bristo, pray- 
ing, if not with the spirit and understanding, with 
lusty utterance, like, " Oh Hebenly Master, I knows 
I's a bad nigger; de good Lord have mussy on us, 
fur oh, mars cap'ns dead and, oh my shin — " I in- 
terrupted his devotional theme by asking, " Bris, 
are you hurt?" ''De lor bress yer, cap'n, I thot 
you's dead, an' I skin my shin agin dat pole." At 
that time I heard some one in camp shout : *'Abe's 
dead." When the storm had abated a little I 
learned that the lightning had struck the top pole of 
Company A's first tent, following down a musket, 


hanging bayonet downward, near the bank of Abe 
Henderson, melting off the point of the bayonet and 
paralyzing Henderson to such a degree that he was 
unable to move, and not did recover his speech for 
several days. On the evening of the 24th of August 
Chaplain Burkett gave us a call, and preached one of 
his able sermons. I did not get to see the good old 
man, being sick. I lay in my tent, and had the 
pleasure of hearing him. From the 25th of August 
to the 1 2th of September the writer was unable to 
make any notes of events in the battalion, being 
confined to his bed at a private residence in the city. 
The Democratic-Conservative-Peace party met in 
a national convention on the 29th August, passed a 
series of resolutions, and then nominated General 
George B. McClellan for president and George H. 
Pendleton for vice president. When I returned to 
camp the 12th September the soldiers appeared to be 
taking much interest in politics, having now, by an 
act of the Kentucky Legislature, a right to vote at 
our respective camps. The following resolution of 
the Chicago convention was a source of much com- 
ment and frequent warm discussions between those 
who expressed their opinions favorable to the peace 
party and the "Lincoln boys," who then appeared 
to be about half of the command : 

Resolved^ That this convention does explicitly declare, as the 
sense of the American people, that, after four years of failure 
to restore the Union by the experiment of war, under the pre- 
tense of a military necessity or war power higher than the con- 
stitution, the constitution itself has been disregarded in every 
part, and public liberty and private right alike trodden down, 
and the prosperity of the country impaired. Justice, humanity, 


liberty and the public welfare demand that immediate efiforts be 
made for a cessation of hostilities, with a view to a convention 
of the states, or other peaceable means, that at the earliest 
practicable moment peace may be restored on a basis of the 
union of the states. 

This was the first instance in the history of the 
nation in which one of the two great political parties 
composing the voting population had avowed its hos- 
tility in such bitter terms, not only to the existing 
administration, but to the conflict in which it was 
engaged for the maintenance of the nation's life, 
and had the party gone before the people with this 
platform, pure and simple, as the only issue between 
them and the party of the Union, they would have 
been buried so deep in scorn and contempt of the 
nation they would never have found a resurrection. 
Their chief candidate, however, who was yet quite 
popular with the soldiers, accepted the non\ination, 
but repudiated the resolutions, especially those that 
demanded an immediate cessation of hostilities. 

The following short dialogue between one of the 
men of Company A and Sergeant Campbell, Com- 
pany C, will give the reader some idea of the inter- 
est the boys took in the coming election : 

Company A — " I am still for my government, but 
as for my part I'll support ' Little Mac,' for if we re- 
elect 'Old Abe' the nigger will not only be free to 
take arms, but the ballot too, and I'll be d — d if I 
like the idea of voting by the side of a cucumber- 
shinned nigger ; and you know there are thousands 
of ofood soldiers and loval men at home who will 
support as good a conservative as McClellan." 


Sergeant — "I readily admit that your party em- 
braces many good Union men, but it embraces every 
secessionist, bushwhacker, guerrilla and rebel now 
in Kentucky, and these really recognized Union men 
are to screen from the world's view the disloyal 
hosts that are huzzaing for Mac. When you hear a 
fellow spouting about tne d — d abolitionists having 
got up this war, you may set him down as a traitor 
or a copperhead, and they belong to the very mean- 
est class of reptiles that crawl ; and I believe, if the 
case could be fully investigated, we should find that 
it was one of them that betrayed old Mother Eve in 
the Garden of Eden. Away with your nonsense 
about conservatism 1 Do you think our noble con- 
stitution has no innate power to maintain itself 
that copperheads must become its conservators ? If 
you cast your vote for conservatism you will be 
spending your influence in the conservation of this 
hellish rebellion. We want no more men to manage 
public affairs who are so desperately afraid of hurting 
slavery. We want no more men covering half his 
face with his country's flag and half with the traitor's 
flag of rebeldom. I tell you it is all a delusion. 
After the horrible record of the last three years, 
slavery is gone. To revive or restore it you may as 
well call the bodies of the unnumbered dead of this 
war to come from their graves as to try to infuse life 
into the dead corpse of American slavery. This is 
not fanaticism, but the sober, solemn truth, and the 
sooner we old soldiers realize it, and conform our 
conduct in accordance, the better, for the sooner our 


army realizes this fact, the sooner will the final exter- 
minating blow be given to this accursed, disgraceful 

