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Full text of "Under the old flag; recollections of military operations in the War for the Union, the Spanish War, the Boxer Rebellion, etc"

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Published October, 1912 

Printed in the United States of America 




Correspondence leading to detail Large but widely scat 
tered command Join Sherman at Gaylesville Hearty 
welcome and carte blanche But little confidence in 
cavalry Conversations with Sherman Fit out Kil- 
patrick for March to the Sea Cavalry expedition to 
Blue Mountain Join Thomas at Nashville 1 


Details of reorganization Hood at Gadsden Grant un 
easy Rawlins sends reinforcements from Missouri 
Gathering and remounting cavalry Hood s advance 
Wilson takes the field Columbia on the Duck River 
Forrest turns position Schofield retreats Affair at 
Spring Hill Victory at Franklin Cavalry defeats 
Forrest Interview with Schofield and Stanley Retire 
to Nashville Correspondence with Grant s headquar 
ters Impressing horses Thomas approves and co 
operates 25 


Hood hanging on for the winter Uneasiness in Washing 
ton Injustice toward Thomas Orders directing him 




to fight Full correspondence Situation at Nashville 
Thomas imperturbable Embargo of storm Van 
Duzer to Eckert Thaw begins Army moves out 
Defeats Hood Thomas vindicated Cavalry turned 
enemy s flank and took him in rear Hood s retreat 
Wilson s pursuit 64 



Hollowtree Gap Affair at the West Horpeth Forrest 
takes the rear Charge of the Fourth Cavalry Delay 
at Rutherford Creek and Duck River Cheers of the 
infantry Winter floods and ice Croxton routs Bu- 
ford Enemy makes only counter attack End of cam 
paign McCook drives Lyon from Kentucky Sum 
mary of campaign and results 128 


March to Gravelly Springs and Waterloo Pinhook Town 
Construction of cantonments Long and Upton ar 
rive Division and brigade commanders Organization 
of command Daily instruction Review for Thomas 
Knipe detached to Canby The Confederacy is doomed 
Flag of truce to Forrest Ready to move Amplest 
latitude of an independent commander 160 



Line of march through northern Alabama Passage of the 
rivers Face to face with Forrest Forrest s mistakes 
Defeat and pursuit of Forrest Capture of Tusca- 
loosa Close in on Selma Assault and capture of 

Selma Results and summary of campaign 190 






Message to Canby Meeting with Forrest Campaign 
against Montgomery, West Point, and Columbus 
Colored regiments Capture of rebel supply boats by 
Major Weston 237 


Capture of West Point by La Grange Minty at Double 
Bridges Occupation of Macon Surrender of General 
Cobb Peace declared Croxton s raid Resume of 
campaign 270 



Administration of affairs in Macon Measures for the cap 
ture of Davis Jefferson Davis captured 297 



Winslow rebuilds railroad from Atlanta to Dalton Presi 
dent s message Governor Brown of Georgia Recon 
struction policy Conference with Brown Attitude of 
the churches General Cobb s letter The South Mus 
tering out of Cavalry Corps Career of officers of Cav 
alry Corps Letter to Sherman Andersonville Prison 
Meeting with Grant 344 



Disbanded officers National Express and Transportation 
Company Leave of absence Defenses of the Dela 
ware Surveys and internal improvements Panama 
Canal Transferred to the infantry Des Moines and 
Rock Island Rapids St. Louis and Southeastern Rail 
way Resign from the army Cairo and Vincennes 

Railroad Employments of civil life 380 






Cuba and the Cuban Rebellion Cane and beet sugar 
Spanish oppression The Maine blown up in the har 
bor of Havana Declaration of war Reenter army as 
senior major general from civil life Interview with the 
President Composition of army 402 


Volunteered to command First Division, First Army Corps 
Santiago Campaign Ordered to Porto Rico by the 
way of Charleston Waiting for transports Hospital 
ity of Charleston 424 


Sail for Island Land at Ponce Miles in chief command 
Advance to Juana Diaz Capture of Coamo and its 
garrison Rumors of peace Armistice End of the 
War Civil administration Address planters at El 
Paraiso Relieved from duty Return to the States . . 439 



Commanding First Army Corps at Lexington and Macon 
Renew acquaintance with people at Macon Review for 
President McKinley Remarks on Continental Union 
Negro regiments left behind Transfer Corps to Ma- 
tanzas Recommended for chief command Brooke as 
Governor General Province and city of Matanzas fall 
to my lot Conditions prevailing in the Island Recep 
tion of Maximo Gomez Brooke s administration 460 





Absence of national policy State of law in Cuba Inspec 
tion of Provinces under my command Population and 
distressing conditions Recommend measures for their 
relief Meeting of generals in Havana Report on 
economic, industrial, and social conditions Grafters 
and speculators at work Wood, Governor General . . . 481 


Interview with Secretary of War Conference with the 
President Statement to the Senate Committee on Re 
lations with Cuba Return to Matanzas Death of my 
wife Annual reports and general statements 498 


Condition of affairs in China Offer my services to the Sec 
retary of War Ordered to Peking The only general 
of any service familiar with theater of operations In 
command of South Gate of Forbidden City Reestab- 
lishment of order Commanded joint American and 
British forces in capture of Eight Temples Count von 
Waldersee Return to America Brigadier General, 
Regular Army Retired by Special Act of Congress 
Summary of services 517 


Condition of the South at the Close of the War of the Re 
bellion . 545 





Correspondence leading to detail Large but widely scat 
tered command Join Sherman at Gaylesville 
Hearty welcome and carte blanche But little confi 
dence in cavalry Conversations with Sherman Fit 
out Kilpatrick for March to the Sea Cavalry expedi 
tion to Blue Mountain Join Thomas at Nashville. 

The correspondence which led to my detail for the 
important work of reorganizing and commanding 
Sherman s cavalry is interesting. It gives a glimpse 
of the grim humor in which Sherman 1 often, and 
Grant sometimes, 2 indulged. It also shows the flat 
tering estimate in which those great soldiers held 
me, as well as the unflattering estimate in which up 
to that time they held the western cavalry and its 
leaders. I had just passed twenty-seven and had 
seen but six months service with cavalry in the field, 
but I had been in the war from the beginning and 
was not lacking confidence or ambition. 

1 0. R. Serial No. 79, p. 203. 
/&., p. 750. 



The telegrams are found in the Official Records 
but widely apart, and as they have never been col 
lected in one publication, it may be worth while to 
quote them here. The first, from Grant at City 
Point to Sherman at Atlanta, was dated September 
22, 1864, 10 P. M. It runs as follows : 

Do you not require a good cavalry leader? It has 
seemed to me that you have during your campaign suf 
fered for the want of an officer in command of cavalry, 
whose judgment and dash could both be relied on. I 
could send you General Ayres, who, I believe, would make 
a capital commander and know him to be one of our best 
officers in other capacities. 1 

To this Sherman replied on the 23rd: 

I do want very much a good cavalry officer to com 
mand, and have been maneuvering three months to get 
Mower here, but Canby has him up White River. My 
present cavalry need infantry guards and pickets, and it 
is hard to get them within ten miles of the front. If you 
think Ayres will do I would like him. Romeyn B. Ayres 
is, or was, as bad a growler as Granger. I would prefer 
Gregg or Wilson, anybody with proper rank will be better 
than Garrard. Kilpatrick is well enough for small scouts, 
but I do want a man of sense and courage to manage my 
cavalry, and will take any one that you have tried. 2 

The subject was evidently now uppermost in 
Grant s mind, and on the 25th he wired Meade : 

Has Gregg returned yet ? I will have to send a cavalry 
commander to Sherman and think of sending Gregg. At 
present, and to this time, there has not been an officer 
with the cavalry in the west whom it was safe to trust, 
without infantry to guard them from danger. The rebels 

1 O. R. Serial No. 78, p. 438. 
a O. B. Serial No. 98, p. 442. 



are equally badly off. With either Gregg, Torbert, or Wil 
son in command of Sherman s cavalry, they could travel 
over that western country with impunity. 1 

To this Meade replied the same day: 

General Gregg has returned. In reference to your 
proposition to send him west, I have to call your attention 
to the fact that there is no other general officer of cavalry 
with this army but General Davies, one of the youngest 
and most recently promoted, whereas with General Sheri 
dan s army are Torbert, Merritt, Custer, Devin, Chapman, 
and Mclntosh. 2 

Why General Meade left my name out of the list, 
whether for reasons complimentary or otherwise, 
I have no means of knowing, nor did it make any dif 
ference in the result. Although there is no dispatch 
in the files from Grant to Sheridan covering the sub 
ject, it is yet certain that there was such a telegram, 
authorizing and instructing the latter to send either 
Torbert or myself, and as stated at the close of the 
last chapter, on consultation between Sheridan, Tor 
bert, and myself, the honor with the burden and 
the risk fell to me. In his reply to Grant Oct. 1, 
1864, at 10 A. M., Sheridan was good enough to do 
so in the following terms. 

I have ordered General Wilson to report to Sherman. 
He is the best man for the position. 3 

He had already issued Special Order No. 44, of 
September 30: 

In compliance with instructions from the lieutenant 
general commanding, Brig. Gen. J. H. Wilson is hereby re- 

1 O. E. Serial No. 98, p. 1008. 

2 16., 1008. 

O. R. Serial No. 91, p. 249. 



lieved from duty with the Third Cavalry Division, and 
will report without delay to Major General Sherman, com 
manding Military Division of the Mississippi, as chief of 
cavalry. 1 

The Lieutenant General lost no time in confirm 
ing the detail, and on October 4, at 11.30 A. M., wired 
Stanton : 

General Wilson has been selected to go west to com 
mand Sherman s cavalry. As he is junior to the officers 
now serving with it, I would respectfully request that he 
be brevetted a major general and assigned to duty with 
that rank. 2 

Both requests, anticipating my wishes as ex 
pressed in a telegram to Eawlins of the same date, 3 
were promptly complied with on October 5 by the 
War Department in Special Orders No. 333 : 

By direction of the President, Bvt. Maj. Gen. James 
H. "Wilson, U. S. Volunteers, is assigned to duty according 
to his brevet rank, in the armies now serving under Major 
General Sherman, U. S. Army.* 

And then, as if to weight me with a great sense 
of responsibility and to stimulate my efforts to the 
utmost, Grant sent a telegram to Sherman, October 
4, 1864, and at its close paid me the greatest com 
pliment of my life : 

General Wilson has been ordered to report to you and, 
that he may have rank to command your cavalry, I have 
asked that he be brevetted a major general and assigned 
with that rank. I believe Wilson will add fifty per cent, 
to the effectiveness of your cavalry. 5 

1 O. E. Serial No. 91, p. 218. 

2 O. E. Serial No. 79, p. 63. 

3 O. E. Serial No. 79, p. 104. 

4 O. E. Serial No. 79, pp. 714-753. 
6 /&., pp. 358, 429. 



Perhaps if I had known what was expected of 
me when I left camp at Harrisonburg for my new 
field of duty and responsibility on that bright morn 
ing of October 2, 1864, I should not have gone 
with a heart so buoyant. When I recall now that 
there were "present and absent " on the rolls of the 
seventy-two regiments, which were to constitute my 
new command, nominally the large force of about 
fifty thousand men, and that there were actually less 
than ten thousand with the colors, the difficulty of 
the task of reorganizing this widely scattered mass 
into an efficient fighting force, strong enough and 
compact enough to take the field against Forrest, 
Wheeler, Buford, Jackson, Chalmers, Armstrong, 
Eoddy, Lyon, and Eucker with any certainty of suc 
cess would have been distressingly apparent. To 
reach with any reasonable certainty the high mark 
set for me by General Grant or to add fifty per cent, 
to the effectiveness of even ten thousand men would 
have been a task worthy of any young soldier s 
highest ambition. It was, doubtless, well to leave me 
free and of good heart for the responsibilities and 
burden of each day as they presented themselves. 

My ride down the valley was romantic and in 
teresting and, fortunately, was without accident or 
delay. Most of the route was infested by Mosby s 
scouts and bushwackers, who had lately killed or 
captured several of our officers, but my escort was 
strong enough to make an attack hazardous. I slept 
at Winchester the first night, where I met Eoden- 
bough of the regular cavalry, Ludington, my quar 
termaster, and Taggart, my commissary. I reached 
Martinburg at noon the next day 1 and took the 

1 0. K. Serial No. 91, p. 271, Neill to Halleck. 


train for Washington, arriving there that night. I 
spent the 4th at the War Department with Assistant 
Secretary Dana and Colonel Martin, who that after 
noon turned over to me a dapple gray gelding of 
fine form, fire, and action, which they had selected 
from the Government stables for my special use. 
Because of his blazing black eyes and his extraor 
dinary spirit, I named him " Sheridan, " and sent 
him with the "Waif" by rail to Nashville. The 
journey lasted several days during which it was 
impossible for the horses to lie down, and on arriv 
ing at Louisville, as soon as they struck the ground 
"Sheridan" ran away in mere exuberance of feel 
ing, in spite of all his groom could do to prevent it. 
He, however, kept pretty well in sight and wound 
up with his rider at the railway station where he 
was duly entrained with the rest for Nashville. I 
rode him thenceforth in turn throughout the Hood 
campaign. While in camp at Gravelly Springs most 
of the hard work fell upon him, and on more than 
one occasion he covered the mud road between head 
quarters and Waterloo Landing, a distance of 
twelve miles, in fifty minutes without turning a hair. 
During that winter I discovered his great powers 
of endurance and his extraordinary capacity as a 
high jumper. Although he had been badly handled 
and was both impatient and headstrong, he was ab 
solutely without vice, and soon became noted for his 
docility as well as for his beautiful behavior on 
parade. He naturally loved action, military music, 
and pageantry, and had no idea of fear, and it was 
for these qualities no less than for his showy ap 
pearance that I rode him in the decisive charge at 
Selma, where he received a mortal wound from 



which he died at Macon nearly three weeks later. 

I was still the junior brigadier of both the East 
ern and Western Armies and, although the Presi 
dent had hastened to assign me to duty under my 
brevet rank, it was apparent that my new and much 
greater command would bring me in contact with 
many officers who would more or less openly resent 
my selection for so great a command. It was on 
this account that the President issued his order of 
October 5, 1864. 

I had already reached certain conclusions, not 
only from the study of military history, but from 
observation in the field, as to the proper functions 
of cavalry and the necessity of handling it in masses 
against the enemy s front, flanks, and communica 
tions, and this made it quite sure that the responsi 
bility as well as a large part of the credit would 
be mine, as will more fully appear in the following 
narrative. Obviously, I owed the opportunity which 
the new detail brought me largely to General Grant s 
impressions while serving with him in the close and 
intimate relations of the two great campaigns of 
Vicksburg and Chattanooga. Those good impres 
sions had doubtless been strengthened by my admin 
istration of the Cavalry Bureau as well as by my 
experience with the Third Cavalry Division in the 
Virginia campaigns. It was perhaps known to him 
that a prejudice existed against me on the part of 
those who had been overslaughed by my assignment 
to that command, but this strengthened rather than 
weakened me with him for the simple reason that 
he was not only responsible for it, but subject to a 
similar criticism from those he had superseded in 
still higher command. 



The fact is, that no fixed rule had yet been es 
tablished for the selection of generals or for their 
assignment to command. The rule of seniority 
which works well enough in times of peace, as might 
have been expected, was found to be entirely inap 
plicable in a great war following a long peace, and 
was specially so in the War for the Union. Selec 
tion was the inevitable alternative, but that was by 
no means simple in its application. Whether the 
initiative should be exercised by the President or 
Secretary of War, who were the real appointing 
power under the law, but who were always more or 
less accessible to the politicians and place hunters, 
or by the generals in the field, remained to the end 
unsettled and largely a matter of chance. Unusual 
liberty was allowed Grant after he became lieuten 
ant general and yet there was necessarily, even in 
his selections, a large personal element based upon 
his own observation and judgment, which could 
not be brought within any fixed rule. 

It was also true that the organization and man 
agement of our armies in the field, and especially of 
the various branches of the service in their rela 
tions to each other, had not yet been systematized. 
Certain general principles were observed and cer 
tain units were established, but the actual practice 
in the field and the daily use and inter-relation of 
the different arms were neither well settled nor 
uniformly applied. The generals were neither edu 
cated alike nor had they the same experience. Each 
had his own ideas and each applied them to suit 
himself, according to the exigencies of the case 
as he saw them. 

