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CopYitiGirr, 1885, 

(AU right* rtserved.) 

Press of J. J. Liulc & Co., 
Nos. lb to 90 Astor Place, New York. 

/^Cxc^oPl^ ^ ^ ^^^^^' 

i^^^^^U^ ^ 




'* Ali AN proposes and God disposes." There are 
i Y 1 but few important events in the affairs of men 
brought about by their own choice. 

Although frequently urged by friends to write my 
memoirs I had determined never to do so, nor to 
write anything for publication. At the age of nearly 
sixty-two I received an injury from a fall, which con- 
fined me closely to the house while it did not ap- 
parently affect my general health. This made study 
a pleasant pastime. Shortly after, the rascality of a 
business partner developed itself by the announce- 
ment of a failure. This was followed soon after by 
universal depression of all securities, which seemed 
to threaten the extinction of a good part of the in- 
come still retained, and for which I am indebted to 
the kindly act of friends. At this juncture the editor 
of the Century Magazine asked me to write a few 
articles for him. I consented for the money it gave 
me; for at that moment I was living upon borrowed 
money. The work I found congenial, and I deter- 


mined to continue it The event is an important 
one for me, for good or evil ; I hope for the former. 

In preparing these volumes for the public, I have 
entered upon the task with the sincere desire to 
avoid doing injustice to any one, whether on the 
National or Confederate side, other than the un- 
avoidable injustice of not making mention often 
where special mention is due. There must be many 
errors of omission in this work, because the subject 
is too large to be treated of in two volumes in such 
way as to do justice to all the officers and men en- 
gaged. There were thousands of instances, during 
the rebellion, of individual, company, regimental and 
brigade deeds of heroism which deserve special men- 
tion and are not here alluded to. The troops en- 
gaged in them will have to look to the detailed 
reports of their individual commanders for the full 
history of those deeds. 

The first volume, as well as a portion of the 
second, was written before I had reason to suppose 
I was in a critical condition of health. Later I was 
reduced almost to the point of death, and it became 
impossible for me to attend to anything for weeks. 
I have, however, somewhat regained my strength, 
and am able, often, to devote as many hours a day as 
a person should devote to such work. I would have 
more hope of satisfying the expectation of the public 
if I could have allowed myself more time. I have 

used my best efforts, with the aid of my eldest son, 
F. D. Grant, assisted by his brothers, to verify fn»i 
the records every statement of fact given. The com- 
ments are my own, and show how I saw the matters 
treated of whether others saw them in the same li|^t 

With these remarks I present these volumes to 
the public, asking no favor but hoping they will meet 
the approval of the reader. 


MOOMT HacGuook, Niw Yoke, Jttfy i, 1885. 



Preface • 7 

Ancestry— Birth— Boyhood *. 17-31 

West Point— Graduation 52-^44 


Army Life— Causes of the Mexican War— Camp Salu- 
brity 45-60 


Corpus Christi— Mexican Smuggling — Spanish Rule in 

Mexico— Supplying Transportation 61-73 


Trip to Austin — Promotion to full Second-Lieuten- 
ant—Army OF Occupation 74-33 


Advance of the Army— Crossing the Colorado— The 

Rio Grande 84-91 


The Mexican War— The Battle of Palo Alto— The 
Battle of Resaca de la Palma — Army of Invasion 
—General Taylor— Movement on Camargo 92-106 


Advance on Monterey— The Black Fort— The Battle 

of Monterey— Surrender of the City 107-1 18 




Political Intrigue— Buena Vista— Movement against 

Vera Cruz— Siege and Capture of Vera Cruz 1 19-128 


March to Jalapa— Battle of Cerro Gordo — Perote— 

PUEBLA — Scott and Taylor 129-139 


Advance on the City of Mexico— Battle of Contreras 
—Assault at Churubusco— Negotiations for Peace 
—Battle of Moling del Rey— Storming of Chapul- 
tepec— San Cosme— Evacuation of the City— Halls 
OF the Montezumas 140-161 


Promotion to First Lieutenant — Capture of the City 
OF Mexico— The Army — Mexican Soldiers— Peace 
Negotiations 162-174 


Treaty of Peace— Mexican Bull Fights— Regimental 
Quartermaster— Trip to Popocatapetl— Trip to 
THE Caves of Mexico 175-190 


Return of the Army — Marriage— Ordered to the Pa- 
cific Coast— Crossing the Isthmus — Arrival at San 
Francisco 191-199 


San Francisco— Early California Experiences — Life on 
THE Pacific Coast— Promoted Captain— Flush Times 
IN California 200-209 


Resignation— Private Life— Life at Galena— The Com- 
ing Crisis 310-228 



Outbreak of the Rebeluon-^Presiding at a Union 
Meetinc— Mustering Ofhcer of State Troops— 
Lyon at Camp Jackson— Services tendered to the 
Government 229-241 


Appointed Colonel of the 2ist Illinois— Personnel of 
THE Regiment— General Logan— March to Mis- 
souri—Movement against Harris at Florida, 
Mo.— General Pope in Command— Stationed at 
Mexico, Mo 242-253 


Commissioned Brigadier-General— Command at Iron- 
ton, Mo.— Jefferson City— Cape Girardeau— Gen- 
eral Prentiss— Seizure of Paducah— Headquar- 
ters AT Cairo 254-268 


General Fremont in Command — Movement against Bel- 
mont — Battle of Belmont— A narrow Escape- 
After the Battle 269-281 


General Halleck in Command— Commanding the Dis- 
trict of Cairo — Movement on Fort Henry — 
Capture of Fort Henry 282-293 


Investment of Fort Donelson— The naval Operations 
—Attack of the Enemy — Assaulting the Works 
— Surrender of the Fort 294-315 


Promoted Major-General of Volunteers — Unoccupied 
Territory — Advance upon Nashville— Situation 
OF THE Troops— Confederate Retreat— Relieved 
OF THE Command— Restored to the Command- 
General Smith 316-329 




The Army at Pittsburg Landing— Injured by a Fall 
— ^The Confederate Attack at Shiloh — The First 
Day's Fight at Shiloh— General Sherman— Condi- 
tion OF the Army — Close of the First Day's 
Fight— The Second Day's Fight— Retreat and 
Defeat of the Confederates 330-352 


Struck by a Bullet — Precipitate Retreat of the Con- 
federates — Intrenchments at Shiloh — General 
BuELL — General Johnston — Remarks on Shiloh 353-370 


Halleck Assumes Command in the Field — The Ad- 
vance UPON Corinth— Occupation of Corinth — 
The Army Separated 371-384 


Headquarters Moved to Memphis — On the Road to 
Memphis — Escaping Jackson — Complaints and Re- 
quests — Halleck Appointed Commander-in-Chief — 
Return to Corinth— Movements of Bragg— Sur- 
render of Clarksville— The Advance upon 
Chattanooga— Sheridan Colonel of a Michigan 
Regiment 385-403 


Advance of Van Dorn and Price — Price Enters Iuka 

— Baitle of Iuka 404-413 


Van Dorn's Movements— Battle of Corinth— Command 

OF the Department of the Tennessee 414-421 


The Campaign against Vicksburg — Employing the 
Freedmen— Occupation of Holly Springs — Sherman 
Ordered to Memphis — Sherman's Movements down 
the Mississippi — Van Dorn Captures Holly Springs 
— Collecting Forage and Food 422-436 



Headquarters Moved to Holly Springs— General Mc- 
Clernand in Command— Assuming Command at 
Young's Point — Operations above Vicksburg — 
Fortifications about Vicksburg—The Canai^— Lake 
Providence— Operations at Yazoo Pass 437--455 


The Bayous West of the Mississippi— Criticisms of the 
Northern Press— Running the Batteries— Loss of 
THE INDIANOLA— Disposition of the Troops 456-472 

Attack on Grand Gulf— Operations below Vicksburg. 473-484 


Capture of Port Gibson— Grierson's Raid — Occupation 
OF Grand Gulf— Movement up the Big Black- 
Battle OF Raymond 485-498 


Movement against Jackson— Fall of Jackson— Inter- 
cepting the Enemy— Baitle of Champion's Hill... 499-521 


Battle of Black River Bridge— Crossing the Big 
Black — Investment of Vicksburg— Assaulting the 
Works 522-531 

Siege of Vicksburg 532-547 


Johnston's Movements — Fortifications at Haines* 
Bluff — Explosion of the Mine— Expulsion of the 
Second Mine— Preparing for the Assault — The 
Flag of Truce— Meeting with Pemberton — 
Negotiations for Surrender— Accepting the Terms 
-Surrender of Vicksburg 548-570 


Retrospect of the Campaign — Sherman's Movements- 
Proposed Movement upon Mobile— A painful Ac- 
cident—Ordered to Report at Cairo 571-584 




Brevet Second Lieutenant U. S. Grant at the Age of 21 
Years, from an old Daguerreotype taken at Bethel, 
Clermont County, Ohio, in 1843. Engraved on Steel 

BY A. H. Ritchie, N.A Frontispiece 

Fac-simile of Handwriting Dedication 

Birthplace at Point Pleasant, Clermont County, Ohio. 

Etched by Wm. E. Marshall •. 24 

Map of Monterey and its Approaches 114 

Map of the Valley of Mexico 160 

Map of the Battle-field near Belmont 275 

Map showing the relative Positions of Fort Henry Ai»n) 

Fort Donelson 289 

Map of Fort Donelson 297 

Fac-simile of General Buckner's Dispatch relating to 
Terms of Capitulation, General Grant's reply, " I pro- 
pose TO move immediately upon your Works," and Gen- 
eral Buckner's answer accepting the Terms for the 
Surrender of Fort Donelson, all from the Original 

Documents 312 

Map of the Field of Shiloh 341 

Map of the Country about Corinth, Mississippi 375 

Map of the Battles of Iuka and Corinth 409 

Map of the Vicksburg Campaign 467 

Map— Bruinsburg, Port Gibson and Grand Gulf 479 

Map of the Country about Jackson, Mississippi 502 

Map of the Battle of Champion's Hill 514 

Map of Battle-field of Big Black River Bridge ► 525 

Map of the Siege of Vicksburg 539 

Map— Line of Defences Vicksburg to Haines* Bluff and 
Black River Bridge 550 

Note. — The Daguerreotype from which the frontispiece was engraved was 
famished the publishers through the courtesy of Mr. George W. Childs. 

The fac-similes of General Buckner's dispatches at Fort Donelson are copied 
from the originals furnished the publishers through the courtesy of Mr. 
Ferdinand J. Dreer. General Grant's dispatch, ** I propose to move imme- 
diately upon your works," was copied from the original document in the pos- 
session of the publishers. 






MY family is American, and has been for gen- 
erations, in all its branches, direct and col- 

Mathew Grant, the founder of the branch in 
America, of which I am a descendant, reached Dor- 
chester, Massachusetts, in May, 1630. In 1635 he 
moved to what is now Windsor, Connecticut, and 
was the surveyor for that colony for more than forty 
years. He was also, for many years of the time, 
town clerk. He was a married man when he arrived 
at Dorchester, but his children were all born in this 
country. His eldest son, Samuel, took lands on the 
east side of the Connecticut River, opposite Windsor, 
which have been held and occupied by descendants 
of his to this day. 

Vol. I.— a 


I am of the eighth generation from Mathew Grant, 
and seventh from Samuel. Mathew Grant's first wife 
died a few years after their settlement in Windsor, 
and he soon after married the widow Rockwell, who, 
with her first husband, had been fellow-passengers 
with him and his first wife, on the ship Mary and 
John, from Dorchester, England, in 1630. Mrs. 
Rockwell had several children by her first marriage, 
and others by her second. By intermarriage, two or 
three generations later, I am descended from both 
the wives of Mathew Grant. 

In the fifth descending generation my great grand- 
father, Noah Grant, and his younger brother, Solo- 
mon, held commissions in the English army, in 1756, 
in the war against the French and Indians. Both 
were killed that year. 

My grandfather, also named Noah, was then but 
nine years old. At the breaking out of the war of 
the Revolution, after the battles of Concord and Lex- 
ington, he went with a Connecticut company to join 
the Continental army, and was present at the battle 
of Bunker Hill. He served until the fall of York- 
town, or through the entire Revolutionary war. He 
must, however, have been on furlough part of the 
time — as I believe most of the soldiers of that period 
were — for he married in Connecticut during the war, 
had two children, and was a widower at the close. 
Soon after this he emigrated to Westmoreland 


County. Pennsylvania, and settled near the town of 
Greensburg in that county. He took with him the 
younger of bis two children, Peter Grant The 
elder, Solomon, remained with his relatives in Con- 
necticut until old enough to do for himself, when he 
emigrated to the British West Indies, 

Not loi^r after his settlement in Pennsylvania, my 
grandfather, Captain Noah Grant, married a Miss 
Kelly, and in 1799 he emigrated again, this time to 
Ohio, and settled where the town of DeeHield now 
stands. He had now five children, including Peter, 
a son by his first marriage. My father, Jesse R. 
Giant, was the second child— oldest son, by the 
second marriage. 

Peter Grant went early to Maysville, Kentucky, 
where he was very prosperous, married, had a family 
of nine children, and was drowned at the mouth of 
the Kanawha River, Virginia, in 1825, being at the 
time one of the wealthy men of the West. 

My grandmother Grant died in 1805, leaving 
seven children. This broke up the family. Cap- 
tain Noah Grant was not thrifty in the way of "lay- 
ing up stores on earth," and, after the death of his 
second wife, he went, with the two youngest children. 
to live with his son Peter, in Maysville. The rest 
of the family found homes in the neighborhood of 
Deerfield, my father in the family of Judge Tod, the 
father of the late Governor Tod, of Ohio. His in- 


dustry and independence of character were such, that 
I imagine his labor compensated fully for the ex- 
pense of his maintenance. 

There must have been a cordiality in his welcome 
into the Tod family, for to the day of his death he 
looked upon Judge Tod and his wife, with all the 
reverence he could have felt if they had been par- 
ents instead of benefactors. I have often heard him 
speak of Mrs. Tod as the most admirable woman 
he had ever known. He remained with the Tod 
family only a few years, until old enough to learn a 
trade. He went first, I believe, with his half- 
brother, Peter Grant, who, though not a tanner him- 
self, owned a tannery in Maysville, Kentucky. Here 
he learned his trade, and in a few years returned to 
Deerfield and worked for, and lived in the family 
of a Mr. Brown, the father of John Brown — ** whose 
body lies mouldering in the grave, while his soul 
goes marching on." I have often heard my father 
speak of John Brown, particularly since the events at 
Harper's Ferry. Brown was a boy when they lived 
in the same house, but he knew him afterwards, and 
regarded him as a man of great purity of character, 
of high moral and physical courage, but a fanatic 
and extremist in whatever he advocated. It was 
certainly the act of an insane man to attempt the 
invasion of the South, and the overthrow of slavery, 
with less than twenty men. 


My father set up for himself in business, estab- 
lishing a tannery at Ravenna, the county seat of 
Portage County. In a few years he removed from 
Ravenna, and set up the same business at Point 
Pleasant, Clermont County, Ohio. 

During the minority of my father, the West af- 
forded but poor facilities for the most opulent of the 
youth to acquire an education, and the majority were 
dependent, almost exclusively, upon their own exer- 
tions for whatever learning they obtained. I have 
often heard him say that his time at school was lim- 
ited to six months, when he was very young, too 
young, indeed, to learn much, or to appreciate the 
advantages of an education, and to a ** quarter's 
schooling" afterwards, probably while living with 
Judge Tod. But his thirst for education was in- 
tense. He learned rapidly, and was a constant 
reader up to the day of his death — in his eightieth 
year. Books were scarce in the Western Reserve 
during his youth, but he read every book he could 
borrow in the neighborhood where he lived. This 
scarcity gave him the early habit of studying every- 
thing he read, so that when he got through with a 
book, he knew everythinu^ in it. The habit contin- 
ued through life. Even after reading the daily pa- 
pers — which he never neglected — he could give all 
the important information they contained. He made 
himself an excellent English scholar, and before he 


was twenty years of age was a constant contributor 
to Western newspapers, and was also, from that 
time until he was fifty years old, an able debater in 
the societies for this purpose, which were common in 
the West at that time. He always took an active 
part in politics, but was never a candidate for office, 
except, I believe, that he was the first Mayor of 
Georgetown. He supported Jackson for the Presi- 
dency ; but he was a Whig, a great admirer of 
Henr)' Clay, and never voted for any other demo- 
crat for high office after Jackson. 

My mother's family lived in Montgomery County, 
Pennsylvania, for several generations. I have little 
information about her ancestors. Her family took no 
interest in genealogy, so that my grandfather, who 
died when I was sixteen years old, knew only back 
to his grandfather. On the other side, my father 
took a great interest in the subject, and in his 
researches, he found that there was an entailed estate 
in Windsor, Connecticut, belonging to the family, 
to which his nephew, Lawson Grant — still living — 
was the heir. He was so much interested in the 
subject that he got his nephew to empower him to 
act in the matter, and in 1832 or 1833, when I was a 
boy ten or eleven years old, he went to Windsor, 
proved the title beyond dispute, and perfected the 
claim of the owners for a consideration — three thou- 
!;and dollars, I think. I remember the circumstance 


well, and remember, too, hearing him say on his 
letum that he f oimd some widows living on the pro{>- 
ertyt who had little or nothing beyond their homa. 
From these he refused to receive any recompense. 

My mother^s father, John Simpson, moved from 
Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, to Clermont 
County, Ohio, about the year 1819, taking with him 
his four children, three daughters and one son. My 
mother, Hannah Simpson, was the third of these 
children, and was then over twenty years of age. 
Her oldest sister was at that time married, and had 
several children. She still lives in Clermont County 
at this writing, October 5th, 1884, and is over ninety 
years of age. Until her memory failed her, a few 
years ago, she thought the country ruined beyond 
recovery when the Democratic party lost control in 
1 86a Her family, which was large, inherited her 
views, with the exception of one son who settled in 
Kentucky before the war. He was the only one of 
the children who entered the volunteer service to 
suppress the rebellion. 

Her brother, next of age and now past eighty- 
eight, is also still living in Clermont County, within 
a few miles of the old homestead, and is as active in 
mind as ever. He was a supporter of the Govern- 
ment during the war, and remains a firm believer, 
that national success by the Democratic party means 
irretrievable ruin. 

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In June, 182 1, my father, Jesse R. Grant, married 
Hannah Simpson. I was born on the 27th of April, 
1822, at Point Pleasant, Clermont County, Ohio. 
In the fall of 1823 we moved to Georgetown, the 
county seat of Brown, the adjoining county cast. 
This place remained my home, until at the age of 
seventeen, in 1839, ' went to West Point 

The schools, at the time of which I write, were 
very indifferent. There were no free schools, and 
none in which the scholars were classified. They 
were all supported by subscription, and a single 
teacher — who was often a man or a woman incapable 
of teaching much, even if they imparted all they 
knew — would have thirty or forty scholars, male and 
female, from the infant learning the A B C's up to 
the young lady of eighteen and the boy of twenty, 
studying the highest branches taught — the three R's, 
'* Reading, 'Riting, 'Rithmetic." I never saw an 
algebra, or other mathematical work higher than the 
arithmetic, in Georgetown, until after I was ap- 
pointed to West Point. I then bought a work on 
algebra in Cincinnati ; but having no teacher it was 
Greek to me. 

My life in Georgetown was uneventful. From 
the age of five or six until seventeen, I attended the 
subscription schools of the village, except during the 
winters of 1836-7 and 1838-9. The former period 
was spent in Maysville, Kentucky, attending the 

,1V I' » 

f -.■ 

. ■ 1 


school of Richardson and Rand ; the latter in Ripley, 
Ohio, at a private school. I was not studious in 
habit, and probably did not make progress enough 
to compensate for the outlay for board and tuition. 
At all events both wintem were w^vx in going over 
the same old arithmetic which I knew every word of 
before, and r^>eating : ''A noun is the name of a 
thing," which I had also heard my Georgetown 
teachers repeat, until I had come to believe it — ^but 
I cast no reflections upon my old teacher, Richard- 
son. He tum^ out bright scholars from his school, 
many of whom have filled conspicuous places in the 
service of their States. Two of my cotemporaries 
there — ^who, I believe, never attended any other in- 
stitution of learning — have held seats in Congress, 
and one, if not both, other high offices ; these are 
Wadsworth and Brewster. 

My father was, from my earliest recollection, in 
comfortable circumstances, considering the times, his 
place of residence, and the community in which he 
lived. Mindful of his own lack of facilities for 
acquiring an education, his greatest desire in 
maturer years was for the education of his children. 
Consequently, as stated before, I never missed a 
quarter from school from the time I was old enough 
to attend till the time of leaving home. This did 
not exempt me from labor. In my early days, every 
one labored more or less, in the region where my 


youth was spent, and more in proportion to their 
private means. It was only the very poor who were 
exempt. While my father carried on the manu- 
facture of leather and worked at the trade himself, 
he owned and tilled considerable land. I detested 
the trade, preferring almost any other labor ; but I 
was fond of agriculture, and of all employment in 
which horses were used. We had, among other 
lands, fifty acres of forest within a mile of the vil- 
lage. In the fall of the year choppers were 
employed to cut enough wood to last a twelve- 
month. When I was seven or eight years of age, I 
began hauling all the wood used in the house and 
shops. I could not load it on the wagons, of course, 
at that time, but I could drive, and the choppers 
would load, and some one at the house unload. 
When about eleven years old, I was strong enough 
to hold a plough. From that age until seventeen I 
did all the work done with horses, such as breaking 
up the land, furrowing, ploughing corn and potatoes, 
bringing in the crops when harvested, hauling all the 
wood, besides tending two or three horses, a cow 
or two, and sawing wood for stoves, etc., while still 
attending school. For this I was compensated by the 
fact that there was never any scolding or punishing 
by my parents ; no objection to rational enjoyments, 
such as fishing, going to the creek a mile away to 
swim in summer, taking a horse and visiting my 



jjrandparents in the adjoining county, fifteen miles 
off, skating on the ice in winter, or taking a horse 
and sleigh when there was snow on the ground. 

While still quite young I had visited Cincinnati, 
forty-five miles away, several times, alone ; also Mays- 
ville, Kentucky, often, and once Louisville. The jour- 
ney to Louisville was a big one for a boy of that day. 
I had also gone once with a two-horse carriage to 
Chilicothe, about seventy miles, with a neighbor's 
family, who were removing to Toledo, Ohio, and re- 
turned alone ; and had gone once, in like manner, 
to Flat Rock, Kentucky, about seventy miles 
away. On this latter occasion I was fifteen years of 
age. While at Flat Rock, at the house of a Mr. 
Payne, whom I was visiting with his brother, a 
neighbor of ours in Georgetown, I saw a very fine 
saddle horse, which I rather coveted, and proposed 
to Mr. Payne, the owner, to trade him for one of the 
two I was driving. Payne hesitated to trade with a 
boy, but asking his brother about it, the latter told 
him that it would be all right, that I was allowed to 
do as I pleased with the horses. I was seventy 
miles from home, with a carriage to take back, and 
Mr. Payne said he did not know that his horse 
had ever had a collar on. I asked to have him 
hitched to a farm wagon and we would soon see 
whether he would work. It was soon evident that 
the horse had never worn harness before; but he 


youth was spent, and more in proportion to their 
private means. It was only the very poor who were 
exempt. While my father carried on the manu- 
facture of leather and worked at the trade himself, 
he owned and tilled considerable land. I detested 
the trade, preferring almost any other labor ; but I 
was fond of agriculture, and of all employment in 
which horses were used. We had, among other 
lands, fifty acres of forest within a mile of the vil- 
lage. In the fall of the year choppers were 
employed to cut enough wood to last a twelve- 
month. When I was seven or eight years of age, I 
began hauling all the wood used in the house and 
shops. I could not load it on the wagons, of course, 
at that time, but I could drive, and the choppers 
would load, and some one at the house unload. 
When about eleven years old, I was strong enough 
to hold a plough. From that age until seventeen I 
did all the work done with horses, such as breaking 
up the land, furrowing, ploughing corn and potatoes, 
bringing in the crops when harvested, hauling all the 
wood, besides tending two or three horses, a cow 
or two, and sawing wood for stoves, etc, while still 
attending school. For this I was compensated by the 
fact that there was never any scolding or punishing 
by my parents ; no objection to rational enjoyments, 
such as fishing, going to the creek a mile away to 
swim in summer, taking a horse and visiting my 

BO YHOOD. 2 7 

grandparents in the adjoining county, fifteen miles 
off, skating on the ice in winter, or taking a horse 
and sleigh when there was snow on the ground. 

While still quite young I had visited Cincinnati, 
forty-five miles away, several times, alone ; also Mays- 
ville, Kentucky, often, and once Louisville. The jour- 
ney to Louisville was a big one for a boy of that day. 
I had also gone once with a two-horse carriage to 
Chilicothe, about seventy miles, with a neighbor's 
family, who were removing to Toledo, Ohio, and re- 
turned alone ; and had gone once, in like manner, 
to Flat Rock, Kentucky, about seventy miles 
away. On this latter occasion I was fifteen years of 
age. While at Flat Rock, at the house of a Mr. 
Payne, whom I was visiting with his brother, a 
neighbor of ours in Georgetown, I saw a very fine 
saddle horse, which I rather coveted, and proposed 
to Mr. Payne, the owner, to trade him for one of the 
two I was driving. Payne hesitated to trade with a 
boy, but asking his brother about it, the latter told 
him that it would be all right, that I was allowed to 
do as I pleased with the horses. I was seventy 
miles from home, with a carriage to take back, and 
Mr. Payne said he did not know that his horse 
had ever had a collar on. I asked to have him 
hitched to a farm wagon and we would soon see 
whether he would work. It was soon evident that 
the horse had never worn harness before; but he 


offer that price ; if it was not accepted I was to offer 
twenty-two and a half, and if that would not get him, 
to give the twenty-five. I at once mounted a horse 
and went for the colt. When I got to Mr. Ralston's 
house, I said to him : '* Papa says I may offer you 
twenty dollars for the colt, but if you won't take that. 
I am to offer twenty-two and a half, and if you won't 
take that, to give you twenty-five." It would not 
require a Connecticut man to guess the price finally 
agreed upon. This story is nearly true. I certainly 
showed very plainly that I had come for the colt and 
meant to have him. I could not have been over 
eight years old at the time. This transaction caused 
me great heart-burning. The story got out among 
the boys of the village, and it was a long time before 
I heard the last of it. Boys enjoy the misery of 
their companions, at least village boys in that day 
did, and in later life I have found that all adults 
are not free from the peculiarity. I kept the horse 
until he was four years old, when he went blind, and 
I sold him for twenty dollars. When I went to Mays- 
ville to school, in 1836, at the age of fourteen, I 
recognized my colt as one of the blind horses work- 
ing on the tread- wheel of the ferry-boat. 

I have described enough of my early life to give 
an impression of the whole. I did not like to work ; 
but I did as much of it, while young, as grown men 
can be hired to do in these days, and attended 


school at the same time. I had as many privileges 
as any boy in the village, and probably more than 
most of them. I have no recollection of ever having 
been punished at home, either by scolding or by the 
rod. But at school the case was different The rod 
was freely used there, and I was not exempt from 
its influence. I can see John D. White — the school 
teacher— now, with his long beech switch always in 
his hand. It was not always the same one, either. 
Switches were brought in bundles, from a beech 
wood near the school house, by the boys for whose 
benefit they were intended. Often a whole bundle 
would be used up in a single day. I never had 
any hard feelings against my teacher, either while 
attending the school, or in later years when reflect- 
ing upon my experience. Mr. White was a kind- 
hearted man, and was much respected by the com- 
munity in which he lived. He only followed the 
universal custom of the period, and that under which 
he had received his own education. 



IN the winter of 1838-9 I was attending school at 
Ripley, only ten miles distant from Georgetown, 
but spent the Christmas holidays at home. During 
this vacation my father received a letter from the 
Honorable Thomas Morris, then United States Sen- 
ator from Ohio. When he read it he said to me, 
•' Ulysses, I believe you are going to receive the ap- 
pointment*' "What appointment?" I inquired. 
*' To West Point; I have applied for it." ''But I 
won't go," I said. He said he thought I would, and 
I thought so too, if he did. I really had no objection 
to going to West Point, except that I had a very 
exalted idea of the acquirements necessary to get 
through. I did not believe I possessed them, and could 
not bear the idea of failing. There had been four 
boys from our village, or its immediate neighborhood, 
who had been graduated from West Point, and never 
a failure of any one appointed from Georgetown, ex- 
cept in the case of the one whose place I was to take. 
He was the son of Dr. Bailey, our nearest and most 
intimate neighbor. Young Bailey had been appointed 


in 1837. Finding before the January examination fol- 
lowing, that he could not pass, he resigned and went 
to a private school, and remained there until the fol- 
lowing year, when he was reappointed. Before 
the next examination he was dismissed. Dr. Bailey 
was a proud and sensitive man. and felt the failure 
(rf his Km so keenly that he forbade his return home^ 
There were no tel^^raphs in those days to dissemt-f 
nate news rapidly, no railroads west of the Allegha- 
nies, and but few east ; and above all, there were no 
iiqx>rters prying into other people's private affairs. 
Ccmsequently it did not become generally known that 
there was a vacancy at West Point from our district 
until I was appointed. I presume Mrs. Bailey con- 
fided to my mother the fact that Bartlett had been 
dismissed, and that the doctor had forbidden his 
son's return home. 

The Honorable Thomas L. Hamer. one of the 
ablest men Ohio ever produced, was our member of 
Congress at the time, and had the right of nomi- 
nation. He and my father had been members of 
the same debating society (where they were gener- 
ally pitted on opposite sides), and intimate personal 
friends from their early manhood up to a few years 
before. In politics they differed. Hamer was a 
life-long Democrat, while my father was a Whig. 
They had a warm discussion, which finally became 
angry — over some act of President Jackson, the re- 


moval of the deposit of public moneys, I think — after 
which they never spoke until after my appointment. 
I know both of them felt badly over this estrange- 
ment, and would have been glad at any time to 
come to a reconciliation ; but neither would make 
the advance. Under these circumstances my father 
would not write to Hamer for the appointment, but 
he wrote to Thomas Morris, United States Senator 
from Ohio, informing him that there was a vacancy 
at West Point from our district, and that he would 
be glad if I could be appointed to fill it. This let- 
ter, I presume, was turned over to Mr. Hamer, and, 
as there was no other applicant, he cheerfully ap- 
pointed me. Thi3 healed the breach between the 
two, never after reopened. 

Besides the argument used by my father in favor 
of my going to West Point — that '*he thought I 
would go " — there was another very strong induce- 
ment. I had always a great desire to travel. I was 
already the best travelled boy in Georgetown, except 
the sons of one man, John Walker, who had emi- 
grated to Texas with his family, and immigrated back 
as soon as he could get the means to do so. In his 
short stay in Texas he acquired a very different 
opinion of the country from what one would form 
going there now. 

I had been east to Wheeling, Virginia, and north 
to the Western Reserve, in Ohio, west to Louis- 


ville, and south to Bourbon County, Kentucky, be- 
sides having driven or ridden pretty much over the 
whole country within fifty miles of home. Going 
to West Point would give me the opportunity of 
visiting the two great cities of the continent, Phila- 
delphia and New York. This was enough. When 
these places were visited I would have been glad to 
have had a steamboat or railroad collision, or any 
other accident happen, by which I might have re- 
ceived a temporary injury sufficient to make me 
ineligible, for a time, to enter the Academy. Nothing 
of the kind occurred, and I had to face the music. 

Georgetown has a remarkable record for a west- 
ern village. It is, and has been from its earliest ex- 
istence, a democratic town. There was probably 
no time during the rebellion when, if the opportu- 
nity could have been afforded, it would not have 
voted for Jefferson Davis for President of the United 
States, over Mr. Lincoln, or any other representa- 
tive of his party ; unless it was immediately after 
some of John Morgan's men, in his celebrated raid 
through Ohio, spent a few hours in the village. 
The rebels helped themselves to whatever they 
could find, horses, boots and shoes, especially horses, 
and many ordered meals to be prepared for them by 
the families. This was no doubt a far pleasanter duty 
for some families than it would have been to render 
a like service for Union soldiers. The line between 


the Rebel and Union element in Georgetown was so 
marked that it led to divisions even in the churches. 
There were churches in that part of Ohio where 
treason was preached regularly, and where, to secure 
membership, hostility to the government, to the war 
and to the liberation of the slaves, was far more es- 
sential than a belief in the authenticity or credibil- 
ity of the Bible. There were men in Georgetown 
who filled all the requirements for membership in 
these churches. 

Yet this far-off western village, with a population, 
including old and young, male and female, of about 
one thousand — about enough for the organization of a 
single regiment if all had been men capable of bearing 
arms — furnished the Union army four general officers 
and one colonel. West Point graduates, and nine 
generals and field officers of Volunteers, that I can 
think of. Of the graduates from West Point, all 
had citizenship elsewhere at the breaking out of the 
rebellion, except possibly General A. V. Kautz, who 
had remained in the army from his graduation. 
Two of the colonels also entered the service from 
other localities. The other seven. General Mc- 
Groierty, Colonels White, Fyffe. Loudon and Mar- 
shall, Majors King and Bailey, were all residents of 
Georgetown when the war broke out, and all of 
them, who were alive at the close, returned there. 
Major Bailey was the cadet who had preceded mc 


at West Point, He was killed in West Virginia, in 
his first engagement. As far as I know, every boy 
who has entered West Point from that village since 
my time has been graduated. 

I took passage on a steamer at Ripley, Ohio, for 
Pittsburg, about the middle of May, 1839. Western 
boats at that day did not make regular trips at 
stated times, but would stop anywhere, and for any 
length of time, for passengers or freight. I have 
myself been detained two or three days at a place 
after steam was up, the gang planks, all but one, 
drawn in, and after the time advertised for starting 
had expired. On this occasion we had no vexa- 
tious delays, and in about three days Pittsburg was 
reached. From Pittsburg I chose passage by the 
canal to Harrisburg, rather than by the more expe- 
ditious stage. This gave a better opportunity of 
enjoying the fine scenery of Western Pennsylvania, 
and I had rather a dread of reaching my destination 
at all. At that time the canal was much patronized 
by travellers, and, with the comfortable packets of the 
period, no mode of conveyance could be more pleas- 
ant, when time was not an object. F'rom Harrisburg to 
Philadelphia there was a railroad, the first I had ever 
seen, except the one on which I had just crossed 
the summit of the Alleghany Mountains, and over 
which canal boats were transported. In travelling by 
the road from Harrisburg, I thought the perfection of 


rapid transit had been reached. We travelled at 
least eighteen miles an hour, when at full speed, and 
made the whole distance averaging probably as 
much as twelve miles an hour. This seemed like 
annihilating space. I stopped five days in Philadel- 
phia, saw about every street in the city, attended the 
theatre, visited Girard College (which was then in 
course of construction), and got reprimanded from 
home afterwards, fo^ dallying by the way so long. 
My sojourn in New York was shorter, but long 
enough to enable me to see the city very well. I 
reported at West Point on the 30th or 31st of May, 
and about two weeks later passed my examination 
for admission, without difficulty, verj' much to my 

A military life had no charms for me, and I had 
not the faintest idea of staying in the army even if I 
should be graduated, which 1 did not expect. The 
encampment which preceded the commencement of 
academic studies was very wearisome and uninterest- 
ing. When the 28th of August came — the date for 
breaking up camp and going into barracks — I felt as 
though I had been at West Point always, and that if 
I staid to graduation, I would have to remain always. 
I did not take hold of my studies with avidity, in 
fact I rarely ever read over a lesson the second time 
during my entire cadetship. I could not sit in 
my room doing nothing. There is a fine library 

IVES 7' roixT. 


connected with the Academy from which cadets can 
get books to read in their quarters. I devoted 
more time to these, than to books relating to the 
course of studies. Much of the time, I am sorry to 
say, was devoted to novels, but not those of a trashy 
sort. I read all of Bulwer s then published, Coop- 
ers, Marryat's, Scott's, Washington Irving s works, 
Lever s, and many others that I do not now remem- 
ber. Mathematics was very easy to me, so that 
when January came, I passed the examination, tak- 
ing a good standing in that branch. In French, 
the only other study at that time in the first year s 
course, my standing was very low. In fact, if the 
class had been turned the other end foremost I 
should have been near head. I never succeeded 
in getting squarely at either end of my class, in any 
one study, during the four years. I came near it in 
French, artillery, infantry and cavalry tactics, and 

Early in the session of the Congress which met 
in December, 1839, a bill was discussed abolishinij 
the Military Academy. I saw in this an honorable 
way to obtain a discharge, and read the debates with 
much interest, but with impatience at the delay in 
taking action, for I was selfish enough to favor the 
bill. It never passed, and a year later, although the 
time hung drearily with me, I would have been sorry 
to have seen it succeed. My idea then was to get 


through the course, secure a detail for a few years 
as assistant professor of mathematics at the Acad- 
emy, and afterwards obtain a permanent position as 
professor in some respectable college ; but circum- 
stances always did shape my course different from 
my plans. 

At the end of two years the class received the 
usual furlough, extending from the close of the June 
examination to the 28th of August This I enjoyed 
beyond any other period of my life. My father had 
sold out his business in Georgetown — where my 
youth had been spent, and to which my day-dreams 
carried me back as my future home, if I should ever 
be able to retire on a competency. He had moved 
to Bethel, only twelve miles away, in the adjoining 
county of Clermont, and had bought a young horse 
that had never been in harness, for my special use 
under the saddle during my furlough. Most of my 
time was spent among my old school-mates — 
these ten weeks were shorter than one week at West 

Persons acquainted with the Academy know that 
the corps of cadets is divided into four companies 
for the purpose of military exercises. These com- 
panies are officered from the cadets, the superin- 
tendent and commandant selecting the officers for 
their military bearing and qualifications. The adju- 
tant, quartermaster, four captains and twelve lieu- 


tenants are taken from the first, or Senior class ; the 
sergeants from the second, or Junior class; and the 
corporals from the third, or Sophomore class. I had 
not been " called out " as a corporal, but when I re- 
turned from furlough I found myself the last but 
one — about my standing in all the tactics — of eigh- 
teen sergeants. The promotion was too much 
for me. That year my standing in the class — as 
shown by the number of demerits of the year — ^was 
about the same as it was among the sergeants, and I 
was dropped, and served the fourth year as a pri- 

During my first years encampment General Scott 
visited West Point, and reviewed the cadets. With 
his commanding figure, his quite colossal size and 
showy uniform, I thought him the finest specimen of 
manhood my eyes had ever beheld, and the most to 
be envied. I could never resemble him in appear- 
ance, but I believe I did have a presentiment for a 
moment that some day I should occupy his place on 
review — although I had no intention then of remain- 
ing in the army. My experience in a horse-trade 
ten years before, and the ridicule it caused me, 
were too fresh in my mind for me to communicate 
this presentiment to even my most intimate chum. 
The next summer Martin Van Buren, then President 
of the United States, visited West Point and re- 
viewed the cadets ; he did not impress me with 


the awe which Scott had inspired. In fact I regard- 
ed General Scott and Captain C. F. Smith, the 
Commandant of Cadets, as the two men most to be 
envied in the nation. I retained a high regard for 
both up to the day of their death. 

The last two years wore away more rapidly than 
the first two, but they still seemed about five times as 
long as Ohio years, to me. At last all the examina- 
tions were passed, and the members of the class 
were called upon to record their choice of arms of 
service and regiments. I was anxious to enter the 
cavalry, or dragoons as they were then called, but 
there was only one regiment of dragoons in the 
Army at that time, and attached to that, besides the 
full complement of officers, there were at least four 
brevet second lieutenants. I recorded therefore my 
first choice, dragoons ; second, 4th infantry ; and got 
the latter. Again there was a furlough — or, more 
properly speaking, leave of absence for the class 
were now commissioned officers — this time to the 
end of September. Again I went to Ohio to spend 
my vacation among my old school-mates ; and again 
I found a fine saddle horse purchased for my special 
use, besides a horse and buggy that I could drive — 
but I was not in a physical condition to enjoy my- 
self quite as well as on the former occasion. For 
six months before graduation I had had a desperate 
cough (*' Tyler's grip" it was called), and I was very 


much reduced, weighing but one hundred and seven- 
teen pounds, just my weight at entrance, though I 
had grown six inches in stature in the mean time. 
There was consumption in my father s family, two of 
his brothers having died of that disease, which made 
my symptoms more alarming. The brother and 
sister next younger than myself died, during the re- 
bellion, of the same disease, and I seemed the most 
promising subject for it of the three in 1843. 

Having made alternate choice of two different 
arms of service with different uniforms, I could not 
get a uniform suit until notified of my assignment 
I left my measurement with a tailor, with directions 
not to make the uniform until I notified him whether 
it was to be for infantry or dragoons. Notice did 
not reach me for several weeks, and then it took at 
least a week to get the letter of instructions to the 
tailor and two more to make the clothes and have 
them sent to me. This was a time of great sus- 
pense. I was impatient to get on my uniform and 
see how it looked, and probably wanted my old 
school-mates, particularly the girls, to see me in it. 

The conceit was knocked out of me by two little 
circumstances that happened soon after the arrival 
of the clothes, which gave me a distaste for military 
uniform that I never recovered from. Soon after 
the arrival of the suit I donned it, and put off for 
Cincinnati on horseback. While I was riding along 


a Street of that city, imagining that every one was 
looking at me, with a feeling akin to mine when I 
first saw General Scott, a little urchin, bareheaded, 
barefooted, with dirty and ragged pants held up by 
a single gallows — that's what suspenders were called 
then — and a shirt that had not seen a wash-tub for 
weeks, turned to me and cried : ** Soldier ! will you 
work? No, sir — ee; I'll sell my shirt first! !" The 
horse trade and its dire consequences were recalled 
to mind. 

The other circumstance occurred at home. Op- 
posite our house in Bethel stood the old stage tavern 
where "man and beast" found accommodation. 
The stable-man was rather dissipated, but possessed 
of some humor. On my return I found him parading 
the streets, and attending in the stable, barefooted, 
but in a pair of sky-blue nankeen pantaloons — ^just 
the color of my uniform trousers — with a strip 
of white cotton sheeting sewed down the outside 
seams in imitation of mine. The joke was a huge 
one in the mind of many of the people, and was 
much enjoyed by them ; but I did not appreciate it 
so highly. 

During the remainder of my leave of absence, my 
time was spent in visiting friends in Georgetown 
and Cincinnati, and occasionally other towns in that 
part of the State. 




ON the 30th of September I reported for duty 
at Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, with the 
4th United States infantry. It was the largest 
military post in the country at that time, being 
garrisoned by sixteen companies of infantry, eight 
of the 3d regiment, the remainder of the 4th. 
Colonel Steven Kearney, one of the ablest officers 
of the day, commanded the post, and under him 
discipline was kept at a high standard, but without 
vexatious rules or regulations. Every drill and roll- 
call had to be attended, but in the intervals officers 
were permitted to enjoy themselves, leaving the gar- 
rison, and going where they pleased, without making 
written application to state where they were going 
for how long, etc., so that they were back for their 
next duty. It did seem to me, in my early army 
days, that too many of the older officers, when they 
came to command posts, made it a study to think 
what orders they could publish to annoy their sub- 
ordinates and render them uncomfortable. I no- 


ticed, however, a few years later, when the Mexican 
war broke out, that most of this class of officers dis- 
covered they were possessed of disabilities which 
entirely incapacitated them for active field service. 
They had the moral courage to proclaim it, too. 
They were right ; but they did not always give their 
disease the right name. 

At West Point I had a class-mate — in the last 
year of our studies he was room-mate also^F. T. 
Dent, whose family resided some five miles west of 
Jefferson Barracks. Two of his unmarried brothers 
were living at home at that time, and as I had taken 
with me from Ohio, my horse, saddle and bridle, I 
soon found my way out to White Haven, the name 
of the Dent estate. As I found the family congenial 
my visits became frequent. There were at home, 
besides the young men, two daughters, one a school 
miss of fifteen, the other a girl of eight or nine. 
There was still an older daughter of seventeen, who 
had been spending several years at boarding-school 
in St. Louis, but who, though through school, had 
not yet returned home. She was spending the 
winter in the city with connections, the family of 
Colonel John OTallon, well known in St. Louis. In 
February she returned to her country home. After 
that I do not know but my visits became more 
frequent ; they certainly did become more enjoyable. 
We would often take walks, or go on horseback to 

A/^MY LIFE, 47 

visit the neighbors, until I became quite well ac- 
quainted in that vicinity. Sometimes one of the 
brothers would accompany us, sometimes one of the 
younger sisters. If the 4th infantry had remained 
at Jefferson Barracks it is possible, even probable, 
that this life might have continued for some years 
without my finding out that there was anything 
serious the matter with me ; but in the following 
May a circumstance occurred which developed my 
sentiment so palpably that there was no mistaking it. 
The annexation of Texas was at this time the sub- 
ject of violent discussion in Congress, in the press, 
and by individuals. The administration of Presi- 
dent Tyler, then in power, was making the most 
strenuous efforts to effect the annexation, which was. 
indeed, the great and absorbing question of the day. 
During these discussions the greater part of the sin- 
gle rifle regiment in the army — the 2d dragoons, 
which had been dismounted a year or two before, 
and designated ** Dismounted Rifles" — was stationed 
at Fort Jessup, Louisiana, some twenty-five miles 
east of the Texas line, to observe the frontier. 
About the ist of May the 3d infantry was ordered 
from Jefferson Barracks to Louisiana, to go into 
camp in the neighborhood of Fort Jessup, and there 
await further orders. The troops were embarked 
on steamers and were on their way down the Missis- 
sippi within a few days after the receipt of this 


order. About the time they started I obtained a 
leave of absence for twenty days to go to Ohio to 
visit my parents. I was obliged to go to St Louis 
to take a steamer for Louisville or Cincinnati, or 
the first steamer going up the Ohio River to any 
point. Before I left St. Louis orders were received 
at Jefferson Barracks for the 4th infantry to follow 
the 3d, A messenger was sent after me to stop my 
leaving ; but before he could reach me I was off, 
totally ignorant of these events. A day or two after 
my arrival at Bethel I received a letter from a class- 
mate and fellow lieutenant in the 4th, informing me 
of the circumstances related above, and advising me 
not to open any letter post marked St. Louis or Jef- 
ferson Barracks, until the expiration of my leave, 
and saying that he would pack up my things and 
take them along for me. His advice was not neces- 
sary, for no other letter was sent to me. I now 
discovered that I was exceedingly anxious to get 
back to Jefferson Barracks, and I understood the 
reason without explanation from any one. My leave 
of absence required me to report for duty, at Jeffer- 
son Barracks, at the end of twenty days. I knew 
my regiment had gone up the Red River, but 
I was not disposed to break the letter of my leave ; 
besides, if I had proceeded to Louisiana direct, 1 
could not have reached there until after the expira- 
tion of my leave. Accordintrly, at the end of the 



twenty days, I reported for duty to Lieutenant Ewell, 
commanding at Jefferson Barracks, handing him at 
the same time my leave of absence. After noticing 
the phraseology of the order — leaves of absence 
were generally worded, *'at the end of which time 
he will report for duty with his proper command " 
— he said he would give me an order to join my 
regiment in Louisiana. I then asked for a few days' 
leave before starting, which he readily granted. 
This was the same Ewell who acquired considerable 
reputation as a Confederate general during the 
rebellion. He was a man much esteemed, and de- 
servedly so, in the old army, and proved himself a 
gallant and efficient officer in two wars — both in my 
estimation unholy. 

1 immediately procured a horse and started for 
the country, taking no baggage with me, of course. 
There is an insignificant creek — the Gravois — be- 
tween Jefferson Barracks and the place to which I 
was going, and at that day there was not a bridge over 
it from its source to its mouth. There is not water 
enough in the creek at ordinary stages to run a coffee 
mill, and at low water there is none running whatever. 
On this occasion it had been raining heavily, and, 
when the creek was reached, I found the banks full to 
overflowing, and the current rapid. I looked at it a 
moment to consider what to do. One of my super- 
stitions had always been when I started to go any 

Vol. I. — 4 


where, or to do anything, not to turn back, or stop until 
the thing intended was accomplished. I have fre- 
quently started to go to places where I had never 
been and to which I did not know the way, depend- 
ing upon making inquiries on the road, and if I got 
past the place without knowing it, instead of turning 
back, I would go on until a road was found turning 
in the right direction, take that, and come in by the 
other side. So I struck into the stream, and in an 
instant the horse was swimming and I being carried 
down by the current I headed the horse towards 
the other bank and soon reached it, wet through and 
without other clothes on that side of the stream. I 
went on, however, to my destination and borrowed 
a dry suit from my — future — brother-in-law. We 
were not of the same size, but the clothes answered 
every purpose until I got more of my own. 

Before I returned I mustered up courage to make 
known, in the most awkward manner imaginable, the 
discovery I had made on learning that the 4th in- 
fantry had been ordered away from Jefferson Bar- 
racks. The young lady afterwards admitted that she 
too, although until then she had never looked upon 
me other than as a visitor whose company was agree- 
able to her, had experienced a depression of spirits 
she could not account for when the recriment left. Be- 
fore separating it was definitely understood that at a 
convenient time we would join our fortunes, and not 



let the removal of a regiment trouble us. This was 
in May, 1844. ^^ was the 226 of August, 1848, before 
the fulfilment of this agreement. My duties kept me 
on the frontier of Louisiana with the Army of Obser- 
vation during the pendency of Annexation ; and 
afterwards I was absent through the war with Mex- 
ico, provoked by the action of the army, if not by the 
annexation itself During that time there was a con- 
stant correspondence between Miss Dent and my- 
self, but we only met once in the period of four years 
and three months. In May, 1845, I procured a 
leave for twenty days, visited St. Louis, and ob- 
tained the consent of the parents for the union, which 
had not been asked for before. 

As already stated, it was never my intention to 
remain in the army long, but to prepare myself for 
a professorship in some college. Accordingly, soon 
after I was settled at Jefferson Barracks, I wrote a 
letter to Professor Church — Professor of Mathemat- 
ics at West Point — requesting him to ask my desig- 
nation as his assistant, when next a detail had to be 
made. Assistant professors at West Point are all 
officers of the army, supposed to be selected for 
their special fitness for the particular branch of study 
they are assigned to teach. The answer from Profes- 
sor Church was entirely satisfactory, and no doubt I 
should have been detailed a year or two later but for 
the Mexican War coming on. Accordingly I laid 


out for myself a course of studies to be pursued in 
garrison, with regularity, if not persistency. I re- 
viewed my West Point course of mathematics during 
the seven months at Jefferson Barracks, and read 
many valuable historical works, besides an occasional 
novel. To help my memory I kept a book in which 
I would write up, from time to time, my recollections 
of all I had read since last posting it. When the 
regiment was ordered away, I being absent at the 
time, my effects were packed up by Lieutenant Has- 
lett, of the 4th infantry, and taken along. I never 
saw my journal after, nor did I ever keep another, 
except for a portion of the time while travelling 
abroad. Often since a fear has crossed my mind lest 
that book might turn up yet, and fall into the hands 
of some malicious person who would publish it I 
know its appearance would cause me as much heart- 
burning as my youthful horse-trade, or the later re- 
buke for wearing uniform clothes. 

The 3d infantry had selected camping grounds on 
the reservation at Fort Jessup, about midway be- 
tween the Red River and the Sabine. Our orders 
required us to go into camp in the same neighbor- 
hood, and await further instructions. Those author- 
ized to do so selected a place in the pine woods, 
between the old town of Natchitoches and Grand 
Ecore, about three miles from each, and on high 
ground back from the river. The place was given 


the name of Camp Salubrity, and proved entitled to 
it. The camp was on a high, sandy, pine ridge, with 
spring branches in the valley, in front and rear. 
The springs furnished an abundance of cool, pure 
water, and the ridge was above the flight of mos- 
quitoes, which abound in that region in great mul- 
titudes and of great voracity. In the valley they 
swarmed in myriads, but never came to the summit 
of the ridge. The regiment occupied this camp six 
months before the first death occurred, and that was 
caused by an accident. 

There was no intimation given that the removal 
of the 3d and 4th regiments of infantry to the west- 
ern border of Louisiana was occasioned in any way 
by the prospective annexation of Texas, but it was 
generally understood that such was the case. Osten- 
sibly we were intended to prevent filibustering into 
Texas, but really as a menace to Mexico in case she 
appeared to contemplate war. Generally the officers 
of the army were indifferent whether the annexation 
was consummated or not ; but not so all of them. 
For myself, I was bitterly opposed to the measure, 
and to this day regard the war, which resulted, as one 
of the most unjust ever waged by a stronorer against 
a weaker nation. It was an instance of a republic 
following the bad example of European monarchies, 
in not considering justice in their desire to acquire 
additional territory. 


Texas was originally a state belonging to the re- 
public of Mexico. It extended from the Sabine 
River on the east to the Rio Grande on the west, and 
from the Gulf of Mexico on the south and east to the 
territory of the United States and New Mexico— 
another Mexican state at that time — on the north 
and west. An empire in territory, it had but a 
very sparse population, until settled by Americans 
who had received authority from Mexico to colonize. 
These colonists paid very little attention to the 
supreme government, and introduced slavery into 
the state almost from the start, though the constitu- 
tion of Mexico did not, nor does it now, sanction 
that institution. Soon they set up an independent 
government of their own, and war existed, between 
Texas and Mexico, in name from that time until 
1836, when active hostilities very nearly ceased 
upon the capture of Santa Anna, the Mexican Presi- 
dent. Before long, however, the same people — who 
with permission of Mexico had colonized Texas, 
and afterwards set up slavery there, and then se- 
ceded as soon as they felt strong enough to do so — 
offered themselves and the State to the United 
States, and in 1845 their offer was accepted. The 
occupation, separation and annexation were, from 
the inception of the movement to its final consum- 
mation, a conspiracy to acquire territory out of which 
slave states might be formed for the American Union. 


Even if the annexation itself could be justified, the 
manner in which the subsequent war was forced upon 
Mexico cannot. The fact is, annexationists wanted 
more territory than they could possibly lay any claim 
to, as part of the new acquisition. Texas, as an inde- 
pendent State, never had exercised jurisdiction over 
the territory between the Nueces River and the Rio 
Grande. Mexico had never recognized the independ- 
ence of Texas, and maintained that, even if independ- 
ent, the State had no claim south of the Nueces. I 
am aware that a treaty, made by the Texans with 
Santa Anna while he was under duress, ceded all 
the territory between the Nueces and the Rio 
Grande ; but he was a prisoner of war when the 
treaty was made, and his life was in jeopardy. He 
knew, too, that he deserved execution at the hands of 
the Texans, if they should ever capture him. The 
Texans, if they had taken his life, would have only 
followed the example set by Santa Anna himself a 
few years before, when he executed the entire gar- 
rison of the Alamo and the villagers of Goliad. 

In taking military possession of Texas after annex- 
ation, the army of occupation, under General Taylor, 
was directed to occupy the disputed territory. The 
army did not stop at the Nueces and offer to nego- 
tiate for a settlement of the boundary question, but 
went beyond, apparently in order to force Mexico to 
initiate war. It is to the credit of the American na- 


tion, however, that after conquering Mexico, and 
while practically holding the country in our posses- 
sion, so that we could have retained the whole of it, 
or made any terms we chose, we paid a round sum 
for the additional territory taken ; more than it was 
worth, or was likely to be, to Mexico. To us it was 
an empire and of incalculable value ; but it might have 
been obtained by other means. The Southern rebel- 
lion was largely the outgrowth of the Mexican war. 
Nations, like individuals, are punished for their trans- 
gressions. We got our punishment in the most san- 
guinary and expensive war of modern times. 

The 4th infantry went into camp at Salubrity in 
the month of May, 1844, with instructions, as I 
have said, to await further orders. At first, officers 
and men occupied ordinary tents. As the summer 
heat increased these were covered by sheds to break 
the rays of the sun. The summer was whiled away 
in social enjoyments among the officers, in visiting 
those stationed at, and near, Fort Jessup, twenty-five 
miles away, visiting the planters on the Red River, 
and the citizens of Natchitoches and Grand Ecore. 
There was much pleasant intercourse between the 
inhabitants and the officers of the army. I retain 
very agreeable recollections of my stay at Camp Salu- 
brity, and of the acquaintances made there, and no 
doubt my feeling is shared by the few officers living 
who were there at the time. I can call to mind 


only two officers of the 4th infantry, besides myself, 
who were at Camp Salubrity with the regiment, who 
are now alive. 

With a war in prospect, and belonging to a regi- 
ment that had an unusual number of officers detailed 
on special duty away from the regiment, my hopes 
of being ordered to West Point as instructor van- 
ished. At the time of which I now write, officers in 
the quartermaster's, commissary's and adjutant-gen- 
eral's departments were appointed from the line of 
the army, and did not vacate their regimental com- 
missions until their regimental and staff commissions 
were for the same grades. Generally lieutenants 
were appointed to captaincies to fill vacancies in the 
staff corps. If they should reach a captaincy in the 
line before they arrived at a majority in the staff, 
they would elect which commission they would retain. 
In the 4th infantry, in 1844, at least six line officers 
were on duty in the staff, and therefore permanently 
detached from the regiment. Under these circum- 
stances I gave up everything like a special course of 
reading, and only read thereafter for my own amuse- 
ment, and not very much for that, until the war was 
over. I kept a horse and rode, and staid out of 
doors most of the time by day, and entirely recovered 
from the cough which I had carried from West Point, 
and from all indications of consumption. I have 
often thought that my life was saved, and my health 


restored, by exercise and exposure, enforced by an 
administrative act, and a war, both of which I dis- 

As summer wore away, and cool days and colder 
nights came upon us, the tents we were occupying 
ceased to afford comfortable quarters ; and * * further 
orders " not reaching us, we began to look about to 
remedy the hardship. Men were put to work getting 
out timber to build huts, and in a very short time all 
were comfortably housed — privates as well as offi- 
cers. The outlay by the government in accomplish- 
ing this was nothing, or nearly nothing. The winter 
was spent more agreeably than the summer had 
been. There were occasional parties given by the 
planters along the ** coast " — as the bottom lands on 
the Red River were called. The climate was de- 

Near the close of the short session of Congress of 
1844-5, ^h^ ^^^^ for the annexation of Texas to the 
United States was passed. It reached President 
Tyler on the ist of March, 1845, ^^^ promptly re- 
ceived his approval. When the news reached us we 
began to look again for ** further orders." They did 
not arrive promptly, and on the ist of May fol- 
lowing I asked and obtained a leave of absence for 
twenty days, for the purpose of visiting St. Louis. 
The object of this visit has been before stated. 

Early in July the long expected orders were re- 


ceived, but they only took the regiment to New 
Orleans Barracks. We reached there before the 
middle of the month, and again waited weeks for still 
further orders. The yellow fever was raging in New 
Orleans during the time we remained there, and the 
streets of the city had the appearance of a continuous 
well-observed Sunday. I recollect but one occasion 
when this observance seemed to be broken by the 
inhabitants. One morning about daylight I hap- 
pened to be awake, and, hearing the discharge of a 
rifle not far off, I looked out to ascertain where the 
sound came from. I observed a couple of clusters of 
men near by, and learned afterwards that ** it was noth- 
ing ; only a couple of gentlemen deciding a difference 
of opinion with rifles, at twenty paces." I do not 
remember if either was killed, or even hurt, but 
no doubt the question of difference was settled 
satisfactorily, and ** honorably," in the estimation of 
the parties engaged. I do not believe I ever would 
have the courage to fight a duel. If any man should 
wrong me to the extent of my being willing to kill 
him, I would not be willing to give him the choice of 
weapons with which it should be done, and of the time, 
place and distance separating us, when I executed 
him. If I should do another such a wrong as to 
justify him in killing me, I would make any reasona- 
ble atonement within my [)ower, if convinced of the 
wrong done. I place my opposition to duelling 


on higher grounds than any here stated. No doubt 
a majority of the duels fought have been for want 
of moral courage on the part of those engaged to 

At Camp Salubrity, and when we went to New 
Orleans Barracks, the 4th infantry was commanded 
by Colonel Vose, then an old gentleman who had 
not commanded on drill for a number of years. 
He was not a man to discover infirmity in the pres- 
ence of danger. It now appeared that war was 
imminent, and he felt that it was his duty to brush 
up his tactics. Accordingly, when we got settled 
down at our new post, he took command of the regi- 
ment at a battalion drill. Only two or three evolu- 
tions had been gone through when he dismissed the 
battalion, and, turning to go to his own quarters, 
dropped dead. He had not been complaining of ill 
health, but no doubt died of heart disease. He 
was a most estimable man, of exemplary habits, and 
by no means the author of his own disease. 




EARLY in September the regiment left New Or- 
leans for Corpus Christi, now in Texas. Ocean 
steamers were not then common, and the passage was 
made in sailing vessels. At that time there was not 
more than three feet of water in the channel at the out- 
let of Corpus Christi Bay ; the debarkation, therefore, 
had to take place by small steamers, and at an island 
in the channel called Shell Island, the ships anchor- 
ing some miles out from shore. This made the work 
slow, and as the army was only supplied with one or 
two steamers, it took a number of days to effect the 
landing of a single regiment with its stores, camp 
and garrison equipage, etc. There happened to be 
pleasant weather while this was going on, but the 
land-swell was so great that when the ship and 
steamer were on opposite sides of the same wave 
they would be at considerable distance apart. The 
men and baggage were let down to a point higher 
than the lower deck of the steamer, and when ship 
and steamer got into the trough between the waves. 


and were close together, the load would be drawn 
over the steamer and rapidly run down until it rested 
on the deck. 

After I had gone ashore, and had been on guard 
several days at Shell Island, quite six miles from the 
ship, I had occasion for some reason or other to 
return on board. While on the Suviah — I think that 
was the name of our vessel — I heard a tremendous 
racket at the other end of the ship, and much and 
excited sailor language, such as **damn your eyes," 
etc. In a moment or two the captain, who was an 
excitable little man, dying with consumption, and not 
weighing much over a hundred pounds, came running 
out, carrying a sabre nearly as large and as heavy as 
he was, and crying that his men had mutinied. It 
was necessary to sustain the captain without ques- 
tion, and in a few minutes all the sailors charged with 
mutiny were in irons. I rather felt for a time a wish 
that I had not gone aboard just then. As the 
men charged with mutiny submitted to being placed 
in irons without resistance, I always doubted if they 
knew that they had mutinied until they were told. 

By the time I was ready to leave the ship again I 
thought I had learned enough of the working of the 
double and single pulley, by which passengers were 
let down from the upper deck of the ship to the 
steamer below, and determined to let myself down 
without assistance. Without saying anything of my 


intentions to any one, I mounted the railing, and tak- 
ing hold of the centre rbpe, just below the upper 
block, I put one foot on the hook below the lower 
block, and stepped off. Just as I did so some one 
called out '* hold on." It was too late. I tried to 
" hold on " with all my might, but my heels went up, 
and my head went down so rapidly that my hold 
broke, and I plunged head foremost into the water, 
some twenty-five feet below, with such velocity that 
it seemed to me I never would stop. When I 
came to the surface again, being a fair swim- 
mer, and not having lost my presence of mind, I 
swam around until a bucket was let down for me, and 
I was drawn up without a scratch or injury. I do not 
believe there was a man on board who sympathized 
with me in the least when they found me uninjured. 
I rather enjoyed the joke myself. The captain of 
the Suviah died of his disease a few months later, 
and I believe before the mutineers were tried. I 
hope they got clear, because, as before stated, I al- 
ways thought the mutiny was all in the brain of a 
very weak and sick man. 

After reaching shore, or Shell Island, the labor of 
fjetting to Corpus Christi was slow and tedious. 
There was, if my memory serves me, but one small 
steamer to transport troops and baggage when the 
4th infantry arrived. Others were procured later. 
The distance from Shell Island to Corpus Christi was 


some sixteen or eighteen miles. The channel to the 
bay was so shallow that the steamer, small as it was, 
had to be dragged over the bottom when loaded. 
Not more than one trip a day could be effected. 
Later this was remedied, by deepening the channel 
and increasinor the number of vessels suitable to its 

Corpus Christi is near the head of the bay of the 
same name, formed by the entrance of the Nueces 
River into tide-water, and is on the west bank of that 
bay. At the time of its first occupancy by United 
States troops there was a small Mexican hamlet 
there, containing probably less than one hundred 
souls. There was, in addition, a small American 
trading post, at which goods were sold to Mexican 
smugglers. All goods were put up in compact pack- 
ages of about one hundred pounds each, suitable for 
loading on pack mules. Two of these packages 
made a load for an ordinary Mexican mule, and three 
for the larger ones. The bulk of the trade was in 
leaf tobacco, and domestic cotton-cloths and calicoes. 
The Mexicans had, before the arrival of the army, 
but little to offer in exchange except silver. The 
trade in tobacco was enormous, considering the popu- 
lation to be supplied. Almost every Mexican above 
the age of ten years, and many much younger, 
smoked the cigarette. Nearly every Mexican carried 
a pouch of leaf tobacco, powdered by rolling in the 


hands» and a roll of corn husks to make wrappers. 
The cigarettes were made by the smokers as they 
used them. 

Up to the time of which I write, and for years 
afterwards — I think until the administration of Presi- 
dent Juarez — the cultivation, manufacture and sale 
of tobacco constituted a government monopoly, and 
paid the bulk of the revenue collected from internal 
sources. The price was enormously high, and made 
successful smuggling very profitable. The difficulty 
of obtaining tobacco is probably the reason why 
everybody, male and female, used it at that time. I 
know from my own experience that when I was at 
West Point, the fact that tobacco, in every form, was 
prohibited, and the mere possession of the weed se- 
verely punished, made the majority of the cadets, 
myself included, try to acquire the habit of using it. 
I failed utterly at the time and for many years after- 
ward ; but the majority accomplished the object of 
their youthful ambition. 

Under Spanish rule Mexico was prohibited from 
producing anything that the mother-country could 
supply. This rule excluded the cultivation of the 
grape, olive and many other articles to which the 
soil and climate were well adapted. The country 
was governed for " revenue only;'* and tobacco, which 
cannot be raised in Spain, but is indigenous to Mex- 
ico, offered a fine instrumentality for securing this 

Vol. I. 5 


prime object of government The native population 
had been in the habit of using "the weed" from a 
period, back of any recorded history of this continent. 
Bad habits — if not restrained by law or public opin- 
ion — spread more rapidly and universally than good 
ones, and the Spanish colonists adopted the use of 
tobacco almost as generally as the natives. Spain, 
therefore, in order to secure the largest revenue from 
this source, prohibited the cultivation, except in spec- 
ified localities — and in these places farmed out the 
privilege at a very high price. The tobacco when 
raised could only be sold to the government, and the 
price to the consumer was limited only by the avarice 
of the authorities, and the capacity of the people to 

All laws for the government of the country were 
enacted in Spain, and the officers for their execution 
were appointed by the Crown, and sent out to the New 
El Dorado. The Mexicans had been brought up igno- 
rant of how to legislate or how to nile. When they 
gained their independence, after many years of war, 
it was the most natural thing in the world that they 
should adopt as their own the laws then in existence. 
The only change was, that Mexico became her own 
executor of the laws and the recipient of the reve- 
nues. The tobacco tax, yielding so large a revenue 
under the law as it stood, was one of the last, if not 
the very last, of the obnoxious imposts to be re- 


pealed. Now, the citizens are allowed to cultivate 
any crops the soil will yield. Tobacco is cheap, and 
every quality can be produced Its use is by no 
means so general as when I first visited the country. 

Gradually the ''Army of Occupation" assembled 
at Corpus Christi. When it was all together it con- 
sisted of seven companies of the 2d regiment of dra- 
goons, four companies of light artillery, five regiments 
of infantry — the 3d, 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th — and one 
regiment of artillery acting as infantry — not more 
than three thousand men in all. General Zachary 
Taylor commanded the whole. There were troops 
enough in one body to establish a drill and discipline 
sufficient to fit men and officers for all they were ca- 
pable of in case of battle. The rank and file were 
composed of men who had enlisted in time of peace, 
to serve for seven dollars a month, and were neces- 
sarily inferior as material to the average volunteers 
enlisted later in the war expressly to fight, and also 
to the volunteers in the war for the preservation of 
the Union. The men engaged in the Mexican war 
were brave, and the officers of the regular army, from 
highest to lowest, were educated in their profession. 
A more efficient army for its number and armament, I 
do not believe ever fought a battle than the one com- 
manded by General Taylor in his first two engage- 
ments on Mexican — or Texan soil. 

The presence of United States troops on the edge 


of the disputed territory furthest from the Mexican 
settlements, was not sufficient to provoke hostilities. 
We were sent to provoke a fight, but it was essen- 
tial that Mexico should commence it. It was very 
doubtful whether Congress would declare war ; but 
if Mexico should attack our troops, the Executive 
could announce, ** Whereas, war exists by the 
acts of, etc.," and prosecute the contest with 
vigor. Once initiated there were but few public 
men who would have the courage to oppose it. Ex- 
perience proves that the man who obstructs a war in 
which his nation is engaged, no matter whether right 
or wrong, occupies no enviable place in life or his- 
tory. Better for him, individually, to advocate "war, 
pestilence, and famine," than to act as obstructionist 
to a war already begun. The history of the defeat- 
ed rebel will be honorable hereafter, compared with 
that of the Northern man who aided him by conspir- 
ing against his government while protected by it. 
The most favorable posthumous history the stay-at- 
home traitor can hope for is — oblivion. 

Mexico showing no willingness to come to the 
Nueces to drive the invaders from her soil, it be- 
came necessary for the '* invaders" to approach to 
within a convenient distance to be struck. Accord- 
ingly, preparations were begun for moving the army 
to the Rio Grande, to a point near Matamoras. It 
was desirable to occupy a position near the largest 


centre of population possible to reach, without abso- 
lutely invading territory to which we set up no claim 

The distance from Corpus Christi to Matamoras 
is about one hundred and fifty miles. The country 
does not abound in fresh water, and the length of the 
marches had to be regulated by the distance between 
water supplies. Besides the streams, there were oc- 
casional pools, filled during the rainy season, some 
probably made by the traders, who travelled con- 
stantly between Corpus Christi and the Rio Grande, 
and some by the buffalo. There was not at that 
time a single habitation, cultivated field, or herd 
of domestic animals, between Corpus Christi and 
Matamoras. It was necessary, therefore, to have a 
wagon train sufficiently large to transport the camp 
and garrison equipage, officers' baggage, rations for 
the army, and part rations of grain for the artillery 
horses and all the animals taken from the north, 
where they had been accustomed to having their 
forage furnished them. The army was but in- 
differently supplied with transportation. Wagons 
and harness could easily be supplied from the north ; 
but mules and horses could not so readily be brought. 
The American traders and Mexican smugglers 
came to the relief. Contracts were made for mules 
at from eight to eleven dollars each. The smugglers 
furnished the animals, and took their pay in goods of 



the description before mentioned. I doubt whether 
the Mexicans received in value from the traders five 
dollars per head for the animals they furnished, and 
still more, whether they paid anything but their own 
time in procuring them. Such is trade ; such is war. 
The government paid in hard cash to the contractor 
the stipulated price. 

Between the Rio Grande and the Nueces there 
was at that time a large band of wild horses feeding; 
as numerous, probably, as the band of buffalo roam- 
ing further north was before its rapid extermination 
commenced. The Mexicans used to capture these 
in large numbers and bring them into the American 
settlements and sell them. A picked animal could 
be purchased at from eight to twelve dollars, but 
taken at wholesale, they could be bought for thirty- 
six dollars a dozen. Some of these were purchased 
for the army, and answered a most useful purpose. 
The horses were generally very strong, formed much 
like the Norman horse, and with very heavy manes 
and tails. A number of officers supplied themselves 
with these, and they generally rendered as useful 
service as the northern animal ; in fact they were 
much better when grazing was the only means of 
supplying forage. 

There was no need for haste, and some months 
were consumed in the necessary preparations for a 
move. In the meantime the army was engaged in 


all the duties pertaining to the officer and the soldier. 
Twice, that I remember, small trains were sent from 
Corpus Christi, with cavalry escorts, to San Antonio 
and Austin, with paymasters and funds to pay off 
small detachments of troops stationed at those 
places. General Taylor encouraged officers to ac« 
company these expeditions. I accompanied one 
of them in December, 1845. ^^^ distance from 
Corpus Christi to San Antonio was then computed 
at one hundred and fifty miles. Now that roads 
exist it is probably less. From San Antonio to 
Austin we computed the distance at one hundred 
and ten miles, and from the latter place back to 
Corpus Christi at over two hundred miles. I know 
the distance now from San Antonio to Austin is but 
little over eighty miles, so that our computation was 
probably too high. 

There was not at the time an individual living 
between Corpus Christi and San Antonio until 
within about thirty miles of the latter point, 
where there were a few scattering Mexican settle- 
ments along the San Antonio River. The people 
in at least one of these hamlets lived underground 
for protection against the Indians. The country 
abounded in game, such as deer and antelope, with 
abundance of wild turkeys along the streams 
and where there were nut-bearing woods. On the 
Nueces, s^bout twenty-five mile? up from Corpus 


Christi, were a few log cabins, the remains of a town 
called San Patricio, but the inhabitants had all been 
massacred by the Indians, or driven away. 

San Antonio was about equally divided in popu- 
lation between Americans and Mexicans. From 
there to Austin there was not a single residence 
except at New Braunfels, on the Guadalupe 
River. At that point was a settlement of Ger- 
mans who had only that year come into the State. 
At all events they were living in small huts, about 
such as soldiers would hastily construct for temporary 
occupation. From Austin to Corpus Christi there 
was only a small settlement at Bastrop, with a few 
farms along the Colorado River ; but after leaving 
that, there were no settlements except the home of 
one man, with one female slave, at the old town of 
Goliad. Some of the houses were still standing. 
Goliad had been quite a village for the period and 
region, but some years before there had been a Mexi- 
can massacre, in which every inhabitant had been 
killed or driven away. This, with the massacre of 
the prisoners in the Alamo, San Antonio, about 
the same time, more than three hundred men in all, 
furnished the strongest justification the Texans had 
for carrying on the war with so much cruelty. In 
fact, from that time until the Mexican war, the 
hostilities between Texans and Mexicans was so 
great that neither was safe in the neighborhood 


of the Other who might be in superior numbers or 
possessed of superior arms. The man we found 
living there seemed like an old friend ; he had come 
from near Fort Jessup, Louisiana, where the officers 
of the 3d and 4th infantry and the 2d dragoons had 
known him and his family. He had emigrated in 
advance of his family to build up a home for them. 



WHEN our party left Corpus Christi it was 
quite large, including the cavalry escort, 
Paymaster, Major Dix, his clerk and the 
officers who, like myself, were simply on 
leave ; but all the officers on leave, except 
Lieutenant Benjamin — afterwards killed in the 
valley of Mexico — Lieutenant, now General, Augur, 
and myself, concluded to spend their allotted 
time at San Antonio and return from there. We 
were all to be back at Corpus Christi by the end of 
the month. The paymaster was detained in Austin 
so long that, if we had waited for him, we would 
have exceeded our leave. We concluded, there- 
fore, to start back at once with the animals we 
had, and having to rely principally on grass for their 
food, it was a good six days' journey. We had to 
sleep on the prairie every night, except at Goliad, 
and possibly one night on the Colorado, without 
shelter and with only such food as we carried with 
us, and prepared ourselves. The journey was haz- 


ardous on account of Indians, and there were 
white men in Texas whom I would not have 
cared to meet in a secluded place. Lieutenant 
Augur was taken seriously sick before we reached 
Goliad and at a distance from any habitation. To 
add to the complication, his horse — ^a mustang that 
had probably been captured from the band of wild 
horses before alluded to, and of undoubted lon- 
gevity at his capture — ^gave out It was absolutely 
necessary to get forward to Goliad to find a shelter 
for our sick companion. By dint of patience and 
exceedingly slow movements, Goliad was at last 
reached, and a shelter and bed secured for our pa- 
tient We remained over a day, hoping that Augur 
might recover sufficiently to resume his travels. He 
did not, however, and knowing that Major Dix would 
be along in a few days, with his wagon-train, now 
empty, and escort, we arranged with our Louisiana 
friend to take the best of care of the sick lieutenant 
until thus relieved, and went on. 

I had never been a sportsman in my life ; had 
scarcely ever gone in search of game, and rarely seen 
any when looking for it. On this trip there was 
no minute of time while travelling between San 
Patricio and the settlements on the San Antonio 
River, from San Antonio to Austin, and again from 
the Colorado River back to San Patricio, when deer 
or antelope could not be seen in great numbers. 


Each officer carried a shot-gun, and every evening, 
after going into camp, some would go out and soon 
return with venison and wild turkeys enough for the 
entire camp. I, however, never went out, and had 
no occasion to fire my gun ; except, being detained 
over a day at Goliad, Benjamin and I concluded to 
go down to the creek — ^which was fringed with tim- 
ber, much of it the pecan — and bring back a few 
turkeys. We had scarcely reached the edge of the 
timber when I heard the flutter of wings over- 
head, and in an instant I saw two or three tur- 
keys flying away. These were soon followed by 
more, then more, and more, until a flock of twenty 
or thirty had left from just over my head. All this 
time I stood watching the turkeys to see where they 
flew — with my gun on my shoulder, and never once 
thought of levelling it at the birds. When I had 
time to reflect upon the matter, I came to the con- 
clusion that as a sportsman I was a failure, and went 
back to the house. Benjamin remained out, and 
got as many turkeys as he wanted to carry back. 