The 4th September, 1864, all the troops around 
Chattanooga rejoiced at the news of the fall of At- 
lanta, nor were our feelings of joy the less on the 6th, 
at the news of the death of John Morgan, the guer- 
rilla chief, who was shot in trying to escape from 
some of General Gillem's men, in a garden at Green- 
ville, Tenn. Some of the Eighth boys remarked : 

Johnny rides on his raids no more. 
And ladies can wear jewelry as before. 

About this time quite a number of our battalion 
were sick, principally from fever. Alvin Schull, 
Company A, a fine, promising young man, died in 
October, much loved and lamented by his comrades. 
His father, Dr. Schull, of Irvine, Ky., arrived a few 
days before, and conveyed his remains home. 

During our long stay at Chattanooga, Chaplain 
Kindred held religious worship regularly in camp 
twice a week. Some times we had a sermon from a 
member of the Christian Commission, and several 
times were interested by the able old refugee, Chap- 
lain Burkett, of the Twenty-first Kentucky. A 
marked improvement was noticed by the writer and 
others in the general morals, speech and conduct of 
the Eighth within the last year. We heard much 
less profanity in camp than formerly. Many had be- 
come disgusted at so much vulgar profanity and quit 
the habit. Others, whose convictions were deeper 
seated, had joined our Christian League, instituted in 


the Eighth and Twenty-first Kentucky in September, 
1863. Doubtless many good men, now exemplary 
Christians, can date their start in agenume reforma- 
tion in life to some of those interesting meetings 
held in camp. At least the author is certain that 
several men have since then made such statements, 
their manner of life being proof of the same. 

Our comparatively peaceful routine duty at Chat- 
tanooga was interrupted the 26th September. The 
rebel General Forrest crossed the Tennessee River 
at Harpeth Shoals, and made an attack on the gar- 
rison at Athens, Ala., thus threatening our long 
''cracker line," the N. & C. Railroad. At 4 
o'clock that evening all of the Eighth able for duty 
marched to the depot, each man with sixty rounds of 
ammunition and three days' rations, leaving a few 
convalescents with our camp and equipage. We, in 
company with the Sixty-eighth Indiana, on board a 
train of platform cars, halted at Bridgeport and took 
on a good supply of axes, spades and picks. The 
night being very dark, the train ran slow, and 
reached the mouth of the Cumberland tunnel at day- 
light the 27th. After a hasty breakfast we laid off a 
line of earthworks and worked faithfully all day. 
We cut trees and rolled logs and large stones into 
line, against which the hard earth was piled breast 
high. At 5 o'clock, p. m., our pickets were called 
in, we being ordered by General Millroy to mount 
the first train north and proceed to Elk River bridge. 
After waiting in the rain until after 9 o'clock, p. m., 
we left the Sixty-eighth Indiana here. We halted at 


Decherd to throw off our tools, and soon landed at 
the bridge. Lieutenant-Colonel Mayhew and three 
companies occupied the fort, Company C, Captain 
Wright, the block-house on the south side, and 
Lieutenant Tye and Company B that on the north. 
As soon as daylight appeared everybody about the 
fort and block-houses was at work. Water tanks 
were cleaned out and refilled, and every necessary 
preparation made to stand a protracted attack, which 
we had good reason to believe the rebel raiders 
would make that day or night. Within these bomb- 
proof block-houses, every man with plenty of ammu- 
nition lying at his port-hole, while the boys at the 
strong little fort, with its four ominous looking 
twelve-pounders, we felt rather anxious to have the 
enemy attack us, as the men said, " Probably it will 
be our last fight, and we intend to make it a good 
one." During the early part of the night 
a part of the enemy had crossed the rail- 
road within a few miles and cut the telegraph. We 
grew more impatient waiting to hear the signal fire 
of our pickets. At i o'clock, a. m., we heard the 
unmistakable trample of cavalry. Then followed 
the discharge of several pieces of musketry in quick 
succession, then all was quiet, except some loud 
talking on picket. The Fifth Tennessee Federal 
Cavalry had accidentally, in their co-operative 
movements, run into our line. Fortunately, no harm 
resulted beyond the wounding of one horse. Ex- 
planations were soon made, and our Tennessee 
friends passed on. We were kept on the qui vive 


for several days, but had no chance to try our guns 
at rebels through port-holes. General Rousseau, on 
the 29th, gave Forrest's raiders a complete drubbing 
at Athens, Ala., and sent them off southwest again. 