It is well known that with all his experience the 



aged and patriotic Scott, who was general-in-chief 
when the war broke out, steadily set his face against 
calling volunteer cavalry into the field, because, as 
he alleged, the war would be over before cavalry 
could be organized and properly trained for service. 
Months of valuable time were wasted before this 
idea was overthrown and effective measures taken 
to raise mounted troops. Even then but few regu 
lar officers were permitted to take a hand in that 
work. "Chiefs of cavalry, " so-called, were ap 
pointed in due course at each department or army 
headquarters, but no fixed rule was prescribed 
defining their duties or authority. While they were 
generally selected for their experience and good 
standing in the Old Army, they were in most cases 
left to decide their own functions and duties, 
and, especially, to determine for themselves how 
far and in what cases they would exercise actual 
command. This naturally tended to make them or 
namental staff officers rather than cavalry leaders, 
and this tendency was still further developed by 
the fact that but few of them had any definite ideas 
as to how the cavalry regiments should be brigaded 
and formed into divisions and army corps, or how 
they should be handled in cooperation with the other 
arms. Whether the cavalry should be used mainly 
as orderlies, escorts, and scouts, as was too long the 
practice, or what part of it should be so used and 
what part of it should be kept in readiness as a 
fighting force continued to be till the end of the war 
largely a matter of chance. Whether the brigades 
and divisions should be sent out separately on eccen 
tric movements, or collected into masses and used in 
cooperation with infantry on the enemy s flanks, 


rear, and communications, or alone in well-timed in 
dependent operations against his interior depots, ar 
senals, factories, railroads, and bridges, always re 
mained more or less an open question. 

Fortunately, I had acquired definite and fixed 
ideas on all these subjects and still more fortunately, 
in spite of sharp criticism on the part of Halleck, the 
chief-of-staff, and of Stanton, the secretary of war, 
I was permitted, during the Nashville campaign, as 
far as our resources would allow, to carry them into 
effect. Through Grant s special intercession, in at 
least one important instance, I was to have a free 
hand with the largest latitude of an independent 
commander, while through Sherman s authority, I 
was permitted to call in all outlying details and de 
tachments and to organize a separate army corps 
which should include all the mounted troops of the 
four departments, constituting his military division. 

I started for my new field of duty on the day 
I received my new assignment by the way of Balti 
more, Wilmington, and Philadelphia, where I had 
business or social engagements which required a 
few hours in each place. I arrived at Louisville 
early on October 9, and at once took train for 
Nashville. At Louisville an amusing incident took 
place. In those days each train was furnished with 
a car for the special accommodation of ladies, and, 
as it was somewhat more comfortable than the rest, 
officers always wanted to get seats in the special car, 
but this was difficult unless they had ladies with 
them. One of my staff, acquainted with a clever 
actress playing at Louisville, introduced me to her. 
This made it easy for me and the aid-de-camp carry 
ing her boxes to enter the car with her, but the other 



aids were promptly shut out, whereupon the quick 
witted actress passed her band-box out through the 
window to another and this brought him promptly 
within the privileged group. He in turn passed the 
box out to the others until all had safely run the 
gantlet. The incident gave rise to a good deal of 
fun and made the journey to Nashville quite a gay 
and pleasant one. 

From Nashville we pushed on through Chatta 
nooga to Dalton, beyond which the railroad had 
been badly broken by Hood s advance. Here we 
took horse for Eesaca and Kingston and, after a 
short railroad transit, pushed on through Kome to 
Sherman s headquarters at Gaylesville, west of the 
Coosa Eiver in northeastern Alabama close to the 
state line. It will be recalled that after the occupa 
tion of Atlanta, Hood took the offensive, marching 
rapidly along the Nashville and Chattanooga Kail- 
road to the northwest for the purpose of breaking 
up Sherman s communications and invading middle 
Tennessee. Through Corse s gallantry his attack at 
Altoona failed, but, withal, he continued north 
through Besaca and Dalton to Tunnel Hill, whence 
he withdrew to Gadsden in northeastern Alabama. 

This aggressive return was vigorous and excit 
ing and, although Sherman had a large preponder 
ance of force, he inflicted no material damage upon 
Hood. The fact is that he could neither overtake 
nor bring that wily and fleet-footed commander to 
an engagement. He, therefore, gave up the chase 
in disgust and when I joined him was full of the 
March to the Sea. This would leave Hood free to 
follow him or to invade middle Tennessee, subject 
only to such resistance as Thomas might make with 



the Fourth Corps and such other organizations and 
detachments as might be available for that purpose. 
It was an interesting situation and I dropped in upon 
Sherman in the midst of his correspondence con 
cerning it. I found him much perturbed by Hood s 
movements and the uncertainty of the future cam 
paign, but firm in the conviction that his true policy 
was to "cut loose, break roads, and do irreparable 
damage, while Thomas should be left to take care 
of Hood and destroy him." 

Sherman gave me a hearty welcome, and after 
a few questions asked me to draft the order organ 
izing the "Cavalry Corps, Military Division of the 
Mississippi, " putting me in command and empower 
ing me to make such dispositions and arrangements 
as I might think best for getting the largest possible 
force into the field and inflicting the greatest possi 
ble amount of damage upon the enemy. He frankly 
declared his dissatisfaction with his previous chiefs 
of cavalry and cavalry commanders, as well as with 
the work which they had done. He evidently had 
but little confidence in that arm. He thought the 
Confederate generals, especially Forrest, had been 
far superior to his, and bluntly expressed his doubt 
as to what I could accomplish. He gave me full 
authority, however, with all the encouragement he 
could think of, and generously declared that he 
would not claim any part of the honors but would 
leave me the full credit of whatever success I might 
achieve. 1 Of course, this was most encouraging. 

I had known Sherman intimately during the great 
campaigns of Vicksburg and Chattanooga and, al 
though he was nearly twenty years my senior, he 

1 O. R. Serial Xo. 79, p. 443, Wilson to Rawlins, Oct. 26, 1864. 



assumed no superiority on that account, but acted 
toward me with perfect cordiality and frankness. 
He was a man of wide experience, extensive reading, 
and high attainments, and was singularly brilliant 
and entertaining in conversation. He received me 
with the welcome of an old friend and at once gave 
me his entire confidence, during which he explained 
that he had intended to organize his available cav 
alry into three small divisions, but upon my repre 
sentation that so far as I could make out he had 
enough regiments in the military division, if they 
could be got hold of, to make six, certainly, and per 
haps seven, large divisions, he gave me carte blanche 
and bade me do the best I could, merely asking me to 
give Kilpatrick s division a full mount and a com 
plete supply of ammunition, clothing, and other sup 
plies, for the March to the Sea, while I should gather 
up the rest of the mounted and dismounted cavalry, 
wherever found, and help Thomas as best I could to 
defeat and destroy Hood. 

It will be recalled that I succeeded Kilpatrick 
in command of the Third Cavalry Division, and was 
now to relieve him as chief of cavalry for the Army 
of the Tennessee. In asking me to outfit his divi 
sion Sherman said with perfect frankness, but ap 
parently without intending to disparage him: "I 
know Kilpatrick is a hell of a damned fool, but I 
want just that sort of a man to command my cavalry 
on this expedition. " He explained many years af 
terwards that if he had used such language, which 
he could not recall, he had done it because he knew 
that that was what a good many of his officers were 
in the habit of calling Kilpatrick. 1 

1 O. E. Serial No. 79, p. 64, Grant to Sherman, Oct. 4. 

In regard to my assignment, Sherman says : 

General Grant, in designating General Wilson to com 
mand my cavalry, predicted that he would by his per 
sonal activity increase the effect of that arm "fifty per 
cent.," and he advised that he should be sent south to do 
all that I had proposed to do with the main army, but I 
had not so much confidence in cavalry as he had and pre 
ferred to adhere to my original intention of going my 
self with a competent command. 1 

October 22 and the next seven days were full 
of interest and made a lasting impression on my 
mind. After supper Sherman dismissed his staff 
to their tents with the remark that he wanted "to 
talk with Wilson. " The night was clear, fresh, and 
crisp, and this made the blazing camp fire in front 
of his tent most comfortable. Sherman was full of 
plans for the future. He had about given up hope 
of bringing Hood to battle and was content to leave 
him to the care of General Thomas, although he did 
not seem to have any clear idea of the troops 
Thomas would be able to gather, how long it would 
take, or when they would be able to confront the 
enemy. He had selected the flower of his three 
armies, amounting to about sixty thousand infantry 
and five thousand cavalry, with plenty of artillery, 
all under his favorite leaders, for his own column, 
but strangely enough, when we began our conversa 
tion, his mind had not fully settled on the route he 
should take. He was clear that he should "march 
to the sea," but whether it should be to Pensacola, 

1 " Personal Memoirs of General William T. Sherman", third 
edition, Vol. II, pp. 159 et seq. Also O. E. Serial No. 79, p. 202, 
Grant to Sherman, Oct. 11. 



Apalachicola, Old Fort Meyers, or the mouth of the 
Chattahoochee, on the Gulf of Mexico, rather than 
to Brunswick or Savannah on the Atlantic, 1 seemed 
far from settled. I pointed out that a march to 
any point on the Gulf of Mexico, however far to 
the east, would take him away from the Confederate 
armies in the field and out of his true theater of 
operations almost as completely as would a march 
to Lake Erie or Lake Michigan. This seemed to 
stagger him but he looked at the proposition from 
every possible point before he finally decided in 
favor of the South Atlantic coast. While the latter 
lay in the proper direction and promised much bet 
ter results, I suggested that he would probably find 
the country of central and eastern Georgia provided 
with ample supplies and, unless defended by a much 
more formidable force than was then in that region, 
he need not go to the coast at all, but would find it 
much better to pass through Augusta on the interior 
short line toward Grant s army in Virginia. I 
called special attention to the fact that Hood was 
then near the Tennessee border and could hardly 
overtake him, no matter what direction he might 
take. While he admitted all that and finally settled 
down on going to the South Atlantic seaboard, he 
did not at that time, nor so long as I remained with 
him, say definitely what his objective point would be. 
And it is now well known that he met with no 
effective resistance, but had a picnic excursion, liv 
ing on the fat of the land, going to Brunswick first, 
and finally to Savannah. In this he lost much val 
uable time, which the enemy improved by collecting 

1 O. R. Serial No. 79, Sherman to Grant, Oct. 11; also Ib., p. 
365, Sherman to Thomas, Oct. 19. 



the remnants of Hood s defeated army from Ten 
nessee, and, uniting it with all the other Confederate 
troops they could find outside of Lee s army, con 
fronted the invaders in the Carolinas with a per 
fection of strategy and a boldness of determination 
which, like Hood s movement against Nashville, 
lacked nothing but weight to give it a complete vic 

During our discussion, which extended far be 
yond midnight, I developed my views in regard to 
collecting, massing, and remounting the cavalry, and 
giving them magazine rifles and carbines, all of 
which he fully approved. He not only gave me 
every encouragement, but directed me to return to 
Nashville, where I could more readily carry out 
my plans and more fully cooperate with Thomas in 
the work of destroying Hood. With that job done 
and he seemed to have no doubt of our success he 
forcibly suggested that I should bring the Cavalry 
Corps at its greatest possible strength through the 
middle of the Confederacy, and join him in Virginia 
for the final conflict with Lee and his army. This 
was a splendid program, but, as will be seen, was 
carried out only in part, for the simple reason that 
the debacle came sooner than was expected. 

During the memorable night at Gaylesville Sher 
man asked many questions about Grant, the condi 
tion of his army, and the progress he was making 
toward finishing the great work before him in Vir 
ginia. He commented freely on Grant s delays and 
disappointments, and while he acknowledged the 
importance of Sheridan s victories in the Valley, he 
felt that the deadlock in south Virginia would last 
till his own army could reenforce Grant s in front 



of Petersburg. He also commented freely on the 
strong as well as the weak points of Grant s char 
acter and in the midst of the conversation looked 
up suddenly, with the glow of the camp fire on his 
deeply marked features and exclaimed: " Wilson, 
I am a damned sight smarter man than Grant; I 
know a great deal more about war, military history, 
strategy, and grand tactics than he does; I know 
more about organization, supply, and administration 
and about everything else than he does; but I ll tell 
you where he beats me and where he beats the world. 
He don t care a damn for what the enemy does out 
of his sight, but it scares me like hell ! He added : 
"I am more nervous than he is. I am more likely 
to change my orders or to countermarch my com 
mand than he is. He uses such information as he 
has according to his best judgment; he issues his 
orders and does his level best to carry them out 
without much reference to what is going on about 
him and, so far, experience seems to have fully justi 
fied him." 

This was an acute and just analysis of the tem 
perament and character of the two men, and I have 
quoted it more or less completely many times. While 
Sherman was in many ways much more brilliant 
than Grant, those who knew both will have long 
since settled down to the conclusion that Grant was 
a far saner and safer general than Sherman. 

Sherman s mind was, however, at that time 
wholly absorbed in the proposed " March to the 
Sea" and supporting it he insisted that it would not 
only make "Georgia howl," 1 as it surely did, but 
that it would also draw Hood after him, which it 

O. E. Serial No. 69, p. 162, Sherman to Grant, Oct. 9, 1864. 



certainly did not. Grant was slow in yielding to 
Sherman s arguments in favor of marching away, 
leaving Hood s veteran army behind him, free to 
work its will, except as Thomas might confront it 
with a superior force hastily improvised from widely 
scattered fragments. Grant regarded the march 
through Georgia at that time merely as a cavalry 
proposition, claiming that "Hood would probably 
strike for Nashville, " which he did as soon as he 
could gather supplies and ammunition for the cam 
paign. Grant finally gave his consent to Sherman s 
march not only with hesitation, but on the impera 
tive condition that Thomas should be left strong 
enough to hold firmly the line of the Tennessee. It 
is worthy of note that his position in this instance 
was not weakened by the fact that it had Bawlins 
strong support throughout. It is also worthy of 
note that Grant ended his dispatch by a final sug 
gestion in my behalf: "With Wilson turned loose 
with all your cavalry, you will find the rebels put 
much more on the defensive than heretofore. * 

Although Sherman had conducted a successful 
campaign against Atlanta, he had signally failed to 
defeat or neutralize Hood s army. In fact, with all 
his battles he had never gained a complete victory, 
while Grant had to his credit the capture of Forts 
Henry and Donelson, the campaign and capture of 
Vicksburg, the victory of Missionary Eidge and was 
destined, above all, without any direct help from 
Sherman, to reap a final and overwhelming victory 
at Appomattox. Notwithstanding Sherman s blunt 
and searching criticism, it is greatly to the credit 
of both Grant and Sherman who were in some sense 

1 O. E. Serial No. 69, p. 202, Grant to Sherman, Oct. 11, 1864. 



rivals, that they remained to the last firm and de 
voted friends. And yet there is something better 
than self -depreciation in Sherman s remark, made 
upon more than one occasion, that if it had not been 
for the death of Charles F. Smith, their old West 
Point commandant, "neither Grant nor he would 
have ever been heard of!" 

It well illustrates Grant s real modesty that he 
never hesitated to say he regarded C. F. Smith as 
the finest soldier he had ever known and that, even 
after the fortunes of war had brought Smith under 
his command, he always felt like "assuming the po 
sition of a soldier" and standing at "attention" 
whenever he found himself in the presence of that 
knightly old hero. It is hard to decide which of 
those great men paid the finest compliment to C. F. 
Smith, but his gallant and successful assault at Fort 
Donelson showed that he deserved the unqualified 
admiration of both. 

I employed myself at Gaylesville till October 
26, inspecting the cavalry and making the ac 
quaintance of its officers, perfecting the new organi 
zation, outfitting Kilpatrick s division, and sending 
the dismounted troops back to the depots at Nash 
ville and Louisville for remounts and reequipment. 

It was during this interesting period that I met 
Kenner Garrard, whom I had succeeded a few 
months before as chief of the Cavalry Bureau. He 
was now commanding the Second Cavalry Division, 
Army of the Cumberland, and, although only a brig 
adier general, his rank in the regular army as well 
as his experience were so much greater than mine 
that I thought it might embarrass him to serve under 
me. Consequently I relieved him from further duty 



in the cavalry and directed him to report to his army 
commander for an assignment to the infantry. 

I also found George Stoneman, who had been 
the first corps commander of the Eastern Cavalry, 
and first chief of the Cavalry Bureau, holding the 
place of chief of cavalry to the Army of the Ohio. 
W. L. Elliott, an old cavalryman of high character, 
held the same title in the Army of the Cumberland, 
while General Grierson of the volunteers held a sim 
ilar place in the Army of the Tennessee. They were 
all my seniors and, although my brevet and my as 
signment thereunder gave me an indisputable right 
to command them, I thought it best for all concerned 
that they should be disposed of as Garrard had been, 
and, as Sherman fully concurred, they were also 
relieved in turn from further service with the cav 

This important step gave me direct control over 
all the cavalry and its commanders, with no unnec 
essary links between me and them, and none of any 
kind between Sherman and myself, except such as 
grew out of the subsequent campaign. The March 
to the Sea necessarily separated us and brought me 
at once under the orders of Thomas, who was left 
in chief command at Nashville. Henceforth, all the 
mounted troops of the Military Division were abso 
lutely under my control, all details and detachments 
were called in, and none were made thereafter ex 
cept by my authority. 