After the second night at Goliad, Benjamin and 
I started to make the remainder of the journey 
alone. We reached Corpus Christi just in time to 
avoid ** absence without leave." We met no one — 
not even an Indian — during the remainder of our 
journey, except at San Patricio. A new settlement 
had been started there in our absence of three 


weeks, induced possibly by the fact that there were 
houses already built, while the proximity of troops 
gave protection against the Indians. On the 
evening of the first day out from Goliad we heard 
the most unearthly howling of wolves, directly in 
our front. The prairie grass was tall and we could 
not see the beasts, but the sound indicated that 
they were near. To my ear it appeared that there 
must have been enough of them to devour our 
party, horses and all, at a single meal. The part 
of Ohio that I hailed from was not thickly settled, 
but wolves had been driven out long before I left 
Benjamin was from Indiana, still less populated, 
where the wolf yet roamed over the prairies. He 
understood the nature of the animal and the 
capacity of a few to make believe there was an 
unlimited number of them. He kept on towards 
the noise, unmoved. I followed in his trail, lack- 
ing moral courage to turn back and join our 
sick companion. I have no doubt that if Benjamin 
had proposed returning to Goliad, I would not only 
have "seconded the motion" but have suggested 
that it was very hard-hearted in us to leave Augur 
sick there in the first place ; but Benjamin did not 
propose turning back. When he did speak it was 
to ask : " Grant, how many wolves do you think 
there are in that pack?" Knowing where he was 
from, and suspecting that he thought I would over- 


estimate the number, I determined to show my 
acquaintance with the animal by putting the estimate 
below what possibly could be correct, and answered : 
**Oh, about twenty," very indifferently. He smiled 
and rode on. In a minute we were close upon 
them, and before they saw us. There were just two 
of them. Seated upon their haunches, with their 
mouths close together, they had made all the noise 
we had been hearing for the past ten minutes. I 
have often thought of this incident since when I 
have heard the noise of a few disappointed poli- 
ticians who had deserted their associates. There 
are always more of them before they are counted. 

A week or two before leaving Corpus Christi on 
this trip, I had been promoted from brevet second- 
lieutenant, 4th infantry, to full second-lieutenant, 
7th infantry. Frank Gardner,* of the 7th, was 
promoted to the 4th in the same orders. We 
immediately made application to be transferred, so 
as to get back to our old regiments. On my return, 
I found that our application had been approved 
at Washington. While in the 7th infantry I was 
in the company of Captain Holmes, afterwards a 
Lieutenant-general in the Confederate army. I 
never came in contact with him in the war of the 
Rebellion, nor did he render any very conspicuous 
service in his high rank. My transfer carried me 

♦ Afterwards General Gardner, C.S.A. 


to the company of Captain McCall, who resigned 
from the army after the Mexican war and settled in 
Philadelphia. He was prompt, however, to volun- 
teer when the rebellion broke out, and soon rose 
to the rank of major-general in the Union army. I 
was not fortunate enough to meet him after he 
resigned. In the old army he was esteemed very 
highly as a soldier and gentleman. Our relations 
were always most pleasant. 

The preparations at Corpus Christi for an advance 
progressed as rapidly in the absence of some twenty 
or more lieutenants as if we had been there. The 
principal business consisted in securing mules, and 
getting them broken to harness. The process was 
slow but amusing. The animals sold to the govern- 
ment were all young and unbroken, even to the 
saddle, and were quite as wild as the wild horses of 
the prairie. Usually a number would be brought in 
by a company of Mexicans, partners in the delivery. 
The mules were first driven into a stockade, called 
a corral, inclosing an acre or more of ground. The 
Mexicans, — who were all experienced in throwing 
the lasso, — would go into the corral on horseback, 
with their lassos attached to the pommels of their 
saddles. Soldiers detailed as teamsters and black- 
smiths would also enter the corral^ the former with 
ropes to serve as halters, the latter with branding 
irons and a fire to keep the irons heated. A lasso 


was then thrown over the neck of a mule, when he 
would immediately go to the length of his tether, 
first one end, then the other in the ain While 
he was thus plunging and gyrating, another lasso 
would be thrown by another Mexican, catching the 
animal by a fore-foot. This would bring the mule to 
the ground, when he was seized and held by the 
teamsters while the blacksmith put upon him, with 
hot irons, the initials " U. S." Ropes were then put 
about the neck, with a slip-noose which would 
tighten around the throat if pulled. With a man 
on each side holding these ropes, the mule was 
released from his other bindings and allowed to rise. 
With more or less difficulty he would be conducted 
to a picket rope outside and fastened there. The 
delivery of that mule was then complete. This 
process was gone through with every mule and wild 
horse with the army of occupation. 

The method of breaking them was less cruel and 
much more amusing. It is a well-known fact that 
where domestic animals are used for specific pur- 
poses from generation to generation, the descendants 
are easily, as a rule, subdued to the same uses. At 
that time in Northern Mexico the mule, or his an- 
cestors, the horse and the ass, was seldom used except 
for the saddle or pack. At all events the Corpus 
Christi mule resisted the new use to which he was 
being put. The treatment he was subjected to in 



order to overcome his prejudices was summary and 

The soldiers were principally foreigners who had 
enlisted in our large cities, and, with the exception of 
a chance drayman among them, it is not probable 
that any of the men who reported themselves as 
competent teamsters had ever driven a mule-team in 
their lives, or indeed that many had had any previous 
experience in driving any animal whatever to har- 
ness. Numbers together can accomplish what twice 
their number acting individually could not perform. 
Five mules were allotted to each wagon. A team- 
ster would select at the picket rope five animals of 
nearly the same color and general appearance for 
his team. With a full corps of assistants, other 
teamsters, he would then proceed to get his mules 
together. In twos the men would approach each 
animal selected, avoiding as far as possible its 
heels. Two ropes would be put about the neck 
of each animal, with a slip noose, so that he could 
be choked if too unruly. They were then led 
out, harnessed by force and hitched to the wagon 
in the position they had to keep ever after. 
Two men remained on either side of the leader, 
with the lassos about its neck, and one man re- 
tained the same restraining influence over each of 
the others. All being ready, the hold would be 
slackened and the team started. The first motion 

Vol. I.— 6 


was generally five mules in the air at one time, backs 
bowed, hind feet extended to the rear. After re- 
peating this movement a few times the leaders would 
start to run. This would bring the breeching tight 
against the mules at the wheels, which these last 
seemed to regard as a most unwarrantable attempt 
at coercion and would resist by taking a seat, some- 
times going so far as to lie down. In time all were 
broken in to do their duty submissively if not cheer- 
fully, but there never was a time during the war when 
it was safe to let a Mexican mule get entirely loose. 
Their drivers were all teamsters by the time they 
got through. 

I recollect one case of a mule that had worked 
in a team under the saddle, not only for some 
time at Corpus Christi, where he was broken, 
but all the way to the point opposite Matamoras, 
then to Camargo, where he got loose from his fasten- 
ings during the night. He did not run away at first, 
but staid in the neighborhood for a day or two, 
coming up sometimes to the feed trough even ; 
but on the approach of the teamster he always got 
out of the way. At last, growing tired of the con- 
stant effort to catch him, he disappeared altogether. 
Nothing short of a Mexican with his lasso could 
have caught him. Regulations would not have 
warranted the expenditure of a dollar in hiring a 
man with a lasso to catch that mule ; but they did 


allow the expenditure " of the mule," on a certifi- 
cate that he had run away without any fault of the 
quartermaster on whose returns he was borne, and 
also the purchase of another to take his place. I 
am a competent witness, for I was regimental 
quartermaster at the time. 

While at Corpus Christi all the officers who had 
a fancy for riding kept horses. The animals cost 
but little in the first instance, and when picketed 
they would get their living without any cost. I had 
three not long before the army moved, but a sad 
accident bereft me of them all at one time. A 
colored boy who gave them all the attention they 
got — besides looking after my tent and that of a 
class-mate and fellow-lieutenant and cooking for 
us, all for about eight dollars per month, was 
riding one to water and leading the other two. 
The led horses pulled him from his scat and all 
three ran away. They never were heard of after- 
wards. Shortly after that some one told Captain 
Bliss, General Taylor's Adjutant-General, of my 
misfortune. "Yes; I heard Grant lost five or six 
dollars' worth of horses the other day/' he replied. 
That was a slander ; they were broken to the 
saddle when I got them and cost nearly twenty 
dollars. I never suspected the colored boy of ma- 
licious intent in letting them get away, because, if 
they had not escaped, he could have had one of them 
to ride on the lonij march then in prospect. 




AT last the preparations were complete and or- 
ders were issued for the advance to begin on 
the 8th of March. General Taylor had an army 
of not more than three thousand men. One 
battery, the siege guns and all the convalescent 
troops were sent on by water to Brazos Santiago, 
at the mouth of the Rio Grande. A guard was 
left back at Corpus Christi to look after public 
property and to take care of those who were too 
sick to be removed. The remainder of the army, 
probably not more than twenty five hundred men, 
was divided into three brigades, with the cavalry 
independent. Colonel Twiggs, with seven compa- 
nies of dragoons and a battery of light artillery, 
moved on the 8th. He was followed by the three 
infantry brigades, with a day's interval between the 
commands. Thus the rear brigade did not move 
from Corpus Christi until the nth of March. In 
view of the immense bodies of men moved on the 
same day over narrow roads, through dense forests 


and across large streams, in our late war, it seems 
strange now that a body of less than three thousand 
men should have been broken into four columns, 
separated by a day's march. 

General Taylor was opposed to anything like 
plundering by the troops, and in this instance, I 
doubt not, he looked upon the enemy as the ag- 
grieved party and was not willing to injure them 
further than his instructions from Washington de- 
manded His orders to the troops enjoined scrupu- 
lous regard for the rights of all peaceable persons 
and the payment of the highest price for all supplies 
taken for the use of the army. 

All officers of foot regiments who had horses 
were permitted to ride them on the march when it 
did not interfere with their military duties. As 
already related, having lost my ** five or six dollars* 
worth of horses *' but a short time before I deter- 
mined not to get another, but to make the journey 
on foot. My company commander, Captain Mc- 
Call, had two good American horses, of consider- 
ably more value in that country, where native horses 
were cheap, than they were in the States. He used 
one himself and wanted the other for his servant. 
He was quite anxious to know whether I did not 
intend to get me another horse before the march 
began. I told him No ; I belonged to a foot regi- 
ment I did not understand the object of his 


solicitude at the time, but, when we were about to 
start, he said : " There, Grant, is a horse for 
you." I found that he could not bear the idea of his 
servant riding on a long march while his lieutenant 
went a-foot. He had found a mustang, a three-year- 
old colt only recently captured, which had been pur- 
chased by one of the colored servants with the 
regiment for the sum of three dollars. It was 
probably the only horse at Corpus Christi that could 
have been purchased just then for any reasonable 
price. Five dollars, sixty-six and two-thirds per 
cent, advance, induced the owner to part with the 
mustang. I was sorry to take him, because I really 
felt that, belonging to a foot regiment, it was my 
duty to march with the men. But I saw the Cap- 
tain's earnestness in the matter, and accepted the 
horse for the trip. The day we started was the first 
time the horse had ever been under saddle. I 
had, however, but little difficulty in breaking him, 
though for the first day there were frequent dis- 
agreements between us as to which way we should 
go, and sometimes whether we should go at all. At 
no time during the day could I choose exactly the 
part of the column I would march with ; but after 
that, I had as tractable a horse as any with the army, 
and there was none that stood the trip better. He 
never ate a mouthful of food on the journey except the 
grass he could pick within the length of his picket rope. 


A few days out from Corpus Christi, the immense 
herd of wild horses that ranged at that time between 
the Nueces and the Rio Grande was seen directly in 
advance of the head of the column and but a few 
miles ofif. It was the very band from which the horse 
I was riding had been captured but a few weeks be- 
fore. The column was halted for a rest, and a num- 
ber of officers, myself among them, rode out two or 
three miles to the right to see the extent of the herd. 
The country was a rolling prairie, and, from the 
higher ground, the vision was obstructed only by the 
earth's curvature. As far as the eye could reach to 
our right, the herd extended. To the left, it ex- 
tended equally. There was no estimating the number 
of animals in it ; I have no idea that they could all 
have been corralled in the State of Rhode Island, or 
Delaware, at one time. If they had been, they would 
have been so thick that the pasturage would have 
given out the first day. People who saw the South- 
ern herd of buffalo, fifteen or twenty years ago, can 
appreciate the size of the Texas band of wild horses 
in 1846. 

At the point where the army struck the Colorado 
River, the stream was quite wide and of sufficient 
depth for navigation. The water was brackish and 
the banks were fringed with timber. Here the whole 
army concentrated before attempting to cross. The 
army was not accompanied by a pontoon train, 


and at that time the troops were not instructed 
in bridge building. To add to the embarrass- 
ment of the situation, the army was here^ for 
the first time, threatened with opposition. Buglers, 
concealed from our view by the brush on the 
opposite side, sounded the "assembly," and other 
military calls. Like the wolves before spoken of, 
they gave the impression that there was a large 
number of them and that, if the troops were in pro- 
portion to the noise, they were sufficient to devour 
General Taylor and his army. There were prob- 
ably but few troops, and those engaged principally 
in watching the movements of the " invader." A 
few of our cavalry dashed in, and forded and swam 
the stream, and all opposition was soon dispersed. 
I do not remember that a single shot was fired. 

The troops waded the stream, which was up to 
their necks in the deepest part. Teams were crossed 
by attaching a long rope to the end of the wagon 
tongue, passing it between the two swing mules and 
by the side of the leader, hitching his bridle as well 
as the bridle of the mules in rear to it, and carrying 
the end to men on the opposite shore. The bank 
down to the water was steep on both sides. A rope 
long enough to cross the river, therefore, was at- 
tached to the back axle of the wagon, and men be- 
hind would hold the rope to prevent the wagon 
** beating " the mules into the water. This latter 


rope also served the purpose of bringing the end of 
the forward one back, to be used over again. The 
water was deep enough for a short distance to swim 
the little Mexican mules which the army was then 
using, but they, and the wagons, were pulled through 
so fast by the men at the end of the rope ahead, 
that no time was left them to show their obstinacy. 
In this manner the artillery and transportation of 
the " army of occupation " crossed the Colorado 

About the middle of the month of March the ad- 
vance of the army reached the Rio Grande and 
went into camp near the banks of the river, opposite 
the city of Matamoras and almost under the guns 
of a small fort at the lower end of the town. There 
was not at that time a single habitation from Corpus 
Christi until the Rio Grande was reached. 

The work of fortifying was commenced at once. 
The fort was laid out by the engineers, but the work 
was done by the soldiers under the supervision of 
their officers, the chief engineer retaining general 
directions. The Mexicans now became so incensed 
at our near approach that some of their troops 
crossed the river above us, and made it unsafe for 
small bodies of men to go far beyond the limits of 
camp. They captured two companies of dragoons, 
commanded by Captains Thornton and Hardee. The 
latter figured as a general in the late war, on the 


Confederate side, and was author of the tactics first 
used by both armies. Lieutenant Theodric Porter, 
of the 4th infantry, was killed while out with a small 
detachment ; and Major Cross, the assistant quarter- 
master-general, had also been killed not far from 

There was no base of supplies nearer than Point 
Isabel, on the coast, north of the mouth of the Rio 
Grande and twenty-five miles away. The enemy, 
if the Mexicans could be called such at this time 
when no war had been declared, hovered about in 
such numbers that it was not safe to send a wagon 
train after supplies with any escort that could be 
spared. I have already said that General Taylor s 
whole command on the Rio Grande numbered less 
than three thousand men. He had, however, a few 
more troops at Point Isabel or Brazos Santiago. 
The supplies brought from Corpus Christi in wagons 
were running short. Work was therefore pushed 
with great vigor on the defences, to enable the mini- 
mum number of troops to hold the fort. All the 
men who could be employed, were kept at work 
from early dawn until darkness closed the labors of 
the day. With all this the fort was not completed 
until the supplies grew so short that further delay 
in obtaining more could not be thought of. By 
the latter part of April the work was in a partially 
defensible condition, and the 7th infantry. Major 


Jacob Brown commanding, was marched in to garri- 
son it, with some few pieces of artillery. All the 
supplies on hand, with the exception of enough to 
carry the rest of the army to Point Isabel, were 
left with the garrison, and the march was com- 
menced with the remainder of the command, every 
wagon being taken with the army. Early on the 
second day after starting the force reached its desti- 
nation, without opposition from the Mexicans. There 
was some delay in getting supplies ashore from ves- 
sels at anchor in the open roadstead. 




WHILE General Taylor was away with the 
bulk of hfs army, the little garrison up the 
river was besieged. As we lay in our tents upon the 
sea-shore, the artillery at the fort on the Rio Grande 
could be distinctly heard. 

The war had begun. 

There were no possible means of obtaining news 
from the garrison, and information from outside 
could not be otherwise than unfavorable. What 
General Taylor's feelings were during this suspense 
I do not know ; but for myself, a young second- 
lieutenant who had never heard a hostile gun be- 
fore, I felt sorry that I had enlisted. A great many 
men, when they smell battle afar off, chafe to get 
into the fray. When they say so themselves they 
generally fail to convince their hearers that they 
are as anxious as they would like to make believe, 
and as they approach danger they become more 
subdued. This rule is not universal, for I have 


known a few men who were always aching for a 
fight when there was no enemy near, who were as 
good as their word when the battle did come. But 
the number of such men is small. 

On the 7th of March the wagons were all loaded 
and General Taylor started on his return, with his 
army reinforced at Point Isabel, but still less than 
three thousand strong, to relieve the garrison on 
the Rio Grande. The road from Point Isabel to 
Matamoras is over an open, rolling, treeless prairie, 
until the timber that borders the bank of the Rio 
Grande is reached. This river, like the Mississippi, 
flows through a rich alluvial valley in the most 
meandering manner, running towards all points of 
the compass at times within a few miles. Formerly 
the river ran by Resaca de la Palma, some four or 
five miles east of the present channel. The old bed 
of the river at Resaca had become filled at places, 
leaving a succession of little lakes. The timber that 
had formerly grown upon both banks, and for a con- 
siderable distance out, was still standing. This tim- 
ber was struck six or eight miles out from the 
besieged garrison, at a point known as Palo Alto — 
"Tall trees" or ''woods." 

Early in the forenoon of the 8th of May as 
Palo Alto was approached, an army, certainly out- 
numbering our little force, was seen, drawn up in 
line of battle just in front of the timber. Their 


bayonets and spearheads glistened in the sunlight 
formidably. The force was composed largely of 
cavalry armed with lances. Where we were the 
grass was tall, reaching nearly to the shoulders of 
the men, very stiff, and each stock was pointed at 
the top, and hard and almost as sharp as a darning- 
needle. General Taylor halted his army before 
the head of column came in range of the artillery 
of the Mexicans. He then formed a line of battle, 
facing the enemy. His artillery, two batteries and 
two eighteen-pounder iron guns, drawn by oxen, 
were placed in position at intervals along the line. 
A battalion was thrown to the rear, commanded by 
Lieutenant-Colonel Childs, of the artillery, as re- 
serves. These preparations completed, orders were 
given for a platoon of each company to stack arms 
and go to a stream off to the right of the command, 
to fill their canteens and also those of the rest 
of their respective companies. When the men 
were all back in their places in line, the command 
to advance was given. As I looked down that long 
line of about three thousand armed men, advancing 
towards a larger force also armed, I thought what 
a fearful responsibility General Taylor must feel, 
commanding such a host and so far away from 
friends. The Mexicans immediately opened fire 
upon us, first with artillery and then with infantry. 
At first their shots did not reach us, and the advance 


was continued. As we got nearer, the cannon balls 
commenced going through the ranks. They hurt 
no one, however, during this advance, because they 
would strike the ground long before they reached our 
line, and ricochetted through the tall grass so slowly 
that the men would see them and open ranks and let 
them pass. When we got to a point where the artil- 
lery could be used with effect, a halt was called, and 
the battle opened on both sides. 

The infantry under General Taylor was armed 
with flint-lock muskets, and paper cartridges charged 
with powder, buck-shot and ball. At the distance 
of a few hundred yards a man might fire at you 
all day without your finding it out. The artillery 
was generally six-pounder brass guns throwing only 
solid shot ; but General Taylor had with him three 
or four twelve-pounder howitzers throwing shell, be- 
sides his eighteen-pounders before spoken of, that 
had a long range. This made a powerful armament. 
The Mexicans were armed about as we were so far 
as their infantry was concerned, but their artillery 
only fired solid shot. We had greatly the advantage 
in this arm. 

The artillery was advanced a rod or two in front 
of the line, and opened fire. The infantry stood at 
order arms as spectators, watching the effect of our 
shots upon the enemy, and watching his shots so as 
to step out of their way. It could be seen that the 


eighteenpounders and the howitzers did a great deal 
of execution. On our side there was little or no loss 
while we occupied this position. During the battle 
Major Ringgold, an accomplished and brave artillery 
officer, was mortally wounded, and Lieutenant Luther, 
also of the artillery, was struck. During the day 
several advances were made, and just at dusk it be- 
came evident that the Mexicans were falling back. 
We again advanced, and occupied at the close of the 
battle substantially the ground held by the enemy 
at the beginning. In this last move there was a brisk 
fire upon our troops, and some execution was done. 
One cannon-ball passed through our ranks, not far 
from me. It took off the head of an enlisted man^ 
and the under jaw of Captain Page of my regiment, 
while the splinters from the musket of the killed 
soldier, and his brains and bones, knocked down two 
or three others, including one officer. Lieutenant 
Wallen, — hurting them more or less. Our casualties 
for the day were nine killed and forty-seven wounded. 
At the break of day on the 9th, the army under 
Taylor was ready to renew the battle ; but an advance 
showed that the enemy had entirely left our front 
during the night. The chaparral before us was im- 
penetrable except where there were roads or trails, 
with occasionally clear or bare spots of small dimen- 
sions. A body of men penetrating it might easily be 
ambushed. It was better to have a few men caught 


in this way than the whole army, yet it was neces- 
sary that the garrison at the river should be relieved. 
To get to them the chaparral had to be passed. 
Thus I assume General Taylor reasoned. He halted 
the army not far in advance of the ground occupied 
by the Mexicans the day before, and selected Cap- 
tain C. F. Smith, of the artillery, and Captain McCall, 
of my company, to take one hundred and fifty picked 
men each and find where the enemy had gone. 
This left me in command of the company, an honor 
and responsibility I thought very great 

Smith and McCall found no obstruction in the way 
of their advance until they came up to the succession 
of ponds, before described, at Resaca. The Mexicans 
had passed them and formed their lines on the op- 
posite bank. This position they had strengthened a 
little by throwing up dead trees and brush in their 
front, and by placing artillery to cover the approaches 
and open places. Smith and McCall deployed on each 
side of the road as well as they could, and engaged 
the enemy at long range. Word was sent back, and 
the advance of the whole army was at once com- 
menced. As we came up we were deployed in 
like manner. I was with the right wing, and led my 
company through the thicket wherever a penetrable 
place could be found, taking advantage of any clear 
spot that would carry me towards the enemy. At 
last I got pretty close up without knowing it. The 

Vol. I. — 7 


balls commenced to whistle very thick overhead, 
cutting the limbs of the chaparral right and left. We 
could not see the enemy, so I ordered my men to lie 
down, an order that did not have to be enforced. We 
kept our position until it became evident that the 
enemy were not firing at us, and then withdrew to 
find better ground to advance upon. 

By this time some progress had been made on our 
left. A section of artillery had been captured by the 
cavalry, and some prisoners had been taken. The 
Mexicans were giving way all along the line, and 
many of them had, no doubt, left early. I at last 
found a clear space separating two ponds. There 
seemed to be a few men in front and I charged upon 
them with my company. There was no resistance, 
and we captured a Mexican colonel, who had been 
wounded, and a few men. Just as I was sending 
them to the rear with a guard of two or three men, a 
private came from the front bringing back one of 
our officers, who had been badly wounded in advance 
of where I was. The ground had been charged over 
before. My exploit was equal to that of the soldier 
who boasted that he had cut off the leg of one of the 
enemy. When asked why he did not cut off his 
head, he replied : '* Some one had done that before." 
This left no doubt in my mind but that the battle 
of Resaca de la Palma would have been won, just as 
it was, if I had not been there. 


There was no further resistance. The evening of 
the 9th the army was encamped on its old ground 
near the Fort, and the garrison was relieved. The 
siege had lasted a number of days, but the casualties 
were few in number. Major Jacob Brown, of the 
7th infantry, the commanding officer, had been killed, 
and in his honor the fort was named. Since then a 
town of considerable importance has sprung up on 
the gfround occupied by the fort and troops, which 
has also taken his name. 

The battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma 
seemed to us engaged, as pretty important affairs ; 
but we had only a faint conception of their magni- 
tude until they were fought over in the North by the 
Press and the reports came back to us. At the same 
time, or about the same time, we learned that war 
existed between the United States and Mexico, by 
the acts of the latter country. On learning this fact 
General Taylor transferred our camps to the south 
or west bank of the river, and Matamoras was occu- 
pied. We then became the " Army of Invasion." 

Up to this time Taylor had none but regular troops 
in his command ; but now that invasion had already 
taken place, volunteers for one year commenced ar- 
riving. The army remained at Matamoras until 
sufficiently reinforced to warrant a movement into 
the interior. General Taylor was not an officer to 
trouble the administration much with his demands, 


but was inclined to do the best he could with the 
means given him. He felt his responsibility as going 
no further. If he had thought that he was sent to 
perform an impossibility with the means given him, 
he would probably have informed the authorities of 
his opinion and left them to determine what should 
be done. If the judgment was against him he would 
have gone on and done the best he could with the 
means at hand without parading his grievance before 
the public. No soldier could face either danger or 
responsibility more calmly than he. These are quali- 
ties more rarely found than genius or physical courage. 
General Taylor never made any great show or 
parade, either of uniform or retinue. In dress he 
was possibly too plain, rarely wearing anything in 
the field to indicate his rank, or even that he was an 
officer ; but he was known to every soldier in his 
army, and was respected by all. I can call to mind 
only one instance when I saw him in uniform, and 
one other when I heard of his wearing it. On both 
occasions he was unfortunate. The first was at 
Corpus Christi. He had concluded to review his 
army before starting on the march and gave orders 
accordingly. Colonel Twiggs was then second in 
rank with the army, and to him was given the com- 
mand of the review. Colonel and Brevet Brigadier- 
General Worth, a far different soldier from Taylor 
in the use of the uniform, was next to Twiggs in 


rank, and claimed superiority by virtue of his brevet 
rank when the accidents of service threw them where 
one or the other had to command. Worth declined 
to attend the review as subordinate to Twiggs until 
the question was settled by the highest authority. 
This broke up the review, and the question was re- 
ferred to Washington for final decision. 

General Taylor was himself only a colonel, in real 
rank, at that time, and a brigadier-general by 
brevet He was assigned to duty, however, by the 
President, with the rank which his brevet gave him. 
Worth was not so assigned, but by virtue of com- 
manding a division he must, under the army regula- 
tions of that day, have drawn the pay of his brevet 
rank. The question was submitted to Washington, 
and no response was received until after the army 
had reached the Rio Grande. It was decided against 
General Worth, who at once tendered his resigna- 
tion and left the army, going north, no doubt, by the 
same vessel that carried it. This kept him out of 
the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma. 
Either the resignation was not accepted, or General 
Worth withdrew it before action had been taken. 
At all events he returned to the army in time to 
command his division in the battle of Monterey, and 
served with it to the end of the war. 

The second occasion on which General Taylor 
was said to have donned his uniform, was in order to 


receive a visit from the Flag Officer of the naval 
squadron off the mouth of the Rio Grande. While 
the army was on that river the Flag Officer sent 
word that he would call on the General to pay his 
respects on a certain day. General Taylor, knowing 
that naval officers habitually wore all the uniform the 
" law allowed " on all occasions of ceremony, thought 
it would be only civil to receive his guest in the 
same style. His uniform was therefore got out, 
brushed up, and put on, in advance of the visit. 
The Flag Officer, knowing General Taylor's aversion 
to the wearing of the uniform, and feeling that it 
would be regarded as a compliment should he meet 
him in civilian s dress, left off his uniform for this 
occasion. The meeting was said to have been em- 
barrassing to both, and the conversation was princi- 
pally apologetic. 

The time was whiled away pleasantly enough at 
Matamoras, while we were waiting for volunteers. 
It is probable that all the most important people of 
the territory occupied by our army left their homes 
before we got there, but with those remaining the 
best of relations apparently existed. It was the 
policy of the Commanding General to allow no pil- 
laging, no taking of private property for public or 
individual use without satisfactory compensation, so 
that a better market was afforded than the people 
had ever known before. 


Among the troops that joined us at Matamoras 
was an Ohio regiment, of which Thomas L. Hamer, 
the Member of Congress who had given me my 
appointment to West Point, was major. He told me 
then that he could have had the colonelcy, but that 
as he knew he was to be appointed a brigadier-gen- 
eral, he preferred at first to take the lower grade. I 
have said before that Hamer was one of the ablest 
men Ohio ever produced. At that time he was in 
the prime of life, being less than fifty years of age, 
and possessed an admirable physique, promising long 
life. But he was taken sick before Monterey, and 
died within a few days. I have always believed that 
had his life been spared, he would have been Presi- 
dent of the United States during the term filled by 
President Pierce. Had Hamer filled that office his 
partiality for me was such, there is but little doubt I 
should have been appointed to one of the staff corps 
of the army — the Pay Department probably — and 
would therefore now be preparing to retire. Neither 
of these speculations is unreasonable, and they are 
mentioned to show how little men control their own 

Reinforcements having arrived, in the month of 
August the movement commenced from Matamoras 
to Camargo, the head of navigation on the Rio 
Grande. The line of the Rio Grande was all that 
was necessary to hold, unless it was intended to in- 


vade Mexico from the North. In that case the 
most natural route to take was the one which Gen- 
eral Taylor selected. It entered a pass in the Sierra 
Madre Mountains, at Monterey, through which the 
main road runs to the City of Mexico. Monterey 
itself was a good point to hold, even if the line of 
the Rio Grande covered all the territory we desired 
to occupy at that time. It is built on a plain two 
thousand feet above tide water, where the air is 
bracing and the situation healthy. 

On the 19th of August the army started for 
Monterey, leaving a small garrison at Matamoras. 
The troops, with the exception of the artillery, cav- 
alry, and the brigade to which I belonged, were 
moved up the river to Camargo on steamers. As 
there were but two or three of these, the boats 
had to make a number of trips before the last of the 
troops were up. Those who marched did so by 
the south side of the river. Lieutenant-Colonel 
Garland, of the 4th infantry, was the brigade com- 
mander, and on this occasion commanded the entire 
marching force. One day out convinced him that 
marching by day in that latitude, in the month of 
August, was not a beneficial sanitary measure, par- 
ticularly for Northern men. The order of marching 
was changed and night marches were substituted 
with the best results. 

When Camargo v/as reached, we found a city of 


tents outside the Mexican hamlet. I was detailed 
to act as quartermaster and commissary to the 
regiment. The teams that had proven abundantly 
sufficient to ' transport all supplies from Corpus 
Christi to the Rio Grande over the level prairies of 
Texas, were entirely inadequate to the needs of the 
reinforced army in a mountainous country. To ob- 
viate the deficiency, pack mules were hired, with 
Mexicans to pack and drive them. I had charge of 
the few wagons allotted to the 4th infantry and of 
the pack train to supplement them. There were not 
men enough in the army to manage that train with- 
out the help of Mexicans who had learned how. As 
it was the difficulty was great enough. The troops 
would take up their march at an early hour each 
day. After they had started, the tents and cooking 
utensils had to be made into packages, so that they 
could be lashed to the backs of the mules. Sheet- 
iron kettles, tent-poles and mess chests were incon- 
venient articles to transport in that way. It took 
several hours to get ready to start each morning, 
and by the time we were ready some of the mules 
first loaded would be tired of standing so long with 
their loads on their backs. Sometimes one would 
start to run, bowing his back and kicking up until he 
scattered his load ; others would lie down and try to 
disarrange their loads by attempting to get on the 
top of them by rolling on them; others with tent- 


poles for part of their loads would manage to run a 
tent-pole on one side of a sapling while they would 
take the other. I am not aware of ever having 
used a profane expletive in my life ; but I would 
have the charity to excuse those who may have done 
so, if they were in charge of a train of Mexican pack 
mules at the time. 




THE advance from Camargo was commenced on 
the 5lh of September, The army was divided 
into four columns, separated from each other by one 
day's march. The advance reached Cerralvo in four 
days and halted for the remainder of the troops to 
come up. By the 13th the rear-guard had arrived, and 
the same day the advance resumed its march, followed 
as before, a day separating the divisions. The for- 
ward division halted again at Marin, twenty-four miles 
from Monterey. Both this place and Cerralvo were 
nearly deserted, and men, women and children were 
seen running and scattered over the hills as we ap- 
proached; but when the people returned they found 
all their abandoned property safe, which must have 
given them a favorable opinion of Los Grengos — " the 
Yankees." From Marin the movement was in mass. 
On the 19th General Taylor, with his army, was en- 
camped at Walnut Springs, within three miles of 
The town is on a small stream coming out of 


the mountain-pass, and is backed by a range of 
hills of moderate elevation. To the north, between 
the city and Walnut Springs, stretches an exten- 
sive plain. On this plain, and entirely outside of 
the last houses of the city, stood a strong fort, en- 
closed on all sides, to which our army gave the name 
of "Black Fort" Its guns commanded the ap- 
proaches to the city to the full extent of their range. 
There were two detached spurs of hills or mountains 
to the north and north-west of the city, which were 
also fortified. On one of these stood the Bishop's 
Palace. The road to Saltillo leaves the upper or 
western end of the city under the fire of the guns 
from these heights. The lower or eastern end was 
defended by two or three small detached works, 
armed with artillery and infantry. To the south 
was the mountain stream before mentioned, and back 
of that the range of foot-hills. The plaza in the 
centre of the city was the citadel, properly speaking. 
All the streets leading from it were swept by artillery, 
cannon being intrenched behind temporary parapets. 
The house-tops near the plaza were converted into 
infantry fortifications by the use of sand-bags for 
parapets. Such were the defences of Monterey in 
September, 1847. General Ampudia, with a force of 
certainly ten thousand men, was in command. 

General Taylor s force was about six thousand five 
hundred strong, in three divisions, under Generals 



Butler, Twiggs and Worth. The troops went into 
camp at Walnut Springs, while the engfineer officers, 
under Major Mansfield — a General in the late war — 
commenced their reconnoissance. Major Mansfield 
found that it would be practicable to get troops 
around, out of range of the Black Fort and the 
works on the detached hills to the north-west of the 
city, to the Saltillo road. With this road in our pos- 
session, the enemy would be cut off from receiving 
further supplies, if not from all communication with 
the interior. General Worth, with his division some- 
what reinforced, was given the task of gaining pos- 
session of the Saltillo road, and of carrying the de- 
tached works outside the city, in that quarter. He 
started on his march early in the afternoon of the 
20th. The divisions under Generals Butler and 
Twiggs were drawn up to threaten the east and 
north sides of the city and the works on those fronts, 
in support of the movement under General Worth. 
Worth's was regarded as the main attack on Mon- 
terey, and all other operations were in support of it. 
His march this day was uninterrupted ; but the enemy 
was seen to reinforce heavily about the Bishop's 
Palace and the other outside fortifications on their 
left. General Worth reached a defensible position 
just out of range of the enemy's guns on the heights 
north-west of the city, and bivouacked for the night. 
The engineer officers with him — Captain Sanders and 


Lieutenant George G. Meade, afterwards the com- 
mander of the victorious National army at the battle 
of Gettysburg — made a reconnoissance to the Saltillo 
road under cover of night 

During the night of the 20th General Taylor had 
established a battery, consisting of two twenty-four- 
pounder howitzers and a ten-inch mortar, at a point 
from which they could play upon Black Fort. A 
natural depression in the plain, sufficiently deep to 
protect men standing in it from the fire from the 
fort, was selected and the battery established on the 
crest nearest the enemy. The 4th infantry, then 
consisting of but six reduced companies, was ordered 
to support the artillerists while they were intrenching 
themselves and their guns. I was regimental quar- 
termaster at the time and was ordered to remain in 
charge of camp and the public property at Walnut 
Springs. It was supposed that the regiment would 
return to its camp in the morning. 

The point for establishing the siege battery was 
reached and the work performed without attract- 
ing the attention of the enemy. At daylight the 
next morning fire was opened on both sides and 
continued with, what seemed to me at that day, great 
fury. My curiosity got the better of my judgment, 
and I mounted a horse and rode to the front to see 
what was going on. I had been there but a short 
time when an order to charge was given, and lacking 


the moral courage to return to camp — ^where I had 
been oixlered to stay — I charged with the regiment. 
As soon as the troops were out of the depression 
they came under the fire of Black Fort As they 
advanced they got under fire from batteries guarding 
the east, or lower, end of the city, and of musketry. 
About one-third of the men engaged in the charge 
were killed or wounded in the space of a few minutes. 
We retreated to get out of fire, not backward, but 
eastward and perpendicular to the direct road run, 
ning into the city from Walnut Springs. I was, I 
believe, the only person in the 4th infantry in the 
charge who was on horseback. When we got to a 
place of safety the regiment halted and drew itself 
together — what was left of it. The adjutant of the 
regiment, Lieutenant Hoskins, who was not in 
robust health, found himself very much fatigued 
from running on foot in the charge and retreat, and, 
seeing me on horseback, expressed a wish that he 
could be mounted also. I offered him my horse and 
he accepted the offer. A few minutes later I saw 
a soldier, a quartermasters man, mounted, not far 
away. I ran to him, took his horse and was back 
with the regiment in a few minutes. In a short time 
we were off again ; and the next place of safety from 
the shots of the enemy that I recollect of being in, 
was a field of cane or corn to the north-east of the 
lower batteries. The adjutant to whom I had loaned 


my horse was killed, and I was designated to act in 
his place. 

This charge was ill-conceived, or badly executed. 
We belonged to the brigade commanded by Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Garland, and he had received orders 
to charge the lower batteries of the city, and carry 
them if he could without too much loss, for the pur- 
pose of creating a diversion in favor of Worth, who 
was conducting the movement which it was intended 
should be decisive. By a movement by the left flank 
Garland could have led his men beyond the range of 
the fire from Black Fort and advanced towards the 
north-east angle of the city, as well covered from fire 
as could be expected. There was no undue loss of 
life in reaching the lower end of Monterey, except 
that sustained by Garland's command. 

Meanwhile Quitman's brigade, conducted by an 
officer of engineers, had reached the eastern end of 
the city, and was placed under cover of the houses 
without much loss. Colonel Garland's brigade also 
arrived at the suburbs, and, by the assistance of some 
of our troops that had reached house-tops from 
which they could fire into a little battery covering the 
approaches to the lower end of the city, the battery 
was speedily captured and its guns were turned upon 
another work of the enemy. An entrance into the 
east end of the city was now secured, and the houses 
protected our troops so long as they were inactive. 


On the west General Worth had reached the Sal- 
tillo road after some fighting but without heavy loss. 
He turned from his new position and captured the 
forts on both heights in that quarter. This gave him 
possession of the upper or west end of Monterey. 
Troops from both Twiggs's and Butler s divisions 
were in possession of the east end of the town, but the 
Black Fort to the north of the town and the plaza in 
the centre were still in the possession of the enemy. 
Our camps at Walnut Springs, three miles away, 
were guarded by a company from each regiment. A 
regiment of Kentucky volunteers guarded the mor- 
tars and howitzers engaged against Black |^ort. Prac- 
tically Monterey was invested. 

There was nothing done on the 2 2d by the United 
States troops; but the enemy kept up a harmless 
fire upon us from Black Fort and the batteries still 
in their possession at the east end of the city. 
During the night they evacuated these ; so that on 
the morning of the 23d we held undisputed posses- 
sion of the east end of Monterey. 

Twiggs's division was at the lower end of the city, 
and well covered from the fire of the enemy. But 
the streets leading to the plaza — all Spanish or 
Spanish-American towns have near their centres a 
square called a plaza — were commanded from all 
directions by artillery. The houses were flat-roofed 
and but one or two stories high, and about the plaza 

Vol. I.— 8 


the roofs were manned with infantry, the troops 
being protected from our fire by parapets made of 
sand-bags. All advances into the city were thus 
attended with much danger. While moving along 
streets which did not lead to the plaza, our men were 
protected from the fire, and from the view, of the 
enemy except at the crossings ; but at these a vol- 
ley of musketry and a discharge of grape-shot were 
invariably encountered. The 3d and 4th regiments 
of infantry made an advance nearly to the plaza in 
this way and with heavy loss. The loss of the 3d 
infantry in commissioned officers was especially 
severe. There were only five companies of the regi- 
ment and not over twelve officers present, and five 
of these officers were killed. When within a square 
of the plaza this small command, ten companies 
in all, was brought to a halt. Placing themselves 
under cover from the shots of the enemy, the men 
would watch to detect a head above the sand-bags 
on the neighboring houses. The exposure of a 
single head would bring a volley from our soldiers. 

We had not occupied this position long when it 
was discovered that our ammunition was growing 
low. I volunteered to go back* to the point we had 

* General Garland expressed a wish to get a message back to General 
Twiggs, his division commander, or General Taylor, to the effect that he was 
nearly out of ammunition and must have more sent to him, or otherwise be 
reinforced. Deeming the return dangerous he did not like to order any one to 
carry it. so he called for a volunteer. Lieutenant Grant offered his services, 
which were accepted. — Publishers. 


Started from, report our position to General Twiggs, 
and ask for ammunition to be forwarded. We 
were at this time occupying ground off from the 
street, in rear of the houses. My ride back was an 
exposed one. Before starting I adjusted myself on 
the side of my horse furthest from the enemy, and 
with only one foot holding to the cantle of the saddle, 
and an arm over the neck of the horse exposed, I 
started at full run. It was only at street crossings 
that my horse was under fire, but these I crossed at 
such a flying rate that generally I was past and under 
cover of the next block of houses before the enemy 
fired. I got out safely without a scratch. 

At one place on my ride, I saw a sentry walking 
in front of a house, and stopped to inquire what he 
was doing there. Finding that the house was full 
of wounded American officers and soldiers, I dis- 
mounted and went in. I found there Captain Will- 
iams, of the Engineer Corps, wounded in the head, 
probably fatally, and Lieutenant Territt, also badly 
wounded, his bowels protruding from his wound. 
There were quite a number of soldiers also. Prom- 
ising them to report their situation, I left, readjusted 
myself to my horse, recommenced the run, and was 
soon with the troops at the east end. Before am- 
munition could be collected, the two regiments I 
had been with were seen returning, running the same 
gauntlet in getting out that they had passed in going 


in, but with comparatively little loss. The move- 
ment was countermanded and the troops were with- 
drawn. The poor wounded officers and men I had 
found, fell into the hands of the enemy during the 
night, and died. 

While this was going on at the east, General 
Worth, with a small division of troops, was advanc- 
ing towards the plaza from the opposite end of the 
city. He resorted to a better expedient for getting 
to the plaza — the citadel — than we did on the 
east. Instead of moving by the open streets, he 
advanced through the houses, cutting passage- 
ways from one to another. Without much loss 
of life, he got so near the plaza during the night 
that before morning, Ampudia, the Mexican com- 
mander, made overtures for the surrender of the 
city and garrison. This stopped all further hostil- 
ities. The terms of surrender were soon agreed 
upon. The prisoners were paroled and permitted 
to take their horses and personal property with 

My pity was aroused by the sight of the Mexican 
garrison of Monterey marching out of town as pris- 
oners, and no doubt the same feeling was experi- 
enced by most of our army who witnessed it. Many 
of the prisoners were cavalry, armed with lances, 
and mounted on miserable little half-starved horses 
that did not look as if they could carry their riders 


out of town. The men looked in but little better 
condition. I thought how little interest the men be- 
fore me had in the results of the war, and how little 
knowledge they had of ** what it was all about." 

After the surrender of the garrison of Monterey 
a quiet camp life was led until midwinter. As had 
been the case on the Rio Grande, the people who 
remained at their homes fraternized with the 
" Yankees " in the pleasantest manner. In fact, un- 
der the humane policy of our commander, I question 
whether the great majority of the Mexican people 
did not regret our departure as much as they had 
regretted our coming. Property and person were 
thoroughly protected, and a market was afforded for 
all the products of the country such as the people 
had never enjoyed before. The educated and 
wealthy portion of the population here, as elsewhere, 
abandoned their homes and remained away from 
them as long as they were in the possession of the 
invaders ; but this class formed a very small percent- 
age of the whole population. 




THE Mexican war was a political war, and the ad- 
ministration conducting it desired to make party j 
capital out of it. General Scott was at the head of 
the army, and, being a soldier of acknowledg 
fessional capacity, his claim to the command 
forces in the field was almost indisputable and does 
not seem to have been denied by President Polk, or 
Marcy, his Secretary of War. Scott was a Whig 
and the administration was democratic. General 
Scott was also known to have political aspirations, 
and nothing so popularizes a candidate for high civil 
positions as military victories. It would not do 
therefore to give him command of the ' ' army of con- 
quest." The plans submitted by Scott for a cam- 
paign in Mexico were disapproved by the adminis- 
tration, and he replied, in a tone possibly a little 
disrespectful, to the effect that, if a soldier's plans 
were not to be supported by the administration, suc- 
cess could not be expected. This was on the 27th 


of May, 1846. Four days later General Scott was 
notified that he need not go to Mexico. General 
Gaines was next in rank, but he was too old and fee- 
ble to take the field. Colonel Zachary Taylor — a 
brigadier-general by brevet — was therefore left in 
command. He, too, was a Whig, but was not sup- 
posed to entertain any political ambitions ; nor did 
he ; but after the fall of Monterey, his third battle 
and third complete victory, the Whig papers at home 
began to speak of him as the candidate of their party 
for the Presidency. Something had to be done to 
neutralize his growing popularity. He could not be 
relieved from duty in the field where all his battles 
had been victories : the design would have been too 
transparent. It was finally decided to send General 
Scott to Mexico in chief command, and to authorize 
him to carry out his own original plan : that is, cap- 
ture Vera Cruz and march upon the capital of the 
country. It was no doubt supposed that Scott's am- 
bition would lead him to slaughter Taylor or destroy 
his chances for the Presidency, and yet it was hoped 
that he would not make sufficient capital himself to 
secure the prize. 

The administration had indeed a most embarrassing 
problem to solve. It was engaged in a war of con- 
quest which must be carried to a successful issue, or 
the political object would be unattained. Yet all the 
capable officers of the requisite rank belonged to the 



Opposition, and the man selected for his lack of polit- , 
ical ambition had himself become a prominent can- j 
didate for the Presidency. It was necessary to de- 
stroy his chances promptly. The problem was to do 
this without the loss of conquest and without per- 
mitting another general of the same political party 
to acquire like popularity. The fact is, the adminis- 
tration of Mr. Polk made every preparation to dis- 
grace Scott, or, to speak more correctly, to drive him 
to such desperation that he would disgrace him- 

General Scott had opposed conquest by the way of 
the Rio Grande, Matamoras and Saltillo from the 
first. Now that he was in command of all the forces 
in Mexico, he withdrew from Taylor most of his reg- 
ular troops and left him only enough volunteers, as 
he thought, to hold the line then in possession of 
the invading army. Indeed Scott did not deem it 
important to hold anything beyond the Rio Grande, 
and authorized Taylor to fall back to that line if he 
chose. General Taylor protested against the deple- 
tion of his army, and his subsequent movement upon 
Buena Vista would indicate that he did not share the 
views of his chief in regard to the unimportance of 
conquest beyond the Rio Grande. 

Scott had estimated the men and material that 
would be required to capture Vera Cruz and to march 
on the capital of the country, two hundred and sixty 


miles in the interior. He was promised all he asked 
and seemed to have not only the confidence of the 
President, but his sincere good wishes. The prom- 
ises were all broken. Only about half the troops 
were furnished that had been pledged, other war 
material was withheld and Scott had scarcely started 
for Mexico before the President undertook to super- 
sede him by the appointment of Senator Thomas H. 
Benton as lieutenant-general. This being refused 
by Congress, the President asked legislative authority 
to place a junior over a senior of the same grade, 
with the view of appointing Benton to the rank of 
major-general and then placing him in command of 
the army, but Congress failed to accede to this prop- 
osition as well, and Scott remained in command : 
but every general appointed to serve under him was 
politically opposed to the chief, and several were 
personally hostile. 

General Scott reached Brazos Santiago or Point 
Isabel, at the mouth of the Rio Grande, late in De- 
cember, 1 846, and proceeded at once up the river to 
Camargo, where he had written General Taylor to 
meet him. Taylor, however, had gone to, or towards 
Tampico, for the purpose of establishing a post there. 
He had started on this march before he was aware of 
General Scott being in the country. Under these 
circumstances Scott had to issue his orders designat- 
ing the troops to be withdrawn from Taylor, without 


fU'ENA rrsTA. 123 

the persona! consultation he had expected to hold 
with his subordinate. 

General Taylor's victory at Buena Vista, February 
22d, 23d, and 24th, 1847, with an army composed 
almost entirely of volunteers who had not been in 
battle before, and over a vastly superior force nu- 
merically, made his nomination for the Presidency 
by the Whigs a foregone conclusion. He was nom- 
inated and elected in 1848. I believe that he sin- 
cerely regretted this turn in his fortunes, preferring 
the peace afforded by a quiet life free from abuse to 
the honor of filling the highest office in the gift of 
any people, the Presidency of the United States. 

When General Scott assumed command of the 
army of invasion, I was in the division of General 
David Twiggs, in Taylor's command ; but under the 
new orders my regiment was transferred to the divi- 
sion of General William Worth, in which I served 
to the close of the war. The troops withdrawn 
from Taylor to form part of the forces to operate 
against Vera Cruz, were assembled at the mouth 
of the Rio Grande preparatory to embarkation 
for their destination. I found General Worth a 
different man from any I had before served directly 
under. He was nervous, impatient and restless on 
the march, or when important or responsible duty 
confronted him. There was not the least reason for 
haste on the march, for it was known that it would 


take weeks to assemble shipping enough at the point 
of our embarkation to carry the army, but Gen- 
eral Worth moved his division with a rapidity that 
would have been commendable had he been going 
to the relief of a beleaguered garrison. The length 
of the marches was regulated by the distances be- 
tween places affording a supply of water for the 
troops, and these distances were sometimes long 
and sometimes short General Worth on one occa- 
sion at least, after having made the full distance 
intended for the day, and after the troops were in 
camp and preparing their food, ordered tents struck 
and made the march that night which had been 
intended for the next day. Some commanders can 
move troops so as to get the maximum distance out 
of them without fatigue, while others can wear them 
out in a few days without accomplishing so much. 
General Worth belonged to this latter class. He 
enjoyed, however, a fine reputation for his fighting 
qualities, and thus attached his officers and men to 

The army lay in camp upon the sand-beach in the 
neighborhood of the mouth of the Rio Grande for 
several weeks, awaiting the arrival of transports to 
carry it to its new field of operations. The trans- 
ports were all sailing vessels. The passage was a 
tedious one, and many of the troops were on ship- 
board over thirty days from the embarkation at the 


mouth of the Rio Grande to the time of debarka- 
tion south of Vera Cruz. The trip was a comfort- 
less one for officers and men. The transports used 
were built for carrying freight and possessed but 
limited accommodations for passengers, and the cli- 
mate added to the discomfort of all. i 

The transports with troops were assembled in the i 
harbor of Anton Lizardo, some sixteen miles south , 
of Vera Cruz, as they arrived, and there awaited the I 
remainder of the fleet, bringing artillery, ammuni- 
tion and supplies of all kinds from the North. With 
the fleet there was a little steam propeller dispatch- 
boat — the first vessel of the kind I had ever seen, ' 
and probably the first of its kind ever seen by any 
one then with the army. At that day ocean steam- 
ers were rare, and what there were were side-wheel- 
ers. This little vessel, going through the fleet so 
fast, so noiselessly and with its propeller under water 
out of view, attracted a great deal of attention. I 
recollect that Lieutenant Sidney Smith, of the 4th 
infantrj', by whom I happened to be standing on the 
deck of a vessel when this propeller was passing, ex- 
claimed, " Why, the thing looks as if it was propelled 
by the force of circumstances." 

Finally on the 7th of March, 1847, *^c little army 
of ten or twelve thousand men, given Scott to invade 
a country with a population of seven or eight mill- 
ions, a mountainous country affording the greatest 


possible natural advantages for defence, was all as- 
sembled and ready to commence the perilous task 
of landing from vessels lying in the open sea. 

The debarkation took place inside of the little 
island of Sacrificios, some three miles south of Vera 
Cruz. The vessels could not get anywhere near 
shore, so that everything had to be landed in light- 
ers or surf-boats ; General Scott had provided these 
before leaving the North. The breakers were some- 
times high, so that the landing was tedious. The 
men were got ashore rapidly, because they could 
wade when they came to shallow water; but the camp 
and garrison equipage, provisions, ammunition and 
all stores had to be protected from the salt water, 
and therefore their landing took several days. The 
Mexicans were very kind to us, however, and threw 
no obstacles in the way of our landing except an 
occasional shot from their nearest fort. During 
the debarkation one shot took off the head of 
Major Albertis. No other, I believe, reached any- 
where near the same distance. On the 9th of March 
the troops were landed and the investment of Vera 
Cruz, from the Gulf of Mexico south of the city to 
the Gulf again on the north, was soon and easily 
effected. The landing of stores was continued until 
everything was got ashore. 

Vera Cruz, at the time of which I write and up to 
1880, was a walled city. The wall extended from 


the water's edge south of the town to the water aga 
on the north. There were fortifications at intervals 
along the line and at the angles. In front of the 
city, and on an island half a mile out in the Gulf, 
stands San Juan de Ulloa, an enclosed fortification 
of large dimensions and great strength for that 
period. Against artillery of the present day the land 
forts and walls would prove elements of weakness 
rather than strength. After the invading army had 
established their camps out of range of the fire from 
the city, batteries were established, under cover of 
night, far to the front of the line where the troops 
lay. These batteries were intrenched and the ap- 
proaches sufficiently protected. If a sortie had been 
made at any time by the Mexicans, the men serving 
the batteries could have been quickly reinforced 
without great exposure to the fire from the enemy's 
main line. No serious attempt was made to capture 
the batteries or to drive our troops away. 

The siege continued with brisk firing on our side 
till the 27th of March, by which time a considerable 
breach had been made in the wall surrounding the 
city. Upon this General Morales, who was Govern- 
or of both the city and of San Juan de Ulloa, com- 
menced a correspondence with General Scott look- 
ing to the surrender of the town, forts and garrison. 
On the 29th Vera Cruz and San Juan de Ulloa were 
occupied by Scott's army. About five thousand pris- 


oners and four hundred pieces of artillery, besides 
large amounts of small arms and ammunition, fell 
into the hands of the victorious force. The casual- 
ties on our side during the siege amounted to 
sixty-four officers and men, killed and wounded. 





GENERAL SCOTT had less than twelve thou- 
sand men at Vera Cruz. He had been promised 
by the administration a very much larger force, or 
claimed that he had, and he was a man of veracity. 
Twelve thousand was a very small army with which 
to penetrate two hundred and sixty miles into an 
enemy's country, and to besiege the capital ; a city, at 
that time, of largely over one hundred thousand in- 
habitants. Then, too, any line of march that could be 
selected led through mountain passes easily defended. 
In fact, there were at that time but two roads from 
Vera Cruz to the City of Mexico that could be taken 
by an army; one by Jalapa and Perote, the other by 
Cordova and Orizaba, the two coming together on 
the great plain which extends to the City of Mexico 
after the range of mountains is passed. 

It was very important to get the army away from 
Vera Cruz as soon as possible, in order to avoid the 
yellow fever, or vomito, which usually visits that city 
early in the year, and is very fatal to persons not 


acclimated ; but transportation, which was expected 
from the North, was arriving very slowly. It was 
absolutely necessary to have enough to supply the 
army to Jalapa, sixty-five miles in the interior and 
above the fevers of the coast. At that point the 
country is fertile, and an army of the size of General 
Scott's could subsist there for an indefinite period. 
Not counting the sick, the weak and the garrisons 
for the captured city and fort, the moving column 
was now less than ten thousand strong. This force 
was composed of three divisions, under Generals 
Twiggs, Patterson, and Worth. The importance of 
escaping the vomito was so great that as soon as 
transportation enough could be got together to move 
a division the advance was commenced. On the 
8th of April, Twiggs's division started for Jalapa. He 
was followed very soon by Patterson, with his division. 
General Worth was to bring up the rear with his 
command as soon as transportation enough was as- 
sembled to carry six days' rations for his troops with 
the necessary ammunition and camp and garrison 
equipage. It was the 13th of April before this di- 
vision left Vera Cruz. 

The leading division ran against the enemy at 
Cerro Gordo, some fifty miles west, on the road to 
Jalapa, and went into camp at Plan del Rio, about 
three miles from the fortifications. General Patterson 
reached Plan del Rio with his division soon after 


Twiggs arrived. The two were then secure against 
an attack from Santa Anna, who commanded the 
Mexican forces. At all events they confronted the 
enemy without reinforcements and without molesta- 
tion, until the 18th of April. General Scott had re- 
mained at Vera Cruz to hasten preparations for the 
field; but on the i2lh, learning the situation at the 
front, he hastened on to take personal supervision. 
He at once commenced his preparations for the capt- 
ure of the position held by Santa Anna and of the 
troops holding it. 

Cerro Gordo is one of the higher spurs of the 
mountains some twelve to fifteen miles east of Jalapa, 
and Santa Anna had selected this point as the easiest 
to defend against an invading army. The road, said 
to have been built by Cortez, zigzags around the 
mountain-side and was defended at everj' turn by 
artillery. On either side were deep chasms or 
mountain walls. A direct attack along the road 
was an impossibility. A flank movement seemed 
equally impossible. After the arrival of the 
commanding-general upon the scene, reconnols- 
sances were sent out to find, or to make, a road 
by which the rear of the enemy's works might be 
reached without a front attack. These reconnois- 
sances were made under the supervision of Captain 
Robert E. Lee, assisted by Lieutenants P. G. T. 
Beauregard, Isaac I. Stevens, Z. B. Tower, G, W. 


Smith, George B. McClellan, and J. G. Foster, of 
the corps of engineers, all officers who attained 
rank and fame, on one side or the other, in the great 
conflict for the preservation of the unity of the 
nation. The reconnoissance was completed, and the 
labor of cutting out and making roads by the flank 
of the enemy was effected by the 1 7th of the month. 
This was accomplished without the knowledge of 
Santa Anna or his army, and over ground where he 
supposed it impossible. On the same day General 
Scott issued his order for the attack on the i8th. 

The attack was made as ordered, and perhaps 
there was not a battle of the Mexican war, or of any 
other, where orders issued before an engagement 
were nearer being a correct report of what after- 
wards took place. Under the supervision of the 
engineers, roadways had been opened over chasms to 
the right where the walls were so steep that men 
could barely climb them. Animals could not. These 
had been opened under cover of night, without 
attracting the notice of the enemy. The engineers, 
who had directed the opening, led the way and the 
troops followed. Artillery was let down the steep 
slopes by hand, the men engaged attaching a strong 
rope to the rear axle and letting the guns down, a 
piece at a time, while the men at the ropes kept 
their ground on top, paying out gradually, while a 
few at the front directed the course of the piece. In 



like manner the guns were drawn by hand up the 
opposite slopes. In this way Scott's troops reached 
their assigned position in rear of most of the intrench- 
ments of the enemy, unobserved. The attack was 
made, the Mexican reserves behind the works beat a 
hasty retreat, and those occupying them surrendered. 
On the left General Pillow's command made a formid- 
able demonstration, which doubtless held a part of 
the enemy in his front and contributed to the vic- 
tory. I am not pretending to give full details of all 
the battles fought, but of the portion that I saw. 
There were troops engaged on both sides at other 
points in which both sustained losses; but the battle 
was won as Iierc narrated. 

The surprise of the enemy was complete, the vic- 
tory overwhelming ; some three thousand prisoners 
fell into Scott's hands, also a large amount of ord- 
nance and ordnance stores. The prisoners were 
paroled, the artillery parked and the small arms and 
ammunition destroyed. The battle of Buena Vista 
was probably very important to the success of Gen- 
eral Scott at Cerro Gordo and in his entire campaign 
from Vera Cruz to the great plains reaching to the 
City of Mexico. The only army Santa Anna had to 
protect his capital and the mountain passes west of 
Vera Cruz, was the one he had with him confronting 
General Taylor, It is not likely that he would have 
gone as far north as Monterey to attack the United 


States troops when he knew his country was threat- 
ened with invasion further south. When Taylor 
moved to Saltillo and then advanced on to Buena 
Vista, Santa Anna crossed the desert confronting the 
invading army, hoping no doubt to crush it and get 
back in time to meet General Scott in the mountain 
passes west of Vera Cruz. His attack on Taylor 
was disastrous to the Mexican army, but, notwith- 
standing this, he marched his army to Cerro Gordo, 
a distance not much short of one thousand miles by 
the line he had to travel, in time to intrench himself 
well before Scott got there. If he had been success- 
ful at Buena Vista his troops would no doubt have 
made a more stubborn resistance at Cerro Gordo. 
Had the battle of Buena Vista not been fought 
Santa Anna would have had time to move leisurely 
to meet the invader further south and with an army 
not demoralized nor depleted by defeat. 

After the battle the victorious army moved on to 
Jalapa, where it was in a beautiful, productive and 
healthy countr}% far above the fevers of the coast 
Jalapa, however, is still in the mountains, and be- 
tween there and the great plain the whole line of the 
road is easy of defence. It was important, therefore, 
to get possession of the great highway between the 
sea-coast and the capital up to the point where it 
leaves the mountains, before the enemy could have 
time to re-organize and fortify in our front. Worth's 

division was selected to go forward to secure this 
result The division marched to Perote on the 
great plain, not far from where the road debouches 
from the mountains. There is a low, strong fort 
on the plain in front of the town, known as the 
Castle of Perote. This, however, offered no resist- 
ance and fell into our hands, with its armament. 

General Scott having now only nine or ten thou- 
sand men west of Vera Cruz, and the time of some 
four thousand of them being about to expire, a long 
delay was the consequence. The troops were in 
a healthy climate, and where they could subsist for 
an indefinite period even if their line back to Vera 
Cruz should be cut off. It being ascertained that 
the men whose time would expire before the City of 
Mexico could possibly fall into the hands of the 
American army, would not remain beyond the term 
for which they had volunteered, the commanding- 
general determined to discharge them at once, for a 
delay until the expiration of their time would have 
compelled them to pass through Vera Cruz during 
the season of the vomito. This reduced Scott's 
force in the 6eld to about five thousand men. 

Early in May, Worth, with his division, left Perote 
and marched on to Puebla. The roads were wide 
and the country open except through one pass in a 
spur of mountains coming up from the south, through 
which the road runs. Notwithstanding this the small 


column was divided into two bodies, moving a day 
apart. Nothing occurred on the march of special 
note, except that while lying at the town of Amo- 
zoque — an easy day's march east of Puebla — a body 
of the enemy's cavalry, two or three thousand strong, 
was seen to our right, not more than a mile away. 
A battery or two, with two or three infantry regi- 
ments, was sent against them and they soon disap- 
peared. On the 15th of May we entered the city of 

General Worth was in command at Puebla until 
the latter end of May, when General Scott arrived. 
Here, as well as on the march up, his restlessness, par- 
ticularly under responsibilities, showed itself. During 
his brief command he had the enemy hovering around 
near the city, in vastly superior numbers to his own. 
The brigade to which I was attached changed quar- 
ters three different times in about a week, occupying 
at first quarters near the plaza, in the heart of the 
city ; then at the western entrance ; then at the ex- 
treme east. On one occasion General Worth had 
the troops in line, under arms, all day, with three 
days' cooked rations in their haversacks. He gal- 
loped from one command to another proclaiming 
the near proximity of Santa Anna with an army 
vastly superior to his own. General Scott arrived 
upon the scene the latter part of the month, and 
nothing more was heard of Santa Anna and his myr- 

PUEBLA. l^y 

lads. There were, of coiir^^e, bodies of mounted 
Mexicans hovering around to watch our movements 
and to pick up stragglers, or small bodies of troops, 
if they ventured too far out. These always with- 
drew on the approach of any considerable num- 
ber of our soldiers. After the arrival of General 
Scott I was sent, as quartermaster, with a large train 
of wagons, back two days' march at least, to procure 
forage. We had less than a thousand men as escort, 
and never thought of danger. We procured fuU 
loads for our entire train at two plantations, which 
could easily have furnished as much more. 

There had been great delay in obtaining the 
authority of Congress for the raising of the troops 
asked for by the administration. A bill was before 
the National Legislature from early in the session of 
1846-7, authorizing the creation of ten additional 
regiments for the war to be attached to the regular 
army, but it was the middle of February before it 
became a law. Appointments of commissioned offi- 
cers had then to be made; men had to be enlisted, 
the regiments equipped and the whole transported 
to Mexico. It was August before General Scott re- 
ceived reinforcement sufficient to warrant an ad- 
vance. His moving column, not even now more 
than ten thousand strong, was in four divisions, 
commanded by Generals Twiggs, Worth, Pillow and 
Quitman. There was also a cavalry corps under 


General Harney, composed of detachments of the ist, 
2d, and 3d dragoons. The advance commenced on 
the 7th of August with Twiggs's division in front 
The remaining three divisions followed, with an in- 
terval of a day between. The marches were short, 
to make concentration easier in case of attack, 

I had now been in battle with the two leading com- 
manders conducting armies in a foreign land. The 
contrast between the two was very marked. General 
Taylor never wore uniform, but dressed himself en- 
tirely for comfort. He moved about the field in 
which he was operating to see through his own eyes 
the situation. Often he would be without staff 
ofificers, and when he was accompanied by them there 
was no prescribed order in which they followed. He 
was very much given to sit his horse side-ways — 
with both feet on one side — particularly on the battle- 
field. General Scott was the reverse in all these par- 
ticulars. He always wore all the uniform prescribed 
or allowed by law when he inspected his lines ; word 
would be sent to all division and brigade commanders 
in advance, notifying them of the hour when the com- 
manding general might be expected. This was done 
so that all the army might be under arms to salute their 
chief as he passed. On these occasions he wore his 
dress uniform, cocked hat, aiguillettes, sabre and spurs. 
His staff proper, besides all officers constructively on 
his staff — engineers, inspectors, quartermasters, etc, 


that could be spared — followed, also in uniform and 
in prescribed order. Orders were prepared with great 
care and evidently with the view that they should 
be a history of what followed. 

In their modes of expressing thought, these two 
generals contrasted quite as strongly as in their other 
characteristics. General Scott was precise in lan- 
guage, cultivated a style peculiarly his own ; was proud 
of his rhetoric ; not aver::e to speaki ng of himself, often 
in the third person, and he could bestow praise upon 
the person he was talking about without the least 
embarrassment. Taylor was not a conversationalist, 
but on paper he could put his meaning so plainly 
that there could be no mistaking it. He knew how 
to express what he wanted to say in the fewest well- 
chosen words, but would not sacrifice meaning to the 
construction of high-sounding sentences. But with 
their opposite characteristics both were great and suc- 
cessful soldiers ; both were true, patriotic and upright 
in all their dealings. Both were pleasant to serve 
under — Taylor was pleasant to serve with. Scott saw 
more through the eyes of his stafT officers than 
through his own. His plans were deliberately pre- 
pared, and fully expressed In orders. Taylor saw 
for himself, and gave orders to meet the emergency 
without reference to how they would read in his- 





TH E route followed by the army from Puebla to 
the City of Mexico was over Rio Frio mountain, 
the road leading over which, at the highest point, is 
about eleven thousand feet above tide water. The 
pass through this mountain might have been easily 
defended, but it was not ; and the advanced division 
reached the summit in three days after leaving Puebla. 
The City of Mexico lies west of Rio Frio mountain, 
on a plain backed by another mountain six miles far- 
ther west, with others still nearer on the north and 
south. Between the western base of Rio Frio 
and the City of Mexico there are three lakes, 
Chalco and Xochimilco on the left and Texcoco on 
the right, extending to the east end of the City 
of Mexico. Chalco and Texcoco are divided by a 
narrow strip of land over which the direct road to the 
city runs. Xochimilco is also to the left of the 


road, but at a considerable distance south of it, 
and is connected with Lake ChaJco by a narrow 
channel. There is a high rocky mound, called El 
Penon, on the right of the road, springing up from the 
low flat ground dividing the lakes. This mound was 
strengthened by intrenchments at its base and sum- 
mit, and rendered a direct attack impracticable. 

Scott's army was rapidly concentrated about Ayotia 
and other points near the eastern end of Lake Chalco. 
Reconnoissances were made up to within gun-shot of 
El Penon, while engineers were seeking a route by 
the south side of Lake Chalco to flank the city, and 
come upon it from the south and south-west. A way 
was fuuiid aruund the lake, and by ihc iSlIi u( August 
troops were in St. Augustin Tlalpam, a town about 
eleven miles due south from the plaza of the cap- 
ital. Between St. Augustin Tlalpam and the city 
lie the hacienda of San Antonio and the village of 
Churubusco, and south-west of them is Contreras. 
All these points, except St. Augustin Tlalpam, 
were intrenched and strongly garrisoned. Contreras 
is situated on the side of a mountain, near its base, 
where volcanic rocks are piled in great confusion, 
reaching nearly to San Antonio. This made the 
approach to the city from the south very difficult. 

The brigade to which I was attached — Gar- 
land's, of Worth's division — was sent to con- 
front San Antonio, two or three miles from 


St. Augustin Tlalpam, on the road to Churubusco 
and the City of Mexico. The ground on which 
San Antonio stands is completely in the valley, 
and the surface of the land is only a little above 
the level of the lakes, and, except to the south- 
west, it was cut up by deep ditches filled with water. 
To the south-west is the Pedregal — the volcanic rock 
before spoken of — over which cavalry or artillery 
could not be passed, and infantry would make but 
poor progress if confronted by an enemy. From the 
position occupied by Garland's brigade, therefore, no 
movement could be made against the defences of San 
Antonio except to the front, and by a narrow cause- 
way, over perfectly level ground, every inch of which 
was commanded by the enemy's artillery and infantry. 
If Contreras, some three miles west and south, should 
fall into our hands, troops from there could move to 
the right flank of all the positions held by the enemy 
between us and the city. Under these circumstances 
General Scott directed the holding of the front of 
the enemy without making an attack until further 

On the 1 8th of August, the day of reach- 
ing San Augustin Tlalpam, Garland's brigade 
secured a position within easy range of the 
advanced intrenchments of San Antonio, but 
where his troops were protected by an arti- 
ficial embankment that had been thrown up for 

some other purpose than defence. General Scott at 
once set his engineers reconnoitring the works about 
Contreras, and on the igth movements were com- 
menced to get troops into positions from which an 
assault could be made upon the force occupying that 
place. The Pedregal on the north and north-east, 
and the mountain on the south, made the passage by 
either flank of the enemy's defences difficult, for their 
work stood exactly between those natural bulwarks ; 
but a road was completed during the day and night 
of the 1 gth, and troops were got to the north and west 
of the enemy. 

This affair, like that of Cerro Gordo, was an 
engagement in which the officers of ihe engineer 
corps won special distinction. In fact, in both 
cases, tasks which seemed difficult at first sight were 
made easier for the troops that had to execute them 
than they would have been on an ordinary field. The 
very strength of each of these positions was, by the 
skill of the engineers, converted into a defence for 
the assaulting parties while securing their positions 
for final attack. All the troops with General Scott 
in the valley of Mexico, except a part of the division 
of General Quitman at San Augustin Tlalpam and the 
brigade of Garland (Worth's division) at San An- 
tonio, were engaged at the battle of Contreras, or 
were on their way, in obedience to the orders of their 
chief, to reinforce those who were engaged. The 


assault was made on the morning of the 20th, and in 
less than half an hour from the sound of the advance 
the position was in our hands, with many prisoners 
and large quantities of ordnance and other stores. 
The brigade commanded by General Riley was from 
its position the most conspicuous in the final assault, 
but all did well, volunteers and regulars. 

From the point occupied by Garland's brigade we 
could see the progress made at Contreras and the 
movement of troops toward the flank and rear of the 
enemy opposing us. The Mexicans all the way back 
to the city could see the same thing, and their con- 
duct showed plainly that they did not enjoy the sight 
We moved out at once, and found them gone from 
our immediate front. Clarke's brigade of Worth's 
division now moved west over the point of the Ped- 
regal, and after having passed to the north sufficiently 
to clear San Antonio, turned east and got on the 
causeway leading to Churubusco and the City of 
Mexico. When he approached Churubusco his 
left, under Colonel Hoffman, attacked a t6te-de- 
pont at that place and brought on an engagement. 
About an hour after, Garland was ordered to advance 
directly along the causeway, and got up in time to 
take part in the engagement. San Antonio was 
found evacuated, the evacuation having probably 
taken place immediately upon the enemy seeing the 
stars and stripes waving over Contreras. 


The troops that had been engaged at Contreras, and 
even then on their way to that battle-field, were moved 
by a causeway west of, and parallel to the one by way 
of San Antonio and Churubusco. It was expected 
by the commanding general that these troops would 
move north sufficiently far to flank the enemy out of 
his position at Churubusco, before turning east to 
reach the San Antonio road, but they did not suc- 
ceed in this, and Churubusco proved to be about the 
severest battle fought in the valley of Mexico. 
General Scott coming upon the battle-field about 
this juncture, ordered two brigades, under Shields, to 
move north and turn the right of the enemy. This 
Shields did, but not without hard fighting and heavy 
loss. The enemy finally gave way, 'leaving in our 
hands prisoners, artillery and small arms. The bal- 
ance of the causeway held by the enemy, up to the 
very gates of the city, fell in like manner. I recollect 
at this place that some of the gunners who had stood 
their ground, were deserters from General Taylor's 
army on the Rio Grande. 

Both the strategy and tactics displayed by General 
Scott in these various engagements of the 20th of 
August, 1847, were faultless as I look upon them now, 
after the lapse of so many years. As before stated, the 
work of the engineer ofificers who made the reconnois- 
sances and led the different commands to their destina- 
tions, was so perfect that the chief was able to give his 

Vol. I. — 10 


orders to his various subordinates with all the pre- 
cision he could use on an ordinary march. I mean, 
up to the points from which the attack was to com- 
mence. After that point is reached the enemy often 
induces a change of orders not before contemplated. 
The enemy outside the city outnumbered our sol- 
diery quite three to one, but they had become so de- 
moralized by the succession of defeats this day, that 
the City of Mexico could have been entered without 
much further bloodshed. In fact, Captain Philip 
Kearney — afterwards a general in the war of the re- 
bellion — rode with a squadron of cavalry to the very 
gates of the city, and would no doubt have entered 
with his little force, only at that point he was badly 
wounded, as wVe several of his officers. He had 
not heard the call for a halt. 

General Franklin Pierce had joined the army in 
Mexico, at Puebla, a short time before the advance 
upon the capital commenced. He had consequently 
not been in any of the engagements of the war up to 
the battle of Contreras. By an unfortunate fall of 
his horse on the afternoon of the 19th he was pain- 
fully injured. The next day, when his brigade, with 
the other troops engaged on the same field, was 
ordered against the flank and rear of the enemy guard- 
ing the diflferent points of the road from San Augus- 
tin Tlalpam to the city. General Pierce attempted to 
accompany them. He was not sufficiently recovered 


to do SO, and fainted This circumstance gave rise to 
exceedingly unfair and unjust criticisms of him when 
he became a candidate for the Presidency. Whatever 
General Pierce's qualifications may have been for 
the Presidency, he was a gentleman and a man of 
courage. I was not a supporter of him politically, 
but I knew him more intimately than I did any other 
of the volunteer generals. 

General Scott abstained from entering the city at 
this time, because Mr. Nicholas P. Trist,the commis- 
sioner on the part of the United States to negotiate a 
treaty of peace with Mexico, was with the army, and 
either he or General Scott thought — probably both of 
them — that a treaty would be more possible while the 
Mexican government was in possession of the capital 
than if it was scattered and the capital in the hands 
of an invader. Be this as it may, we did not enter 
at that time. The army took up positions along 
the slopes of the mountains south of the city, as 
far west as Tacubaya. Negotiations were at once 
entered into with Santa Anna, who was then practi- 
cally the Government and the immediate commander 
of all the troops engaged in defence of the country. 
A truce was signed which denied to either party the 
right to strengthen its position, or to receive re- 
inforcements during the continuance of the armis- 
tices, but authorized General Scott to draw sup- 
plies for his army from the city in the meantime. 


Negotiations were commenced at once and were 
kept up vigorously, between Mr. Trist and the com- 
missioners appointed on the part of Mexico, until the 
2d of September. At that time Mr. Trist handed in 
his ultimatum. Texas was to be given up absolutely 
by Mexico, and New Mexico and California ceded 
to the United States for a stipulated sum to be after- 
wards determined. I do not suppose Mr. Trist had 
any discretion whatever in regard to boundaries. 
The war was one of conquest, in the interest of an in- 
stitution, and the probabilities are that private in- 
structions were for the acquisition of territory out of 
which new States might be carved. At all events the 
Mexicans felt so outraged at the terms proposed that 
they commenced preparations for defence, without 
giving notice of the termination of the armistice. The 
terms of the truce had been violated before, when 
teams had been sent into the city to bring out supplies 
for the army. The first train entering the city was 
very severely threatened by a mob. This, however, 
was apologized for by the authorities and all responsi- 
bility for it denied ; and thereafter, to avoid exciting 
the Mexican people and soldiery, our teams with their 
escorts were sent in at night, when the troops were in 
barracks and the citizens in bed. The circumstance 
was overlooked and negotiations continued. As 
soon as the news reached General Scott of the second 
violation of the armistice, about the 4th of September, 


he wrote a vigorous note to President Santa Anna, 
calling his attention to it, and, receiving an unsatis- 
factory reply, declared the armistice at an end. 

General Scott, with Worth's division, was now 
occupying Tacubaya, a village some four miles south- 
west of the City of Mexico, and extending from the 
base up the mountain-side for the distance of half a 
mile. More than a mile west, and also a little above 
the plain, stands Molino del Rey. The mill is a long 
stone structure, one story high and several hundred 
feet in length. At the period of which I speak Gen- 
eral Scott supposed a portion of the mill to be used 
as a foundry for the casting of guns. This, however, 
proved to be a mistake. It was valuable to the 
Mexicans because of the quantity of grain it contained. 
The building is flat roofed, and a line of sand-bags 
over the outer walls rendered the top quite a formida- 
ble defence for infantry. Chapultepec is a mound 
springing up from the plain to the height of probably 
three hundred feet, and almost in a direct line be- 
tween Molino del Rey and the western part of the 
city. It was fortified both on the top and on the 
rocky and precipitous sides. 