We remained at Elk River until the 20th of Oc- 
tober, occupying the positions named in the pre- 
ceeding chapter, except on the 5th, Lieutenant Wil- 
liams and twenty men, of Companies H and B, were 
stationed at a stockade and water tank, one mile 
north of the bridge. We drew rations for the bat- 
talion from Tullahoma. The first five days' supply 
were spoiled — old moldy crackers and meat, to- 
tally unfit for human food. Colonel Mayhew ordered 
a board of survey, that soon reported back to the 
commissary at Tullahoma, with the damaged grub. 
During this unavoidable delay, for two days gur men 
were forced to resort to the poorly cultivated late 
corn fields for bread. Some gathered unripe pump- 
kins, others found a few potatoes and late green 
beans. But as soon as rations were received the 
men generously made full restitution to those from 
whom they had been compelled to take. Our men, 
generally, exhibited more sympathy with families in 
needy circumstances in the South, than was usually 
shown by troops from the northern states. Though 
all the able bodied males were in arms against us and 
their country, we considered it wrong to take from 
helpless women and innocent children their scanty 
means of subsistence. We here found even those 
who had good farms, hard run for bare necessaries ; 
therefore we forbid any foraging. Still the men 


were allowed to trade for or exchange sugar, coffee, 
etc., for sweet potatoes and other vegetables. 

Captain Wilson returned to Chattanooga, with an 
order from General Millroy to bring up our camp 
equipage, as we had no cooking vessels. But the 
post commander, being equal in rank, refused to let 
the Eighth and Sixty-eighth Indiana camps be 
moved, and all the men and officers found much 
difficulty in cooking rations. Captain Smallwood, 
Lieutenant Jones and myself furnished goverment 
rations for a Mrs. Garner, living near the fort, and ^ 
had her prepare our grub. The fine weather, light 
duty, and prospects of the early end of the war, 
made the command cheerful, under all circum- 

The nth, a squad of Company H, with Captain 
Smallwood and myself, by request of old Mr, Emery, 
a citizen, attended the funeral and assisted in bury- 
ing his daughter, the bride of Sergeant Garland, 
Second Kentucky Battery, who had died suddenly 
two weeks after her marriage. The scarcity of able 
bodied citizens in the neighborhood made our assist- 
ance a matter of necessity. Without our aid the burial 
would have been a laborious task for the few old 
men and little boys. The beautiful corpse and im- 
pressive service by an army chaplain, the grief 
stricken husband, the moaning parents and sisters, 
made it indeed a solemn scene. 

That evening the men's knapsacks were thrown 
off a train in a heap, near the fort. There was some 
confusion, each trying to be first to secure his indi- 


vidual property. Many mistakes were made, but all 
were soon rectified without ill-humor. Old soldiers 
learn to be very patient with comrades. 

The 15th a few of the Eighth were in the neigh- 
borhood trading, and ran into a squad of bush- 
whackers. Our boys dropped behind a fence and 
prepared for an attack, but the Johnnies fled. The 
same day they stole Lieutenant Colonel Mayhew's 
horse from a citizen, to whom the colonel had 
loaned his faithful ''old Dun," the same formerly 
owned and rode by Colonel Matthews. Many of 
the battalion beside the lieutenant- colonel regretted 
his loss. 

On the 16th of Octol5er, some excitement, and 
much indignation was manifested in camp, at a 
shocking proposition by one Stout to two of his 
comrades, that, as the bushwhackers were known to 
have been lurking about the neighborhood, they 
three should get one Rice (who had saved about all 
his wages), out with them foraging, kill and rob him, 
and report that the bushwhackers had done the deed. 
But he had evidently chosen upright, honest boys for 
pals, they believing him to be in dead earnest, di- 
vulged the wicked proposition to a few officers, who, 
after thorough investigation, thought it best to place 
Stout under arrest on a charge of criminal intent to 
murder. This was done partly for the safety of 
Stout, for many of his comrades had threatened to 
shoot him the first suspicious movement he should 
make. We have ever entertained doubts of his real 
intentions, and hope he stated facts in saying that he 


was *' only joking." But the Eighth boys deemed 
that too serious a matter for jesting. 