The effect was instantaneous. Every army com 
mander and nearly every corps commander had a 
cavalry escort of greater or less size, while regi 
ments, brigades, and divisions were scattered from 
east Tennessee to the Missouri Eiver, with dis- 



mounted men and convalescents at every hospital, 
depot, and camp from Chicago and St. Paul on the 
north to Vicksburg and Atlanta on the south. All 
these were promptly relieved and sent to their re 
spective regiments; the regiments, when necessary, 
were assigned to brigades, and the brigades to divi 
sions, while the divisions themselves were numbered 
consecutively in the corps and, as long as they were 
attached to it or were within reach, received their 
orders solely from or through the corps com 

Inasmuch as there were seventy-two cavalry and 
mounted infantry regiments in the Military Division, 
sixty-one of which, not counting the Fourth Regu 
lars, were incorporated in the cavalry corps, it was 
the largest cavalry organization ever made on this 
continent. The nominal regimental strength was 
from a thousand to twelve hundred, while the 
number actually present with the colors was from 
four to six hundred men. It will be seen that 
even at the lowest average the force was an enormous 
one, which needed only to be got together, properly 
mounted, armed, equipped, and commanded to be 
come an army of itself. Fortunately, all but eight 
Tennessee regiments were veterans of ripe experi 
ence. Excepting the Fourth Regulars, the Seventh, 
Ninth, Fifteenth, and Nineteenth Pennsylvania, the 
First Alabama, the Tenth and Twelfth Missouri, and 
six splendid Kentucky regiments, they were from 
the northwestern states and, it is safe to say, they 
were nearly all native Americans, and as a class 
no better men ever wore the nation s uniform or 
carried its colors to victory. 

While at Gaylesville, and after returning to 



Nashville, I wrote freely to Bawlins, Badeau, and 
Dana, giving them the state of affairs as I found 
it in Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee with my 
views as to the measures necessary to put the west 
ern cavalry in a proper state of efficiency. Of course, 
my letters to Eawlins and Badeau were intended for 
the information of General Grant, when they thought 
it advisable to submit them to him, while those to 
Dana were under similar conditions for the informa 
tion of the War Department. A number of the let 
ters are in my possession, but, as they refer to inci 
dents or details which have long since lost their 
interest, I shall quote them only when necessary to 
give a contemporaneous touch to my narrative or 
to emphasize points of special interest. 

Before going to my new command, I received the 
congratulations and good wishes of my army friends, 
but, with the exception of an occasional mention in 
an English newspaper, the press gave me a wide 
berth. I saw but few reporters in the East and none 
in the West. The cavalry service, although some 
what brilliant and romantic, was now settling down 
to methodical work and hard knocks, neither of 
which were greatly in favor with the reporters. 
Both officers and men, however, gave their cheerful 
help and, therefore, the new corps took shape much 
more rapidly than anyone out of the army ever 
dreamed of. 

The Presidential election was now at hand and 
all branches of the service were deeply interested 
in the result. McClellan had been nominated by the 
Democrats and, although he had not fully accepted 
their platform, he had many friends among our 
generals. Lincoln had been renominated against the 



wishes of many in high places, and had the opposi 
tion of all who thought him slow and irresolute. It 
was a time of extraordinary anxiety. The Northern 
states were unhappy over the campaign in Virginia. 
They wanted and badly needed military success and 
were apparently ready to support anyone who could 
give them success. Grant had been held at bay in 
front of Petersburg for five months, while Sherman 
had at least driven the enemy s next most formidable 
army back, and captured the great interior strong 
hold of Atlanta. This was fast making him a popu 
lar hero, and with his many accomplishments he 
could probably have had the nomination for the 
Presidency if he wanted it, but, like Grant, he was 
for Lincoln as the best possible candidate, and was 
utterly opposed to any candidate who could be 
classed as "a copperhead" or "a rebel sympa 
thizer. 1 But neither the Presidential election nor 
my correspondence interfered with my work. 

I spent the next three days with the cavalry in an 
expedition toward Blue Mountain, Alabama, dur- 
which I got acquainted with many of the officers, 
studied the bearing, behavior, equipment, and 
mounts of the men and gathered information about 
that part of the country, but, not meeting any con 
siderable body of the enemy, I left the column and 
returned to Rome, at which place I arrived after 
nightfall on October 29. General Sherman with 
some hesitation finally concluded that I should not 
go on the March to the Sea, but should return to 
help Thomas dispose of Hood. 2 Accordingly, I 

1 O. R. Serial No. 79, p. 203, Sherman to Halleck, Oct. 11. 
* O. R. Serial No. 79, pp. 365, 515, 577, 582, 595, 599, 600, 618, 
666, 714, 718, 747. 


started on the next day for Nashville by rail and, 
after some vicissitudes and delays, reached there a 
few days later. Before leaving Georgia, I fully out 
fitted Kilpatrick s * division by taking horses from 
the regiments left behind, and thus added largely 
to the dismounted force, which now constituted by 
far the largest part of my command. The task 
of collecting and remounting it and of supplying its 
deficiencies of arms and equipments, while watch 
ing and resisting the progress of an active invading 
army under a most aggressive leader, engaged my 
constant attention both night and day till the danger 
had culminated and passed. 

For about three weeks my headquarters remained 
at Nashville, but as soon as news came that Hood 
had crossed the Tennessee and had begun his ad 
vance in real earnest, I hastened to the front and 
took personal command of all the mounted troops 
I could find for service against the enemy. 

1 O. K. Serial No. 79, pp. 479, 494 (Special Orders No. 3) ; 511, 
Wilson to Garrard, Oct. 30; 531, Wilson to Thomas, Oct. 31. 





Details of reorganization Hood at Gadsden Grant un 
easy Rawlins sends reinforcements from Missouri 
Gathering and remounting cavalry Hood s advance 
Wilson takes the field Columbia on the Duck River 
Forrest turns position Schofield retreats Affair at 
Spring Hill Victory at Franklin Cavalry defeats 
Forrest Interview with Schofield and Stanley Re 
tire to Nashville Correspondence with Grant s head 
quarters Impressing horses Thomas approves and 

With headquarters at Nashville, I was in close 
touch with Thomas and his subordinate command 
ers. Up to that time the cavalry had been directly 
under the department commanders and their chiefs 
of cavalry and were scattered from southwestern 
Missouri to east Tennessee and northern Georgia. 
Many men were absent from the colors on detached 
service of various kinds which contributed but little 
to the progress of the war. Those at the depots, 
remount camps, and various headquarters were for 
gotten or looked upon as out of reach, but as soon 
as I got to Nashville, all this was changed. With 
full powers from Sherman and with the active and 



sympathetic cooperation of Thomas, who was him 
self an old and distinguished cavalryman, the work 
of regeneration went forward from the start not 
only without obstruction, but with the cheerful sup 
port of every officer in the field. Infantrymen and 
cavalrymen alike gave their hearty approval. While 
the mounted troops had done perhaps as well as 
could be fairly expected under the old policy, their 
operations had been so lacking in coherence and 
method that they were generally inefficient and in 
conclusive and were, therefore, regarded with indif 
ference, if not with contempt. Sherman s spicy but 
severe criticisms in his letter to Grant reflected the 
views generally held as to the cavalry arm through 
out the West. It had in no instance played an im 
portant, much less a decisive, part either in cam 
paign or battle and was, therefore, properly con 
sidered as a negligible factor in the western theater 
of war. 

From the best information I could get there were 
seventy-two regiments of cavalry and mounted in 
fantry in the Military Division, nominally about fifty 
thousand men, 1 of which one thousand and twenty- 
six officers and twenty-two thousand nine hundred 
and thirty-nine men were reported as present for 
duty. These were divided into three army corps, one 
of three divisions and two of two divisions each, 
and yet there were no late returns on file either at 
Sherman s or Thomas s headquarters. No one pre 
tended to know how many men were actually with 
the colors nor how many horses were available or 
could be got together for service. Even the chiefs 
of cavalry were ignorant as to the number of 

*O. R. Serial No. 79, p. 573, Abstract of Returns, Oct. 31, 1864. 



mounted and dismounted men, the number and kind 
of arms, equipments, and remounts required, or 
where they were to be had. These matters under 
our military system were not within their control 
but were left solely to the supply departments, 
which were primarily controlled by the Secretary 
of War and the chiefs of bureaus. The officers in 
the field had no authority over army supplies of 
any kind until furnished for issue. The Ordnance 
Bureau supplied arms, ammunition, and horse 
equipments; the Quartermaster s Bureau furnished 
forage, remounts, wagons, clothing, harness, and 
camp equipage; while the Subsistence Bureau was 
by far the most efficient and, it is safe to say, no 
army was ever better supplied with food than ours. 
When regular supplies failed on account of dis 
tance or lack of transportation facilities, long be 
fore the war was half over, it came to be the custom 
for the troops to supply their wants by impress 
ment from the enemy s country. 

With the mounted troops scattered as they were 
over the entire theater of war in the Mississippi 
valley, they had, of course, lost many men, killed, 
wounded, and captured, but, as their engagements 
were nearly always at the outposts or on raids and 
expeditions far away from the center of operations, 
their performances were but little known and still 
less appreciated. They were hardly ever in camp 
long enough to make returns and rarely ever long 
enough to make requisitions. It is no slander now 
to say that the mounted service was looked upon 
as both futile and discreditable. The results ac 
complished were in many cases negligible, if not 
positively injurious. Indeed, it is but the simple 



truth that the cavalry had come to be a scoff and 
a byword to the other branches of service. The 
derisive offer of a liberal reward for a dead cavalry 
man was just as fair in the West as the East and 
was heard too often to be regarded as either witty 
or agreeable. And yet wherever mounted men went 
this reward was vociferously shouted with the de 
risive cry: "Dismount and grab a root!" Even of 
ficers and couriers were not exempt from it. Where 
the cry originated or what its real significance 
was, unless to hug the ground behind a tree, 
has never been satisfactorily explained, but I first 
heard it in the Army of the Tennessee two years 
before. It subsequently spread to the other 
armies and always indicated disrespect and con 
tempt. It is pleasant to add, however, that 
neither the reward for a dead cavalryman nor the 
cry of "grab a root" was ever heard in the East 
after the battle of Winchester nor in the West 
after the battle of Nashville. In both cases they 
disappeared as the cavalry came together in masses 
and began close cooperation with the other arms 
of service. 

Fortunately for us, Hood lost a whole month at 
Gadsden, waiting for ammunition, supplies, and re 
cruits, while Forrest was making a senseless raid 
toward the Cumberland Eiver. It was this delay 
and this raid that justified Sherman in saying: 
"That devil, Forrest, is down about Johnsonville," 
and gave Thomas time to assemble all his forces for 
a sturdy defence. 1 

While still at Gaylesville I wrote Eawlins, the 
chief-of-staff, fully as to the situation which Sher- 

1 0. E. Serial No. 79, p. 913, Hood to Davis, Nov. 12, 1864. 



man would leave behind him. 1 I gave him a full ac 
count of the nominal cavalry force, of its inchoate 
organization, and of its diminished strength in the 
field. I pointed out that we had nearly fifty thou 
sand men on paper, divided into seven divisions, with 
from seven to ten regiments each, and ought to have 
an aggregate of thirty thousand men, not less than 
twenty thousand of which should be actually in the 
saddle, but, as a matter of fact, we could not raise 
six thousand for actual service, on account of detach 
ments and a lack of horses, arms, and equipments. 
I did all in my power to give him and General Grant 
an exact idea of our situation. I discussed the case 
in all its aspects, urging a policy of concentration 
as the only means of overcoming the enemy s cav 
alry and establishing the invincibility of our own. I 
showed that cavalry without horses was useless, that 
it was worthless for defense, and that its only power 
was in a vigorous offensive. I advocated its concen 
tration south of the Tennessee and hurling it into 
the bowels of the Confederacy in such masses that 
the enemy could not drive them back, as he did Sooy 
Smith and Sturgis, the year before. 

I indicated the organization I proposed to make, 
gave the names of the division commanders, and 
asked for the officers of experience that had been 
promised me from the Army of the Potomac. I 
made in addition a vigorous plea against subdivid 
ing Sherman s forces until Hood had been disposed 
of and in favor of concentrating both infantry and 
cavalry as the surest means of success. There can 
be no doubt that this letter thoroughly aroused Eaw- 

1 O. E. Serial No. 79, pp. 442 et seq., Wilson to Rawlins, Oct. 26, 



lins s apprehensions as to the possibilities of a great 
disaster should Hood decide not to follow Sherman 
but to lead an aggressive campaign against Thomas 
in middle Tennessee. Perceiving that Sherman s 
absence at the coast would certainly leave Hood free 
to move against Thomas and that this movement of 
a veteran and undefeated army against our widely 
scattered detachments might be successful, Eawlins 
got Grant s permission to go to St. Louis in person, 
for the purpose of sending A. J. Smith with the 
Sixteenth Corps and such other infantry and cavalry 
as he could find in Missouri, to reenforce Thomas in 
middle Tennessee. But with all that forcible officer 
could do, the concentration made slow progress. A. 
J. Smith, although a veteran of approved enterprise, 
lost nearly a month in making his way to Nashville. 
Meanwhile, Thomas with two corps of infantry and 
not over five thousand mounted troops was in great 
peril. Had Hood advanced at once with his three 
corps of infantry and his cavalry in better condition 
than ever before, he must have overthrown Thomas 
and overrun both Tennessee and Kentucky. 1 

But Sherman, having given me full control, the 
cavalry reorganization under existing conditions 
proceeded slowly but surely, while the various widely 
scattered detachments, with their own horses and 
transportation, marched from Memphis and west 
Tennessee and took up their position in Hood s front 
along Shoal Creek, and thus became the nucleus of 
the best cavalry corps that had ever been organized 
in the West. Hatch with his efficient division was 
soon joined by Croxton, Capron, and Harrison with 
fairly good brigades, and the line thus formed gave 

1 O. E. Serial No. 77, pp. 590 et seq. 


prompt notice of Hood s advance on November 19. 
Forrest having rejoined Hood, moved out with all 
his aggressive activity, through Florence and Law- 
renceburg toward Pulaski. Born and brought up 
in the Duck Eiver country, and having many Tennes- 
seeans from the same district with him, Forrest was 
perfectly familiar with every river and creek, as 
well as with every turnpike and crossroad in that 
region. The direct route to Nashville was a broad, 
well-built turnpike, running due north through Col 
umbia, Spring Hill, and Franklin, and although the 
weather was good, the streams still low, and the 
side roads dry and passable, it required no great 
knowledge of the country and but little military 
acumen to foresee that Hood would make his ad 
vance by that route. Our own movements, as well as 
his, were, therefore, clearly indicated from the start. 
Hood must naturally follow the turnpike because he 
could make better speed in that way. We were com 
pelled to do the same, because if we left it we should 
necessarily lose both distance and time. 

Long s division, formerly Garrard s, was the 
largest and best one in my command, but its re 
maining horses had been taken to complete Kil- 
patrick s remount and fit that division to go with 
Sherman, while the dismounted troopers were sent 
by rail to Louisville for fresh horses, and did not 
rejoin me in the field or take any part against 
Hood till the battle and campaign of Nashville were 

It was, undoubtedly, a great misfortune that we 
were compelled to send this splendid division so 
far to the rear for remount, but when the orders 
were given, the railroad was so overtaxed with sup- 



plies for Sherman that it could not carry horses to 
the south at all, while it was easy to carry the dis 
mounted men by the returning empty trains to 
Nashville and the refitting depot at Louisville. It 
was the lack of sufficient rail transportation and 
the danger of interruption by water which account 
for much of the delay we experienced in concentrat 
ing both infantry and cavalry in front of Hood. 
While both armies were delayed and embarrassed 
by the lack of railroad facilities, it should be re 
membered that our railroads were better than the 
enemy s and that, having superior resources of every 
sort, we were finally enabled to concentrate our 
troops and give battle in time to gain one of the 
most overwhelming victories of the entire war. 

As the campaign developed, the places in which 
there seemed to be the greatest doubt as to the actual 
condition of affairs, accompanied by the least hope 
of a favorable outcome, were the War Department 
and Grant s headquarters. While Sherman s col 
umns were lost to view, in the Georgia lowlands and 
Grant s own army was at a deadlock with Lee s, 
both Grant and Stanton became filled with undue 
anxiety and impatience as to Thomas and his move 
ments. They thought him slow, and did not hesitate 
first to criticise and then to issue positive and ill- 
considered orders to fight, when the conditions were 
still highly unfavorable. 