The City of Mexico is supplied with water by two 
aqueducts, resting on strong stone arches. One of 
these aqueducts draws its supply of water from a 
mountain stream coming into it at or near Molino 
del Rey, and runs north close to the west base of 


Chapultepec ; thence along the centre of a wide road, 
until it reaches the road running east into the city 
by the Garita San Cosme ; from which point the 
aqueduct and road both run east to the city. 
The second aqueduct starts from the east base of 
Chapultepec, where it is fed by a spring, and runs 
north-east to the city. This aqueduct, like the other, 
runs in the middle of a broad road-way, thus leaving 
a space on each side. The arches supporting the 
aqueduct afforded protection for advancing troops 
as well as to those engaged defensively. At points 
on the San Cosme road parapets were thrown across, 
with an embrasure for a single piece of artillery 
in each. At the point where both road and aque- 
duct turn at right angles from north to east, there 
was not only one of these parapets supplied by one 
gun and infantry supports, but the houses to the 
north of the San Cosme road, facing south and 
commanding a view of the road back to Chapulte- 
pec, were covered with infantry, protected by para- 
pets made of sand-bags. The roads leading to garitas 
(the gates) San Cosme and Belen, by which these 
aqueducts enter the city, were strongly intrenched. 
Deep, wide ditches, filled with water, lined the sides 
of both roads. Such were the defences of the City 
of Mexico in September, 1847, on the routes over 
which General Scott entered. 

Prior to the Mexican war General Scott had been 


very partial to General Worth — indeed he continued 
so up to the close of hostilities — but, for some 
reason, Worth had become estranged from his chief. 
Scott evidently took this coldness somewhat to heart. 
He did not retaliate, however, but on the contrary 
showed every disposition to appease his subordinate. 
It was understood at the time that he gave Worth 
authority to plan and execute the battle of Molino 
del Rey without dictation or interference from any 
one, for the very purpose of restoring their former 
relations. The effort failed, and the two generals 
remained ever after cold and indifferent towards each 
other, if not actually hostile. 

The battle of Molino del Rey was fought on the 
8th of September. The night of the 7th, Worth 
sent for his brigade and regimental commanders, 
with their staffs, to come to his quarters to receive 
instructions for the morrow. These orders contem- 
plated a movement up to within striking distance of 
the Mills before daylight The engineers had re- 
connoitred the ground as well as possible, and had 
acquired all the information necessary to base proper 
orders both for approach and attack. 

By daylight on the morning of the 8th, the troops 
to be engaged at Molino were all at the places des- 
ignated. The ground in front of the Mills, to the 
south, was commanded by the artillery from the sum- 
mit of Chapultepec as well as by the lighter batteries 


at hand ; but a charge was made, and soon all was oven 
Worth's troops entered the Mills by every door, and 
the enemy beat a hasty retreat back to Chapultei>ec 
Had this victory been followed up promptly, no doubt 
Americans and Mexicans would have gone over the 
defences of Chapultepec so near together that the 
place would have fallen into our hands without further 
loss. The defenders of the works could not have 
fired upon us without endangering their own men. 
This was not done, and five days later more val- 
uable lives were sacrificed to carry works which had 
been so nearly in our possession on the 8th. I do 
not criticise the failure to capture Chapultepec at 
this time. The result that followed the first assault 
could not possibly have been foreseen, and to profit 
by the unexpected advantage, the commanding gen- 
eral must have been on the spot and given the 
necessary instructions at the moment, or the troops 
must have kept on without orders. It is always, how- 
ever, in order to follow a retreating foe, unless stopped 
or otherwise directed. The loss on our side at Molino 
del Rey was severe for the numbers engaged. It 
was especially so among commissioned officers. 

I was with the earliest of the troops to enter the 
Mills. In passing through to the north side, looking 
towards Chapultepec, I happened to notice that there 
were armed Mexicans still on top of the building, 
only a few feet from many of our men. Not seeing 


any stairway or ladder reaching to the top of the build- 
ing, I took a few soldiers, and had a cart that hap- 
pened to be standing near brought up, and, placing 
the shafts against the wall and chocking the wheels 
so that the cart could not back, used the shafts as a 
sort of ladder extending to within three or four feet 
of the top. By this I climbed to the roof of the 
building, followed by a few men, but found a private 
soldier had preceded me by some other way. There 
were still quite a number of Mexicans on the roof, 
among them a major and five or six officers of lower 
grades, who had not succeeded in getting away before 
our troops occupied the building. They still had 
their arms, while the soldier before mentioned was 
walking as sentry', guarding the prisoners he had sur- 
rounded, all by himself. I halted the sentinel, re- 
ceived the swords from the commissioned officers, and 
proceeded, with the assistance of the soldiers now with 
me, to disable the muskets by striking them against 
the edge of the wall, and throw them to the ground 

Molino del Rey was now captured, and the troops 
engaged, with the exception of an appropriate guard 
over the captured position and property, were marched 
back to their quarters in Tacubaya. The engage- 
ment did not last many minutes, but the killed and 
wounded were numerous for the number of troops 


During the night of the nth batteries were estab- 
lished which could play upon the fortifications of 
Chapultepec. The bombardment commenced early 
on the morning of the 1 2th, but there was no further 
engagement during this day than that of the artillery. 
General Scott assigned the capture of Chapultepec 
to General Pillow, but did not leave the details to 
his judgment. Two assaulting columns, two hundred 
and fifty men each, composed of volunteers for the 
occasion, were formed. They were commanded by 
Captains McKinzie and Casey respectively. The as- 
sault was successful, but bloody. 

In later years, if not at the time, the battles of 
Molino del Rey and Chapultepec have seemed to me 
to have been wholly unnecessary. When the assaults 
upon the garitas of San Cosme and Belen were de- 
termined upon, the road running east to the former 
gate could have been reached easily, without an en- 
gagement, by moving along south of the Mills until 
west of them sufficiently far to be out of range, thence 
north to the road above mentioned ; or, if desirable 
to keep the two attacking columns nearer together, 
the troops could have been turned east so as to come 
on the aqueduct road out of range of the guns from 
Chapultepec. In like manner, the troops designated 
to act against Belen could have kept east of Chapul- 
tepec, out of range, and come on to the aqueduct, 
also out of range of Chapultepec. Molino del Rey 


and Chapukepec would both have been necessarily 
evacuated if this course had been pursued, for they 
would ha\'e been turned. 

General Quitman, a volunteer from the State of 
Mississippi, who stood well with the army both as a 
soldier and as a man, commanded the column acting 
against Belen. General Worth commanded the col- 
umn against San Cosme. When Chapukepec fell the 
advance commenced along the two aqueduct roads. 
I was on the road to San Cosme, and witnessed most 
that took place on that route. When opposition 
was encountered our troops sheltered themselves by 
keeping under the arches supporting the aqueduct, 
advancing an arch at a time. We encountered no 
serious obstruction until within gun-shot of the point 
where the road we were on intersects that running 
east to the city, the point where the aqueduct turns 
at a right angle. I have described the defences 
of this position before. There were but three com- 
missioned officers besides myself, that I can now call 
to mind, with the advance when the above position 
was reached. One of these officers was a Lieutenant 
Semmes, of the Marine Corps. I think Captain Gore, 
and Lieutenant Judah, of the 4th infantry, were the 
others. Our progress was stopped for the time by 
the single piece of artillery at the angle of the 
roads and the infantry occupying the house-tops back 
from it 


West of the road from where we were, stood a 
house occupying the south-west angle made by the 
San Cosme road and the road we were moving 
upon. A stone wall ran from the house along each 
of these roads for a considerable distance and thence 
back until it joined, enclosing quite a yard about 
the house. I watched my opportunity and skipped 
across the road and behind the south wall. Proceed- 
ing cautiously to the west corner of the enclosure, I 
peeped around and seeing nobody, continued, still 
cautiously, until the road running east and west was 
reached. I then returned to the troops, and called 
for volunteers. All that were close to me, or that 
heard me, about a dozen, offered their services. 
Commanding them to carry their arms at a trail, I 
watched our opportunity and got them across the 
road and under cover of the wall beyond, before 
the enemy had a shot at us. Our men under 
cover of the arches kept a close watch on the in- 
trenchments that crossed our path and the house-tops 
beyond, and whenever a head showed itself above 
the parapets they would fire at it Our crossing was 
thus made practicable without loss. 

When we reached a safe position I instructed my 
little command again to carry their arms at a trail, 
not to fire at the enemy until they were ordered, and 
to move very cautiously following me until the San 
Cosme road was reached ; we would then be on the 


flank of the men serving the gun on the road, and 
with no obstruction between us and them. When 
we reached the south-west corner of the enclosure 
before described, I saw some United States troops 
pushing north through a shallow ditch near by, who 
had come up since my reconnaissance. This was the 
company of Captain Horace Brooks, of the artillery, 
acting as infantry. I explained to Brooks briefly 
what I had discovered and what I was about to do. 
He said, as I knew the ground and he did not, I 
inight go on and he would follow. As soon as we got 
on the road leading to the city the troops serving 
the gun on the parapet retreated, and those on the 
house-tops near by followed; our men went after 
them in such close pursuit — the troops we had left 
under the arches joining — that a second line across 
the road, about half-way between the first and the 
garita, was carried. No reinforcements had yet 
come up except Brooks's company, and the position 
we had taken was too advanced to be held by so 
small a force. It was given up, but retaken later in 
the day, with some loss. 

Worth's command gradually advanced to the front 
now open to it. Later in the day in reconnoi- 
tring I found a church off to the south of the 
road, which looked to me as if the belfry would 
command the ground back of the garita San 
Cosme. I got an officer of the voltigeurs, with a 


mountain howitzer and men to work it, to go with 
me. The road being in possession of the enemy, 
we had to take the field to the south to reach the 
church. This took us over several ditches breast 
deep in water and grown up with water plants. 
These ditches, however, were not over eight or ten 
feet in width. The howitzer was taken to pieces 
and carried by the men to its destination. When I 
knocked for admission a priest came to the door, 
who, while extremely polite, declined to admit us. 
With the little Spanish then at my command, I ex- 
plained to him that he might save property by open- 
ing the door, and he certainly would save himself 
from becoming a prisoner, for a time at least ; and 
besides, I intended to go in whether he consented 
or not He beg^n to see his duty in the same light 
that I did, and opened the door, though he did not 
look as if it gave him special pleasure to do so. 
The gun was carried to the belfry and put together. 
We were not more than two or three hundred 
yards from San Cosme. The shots from our 
little gun dropped in upon the enemy and created 
great confusion. Why they did not send out a 
small party and capture us, I do not know. We 
had no infantry or other defences besides our one 

The effect of this g^n upon the troops about the 
gate of the city was so marked that General Worth 


saw it from his position.* He was so pleased that 
he sent a staff officer, Lieutenant Pemberton — later 
Lieutenant-General commanding the defences of 
Vicksburg — to bring me to him. He expressed his 
gratification at the services the howitzer in the 
church steeple was doing» saying that every shot 
was effective, and ordered a captain of voltigeurs 
to report to me with another howitzer to be placed 
along with the one already rendering so much ser- 
vice. I could not tell the General that there was not 
room enough in the steeple for another gun, because 
he probably would have looked upon such a state- 
ment as a contradiction from a second lieutenant I 
took the captain with me, but did not use his gun. 
The night of the 13th of September was spent by 
the troops under General Worth in the houses near 
San Cosme, and in line confronting the general line 
of the enemy across to Belen. The troops that I 
was with were in the houses north of the road lead- 
ing into the city, and were engaged during the night 
in cutting passage-ways from one house to another 
towards the town. During the night Santa Anna, 
with his army — except the deserters — left the city. 
He liberated all the convicts confined in the town, 
hoping, no doubt, that they would inflict upon us some 
injury before daylight ; but several hours after Santa 

* Mentioned in the reports of Major Lee, Colonel Garland and General 





Anna was out of the way, the city authorities sent a 
delegation to General Scott to ask — if not demand — 
an armistice, respecting church property, the rights of 
citizens and the supremacy of the city government 
in the management of municipal affairs. General 
Scott declined to trammel himself with conditions, 
but gave assurances that those who chose to remain 
within our lines would be protected so long as they 
behaved themselves properly. 

General Quitman had advanced along his line 
very successfully on the 13th, so that at night his 
command occupied nearly the same position at 
Belen that Worth's troops did about San Cosme. 
After the interview above related between General 
Scott and the city council, orders were issued for 
the cautious entry of both columns in the morning. 
The troops under Worth were to stop at the Ala- 
meda, a park near the west end of the city. Quit- 
man was to go directly to the Plaza, and take 
possession of the Palace — a mass of buildings on the 
east side in which Congress has its sessions, the 
national courts are held, the public ofifices are all 
located, the President resides, and much room is left 
for museums, receptions, etc. This is the building 
generally designated as the ** Halls of the Monte- 

Vol. I.- II 



ON entering the city the troops were fired upon by 
the released convicts, and possibly by deserters 
and hostile citizens. The streets were deserted, and 
the place presented the appearance of a '* city of the 
dead," except for this firing by unseen persons from 
house-tops, windows, and around corners. In this 
firing the lieutenant-colonel of my regiment. Gar- 
land, was badly wounded, Lieutenant Sidney Smith, 
of the 4th infantry, was also wounded mortally. He 
died a few days after, and by his death I was pro- 
moted to the grade of first lieutenant. I had gone 

Note. — It had been a favorite idea with General Scott for a greait many years 
before the Mexican war to have established in the United States a soldiers' 
home, patterned after something of the kind abroad, particularly. I believe, in 
France. He recommended this uniformly, or at least frequently, in his annual 
reports to the Secretary of War, but never got any hearing. Now, as he had 
conquered the state, he made assessments upon the different large towns and 
cities occupied by our troops, in proportion to their capacity to pay, and ap- 
pointed officers to receive the money. In addition to the sum thus realized he 
• had derived, through capture at Cerro Gordo, sales of captured government 
tobacco, etc., sums which swelled the fund to a total of about $220,000. Por- 


into the battle of Palo Alto in May, 1846, a second 
lieutenant, and I entered the city of Mexico sixteen 
months later with the same rank, after having been 
in all the engagements possible for any one man 
and in a regiment that lost more officers during 
the war than it ever had present at any one engage- 
ment My regiment lost four commissioned officers, 
all senior to me, by steamboat explosions during 
the Mexican war. The Mexicans were not so dis- 
criminating. They sometimes picked off my 

General Scott soon followed the troops into the 
city, in state. I wonder that he was not fired upon, 
but I believe he was not ; at all events he was not 
hurt. He took quarters at first in the ** Halls of the 
Montezumas," and from there issued his wise and 
discreet orders for the government of a conquered 
city, and for suppressing the hostile acts of liberated 
convicts already spoken of — orders which chal- 
lenge the respect of all who study them. Lawless- 

tions of this fund were distributed among the rank and file, given to the 
wounded in hospital, or applied in other ways, leaving a balance of some $i i8 ,000 
remaining unapplied at the close of the war. After the war was over and the 
troops all home. General Scott applied to have this money, which had never 
been turned into the Treasury of the United States, expended in establishing 
such homes as he had previously recommended. This fund was the foundation 
of the Soldiers' Home at Washington City, and also one at Harrodsburgh, 

The latter went into disuse many years ago. In fact it never had many sol- 
diers in it, and was, I believe, finally sold. 


ness was soon suppressed, and the City of Mexico 
settled down into a quiet, law-abiding place. The 
people began to make their appearance upon the 
streets without fear of the invaders. Shortly after- 
wards the bulk of the troops were sent from the 
city to the villages at the foot of the mountains, 
four or five miles to the south and south-west 

Whether General Scott approved of the Mexican 
war and the manner in which it was brought about, 
I have no means of knowing. His orders to troops 
indicate only a soldierly spirit, with probably a little 
regard for the perpetuation of his own fame. On 
the other hand, General Taylor's, I think, indicate 
that he considered the administration accountable 
for the war, and felt no responsibility resting on 
himself further than for the faithful performance of 
his duties. Both generals deserve the commenda- 
tions of their countrymen and to live in the grateful 
memory of this people to the latest generation. 

Earlier in this narrative I have stated that the 
plain, reached after passing the mountains east of 
Perote, extends to the cities of Puebla and Mexico. 
The route travelled by the army before reaching 
Puebla, goes over a pass in a spur of mountain com- 
ing up from the south. This pass is very susceptible 
of defence by a smaller against a larger force. 
Again, the highest point of the road-bed between 
Vera Cruz and the City of Mexico is over Rio Frio 


mountain, which also might have been successfully 
defended by an inferior against a superior force. 
But by moving north of the mountains, and about 
thirty miles north of Puebla, both of these passes 
would have been avoided. The road from Perote to 
the City of Mexico, by this latter route, is as level as 
the prairies in our West. Arriving due north from 
Puebla, troops could have been detached to take 
possession of that place, and then proceeding west 
with the rest of the army no mountain would have 
been encountered before reaching the City of Mexico. 
It is true this road would have brought troops in 
by Guadalupe — ^a town, church and detached spur 
of mountain about two miles north of the capital, all 
bearing the same general name— and at this point 
Lake Texcoco comes near to the mountain, which 
was fortified both at the base and on the sides : but 
troops could have passed north of the mountain and 
come in only a few miles to the north-west, and so 
flanked the position, as they actually did on the 

It has always seemed to me that this northern 
route to the City of Mexico, would have been the 
better one to have taken. But my later experience 
has taught me two lessons: first, that things are 
seen plainer after the events have occurred ; second, 
that the most confident critics are generally those 
who know the least about the matter criticised. I 


know just enough about the Mexican war to approve 
heartily of most of the generalship, but to differ 
with a little of it. It is natural that an important 
city like Puebla should not have been passed with 
contempt ; it may be natural that the direct road to 
it should have been taken ; but it could have been 
passed, its evacuation insured and possession ac- 
quired without danger of encountering the enemy 
in intricate mountain defiles. In this same way 
the City of Mexico could have been approached 
without any danger of opposition, except in the open 

But General Scott's successes are an answer to all 
criticism. He invaded a populous country, pene- 
trating two hundred and sixty miles into the interior, 
with a force at no time equal to one-half of that 
opposed to him ; he was without a base ; the enemy 
was always intrenched, always on the defensive ; yet 
he won every battle, he captured the capital, and 
conquered the government. Credit is due to the 
troops engaged, it is true, but the plans and the 
strategy were the general's. 

I had now made marches and been in battle under 
both General Scott and General Taylor. The 
former divided his force of 10,500 men into four col- 
umns, starting a day apart, in moving from Puebla 
to the capital of the nation, when it was known that 
an army more than twice as large as his own stood 

THE ARMY, 1 67 

ready to resist his coming. The road was broad 
and the country open except in crossing the Rio 
Frio mountain. General Taylor pursued the same 
course in marching toward an enemy. He moved 
even in smaller bodies. I never thought at the time 
to doubt the infallibility of these two generals in all 
matters pertaining to their profession. I supposed 
they moved in small bodies because more men could 
not be passed over a single road on the same day 
with their artillery and necessary trains. Later 
I found the fallacy of this belief. The rebellion, 
which followed as a sequence to the Mexican 
war, never could have been suppressed if larger 
bodies of men could not have been moved at the 
same time than was the custom under Scott and 

The victories in Mexico were, in every instance, 
over vastly superior numbers. There were two 
reasons for this. Both General Scott and General 
Taylor had such armies as are not often got to- 
gether. At the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca-de- 
la-Palma, General Taylor had a small army, but it 
was composed exclusively of regular troops, under 
the best of drill and discipline. Every officer, from 
the highest to the lowest, was educated in his pro- 
fession, not at West Point necessarily, but in the 
camp, in garrison, and many of them in Indian wars. 
The rank and file were probably inferior, as material 


out of which to make an army, to the volunteers that 
participated in all the later battles of the war ; but 
they were brave men, and then drill and discipline 
brought out all there was in them. A better army, 
man for man, probably never faced an enemy than 
the one commanded by General Taylor in the earli- 
est two engagements of the Mexican war. The volun- 
teers who followed were of better material, but 
without drill or discipline at the start They 
were associated with so many disciplined men 
and professionally educated officers, that when 
they went into engagements it was with a confi- 
dence they would not have felt otherwise. They 
became soldiers themselves almost at once. All 
these conditions we would enjoy again in case of 

The Mexican army of that day was hardly an 
organization. The private soldier was picked up 
from the lower class of the inhabitants when wanted ; 
his consent was not asked ; he was poorly clothed, 
worse fed, and seldom paid. He was turned 
adrift when no longer wanted. The officers of 
the lower grades were but little superior to the 
men. With all this I have seen as brave stands 
made by some of these men as I have ever seen 
made by soldiers. Now Mexico has a standing army 
larger than that of the United States. They have 
a military school modelled after West Point. Their 


officers are educated and, no doubt, generally brave. 
The Mexican war of 1846-8 would be an impossibil- 
ity in this generation. 

The Mexicans have shown a patriotism which it 
would be well if we would imitate in part, but with 
more regard to truth. They celebrate the anniver- 
saries of Chapultepec and Molino del Rey as of very 
great victories. The anniversaries are recognized as 
national holidays. At these two battles, while the 
United States troops were victorious, it was at very 
great sacrifice of life compared with what the Mexi- 
cans suffered. The Mexicans, as on many other oc- 
casions, stood up as well as any troops ever did 
The trouble seemed to be the lack of experience 
among the officers, which led them after a certain 
time to simply quit, without being particularly 
whipped, but because they had fought enough. 
Their authorities of the present day grow enthu- 
siastic over their theme when telling of these vic- 
tories, and speak with pride of the large sum of 
money they forced us to pay in the end. With us, 
now twenty years after the close of the most stupend- 
ous war ever known, we have writers — who profess 
devotion to the nation — engaged in trying to prove 
that the Union forces were not victorious ; prac- 
tically, they say, we were slashed around from Donel- 
son to Vicksburg and to Chattanooga ; and in the 
East from Gettysburg to Appomattox, when the 


physical rebellion gave out from sheer exhaustion. 
There is no difference in the amount of romance in 
the two stories. 

I would not have the anniversaries of our victories 
celebrated, nor those of our defeats made fast days 
and spent in humiliation and prayer; but I would 
like to see truthful history written. Such history 
will do full credit to the courage, endurance and sol- 
dierly ability of the American citizen, no matter what 
section of the country he hailed from, or in what 
ranks he fought. The justice of the cause which 
in the end prevailed, will, I doubt not, come to be 
acknowledged by every citizen of the land, in time. 
For the present, and so long as there are living wit- 
nesses of the great war of sections, there will be 
people who will not be consoled for the loss of a 
cause which they believed to be holy. As time 
passes, people, even of the South, will begin to 
wonder how it was possible that their ancestors ever 
fought for or justified institutions which acknowl- 
edged the right of property in man. 

After the fall of the capital and the dispersal of 
the government of Mexico, it looked very much as 
if military occupation of the country for a long 
time might be necessary. General Scott at once 
began the preparation of orders, regulations and 
laws in view of this contingency. He contemplated 
making the country pay all the expenses of the oc- 


cupation, without the army becoming a perceptible 
burden upon the people. His plan was to levy a 
direct tax upon the separate states, and collect, at the 
ports left open to trade, a duty on all imports. 
From the beginning of the war private property had 
not been taken, either for the use of the army or of 
individuals, without full compensation. This policy 
was to be pursued. There were not troops enough 
in the valley of Mexico to occupy many points, but 
now that there was no organized army of the enemy 
of any size, reinforcements could be got from the 
Rio Grande, and there were also new volunteers ar- 
riving from time to time, all by way of Vera Cruz. 
Military possession was taken of Cuernavaca, fifty 
miles south of the City of Mexico ; of Toluca, nearly 
as far west, and of Pachuca, a mining town of great 
importance, some sixty miles to the north-east. Vera 
Cruz, Jalapa, Orizaba, and Puebla were already in 
our possession. 

Meanwhile the Mexican government had departed 
in the person of Santa Anna, and it looked doubtful 
for a time whether the United States commissioner, 
Mr. Trist, would find anybody to negotiate with. 
A temporary government, however, was soon es- 
tablished at Queretaro, and Trist began negotiations 
for a conclusion of the war. Before terms were final- 
ly agreed upon he was ordered back to Washing- 
ton, but General Scott prevailed upon him to remain, 


as an arrangement had been so nearly reached, and 
the administration must approve his acts if he suc- 
ceeded in making such a treaty as had been contem- 
plated in his instructions. The treaty was finally 
signed the 2d of February, 1848, and accepted by the 
government at Washington. It is that known as the 
" Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo," and secured to 
the United States the Rio Grande as the boundary 
of Texas, and the whole territory then included in 
New Mexico and Upper California, for the sum of 

Soon after entering the city of Mexico, the oppo- 
sition of Generals Pillow, Worth and Colonel Dun- 
can to General Scott became very marked. Scott 
claimed that they had demanded of the President his 
removal. I do not know whether this is so or not, 
but I do know of their unconcealed hostility to 
their chief. At last he placed them in arrest, and 
preferred charges against them of insubordination 
and disrespect. This act brought on a crisis in the 
career of the general commanding. He had asserted 
from the beginning that the administration was hos- 
tile to him ; that it had failed in its promises of men 
and war material ; that the President himself had 
shown duplicity if not treachery in the endeavor to 
procure the appointment of Benton : and the ad- 
ministration now gave open evidence of its enmity. 
About the middle of February orders came conven- 


ing a court of inquiry, composed of Brevet Brig^a- 
dier-General Towson, the surgeon-general of the 
army, Brigadier-General Gushing and Colonel Bel- 
knap, to inquire into the conduct of the accused and 
the accuser, and shortly afterwards orders were re- 
ceived from Washington, relieving Scott of the com- 
mand of the army in the field and assigning Major- 
General William O. Butler of Kentucky to the 
place. This order also released Pillow, Worth and 
Duncan from arrest 

If a change was to be made the selection of Gen- 
eral Butler was agreeable to every one concerned, so 
far as I remember to have heard expressions on 
the subject. There were many who regarded the 
treatment of General Scott as harsh and unjust. It 
is quite possible that the vanity of the General had 
led him to say and do things that afforded a plaus- 
ible pretext to the administration for doing just 
what it did and what it had wanted to do from the 
start. The court tried the accuser quite as much as 
the accused. It was adjourned before completing 
its labors, to meet in Frederick, Maryland. General 
Scott left the country, and never after had more 
than the nominal command of the army until early 
in 1 861. He certainly was not sustained in his ef- 
forts to maintain discipline in high places. 

The efforts to kill off politically the two success- 
ful generals, made them both candidates for the 


Presidency. General Taylor was nominated in 
1848, and was elected. Four years later General 
Scott received the nomination but was badly 
beaten, and the party nominating him died with his 

* The Mexican war made three presidential candidates, Scott, Taylor and 
Pierce — and any number of aspirants for that high office. It made also gov- 
ernors of States, members of the cabinet, foreign ministers and other officers of 
high rank both in state and nation. The rebellion, which contained more war 
in a single day, at some critical periods, than the whole Mexican war in two 
years, has not been so fruitful of political results to those engaged on the Union 
side. On the other side, the side of the South, nearly every man who holds 
office of any sort whatever, either in the state or in the nation, was a Confed- 
erate soldier ; but this is easily accounted for from the fact that the South was 
a military camp, and there were very few people of a suitable age to be in the 
army who were not in it. 



THE treaty of peace between the two countries 
was signed by the commissioners of each side 
early in February, 1848. It took a considerable time 
for it to reach Washington, receive the approval of the 
administration, and be finally ratified by the Senate. 
It was naturally supposed by the army that there 
would be no more fighting, and officers and men 
were of course anxious to get home, but knowing 
there must be delay they contented themselves as 
best they could. Every Sunday there was a bull fight 
for the amusement of those who would pay their 
fifty cents. I attended one of them — just one — not 
wishing to leave the country without having wit- 
nessed the national sport. The sight to me was 
sickening. I could not see how human beings could 
enjoy the sufferings of beasts, and often of men, as 
they seemed to do on these occasions. 

At these sports there are usually from four to six 
bulls sacrificed. The audience occupies seats around 


the ring in which the exhibition is given, each seat 
but the foremost rising higher than the one in front, 
so that every one can get a full view of the sport 
When all is ready a bull is turned into the ring. 
Three or four men come in, mounted on the merest 
skeletons of horses blind or blind-folded and so 
weak that they could not make a sudden turn with 
their riders without danger of falling down. The 
men are armed with spears having a point as sharp 
as a needle. Other men enter the arena on foot, 
armed with red flags and explosives about the size of 
a musket cartridge. To each of these explosives is 
fastened a barbed needle which serves the purpose 
of attaching them to the bull by running the needle 
into the skin. Before the animal is turned loose a 
lot of these explosives are attached to him. The 
pain from the pricking of the skin by the needles is 
exasperating ; but when the explosions of the car- 
tridges commence the animal becomes frantic As 
he makes a lunge towards one horseman, another 
runs a spear into him. He turns towards his last 
tormentor when a man on foot holds out a red flag ; 
the bull rushes for this and is allowed to take it 
on his horns. The flag drops and covers the eyes of 
the animal so that he is at a loss what to do ; it is 
jerked from him and the torment is renewed. When 
the animal is worked into an uncontrollable frenzy, 
the horsemen withdraw, and the matadores — literally 


murderers — enter, armed with knives having blades 
twelve or eighteen inches long, and sharp. The 
trick is to dodge an attack from the animal and 
stab him to the heart as he passes. If these efforts 
fail the bull is finally lassoed, held fast and killed by 
driving a knife blade into the spinal column just 
back of the horns. He is then dragged out by 
horses or mules, another is let into the ring, and the 
same performance is renewed. 

On the occasion when I was present one of the 
bulls was not turned aside by the attacks in the rear, 
the presentations of the red flag, etc., etc., but kept 
right on, and placing his horns under the flanks of 
a horse threw him and his rider to the ground with 
great force. The horse was killed and the rider lay 
prostrate as if dead. The bull was then lassoed and 
killed in the manner above described. Men came in 
and carried the dead man off in a litter. When the 
slaughtered bull and horse were dragged out, a fresh 
bull was turned into the ring. Conspicuous amonij the 
spectators was the man who had been carried out on 
a litter but a few minutes before. He was only 
dead so far as that performance went ; but the corpse 
was so lively that it could not forego the chance of 
witnessing the discomfiture of some of his brethren 
who might not be so fortunate. There was a feeling 
of disgust manifested by the audience to find that he 
had come to life again. I confess that I felt sorry 

Vol. I. 13 


to see the cruelty to the bull and the horse. I did 
not stay for the conclusion of the performance ; but 
while I did stay, there was not a bull killed in the 
prescribed way. 

Bull fights are now prohibited in the Federal Dis- 
trict — embracing a territory around the City of 
Mexico, somewhat larger than the District of Colum- 
bia — and they are not an institution in any part of 
the country. During one of my recent visits to 
Mexico, bull fights were got up in my honor at 
Puebla and at Pachuca. I was not notified in ad- 
vance so as be able to decline and thus prevent 
the performance ; but in both cases I civilly de- 
clined to attend. 

Another amusement of the people of Mexico of 
that day, and one which nearly all indulged in, male 
and female, old and young, priest and layman, was 
Monte playing. Regular feast weeks were held 
every year at what was then known as St Augustin 
Tlalpam, eleven miles out of town. There were dealers 
to suit every class and condition of people. In many 
of the booths clackos — the copper coin of the coun- 
try, four of them making six and a quarter cents 
of our money — were piled up in great quantities, 
with some silver, to accommodate the people who 
could not bet more than a few pennies at a time. 
In other booths silver formed the bulk of the capi- 
tal of the bank, with a few doubloons to be changed 


if there should be a run of luck against the bank. 
In some there was no coin except gold. Here the 
rich were said to bet away their entire estates in a 
single day. All this is stopped now. 

For myself, I was kept somewhat busy during the 
winter of 1847-8. My regiment was stationed in 
Tacubaya. I was regimental quartermaster and 
commissary. General Scott had been unable to get 
clothing for the troops from the North. The men 
were becoming — well, they needed clothing. Mate- 
rial had to be purchased, such as could be obtained, 
and people employed to make it up into ** Yankee 
uniforms." A quartermaster in the city was designated 
to attend to this special duty ; but clothing was so 
much needed that it was seized as fast as made up. 
A regiment was glad to get a dozen suits at a time. 
I had to look after this matter for the 4th infantry. 
Then our regimental fund had run down and some 
of the musicians in the band had been without their 
extra pay for a number of months. 

The regimental bands at that day were kept up 
partly by pay from the government, and partly by 
pay from the regimental fund. There was authority 
of law for enlisting a certain number of men as mu- 
sicians. So many could receive the pay of non- 
commissioned officers of the various grades, and the 
remainder the pay of privates. This would not se- 
cure a band leader, nor good players on certain in- 


struments. In garrison there are various ways of 
keeping up a regimental fund sufRcient to gfive extra 
pay to musicians, establish libraries and ten-pin al- 
leys, subscribe to magazines and furnish many extra 
comforts to the men. The best device for supplying 
the fund is to issue bread to the soldiers instead of 
flour. The ration used to be eighteen ounces per day 
of either flour or bread ; and one hundred pounds 
of flour will make one hundred and forty pounds of 
bread. This saving was purchased by the commis- 
sary for the benefit of -the fund. In the emergency 
the 4th infantry was laboring under, I rented a bak- 
ery in the city, hired bakers — Mexicans — bought fuel 
and whatever was necessary, and I also got a con- 
tract from the chief commissary of the army for bak- 
ing a large amount of hard bread. In two months 
I made more money for the fund than my pay 
amounted to during the entire war. While stationed 
at Monterey I had relieved the post fund in the 
same way. There, however, was no profit except 
in the saving of flour by converting it into bread. 

In the spring of 1848 a party of officers obtained 
leave to visit Popocatapetl, the highest volcano in 
America, and to take an escort. I went with the 
party, many of whom afterwards occupied conspicu- 
ous positions before the country. Of those who 
"went south," and attained high rank, there was 
Lieutenant Richard Anderson, who commanded a 


corps at Spottsylvania ; Captain Sibley, a major- 
general, and, after the war, for a number of years 
in the employ of the Khedive of Egypt ; Captain 
George Crittenden, a rebel general ; S. B. Buckner, 
who surrendered Fort Donelson ; and Mansfield 
Lovell, who commanded at New Orleans before that 
city fell into the hands of the National troops. Of 
those who remained on our side there were Captain 
Andrew Porter, Lieutenant C. P. Stone and Lieu- 
tenant Z. B. Tower. There were quite a number 
of other officers, whose names I cannot recollect. 

At a little village (Ozumba) near the base of Po- 
pocatapetl, wheit we purposed to commence the 
ascent, we procured guides and two pack mules with 
forage for our horses. High up on the mountain 
there was a deserted house of one room, called the 
Vaqueria, which had been occupied years before by 
men in charge of cattle ranging on the mountain. 
The pasturage up there was very fine when we saw 
it, and there were still some cattle, descendants of the 
former domestic herd, which had now become wild. 
It was possible to go on horseback as far as the 
Vaqueria, though the road was somewhat hazardous 
in places. Sometimes it was very narrow with a 
yawning precipice on one side, hundreds of feet 
down to a roaring mountain torrent below, and al- 
most perpendicular walls on the other side. At one 
of these places one of our mules loaded with two 


sacks of barley, one on each side, the two about as 
big as he was, struck his load against the moun- 
tain-side and was precipitated to the bottom. The 
descent was steep but not perpendicular. The mule 
rolled over and over until the bottom was reached, 
and we supposed of course the poor animal was 
dashed to pieces. What was our surprise, not 
long after we had gone into bivouac, to see the lost 
mule, cargo and owner coming up the ascent The 
load had protected the animal from serious injury ; 
and his owner had gone after him and found a way 
back to the path leading up to the hut where we 
were to stay. 

The night at the Vaqueria was one of the most 
unpleasant I ever knew. It was very cold and the 
rain fell in torrents. A little higher up the rain 
ceased and snow began. The wind blew with great 
velocity. The log-cabin we were in had lost the roof 
entirely on one side, and on the other it was hardly 
better than a sieve. There was little or no sleep 
that night. As soon as it was light the next morn- 
ing, we started to make the ascent to the summit. 
The wind continued to blow with violence and the 
weather was still cloudy, but there was neither rain 
nor snow. The clouds, however, concealed from our 
view the country below us, except at times a momen- 
tary glimpse could be got through a clear space 
between them. The wind carried the loose snow 


around the mountain-sides in such volumes as to make 
it almost impossible to stand up against it. We la- 
bored on and on, until it became evident that the top 
could not be reached before night, if at all in such 
a storm, and we concluded to return. The descent 
was easy and rapid, though dangerous, until we got 
below the snow line. At the cabin we mounted 
our horses, ^nd by night were at Ozumba. 

The fatigues of the day and the loss of sleep the 
night before drove us to bed early. Our beds consist- 
ed of a place on the dirt-floor with a blanket under us. 
Soon all were asleep ; but long before morning first 
one and then another of our party began to cry out 
with excruciating pain in the eyes. Not one escaped it. 
By morning the eyes of half the party were so swollen 
that they were entirely closed. The others suffered 
pain equally. The feeling was about what might be 
expected from the prick of a sharp needle at a white 
heat. We remained in quarters until the afternoon 
bathing our eyes in cold water. This relieved us 
very much, and before night the pain had entirely 
left. The swelling, however, continued, and about 
half the party still had their eyes entirely closed ; 
but we concluded to make a start back, those who 
could see a little leading the horses of those who 
could not see at all. We moved back to the village 
of Ameca Ameca, some six miles, and stopped again 
for the night. The next morning all were entirely 


well and free from pain. The weather was clear and 
Popocatapetl stood out in all its beauty, the top look- 
ing as if not a mile away, and inviting us to return. 
About half the party were anxious to try the ascent 
again, and concluded to do so. The remainder — 
I was with the remainder — concluded that we had 
got all the pleasure there was to be had out of moun- 
tain climbing, and that we would visit the great 
caves of Mexico, some ninety miles from where we 
then were, on the road to Acapulco. 

The party that ascended the mountain the second 
time succeeded in reaching the crater at the top, 
with but little of the labor they encountered in their 
first attempt. Three of them — Anderson, Stone and 
Buckner — wrote accounts of their journey, which 
were published at the time. I made no notes of this 
excursion, and have read nothing about it since, but 
it seems to me that I can see the whole of it as 
vividly as if it were but yesterday. I have been back 
at Ameca Ameca, and the village beyond, twice in the 
last five years. The scene had not changed mate- 
rially from my recollection of it 

The party which I was with moved south down 
the valley to the town of Cuantla, some forty miles 
from Ameca Ameca. The latter stands on the plain 
at the foot of Popocatapetl, at an elevation of about 
eight thousand feet above tide water. The slope 
down is gradual as the traveller moves south, but 


one would not judge that, in going to Cuantla. de- 
scent enough had been made to occasion a material 
change in the climate and productions of the soil ; 
but such is the case. In the morning we left a tem- 
perate climate where the cereals and fruits are those 
common to the United States ; we halted in the 
evening in a tropical climate where the orange and 
banana, the coffee and the sugar-cane were flourish- 
ing. We had been travelling, apparently, on a plain 
all day, but in the direction of the flow of water. 
Soon after the capture of the City of Mexico an 
armistice had been agreed to, designating the limits 
beyond which troops of the respective armies were not 
to go during its continuance. Our party knew noth- 
ing about these limits. As we approached Cuantla 
bugles sounded the assembly, and soldiers rushed 
from the guard-house in the edge of the town towards 
us. Our party halted, and I tied a white pocket 
handkerchief to a stick and, using it as a flag of 
truce, proceeded on to the town. Captains Sibley 
and Porter followed a few hundred yards behind. I 
was detained at the guard-house until a messenger 
could be dispatched to the quarters of the command- 
ing general, who authorized that I should be con- 
ducted to him. I had been with the general but 
a few minutes when the two officers following 
announced themselves. The Mexican general re- 
minded us that it was a violation of the truce for us 


to be there. However, as we had no special authority 
from our own commanding general, and as we knew 
nothing about the terms of the truce, we were per- 
mitted to occupy a vacant house outside the g^ard 
for the night, with the promise of a guide to put us 
on the road to Cuernavaca the next morning. 

Cuernavaca is a town west of Cuantla. The 
country through which we passed, between these two 
towns, is tropical in climate and productions and 
rich in scenery. At one point, about half-way be- 
tween the two places, the road goes over a low pass 
in the mountains in which there is a very quaint old 
town, the inhabitants of which at that day were 
nearly all full-blooded Indians. Very few of them 
even spoke Spanish. The houses were built of 
stone and generally only one story high. The streets 
were narrow, and had probably been paved before 
Cortez visited the country. They had not been 
graded, but the paving had been done on the natural 
surface. We had with us one vehicle, a cart, which 
was probably the first wheeled vehicle that had ever 
passed through that town. 

On a hill overlooking this town stands the tomb 
of an ancient king ; and it was understood that the 
inhabitants venerated this tomb very highly, as well 
as the memory of the ruler who was supposed to 
be buried in it. We ascended the mountain and 
surveyed the tomb ; but it showed no particular 


marks of architectural taste, mechanical skill or ad- 
vanced civilization. The next day we went into 

After a day's rest at Cuernavaca our party set out 
again on the journey to the great caves of Mexico. 
We had proceeded but a few miles when we were 
stopped, as before, by a guard and notified that the 
terms of the existing armistice did not permit us to 
go further in that direction. Upon convincing the 
guard that we were a mere party of pleasure seekers 
desirous of visiting the great natural curiosities of 
the country which we expected soon to leave, we were 
conducted to a large hacienda near by, and directed 
to remain thereuntil the commanding general of that 
department could be communicated with and his 
decision obtained as to whether we should be per- 
mitted to pursue our journey. The guard promised 
to send a messenger at once, and expected a reply 
by night. At night there was no response from the 
commanding general, but the captain of the guard 
was sure he would have a reply by morning. Again 
in the morning there was no reply. The second 
evening the same thing happened, and finally we 
learned that the guard had sent no message or mes- 
senger to the department commander. We deter- 
mined therefore to go on unless stopped by a force 
sufficient to compel obedience. 

After a few hours' travel we came to a town where 


a scene similar to the one at Cuantla occurred. 
The commanding officer sent a guide to conduct our 
party around the village and to put us upon our road 
again. This was the last interruption : that night 
we rested at a large coffee plantation, some eight 
miles from the cave we were on the way to visit. It 
must have been a Saturday night ; the peons had 
been paid off, and spent part of the night in gam- 
bling away their scanty week's earnings. Their coin 
was principally copper, and I do not believe there 
was a man among them who had received as much 
as twenty-five cents in money. They were as much 
excited, however, as if they had been staking thou- 
sands. I recollect one poor fellow, who had lost his 
last clacko, pulled off his shirt and, in the most ex- 
cited manner, put that up on the turn of a card. 
Monte was the game played, the place out of doors, 
near the window of the room occupied by the officers 
of our party. 

The next morning we were at the mouth qf the 
cave at an early hour, provided with guides, candles 
and rockets. We explored to a distance of about 
three miles from the entrance, and found a succes- 
sion of chambers of great dimensions and of great 
beauty when lit up with our rockets. Stalactites 
and stalagmites of all sizes were discovered. Some 
of the former were many feet in diameter and ex- 
tended from ceiling to floor ; some of the latter 


were but a few feet high from the floor; but the 
formation is going on constantly, and many centu- 
ries hence these stalagmites will extend to the ceil- 
ing and become complete columns. The stalagmites 
were all a little concave, and the cavities were filled 
with water. The water percolates through the roof, 
a drop at a time — often the drops several min- 
utes apart — and more or less charged with mineral 
matter. Evaporation goes on slowly, leaving the 
mineral behind. This in time makes the immense 
columns, many of them thousands of tons in weight, 
which serve to support the roofs over the vast cham- 
bers. I recollect that at one point in the cave one 
of these columns is of such huge proportions that 
there is only a narrow passage left on either side of 
it. Some of our party became satisfied with their 
explorations before we had reached the point to 
which the guides were accustomed to take explor- 
ers, and started back without guides. Coming to 
the large column spoken of, they followed it entirely 
around, and commenced retracing their steps into 
the bowels of the mountain, without being aware of 
the fact. When the rest of us had completed our 
explorations, we started out with our guides, but had 
not gone far before we saw the torches of an ap- 
proaching party. We could not conceive who these 
could be, for all of us had come in together, and 
there were none but ourselves at the entrance when 


we Started in. Very soon we found it was our 
friends. It took them some time to conceive how 
they had got where they were. They were sure 
they had kept straight on for the mouth of the cave, 
and had gone about far enough to have reached it 



MY experience in the Mexican war was of great 
advantage to me afterwards. Besides the 
many practical lessons it taught, the war brought 
nearly all the officers of the regular army together 
so as to make them personally acquainted. It also 
brought them in contact with volunteers, many of 
whom served in the war of the rebellion afterwards. 
Then, in my particular case, I had been at West Point 
at about the right time to meet most of the graduates 
who were of a suitable age at the breaking out of 
the rebellion to be trusted with large commands. 
Graduating in 1843, I was at the military academy 
from one to four years with all cadets who graduated 
between 1840 and 1846 — seven classes. These classes 
embraced more than fifty officers who afterwards be- 
came generals on one side or the other in the re- 
bellion, many of them holding high commands. All 
the older officers, who became conspicuous in the 
rebellion, I had also served with and known in Mex- 


ICO : Lee, J. E. Johnston, A. S. Johnston, Holmes, 
Heb6rt and a number of others on the Confederate 
side ; McCall, Mansfield, Phil. Kearney and others 
on the National side. The acquaintance thus formed 
was of immense service to me in the war of the re- 
bellion — I mean what I learned of the characters of 
those to whom I was afterwards opposed. I do not 
pretend to say that all movements, or even many of 
them, were made with special reference to the char- 
acteristics of the commander against whom they 
were directed. But my appreciation of my enemies 
was certainly affected by this knowledge. The 
natural disposition of most people is to clothe a 
commander of a large army whom they do not 
know, with almost superhuman abilities. A large 
part of the National army, for instance, and most 
of the press of the country, clothed General Lee 
with just such qualities, but I had known him per- 
sonally, and knew that he was mortal; and it was 
just as well that I felt this. 

The treaty of peace was at last ratified, and the 
evacuation of Mexico by United States troops was 
ordered. Early in June the troops in the City of 
Mexico began to move out. Many of them, includ- 
ing the brigade to which I belonged, were assembled 
at Jalapa, above the vomito, to await the arrival 
of transports at Vera Cruz : but with all this pre- 
caution my regiment and others were in camp on 



the sand beach in a July sun, for about a week be- 
fore embarking, while the fever raged with great 
virulence in Vera Cruz, not two miles away. I can 
call to mind only one person, an officer, who died of 
the disease. My regiment was sent to Pascagoula, 
Mississippi, to spend the summer. As soon as it 
was settled in camp I obtained a leave of absence 
for four months and proceeded to St. Louis. On 
the 2 2d of August, 1848. 1 was married to Miss Julia 
Dent, the lady of whom I have before spoken. We 
visited my parents and relations in Ohio, and, at the 
end of my leave, proceeded to my post at Sackett's 
Harbor, New York. In April following I was or- 
dered to Detroit, Michigan, where two years were 
spent with but few important incidents. 

The present constitution of the State of Michigan 
was ratified during this time. By the terms of one 
of its provisions, all citizens of the United States 
residing within the State at the time of the ratification 
became citizens of Michigan also. During my stay 
in Detroit there was an election for city officers. 
Mr. Zachariah Chandler was the candidate of the 
Whigs for the office of Mayor, and was elected, al- 
though the city was then reckoned democratic. All 
the officers stationed there at the time who offered 
their votes were permitted to cast them. I did not 
offer mine, however, as I did not wish to consider 
myself a citizen of Michigan. This was Mr. Chand- 

Vol. I. — 13 


ler's first entry into politics, a career he followed 
ever after with great success, and in which he died 
enjoying the friendship, esteem and love of his coun- 

In the spring of 1851 the garrison at Detroit was 
transferred to Sackett's Harbor, and in the following 
spring the entire 4th infantry was ordered to the 
Pacific Coast. It was decided that Mrs. Grant should 
visit my parents at first for a few months, and then 
remain with her own family at their St. Louis home 
until an opportunity offered of sending for her. In 
the month of April the regiment was assembled at 
Governor's Island, New York Harbor, and on the 
5th of July eight companies sailed for Aspinwall. 
We numbered a little over seven hundred persons, 
including the families of officers and soldiers. Pas- 
sage was secured for us on the old steamer Ohio, 
commanded at the time by Captain Schenck, of the 
navy. It had not been determined, until a day or two 
before starting, that the 4th infantry should go by 
the Ohio ; consequently, a complement of passengers 
had already been secured. The addition of over 
seven hundred to this list crowded the steamer most 
uncomfortably, especially for the tropics in July. 

In eight days Aspinwall was reached. At that 
time the streets of the town were eight or ten inches 
under water, and foot passengers passed from place 
to place on raised foot-walks. July is at the height 


of the wet season, on the Isthmus. At intervals the 
rain would pour down in streams, followed in not 
many minutes by a blazing, tropical summer's sun. 
These alternate changes, from rain to sunshine, were 
continuous in the afternoons. I wondered how any 
person could live many months in Aspinwall, and 
wondered still more why any one tried. 

In the summer of 1852 the Panama railroad was 
completed only to the point where it now crosses 
the Chagres River. From there passengers were 
carried by boats to Gorgona, at which place they 
took mules for Panama, some twenty-five miles fur- 
ther. Those who travelled over the Isthmus in those 
days will remember that boats on the Chagres River 
were propelled by natives not inconveniently bur- 
dened with clothing. These boats carried thirty to 
forty passengers each. The crews consisted of six 
men to a boat, armed with long poles. There were 
planks wide enough for a man to walk on conven- 
iently, running along the sides of each boat from end 
to end. The men would start from the bow, place 
one end of their poles against the river bottom, brace 
their shoulders against the other end, and then walk 
to the stern as rapidly as they could. In this way 
from a mile to a mile and a half an hour could be 
made, against the current of the river. 

I, as regimental quartermaster, had charge of 
the public property and had also to look after the 



transportation. A contract had been entered into 
with the steamship company in New York for the 
transportation of the regiment to California, includ- 
ing the Isthmus transit. A certain amount of bag- 
gage was allowed per man, and saddle animals were 
to be furnished to commissioned officers and to all 
disabled persons. The regiment, with the exception 
of one company left as guards to the public prop- 
erty — camp and garrison equipage principally — and 
the soldiers with families, took boats, propelled as 
above described, for Gorgona. From this place they 
marched to Panama, and were soon comfortably on 
the steamer anchored in the bay, some three or four 
miles from the town. I, with one company of troops 
and all the soldiers with families, all the tents, mess 
chests and camp kettles, was sent to Cruces, a town 
a few miles higher up the Chagres River than Gor- 
gona. There I found an impecunious American who 
had taken the contract to furnish transportation for 
the regiment at a stipulated price per hundred pounds 
for the freight and so much for each saddle animal. 
But when we reached Cruces there was not a mule, 
either for pack or saddle, in the place. The con- 
tractor promised that the animals should be on hand 
in the morning. In the morning he said that they 
were on the way from some imaginary place, and 
would arrive in the course of the day. This went 
on until I saw that he could not procure the animals 



at all at the price he had promised to furnish them 
for. The unusual number of passengers that had 
come over on the steamer, and the large amount of 
freight to pack, had created an unprecedented de- 
mand for mules. Some of the passengers paid as 
high as forty dollars for the use of a mule to ride 
twenty-five miles, when the mule would not have sold 
for ten dollars in that market at other times. Mean- 
while the cholera had broken out, and men were dying 
every hour. To diminish the food for the disease, 
I permitted the company detailed with me to pro- 
ceed to Panama. The captain and the doctors ac- 
companied the men, and I was left alone with the 
sick and the soldiers who had families. The regi- 
ment at Panama was also affected with the disease ; 
but there were better accommodations for the well 
on the steamer, and a hospital, for those taken with 
the disease, on an old hulk anchored a mile off. 
There were also hospital tents on shore on the island 
of Flamingo, which stands in the bay. 

I was about a week at Cruces before transportation 
began to come in. About one-third of the people 
with me died, either at Cruces or on the way to 
Panama. There was no agent of the transportation 
company at Cruces to consult, or to take the respon- 
sibility of procuring transportation at a price which 
would secure it. I therefore myself dismissed the 
contractor and made a new contract with a native, 


at more than double the original price. Thus we 
finally reached Panama. The steamer, however, 
could not proceed •until the cholera abated, and the 
regiment was detained still longer. Altogether, on 
the Isthmus and on the Pacific side, we were delayed 
six weeks. About one-seventh of those who left New 
York harbor with the 4th infantry on the 5th of July, 
now lie buried on the Isthmus of Panama or on 
Flamingo island in Panama Bay. 

One amusing circumstance occurred while we were 
lying at anchor in Panama Bay. In the regiment 
there was a Lieutenant Slaughter who was very liable 
to sea-sickness. It almost made him sick to see the 
wave of a table-cloth when the servants were spreading 
it. Soon after his graduation. Slaughter was ordered 
to California and took passage by a sailing vessel 
going around Cape Horn. The vessel was seven 
months making the voyage, and Slaughter was sick 
every moment of the time, never more so than while 
lying at anchor after reaching his place of desti- 
nation. On landing in California he found orders 
which had come by the Isthmus, notifying him of 
a mistake in his assignment ; he should have been 
ordered to the northern lakes. He started back 
by the Isthmus route and was sick all the way. 
But when he arrived at the East he was again ordered 
to California, this time definitely, and at this date was 
making his third trip. He was as sick as ever, and had 



been so for more than a month while lying at anchor in 
the bay. I remember him well, seated with his elbows 
on the table in front of him, his chin between his 
hands, and looking the picture of despair. At last he 
broke out, '' I wish I had taken my fathers advice ; 
he wanted me to go into the navy ; if I had done so, 
I should not have had to go to sea so much. " Poor 
Slaughter ! it was his last sea voyage. He was kill- 
ed by Indians in Oregon 

By the last of August the cholera had so abated 
that it was deemed safe to start The disease did not 
break out again on the way to California, and we 
reached San Francisco early in September. 





SAN FRANCISCO at that day was a lively place. 
Gold, or placer digging as it was called, was at 
its height. Steamers plied daily between San Fran- 
cisco and both Stockton and Sacramento. Passengers 
and gold from the southern mines came by the Stock- 
ton boat; from the northern mines by Sacramento. In 
the evening when these boats arrived, Long Wharf — 


there was but one wharf in San Francisco in 1852 — was 
alive with people crowding to meet the miners as they 
came down to sell their '* dust" and to " have a time." 
Of these some were runners for hotels, boarding houses 
or restaurants ; others belonged to a class of impecu- 
nious adventurers, of good manners and good presence, 
who were ever on the alert to make the acquaint- 
ance of people with some ready means, in the hope of 
being asked to take a meal at a restaurant. Many 
were young men of good family, good education and 
gentlemanly instincts. Their parents had been able 
to support them during their minority, and to give 


them good educations, but not to maintain them 
afterwards. From 1849 ^^ '853 there was a rush of 
people to the Pacific coast, of the class described All 
thought that fortunes were to be picked up, with- 
out effort, in the gold fields on the Pacific. Some 
realized more than their most sanguine expectations ; 
but for one such there were hundreds disappointed, 
many of whom now fill unknown graves ; others died 
wrecks of their former selves, and many, without 
a vicious instinct, became criminals and outcasts. 
Many of the real scenes in early California life exceed 
in strangeness and interest any of the mere products 
of the brain of the novelist. 

Those early days in California brought out char- 
acter. It was a long way off then, and the journey 
was expensive. The fortunate could go by Cape 
Horn or by the Isthmus of Panama ; but the mass of 
pioneers crossed the plains with their ox-teams. This 
took an entire summer. They were very lucky when 
they got through with a yoke of worn-out cattle 
All other means were exhausted in procuring the 
outfit on the Missouri River. The immigrant, on ar- 
riving, found himself a stranger, in a strange land, 
far from friends. Time pressed, for the little means 
that could be realized from the sale of what was left 
of the outfit would not support a man long at Cali- 
fornia prices. Many became discouraged. Others 
would take off their coats and look for a job, no 


matter what it might be. These succeeded as a 
rule. There were many young men who had studied 
professions before they went to California, and who 
had never done a day s manual labor in their lives, 
who took in the situation at once and went to work 
to make a start at anything they could get to do. 
Some supplied carpenters and masons with mate- 
rial — carrying plank, brick, or mortar, as the case 
might be ; others drove stages, drays, or baggage 
wagons, until they could do better. More became 
discouraged early and spent their time looking up 
people who would "treat," or lounging about res- 
taurants and gambling houses where free lunches 
were furnished daily. They were welcomed at these 
places because they often brought in miners who 
proved good customers. 

My regiment spent a few weeks at Benicia bar- 
racks, and then was ordered to Fort Vancouver, on 
the Columbia River, then in Oregon Territory. Dur- 
ing the winter of 1852-3 the territory was divided, 
all north of the Columbia River being taken from 
Oregon to make Washington Territory. 

Prices for all kinds of supplies were so high on the 
Pacific coast from 1849 until at least 1853 — that it 
would have been impossible for officers of the army 
to exist upon their pay, if it had not been that author- 
ity was given them to purchase from the commissary 
such supplies as he kept, at New Orleans wholesale 


prices. A cook could not be hired for the pay of 
a captain. The cook could do better. At Benicia, in 
1852, flour was 25 cents per pound ; potatoes were 16 
cents ; beets, turnips and cabbage, 6 cents : onions, 
37/4 cents ; meat and other articles in proportion. In 
1853 at Vancouver vegetables were a little lower. I 
with three other officers concluded that we would 
raise a crop for ourselves, and by selling the surplus 
realize something handsome. I bought a pair of 
horses that had crossed the plains that summer and 
were very poor. They recuperated rapidly, however, 
and proved a good team to break up the ground 
with. I performed all the labor of breaking up the 
ground while the other officers planted the potatoes. 
Our crop was enormous. Luckily for us the Colum- 
bia River rose to a great height from the melting of 
the snow in the mountains in June, and overflowed 
and killed most of our crop. This saved digging it 
up, for everybody on the Pacific coast seemed to 
have come to the conclusion at the same time that 
agriculture would be profitable. In 1853 more 
than three-quarters of the potatoes raised were per- 
mitted to rot in the ground, or had to be thrown 
away. The only potatoes we sold were to our own 

While I was stationed on the Pacific coast we were 
free from Indian wars. There were quite a number 
of remnants of tribes in the vicinity of Portland in 


Oregon, and of Fort Vancouver in Washington Ter- 
ritory. They had generally acquired some of the 
vices of civilization, but none of the virtues, except 
in individual cases. The Hudson's Bay Company 
had held the North-west with their trading posts for 
many years before the United States was represented 
on the Pacific coast. They still retained posts along 
the Columbia River and one at Fort Vancouver, 
when I was there. Their treatment of the Indians 
had brought out the better qualities of the savages. 
Farming had been undertaken by the company to 
supply the I ndians with bread and vegetables ; they 
raised some cattle and horses ; and they had now 
taught the Indians to do the labor of the farm and 
herd. They always compensated them for their labor, 
and always gave them goods of uniform quality and 
at uniform price. 

Before the advent of the American, the medium of 
exchange between the Indian and the white man 
was pelts. Afterward it was silver coin. If an 
Indian received in the sale of a horse a fifty dollar 
gold piece, not an infrequent occurrence, the first 
thing he did was to exchange it for American half 
dollars. These he could count. He would then 
commence his purchases, paying for each article 
separately, as he got it. He would not trust any 
one to add up the bill and pay it all at once. At 
that day fifty dollar gold pieces, not the issue of the 


government, were common on the Pacific coast. 
They were called slugs. 

The Indians, along the lower Columbia as far as 
the Cascades and on the lower Willamette, died 
off very fast during the year I spent in that section ; 
for besides acquiring the vices of the white people 
they had acquired also their diseases. The measles 
and the small-pox were both amazingly fatal. In 
their wild state, before the appearance of the white 
man among them, the principal complaints they 
were subject to were those produced by long in- 
voluntary fasting, violent exercise in pursuit of 
game, and over-eating. Instinct more than reason 
had taught them a remedy for these ills. It was 
the steam bath. Something like a bake-oven was 
built, large enough to admit a man lying down. 
Bushes were stuck in the ground in two rows, about 
six feet long and some two or three feet apart ; 
other bushes connected the rows at one end. The 
tops of the bushes were drawn together to interlace, 
and confined in that position ; the whole was then 
plastered over with wet clay until every opening 
was filled. Just inside the open end of the oven 
the floor was scooped out so as to make a hole that 
would hold a bucket or two of water. These ovens 
were always built on the banks of a stream, a big 
spring, or pool of water. When a patient required 
a bath, a fire was built near the oven and a pile 


of Stones put upon it. The cavity at the front 
was then filled with water. When the stones were 
sufficiently heated, the patient would draw himself 
into the oven ; a blanket would be thrown over 
the open end, and hot stones put into the water 
until the patient could stand it no longer. He 
was then withdrawn from his steam bath and 
doused into the cold stream near by. This treat- 
ment may have answered with the early ailments of 
the Indians. With the measles or small-pox it 
would kill every time. 

During my year on the Columbia River, the small- 
pox exterminated one small remnant of a band of 
Indians entirely, and reduced others materially. I 
do not think there was a case of recovery among 
them, until the doctor with the Hudson Bay Com- 
pany took the matter in hand and established a 
hospital. Nearly every case he treated recovered. 
I never, myself, saw the treatment described in the 
preceding paragraph, but have heard it described 
by persons who have witnessed it The decimation 
among the Indians I knew of personally, and the 
hospital, established for their benefit, was a Hudson's 
Bay building not a stone's throw from my own 

The death of Colonel Bliss, of the Adjutant 
General's department, which occurred July 5th, 
1853, promoted me to the captaincy of a company 


then stationed at Humboldt Bay, California. The 
notice reached me in September of the same year, 
and I very soon started to join my new command. 
There was no way of reaching Humboldt at that 
time except to take passage on a San Francisco 
sailing vessel going after lumber. Red wood, a 
species of cedar, which on the Pacific coast takes 
the place filled by white pine in the East, then 
abounded on the banks of Humboldt Bay. There 
were extensive saw- mills engaged in preparing 
this lumber for the San Francisco market, and 
sailing vessels, used in getting it to market, fur- 
nished the only means of communication between 
Humboldt and the balance of the world.^ 

I was obliged to remain in San Francisco for sev- 
eral days before I found a vessel. This gave me a 
good opportunity of comparing the San Francisco of 
1852 with that of 1853. As before stated, there had 
been but one wharf in front of the city in 1852 — 
Long Wharf. In 1853 the town had grown out into 
the bay beyond what was the end of this wharf when 
I first saw it Streets and houses had been built 
out on piles where the year before the largest ves- 
sels visiting the port lay at anchor or tied to the 
wharf. There was no filling under the streets or 
houses. San Francisco presented the same gen- 
eral appearance as the year before ; that is, eating, 
drinking and gambling houses were conspicuous 


for their number and publicity. They were on the 
first floor, with doors wide open. At all hours of 
the day and night in walking the streets, the eye was 
regaled, on every block near the water front, by the 
sight of players at faro. Often broken places were 
found in the street, large enough to let a man down 
into the water below. I have but little doubt that 
many of the people who went to the Pacific coast in 
the early days of the gold excitement, and have 
never been heard from since, or who were heard 
from for a time and then ceased to write, found 
watery graves beneath the houses or streets built 
over San Francisco Bay. 

Besides the gambling in cards there was gambling 
on a larger scale in city lots. These were sold ** On 
Change," much as stocks are now sold on Wall 
Street. Cash, at time of purchase, was always paid 
by the broker ; but the purchaser had only to put up 
his margin. He was charged at the rate of two or 
three per cent, a month on the difference, besides 
commissions. The sand hills, some of them almost 
inaccessible to foot-passengers, were surveyed off and 
mapped into fifty vara lots — a vara being a Spanish 
yard. These were sold at first at very low prices, 
but were sold and resold for higher prices until they 
went up to many thousands of dollars. The brokers 
did a fine business, and so did many such purchasers 
as were sharp enough to quit purchasing before the 


final crash came. As the city grew, the sand hills 
back of the town furnished material for filling up the 
bay under the houses and streets, and still further 
out. The temporary houses, first built over the 
water in the harbor, soon gave way to more solid 
structures. The main business part of the city now 
is on solid ground, made where vessels of the largest 
class lay at anchor in the early days. I was in San 
Francisco again in 1854. Gambling houses had dis- 
appeared from public view. The city had become 
staid and orderly. 

Vol. I.— 14 




MY family, all this while, was at the East It con- 
sisted now of a wife and two children. I saw 
no chance of supporting them on the Pacific coast out 
of my pay as an army officer. I concluded, there- 
fore, to resign, and in March applied for a leave of 
absence until the end of the July following, tender- 
ing my resignation to take effect at the end of that 
time. I left the Pacific coast very much attached to 
it, and with the full expectation of making it my 
future home. That expectation and that hope re- 
mained uppermost in my mind until the Lieutenant- 
Generalcy bill was introduced into Congress in the 
winter of 1863-4. The passage of that bill, and my 
promotion, blasted my last hope of ever becoming a 
citizen of the further West. 

In the late summer of 1854 I rejoined my family, 
to find in it a son whom I had never seen, born 
while I was on the Isthmus of Panama. I was now 
to commence, at the age of thirty-two, a new struggle 
for our support. My wife had a farm near St. 


Louis, to which we went, but I had no means to 
stock it A house had to be built also. I worked 
very hard, never losing a day because of bad 
weather, and accomplished the object in a moderate 
way. If nothing else could be done I would load a 
cord of wood on a wagon and take it to the city for 
sale. I managed to keep along very well until 1858, 
when I was attacked by fever and ague. I had suf- 
fered very severely and for a long time from this 
disease, while a boy in Ohio. It lasted now over a 
year, and, while it did not keep me in the house, it 
did interfere greatly with the amount of work I was 
able to perform. In the fall of 1858 I sold out my 
stock, crops and farming utensils at auction, and 
gave up farming. 

In the winter I established a partnership with 
Harry Boggs, a cousin of Mrs. Grant, in the real 
estate agency business. I spent that winter at St 
Louis myself, but did not take my family into town 
until the spring. Our business might have become 
prosperous if I had been able to wait for it to grow. 
As it was, there was no more than one person could 
attend to, and not enough to support two families. 
While a citizen of St Louis and engaged in the real 
estate agency business, I was a candidate for the 
office of county engineer, an office of respectability 
and emolument which would have been very accept- 
able to me at that time. The incumbent was ap- 


pointed by the county court, which consisted of 
five members. My opponent had the advantage of 
birth over me (he was a citizen by adoption) and 
carried off the prize. I now withdrew from the co- 
partnership with Boggs, and, in May, i860, removed 
to Galena, Illinois, and took a clerkship in my 
father s store. 

While a citizen of Missouri, my first opportunity 
for casting a vote at a Presidential election occurred. 
I had been in the army from before attaining my 
majority and had thought but little about politics, 
although I was a Whig by education and a great 
admirer of Mr. Clay. But the Whig party had 
ceased to exist before I had an opportunity of exer- 
cising the privilege of casting a ballot ; the Know- 
Nothing party had taken its place, but was on the 
wane; and the Republican party was in a chaotic 
state and had not yet received a name. It had no 
existence in the Slave States except at points on the 
borders next to Free States. In St Louis City and 
County, what afterwards became the Republican 
party was known as the Free-Soil Democracy, led 
by the Honorable Frank P. Blair. Most of my 
neighbors had known me as an officer of the army 
with Whig proclivities. They had been on the same 
side, and, on the death of their party, many had be- 
come Know-Nothings, or members of the American 
party. There was a lodge near my new home, and 


I was invited to join it. I accepted the invitation ; 
was initiated ; attended a meeting just one week 
later, and never went to another afterwards. 

I have no apologies to make for having been one 
week a member of the American party ; for I still 
think native-born citizens of the United States 
should have as much protection, as many privileges 
in their native country, as those who voluntarily 
select it for a home. But all secret, oath-bound po- 
litical parties are dangerous to any nation, no matter 
how pure or how patriotic the motives and prin- 
ciples which first bring them together. No political 
party can or ought to exist when one of its corner- 
stones is opposition to freedom of thought and to 
the right to worship God ** according to the dictate 
of one's own conscience," or according to the creed 
of any religious denomination whatever. Neverthe- 
less, if a sect sets up its laws as binding above the 
State laws, wherever the two come in conflict this 
claim must be resisted and suppressed at whatever 

Up to the Mexican war there were a few out and 
out abolitionists, men who carried their hostility to 
slavery into all elections, from those for a justice of 
the peace up to the Presidency of the United States. 
They were noisy but not numerous. But the great 
majority of people at the North, where slavery did 
not exist, were opposed to the institution, and looked 


upon its existence in any part of the country as 
unfortunate. They did not hold the States where 
slavery existed responsible for it ; and believed that 
protection should be given to the right of property 
in slaves until some satisfactory way could be reached 
to be rid of the institution. Opposition to slavery 
was not a creed of either political party. In some 
sections more anti-slavery men belonged to the Dem- 
ocratic party, and in others to the Whigs. But with 
the inauguration of the Mexican war, in fact with 
the annexation of Texas, "the inevitable conflict" 

As the time for the Presidential election of 1856 
— the first at which I had the opportunity of voting — 
approached, party feeling began to run high. The 
Republican party was regarded in the South and the 
border States not only as opposed to the extension 
of slavery, but as favoring the compulsory abolition 
of the institution without compensation to the own- 
ers. The most horrible visions seemed to present 
themselves to the minds of people who, one would 
suppose, ought to have known better. Many edu- 
cated and, otherwise, sensible persons appeared to 
believe that emancipation meant social equality. 
Treason to the Government was openly advocated 
and was not rebuked. It was evident to my mind 
that the election of a Republican President in 1856 
meant the secession of all the Slave States, and re- 


bellion. Under these circumstances I preferred the 
success of a candidate whose election would preveAt 
or postpone secession, to seeing the country plunged 
into a war the end of which no man could foretell. 
With a Democrat elected by the unanimous vote of 
the Slave States, there could be no pretext for seces- 
sion for four years. I very much hoped that the 
passions of the people would subside in that time, 
and the catastrophe be averted altogether; if it 
was not, I believed the country would be better 
prepared to receive the shock and to resist it. I 
therefore voted for James Buchanan for President 
Four years later the Republican party was suc- 
cessful in electing its candidate to the Presidency. 
The civilized world has learned the consequence. 
Four millions of human beings held as chattels 
have been liberated ; the ballot has been given 
to them ; the free schools of the country have 
been opened to their children. The nation still lives, 
and the people are just as free to avoid social inti- 
macy with the blacks as ever they were, or as they 
are with white people. 

While living in Galena I was nominally only a 
clerk supporting myself and family on a stipulated 
salary. In reality my position was different. My 
father had never lived in Galena himself, but 
had established my two brothers there, the one next 
younger than myself in charge of the business, 


assisted by the youngest. When I went there it 
was my father's intention to give up all connection 
with the business himself, and to establish his three 
sons in it : but the brother who had really built up 
the business was sinking with consumption, and it 
was not thought best to make any change while he 
was in this condition. He lived until September, 
1 86 1, when he succumbed to that insidious disease 
which always flatters its victims into the belief that 
they are growing better up to the close of life. A 
more honorable man never transacted business. In 
September, 1861, I was engaged in an employment 
which required all my attention elsewhere. 

During the eleven months that I lived in Galena 
prior to the first call for volunteers, I had been 
strictly attentive to my business, and had made but 
few acquaintances other than customers and people 
engaged in the same line with myself. When the 
election took place in November, i860, I had not 
been a resident of Illinois long enough to gain citi- 
zenship and could not, therefore, vote. I was really 
glad of this at the time, for my pledges would have 
compelled me to vote for Stephen A. Douglas, who 
had no possible chance of election. The contest 
was really between Mr. Breckinridge and Mr. Lin- 
coln ; between minority rule and rule by the majority. 
I wanted, as between these candidates, to see Mr. 
Lincoln elected. Excitement ran high during the 


canvass, and torch-light processions enlivened the 
scene in the generally quiet streets of Galena many 
nights during the campaign. I did not parade with 
either party, but occasionally met with the ''wide 
awakes " — Republicans — in their rooms, and super- 
intended their drill. It was evident, from the 
time of the Chicago nomination to the close of 
the canvass, that the election of the Republican can- 
didate would be the signal for some of the Southern 
States to secede. I still had hopes that the four 
years which had elapsed since the first nomination of 
a Presidential candidate by a party distinctly opposed 
to slavery extension, had given time for the extreme 
pro-slavery sentiment to cool down ; for the South- 
erners to think well before they took the awful leap 
which they had so vehemently threatened. But I was 

The Republican candidate was elected, and solid 
substantial people of the North-west, and I presume 
the same order of people throughout the entire North, 
felt very serious, but determined, after this event. 
It was very much discussed whether the South would 
carry out its threat to secede and set up a separate 
government, the corner-stone of which should be, pro- 
tection to the ** Divine " institution of slavery. For 
there were people who believed in the *' divinity" of 
human slavery, as there are now people who believe 
Mormonism and Polygamy to be ordained by the 


Most High. We forgive them for entertaining such 
notions, but forbid their practice. It was generally 
believed that there would be a flurry ; that some of 
the extreme Southern States would go so far as to 
pass ordinances of secession. But the common im- 
pression was that this step was so plainly suicidal 
for the South, that the movement would not spread 
over much of the territory and would not last long. 

Doubtless the founders of our government, the 
majority of them at least, regarded the confederation 
of the colonies as an experiment Each colony con- 
sidered itself a separate government; that the confed- 
eration was for mutual protection against a foreign 
foe, and the prevention of strife and war among them- 
selves. If there had been a desire on the part of any 
single State to withdraw from the compact at any time 
while the number of States was limited to the original 
thirteen, I do not suppose there would have been any 
to contest the right, no matter how much the deter- 
mination might have been regretted. The problem 
changed on the ratification of the Constitution by all 
the colonies ; it changed still more when amendments 
were added ; and if the right of any one State to with- 
draw continued to exist at all after the ratification of 
the Constitution, it certainly ceased on the formation 
of new States, at least so far as the new States them- 
selves were concerned. It was never possessed at all 
by Florida or the States west of the Mississippi, all 


of which were purchased by the treasury of the entire 
nation. Texas and the territory brought into the 
Union in consequence of annexation, were purchased 
with both blood and treasure ; and Texas, with a do- 
main greater than that of any European state except 
Russia, was permitted to retain as state property all 
the public lands within its borders. It would have been 
ingratitude and injustice of the most flagrant sort for 
this State to withdraw from the Union after all that 
had been spent and done to introduce her ; yet, if sep- 
aration had actually occurred, Texas must necessarily 
have gone with the South, both on account of her 
institutions and her geographical position. Secession 
was illogical as well as impracticable ; it was revolution. 

Now, the right of revolution is an inherent one. 
When people are oppressed by their government, it 
is a natural right they enjoy to relieve themselves of 
the oppression, if they are strong enough, either by 
withdrawal from it, or by overthrowing it and sub- 
stituting a government more acceptable. But any 
people or part of a people who resort to this rem- 
edy, stake their lives, their property, and every claim 
for protection given by citizenship — on the issue. 
Victory, or the conditions imposed by the conqueror 
— must be the result. 

In the case of the war between the States it 
would have been the exact truth if the South had 
said, — ** We do not want to live with you Northern 


people any longer ; we know our institution of 
slavery is obnoxious to you, and, as you are grow- 
ing numerically stronger than we, it may at some 
time in the future be endangered. So long as you 
permitted us to control the government, and with 
the aid of a few friends at the North to enact laws 
constituting your section a g^ard against the escape 
of our property, we were willing to live with 
you. You have been submissive to our rule 
heretofore ; but it looks now as if you did not 
intend to continue so, and we will remain in the 
Union no longer." Instead of this the seceding 
States cried lustily, — '* Let us alone ; you have no 
constitutional power to interfere with us." News- 
papers and people at the North reiterated the cry. 
Individuals might ignore the constitution; but the 
Nation itself must not only obey it, but must enforce 
the strictest construction of that instrument; the 
construction put upon it by the Southerners them- 
selves. The fact is the constitution did not apply 
to any such contingency as the one existing from 
1 86 1 to 1865. Its framers never dreamed of such 
a contingency occurring. If they had foreseen it, 
the probabilities are they would have sanctioned the 
right of a State or States to withdraw rather than 
that there should be war between brothers. 

The framers were wise in their generation and 
wanted to do the very best possible to secure their 


own liberty and independence, and that also of 
their descendants to the latest days. It is pre- 
posterous to suppose that the people of one genera- 
tion can lay down the best and only rules of 
government for all who are to come after them, 
and under unforeseen contingencies. At the time 
of the framing of our constitution the only physi- 
cal forces that had been subdued and made to 
serve man and do his labor, were the currents in 
the streams and in the air we breathe. Rude 
machinery, propelled by water power, had been 
invented ; sails to propel ships upon the waters 
had been set to catch the passing breeze — but the 
application of steam to propel vessels against both 
wind and current, and machinery to do all manner 
of work had not been thought of. The instanta- 
neous transmission of messages around the world 
by means of electricity would probably at that day 
have been attributed to witchcraft or a league 
with the Devil. Immaterial circumstances had 
changed as greatly as material ones. We could 
not and ought not to be rigidly bound by the rules 
laid down under circumstances so different for emer- 
gencies so utterly unanticipated. The fathers them- 
selves would have been the first to declare that their 
prerogatives were not irrevocable. They would 
surely have resisted secession could they have lived 
to see the shape it assumed. 


I travelled through the Northwest considerably 
during the winter of 1 860-1. We had customers in 
all the little towns in south-west Wisconsin, south- 
east Minnesota and north-east Iowa. These gener- 
ally knew I had been a captain in the regular army 
and had served through the Mexican war. Conse- 
quently wherever I stopped at night, some of the 
people would come to the public-house where I was, 
and sit till a late hour discussing the probabilities of 
the future. My own views at that time were like 
those officially expressed by Mr. Seward at a later 
day, that " the war would be over in ninety days." I 
continued to entertain these views until after the 
battle of Shiloh. I believe now that there would 
have been no more battles at the West after the 
capture of Fort Donelson if all the troops in that 
region had been under a single commander who 
would have followed up that victory. 