The 20th, a part of the i8oth Ohio relieved us 
about noon. We packed our scant garrison equipage 
and stacked arms on the side of the railroad, where 
we remained awaiting the promised train south until 
2 o'clock p. m., the 21st. The night was cold and 
frosty, but a good pile of old cedar ties furnished us 
material for good fires. The night of the 21st we 
slept in the stock cars on a siding at Crow Creek, 
took breakfast in Stevenson, and arrived at Bridge- 
port at noon the 2 2d, and reported to Colonel Tay- 
lor, Fifteenth Kentucky, commanding the post. 
Having no tents, we were permitted to occupy a 
large empty wareroom, and remained there doing 
picket duty until near dark, the 25th. A train 
stopped for us to take a night ride to our former camp, 
at Chattanooga. After much hurry and double- 
quicking with our traps for half a mile, a position on 
top of the cars caused our blood to cool rather sud- 
den for our comfort. But most us of soon gave the 
guards to understand that we considered it more 
comfortable inside the boxes on the grain. 

When we returned to our old camp at Chattanooga, 
the last of October, our requisitions for new cloth- 
ing were promptly furnished by our quartermaster, 
as we expected all the non-veterans would be mus- 
tered out in a few days. These men generally drew 
new suits complete. 

Calls for pickets and duty men were frequent. On 
the 2Qth, Lieutenant C. Park and thirty men were 




sent south with a drove of beeves. We were relieved 
from picket duty occasionally by the Fourteenth U. 
.S. colored regiment, and notwithstanding they were 
commanded by intelligent gentlemen (white officers), 
a few of our McClellan boys held the dusky boys 
in blue to be rather a disgrace to our uniform, and 
they thought it a hardship to be compelled to com- 
ply with the usual military etiquette and regulations, 
"when being relieved, to make the usual salute by pre- 
senting arms, as the new guard marched past to take 
their position. But they consoled themselves with 
the thoughts of the waning fortunes of the con- 
federacy, and their soon being again free men in a 
free country. 

The last days of October, the Fourth Corps, un- 
der General Stanley, arrived at Chattanooga. Gen- 
eral Sherman's famous Atlanta citizens' order was 
being carried out. Hundreds were daily passing 
north, the overtasked rolling stock on the N. & C. 
road being unable to transport them. Many of them 
had to lay over here in the depot buildings. 

November 3d we were ordered by General Stead- 
man to go to Resaca, Georgia, to relieve the garri- 
son there, to be absent one week. Now we had con- 
cluded, as our time would be up the 15th, the Gen- 
eral should have sent some other regiment, and to 
comply with this unexpected order was even more 
unpleasant than remaining here and picketing with 
the darkeys. Colonel Mayhew sent the author to the 
adjutant general, with a request that one officer from 
each company of the Eighth be allowed to stay in 


our camp to prepare rolls and discharge papers. 
The request was granted, and five officers, including 
the author, remained with a few men not able for 

The battalion went on the cars, the 3d, to Resaca, 
and part of the command remained there, and the 
balance at Calhoun, as garrison guards, until the 
13th of November. 

The cold, rainy season had caused us to again 
hover around our rudely-constructed fireplaces, and 
we officers were for several days quite busy with our 
muster-out rolls, as we expected the battalion back 
the loth. But that and several days passed and we 
were anxiously expecting them. 

The 13th being Sunday, and camp appearing un- 
usually dull, I took a walk in the city and called on 
the good lady that had nursed me so kindly during 
my illness in September. After partaking of a good 
dinner, a few of us took a walk about the depot, 
where hundreds of families were waiting transporta- 
tion north. General Sherman had decided to make 
the city of Atlanta strictly a military post, and in 
September had ordered all families in Atlanta having 
male representatives in the rebel lines to be sent im- 
mediately through the lines to their friends, and all 
other non-combatants in Atlanta to be transported 
north. The large depot buildings were full, and 
many families had provided themselves rude shelter 
by stretching up quilts and blankets, tent-fly fashion. 
Many of these people bore unmistakable evidences of 
refinement. Viewed under surrounding circum- 


Stances in which they were now placed, more 
wretched than soldier life, little or no shelter, hover- 
ing around small smoky fires, on which women were 
trying to cook some fat pork and boil coffee that had 
been given them by Uncle Sam, crying and fretting 
children clinging to not overly clean dress skirts, 
these southern women certainly did not present an 
amiable appearance. I could but pity these innocent 
women and tender children whom the sad circum- 
stances of this useless and foolish rebellion had 
caused to be houseless and homeless, most of them 
unwilling emigrants. I could only say, God pity 
them ! and return to my quarters pondering on the 
cruelties of war. 

Late on the night of the 14th our pleasant dreams 
of home were broken by the old familiar cheering 
of the Eighth returning. The 15th and i6th were 
busy days with the officers. The evening of the 
latter the men were paraded and stacked arms. 
Ordnance, camp and garrison stores were piled, in- 
spected, invoiced, and finally turned over to the post 
inspector, with proper vouchers. We slept as soundly 
as if no war was devastating our once happy country. 
The 17th all the Eighth except Lieutenant Pucket 
and the veterans marched to the tent of Lieutenant 
Stansbury, mustering officer U. S. A., and were duly 
mustered out, the company officers retaining the 
men's discharge papers until we should reach Louis- 
ville, Ky., where we were to receive our pay. 