While Hood was advancing from the Tennessee 
and I had nominally six divisions of cavalry, my 
actual force with the colors in front of Hood did not 
exceed five thousand fighting men. Until the move 
ment began I remained at Nashville, engaged night 
and day in perfecting the paper work, in gathering 



horses, arms, and equipments, and in making ready 
for the campaign which was soon to burst upon 
us. Generally, the supply departments responded 
promptly to my call, but horses, our greatest want, 
were scarce, and with the higher requirements and 
closer inspections I had myself prescribed a few 
months before, and the advance in price which had 
naturally followed the advance in quality, the west 
ern horse contractors found it impossible to supply 
our demands. The War Department itself seemed 
to despair, and while Stanton appeared willing to do 
what he could, he finally lost patience and his good 
sense besides, and telegraphed Thomas that if he 
waited for Wilson to remount his cavalry he would 
wait "till the crack of doom." But as this was 
after I had asked and he had granted permission 
to impress horses from the people wherever they 
could be found south of the Ohio Eiver, his pessimis 
tic assertion was shortly shown to be both unjust 
and unfounded. 

This arbitrary measure was entirely without pre 
cedent within our lines, but it was carried ruthlessly 
into effect while the contending armies were facing 
each other in front of Nashville. Within seven 
days after the Secretary s authority came to hand 
seven thousand horses were obtained in middle and 
western Kentucky and our mounted force was there 
by increased to twelve thousand, nine thousand of 
which were actually assembled at Edgefield or with 
in supporting distance. The quartermasters to 
whom this duty was assigned gave vouchers in 
proper form for every horse taken and it is believed 
that no permanent loss or injury was inflicted upon 
the loyal people. Every horse and mare that could 



be used was taken. All street-car and livery 
stable horses, and private carriage- and saddle- 
horses, were seized. Even Andrew Johnson, the 
vice-president-elect, was forced to give up his pair. 
A circus then at Nashville lost everything except its 
ponies; even the old white trick horse was taken 
but it is alleged that the young and handsome eques 
trienne, who claimed him, succeeded in convincing 
my adjutant general that the horse was unfit for 
cavalry service. Be this as it may, a clean sweep 
was made of every animal that could carry a cavalry 
man and the result is shown by the fact that although 
two brigades of three thousand men were sent to 
Kentucky in pursuit of Lyon s Confederate cavalry, 
about ten thousand well mounted men crossed the 
Cumberland on the night of December 12 and 
marched out against the enemy on the morning of 
the 15th, as soon as the thaw made it possible to 
move at all. The great victory which resulted from 
turning the enemy s flank shows how important the 
measure was in making the cavalry the tremendous 
factor it became, not only in that battle but in the 
campaign which wound up the war. 

Meanwhile on November 21, at 9 :30 p. M., I left 
Nashville by train and at 2 A. M. the next day reached 
Lynnville, sixty-three miles south of Nashville. 
There I took horse for the front and met Schofield 
four miles north of Pulaski, whence he was retiring 
with the bulk of our forces. He was not the senior 
general at that time in the field but had the Fourth 
Corps under the veteran Stanley, who ranked him 
and the Twenty-third under Cox in all about twen 
ty-five thousand men. Schofield, commanding an 
army and department, had precedence over Stanley, 



who was but a corps commander by assignment. 1 
After a short conference, we returned together to 
Lynnville where I soon got in touch with the vari 
ous parts of my command covering the enemy s 
front. In the afternoon I rode to Campbellsville, a 
small village and road-center to the west, and after 
learning that the enemy had not made his appear 
ance in that quarter I rejoined Schofield at Lynn 
ville, and early the next morning with the rear guard 
retired to Columbia, a considerable town on the Duck 
Eiver. 2 

On my way back I took station on a railroad em 
bankment to inspect Croxton s brigade, mostly Ken- 
tuckians, as it passed to the rear. It so turned out 
that the Eighth Michigan Veteran Cavalry, of ex 
cellent reputation, well mounted and equipped, had 
the head of the column, but much to my surprise the 
regiment itself was headed by a well mounted and 
well clad woman riding with the field and staff as 
though she belonged there. As this was an unusual 
sight in an actual campaign, I turned to Croxton 
nearby and asked who the lady was. The General 
with a meaning smile said : Oh, that is Mrs. Col 
onel Smith commanding the Eighth Michigan Cav 
alry. " In further explanation he added that she 
had been with the regiment some time and seemed 
to be quite at home, whereupon I said with all nec 
essary firmness: "General, please send my com 
pliments to Mrs. Colonel Smith with an order re 
lieving her from further service in the field, and 
directing her to take the first train back to Nash- 

1 O. R. Serial No. 79, pp. 638, Special Field Orders No. 302; 
666, Thomas to Halleck; 685, Halleck to Thomas; see also p. 703. 
2 O. E. Serial No. 93, p. 995, Schofield to Thomas, Nov. 23, 1864. 



ville." Thereupon a broader smile lighted the Gen 
eral s face as well as the faces of his staff, as he said 
to an aid-de-camp: "You have heard the General s 
orders. Please deliver them to Mrs. Colonel Smith 
and see that they are promptly obeyed. 

This episode, small as it was, made a favorable 
impression on all present, as well as upon the offi 
cers and men of the regiment, for the next day the 
field and staff called formally to pay their respects 
to the new commander. Of course, no allusion was 
made to the order sending the Colonel s wife to the 
rear, but that it was heartily approved was shown by 
the cordiality of all who took part in the visit. The 
day after, however, I received a note from the lady 
protesting against my action, and asking, inasmuch 
as both Sherman and Thomas had permitted her to 
accompany the regiment, that I should at least with 
draw my order till the campaign then on was ended. 
Of course, I remained obdurate, but did my best to 
soften the blow by the assurance that I had not 
intended to cast the slightest reflection upon her 

The whole of our infantry and artillery was 
gathered and strongly entrenched at Columbia by 
November 24, but Hood did not make his appear 
ance in force till two days later. Meanwhile, I 
posted the cavalry on the north bank of the Duck 
Kiver, watching the fords and roads above and 
below the town for twenty-five miles. The entire 
cavalry present for duty was four thousand five hun 
dred men, while in front of us Forrest had three 
divisions estimated at from eight thousand to ten 
thousand men in the saddle. 

A slight breathing spell followed till the 27th, 



when most of the infantry was withdrawn to the 
north side of the river for the better defense of the 
crossings against the enemy. It soon became evi 
dent, from the caution with which he moved, that 
Hood would not throw his main force against Col 
umbia, but, using the fords above, would strike 
across the country toward Spring Hill and Franklin 
on the railroad in the rear. Communication with 
Thomas at Nashville was slow and uncertain and 
Schofield alleges that this was partly due to the fact 
that his cipher telegraph operator had deserted and 
gone back to Franklin. Be this as it may, I took the 
precaution to send a courier to Thomas with a copy 
of every dispatch, sent directly to Schofield. In this 
way the Generalissimo was fully informed of all im 
portant movements at the front. We were daily ex 
pecting the Sixteenth Corps from Nashville with 
such other reinforcements as might be gathered, but 
it so turned out that Smith was delayed and did not 
form a junction with the army till it was safely with 
in the defenses of Nashville a few days later. The 
greatest peril on the Duck Kiver was due to the fact 
that our forces might be caught napping while the 
enemy made a rapid march around our flank to the 
rear and threw himself upon our communications at 
one or the other of the points left uncovered, and 
this is exactly what he undertook to do. Having 
posted my command on the road from Columbia to 
the Lewisburg turnpike, north of the river, I was 
in position to obtain prompt information from the 
outposts and pickets watching the fords. 

On Monday, November 28, it was certain that 
we could no longer hold Columbia, which had become 
an important depot not only for the quartermasters 



and commissaries, but for the sutlers. The latter 
had gathered a considerable quantity of officers 
supplies and when it became certain that they would 
have to get back, they gave away such as they could 
not otherwise dispose of, and a demijohn of whiskey 
fell to my staff who received it without making the 
fact known. My standing orders absolutely forbade 
all officers from having liquor in their possession. 
Even the doctors were discouraged from keeping it 
in stock except for necessary medical purposes. The 
next day, as headquarters with the Fourth Eegular 
Cavalry were marching to the Lewisburg turnpike, 
one of the staff much to my surprise showed by an 
incoherent speech that he had been drinking. This 
was the first notice I had, and turning in my saddle I 
saw a sergeant carrying a demijohn resting upon 
his thigh almost tall enough to reach his shoulder. 
Asking what he had, he answered: " Whiskey, 
sir!" Thereupon I told him to dash it down, and 
this he did with a cheerful "Aye, aye, sir," just as 
the column was passing down the slope of a hill 
where the stone was laid bare. The crash and jingle 
of the glass, audible to the entire staff, was followed 
by frowns and by silence which were ominous, but 
it was soon evident that there was no more liquor 
left in the column. We had plenty of hard work 
all that night and the next day and for several days 
afterward and while the officers scarcely spoke to 
me, no more incoherent orders were heard. This in 
cident impressed me with the belief that no matter 
how great the exposure or how hard the work, 
strong drink affords no protection or benefit in either 
case. We frequently laughed about the broken demi 
john afterward, and all admitted that my action was 



justifiable and that the rule on which it was based 
was a good one. The simple fact is, that all kinds 
of ardent spirits are absolutely harmful to officers 
and men on active duty and are of questionable value 
even in the hospital. 

Schofield, the actual commander at the front, 
many years afterward wrote an elaborate justifica 
tion of his own course and a sharp criticism of 
Thomas s. He blamed the latter for not making 
his headquarters with the troops in the field, for 
not concentrating his available forces more rapidly, 
for not bridging the Harpeth River in the rear, and 
for leaving him without positive instructions as to 
the course he should pursue. The truth is that 
Thomas did exactly right in remaining at Nashville 
till his entire army was concentrated and ready to 
assume the offensive. Nashville was the center of 
rail, river, and telegraphic communication for that 
entire theater of war. It was also the principal 
national depot south of the Ohio and it was clearly 
Thomas s duty to make that place secure against 
every possible attack, and to this end he could the 
more properly devote himself, because he had in 
Schofield and Stanley at the front, two major gener 
als of ability and reputation. Manifestly the most 
important work for him was to gather all the avail 
able forces into a single and compact army and to 
avoid a general engagement till that was accom 
plished. Whatver may have been Thomas s orders 
or suggestions, it was clearly Schofield s first duty, 
while impeding the progress of Hood as much as 
practicable, to incur no great risk and to accept no 
general engagements, except from behind fortifica 
tions, till Thomas could either take the field with all 



his reinforcements or till Schofield himself should 
be forced back to Nashville. In violating these fun 
damental principles in face of full information, 
Schofield lost at least twelve hours in getting out of 
Columbia after he knew that Hood had crossed 
Duck Eiver above and was marching on Spring 
Hill. In endeavoring to justify this loss of time, 
both he and Cox made elaborate explanations which 
did not explain. 1 

It was a period of great activity and of great 
anxiety from the time we left Columbia till we 
reached Nashville. Since we had passed three days 
and nights in ceaseless marching and fighting, as 
sailed by Hood, one of the most aggressive of the 
Confederate generals, with an army of veterans, 
aided by such leaders as Forrest, Cheatham, Stephen 
D. Lee, Stewart, Cleburne, and Walthall, it was of 
vital importance that no mistake should be made 
and that no time should be lost in reaching the im 
portant points on the line of retreat. Neither 
Thomas, A. J. Smith, nor Steedman was at hand 
and, therefore, it should have been plain sailing for 
Schofield, without exposing any part of his com 
mand to defeat or disaster. The turnpikes were all 
in his possession and the Harpeth Eiver fordable at 
many places but, withal, he tarried at Columbia 
south of Duck Eiver till Hood s advance guard had 
attacked a part of his forces twelve miles in the 

At noon on November 28, the cavalry pickets 

1 Schofield s "Forty-six Years in the Army," pp. 170-225; "The 
March to the Sea, Franklin and Nashville," by Jacob D. Cox, 
pp. 66-80; "The Battle of Franklin," by Jacob D. Cox, pp. 21 
et seq. 



gave notice of the appearance of the rebel cavalry 
at various fords and particularly at Huey s Mill, 
four or five miles above Columbia, in such force as to 
leave no doubt of their intentions to cross. Shortly 
afterward our pickets and supporting detachments 
were driven in, while Forrest began laying a bridge 
and crossing by the ford at the mill. At 2 :10 p. M. I 
sent a dispatch to Schofield informing him of the 
enemy s movements and of my intention to con 
centrate the cavalry at the junction of the east and 
west road with the Lewisburg turnpike. In the 
same dispatch I requested him to send one of my out 
lying brigades by way of Spring Hill to reenforce 
me on the fighting flank of the army. At 7 P. M., 
after much skirmishing and rapid marching, I had 
my entire force, with the exception of this brigade, 
in hand at the crossroads with a strong detachment 
holding on till after nightfall at the crossing of the 
turnpike and the Duck River five miles south of 
us. Thus I was in safe control of one turnpike while 
the other was occupied by Schofield s infantry with 
nothing to oppose or delay its orderly retirement 
in the direction of Franklin. This was obviously 
the best possible condition for the army at the front 
for it left the well covered broad turnpikes for our 
use, while it forced the enemy to move on the mud 
roads between the two turnpikes. It is a curious 
fact, however, that Schofield, as though he doubted 
the accuracy of my information, instead of begin 
ning his march to the rear, sent a brigade, as he al 
leges, to verify my report, while he himself held on 
in the neighborhood of Columbia, if not actually in 
the town, which was exactly what his opponent 
wanted him to do. 



During the night my men captured a number of 
prisoners and brought them to headquarters, where 
I promptly examined them with the result that the 
previous information was fully verified. It was also 
ascertained beyond doubt that Forrest s cavalry, 
consisting of Chalmers s, Jackson s, Buford s, and a 
part of Boddy s divisions, with Biffle s regiment act 
ing as Forrest s escort, had already crossed the 
river at Huey s Mill and that a large part of Hood s 
infantry was following by the same route. Feeling 
sure that this information was correct, I suggested 
in my dispatch dated 1 A. M. November 29, which 
I took the precaution of sending by several dif 
ferent couriers on different routes, that Schofield 
should reach Spring Hill by 10 A. M. because, accord 
ing to my calculations, Hood with his advance could 
easily reach there by noon. 1 I warned Schofield, who 
got the first copy of my dispatch at 2 A. M. and the 
second later, that there was not an hour to lose, but 
instead of moving promptly with the whole of his 
forces he ordered Stanley with one division to 
Spring Hill to take position at that place covering 
the railway and country roads passing through it. 

Stanley, who was no sluggard, moved promptly, 
reached his destination in time and with admirable 
judgment occupied a position from which he was 
enabled to foil every movement of Hood, whose ad 
vance guard made its appearance at noon of that 
day as I had predicted. But Schofield still held 
on, and, according to his own narrative, did not be 
gin his march to the rear till late in the afternoon 
of the 29th. Fortunately, the turnpike was not 

1 O. R. Serial No. 930, p. 1143, Wilson to Schofield, Nov. 29, 
1 A. M.; also, p. 1144, Schofield to Wilson, Nov. 29, 8 A. M. 



only smooth and broad, but the enemy did not 
reach or cross it from the fords and the southeast, 
although his main body bivouacked in sight of it and 
remained there throughout the night, while Scho 
field s delayed columns, under cover of darkness, 
marched within gun-shot and hearing distance of the 
sleeping rebels. That Hood understood the real sit 
uation is shown by his own interesting narrative 
published fifteen years later. His plan was bril 
liant, and so obviously proper that Schofield should 
have divined it from the start. 1 It was, briefly, to 
throw his cavalry, followed by two corps of infantry, 
across Duck River between the two turnpikes and 
to march by the dirt roads rapidly to Spring Hill, 
while Lee with his remaining corps, should hold 
Schofield with the bulk of his army in front of 
Columbia. By half past seven Hood, closely fol 
lowed by Cheatham and Stewart, had crossed at 
Huey s Mill, while a part of Forrest s corps was con 
fronting me at Rally Hill, and the rest moving across 
country toward Spring Hill. Losing no time, Hood 
pushed forward by the mud roads, his advance guard 
reaching the neighborhood of Spring Hill by noon 
and his main body threatening Stanley at the village 
and overlooking the turnpike to the left. Manifestly, 
it was Hood s policy to strike the turnpike first 
and thus divide Stanley from Schofield s marching 
columns. For that purpose he claims to have or 
dered Cheatham in person before nightfall to throw 
his corps across the turnpike facing Schofield, but 
for some reason, never made entirely clear, Cheat- 
ham failed him. Doubtless, Stanley s entrenched 
position was a serious obstacle to the movement. 

l<< Advance and Retreat, " by J. B. Hood, pp. 283 et seq. 