There is little doubt in my mind now that the pre- 
vailing sentiment of the South would have been op- 
posed to secession in i860 and 1861, if there had 
been a fair and calm expression of opinion, unbiased 
by threats, and if the ballot of one legal voter had 
counted for as much as that of any other. But there 
was no calm discussion of the question. Demagogues 
who were too old to enter the army if there should 
be a war, others who entertained so high an opinion 
of their own ability that they did not believe they 


could be spared from the direction of the affairs of 
state in such an event, declaimed vehemently and 
unceasingly against the North ; against its aggressions 
upon the South ; its interference with Southern rights, 
etc., etc They denounced the Northerners as cow- 
ards, poltroons, negro-worshippers ; claimed that one 
Southern man was equal to five Northern men in 
battle ; that if the South would stand up for its rights 
the North would back down. Mr. Jefferson Davis 
said in a speech, delivered at La Grange, Mississippi, 
before the secession of that State, that he would 
agree to drink all the blood spilled south of Mason 
and Dixon's line if there should be a war. The 
young men who would have the fighting to do in 
case of war, believed all these statements, both in re- 
gard to the aggressiveness of the North and its cow- 
ardice. They, too, cried out for a separation from 
such people. The great bulk of the legal voters of 
the South were men who owned no slaves ; their 
homes were generally in the hills and poor country ; 
their facilities for educating their children, even up to 
the point of reading and writing, were very limited ; 
their interest in the contest was very meagre — what 
there was, if they had been capable of seeing it, was 
with the North ; they too needed emancipation. 
Under the old regime they were looked down upon 
by those who controlled all the affairs in the inter- 
est of slave owners, as poor white trash who were 


allowed the ballot so long as they cast it according 
to direction. 

I am aware that this last statement may be disput- 
ed and individual testimony perhaps adduced to show 
that in ante-bellum days the ballot was as untrammel- 
led in the South as in any section of the country ; but 
in the face of any such contradiction I reassert the 
statement. The shot-g^n was not resorted to. Mask- 
ed men did not ride over the country at night intim- 
idating voters ; but there was a firm feeling that a 
class existed in every State with a sort of divine right 
to control public afifairs. If they could not get this 
control by one means they must by another. The 
end justified the means. The coercion, if mild, was 

There were two political parties, it is true, in all 
the States, both strong in numbers and respect- 
ability, but both equally loyal to the institution 
which stood paramount in Southern eyes to all other 
institutions in state or nation. The slave-owners 
were the minority, but governed both parties. Had 
politics ever divided the slave-holders and the non- 
slave-holders, the majority would have been obliged 
to yield, or internecine war would have been the 
consequence. I do not know that the Southern 
people were to blame for this condition of affairs. 
There was a time when slavery was not profitable, 
and the discussion of the merits of the institution 


was confined almost exclusively to the territory 
where it existed. The States of Virginia and Ken- 
tucky came near abolishing slavery by their own 
acts, one State defeating the measure by a tie vote 
and the other only lacking one. But when the insti- 
tution became profitable, all talk of its abolition 
ceased where it existed; and naturally, as human 
nature is constituted, arguments were adduced in its 
support The cotton-gin probably had much to do 
with the justification of slavery. 

The winter of 1 860-1 will be remembered by 
middle-aged people of to-day as one of great excite- 
ment South Carolina promptly seceded after the 
result of the Presidential election was known. 
Other Southern States proposed to follow. In some 
of them the Union sentiment was so strong that it 
had to be suppressed by force. Maryland, Dela- 
ware, Kentucky and Missouri, all Slave States, 
failed to pass ordinances of secession ; but they 

were all represented in the so-called congress of the 
so-called Confederate States. The Governor and 
Lieutenant-Governor of Missouri, in 1861, Jack- 
son and Reynolds, were both supporters of the 
rebellion and took refuge with the enemy. The 
governor soon died, and the lieutenant-governor 
assumed his office ; issued proclamations as gov- 
ernor of the State ; was recognized as such by the 
Confederate Government, and continued his preten- 

VOL. I.- 15 


sions until the collapse of the rebellion. The South 
claimed the sovereignty of States, but claimed 
the right to coerce into their confederation such 
States as they wanted, that is, all the States where 
slavery existed. They did not seem to think this 
course inconsistent. The fact is, the Southern slave- 
owners believed that, in some way, the ownership of 
slaves conferred a sort of patent of nobility — a right 
to govern independent of the interest or wishes of 
those who did not hold such property. They con- 
vinced themselves, first, of the divine origin of the 
institution and, next, that that particular institution 
was not safe in the hands of any body of legislators 
but themselves. 

Meanwhile the Administration of President Bu- 
chanan looked helplessly on and proclaimed that 
the general government had no power to interfere ; 
that the Nation had no power to save its own life. 
Mr. Buchanan had in his cabinet two members at 
least, who were as earnest — to use a mild term — in 
the cause of secession as Mr. Davis or any South- 
ern statesman. One of them, Floyd, the Secretary 
of War, scattered the army so that much of it could 
be captured when hostilities should commence, and 
distributed the cannon and small arms from Northern 
arsenals throughout the South so as to be on hand 
when treason wanted them. The navy was scat- 
tered in like manner. The President did not pre- 


vent his cabinet preparing for war upon their gov- 
ernment, either by destroying its resources or stor- 
ing them in the South until a de facto government 
was established with Jefferson Davis as its President, 
and Montgomery, Alabama, as the Capital. The 
secessionists had then to leave the cabinet. In their 
own estimation they were aliens in the country which 
had given them birth. Loyal men were put into 
their places. Treason in the executive branch of the 
government was estopped. But the harm had al- 
ready been done. The stable door was locked after 
the horse had been stolen. 

During all of the trying winter of 1 860-1, when 
the Southerners were so defiant that they would not 
allow within their borders the expression of a sen- 
timent hostile to their views, it was a brave man 
indeed who could stand up and proclaim his loyalty 
to the Union. On the other hand men at the North 
— prominent men — proclaimed that the government 
had no power to coerce the South into submission 
to the laws of the land; that if the North under- 
took to raise armies to go south, these armies would 
have to march over the dead bodies of the speakers. A 
portion of the press of the North was constantly pro- 
claiming similar views. When the time arrived for 
the President-elect to go to the capital of the Nation 
to be sworn into office, it was deemed unsafe for him 
to travel, not only as a President-elect, but as any 


private citizen should be allowed to do. Instead of 
going in a special car, receiving the good wishes of 
his constituents at all the stations along tlie road, he 
was obliged to stop on the way and to be smuggled 
into the capital. He disappeared from public view 
on his journey, and the next the country knew, his 
arrival was announced at the capital. There is little 
doubt that he would have been assassinated if he had 
attempted to travel openly throughout his journey. 





THE 4th of March, 1861, came, and Abraham Lin- 
coin was sworn to maintain the Union against 
all its enemies. The secession of one State after 
another followed, until eleven had gone out. On the 
nth of April Fort Sumter, a National fort in the har- 
bor of Charleston, South Carolina, was fired upon 
by the Southerners and a few days after was captured. 
The Confederates proclaimed themselves aliens, and 
thereby debarred themselves of all right to claim pro- 
tection under the Constitution of the United States. 
We did not admit the fact that they were aliens, but 
all the same, they debarred themselves of the right 
to expect better treatment than people of any other 
foreign state who make war upon an independent 
nation. Upon the firing on Sumter President Lin- 
coln issued his first call for troops and soon after a 
proclamation convening Congress in extra session. 
The call was for 75,000 volunteers for ninety days' 


service. If the shot fired at Fort Sumter "was 
heard around the world," the call of the President for 
75,000 men was heard throughout the Northern States. 
There was not a state in the North of a million of 
inhabitants that would not have furnished the entire 
number faster than arms could have been supplied 
to them, if it had been necessary. 

As soon as the news of the call for volunteers 
reached Galena, posters were stuck up calling for a 
meeting of the citizens at the court-house in the even- 
ing. Business ceased entirely; all was excitement; 
for a time there were no party distinctions ; all were 
Union men, determined to avenge the insult to the 
national flag. In the evening the court-house was 
packed. Although a comparative stranger I was call- 
ed upon to preside ; the sole reason, possibly, was that 
I had been in the army and had seen service. With 
much embarrassment and some prompting I made out 
to announce the object of the meeting. Speeches 
were in order, but it is doubtful whether it would have 
been safe just then to make other than patriotic ones. 
There was probably no one in the house, however, 
who felt like making any other. The two principal 
speeches were by B. B. Howard, the post-master and 
a Breckinridge Democrat at the November election 
the fall before, and John A. Rawlins, an elector on 
the Douglas ticket. E. B. Washburne, with whom I 
was not acquainted at that time, came in after the 


meeting had been organized, and expressed, I under- 
stood afterwards, a little surprise that Galena could 
not furnish a presiding ofBcer for such an occasion 
without taking a stranger. He came forward and 
was introduced, and made a speech appealing to the 
patriotism of the meeting. 

After the speaking was over volunteers were called 
for to form a company. The quota of Illinois had 
been fixed at six regiments ; and it was supposed that 
one company would be as much as would be accepted 
from Galena. The company was raised and the 
officers and non-commissioned officers elected before 
the meeting adjourned. I declined the captaincy 
before the balloting, but announced that I would aid 
the company in every way I could and would be 
found in the service in some position if there should 
be a war. I never went into our leather store after 
that meeting, to put up a package or do other business. 

The ladies of Galena were quite as patriotic as the 
men. They could not enlist, but they conceived the 
idea of sending their first company to the field uni- 
formed. They came to me to get a description of the 
United States uniform for infantry ; subscribed and 
bought the material ; procured tailors to cut out the 
garments, and the ladies made them up. In a few 
days the company was in uniform and ready to report 
at the State capital for assignment The men all turn- 
ed out the morning after their enlistment, and I took 


charge, divided them into squads and superintended 
their drill. When they were ready to go to Spring- 
field I went with them and remained there until they 
were assigned to a regiment 

There were so many more volunteers than had been 
called for that the question whom to accept was quite 
embarrassing to the governor, Richard Yates. The 
legislature was in session at the time, however, and 
came to his relief. A law was enacted authorizing 
the governor to accept the services of ten additional 
regiments, one from each congressional district, for 
one month, to be paid by the State, but pledged to go 
into the service of the United States if there should 
be a further call during their term. Even with this 
relief the governor was still very much embarrassed. 
Before the war was over he was like the President 
when he was taken with the varioloid : '* at last he had 
something he could give to all who wanted it." 

In time the Galena company was mustered into the 
United States service, forming a part of the nth 
Illinois volunteer infantry. My duties, I thought, 
had ended at Springfield, and I was prepared to start 
home by the evening train, leaving at nine o'clock. 
Up to that time I do not think I had been introduced 
to Governor Yates, or had ever spoken to him. I 
knew him by sight, however, because he was living 
at the same hotel and I often saw him at table. 
The evening I was to quit the capital I left the 


supper room before the governor and was standing 
at the front door when he came out He spoke to 
me, calling me by my old army title " Captain/' and 
said he understood that I was about leaving the 
city. I answered that I was. He said he would 
be glad if I would remain over-night and call at 
the Executive office the next morning. I complied 
with his request, and was asked to go into the Ad- 
jutant-General's office and render such assistance 
as I could, the governor saying that my army ex- 
perience would be of great service there. I accept- 
ed the proposition. 

My old army experience I found indeed of very 
great service. I was no clerk, nor had I any capac- 
ity to become one. The only place I ever found in 
my life to put a paper so as to find it again was 
either a side coat-pocket or the hands of a clerk or 
secretary more careful than myself. But I had been 
quartermaster, commissary and adjutant in the 
field. The army forms were familiar to me and I 
could direct how they should be made out. There 
was a clerk in the office of the Adjutant-General 
who supplied my deficiencies. The ease with which 
the State of Illinois settled its accounts with the 
government at the close of the war is evidence of 
the efficiency of Mr. Loomis as an accountant on a 
large scale. He remained in the office until that 


As I have stated, the legislature authorized the 
governor to accept the services of ten additional regi- 
ments. I had charge of mustering these regiments 
into the State service. They were assembled at 
the most convenient railroad centres in their re- 
spective congressional districts. I detailed officers 
to muster in a portion of them, but mustered three 
in the southern part of the State myself. One of 
these was to assemble at Belleville, some eighteen 
miles south-east of St. Louis. When I got there I 
found that only one or two companies had arrived. 
There was no probability of the regiment coming to- 
gether under five days. This gave me a few idle 
days which I concluded to spend in St. Louis. 

There was a considerable force of State militia at 
Camp Jackson, on the outskirts of St. Louis, at the 
time. There is but little doubt that it was the de- 
sign of Governor Claiborn Jackson to have these 
troops ready to seize the United States arsenal and 
the city of St. Louis. Why they did not do so I do 
not know. There was but a small garrison, two 
companies I think, under Captain N. Lyon at the 
arsenal, and but for the timely services of the Hon. 
F. P. Blair, I have little doubt that St Louis would 
have gone into rebel hands, and with it the arsenal 
with all its arms and ammunition. 

Blair was a leader among the Union men of St. 
Louis in 1861. There was no State government in 


Missouri at the time that would sanction the raising 
of troops or commissioned officers to protect United 
States property, but Blair had probably procured 
some form of authority from the President to raise 
troops in Missouri and to muster them into the ser- 
vice of the United States. At all events, he did 
raise a regiment and took command himself as Col- 
onel With this force he reported to Captain Lyon 
and placed himself and regiment under his orders. 
It was whispered that Lyon thus reinforced intended 
to break up Camp Jackson and capture the militia. 
I went down to the arsenal in the morning to see 
the troops start out I had known Lyon for two 
years at West Point and in the old army afterwards. 
Blair I knew very well by sight. I had heard him 
speak in the canvass of 1858, possibly several times, 
but I had never spoken to him. As the troops 
marched out of the enclosure around the arsenal, 
Blair was on his horse outside forming them into 
line preparatory to their march. I introduced my- 
self to him and had a few moments* conversation 
and expressed my sympathy with his purpose. This 
was my first personal acquaintance with the Honor- 
able — afterwards Major-General F. P. Blair. Camp 
Jackson surrendered without a fight and the gar- 
rison was marched down to the arsenal as prisoners 
of war. 

Up to this time the enemies of the government in 


St. Louis had been bold and defiant, while Union 
men were quiet but determined. The enemies had 
their head-quarters in a central and public position 
on Pine Street, near Fifth — from which the rebel flag 
was flaunted boldly. The Union men had a place of 
meeting somewhere in the city, I did not know 
where, and I doubt whether they dared to enrage 
the enemies of the government by placing the na- 
tional flag outside their head-quarters. As soon 
as the news of the capture of Camp Jackson reached 
the city the condition of affairs was changed. 
Union men became rampant, aggressive, and, if you 
will, intolerant They proclaimed their sentiments 
boldly, and were impatient at anything like disrespect 
for the Union. The secessionists became quiet but 
were filled with suppressed rage. They had been 
playing the bully. The Union men ordered the 
rebel flag taken down from the building on Pine 
Street. The command was given in tones of author- 
ity and it was taken down, never to be raised again 
in St. Louis. 

I witnessed the scene. I had heard of the sur- 
render of the camp and that the garrison was on its 
way to the arsenal. I had seen the troops start out 
in the morning and had wished them success. I 
now determined to go to the arsenal and await their 
arrival and congratulate them. I stepped on a car 
standing at the corner of 4th and Pine streets, and 


saw a crowd of people standing quietly in front of 
the head-quarters, who were there for the purpose of 
hauling down the flag. There were squads of other 
people at intervals down the street They too were 
quiet but filled with suppressed rage, and muttered 
their resentment at the insult to, what they called, 
"their" flag. Before the car I was in had started, a 
dapper little fellow — he would be called a dude at 
this day — stepped in. He was in a great state of 
excitement and used adjectives freely to express his 
contempt for the Union and for those who had just 
perpetrated such an outrage upon the rights of a 
free people. There was only one other passenger 
in the car besides myself when this young man en- 
tered. He evidently expected to find nothing but 
sympathy when he got away from the ** mud sills " 
engaged in compelling a *' free people " to pull down 
a flag they adored. He turned to me saying: 

" Things have come to a pretty pass when a free 

people can't choose their own flag. Where I came 
from if a man dares to say a word in favor of 
the Union we hang him to a limb of the first tree 
we come to." I replied that "after all we were 
not so intolerant in St Louis as we might be ; I 
had not seen a single rebel hung yet, nor heard 
of one ; there were plenty of them who ought to 
be, however." The j^oung man subsided. He was 
so crestfallen that I believe if I had ordered him 


to leave the car he would have gone quietly out, 
saying to himself : " More Yankee oppression." 

By nightfall the late defenders of Camp Jackson 
were all within the walls of the St. Louis arsenal, 
prisoners of war. The next day I left St. Louis for 
Mattoon, Illinois, where I was to muster in the regi- 
ment from that congressional district This was the 
2 1st Illinois infantry, the regiment of which I sub- 
sequently became colonel. I mustered one regi- 
ment afterwards, when my services for the State 
were about closed. 

Brigadier-General John Pope was stationed at 
Springfield, as United States mustering officer, all 
the time I was in the State service. He was a 
native of Illinois and well acquainted with most of 
the prominent men in the State. I was a carpet- 
bagger and knew but few of them. While I was on 
duty at Springfield the senators, representatives in 
Congress, ex-governors and the State legislators 
were nearly all at the State capital. The only ac- 
quaintance I made among them was with the gov- 
ernor, whom I was serving, and, by chance, with 
Senator S. A. Douglas. The only members of 
Congress I knew were Washburne and Philip Foulk. 
With the former, though he represented my district 
and we were citizens of the same town, I only be- 
came acquainted at the meeting when the first com- 
pany of Galena volunteers was raised. Foulk I had 


known in St. Louis when I was a citizen of that 
city. I had been three years at West Point with 
Pope and had served with him a short time during 
the Mexican war» under General Taylor. I saw a 
good deal of him during my service with the State. 
On one occasion he said to me that I ought to go 
into the United States service. I told him I in- 
tended to do so if there was a war. He spoke of 
his acquaintance with the public men of the State, 
and said he could get them to recommend me for a 
position and that he would do all he could for me. 
I declined to receive endorsement for permission 
to fight for my country. 

Going home for a day or two soon after this con- 
versation with General Pope, I wrote from Galena 
the following letter to the Adjutant-General of the 

Galkna, Ilunois, 

May 24, 1861. 
Cou L. Thomas, 

Adjt. Gen. U. S. A., 

Washington, D. C. 

Sir : — Having served for fifteen years in the regular army, 
including four years at West Point, and feeling it the duty of 
every one who has been educated at the Government expense to 
oflFer their services for the support of that Government, I have 
the honor, very respectfully, to tender my services, until the close 
of the war, in such capacity as may be offered. I would say, in 
view of my present age and length of service, I feel myself com- 
petent to command a regiment, if the President, in his judgment, 
should see fit to intnist one to me 


Since the first call of the President I have been serving on the 

staff of the Governor of this State, rendering such aid as I could 

in the organization of our State militia, and am still engaged in 

that capacity. A letter addressed to me at Springfield, Illinois, 

will reach me. 

I am very respectfully, 

Your obt svt., 


This letter failed to elicit an answer from the 
Adjutant-General of the Army. I presume it was 
hardly read by him, and certainly it could not have 
been submitted to higher authority. Subsequent to 
the war General Badeau having heard of this letter 
applied to the War Department for a copy of it. 
The letter could not be found and no one recol- 
lected ever having seen it I took no copy when 
it was written. Long after the application of Gen- 
eral Badeau, General Townsend, who had become 
Adjutant-General of the Army, while packing up 
papers preparatory to the removal of his office, 
found this letter in some out-of-the-way place. It 
had not been destroyed, but it had not been regu- 
larly filed away. 

I felt some hesitation in suggesting rank as high 
as the colonelcy of a regiment, feeling somewhat 
doubtful whether I would be equal to the position. 
But I had seen nearly every colonel who had been 
mustered in from the State of Illinois, and some 
from Indiana, and felt that if they could com- 


mand a regiment properly, and with credit, I could 

Having but little to do after the muster of the 
last of the regiments authorized by the State legis- 
lature, I asked and obtained of the governor leave 
of absence for a week to visit my parents in Cov- 
ington, Kentucky, immediately opposite Cincinnati. 
General McClellan had been made a major-general 
and had his headquarters at Cincinnati In reality 
I wanted to see him. I had known him slightly at 
West Point, where we served one year together, 
and in the Mexican war. I was in hopes that when 
he saw me he would offer me a position on his 
staff. I called on two successive days at his office 
but failed to see him on either occasion, and re- 
turned to Springfield. 

Vol. I. — 16 





WHILE I was absent from the State capital on 
this occasion the President's second call for 
troops was issued. This time it was for 300,000 men, 
for three years or the war. This brought into the 
United States service all the regim'ents then in the 
State service. These had elected their officers from 
highest to lowest and were accepted with their organi- 
zations as they were, except in two instances. A Chi- 
cago regiment, the 19th infantry, had elected a very 
young man to the colonelcy. When it came to taking 
the field the regiment asked to have another appointed 
colonel and the one they had previously chosen 
made lieutenant colonel. The 21st regiment of in- 
fantr)^ mustered in by me at Mattoon, refused to 
go into the service with the colonel of their selection 
in any position. While I was still absent Governor 
Yates appointed me colonel of this latter regiment. 


A few days after I was in charge of it and in camp 
on the fair grounds near Springfield. 

My regiment was composed in large part of young 
men of as good social position as any in their sec- 
tion of the State. It embraced the sons of farmers, 
lawyers, physicians, politicians, merchants, bankers 
and ministers, and some men of maturer years who 
had filled such positions themselves. There were 
also men in it who could be led astray; and the 
colonel, elected by the votes of the regiment, had 
proved to be fully capable of developing all there 
was in his men of recklessness. It was said that he 
even went so far at times as to take the guard from 
their posts and go with them to the village near by 
and make a night of it. When there came a pros- 
pect of battle the regiment wanted to have some 
one else to lead them. I found it very hard work 
for a few days to bring all the men into anything 
like subordination ; but the great majority favored 
discipline, and by the application of a little regular 
army punishment qll were reduced to as good dis- 
cipline as one could ask. 

The ten regiments which had volunteered in the 
State service for thirty days, it will be remembered, 
had done so with a pledge to go into the National 
service if called upon within that time. When 
they volunteered the government had only called 
for ninety days' enlistments. Men were called now 


for three years or the war. They felt that this 
change of period released them from the obligation 
of re-volunteering. When I was appointed colonel, 
the 2 1 St regiment was still in the State service. 
About the time they were to be mustered into the 
United States service, such of them as would go, 
two members of Congress from the State, Mc- 
Clernand and Logan, appeared at the capital and 
I was introduced to them. I had never seen either 
of them before, but I had read a great deal about 
them, and particularly about Logan, in the news- 
papers. Both were democratic members of Con- 
gress, and Logan had been elected from the south- 
ern district of the State, where he had a majority of 
eighteen thousand over his Republican competitor. 
His district had been settled originally by people 
from the Southern States, and at the breaking out of 
secession they sympathized with the South. At 
the first outbreak of war some of them joined the 
Southern army ; many others were preparing to do 
so ; others rode over the country at night denounc- 
ing the Union, and made it as necessary to guard 
railroad bridges over which National troops had to 
pass in southern Illinois, as it was in Kentucky or 
any of the border slave states. Logan's popularity 
in this district was unbounded. He knew almost 
enough of the people in it by their Christian names, 
to form an ordinary congressional district. As he 


went in politics, so his district was sure to go. The 
Republican papers had been demanding that he 
should announce where he stood on the questions 
which at that time engrossed the whole of public 
thought. Some were very bitter in their denun- 
ciations of his silence. Logan was not a man to be 
coerced into an utterance by threats. He did, how- 
ever, come out in a speech before the adjournment 
of the special session of Congress which was 
convened by the President soon after his inaugura- 
tion, and announced his undying loyalty and devo- 
tion to the Union. But I had not happened to see 
that speech, so that when I first met Logan my im- 
pressions were those formed from reading denun- 
ciations of him. McClernand, on the other hand, had 
early taken strong grounds for the maintenance of 
the Union and had been praised accordingly by the 
Republican papers. The gentlemen who presented 
these two members of Congress asked me if I would 
have any objections to their addressing my regiment. 
I hesitated a little before answering. It was but a 
few days before the time set for mustering into the 
United States service such of the men as were will- 
ing to volunteer for three years or the war. I had 
some doubt as to the effect a speech from Logan 
might have ; but as he was with McClernand, whose 
sentiments on the all-absorbing questions of the 
day were well known, I gave my consent. Mc- 


demand spoke first ; and Logan followed in a 
speech which he has hardly equalled since for force 
and eloquence. It breathed a loyalty and devotion 
to the Union which inspired my men to such a point 
that they would have volunteered to remain in the 
army as long as an enemy of the country continued 
to bear arms against it They entered the United 
States service almost to a man. 

General Logan went to his part of the State and 
gave his attention to raising troops. The very men 
who at first made it necessary to guard the roads in 
southern Illinois became the defenders of the Union. 
Logan entered the service himself as colonel of a 
regiment and rapidly rose to the rank of major-gen- 
eral. His district, which had promised at first to 
give much trouble to the government, filled every 
call made upon it for troops, without resorting to 
the draft. There was no call made when there were 
not more volunteers than were asked for. That 
congressional district stands credited at the War 
Department to-day with furnishing more men for 
the army than it was called on to supply. 

I remained in Springfield with my regiment until 
the 3d of July, when I was ordered to Quincy, Illinois. 
By that time the regiment was in a good state of dis- 
cipline and the officers and men were well up in the 
company drill. There was direct railroad commu- 
nication between Springfield and Quincy, but I 


thought it would be good preparation for the troops 
to march there. We had no transportation for our 
camp and garrison equipage, so wagons were hired 
for the occasion and on the 3d of July we started. 
There was no hurry, but fair marches were made 
every day until the Illinois River was crossed. 
There I was overtaken by a dispatch saying that 
the destination of the regiment had been changed to 
Ironton, Missouri, and ordering me to halt where I 
was and await the arrival of a steamer which had 
been dispatched up the Illinois River to take the 
regiment to St. Louis. The boat, when it did come, 
grounded on a sand-bar a few miles below where we 
were in camp. We remained there several days 
waiting to have the boat get off the bar, but before 
this occurred news came that an Illinois regiment was 
surrounded by rebels at a point on the Hannibal 
and St. Joe Railroad some miles west of Palmyra, 
in Missouri, and I was ordered to proceed with all 
dispatch to their relief. We took the cars and 
reached Quincy in a few hours. 

When I left Galena for the last time to take com- 
mand of the 2 1 St regiment I took with me my oldest 
son, Frederick D. Grant, then a lad of eleven years 
of age. On receiving the order to take rail for 
Quincy I wrote to Mrs. Grant, to relieve what I sup- 
posed would be her great anxiety for one so young 
going into danger, that I would send Fred home 


from Quincy by river. I received a prompt letter 
in reply decidedly disapproving my proposition, and 
urging that the lad should be allowed to accompany 
me. It came too late. Fred was already on his 
way up the Mississippi bound for Dubuque, Iowa, 
from which place there was a railroad to Galena. 

My sensations as we approached what I supposed 
might be **a field of battle" were anything but 
agreeable. I had been in all the engagements in 
Mexico that it was possible for one person to be in ; 
but not in command. If some one else had been 
colonel and I had been lieutenant-colonel I do not 
think I would have felt any trepidation. Before 
we were prepared to cross the Mississippi River at 
Quincy my anxiety was relieved ; for the men of the 
besieged regiment came straggling into town. I 
am inclined to think both sides got frightened and 
ran away. 

I took my regiment to Palmyra and remained 
there for a few days, until relieved by the 19th Illinois 
infantr>\ From Palmyra I proceeded to Salt River, 
the railroad bridge over which had been destroyed 
by the enemy. Colonel John M. Palmer at that 
time commanded the 13th Illinois, which was acting 
as a guard to workmen who were engaged in re- 
building this bridge. Palmer was my senior and 
commanded the two regiments as long as we re- 
mained together. The bridge was finished in about 


two weeks, and I received orders to move against 
Colonel Thomas Harris, who was said to be en- 
camped at the little town of Florida, some twenty- 
five miles south of where we then were. 

At the time of which I now write we had no 
transportation and the country about Salt River 
was sparsely settled, so that it took some days to 
collect teams and drivers enough to move the camp 
and garrison equipage of a regiment nearly a thou- 
sand strong, together with a week's supply of pro- 
vision and some ammunition. While preparations 
for the move were going on I felt quite comfortable ; 
but when we got on the road and found every house 
deserted I was anything but easy. In the twenty- 
five miles we had to march we did not see a per- 
son, old or young, male or female, except two horse- 
men who were on a road that crossed ours. As 
soon as they saw us they decamped as fast as their 
horses could carry them. I kept my men in the 
ranks and forbade their entering any of the deserted 
houses or taking anything from them. We halted 
at night on the road and proceeded the next morn- 
ing at an early hour. Harris had been encamped in 
a creek bottom for the sake of being near water. 
The hills on either side of the creek extend to a 
considerable height, possibly more than a hundred 
feet. As we approached the brow of the hill from 
which it was expected we could see Harris' camp. 


and possibly find his men ready formed to meet us, 
my heart kept getting higher and higher until it 
felt to me as though it was in my throat I would 
have given anything then to have been back in Illi- 
nois, but I had not the moral courage to halt and 
consider what to do ; I kept right on. When we 
reached a point from which the valley below was in 
full view I halted The place where Harris had 
been encamped a few days before was still there 
and the marks of a recent encampment were plainly 
visible, but the troops were gone. My heart re- 
sumed its place. It occurred to me at once that 
Harris had been as much afraid of me as I had 
been of him. This was a view of the question I 
had never taken before ; but it was one I never 
forgot afterwards. From that event to the close 
of the war, I never experienced trepidation upon 
confronting an enemy, though I always felt more 
or less anxiety. I never forgot that he had as 
much reason to fear my forces as I had his. The 
lesson was valuable. 

Inquiries at the village of Florida divulged the 
fact that Colonel Harris, learning of my intended 
movement, while my transportation was being col- 
lected took time by the forelock and left Florida 
before I had started from Salt River. He had in- 
creased the distance between us by forty miles. The 
next day I started back to my old camp at Salt River 


bridge. The citizens living on the line of our march 
had returned to their houses after we passed, and 
finding everything in good order, nothing carried 
away, they were at their front doors ready to greet 
us now. They had evidently been led to believe 
that the National troops carried death and devasta- 
tion with them wherever they went. 

In a short time after our return to Salt River 
bridge I was ordered with my regiment to the town 
of Mexico. General Pope was then commanding the 
district embracing all of the State of Missouri between 
the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, with his head- 
quarters in the village of Mexico. I was assigned 
to the command of a sub-district embracing the 
troops in the immediate neighborhood, some three 
regiments of infantry and a section of artillery. 
There was one regiment encamped by the side of 
mine. I assumed command of the whole and the 
first night sent the commander of the other regiment 
the parole and countersign. Not wishing to be out- 
done in courtesy, he immediately sent me the counter- 
sign for his regiment for the night. When he was 
informed that the countersign sent to him was for 
use with his regiment as well as mine, it was difficult 
to make him understand that this was not an unwar- 
ranted interference of one colonel over another. 
No doubt he attributed it for the time to the pre- 
sumption of a graduate of West Point over a volun- 


teer pure and simple. But the question was soon 
settled and we had no further trouble. 

My arrival in Mexico had been preceded by that 
of two or three regiments in which proper discipline 
had not been maintained, and the men had been in 
the habit of visiting houses without invitation and 
helping themselves to food and drink, or demanding 
them from the occupants. They carried their mus- 
kets while out of camp and made every man they 
found take the oath of allegiance to the government 
I at once published orders prohibiting the soldiers 
from going into private houses unless invited by the 
inhabitants, and from appropriating private property 
to their own or to government uses. The people 
were no longer molested or made afraid. I received 
the most marked courtesy from the citizens of Mex- 
ico as long as I remained there. 

Up to this time my regiment had not been carried 
in the school of the soldier beyond the company 
drill, except that it had received some training on 
the march from Springfield to the Illinois River. 
There was now a good opportunity of exercising it 
in the battalion drill. While I was at West Point 
the tactics used in the army had been Scott's and 
the musket the flint lock. I had never looked at a 
copy of tactics from the time of my graduation. 
My standing in that branch of studies had been near 
the foot of the class. In the Mexican war in the 
summer of 1846, I had been appointed regimental 


quartermaster and commissary and had not been at 
a battalion drill since. The arms had been changed 
since then and Hardee's tactics had been adopted. 
I got a copy of tactics and studied one lesson, 
intending to confine the exercise of the first day to 
the commands I had thus learned. By pursuing this 
course from day to day I thought I would soon get 
through the volume. 

We were encamped just outside of town on the 
common, among scattering suburban houses with 
enclosed gardens, and when I got my regiment 
in line and rode to the front I soon saw that if I 
attempted to follow the lesson I had studied I would 
have to clear away some of the houses and garden 
fences to make room. I perceived at once, however, 
that Hardee's tactics — a mere translation from the 
French with Hardee's name attached — was nothing 
more than common sense and the progress of the 
age applied to Scott's system. The commands 
were abbreviated and the movement expedited. 
Under the old tactics almost every change in the 
order of march was preceded by a "halt," then 
came the change, and then the " forward march." 
With the new tactics all these changes could be made 
while in motion. I found no trouble in giving com- 
mands that would take my regiment where I wanted 
it to go and carry it around all obstacles. I do not 
believe that the officers of the regiment ever discov- 
ered that I had never studied the tactics that I used. 





I HAD not been in Mexico many weeks when, 
reading a St. Louis paper, I found the President 
had asked the Illinois delegation in Congress to 
recommend some citizens of the State for the position 
of brigadier-general, and that they had unanimously 
recommended me as first on a list of seven. I was 
very much surprised because, as I have said, my 
acquaintance with the Congressmen was very limited 
and I did not know of anything I had done to inspire 
such confidence. The papers of the next day an- 
nounced that my name, with three others, had been 
sent to the Senate, and a few days after our confir- 
mation was announced. 

When appointed brigadier - general I at once 
thought it proper that one of my aides should 
come from the regiment I had been commanding, 
and so selected Lieutenant C. B. Lagow. While liv- 
ing in St. Louis, I had had a desk in the law office 


of McCIellan, Moody and Hillyen Difference in 
views between the members of the firm on the ques- 
tions of the day, and general hard times in the bor- 
der cities, had broken up this firm. Hillyer was 
quite a young man, then in his twenties, and very 
brilliant I asked him to accept a place on my 
sta£f. I also wanted to take one man from my new 
home. Galena. The canvass in the Presidential 
campaign the fall before had brought out a young 
lawyer by the name of John A. Rawlins, who 
proved himself one of the ablest speakers in the 
State. He was also a candidate for elector on 
the Douglas ticket When Sumter was fired upon 
and the integrity of the Union threatened, there 
was no man more ready to serve his country 
than he. I wrote at once asking him to accept 
the position of assistant adjutant-general with 
the rank of captain, on my staff. He was about 
entering the service as major of a new regiment 
then organizing in the north-western part of 
the State ; but he threw this up and accepted my 

Neither Hillyer nor Lagow proved to have any 
particular taste or special qualifications for the duties 
of the soldier, and the former resigned during the 
Vicksburg campaign ; the latter I relieved after the 
battle of Chattanooga. Rawlins remained with me 
as long as he lived, and rose to the rank of brigadier- 


general and chief-of-staff to the General of the 
Army — an office created for him — before the war 
closed. He was an able man, possessed of great 
firmness, and could say '* no " so emphatically to a 
request which he thought should not be granted 
that the person he was addressing would understand 
at once that there was no use of pressing the matter. 
General Rawlins was a very useful officer in other 
ways than this. I became very much attached to 

Shortly after my promotion I was ordered to 
Ironton, Missouri, to command a district in that 
part of the State, and took the 21st Illinois, my old 
regiment, with me. Several other regiments were 
ordered to the same destination about the same time. 
Ironton is on the Iron Mountain railroad, about 
seventy miles south of St. Louis, and situated among 
hills rising almost to the dignity of mountains. When 
I reached there, about the 8th of August, Colonel B. 
Gratz Brown — afterwards Governor of Missouri and 
in 1872 Vice-Presidential candidate — was in command. 
Some of his troops were ninety days' men and their 
time had expired some time before. The men had 
no clothing but what they had volunteered in, and 
much of this was so worn that it would hardly stay 
on. General Hardee — the author of the tactics I did 
not study — was at Greenville, some twenty-five miles 
further south, it was said, with five thousand Con- 


federate troops. Under these circumstances Colonel 
Brown's command was very much demoralized. A 
squadron of cavalry could have ridden into the val- 
ley and captured the entire force. Brown himself 
was gladder to see me on that occasion than he ever 
has been since. I relieved him and sent all his men 
home, within a day or two, to be mustered out of 

Within ten days after reaching I ronton I was 
prepared to take the offensive against the enemy at 
Greenville. I sent a column east out of the valley 
we were in, with orders to swing around to the south 
and west and come into the Greenville road ten 
miles south of I ronton. Another column marched 
on the direct road and went into camp at the point 
designated for the two columns to meet. I was to 
ride out the next morning and take personal com- 
mand of the movement. My experience against 
Harris, in northern Missouri, had inspired me with 
confidence. But when the evening train came in, it 
brought General B. M. Prentiss with orders to take 
command of the district His orders did not relieve 
me, but I knew that by law I was senior, and at that 
time even the President did not have the authority 
to assign a junior to command a senior of the same 
grade. I therefore gave General Prentiss the situa- 
tion of the troops and the general condition of 
affairs, and started for St. Louis the same day. The 

Vol. I.- 17 


movement against the rebels at Greenville went no 

From St. Louis I was ordered to Jefferson City, 
the capital of the State, to take command. General 
Stirling Price, of the Confederate army, was thought 
to be threatening the capital, Lexington, Chillicothe 
and other comparatively large towns in the central 
part of Missouri. I found a good many troops in 
Jefferson City, but in the greatest confusion, and no 
one person knew where they all were. Colonel Mul- 
ligan, a gallant man, was in command, but he had 
not been educated as yet to his new profession and 
did not know how to maintain discipline. I found 
that volunteers had obtained permission from the 
department commander, or claimed they had, to 
raise, some of them, regiments ; some battalions ; 
some companies — the officers to be commissioned 
according to the number of men they brought into 
the service. There were recruiting stations all over 
town, with notices, rudely lettered on boards over 
the doors, announcing the arm of service and length 
of time for which recruits at that station would be 
received. The law required all volunteers to serve 
for three years or the war. But in Jefferson City 
in August, 1 86 1, they were recruited for different 
periods and on different conditions ; some were en- 
listed for six months, some for a year, some without 
any condition as to where they were to serve, others 


were not to be sent out of the State. The recruits 
were principally men from regiments stationed there 
and already in the service, bound for three years if 
the war lasted that long. 

The city was filled with Union fugitives who had 
been driven by guerilla bands to take refuge with 
the National troops. They were in a deplorable 
condition and must have starved but for the support 
the government gave them. They had generally 
made their escape with a team or two, sometimes a 
yoke of oxen with a mule or a horse in the lead. A 
little bedding besides their clothing and some food 
had been thrown into the wagon. All else of their 
worldly goods were abandoned and appropriated by 
their former neighbors; for the Union man in Mis- 
souri who staid at home during the rebellion, if he 
was not immediately under the protection of the 
National troops, was at perpetual war with his neigh- 
bors. I stopped the recruiting service, and disposed 
the troops about the outskirts of the city so as to 
guard all approaches. Order was soon restored. 

I had been at Jefferson City but a few days when 
I was directed from department headquarters to fit 
out an expedition to Lexington, Booneville and 
Chillicothe, in order to take from the banks in those 
cities all the funds they had and send them to St. 
Louis. The western army had not yet been sup- 
plied with transportation. It became necessary 


therefore to press into the service teams belonging 
to sympathizers with the rebellion or to hire those 
of Union men. This afforded an opportunity of giv- 
ing employment to such of the refugees within our 
lines as had teams suitable for our purposes. They 
accepted the service with alacrity. As fast as troops 
could be got off they were moved west some twenty 
miles or more. In seven or eight days from my as- 
suming command at Jefferson City, I had all the 
troops, except a small garrison, at an advanced posi- 
tion and expected to join them myself the next day. 
But my campaigns had not yet begun, for while 
seated at my office door, with nothing further to do 
until it was time to start for the front, I saw an offi- 
cer of rank approaching, who proved to be Colonel 
Jefferson C. Davis. I had never met him before, 
but he introduced himself by handing me an order 
for him to proceed to Jefferson City and relieve me 
of the command. The orders directed that I should 
report at department headquarters at St Louis with- 
out delay, to receive important special instructions. 
It was about an hour before the only regular train 
of the day would start. I therefore turned over to 
Colonel Davis my orders, and hurriedly stated to 
him the progress that had been made to carry out the 
department instructions already described. I had at 
that time but one staff officer,* doing myself all the 

* C. B. Lagbw, the others not yet having joined me. 


detail work usually performed by an adjutant-general. 
In an hour after being relieved from the command 
I was on my way to St. Louis, leaving my single staff 
officer to follow the next day with our horses and 

The ** important special instructions " which I re- 
ceived the next day, assigned me to the command 
of the district of south-east Missouri, embracing all 
the territory south of St. Louis, in Missouri, as well 
as all southern Illinois. At first I was to take personal 
command of a combined expedition that had been 
ordered for the capture of Colonel Jeff. Thompson, 
a sort of independent or partisan commander who 
was disputing with us the possession of south-east 
Missouri. Troops had been ordered to move from 
Ironton to Cape Girardeau, sixty or seventy miles 
to the south-east, on the Mississippi River; while the 
forces at Cape Girardeau had been ordered to move 
to Jacksonville, ten miles out towards Ironton ; and 
troops at Cairo and Bird's Point, at the junction of 
the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, were to hold them- 
selves in readiness to go down the Mississippi to Bel- 
mont, eighteen miles below, to be moved west from 
there when an officer should come to command them. 
I was the officer who had been selected for this pur- 
pose. Cairo was to become my headquarters when 
the expedition terminated. 

In pursuance of my orders I established my tem- 


porary headquarters at Cape Girardeau and sent 
instructions to the commanding officer at Jackson, 
to inform me of the approach of General Prentiss 
from I ronton. Hired wagons were kept moving 
night and day to take additional rations to Jackson, 
to supply the troops when they started from there. 
Neither General Prentiss nor Colonel Marsh, who 
commanded at Jackson, knew their destination. I 
drew up all the instructions for the contemplated 
move, and kept them in my pocket until I should 
hear of the junction of our troops at Jackson. Two 
or three days after my arrival at Cape Girardeau, 
word came that General Prentiss was approaching 
that place (Jackson). I started at once to meet him 
there and to give him his orders. As I turned the 
first corner of a street after starting, I saw a column 
of cavalry passing the next street in front of me. I 
turned and rode around the block the other way, so 
as to meet the head of the column. I found there 
General Prentiss himself, with a large escort. He 
had halted his troops at Jackson for the night, and 
had come on himself to Cape Girardeau, leaving 
orders for his command to follow him in the morn- 
ing. I gave the general his orders — which stopped 
him at Jackson — but he was very much aggrieved 
at being placed under another brigadier-general, 
particularly as he believed himself to be the senior. 
He had been a brigadier, in command at Cairo, 


while I was mustering officer at Springfield without 
any rank. But we were nominated at the same 
time for the United States service, and both our 
commissions bore date May 17th, 1861. By virtue 
of my former army rank I was, by law, the senior. 
General Prentiss failed to get orders to his troops 
to remain at Jackson, and the next morning early 
they were reported as approaching Cape Girardeau. 
I then ordered the general very peremptorily to 
countermarch his command and take it back to 
Jackson. He obeyed the order, but bade his com- 
mand adieu when he got them to Jackson, and went 
to St Louis and reported himself. This broke up 
the expedition. But little harm was done, as Jeff. 
Thompson moved light and had no fixed place for 
even nominal headquarters. He was as much at 
home in Arkansas as he was in Missouri and would 
keep out of the way of a superior force. Prentiss 
was sent to another part of the State. 

General Prentiss made a great mistake on the 
above occasion, one that he would not have com- 
mitted later in the war. When I came to know 
him better, I regretted it much. In consequence 
of this occurrence he was off duty in the field when 
the principal campaign at the West was going on, 
and his juniors received promotion while he was 
where none could be obtained. He would have 
been next to myself in rank in the district of south- 


east Missouri, by virtue of his services in the Mexi- 
can war. He was a brave and very earnest soldier. 
No man in the service was more sincere in his devo- 
tion to the cause for which we were battling ; none 
more ready to make sacrifices or risk life in it. 

On the 4th of September I removed my head- 
quarters to Cairo and found Colonel Richard 
Oglesby in command of the post We had never 
met, at least not to my knowledge. After my pro- 
motion I had ordered my brigadier-general's uniform 
from New York, but it had not yet arrived, so that 
I was in citizen's dress. The Colonel had his office 
full of people, mostly from the neighboring States 
of Missouri and Kentucky, making complaints or 
asking favors. He evidently did not catch my name 
when I was presented, for on my taking a piece of 
paper from the table where he was seated and writ- 
ing the order assuming command of the district of 
south-east Missouri, Colonel Richard J. Oglesby to 
command the post at Bird's Point, and handing it 
to him, he put on an expression of surprise that 
looked a little as if he would like to have some one 
identify me. But he surrendered the office without 

The day after I assumed command at Cairo a man 
came to me who said he was a scout of General 
Fremont. He reported that he had just come from 
Columbus, a point on the Mississippi twenty miles 


below on the Kentucky side, and that troops had 
started from there, or were about to start, to seize 
Paducah, at the mouth of the Tennessee. There 
was no time for delay ; I reported by telegraph to 
the department commander the information I had 
received, and added that I was taking steps to get 
off that night to be in advance of the enemy in se- 
curing that important point. There was a large 
number of steamers lying at Cairo and a good many 
boatmen were staying in the town. It was the work 
of only a few hours to get the boats manned, with 
coal aboard and steam up. Troops were also des- 
ignated to go aboard. The distance from Cairo to 
Paducah is about forty-five miles. I did not wish to 
get there before daylight of the 6th, and directed 
therefore that the boats should lie at anchor out in 
the stream until the time to start. Not having re- 
ceived an answer to my first dispatch, I again tele- 
graphed to department headquarters that I should 
start for Paducah that night unless I received further 
orders. Hearing nothing, we started before midnight 
and arrived early the following morning, anticipating 
the enemy by probably not over six or eight hours. 
It proved very fortunate that the expedition against 
Jeff. Thompson had been broken up. Had it not 
been, the enemy would have seized Paducah and 
fortified it, to our very great annoyance. 

When the National troops entered the town the 


citizens were taken by surprise. I never after saw 
such consternation depicted on the faces of the people. 
Men, women and children came out of their doors 
looking pale and frightened at the presence of the 
invader. They were expecting rebel troops that day. 
In fact, nearly four thousand men from Columbus 
were at that time within ten or fifteen miles of Pa- 
ducah on their way to occupy the place. I had but 
two regiments and one battery with me ; but the 
enemy did not know this and returned to Columbus. 
I stationed my troops at the best points to guard 
the roads leading into the city, left gunboats to 
guard the river fronts and by noon was ready to 
start on my return to Cairo. Before leaving, how- 
• ever, I addressed a short printed proclamation to the 
citizens of Paducah assuring them of our peaceful 
intentions, that we had come among them to pro- 
tect them against the enemies of our country, and 
that all who chose could continue their usual avoca- 
tions with assurance of the protection of the gov- 
ernment. This was evidently a relief to them ; but 
the majority would have much preferred the presence 
of the other army. I reinforced Paducah rapidly 
from the troops at Cape Girardeau ; and a day or 
two later General C. F. Smith, a most accomplished 
soldier, reported at Cairo and was assigned to the 
command of the post at the mouth of the Tennessee. 
In a short time it was well fortified and a detach- 


ment was sent to occupy Smithland, at the mouth of 
the Cumberland. 

The State government of Kentucky at that time 
was rebel in sentiment, but wanted to preserve an 
armed neutrality between the North and the South, 
and the governor really seemed to think the State had 
a perfect right to maintain a neutral position. The 
rebels already occupied two towns in the State, Co- 
lumbus and Hickman, on the Mississippi ; and at the 
very moment the National troops were entering Pa- 
ducah from the Ohio front, General Lloyd Tilghman 
— z, Confederate — ^with his staff and a small detach- 
ment of men, were getting out in the other direction, 
while, as I have already said, nearly four thousand 
Confederate troops were on Kentucky soil on their 
way to take possession of the town. But, in the 
estimation of the governor and of those who thought 
with him, this did not justify the National authorities 
in invading the soil of Kentucky. I informed the 
legislature of the State of what I was doing, and my 
action was approved by the majority of that body. 
On my return to Cairo I found authority from de- 
partment headquarters for me to take Paducah " if I 
felt strong enough," but very soon after I was repri- 
manded from the same quarters for my correspondence 
with the legislature and warned against a repetition 
of the offence. 

Soon after I took command at Cairo, General 


Fremont entered into arrangements for the exchange 
of the prisoners captured at Camp Jackson in the 
month of May. I received orders to pass them 
through my lines to Columbus as they presented 
themselves with proper credentials. Quite a number 
of these prisoners I had been personally acquainted 
with before the war. Such of them as I had so 
known were received at my headquarters as old 
acquaintances, and ordinary routine business was not 
disturbed by their presence. On one occasion when 
several were present in my office my intention to 
visit Cape Girardeau the next day, to inspect the 
troops at that point, was mentioned. Something 
transpired which postponed my trip ; but a steamer 
employed by the government was passing a point 
some twenty or more miles above Cairo, the next 
day, when a section of rebel artillery with proper 
escort brought her to. A major, one of those who 
had been at my headquarters the day before, came 
at once aboard and after some search made a direct 
demand for my delivery. It was hard to persuade 
him that I was not there. This officer was Major 
Barrett, of St. Louis. I had been acquainted with 
his family before the war. 



FROM the occupation of Paducah up to the early 
part of November nothing important occurred 
with the troops under my command. I was rein- 
forced from time to time and the men were drilled 
and disciplined preparatory for the service which was 
sure to come. By the ist of November I had not 
fewer than 20,000 men, most of them under good drill 
and ready to meet any equal body of men who, like 
themselves, had not yet been in an engagement. 
They were growing impatient at lying idle so long, 
almost in hearing of the guns of the enemy they 
had volunteered to fight against. I asked on one 
or two occasions to be allowed to move against Co- 
lumbus. It could have been taken soon after the 
occupation of Paducah ; but before November it 
was so strongly fortified that it would have required 
a large force and a long siege to capture it. 

In the latter part of October General Fremont 
took the field in person and moved from Jefferson 


City against General Sterling Price, who was then 
in the State of Missouri with a considerable com- 
mand. About the first of November I was directed 
from department headquarters to make a demonstra- 
tion on both sides of the Mississippi River with the 
view of detaining the rebels at Columbus within 
their lines. Before my troops could be got off, I 
was notified from the same quarter that there were 
some 3,ocx) of the enemy on the St Francis River 
about fifty miles west, or south-west, from Cairo, and 
was ordered to send another force against them. I 
dispatched Colonel Oglesby at once with troops suf- 
ficient to compete with the reported number of the 
enemy. On the 5th word came from the same 
source that the rebels were about to detach a large 
force from Columbus to be moved by boats down 
the Mississippi and up the White River, in Arkansas, 
in order to reinforce Price, and I was directed to 
prevent this movement if possible. I accordingly 
sent a regiment from Bird's Point under Colonel W. 
H. L. Wallace to overtake and reinforce Oglesby, 
with orders to march to New Madrid, a point some 
distance below Columbus, on the Missouri side. At 
the same time I directed General C. F. Smith to 
move all the troops he could spare from Paducah 
directly against Columbus, halting them, however, a 
few miles from the town to await further orders from 
me. Then I gathered up all the troops at Cairo and 


Fort Holt, except suitable guards, and moved them 
down the river on steamers convoyed by two gun- 
boats, accompanying them myself. My force con- 
sisted of a little over 3,000 men and embraced five 
regiments of infantry, two guns and two companies 
of cavalry. We dropped down the river on the 6th to 
within about six miles of Columbus, debarked a few 
men on the Kentucky side and established pickets to 
connect with the troops from Paducah. 

I had no orders which contemplated an attack by 
the National troops, nor did I intend anything of 
the kind when I started out from Cairo ; but after 
we started I saw that the officers and men were 
elated at the prospect of at last having the oppor- 
tunity of doing what they had volunteered to do — 
fight the enemies of their country. I did not see 
how I could maintain discipline, or retain the confi- 
dence of my command, if we should return to Cairo 
without an effort to do something. Columbus, 
besides being strongly fortified, contained a gar- 
rison much more numerous than the force I had 
with me. It would not do, therefore, to attack 
that point About two o clock on the morning 
of the 7th, I learned that the enemy was crossing 
troops from Columbus to the west bank to be 
dispatched, presumably, after Oglesby. I knew 
there was a small camp of Confederates at Belmont, 
immediately opposite Columbus, and I speedily 


resolved to push down the river, land on the Mis- 
souri side, capture Belmont, break up the camp and 
return. Accordingly, the pickets above Columbus 
were drawn in at once, and about daylight the boats 
moved out from shore. In an hour we were debark- 
ing on the west bank of the Mississippi, just out of 
range of the batteries at Columbus. 

The ground on the west shore of the river, oppo- 
site Columbus, is low and in places marshy and cut 
up with sloughs. The soil is rich and the timber 
large and heavy. There were some small clearings 
between Belmont and the point where we landed, 
but most of the country was covered with the native 
forests. We landed in front of a cornfield. When 
the debarkation commenced, I took a regiment down 
the river to post it as a guard against surprise. At 
that time I had no staff officer who could be trusted 
with that duty. In the woods, at a short distance 
below the clearing, I found a depression, dry at the 
time, but which at high water became a slough or 
bayou. I placed the men in the hollow, gave 
them their instructions and ordered them to remain 
there until they were properly relieved. These 
troops, with the gunboats, were to protect our trans- 

Up to this time the enemy had evidently failed to 
divine our intentions. From Columbus they could, 
of course, see our gunboats and transports loaded 


with troops. But the force from Paducah was 
threatening them from the land side, and it was 
hardly to be expected that if Columbus was our 
object we would separate our troops by a wide riven 
They doubtless thought we meant to draw a large 
force from the east bank, then embark ourselves, 
land on the east bank and make a sudden assault on 
Columbus before their divided command could be 

About eight o'clock we started from the point of 
debarkation, marching by the flank. After moving 
in this way for a mile or a mile and a half, I halted 
where there was marshy ground covered with a 
heavy growth of timber in our front, and deployed 
a large part of my force as skirmishers. By this 
time the enemy discovered that we were moving 
upon Belmont and sent out troops to meet us. 
Soon after we had started in line, his skirmishers 
were encountered and fighting commenced. This 
continued, growing fiercer and fiercer, for about four 
hours, the enemy being forced back gradually until 
he was driven into his camp. Early in this engage- 
ment my horse was shot under me, but I got 
another from one of my staff and kept well up with 
the advance until the river was reached. 

The officers and men engaged at Belmont were 
then under fire for the first time. Veterans could 
not have behaved better than they did up to the 

Vol. I.— x8. 



moment of reaching the rebel camp. At this point 
they became demoralized from their victory and 
failed to reap its full reward. The enemy had been 
followed so closely that when he reached the clear 
ground on which his camp was pitched he beat a 
hasty retreat over the river bank, which protected 
him from our shots and from view. This precipitate 
retreat at the last moment enabled the National forces 
to pick their way without hinderance through the 
abatis — the only artificial defence the enemy had. 
The moment the camp was reached our men laid 
down their arms and commenced rummaging the 
tents to pick up trophies. Some of the higher officers 
were little better than the privates. They galloped 
about from one cluster of men to another and at 
every halt delivered a short eulogy upon the Union 
cause and the achievements of the command. 

All this time the troops we had been engaged with 
for four hours, lay crouched under cover of the river 
bank, ready to come up and surrender if summoned 
to do so ; but finding that they were not pursued, 
they worked their way up the river and came up on 
the bank between us and our transports. I saw at the 
same time two steamers coming from the Columbus 
side towards the west shore, above us, black — or gray 
— with soldiers from boiler deck to roof. Some of 
my men were engaged in firing from captured guns 
at empty steamers down the river, out of range, cheer- 


ing at every shot, I tried to get them to turn their 
guns upon the loaded steamers above and not so far 
away. My efforts were in vain. At last I directed 
my staff officers to set fire to the camps. This drew 
the fire of the enemy's guns located on the heights of 
Columbus. They had abstained from firing before, 
probably because they were afraid of hitting their 
own men ; or they may have supposed, until the camp 
was on fire, that it was still in the possession of their 
friends. About this time, too, the men we had 
driven over the bank were seen in line up the river 
between us and our transports. The alarm ''sur- 
rounded" was given. The guns of the enemy and 
the report of being surrounded, brought officers and 
men completely under control. At first some of the 
officers seemed to think that to be surrounded was 
to be placed in a hopeless position, where there was 
nothing to do but surrender. But when I announced 
that we had cut our way in and could cut our way 
out just as well, it seemed a new revelation to officers 
and soldiers. They formed line rapidly and we 
started back to our boats, with the men deployed as 
skirmishers as they had been on entering camp. The 
enemy was soon encountered, but his resistance this 
time was feeble. Again the Confederates sought 
shelter under the river banks. We could not stop, 
however, to pick them up, because the troops we had 
seen crossing the river had debarked by this time 


and were nearer our transports than we were. It 
would be prudent to get them behind us ; but we 
were not again molested on our way to the boats. 

From the beginning of the fighting our wounded 
had been carried to the houses at the rear, near the 
place of debarkation. I now set the troops to bring- 
ing their wounded to the boats. After this had 
gone on for some little time I rode down the road, 
without even a staff officer, to visit the guard I 
had stationed over the approach to our transports. 
I knew the enemy had crossed over from Columbus 
in considerable numbers and might be expected to 
attack us as we were embarking. This guard would 
be encountered first and, as they were in a natural 
intrenchment, would be able to hold the enemy for 
a considerable time. My surprise was great to find 
there was not a single man in the trench. Riding 
back to the boat I found the officer who had com- 
manded the guard and learned that he had with- 
drawn his force when the main body fell back. At 
first I ordered the guard to return, but finding that 
it would take some time to get the men together 
and march them back to their position, I counter- 
manded the order. Then fearing that the enemy 
we had seen crossing the river below might be com- 
ing upon us unawares, I rode out in the field to 
our front, still entirely alone, to observe whether 
the enemy was passing. The field was grown up 


with corn so tall and thick as to cut off the view of 
even a person on horseback, except directly along 
the rows. Even in that direction, owing to the 
overhanging blades of com, the view was not ex- 
tensive. I had not gone more than a few hundred 
yards when I saw a body of troops marching past 
me not fifty yards away. I looked at them for a 
moment and then turned my horse towards the 
river and started back, first in a walk, and when I 
thought myself concealed from the view of the enemy, 
as fast as my horse could carry me. When at the 
river bank I still had to ride a few hundred yards to 
the point where the nearest transport lay. 

The cornfield in front of our transports terminated 
at the edge of a dense forest Before I got back the 
enemy had entered this forest and had opened a 
brisk fire upon the boats. Our men, with the ex- 
ception of details that had gone to the front after 
the wounded, were now either aboard the transports 
or very near them. Those who were not aboard 
soon got there, and the boats pushed off. I was the 
only man of the National army between the rebels 
and our transports. The captain of a boat that had 
just pushed out but had not started, recognized me 
and ordered the engineer not to start the engine ; he 
then had a plank run out for me. My horse seemed 
to take in the situation. There was no path down 
the bank and every one acquainted with the Missis- 


sippi River knows that its banks, in a natural state, do 
not vary at any great angle from the perpendicular. 
My horse put his fore feet over the bank without 
hesitation or urging, and with his hind feet well 
under him, slid down the bank and trotted aboard 
the boat, twelve or fifteen feet away, over a single 
gang plank. I dismounted and went at once to the 
upper deck. 

The Mississippi River was low on the 7th of No- 
vember, 1 86 1, so that the banks were higher than 
the heads of men standing on the upper decks of the 
steamers. The rebels were some distance back from 
the river, so that their fire was high and did us but 
little harm. Our smoke-stack was riddled with bul- 
lets, but there were only three men wounded on 
the boats, two of whom were soldiers. When I 
first went on deck I entered the captain's room ad- 
joining the pilot-house, and threw myself on a sofa. 
I did not keep that position a moment, but rose to 
go out on the deck to observe what was going on. I 
had scarcely left when a musket ball entered the 
room, struck the head of the sofa, passed through it 
and lodged in the foot. 

When the enemy opened fire on the transports 
our gunboats returned it with vigor. They were 
well out in the stream and some distance down, so 
that they had to give but very little elevation to their 
guns to clear the banks of the river. Their position 


very nearly enfiladed the line of the enemy while he 
was marching through the cornfield. The execution 
was very great, as we could see at the time and as 
I afterwards learned more positively. We were very 
soon out of range and went peacefully on our way 
to Cairo, every man feeling that Belmont was a great 
victory and that he had contributed his share to it. 

Our loss at Belmont was 485 in killed, wounded 
and missing. About 125 of our wounded fell into 
the hands of the enemy. We returned with 175 
prisoners and two guns, and spiked four other pieces. 
The loss of the enemy, as officially reported, was 642 
men, killed, wounded and missing. We had engaged 
about 2,500 men, exclusive of the guard left with 
the transports. The enemy had about 7,000 ; but this 
includes the troops brought over from Columbus 
who were not engaged in the first defence of Bel- 

The two objects for which the battle of Belmont 
was fought were fully accomplished The enemy 
gave up all idea of detaching troops from Columbus. 
His losses were very heavy for that period of the 
war. Columbus was beset by people looking for their 
wounded or dead kin, to take them home for medical 
treatment or burial. I learned later, when I had 
moved further south, that Belmont had caused more 
mourning than almost any other battle up to that 
time. The National troops acquired a confidence in 


themselves at Belmont that did not desert them 
through the war. 

The day after the battle I met some officers from 
General Polk's command, arranged for permission 
to bury our dead at Belmont and also commenced 
negotiations for the exchange of prisoners. When 
our men went to bury their dead, before they were 
allowed to land they were conducted below the point 
where the enemy had engaged our transports. Some 
of the officers expressed a desire to see the field ; but 
the request was refused with the statement that we 
had no dead there. 

While on the truce-boat I mentioned to an officer, 
whom I had known both at West Point and in the 
Mexican war, that I was in the cornfield near their 
troops when they passed ; that I had been on horse- 
back and had worn a soldier's overcoat at the time. 
This officer was on General Polk's staff. He said 
both he and the general had seen me and that Polk 
had said to his men, " There is a Yankee ; you may 
try your marksmanship on him if you wish," but no- 
body fired at me. 

Belmont was severely criticised in the North as a 
wholly unnecessary battle, barren of results, or the 
possibility of them from the beginning. If it had not 
been fought, Colonel Oglesby would probably have 
been captured or destroyed with his three thousand 
men. Then I should have been culpable indeed. 



WHILE at Cairo I had frequent opportunities 
of meeting the rebel officers of the Columbus 
garrison. They seemed to be very fond of coming 
up on steamers under flags of truce. On two or three 
occasions I went down in like manner. When one of 
their boats was seen coming up carrying a white flag, 
a gun would be fired from the lower battery at Fort 
Holt, throwing a shot across the bow as a signal to 
come no farther. I would then take a steamer and, 
with my staff and occasionally a few other officers, 
go down to receive the party. There were several 
officers among them whom I had known before, both 
at West Point and in Mexico. Seeing these officers 
who had been educated for the profession of arms, 
both at school and in actual war, which is a far more 
efficient training, impressed me with the great ad- 
vantage the South possessed over the North at the 
beginning of the rebellion. They had from thirty to 
forty per cent, of the educated soldiers of the Nation. 


They had no standing army and, consequently, these 
trained soldiers had to find employment with the 
troops from their own States. In this way what 
there was of military education and training was dis- 
tributed throughout their whole army. The whole 
loaf was leavened. 

The North had a greater number of educated and 
trained soldiers, but the bulk of them were still in 
the army and were retained, generally with their old 
commands and rank, until the war had lasted many 
months. In the Army of the Potomac there was 
what was known as the "regular brigade," in which, 
from the commanding officer down to the youngest 
second lieutenant, every one was educated to his 
profession. So, too, with many of the batteries ; all 
the officers, generally four in number to each, were 
men educated for their profession. Some of these 
went into battle at the beginning under division com- 
manders who were entirely without military training. 
This state of affairs gave me an idea which I ex- 
pressed while at Cairo ; that the government ought 
to disband the regular army, with the exception of 
the staff corps, and notify the disbanded officers that 
they would receive no compensation while the war 
lasted except as volunteers. The register should be 
kept up, but the names of all officers who were not 
in the volunteer service at the close, should be 
stricken from it. 


On the 9th of November, two days after the battle 
of Belmont, Major-General H. W. Halleck super- 
seded General Fremont in command of the Depart- 
ment of the Missouri. The limits of his command 
took in Arkansas and west Kentucky east to the 
Cumberland River. From the battle of Belmont 
until early in February, 1862, the troops under my 
command did little except prepare for the long 
struggle which proved to be before them. 

The enemy at this time occupied a line running 
from the Mississippi River at Columbus to Bowling 
Green and Mill Springs, Kentucky. Each of these 
positions was strongly fortified, as were also points on 
the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers near the Ten- 
nessee state line. The works on the Tennessee were 
called Fort Heiman and Fort Henry, and that on 
the Cumberland was Fort Donelson. At these points 
the two rivers approached within eleven miles of each 
other. The lines of rifle pits at each place extended 
back from the water at least two miles, so that the 
garrisons were in reality only seven miles apart. 
These positions were of immense importance to the 
enemy ; and of course correspondingly important for 
us to possess ourselves of. With Fort Henry in our 
hands we had a navigable stream open to us up to 
Muscle Shoals, in Alabama. The Memphis and 
Charleston Railroad strikes the Tennessee at East- 
port, Mississippi, and follows close to the banks of 


the river up to the shoals. This road, of vast im- 
portance to the enemy, would cease to be of use to 
them for through traffic the moment Fort Henry 
became ours. Fort Donelson was the gate to Nash- 
ville — a place of g^eat military and political impor- 
tance — ^and to a rich country extending far east in 
Kentucky. These two points in our possession the 
enemy would necessarily be thrown back to the 
Memphis and Charleston road, or to the boundary 
of the cotton states, and, as before stated, that road 
would be lost to them for through communication. 

The designation of my command had been changed 
after Halleck's arrival, from the District of South- 
east Missouri to the District of Cairo, and the 
small district commanded by General C. F. Smith, 
embracing the mouths of the Tennessee and Cum- 
berland rivers, had been added to my jurisdiction. 
Early in January, 1862, I was directed by General 
McClellan, through my department commander, to 
make a reconnoissance in favor of Brigadier-General 
Don Carlos Buell, who commanded the Depart- 
ment of the Ohio, with headquarters at Louisville, 
and who was confronting General S. B. Buckner 
with a larger Confederate force at Bowling Green. 
It was supposed that Buell was about to make some 
move against the enemy, and my demonstration was 
intended to prevent the sending of troops from Co- 
lumbus, Fort Henry or Donelson to Buckner. I at 


once ordered General Smith to send a force up the 
west bank of the Tennessee to threaten forts Hei- 
man and Henry ; McClemand at the same time 
with a force of 6,000 men was sent out into west 
Kentucky, threatening Columbus with one column 
and the Tennessee River with another. I went with 
McClernand's command. The weather was very bad ; 
snow and rain fell ; the roads, never good in that 
section, were intolerable. We were out more than a 
week splashing through the mud, snow and rain, the 
men suffering very much. The object of the expe- 
dition was accomplished. The enemy did not send 
reinforcements to Bowling Green, and General 
George H. Thomas fought and won the battle of 
Mill Springs before we returned. 

As a result of this expedition General Smith re- 
ported that he thought it practicable to capture Fort 
Heiman. This fort stood on high ground, com- 
pletely commanding Fort Henry on the opposite 
side of the river, and its possession by us, with the 
aid of our gunboats, would insure the capture of 
Fort Henry. This report of Smith's confirmed 
views I had previously held, that the true line of 
operations for us was up the Tennessee and Cum- 
berland rivers. With us there, the enemy would be 
compelled to fall back on the east and west entirely 
out of the State of Kentucky. On the 6th of Jan- 
uary, before receiving orders for this expedition, I 


had asked permission of the general commanding the 
department to go to see him at St Louis. My ob- 
ject was to lay this plan of campaign before him. 
Now that my views had been confirmed by so able a 
general as Smith, I renewed my request to go to St 
Louis on what I deemed important military business. 
The leave was granted, but not graciously. I had 
known General Halleck but very slightly in the old 
army, not having met him either at West Point or 
during the Mexican war. I was received with so 
little cordiality that I perhaps stated the object of 
my visit with less clearness than I might have done, 
and I had not uttered many sentences before I was 
cut short as if my plan was preposterous. I returned 
to Cairo very much crestfallen. 

Flag-officer Foote commanded the little fleet of 
gunboats then in the neighborhood of Cairo and, 
though in another branch of the service, was subject 
to the command of General Halleck. He and I 
consulted freely upon military matters and he agreed 
with me perfectly as to the feasibility of the cam- 
paign up the Tennessee. Notwithstanding the re- 
buff I had received from my immediate chief, I there- 
fore, on the 28th of January, renewed the suggestion 
by telegraph that "if permitted, I could take and 
hold Fort Henry on the Tennessee." This time I was 
backed by Flag-officer Foote, who sent a similar dis- 
patch. On the 29th I wrote fully in support of the 


proposition. On the ist of February I received full 
instructions from department headquarters to move 
upon Fort Henry. On the 2d the expedition started. 

In February, 1862, there were quite a good many 
steamers laid up at Cairo for want of employment, 
the Mississippi River being closed against navigation 
below that point. There were also many men in the 
town whose occupation had been following the 
river in various capacities, from captain down to 
deck hand. But there were not enough of either 
boats or men to move at one time the 1 7,coo men 
I proposed to take with me up the Tennessee. I 
loaded the boats with more than half the force, how- 
ever, and sent General McClernand in command. I 
followed with one of the later boats and found Mc- 
Clernand had stopped, very properly, nine miles 
below Fort Henry. Seven gunboats under Flag- 
officer Foote had accompanied the advance. The 
transports we had with us had to return to Paducah 
to bring up a division from there, with General C. F. 
Smith in command. 

Before sending the boats back I wanted to get the 
troops as near to the enemy as I could without com- 
ing within range of their guns. There was a stream 
empting into the Tennessee on the east side, ap- 
parently at about long range distance below the fort 
On account of the narrow water-shed separating the 
Tennessee and Cumberland rivers at that point, the 


Stream must be insignificant at ordinary stages, but 
when we were there, in February, it was a torrent. 
It would facilitate the investment of Fort Henrj- 
materially if the troops could be landed south of that 
stream. To test whether this could be done I 
boarded the gunboat Essex and requested Captain 
Wm. Porter commanding it, to approach the fort 
to draw its fire. After we had gone some dis- 
tance past the mouth of the stream we drew the fire 
of the fort, which fell much short of us. In conse- 
quence I had made up my mind to return and bring 
the troops to the upper side of the creek, when the 
enemy opened upon us with a rifled gfun that sent 
shot far beyond us and beyond the stream. One 
shot passed very near where Captain Porter and I 
were standing, struck the deck near the stern, pene- 
trated and passed through the cabin and so out into 
the river. We immediately turned back, and the 
troops were debarked below the mouth of the creek. 
When the landing was completed I returned with 
the transports to Paducah to hasten up the balance 
of the troops. I got back on the 5th with the ad- 
vance, the remainder following as rapidly as the 
steamers could carry them. At ten o'clock at night, 
on the 5th, the whole command was not yet up. 
Being anxious to commence operations as soon as 
possible before the enemy could reinforce heavily, I 
issued my orders for an advance at 11 a.m. on the 


6th. I felt sure that all the troops would be up by 
that time. 

Fort Henry occupies a bend in the river which 
gave the guns in the water battery a direct fire down 
the stream. The camp outside the fort was in- 
trenched, with rifle pits and outworks two miles back 
on the road to Donelson and Dover. The garrison 
of the fort and camp was about 2,800, with strong 
reinforcements from Donelson halted some miles out 
There were seventeen heavy guns in the fort The 
river was very high, the banks being overflowed ex- 
cept where the bluffs come to the water's edge. A 
portion of the ground on which Fort Henry stood 
was two feet deep in water. Below, the water ex- 
tended into the woods several hundred yards back 
from the bank on the east side. On the west bank 
Fort Heiman stood on high ground, completely com- 
manding Fort Henry. The distance from Fort 
Henry to Donelson is but eleven miles. The two 
positions were so important to the enemy, as he saw 
his interest, that it was natural to suppose that rein- 
forcements would come from every quarter from 
which they could be got Prompt action on our part 
was imperative. 

The plan was for the troops and gunboats to start 
at the same moment The troops were to invest 
the garrison and the gunboats to attack the fort at 
close quarters. General Smith was to land a brigade 


of his division on the west bank during the night of 
the 5th and get it in rear of Heiman. 

At the hour designated the troops and gunboats 
started. General Smith found Fort Heiman had 
been evacuated before his men arrived. The gun- 
boats soon engaged the water batteries at very close 
quarters, but the troops which were to invest Fort 
Henry were delayed for want of roads, as well as 
by the dense forest and the high water in what 
would in dry weather have been unimportant beds of 
streams. This delay made no difference in the 
result. On our first appearance Tilghman had sent 
his entire command, with the exception of about one 
hundred men left to man the guns in the fort, to the 
outworks on the road to Dover and Donelson, so 
as to have them out of range of the guns of our navy ; 
and before any attack on the 6th he had ordered 
them to retreat on Donelson. He stated in his sub- 
sequent report that the defence was intended solely 
to give his troops time to make their escape. 

Tilghman was captured with his staff and ninety 
men, as well as the armament of the fort, the ammu- 
nition and whatever stores were there. Our cavalry 
pursued the retreating column towards Donelson and 
picked up two guns and a few stragglers ; but the 
enemy had so much the start, that the pursuing force 
did not get in sight of any except the stragglers. 

All the gunboats engaged were hit many times. 


The damage, however, beyond what could be repair- 
ed by a small expenditure of money, was slight, ex- 
cept to the Essex. A shell penetrated the boiler of 
that vessel and exploded it, killing and wounding 
forty-eight men, nineteen of whom were soldiers who 
had been detailed to act with the navy. On several 
occasions during the war such details were made 
when the complement of men with the navy was 
insufficient for the duty before them. After the fall 
of Fort Henry Captain Walke, commanding the 
iron-clad Carondelet^ at my request ascended the 
Tennessee River and thoroughly destroyed the 
bridge of the Memphis and Ohio Railroad. 



{INFORMED the department commander of our 
success at Fort Henry and that on the 8th I would 
take Fort Donelson. But the rain continued to fall 
SO heavily that the roads became impassable for artil- 
lery and wagon trains. Then, too, it would not have 
been prudent to proceed without the gunboats. At 
least it would have been leaving behind a valuable 
part of our available force. 

On the 7th, the day after the fall of Fort Henry, 
I took my staff and the cavalry — a part of one regi- 
ment — and made a reconnoissance to within about a 
mile of the outer line of works at Donelson. I had 
known General Pillow in Mexico, and judged that 
with any force, no matter how small, I could march 
up to within gunshot of any intrenchments he was 
given to hold. I said this to the officers of my staff 
at the time. I knew that Floyd was in command, 
but he was no soldier, and I judged that he would 
yield to Pillow's pretensions. I met, as I expected, 


no Opposition in making the reconnoissance and, be- 
sides learning the topography of the country on the 
way and around Fort Donelson, found that there 
were two roads available for marching ; one leading 
to the village of Dover, the other to Donelson. 

Fort Donelson is two miles north, or down the 
river, from Dover. The fort, as it stood in 1861, 
embraced about one hundred acres of land. On the 
east it fronted the Cumberland; to the north it 
faceid Hickman's creek, a small stream which at that 
time was deep and wide because of the back-water 
from the river; on the south was another small 
stream, or rather a ravine, opening into the Cumber- 
land. This also was filled with back-water from the 
river. The fort stood on high ground, some of it as 
much as a hundred feet above the Cumberland. 
Strong protection to the heavy guns in the water 
batteries had been obtained by cutting away places 
for them in the bluff. To the west there was a line 
of .rifle-pits some two miles back from the river at 
the farthest point This line ran generally along 
the crest of high ground, but in one place crossed a 
ravine which opens into the river between the village 
and the fort. The ground inside and outside of this 
intrenched line was very broken and generally wood- 
ed. The trees outside of the rifle-pits had been cut 
down for a considerable way out, and had been felled 
so that their tops lay outwards from the intrench- 


ments. The limbs had been trimmed and pointed, 
and thus formed an abatis in front of the greater 
part of the line. Outside of this intrenched line, and 
extending about half the entire length of it, is a 
ravine running north and south and opening into 
Hickman creek at a point north of the fort The 
entire side of this ravine next to the works was one 
long abatis. 

General Halleck commenced his efforts in all 
quarters to get reinforcements to forward to me im- 
mediately on my departure from Cairo. General 
Hunter sent men freely from Kansas, and a large 
division under General Nelson, from Buell's army, 
was also dispatched. Orders went out from the War 
Department to consolidate fragments of companies 
that were being recruited in the Western States so 
as to make full companies, and to consolidate com- 
panies into regiments. General Halleck did not 
approve or disapprove of my going to Fort Donel- 
son. He said nothing whatever to me on the subject. 
He informed Buell on the 7th that I would march 
against Fort Donelson the next day ; but on the 
loth he directed me to fortify Fort Henry strongly, 
particularly to the land side, saying that he forwarded 
me intrenching tools for that purpose. I received 
this dispatch in front of Fort Donelson. 

I was very impatient to get to Fort Donelson be- 
cause I knew the importance of the place to the 


enemy and supposed he would reinforce it rapidly. 
I felt that I5,cxx) men on the 8th would be more 
effective than 50,cxx) a month later. I asked Flag- 
officer Foote, therefore, to order his gunboats still 
about Cairo to proceed up the Cumberland River 
and not to wait for those gone to Eastport and 
Florence ; but the others got back in time and we 
started on the 1 2th. I had moved McClernand out 
a few miles the night before so as to leave the road 
as free as possible. 