The 1 8th we bid Pucket and our veteran brothers 
farewell, and were soon on board the cars for home 


We arrived at Nashville, where we were compelled 
to remain until morning. The 19th, after seeing 
our baggage safely housed at the Louisville depot, 

the officers put up at the N House. Much good 

feeling was manifested among us, some of the younger 
officers vieing with each other in conviviality, while 
a few of us older ones, who made less demonstra- 
tions of gayety, felt no less happy at the prospect of 
soon being once more free from military orders, and 
at home with our dear wives and other friends that 
were anxiously expecting our return. 

Early the 23d day of November, 1864, the non- 
veterans of the Eighth assembled and formed in line 
our last time, marched to the United States Deposi- 
tory in Louisville, and all, except the officers whose 
accountability for government stores had not been 
settled, received final payment, and the men's dis- 
charge papers were by the company officers given 
them. Then followed a general farewell hand- 
shaking, with many earnest vows of eternal friend- 
ship, and we hastened to our respective homes, feel- 
ing confident that in a few weeks, or months at most, 
the cruel war would be over by the complete over- 
throw of the would-be Southern Confederacy. 




Captain T.J. Wright Aged j^ 

First Lieutenant James R. Williams ........ " 

Second Lieutenant George W. Lewis " 

First Sergeant Daniel Campbell " 

Fourth Sergeant William T. Fielder *' 

Fifth Sergeant John F. Clemmons " 

Wagoner, William Pitcher " 










Abney, Colby . . o 
Aldrich, William. . 
Bailey, Alford. . . 
Dennis, Pleasant. . 
Elliott, Philip J . . 
Fritz, INIichael. „ . 
Gibson, Hughy . . 

8 Gabbard, Greenbury 

9 Hurley, Gilbert . . 

10 Hornsby, William . 

11 Hall, Martin B . . 

12 Harris, William . . 

13 Howard, Francis. . 

14 Hendricks, Elijah . 

15 Jones, Nathaniel. . 

16 Jenkins, Parson . . 





















King, Francis 23 

King, John 27 




Laneheart, Sidney Q 
Lewis, Joseph W. . 
Moreland, Richard. 
Moore, William P . 

Rice, John Q 31 

Shackleford,Maundrel E 22 

Stamper, William B 
Stamper, Marcus D 
Stephens, Richard 
Tolson, Isaac . . 
Turner,* Edward. 
Whisman, Hiram 
Wade, George W 
27 J 32 Webb, Elisha. . 







Sergeant James M. Kindred, to staff, March, 1862. 
Sergeant Henry Morris, to hospital steward, May, 1862. 
Private Hiram Burris,to marine brigade, April, 1863. 
Corporal Joshua Bingham, to invalid corps, November, 1863. 
Corporal Sampson Patton, to invalid corps, November, 1863. 




1 Blevins, Eli A . 

2 Barnett, James A 


3 King, Moses H. . 

4 Morris, William . 



Captain Rhodes Winbourn. . 
Lieut. Winfield S. Spencer. . 
Lieut. Caleb S. Hughes . . . 
Private Joseph P. Wright . . 
Private William Pucket . . . 
Corporal Francis M. Wilson . 
Private Dillard Bush .... 
Private John Lunsford .... 
Private William Baker. . . . 
Private Jeremiah Sparks. . . 
Sergeant Robert Bingham . . 
Private Jonathan N. Bishop . 

Private John Groves 

Private Alford Blevins., . . . 
Private Jackson Moore , . . 
Private Robert M. Marshall . 

Private John Derbin 

Musician Martin V. Hall . . 
Corporal Shipton Stephens. . 
Private Joseph Derbin. . . . 
Private Joseph McPherson . . 
Corporal James Dixon .... 
Private Francis M. S:hoolcraft 
Private Isaac Whitaker . . . 
Private Henry Gentry. . . . 
Private Henry M. Judy . . . 
Private Stephen A Frailey . . 
Private Robert Henderson . . 
Sergeant Henry Harris . . . 
Serg't Carlisle L. Shackleford 
Sergeant Henry H. Gabbard . 
Private Ira G. Proffit .... 
Private George W, Conner. . 
Private Henry Burris .... 
Private Milton Smith .... 
Private Joseph McQueen. . . 
Sergeant DeWitt C. Winbourn 
Corporal Simpson Wood. . . 
Sergeant Fielding P. Wood . 
Musician Moses Whisman . . 