Cheatham afterward asserted that he had positively 
ordered Stewart to prolong his line to the left but 
darkness settling down before anything could be 
done in that direction, all operations came to an end. 
Hood himself, with the instincts of an aggressive 
leader, seems to have realized that a great oppor 
tunity was slipping away, but with all his efforts 
he did not succeed in getting any part of his army 
to the turnpike, much less across it. Learning later 
that Schofield s column with its trains had not yet 
passed, but was hurrying along the turnpike from 
dark till midnight, he renewed his orders in writing, 
directing Cheatham this time to throw himself across 
the turnpike north of Spring Hill. Subsequent dis 
cussion makes it probable that this order reached 
Cheatham s adjutant general, who declares that he 
withheld it on his own responsibility and that Cheat- 
ham did not hear of it till after the Federal columns 
had safely passed beyond the danger of interception. 
It is an interesting circumstance, however, that 
when I returned to that neighborhood a few weeks 
later, I received what seemed to be reliable informa 
tion that Cheatham, for a part of the night at least, 
was absent from his headquarters in the company 
of ladies at a nearby country house and did not 
hear of Hood s written order till after the great op 
portunity upon which it was based had passed. 1 It 
is worthy of note that certain Confederate writers 
discussing this question years afterward, set up the 
contention that Hood s plans upon this interesting 
occasion failed largely because his subordinates 

O. E. Serial No. 93, p. 652, General Hood s Official Keport to 
General S. Cooper; also, p. 657, General Hood to Seddon, Confeder 
ate Secretary of War. 



lacked confidence in his capacity as an army com 
mander. It will be recalled that Hood succeeded 
Joseph E. Johnston in command of that army by 
the orders of Jefferson Davis, as a result of John 
ston s failure to stay Sherman s progress toward 
Atlanta, and that Hood up to that time held an in 
ferior command. Although a soldier of great per 
sonal courage and prowess, there is no doubt that he 
was looked upon by his contemporaries as possess 
ing but limited ability and lacking the necessary ex 
perience for the great responsibilities thus imposed 
upon him. It was customary in both the Confed 
erate and Federal armies after his advancement to 
decry both his performances and his abilities, and 
this may account in some degree for the failure of 
his bold undertakings, but it has always seemed to 
me that they were ably planned and needed nothing 
but heavier battalions, greater resources, and better 
subordinates to make them successful. 

Simultaneously with Hood s advance on Spring 
Hill, Forrest threw his cavalry against me at Bally 
Hill. Having given Schofield timely notice that I 
should keep my force together and hold on as long 
and as firmly as its strength would permit, I clung 
to the Lawrenceburg turnpike, as I always sup 
posed, with his approval, as well as with Thomas s, 
hoping to get no further back that night than to 
the Ridge Meeting House abreast of Spring Hill. I 
understood that Schofield would unite his army at 
Spring Hill and hold that place till nightfall and 
that I would be in my proper position, as indicated, 
on the next turnpike facing the enemy s cavalry. 
Had he conformed to that idea, there need have been 
no serious fighting till both columns, then less 



than four miles apart, were concentrated by the con 
verging turnpikes at Franklin the next day. As it 
turned out, Forrest ceased his pressure against me 
late in the afternoon and, dividing his command, 
withdrew the greater part in the direction of Hood s 
main body near Spring Hill. Keeping the cavalry in 
a compact mass, it incurred no great loss or risk 
from that time till the end of the campaign. Hatch 
and Croxton, commanding the principal parts of the 
active forces, were officers of rare experience and 
self-reliance. Taking the rear by turns, during the 
first day they compelled Forrest to advance slowly 
and with caution. It was a heavily wooded country 
in which it was easy enough to hold chosen positions 
as long as necessary and then fall back to new ones 
on the turnpike, while the enemy was compelled to 
move through the woods in greater or less disorder. 
Hatch had the rear at first with Croxton so posted 
behind that when the time came Hatch could pass 
through and reform farther back. In order to en 
courage Croxton, I told him when his turn came, to 
hold the rear and fall back beyond Hatch, who would 
be close at hand ready to support him, whereupon 
Croxton asked quickly if I intended to fight, to 
which I answered : Only when necessary to delay 
the enemy. At this, the self-reliant Kentuckian re 
plied: "I think I understand you, and all I have 
to say is, if you don t intend to fight for all you 
are worth, please get your horse cavalry out of 
the way and give me a clear road!" His perfect 
confidence in himself and his men was so clear 
from this remark that I felt no doubt our move 
ments that day would be both deliberate and suc 



It is commonly supposed that it is one of the 
most difficult operations of war to cover a retreat 
successfully while retreatng yourself, but according 
to my observation there is nothing easier in a 
wooded country than to get back" without haste 
or loss. It was a busy and exciting day during most 
of which my column was retiring or fighting. At 
Mount Carmel Church, five miles north of Hart s 
Crossroads, the enemy made two headlong charges 
on our fence-rail layout but were repulsed with se 
vere loss. From that place back to Douglas Church, 
four miles from Franklin, our retreat was made with 
perfect order and deliberation. The enemy made 
no effort to disturb us but without our knowledge 
turned his attention entirely to Schofield s march. 
Even that he did not molest in the least, and it is 
now certain that, seeing the Federal columns could 
not be brought to bay till they were safely behind 
the entrenchments at Spring Hill, he dropped both 
entirely about that time and confined himself to a 
closer cooperation with the movement toward 
Franklin, and with Hood s final gallant but futile 
assaults upon the entrenchments of that place. I 
here call attention to the fact that during that bloody 
battle Forrest, acting strictly under Hood s instruc 
tions, divided his cavalry, sending Chalmer s strong 
division to the extreme left, while he kept the other 
two under his own personal command on the ex 
treme right of Hood s line confronting me. Al 
though we were separated by a fordable river, this 
division of Forrest s corps was a fatal mistake for, 
instead of driving me back and getting on Schofield s 
rear as he might have done with his whole corps, it 
made it easy for me not only to beat his two divi- 



sions in actual battle but to drive them north of the 
river in confusion. 

As Schofield s infantry was safely within the 
strong defenses of Franklin by an early hour on 
the 30th, I took position with my main body on his 
left along the river roads above him. The Har- 
peth, although of considerable width, was fordable 
at many places and this made it certain that any 
turning movement on Forrest s part would be above 
rather than below the town. This, however, did not 
prevent me from sending one small brigade down 
and one farther up the river toward Triune. To 
any one who will take the trouble to consult the map 
it will appear that this was the best possible ar 
rangement of the cavalry, especially as I kept Crox- 
ton s brigade in its advanced position on the Lewis- 
burg pike to the left and front of Franklin till the 
enemy had closed in upon that place and Forrest 
had taken position along the south bank of the river 
confronting my position and pickets. 

It is not my purpose to describe the battle of 
Franklin. This has been done many times, with 
sufficient accuracy as far as the part performed 
by the infantry is concerned, but, inasmuch as the 
all-important services of the cavalry in connection 
with that battle have been habitually minimized, it 
is my duty to set forth the part played by them while 
Hood was hurling his masses with frenzied impetu 
osity against the entrenchments in his front. 

Croxton s brigade became engaged at ten o clock 
near Douglas Church on the Lewisburg turnpike, 
but successfully held its position till 2 p. M., when 
he was again pressed by Forrest, supported by in 
fantry moving toward his left as if to turn his 



flank and cross the river at Hughes Ford. Regard- 
ing his position as merely one of observation, I with 
drew him to the north side of the river at McGav- 
ock s Ford, but he had scarcely reached his new 
position when Hatch s pickets further up the river 
reported the enemy crossing at various places in 
his front. 

The main body of my command under cover of 
night had unsaddled, groomed, and fed their horses 
and had taken a short rest, but were early under 
arms and ready to drive the rebels back if possible. 
I received no orders whatever from Schofield and, 
although within two miles and a half of his head 
quarters, I was left for the entire day to my own 
resources. Realizing, however, that it was impor 
tant to drive Forrest back and to hold the line of 
the river intact until Schofield s infantry and ar 
tillery were safely out of Franklin, I lost no time 
in pushing all the troopers I could dismount sharply 
against the enemy. Naturally, we thought Forrest s 
entire force confronted us and, although we be 
lieved he outnumbered us two to one, we felt it still 
more imperative to hold him at bay, if possible. 
A fierce fight followed, lasting till nightfall, when 
every Confederate cavalryman had been driven 
across the river, and so closely were they pressed 
that they took the water wherever they came to it. 
Hatch, Coon, and Croxton handled their men with 
skill and determination. They were not only steady 
and courageous, but experienced soldiers who had 
been in such situations a hundred times before, but 
they fully understood from their own observations, 
as well as from my orders, which were frequently 
repeated, that success on our part was an impera- 



tive necessity, and this feeling seemed to pervade 
every officer and man engaged in the affair. 

This successful first battle between my cavalry 
and Forrest s was the best possible answer to Scho 
field s gratuitous assumption in his dispatch to 
Thomas on November 30, 1864, at 9:50 A. M.: "Wil 
son is entirely unable to cope with him. In a later 
message at 3 p. M., while my fight was in progress 
and before his own had begun at Franklin, in reply 
to a question from Thomas : "I should like to know 
what Wilson thinks he can do to aid in holding 
Hood," Schofield replied in a vein, still more pessi 
mistic and unkind: "I will refer your question to 
General Wilson this evening. I think he can do 
very little. I have no doubt Forrest will be in my 
rear to-morrow or doing some greater mischief. " 

Fortunately, Schofield was more of a general 
than a prophet. By 5:30 p. M., after I had driven 
the enemy across the Harpeth at every point, he 
was tendering me "his compliments and thanks." 1 

In his report to Thomas, December 7, 1864, 
after crediting me with having successfully, although 
with a greatly inferior force, held Forrest in check 
until his trains and troops could reach Franklin, 
he adds: 

A short time before the infantry attack commenced the 
enemy s cavalry forced a crossing about three miles above 
Franklin, and drove back our cavalry, for a time seriously 
threatening our trains, which were accumulating on the 
north bank and moving toward Nashville. I sent Gen 
eral Wilson orders, which he had, however, anticipated, to 
drive the enemy back at all hazards and moved a brigade 
of General Woods s division to support him if necessary. 
1 0. E. Serial No. 93, pp. 1169, 1170, 1179, 1184. 


At the moment of the first decisive repulse of the enemy s 
infantry I received the most gratifying intelligence that 
General Wilson had driven the rebel cavalry back across 
the river. This rendered my immediate left and rear se 
cure for the time being. * * * * The enemy, hav 
ing nearly double my force of infantry and quite double 
my cavalry, could easily turn any position I might take 
and seriuosly endangered my rear. 1 

If Schofield ever sent any such orders as those 
mentioned above they never reached me; as to the 
alleged support from a brigade of Woods s infantry, 
I never heard of it until my attention was called, 
long after, to the passage in the Official Report above 
set out. The simple fact is, that from the time I 
assumed active command in the field south of Colum 
bia on November 22, 1864, until our imperiled army, 
with its trains intact, was safely within our forti 
fied lines at Nashville, I was left almost entirely to 
my own resources. To whatever cause Schofield s 
contemptuous estimate of my command was due, 
whether to my comparative youth, or to a doubt of 
my capacity, or to the obvious inferiority of my 
force, it is certain that, thereafter, and especially 
at Nashville, he took a far kinder view of the fight 
ing ability of the cavalry. Fortunately, I found lieu 
tenants of rare ability and experience in Hatch and 
Croxton, who were ideal leaders of cavalry, the 
peers, if not the superiors of the vaunted Bufords, 
Chalmers, Jacksons, to whom they were opposed. 
Besides, their troops were hardy veterans worthy 
of such leadership and every man a host in himself. 
The assumption, so thoroughly exploded and in the 
end so fatal to the fond hopes of the Confederate 

1 O. E. Serial No. 93, p. 343, Schofield s Official Report to 


oligarchy, that they were superior both in physical 
courage and leadership to the Northerners, was not 
only puerile to the last degree but never had the 
slightest foundation in fact. 

In the glamour of the victory won at Franklin by 
the infantry, the country failed to notice the all-im 
portant, if less conspicuous, services of the cavalry 
in covering the retreat, in divining and giving timely 
notice of Hood s movements, and, finally, in defeat 
ing and driving back Forrest. Perhaps this was 
natural enough in view of the fact that these serv 
ices received but scant recognition in the official re 
ports. It is hardly too much to claim that the cav 
alry, of which so little was expected, saved Scho- 
field s army from a great disaster both at Spring 
Hill and at Franklin, and such is my hope, will be 
the verdict of history. In spite of inexcusable er 
rors, John Fiske accords that arm a fair share in 
the glories of Franklin: 

Meanwhile an important cavalry battle was fought on 
the farther side of the river. A large force of the enemy s 
cavalry, under Chalmers [Forrest], crossed from the Lew- 
isburg pike with the design of operating upon the Federal 
connections northward; but Wilson met them with a su 
perior force, and the afternoon was consumed in an obsti 
nate battle, which ended in driving the whole rebel cavalry 
to the south side of the Harpeth. 1 

My grateful acknowledgments are also due for 
the following statement : 

The force which Sherman left behind for Thomas con 
sisted of about five thousand cavalry now to be commanded 
by General James Harrison Wilson, whom Grant sent from 

^ The Mississippi Valley in the Civil War/ John Fiske, pp. 
337, 343, 354-358. 



Virginia with the message, I believe he will add fifty per 
cent, to the effectiveness of your cavalry." 

As before stated I received neither orders nor 
information from Schofield during the contest be 
tween him and Hood although I was not over two 
miles away. I heard heavy cannonading for much 
of that fateful afternoon, and was full of anxiety 
but not a man in the cavalry had any idea -that a 
bloody battle was in progress. As soon as our own 
fight ended, however, my first duty, after sending 
Colonel Wharton to Schofield to report the result, 
was to collect and reform my troops, and strengthen 
the outposts and pickets at the river. With this 
done, I took a watchful attitude, fully prepared for 
a counter attack whenever it might come. 

Fortunately, it was not the habit of the Con 
federates to do much night work, so that as soon as 
it was dark I put my main body in reserve, with 
orders to go into bivouac, unsaddle, feed, and rest, 
while I rode rapidly to Schofield s headquarters, 
which I found in a comfortable house inside a re 
doubt north of the river, some two miles or two 
miles and a half from the scene both of my engage 
ment with Forrest and of Hood s assaults upon the 
defenses of Franklin. Schofield and Stanley were 
together and, after reporting the result of my fight 
with Forrest, I was greatly surprised to hear that 
a fierce battle had occurred between our infantry and 
Hood s army, that charge and countercharge had 
followed in rapid succession, that our works had 
been carried and recaptured, that deeds of extraor 
dinary courage had characterized the fighting on 
both sides, that the enemy had been finally repulsed 
with the loss of many officers and men, and finally 



that Stanley himself, while in the midst of the 
melee, had been shot through the back of the neck, 
but had retained his position on the field till all 
was safe. Stanley in his bloody coat, with his neck 
wrapped in bandages, was before me and the wonder 
was that he had escaped alive. Neither he nor Scho- 
field seemed excited or disturbed to the slightest 
degree, but the latter was busy arranging to with 
draw his army from the scene of its victory. This 
was in pursuance of orders received from Thomas 
before he knew of the fight when he thought it best 
to withdraw Schofield from the field and unite him 
with Smith and the garrison of Nashville, within the 
fortifications of the place. After explanation on 
both sides, Schofield thanked me and my command 
most cordially for the gallant and successful services 
we had rendered in driving back the enemy s cavalry 
and maintaining the line of the river intact. He 
added: "If you had not succeeded in doing that, 
our victory here would have been in vain, for with 
Forrest upon our flanks and rear it would have 
been impossible for us to have withdrawn our train, 
artillery, and troops from this position. " To em 
phasize his statement he frankly continued: "My 
victory in front of Franklin would have been value 
less had Forrest succeeded in driving your cavalry 
away and getting upon the Nashville turnpike. " 

To the student of military history, with the maps 
before him, the truth of the last statement will be 
apparent, and yet I regret to add that, however gen 
uine Schofield s sense of gratitude may have been 
when my services were fresh in his mind, 1 he en- 

1 O. E. Serial No. 93, p. 1179, Wherry, Schofield s aid-de-camp, 
to Wilson. 



tirely forgot to express it in his official reports, and 
had but little to say of it in his "Forty-six Years 
in the Army." Such omissions were not infre 
quent with the army commanders of the day, for 
they had not yet learned how to use cavalry in co 
operation with other troops. For the first time all 
the available cavalry in the West was united upon 
one battlefield, and, although it numbered actually 
present less than five thousand men, its proportion 
to the infantry was relatively great, while its actual 
service was of unusual importance. Considered 
from a military point of view the incidents so far 
related gave unmistakable indication of the great 
part the new cavalry corps was to play in the de 
cisive battle and campaign which were soon to fol 

Schofield, having withdrawn from Franklin in 
the dead hours of night under cover of my forces, 
fell back by the turnpike to Nashville, the entrench 
ments of which he entered before nightfall of De 
cember 1. Protected by the screening operations 
of the cavalry, not a wagon nor a pound of supplies 
was lost. 1 Indeed, the enemy made no effort what 
ever to interfere with our retirement. He had been 
so severely handled and had lost so heavily that he 
had but little spirit left for an onward movement 
and must have been greatly surprised when he 
learned that we had left the works from which he 
had received such a bloody and fatal repulse. 