Just as we were about to start the first reinforce- 
ment reached me on transports. It was a brigade 
composed of six full regiments commanded by 
Colonel Thayer, of Nebraska. As the gunboats 
were going around to Donelson by the Tennessee, 
Ohio and Cumberland rivers, I directed Thayer to 
turn about and go under their convoy. 

I started from Fort Henry with I5,cxx) men, in- 
cluding eight batteries and part of a regiment of 
cavalry, and, meeting with no obstruction to detain 
us, the advance arrived in front of the enemy by 
noon. That afternoon and the next day were spent 
in taking up ground to make the investment as com- 
plete as possible. General Smith had been directed 
to leave a portion of his division behind to guard 
forts Henry and Heiman. He left General Lew. 
Wallace with 2,500 men. With the remainder of 
his division he occupied our left, extending to Hjck- 


man creek. McCIemand was on the right and cov- 
ered the roads running south and south-west from 
Dover. His right extended to the back-water up the 
ravine opening into the Tennessee south of the vil- 
lage. The troops were not intrenched, but the 
nature of the ground was such that they were just 
as well protected from the fire of the enemy as if 
rifle-pits had been thrown up. Our line was gener- 
ally along the crest of ridges. The artillery was 
protected by being sunk in the ground. The men 
who were not serving the g^ns were perfectly covered 
from fire on taking position a little back from the crest. 
The greatest suffering was from want of shelter. It 
was midwinter and during the siege we had rain 
and snow, thawing and freezing alternately. It 
would not do to allow camp-fires except far down 
the hill out of sight of the enemy, and it would not 
do to allow many of the troops to remain there iat 
the same time. In the march over from Fort Henry 
numbers of the men had thrown away their blankets 
and overcoats. There was therefore much discom- 
fort and absolute suffering. 

During the 12th and 13th, and until the arrival of 
Wallace and Thayer on the 14th, the National forces, 
composed of but 15,000 men, without intrenchments, 
confronted an intrenched army of 21,000, without 
conflict further than what was brought on by our- 
selves. Only one gunboat had arrived. There* was 


a little skirmishing each day, brought on by the 
movement of our troops in securing commanding 
positions ; but there was no actual fighting during 
this time except once, on the 13th, in front of Mc- 
Clernand's command. That general had undertaken 
to capture a battery of the enemy which was annoy- 
ing his men. Without orders or authority he sent 
three regiments to make the assault The battery 
was in the main line of the enemy, which was de- 
fended by his whole army present Of course the 
assault was a failure, and of course the loss on our 
side was great for the number of men engaged. In 
this assault Colonel William Morrison fell badly 
wounded. Up to this time the surgeons with the 
army had no difficulty in finding room in the houses 
near our line for all the sick and wounded ; but now 
hospitals were overcrowded. Owing, however, to the 
energy and skill of the surgeons the suffering was 
not so great as it might have been. The hospital 
arrangements at Fort Donelson were as complete as 
it was possible to make them, considering the in- 
clemency of the weather and the lack of tents, in a 
sparsely settled country where the houses were gen- 
erally of but one or two rooms. 

On the return of Captain Walke to Fort Henry 
on the loth, I had requested him to take the vessels 
that had accompanied him on his expedition up the 
Tennessee, and get possession of the Cumberland as 


far up towards Donelson as possible. He started 
without delay, taking, however, only his own gunboat, 
the CarandeUt, towed by the steamer Alps. Captain 
Walke arrived a few miles below Donelson on the 
1 2th, a little after noon. About the time the ad- 
vance of troops reached a point within gunshot of 
the fort on the land side, he engaged the water bat- 
teries at long range. On the 13th I informed him 
of my arrival the day before and of the establish- 
ment of most of our batteries, requesting him at the 
same time to attack again that day so that I might 
take advantage of any diversion. The attack was 
made and many shots fell within the fort, creating 
some consternation, as we now know. The invest- 
ment on the land side was made as complete as the 
number of troops engaged would admit of. 

During the night of the 13th Flag-officer Foote 
arrived with the iron-clads Si. Louis, Louisville and 
Pittsburg and the wooden gunboats Tyler and 
Conestoga, convoying Thayer's brigade. On the 
morning of the 14th Thayer was landed. Wallace, 
whom I had ordered over from Fort Henry, also 
arrived about the same time. Up to this time he 
had been commanding a brigade belonging to the 
division of General C. F. Smith. These troops were 
now restored to the division they belonged to, and 
General Lew. Wallace was assigned to the command 
of a division composed of the brigade of Colonel 


Thayer and other reinforcements that arrived the 
same day. This new division was assigned to the 
centre, giving the two flanking divisions an oppor- 
tunity to close up and form a stronger line. 

The plan was for the troops to hold the enemy 
within his lines, while the gunboats should attack 
the water batteries at close quarters and silence his 
guns if possible. Some of the gunboats were to run 
the batteries, get above the fort and above the 
village of Dover. I had ordered a reconnoissance 
made with the view of getting troops to the river 
above Dover in case they should be needed there. 
That position attained by the gunboats it would have 
been but a question of time — and a very short time, 
too — when the garrison would have been compelled 
to surrender. 

By three in the afternoon of the 14th Flag-officer 
Foote was ready, and advanced upon the water 
batteries with his entire fleet. After coming in range 
of the batteries of the enemy the advance was slow, 
but a constant fire was delivered from every gun that 
could be brought to bear upon the fort. I occupied 
a position on shore from which I could see the ad- 
vancing navy. The leading boat got within a very 
short distance of the water batter)', not further off I 
think than two hundred yards, and I soon saw one 
and then another of them dropping down the river, 
visibly disabled. Then the whole fleet followed and 


the engagement closed for the day. The gunboat 
which Flag-officer Foote was on, besides having 
been hit about sixty times, several of the shots pass- 
ing through near the water-line, had a shot enter the 
pilot-house which killed the pilot, carried away the 
wheel and wounded the flag-officer himself. The 
tiller-ropes of another vessel were carried away and 
she, too, dropped helplessly back. Two others had 
their pilot-houses so injured that they scarcely formed 
a protection to the men at the wheel 

The enemy had evidently been much demoralized 
by the assault, but they were jubilant when they saw 
the disabled vessels dropping down the river entirely 
out of the control of the men on board. Of course 
I only witnessed the falling back of our gunboats 
and felt sad enough at the time over the repulse. 
Subsequent reports, now published, show that the 
enemy telegraphed a great victory to Richmond. 
The sun went down on the night of the 14th of 
February, 1862, leaving the army confronting Fort 
Donelson anything but comforted over the prospects. 
The weather had turned intensely cold ; the men 
were without tents and could not keep up fires where 
most of them had to stay, and, as previously stated, 
many had thrown away their overcoats and blankets. 
Two of the strongest of our gunboats had been dis- 
abled, presumably beyond the possibility of rendering 
any present assistance. I retired this night not 


knowing but that I would have to intrench my posi- 
tion, and bring up tents for the men or build huts 
under the cover of the hills. 

On the morning of the 15th, before it was yet 
broad day, a messenger from Flag-officer Foote 
handed me a note, expressing a desire to see me on 
the flag-ship and saying that he had been injured the 
day before so much that he could not come himself to 
me. I at once made my preparations for starting. 
I directed my adjutant-general to notify each of the 
division commanders of my absence and instruct them 
to do nothing to bring on an engagement until they 
received further orders, but to hold their positions. 
From the heavy rains that had fallen for days and 
weeks preceding and from the constant use of the 
roads between the troops and the landing four to 
seven miles below, these roads had become cut up so 
as to be hardly passable. The intense cold of the 
night of the I4th-i5th had frozen the ground solid. 
This made travel on horseback even slower than 
through the mud ; but I went as fast as the roads 
would allow. 

When I reached the fleet I found the flag-ship 
was anchored out in the stream. A small boat, how- 
ever, awaited my arrival and I was soon on board 
with the flag-officer. He explained to me in short 
the condition in which he was left by the engagement 
of the evening before, and suggested that I should 


intrench while he returned to Mound City with his 
disabled boats, expressing at the time the belief that 
he could have the necessary repairs made and be 
back in ten days. I saw the absolute necessity of 
his gunboats going into hospital and did not know 
but I should be forced to the alternative of going 
through a siege. But the enemy relieved me from 
this necessity. 

When I left the National line to visit Flag-officer 
Foote I had no idea that there would be any engage- 
ment on land unless I brought it on myself. The 
conditions for battle were much more favorable to us 
than they had been for the first two days of the in- 
vestment. From the 12th to the 14th we had but 
15,000 men of all arms and no gunboats. Now 
we had been reinforced by a fleet of six naval vessels, 
a large division of troops under General L. Wallace 
and 2,500 men brought over from Fort Henry 
belonging to the division of C. F. Smith. The en- 
emy, however, had taken the initiative. Just as I 
landed I met Captain Hillyer of my staff^, white with 
fear, not for his personal safety, but for the safety of 
the National troops. He said the enemy had come 
out of his lines in full force and attacked and scat- 
tered McClernand s division, which was in full re- 
treat. The roads, as I have said, were unfit for mak- 
ing fast time, but I got to my command as soon as 
possible. The attack had been made on the National 

Vol. I. — 20 


right. I was some four or five miles north of our 
left. The line was about three miles long. In reach- 
ing the point where the disaster had occurred I had 
to pass the divisions of Smith and Wallace. I saw 
no sign of excitement on the portion of the line held 
by Smith ; Wallace was nearer the scene of conflict 
and had taken part in it. He had, at an opportune 
time, sent Thayer's brigade to the support of Mc- 
Clernand and thereby contributed to hold the enemy 
within his lines. 

I saw everything favorable for us along the line of 
our left and centre. When I came to the right ap- 
pearances were different. The enemy had come out 
in full force to cut his way out and make his escape. 
McClernand's division had to bear the brunt of the 
attack from this combined force. His men had stood 
up gallantly until the ammunition in their cartridge- 
boxes gave out. There was abundance of ammuni- 
tion near by lying on the ground in boxes, but at 
that stage of the war it was not all of our command- 
ers of regiments, brigades, or even divisions, who had 
been educated up to the point of seeing that their 
men were constantly supplied with ammunition during 
an engagement. When the men found themselves 
without ammunition they could not stand up against 
troops who seemed to have plenty of it. The divi- 
sion broke and a portion fled, but most of the men, 
as they were not pursued, only fell back out of range 


of the fire of the enemy. It must have been about 
this time that Thayer pushed his brigade in between 
the enemy and those of our troops that were without 
ammunition. At all events the enemy fell back 
within his intrenchments and was there when I got 
on the field. 

I saw the men standing in knots talking in the 
most excited manner. No officer seemed to be giv- 
ing any directions. The soldiers had their muskets, 
but no ammunition, while there were tons of it close 
at hand. I heard some of the men say that the ene- 
my had come out with knapsacks, and haversacks 
filled with rations. They seemed to think this indi- 
cated a determination on his part to stay out and 
fight just as long as the provisions held out. I 
turned to Colonel J. D. Webster, of my staff, who 
was with me, and said : " Some of our men are pretty 
badly demoralized, but the enemy must be more so, 
for he has attempted to force his way out, but has 
fallen back: the one who attacks first now will be 
victorious and the enemy will have to be in a hurry 
if he gets ahead of me." I determined to make the 
assault at once on our left. It was clear to my mind 
that the enemy had started to march out with his 
entire force, except a few pickets, and if our attack 
could be made on the left before the enemy could re- 
distribute his forces along the line, we would find but 
little opposition except from the intervening abatis. 


I directed Colonel Webster to ride with me and call 
out to the men as we passed : ** Fill your cartridge- 
boxes, quick, and get into line ; the enemy is trying 
to escape and he must not be permitted to do so." 
This acted like a charm. The men only wanted some 
one to give them a command. We rode rapidly to 
Smith's quarters, when I explained the situation to 
him and directed him to charge the enemy's works 
in his front with his whole division, saying at the 
same time that he would find nothing but a very 
thin line to contend with. The general was off in an 
incredibly short time, going in advance himself to 
keep his men from firing while they were working 
their way through the abatis intervening between 
them and the enemy. The outer line of rifle-pits was 
passed, and the night of the 15th General Smith, 
with much of his division, bivouacked within the lines 
of the enemy. There was now no doubt but that 
the Confederates must surrender or be captured the 
next day. 

There seems from subsequent accounts to have 
been much consternation, particularly among the offi- 
cers of high rank, in Dover during the night of the 
15th. General Floyd, the commanding officer, who 
was a man of talent enough for any civil position, 
was no soldier and, possibly, did not possess the ele- 
ments of one. He was further unfitted for command, 
for the reason that his conscience must have troubled 


him and made him afraid. As Secretary of War he 
had taken a solemn oath to maintain the Constitution 
of the United States and to uphold the same against 
all its enemies. He had betrayed that trust As 
Secretary of War he was reported through the north- 
em press to have scattered the little army the coun- 
try had so that the most of it could be picked up in 
detail when secession occurred. About a year before 
leaving the Cabinet he had removed arms from north- 
ern to southern arsenals. He continued in the Cab- 
inet of President Buchanan until about the ist of 
January, 1861, while he was working vigilantly for 
the establishment of a confederacy made out of 
United States territory. Well may he have been 
afraid to fall into the hands of National troops. He 
would no doubt have been tried for misappropri- 
ating public property, if not for treason, had he been 
captured. General Pillow, next in command, was 
conceited, and prided himself much on his services in 
the Mexican war. He telegraphed to General John- 
ston, at Nashville, after our men were within the 
rebel rifle-pits, and almost on the eve of his making 
his escape, that the Southern troops had had great 
success all day. Johnston forwarded the dispatch 
to Richmond. While the authorities at the capital 
were reading it Floyd and Pillow were fugitives. 

A council of war was held by the enemy at which 
all agreed that it would be impossible to hold out 


longer. General Buckner, who was third in rank in 
the garrison but much the most capable soldier, 
seems to have regarded it a duty to hold the fort 
until the general commanding the department, 
A. S. Johnston, should get back to his headquar- 
ters at Nashville. Buckner's report shows, however, 
that he considered Donelson lost and that any 
attempt to hold the place longer would be at the 
sacrifice of the command. Being assured that 
Johnston was already in Nashville, Buckner too 
agreed that surrender was the proper thing. Floyd 
turned over the command to Pillow, who declined it 
It then devolved upon Buckner, who accepted the 
responsibility of the position. Floyd and Pillow 
took possession of all the river transports at Dover 
and before morning both were on their way to 
Nashville, with the brigade formerly commanded 
by Floyd and some other troops, in all about 3,000. 
Some marched up the east bank of the Cumberland ; 
others went on the steamers. During the night For- 
rest also, with his cavalry and some other troops, 
about a thousand in all, made their way out, passing 
between our right and the river. They had to ford 
or swim over the back-water in the little creek just 
south of Dover. 

Before daylight General Smith brought to me the 
following letter from General Buckner : 


Headquarters, Fort Donelson, 

Pehruary 16, 1862. 

Sir : — In consideration of all the circumstances governing the 
present situation of affairs at this station, I propose to the Com- 
manding Officer of the Federal forces the appointment of Com- 
missioners to agree upon terms of capitulation of the forces and 
fort under my command, and in that view suggest an armistice 
until 12 o'clock to-day. 

I am, sir, very respectfully, 

Your ob't seVt, 

Brig. Gen. C. S. A. 

To Brigidier-General U. & Grant, 
Com'ding U. S. Forces, 

Near Fort Donelson. 

To this I responded as follows : 

Headquarters Army in the Field, 

Camp near Donelson, 
February 16, 1862. 
General S. B. Buckner, 

Confederate Anny. 

Sir : — Yours of this date, proposing armistice and appointment 
of Commissioners to settle terms of capitulation, is just received. 
No terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can 
be accepted. I propose to move immediately upon your works. 

I am, sir, very respectfully, 

Your ob't seV't, 


Brig. Gen. 

To this I received the following reply : 


Headquarters, Dover, Tennessee. 

February i6, 1862. 
To Brig. Geni U. S. Grant, 

U. S. Army. 

Sir : — The distribution of the forces under my command, in- 
cident to an unexpected change of commanders, and the over- 
whelming force under your command, compel me, notwithstanding 
the brilliant success of the Confederate arms yesterday, to accept 
the ungenerous and unchivalrous terms which you propose. 

I am, sir, 
Your very ob't se'v't, 

Brig. Gen. C S. A. 

General Buckner, as soon as he had dispatched the 
first of the above letters, sent word to his different 
commanders on the line of rifle-pits, notifying them 
that he had made a proposition looking to the sur- 
render of the garrison, and directing them to notify 
National troops in their front so that all fighting 
might be prevented. White flags were stuck at inter- 
vals along the line of rifle-pits, but none over the 
fort. As soon as the last letter from Buckner was 
received I mounted my horse and rode to Dover. 
General Wallace, I found, had preceded me an hour 
or more. I presume that, seeing white flags exposed 
in his front, he rode up to see what they meant and. 
not being fired upon or halted, he kept on until he 
found himself at the headquarters of General Buck- 

I had been at West Point three years with Buck- 


ner and afterwards served with him in the army, so 
that we were quite well acquainted. In the course 
of our conversation, which was very friendly, he said 
to me that if he had been in command I would not 
have got up to Donelson as easily as I did. I told 
him that if he had been in command I should not 
have tried in the way I did: I had invested their 
lines with a smaller force than they had to defend 
them, and at the same time had sent a brigade full 
5,000 strong, around by water; I had relied very 
much upon their commander to allow me to come 
safely up to the outside of their works. I asked 
General Buckner about what force he had to sur* 
render. He replied that he could not tell with any 
degree of accuracy ; that all the sick and weak had 
been sent to Nashville while we were about Fort 
Henry ; that Floyd and Pillow had left during the 
night, taking many men with them ; and that Forrest, 
and probably others, had also escaped during the 
preceding night : the number of casualties he could 
not tell ; but he said I would not find fewer than 
12,000, nor more than 15,000. 

He asked permission to send parties outside of the 
lines to bury his dead, who had fallen on the 15th 
when they tried to get out. I gave directions that 
his permit to pass our limits should be recognized. 
I have no reason to believe that this privilege was 
abused, but it familiarized our guards so much with 


the sight of Confederates passing to and fro that I 
have no doubt many got beyond our pickets unob- 
served and went on. The most of the men who 
went in that way no doubt thought they had had 
war enough, and left with the intention of remain- 
ing out of the army. Some came to me and asked 
permission to go, saying that they were tired of 
the war and would not be caught in the ranks again^ 
and I bade them go. 

The actual number of Confederates at Fort Donel- 
son can never be given with entire accuracy. The 
largest number admitted by any writer on the South- 
ern side, is by Colonel Preston Johnston. He gives 
the number at 1 7,000. But this must be an under- 
estimate. The commissary general of prisoners re- 
ported having issued rations to 14,623 Fort Donelson 
prisoners at Cairo, as they passed that point. Gen- 
eral Pillow reported the killed and wounded at 2,000 ; 
but he had less opportunity of knowing the actual 
numbers than the officers of McClernand's division, 
for most of the killed and wounded fell outside their 
works, in front of that division, and were buried or 
cared for by Buckner after the surrender and when 
Pillow was a fugitive. It is known that Floyd and 
Pillow escaped during the night of the 15th, taking 
with them not less than 3,000 men. Forrest escaped 
with about 1,000 and others were leaving singly and 
in squads all night. It is probable that the Con- 


federate force at Donelson, on the 1 5th of February, 
1862, was 21,000 in round numbers. 

On the day Fort Donelson fell I had 27,000 men to 
confront the Confederate lines and guard the road 
four or five miles to the left, over which all our 
supplies had to be drawn on wagons. During the 
1 6th, after the surrender, additional reinforcements 

During the siege General Sherman had been sent 
to Smithland, at the mouth of the Cumberland River, 
to forward reinforcements and supplies to me. At 
that time he was my senior in rank and there was 
no authority of law to assign a junior to command a 
senior of the same grade. But every boat that came 
up with supplies or reinforcements brought a note of 
encouragement from Sherman, asking me to call upon 
him for any assistance he could render and saying 
that if he could be of service at the front I might 
send for him and he would waive rank. 






TH E news of the fall of Fort Donelson caused great 
delight all over the North. At the South, par- 
ticularly in Richmond, the effect was correspondingly 
depressing. I was promptly promoted to the grade 
of Major-General of Volunteers, and confirmed by 
the Senate. All three of my division commanders 
were promoted to the same grade and the colonels 
who commanded brigades were made brigadier- 
generals in the volunteer service. My chief, who was 
in St. Louis, telegraphed his congratulations to Gen- 
eral Hunter in Kansas for the services he had ren- 
dered in securing the fall of Fort Donelson by send- 
ing reinforcements so rapidly. To Washington he 
telegraphed that the victory was due to General C. 
F. Smith ; " promote him," he said, ** and the whole 
country will applaud." On the 19th there was pub- 
lished at St. Louis a formal order thanking Flag- 


officer Foote and myself, and the forces under our 
command, for the victories on the Tennessee and 
the Cumberland. I received no other recognition 
whatever from General Halleck. But General Cul- 
lum, his chief of staff, who was at Cairo, wrote me a 
warm congratulatory letter on his own behalf. I 
approved of General Smith's promotion highly, as 
I did all the promotions that were made. 

My opinion was and still is that immediately after 
the fall of Fort Donelson the way was opened to the 
National forces all over the South-west without much 
resistance. If one general who would have taken 
the responsibility had been in command of all the 
troops west of the AUeghanies, he could have marched 
to Chattanooga, Corinth, Memphis and Vicksburg 
with the troops we then had, and as volunteering 
was going on rapidly over the North there would 
soon have been force enough at all these centres to 
operate offensively against any body of the enemy 
that might be found near them. Rapid movements 
and the acquisition of rebellious territory would have 
promoted volunteering, so that reinforcements could 
have been had as fast as transportation could have 
been obtained to carry them to their destination. 
On the other hand there were tens of thousands of 
strong able-bodied young men still at their homes in 
the south-western States, who had not gone into the 
Confederate army in February, 1862, and who had 


no particular desire to go. If our lines had been 
extended to protect their homes, many of them never 
would have gone. Providence ruled differently. 
Time was given the enemy to collect armies and 
fortify his new positions ; and twice afterwards he 
came near forcing his north-western front up to the 
Ohio River. 

I promptly informed the department commander 
of our success at Fort Donelson and that the way 
was open now to Clarksville and Nashville ; and that 
unless I received orders to the contrary I should take 
Clarksville on the 21st and Nashville about the ist 
of March. Both these places are on the Cumber- 
land River above Fort Donelson. As I heard noth- 
ing from headquarters on the subject, General C. 
F. Smith was sent to Clarksville at the time desig- 
nated and found the place evacuated. The capture 
of forts Henry and Donelson had broken the line 
the enemy had taken from Columbus to Bowling 
Green, and it was known that he was falling back 
from the eastern point of this line and that Buell 
was following, or at least advancing. I should have 
sent troops to Nashville at the time I sent to Clarks- 
ville, but my transportation was limited and there 
were many prisoners to be forwarded north. 

None of the reinforcements from Buell's army ar- 
rived until the 24th of February. Then General 
Nelson came up, with orders to report to me with 


two brigades, he having sent one brigade to Cairo. 
I knew General Buell was advancing on Nashville 
from the north, and I was advised by scouts that the 
rebels were leaving that place, and trying to get out all 
the supplies they could. Nashville was, at that time, 
one of the best provisioned posts in the South. I 
had no use for reinforcements now, and thinking 
Buell would like to have his troops again, I ordered 
Nelson to proceed to Nashville without debarking at 
Fort Donelson. I sent a gunboat also as a convoy. 
The Cumberland River was very high at the time ; 
the railroad bridge at Nashville had been burned, 
and all river craft had been destroyed, or would be 
before the enemv left. Nashville is on the west bank 
of the Cumberland, and Buell was approaching from 
the east. I thought the steamers carrying Nelson's 
division would be useful in ferrying the balance of 
Buell's forces across. I ordered Nelson to put 
himself in communication with Buell as soon as 
possible, and if he found him more than two days off 
from Nashville to return below the city and await 
orders. Buell, however, had already arrived in person 
at Edgefield, opposite Nashville, and Mitcheirs divi- 
sion of his command reached there the same day. 
Nelson immediately took possession of the city. 

After Nelson had gone and before I had learned 
of Buell's arrival, I sent word to department head- 
quarters that I should go to Nashville myself on the 


28th if I received no orders to the contrary. Hear- 
ing nothing, I went as I had informed my superior 
officer I would do. On arriving at Clarksville I saw 
a fleet of steamers at the shore — the same that had 
taken Nelson's division — and troops going aboard. 
I landed and called on the commanding officer, 
General C. F. Smith. As soon as he saw me he 
showed an order he had just received from Buell in 
these words : 

Nashville, February 25, 1862. 
General C. F. Smith, 

Commanding U. S. Forces, Clarksville. 

General: — The landing of a portion of our troops, contrary to 
my intentions, on the south side of the river has compelled me to 
hold this side at every hazard. If the enemy should assume the 
offensive, and I am assured by reliable persons that in view of my 
position such is his intention, my force present is altogether inad- 
equate, consisting of only 15,000 men. I have to request you, 
therefore, to come forward with all the available force under your 
command. So important do I consider the occasion that I think 
it necessary to give this communication all the force of orders, and 
I send four boats, the Diana^ Woodford^ John Rain^ and Autocrat^ 
to bring you up. In five or six days my force will probably be 

sufficient to relieve you. 

Very respectfully, your ob't srv't, 

Brigadier-General Comd'g. 

P. S. — The steamers will leave here at 12 o'clock to-night. 

General Smith said this order was nonsense. But 
I told him it was better to obey it. The General 
replied, **of course I must obey," and said his men 


,. _'— -^ 

were embarking as fast as trey co.. i. • v^ 
to Nashville and i'ST>£Ctei lie ::c4i:i!:c 15-*:^:: in- 
Nelson's troops. I did dm see Bjel f— -I'r ii«: 
day, and wrote him a note sijrlri^ ihii I z:uxL i^e-^rr -Li 
Nashville since earlv occn-.z:^ 2irjf haf b:cef ii 
meet him. On r:v rerzin: is ibe !#:«::: "^e i:Kfi 
His troops were sciZ e^si cc lie r:v*r c.ji ij>e 

steamers that had carried Nei=»:c r dr-iSj'.c ni if ere 

mostlv at ClarksvCje ti irjiri? y^T.'T £ ij-ibj^ri^ I 

said to General 3-eII zrr nfinLirjur 

enemy was reireaifn^ ^r fas: 2:^ pifenTi'j 

Buell said there wls f:girri:g rriijr*^ ic ii^s: -c. -^ lei 

or twelve mH-es iW2fr. I aSiid : * ' iice zfryj^'j: 

nition and 'z^rr.'i ^::'jzj'z. '^i^i zzst ^.t^rr"^ .-, '," s-^','- 
tr\'ine to ':::iLrr: s.t l'« ^ iit -i-i. T '-* • • - ,- r 
doubtless w.ih ibt reir-r-i-'- v :.-, i.--. " - - 
protect the irLrir ibrj i.'t r^^-'r Wt v .' 
Bueii spoke reri' ^>:,_i.-' ti.j :r -:rt t-srr :'*r c.- >- 
was in of ar. c.*jlsc:c fnr: v.-'t ^rer ' -i. ■ - :-*• 

absence of pi*=rirr* n£":rTr;ic.i'T. ' -^ -*- ^r: " r vr- 
niation w^^ r-icrenn H* • '.^c" '- 'h-- ■ 
••\Vel!7 I =«id. • I oi -r.r ^.tivv -^ - , >„-' - - 

Clarksv:.'^ Ge:iier^ ^icrir.: . "-'vv': . . -rt ^' ->.rf r: 
to join Yo:i-" 

Smfth's tr>x« ▼*re reiinx-ri :-/- ^—f* -> ' ;* 

enemv were ir"tuii^ •! r»^ uvi!- —jr. - - • -•-r' 
not to rei^im: ic^ IL 


At this time General Albert Sidney Johnston 
commanded all the Confederate troops west of the 
Alleghany Mountains, with the exception of those in 
the extreme south. On the National side the forces 
confronting him were divided into, at first three, then 
four separate departments. Johnston had greatly 
the advantage in having supreme command over all 
troops that could possibly be brought to bear upon 
one point, while the forces similarly situated on the 
National side, divided into independent commands, 
could not be brought into harmonious action except 
by orders from Washington. 

At the beginning of 1862 Johnston's troops east 
of the Mississippi occupied a line extending from 
Columbus, on his left, to Mill Springs, on his right. 
As we have seen, Columbus, both banks of the 
Tennessee River, the west bank of the Cumberland 
and Bowling Green, all were strongly fortified. Mill 
Springs was intrenched. The National troops occu- 
pied no territory south of the Ohio, except three 
small garrisons along its bank and a force thrown 
out from Louisville to confront that at Bowling 
Green. Johnston's strength was no doubt numer- 
ically inferior to that of the National troops ; but 
this was compensated for by the advantage of being 
sole commander of all the Confederate forces at the 
West, and of operating in a country where his friends 
would take care of his rear without any detail of 


soldiers. But when General George H. Thomas 
moved upon the enemy at Mill Springs and totally 
routed him, inflicting a loss of some 300 killed 
and wounded, and forts Henry and Heiman fell 
into the hands of the National forces, with their 
armaments and about 100 prisoners, those losses 
seemed to dishearten the Confederate commander 
so much that he immediately commenced a re- 
treat from Bowling Green on Nashville. He 
reached this latter place on the 14th of February, 
while Donelson was still besieged. Buell followed 
with a portion of the Army of the Ohio, but he had 
to march and did not reach the east bank of the 
Cumberland opposite Nashville until the 24th of 
the month, and then with only one division of his 

The bridge at Nashville had been destroyed and 
all boats removed or disabled, so that a small gar- 
rison could have held the place against any National 
troops that could have been brought against it within 
ten days after the arrival of the force from Bowling 
Green. Johnston seemed to lie quietly at Nash- 
ville to await the result at Fort Donelson, on which 
he had staked the possession of most of the territory 
embraced in the States of Kentucky and Tennessee. 
It is true, the two generals senior in rank at Fort 
Donelson were sending him encouraging dispatches, 
even claiming great Confederate victories up to the 


night of the i6th when they must have been pre- 
paring for their individual escape. Johnston made 
a fatal mistake in intrusting so important a command 
to Floyd, who he must have known was no soldier 
jeven if he possessed the elements of one. Pillow's 
presence as second was also a mistake. If these 
officers had been forced upon him and designated 
for that particular command, then he should have 
left Nashville with a small garrison under a trusty 
officer, and with the remainder of his force gone to 
Donelson himself. If he had been captured the 
result could not have been worse than it was. 

Johnston's heart failed him upon the first ad- 
vance of National troops. He wrote to Richmond 
on the 8th of February, ** I think the gunboats of the 
enemy will probably take Fort Donelson without the 
necessity of employing their land force in co-opera- 
tion." After the fall of that place he abandoned 
Nashville and Chattanooga without an effort to save 
either, and fell back into northern Mississippi, where, 
six weeks later, he was destined to end his career. 

From the time of leaving Cairo I was singularly 
unfortunate in not receiving dispatches from General 
Halleck. The order of the loth of February direct- 
ing me to fortify Fort Henry strongly, particularly to 
the land side, and saying that intrenching tools had 
been sent for that purpose, reached me after Donel- 
son was invested. I received nothing direct which 


indicated that the department commander knew we 
were in possession of Donelsoil. I was reporting 
regularly to the chief of staff, who had been sent to 
Cairo, soon after the troops left- there, to receive all 
reports from the front and to telegraph the substance 
to the St Louis headquarters. Cairo was at the 
southern end of the telegraph wire. Another line was 
started at once from Cairo to Paducah and Smithland, 
at the mouths of the Tennessee and Cumberland 
respectively. My dispatches were all sent to Cairo 
by boat, but many of those addressed to me were 
sent to the operator at the end of the advancing 
wire and he failed to forward them. This operator 
afterwards proved to be a rebel; he deserted his post 
after a short time and went south taking his dis- 
patches with him. A telegram from General Mc- 
Clellan to me of February i6th, the day of the sur- 
render, directing me to report in full the situation, 
was not received at my headquarters until the 3d of 

On the 2d of March I received orders dated March 
1st to move my command back to Fort Henry, leav- 
ing only a small garrison at Donelson. From Fort 
Henry expeditions were to be sent against Eastport, 
Mississippi, and Paris, Tennessee. We started from 
Donelson on the 4th, and the same day I was back on 
the Tennessee River. On March 4th I also received 
the following dispatch from General Halleck: 


Maj.-Gen. U. S. Grant, 
Fort Henry : 

You will place Maj.-Gen. C. F. Smith in command of expedi- 
tion, and remain yourself at Fort Henry. Why do you not obey 
my orders to report strength and positions of your command ? 



I was surprised. This was the first intimation I 
had received that General Halleck had called for in- 
formation as to the strength of my command. On 
the 6th he wrote to me again. ** Your going to Nash- 
ville without authority, and when your presence with 
your troops was of the utmost importance, was a 
matter of very serious complaint at Washington, so 
much so that I was advised to arrest you on your 
return." This was the first I knew of his objecting 
to my going to Nashville. . That place was not be- 
yond the limits of my command, which, it had been 
expressly declared in orders^ were " not defined." 
Nashville is west of the Cumberland River, and I 
had sent troops that had reported to me for duty 
to occupy the place. I turned over the command 
as directed and then replied to General Halleck 
courteously, but asked to be relieved from further 
duty under him. 

Later I learned that General Halleck had been 
calling lustily for more troops, promising that he 
would do something important if he could only be 


sufficiently reinforced. McClellan asked him what 
force he then had. Halleck telegraphed me to 
supply the information so far as my command was 
concerned, but I received none of his dispatches. 
At last Halleck reported to Washington that he had 
repeatedly ordered me to give the strength of my 
force, but could get nothing out of me ; that I had 
gone to Nashville, beyond the limits of my command, 
without his authority, and that my army was more 
demoralized by victory than the army at Bull Run 
had been by defeat. General McClellan, on this in- 
formation, ordered that I should be relieved from 
duty and that an investigation should be made into 
any charges against me. He even authorized my 
arrest. Thus in less than two weeks after the vic- 
tory at Donelson, the two leading generals in the 
army were in correspondence as to what disposition 
should be made of me, and in less than three weeks 
I was virtually in arrest and without a command. 

On the 13th of March I was restored to command, 
and on the 17th Halleck sent me a copy of an order 
from the War Department which stated that accounts 
of my misbehavior had reached Washington and 
directed him to investigate and report the facts. He 
forwarded also a copy of a detailed dispatch from 
himself to Washington entirely exonerating me ; but 
he did not inform me that it was his own reports that 
had created all the trouble. On the contrary, he 


wrote to me, " Instead of relieving you, I wish you, 
as soon as your new army is in the field, to assume 
immediate command, and lead it to new victories." 
In consequence I felt very grateful to him, and sup- 
posed it was his interposition that had set me right 
with the government. I never knew the truth until 
General Badeau unearthed the facts in his researches 
for his history of my campaigns. 

General Halleck unquestionably deemed General 
C. F. Smith a much fitter officer for the command of 
all the forces in the military district than I was, and, 
to render him available for such command, desired 
his promotion to antedate mine and those of the 
other division commanders. It is probable that the 
general opinion was that Smith's long services in the 
army and distinguished deeds rendered him the 
more proper person for such command. Indeed I 
was rather inclined to this opinion myself at that 
time, and would have served as faithfully under Smith 
as he had done under me. But this did not justify 
the dispatches which General Halleck sent to Wash- 
ington, or his subsequent concealment of them from 
me when pretending to explain the action of my 

On receipt of the order restoring me to command 
I proceeded to Savannah on the Tennessee, to which 
point my troops had advanced. General Smith was 
delighted to see me and was unhesitating in his de- 


nunciation of the treatment I had received. He was 
on a sick bed at the time, from which he never came 
away alive. His death was a severe loss to our 
western army. His personal courage was unques- 
tioned, his judgment and professional acquirements 
were unsurpassed, and he had the confidence of those 
he commanded as well as of those over him. 






WHEN I reassumed command on the 17th of 
March I found the army divided, about half 
being on the east bank of the Tennessee at Savannah, 
while one division was at Crump's landing on the 
west bank about four miles higher up, and the re- 
mainder at Pittsburg landing, five miles above 
Crump's. The enemy was in. force at Corinth, the 
junction of the two most important railroads in the 
Mississippi valley — one connecting Memphis and the 
Mississippi River with the East, and the other lead- 
ing south to all the cotton states. Still another rail- 
road connects Corinth with Jackson, in west Tennes- 
see. If we obtained possession of Corinth the ene- 
my would have no railroad for the transportation of 
armies or supplies until that running east from Vicks- 
burg was reached. It was the great strategic posi- 


tion at the West between the Tennessee and the Mis- 
sissippi rivers and between Nashville and Vicksburg. 

I at once put all the troops at Savannah in motion 
for Pittsburg landing, knowing that the enemy was 
fortifying at Corinth and collecting an army there 
under Johnston. It was my expectation to march 
against that army as soon as Buell, who had been 
ordered to reinforce me with the Army of the Ohio, 
should arrive ; and the west bank of the river was 
the place to start from. Pittsburg is only about 
twenty miles from Corinth, and Hamburg landing, 
four miles further up the river, is a mile or two 
nearer. I had not been in command long before I 
selected Hamburg as the place to put the Army of 
the Ohio when it arrived. The roads from Pittsburg 
and Hamburg to Corinth converge some eight miles 
out. This disposition of the troops would have given 
additional roads to march over when the advance 
commenced, within supporting distance of each other. 

Before I arrived at Savannah, Sherman, who had 
joined the Army of the Tennessee and been placed 
in command of a division, had made an expedition 
on steamers convoyed by gunboats to the neighbor- 
hood of Eastport, thirty miles south, for the purpose 
of destroying the railroad east of Corinth. The rains 
had been so heavy for some time before that the low- 
lands had become impassable swamps. Sherman de- 
barked his troops and started out to accomplish the 


object of the expedition ; but the river was rising 
so rapidly that the back-water up the small tribu- 
taries threatened to cut off the possibility of getting 
back to the boats, and the expedition had to return 
without reaching the railroad. The guns had to be 
hauled by hand through the water to get back to the 

On the 1 7th of March the army on the Tennessee 
River consisted of five divisions, commanded respect- 
ively by Generals C. F. Smith, McClernand, L. 
Wallace, Hurlbut and Sherman. General W. H. L. 
Wallace was temporarily in command of Smith's divi- 
sion, General Smith, as I have said, being confined to 
his bed. Reinforcements were arriving daily and as 
they came up they were organized, first into brigades, 
then into a division, and the command given to 
General Prentiss, who had been ordered to report 
to me. General Buell was on his way from Nash- 
ville with 40,000 veterans. On the 19th of March 
he was at Columbia, Tennessee, eighty-five miles 
from Pittsburg. When all reinforcements should 
have arrived I expected to take the initiative 
by marching on Corinth, and had no expectation 
of needing fortifications, though this subject was 
taken into consideration. McPherson, my only 
military engineer, was directed to lay out a line to 
intrench. He did so, but reported that it would 
have to be made in rear of the line of encamp- 


ment as it then ran. The new line, while it would 
be nearer the river, was yet too far away from the 
Tennessee, or even from the creeks, to be easily 
supplied with water, and in case of attack these 
creeks would be in the hands of the enemy. The 
fact is, I regarded the campaign we were engaged in 
as an offensive one and had no idea that the enemy 
would leave strong intrenchments to take the in- 
itiative when he knew he would be attacked where 
he was if he remained. This view, however, did 
not prevent every precaution being taken and every 
effort made to keep advised of all movements of the 

Johnston's cavalry meanwhile had been well out 
towards our front, and occasional encounters occurred 
between it and our outposts. On the ist of April 
this cavalry became bold and approached our lines, 
showing that an advance of some kind was contem- 
plated. On the 2d Johnston left Corinth in force to 
attack my army. On the 4th his cavalry dashed 
down and captured a small picket guard of six or 
seven men, stationed some five miles out from Pitts- 
burg on the Corinth road. Colonel Buckland sent 
relief to the guard at once and soon followed in per- 
son with an entire regiment, and General Sherman 
followed Buckland taking the remainder of a brigade. 
The pursuit was kept up for some three miles beyond 
the point where the picket guard had been captured. 


and after nightfall Sherman returned to camp and 
reported to me by letter what had occurred. 

At this time a large body of the enemy was hover- 
ing to the west of us, along the line of the Mobile 
and Ohio railroad. My apprehension was much 
greater for the safety of Crump's landing than it was 
for Pittsburg. I had no apprehension that the enemy 
could really capture either place. But I feared it 
was possible that he might make a rapid dash upon 
Crump's and destroy our transports and stores, 
most of which were kept at that point, and then 
retreat before Wallace could be reinforced. Lew. 
Wallace's position I regarded as so well chosen that 
he was not removed. 

At this time I generally spent the day at Pittsburg 
and returned to Savannah in the evening. I was 
intending to remove my headquarters to Pittsburg, 
but Buell was expected daily and would come in at 
Savannah. I remained at this point, therefore, a few 
days longer than I otherwise should have done, in 
order to meet him on his arrival. The skirmishing 
in our front, however, had been so continuous from 
about the 3d of April that I did not leave Pittsburg 
each night until an hour when I felt there would be 
no further danger before the morning. 

On Friday the 4th, the day of Buckland's ad- 
vance, I was very much injured by my horse falling 
with me, and on me, while I was trying to get to the 


front where firing had been heard. The night was 
one of impenetrable darkness, with rain pouring down 
in torrents ; nothing was visible to the eye except as 
revealed by the frequent flashes of lightning. Under 
these circumstances I had to trust to the horse, with- 
out guidance, to keep the road. I had not gone far, 
however, when I met General W. H. L.Wallace and 
Colonel (afterwards General) McPherson coming 
from the direction of the front. They said all was 
quiet so far as the enemy was concerned. On the way 
back to the boat my horse's feet slipped from under 
him, and he fell with my leg under his body. The ex- 
treme softness of the ground, from the excessive rains 
of the few preceding days, no doubt saved me from a 
severe injury and protracted lameness. As it was, 
my ankle was very much injured, so much so that 
my boot had to be cut off. For two or three days 
after I was unable to walk except with crutches. 

On the 5th General Nelson, with a division of 
Buell's army, arrived at Savannah and I ordered him 
to move up the east bank of the river, to be in a 
position where he could be ferried over to Crump's 
landing or Pittsburg as occasion required. I had 
learned that General Buell himself would be at Sa- 
vannah the next day, and desired to meet me on his 
arrival. Affairs at Pittsburg landing had been such 
for several days that I did not want to be away dur- 
ing the day. I determined, therefore, to take a very 


early breakfast and ride out to meet Buell, and thus 
save time. He had arrived on the evening of the 5th, 
but had not advised me of the fact and I was not 
aware of it until some time after. While I was at 
breakfast, however, heavy firing was heard in the 
direction of Pittsburg landing, and I hastened there, 
sending a hurried note to Buell informing him of 
the reason why I could not meet him at Savannah. 
On the way up the river I directed the dispatch-boat 
to run in close to Crump's landing, so that I could 
communicate with General Lew. Wallace. I found 
him waiting on a boat apparently expecting to see 
me, and I directed him to get his troops in line ready 
to execute any orders he might receive. He replied 
that his troops were already under arms and prepared 
to move. 

Up to that time I had felt by no means certain that 
Crump's landing might not be the point of attack. 
On reaching the front, however, about eight a.m., 
I found that the attack on Pittsburg was unmistak- 
able, and that nothing more than a small guard, to 
protect our transports and stores, was needed at 
Crump's. Captain Baxter, a quartermaster on my 
staff, was accordingly directed to go back and order 
General Wallace to march immediately to Pittsburg 
by the road nearest the river. Captain Baxter made 
a memorandum of this order. About one p.m., not 
hearing from Wallace and being much in need of 


reinforcements, I sent two more of my staff, Colonel 
McPherson and Captain Rowley, to bring him up 
with his division. They reported finding him march- 
ing towards Purdy, Bethel, or some point west from 
the river, and farther from Pittsburg by several 
miles than when he started. The road from his first 
position to Pittsburg landing was direct and near 
the river. Between the two points a bridge had 
been built across Snake Creek by our troops, at 
which Wallace's command had assisted, expressly to 
enable the troops at the two places to support each 
other in case of need. Wallace did not arrive in 
time to take part in the first day's fight. General 
Wallace has since claimed that the order delivered 
to him by Captain Baxter was simply to join the 
right of the army, and that the road over which he 
marched would have taken him to the road from 
Pittsburg to Purdy where it crosses Owl Creek on 
the right of Sherman ; but this is not where I had 
ordered him nor where I wanted him to go. 

I never could see and do not now see why any 
order was necessary further than to direct him to 
come to Pittsburg landing, without specifying by 
what route. His was one of three veteran divisions 
that had been in battle, and its absence was severely 
felt. Later in the war General Wallace would 
not have made the mistake that he committed on 
the 6th of April, 1862. I presume his idea was that 

Vol I.— 22. 


by taking the route he dkd he would be able to 
come around on the flank or rear of the enemy, and 
thus perform an act of heroism that would redound 
to the credit of his command, as well as to the bene- 
fit of his country. 

Some two or three miles from Pittsburg landing 
was a log meeting-house called Shiloh. It stood on 
the ridge which divides the waters of Snake and 
Lick creeks, the former emptying into the Tennes- 
see just north of Pittsburg landing, and the latter 
south. This point was the key to our position and 
was held by Sherman. His division was at that 
time wholly raw, no part of it ever having been in 
an engagement ; but I thought this deficiency was 
more than made up by the superiority of the com- 
mander. McClernand was on Sherman's left, with 
troops that had been engaged at forts Henry and 
Donelson and were therefore veterans so far as 
western troops had become such at that stage of 
the war. Next to McClernand came Prentiss with 
a raw division, and on the extreme left, Stuart with 
one brigade of Sherman's division. Hurlbut was in 
rear of Prentiss, massed, and in reserve at the time 
of the onset. The division of General C. F. Smith 
was on the right, also in reserve. General Smith 
was still sick in bed at Savannah, but within hear- 
ing of our guns. His services would no doubt have 
been of inestimable value had his health permitted 


his presence. The command of his division de- 
volved upon Brigadier-General W. H. L. Wallace, 
a most estimable and able officer ; a veteran too, for 
he had served a year in the Mexican war and had 
been with his command at Henry and Donelson. 
Wallace was mortally wounded in the first day's en- 
gagement, and with the change of commanders thus 
necessarily effected in the heat of battle the effi- 
ciency of his division was much weakened. 

The position of our troops made a continuous line 
from Lick Creek on the left to Owl Creek, a branch 
of Snake Creek, on the right, facing nearly south 
and possibly a little west. The water in all these 
streams was very high at the time and contributed 
to protect our flanks. The enemy was compelled, 
therefore, to attack directly in front. This he did 
with great vigor, inflicting heavy losses on the Na- 
tional side, but suffering much heavier on his own. 

The Confederate assaults were made with such a 
disregard of losses on their own side that our line 
of tents soon fell into their hands. The ground on 
which the battle was fought was undulating, heavily 
timbered with scattered clearings, the woods giving 
some protection to the troops on both sides. There 
was also considerable underbrush. A number of at- 
tempts were made by the enemy to turn our right 
flank, where Sherman was posted, but every effort 
was repulsed with heavy loss. But the front attack 


was kept up so vigorously that, to prevent the suc- 
cess of these attempts to get on our flanks, the Na- 
tional troops were compelled, several times, to take 
positions to the rear nearer Pittsburg landing. 
When the firing ceased at night the National line 
was all of a mile in rear of the position it had oc- 
cupied in the morning. 

In one of the backward moves, on the 6th, the 
division commanded by General Prentiss did not 
fall back with the others. This left his flanks 
exposed and enabled the enemy to capture him 
with about 2,200 of his officers and men. General 
Badeau gives four o'clock of the 6th as about the 
time this capture took place. He may be right as 
to the time, but my recollection is that the hour 
was later. General Prentiss himself gave the hour 
as half-past five. I was with him, as I was with each 
of the division commanders that day, several times, 
and my recollection is that the last time I was with 
him was about half-past four, when his division was 
standing up firmly and the General was as cool as 
if expecting victory. But no matter whether it 
was four or later, the story that he and his command 
were surprised and captured in their camps is with- 
out any foundation whatever. If it had been true, 
as currently reported at the time and yet be- 
lieved by thousands of people, that Prentiss and 
his division had been captured in their beds, there 


would not have been an all-day struggle, with the 
loss of thousands killed and wounded on the Con- 
federate side. 

With the single exception of a few minutes 
after the capture of Prentiss, a continuous and 
unbroken line was maintained all day from Snake 
Creek or its tributaries on the right to Lick Creek 
or the Tennessee on the left above Pittsburg. 
There was no hour during the day when there was 
not heavy firing and generally hard fighting at some 
point on the line, but seldom at all points at the 
same time. It was a case of Southern dash against 
Northern pluck and endurance. Three of the five 
divisions engaged on Sunday were entirely raw, and 
many of the men had only received their arms on 
the way from their States to the field. Many of 
them had arrived but a day or two before and 
were hardly able to load their muskets according 
to the manual. Their officers were equally igno- 
rant of their duties. Under these circumstances it 
is not astonishing that many of the regiments broke 
at the first fire. In two cases, as I now remember, 
colonels led their regiments from the field on 
first hearing the whistle of the enemy's bullets. In 
these cases the colonels were constitutional cowards, 
unfit for any military position ; but not so the 
officers and men led out of danger by them. 
Better troops never went upon a battle-field than 


many of these, officers and men, afterwards proved 
themselves to be, who fled panic-stricken at the 
first whistle of bullets and shell at Shiloh. 

During the whole of Sunday I was continuously 
engaged in passing from one part of the field to 
another, giving directions to division commanders. 
In thus moving along the line, however, I never 
deemed it important to stay long with Sherman. 
Although his troops were then under fire for the 
first time, their commander, by his constant presence 
with them, inspired a confidence in officers and 
men that enabled them to render services on that 
bloody battle-field worthy of the best of veterans. 
McClernand was next to Sherman, and the hardest 
fighting was in front of these two divisions. 
McClernand told me on that day, the 6th, that 
he profited much by having so able a commander 
supporting him. A casualty to Sherman that 
would have taken him from the field that day 
would have been a sad one for the troops en- 
gaged at Shiloh. And how near we came to this ! 
On the 6th Sherman was shot twice, once in the 
hand, once in the shoulder, the ball cutting his 
coat and making a slight wound, and a third ball 
passed through his hat. In addition to this he 
had several horses shot during the day. 

The nature of this battle was such that cavalry 
could not be used in front ; I therefore formed ours 


into line in rear, to stop stragglers — of whom there 
were many. When there would be enough of them 
to make a show, and after they had recovered from 
their fright, they would be sent to reinforce some part 
of the line which needed support, without regard to 
their companies, regiments or brigades. 

On one occasion during the day I rode back as 
far as the river and met General Buell, who had just 
arrived ; I do not remember the hour, but at that 
time there probably were as many as four or five 
thousand stragglers lying under cover of the river 
bluff, panic-stricken, most of whom would have been 
shot where they lay, without resistance, before they 
would have taken muskets and marched to the front 
to protect themselves. This meeting between Gen- 
eral Buell and myself was on the dispatch-boat used 
to run between the landing and Savannah. It was 
brief, and related specially to his getting his troops 
over the river. As we left the boat together, Buell's 
attention was attracted by the men lying under cover 
of the river bank. I saw him berating them and 
trying to shame them into joining their regiments. 
He even threatened them with shells from the gun- 
boats near by. But it was all to no effect. Most of 
these men afterward proved themselves as gallant as 
any of those who saved the battle from which they 
had deserted. I have no doubt that this sight im- 
pressed General Buell with the idea that a line of 


retreat would be a good thing just then. If he had 
come in by the front instead of through the stragglers 
in the rear, he would have thought and felt differently. 
Could he have come through the Confederate rear, 
he would have witnessed there a scene similar to that 
at our own. The distant rear of an army engaged in 
battle is not the best place from which to judge 
correctly what is going on in front. Later in the 
war, while occupying the country between the Ten- 
nessee and the Mississippi, I learned that the panic 
in the Confederate lines had not differed much from 
that within our own. Some of the country people 
estimated the stragglers from Johnston s army as high 
as 20,000. Of course this was an exaggeration. 

The situation at the close of Sunday was as fol- 
lows: along the top of the bluff just south of 
the log-house which stood at Pittsburg landing, 
Colonel J. D. Webster, of my staff, had arranged 
twenty or more pieces of artillery facing south or up 
the river. This line of artillery was on the crest of 
a hill overlooking a deep ravine opening into the 
Tennessee. Hurlbut with his division intact was on 
the right of this artillery, extending west and pos- 
sibly a little north. McClernand came next in the 
general line, looking more to the west. His division 
was complete in its organization and ready for any 
duty. Sherman came next, his right extending to 
Snake Creek. His command, like the other two. 


was complete in its organization and ready, like its 
chief, for any service it might be called upon to 
render. All three divisions were, as a matter of 
course, more or less shattered and depleted in num- 
bers from the terrible battle of the day. The division 
of W. H. L, Wallace, as much from the disorder 
arising from changes of division and brigade com- 
manders, under heavy fire, as from any other cause, 
had lost its organization and did not occupy a place 
in the line as a division. Prentiss' command was 
gone as a division, many of its members having been 
killed, wounded or captured ; but it had rendered 
valiant services before its final dispersal, and had con- 
tributed a good share to the defence of Shiloh. 

The right of my line rested near the bank of Snake 
Creek, a short distance above the bridge which 
had been built by the troops for the purpose of con- 
necting Crump's landing and Pittsburg landing. 
Sherman had posted some troops in a log-house and 
out-buildings which overlooked both the bridge over 
which Wallace was expected and the creek above 
that point. In this last position Sherman was fre- 
quently attacked before night, but held the point 
until he voluntarily abandoned it to advance in 
order to make room for Lew. Wallace, who came up 
after dark. 

There was, as I have said, a deep ravine in front 
of our left The Tennessee River was very high 


and there was water to a considerable depth in 
the ravine. Here the enemy made a last desper- 
ate effort to turn our flank, but was repelled. The 
gunboats Tyler and Lexington, Gwin and Shirk com- 
manding, with the artillery under Webster, aided 
the army and effectually checked their further prog- 
ress. Before any of Buell's troops had reached the 
west bank of the Tennessee, firing had almost entirely 
ceased ; anything like an attempt on the part of the 
enemy to advance had absolutely ceased. There 
was some artillery firing from an unseen enemy, 
some of his shells passing beyond us ; but I do not 
remember that there was the whistle of a single mus- 
ket-ball heard. As his troops arrived in the dusk 
General Buell marched several of his regiments part 
way down the face of the hill where they fired briskly 
for some minutes, but I do not think a single man 
engaged in this firing received an injury. The at- 
tack had spent its force. 

General Lew. Wallace, with 5,000 effective men, 
arrived after firing had ceased for the day, and was 
placed on the right. Thus night came, Wallace came, 
and the advance of Nelson's division came ; but 
none — unless night — in time to be of material service 
to the gallant men who saved Shiloh on that first 
day against large odds. Buell's loss on the 6th of 
April was two men killed and one wounded, all mem- 
bers of the 36th Indiana infantry. The Army of 


the Tennessee lost on that day at least 7,000 men. 
The presence of two or three regiments of Buells 
army on the west bank before firing ceased had not 
the slightest effect in preventing the capture of Pitts- 
burg landing. 

So confident was I before firing had ceased on the 
6th that the next day would bring victory to our 
arms if we could only take the initiative, that I vis- 
ited each division commander in person before any 
reinforcements had reached the field. I directed 
them to throw out heavy lines of skirmishers in the 
morning as soon as they could see, and push them 
forward until they found the enemy, following with 
their entire divisions in supporting distance, and to 
engage the enemy as soon as found. To Sherman I 
told the story of the assault at Fort Donelson, and 
said that the same tactics would win at Shiloh. 
Victory was assured when Wallace arrived, even if 
there had been no other support. I was glad, how- 
ever, to see the reinforcements of Buell and credit 
them with doing all there was for them to do. Dur- 
ing the night of the 6th the remainder of Nelson s 
division, Buell's army, crossed the river and were 
ready to advance in the morning, forming the left 
wing. Two other divisions, Crittenden's and Mc- 
Cook's, came up the river from Savannah in the 
transports and were on the west bank early on the 
7th. Buell commanded them in person. My com- 


mand was thus nearly doubled in numbers and effi- 

During the night rain fell in torrents and our 
troops were exposed to the storm without shelter. 
I made my headquarters under a tree a few hundred 
yards back from the river bank. My ankle was so 
much swollen from the fall of my horse the Friday 
night preceding, and the bruise was so painful, that 
I could get no rest. The drenching rain would have 
precluded the possibility of sleep without this addi- 
tional cause. Some time after midnight, growing 
restive under the storm and the continuous pain, I 
moved back to the log-house under the bank. This 
had been taken as a hospital, and all night wounded 
men were being brought in, their wounds* dressed, 
a leg or an arm amputated as the case might require, 
and everything being done to save life or alleviate 
suffering. The sight was more unendurable than 
encountering the enemy's fire, and I returned to my 
tree in the rain. 

The advance on the morning of the 7th developed 
the enemy in the camps occupied by our troops be- 
fore the battle began, more than a mile back from 
the most advanced position of the Confederates on 
the day before. It is known now that they had not 
yet learned of the arrival of Buell's command. Possi- 
bly they fell back so far to get the shelter of our 
tents during the rain, and also to get away from the 


shells that were dropped upon them by the gunboats 
every fifteen minutes during the night. 

The position of the Union troops on the morning 
of the 7th was as follows : General Lew. Wallace on 
the right ; Sherman on his left ; then McClemand 
and then Hurlbut Nelson, of Buell's army, was on 
our extreme left, next to the river. Crittenden was 
next in line after Nelson and on his right ; McCook 
followed and formed the extreme right of Buell's 
command. My old command thus formed the right 
wing, while the troops directly under Buell consti- 
tuted the left wing of the army. These relative 
positions were retained during the entire day, or 
until the enemy was driven from the field. 

In a very short time the battle became general all 
along the line. This day everything was favorable to 
the Union side. We had now become the attacking 
party. The enemy was driven back all day, as we 
had been the day before, until finally he beat a pre- 
cipitate retreat. The last point held by him was near 
the road leading from the landing to Corinth, on the 
left of Sherman and right of McClernand. About 
three o'clock, being near that point and seeing that 
the enemy was giving way everywhere else, I 
gathered up a couple of regiments, or parts of regi- 
ments, from troops near by, formed them in line of 
battle and marched them forward, going in front 
myself to prevent premature or long-range firing. At 


this point there was a clearing between us and the 
enemy favorable for charging, although exposed. I 
knew the enemy were ready to break and only wanted 
a little encouragement from us to go quickly and join 
their friends who had started earlier. After march- 
ing to within musket-range I stopped and let the 
troops pass. The command, Charge, was given, and 
was executed with loud cheers and with a run ; when 
the last of the enemy broke. 

Note. — Since writing this chapter I have received from Mrs. W. H. L. Wal- 
lace, widow of the gallant general who was killed in the first day's fight on the 
field of Shil6h, a letter from General Lew. Wallace to him dated the morning 
of the 5th. At the date of this letter it was well known that the Confederates 
had troops out along the Mobile & Ohio railroad west of Crump's landing and 
Pittsburg landing, and were also collecting near Shiloh. This letter shows 
that at that time General Lew. Wallace was making preparations for the 
emergency that might happen for the passing of reinforcements between Shiloh 
and his position, extending from Crump's landing westward, and he sends it 
over the road running from Adamsville to the Pittsburg landing and Purdy 
road. These two roads intersect nearly a mile west of the crossing of the 
latter over Owl Creek, where our right rested. In this letter General Lew. 
Wallace advises General W. IL L. Wallace that he will send "to-morrow" 
(and his letter also says ** April 5th." which is the same day the letter was dated 
and which, therefore, must have been written on the 4th) some cavalry to re- 
port to him at his headquarters, and suggesting the propriety of General W. H. 
L. Wallace's sending a company back with them for the purpose of having the 
cavalry at the two landings familiarize themselves with the road so that they 
could " act promptly in case of emergency as guides to and from the different 

This modifies very materially what I have said, and what has been said by 
others, of the conduct of General Lew. Wallace at the battle of Shiloh. It 
shows that he naturally, with no more experience than he had at the time in 
the profession of arms, would take the particular road that he did start upon in 
the absence of orders to move by a different road. 


The mistake he made, and which probably caused his apparent dilatorioess, 
was that of advancing some distance after he found that the firing, which 
would be at first directly to his front and then off to the left, had fallen 
back until it had got very much in rear of the position of his advance. This 
falling back had taken place before I sent General Wallace orders to move up 
to Pittsburg landing and, naturally, my order was to follow the road nearest 
the river. But my order was verbal, and to a staff officer who was to deliver it 
to General Wallace, so that I am not competent to say just what order the 
General actually received. 

General Wallace's division was stationed, the First brigade at Crump's 

landing, the Second out two miles, and the Third two and a half miles out. 

Hearing the sounds of battle General Wallace eariy ordered his First and 

Third brigades to concentrate on the Second. If the position of our front had 

not changed, the road which Wallace took would have been somewhat shorter 

to our right than the River road. 


Mount MacGregor, New York, June 21, 1S85. 



DURING this second day of the battle I had 
been moving from right to left and back, to 
see for myself the progress made. In the early 
part of the afternoon, while riding with Colonel 
McPherson and Major Hawkins, then my chief 
commissary, we got beyond the left of our troops. 
We were moving along the northern edge of a 
clearing, very leisurely, toward the river above the 
landing. There did not appear to be an enemy to 
our right, until suddenly a battery with musketry 
opened upon us from the edge of the woods on the 
other side of the clearing. The shells and balls 
whistled about our ears very fast for about a minute. 
I do not think it took us longer than that to get out 
of range and out of sight. In the sudden start we 
made. Major Hawkins lost his hat. He did not stop 
to pick it up. When we arrived at a perfectly safe 
position we halted to take an account of damages. 
McPherson's horse was panting as if ready to drop. 

Vol. i.~23 


On examination it was found that a ball had struck 
him forward of the flank just back of the saddle, and 
had gone entirely through. In a few minutes the 
poor beast dropped dead ; he had given no sign of 
injury until we came to a stop. A ball had struck 
the metal scabbard of my sword, just below the hilt, 
and broken it nearly off ; before the battle was over 
it had broken off entirely. There were three of us : 
one had lost a horse, killed ; one a hat and one a 
sword-scabbard. All were thankful that it was no 

After the rain of the night before and the frequent 
and heavy rains for some days previous, the roads 
were almost impassable. The enemy carrying his 
artillery and supply trains over them in his retreat, 
made them still worse for troops following. I wanted 
to pursue, but had not the heart to order the men 
who had fought desperately for two days, lying in 
the mud and rain whenever not fighting, and I did 

Note : In an article on the batUe of Shiloh which I wrote for the Century Mag- 
azine, I stated that General A. McD. McCook, who commanded a division of 
Buell's army, expressed some unwillingness to pursue the enemy on Monday. 
April 7th, because of the condition of his troops. General Badeau, in his his- 
tory, also makes the same statement, on my authority. Out of justice to Gen- 
eral McCook and his command, I must say that they left a point twenty-two 
miles east of Savannah on the morning of the 6th. From the heavy rains of a 
few days previous and the passage of trains and artillery, the roads were nec- 
essarily deep in mud, which made marching slow. The division had not only 
marched through this mud the day before, but it had been in the rain all night 
without rest It was engaged in the battle of the second day and did as good 


not feel disposed to positively order Buell, or any 
part of his command, to pursue. Although the senior 
in rank at the time I had been so only a few 
weeks. Buell was, and had been for some time 
past, a department commander, while I commanded 
only a district. I did not meet Buell in person 
until too late to get troops ready and pursue with 
effect ; but had I seen him at the moment of the 
last charge I should have at least requested him to 

I rode forward several miles the day after the 
battle, and found that the enemy had dropped much, 
if not all, of their provisions, some ammunition and 
the extra wheels of their caissons, lightening their 
loads to enable them to get off their guns. About 
five miles out we found their field hospital aban- 
doned. An immediate pursuit must have resulted 
in the capture of a considerable number of prisoners 
and probably some guns. 

Shiloh was the severest battle fought at the West 

service as its position allowed. In fact an opportunity occurred for it to per- 
form a conspicuous act of gallantry which elicited the highest commendation 
from division commanders in the Army of the Tennessee. General Sherman 
both in his memoirs and report makes mention of this fact. General McCook 
himself belongs to a family which furnished many volunteers to the army. I 
refer to these circumstances with minuteness because I did General McCook 
injustice in my article in the Century^ though not to the extent one would 
suppose from the public press. I am not willing to do any one an injustice, 
and if convinced that I have done one, I am always willing to make the fuUest 


during the war, and but few in the East equalled it 
for hard, determined fighting. I saw an open field, 
in our possession on the second day, over which the 
Confederates had made repeated charges the day 
before, so covered with dead that it would have been 
possible to walk across the clearing, in any direction, 
stepping on dead bodies, without a foot touching the 
ground. On our side National and Confederate 
troops were mingled together in about equal pro- 
portions; but on the remainder of the field nearly 
all were Confederates. On one part, which had evi- 
dently not been ploughed for several years, probably 
because the land was poor, bushes had grown up, 
some to the height of eight or ten feet. There was 
not one of these left standing unpierced by bullets. 
The smaller ones were all cut down. 

Contrary to all my experience up to that time, and 
to the experience of the army I was then command- 
ing, we were on the defensive. We were without 
intrenchments or defensive advantages of any sort, 
and more than half the army engaged the first day 
was without experience or even drill as soldiers. The 
officers with them, except the division commanders 
and possibly two or three of the brigade command- 
ers, were equally inexperienced in war. The result 
was a Union victory that gave the men who achieved 
it great confidence in themselves ever after. 

The enemy fought bravely, but they had started 


out to defeat and destroy an army and capture a 
position. They failed in both, with very heavy loss 
in killed and wounded, and must have gone back 
discouraged and convinced that the *' Yankee " was 
not an enemy to be despised. 

After the battle I gave verbal instructions to di- 
vision commanders to let the regiments send out 
parties to bury their own dead, and to detail parties, 
under commissioned ofificers from each division, to 
bury the Confederate dead in their respective fronts 
and to report the numbers so buried. The latter 
part of these instructions was not carried out by all; 
but they were by those sent from Sherman's division, 
and by some of the parties sent out by McClernand. 
The heaviest loss sustained by the enemy was in 
front of these two divisions. 

The criticism has often been made that the Union 
troops should have been intrenched at Shiloh. Up 
to that time the pick and spade had been but little 
resorted to at the West. I had, however, taken this 
subject under consideration soon after re-assuming 
command in the field, and, as already stated, my only 
military engineer reported unfavorably. Besides this, 
the troops with me, officers and men, needed disci- 
pline and drill more than they did experience with 
the pick, shovel and axe. Reinforcements were 
arriving almost daily, composed of troops that had 
been hastily thrown together into companies and 


regiments — fragments of incomplete organizations, 
the men and officers strangers to each other. Under 
all these circumstances I concluded that drill and 
discipline were worth more to our men than fortifi- 

General Buell was a brave, intelligent officer, with 
as much professional pride and ambition of a com- 
mendable sort as I ever knew. I had been two 
years at West Point with him, and had served with 
him afterwards, in garrison and in the Mexican war, 
several years more. He was not given in early life 
or in mature years to forming intimate acquaint- 
ances. He was studious by habit, and commanded 
the confidence and respect of all who knew him. 
He was a strict disciplinarian, and perhaps did not 
distinguish sufficiently between the volunteer who 
" enlisted for the war " and the soldier who serves 
in time of peace. One system embraced men who 
risked life for a principle, and often men of social 
standing, competence, or wealth and independence 
of character. The other includes, as a rule, only 
men who could not do as well in any other occupa- 
tion. General Buell became an object of harsh 
criticism later, some going so far as to challenge his 
loyalty. No one who knew him ever believed him 
capable of a dishonorable act, and nothing could be 
more dishonorable than to accept high rank and 
command in war and then betray the trust. When 


I came into command of the army in 1864, I re- 
quested the Secretary of War to restore General 
Buell to duty. 

After the war, during the summer of 1865, I trav- 
elled considerably through the North, and was 
everywhere met by large numbers of people. Every 
one had his opinion about the manner in which the 
war had been conducted : who among the generals 
had failed, how, and why. Correspondents of the 
press were ever on hand to hear every word dropped, 
and were not always disposed to report correctly 
what did not confirm their preconceived notions, 
either about the conduct of the war or the individ- 
uals concerned in it. The opportunity frequently 
occurred for me to defend General Buell against 
what I believed to be most unjust charges. O.i one 
occasion a correspondent put in my mouth the very 
charge I had so often refuted— of disloyalty. This 
brought from General Buell a very severe retort, 
which I saw in the New York World some time 
before I received the letter itself. I could very well 
understand his grievance at seeing untrue and dis- 
graceful charges apparently sustained by an officer 
who, at the time, was at the head of the army. I 
replied to him, but not through the press. I kept 
no copy of my letter, nor did I ever see it in print ; 
neither did I receive an answer. 

General Albert Sidney Johnston, who commanded 


the Confederate forces at the beginning of the bat- 
tle, was disabled by a wound on the afternoon of the 
first day. This wound, as I understood afterwards, 
was not necessarily fatal, or even dangerous. But 
he was a man who would not abandon what he 
deemed an important trust in the face of danger and 
consequently continued in the saddle, commanding, 
until so exhausted by the loss of blood that he had 
to be taken from his horse, and soon after died 
The news was not long in reaching our side and I 
suppose was quite an encouragement to the National 

I had known Johnston slightly in the Mexican 
war and later as an officer in the regular army. 
He was a man of high character and ability. His 
contemporaries at West Point, and officers generally 
who came to know him personally later and who re- 
mained on our side, expected him to prove the most 
formidable man to meet that the Confederacy would 

I once wrote that nothing occurred in his brief 
command of an army to prove or disprove the high 
estimate that had been placed upon his military 
ability ; but after studying the orders and dispatches 
of Johnston I am compelled to materially modify 
my views of that officer's qualifications as a soldier. 
My judgment now is that he was vacillating and un- 
decided in his actions. 


All the disasters in Kentucky and Tennessee were 
so discouraging to the authorities in Richmond that 
Jefferson Davis wrote an unofficial letter to Johnston 
expressing his own anxiety and that of the public, 
and saying that he had made such defence as was 
dictated by long friendship, but that in the absence 
of a report he needed facts. The letter was not a 
reprimand in direct terms, but it was evidently as 
much felt as though it had been one. General John- 
ston raised another army as rapidly as he could, and 
fortified or strongly intrenched at Corinth. He 
knew the National troops were preparing to attack 
him in his chosen position. But he had evidently 
become so disturbed at the results of his operations 
that he resolved to strike out in an offensive cam- 
paign which would restore all that was lost, and if 
successful accomplish still more. We have the 
authority of his son and biographer for saying that 
his plan was to attack the forces at Shiloh and crush 
them ; then to cross the Tennessee and destroy the 
army of Buell, and push the war across the Ohio 
River. The design was a bold one ; but we have the 
same authority for saying that in the execution John- 
ston showed vacillation and indecision. He left 
Corinth on the 2d of April and was not ready to 
attack until the 6th. The distance his army had to 
march was less than twenty miles. Beauregard, his 
second in command, was opposed to the attack for 


two reasons : first, he thought, if let alone the Na- 
tional troops would attack the Confederates in 
their intrenchments ; second, we were in ground of 
our own choosing and would necessarily be in- 
trenched. Johnston not only listened to the objection 
of Beauregard to an attack, but held a council of 
war on the subject on the morning of the 5th. On 
the evening of the same day he was in consultation 
with some of his generals on the same subject, and 
still again on the morning of the 6th. During this 
last consultation, and before a decision had been 
reached, the battle began by the National troops 
opening fire on the enemy. This seemed to settle 
the question as to whether there was to be any battle 
of Shiloh. It also seems to me to settle the question 
as to whether there was a surprise. 

I do not question the personal courage of General 
Johnston, or his ability. But he did not win the 
distinction predicted for him by many of his 
friends. He did prove that as a general he was 

General Beauregard was next in rank to Johnston 
and succeeded to the command, which he retained to 
the close of the battle and during the subsequent 
retreat on Corinth, as well as in the siege of that place. 
His tactics have been severely criticised by Confede- 
rate writers, but I do not believe his fallen chief 
could have done any better under the circumstances. 


Some of these critics claim that Shiloh was won when 
Johnston fell, and that if he had not fallen the army 
under me would have been annihilated or captured. 
Ifs defeated the Confederates at Shiloh. There is 
little doubt that we would have been disgracefully 
beaten if all the shells and bullets fired by us had 
passed harmlessly over the enemy and if all of theirs 
had taken effect. Commanding generals are liable 
to be killed during engagements ; and the fact that 
when he was shot Johnston was leading a brigade to 
induce it to make a charge which had been repeatedly 
ordered, is evidence that there was neither the uni- 
versal demoralization on our side nor the unbounded 
confidence on theirs which has been claimed. There 
was, in fact, no hour during the day when I doubted 
the eventual defeat of the enemy, although I was 
disappointed that reinforcements so near at hand did 
not arrive at an earlier hour. 

The description of the battle of Shiloh given by 
Colonel Wm. Preston Johnston is very graphic and 
well told. The reader will imagine that he can see 
each blow struck, a demoralized and broken mob 
of Union soldiers, each blow sending the enemy 
more demoralized than ever towards the Tennessee 
River, which was a little more than two miles away 
at the beginning of the onset. If the reader does 
not stop to inquire why, with such Confederate suc- 
cess for more than twelve hours of hard fighting, the 


National troops were not all killed, captured or 
driven into the river, he will regard the pen picture 
as perfect But I witnessed the fight from the Na- 
tional side from eight o'clock in the morning until 
night closed the contest I see but little in the de- 
scription that I can recognize. The Confederate 
troops fought well and deserve commendation enough 
for their bravery and endurance on the 6th of April, 
without detracting from their antagonists or claim- 
ing anything more than their just dues. 

The reports of the enemy show that their condition 
at the end of the first day was deplorable ; their losses 
in killed and wounded had been very heavy, and 
their stragglers had been quite as numerous as on 
the National side, with the difference that those of 
the enemy left the field entirely and were not brought 
back to their respective commands for many days. 
On the Union side but few of the stragglers fell 
back further than the landing on the river, and many 
of these were in line for duty on the second day. 
The admissions of the highest Confederate officers 
engaged at Shiloh make the claim of a victory for 
them absurd. The victory was not to either party 
until the battle was over. It was then a Union vic- 
tory, in which the Armies of the Tennessee and the 
Ohio both participated. But the Army of the Ten- 
nessee fought the entire rebel army on the 6th and 
held it at bay until near night ; and night alone closed 


the conflict and not the three regiments of Nelson's 

The Confederates fought with courage at Shiloh, 
but the particular skill claimed I could not and still 
cannot see ; though there is nothing to criticise ex- 
cept the claims put forward for it since. But the 
Confederate claimants for superiority in strategy, 
superiority in generalship and superiority in dash and 
prowess are not so unjust to the Union troops en- 
gaged at Shiloh as are many Northern writers. The 
troops on both sides were American, and united they 
need not fear any foreign foe. It is possible that 
the Southern man started in with a little more dash 
than his Northern brother ; but he was correspond- 
ingly less enduring. 

The endeavor of the enemy on the first day was 
simply to hurl their men against ours — first at one 
point, then at another, sometimes at several points 
at once. This they did with daring and energy, un- 
til at night the rebel troops were worn out. Our 
effort during the same time was to be prepared to 
resist assaults wherever made. The object of the 
Confederates on the second day was to get away 
with as much of their army and material as possible. 
Ours then was to drive them from our front, and to 
capture or destroy as great a part as possible of their 
men and material. We were successful in driving 
them back, but not so successful in captures as if 


farther pursuit could have been made. As it 
was, we captured or recaptured on the second day 
about as much artillery as we lost on the first ; and, 
leaving out the one great capture of Prentiss, we 
took more prisoners on Monday than the enemy 
gained from us on Sunday. On the 6th Sherman 
lost seven pieces of artillery, McClernand six, Pren- 
tiss eight, and Hurlbut two batteries. On the 7th 
Sherman captured seven guns, McClernand three 
and the Army of the Ohio twenty. 

At Shiloh the effective strength of the Union forces 
on the morning of the 6th was 33,000 men. Lew. 
Wallace brought 5,000 more after nightfall. Beau- 
regard reported the enemy's strength at 40,955. 
According to the custom of enumeration in the 
South, this number probably excluded every man 
enlisted as musician or detailed as guard or nurse, 
and all commissioned officers — everybody who did 
not carry a musket or serve a cannon. With us 
everybody in the field receivijig pay from the gov- 
ernment is counted Excluding the troops who fled, 
panic-stricken, before they had fired a shot, there was 
not a time during the 6th when we had more than 
25,000 men in line. On the 7th Buell brought 20,- 
000 more. Of his remaining two divisions, Thomas's 
did not reach the field during the engagement; Wood's 
arrived before firing had ceased, but not in time to 
be of much service. 


Our loss in the two days' fight was 1,754 killed, 
8,408 wounded and 2,885 missing. Of these, 2,103 
were in the Army of the Ohio. Beauregard reported 
a total loss of 10,699, of whom 1,728 were killed, 
8,01 2 wounded and 957 missing. This estimate must 
be incorrect We buried, by actual count, more of 
the enemy's dead in front of the divisions of Mc- 
Clemand and Sherman alone than here reported, and 
4,000 was the estimate of the burial parties for the 
whole field. Beauregard reports the Confederate 
force on the 6th at over 40,000, and their total loss 
during the two days at 10,699 ; and at the same time 
declares that he could put only 20,000 men in battle 
on the morning of the 7th. 

The navy gave a hearty support to the army at 
Shiloh, as indeed it always did both before and sub- 
sequently when I was in command. The nature of 
the ground was such, however, that on this occasion 
it could do nothing in aid of the troops until sun- 
down on the first day. The country was broken 
and heavily timbered, cutting off all view of the 
battle from the river, so that friends would be as 
much in danger from fire from the gunboats as the 
foe. But about sundown, when the National troops 
were back in their last position, the right of the 
enemy was near the river and exposed to the fire of 
the two gun-boats, which was delivered with vigor 
and effect. After nightfall, when firing had en- 


tirely ceased on land, the commander of the fleet in- 
formed himself, approximately, of the position of our 
troops and suggested the idea of dropping a shell 
within the lines of the enemy every fifteen minutes 
during the night. This was done with effect, as is 
proved by the Confederate reports. 