Physical Disalnlity 
Physical Disability 
Consolidation . . 
Physical Disability 
Physical Disability 
Physical Disability 
Physical Disability 
Physical Disability 
Physical Disability 
Surgeon's Cert. . 
Surgeon's Cert. . 
Surgeon's Cert. . 
Surgeon's Cert. . 
Surgeon's Cert. . 
Surgeon's Cert. . 
Surgeon's Cert. . 
Surgeon's Cert. . 
Surgeon's Cert. . 
Surgeon's Cert. . 
Accidental Wound 
Physical Disability 

Cert. . 

Cert. . 

Wounds . 


Surgeon's Cert. . 
Ankle Dislocated 
Wounds. . . 


Cert . 
Cert . 

Surgeon's Cert. . 
Surgeon's Cert. . 
Surgeon's Cert. . 
Surgeon's Cert. . 
Physical Disability 
Wounds .... 
Surgeon's Cert, . 
Consolidation . . 
Physical Disability 

















































































NOVEMBER, iSTH, 1 864. 


Sergeant George F. Edwards . . 
Sergeant Washington HoUon . . 
Corporal John W. Harrison . . . 
Corporal Ambrose W. Logsdon . 
Corporal William S. Hilton . . . 
Corporal William R. Coyle . . . 
Corporal William C. Lutes . . . . 

Corporal John W. Wise 

Corporal Robert G. Ramsey , . . 
Private James M. Whisman . . . 
Private Howard N. Burgess. . . 
Private Calaway Bowman . . . . 
Private Greenbury Bowman . . . 

Private Elisha Bailey 

Private Garland Conner 

Private Braxton D. Cox 

Private Alexander F. Hays . , . 
Private John D. Jamison . . . . 
Private George W. Jewell. . . . 

Private Edward Lynch 

Private Isaac T. Lamb 

Private William C Lamb . . . . 
Private James McLaughlin. . . . 

Private Harden Moore 

Private Randal M. dinger . . . 
Private William L . Rice . . . . 

Private John H. Stout 

Private James Smith 

Private Eli A. Sparks 

Private John Selby 

Private Jonathan Scarbraugh. . . 

Private Elliott Turner 

Private Wilbourn Turner . . . . 
Private Christopher C. Webb . . 

Private James F. Baker 

Private Robert D. Harris ... 
Private James Spencer 























Clay County. 
Clay County. 
Estill County. 
Estill County. 
Owsley County. 
Estill County. 
Owsley County. 
Estill County. 
Clay County. 
Clay County. 
Madison County, 
Owsley County. 
Owsley County. 
Harlin County. 
Estill County. 
Owsley County. 
Knox County. 
Owsley County. 
Estill County. 
Madison County. 
Madison County. 
Wakesford, Ind. 
Owsley County. 
Lee County. 
Madison County. 
Clay County. 
Owsley County. 
Estill County. 
Madison County. 
Madison County. 
Breathitt County. 
Breathitt County. 
Estill County. 
Clay County. 
Estill County. 
Perry County. 






Captain Landon C. Minter 
Lieut. Wade B. Cox, . . 
Lieut. Newton J. Hughes 
Sergt. Nathan C. Wilson . 
Sergt, Charles F. Culton . 
Sergt. Hamilton W. Wright 
Corp'l Alexander J. Baker 
Corporal John H. Powell 
Corp'l Franklin J. Hughes 
Corp'l Isaac H. Anderson 
Corp'l Abner Q. Logsdon 
Corporal James C. Tolson 
Private Joseph King. . . 
Private Greenbury King . 

Private Jonn D. Williams 

Piivate Wm. Hembree . . 

Private John Roberts . . 

Private Jesse Coomer. . . 

Private Elisha Mayo. . . 

Private William Smith. . 

Musician Richard Poore . 

Private Buford Lutes. . . 

Private Isaac Roberds . . 

Private Uriah King . . . 

Private Ira G, Dixon. . . 

Private Charles N. Burgess 

Private Butler Frailey . . 

Private Fletcher Bowman 

Private Isaac Thomas . . 

Private John R. Wilson . 

Priv. Edward Richardson 

Private Andrew Vaughn , 

Private Alexander Gibson 

Private John W. Barnett . 



Wounds . 
Wounds . 
Fever . . 
Fever . . 
Fever . . 
Wounds . 
Fever . , 
Fever . . 
Fever . . 
Diarrhea . 
Wound . 
Fever . . 
Fever . • 
Fever , . 
Fever . . 
Fever . . 
Fever . . . 
Fever , . . 
Inf. Lungs. 
Jaundice . . 
Fever . . . 
Typh. Fever 

Fever . . . 