With detachments on all the turnpikes to Nash 
ville, I bivouacked that night in the Brentwood Hills 
near Melrose, the country seat of ex-Postmaster 
General Brown. Early the next day, under Thomas s 

supra, p. 343. 


orders, now in immediate command, I withdrew by 
flank of brigades inside the defenses of Nashville, 
crossed the Cumberland by the bridges then in place, 
and made camp in the town of Edgefield on the north 
side of the river. I established headquarters for 
the next ten days at the house of Mrs. Shelby and 
went to work at once with all my aids and officers 
to repair the damages of the campaign, to rest and 
build up both men and horses, to reequip and re 
mount the dismounted troopers, and finally to bring 
forward every cavalry organization as soon as it 
could be got ready to take the field. This work re 
quired constant attention but, fortunately, with the 
assistance of my stiaff, the leading members of 
which were regular officers, and the hearty support 
of Thomas, the work went forward without hitch 
or delay to a successful issue. 

During the retreat from Pulaski to Nashville I 
had no time for correspondence with anyone except 
my adjutant general and chief quartermaster, both 
of whom were at Nashville. The burden of equip 
ping and supplying the troops fell on them, and 
that they did it with extraordinary energy and abil 
ity is shown by the results. My own time was 
wholly occupied in the field, with keeping track of 
the enemy, and counteracting or resisting his move 
ments. Feeling confident that Forrest would oper 
ate mainly on our left to the east of us, I united 
Hammond s and Stewart s brigades with my cen 
tral force so I could make the stoutest possible re 
sistance or move with the greatest celerity and 
weight should Forrest endeavor to avoid action or 
try to pass around or beyond me. At 3 A. M. on No 
vember 29 7 after reporting exactly my position 



to Thomas and the substance of what I had sent to 
Schofield, I expressed the opinion that the enemy 
was aiming for Nashville by the Franklin pike, and 
therefore advised Thomas to get everything off of 
the Chattanooga Railroad that day, and to concen 
trate all his forces at Nashville as soon as pos 
sible. As has already been recorded, this was what 
was done. 1 

As soon as I got settled at Edgefield and had a 
little leisure, I felt it important that General Grant s 
headquarters should have an inside view of the cam 
paign, and, accordingly, I wrote both Eawlins and 
Badeau, commending the conduct of Thomas, Scho 
field, Stanley, and Cox. Under unusual circum 
stances and discouragements they had worked to 
gether effectively and successfully, escaping serious 
disaster in the successive steps of a campaign in 
which the different parts of their own commands 
were more or less scattered, while those of the en 
emy were concentrated under a leader of singular 
courage and persistency. To Badeau, Grant s mil 
itary secretary, I wrote : 

The campaign from Pulaski to this place, in view of 
the relative strength of the opposing forces, was conducted 
with great skill. The battle at Franklin was most disas 
trous to the enemy, owing to the fact that our troops were 
strongly entrenched in a position they were fully able to 
occupy and to the further fact that Hood was foolish 
enough to attack head on. Had fortune not favored us 
as it did, we might have sustained a frightful disaster. 

The rebel cavalry crossed at various points in my front 
for five miles above the town, but were driven beyond the 

1 O. E. Serial No. 93, p. 1145, Wilson to Schofield, Nov. 29, 10 
p. M.; also, p. 1156, Wilson to Thomas, Nov. 29, 3 A. M. and 2 

P. M. 



river with much more rapidity and less order than they 
advanced. Hatch s division (the Fifth) and Croxton s 
brigade (of the First) behaved splendidly. The affair 
was the handsomest I have seen during the war. Schofield 
told me that my report was the most gratifying piece of 
intelligence he had received during the campaign, for, 
notwithstanding the repulse of Hood at the same time, 
his position would have been in the highest degree pre 
carious with Forrest and the Harpeth River in the rear. 
While he forgot the matter somewhat in his report, that 
was to have been expected. In fact, it may have been 
strictly just for I do not want my command to imagine 
itself worthy of the highest commendation till it has ef 
fectively disposed of the rebel cavalry and begun its work 
against the rebel infantry. 

We got back into Nashville without further trouble, 
and the next day crossed to the north side of the Cumber 
land. We are now quietly in camp preparing for an ag 
gressive campaign. Most of my horses are barefooted, 
and many of my men dismounted. When I took command 
near Pulaski, we had but four thousand five hundred cav 
alry properly mounted. We have over seven thousand 
now, having gathered in about three thousand and taken 
at least one thousand five hundred horses on our way 
back, which enabled us to send a corresponding number 
of broken-down horses into the cavalry depot at this place 
for recuperation. 

Since arriving here, the Secretary of War has author 
ized me to impress " every species of property" necessary 
to put my command in an efficient condition. To this end, 
I have sent four regiments into the lower counties of Ken 
tucky for all the horses they can gather, and expect to get 
at least five thousand within a week. We are making 
every possible effort throughout the country, within reach, 
to secure remounts, but arms and equipments are farther 
behind than horses. Grierson s division leaves St. Louis 
on the 6th and Memphis on the 7th, and ought to reach 



here within a week. When it arrives, with Long s division 
now refitting at Louisville, my force will be equal to any 
undertaking. . . . 

At that time it seemed to me that our entire 
campaign had been admirably managed, that our 
retreat in the face of Hood s overwhelming force 
was in every way creditable, and that the battle of 
Franklin, although greatly in our favor, could not 
have been used by us as an opportunity for assum 
ing the offensive, because it might have enabled 
Hood, before the arrival of A. J. Smith, to 
crush us as soon as we had marched outside of our 

In the same letter I said: 

. . . Thomas, I think, should have concentrated 
everything at Pulaski or at Franklin, except the garrison 
at Chattanooga. I urged him strongly two weeks ago to 
evacuate Decatur and strip the Chattanooga Railroad of 
troops, bringing in both the Murfreesboro and Decatur 
garrison and pushing his united force boldly to the front 
for the purpose of meeting Hood half-way at least. 

I think the Murfreesboro garrison will be apt to "go 
up. It can certainly do no good where it is, and here it 
might enable us to overwhelm Hood. 

I am confident, however, that if Hood will hold on 
where he is for two weeks or will assault Nashville, he 
cannot escape destruction. My health is splendid and 
my hope as high as ever. The news from Sherman is 
cheering, but I trust he will not be content with Savannah. 
If he is, the campaign he is conducting will be of no ad 
vantage commensurate with the power put forth. 

The next day, December 5, having received let 
ters and newspapers giving a full account of Gen 
eral Grant s trip to New York, I wrote as follows: 



. . . That our people should admire and love the 
man who, wielding such unlimited power, still retains an 
unequaled simplicity and purity of character does not 
surprise me. No man is so completely degraded as to de 
spise goodness in others. Man seems to differ most from 
all other beings in this, that, however abject, sordid, and 
selfish he may be himself, he always aspires to be better 
than he actually is and in his heart really prefers good 
over evil. People may bustle and struggle with policy 
and rascality, but they always love and admire the man 
who raises himself above such things and is really honest 
in all his dealings. In fact, all good men recognize that 
"the chief honor of man s nature is clear and round deal 

Grant, Sherman, Thomas, and Sheridan! What could 
be more splendid than the career and character of these 
soldiers ? A country whose cause is in the keeping of such 
men cannot fail, if it only remains true to itself and to 
them. The fact that they occupy their position by virtue 
of their merit is the strongest evidence that it and its 
governing sentiment are essentially virtuous. I am glad to 
believe that this is the case and am proud of my day and 
its glories. 

You seem to be disappointed at some of the figures I 
have given you. . . . Are you sorry I told you the 
truth, or was the truth unpleasant from the facts it con 
tained? If the former, I had better not write about mili 
tary matters ; if the latter, pray tell me what you expect ? 
You should know by this time that I am not an alarmist, 
and that I am not likely to arrive at incorrect judgments 
upon military subjects. In regard to matters here, I am 
sure my opinions as well as my figures are essentially cor 
rect. My sources of information are good, and I do not 
hesitate to use them where and when I think good will 
come of it. ... I have no hesitancy in laying the 
truth before General Grant upon any question which may 
have received my attention, and what I write is not 



for your exclusive information. You will, of course, ex 
ercise your best judgment in what you do with it, remem 
bering always that you may thereby change or modify 
policies and plans, and that the fear of such a change in 
many cases might deter me from saying all I could wish. 
I hope, however, you will not think that this fear would 
prevent me in any real emergency from saying whatever 
my sense of duty clearly demanded. 

I am making good progress in getting my command 
ready for the field. Ten days will make a wonderful 

The rebels are quiet to-day. They are making no ef 
fort to cross the Cumberland and showing no disposition 
to attack our works. Tell General Grant that Hood is 
doing good service for the Union and ought not to be dis 
turbed for the present. . . . If he will only wait a few 
days I would not give much for his hide. . . 

I have not yet received the President s approval of 
Sherman s order giving my command a corps organiza 
tion. He should either do this at once or make an order 
establishing a cavalry department, for the simple reason 
that nothing less than full authority can enable me to 
thoroughly regenerate it, and to give the staff the proper 
rank. I have recommended Beaumont for lieutenant 
colonel and assistant adjutant general, Noyes for assistant 
inspector general, and Carling for chief quartermaster 
with the same rank. I have also recommended Andrews 
for aide-de-camp, with the rank of major. These officers 
have richly earned their promotions, and I trust they will 
receive it without further delay. . . . 

I may add here that, although my officers 
performed their duty ably and faithfully to the end, 
their promotions never came. This may be due 
to the fact that the corps organization failed to re 
ceive the President s sanction, without which it 
rested solely on the authority of Sherman and 



Thomas, under Grant s instructions. It is but just 
to explain still further that that authority proved 
equal to all the demands made upon it, and that my 
staff, after the war was over, was commended by 
Colonel Chesney, of the British Army, as the best 
and most efficient of its kind in modern warfare. 

It will be remembered that, while Hood was con 
fronting Thomas at Nashville, Sherman was ap 
proaching the coast of Georgia with his splendid 
army from five to seven hundred miles away. He 
had neither been followed nor effectively opposed 
by the enemy. Hood, instead of pursuing him, had 
crossed the Tennessee and forced us back to the 
Cumberland, where he was besieging our chief depot 
and strategic center with what he believed to be a 
fair chance, if successful, of driving us back two 
hundred miles farther to the Ohio Eiver. The news 
papers throughout the country, understanding but 
little of the real situation, were filled with prog 
nostications of disaster. Commerce and financial 
affairs were disturbed. Gold was falling, the War 
Department was demoralized, and even General 
Grant himself showed greater uneasiness than he 
had ever exhibited before. Thomas alone was calm 
and full of confidence. He had organized and armed 
eight thousand civilian employees of the supply 
departments and had called in all his outlying de 
tachments except the garrison of Chattanooga. A. 
J. Smith, with his invincible veterans, after a 
month s delay, had finally joined him at Nashville, 
thus raising his effective force to something over 
sixty thousand of all arms. Nashville was now safe 
beyond all peradventure. Its garrison was ample 
for the defense of its long line of entrenchments. 



The cavalry alone was still in a bad way. Its horses 
had been worn out and many permanently disabled 
by hard work. It therefore required a few days 
rest and many remounts before it could take the 
field again and properly perform the part that would 
surely fall to its lot. The imperturbable Thomas 
was the one man who fully appreciated this fact and 
was willing to wait until the cavalry could gather 
in its remounts and get fairly ready to participate 
in the great task before us. New as I was in the 
West, I had already won the great General s per 
fect confidence, and it was my constant effort to 
show myself worthy of it. 




Hood hanging on for the winter Uneasiness in Washing 
ton Injustice toward Thomas Orders directing 
him to fight Full correspondence Situation at 
Nashville Thomas imperturbable Embargo of 
storm Van Duzer to Eckert Thaw begins Army 
moves out Defeats Hood Thomas vindicated 
Cavalry turned enemy s flank and took him in rear 
Hood s retreat Wilson s pursuit. 

The record now clearly shows, contrary to 
Grant s belief, that Hood was intent on hanging on 
for the winter where he was, capturing Murfrees- 
boro, if possible, and that he had no present de 
sign of marching to the Ohio. 1 

This assurance was made doubly sure by the 
further important fact that there was a fleet of 
iron-clads and gun-boats on the Cumberland under 
command of Eear Admiral S. P. Lee, patrolling the 
river from its mouth to Carthage, above Nashville, 
in cooperation with my outlying cavalry forces. 2 
All were especially on the alert to prevent Hood s 
crossing to the north side of the Cumberland. Upon 
other and stronger grounds, however, such a move- 

1 O. K. Serial No. 94, pp. 121, 143, 153, 666, 670. 
a /fo., pp. 3, 4, 85, 97. 



ment was highly improbable, if not impossible. He 
was already far from his base at Florence. It was 
winter and the roads, whenever heavily used, were 
soon almost impassable. The territory between the 
Cumberland and the Ohio had been foraged more 
than once by both sides. Besides, Hood was without 
resources with which to repair and operate the rail 
roads, and it was beyond the waning power of the 
Confederacy to supply them. To use them at all 
he must first wrest them from our possession, and 
this could not be done without the defeat of 
Thomas s entrenched army and the capture of Nash 
ville. That army, concentrated in comparative se 
curity behind the fortifications of Nashville, well 
fed, well clothed, daily growing stronger and more 
confident under a leader that it loved and trusted 
and whom it knew familiarly under the fond and 
expressive name of "Old Pap," was resolutely and 
vigorously making ready for its spring upon the 
foe. Under these conditions it must be conceded 
that the possibility of Hood s marching around 
Nashville or getting away from Thomas in the ef 
fort to cross the Cumberland for a winter march 
into Kentucky and to the Ohio was not only reduced 
to a minimum, but was about the wildest and the 
most desperate and hopeless military undertaking 
possible to imagine. 1 Here, if at any time during 
the war, Grant lost his head and failed to act with 
his usual sound sense. It is, of course, impossible 
to say with certainty how far the alarm of the Presi 
dent and his immediate military advisers, Stanton 
and Halleck, may have contributed to this, or how 
far Grant s judgment may have been disturbed by 

1 O. R. Serial No. 94, pp. 96, 97. 


his fear that Thomas would fail to hold Hood, and 
that this would condemn both himself and Sherman 
for stripping Thomas and leaving him with widely 
dispersed forces to contend against Hood s com 
pact veteran army. And yet, Lincoln, Stanton, Hal- 
leek, and Grant, although a thousand miles from the 
scene of conflict, concurred in assuming to under 
stand the situation better than the level-headed 
Thomas in fearing that Hood would drop him and 
get away on this wild march. Each in turn sought 
to impose on Thomas his own views as to the man 
agement of the campaign and united in harassing 
him beyond all patience and reason into fighting a 
battle against his own tried and well-seasoned judg 
ment before the preparations which he deemed es 
sential to success were complete. He was twitted 
with being slow. He was threatened with removal. 
Orders, indeed, were drafted to that end, and, as 
if to spare him no humiliation, it was proposed that 
he should turn over his command to Schofield, his 
inferior in rank, and report to him for duty. Not 
satisfied with this, Grant ordered Logan from City 
Point to Nashville. And then, as the crowning evi 
dence of lost equipoise, of confusion in counsel, and 
of want of confidence either in Thomas, Schofield, 
or Logan, or in all of them, Grant himself left his 
army in Lee s front at Petersburg and got as far 
as Washington on his way to Nashville. 1 Grant s 
telegrams of this fortnight show that he had a good 
memory for injuries, real or fancied, with an utter 
lack of sympathy or active friendship for Thomas, 
dating possibly as far back as Grant s unhappy 
days after Shiloh, or Thomas s coldness and inhos- 

1 0. B. Serial No. 94, p. 195. 


pitality at Chattanooga. They also disclose a will 
ingness, if not a settled purpose, on Grant s part 
to cause Thomas s removal and downfall, provided 
the authorities at Washington could be induced to 
take the responsibility for such radical action. 
When told plainly by Halleck that if he wished 
Thomas removed he would have to do it himself 
and take the sole responsibility, he hesitated and, 
while not abandoning his purpose, he drafted orders 
to that end, but, fortunately for Thomas and the 
country, they were not sent. 

As the situation was without a parallel in the 
history of the war, and as my own name was freely 
used in the correspondence and as my fortunes were 
thus involved and placed peculiarly on the hazard, 
it will be of interest, before telling what was finally 
done and how, to recall from the official files some 
thing of what was said. 