Up to the battle of Shiloh I, as well as thou- 
sands of other citizens, believed that the rebellion 
against the Government would collapse suddenly 
and soon, if a decisive victory could be gained over 
any of its armies. Donelson and Henry were 
such victories. An army of more than 21,000 men 
was captured or destroyed. Bowling Green, Colum- 
bus and Hickman, Kentucky, fell in consequence, 
and Clarksville and Nashville, Tennessee, the last 
two with an immense amount of stores, also fell into 
our hands. The Tennessee and Cumberland rivers, 
from their mouths to the head of navigation, were se- 
cured. But when Confederate armies were collected 
which not only attempted to hold a line farther 
south, from Memphis to Chattanooga, Knoxville 
and on to the Atlantic, but assumed the offensive 
and made such a gallant effort to regain what had 
been lost, then, indeed, I gave up all idea of saving 
the Union except by complete conquest. Up to that 
time it had been the policy of our army, certainly 
of that portion commanded by me, to protect the 
property of the citizens whose territory was invaded, 


without regard to their sentiments, whether Union 
or Secession. After this, however, I regarded it as 
humane to both sides to protect the persons of those 
found at their homes, but to consume everything 
that could be used to support or supply armies. 
Protection was still continued over such supplies as 
were within lines held by us and which we expected 
to continue to hold ; but such supplies within the 
reach of Confederate armies I regarded as much 
contraband as arms or ordnance stores. Their de- 
struction was accomplished without bloodshed and 
tended to the same result as the destruction of 
armies. I continued this policy to the close of the 
war. Promiscuous pillaging, however, was discour- 
aged and punished. Instructions were always given 
to take provisions and forage under the direction of 
commissioned officers who should give receipts to 
owners, if at home, and turn the property over to 
officers of the quartermaster or commissary depart- 
ments to be issued as if furnished from our North- 
ern depots. But much was destroyed without re- 
ceipts to owners, when it could not be brought with- 
in our lines and would otherwise have gone to the 
support of secession and rebellion. 

This policy I believe exercised a material influ- 
ence in hastening the end. 

The battle of Shiloh. or Pittsburg landing, has 
been perhaps less understood, or, to state the case 

Vol, I. — 24 


more accurately, more persistently misunderstood, 
than any other engagement between National and 
Confederate troops during the entire rebellion. 
Correct reports of the battle have been published, 
notably by Sherman, Badeau and, in a speech before 
a meeting of veterans, by General Prentiss ; but all 
of these appeared long subsequent to the close of the 
rebellion and after public opinion had been most 
erroneously formed. 

I myself made no report to General Halleck, 
further than was contained in a letter, written im- 
mediately after the battle informing him that an en- 
gagement had been fought and announcing the 
result A few days afterwards General Halleck 
moved his headquarters to Pittsburg landing and 
assumed command of the troops in the field. 
Although next to him in rank, and nominally in com- 
mand of my old district and army, I was ignored as 
much as if I had been at the most distant point of 
territory within my jurisdiction ; and although I was 
in command of all the troops engaged at Shiloh I 
was not permitted to see one of the reports of Gen- 
eral Buell or his subordinates in that battle, until they 
were published by the War Department long after 
the event. For this reason I never made a full of- 
ficial report of this engagement 



GENERAL HALLECK arrived at Pittsburg 
landing on the nth of April and immediately 
assumed command in the field. On the 21st Gen- 
eral Pope arrived with an army 30.000 strong, fresh 
from the capture of Island Number Ten in the 
Mississippi River. He went into camp at Hamburg 
landing five miles above Pittsburg. Halleck had 
now three armies : the Army of the Ohio, Buell 
commanding; the Army of the Mississippi, Pope 
commanding ; and the Army of the Tennessee. His 
orders divided the combined force into the right 
wing, reserve, centre and left wing. Major-General 
George H. Thomas, who had been in Buells army, 
was transferred with his division to the Army of the 
Tennessee and given command of the right wing, 
composed of all of that army except McClernand's 
and Lew. Wallace's divisions. McClernand was 
assigned to the command of the reserve, composed 
of his own and Lew. Wallace's divisions. Buell 


commanded the centre, the Army of the Ohio ; and 
Pope the left wing, the Army of the Mississippi. I 
was named second in command of the whole, and 
was also supposed to be in command of the right 
wing and reserve. 

Orders were given to all the commanders engaged 
at Shiloh to send in their reports without delay to 
department headquarters. Those from officers of 
the Army of the Tennessee were sent through me ; 
but from the Army of the Ohio they were sent by 
General Buell without passing through my hands. 
General Halleck ordered me, verbally, to send in my 
report, but I positively declined on the ground that 
he had received the reports of a part of the army en- 
gaged at Shiloh without their coming through me. 
He admitted that my refusal was justifiable under the 
circumstances, but explained that he had wanted to 
get the reports off before moving the command, and 
as fast as a report had come to him he had forwarded 
it to Washington. 

Preparations were at once made upon the arrival 
of the new commander for an advance on Corinth. 
Owl Creek, on our right, was bridged, and expedi- 
tions were sent to the north-west and west to ascer- 
tain if our position was being threatened from those 
quarters ; the roads towards Corinth were cordu- 
royed and new ones made ; lateral roads were also 
constructed, so that in case of necessity troops march- 


ing by different routes could reinforce each other. 
All commanders were cautioned against bringing on 
an engagement and informed in so many words that 
it would be better to retreat than to fight. By the 
30th of April all preparations were complete; the 
country west to the Mobile and Ohio railroad had 
been reconnoitred, as well as the road to Corinth 
as far as Monterey twelve miles from Pittsburg. 
Everywhere small bodies of the enemy had been 
encountered, but they were observers and not in 
force to fight battles. 

Corinth, Mississippi, lies in a south-westerly direc- 
tion from Pittsburg landing and about nineteen 
miles away as the bird would fly, but probably 
twenty-two by the nearest wagon-road. It is about 
four miles south of the line dividing the States 
of Tennessee and Mississippi, and at the junction 
of the Mississippi and Chattanooga railroad with the 
Mobile and Ohio road which runs from Columbus 
to Mobile. From Pittsburg to Corinth the land is 
rolling, but at no point reaching an elevation that 
makes high hills to pass over. In 1862 the greater 
part of the country was covered with forest with 
intervening clearings and houses. Underbrush was 
dense in the low grounds along the creeks and ra- 
vines, but generally not so thick on the high land as 
to prevent men passing through with ease. There 
are two small creeks running from north of the 


town and connecting some four miles south, where 
they form Bridge Creek which empties into the Tus- 
cumbia River. Corinth is on the ridge between these 
streams and is a naturally strong defensive position. 
The creeks are insignificant in volume of water, but 
the stream to the east widens out in front of the 
town into a swamp, impassable in the presence of 
an enemy. On the crest of the west bank of this 
stream the enemy was strongly intrenched. 

Corinth was a valuable strategic point for the 
enemy to hold, and consequently a valuable one for 
us to possess ourselves of. We ought to have 
seized it immediately after the fall of Donelson and 
Nashville, when it could have been taken without a 
battle, but failing then it should have been taken, 
without delay, on the concentration of troops at 
Pittsburg landing after the battle of Shiloh. In fact 
the arrival of Pope should not have been awaited. 
There was no time from the battle of Shiloh up to 
the evacuation of Corinth when the enemy would 
not have left if pushed. The demoralization among 
the Confederates from their defeats at Henry and 
Donelson ; their long marches from Bowling Green, 
Columbus, and Nashville, and their failure at Shiloh ; 
in fact from having been driven out of Kentucky 
and Tennessee, was so great that a stand for the 
time would have been impossible. Beauregard 
made strenuous efforts to reinforce himself and par- 



MISS. /^^^ 


tially succeeded. He appealed to the people of the 
South-west for new regiments, and received a few. 
A. S. Johnston had made efforts to reinforce in the 
same quarter, before the battle of Shiloh, but in a 
different way. He had negroes sent out to him to 
take the place of teamsters, company cooks and 
laborers in every capacity, so as to put all his white 
men into the ranks. The people, while willing 
to send their sons to the field, were not willing to 
part with their negroes. It is only fair to state that 
they probably wanted their blacks to raise supplies 
for the army and for the families left at home. 

Beauregard, however, was reinforced by Van Dom 
immediately after Shiloh with 17,000 men. Interior 
points, less exposed, were also depleted to add to 
the strength at Corinth. With these reinforcements 
and the new regiments, Beauregard had, during the 
month of May, 1862, a large force on paper, but 
probably not much over 50,000 effective men. We 
estimated his strength at 70,000. Our own was, in 
round numbers, 120,000. The defensible nature of 
the ground at Corinth, and the fortifications, made 
50,000 then enough to maintain their position against 
double that number for an indefinite time but for 
the demoralization spoken of. 

On the 30th of April the grand army commenced its 
advance from Shiloh upon Corinth. The movement 
was a siege from the start to the close. The National 


troops were always behind intrenchments, except of 
course the small reconnoitring parties sent to the 
front to clear the way for an advance. Even the 
commanders of these parties were cautioned, ** not 
to bring on an engagement" ** It is better to retreat 
than to fight." The enemy were constantly watching 
our advance, but as they were simply observers there 
were but few engagements that even threatened to 
become battles. All the engagements fought ought 
to have served to encourage the enemy. Roads were 
again made in our front, and again corduroyed ; a 
line was intrenched, and the troops were advanced 
to the new position. Cross roads were constructed 
to these new positions to enable the troops to con- 
centrate in case of attack. The National armies 
were thoroughly intrenched all the way from the 
Tennessee River to Corinth. 

For myself I was little more than an observer. 
Orders were sent direct to the right wing or reserve, 
ignoring me, and advances were made from one line 
of intrenchments to another without notifying me. 
My position was so embarrassing in fact that I made 
several applications during the siege to be relieved. 

General Halleck kept his headquarters generally, 
if not all the time, with the right wing. Pope being 
on the extreme left did not see so much of his chief, 
and consequently got loose as it were at times. 
On the 3d of May he was at Seven Mile Creek 


with the main body of his command, but threw for- 
ward a division to Farmington, within four miles of 
Corinth. His troops had quite a little engagement 
at Farmington on that day, but carried the place with 
considerable loss to the enemy. There would then 
have been no difficulty in advancing the centre and 
right so as to form a new line well up to the enemy, 
but Pope was ordered back to conform with the gen- 
eral line. On the 8th of May he moved again, tak- 
ing his whole force to Farmington, and pushed out 
two divisions close to the rebel line. Again he was 
ordered back. By the 4th of May the centre and 
right wing reached Monterey, twelve miles out Their 
advance was slow from there, for they intrenched 
with every forward movement The left wing move J 
up again on the 25th of May and intrenched itself 
close to the enemy. The creek, with the marsh 
before described, separated the two lines. Skir- 
mishers thirty feet apart could have maintained 
either line at this point. 

Our centre and right were, at this time, extended 
so that the right of the right wing was probably five 
miles from Corinth and four from the works in their 
front The creek, which was a formidable obstacle 
for either side to pass on our left, became a very 
slight obstacle on our right Here the enemy 
occupied two positions. One of them, as much as 
two miles out from his main line, was on a command- 


ing elevation and defended by an intrenched bat- 
tery with infantry supports. A heavy wood inter- 
vened between this work and the National forces. 
In rear to the south there was a clearing extending a 
mile or more, and south of this clearing a log-house 
which had been loop-holed and was occupied by in- 
fantry. Sherman s division carried these two posi- 
tions with some loss to himself, but with probably 
greater to the enemy, on the 28th of May, and on 
that day the investment of Corinth was complete, or 
as complete as it was ever made. Thomas' right now 
rested west of the Mobile and Ohio railroad. Pope's 
left commanded the Memphis and Charleston rail- 
road east of Corinth. 

Some days before I had suggested to the com- 
manding general that I thought if he would move 
the Army of the Mississippi at night, by the rear of 
the centre and right, ready to advance at daylight. 
Pope would find no natural obstacle in his front 
and, I believed, no serious artificial one. The 
ground, or works, occupied by our left could be 
held by a thin picket line, owing to the stream 
and swamp in front. To the right the troops would 
have a dry ridge to march over. I was silenced so 
quickly that I felt that possibly I had suggested an 
unmilitary movement. 

Later, probably on the 28th of May, General 
Logan, whose command was then on the Mobile and 


Ohio railroad, said to me that the enemy had been 
evacuating for several days and that if allowed he 
could go into Corinth with his brigade. Trains of 
cars were heard coming in and going out of Corinth 
constantly. Some of the men who had been en- 
gaged in various capacities on railroads before the 
war claimed that they could tell, by putting their ears 
to the rail, not only which way the trains were mov- 
ing but which trains were loaded and which were 
empty. They said loaded trains had been going out 
for several days and empty ones coming in. Subse- 
quent events proved the correctness of their judg- 
ment Beauregard published his orders for the 
evacuation of Corinth on the 26th of May and fixed 
the 29th for the departure of his troops, and on 
the 30th of May General Halleck had his whole 
army drawn up prepared for battle and announced 
in orders that there was every indication that our 
left was to be attacked that morning. Corinth 
had already been evacuated and the National troops 
marched on and took possession without opposi- 
tion. Everything had been destroyed or carried 
away. The Confederate commander had instructed 
his soldiers to cheer on the arrival of every train to 
create the impression among the Yankees that re- 
inforcements were arriving. There was not a sick 
or wounded man left by the Confederates, nor 
stores of any kind. Some ammunition had been 


blown up — not removed — but the trophies of war 
were a few Quaker guns, logs of about the diameter 
of ordinary cannon, mounted on wheels of wagons 
and pointed in the most threatening manner towards 

The possession of Corinth by the National troops 
was of strategic importance, but the victory was 
barren in every other particular. It was nearly 
bloodless. It is a question whether the morale of 
the Confederate troops engaged at Corinth was not 
improved by the immunity with which they were 
permitted to remove all public property and then 
withdraw themselves. On our side I know officers 
and men of the Army of the Tennessee — and I pre- 
sume the same is true of those of the other com- 
mands — were disappointed at the result. They 
could not see how the mere occupation of places 
was to close the war while large and effective rebel 
armies existed. They believed that a well-directed 
attack would at least have partially destroyed the 
army defending Corinth. For myself I am satisfied 
that Corinth could have been captured in a two days 
campaign commenced promptly on the arrival of re- 
inforcements after the battle of Shiloh. 

General Halleck at once commenced erecting forti- 
fications around Corinth on a scale to indicate that 
this one point must be held if it took the whole 
National army to do it. All commanding points two 


or three miles to the south, south-east and south-west 
were strongly fortified. It was expected in case of 
necessity to connect these forts by rifle-pits. They 
were laid out on a scale that would have required 
100,000 men to fully man them. It was probably 
thought that a final battle of the war would be fought 
at that point These fortifications were never used. 
Tmmediately after the occupation of Corinth by the 
National troops, General Pope was sent in pursuit 
of the retreating garrison and General Buell soon 
followed. Buell was the senior of the two generals 
and commanded the entire column. The pursuit was 
kept up for some thirty miles, but did not result in 
the capture of any material of war or prisoners, 
unless a few stragglers who had fallen behind and 
were willing captives. On the loth of June the pur- 
suing column was all back at Corinth. The Army 
of the Tennessee was not engaged in any of these 

The Confederates were now driven out of West 
Tennessee, and on the 6th of June, after a well-con- 
tested naval battle, the National forces took posses- 
sion of Memphis and held the Mississippi river from 
its source to that point. The railroad from Columbus 
to Corinth was at once put in good condition and 
held by us. We had garrisons at Donelson, Clarks- 
ville and Nashville, on the Cumberland River, and 
held the Tennessee River from its mouth to East- 


port. New Orleans and Baton Rouge had fallen into 
the possession of the National forces, so that now 
the Confederates at the west were narrowed down for 
all communication with Richmond to the single line 
of road running east from Vicksburg. To dispossess 
them of this, therefore, became a matter of the first 
importance. The possession of the Mississippi by 
us from Memphis to Baton Rouge was also a most 
important object It would be equal to the ampu- 
tation of a limb in its weakening effects upon the 

After the capture of Corinth a movable force of 
80,000 men, besides enough to hold all the territory 
acquired, could have been set in motion for the 
accomplishment of any great campaign for the sup- 
pression of the rebellion. In addition to this fresh 
troops were being raised to swell the effective force. 
But the work of depletion commenced. Buell with 
the Army of the Ohio was sent cast, following the 
line of the Memphis and Charleston railroad. This 
he was ordered to repair as he advanced — only to have 
it destroyed by small guerilla bands or other troops 
as soon as he was out of the way. If he had been 
sent directly to Chattanooga as rapidly as he could 
march, leaving two or three divisions along the line 
of the railroad from Nashville forward, he could have 
arrived with but little fighting, and would have saved 
much of the loss of life which was afterwards incurred 


in gaining Chattanooga. Bragg would then not have 
had time to raise an army to contest the possession 
of middle and east Tennessee and Kentucky ; the 
battles of Stone River and Chickamauga would not 
necessarily have been fought; Bumside would not 
have been besieged in Knoxville without the power 
of helping himself or escaping ; the battle of Chatta- 
nooga would not have been fought These are the 
negative advantages, if the term negative is appli- 
cable, which would probably have resulted from 
prompt movements after Corinth fell into the posses- 
sion of the National forces. The positive results 
might have been : a bloodless advance to Atlanta, to 
Vicksburg, or to any other desired point south of 
Corinth in the interior of Mississippi. 





MY position at Corinth, with a nominal command 
and yet no command, became so unbearable 
that I asked permission of Halleck to remove my 
headquarters to Memphis. I had repeatedly asked, 
between the fall of Donelson and the evacuation of 
Corinth, to be relieved from duty under Halleck ; but 
all my applications were refused until the occupation 
of the town. I then obtained permission to leave the 
department, but General Sherman happened to call 
on me as I was about starting and urged me so 
strongly not to think of going, that I concluded to 
remain. My application to be permitted to remove 
my headquarters to Memphis was, however, approved, 
and on the 21st of June I started for that point with 
my staff and a cavalry escort of only a part of one 

Vol. I. 25 


company. There was a detachment of two or three 
companies going some twenty-five miles west to be 
stationed as a guard to the railroad. I went under 
cover of this escort to the end of their march, and the 
next morning proceeded to La Grange with no con- 
voy but the few cavalry men I had with me. 

From La Grange to Memphis the distance is forty- 
seven miles. There were no troops stationed be- 
tween these two points, except a small force guard- 
ing a working party which was engaged in repairing 
the railroad. Not knowing where this party would 
be found I halted at La Grange. General Hurlbut 
was in command there at the time and had his 
headquarters tents pitched on the lawn of a very 
commodious country house. The proprietor was at 
home and, learning of my arrival, he invited Gen- 
eral Hurlbut and me to dine with him. I accepted 
the invitation and spent a very pleasant afternoon 
with my host, who was a thorough Southern gen- 
tleman fully convinced of the justice of secession. 
After dinner, seated in the capacious porch, he 
entertained me with a recital of the services he 
was rendering the cause. He was too old to be in 
the ranks himself — he must have been quite seventy 
then — but his means enabled him to be useful in 
other ways. In ordinary times the homestead where 
he was now living produced the bread and meat to 
supply the slaves on his main plantation, in the low- 


lands of Mississippi. Now he raised food and forage 
on both places, and thought he would have that year 
a surplus sufficient to feed three hundred families of 
poor men who had gone into the war and left their 
families dependent upon the " patriotism '* of those 
better off. The crops around me looked fine, and I had 
at the moment an idea that about the time they were 
ready to be gathered the " Yankee " troops would be 
in the neighborhood and harvest them for the benefit 
of those engaged in the suppression of the rebellion 
instead of its support. I felt, however, the greatest 
respect for the candor of my host and for his zeal in 
a cause he thoroughly believed in, though our views 
were as wide apart as it is possible to conceive. 

The 23d of June, 1862, on the road from La 
Grange to Memphis was very warm, even for that 
latitude and season. With my staff and small escort 
I started at an early hour, and before noon we ar- 
rived within twenty miles of Memphis. At this point 
I saw a very comfortable-looking white-haired gentle- 
man seated at the front of his house, a little distance 
from the road. I let my staff and escort ride ahead 
while I halted and, for an excuse, asked for a glass 
of water. I was invited at once to dismount and 
come in. I found my host very genial and com- 
municative, and staid longer than I had intended, 
until the lady of the house announced dinner and 
asked me to join them. The host, however, was not 


pressing, so that I declined the invitation and, mount- 
ing my horse, rode on. 

About a mile west from where I had been stop- 
ping a road comes up from the south-east, joining 
that from La Grange to Memphis. A mile west of 
this junction I found my staff and escort halted and 
enjoying the shade of forest trees on the lawn of a 
house located several hundred feet back from the road, 
their horses hitched to the fence along the line of 
the road. I, too, stopped and we remained there 
until the cool of the afternoon, and then rode into 

The gentleman with whom I had stopped twenty 
miles from Memphis was a Mr. De Loche, a man 
loyal to the Union. He had not pressed me to tarry 
longer with him because in the early part of my 
visit a neighbor, a Dr. Smith, had called and, on be- 
ing presented to me, backed off the porch as if some- 
thing had hit him. Mr. De Loche knew that the 
rebel General Jackson was in that neighborhood 
with a detachment of cavalry. His neighbor was as 
earnest in the southern cause as was Mr. De Loche 
in that of the Union. The exact location of Jack- 
son was entirely unknown to Mr. De Loche ; but he 
was sure that his neighbor would know it and would 
give information of my presence, and this made my 
stay unpleasant to him after the call of Dr. Smith. 

I have stated that a detachment of troops was en 


gaged in guarding workmen who were repairing the 
railroad east of Memphis. On the day I entered 
Memphis, Jackson captured a small herd of beef cattle 
which had been sent east for the troops so engaged. 
The drovers were not enlisted men and he released 
them. A day or two after one of these drovers came 
to my headquarters and, relating the circumstances of 
his capture, said Jackson was very much disappointed 
that he had not captured me ; that he was six or seven 
miles south of the Memphis and Charleston railroad 
when he learned that I was stopping at the house of 
Mr. De Loche, and had ridden with his command to 
the junction of the road he was on with that from 
La Grange and Memphis, where he learned that I 
had passed three-quarters of an hour before. He 
thought it would be useless to pursue with jaded 
horses a well-mounted party with so much of a start. 
Had he gone three-quarters of a mile farther he 
would have found me with my party quietly resting 
under the shade of trees and without even arms in 
our hands with which to defend ourselves. 

General Jackson of course did not communicate 
his disappointment at not capturing me to a pris- 
oner, a young drover ; but from the talk among the 
soldiers the facts related were learned. A day or 
two later Mr. De Loche called on me in Memphis 
to apologize for his apparent incivility in not insist- 
ing on my staying for dinner. He said that his wife 


accused him of marked discourtesy, but that, after 
the call of his neighbor, he had felt restless until I 
got away. I never met General Jackson before the 
war, nor during it, but have met him since at his 
very comfortable summer home at Manitou Springs, 
Colorado. I reminded him of the above incident, 
and this drew from him the response that he was 
thankful now he had not captured me. I certainly 
was very thankful too. 

My occupation of Memphis as district head- 
quarters did not last long. The period, however, 
was marked by a few incidents which were novel to 
me. Up to that time I had not occupied any place 
in the South where the citizens were at home in any 
great numbers. Dover was within the fortifications 
at Fort Donelson, and, as far as I remember, every 
citizen was gone. There were no people living at 
Pittsburg landing, and but very few at Corinth. 
Memphis, however, was a populous city, and there 
were many of the citizens remaining there who were 
not only thoroughly impressed with the justice of 
their cause, but who thought that even the " Yankee 
soldiery " must entertain the same views if they 
could only be induced to make an honest confession. 
It took hours of my time every day to listen to com- 
plaints and requests. The latter were generally 
reasonable, and if so they were granted ; but the 
complaints were not always, or even often, well 


founded. Two instances will mark the general char- 
acter. First : the officer who commanded at Mem- 
phis immediately after the city fell into the hands of 
the National troops had ordered one of the churches 
of the city to be opened to the soldiers. Army 
chaplains were authorized to occupy the pulpit. 
Second : at the beginning of the war the Confederate 
Congress had passed a law confiscating all property 
of ** alien enemies " at the South, including the 
debts of Southerners to Northern men. In conse- 
quence of this law, when Memphis was occupied 
the provost- marshal had forcibly collected all the 
evidences he could obtain of such debts. 

Almost the first complaints made to me were these 
two outrages. The gentleman who made the com- 
plaints informed me first of his own high standing as a 
lawyer, a citizen and a Christian. He was a deacon 
in the church which had been defiled by the occu- 
pation of Union troops, and by a Union chaplain 
filling the pulpit. He did not use the word ** de- 
file,'* but he expressed the idea very clearly. He 
asked that the church be restored to the former 
congregation. I told him that no order had been 
issued prohibiting the congregation attending the 
church. He said of course the congregation could 
not hear a Northern clergyman who differed so 
radically with them on questions of government. 
I told him the troops would continue to occupy 


that church for the present, and that they would 
not be called upon to hear disloyal sentiments pro- 
claimed from the pulpit This closed the argu- 
ment on the first point. 

Then came the second. The complainant said that 
he wanted the papers restored to him which had been 
surrendered to the provost-marshal under protest; 
he was a lawyer, and before the establishment of the 
" Confederate States Government " had been the at- 
torney for a number of large business houses at the 
North ; that '* his government " had confiscated all 
debts due "alien enemies," and appointed commis- 
sioners, or officers, to collect such debts and pay them 
over to the ''government" : but in his case, owing to 
his high standing, he had been permitted to hold these 
claims for collection, the responsible officials know- 
ing that he would account to the ** government" for 
every dollar received. He said that his '* govern- 
ment," when it came in possession of all its territory, 
would hold him personally responsible for the claims 
he had surrendered to the provost-marshal. His 
impudence was so sublime that I was rather amused 
than indignant. I told him, however, that if he 
would remain in Memphis I did not believe the 
Confederate government would ever molest him. 
He left, no doubt, as much amazed at my assurance 
as I was at the brazenness of his request. 

On the I ith of July General Halleck received tde- 


graphic orders appointing him to the command of all 
the armies, with headquarters in Washington. His 
instructions pressed him to proceed to his new field 
of duty with as little delay as was consistent with 
the safety and interests of his previous command. 
I was next in rank, and he telegraphed me the same 
day to report at department headquarters at Corinth. 
I was not informed by the dispatch that my chief 
had been ordered to a different field and did not 
know whether to move my headquarters or not. I 
telegraphed asking if I was to take my staff with me, 
and received word in reply : " This place will be 
your headquarters. You can judge for yourself." 
I left Memphis for my new field without delay, and 
reached Corinth on the 15th of the month. General 
Halleck remained until the 17th of July; but he 
was very uncommunicative, and gave me no informa- 
tion as to what I had been called to Corinth for. 

When General Halleck left to assume the duties 
of general-in-chief I remained in ' command of the 
district of West Tennessee. Practically I became a 
department commander, because no one was assigned 
to that position over me and I made my reports 
direct to the general-in-chief ; but I was not assigned 
to the position of department commander until the 
25th of October. General Halleck while command- 
ing the Department of the Mississippi had had con- 
trol as far east as a line drawn from Chattanooga 



north. My district only embraced West Tennessee 
and Kentucky west of the Cumberland River. Buell, 
with the Army of the Ohio, had, as previously stated, 
been ordered east towards Chattanooga, with instruc- 
tions to repair the Memphis and Charleston railroad 
as he advanced. Troops had been sent north by 
Halleck along the line of the Mobile and Ohio rail- 
road to put it in repair as far as Columbus. Other 
troops were stationed on the railroad from Jackson, 
Tennessee, to Grand Junction, and still others on the 
road west to Memphis. 

The remainder of the magnificent army of 1 20,000 
men which entered Corinth on the 30th of May 
had now become so scattered that I was put 
entirely on the defensive in a territory whose 
population was hostile to the Union. One of the 
first things I had to do was to construct fortifications 
at Corinth better suited to the garrison that could 
be spared to man them. The structures that had 
been built during the months of May and June were 
left as monuments to the skill of the engineer, and 
others were constructed in a few days, plainer in 
design but suited to the command available to de- 
fend them. 

I disposed the troops belonging to the district in 
conformity with the situation as rapidly as possible. 
The forces at Donelson, Clarksville and Nashville, 
with those at Corinth and along the railroad east- 


ward, I regarded as sufficient for protection against 
any attack from the west. The Mobile and Ohio 
railroad was guarded from Rienzi, south of Corinth, 
to Columbus; and the Mississippi Central railroad 
from Jackson, Tennessee, to Bolivar. Grand Junc- 
tion and La Grange on the Memphis railroad were 

South of the Army of the Tennessee, and confront- 
ing it, was Van Dorn, with a sufficient force to organ- 
ize a movable army of thirty-five to forty thousand 
men, after being reinforced by Price from Missouri. 
This movable force could be thrown against either 
Corinth, Bolivar or Memphis; and the best that 
could be done in such event would be to weaken the 
points not threatened in order to reinforce the one 
that was. Nothing could be gained on the National 
side by attacking elsewhere, because the territory 
already occupied was as much as the force present 
could guard. The most anxious period of the war, 
to me, was during the time the Army of the Ten- 
nessee was guarding the territory acquired by the 
fall of Corinth and Memphis and before I was 
sufficiently reinforced to take the offensive. The 
enemy also had cavalry operating in our rear, mak- 
ing it necessary to guard every point of the rail- 
road back to Columbus, on the security of which we 
were dependent for all our supplies. Headquarters 
were connected by telegraph with all points of the 


command except Memphis and the Mississippi below 
Columbus. With these points communication was had 
by the railroad to Columbus, then down the river by 
boat. To reinforce Memphis would take three or 
four days, and to get an order there for troops to 
move elsewhere would have taken at least two days. 
Memphis therefore was practically isolated from the 
balance of the command. But it was in Sherman's 
hands. Then too the troops were well intrenched 
and the gunboats made a valuable auxiliary. 

During the two months after the departure of 
General Halleck there was much fighting between 
small bodies of the contending armies, but these en- 
counters were dwarfed by the magnitude of the main 
battles so as to be now almost forgotten except by 
those engaged in them. Some of them, however, 
estimated by the losses on both sides in killed and 
wounded, were equal in hard fighting to most of the 
battles of the Mexican war which attracted so much 
of the attention of the public when they occurred. 
About the 23d of July Colonel Ross, commanding 
at Bolivar, was threatened by a large force of the 
enemy so that he had to be reinforced from Jackson 
and Corinth. On the 27th there was skirmishing on 
the Hatchie River, eight miles from Bolivar. On 
the 30th I learned from Colonel P. H. Sheridan, who 
had been far to the south, that Bragg in person was 
at Rome, Georgia, with his troops moving by rail 


(by way of Mobile) to Chattanooga and his wagon 
train marching overland to join him at Rome. Price 
was at this time at Holly Springs, Mississippi, with 
a large force, and occupied Grand Junction as an out- 
post. I proposed to the general-in-chief to be per- 
mitted to drive him away, but was informed that, 
while I had to judge for myself, the best use^to make 
of my troops was not to scatter theniy but hold them 
ready to reinforce Buell. 

The movement of Bragg himself with his wagon 
trains to Chattanooga across country, while his troops 
were transported over a long round-about road to 
the same destination, without need of guards except 
when in my immediate front, demonstrates the ad- 
vantage which troops enjoy while acting in a country 
where the people are friendly. Buell was marching 
through a hostile region and had to have his com- 
munications thoroughly guarded back to a base of 
supplies. More men were required the farther the 
National troops penetrated into the enemy's country. 
I, with an army sufficiently powerful to have de- 
stroyed Bragg, was purely on the defensive and ac- 
complishing no more than to hold a force far inferior 
to my own. 

On the 2d of August I was ordered from Wash- 
ington to live upon the country, on the resources of 
citizens hostile to the government, so far as practicable. 
I was also directed to " handle rebels within our lines 


without gloves," to imprison them, or to expel them 
from their homes and from our lines. I do not 
recollect having arrested and confined a citizen (not 
a soldier) during the entire rebellion. I am aware 
that a great many were sent to northern prisons, 
particularly to Joliet, Illinois, by some of my sub- 
ordinates with the statement that it was my order. 
I had all such released the moment I learned of their 
arrest ; and finally sent a staff officer north to release 
every prisoner who was said to be confined by my 
order. There were many citizens at home who de- 
served punishment because they were soldiers when 
an opportunity was afforded to inflict an injury to 
the National cause. This class was not of the kind 
that were apt to get arrested, and I deemed it better 
that a few guilty men should escape than that a great 
many innocent ones should suffer. 

On the 14th of August I was ordered to send two 
more divisions to Buell. They were sent the same 
day by way of Decatur. On the 2 2d Colonel 
Rodney Mason surrendered Clarksville with six 
companies of his regiment 

Colonel Mason was one of the officers who had led 
their regiments off the field at almost the first fire of 
the rebels at Shiloh. He was by nature and educa- 
tion a gentleman, and was terribly mortified at his 
action when the battle was over. He came to me 
with tears in his eyes and begged to be allowed to 



have another trial. I felt great sympathy for him 
and sent him, with his regiment, to garrison Clarks- 
ville and Donelson. He selected Clarksville for his 
headquarters, no doubt because he regarded it as 
the post of danger, it being nearer the enemy. But 
when he was summoned to surrender by a band of 
guerillas, his constitutional weakness overcame him. 
He inquired the number of men the enemy had, and 
receiving a response indicating a force greater than 
his own he said if he could be satisfied of that fact 
he would surrender. Arrangements were made for 
him to count the guerillas, and having satisfied him- 
self that the enemy had the greater force he surren- 
dered and informed his subordinate at Donelson of 
the fact, advising him to do the same. The guerillas 
paroled their prisoners and moved upon Donelson, 
but the officer in command at that point marched out 
to meet them and drove them away. 

Among other embarrassments, at the time of 
which I now write, was the fact that the government 
wanted to get out all the cotton possible from the 
South and directed me to give every facility toward 
that end. Pay in gold was authorized, and stations on 
the Mississippi River and on the railroad in our pos- 
session had to be designated where cotton would be 
received. This opened to the enemy not only the 
means of converting cotton into money, which had a 
value all over the world and which they so much 


needed, but it afforded them means of obtaining ac- 
curate and intelligent information in regard to our 
position and strength. It was also demoralizing to the 
troops. Citizens obtaining permits from the treasury 
department had to be protected within our lines and 
given facilities to get out cotton by which they real- 
ized enormous profits. Men who had enlisted to 
fight the battles of their country did not like to be 
engaged in protecting a traffic which went to the sup- 
port of an enemy they had to fight, and the profits of 
which went to men who shared none of their dangers. 
On the 30th of August Colonel M. D. Leggett, 
near Bolivar, with the 20th and 29th Ohio volunteer 
infantry, was attacked by a force supposed to be 
about 4,000 strong. The enemy was driven away 
with a loss of more than one hundred men. On the 
1st of September the bridge guard at Medon was 
attacked by guerillas. The guard held the position 
until reinforced, when the enemy were routed leav- 
ing about fifty of their number on the field dead or 
wounded, our loss being only two killed and fifteen 
wounded. On the same day Colonel Dennis, with a 
force of less than 500 infantry and two pieces of 
artillery, met the cavalry of the enemy in strong 
force, a few miles west of Medon, and drove them 
away with great loss. Our troops buried 1 79 of the 
enemy's dead, left upon the field. Afterwards it was 
found that all the houses in the vicinity of the battle- 


field were turned into hospitals for the wounded. 
Our loss, as reported at the time, was forty-five 
killed and wounded. On the 2d of September I 
was ordered to send more reinforcements to BuelL 
Jackson and Bolivar were yet threatened, but I sent 
the reinforcements. On the 4th I received direct 
orders to send Granger's division also to Louisville, 

General Buell had left Corinth about the loth of 
June to march upon Chattanooga ; Bragg, who had 
superseded Beauregard in command, sent one divi- 
sion from Tupelo on the 27th of June for the same 
place. This gave Buell about seventeen days start 
If he had not been required to repair the railroad as 
he advanced, the march could have been made in 
eighteen days at the outside, and Chattanooga must 
have been reached by the National forces before the 
rebels could have possibly got there. The road be- 
tween Nashville and Chattanooga could easily have 
been put in repair by other troops, so that commu- 
nication with the North would have been opened in 
a short time after the occupation of the place by the 
National troops. If Buell had been permitted to 
move in the first instance, with the whole of the 
Army of the Ohio and that portion of the Army of 
the Mississippi afterwards sent to him, he could have 
thrown four divisions from his own command along 
the line of road to repair and guard it 

Vol. I. — 26 


Granger's division was promptly sent on the 4th 
of September. I was at the station at Corinth when 
the troops reached that point, and found General P. 
H. Sheridan with them. I expressed surprise at see- 
ing him and said that I had not expected him to go. 
He showed decided disappointment at the prospect 
of being detained. I felt a little nettled at his desire 
to get away and did not detain him. 

Sheridan was a first lieutenant in the regiment in 
which I had served eleven years, the 4th infantry, and 
stationed on the Pacific coast when the war broke 
out. He was promoted to a captaincy in May, 1861, 
and before the close of the year managed in some 
way, I do not know how, to get East. He went to 
Missouri. Halleck had known him as a very success- 
ful young officer in managing campaigns against the 
Indians on the Pacific coast, and appointed him act- 
ing-quartermaster in south-west Missouri. There 
was no difficulty in getting supplies forward while 
Sheridan served in that capacity ; but he got into 
difficulty with his immediate superiors because of his 
stringent rules for preventing the use of public trans- 
portation for private purposes. He asked to be re- 
lieved from further duty in the capacity in which he 
was engaged and his request was granted. When 
General Halleck took the field in April, 1862, Sheri- 
dan was assigned to duty on his staff. During the 
advance on Corinth a vacancy occurred in the col- 


onelcy of the 2d Michigan cavalry. Governor Blair, 
of Michigan, telegraphed General Halleck asking 
him to suggest the name of a professional soldier 
for the vacancy, saying he would appoint a good 
man without reference to his State. Sheridan was 
named ; and was so conspicuously efficient that when 
Corinth was reached he was assigned to command a 
cavalry brigade in the Army of the Mississippi. He 
was in command at Booneville on the ist of July 
with two small regiments, when he was attacked by 
a force full three times as numerous as his own. By 
very skilful manoeuvres and boldness of attack he 
completely routed the enemy. For this he was made 
a brigadier-general and became a conspicuous figure 
in the army about Corinth. On this account I was 
sorry to see him leaving me. His departure was 
probably fortunate, for he rendered distinguished 
services in his new field. 

Granger and Sheridan reached Louisville before 
Buell got there, and on the night of their arrival 
Sheridan with his command threw up works around 
the railroad station for the defence of troops as they 
came from the front. 




AT this time, September 4th, I had two divisions 
of the Army of the Mississippi stationed at 
Corinth, Rienzi, Jacinto and Danville. There were at 
Corinth also Davies' division and two brig^ades of 
McArthur's, besides cavalry and artillery. This force 
constituted my left wing, of which Rosecrans was in 
command. General Ord commanded the centre, 
from Bethel to Humboldt on the Mobile and Ohio 
railroad and from Jackson to Bolivar where the 
Mississippi Central is crossed by the Hatchie River. 
General Sherman commanded on the right at Mem- 
phis with two of his brigades back at Brownsville, at 
the crossing of the Hatchie River by the Memphis 
and Ohio railroad. This made the most convenient 
arrangement I could devise for concentrating all my 
spare forces upon any threatened point. All the 
troops of the command were within telegraphic com- 
munication of each other, except those under Sher- 
man. By bringing a portion of his command to 
Brownsville, from which point there was a railroad 


and telegraph back to Memphis, communication could 
be had with that part of my command within a few 
hours by the use of couriers. In case it became 
necessary to reinforce Corinth, by this arrangement 
all the troops at Bolivar, except a small guard, 
could be sent by rail by the way of Jackson in less 
than twenty-four hours ; while the troops from 
Brownsville could march up to Bolivar to take their 

On the 7th of September I learned of the advance 
of Van Dom and Price, apparently upon Corinth. 
One division was brought from Memphis to Bolivar 
to meet any emergency that might arise from this 
move of the enemy. I was much concerned because 
my first duty, after holding the territory acquired 
within my command, was to prevent further re- 
inforcing of Bragg in Middle Tennessee. Already 
the Army of Northern Virginia had defeated the 
army under General Pope and was invading Mary- 
land. In the Centre General Buell was on his way 
to Louisville and Bragg marching parallel to him 
with a large Confederate force for the Ohio River. 

I had been constantly called upon to reinforce Buell 
until at this time my entire force numbered less than 
50,000 men, of all arms. This included everything 
from Cairo south within my jurisdiction. If I too 
should be driven back, the Ohio River would become 
the line dividing the belligerents west of the AUe- 


ghanies, while at the East the line was already 
farther north than when hostilities commenced at 
the opening of the war. It is true Nashville was 
never given up after its first capture, but it would 
have been isolated and the garrison there would 
have been obliged to beat a hasty retreat if the 
troops in West Tennessee had been compelled to 
fall back. To say at the end of the second year of 
the war the line dividing the contestants at the 
East was pushed north of Maryland, a State that 
had not seceded, and at the West beyond Kentucky, 
another State which had been always loyal, would 
have been discouraging indeed. As it was, many 
loyal people despaired in the fall of 1862 of ever 
saving the Union. The administration at Washing- 
ton was much concerned for the safety of the cause 
it held so dear. But I believe there was never a day 
when the President did not think that, in some way 
or other, a cause so just as ours would come out 

Up to the nth of September Rosecrans still had 
troops on the railroad east of Corinth, but they had 
all been ordered in. By the 1 2th all were in except 
a small force under Colonel Murphy of the 8th 
Wisconsin. He had been detained to guard the 
remainder of the stores which had not yet been 
brought in to Corinth. 

On the 13th of September General Sterling Price 


entered luka, a town about twenty miles east of 
Corinth op the Memphis and Charleston railroad. 
Colonel Murphy with a few men was guarding the 
place. He made no resistance, but evacuated the 
town on the approach of the enemy, I was appre- 
hensive lest the object of the rebels might be to get 
troops into Tennessee to reinforce Bragg, as it was 
afterwards ascertained to be. The authorities at 
Washington, including the general-in-chief of the 
army, were very anxious, as I have said, about 
affairs both in East and Middle Tennessee; and my 
anxiety was quite as great on their account as for 
any danger threatening my command. I had not 
force enough at Corinth to attack Price even by 
stripping everything ; and there was danger that 
before troops could be got from other points he 
might be far on his way across the Tennessee, To 
prevent this all spare forces at Bolivar and Jackson 
were ordered to Corinth, and cars were concentrated 
at Jackson for their transportation. Within twenty- 
four hours from the transmission of the order the 
troops were at their destination, although there 
had been a delay of four hours resulting from the 
forward train getting off the track and stopping all 
the others. This gave a reinforcement of near 8,000 
men. General Ord in command. General Rosecrans 
commanded the district of Corinth with a movable 
force of about 9,000, independent of the garrison 


deemed necessary to be left behind. It was known 
that General Van Dorn was about a four days' 
march south of us, with a large force It might 
have been part of his plan to attack at Corinth, 
Price coming from the east while he came up 
from the south. My desire was to attack Price be- 
fore Van Dorn could reach Corinth or go to his 

General Rosecrans had previously had his head- 
quarters at luka, where his command was spread out 
along the Memphis and Charleston railroad east- 
ward. While there he had a most excellent map 
prepared showing all the roads and streams in the 
surrounding country. He was also personally famil- 
iar with the ground, so that I deferred very much to 
him in my plans for the approach. We had cars 
enough to transport all of General Ord s command, 
which was to go by rail to Burnsville, a point on the 
road about seven miles west of luka. From there 
his troops were to march by the north side of the 
railroad and attack Price from the north-west, while 
Rosecrans was to move eastward from his position 
south of Corinth by way of the Jacinto road. A 
small force was to hold the Jacinto road where it 
turns to the north-east, while the main force moved 
on. the Fulton road which comes into luka further 
east. This plan was suggested by Rosecrans. 

Bear Creek, a few miles to the east of the Fulton 


road, is a formidable obstacle to the movement of 
troops in the absence of bridges, all of which, in Sep- 
tember, 1862, had been destroyed in that vicinity. 
The Tennessee, to the north-east, not many miles 
away, was also a formidable obstacle for an army 
followed by a pursuing force. Ord was on the north- 
west, and even if a rebel movement had been pos- 
sible in that direction it could have brought only 
temporary relief, for it would have carried Price's 
army to the rear of the National forces and isolated 
it from all support. It looked to me that, if Price 
would remain in luka until we could get there, his 
annihilation was inevitable. 

On the morning of the i8th of September General 
Ord moved by rail to Burnsville, and there left the 
cars and moved out to perform his part of the pro- 
gramme. He was to get as near the enemy as pos- 
sible during the day and intrench himself so as to 
hold his position until the next morning. Rosecrans 
was to be up by the morning of the igth on the two 
roads before described, and the attack was to be from 
all three quarters simultaneously. Troops enough 
were left at Jacinto and Rienzi to detain any cavalry 
that Van Dorn might send out to make a sudden 
dash into Corinth until I could be notified. There 
was a telegraph wire along the railroad, so there 
v/ould be no delay in communication. I detained 
cars and locomotives enough at Burnsville to trans- 



port the whole of Ord's command at once, and if Van 
Dom had moved against Corinth instead of luka I 
could have thrown in reinforcements to the number 
of 7,000 or 8,000 before he could have arrived. I 
remained at Burnsville with a detachment of about 
900 men from Ord's command and communicated 
with my two wings by courier. Ord met the advance 
of the enemy soon after leaving Burnsville. Quite 
a sharp engagement ensued, but he drove the rebels 
back with considerable loss, including one general 
officer killed. He maintained his position and was 
ready to attack by daylight the next morning. I 
was very much disappointed at receiving a dispatch 
from Rosecrans after midnight from Jacinto, twenty- 
two miles from luka, saying that some of his com- 
mand had been delayed, and that the rear of his 
column was not yet up as far as Jacinto. He said, 
however, that he would still beat luka by two o'clock 
the next day. I did not believe this possible because 
of the distance and the condition of the roads, which 
was bad ; besides, troops after a forced march of 
twenty miles are not in a good condition for fight- 
ing the moment they get through. It might do in 
marching to relieve a beleaguered garrison, but not 
to make an assault. I immediately sent Ord a copy 
of Rosecrans' dispatch and ordered him to be in 
readiness to attack the moment he heard the sound 
of guns to the south or south-east. He was instructed 


to notify his officers to be on the alert for any indi- 
cations of battle. During the 19th the wind blew 
in the wrong direction to transmit sound either 
towards the point where Ord was, or to Bumsville 
where I had remained 

A couple of hours before dark on the 19th Rose- 
crans arrived with the head of his column at Bamets, 
the point where the Jacinto road to luka leaves the 
road going east He here turned north without 
sending any troops to the Fulton road. While still 
moving in column up the Jacinto road he met a 
force of the enemy and had his advance badly beaten 
and driven back upon the main road. In this short 
engagement his loss was considerable for the number 
engaged, and one battery was taken from him. The 
wind was still blowing hard and in the wrong direc- 
tion to transmit sound towards either Ord or me. 
Neither he nor I nor any one in either command 
heard a gun that was fired upon the battle-field. 
After the engagement Rosecrans sent me a dispatch 
announcing the result This was brought by a cou- 
rier. There was no road between Burnsville and the 
position then occupied by Rosecrans and the coun- 
try was impassable for a man on horseback. The 
courier bearing the message was compelled to move 
west nearly to Jacinto before he found a road lead- 
ing to Burnsville. This made it a late hour of the 
night before I learned of the battle that had taken 


place during the afternoon, I at once notified 
Ord of the fact and ordered him to attack early 
in the morning. The next morning Rosecrans him- 
self renewed the attack and went into luka with but 
little resistance, Ord also went in according to or- 
ders, without hearing a gun from the south of town 
but supposing the troops coming from the south-west 
must be up by that time, Rosecrans, however, had 
put no troops upon the Fulton road, and the enemy 
had taken advantage of this neglect and retreated by 
that road during the night Word was soon brought 
to me that our troops were in luka, I immediately 
rode into town and found that the enemy was not be- 
ing pursued even by the cavalry. I ordered pursuit 
by the whole of Rosecrans' command and went on 
with him a few miles in person. He followed only 
a few miles after I left him and then went into camp, 
and the pursuit was continued no further. I was dis- 
appointed at the result of the battle of luka — but I 
had so high an opinion of General Rosecrans that 
I found no fault at the time. 



ON the 19th of September General Geo. H. 
Thomas was ordered east to reinforce Buell. 
This threw the army at my command still more on 
the defensive. The Memphis and Charleston rail- 
road was abandoned, except at Corinth, and small 
forces were left at Chewalla and Grand Junction. 
Soon afterwards the latter of these two places was 
given up and Bolivar became our most advanced 
position on the Mississippi Central railroad. Our 
cavalry was kept well to the front and frequent ex- 
peditions were sent out to watch the movements of 
the enemy. We were in a country where nearly all 
the people, except the negroes, were hostile to us 
and friendly to the cause we were trying to suppress. 
It was easy, therefore, for the enemy to get early 
information of our every move. We, on the con- 
trary, had to go after our information in force, and 
then often returned without it. 

On the 2 2d Bolivar was threatened by a large 
force from south of Grand Junction, supposed to be 


twenty regiments of infantry with cavalry and artil- 
lery. I reinforced Bolivar, and went to Jackson in 
person to superintend the movement of troops to 
whatever point the attack might be made upon. The 
troops from Corinth were brought up in time to repel 
the threatened movement without a battle. Our 
cavalry followed the enemy south of Davis' mills in 

On the 30th I found that Van Dorn was apparently 
endeavoring to strike the Mississippi River above 
Memphis. At the same time other points within my 
command were so threatened that it was impossible 
to concentrate a foroe to drive him away. There 
was at this juncture a large Union force at Helena, 
Arkansas, which, had it been within my command, I 
could have ordered across the river to attack and 
break up tKe Mississippi Central railroad far to the 
south. This would not only have called Van Dorn 
back, but would have compelled the retention of a 
large rebel force far to the south to prevent a repe- 
tition of such raids on the enemy's line of supplies. 
Geographical lines between the commands during 
the rebellion were not always well chosen, or they 
were too rigidly adhered to. 

Van Dorn did not attempt to get upon the 
line above Memphis, as had apparently been his in- 
tention. He was simply covering a deeper design ; 
one much more important to his cause. By the ist 


of October it was fully apparent that Corinth was to 
be attacked with great force and determination, and 
that Van Dorn, Lovell, Price, Villepig^e and Rust 
had joined their strength for this purpose. There 
was some skirmishing outside of Corinth with the 
advance of the enemy on the 3d. The rebels massed 
in the north-west angle of the Memphis and Charles- 
ton and the Mobile and Ohio railroads, and were 
thus between the troops at Corinth and all possible 
reinforcements. Any fresh troops for us must come 
by a circuitous route. 

On the night of the 3d, accordingly, I ordered Gen- 
eral McPherson, who was at Jackson, to join Rose- 
crans at Corinth with reinforcements picked up along 
the line of the railroad equal to a brigade. Hurlbut 
had been ordered from Bolivar to march for the same 
destination ; and as Van Dorn was coming upon 
Corinth from the north-west some of his men fell 
in with the advance of Hurlbut's and some skirmish- 
ing ensued on the evening of the 3d. On the 4th 
Van Dorn made a dashing attack, hoping, no doubt, 
to capture Rosecrans before his reinforcements could 
come up. In that case the enemy himself could have 
occupied the defences of Corinth and held at bay 
all the Union troops that arrived. In fact he could 
have taken the offensive against the reinforcements 
with three or four times their number and still left a 
sufficient garrison in the works about Corinth to hold 


them. He came near success, some of his troops 
penetrating the National lines at least once, but the 
works that were built after Halleck's departure en- 
abled Rosecrans to hold his position until the troops 
of both McPherson and Hurlbut approached towards 
the rebel front and rear. The enemy was finally 
driven back with great slaughter : all their charges, 
made with great gallantry, were repulsed. The loss 
on our side was heavy, but nothing to compare with 
Van Dorn's. McPherson came up with the train of 
cars bearing his command as close to the enemy as 
was prudent, debarked on the rebel flank and got 
in to the support of Rosecrans just after the repulse. 
His approach, as well as that of Hurlbut, was known 
to the enemy and had a moral effect. General 
Rosecrans, however, failed to follow up the victory, 
although I had given specific orders in advance of 
the battle for him to pursue the moment the enemy 
was repelled. He did not do so. and I repeated the 
order after the battle. In the first order he was 
notified that the force of 4,000 men which was going 
to his assistance would be in great peril if the enemy 
was not pursued. 

General Ord had joined Hurlbut on the 4th and 
being senior took command of his troops. This 
force encountered the head of Van Dorn*s retreating 
column just as it was crossing the Hatchie by a bridge 
some ten miles out from Corinth. The bottom land 

Vol. I. - 27 


here was swampy and bad for the operations of 
troops, making a good place to get an enemy into. 
Ord attacked the troops that had crossed the bridge 
and drove them back in a panic. Many were killed, 
and others were drowned by being pushed off the 
bridge in their hurried retreat. Ord followed and 
met the main force. He was too weak in numbers 
to assault, but he held the bridge and compelled the 
enemy to resume his retreat by another bridge higher 
up the stream. Ord was wounded in this engage- 
ment and the command devolved on Hurlbut 

Rosecrans did not start in pursuit till the morning 
of the 5th and then took the wrong road. Moving in 
the enemy's country he travelled with a wagon train 
to carry his provisions and munitions of war. His 
march was therefore slower than that of the enemy, 
who was moving towards his supplies. Two or three 
hours of pursuit on the day of battle, without any- 
thing except what the men carried on their persons, 
would have been worth more than any pursuit com- 
menced the next day could have possibly been. Even 
when he did start, if Rosecrans had followed the 
route taken by the enemy, he would have come 
upon Van Dorn in a swamp with a stream in front 
and Ord holding the only bridge ; but he took the 
road leading north and towards Chewalla instead of 
west, and, after having marched as far as the enemy 
had moved to get to the Hatchie, he was as far from 


battle as when he started. Hurlbut had not the 
numbers to meet any such force as Van Dorn's if they 
had been in any mood for fighting, and he might 
have been in great peril. 

I now regarded the time to accomplish anything 
by pursuit as past and, after Rosecrans reached 
Jonesboro, I ordered him to return. He kept on 
to Ripley, however, and was persistent in wanting to 
go farther. I thereupon ordered him to halt and 
submitted the matter to the general-in-chief, who 
allowed me to exercise my judgment in the matter, 
but inquired *' why not pursue ? " Upon this I ordered 
Rosecrans back. Had he gone much farther he 
would have met a greater force than Van Dorn had 
at Corinth and behind intrenchments or on chosen 
ground, and the probabilities are he would have lost 
his army. 

The battle of Corinth was bloody, our loss being 
315 killed, 1,812 wounded and 232 missing. The 
enemy lost many more. Rosecrans reported 1,423 
dead and 2,225 prisoners. We fought behind breast- 
works, which accounts in some degree for the dis- 
parity. Among the killed on our side was General 
Hackelman. General Oglesby was badly, it was for 
some time supposed mortally, wounded. I received 
a congratulatory letter from the President, which ex- 
pressed also his sorrow for the losses. 

This battle was recognized by me as being a 


decided victory, though not so complete as I had 
hoped for, nor nearly so complete as I now think 
was within the easy grasp of the commanding officer 
at Corinth. Since the war it is known that the 
result, as it was, was a crushing blow to the enemy, 
and felt by him much more than it was appreciated at 
the North. The battle relieved me from any further 
anxiety for the safety of the territory within my ju- 
risdiction, and soon after receiving reinforcements I 
suggested to the general-in-chief a forward move- 
ment against Vicksburg. 

On the 23d of October I learned of Pemberton s 
being in command at Holly Springs and much rein- 
forced by conscripts and troops from Alabama and 
Texas. The same day General Rosecrans was re- 
lieved from duty with my command, and shortly after 
he succeeded Buell in the command of the army in 
Middle Tennessee. I was delighted at the promotion 
of General Rosecrans to a separate command, because 
I still believed that when independent of an immediate 
superior the qualities which I, at that time, credited 
him with possessing, would show themselves. As a 
subordinate I found that I could not make him do as I 
wished, and had determined to relieve him from duty 
that very day. 

At the close of the operations just described my 
force, in round numbers, was 48,500. Of these 4,800 
were in Kentucky and Illinois, 7,000 in Memphis, 


19,200 from Mound City south, and 17,500 at Cor- 
inth. General McClernand had been authorized 
from Washington to go north and organize troops 
to be used in opening the Mississippi. These new 
levies with other reinforcements now began to come 

On the 25th of October I was placed in command 
of the Department of the Tennessee. Reinforce- 
ments continued to come from the north and by the 
2d of November I was prepared to take the initiative. 
This was a great relief after the two and a half 
months of continued defence over a large district of 
country, and where nearly every citizen was an enemy 
ready to give information of our every move. I have 
described very imperfectly a few of the battles and 
skirmishes that took place during this time. To 
describe all would take more space than I can allot 
to the purpose ; to make special mention of all the 
officers and troops who distinguished themselves, 
would take a volume. 

Note. — For gallantry in the various enj^agements, from the time I was 
left in command down to 26th of October and on my recommendation, Gen- 
erals Mcpherson and C. S. Hamilton were promoted to be Major-Generals, and 
Colonels C. C. Marsh, 20th Illinois, M. M. Crocker, 13th Iowa, J. A. Mower, 
nth Missouri, M. D. Lcggett. 78th Ohio, J. D. Stevenson, 7th Missouri, and 
John E. Smith, 45th Illinois, to be Brigadiers. 





VICKSBURG was important to the enem) 
because it occupied the first high grount 
coming close to the river below Memphis. Fron 
there a railroad runs east, connecting with othei 
roads leading to all points of the Southern States 
A railroad also starts from the opposite side of the 
river, extending west as far as Shreveport, Louis 
iana. Vicksburg was the only channel, at the i tk 
of the events of which this chapter treats, connect 
ing the parts of the Confederacy divided by the 
Mississippi. So long as it was held by the enemy 
the free navigation of the river was prevented 
Hence its importance. Points on the river betweei 
Vicksburg and Port Hudson were held as depend 
encies ; but their fall was sure to follow the captun 
of the former place. 

The campaign against Vicksburg commenced O! 
the 2d of November as indicated in a dispatch tt 
the gencral-in-chief in the following words : " 1 hav< 


commenced a movement on Grand Junction, with 
three divisions from Corinth and two from BoUvan 
Will leave here [Jackson, Tennessee] to-morrow, 
and take command in person. If found practicable, 
I will go to Holly Springs, and, may be. Grenada, 
completing railroad and telegraph as I go." 

At this time my command was holding the Mobile 
and Ohio railroad from about twenty-five miles 
south of Corinth, north to Columbus, Kentucky ; the 
Mississippi Central from Bolivar north to its junc- 
tion with the Mobile and Ohio ; the Memphis and 
Charleston from Corinth east to Bear Creek, and the 
Mississippi River from Cairo to Memphis. My en- 
tire command was no more than was necessary to 
hold • these lines, and hardly that if kept on the de- 
fensive. By moving against the enemy and into 
his ur'^ubdued, or not yet captured, territory, driving 
their army before us, these lines would nearly hold 
themselves ; thus affording a large force for field 
operations. My moving force at that time was about 
30,000 men, and I estimated the enemy confronting 
me, under Pemberton, at about the same number. 
General McPhcrson commanded my left wing and 
General C. S. Hamilton the centre, while Sherman 
was at Memphis with the right wing. Pemberton 
was fortified at the Tallahatchie, but occupied Holly 
Springs and Grand Junction on the Mississippi Cen- 
tral railroad. On the 8th we occupied Grand June- 


tion and La Grange, throwing a considerable force 
seven or eight miles south, along the line of the rail- 
road. The road from Bolivar forward was repaired 
and put in running order as the troops advanced* 

Up to this time it had been regarded as an axiom 
in war that large bodies of troops must operate from 
a base of supplies which they always covered and 
gfuarded in all forward movements. There was 
delay therefore in repairing the road back, and in 
gathering and forwarding supplies to the front. 

By my orders, and in accordance with previous in- 
structions from Washington, all the forage within 
reach was collected under the supervision of the 
chief quartermaster and the provisions under the 
chief commissary, receipts being given when there 
was anyone to take them ; the supplies in any event 
to be accounted for as government stores. The 
stock was bountiful, but still it gave me no idea of 
the possibility of supplying a moving column in an 
enemy's country from the country itself. 

It was at this point, probably, where the first idea 
of a ** Freedman's Bureau " took its origin. Orders 
of the government prohibited the expulsion of the 
negroes from the protection of the army, when they 
came in voluntarily. Humanity forbade allowing 
them to starve. With such an army of them, of 
all ages and both sexes, as had congregated about 
Grand Junction, amounting to many thousands, it 


was impossible to advance. There was no special 
authority for feeding them unless they were em- 
ployed as teamsters, cooks and pioneers with the 
army ; but only able-bodied young men were suit- 
able for such work. This labor would support but a 
very limited percentage of them. The plantations 
were all deserted ; the cotton and corn were ripe : 
men, women and children above ten years of age 
could be employed in saving these crops. To do 
this work with contrabands, or to have it done, or- 
ganization under a competent chief was necessary. 
On inquiring for such a man Chaplain Eaton, now 
and for many years the very able United States 
Commissioner of Education, was suggested. He 
proved as efficient in that field as he has since done 
in his present one. I gave him all the assistants and 
guards he called for. We together fixed the prices 
to be paid for the negro labor, whether rendered to 
the government or to individuals. The cotton was 
to be picked from abandoned plantations, the laborers 
to receive the stipulated price (my recollection is 
twelve and a half cents per pound for picking and 
ginning) from the quartermaster, he shipping the 
cotton north to be sold for the benefit of the 
government. Citizens remaining on their plantations 
were allowed the privilege of having their crops saved 
by freedmen on the same terms. 

At once the freedmen became self-sustaining. 


The money was not paid to them directly, but was 
expended judiciously and for their benefit. They 
gave me no trouble afterwards. 

Later the freedmen were engaged in cutting wood 
along the Mississippi River to supply the large num- 
ber of steamers on that stream. A good price 
was paid for chopping wood used for the supply 
of government steamers (steamers chartered and 
which the government had to supply with fuel). 
Those supplying their own fuel paid a much higher 
price. In this way a fund was created not only suf- 
ficient to feed and clothe all, old and young, male 
and female, but to build them comfortable cabins, 
hospitals for the sick, and to supply them with many 
comforts they had never known before. 

At this stage of the campaign against Vicksburg I 
was very much disturbed by newspaper rumors that 
General McClernand was to have a separate and in- 
dependent command within mine, to operate against 
Vicksburg by way of the Mississippi River. Two 
commanders on the same field are always one too 
many, and in this case I did not think the general 
selected had either the experience or the qualifica- 
tions to fit him for so important a position. I feared 
for the safety of the troops intrusted to him, especially 
as he was to raise new levies, raw troops, to execute 
so important a trust. But on the 12th I received a 
dispatch from General Halleck saying that I had 


command of all the troops sent to my department and 
authorizing me to fight the enemy where I pleased. 
The next day my cavalry was in Holly Springs, 
and the enemy fell back south of the Tallahatchie. 

Holly Springs I selected for my depot of supplies 
and munitions of war, all of which at that time came 
by rail from Columbus, Kentucky, except the few 
stores collected about La Grange and Grand Junc- 
tion. This was a long line (increasing in length 
as we moved south) to maintain in an enemy's coun- 
try. On the 15th of November, while I was still 
at Holly Springs, I sent word to Sherman to 
meet me at Columbus. We were but forty-seven 
miles apart, yet the most expeditious way for us to 
meet was for me to take the rail to Columbus and 
Sherman a steamer for the same place. At that 
meeting, besides talking over my general plans I 
gave him his orders to join me with two divisions 
and to march them down the Mississippi Central 
railroad if he could. Sherman, who was always 
prompt, was up by the 29th to Cottage Hill, ten miles 
north of Oxford. He brouofht three divisions with 
him, leaving a garrison of only four regiments of in- 
fantry, a couple of pieces of artillery and a small 
detachment of cavalry. Further reinforcements he 
knew were on their way from the north to Memphis. 
About this time General Halleck ordered troops from 
Helena, Arkansas (territory west of the Mississippi 


was not under my command then) to cut the road in 
Pemberton s rear. The expedition was under Gen- 
erals Hovey and C. C. Washburn and was successful 
so far as reaching the railroad was concerned, but the 
damage done was very slight and was soon repaired. 

The Tallahatchie, which confronted me, was very 
high, the railroad bridge destroyed and Pember- 
ton strongly fortified on the south side. A cross- 
ing would have been impossible in the presence of an 
enemy. I sent the cavalry higher up the stream and 
they secured a crossing. This caused the enemy to 
evacuate their position, which was possibly accelerated 
by the expedition of Hovey and Washburn. The 
enemy was followed as far south as Oxford by the 
main body of troops, and some seventeen miles farther 
by McPherson's command. Here the pursuit was 
halted to repair the railroad from the Tallahatchie 
northward, in order to bring up supplies. The piles 
on which the railroad bridge rested had been left 
standing. The work of constructing a roadway for 
the troops was but a short matter, and, later, rails 
were laid for cars. 

During the delay at Oxford in repairing railroads 
I learned that an expedition down the Mississippi now 
was inevitable and, desiring to have a competent com- 
mander in charge, I ordered Sherman on the 8th of 
December back to Memphis to take charge. The 
following were his orders : 


Headquarters 13th Army Corps, Department of the Tennessee. 

Oxford, Mississippi, December 8. 1862. 

Major-General W. T. Sherman, 
Commanding Right Wing : 

You will proceed, with as little delay as possible, to Memphis, 
Tennessee, taking with you one division of your present command. 
On your arrival at Memphis you will assume command of all the 
troops there, and that portion of General Curtis's forces at present 
east of the Mississippi River, and organize them into brigades and 
divisions in your own army. As soon as possible move with them 
down the river to the vicinity of Vicksburg, and with the co-oper- 
ation of the gunboat fleet under command of Flag-officer Porter 
proceed to the reduction of that place in such manner as circum- 
stances, and your own judgment « may dictate. 

The amount of rations, forage, land transportation, etc., nec- 
essary to take, will be left entirely with yourself. The Quarter- 
master at St. Louis will be instructed to send you transportation 
for 30,000 men ; should you still find yourself deficient, your 
quartermaster will be authorized to make up the deficiency from 
such transports as may come into the port of Memphis. 

On arriving in Memphis, put yourself in communication with 
Admiral Porter, and arrange with him for his co-operation. 

Inform me at the earliest practicable day of the time when 
you will embark, and such plans as may then be matured. I will 
hold the forces here in readiness to co-operate with you in such 
manner as the movements of the enemy may make necessary. 

Leave the District of Memphis in the command of an efficient 
officer, and with a garrison of four regiments of infantry, the siege 
guns, and whatever cavalry may be there. 



This idea had presented itself to my mind earlier, 


for on the 3d of December I asked Halleck if it would 
not be well to hold the enemy south of the Yalla- 
busha and move a force from Helena and Memphis 
on Vicksburg. On the 5th again I suggested, from 
Oxford, to Halleck that if the Helena troops were at 
my command I thought it would be possible to take 
them and the Memphis forces south of the mouth of 
the Yazoo River, and thus secure Vicksburg and the 
State of Mississippi. Halleck on the same day, the 
5th of December, directed me not to attempt to hold 
the country south of the Tallahatchie, but to collect 
25,000 troops at Memphis by the 20th for the Vicks- 
burg expedition. I sent Sherman with two divisions 
at once, informed the general-in-chief of the fact, and 
asked whether I should command the expedition 
down the river myself or send Sherman. I was 
authorized to do as I thought best for the accom- 
plishment of the great object in view. I sent Sher- 
man and so informed General Halleck. 

As stated, my action in sending Sherman back 
was expedited by a desire to get him in command of 
the forces separated from my direct supervision. I 
feared that delay might bring McClernand, who was 
his senior and who had authority from the President 
and Secretary of War to exercise that particular 
command, — and independently. I doubted McCIer- 
nand*s fitness ; and I had good reason to believe that 
in forestalling him I was by no means giving offence 


to those whose authority to command was above both 
him and me. 

Neither my orders to General Sherman, nor the 
correspondence between us or between General 
Halleck and myself, contemplated at the time my 
going further south than the Yallabusha. Pember- 
ton's force in my front was the main part of the gar- 
rison of Vicksburg, as the force with me was the 
defence of the territory held by us in West Tennes- 
see and Kentucky. I hoped to hold Pemberton in 
my front while Sherman should get in his rear and 
into Vicksburg. The further north the enemy could 
be held the better. 

It was understood, however, between General Sher- 
man and myself that our movements were to be co- 
operative ; if Pemberton could not be held away from 
Vicksburg I was to follow him ; but at that time it was 
not expected to abandon the railroad north of the 
Yallabusha. With that point as a secondary base of 
supplies, the possibility of moving down the Yazoo 
until communications could be opened with the Mis- 
sissippi was contemplated. 

It was my intention, and so understood by Sherman 
and his command, that if the enemy should fall back 
I would follow him even to the gates of Vicks- 
burg. I intended in such an event to hold the road 
to Grenada on the Yallabusha and cut loose from 
there, expecting to establish a new base of supplies 


on the Yazoo, or at Vicksburg itself, with Grenada 
to fall back upon in case of failure. It should be 
remembered that at the time I speak of it had not 
been demonstrated that an army could operate in an 
enemy's territory' depending upon the country for 
supplies. A halt was called at Oxford with the ad- 
vance seventeen miles south of there, to bring up the 
road to the latter point and to bring supplies of food, 
forage and munitions to the front 

On the 1 8th of December I received orders from 
Washington to divide my command into four army 
corps, with General McClemand to command one of 
them and to be assigned to that part of the army 
which was to operate down the Mississippi. This 
interfered with my plans, but probably resulted in 
my ultimately taking the command in person. Mc- 
Clernand was at that time in Springfield, Illinois. 
The order was obeyed without any delay. Dis- 
patches were sent to him the same day in con- 

On the 20th General Van Dorn appeared at Holly 
Springs, my secondary base of supplies, captured the 
garrison of 1,500 men commanded by Colonel Mur- 
phy, of the 8th Wisconsin regiment, and destroyed 
all our munitions of war, food and forage. The capt- 
ure was a disgraceful one to the officer commanding 
but not to the troops under him. At the same time 
Forrest got on our line of railroad between Jackson, 


Tennessee, and Columbus, Kentucky, doing much 
damage to it This cut me off from all communi- 
cation with the north for more than a week, and it 
was more than two weeks before rations or forage 
could be issued from stores obtained in the regular 
way. This demonstrated the impossibility of main- 
taining so long a line of road over which to draw 
supplies for an army moving in an enemy's country. 
I determined, therefore, to abandon my campaign 
into the interior with Columbus as a base, and re- 
turned to La Grange and Grand Junction destroying 
the road to my front and repairing the road to Mem- 
phis, making the Mississippi River the line over 
which to draw supplies. Pemberton was falling back 
at the same time. 

The moment I received the news of Van Dorn s 
success I sent the cavalry at the front back to drive 
him from the country. He had start enough to move 
north destroying the railroad in many places, and to 
attack several small garrisons intrenched as guards to 
the railroad. All these he found warned of his 
coming and prepared to receive him. Van Dorn did 
not succeed in capturing a single garrison except the 
one at Holly Springs, which was larger than all the 
others attacked by him put together. Murphy 
was also warned of Van Dorn's approach, but made 
no preparations to meet him. He did not even 
notify his command. 

Vol I.— 28, 


Colonel Murphy was the officer who, two months 
before, had evacuated luka on the approach of the 
enemy. General Rosecrans denounced him for the 
act and desired to have him tried and punished. I 
sustained the colonel at the time because his com- 
mand was a small one compared with that of the 
enemy — not one-tenth as large — and I thought he 
had done well to. get away without falling into their 
hands. His leaving large stores to fall into Prices 
possession I looked upon as an oversight and excused 
it on the ground of inexperience in military mat- 
ters. He should, however, have destroyed them. 
This last surrender demonstrated to my mind that 
Rosecrans* judgment of Murphy's conduct at luka 
was correct. The surrender of Holly Springs was 
most reprehensible and showed either the disloyalty 
of Colonel Murphy to the cause which he professed 
to serve, or gross cowardice. 

After the war was over I read from the diary of 
a lady who accompanied General Pemberton in his 
retreat from the Tallahatchie, that the retreat was 
almost a panic. The roads were bad and it was 
difficult to move the artillery and trains. Why there 
should have been a panic I do not see. No ex- 
pedition had yet started down the Mississippi River. 
Had I known the demoralized condition of the 
enemy, or the fact that central Mississippi abounded 
so in all army supplies, I would have been in pursuit 


of Pemberton while his cavalry was destroying the 
roads in my rear. 

After sending cavalry to drive Van Dorn away, my 
next order was to dispatch all the wagons we had, 
under proper escort, to collect and bring in all 
supplies of forage and food from a region of fifteen 
miles east and west of the road from our front 
back to Grand Junction, leaving two months' supplies 
for the families of those whose stores were taken. I 
was amazed at the quantity of supplies the country 
afforded. It showed that we could have subsisted 
off the country for two months instead of two weeks 
without going beyond the limits designated. This 
taught me a lesson which was taken advantage of 
later in the campaign when our army lived twenty 
days with the issue of only five days' rations by the 
commissary. Our loss of supplies was great at 
Holly Springs, but it was more than compensated 
for by those taken from the country and by the 
lesson taught. 

The news of the capture of Holly Springs and the 
destruction of our supplies caused much rejoicing 
among the people remaining in Oxford. They came 
with broad smiles on their faces, indicating intense 
joy, to ask what I was going to do now without any- 
thing for my soldiers to eat. I told them that I was 
not disturbed ; that I had already sent troops and wag- 
ons to collect all the food and forage they could find 


for fifteen miles on each side of the road. Countenan- 
ces soon changed, and so did the inquiry. The next 
was, ** What are we to do?" My response was that 
we had endeavored to feed ourselves from our own 
northern resources while visiting them; but their 
friends in gray had been uncivil enough to destroy 
what we had brought along, and it could not be ex- 
pected that men, with arms in their hands, would 
starve in the midst of plenty. I advised them to 
emigrate east, or west, fifteen miles and assist in 
eating up what we left. 






THIS interruption in my communications north — I 
was really cut off from communication with a 
great part of my own command during this time — 
resulted in Sherman's moving from Memphis before 
McClernand could arrive, for my dispatch of the i8th 
did not reach McClernand. Pem.berton got back to 
Vicksburg before Sherman got there. The rebel 
positions were on a bluff on the Yazoo River, 
some miles above its mouth. The waters were high 
so that the bottoms were generally overflowed, 
leaving only narrow causeways of dry land between 
points of debarkation and the high bluffs. These 
were fortified and defended at all points. The 
rebel position was impregnable against any force that 
could be brought against its front. Sherman could 
not use one- fourth of his force. His efforts to capt- 
ure the city, or the high ground north of it, were 
necessarily unavailing. 


Sherman's attack was very unfortunate, but I had 
no opportunity of communicating with him after the 
destruction of the road and telegraph to my rear on 
the 20th. He did not know but what I was in the 
rear of the enemy and depending on him to open a 
new base of supplies for the troops with me. I had, 
before he started from Memphis, directed him to take 
with him a few small steamers suitable for the navi- 
gation of the Yazoo, not knowing but that I might 
want them to supply me after cutting loose from my 
base at Grenada, 

On the 23d I removed my headquarters back to 
Holly Springs. The troops were drawn back grad- 
ually, but without haste or confusion, finding supplies 
abundant and no enemy following. The road was 
not damaged south of Holly Springs by Van Dorn, 
at least not to an extent to cause any delay. As I 
had resolved to move headquarters to Memphis, and 
to repair the road to that point, I remained at Holly 
Springs until this work was completed. 

On the loth of January, the work on the road from 
Holly Springs to Grand Junction and thence to 
Memphis being completed, I moved my headquarters 
to the latter place. During the campaign here de- 
scribed, the losses (mostly captures) were about 
equal, crediting the rebels with their Holly Springs 
capture, which they could not hold. 

When Sherman started on his expedition down the 


river he had 20,000 men. taken from Memphis, and 
was reinforced by 12,000 more at Helena, Arkansas. 
The troops on the west bank of the river had previ- 
ously been assigned to my command. McClernand 
having received the orders for his assignment reached 
the mouth of the Yazoo on the 2d of January, and 
immediately assumed command of all the troops with 
Sherman, being a part of his own corps, the 13th, 
and all of Sherman's, the 1 5th. Sherman, and Admi- 
ral Porter with the fleet, had withdrawn from the 
Yazoo. After consultation they decided that neither 
the army nor navy could render service to the cause 
where they were, and learning that I had withdrawn 
from the interior of Mississippi, they determined to 
return to the Arkansas River and to attack Arkansas 
Post, about fifty miles up that stream and garrisoned by 
about five or six thousand men. Sherman had learned 
of the existence of this force through a man who had 
been captured by the enemy with a steamer loaded 
with ammunition and other supplies intended for his 
command. The man had made his escape. McCler- 
nand approved this move reluctantly, as Sherman says. 
No obstacle was encountered until the gunboats and 
transports were within range of the fort. After three 
days' bombardment by the navy an assault was made 
by the troops and marines, resulting in the capture of 
the place, and in taking 5,000 prisoners and 1 7 guns. I 
was at first disposed to disapprove of this move as an 


unnecessary side movement having no especial bear- 
ing upon the work before us; but when the result 
was understood I regarded it as very important 
Five thousand Confederate troops left in the rear 
might have caused us much trouble and loss of prop- 
erty while navigating the Mississippi. 