Diarrhea . . 

Wounds . . 

Wound . . 

Wound . . 

Wound . . 

Fever . . . 

Dropsy . . 

Killed. . . 

Varioloid. . 




Lebanon, Ky 

Lebanon . . 


Lebanon . . 

Lebanon . . 

Nashville . . 

Nashville . . 


Louisville . . 

Lebanon . . 

Lebanon . . 

Lebanon . , 

Lebanon . , 

Lebanon . , 

Lebanon . 

Lebanon . 

Lebanon . 

Lebanon . 

Lebanon . 

Lebanon . . 

Lebanon . . 

Lebanon . . 


Nashville . . 





Nashville . . 



















































April '62 

Dec. '62 

Jan. '63 

Jan. '63 

Feb. '63 

Feb. '63 

May '63 

Sept. '63 

Nov. '6^ 

Note.— The author regrets being unable to obtain copies 
of muster-out rolls of other companies in time for the publisher. 


The general readers of history are familiar with 
Sherman's triumphant march to the sea, with Gen. 
Hood's defeat before Nashville, the early spring 
campaign of 1865, With the closing scenes of the 
war by the surrender of Lee's army at Appomattox, 
Va., in April, immediately followed by the surren- 
der of Johnson's and Kirby Smith's armies. Thus 
closed a war which had extended over a period of 
four years, had caused more lavish expenditure of 
money, and mustered into the field a larger force 
than any war of modern times. Hundreds of thou- 
sands had been slain and died from exposure, sick- 
ness and bad treatment in southern prisons. Slavery, 
the boasted chief corner-stone of the defunct confed- 
eracy had been effectually annihilated, and the south- 
ern leaders and many of their followers humbled but 
somewhat sullen. 

The people of the north, and many of the inhabi- 
tants of the border states, in the midst of their rejoic- 
ing, were shocked at the news of the assassination of 
President Lincoln by a tool of the expiring confed- 
eracy. Then occurred much loud talk in high places 
of ''punishing traitors and making treason odious," 
but these vaporings cooled down. Jeff. Davis, the 
arch-traitor, was set free, 'and the great question 
that puzzled our president and congress was, what 
course the government should pursue in regard to 
the late rebellious states. Andrew Johnson, Lin- 
coln's successor, ''swung around the circle," and 
took opposite views to our national legislators ; but 
no one was punished except a few of the assassin 


Booth's co-conspirators and Wertz. The bungling 
reconstruction acts were followed with unsatisfactory 
results to both north and south. 

The ratification of the fifteenth amendment to the 
United States constitution, giving the ballot to the 
colored men, was especially distasteful to the ex- 
rebels. Ninety-five out of every hundred of these 
newly made citizens could not read their ballots, the 
greater number being entirely dependent upon the 
white land-owners, who, seeing their only chance of 
regaining any political control in the government 
was to use this blind power, and, with the help of 
the Democratic party in the north, these ex-rebels yet 
hoped to gain by the ballot what they failed to do by 
the bullet, i. e., control of the government, and how 
near they came, through their Mississippi plans, and 
the help of hungry northern Democratic politicians, 
to making their threat good, are matters of very re- 
cent date. 

But the recent presidential election has demon- 
strated conclusively that the Democratic party, 
though boasting of a '^ Solid South," can never gain 
a national victory again. The youth of this republic 
are not democratic, and so long as slavery and the 
war linger within the memory of our youth, the re- 
public will continue to grow up republicans, and 
slavery and the war will be remembered as long as 
our public school system exists. A pointed editorial 
in a leading democratic paper of Chicago, just after 
this last national contest (1880), coincides so nearly 
with our views on this subject that we give it here? 


in hopes that my old soldier brothers' boys who may 
chance to read this little volume may reason and re- 
flect on the truth or falsity of the cause of the Demo- 
crats' late defeat : 