On December 1, the day after Franklin, after 
telling Grant i everything goes well, Thomas tele 
graphed Halleck fully as to his plans, as follows : 

After General Schofield s fight of yesterday, feeling 
convinced that the enemy very far outnumbered him, both 
in infantry and cavalry, I determined to retire to the 
fortifications around Nashville, until General Wilson can 
get his cavalry equipped. He has now about one-fourth 
the number of the enemy, and consequently is no match 
for him. I have two ironclads here, with several gun 
boats, and Commander Fitch assures me that Hood can 
neither cross the Cumberland nor blockade it. I, there 
fore, think it best to wait here until Wilson can equip his 
cavalry. If Hood attacks me here, he will be more seri 
ously damaged than he was yesterday ; if he remains until 
Wilson gets equipped I can whip him, and will move 



against him at once. I have Murfreesboro strongly 
held, and, therefore, feel easy in regard to its safety. 
Chattanooga, Bridgeport, Stevenson, and Elk Eiver 
Bridge have also strong garrisons. 1 

This dispatch, resting on the solid results 
achieved in the concentration of widely dispersed 
forces in the presence of a veteran invading army, 
on which a most disastrous repulse had just been 
inflicted, and giving sound military reasons for its 
justification, ought to have been implicitly accepted 
by his official superiors. For Thomas was no un 
tried general. He had long since demonstrated on 
more than one occasion in the most incontestable 
way his capacity to stand alone. He had done so at 
the outset of his career as an independent com 
mander at Mill Springs against Zollicoffer, again 
at Stone Eiver, again at Chicamauga, when his su 
perior in command retired defeated and disheart 
ened from the field. It was his army that, in the 
presence of Grant, rushed the heights of Missionary 
Eidge, which Sherman had assaulted in vain on 
another part of the field. And throughout the At 
lanta campaign, as Sherman s loyal lieutenant, 
where he might justly have been chief, he stood 
every test and proved himself over and over again 
a thoroughly level-headed, trustworthy, and most 
capable general. 

There was, therefore, neither justification nor 
excuse for the action taken at Washington on receipt 
of the above dispatch. Instead of approving it 
directly and promptly, or of assuring Thomas that 
he had the government s confidence, which he had 
so well earned, and leaving the details of immediate 

1 0. E. Serial No. 94, p. 3. 


operations to his good judgment and sound discre 
tion, Stanton hastened the next day, Decem 
ber 2, 1864, at 10:30 A. M., to telegraph Grant as 
follows : 

The President feels solicitous about the disposition of 
General Thomas to lay in fortifications for an indefinite 
period "until Wilson gets equipments." This looks like 
the McClellan and Rosecrans strategy of do nothing and 
let the rebels raid the country. The President wishes you 
to consider the matter. 

To this Grant replied at 1 P. M. the same day : 

Immediately on receipt of Thomas s dispatch I sent 
him a dispatch, which no doubt you read as it passed 
through the office. 

This dispatch, dated 11 A. M., December 2, 
reads as follows: 

If Hood is permitted to remain quietly about Nash 
ville, you will lose all the road back to Chattanooga and 
possibly have to abandon the line of the Tennessee. Should 
he attack you it is all well, but if he does not you should 
attack him before he fortifies. Arm and put in the 
trenches your quartermaster employees, citizens, etc. 1 

Later, at 1 :30 P. M., Grant, as though not satis 
fied with what he had already said, wired again : 

With your citizen employees armed, you can move out 

of Nashville and force the enemy to retire or fight upon 

ground of your own choosing. After the repulse of Hood 

at Franklin, it looks to me that, instead of falling back 

to Nashville, we should have taken the offensive against 

the enemy where he was. At this distance, however, I 

may err as to the best method of dealing with the enemy. 

You will now suffer incalculable injury upon your rail- 

1 O. E. Serial No. 94, p. 16. 



roads, if Hood is not speedily disposed of. Put forth, 
therefore, every possible exertion to attain this end. 
Should you get him retreating give him no peace. 1 

Whereupon, at 10 p. M. the same day, Thomas 
answered Grant as follows: 

Your telegrams of 11 A. M. and 1:30 p. M. to-day are 
received. At the time that Hood was whipped at Frank 
lin, I had at this place but about five thousand men of 
General Smith s command, which, added to the force un 
der General Schofield, would not have given me more than 
twenty-five thousand men; besides General Schofield felt 
convinced that he could not hold the enemy at Franklin 
until the five thousand could reach him. As General Wil 
son s cavalry force also numbered only about one-fourth 
that of Forrest s, I thought it best to draw the troops 
back to Nashville, and wait the arrival of General Smith s 
force, and also a force of about five thousand commanded 
by Major General Steedman, which I had ordered up from 
Chattanooga. The division of General Smith arrived yes 
terday morning, and General Steedman s troops arrived 
last night. I now have infantry enough to assume the of 
fensive, if I had more cavalry, and will take the field any 
how as soon as the remainder of General McCook s division 
of cavalry reaches here, which I hope it will do in two or 
three days. We can neither get reinforcements or equip 
ments at this great distance from the north very easily; 
and it must be remembered that my command was made 
up of the two weakest corps of General Sherman s army 
and all the dismounted cavalry except one brigade, and 
the task of reorganizing and equipping has met with many 
delays, which have enabled Hood to take advantage of 
my crippled condition. I earnestly hope, however, that 
in a few more days I shall be able to give him a fight 2 

1 O. E. Serial No. 94, p. 17. 

2 /&., 6. 17. 



A few minutes later he explained to Halleck: 

I have succeeded in concentrating a force of infantry 
about equal to that of the enemy s, and as soon as I can 
get the remaining brigade of McCook s division of cav 
alry here I will move against the enemy, although my 
cavalry force will not be more than half that of the 
enemy. I have labored under many disadvantages since 
assuming the direction of affairs here, not the least of 
which was the reorganizing, remounting and equipping of 
a cavalry force sufficient to contend with Forrest. The 
signal officers and reconnoitering parties report this after 
noon that the enemy are moving to our right and going 
into position southwest of the city or below. That would 
be by far the most advantageous position he could take 
for us, as his line of communication would be more ex 
posed with him in that position than in any other. The 
iron-clads and gunboats are so disposed as to prevent 
Hood from crossing the river, and Captain Fitch assures 
me that he can safely convoy steamers up and down the 
river. I have also taken measures to have the river pa 
trolled as high up as Carthage. 1 

Meanwhile, at Grant s suggestion, Stanton had 
authorized Thomas to seize and "impress horses, 
and every other species of property" at Nashville 
and Louisville. "Horses and equipments enough 
for Wilson might thus be procured immediately. " 
This was a stroke of genius for which Thomas and 
Grant and not Stanton should have the praise. 

At 9:30 A. M. December 3 Thomas wired Hal 

The enemy made no demonstration to-day, except to 
advance his pickets about five hundred yards on the Nol- 
ensville, Franklin, and Hillsborough pikes. I have a good 
entrenched line on the hills around Nashville, and hope 

1 O. E. Serial No. 94, p. 18. 

2 /&., p. 18. 


to be able to report ten thousand cavalry mounted and 
equipped in less than a week, when I shall feel able to 
march against Hood. I gave an order for the impress 
ment of horses last night, and we received the authority 
of the Secretary of War this morning. 1 

On the same day Thomas repeated to Admiral 
S. P. Lee precisely the same reasons already given 
Halleck and Grant for falling back from Franklin 
to Nashville : To concentrate my infantry and to 
give time to General Wilson to arm and equip suf 
ficient cavalry to meet Forrest. I have now nearly 
as much infantry as Hood, and in a few days hope 
to have cavalry enough to assume the offensive. In 
the meantime, Captain Fitch has cheerfully com 
plied with my request to patrol the river above and 
below the city. I am, therefore, in hopes we shall 
in a few days be able to take the offensive on pretty 
even terms with the enemy. 2 

The War Department was not alone dependent 
on Thomas for its information. It also received 
much news through the telegraphic correspond 
ence between Major T. T. Eckert, the head of the 
telegraph bureau in Washington, and Captain Van 
Duzer of the Quartermaster s Department, a very 
intelligent, wide-awake, and capable officer at Nash 
ville. This officer, on the 3rd, after stating Thomas s 
readiness to receive and repel attack, and giving the 
position of his forces, wired: "It is a very strong 
line strongly held," and adding: "Nothing heard 
from Forrest, but General Wilson is looking after 
him and no apprehension is felt. 3 

1 O. E. Serial No. 94. p. 29. 
a lfc., p. 30. 

Ib., p. 32. See also pp. 45, 47. 



My own orders, directing the seizure of every 
species of property necessary to put the cavalry 
forces into efficient condition, were being executed 
with the utmost energy by the officers of my com 
mand. To my inspectors I said: "You will per 
ceive that the authority is ample; use it without 
stint for seizure both of equipments and horses. 
. . . I leave many of the details to you in pur 
suance of General Thomas s general instructions, 
confident that you will do all in your power to push 
matters to the utmost. Spare nothing which is nec 
essary, but have everything done in an orderly man 
ner/ 1 

It will thus be seen that Thomas was not only 
keeping everybody who had any right to know fully 
advised as to his wise plans for the concentration 
of his army and the strengthening of his cavalry 
arm, but was proceeding to execute them with per 
fect good sense and unrelenting energy. No ap 
prehension was felt at Nashville. There was not 
the slightest excuse for any at Washington. Be 
sides, the fundamental rule for the conduct of mili 
tary affairs remote from the seat of government de 
manded that the officer in immediate command 
should be trusted with the details. Nobody under 
stood this rule better than Grant. He acted on it 
throughout in his relations with Sherman and Sheri 
dan, and it is both interesting and instructive to 
observe that at the very time he was most insistent 
in his effort to interfere with Thomas, treating him 
"like a school boy," he was invoking the rule in 
behalf of Schofield against Stanton, and flatly re 
fusing to impose either Stanton s judgment or his 

1 O. E. Serial No. 94, pp. 34, 35, 36, 39-48, 63, 64, 76, 149. 



own on that accomplished officer, who was then not 
only in command of troops, but also of the Depart 
ment of the Ohio. It appears that, while in the 
field, Schofield had assigned Stoneman to duty as 
second in command of the Department. This Stan- 
ton did not approve, declaring: "I think him 
(Stoneman) one of the most worthless officers in the 
service, who has failed in everything entrusted to 
him." He had, therefore, caused to be prepared 
and transmitted an order relieving him from such 
command and directing him to proceed to Cincin 
nati to await orders. When Grant s attention was 
called to the matter, he very promptly sent Stanton 
the following telegram, dated December 5, 1864, at 
1 p. M. : 

I am not in favor of using officers who have signally 
failed when entrusted with command in important places. 
Again, as a general rule, when an officer is entrusted with 
the command of a department he ought to be allowed to 
use the material given him in his own way. I would sim 
ply suggest the transmission of this dispatch to General 
Schofield and leave it discretionary then with him to em 
ploy General Stoneman, or relieve him from duty, as he 
deems best. 1 

When Schofield s attention was drawn to the 
subject by the War Department he replied: "I fully 
approve the correctness of the rule stated by Lieu 
tenant General Grant," and in face of Stanton s 
order removing Stoneman retained him in com 

Why Thomas did not receive the benefit of this 
well-known and most salutary rule will, as far as the 

1 O. R. Serial No. 94, pp. 52, 54, 58, 59. 


official records disclose, always remain a mystery. 
The inference that Grant never quite forgave 
Thomas for his cold reception at Chattanooga, else 
where described, and for Halleck s preference of 
Thomas to Grant following Shiloh and during the 
advance on Corinth, seems to be the most probable 
explanation. In any view, and for whatever cause, 
it is certain that Grant refused Thomas as an in 
dependent commander that considerate and kindly 
trust and confidence freely accorded to others, to 
which the facts of record fully entitled him. 

Meanwhile Grant, acting on his erroneous as 
sumption, forgetful of Thomas s high and approved 
character, in face of reassuring statements from 
him, and of his purpose to assume the offensive and 
to attack without unnecessary delay, and of like as 
surance from Van Duzer that no apprehension was 
felt in Nashville, continued, with increasing force, 
to impose his own views on Thomas as to the method 
of conducting the campaign for Hood s overthrow. 
In this he was, doubtless, largely influenced both 
by Halleck and Stanton. Halleck, in his telegram 
to Grant, 3 :30 p. M., December 5, claiming that twen 
ty-two thousand cavalry horses had been issued at 
Louisville, Lexington, and Nashville since Septem 
ber 20, added the erroneous and misleading state 

If this number, without any campaign, is already re 
duced to ten thousand mounted men, as reported by Gen 
eral Wilson, it may be safely assumed that the cavalry 
of that army will never be mounted, for the destruction 
of horses in the last two months has there alone been 
equal to the remounts obtained from the entire West. 1 
1 0. B. Serial No. 94, p. 56. 


The absurdity and essential untruth of this tele 
gram, as far as it was intended to apply to the ef 
forts of General Thomas and myself to obtain re 
mounts and that was evidently its sole object- 
becomes at once apparent when it is recalled that, 
under Sherman s express orders, I had dismounted 
a large number of the cavalry then in the field to 
complete the remount of Kilpatrick s division, 
which had been overworked and run down before 
the March to the Sea began in the fruitless effort 
to overtake and bring Hood to bay. Then followed 
at once one of the most strenuous, wasting, and per 
ilous campaigns of the war, during which, with 
Hatch s division and Croxton s brigade alone of 
nearly fifty thousand men nominally in my com 
mand, I was called upon to aid Schofield in resisting 
Forrest and the advance of Hood s army. 1 And in 
spite of all our efforts neither Grierson, Burbridge, 
nor Garrard had been brought to Nashville. Kilpat- 
rick, with by far the strongest and best-mounted 
division, was hundreds of miles away, while Long 
and many others were waiting remounts at Mem 
phis or Louisville, or were uselessly employed and 
dispersed in far away and comparatively unimpor 
tant fields. Even admitting all that Halleck claimed, 
it should be remembered, and he above all ought to 
have recalled, that neither Thomas nor myself had 
had the slightest responsibility for either the condi 
tion of the cavalry or its wide and useless dispersal. 
Both of us were new to our respective commands, 
and the responsibility for existing conditions was 
upon those who preceded us. Besides it was no time 
for fault-finding or cheese-paring. We were entitled 

O. E. Serial No. 79, p. 358, Sherman to Wilson. 


to the loyal and energetic support of our superiors. 
Help, at least in good will, and not carping criticism, 
based on mistakes or failures of others, was what 
we needed. I say "we" deliberately, because it 
was my great honor and privilege to have been 
joined with Thomas, and, under him, I was chiefly 
responsible for, and the chief object of, thoughtless 
bureaucratic criticism. Happily for me, as well as 
for the country, I had the "Kock of Chicamauga" 
at my back. 

On receipt of Halleck s telegram, Grant wired 
Thomas on December 5 at 8 p. M. : 

Is there not danger of Forrest moving down the Cum 
berland to where he can cross it? It seems to me while 
you should be getting up your cavalry as rapidly as possi 
ble to look after Forrest, Hood should be attacked where 
he is. Time strengthens him in all probability as much as 
it does you. 1 

There were several good reasons why this tele 
gram was ill-advised. While possibly harmless and 
well meant, it was quite unnecessary, as well as con 
trary to Grant s rule, and it served no good end. 
Every possible precaution had been taken to prevent 
any such movement on Forrest s part. No such 
movement was, in fact, contemplated, and Hood, far 
from being strengthened in any way by delay, was 
daily finding it more difficult to subsist his army, 
dependent for its supplies upon wagon trains from 
distant stations, while every possible man the South 
could get into the field was hurried to eastern Geor 
gia to help Beauregard, Hardee, Wheeler, and 
Bragg in the vain effort to head off Sherman. 

*O. R. Serial No. 94, p. 55. 



Thomas, on the other hand, in full possession of 
his rail and river lines, was in the midst of abun 
dance and was gaining rapidly in strength. On the 
very day of Grant s dispatch, Thomas, 10 P. M., 
December 5, was crossing it by a telegram to 
Halleck informing him fully as to Hood s passive 
but increasingly difficult position, and fixing the 7th 
as the date for moving out against him. 1 To Grant 
himself Thomas, in direct reply to his telegram of 
the 5th, received about 8 p. M. of the 6th, again re 
peated his promise to march against Hood just as 
soon as he could get up a respectable force of cav 

General Wilson has parties out now pressing horses, 
and I hope to have some six thousand or eight thousand 
cavalry remounted in three days from this time. General 
Wilson has just left me, having received instructions to 
hurry the cavalry remount as rapidly as possible. I do 
not think it prudent to attack Hood with less than six 
thousand cavalry to cover my flanks, because he has, under 
Forrest, at least twelve thousand. I have no doubt For 
rest will attempt to cross the river, but I am in hopes the 
gun-boats will be able to prevent him. The enemy has 
made no new developments to-day. 2 

It is no doubt true, in the light of the later pub 
lished records, that Thomas overestimated For 
rest s strength, which had also been scattered, de 
pleted, and worn, as it was, by Jackson s detach 
ment to Murfreesboro and by Wheeler s in pursuit 
of. Sherman, to say nothing of the strenuous resist 
ance offered by my troops at every advantageous 
point on his march from the Tennessee. But neither 

1 O. E. Serial No. 94, pp. 55, 70. 

2 75., p. 70. 