Immediately after the reduction of Arkansas Post 
and the capture of the garrison, McClernand returned 
with his entire force to Napoleon, at the mouth of the 
Arkansas River. From here I received messages from 
both Sherman and Admiral Porter, urging me to come 
and take command in person, and expressing their 
distrust of McClernand's ability and fitness for so im- 
portant and intricate an expedition. 

On the 17th I visited McClernand and his command 
at Napoleon. It was here made evident to me that 
both the army and navy were so distrustful of McCler- 
nand's fitness to command that, while they would do 
all they could to insure success, this distrust was an 
element of weakness. It would have been criminal 
to send troops under these circumstances into such 
danger. By this time I had received authority to re- 
lieve McClernand, or to assign any person else to the 
command of the river expedition, or to assume com- 
mand in person. I felt great embarrassment about 
McClernand. He was the senior major-general 
after myself within the department. It would not do, 
with his rank and ambition, to assign a junior over him. 


Nothing was left, therefore, but to assume the com- 
mand myself. I would have been glad to put 
Sherman in command, to give him an opportunity 
to accomplish what he had failed in the December 
before; but there seemed no other way out of the 
difficulty, for he was junior to McClernand. Sher- 
man's failure needs no apology. 

On the 20th I ordered General McClernand with 
the entire command, to Young's Point and Milliken s 
Bend, while I returned to Memphis to make all the 
necessary preparation for leaving the territory behind 
me secure. General Hurlbut with the i6th corps 
was left in command. The Memphis and Charleston 
railroad w^s held, while the Mississippi Central was 
given up. Columbus was the only point between 
Cairo and Memphis, on the river, left with a garri- 
son. All the troops and guns from the posts on the 
abandoned railroad and river were sent to the front. 

On the 29th of January I arrived at Young's Point 
and assumed command the following day. General 
McClernand took exception in a most characteristic 
way — for him. His correspondence with me on the 
subject was more in the nature of a reprimand than a 
protest. It was highly insubordinate, but I over- 
looked it, as I believed, for the good of the service. 
General McClernand was a politician of very consid- 
erable prominence in his State ; he was a member of 
Congress when the secession war broke out; he be- 


longed to that political party which furnished all the 
opposition there was to a vigorous prosecution of the 
war for saving the Union ; there was no delay in his 
declaring himself for the Union at all hazards, and 
there was no uncertain sound in his declaration of 
where he stood in the contest before the country. He 
also gave up his seat in Congress to take the field in 
defence of the principles he had proclaimed. 

The real work of the campaign and siege of Vicks- 
burg now began. The problem was to secure a foot- 
ing upon dry ground on the east side of the river 
from which the troops could operate against Vicks- 
burg. The Mississippi River, from Cairo south, runs 
through a rich alluvial valley of many miles in width, 
bound on the east by land running from eighty up to 
two or more hundred feet above the river. On the 
west side the highest land, except in a few places, is 
but little above the highest water. Through this 
valley the river meanders in the most tortuous way. 
varying in direction to all points of the compass. At 
places it runs to the very foot of the bluffs. After 
leaving Memphis, there are no such highlands coming 
to the water's edge on the east shore until Vicks- 
burg is reached. 

The intervening land is cut up by bayous filled 
from the river in high water — many of them navigable 
for steamers. All of them would be, except for over- 
han«:ine trees, narrowness and tortuous course, mak- 


ing it impossible to turn the bends with vessels of 
any considerable length. Marching across this coun- 
try in the face of an enemy was impossible ; navigat- 
ing it proved equally impracticable. The strategical 
way according to the rule, therefore, would have been 
to go back to Memphis ; establish that as a base of 
supplies ; fortify it so that the storehouses could be 
held by a small garrison, and move from there 
along the line of railroad, repairing as we ad- 
vanced, to the Yallabusha, or to Jackson, Mississippi. 
At this time the North had become very much dis- 
couraged. Many strong Union men believed that 
the war must prove a failure. The elections of 1862 
had gone against the party which was for the pros- 
ecution of the war to save the Union if it took the 
last man and the last dollar. Voluntary enlistments 
had ceased throughout the greater part of the North, 
and the draft had been resorted to to fill up our ranks. 
It was my judgment at the time that to make a back- 
ward movement as long as that from Vicksburg to 
Memphis, would be interpreted, by many of those yet 
full of hope for the preservation of the Union, as a 
defeat, and that the draft would be resisted, desertions 
ensue and the power to capture and punish deserters 
lost. There was nothing left to be done but to go 
forward to a decisive victory. This was in my mind 
from the moment I took command in person at Young's 


The winter of 1862— 3 was a noted one for continuous 
high water in the Mississippi and for heavy rains 
along the lower river. To get dry land, or rather 
land above the water, to encamp the troops upon, 
took many miles of river front We had to occupy 
the levees and the ground immediately behind. This 
was so limited that one corps, the 1 7th, under Gen- 
eral McPherson, was at Lake Providence, seventy 
miles above Vicksburg. 

It w*as in January the troops took their position 
opposite Vicksburg. The water was very high and 
the rains were incessant There seemed no possi- 
bility of a land movement before the end of March 
or later, and it would not do to lie idle all this time. 
The effect would be demoralizing to the troops and 
injurious to their health. Friends in the North would 
have grown more and more discouraged, and enemies 
in the same section more and more insolent in their 
gibes and denunciation of the cause and those en- 
gaged in it 

I always admired the South, as bad as I thought 
their cause, for the boldness with which they silenced 
all opposition and all croaking, by press or by individ- 
uals, within their control. War at all times, whether 
a civil war between sections of a common country or 
between nations, ought to be avoided, if possible with 
honor. But, once entered into, it is too much for 
human nature to tolerate an enemy within their ranks 


to give aid and comfort to the armies of the opposing 
section or nation. 

Vicksburg, as stated before, is on the first high land 
coming to the rivers edge, below that on which 
Memphis stands. The bluff, or high land, follows 
the left bank of the Yazoo for some distance and 
continues in a southerly direction to the Mississippi 
River, thence it runs along the Mississippi to War- 
renton, six miles below. The Yazoo River leaves the 
high land a short distance below Haines' Bluff and 
empties into the Mississippi nine miles above Vicks- 
burg. Vicksburg is built on this high land where 
the Mississippi washes the base of the hill. Haines' 
Bluff, eleven miles from Vicksburg, on the Yazoo 
River, was strongly fortified The whole distance 
from there to Vicksburg and thence to Warrenton 
was also intrenched, with batteries at suitable dis- 
tances and rifle-pits connecting them. 

From Young's Point the Mississippi turns in a 
north-easterly direction to a point just above the city, 
when it again turns and runs south-westerly, leaving 
vessels, which might attempt to run the blockade, 
exposed to the fire of batteries six miles below the 
city before they were in range of the upper batteries. 
Since then the river has made a cut-off, leaving what 
was the peninsula in front of the city, an island. North 
of the Yazoo was all a marsh, heavily timbered, cut 
up with bayous, and much overflowed. A front at- 


tack was therefore impossible, and was never contem- 
plated ; certainly not by me. The problem then be- 
came, how to secure a landing on high ground east of 
the Mississippi without an apparent retreat Then com- 
menced a series of experiments to consume time, and to 
divert the attention of the enemy, of my troops and of 
the public generally. I, myself, never felt great confi- 
dence that any of the experiments resorted to would 
prove successful. Nevertheless I was always pre- 
pared to take advantage of them in case they did. 

In 1862 General Thomas Williams had come up 
from New Orleans and cut a ditch ten or twelve 
feet wide and about as deep, straight across from 
Young's Point to the river below. The distance 
across was a little over a mile. It was Williams' 
expectation that when the river rose it would cut a 
navigable channel through ; but the canal started in 
an eddy from both ends, and, of course, it only filled 
up with water on the rise without doing any execu- 
tion in the way of cutting. Mr. Lincoln had navi- 
gated the Mississippi in his younger days and under- 
stood well its tendency to change its channel, in 
places, from time to time. He set much store ac- 
cordingly by this canal. General McClernand had 
been, therefore, directed before I went to Youngs 
Point to push the work of widening and deepening 
this canal. After my arrival the work was diligently 
pushed with about 4,000 men — as many as could be 


used to advantage — until interrupted by a sudden 
rise in the river that broke a dam at the upper end, 
which had been put there to keep the water out until 
the excavation was completed. This was on the 8th 
of March. 

Even if the canal had proven a success, so far as 
to be navigable for steamers, it could not have been of 
much advantage to us. It runs in a direction almost 
perpendicular to the line of bluffs on the opposite 
side, or east bank, of the river. As soon as the 
enemy discovered what we were doing he estab- 
lished a battery commanding the canal throughout 
its length. This battery soon drove out our dredges, 
two in number, which were doing the work of thou- 
sands of men. Had the canal been completed it 
might have proven of some use in running trans- 
ports through, under the cover of night, to use below ; 
but they would yet have to run batteries, though 
for a much shorter distance. 

While this work was progressing we were busy in 
other directions, trying to find an avail?ble landing 
on high ground on the east bank of the river, or to 
make water-ways to get below the city, avoiding the 

On the 30th of January, the day after my arrival at 
the front, I ordered General McPherson, stationed 
with his corps at Lake Providence, to cut the levee 
at that point. If successful in opening a channel for 


navigation by this route, it would carry us to the 
Mississippi Riverthrough the mouth of the Red River, 
just above Port Hudson and four hundred miles below 
Vicksburg by the river. 

Lake Providence is a part of the old bed of the 
Mississippi, about a mile from the present channel. 
It is six miles long and has its outlet through Bayou 

Baxter, Bayou Macon, and the Tensas, Washita and 


Red Rivers. The last three are navigable streams at all 
seasons. Bayous Baxter and Macon are narrow and 
tortuous, and the banks are covered with dense forests 
overhanging the channel. They were also filled 
with fallen timber, the accumulation of years. The 
land along the Mississippi River, from Memphis 
down, is in all instances highest next to the river, 
except where the river washes the bluffs which form 
the boundary of the valley through which it winds. 
Bayou Baxter, as it reaches lower land, begins to 
spread out and disappears entirely in a cypress 
swamp before it reaches the Macon. There was 
about two feet of water in this swamp at the time. 
To get through it, even with vessels of the lightest 
draft, it was necessary to clear off a belt of heavy 
timber wide enough to make a passage way. As 
the trees would have to be cut close to the bottom — 
under water — it was an undertaking of great magni- 

On the 4th of February I visited General Mc- 


Pherson, and remained with him several days. The 
work had not progressed so far as to admit the water 
from the river into the lake, but the troops had 
succeeded in drawing a small steamer, of probably 
not over thirty tons' capacity, from the river into 
the lake. With this we were able to explore the 
lake and bayou as far as cleared. I saw then that 
there was scarcely a chance of this ever becoming 
a practicable route for moving troops through an 
enemy's country. The distance from Lake Provi- 
dence to the point where vessels going by that 
route would enter the Mississippi again, is about four 
hundred and seventy miles by the main river. The 
distance would probably be greater by the tortuous 
bayous through which this new route would carry 
us. The enemy held Port Hudson, below where the 
Red River debouches, and all the Mississippi above 
to Vicksburg. The Red River, Washita and Tensas 
were, as has been said, all navigable streams, on 
which the enemy could throw small bodies of men 
to obstruct our passage and pick off our troops 
with their sharpshooters. I let the work go on, 
believing employment was better than idleness for 
the men. Then, too, it served as a cover for other 
efforts which gave a better prospect of success. 
This work was abandoned after the canal proved a 

Lieutenant-Colonel Wilson of my staff was sent 

Vol. I. — 29 


to Helena, Arkansas, to examine and open a way 
through Moon Lake and the Yazoo Pass if possible. 
Formerly there was a route by way of an inlet 
from the Mississippi River into Moon Lake, a mile 
east of the river, thence east through Yazoo Pass 
to Coldwater, along the latter to the Tallahatchie, 
which joins the Yallabusha about two hundred and 
fifty miles below Moon Lake and forms the Yazoo 
River. These were formerly navigated by steamers 
trading with the rich plantations along their banks; 
but the State of Mississippi had built a strong levee 
across the inlet some years before, leaving the only 
entrance for vessels into this rich region the one by 
way of the mouth of the Yazoo several hundreds of 
miles below. 

On the 2d of February this dam, or levee, was 
cut. The river being high the rush of water 
through the cut was so great that in a very short 
time the entire obstruction was washed away. The 
bayous were soon filled and much of the country 
was overflowed. This pass leaves the Mississippi 
River but a few miles below Helena. On the 24th 
General Ross, with his brigade of about 4,500 men 
on transports, moved into this new water-way. The 
rebels had obstructed the navigation of Yazoo Pass 
and the Coldwater by felling trees into them. Much 
of the timber in this region being of greater specific 
gravity than water, and being of great size, their 


removal was a matter of great labor; but it was 
finally accomplished, and on the nth of March Ross 
found himself, accompanied by two gunboats under 
the command of Lieutenant-Commander Watson 
Smith, confronting a fortification at Greenwood, where 
the Tallahatchie and Yallabusha unite and the 
Yazoo begins. The bends of the rivers are such at 
this point as to almost form an island, scarcely above 
water at that stage of the river. This island was 
fortified and manned. It was named Fort Pemberton 
after the commander at Vicksburg. No land ap- 
proach was accessible. The troops, therefore, could 
render no assistance towards an assault further than 
to establish a battery on a little piece of ground 
which was discovered above water. The gunboats, 
however, attacked on the nth and again on the 
13th of March. Both efforts were failures and 
were not renewed. One gunboat was disabled 
and we lost six men killed and twenty-five wounded. 
The loss of the enemy was less. 

Fort Pemberton was so little above the water that 
it was thought that a rise of two feet would drive 
the enemy out. In hope of enlisting the elements 
on our side, which had been so much against us 
up to this time, a second cut was made in the 
Mississippi levee, this time directly opposite Helena, 
or six miles above the former cut. It did not 
accomplish the desired result, and Ross, with his 


fleet, started back. On the 2 2d he met Quinby 
with a brigade at Yazoo Pass. Quinby was the 
senior of Ross, and assumed command. He was not 
satisfied with returning to his former position without 
seeing for himself whether anything could be accom- 
plished. Accordingly Fort Pemberton was revisited 
by our troops ; but an inspection was sufficient this 
time without an attack. Quinby, with his command, 
returned with but little delay. In the meantime I was 
much exercised for the safety of Ross, not knowing 
that Quinby had been able to join him. Reinforce- 
ments were of no use in a country covered with water, 
as they would have to remain on board of their trans- 
ports. Relief had to come from another quarter. So 
I determined to get into the Yazoo below Fort Pem- 

Steel's Bayou empties into the Yazoo River be- 
tween Haines' Bluff and its mouth. It is narrow, 
very tortuous, and fringed with a very heavy growth 
of timber, but it is deep. It approaches to within one 
mile of the Mississippi at Eagle Bend, thirty miles 
above Young's Point. Steel's Bayou connects with 
Black Bayou, Black Bayou with Deer Creek, Deer 
Creek with Rolling Fork, Rolling Fork with the Big 
Sunflower River, and the Big Sunflower with the 
Yazoo River about ten miles above Haines' Bluff in 
a right line but probably twenty or twenty-five miles 
by the winding of the river. All these waterways 


are of about the same nature so far as navigation is 
concerned, until the Sunflower is reached; this af- 
fords free navigation. 

Admiral Porter explored this waterway as far as 
Deer Creek on the 14th of March, and reported it 
navigable. On the next day he started with five 
gunboats and four mortar-boats. I went with him 
for some distance. The heavy, overhanging timber 
retarded progress very much, as did also the 
short turns in so narrow a stream. The gunboats, 
however, ploughed their way through without other 
damage than to their appearance. The transports 
did not fare so well although they followed behind. 
The road was somewhat cleared for them by the 
gunboats. In the evening I returned to headquarters 
to hurry up reinforcements. Sherman went in per- 
son on the 1 6th, taking with him Stuart's division of 
the 15th corps. They took large river transports to 
Eagle Bend on the Mississippi, where they debarked 
and marched across to Steel's Bayou, where they re- 
embarked on the transports. The river steamers, with 
their tall smoke-stacks and light guards extending 
out, were so much impeded that the gunboats got far 
ahead. Porter, with his fleet, got within a few hun- 
dred yards of where the sailing would have been 
clear and free from the obstructions caused by felling 
trees into the water, when he encountered rebel 
sharp-shooters, and his progress was delayed by 


obstructions in his front. He could do noth- 
ing with gunboats against sharp-shooters. The 
rebels, learning his route, had sent in about 4,000 
men — many more than there were sailors in the 

Sherman went back, at the request of the admiral, 
to clear out Black Bayou and to hurry up reinforce- 
ments, which were far behind. On the night of the 
19th he received notice from the admiral that he had 
been attacked by sharp-shooters and was in immi- 
nent peril. Sherman at once returned through Black 
Bayou in a canoe, and passed on until he met a 
steamer, with the last of the reinforcements he had, 
coming up. They tried to force their way through 
Black Bayou with their steamer, but, finding it slow 
and tedious work, debarked and pushed forward on 
foot It was night when they landed, and intensely 
dark. There was but a narrow strip of land above 
water, and that was grown up with underbrush or 
cane. The troops lighted their way through this 
with candles carried in their hands for a mile and a 
half, when they came to an open plantation. Here 
the troops rested until morning. They made twenty- 
one miles from this resting-place by noon the next 
day, and were in time to rescue the fleet Porter 
had fully made up his mind to blow up the gunboats 
rather than have them fall into the hands of the 
enemy. More welcome visitors he probably never 


met than the **boys in blue ** on this occasion. The 
vessels were backed out and returned to their ren- 
dezvous on the Mississippi; and thus ended in 
failure the fourth attempt to get in rear of Vicks- 




THE original canal scheme was also abandoned 
on the 27th of March. The effort to make a 
waterway through Lake Providence and the connect- 
ing bayous was abandoned as wholly impracticable 
about the same time. 

At Milliken's Bend, and also at Young's Point, 
bayous or channels start, which connecting with 
other bayous passing Richmond, Louisiana, enter the 
Mississippi at Carthage twenty-five or thirty miles 
above Grand Gulf. The Mississippi levee cuts the 
supply of water off from these bayous or channels, 
but all the rainfall behind the levee, at these points, 
is carried through these same channels to the river 
below. In case of a crevasse in this vicinity, the 
water escaping would find its^ outlet through the 
same channels. The dredges and laborers from the 
canal having been driven out by overflow and the 
enemy's batteries, I determined to open these other 


channels, if possible. If successful the effort would 
afford a route, away from the enemy's batteries, for 
our transports. There was a good road back of the 
levees, along these bayous, to carry the troops, artil- 
lery and wagon trains over whenever the water re- 
ceded a little, and after a few days of dry weather. 
Accordingly, with the abandonment of all the other 
plans for reaching a base heretofore described, this 
new one was undertaken. 

As early as the 4th of February I had written to 
Halleck about this route, stating that I thought it 
much more practicable than the other undertaking 
(the Lake Providence route), and that it would have 
been accomplished with much less labor if commenced 
before the water had got all over the country. 

The upper end of these bayous being cut off from 
a water supply, further than the rainfall back of the 
levees, was grown up with dense timber for a dis- 
tance of several miles from their source. It was 
necessary, therefore, to clear this out before letting in 
the water from the river. This work was continued 
until the waters of the river began to recede and the 
road to Richmond, Louisiana, emerged from the 
water. One small steamer and some barges were 
got through this channel, but no further use could be 
made of it because of the fall in the river. Beyond 
this it was no more successful than the other experi- 
ments with which the winter was whiled away. AH 


these failures would have been very discouraging if I 
had expected much from the efforts ; but I had not 
From the first the most I hoped to accomplish was 
the passage of transports, to be used below Vicks- 
burg, without exposure to the long line of batteries 
defending that city. 

This long, dreary and, for heavy and continuous 
rains and high water, unprecedented winter was one 
of great hardship to all engaged about Vicksburg. 
The river was higher than its natural banks from 
December, 1862, to the following April. The war 
had suspended peaceful pursuits in the South, further 
than the production of army supplies, and in conse- 
quence the levees were neglected and broken in 
many places and the whole country was covered with 
water. Troops could scarcely find dry ground on 
which to pitch their tents. Malarial fevers broke out 
among the men. Measles and small-pox also at- 
tacked them. The hospital arrangements and medi- 
cal attendance were so perfect, however, that the loss 
of life was much less than might have been expected. 
Visitors to the camps went home with dismal stories 
to relate ; Northern papers came back to the soldiers 
with these stories exaggerated. Because I would not 
divulge my ultimate plans to visitors, they pronounced 
me idle, incompetent and unfit to command men in 
an emergency, and clamored for my removal. They 
were not to be satisfied, many of them, with my sim- 


pie removal, but named who my successor should be. 
McClernand, Fremont, Hunter and McClellan were 
all mentioned in this connection. I took no steps to 
answer these complaints, but continued to do my 
duty, as I understood it, to the best of my ability. 
Every one has his superstitions. One of mine is that 
in positions of great responsibility every one should 
do his duty to the best of his ability where assigned 
by competent authority, without application or the use 
of influence to change his position. While at Cairo 
I had watched with very great interest the opera- 
tions of the Army of the Potomac, looking upon that 
as the main field of the war. I had no idea, myself, 
of ever having any large command, nor did I suppose 
that I was equal to one ; but I had the vanity to think 
that as a cavalry officer I might succeed very well in 
the command of a brigade. On one occasion, in 
talking about this to my staff officers, all of whom 
were civilians without any military education what- 
ever, I said that I would give anything if I were com- 
manding a brigade of cavalry in the Army of the 
Potomac and I believed I could do some good. Cap- 
tain Hillyer spoke up and suggested that I make 
application to be transferred there to command the 
cavalry. I then told him that I would cut my right 
arm off first, and mentioned this superstition. 

In time of war the President, being by the Consti- 
tution Commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy, 


IS responsible for the selection of commanders. He 
should not be embarrassed in making his selections. 
I having been selected, my responsibility ended with 
my doing the best I knew how. If I had sought the 
place, or obtained it through personal or political in- 
fluence, my belief is that I would have feared to 
undertake any plan of my own conception, and would 
probably have awaited direct orders from my distant 
superiors. Persons obtaining important commands 
by application or political influence are apt to keep a 
written record of complaints and predictions of defeat, 
which are shown in case of disaster. Somebody 
must be responsible for their failures. 

With all the pressure brought to bear upon them, 
both President Lincoln and General Halleck stood by 
me to the end of the campaign. I had never met Mr. 
Lincoln, but his support was constant 

At last the waters began to recede ; the roads cross- 
ing the peninsula behind the levees of the bayous, 
were emerging from the waters ; the troops were all 
concentrated from distant points at Milliken's Bend 
preparatory to a final move which was to crown the 
long, tedious and discouraging labors with success. 

I had had in contemplation the whole winter the 
movement by land to a point below Vicksburg from 
which to operate, subject only to the possible but not 
expected success of some one of the expedients re- 
sorted to for the purpose of giving us a different base. 


This could not be undertaken until the waters receded. 
I did not therefore communicate this plan, even to an 
officer of my staff, until it was necessary to make 
preparations for the start. My recollection is that 
Admiral Porter was the first one to whom I mentioned 
it The co-operation of the navy was absolutely es- 
sential to the success (even to the contemplation) of 
such an enterprise. I had no more authority to com- 
mand Porter than he had to command me. It was 
necessary to have part of his fleet below Vicksburg if 
the troops went there. Steamers to use as ferries 
were also essential. The navy was the only escort 
and protection for these steamers, all of which in get- 
ting below had to run about fourteen miles of batteries. 
Porter fell into the plan at once, and suggested that 
he had better superintend the preparation of the 
steamers selected to run the batteries, as sailors would 
probably understand the work better than soldiers. 
I was glad to accept his proposition, not only because 
I admitted his argument, but because it would enable 
me to keep from the enemy a little longer our designs. 
Porter's fleet was on the east side of the river above 
the mouth of the Yazoo, entirely concealed from the 
enemy by the dense forests that intervened. Even 
spies could not get near him, on account of the under- 
growth and overflowed lands. Suspicions of some 
mysterious movements were aroused. Our river 
guards discovered one day a small skiff moving quietly 


and mysteriously up the river near the east shore, 
from the direction of Vicksburg, towards the fleet On 
overhauling the boat they found a small white flag, 
not much larger than a handkerchief, set up in the 
stern, no doubt intended as a flag of truce in case of 
discovery. The boat, crew and passengers were 
brought ashore to me. The chief personage aboard 
proved to be Jacob Thompson, Secretary of the In- 
terior under the administration of President Buchanan. 
After a pleasant conversation of half an hour or more 
I allowed the boat and crew, passengers and all, to 
return to Vicksburg, without creating a suspicion that 
there was a doubt in my mind as to the good faith of 
Mr. Thompson and his flag. 

Admiral Porter proceeded with the preparation of 
the steamers for their hazardous passage of the ene- 
my's batteries. The great essential was to protect 
the boilers from the enemy's shot, and to conceal the 
fires under the boilers from view. This he accom- 
plished by loading the steamers, between the guards 
and boilers on the boiler deck up to the deck above, 
with bales of hay and cotton, and the deck in front of 
the boilers in the same way, adding sacks of grain. 
The hay and grain would be wanted below, and could 
not be transported in sufficient quantity by the muddy 
roads over which we expected to march. 

Before this I had been collecting, from St. Louis 
and Chicago, yawls and barges to be used as ferries 


when we got below. By the i6th of April Porter 
was ready to start on his perilous trip. The advance, 
flagship Benton, Porter commanding, started at ten 
o'clock at night, followed at intervals of a few minutes 
by the Lafayette with a captured steamer, the Price^ 
lashed to her side, the Louisville, Motmd City^ Pitts- 
burgh and Carondelet — all of these being naval ves- 
sels. Next came the transports — Forest Queen, Sil- 
ver Wave and Henry Clay, each towing barges loaded 
with coal to be used as fuel by the naval and trans- 
port steamers when below the batteries. The gun- 
boat Tuscumbia brought up the rear. Soon after the 
start a battery between Vicksburg and Warren ton 
opened fire across the intervening peninsula, followed 
by the upper batteries, and then by batteries all along 
the line. The gunboats ran up close under the bluffs, 
delivering their fire in return at short distances, 
probably without much effect. They were under fire 
for more than two hours and every vessel was struck 
many times, but with little damage to the gunboats. 
The transports did not fare so well. The Henry Clay 
was disabled and deserted by her crew. Soon after 
a shell burst in the cotton packed about the boilers, 
set the vessel on fire and burned her to the water's 
edge. The burning mass, however, floated down to 
Carthage before grounding, as did also one of the 
barges in tow. 

The enemy were evidently expecting our fleet, for 


they were ready to light up the river by means of 
bonfires on the east side and by firing houses on the 
point of land opposite the city on the Louisiana side. 
The sight was magnificent, but terrible. I witnessed 
it from the deck of a river transport, run out into the 
middle of the river and as low down as it was pru- 
dent to go. My mind was much relieved when I 
learned that no one on the transports had been 
killed and but few, if any, wounded. During the 
running of the batteries men were stationed in the 
holds of the transports to partially stop with cotton 
shot-holes that might be made in the hulls. All 
damage was afterwards soon repaired under the direc- 
tion of Admiral Porter. 

The experiment of passing batteries had been tried 
before this, however, during the war. Admiral Far- 
ragut had run the batteries at Port Hudson with 
the flagship Hartford and one iron-clad and visited 
me from below Vicksburg. The 13th of February 
Admiral Porter had sent the gunboat Indianola, 
Lieutenant-Commander George Brown commanding, 
below. She met Colonel Ellet of the Marine brigade 
below Natchez on a captured steamer. Two of the 
ColoneFs fleet had previously run the batteries, produc- 
ing the greatest consternation among the people along 
the Mississippi from Vicksburg* to the Red River. 

* Colonel Ellet reported having attacked a Confederate battery on the Red 
River two days before with one of his boats, the De Soto, Running aground. 

loss df" THE JNDIANOLA, 465 

The Indianola remained about the mouth of the 
Red River some days, and then started up the Mis- 
sissippi. The Confederates soon raised the Queen of 
the West* and repaired her. With this vessel and 
the ram Webby which they had had for some time in 
the Red River, and two other steamers, they followed 
the Indiafwla. The latter was encumbered with 
barges of coal in tow, and consequently could make 
but little speed against the rapid current of the Mis- 
sissippi. The Confederate fleet overtook her just 
above Grand Gulf, and attacked her after dark on 
the 24th of February. The Indianola was superior 
to all the others in armament, and probably would 
have destroyed them or driven them away, but for 
her encumbrance. As it was she fought them for 
an hour and a half, but, in the dark, was struck seven 
or eight times by the ram and other vessels, and was 
finally disabled and reduced to a sinking condition. 
The armament was thrown overboard and the vessel 
run ashore. Officers and crew then surrendered. 

I had started McClernand with his corps of four 
divisions on the 29th of March, by way of Richmond, 

he was obliged to abandon his vessel. However, he reported that he set fire to 

her and blew her up. Twenty of his men fell into the hands of the enemy. 

With the balance he escaped on the small captured steamer, the New Era, and 

succeeded in passing the batteries at Grand Gulf and reaching the vicinity of 


* One of Colonel Ellet's vessels which had run the blockade on February 

the 2d and been sunk in the Red River. 
Vol. X. — 30 


Louisiana, to New Carthage, hoping that he might 
capture Grand Gulf before the balance of the 
troops could get there ; but the roads were very bad, 
scarcely above water yet Some miles from New 
Carthage the levee to Bayou Vidal was broken in 
several places, overflowing the roads for the distance 
of two miles. Boats were collected from the sur- 
rounding bayous, and some constructed on the spot 
from such material as could be collected, to transport 
the troops across the overflowed interval. By the 
6th of April McClernand had reached New Carthage 
with one division and its artillery, the latter ferried 
through the woods by these boats. On the 1 7th I 
visited New Carthage in person, and saw that the 
process of getting troops through in the way we 
were doing was so tedious that a better method must 
be devised. The water was falling, and in a few 
days there would not be depth enough to use boats ; 
nor would the land be dry enough to march over. 
McClernand had already found a new route from 
Smith's plantation where the crevasse occurred, to 
Perkins' plantation, eight to twelve miles below New 
Carthage. This increased the march from Milliken's 
Bend from twenty-seven to nearly forty miles. Four 
bridges had to be built across bayous, two of them 
each over six hundred feet long, making about two 
thousand feet of bridging in all. The river falling 
made the current in these bayous very rapid, increas- 


ing the difficulty of building and permanently fasten- 
ing these bridges; but the ingenuity of the " Yankee 
soldier " was equal to any emergency. The bridges 
were soon built of such material as could be found 
near by, and so substantial were they that not a 
single mishap occurred in crossing all the army with 
artillery, cavalry and wagon trains, except the loss 
of one siege gun (a thirty-two pounder). This, if 
my memory serves me correctly, broke through the 
only pontoon bridge we had in all our march across 
the peninsula. These bridges were all built by 
McClernand's command, under the supervision of 
Lieutenant Hains of the Engineer Corps. 

I returned to Milliken's Bend on the i8th or 19th, 
and on the 20th issued the following final order for 
the movement of troops : 

Headquarters Department of the Tennessee, 
MiLLiKEN*s Bend, Lx>uisiana, 

April 20, 1863. 

Special Orders, No. no. 


VIII. The following orders are published for the information 
and guidance of the " Array in the Field," in its present move- 
ment to obtain a foothold on the east bank of the Mississippi 
River, from which Vicksburg can be approached by practicable 

First. — The Thirteenth army corps, Major-General John A. 
McClemand commanding, will constitute the right wing. 

Second. — The Fifteenth army corps, Major-General W. T. Sher- 
man commanding, will constitute the left wing. 


Third. — The Seventeenth army corps, Major-General James B. 
McPherson commanding, will constitute the centre. 

Fourth, — The order of march to New Carthage will be from 
right to left. 

Fifth, — Reserves will be formed by divisions from each army 
corps ; or, an entire army corps will be held as a reserve, as neces- 
sity may require. When the reserve is formed by divisions, each 
division will remain under the immediate command of its respect- 
ive corps commander, unless otherwise specially ordered for a 
particular emergency. 

Sixth. — Troops will be required to bivouac, until proper facili- 
ties can be afforded for the transportation of camp equipage. 

Seventh. — In the present movement, one tent will be allowed to 
each company for the protection of rations from rain ; one wall 
tent for each regimental headquarters ; one wall tent for each 
brigade headquarters ; and one wall tent for each division head- 
quarters ; corps commanders having the books and blanks of their 
respective commands to provide for, are authorized to take such 
tents as are absolutely necessary, but not to exceed the number 
allowed by General Orders No. 160, A. G. O., series of 1862. 

Eighth. — All the teams of the three army corps, under the im- 
mediate charge of the quartermasters bearing them on their returns, 
will constitute a train for carrying supplies and ordnance and the 
authorized camp equipage of the army. 

Ninth, — As fast as the Thirteenth army corps advances, the 
Seventeenth army corps will take its place ; and it, in turn, will 
be followed in like manner by the Fifteenth army coq^s. 

Tenth, — Two regiments from each army corps will be detailed 
by corps commanders, to guard the lines from Richmond to New 

Eleventh, — General hospitals will be established by the medical 
director, between Duckport and Milliken's Bend. All sick and 
disabled soldiers will be left in these hospitals. Surgeons in charge 


of hospitals will report convalescents as fast as they become fit for 
duty. Each corps commander will detail an intelligent and good 
drill officer, to remain behind and take charge of the convalescents 
of their respective corps ; officers so detailed will organize the 
men under their charge into squads and companies, without re- 
gard to the regiments they belong to ; and in the absence of con- 
valescent commissioned officers to command them, will appoint 
non-commissioned officers or privates. The force so organized 
will constitute the guard of the line from Duckport to Milliken's 
Bend. They will furnish all the guards and details required for 
general hospitals, and with the contrabands that may be about the 
camps, will furnish all the details for loading and unloading boats. 

Twelfth. — The movement of troops from Milliken's Bend to 
New Carthage will be so conducted as to allow the transportation 
of ten days' supply of rations, and one-half the allowance of ord- 
nance, required by previous orders. 

Thirteenth. — Commanders are authorized and enjoined to collect 
all the beef cattle, corn and other necessary supplies on the line 
of march ; but wanton destruction of property, taking of articles 
useless for military purposes, insulting citizens, going into and 
searching houses without proper orders from division command- 
ers, are positively prohibited. All such irregularities must be 
summarily punished. 

Fourteenth. — Brigadier-General J. C. Sullivan is appointed to 
the command of all the forces detailed for the protection of the 
line from here to New Carthage. His particular attention is called 
to General Orders, No. 69, from Adjutant-General's Office, Wash- 
ington, of date March 20, 1863. 

By order of 

Major-General U. S. GRANT. 

McClernand was already below on the Mississippi. 
Two of McPherson s divisions were put upon the 


march immediately. The third had not yet arrived 
from Lake Providence ; it was on its way to Milliken's 
Bend and was to follow on arrival. 

Sherman was to follow McPherson. Two of his 
divisions were at Duckport and Young's Point, and 
the third under Steele was under orders to return 
from Greenville, Mississippi, where it had been sent 
to expel a rebel battery that had been annoying our 

It had now become evident that the army could 
not be rationed by a wagon train over the single 
narrow and almost impassable road between Milli- 
ken's Bend and Perkins* plantation. Accordingly 
six more steamers were pro'tected as before, to run 
the batteries, and were loaded with supplies. They 
took twelve barges in tow, loaded also with rations. 
On the night of the 22d of April they ran the bat- 
teries, five getting through more or less disabled 
while one was sunk. About half the barges got 
through with their needed freight. 

When it was first proposed to run the blockade at 
Vicksburg with river steamers there were but two 
captains or masters who were willing to accompany 
their vessels, and but one crew. Volunteers were 
called for from the army, men who had had expe- 
rience in any capacity in navigating the western 
rivers. Captains, pilots, mates, engineers and 
deck-hands enough presented themselves to take fivQ 


times the number of vessels we were moving through 
this dangerous ordeal. Most of them were from 
Logan's division, composed generally of men from 
the southern part of Illinois and from Missouri. 
All but two of the steamers were commanded by 
volunteers from the army, and all but one so manned. 
In this instance, as in all others during the war, I 
found that volunteers could be found in the ranks and 
among the commissioned officers to meet every call 
for aid whether mechanical or professional. Colonel 
W. S. Oliver was master of transportation on this 
occasion by special detail. 




ON the 24th my headquarters were with the ad- 
vance at Perkins* plantation. Reconnoissances 
were made in boats to ascertain whether there was 
high land on the east shore of the river where we 
might land above Grand Gulf. There was none prac- 
ticable. Accordingly the troops were set in motion for 
Hard Times, twenty-two miles farther down the river 
and nearly opposite Grand Gulf. The loss of two 
steamers and six barges reduced our transportation 
so that only 10,000 men could be moved by water. 
Some of the steamers that had got below were in- 
jured in their machinery, so that they were only use- 
ful as barges towed by those less severely injured. 
All the troops, therefore, except what could be trans- 
ported in one trip, had to march. The road lay west 
of Lake St. Joseph. Three large bayous had to be 
crossed. They were rapidly bridged in the same 
manner as those previously encountered. 

Note. — On this occasion Governor Richard Yates, of Illinois, happened to 
be on a visit to the army, and accompanied me to Carthiige. I furnished an 
ambulance for his use and that of some of the State officers who accompanied 


On the 27th McClernand's corps was all at Hard 
Times, and McPherson's was following closely. I 
had determined to make the attempt to effect a 
landing on the east side of the river as soon as pos- 
sible. Accordingly, on the morning of the 29th, 
McClemand was directed to embark all the troops 
from his corps that our transports and barges could 
carry. About 1 0,000 men were so embarked. The 
plan was to have the navy silence the guns at Grand 
Gulf, and to have as many men as possible ready to 
debark in the shortest possible time under cover of 
the fire of the navy and carry the works by storm. 
The following order was issued : 


Perkins' Plantation, La., 
Apfil 27, 1863. 
Major-General J. A. McClernand, 
Commanding 13th A. C. 

Commence immediately the embarkation of your corps, or so 
much of it as there is transportation for. Have put aboard the 
artillery and every article authorized in orders limiting baggage, 
except the men, and hold them in readiness, with their places ^- 
signed, to be moved at a moment's warning. 

All the troops you may have, except those ordered to remain 
behind, send to a point nearly opposite Grand Gulf, where you 
see, by special orders of this date, General McPherson is ordered 
to send one division. 

The plan of the attack will be for the navy to attack and silence 
all the batteries commanding the river. Your corps \*'ill be on the 
river, ready to run to and debark on the nearest eligible land be- 
low the promontory first brought to view passing down the river. 


Once on shore, have each commander instructed beforehand to 
form his men the best the ground will admit of, and take posses- 
sion of the most commanding points, but avoid separating your 
command so that it cannot support itself. The first object is to 
get a foothold where our troops can maintain themselves until 
such time as preparations can be made and troops collected for a 
forward movement. 

Admiral Porter has proposed to place his boats in the position 
indicated to you a few days ago, and to bring over with them such 
troops as may be below the city after the guns of the enemy are 

It may be that the enemy will occupy positions back from the 
city, out of range of the gunboats, so as to make it desirable to 
run past Grand Gulf and land at Rodney. In case this should 
prove the plan, a signal will be arranged and you duly informed, 
when the transports are to start with this view. Or, it may be 
expedient for the boats to run past, but not the men. In this 
case, then, the transports would have to be brought back to where 
the men could land and move by forced marches to below Grand 
Gulf, re-embark rapidly and proceed to the latter place. There 
will be required, then, three signals; one, to indicate that the 
transports can run down and debark the troops at Grand Gulf ; 
one, that the transports can run by without the troops ; and the 
last, that the transports can run by with the troops on board. 

Should the men have to march, all baggage and artillery will be 
left to run the blockade. 

If not already directed, require your men to keep three days* 
rations in their haversacks, not to be touched until a movement 
commences. U. S. GRANT, 


At 8 o'clock A.M., 29th, Porter made the attack 
with his entire strength present, eight gunboats. 


For nearly five and a half hours the attack was kept 
up without silencing a single gun of the enemy. All 
this time McClemand's io,cxx) men were huddled 
together on the transports in the stream ready to 
attempt a landing if signalled I occupied a tug 
from which I could see the eflfect of the battle on 
both sides, within range of the enemy's guns ; but a 
small tug, without armament, was not calculated to 
attract the fire of batteries while they were being 
assailed themselves. About half-past one the fleet 
withdrew, seeing their efforts were entirely unavail- 
ing. The enemy ceased firing as soon as we with- 
drew. I immediately signalled the Admiral and went 
aboard his ship. The navy lost in this engagement 
eighteen killed and fifty-six wounded. A large pro- 
portion of these were of the crew of the flagship, 
and most of those from a single shell which pene- 
trated the ship's side and exploded between decks 
where the men were working their guns. The sight 
of the mangled and dying men which met my eye as 
I boarded the ship was sickening. 

Grand Gulf is on a high bluff where the river runs 
at the very foot of it. It is as defensible upon its 
front as Vicksburg and, at that time, would have 
been just as impossible to capture by a front attack. 
I therefore requested Porter to run the batteries with 
his fleet that night, and to take charge of the trans- 
ports, all of which would be wanted below. 


There is a long tongue of land from the Louisiana 
side extending towards Grand Gulf, made by the river 
running nearly east from about three miles above 
and nearly in the opposite direction from that point 
for about the same distance below. The land was 
so low and wet that it would not have been practica- 
ble to march an army across but for a levee. I had 
had this explored before, as well as the east bank 
below to ascertain if there was a possible point of 
debarkation north of Rodney. It was found that 
the top of the levee afforded a good road to march 

Porter, as was always the case with him, not only 
acquiesced in the plan, but volunteered to use his 
entire fleet as transports. I had intended to make 
this request, but he anticipated me. At dusk, when 
concealed from the view of the enemy at Grand 
Gulf, McClernand landed his command on the 
west bank. The navy and transports ran the bat- 
teries successfully. The troops marched across the 
point of land under cover of night, unobserved. By 
the time it was light the enemy saw our whole fleet, 
iron-clads, gunboats, river steamers and barges, 
quietly moving down the river three miles below 
them, black, or rather blue, with National troops. 

When the troops debarked, the evening of the 
29th, it was expected that we would have to go to 
Rodney, about nine miles below, to find a landing ; 


but that night a colored man came in who informed 
me that a good landing would be found at Bruins- 
burg, a few miles above Rodney, from which point 
there was a good road leading to Port Gibson some 
twelve miles in the interior. The information was 
found correct, and our landing was effected without 

Sherman had not left his position above Vicks- 
burg yet. On the morning of the 27th I ordered 
him to create a diversion by moving his corps up the 
Yazoo and threatening an attack on Haines' Bluff. 

My object was to compel Pemberton to keep as 
much force about Vicksburg as I could, until I could 
secure a good footing on high land east of the river. 
The move was eminently successful and, as we 
afterwards learned, created great confusion about 
Vicksburg and doubts about our real design. Sher- 
man moved the day of our attack on Grand Gulf, 
the 29th, with ten regiments of his command and 
eight gunboats which Porter had left above Vicks- 

He debarked his troops and apparently made 
every preparation to attack the enemy while the 
navy bombarded the main forts at Haines' Bluff. 
This move was made without a single casualty in 
either branch of the service. On the first of May 
Sherman received orders from me (sent from Hard 
Times the evening of the 29th of April) to with- 


draw from the front of Haines' Bluff and follow Mc- 
Pherson with two divisions as fast as he could. 

I had established a depot of supplies at Perkins 
plantation. Now that all our gunboats were below 
Grand Gulf it was possible that the enemy might fit 
out boats in the Big Black with improvised arma- 
ment and attempt to destroy these supplies. Mc- 
Pherson was at Hard Times with a portion of his 
corps, and the depot was protected by a part of his 
command. The night of the 29th I directed him to 
arm one of the transports with artillery and send it 
up to Perkins' plantation as a guard ; and also to 
have the siege guns we had brought along moved 
there and put in position. 

The embarkation below Grand Gulf took place at 
De Shroon's, Louisiana, six miles above Bruinsburg. 
Mississippi. Early on the morning of 30th of April 
McClernands corps and one division of McPherson's 
corps were speedily landed. 

When this was effected I felt a degree of relief 
scarcely ever equalled since. Vicksburg was not yet 
taken it is true, nor were its defenders demoralized bv 
any of our previous moves. I was now in the enemy's 
country, with a vast river and the stronghold of Vicks- 
burg between me and my base of supplies. But I was 
on dry ground on the same side of the river with the 
enemy. All the campaigns, labors, hardships and 
exposures from the month of December previous to 


this time that had been made and endured, were for 
the accomplishment of this one object. 

I had with me the 1 3th corps, General McClernand 
commanding, and two brigades of Logan s division 
of the 17th corps, General McPherson commanding — 
in all not more than twenty thousand men to com- 
mence the campaign with. These were soon re- 
inforced by the remaining brigade of Logan's divis- 
ion and Crocker's division of the 17th corps. On 
the 7th of May I was further reinforced by Sherman 
with two divisions of his, the 15th corps. My total 
force was then about thirty-three thousand men. 

The enemy occupied Grand Gulf, Haines' Bluff 
and Jackson with a force of nearly sixty thousand 
men. Jackson is fifty miles east of Vicksburg and is 
connected with it by a railroad. My first problem 
was to capture Grand Gulf to use as a base. 

Bruinsburg is two miles from high ground. The 
bottom at that point is higher than most of the low 
land in the valley of the Mississippi, and a good 
road leads to the bluff. It was natural to expect 
the garrison from Grand Gulf to come out to meet 
us and prevent, if they could, our reaching this 
solid base. Bayou Pierre enters the Mississippi just 
above Bruinsburg and, as it is a navigable stream 
and was high at the time, in order to intercept us 
they had to go by Port Gibson, the nearest point 
where there was a bridge to cross upon. This more 

Vol. I.— 31 


than doubled the distance from Grand Gulf to the 
high land back of Bruinsburg. No time was to be 
lost in securing this foothold. Our transportation 
was not sufficient to move all the army across the 
river at one trip, or even two ; but the landing of 
the 13th corps and one division of the 17th was 
eflfected during the day, April 30th, and early even- 
ing. McClemand was advanced as soon as ammu- 
nition and two days' rations (to last five) could be 
issued to his men. The bluffs were reached an hour 
before sunset and McClernand was pushed on, hop- 
ing to reach Port Gibson and save the bridge span- 
ning the Bayou Pierre before the enemy could get 
there ; for crossing a stream in the presence of an 
enemy is always difficult. Port Gibson, too, is the 
starting point of roads to Grand Gulf, Vicksburgand 

McClernand's advance met the enemy about five 
miles west of Port Gibson at Thompsons planta- 
tion. There was some firing during the night, but 
nothing rising to the dignity of a battle until day- 
light. The enemy had taken a strong natural posi- 
tion with most of the Grand Gulf garrison, number- 
ing about seven or eight thousand men, under 
General Bowen. His hope was to hold me in check 
until reinforcements under Loring could reach him 
from Vicksburg; but Loring did not come in time to 
render much assistance south of Port Gibson. Two 


brigades of McPherson's corps followed McClernand 
as fast as rations and ammunition could be issued, 
and were ready to take position upon the battle- 
field whenever the 13th corps could be got out of 
the way. 

The country in this part of Mississippi stands on 
edge, as it were, the roads running along the ridges 
except when they occasionally pass from one ridge 
to another. Where there are no clearings the sides 
of the hills are covered with a very heavy growth of 
timber and with undergrowth, and the ravines are 
filled with vines and canebrakes, almost impenetra- 
ble. This makes it easy for an inferior force to de- 
lay, if not defeat, a far superior one. 

Near the point selected by Bowen to defend, the 
road to Port Gibson divides, taking two ridges which 
do not diverge more than a mile or two at the widest 
point. These roads unite just outside the town. 
This made it necessary for McClernand to divide his 
force. It was not only divided, but it was separated 
by a deep ravine of the character above described. 
One flank could not reinforce the other except 
by marching back to the junction of the roads. 
McClernand put the divisions of Hovey, Carr and 
A. J. Smith upon the light-hand branch and Oster- 
haus on the left. I was on the field by ten a.m., and 
inspected both flanks in person. On the right the 
enemy, if not being pressed back, was at least not 


repulsing our advance. On the left, however, Oster- 
haus was not faring so well. He had been repulsed 
with some loss. As soon as the road could be 
cleared of McClernand's troops I ordered up McPher- 
son, who was close upon the rear of the 1 3th corps, 
with two brigades of Logan's division. This was 
about noon. I ordered him to send one brigade 
(General John E. Smith s was selected) to support 
Osterhaus, and to move to the left and flank the 
enemy out of his position. This movement carried 
the brigade over a deep ravine to a third ridge and, 
when Smith's troops were seen well through the 
ravine, Osterhaus was directed to renew his front 
attack. It was successful and unattended by heavy 
loss. The enemy was sent in full retreat on their 
right, and their left followed before sunset While 
the movement to our left was going on, McClernand, 
who was with his right flank, sent me frequent re- 
quests for reinforcements, although the force with 
him was not being pressed. I had been upon the 
ground and knew it did not admit of his engaging 
all the men he had. We followed up our victory 
until night overtook us about two miles from Port 
Gibson ; then the troops went into bivouac for the 



WE Started next morning for Port Gibson as 
soon as it was light enough to see the road. 
We were soon in the town, and I was delighted to 
find that the enemy had not stopped to contest our 
crossing further at the bridge, which he had burned. 
The troops were set to work at once to construct a 
bridge across the South Fork of the Bayou Pierre. 
At this time the water was high and the current 
rapid. What might be called a raft-bridge was soon 
constructed from material obtained from wooden 
buildings, stables, fences, etc., which sufficed for 
carrying the whole army over safely. Colonel J. H. 
Wilson, a member of my staff, planned and super- 
intended the construction of this bridge, going into 
the water and working as hard as any one engaged. 
Officers and men generally joined in this work. 
When it was finished the army crossed and marched 
eight miles beyond to the North Fork that day. 
One brigade of Logan's division was sent down the 
stream to occupy the attention of a rebel battery, 


which had been left behind with infantry supports 
to prevent our repairing the burnt railroad bridge. 
Two of his brigades were sent up the bayou to find 
a crossing and reach the North Fork to repair the 
bridge there. The enemy soon left when he found 
we were building a bridge elsewhere. Before leav- 
ing Port Gibson we were reinforced by Crocker's 
division, McPherson's corps, which had crossed the 
Mississippi at Bruinsburg and come up without 
stopping except to get two days' rations. McPher- 
son still had one division west of the Mississippi 
River, guarding the road from Milliken's Bend to 
the river below until Sherman's command should 
relieve it. 

On leaving Bruinsburg for the front I left my son 
Frederick, who had joined me a few weeks before, 
on board one of the gunboats asleep, and hoped to 
get away without him until after Grand Gulf should 
fall into our hands ; but on waking up he learned 
that I had gone, and being guided by the sound of 
the battle raging at Thompson's Hill — called the 
Battle of Port Gibson — found his way to where I 
was. He had no horse to ride at the time, and I had 
no facilities for even preparing a meal. He, there- 
fore, foraged around the best he could until we 
reached Grand Gulf. Mr. C. A. Dana, then an of- 
ficer of the War Department, accompanied me on 
the Vicksburg campaign and through a portion of 


the siege. He was in the same situation as Fred so 
far as transportation and mess arrangements were 
concerned. The first time I call to mind seeing 
either of them, after the battle, they were mounted 
on two enormous horses, grown white from age, each 
equipped with dilapidated saddles and bridles. 

Our trains arrived a few days later, after which 
we were all perfectly equipped. 

My son accompanied me throughout the campaign 
and siege, and caused no anxiety either to me or to 
his mother, who was at home. He looked out for 
himself and was in every battle of the campaign. 
His age, then not quite thirteen, enabled him to take 
in all he saw, and to retain a recollection of it that 
would not be possible in more mature years. 

When the movement from Bruinsburg com- 
menced we were without a wagon train. The train 
still west of the Mississippi was carried around with 
proper escort, by a circuitous route from Milliken's 
Bend to Hard Times seventy or more miles below, 
and did not get up for some days after the battle of 
Port Gibson. My own horses, headquarters' trans- 
portation, servants, mess chest, and everything ex- 
cept what I had on, was with this train. General A. 
J. Smith happened to have an extra horse at Bruins- 
burg which I borrowed, with a saddle-tree without 
upholstering further than stirrups. I had no other 
for nearly a week. 


It was necessary to have transportation for ammu- 
nition. Provisions could be taken from the country ; 
but all the ammunition that can be carried on the 
person is soon exhausted when there is much fight- 
ing. I directed, therefore, immediately on landing 
that all the vehicles and draft animals, whether 
horses, mules, or oxen, in the vicinity should be col- 
lected and loaded to their capacity with ammunition. 
Quite a train was collected during the 30th, and a 
motley train it was. In it could be found fine car- 
riages, loaded nearly to the top with boxes of car- 
tridges that had been pitched in promiscuously, drawn 
by mules with plough-harness, straw collars, rope-lines, 
etc. ; long-coupled wagons, with racks for carr^'ing 
cotton bales, drawn by oxen, and everything that 
could be found in the way of transportation on a 
plantation, either for use or pleasure. The making 
out of provision returns was stopped for the time. 
No formalities were to retard our progress until a 
position was secured when the time could be spared 
to observe them. 

It was at Port Gibson I first heard through a 
Southern paper of the complete success of Colonel 
Grierson, who was making a raid through central 
Mississippi. He had started from La Grange April 
17th with three regiments of about 1,700 men. On 
the 2ist he had detached Colonel Hatch with one 
regiment to destroy the railroad between Columbus 


and Macon and then return to La Grange. Hatch 
had a sharp fight with the enemy at Columbus and 
retreated along the railroad, destroying it at Okalona 
and Tupelo, and arriving in La Grange April 26. 
Grierson continued his movement with about 1,000 
men, breaking the Vicksburg and Meridian railroad 
and the New Orleans and Jackson railroad, arriving 
at Baton Rouge May 2d. This raid was of great im- 
portance, for Grierson had attracted the attention of 
the enemy from the main movement against Vicks- 

During the night of the 2d of May the bridge 
over the North Fork was repaired, and the troops 
commenced crossing at five the next morning. Before 
the leading brigade was over it was fired upon by 
the enemy from a commanding position ; but they 
were soon driven ofT. It was evident that the enemy 
was covering a retreat from Grand Gulf to Vicksburg. 
Every commanding position from this (Grindstone) 
crossing to Hankinson's ferry over the Big Black 
was occupied by the retreating foe to delay our prog- 
ress. McPherson, however, reached Hankinson's 
ferry before night, seized the ferry boat, and sent a 
detachment of his command across and several miles 
north on the road to Vicksburg. When the junction 
of the road going to Vicksburg with the road from 
Grand Gulf to Raymond and Jackson was reached, 
Logan with his division was turned to the left to- 


wards Grand Gulf. I went with him a short distance 
from this junction. McPherson had encountered the 
largest force yet met since the battle of Port Gib- 
son and had a skirmish nearly approaching a battle ; 
but the road Logan had taken enabled him to come 
up on the enemy's right flank, and they soon gave 
way. McPherson was ordered to hold Hankinson's 
ferry and the road back to Willow Springs with 
one division ; McClernand, who was now in the rear, 
was to join in this as well as to guard the line 
back down the bayou. I did not want to take 
the chances of having an enemy lurking in our 

On the way from the junction to Grand Gulf, 
where the road comes into the one from Vicksburg 
to the same place six or seven miles out, I learned 
that the last of the enemy had retreated past that 
place on their way to Vicksburg. I left Logan to 
make the proper disposition of his troops for the 
night, while I rode into the town with an escort of 
about twenty cavalry. Admiral Porter had already 
arrived with his fleet. The enemy had abandoned 
his heavy guns and evacuated the place. 

When I reached Grand Gulf May 3d I had not 
been with my baggage since the 27th of April and 
consequently had had no change of underclothing, 
no meal except such as I could pick up sometimes at 
other headquarters, and no tent to cover me. The 


first thing I did was to get a bath, borrow some fresh 
underclothing from one of the naval officers and get 
a good meal on the flag-ship. Then I wrote letters 
to the general-in-chief informing him of our present 
position, dispatches to be telegraphed from Cairo, 
orders to General Sullivan commanding above Vicks- 
burg. and gave orders to all my corps commanders. 
About twelve o'clock at night I was through my work 
and started for Hankinson's ferry, arriving there 
before daylight. While at Grand Gulf I heard from 
Banks, who was on the Red River, and who said 
that he could not be at Port Hudson before the loth 
of May and then with only 15,000 men. Up to this 
time my intention had been to secure Grand Gulf, 
as a base of supplies, detach McClernand's corps to 
Banks and co-operate with him in the reduction of 
Port Hudson. 

The news from Banks forced upon me a different 
plan of campaign from the one intended. To wait 
for his co-operation would have detained me at 
least a month. The reinforcements would not have 
reached ten thousand men after deducting casual- 
ties and necessary river guards at all high points 
close to the river for over three hundred miles. The 
enemy would have strengthened his position and 
been reinforced by more men than Banks could have 
brought. I therefore determined to move independ- 
ently of Banks, cut loose from my base, destroy the 


rebel force in rear of Vicksburg and invest or capt- 
ture the city. 

Grand Gulf was accordingly given up as a base 
and the authorities at Washington were notified. I 
knew well that Halleck's caution would lead him to 
disapprove of this course ; but it was the only one 
that gave any chance of success. The time it would 
take to communicate with Washington and get a 
reply would be so great that I could not be inter- 
fered with until it was demonstrated whether my plan 
was practicable. Even Sherman, who afterwards 
ignored bases of supplies other than what were 
afforded by the country while marching through four 
States of the Confederacy with an army more than 
twice as large as mine at this time, wrote me from 
Hankinson's ferry, advising me of the impossibility 
of supplying our army over a single road. He urged 
me to **stop all troops till your army is partially 
supplied with wagons, and then act as quick as pos- 
sible ; for this road will be jammed, as sure as life." 
To this I replied : *' I do not calculate upon the pos- 
sibility of supplying the army with full rations from 
Grand Gulf. I know it will be impossible without 
constructing additional roads. What I do expect is 
to get up what rations of hard bread, coffee and salt 
we can, and make the country furnish the balance." 
We started from Bruinsburg with an average of 
about two days rations, and received no more from 


our own supplies for some days ; abundance was 
found in the mean time. A delay would give the 
enemy time to reinforce and fortify. 

McClernand's and McPherson's commands were 
kept substantially as they were on the night of the 
2d, awaiting supplies sufficient to give them three 
days' rations in haversacks. Beef, mutton, poultry 
and forage were found in abundance. Quite a quan- 
tity of bacon and molasses was also secured from the 
country, but bread and coffee could not be obtained 
in quantity sufficient for all the men. Every plan- 
tation, however, had a run of stone, propelled by 
mule power, to grind corn for the owners and their 
slaves. All these were kept nmning while we were 
stopping, day and night, and when we were march- 
ing, during the night, at all plantations covered by 
the troops. But the product was taken by the troops 
nearest by, so that the majority of the command was 
destined to go without bread until a new base was 
established on the Yazoo above Vicksburg. 

While the troops were awaiting the arrival of ra- 
tions I ordered reconnoissances made by McClernand 
and McPherson, with the view of leading the enemy 
to believe that we intended to cross the Big Black 
and attack the city at once. 

On the 6th Sherman arrived at Grand Gulf and 
crossed his command that night and the next day. 
Three days' rations had been brought up from Grand 


Gulf for the advanced troops and were issued. Or- 
ders were given for a forward movement the next 
day. Sherman was directed to order up Blair, who 
had been left behind to guard the road from Milli- 
ken's Bend to Hard Times with two brigades. 

The quartermaster at Young's Point was ordered 
to send two hundred wagons with Blair, and the 
commissary was to load them with hard bread, cof- 
fee, sugar, salt and one hundred thousand pounds of 
salt meat. 

On the 3d Hurlbut, who had been left at Mem- 
phis, was ordered to send four regiments from his 
command to Milliken's Bend to relieve Blair's divis- 
ion, and on the 5th he was ordered to send Lauman's 
division in addition, the latter to join the army in 
the field. The four regiments were to be taken 
from troops near the river so that there would be 
no delay. 

During the night of the 6th McPherson drew in 
his troops north of the Big Black and was off at 
an early hour on the road to Jackson, via Rocky 
Springs, Utica and Raymond. That night he 
and McClernand were both at Rocky Springs ten 
miles from Hankinson's ferry. McPherson remained 
there during the 8th, while McClernand moved 
to Big Sandy and Sherman marched from Grand 
Gulf to Hankinson's ferry. The 8th. McPherson 
moved to a point within a few miles west of Utica; 


McClernand and Sherman remained where they were. 
On the loth McPherson moved to Utica, Sherman 
to Big Sandy ; McClernand was still at Big Sandy. 
The I ith, McClernand was at Five Mile Creek ; Sher- 
man at Auburn ; McPherson five miles advanced 
from Utica. May T2th, McClernand was at Fourteen 
Mile Creek ; Sherman at Fourteen Mile Creek ; Mc- 
Pherson at Raymond after a battle. 

After McPherson crossed the Big Black at Han- 
kinson's ferry Vicksburg could have been approach- 
ed and besieged by the south side. It is not prob- 
able, however, that Pemberton would have permit- 
ted a close besiegement. The broken nature of the 
ground would have enabled him to hold a strong de- 
fensible line from the river south of the city to the 
Big Black, retaining possession of the railroad back 
to that point. It was my plan, therefore, to get to the 
railroad east of Vicksburg, and approach from that 
direction. Accordingly, McPherson's troops that 
had crossed the Big Black were withdrawn and the 
movement east to Jackson commenced. 

As has been stated before, the country is very 
much broken and the roads generally confined to 
the tops of the hills. The troops were moved one 
(sometimes two) corps at a time to reach desig- 
nated points out parallel to the railroad and only 
from six to ten miles from it. McClernand's corps 
was kept with its left flank on the Big Black guard- 


ing all the crossings. Fourteen Mile Creek, a 
stream substantially parallel with the railroad, was 
reached and crossings effected by McClernand and 
Sherman with slight loss. McPherson was to the 
right of Sherman, extending to Raymond The 
cavalry was used in this advance in reconnoitring to 
find the roads : to cover our advances and to find 
the most practicable routes from one command to 
another so they could support each other in case of 
an attack. In making this move I estimated Pem- 
berton's movable force at Vicksburg at about eigh- 
teen thousand men, with smaller forces at Haines 
Bluff and Jackson. It would not be possible for 
Pemberton to attack me with all his troops at one 
place, and I determined to throw my army between 
his and fight him in detail. This was done with 
success, but I found afterwards that I had entirely 
under-estimated Pemberton's strength. 

Up to this point our movements had been made 
without serious opposition. My line was now near 
ly parallel with the Jackson and Vicksburg railroad 
and about seven miles south of it. The right was 
at Raymond eighteen miles from Jackson, Mc- 
Pherson commanding ; Sherman in the centre on 
Fourteen Mile Creek, his advance thrown across ; 
McClernand to the left, also on Fourteen Mile 
Creek, advance across, and his pickets within two 
miles of Edward's station, where the enemy had con- 


centrated a considerable force and where they un- 
doubtedly expected us to attack. McClernand's left 
was on the Big Black. In all our moves, up to 
this time, the left had hugged the Big Black closely, 
and all the ferries had been guarded to prevent the 
enemy throwing a force on our rear. 

McPherson encountered the enemy, five thousand 
strong with two batteries under General Gregg, 
about two miles out of Raymond. This was about 
two P.M. Logan was in advance with one of his 
brigades. He deployed and moved up to engage 
the enemy. McPherson ordered the road in rear to 
be cleared of wagons, and the balance of Logan's 
division, and Crocker's, which was still farther in 
rear, to come forward with all dispatch. The order 
was obeyed with alacrity. Logan got his division in 
position for assault before Crocker could get up, 
and attacked with vigor, carrying the enemy's posi- 
tion easily, sending Gregg flying from the field not 
to appear against our front again until we met at 

In this battle McPherson lost 66 killed, 339 
wounded, and 37 missing — nearly or quite all from 
Logan's division. The enemy's loss was 100 killed, 
305 wounded, besides 415 taken prisoners. 

I regarded Logan and Crocker as being as com- 
petent division commanders as could be found in or 
out of the army and both equal to a much higher 

Vol. I.— 32. 


command. Crocker, however, was dying of con- 
sumption when he volunteered. His weak condition 
never put him on the sick report when there was a 
battle in prospect, as long as he could keep on his 
feet. He died not long after the close of the rebel- 



WHEN the news reached me of McPherson's 
victory at Raymond about sundown my po- 
sition was with Sherman. I decided at once to turn 
the whole column towards Jackson and capture that 
place without delay. 

Pemberton was now on my left, with, as I sup- 
posed, about 18,000 men ; in fact, as I learned after- 
wards, with nearly 50,000. A force was also collect- 
ing on my right, at Jackson, the point where all the 
railroads communicating with Vicksburg connect. 

All the enemy's supplies of men and stores would 


come by that point. As I hoped in the end to besiege 
Vicksburg I must first destroy all possibility of aid. 
I therefore determined to move swiftly towards Jack- 
son, destroy or drive any force in that direction and 
then turn upon Pemberton. But by moving against 
Jackson, I uncovered my own communication. So 
I finally decided to have none — to cut loose alto- 
gether from my base and move my whole force 


eastward. I then had no fears for my communica- 
tions, and if I moved quickly enough could turn upon 
Pemberton before he could attack me in the rear. 

Accordingly, all previous orders g^ven during the 
day for movements on the 13th were annulled by 
new ones. McPherson was ordered at daylight to 
move on Clinton, ten miles from Jackson ; Sherman 
was notified of my determination to capture Jackson 
and work from there westward. He was ordered to 
start at four in the morning and march to Raymond. 
McClernand was ordered to march with three divis- 
ions by Dillon's to Raymond. One was left to 
guard the crossing of the Big Black. 

On the loth I had received a letter from Banks, 
on the Red River, asking reinforcements. Porter 
had gpne to his assistance with a part of his fleet on 
the 3d, and I now wrote to him describing my position 
and declining to send any troops. I looked upon side 
movements as long as the enemy held Port Hudson 
and Vicksburg as a waste of time and material. 

General Joseph E. Johnston arrived at Jackson 
in the night of the 13th from Tennessee, and im- 
mediately assumed command of all the Confeder- 
ate troops in Mississippi. I knew he was expect- 
ing reinforcements from the south and east. On 
the 6th I had written to General Halleck: ''Infor- 
mation from the other side leaves me to believe the 
enemy are bringing forces from Tullahoma." 


Up to this time my troops had been kept in sup- 
porting distances of each other, as far as the nature 
of the country would admit Reconnoissances were 
constantly made from each corps to enable them to 
acquaint themselves with the most practicable routes 
from one to another in case a union became neces- 

McPherson reached Clinton with the advance early 
on the 13th and immediately set to work destroying 
the railroad. Sherman's advance reached Raymond 
before the last of McPherson's command had got 
out of the town. McClernand withdrew from the 
front of the enemy, at Edward's station, with much 
skill and without loss, and reached his position for 
the night in good order. On the night of the 13th, 
McPherson was ordered to march at early dawn 
upon Jackson, only fifteen miles away. Sherman was 
given the same order ; but he was to move by the 
direct road from Raymond to Jackson, which is south 
of the road McPherson was on and does not ap- 
proach within two miles of it at the point where it 
crossed the line of intrenchments which, at that 
time, defended the city. McClernand was ordered 
to move one division of his command to Clinton, one 
division a few miles beyond Mississippi Springs 
following Sherman's line, and a third to Raymond. 
He was also directed to send his siege guns, four in 
number, with the troops going by Mississippi Springs. 


McClemand's position was an advantageous one in 
any event. With one division at Clinton he was in 
position to reinforce McPherson, at Jackson, rapidly 
if it became necessary ; the division beyond Missis- 
sippi Springs was equally available to reinforce 
Sherman ; the one at Raymond could take either 
road. He still had two other divisions farther back, 
now that Blair had come up, available within a 
day at Jackson. If this last command should not be 
wanted at Jackson, they were already one day's 
march from there on their way to Vicksburg and on 
three different roads leading to the latter city. But 
the most important consideration in my mind was 
to have a force confronting Pemberton if he should 
come out to attack my rear. This I expected him 
to do ; as shown further on, he was directed by 
Johnston to make this very move. 

I notified General Halleck that I should attack 
the State capital on the 14th. A courier carried 
the dispatch to Grand Gulf through an unprotected 

Sherman and McPherson communicated with each 
other during the night and arranged to reach Jack- 
son at about the same hour. It rained in torrents 
during the night of the 13th and the fore part of the 
day of the 14th. The roads were intolerable, and 
in some places on Sherman's line, where the land was 
low, they were covered more than a foot deep with 


water. But the troops never murmured. By nine 
o'clock Crocker, of McPherson's corps, who was now 
in advance, came upon the enemy's pickets and 
speedily drove them in upon the main body. They 
were outside of the intrenchments in a strong posi- 
tion, and proved to be the troops that had been 
driven out of Raymond. Johnston had been rein- 
forced during the night by Georgia and South 
Carolina regiments, so that his force amounted to 
eleven thousand men, and he was expecting still 

Sherman also came upon the rebel pickets some 
distance out from the town, but speedily drove them 
in. He was now on the south and south-west of 
Jackson confronting the Confederates behind their 
breastworks, while McPherson's right was nearly 
two miles north, occupying a line running north and 
south across the Vicksburg railroad. Artillery was 
brought up and reconnoissances made preparatory to 
an assault. McPherson brought up Logan's division 
while he deployed Crocker s for the assault. Sherman 
made similar dispositions on the right. By eleven 
A.M. both were ready to attack. Crocker moved his 
division forward, preceded by a strong skirmish line. 
These troops at once encountered the enemy's ad- 
vance and drove it back on the main body, when 
they returned to their proper regiment and the whole 
division charged, routing the enemy completely and 


driving him into this main line. This stand by the 
enemy was made more than two miles outside of his 
main fortifications. McPherson followed up with his 
command until within range of the guns of the enemy 
from their intrenchments, when he halted to bring 
his troops into line and reconnoitre to determine 
the next move. It was now about noon. 

While this was going on Sherman was confronting 
a rebel battery which enfiladed the road on which he 
was marching — the Mississippi Springs road — and 
commanded a bridge spanning a stream over which 
he had to pass. By detaching right and left the 
stream was forced and the enemy flanked and speed- 
ily driven within the main line. This brought our 
whole line in front of the enemy's line of works, which 
was continuous on the north, west and south sides 
from the Pearl River north of the city to the same 
river south. I was with Sherman. He was con- 
fronted by a force sufficient to hold us back. Appear- 
ances did not justify an assault where we were. I 
had directed Sherman to send a force to the right, 
and to reconnoitre as far as to the Pearl River. This 
force, Tuttle's division, not returning I rode to the 
right with my staff, and soon found that the enemy 
had left that part of the line. Tuttle's movement or 
McPherson's pressure had no doubt led Johnston to 
order a retreat, leaving only the men at the guns to 
retard us while he was getting away. Tuttle had 


seen this and, passing through the lines without re- 
sistance, came up in the rear of the artillerists con- 
fronting Sherman and captured them with ten pieces 
of artillery. I rode immediately to the State House, 
where I was soon followed by Sherman. About the 
same time McPherson discovered that the enemy 
was leaving his front, and advanced Crocker, who 
was so close upon the enemy that they could not 
move their guns or destroy them. He captured 
seven guns and, moving on, hoisted the National 
flag over the rebel capital of Mississippi. Stevenson's 
brigade was sent to cut off the rebel retreat, but was 
too late or not expeditious enough. 

Our loss in this engagement was : McPherson, 
37 killed, 228 wounded; Sherman, 4 killed and 21 
wounded and missing. The enemy lost 845 killed, 
wounded and captured. Seventeen guns fell into 
our hands, and the enemy destroyed by fire their 
store-houses, containing a large amount of com- 
missary stores. 

On this day Blair reached New Auburn and joined 
McClernand's 4th division. He had with him two 
hundred wagons loaded with rations, the only com- 
missary supplies received during the entire cam- 

I slept that night in the room that Johnston was 
said to have occupied the night before. 

About four in the afternoon I sent for the corps 


commanders and directed the dispositions to be made 
of their troops. Sherman was to remain in Jackson 
until he destroyed that place as a railroad centre, 
and manufacturing city of military supplies. He did 
the work most effectually. Sherman and I went 
together into a manufactory which had not ceased 
work on account of the battle nor for the entrance 
of Yankee troops. Our presence did not seem to 
attract the attention of either the manager or the 
operatives, most of whom were girls. We looked on 
for a while to see the tent cloth which they were 
making roll out of the looms, with '* C. S. A." woven 
in each bolt There was an immense amount of 
cotton, in bales, stacked outside. Finally I told 
Sherman I thought they had done work enough. 
The operatives were told they could leave and take 
^ with them what cloth they could carry. In a few 
minutes cotton and factory were in a blaze. The 
proprietor visited Washington while I was President 
to get his pay for this property, claiming that it was 
private. He asked me to give him a statement of 
the fact that his property had been destroyed by 
National troops, so that he might use it with Congress 
where he was pressing, or proposed to press, his 
claim. I declined. 

On the night of the 13th Johnston sent the fol- 
lowing dispatch to Pemberton at Edward's station : 
'' I have lately arrived, and learn that Major-Gen- 


eral Sherman is between us with four divisions at 
Clinton. It is important to establish communication, 
that you may be reinforced. If practicable, come 
up in his rear at once. To beat such a detachment 
would be of immense value. All the troops you can 
quickly assemble should be brought. Time is all- 
important." This dispatch was sent in triplicate, by 
different messengers. One of the messengers hap- 
pened to be a loyal man who had been expelled from 
Memphis some months before by Hurlbut for utter- 
ing disloyal and threatening sentiments. There was 
a good deal of parade about his expulsion, ostensi- 
bly as a warning to those who entertained the senti- 
ments he expressed ; but Hurlbut and the expelled 
man understood each other. He delivered his copy 
of Johnston's dispatch to McPherson who forwarded 
it to me. 

Receiving this dispatch on the 14th I ordered 
McPherson to move promptly in the morning back 
to Bolton, the nearest point where Johnston could 
reach the road. Bolton is about twenty miles west 
of Jackson. I also informed McClernand of the 
capture of Jackson and sent him the following order : 
** It is evidently the design of the enemy to get 
north of us and cross the Big Black, and beat us 
into Vicksburg. We must not allow them to do this. 
Turn all your forces towards Bolton station, and 
make all dispatch in getting there. Move troops by 


the most direct road from wherever they may be on 
the receipt of this order." 

And to Blair I wrote : " Their design is evidently 
to cross the Big Black and pass down the peninsula 
between the Big Black and Yazoo rivers. We must 
beat them. Turn your troops immediately to Bolton ; 
take all the trains with you. Smith's division, and 
any other troops now with you, will go to the same 
place. If practicable, take parallel roads, so as to 
divide your troops and train." 

Johnston stopped on the Canton road only six 
miles north of Jackson, the night of the 14th. He 
sent from there to Pemberton dispatches announcing 
the loss of Jackson, and the following order : 

" As soon as the reinforcements are all up, they 
must be united to the rest of the army. I am anx- 
ious to see a force assembled that may be able to in- 
flict a heavy blow upon the enemy. Can Grant sup- 
ply himself from the Mississippi ? Can you not cut 
him off from it, and above all, should he be com- 
pelled to fall back for want of supplies, beat him." 

The concentration of my troops was easy, consid- 
ering the character of the country. McPherson 
moved along the road parallel with and near the 
railroad. McClernand's command was, one division 
(Hovey's) on the road McPherson had to take, but 
with a start of four miles. One (Osterhaus) was at 
Raymond, on a converging road that intersected the 


Other near Champion s Hill ; one (Carr's) had to pass 
over the same road with Osterhaus, but being back 
at Mississippi Springs, would not be detained by it ; 
the fourth (Smith's) with Blair's division, was near 
Auburn with a different road to pass over. McCler- 
nand faced about and moved promptly. His cavalry 
from Raymond sieized Bolton by half-past nine in 
the morning, driving out the enemy's pickets and 
capturing several men. 

The night of the 15th Hovey was at Bolton; 
Carr and Osterhaus were about three miles south, 
but abreast, facing west ; Smith was north of Ray- 
mond with Blair in his rear. 

McPherson's command, with Logan in front, had 
marched at seven o'clock, and by four reached Hovey 
and went into camp ; Crocker bivouacked just in 
Hovey's rear on the Clinton road. Sherman with 
two divisions, was in Jackson, completing the de- 
struction of roads, bridges and military factories. I 
rode in person out to Clinton. On my arrival I or- 
dered McClernand to move early in the morning on 
Edward's station, cautioning him to watch for the 
enemy and not bring on an engagement unless he 
felt very certain of success. 

I naturally expected that Pemberton would en- 
deavor to obey the orders of his superior, which I 
have shown were to attack us at Clinton. This, in- 
deed, I knew he could not do ; but I felt sure he 


would make the attempt to reach that point. It 
turned out, however, that he had decided his supe- 
rior's plans were impracticable, and consequently de- 
termined to move south from Edward s station and 
get between me and my base. I, however, had no 
base, having abandoned it more than a week before. 
On the 15th Pemberton had actually marched south 
from Edward's station, but the rains had swollen 
Baker s Creek, which he had to cross, so much that 
he could not ford it, and the bridges were washed 
away. This brought him back to the Jackson road, 
on which there was a good bridge over Baker's 
Creek. Some of his troops were marching until 
midnight to get there. Receiving here early on the 
1 6th a repetition of his order to join Johnston at Clin- 
ton, he concluded to obey, and sent a dispatch to his 
chief, informing him of the route by which he might 
be expected. 