It is vain for statesmen to declare that there were as many 
Democrats as Republicans in the Union army. It is vain to 
affirm that the war for the preservation of the Union could not 
have been carried to a successful close without the assistance of 
the Democratic party. It is idle for philanthropy to suggest 
that the attitude of the party toward the war in the beginning 
was a humane one ; that it was inspired by the higher and bet- 
ter wish that the cause of the conflict should be peaceably re- 
moved, and the spilling of brother's blood by brother's hands 
avoided. The Democratic party has been ideally identified 
with slavery and slave-holding. The Republican party is 
ideally identified with emancipation and the war; therefore is 
the youth of the country incapable of being Democratic — 
therefore the Democratic party can never win a national vic- 
tory. Its old men are dying away; the boys who catch the 
ballots that fall from their stiff'ened hands are Republicans. 
The young wife who held the babe up to kiss the father as he 
hurried to the tap of his departing regiment has not suckled a 
Democrat. The weary foot of the gray grandmother, who 
watched the children while the wife was busy, has not rocked 
the cradle of a Democrat, The chair that the soldier-father 
never came back to fill has never been climbed upon by Demo- 
crats. The old blue coat that his comrades carried back was 
cut up for little jackets, but not one enclosed the heart of a 
Democrat. The rattled musket that fell from him with his last 
shot became the thoughtless toy of his boys, but not a hand 
that played with it was the hand of a Democrat. The babe he 
kissed crowed and crowed for his return, and its unwitting and 
unanswered notes were not from the throat of a Democrat. 
The tear-soiled camp letters which the mother read aloud in 
the long bitter evenings, while the boys clustered at her knees, 
did not fall upon Democratic ears. The girls' sobs, blended 
with the mother's weeping, did not make Democrats of their 
brothers. Perhaps the father had been a Democrat all his life. 
The children go to school ; there is not a Democrat on its 
benches. The First Reader contains the portrait of Abraham 
Lincoln ; that kind and sturdy face never made a Democrat. 
On its simple pages, in words of one or two syllables, is told 
the story of his birth and death ; that story never made a Demo- 


crat. In the pranks of the play-ground the name silences the 
frolicsome, and makes the jolliest grave ; that name never made 
a Democrat. In the pictures that light up the geography are 
the firing on Fort Sumter and the death of Ellsworth ; those 
pictures make no Democrats. The first page of the history con- 
tains a representation of the surrender of Lee at Appomattox ; 
no boy sets eyes on that and after avows himself a Democrat. 
In the higher grade the same subtle and irresistible influence is 
at work. The text books contain extracts from patriot speeches 
during the war; those speeches make no Democrats. The 
great battles are briefly described ; the narrative has no Demo- 
cratic listeners. The strain of martial music runs through the 
readers, and that music makes no Democrats. Sketches of the 
great generals are given ; their deeds arouse the enthusiasm of 
the lads, but there is no Democrat among them. The horrors 
and sufferings of the slaves are told ; the maddened blood that 
mounts the boy's cheek is not Democratic blood. The curse 
of slavery has pursued the Democratic party, and has hounded 
it to its death ; therefore let it die, and no lip will be found to 
say a prayer over the grass of its grave. The late defeat need 
not be attributed to any other cause. Other causes have been 
at work, but they were only incidental. The tariff was one; 
sectionalism was a second ; let well-enough alone was a third j 
the October elections in Indiana was a fourth. But all these 
are trivial, and together could not have accomplished the result. 
The result was accomplished because the youth of the republic 
are not Democratic. That party is therefore without a future 
and without a hope. The maledictions of the war have 
falsified its brain ; the curse of slavery has poisoned its blood 
and rotted its bone. Let it die. 

In looking back twenty years, and noting the un- 
paralleled development of our great Northwest, and 
the general prosperity of our common country, the 
rapid extinguishment of the national debt, the credit 
and respect other nations of the world have for 
Americans, and our free institutions, we cannot help 
but feel proud of our glorious Union of States, and 
in conclusion, say to all that may have been in arms 
against the boys in blue, during the bloody days of 
which this volume treats, or to those whose sympathies 


were more with the gray than for us, mourn not over 
the death of slavery, which has been the curse of our 
country, cease your vain regrets for the 'Most cause," 
stop your efforts to keep alive the once dangerous 
but now defunct principles for which Lee and Jack- 
son fought, and learn again to love and respect the 
one flag of liberty and the one great country it rep- 
resents. Unite your energies in helping to develop 
the vast hidden resources of wealth of the sunny 
South; declare that labor shall be respected, instead 
of despised ; discard old time prejudices, abolish 
class distinction among whites, encourage public 
schools, where all, however poor or of what race or 
color, may have free access to the tree of knowledge, 
that intelligence may wield the ballot. Then strive 
for a '^ free ballot and a fair count," and with us old 
boys of the blue rejoice in and be proud of a gov- 
ernment where the humblest laborer can go to his 
cabin after his day's labor, and take his little tow- 
headed boy on his knee and tell him he has the 
future and the public schools before him, and has 
just as good chances to be President of the United 
States as any other boy. Let us throw away section 
lines and sectionalism, now the curse of slavery is 
out of the way, and turn our attention to watching 
our common interests, and guarding against other 
evils that may be threatening our liberties and 
our peace, such as the encroachments of powerful 
monopolies and the fearful increase of vice and in- 
temperance, that we may be able at no distant day to 
say that all our labors have not been in vain.