About five o'clock in the morning (i6th) two men, 
who had been employed on the Jackson and Vicks- 
burg railroad, were brought to me. They reported 
that they had passed through Pemberton's army in 
the night, and that it was still marching east. They 
reported him to have eighty regiments of infantry 
and ten batteries ; in all, about twenty-five thousand 

I had expected to leave Sherman at Jackson an- 
other day in order to complete his work ; but getting 


the above information I sent him orders to move with 
all dispatch to Bolton, and to put one division with an 
ammunition train on the road at once, with directions 
to its commander to march with all possible speed 
until he came up to our rear. Within an hour after 
receiving this order Steele's division was on the 
road. At the same time I dispatched to Blair, who 
was near Auburn, to move with all speed to Ed- 
ward's station. McClemand was directed to embrace 
Blair in his command for the present Blair's divis- 
ion was a part of the 15th army corps (Sherman's); 
but as it was on its way to join its corps, it natu- 
rally struck our left first, now that we had faced 
about and were moving west. The 15th corps, when 
it got up, would be on our extreme right. McPher- 
son was directed to get his trains out of the way of 
the troops, and to follow Hovey's division as closely 
as possible. McClernand had two roads about 
three miles apart, converging at Edward's station, 
over which to march his troops. Hovey's division 
of his corps had the advance on a third road (the 
Clinton) still farther north. McClernand was di- 
rected to move Blair's and A. J. Smith's divisions by 
the southernmost of these roads, and Osterhaus and 
Carr by the middle road. Orders were to move 
cautiously with skirmishers to the front to feel for 
the enemy. 

Smith's division on the most southern road was 


the first to encounter the enemy's pickets, who 
were speedily driven in. Osterhaus, on the middle 
road, hearing the*firing, pushed his skirmishers for- 
ward, found the enemy's pickets and forced them 
back to the main line. About the same time Hovey 
encountered the enemy on the northern or direct 
wagon road from Jackson to Vicksburg. McPher- 
son was hastening up to join Hovey, but was embar- 
rassed by Hovey's trains occupying the roads. I 
was still back at Clinton. McPherson sent me word 
of the situation, and expressed the wish that I was 
up. By half-past seven I was on the road and pro- 
ceeded rapidly to the front, ordering all trains that 
were in front of troops off the road. When I ar- 
rived Hovey's skirmishing amounted almost to a 

McClemand was in person on the middle road 
and had a shorter distance to march to reach the 
enemy's position than McPherson. I sent him word 
by a staff officer to push forward and attack. These 
orders were repeated several times without appar- 
ently expediting McClernand's advance. 

Champion's Hill, where Pemberton had chosen 
his position to receive us, whether taken by accident 
or design, was well selected. It is one of the high- 
est points in that section, and commanded all the 
ground in range. On the east side of the ridge, 

which is quite precipitous, is a ravine running first 
Vol. I.— 33 


north, then westerly, terminating at Baker's Creek. 
It was grown up thickly with large trees and under- 
growth, making it difficult to penetrate with troops, 
even when not defended. The ridge occupied by 
the enemy terminated abruptly where the ravine 
turns westerly. The left of the enemy occupied the 
north end of this ridge. The Bolton and Edward's 
station wagon-road turns almost due south at this 
point and ascends the ridge, which it follows for about 
a mile ; then turning west, descends by a gentle de- 
clivity to Baker's Creek, nearly a mile away. On the 
west side the slope of the ridge is gradual and is 
cultivated from near the summit to the creek. There 
was, when we were there, a narrow belt of timber 
near the summit west of the road. 

From Raymond there is a direct road to Edward's 
station, some three miles west of Champion's Hill. 
There is one also to Bolton. From this latter road 
there is still another, leaving it about three and a half 
miles before reaching Bolton and leads direct to the 
same station. It was along these two roads that 
three divisions of McClernand's corps, and Blair 
of Sherman's, temporarily under McClernand, were 
moving. Hovey of McClernand's command was with 
McPherson, farther north on the road from Bolton 
direct to Edward's station. The middle road comes 
into the northern road at the point where the latter 
turns to the west and descends to Baker's Creek ; 


the southern road is still several miles south and 
does not intersect the others until it reaches Ed- 
ward's station. Pemberton's lines covered all these 
roads, and faced east Hovey's line, when it first 
drove in the enemy's pickets, was formed parallel to 
that of the enemy and confronted his left 

By eleven o'clock the skirmishing had grown into 
a hard-contested battle. Hovey alone, before other 
troops could be got to assist him, had captured a 
battery of the enemy. But he was not able to hold 
his position and had to abandon the artillery. Mc- 
Pherson brought up his troops as fast as possible, 
Logan in front, and posted them on the right of 
Hovey and across the flank of the enemy. Logan 
reinforced Hovey with one brigade from his divis- 
ion ; with his other two he moved farther west to 
make room for Crocker, who was coming up as 
rapidly as the roads would admit Hovey was still 
being heavily pressed, and was calling on me for 
more reinforcements. I ordered Crocker, who was 
now coming up, to send one brigade from his divis- 
ion. McPherson ordered two batteries to be sta- 
tioned where they nearly enfiladed the enemy's line, 
and they did good execution. 

From Logan's position now a direct forward 
movement carried him over open fields, in rear of 
the enemy and in a line parallel with them. He did 
make exactly this move, attacking, however, the ene- 


my through the belt of woods covering the west 
slope of the hill for a short distance. Up to this 
time I had kept my position near Hovey where we 
were the most heavily pressed ; but about noon I 
moved with a part of my staff by our right around, 
until I came up with Logan himself. I found him 
near the road leading down to Bakers Creek. He 
was actually in command of the only road over which 
the enemy could retreat ; Hovey, reinforced by two 
brigades from McPherson's command, confronted 
the enemy's left ; Crocker, with two brigades, cover- 
ed their left flank ; McClernand two hours before, 
had been within two miles and a half of their centre 
with two divisions, and the two divisions, Blair's and 
A. J. Smith's, were confronting the rebel right; Ran- 
som, with a brigade of Mc Arthurs division of the 
17th corps (McPherson's), had crossed the river at 
Grand Gulf a few days before, and was coming up 
on their right flank. Neither Logan nor I knew 
that we had cut off the retreat of the enemy. Just 
at this juncture a messenger came from Hovey, ask- 
ing for more reinforcements. There were none to 
spare. I then gave an order to move McPherson's 
command by the left flank around to Hovey. This 
uncovered the rebel line of retreat, which was soon 
taken advantage of by the enemy. 

During all this time, Hovey, reinforced as he was 
by a brigade from Logan and another from Crocker, 


and by Crocker gallantly coming up with two other 
brigades on his right, had made several assaults, the 
last one about the time the road was opened to the 
rear. The enemy fled precipitately. This was be- 
tween three and four o'clock. I rode forward, or 
rather back, to where the middle road intersects the 
north road, and found the skirmishers of Carr's divis- 
ion just coming in. Osterhaus was farther south 
and soon after came up with skirmishers advanced 
in like manner. Hovey's division, and McPherson's 
two divisions with him, had marched and fought from 
early dawn, and were not in the best condition to 
follow the retreating foe. I sent orders to Osterhaus 
to pursue the enemy, and to Carr, whom I saw per- 
sonally, I explained the situation and directed him 
to pursue vigorously as far as the Big Black, and to 
cross it if he could ; Osterhaus to follow him. The 
pursuit was continued until after dark. 

The battle of Champion's Hill lasted about four 
hours, hard fighting, preceded by two or three 
hours of skirmishing, some of which almost rose to 
the dignity of battle. Every man of Hovey's divis- 
ion and of McPherson s two divisions was engaged 
during the battle. No other part of my command 
was engaged at all, except that as described before. 
Osterhaus s and A. J. Smith s divisions had encoun- 
tered the rebel advanced pickets as early as half- 
past seven. Their positions were admirable for ad- 


vancing upon the enemy's line. McClernand, with 
two divisions, was within a few miles of the battle- 
field long before noon, and in easy hearing. I sent 
him repeated orders by staff officers fully competent 
to explain to him the situation. These traversed the 
wood separating us, without escort, and directed 
him to push forward ; but he did not come. It is 
true, in front of McClernand there was a small force 
of the enemy and posted in a good position behind a 
ravine obstructing his advance ; but if he had moved 
to the right by the road my staff officers had follow- 
ed the enemy must either have fallen back or been 
cut off. Instead of this he sent orders to Hovey, 
who belonged to his corps, to join on to his right 
flank. Hovey was bearing the brunt of the battle 
at the time. To obey the order he would have had 
to pull out from the front of the enemy and march 
back as far as McClernand had to advance to get 
into battle, and substantially over the same ground. 
Of course I did not permit Hovey to obey the or- 
der of his intermediate superior. 

We had in this battle about 15,000 men absolutely 
engaged. This excludes those that did not get up, 
all of McClernand's command except Hovey. Our 
loss was 410 killed. 1,844 wounded ^ind 187 missing. 
Hovey alone lost 1,200 killed, wounded and missing 
— more than one-third of his division. 

Had McClernand come up with reasonable prompt- 


ness, or had I known the ground as I did afterwards, 
I cannot see how Pemberton could have escaped 
with any organized force. As it was he lost over 
three thousand killed and wounded and about three 
thousand captured in battle and in pursuit Loring's 
division, which was the right of Pemberton's line, 
was cut off from the retreating army and never got 
back into Vicksburg. Pemberton himself fell back 
that night to the Big Black River. His troops did 
not stop before midnight and many of them left be- 
fore the general retreat commenced, and no doubt a 
good part of them returned to their homes. Logan 
alone captured 1,300 prisoners and eleven guns. 
Hovey captured 300 under fire and about 700 in all, 
exclusive of 500 sick and wounded whom he paroled, 
thus making 1,200. 

McPherson joined in the advance as soon as his 
men could fill their cartridge-boxes, leaving one bri- 
gade to guard our wounded. The pursuit was con- 
tinued as long as it was light enough to see the road. 
The night of the i6th of May found McPherson s 
command bivouacked from two to six miles west 
of the battle-field, along the line of the road to 
Vicksburg. Carr and Osterhaus were at Edward^s 
station, and Blair was about three miles south-east ; 
Hovey remained on the field where his troops had 
fought so bravely and bled so freely. Much war 
material abandoned by the enemy was picked up on 


the battle-field, among it thirty pieces of artillery, 
I pushed through the advancing column with my 
staff and kept in advance until after night. Find- 
ing ourselves alone we stopped and took possession 
of a vacant house. As no troops came up we moved 
back a mile or more until we met the head of the 
column just going into bivouac on the road. We 
had no tents, so we occupied the porch of a house 
which had been taken for a rebel hospital and which 
was filled with wounded and dying who had been 
brought from the battle-field we had just left 

While a battle is raging one can see his enemy 
mowed down by the thousand, or the ten thousand, 
with great composure; but after the battle these 
scenes are distressing, and one is naturally disposed 
to do as much to alleviate the suffering of an enemy 
as a friend. 





WE were now assured of our position between 
Johnston and Pemberton, without a possibility 
of a junction of their forces. Pemberton might have 
made a night march to the Big Black, crossed the 
bridge there and, by moving north on the west side, 
have eluded us and finally returned to Johnston. 
But this would have given us Vicksburg. It would 
have been his proper move, however, and the one 
Johnston would have made had he been in Pember- 
ton's place. In fact it would have been in conform- 
ity with Johnston s orders to Pemberton. 

Sherman left Jackson with the last of his troops 
about noon on the i6th and reached Bolton, twenty 
miles west, before halting. His rear guard did not get 
in until two a.m. the 17th, but renewed their march 
by daylight. He paroled his prisoners at Jackson, 
and was forced to leave his own wounded in care 
of surgeons and attendants. At Bolton he was in- 
formed of our victory. He was directed to com- 
mence the march early next day, and to diverge from 


the road he was on to Bridgeport on the Big Black 
River, some eleven miles above the point where we 
expected to find the enemy. Blair was ordered to 
join him there with the pontoon train as early as 

This movement brought Sherman's corps together, 
and at a point where I hoped a crossing of the Big 
Black might be effected and Sherman's corps used 
to flank the enemy out of his position in our front, 
thus opening a crossing for the remainder of the 
army. I informed him that I would endeavor to hold 
the enemy in my front while he crossed the river. 

The advance division, Carr s (McClernand's corps), 
resumed the pursuit at half-past three a.m. on the 
17th, followed closely by Osterhaus, McPherson 
bringing up the rear with his corps. As I expected, 
the enemy was found in position on the Big Black. 
The point was only six miles from that where my ad- 
vance had rested for the night, and was reached at 
an early hour. Here the river makes a turn to the 
west, and has washed close up to the high land ; 
the east side is a low bottom, sometimes overflowed 
at very high water, but was cleared and in cultiva- 
tion. A bayou runs irregularly across this low land, 
the bottom of which, however, is above the surface 
of the Big Black at ordinary stages. When the 
river is full water runs through it, converting the 
point of land into an island. The bayou was grown 


up with timber, which the enemy had felled into the 
ditch. At this time there was a foot or two of 
water in it The rebels had constructed a parapet 
along the inner bank of this bayou by using cotton 
bales from the plantation close by and throwing 
dirt over them. The whole was thoroughly com- 
manded from the height west of the river. At the 
upper end of the bayou there was a strip of uncleared 
land which afforded a cover for a portion of our 
men. Carr s division was deployed on our right, 
Lawlers brigade forming his extreme right and 
reaching through these woods to the river above. 
Osterhaus' division was deployed to the left of Carr 
and covered the enemy's entire front McPherson 
was in column on the road, the head close by, ready 
to come in wherever he could be of assistance. 

While the troops were standing as here described 
an officer from Banks' staff came up and presented 
me with a letter from General Halleck, dated the 
1 1 th of May. It had been sent by the way of New 
Orleans to Banks to be forwarded to me. It ordered 
me to return to Grand Gulf and to co-operate from 
there with Banks against Port Hudson, and then to 
return with our combined forces to besiege Vicks- 
burg. I told the officer that the order came too 
late, and that Halleck would not give it now if he 
knew our position. The bearer of the dispatch in- 
sisted that I ought to obey the order, and was giv- 


ing arguments to support his position when I heard 
great cheering to the right of our line and, looking 
in that direction, saw Lawler in his shirt sleeves 
leading a charge upon the enemy. I immediately 
mounted my horse and rode in the direction of the 
charge, and saw no more of the officer who delivered 
the dispatch ; I think not even to this day. 

The assault was successful. But little resistance 
was made. The enemy fled from the west bank of 
the river, burning the bridge behind him and leav- 
ing the men and guns on the east side to fall into 
our hands. Many tried to escape by swimming the 
river. Some succeeded and some were drowned in 
the attempt. Eighteen guns were captured and 
1,751 prisoners. Our loss was 39 killed, 237 
wounded and 3 missing. The enemy probably lost 
but few men except those captured and drowned. 
% But for the successful and complete destruction of 
the bridge, I have but little doubt that we should 
have followed the enemy so closely as to prevent his 
occupying his defences around Vicksburg. 

As the bridge was destroyed and the river was 
high, new bridges had to be built. It was but little 
after nine o'clock a.m. when the capture took place. 
As soon as work could be commenced, orders were 
given for the construction of three bridges. One 
was taken charge of by Lieutenant Hains, of the 
Engineer Corps, one by General McPherson him- 


self and one by General Ransom, a most gallant 
and intelligent volunteer officer. My recollection is 
that Hains built a raft bridge; McPherson a pon- 
toon, using cotton bales in large numbers, for pon- 
toons; and that Ransom felled trees on opposite 
banks of the river, cutting only on one side of the 
tree, so that they would fall with their tops interlac- 
ing in the river, without the trees being entirely 
severed from their stumps. A bridge was then made 
with these trees to support the roadway. Lumber 
was taken from buildings, cotton gins and wherever 
found, for this purpose. By eight o'clock in the 
morning of the i8th all three bridges were complete 
and the troops were crossing. 

Sherman reached Bridgeport about noon of the 
1 7th and found Blair with the pontoon train already 
there. A few of the enemy were intrenched on the 
west bank, but they made little resistance and soon ^ 
surrendered. Two divisions were crossed that night 
and the third the following morning. 

On the 1 8th I moved along the Vicksburg road in 
advance of the troops and as soon as possible joined 
Sherman. My first anxiety was to secure a base 
of supplies on the Yazoo River above Vicksburg. 
Sherman's line of march led him to the very point 
on Walnut Hills occupied by the enemy the Decem- 
ber before when he was repulsed. Sherman was 
equally anxious with myself. Our impatience led 


US to move in advance of the column and well up 
with the advanced skirmishers. There were some 
detached works along the crest of the hill. These 
were still occupied by the enemy, or else the garrison 
from Haines' Bluff had not all got past on their way 
to Vicksburg. At all events the bullets of the enemy 
whistled by thick and fast for a short time. In a 
few minutes Sherman had the pleasure of looking 
down from the spot coveted so much by him the 
December before on the ground where his command 
had lain so helpless for offensive action. He turned 
to me, saying that up to this minute he had felt no 
positive assurance of success. This, however, he 
said was the end of one of the greatest campaigns in 
history and I ought to make a report of it at once. 
Vicksburg was not yet captured, and there was no 
telling what might happen before it was taken ; but 
whether captured or not, this was a complete and 
successful campaign. I do not claim to quote Sher- 
man's language ; but the substance only. My rea- 
son for mentioning this incident will appear further 

McPherson, after crossing the Big Black, came 
into the Jackson and Vicksburg road which Sherman 
was on, but to his rear. He arrived at night near the 
lines of the enemy, and went into camp. McCler- 
nand moved by the direct road near the railroad to 
Mount Albans, and then turned to the left and put 


his troops on the road from Baldwin's ferry to 
Vicksburg. This brought him south of McPherson. 
I now had my three corps up to the works built for 
the defence of Vicksburg, on three roads — one to 
the north, one to the east and one to the south- 
east of the city. By the morning of the 19th the 
investment was as complete as my limited number 
of troops would allow. Sherman was on the right, 
and covered the high ground from where it over- 
looked the Yazoo as far south-east as his troops 
would extend. McPherson joined on to his left, and 
occupied ground on both sides of the Jackson road. 
McClernand took up the ground to his left and ex- 
tended as far towards Warrenton as he could, keep- 
ing a continuous line. 

On the 19th there was constant skirmishing with 
the enemy while we were getting into better posi- 
tion. The enemy had been much demoralized by 
his defeats at Champions Hill and the Big Black, 
and I believed he would not make much effort to 
hold Vicksburg. Accordingly, at two o'clock I 
ordered an assault. It resulted in securing more 
advanced positions for all our troops where they 
were fully covered from the fire of the enemy. 

The 20th and 21st were spent in strengthening 
our position and in making roads in rear of the 
army, from Yazoo River or Chickasaw Bayou. Most 
of the army had now been for three weeks with 

Vol. I.— 34 


only five days' rations issued by the commissary. 
They had an abundance of food, however, but began 
to feel the want of bread. I remember that in pass- 
ing around to the left of the line on the 21st, a 
soldier, recognizing me, said in rather a low voice, 
but yet so that I heard him, " Hard tack." In a 
moment the cry was taken up all along the line, 
'• Hard tack ! Hard tack !" I told the men nearest 
to me that we had been engaged ever since the 
arrival of the troops in building a road over which 
to supply them with everything they needed. The 
cry was instantly changed to cheers. By the night 
of the 2 1 st all the troops had full rations issued to 
them. The bread and coffee were highly appre- 

I now determined on a second assault Johnston 
was in my rear, only fifty miles away, with an army 
not much inferior in numbers to the one I had with 
me, and I knew he was being reinforced. There 
was danger of his coming to the assistance of Pem- 
berton, and after all he might defeat my anticipa- 
tions of capturing the garrison if, indeed, he did not 
prevent the capture of the city. The immediate 
capture of Vicksburg would save sending me the 
reinforcements which were so much wanted else- 
where, and would set free the army under me to 
drive Johnston from the State. But the first consid- 
eration of all was — the troops believed they could 

Assaulting the tvORxs, 531 

carry the works in their front, and would not have 
worked so patiently in the trenches if they had not 
been allowed to try. 

The attack was ordered to commence on all parts 
of the line at ten o'clock a.m. on the 2 2d with a 
furious cannonade from every battery in position. 
All the corps commanders set their time by mine so 
that all might open the engagement at the same 
minute. The attack was gallant, and portions of 
each of the three corps succeeded in getting up to 
the very parapets of the enemy and in planting their 
battle flags upon them ; but at no place were we 
able to enter. General McClernand reported that 
he had gained the enemy's intrenchments at several 
points, and wanted reinforcements. I occupied a 
position from which I believed I could see as well as 
he what took place in his front, and I did not see 
the success he reported. But his request for rein- 
forcements being repeated I could not ignore it, and 
sent him Quinby's division of the 17th corps. Sher- 
man and McPherson were both ordered to renew 
their assaults as a diversion in favor of McClernand. 
This last attack only served to increase our casual- 
ties without giving any benefit whatever. As soon 
as it was dark our troops that had reached the 
enemy's line and been obliged to remain there for 
security all day, were withdrawn ; and thus ended 
the last assault upon Vicksburg. 



I NOW determined upon a regular siege — to "out- 
camp the enemy," as it were, and to incur no more 
losses. The experience of the 2 2d convinced officers 
and men that this was best, and they went to work 
on the defences and approaches with a will With 
the navy holding the river, the investment of Vicks- 
burg was complete. As long as we could hold our 
position the enemy was limited in supplies of food, 
men and munitions of war to what they had on 
hand. These could not last always. 

The crossing of troops at Bruinsburg commenced 
April 30th. On the i8th of May the army was in rear 
of Vicksburg. On the 19th, just twenty days after 
the crossing, the city was completely invested and an 
assault had been made : five distinct battles (besides 
continuous skirmishing) had been fought and won 
by the Union forces ; the capital of the State had 
fallen and its arsenals, military manufactories and 
everything useful for military purposes had been de- 
stroyed ; an average of about one hundred and eighty 
miles had been marched by the troops engaged; 


but five days' rations had been issued, and no forage ; 
over six thousand prisoners had been captured, and 
as many more of the enemy had been killed or 
wounded ; twenty-seven heavy cannon and sixty-one 
field-pieces had fallen into our hands ; and four hun- 
dred miles of the river, from Vicksburg to Port 
Hudson, had become ours. The Union force that 
had crossed the Mississippi River up to this time was 
less than forty-three thousand men. One division of 
these, Blair's, only arrived in time to take part in the 
battle of Champion's Hill, but was not engaged 
there ; and one brigade. Ransom's of McPherson's 
corps, reached the field after the battle. The enemy 
had at Vicksburg, Grand Gulf, Jackson, and on the 
roads between these places, over sixty thousand 
men. They were in their own country, where no 
rear guards were necessary. The country is admi- 
rable for defence, but difficult for the conduct of an 
offensive campaign. All their troops had to be met. 
We were fortunate, to say the least, in meeting them 
in detail : at Port Gibson seven or eight thousand ; 
at Raymond, five thousand ; at Jackson, from eight 
to eleven thousand ; at Champion's Hill, twenty-five 
thousand ; at the Big Black, four thousand. A part 
of those met at Jackson were all that was left of 
those encountered at Raymond. They were beaten 
in detail by a force smaller than their own, upon 
their own ground. Our loss up to this time was : 




Port Gibson 

South Fork Bayou Pierre 

Skirmishes, May 3 

Fourteen Mile Creek . . . 



Champion's Hill 

Big Black 
























Of the wounded many were but slightly so, and 
continued on duty. Not half of them were dis- 
abled for any length of time. 

After the unsuccessful assault of the 2 2d the work 
of the regular siege began. Shermfan occupied the 
right starting from the river above Vicksburg, 
McPherson the centre (McArthur's division now 
with him) and McClernand the left, holding the 
road south to Warrenton. Lauman's division ar- 
rived at this time and was placed on the extreme 
left of the line. 

In the interval between the assaults of the 19th 
and 2 2d, roads had been completed from the Yazoo 
River and Chickasaw Bayou, around the rear of the 
army, to enable us to bring up supplies of food and 
ammunition ; ground had been selected and cleared on 


which the troops were to be encamped, and tents and 
cooking utensils were brought up. The troops had 
been without these from the time of crossing the 
Mississippi up to this time. All was now ready for 
the pick and spade. Prentiss and Hurlbut were 
ordered to send forward every man that could be 
spared. Cavalry especially was wanted to watch the 
fords along the Big Black, and to observe Johnston. 
I knew that Johnston was receiving reinforcements 
from Bragg, who was confronting Rosecrans in 
Tennessee. Vicksburg was so important to the 
enemy that I believed he would make the most 
strenuous efforts to raise the siege, even at the risk 
of losing ground elsewhere. 

My line was more than fifteen miles long, extend- 
ing from Haines' Bluff to Vicksburg, thence to War- 
renton. The line of the enemy was about seven. 
In addition to this, having an enemy at Canton and 
Jackson, in our rear, who was being constantly rein- 
forced, we required a second line of defence facing 
the other way. I had not troops enough under my 
command to man these. General Halleck appre- 
ciated the situation and, without being asked, for- 
warded reinforcements with all possible dispatch. 

The ground about Vicksburg is admirable for 
defence. On the north it is about two hundred feet 
above the Mississippi River at the highest point and 
very much cut up by the washing rains; the ra- 


vines were grown up with cane and underbrush, while 
the sides and tops were covered with a dense forest 
Farther south the ground flattens out somewhat, and 
was in cultivation. But here, too, it was cut up by 
ravines and small streams. The enemy's line of de- 
fence followed the crest of a ridge from the river 
north of the city eastward, then southerly around to 
the Jackson road, full three miles back of the city ; 
thence in a southwesterly direction to the river. 
Deep ravines of the description given lay in front of 
these defences. As there is a succession of gillies, 
cut out by rains along the side of the ridge, the line 
was necessarily very irregular. To follow each of 
these spurs with intrenchments, so as to command the 
slopes on either side, would have lengthened their 
line very much. Generally therefore, or in many 
places, their line would run from near the head of 
one gully nearly straight to the head of another, and 
an outer work triangular in shape, generally open in 
the rear, was thrown up on the point ; with a few men 
in this outer work they commanded the approaches 
to the main line completely. 

The work to be done, to make our position as 
strong against the enemy as his was against us, was 
very great. The problem was also complicated by 
our wanting our line as near that of the enemy as 
possible. We had but four engineer officers with us. 
Captain Prime, of the Engineer Corps, was the chief, 


and the work at the beginning was mainly directed 
by him. His health soon gave out, when he was 
succeeded by Captain Comstock, also of the Engi- 
neer Corps. To provide assistants on such a long 
line I directed that all officers who had graduated 
at West Point, where they had necessarily to study 
military engineering, should in addition to their 
other duties assist in the work. 

The chief quartermaster and the chief commissary 
were graduates. The chief commissary, now the 
Commissary-General of the Army, begged off, how- 
ever, saying that there was nothing in engineering 
that he was good for unless he would do for a sap- 
roller. As soldiers require rations while working in 
the ditches as well as when marching and fighting, 
and as we would be sure to lose him if he was used 
as a sap-roller, I let him off. The general is a large 
man ; weighs two hundred and twenty pounds, and 
is not tall. 

We had no siege guns except six thirty-two pound- 
ers, and there were none at the West to draw from. 
Admiral Porter, however, supplied us with a battery 
of navy-guns of large calibre, and with these, and the 
field artillery used in the campaign, the siege began. 
The first thing to do was to get the artillery in bat- 
teries where they would occupy commanding posi- 
tions ; then establish the camps, under cover from 
the fire of the enemy but as near up as possible ; and 


then construct rifle-pits and covered ways, to connect 
the entire command by the shortest route. The ene- 
my did not harass us much while we were construct- 
ing our batteries. Probably their artillery ammuni- 
tion was short ; and their infantry was kept down by 
our sharpshooters, who were always on the alert and 
ready to fire at a head whenever it showed itself 
above the rebel works. 

In no place were our lines more than six hundred 
yards from the enemy. It was necessary, therefore, 
to cover our men by something more than the ordi- 
nary parapet. To give additional protection sand 
bags, bullet-proof, were placed along the tops of the 
parapets far enough apart to make loop-holes for 
musketry. On top of these, logs were put. By these 
means the men were enabled to walk about erect 
when off duty, without fear of annoyance from sharp- 
shooters. The enemy used in their defence explo- 
sive musket-balls, no doubt thinking that, bursting 
over our men in the trenches, they would do some 
execution ; but I do not remember a single case 
where a man was injured by a piece of one of these 
shells. When they were hit and the ball exploded, 
the wound was terrible. In these cases a solid ball 
would have hit as well. Their use is barbarous, 
because they produce increased suffering with- 
out any corresponding^ advantage to those using 

'■■'•■■* jp^"^^ 



Siege of Vicksburg, Miss. 

From the 18th of May to the 4th of July, 1863. 



The enemy could not resort to our method to 
protect their men, because we had an inexhaustible 
supply of ammunition to draw upon and used it 
freely. Splinters from the timber would have made 
havoc among the men behind. 

There were no mortars with the besiegers, ex- 
cept what the navy had in front of the city; but 
wooden ones were made by taking logs of the 
toughest wood that could be found, boring them out 
for six or twelve pound shells and binding them with 


Strong iron bands. These answered as coehorns, 
and shells were successfully thrown from them into 
the trenches of the enemy. 

The labor of building the batteries and intrench- 
ing was largely done by the pioneers, assisted by 
negroes who came within our lines and who were 
paid for their work ; but details from the troops had 
often to be made. The work was pushed forward as 
rapidly as possible, and when an advanced position 
was secured and covered from the fire of the enemy 
the batteries were advanced. By the 30th of June 
there were two hundred and twenty guns in position, 
mostly light field-pieces, besides a battery of heavy 
guns belonging to, manned and commanded by the 
navy. We were now as strong for defence against 
the garrison of Vicksburg as they were against us ; 
but I knew that Johnston was in our rear, and was 
receiving constant reinforcements from the east 


He had at this time a larger force than I had had 
at any time prior to the battle of Champion's 

As soon as the news of the arrival of the Union 
army behind Vicksburg reached the North, floods of 
visitors began to pour in. Some came to gratify 
curiosity ; some to see sons or brothers who had 
passed through the terrible ordeal ; members of the 
Christian and Sanitary Associations came to minister 
to the wants of the sick and the wounded. Often 
those coming to see a son or brother would bring a 
dozen or two of poultry. They did not know how little 
the gift would be appreciated. Many of the soldiers 
had lived so much on chickens, ducks and turkeys 
without bread during the march, that the sight of 
poultry, if they could get bacon, almost took away 
their appetite. But the intention was good. 

Among the earliest arrivals was the Governor of 
Illinois, with most of the State officers. I naturally 
wanted to show them what there was of most in- 
terest. In Sherman's front the ground was the most 
broken and most wooded, and more was to be seen 
without exposure. I therefore took them to Sher- 
man's headquarters and presented them. Before 
starting out to look at the lines — possibly while 
Sherman's horse was being saddled — there were 
many questions asked about the late campaign, about 
which the North had been so imperfectly informed. 

54^ Pergonal MkMdiks dP t/. i 6kANT. 

There was a little knot around Sherman and another 
around me, and I heard Sherman repeating, in the 
most animated manner, what he had said to me when 
we first looked down from Walnut Hills upon the 
land below on the i8th of May, adding: "Grant is 
entitled to every bit of the credit for the campaign ; 
I opposed it. I wrote him a letter about it" But 
for this speech it is not likely that Sherman's opposi- 
tion would have ever been heard of. His untiring 
energy and great efficiency during the campaign en- 
title him to a full share of all the credit due for its 
success. He could not have done more if the plan 
had been his own. 

Note. — When General Sherman first learned of the move I proposed to 
make, he called to see me about It. I recollect that I had transferred my head- 
quarters from a boat in the river to a house a short distance back from the 
levee. I «vas seated on the piazza engaged in conversation with my staff when 
Sherman came up. After a few moments' conversation he said that he would 
like to see me alone. We passed into the house together and shut the door 
after us. Sherman then expressed his alarm at the move I had ordered, saying 
that I was putting myself in a position voluntarily which an enemy would be 
glad to manoeuvre a year — or a long time — to get me in. I was going into the 
enemy's country, with a large river behind me and the enemy holding points 
strongly fortified above and below. He said that it was an axiom in war that 
when any great body of troops moved against an enemy they should do so 
from a base of supplies, which they would guard as they would the apple of 
the eye, etc. He pointed out all the difficulties that might be encountered in 
the campaign proposed, and stated in turn what would be the true campaign 
to make. This was, in substance, to go back until high ground could be 
reached on the east bank of the river ; fortify there and establish a depot of 
supplies, and move from there, being always prepared to fall back upon it in 
case of disaster. I said this would take us back to Memphis. Sherman then 

On the 26th of May I sent Blair's division up the 
Yazoo to drive out a force of the enemy supposed to 
be between the Big Black and the Yazoo. The 
country was rich and full of supplies of both food and 
forage. Blair was instructed to take all of it. The 
cattle were to be driven in for the use of our army, 
and the food and forage to be consumed by our 
troops or destroyed by fire ; all bridges were to be 
destroyed, and the roads rendered as nearly impas- 

said that was the very place he would go to, and would move by railroad from 
Memphis to Grenada, repairing the road as we advanced. To this I replied, the 
country is already disheartened over the lack of success on the part of our armies; 
the last election went against the vigorous prosecution of the war, voluntary en- 
listments had ceased throughout most of the North and conscription was already 
resorted to, and if we went back so far as Memphis it would discourage the 
people so much that bases of supplies would be of no use : neither men to hold 
them nor supplies to put in them would be furnished. The problem for us was 
to move forward to a decisive victory, or our cause was lost. No progress was 
being made in any other field, and we had to go on. 

Sherman wrote to my adjutant general, Colonel J. A. Rawlins, embodying 
his views of the campaign that should be made, and asking him to advise me to 
at least get the views of my generals upon the subject. Colonel Rawlins 
showed me the letter, but I did not see any reason for changing my plans. The 
letter was not answered and the subject was not subsequently mentioned be- 
tween Sherman and myself to the end of the war, that I remember of. I did 
not regard the letter as official, and consequently did net preserve it. General 
Sherman furnished a copy himself to General Badeau, who printed it in his 
history of my campaigns. I did nut regard either the conversation between us 
or the letter to my adjutant-general as protests, but simply friendly advice 
which the relations between us fully justified. Sherman gave the same energy 
to make the campaign a success that he would or could have done if it had 
been ordered by himself. I make this statement here to correct an impression 
which was circulated at the close of the war to Sherman's prejudice, and for 
which there was no fair foundation 


sable as possible. Blair went forty-five miles and 
was gone almost a week. His work was effectually 
done. I requested Porter at this time to send the 
marine brigade, a floating nondescript force which 
had been assigned to his command and which proved 
very useful, up to Haines' Bluff to hold it until rein- 
forcements could be sent. 

On the 26th I also received a letter from Banks, 
asking me to reinforce him with ten thousand men at 
Port Hudson. Of course I could not comply with 
his request, nor did I think he needed them. He was 
in no danger of an attack by the garrison in his front, 
and there was no army organizing in his rear to raise 
the siege. 

On the 3d of June a brigade from Hurlbut's zovcv-v 
mand arrived, General Kimball commanding. It 
was sent to Mechanicsburg, some miles north-east of 
Haines' Bluff and about midway between the Big 
Black and the Yazoo. A brigade of Blair's division 
and twelve hundred cavalry had already, on Blair s 
return from the Yazoo, been sent to the same place 
with instructions to watch the crossings of the Big 
Black River, to destroy the roads in his (Blair's) front, 
and to gather or destroy all supplies. 

On the 7th of June our little force of colored and 
white troops across the Mississippi, at Milliken's 
Bend, were attacked by about 3,000 men from Richard 
Taylors trans-Mississippi command. With the aid 


of the gunboats they were speedily repelled. I sent 
Mower's brigade over with instructions to drive the 
enemy beyond the Tensas Bayou ; and we had no 
further trouble in that quarter during the siege. 
This was the first important engagement of the war 
in which colored troops were under fire. These 
men were very raw, having all been enlisted since the 
beginning of the siege, but they behaved well. 

On the 8th of June a full division arrived from 
Hurlbut's command, under General Sooy Smith. It 
was sent immediately to Haines Bluff, and General 
C. C. Washburn was assigned to the general com- 
mand at that point 

On the nth a strong division arrived from the 
Department of the Missouri under General Herron, 
which was placed on our left This cut off the last 
possible chance of communication between Pember- 
ton and Johnston, as it enabled Lauman to close up 
on McClernand s left while Herron intrenched from 
Lauman to the water's edge. At this point the 
water recedes a few hundred yards from the high 
land. Through this opening no doubt the Con- 
federate commanders had been able to get messen- 
gers under cover of night. 

On the 14th General Parke arrived with two 
divisions of Burnside's corps, and was immediately 
dispatched to Haines' Bluff. These latter troops+- 
Herron's and Parke's — were the reinforcemcals 

Vol. I.— 35 


already spoken of sent by Halleck in anticipation 
of their being needed. They arrived none too 

I now had about seventy-one thousand men. 
More than half were disposed across the penin- 
sula, between the Yazoo at Haines' Bluff and the 
Big Black, with the division of Osterhaus watching 
the crossings of the latter river farther south and 
west from the crossing of the Jackson road to Bald- 
win's ferry and below. 

There were eight roads leading into Vicksburg, 
along which and their immediate sides, our work 
was specially pushed and batteries advanced ; but 
no commanding point within range of the enemy 
was neglected. 

On the 1 7th I received a letter from General Sher- 
man and one on the i8th from General McPherson, 
saying that their respective commands had com- 
plained to them of a fulsome, congratulatory order 
published by General McCIernand to the 13th corps, 
which did great injustice to the other troops engaged 
in the campaign. This order had been sent North 
and published, and now papers containing it had 
reached our camps. The order had not been heard 
of by me, and certainly not by troops outside of 
McClernand's command until brought in this way 
I at once wrote to McCIernand, directing him to 
send me a copy of this order. He did so, and I at 


once relieved him from the command of the 13th 
army corps and ordered him back to Springfield, 
Illinois. The publication of his order in the press 
was in violation of War Department orders and also 
of mine. 


Johnston's movements — fortifications at haines' 





ON the 2 2d of June positive information was re- 
ceived that Johnston had crossed the Big Black 
River for the purpose of attacking our rear, to raise 
the siege and release Pemberton. The correspond- 
ence between Johnston and Pemberton shows that all 
expectation of holding Vicksburg had by this time 
passed from Johnston's mind. I immediately ordered 
Sherman to the command of all the forces from 
Haines' Bluff to the Big Black River. This amount- 
ed now to quite half the troops about Vicksburg. 
Besides these, Herron and A. J. Smith's divisions 
were ordered to hold themselves in readiness to re- 
inforce Sherman. Haines' Bluff had been strongly 
fortified on the land side, and on all commanding 
points from there to the Big Black at the railroad 
crossing batteries had been constructed. The work 


of connecting by rifle-pits where this was not al- 
ready done, was an easy task for the troops that 
were to defend them. 

We were now looking west, besieging Pemberton, 
while we were also looking east to defend ourselves 
against an expected siege by Johnston. But as 
against the garrison of Vicksburg we were as sub- 
stantially protected as they were against us. Where 
we were looking east and north we were strongly 
fortified, and on the defensive. Johnston evidently 
took in the situation and wisely, I think, abstained 
from making an assault on us because it would 
simply have inflicted loss on both sides without ac- 
complishing any result. We were strong enough to 
have taken the offensive against him ; but I did 
not feel disposed to take any risk of losing our hold 
upon Pemberton's army, while I would have rejoiced 
at the opportunity of defending ourselves against 
an attack by Johnston. 

From the 23d of May the work of fortifying and 
pushing forward our position nearer to the enemy 
had been steadily progressing. At three points on 
the Jackson road, in front of Ransom's brigade, a 
sap was run up to the enemy's parapet, and by the 
25th of June we had it undermined and the mine 
charged. The enemy had countermined, but did not 
succeed in reaching our mine. At this particular 
point the hill on which the rebel work stands rises 


abruptly. Our sap ran close up to the outside of 
the enemy's parapet. In fact this parapet was also 
our protection. The soldiers of the two sides occa- 
sionally conversed pleasantly across this barrier; 
sometimes they exchanged the hard bread of the 
Union soldiers for the tobacco of the Confederates ; 
at other times the enemy threw over hand-grenades, 
and often our men, catching them in their hands, 
returned them. 

Our mine had been started some distance back 
down the hill ; consequently when it had extended as 
far as the parapet it was many feet below it. This 
caused the failure of the enemy in his search to find 
and destroy it. On the 25th of June at three 
o'clock, all being ready, the mine was exploded. A 
heavy artillery fire all along the line had been 
ordered to open with the explosion. The effect was 
to blow the top of the hill off and make a crater 
where it stood. The breach was not sufficient to 
enable us to pass a column of attack through. In 
fact, the enemy having failed to reach our mine had 
thrown up a line farther back, where most of the 
men guarding that point were placed. There were 
a few men, however, left at the advance line, and 
others working in the countermine, which was still 
being pushed to find ours. All that were there were 
thrown into the air, some of them coming down on 
our side, still alive. I remember one colored man. 


who had been under ground at work when the ex- 
plosion took place, who was thrown to our side. He 
was not much hurt, but terribly frightened. Some 
one asked him how high he had gone up. " Dun 
no, massa, but t'ink 'bout t'ree mile," was his reply. 
General Logan commanded at this point and took 
this colored man to his quarters, where he did ser- 
vice to the end of the siege. 

As soon as the explosion took place the crater 
was seized by two regiments of our troops who were 
near by, under cover, where they had been placed 
for the express purpose. The enemy made a des- 
perate effort to expel them, but failed, and soon 
retired behind the new line. From here, however, 
they threw hand-grenades, which did some execu- 
tion. The compliment was returned by our men, 
but not with so much effect. The enemy could lay 
their grenades on the parapet, which alone divided 
the contestants, and roll them down upon us ; while 
from our side they had to be thrown over the para- 
pet, which was at considerable elevation. During 
the night we made efforts to secure our position in 
the crater against the missiles of the enemy, so as to 
run trenches along the outer base of their parapet, 
right and left ; but the enemy continued throwing 
their grenades, and brought boxes of field ammuni- 
tion (shells), the fuses of which they would light 
with port-fires, and throw them by hand into our 


ranks. We found it impossible to continue this 
work. Another mine was consequently started 
which was exploded on the ist of July, destroying an 
entire rebel redan, killing and wounding a consider- 
able number of its occupants and leaving an immense 
chasm where it stood. No attempt to charge was 
made this time, the experience of the 25th admon- 
ishing us. Our loss in the first affair was about 
thirty killed and wounded. The enemy must have 
lost more in the two explosions than we did in the 
first We lost none in the second. 

From this time forward the work of mining and 
pushing our position nearer to the enemy was prose- 
cuted with vigor, and I determined to explode no 
more mines until we were ready to explode a num- 
ber at different points and assault immediately 
after. We were up now at three different points, 
one in front of each corps, to where only the parapet 
of the enemy divided us. 

At this time an intercepted dispatch from Johnston 
to Pemberton informed me that Johnston intended to 
make a determined attack upon us in order to re- 
lieve the garrison at Vicksburg. I knew the garrison 
would make no formidable effort to relieve itself. The 
picket lines were so close to each other — ^where there 
was space enough between the lines to post pickets 
— that the men could converse. On the 21st of 
June I was informed, through this means, that Pem- 


berton was preparing to escape, by crossing to the 
Louisiana side under cover of night ; that he had 
employed workmen in making boats for that pur- 
pose ; that the men had been canvassed to ascertain 
if they would make an assault on the ** Yankees " to 
cut their way out ; that they had refused, and almost 
mutinied, because their commander would not surren- 
der and relieve their sufferings, and had only been 
pacified by the assurance that boats enough would 
be finished in a week to carry them all over. The 
rebel pickets also said that houses in the city had 
been pulled down to get material to build these 
boats with. Afterwards this story was verified : on 
entering the city we found a large number of very 
rudely constructed boats. 

All necessary steps were at once taken to ren- 
der such an attempt abortive. Our pickets were 
doubled ; Admiral Porter was notified, so that the 
river might be more closely watched ; material was 
collected on the west bank of the river to be set on 
fire and light up the river if the attempt was made ; 
and batteries were established along the levee cross- 
ing the peninsula on the Louisiana side. Had the 
attempt been made the garrison of Vicksburg would 
have been drowned, or made prisoners on the Louisi- 
ana side. General Richard Taylor was expected on 
the west bank to co-operate in this movement, I 
believe, but he did not come, nor could he have done 


SO with a force sufficient to be of service. The Mis- 
sissippi was now in our possession from its source to 
its mouth, except in the immediate front of Vicks- 
burg and of Port Hudson. We had nearly ex- 
hausted the country, along a line drawn from Lake 
Providence to opposite Bruinsburg. The roads west 
were not of a character to draw supplies over for any 
considerable force. 

By the ist of July our approaches had reached the 
enemy's ditch at a number of places. At ten points 
we could move under cover to within from five to 
one hundred yards of the enemy. Orders were 
given to make all preparations for assault on the 
6th of July. The debouches were ordered widened 
to afford easy egress, while the approaches were also 
to be widened to admit the troops to pass through 
four abreast. Plank, and bags filled with cotton 
packed in tightly, were ordered prepared, to enable 
the troops to cross the ditches. 

On the night of the ist of July Johnston was be- 
tween Brownsville and the Big Black, and wrote 
Pemberton from there that about the 7th of the 
month an attempt would be made to create a diver- 
sion to enable him to cut his way out. Pemberton 
was a prisoner before this message reached him. 

On July 1st Pemberton, seeing no hope of outside 
relief, addressed the following letter to each of his 
four division commanders : 


" Unless the siege of Vicksburg is raised, or supplies are thrown 
in, it will become necessary very shortly to evacuate the place. I 
see no prospect of the former, and there are maYiy great, if not 
insuperable obstacles in the way of the latter. You are, therefore, 
requested to inform me with as little delay as possible, as to the 
condition of your troops and their ability to make the marches 
and undergo the fatigues necessary to accomplish a successful 

Two of his generals suggested surrender, and the 
other two practically did the same. They expressed 
the opinion that an attempt to evacuate would fail. 
Pemberton had previously got a message to John- 
ston suggesting that he should try to negotiate with 
me for a release of the garrison with their arms. 
Johnston replied that it would be a confession of 
weakness for him to do so ; but he authorized Pem- 
berton to use his name in making such an arrange- 

On the 3d about ten o'clock a.m. white flags ap- 
peared on a portion of the rebel works. Hostilities 
along that part of the line ceased at once. Soon 
two persons were seen coming towards our lines 
bearing a white flag. They proved to be General 
Bowen, a division commander, and Colonel Mont- 
gomery, aide-de-camp to Pemberton, bearing the fol- 
lowing letter to me : 

" I have the honor to propose an armistice for hours, with 

the view to arranging terms for the capitulation of Vicksburg. To 
this end, if agreeable to you, I will appoint three commissioners. 


to meet a like number to be named by yourself, at such place and 
hour to-day as you may find convenient. I make this proposition to 
save the further effusion of blood, which must otherwise be shed to 
a frightful extent, feeling myself fully able to maintain my position 
for a yet indefinite period. This communication will be handed 
you under a flag of truce, by Major-General John S. Bo wen." 

It was a glorious sight to officers and soldiers on 
the line where these white flags were visible, and the 
news soon spread to all parts of the command. The 
troops felt that their long and weary marches, hard 
fighting, ceaseless watching by night and day, in a 
hot climate, exposure to all sorts of weather, to dis- 
eases and, worst of all, to the gibes of many Northern 
papers that came to them saying all their suffering 
was in vain, that Vicksburg would never be taken, 
were at last at an end and the Union sure to be 

Bo wen was received by General A. J. Smith, and 
asked to see me. I had been a neighbor of Bowen s 
in Missouri, and knew him well and favorably before 
the war ; but his request was refused. He then sug- 
gested that I should meet Pemberton. To this I 
sent a verbal message saying that, if Pemberton de- 
sired it, I would meet him in front of McPherson's 
corps at three o'clock that afternoon. I also sent 
the following written reply to Pemberton's letter : 

" Your note of this date is just received, proposing an armistice 
for several hours, for the purpose of arranging terms of capitula- 


tion through commissioners, to be appointed, etc. The useless 
effusion of blood you propose stopping by this course can be ended 
at any time you may choose, by the unconditional surrender of 
the city and garrison. Men who have shown so much endurance 
and courage as those now in Vicksburg, will always challenge the 
respect of an adversary, and I can assure you will be treated with 
all the respect due to prisoners of war. I do not favor the propo- 
sition of appointing commissioners to arrange the terms of capitu- 
lation, because I have no terms other than those indicated above." 

At three o'clock Pemberton appeared at the point 
suggested in my verbal message, accompanied by the 
same officers who had borne his letter of the morning. 
Generals Ord, McPherson, Logan and A. J. Smith, 
and several officers of my staff, accompanied me. 
Our place of meeting was on a hillside within a few 
hundred feet of the rebel lines. Near by stood a 
stunted oak-tree, which was made historical by the 
event. It was but a short time before the last ves- 
tige of its body, root and limb had disappeared, the 
fragments taken as trophies. Since then the same 
tree has furnished as many cords of wood, in the 
shape of trophies, as " The True Cross." 

Pemberton and I had served in the same division 
during part of the Mexican War. I knew him very 
well therefore, and greeted him as an old acquaint- 
ance. He soon asked what terms I proposed to 
give his army if it surrendered. My answer was the 
same as proposed in my reply to his letter. Pember- 
ton then said, rather snappishly, ** The conference 


might as well end," and turned abruptly as if to leave. 
I said, "Very well." General Bo wen, I saw, was 
very anxious that the surrender should be consum* 
mated. His manner and remarks while Pemberton 
and I were talking, showed this. He now proposed 
that he and one of our generals should have a con- 
ference. I had no objection to this, as nothing could 
be made binding upon me that they might propose. 
Smith and Bowen accordingly had a conference, dur- 
ing which Pemberton and I, moving a short dis- 
tance away towards the enemy's lines were in con- 
versation. After a while Bowen suggested that the 
Confederate army should be allowed to march out 
with the honors of war, carrying their small arms 
and field artillery. This was promptly and uncere- 
moniously rejected. The interview here ended, I 
agreeing, however, to send a letter giving final terms 
by ten o'clock that night. 

Word was sent to Admiral Porter soon after the 
correspondence with Pemberton commenced, so that 
hostilities might be stopped on the part of both army 
and navy. It was agreed on my parting with Pem- 
berton that they should not be renewed until our 
correspondence ceased.- 

When I returned to my headquarters I sent for 
all the corps and division commanders with the army 
immediately confronting Vicksburg. Half the army 
was from eight to twelve miles off, waiting for John- 


ston. I informed them of the contents of Pember- 
ton's letters, of my reply and the substance of the 
interview, and that I was ready to hear any suggest 
tion ; but would hold the power of deciding entirely 
in my own hands. This was the nearest approach to 
a -'council of war" I ever held. Against the gen- 
eral, and almost unanimous judgment of the council 
I sent the following letter : 

" In conformity with agreement of this afternoon, I will submit 
the following proposition for the surrender of the City of Vicks- 
burg, public stores, etc. On your accepting the terms proposed, I 
will march in one division as a guard, and take possession at eight 
A.M. to-morrow. As soon as rolls can be made out, and paroles 
be signed by officers and men, you will be allowed to march out 
of our lines, the officers taking with them their side-arms and 
clothing, and the field, staff and cavalry officers one horse each. 
The rank and file will be allowed all their clothing, but no other 
property. If these conditions are accepted, any amount of ra- 
tions you may deem necessary can be taken from the stores you 
now have, and also the necessary cooking utensils for preparing 
them. Thirty wagons also, counting two two-horse or mule teams 
as one, will be allowed to transport such articles as cannot be 
carried along. The same conditions will be allowed to all sick and 
wounded officers and soldiers as fast as they become able to travel. 
The paroles for these latter must be signed, however, whilst offi- 
cers present are authorized to sign the roll of prisoners." 

By the terms of the cartel then in force, prisoners 
captured by either army were required to be for- 
warded as soon as possible to either Aiken's land- 
ing below Dutch Gap on the James River, or to 


Vicksburg, there to be exchanged, or paroled until 
they could be exchanged. There was a Confederate 
commissioner at Vicksburg, authorized to make the 
exchange. I did not propose to take him a prisoner, 
but to leave him free to perform the functions of his 
office. Had I insisted upon an unconditional sur- 
render there would have been over thirty thousand 
men to transport to Cairo, very much to the incon- 
venience of the army on the Mississippi. Thence 
the prisoners would have had to be transported by 
rail to Washington or Baltimore ; thence again by 
steamer to Aiken's — all at very great expense. At 
Aiken's they would have had to be paroled, because 
the Confederates did not have Union prisoners to 
give in exchange. Then again Pemberton's army 
was largely composed of men whose homes were in 
the South-west ; I knew many of them were tired of 
the war and would get home just as soon as they 
could. A large number of them had voluntarily 
come into our lines during the siege, and requested 
to be sent north where they could get employment 
until the war was over and they could go to their 

Late at night I received the foUov/ing reply to my 
last letter : 

" I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your commu- 
nication of this date, proposing terms of capitulation for this 

garrison and post. In the main your terms are accepted ; but, in 
Vol. I.— 36 


justice both to the honor and spirit of my troops, manifested in 
the defence of Vicksburg, I have to submit the following amend- 
mentSy which, if acceded to by you, will perfect the agreement 
between us. At ten o'clock a.m. to-morrow, I propose to evacuate 
the works in and around Vicksburg, and to surrender the city and 
garrison under my command, by marching out with my colors and 
arms, stacking them in front of my present lines. After which 
you will take possession. Officers to retain their side-arms and 
personal property, and the rights and property of citizens to be 

This was received after midnight. My reply was 
as follows : 

" I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your com- 
munication of 3d July. The amendment proposed by you 
cannot be acceded to in full. It will be necessary to furnish 
every officer and man with a parole signed by himself, which, with 
the completion of the roll of prisoners, will necessarily take some 
time. Again, I can make no stipulations with regard to the treat- 
ment of citizens and their private property. While I do not pro- 
pose to cause them any undue annoyance or loss, I cannot consent 
to leave myself under any restraint by stipulations. The property 
which officers will be allowed to take with them will be as stated 
in my proposition of last evening ; that is, officers will be allowed 
their private baggage and side-arms, and mounted officers one 
horse each. If you mean by your proposition for each brigade to 
march to the front of the lines now occupied by it, and stack arms 
at ten o'clock a.m., and then return to the inside and there remain 
as prisoners until properly paroled, I will make no objection to it 
Should no notification be received of your acceptance of my 
terms by nine o'clock a.m. I shall regard them as having been 
rejected, and shall act accordingly. Should these terms be ac- 


cepted, white flags should be displayed along your lines to prevent 
such of my troops as may not have been notified, from firing upon 
your men." 

Pemberton promptly accepted these terms. 

During the siege there had been a good deal of 
friendly sparring between the soldiers of the two 
armies, on picket and where the lines were close to- 
gether. All rebels were known as "Johnnies," all 
Union troops as "Yanks." Often "Johnny" would 
call : "Well, Yank, when are you coming into town?" 
The reply was sometimes : " We propose to celebrate 
the 4th of July there." Sometimes it would be : 
" We always treat our prisoners with kindness and 
do not want to hurt them ; " or, " We are holding 
you as prisoners of war while you are feeding your- 
selves." The garrison, from the commanding gen- 
eral down, undoubtedly expected an assault on the 
fourth. They knew from the temper of their men 
it would be successful when made ; and that would be 
a greater humiliation than to surrender. Besides it 
would be attended with severe loss to them. 

The Vicksburg paper, which we received regularly 
through the courtesy of the rebel pickets, said prior 
to the fourth, in speaking of the " Yankee " boast 
that they would take dinner in Vicksburg that day, 
that the best receipt for cooking a rabbit was " First 
ketch your rabbit." The paper at this time and for 
some time previous was printed on the plain side of 


wall paper. The last number was issued on the 
fourth and announced that we had "caught our 

I have no doubt that Pemberton commenced his 
correspondence on the third with a two-fold pur- 
pose : first, to avoid an assault, which he knew 
would be successful, and second, to prevent the 
capture taking place on the great national holiday, 
the anniversary of the Declaration of American In- 
dependence. Holding out for better terms as he did 
he defeated his aim in the latter particular. 

At the appointed hour the garrison of Vicksburg 
marched out of their works and formed line in front, 
stacked arms and marched back in good order. Our 
whole army present witnessed this scene without 
cheering. Logan s division, which had approached 
nearest the rebel works, was the first to march in ; and 
the flag of one of the regiments of his division was 
soon floating over the court-house. Our soldiers 
were no sooner inside the lines than the two armies 
began to fraternize. Our men had had full rations 
from the time the siege commenced, to the close. 
The enemy had been suffering, particularly towards 
the last. I myself saw our men taking bread from 
their haversacks and giving it to the enemy they had 
so recently been engaged in starving out. It was 
accepted with avidity and with thanks. 

Pemberton says in his report : 


" If it should be asked why the 4th of July was selected as the 
day for surrender, the answer is obvious. I believed that upon 
that day I should obtain better terms. Well aware of the vanity 
of our foe, I knew they would attach vast importance to the en- 
trance on the 4th of July into the stronghold of the great river, 
and that, to gratify their national vanity, they would yield then 
what could not be extorted from them at any other time." 

This does not support my view of his reasons for 
selecting the day he did for surrendering. But it 
must be recollected that his first letter asking terms 
was received about lo o'clock a.m., July 3d. It then 
could hardly be expected that it would take twenty- 
four hours to effect a surrender. He knew that 
Johnston was in our rear for the purpose of raising 
the siege, and he naturally would want to hold out as 
long as he could. He knew his men would not re- 
sist an assault, and one was expected on the fourth. 
In our interview he told me he had rations enough 
to hold out for some time — my recollection is two 
weeks. It was this statement that induced me to 
insert in the terms that he was to draw rations for 
his men from his own supplies. 

On the 4th of July General Holmes, with an army 
of eight or nine thousand men belonging to the 
trans-Mississippi department, made an attack upon 
Helena, Arkansas. He was totally defeated by Gen- 
eral Prentiss, who was holding Helena with less than 
forty-two hundred soldiers. Holmes reported his 


loss at 1,636, of which 173 were killed ; but as Pren- 
tiss buried 400, Holmes evidently understated his 
losses. The Union loss was 57 killed, 127 wounded, 
and between 30 and 40 missing. This was the last 
effort on the part of the Confederacy to raise the 
siege of Vicksburg. 

On the third, as soon as negotiations were com 
menced, I notified Sherman and directed him to be 
ready to take the offensive against Johnston, drive 
him out of the State and destroy his army if he 
could. Steele and Ord were directed at the same 
time to be in readiness to join Sherman as soon 
as the surrender took place. Of this Sherman was 

I rode into Vicksburg with the troops, and went to 
the river to exchange congratulations with the navy 
upon our joint victory. At that time I found that 
many of the citizens had been living under ground. 
The ridges upon which Vicksburg is built, and those 
back to the Big Black, are composed of a deep yellow 
clay of great tenacity. Where roads and streets are 
cut through, perpendicular banks are left and stand 
as well as if composed of stone. The magazines of 
the enemy were made by running passage-ways into 
this clay at places where there were deep cuts. Many 
citizens secured places of safety for their families by 
carving out rooms in these embankments. A door- 
way in these cases would be cut in a high bank. 


Starting from the level of the road or street, and after 
running in a few feet a room of the size required was 
carved out of the clay, the dirt being removed by the 
door-way. In some instances I saw where two rooms 
were cut out, for a single family, with a door-way in 
the clay wall separating them. Some of these were 
carpeted and furnished with considerable elaboration. 
In these the occupants were fully secure from the 
shells of the navy, which were dropped into the city 
night and day without intermission. 

1 returned to my old headquarters outside in the 
afternoon, and did not move into the town until the 
sixth. On the afternoon of the fourth I sent Cap- 
tain Wm. M. Dunn of my staff to Cairo, the nearest 
point where the telegraph could be reached, with a 
dispatch to the general-in-chief. It was as follows : 

" The enemy surrendered this morning. The only terms allowed 
is their parole as prisoners of war. This I regard as a great ad- 
vantage to us at this moment. It saves, probably, several days in 
the capture, and leaves troops and transports ready for immediate 
service. Sherman, with a large force, moves immediately on John- 
ston, to drive him from the State. I will send troops to the relief 
of Banks, and return the 9th army corps to Bumside." 

This news, with the victory at Gettysburg won 
the same day, lifted a great load of anxiety from 
the minds of the President, his Cabinet and the 
loyal people all over the North. The fate of the 
Confederacy was sealed when Vicksburg fell. Much 


hard fighting was to be done afterwards and 
many precious lives were to be sacrificed ; but the 
morale was with the supporters of the Union ever 

I at the same time wrote to General Banks in 
forming him of the fall and sending him a copy 
of the terms ; also saying I would send him all 
the troops he wanted to insure the capture of the 
only foothold the enemy now had on the Mississippi 
River. General Banks had a number of copies of 
this letter printed, or at least a synopsis of it, and 
very soon a copy fell into the hands of General 
Gardner, who was then in command of Port Hudson. 
Gardner at once sent a letter to the commander of 
the National forces saying that he had been informed 
of the surrender of Vicksburg and telling how the 
information reached him. He added that if this was 
true, it was useless for him to hold out longer. Gen- 
eral Banks gave him assurances that Vicksburg had 
been surrendered, and General Gardner surrendered 
unconditionally on the 9th of July. Port Hudson 
with nearly 6,000 prisoners, 51 guns, 5,000 small-arms 
and other stores fell into the hands of the Union 
forces : from that day to the close of the rebellion 
the Mississippi River, from its source to its mouth, 
remained in the control of the National troops, 

Pemberton and his army were kept in Vicksburg 
until the whole could be paroled. The paroles 


were in duplicate, by organization (one copy for 
each, Federals and Confederates), and signed by 
the commanding officers of the companies or regi- 
ments. Duplicates were also made for each soldier 
and signed by each individually, one to be retained 
by the soldier signing and one to be retained by us. 
Several hundred refused to sign their paroles, pre- 
ferring to be sent to the North as prisoners to being 
sent back to fight again. Others again kept out of 
the way, hoping to escape either alternative. 

Pemberton appealed to me in person to compel 
these men to sign their paroles, but I declined. It 
also leaked out that many of the men who had 
signed their paroles, intended to desert and go to 
their homes as soon as they got out of our lines. 
Pemberton hearing this, again appealed to me to 
assist him. He wanted arms for a battalion, to act 
as guards in keeping his men together while being 
marched to a camp of instruction, where he ex- 
pected to keep them until exchanged. This request 
was also declined. It was precisely what I expected 
and hoped that they would do. I told him, how- 
ever, that I would see that they marched beyond 
our lines in good order. By the eleventh, just one 
week after the surrender, the paroles were completed 
and the Confederate garrison marched out. Many 
deserted, and fewer of them were ever returned to 
the ranks to fight again than would have been the 


case had the surrender been unconditional and the 
prisoners sent to the James River to be paroled. 

As soon as our troops took possession of the city 
guards were established along the whole line of 
parapet, from the river above to the river below. 
The prisoners were allowed to occupy their old 
camps behind the intrenchments. No restraint was 
put upon them, except by their own commanders. 
They were rationed about as our own men, and 
from our supplies. The men of the two armies 
fraternized as if they had been fighting for the 
same cause. When they passed out of the works 
they had so long and so gallantly defended, be- 
tween lines of their late antagonists, not a cheer 
went up, not a remark was made that would give 
pain. Really, I believe there was a feeling of sad- 
ness just then in the breasts of most of the Union 
soldiers at seeing the dejection of their late antago- 

The day before the departure the following order 
was issued : 

" Paroled prisoners will be sent out of here to-morrow. They 
will be authorized to cross at the railroad bridge, and move from 
there to Edward's Ferry,* and on by way of Raymond. Instruct 
the commands to be orderly and quiet as these prisoners pass, to 
make no offensive remarks, and not to harbor any who fall out of 
ranks after they have passed." 

* Meant Edward's Station. 




THE capture of Vicksburg, with its garrison, ord- 
nance and ordnance stores, and the successful 
battles fought in reaching them, gave new spirit to 
the loyal people of the North. New hopes for the 
final success of the cause of the Union were in- 
spired. The victory gained at Gettysburg, upon the 
same day, added to their hopes. Now the Mississippi 
River was entirely in the possession of the National 
troops ; for the fall of Vicksburg gave us Port 
Hudson at once. The army of northern Virginia 
was driven out of Pennsylvania and forced back to 
about the same ground it occupied in 1861. The 
Army of the Tennessee united with the Army of the 
Gulf, dividing the Confederate States completely. 

The first dispatch I received from the govern- 
ment after the fall of Vicksburg was in these words : 

" I fear your paroling the prisoners at Vicksburg, without ac- 
tual delivery to a proper agent as required by the seventh arti- 
cle of the cartel, may be construed into an absolute release, and 


that the men will immediately be placed in the ranks of the 
enemy. Such has been the case elsewhere. If these prisoners 
have not been allowed to depart, you will detain them until further 

Halleck did not know that they had already been 
delivered into the hands of Major Watts, Confeder- 
ate commissioner for the exchange of prisoners. 

At Vicksburg 31,600 prisoners were surrendered, 
together with 1 72 cannon, about 60,000 muskets and 
a large amount of ammunition. The small-arms 
of the enemy were far superior to the bulk of 
ours. Up to this time our troops at the West had 
been limited to the old United States flint-lock 
muskets changed into percussion, or the Belgian 
musket imported early in the war — almost as dan- 
gerous to the person firing it as to the one aimed 
at — and a few new and improved arms. These 
were of many different calibers, a fact that caused 
much trouble in distributing ammunition during an 
engagement. The enemy had generally new arms 
which had run the blockade and were of uniform 
caliber. After the surrender I authorized all colonels 
whose regiments were armed with inferior muskets, 
to place them in the stack of captured arms and re- 
place them with the latter. A large number of arms 
turned in to the Ordnance Department as captured, 
were thus arms that had really been used by the 
Union army in the capture of Vicksburg. 


In this narrative I have not made the mention I 
should like of officers, dead and alive, whose services 
entitle them to special mention. Neither have I 
made that mention of the navy which its services 
deserve. Suffice it to say, the close of the siege of 
Vicksburg found us with an army unsurpassed, in 
proportion to its numbers, taken as a whole of officers 
and men. A military education was acquired which 
no other school could have given. Men who thought 
a company was quite enough for them to command 
properly at the beginning, would have made good 
regimental or brigade commanders ; most of the 
brigade commanders were equal to the command of 
a division, and one. Ransom, would have been equal 
to the command of a corps at least. Logan and 
Crocker ended the campaign fitted to command in- 
dependent armies. 

General F. P. Blair joined me at Milliken's Bend 
a full-fledged general, without having served in a 
lower grade. He commanded a division in the cam- 
paign. I had known Blair in Missouri, where I had 
voted against him in 1858 when he ran for Congress. 
I knew him as a frank, positive and generous man, 
true to his friends even to a fault, but always a 
leader. I dreaded his coming ; I knew from ex- 
perience that it was more difficult to command two 
generals desiring to be leaders than it was to com- 
mand one army officered intelligently and with sub- 


ordination. It affords me the greatest pleasure to 
record now my agreeable disappointment in respect 
to his character. There was no man braver than he, 
nor was there any who obeyed all orders of his su- 
perior in rank with more unquestioning alacrity. He 
was one man as a soldier, another as a politician. 

The navy under Porter was all it could be, dur- 
ing the entire campaign. Without its assistance the 
campaign could not have been successfully made with 
twice the number of men engaged. It could not 
have been made at all, in the way it was, with any 
number of men without such assistance. The most 
perfect harmony reigned between the two arms of 
the service. There never was a request made, that 
I am aware of, either of the flag-officer or any of 
his subordinates, that was not promptly complied 

The campaign of Vicksburg was suggested and 
developed by circumstances. The elections of 1862 
had gone against the prosecution of the war. Volun- 
tary enlistments had nearly ceased and the draft 
had been resorted to ; this was resisted, and a defeat 
or backward movement would have made its execu- 
tion impossible. A forward movement to a decisive 
victory was necessary. Accordingly I resolved to 
get below Vicksburg, unite with Banks against Port 
Hudson, make New Orleans a base and, with that 
base and Grand Gulf as a starting point, move our 


combined forces against Vicksburg. Upon reaching 
Grand Gulf, after running its batteries and fighting 
a battle, I received a letter from Banks informing 
me that he could not be at Port Hudson under ten 
days, and then with only fifteen thousand men. The 
time was worth more than the reinforcements ; I 
therefore determined to push into the interior of the 
enemy's country. 

With a large river behind us, held above and be- 
low by the enemy, rapid movements were essential 
to success. Jackson was captured the day after a new 
commander had arrived, and only a few days before 
large reinforcements were expected. A rapid move- 
ment west was made ; the garrison of Vicksburg 
was met in two engagements and badly defeated, 
and driven back into its stronghold and there success- 
fully besieged. It looks now as though Providence 
had directed the course of the campaign while the 
Army of the Tennessee executed the decree. 

Upon the surrender of the garrison of Vicksburg 
there were three things that required immediate 
attention. The first was to send a force to drive the 
enemy from our rear, and out of the State. The 
second was to send reinforcements to Banks near 
Port Hudson, if necessary, to complete the triumph 
of opening the Mississippi from its source to its 
mouth to the free navigation of vessels bearing 
the Stars and Stripes. The third was to inform 


the authorities at Washington and the North of 
the good news, to relieve their long suspense and 
strengthen their confidence in the ultimate success 
of the cause they had so much at heart 

Soon after negotiations were opened with General 
Pemberton for the surrender of the city, I notified 
Sherman, whose troops extended from Haines* Bluff 
on the left to the crossing of the Vicksburg and 
Jackson road over the Big Black on the right, and 
directed him to hold his command in readiness to 
advance and drive the enemy from the State as soon 
as Vicksburg surrendered. Steele and Ord were 
directed to be in readiness to join Sherman in his 
move against General Johnston, and Sherman was 
advised of this also. Sherman moved promptly, 
crossing the Big Black at three different points with 
as many columns, all concentrating at Bolton, twenty 
miles west of Jackson. 

Johnston heard of the surrender of Vicksburg 
almost as soon as it occurred, and immediately fell 
back on Jackson. On the 8th of July Sherman was 
within ten miles of Jackson and on the nth was 
close up to the defences of the city and shelling the 
town. The siege was kept up until the morning of 
the 17th, when it was found that the enemy had 
evacuated during the night. The weather was very 
hot, the roads dusty and the water bad. Johnston 
destroyed the roads as he passed and had so much 


the start that pursuit was useless ; but Sherman sent 
one division, Steele's, to Brandon, fourteen miles east 
of Jackson. 

The National loss in the second capture of Jack- 
son was less than one thousand men, killed, wounded 
and missing. The Confederate loss was probably 
less, except in captured. More than this number 
fell into our hands as prisoners. 

Medicines and food were left for the Confederate 
wounded and sick who had to be left behind. A 
large amount of rations was issued to the families 
that remained in Jackson. Medicine and food were 
also sent to Raymond for the destitute families as 
well as the sick and wounded, as I thought it only 
fair that we should return to these people some of 
the articles we had taken while marching through 
the country. I wrote to Sherman : " Impress upon 
the men the importance of going through the State 
in an orderly manner, abstaining from taking any- 
thing not absolutely necessary for their subsistence 
while travelling. They should try to create as favor- 
able an impression as possible upon the people." 
Provisions and forage, when called for by them, were 
issued to all the people, from Bruinsburg to Jackson 
and back to Vicksburg, whose resources had been 
taken for the supply of our army. Very large quan- 
tities of groceries and provisions were so issued. 

Sherman was ordered back to Vicksburg, and his 

Vol. I.— 37 


troops took much the same position they had occu- 
pied before — from the Big Black to Haines Bluff. 

Having cleaned up about Vicksburg and captured 
or routed all regular Confederate forces for more 
than a hundred miles in all directions, I felt that the 
troops that had done so much should be allowed to 
do more before the enemy could recover from the 
blow he had received, and while important points 
might be captured without bloodshed I suggest- 
ed to the General-in-chief the idea of a campaign 
against Mobile, starting from Lake Pontchartrain. 
Halleck preferred another course. The possession 
of the trans-Mississippi by the Union forces seemed 
to possess more importance in his mind than almost 
any campaign east of the Mississippi. I am 
well aware that the President was very anxious to 
have a foothold in Texas, to stop the clamor of some 
of the foreign governments which seemed to be 
seeking a pretext to interfere in the war, at least so 
far as to recognize belligerent rights to the Confed- 
erate States. This, however, could have been easily 
done without wasting troops in western Louisiana 
and eastern Texas, by sending a garrison at once to 
Brownsville on the Rio Grande. 

Halleck disapproved of my proposition to go 
against Mobile, so that I was obliged to settle down 
and see myself put again on the defensive as I had 
been a year before in west Tennessee. It would have 


been an easy thing to capture Mobile at the time I 
proposed to go there. Having that as a base of 
operations, troops could have been thrown into the 
interior to operate against General Bragg's army. 
This would necessarily have compelled Bragg to 
detach in order to meet this fire in his rear. If he 
had not done this the troops from Mobile could have 
inflicted inestimable damage upon much of the coun- 
try from which his army and Lee's were yet receiving 
their supplies. I was so much impressed with this 
idea that I renewed my request later in July and 
again about the ist of August, and proposed sending 
all the troops necessary, asking only the assistance 
of the navy to protect the debarkation of troops at 
or near Mobile. I also asked for a leave of absence 
to visit New Orleans, particularly if my suggestion 
to move against Mobile should be approved. Both 
requests were refused. So far as my experience with 
General Halleck went it was very much easier for 
him to refuse a favor than to grant one. But I did 
not regard this as a favor. It was simply in line of 
duty, though out of my department. 

The General-in-chief having decided against me, 
the depletion of an army, which had won a suc- 
cession of great victories, commenced, as had 
been the case the year before after the fall of 
Corinth when the army was sent where it would 
do the least good By orders, I sent to Banks a 


force of 4,000 men ; returned the 9th corps to Ken- 
tucky and, when transportation had been collected, 
started a division of 5,000 men to Schofield in 
Missouri where Price was raiding the State. I also 
detached a brigade under Ransom to Natchez, to 
garrison that place permanently. This latter move 
was quite fortunate as to the time when Ransom 
arrived there. The enemy happened to have a large 
number, about 5,000 head, of beef cattle there on the 
way from Texas to feed the Eastern armies, and also 
a large amount of munitions of war which had prob- 
ably come through Texas from the Rio Grande and 
which were on the way to Lee's and other armies in 
the East 

The troops that were left with me around Vicks- 
burg were very busily and unpleasantly employed in 
making expeditions against guerilla bands and small 
detachments of cavalry which infested the interior, 
and in destroying mills, bridges and rolling stock on 
the railroads. The guerillas and cavalry were not 
there to fight but to annoy, and therefore disap- 
peared on the first approach of our troops. 

The country back of Vicksburg was filled with 
deserters from Pemberton's army and, it was re- 
ported, many from Johnston's also. The men deter- 
mined not to fight again while the war lasted. Those 
who lived beyond the reach of the Confederate 
army wanted to get to their homes. Those who 


did not, wanted to get North where they could work 
for their support till the war was over. Besides all 
this there was quite a peace feeling, for the time 
being, among the citizens of that part of Missis- 
sippi, but this feeling soon subsided. It is not prob- 
able that Pemberton got off with over 4,000 of his 
army to the camp where he proposed taking them, 
and these were in a demoralized condition. 

On the 7th of August I further depleted my army 
by sending the J 3th corps, General Ord command- 
ing, to Banks. Besides this I received orders to 
co-operate with the latter general in movements west 
of the Mississippi. Having received this order I 
went to New Orleans to confer with Banks about the 
proposed movement. All these movements came 
to naught. 

During this visit I reviewed Banks' army a short 
distance above Carrollton. The horse I rode was 
vicious and but little used, and on my return to New 
Orleans ran away and, shying at a locomotive in 
the street, fell, probably on me. I was rendered 
insensible, and when I regained consciousness I 
found myself in a hotel near by with several doctors 
attending me. My leg was swollen from the knee 
to the thigh, and the swelling, almost to the point of 
bursting, extended along the body up to the arm-pit. 
The pain was almost beyond endurance. I lay at 
the hotel something over a week without being able 


to turn myself in bed. I had a steamer stop at the 
nearest point possible, and was carried to it on a 
litter. I was then taken to Vicksburg, where I 
remained unable to move for some time after- 

While I was absent General Sherman declined to 
assume command because, he said, it would confuse 
the records ; but he let all the orders be made in my 
name, and was glad to render any assistance he could. 
No orders were issued by my staff, certainly no im- 
portant orders, except upon consultation with and 
approval of Sherman. 

On the 13th of September, while I was still in 
New Orleans, Halleck telegraphed to me to send all 
available forces to Memphis and thence to Tuscum- 
bia. to co-operate with Rosecrans for the relief of 
Chattanooga. On the 15th he telegraphed again 
for all available forces to go to Rosecrans. This 
was received on the 27th. I was still contined to 
mv bed. unable to rise from it without assistance ; 
but I at once ordered Sherman to send one division 
to Memphis as fast as transports could be provided. 
The division of McPherson s corps, which had got 
off and was on the way to join Steele in Arkansas, 
was recalled and sent, likewse, to report to Hurlbut 
at Memphis^ Hurlbut was directed to forward these 
two divisions with two others from his own corps at 
once, and also to send any other troops that might be 


returning there. Halleck suggested that some good 
man, like Sherman or McPherson, should be sent to 
Memphis to take charge of the troops going east. 
On this I sent Sherman, as being, I thought, the 
most suitable person for an independent command, 
and besides he was entitled to it if it had to be given 
to any one. He was directed to take with him 
another division of his corps. This left one back, 
but having one of McPherson's divisions he had 
still the equivalent. 

Before the receipt by me of these orders the battle 
of Chickamauga had been fought and Rosecrans 
forced back into Chattanooga. The administra- 
tion as well as the General-in-chief was nearly fran- 
tic at the situation of affairs there. Mr. Charles A. 
Dana, an officer of the War Department, was sent 
to Rosecrans headquarters I do not know what 
his instructions were, but he was still in Chattanooga 
when I arrived there at a later period. 

It seems that Halleck suggested that I should 
go to Nashville as soon as able to move and take 
general direction of the troops moving from the 
west. I received the following dispatch dated 
October 3d : *' It is the wish of the Secretary of War 
that as soon as General Grant is able he will 
come to Cairo and report by telegraph." I was 
still very lame, but started without delay. Arriv- 
ing at Columbus on the i6th I reported by tele- 


graph: "Your dispatch from Cairo of the 3d 
directing me to report from Cairo was received 
at 11.30 on the loth. Left the same day with 
staff and headquarters and am here en route for 
Cairo. " 






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