Thomas nor I knew it, and even if we had known 
his exact strength, which we had no means of learn 
ing, it was the part of the highest wisdom and the 
soundest military sense to reverse the conditions 
and set into the field against him an overwhelming 
force if possible, two to one which, with a little 
delay, involving no great risk, it was quite possible 
to do, and was, in fact, done a little later. Scho- 
field, as we have seen, shared with Thomas the be 
lief as to the great numerical superiority of the rebel 
cavalry under the prestige of Forrest s able and 
intrepid leadership, supported by such veteran divi 
sion commanders as Buford, Red Jackson, and Chal 

But Grant, without waiting for Thomas s reply, 
as above, and yielding, as it would appear, for the 
moment to an impatient impulse to assert his au 
thority, if not to show his superior generalship, 
sent this peremptory order to Thomas on December 
6, at 4 P. M. : 

Attack Hood at once, and wait no longer for a remount 
of your cavalry. There is great danger of delay resulting 
in a campaign back to the Ohio River. 

To which Thomas at once replied, same day, at 
9 P. M. : 

Your telegram of 4 p. M. this day is just received. I 
will make the necessary dispositions and attack Hood at 
once agreeably to your order, though I believe it will be 
hazardous with the small force of cavalry now at my 

And this, as shown by orders, Thomas cautiously 
but resolutely set himself to do, and but for the in 
tervention of Providence would in all probability 



have made his attack on the morning of the 10th. 
Meanwhile Halleck, at 1 p. M. of the 6th, repeated to 
Thomas the substance of his inconsequential tele 
gram to Grant about the twenty-two thousand cav 
alry horses issued since September 20; to which 
Thomas promptly made reply that, notwithstanding 
the large figures, which he did not dispute, there 
had, nevertheless, been great losses from battle and 
disease, "and a large number of the men are still 
dismounted." This was the cardinal and unhappy 
fact that confronted both Thomas and myself, and 
which we were doing our utmost to remedy. Thomas 
added: "I have seen General Wilson to-night, who 
encourages me to hope that he will be able to re 
mount six thousand or seven thousand men in three 
days from this time. The enemy made no new 
developments to-day. I will attack as soon as 
General Wilson can get together a sufficient cav 
alry force to protect my flanks. " * To this sane, 
specific, and reassuring telegram it would seem no 
valid military objection could be found or offered, 
but Stanton s abundant vocabulary was more than 
equal to the occasion, and his characteristic intem 
perance of judgment and expression was embodied 
and fully reflected in the following dispatch of De 
cember 7, at 10:20 A. M., to Grant: 

. . . Thomas seems unwilling to attack because it 
is hazardous, as if all war was anything but hazardous. 
If he waits for Wilson to get ready Gabriel will be blow 
ing his last horn. 

Evidently Stanton had not forgotten my last in 
terview with him, when my division was passing 

O. E. Serial No. 94, p. 71. 


through Washington the summer previous. It is 
equally clear that I had not especially commended 
myself to him in our somewhat abrupt conference. 
It is also evident that Grant was in a receptive 
mood for suggestions adverse to Thomas, as shown 
in his reply, of December 7, at 1:30 P. M., which 
was not delayed: 

You probably saw my order to Thomas to attack. If 
he does not do it promptly I would recommend supersed 
ing him by Scho field, leaving Thomas subordinate. . . . 

All of which was a curious revival against 
Thomas, in quarters that ought to have known bet 
ter, of the foolish "On to Richmond" cry earlier 
*n the war, and without half the excuse or nearly 
as much sense behind it. It is, however, greatly to 
the credit of Halleck and Grant that their good mili 
tary sense in other directions did not desert them, 
and that, notwithstanding their unfriendly and dis 
couraging attitude toward Thomas and their unjus 
tifiable efforts to impose their views from afar upon 
him, they continued their earnest efforts to reen- 
force and strengthen him from every possible quar 
ter. 1 But Grant, having made up his mind that it 
was necessary to remove Thomas, while hesitating 
to act himself, yet kept the subject, with his cus 
tomary tenacity of purpose, before the War De 
partment. On December 8, at 4 p. M., he telegraphed 

... If Thomas has not struck yet he ought to be 
ordered to hand over his command to Schofield. There is 
no better man to repel an attack than Thomas, but I fear 
he is too cautious to ever take the initiative. 
1 O. B. Serial No. 94, p. 96. 


In this same telegram renewed expression was 
given to the fear that "either Hood or Brecken- 
ridge will get to the Ohio 7 fears which the events 
showed were idle and without sufficient foundation. 
Moreover, it soon became apparent that Thomas s 
representations and appeals were taking hold on the 
sober second thought of the war authorities at 
Washington, and that they balked at his removal 
and declined any responsibility for it. Grant was 
tersely told so by Halleck on December 8 at 
9 P. M. : 

If you wish General Thomas relieved from command 
give the order. No one here will, I think, interfere. The 
responsibility, however, will be yours, as no one here, so 
far as I am informed, wishes General Thomas s removal. 1 

At this Grant also balked, as indicated in his 
reply the same day at 10 p. M. to Halleck : 

Your dispatch of 9 p. M. just received. I want General 
Thomas reminded of the importance of immediate action. 
I sent him a dispatch this evening which will probably 
urge him on. I would not say relieve him until I further 
hear from him. 2 

Then followed a dispatch to Thomas, wholly un 
objectionable either in tone or matter, and express 
ing the views of the Lieutenant General on the situ 
ation, as he had a perfect right to do, and while it 
was erroneous in its inferences as to Hood s plans 
and gave renewed expression to the baseless fear of 
"a foot race" back to the Ohio, yet was temperate 
in language, not unkind, and quite correct in point 
ing out to Thomas his great opportunity to destroy 

1 O. E. Serial No. 94, p. 96. 

2 76., p. 96. 



one of the three armies of the enemy. It is greatly 
to be regretted that all of his communications to his 
sturdy and deserving lieutenant were not in the 
same vein. The whole dispatch of December 8, 
at 6 :30 p. M., was as follows : 

Your dispatch of yesterday (referring to Brecken- 
ridge s retreat and pursuit by Stoneman) received. It 
looks to me evident the enemy are trying to cross the Cum 
berland River and are scattered. Why not attack at once ? 
By all means avoid the contingency of a foot race to see 
which, you or Hood, can beat to the Ohio. If you think 
necessary, call on the Governors of States to send a force 
into Louisville to meet the enemy if he should cross the 
river. You clearly never should cross, except in rear of 
the enemy. Now is one of the finest opportunities ever 
presented of destroying one of the three armies of the 
enemy. If destroyed, he never can replace it. Use the 
means at your command, and you can do this and cause a 
rejoicing what will resound from one end of the land to 
the other. 1 

This was crossed by a telegram, same day, at 
9:30 P. M., from Thomas to Halleck: 

No material change has been discovered in the enemy s 
position to-day. He attempted to advance his picket line 
on the Franklin road, but was driven back. With every 
exertion on the part of General Wilson he will not be able 
to get his force of cavalry in condition to move before 
Sunday (the llth). I have a report from the river as 
high up as Carthage; no body of the enemy can be seen 
or heard of. I also have information that there is no 
enemy between Carthage and Albany, Ky. There are two 
iron-clads above Harpeth Shoals on the Cumberland River, 
and Admiral Lee is at Clarksville with the "Cincinnati." 
I have requested him to patrol the river from Clarksville 
1 0. B. Serial No. 94, p. 97. 


to Harpeth, so as to discover and effectually prevent any 
attempt of the enemy to cross below. 1 

On the same page will be found a reassuring dis 
patch, confirmatory of the above, from Van Duzer 
to Eckert, which shows the continued arrival of re- 
enforcements to Thomas, while my own reports of 
progress to him and my efforts appear at nearly 
every page of the record, and especial attention is 
called to that of December 8, to which Thomas re 
fers and from all of which it will be perfectly ap 
parent to the military student that all was going 
well, that the moment of attack was drawing nigh, 
and that every energy was on the stretch to be ready 
for it. But, in the meantime, in spite of all that 
we could do or say, and in the face of daily improv 
ing conditions in our preparations for the offensive, 
measures of the gravest character were being ma 
tured at the War Department under the express di 
rection of General Grant, due, most unhappily, to 
his misunderstanding of the facts and his persistent 
disregard of his own wise rule of non-interference 
in the plans and details of execution on the part of 
independent commanders and his inexplicable re 
fusal to accord to Thomas, incomparably the best 
of the lot, that freedom of judgment and action 
which he so generously extended to Meade, Sher 
man, Sheridan, and Schofield. As the crisis was 
grave, and as Grant s part in it was perhaps the 
least creditable incident in his whole military career, 
it is essential that the facts, as they officially appear, 
should all be carefully recalled before resuming the 
thread of my own personal reminiscences. 

1 0. R. Serial No. 94, p. 97. 


Van Duzer s dispatch to Eckert on December 
8, at 8 p. M., above referred to, becomes important, 
and was as follows : 

No change in position since last report. Enemy still 
in force in front, as was found by reconnoissance, and a 
large artillery force upon south bank of the Cumberland 
below, between here and the Shoals. One of our gun 
boats came to grief in exchange of iron at Bell s Ferry. 
Rebel General Lyon holds same bank below Harpeth to 
Fort Donelson, but does not fight gun-boats. Reenforce- 
ments now at Clarksville will reach here by a railroad to 
morrow night. Colonel Tompson s black brigade reached 
here yesterday, having come from Johnsonville via 
Clarksville. Deserters report Hood s headquarters seven 
miles out on Hillsboro pike; Forrest three miles on 
Granny White Road with main army on same road nearer 
town. 1 

With no other warrant than the above, without 
material change in the positions of the respective 
armies or any increasing menace from Hood, and 
upon premises now indisputably known and clearly 
seen to have been false, having at the time no ade 
quate support in the reports which had reached him 
at the hour of his own telegram, and without wait 
ing for Thomas s reply to his message of 8:30 P. M. 
of the 8th, quoted above, Grant did himself the great 
wrong and Thomas the intolerable injustice dis 
closed in the following message to Halleck of De 
cember 9, at 11 A. M. : 

Dispatch of 8 p. M. last evening from Nashville shows 
the enemy scattered for more than seventy miles down the 
river, and no attack yet made by Thomas. Please tele 
graph orders, relieving him at once and placing Schofield 
1 O. R. Serial No. 94, p. 97. 


in command. Thomas should be directed to turn over 
all orders and dispatches received since the battle of 
Franklin to Schofield. 

It is now well known that except a small raid 
ing force under Lyon, which was being sharply 
looked after by detachments of my cavalry under 
the vigorous leadership of McCook and LaGrange, 
the enemy had no force on the lower Cumberland 
and none on the river nearer Nashville except a 
small battery of four guns and a brigade of 
Chalmers s division. The main rebel army, as 
clearly stated by Van Duzer, "so far from 
being scattered for more than seventy miles 
down the river, " was intact and making no 
movement whatever in force to cross the Cumber 
land. Lyon, as it turned out, was a negligible 
quantity, and McCook had far better have been 
held in hand for the decisive battle at Nash 

Pursuant, however, to Grant s telegram, tenta 
tive action had been taken in the Adjutant General s 
office in Washington to carry it into effect by gen 
eral order, as follows: 

In accordance with the following dispatch from Lieu 
tenant General Grant, viz : 

Please telegraph order relieving him (General 
Thomas) at once, and placing Schofield in command. 
Thomas should be directed to turn over all dispatches re 
ceived since the battle of Franklin to Schofield. 

The President orders: 

1. That Maj. Gen. J. M. Schofield assume command 
of all troops in the Departments of the Cumberland, the 
Ohio and the Tennessee. 

2. That Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas report to Seho- 



field for duty, and turn over to him all orders and dis 
patches received by him, as specified above. 
By order of the Secretary of War. 

It was well for the country that such an order 
should have given pause to all concerned in the War 
Department and that no one seemed to be desirous 
or in haste to give it vitality by lending his signa 
ture. Meanwhile Halleck, returning to his old-time 
friendship for Thomas, dating back to the days of 
Corinth, knowing Grant s hostile attitude, before 
the receipt of his order at 1:45 p. M. directing 
Thomas s peremptory removal, sent him this dis 
patch, dated December 9, at 10 :30 A. M. : 

General Grant expresses much dissatisfaction at your 
delay in attacking the enemy. If you wait till General 
Wilson mounts all his cavalry you will wait till dooms 
day, for the waste equals the supply. Moreover, you will 
soon be in the same condition that Rosecrans was last year 
with so many animals that you cannot feed them. Re 
ports already come in of a scarcity of forage. 1 

I can readily forgive Halleck for stealing Stan- 
ton s thunder at my expense and repeating it to 
Thomas, to my prejudice, for the reason that it was 
full time for somebody to put Thomas on his guard, 
and Halleck had sense enough and the courage to do 
it. Moreover, the telegram, although it must have 
wrung Thomas s great soul, yet brought into light 
and play the loyal and intensely patriotic attributes 
of the man. Thomas replied to Halleck on Decem 
ber 9, at 2 p. M. : 

Your dispatch of 10:30 A. M. this date is received. I 
regret that General Grant should feel dissatisfaction at 
O. R. Serial No. 94, p. 114. 


my delay in attacking the enemy. I feel conscious that I 
have done everything in my power to prepare, and that 
the troops could not have been gotten ready before this, 
and if he should order me to be relieved I will submit 
without a murmur. A terrible storm of freezing rain has 
come on since daylight, which will render an attack im 
possible until it breaks. 1 

Thomas had already at an earlier hour sent the 
following reply to Grant, but it will be noted that 
it was also responsive to Halleck s message just 
quoted : 

Your dispatch of 8 :30 p. M. of the 8th is just received. 
I had nearly completed my preparations to attack the 
enemy to-morrow morning, but a terrible storm of freezing 
rain has come on to-day, which will make it impossible 
for our men to fight to any advantage. I am, therefore, 
compelled to wait for the storm to break and make the 
attack immediately after. Admiral Lee is patrolling the 
river above and below the city, and I believe will be able 
to prevent the enemy from crossing. There is no doubt 
that Hood s forces are considerably scattered along the 
river with the view of attempting a crossing, but it has 
been impossible for me to organize and equip the troops 
for an attack at an earlier time. Major General Halleck 
informs me that you are very much dissatisfied with my 
delay in attacking. I can only say I have done all in my 
power to prepare, and if you should deem it necessary to 
relieve me I shall submit without a murmur. 2 

General Thomas, without parading it, was a 
man of deep religious convictions and doubtless 
thoroughly shared the belief that there is a Divin 
ity which shapes our ends, rough hew them as we 
may. But whether so or not it is doubtful if in the 

1 O. E. Serial No. 94, p. 114. 

2 76., p. 115. 



life of any good and great man there was ever more 
timely or clearer providential interference in his 
fortunes and in his favor than that pitiless "ter 
rible storm of freezing rain to which, he makes ref 
erence in his telegrams to both Halleck and Grant. 
It continued in its effects for four days days abso 
lutely essential to the completion of his and my or 
derly and final preparations for attack. It con 
firmed the War Department in its hesitation and re 
luctance to give immediate effect to the extreme 
measure ordered by Grant. It gave a practi 
cal and unanswerable reason for further delay, and 
stayed for a time even the hand of the grim Lieu 
tenant General. It left him unconvinced, growl 
ing, and waiting to strike and on the watch for op 
portunity, of which he was not slow to avail himself, 
but in which, on credible testimony, he ultimately 
failed, solely by reason of another! special provi 
dence, this time in the shape of wise, courageous 
Major T. T. Eckert, head of the telegraph bureau 
in the War Department, and afterwards, for many 
years, the president of the Western Union Tele 
graph Company. 

On receipt of Thomas s dispatch, Halleck tele 
graphed Grant, on December 9, at 4:10 p. M. : 

Orders relieving Thomas had been made out when his 
telegram of this p. M. was received. If you still wish these 
orders telegraphed they will be forwarded. 1 

To which Grant replied at 5 :30 p. M. : 

General Thomas has been urged in. every way possible 
to attack the enemy, even to giving him the positive or 
ders. He did say he thought he would be able to attack 
1 0. B. Serial No. 94, p. 116. 


the 7th, but didn t do so, nor has he given a reason for 
not doing it. I am very unwilling to do injustice to an 
officer who has done as much good service as General 
Thomas has, however, and will, therefore, suspend the 
order relieving him until it is seen whether he will do any 
thing. 1 

In a far saner tone, Grant, at 7:30 p. M., sent 

Your dispatch of 1 p. M. received. I have as much con 
fidence in your conducting a battle rightly as I have in 
any other officer; but it has seemed to me that you have 
been slow, and I have had no explanation of affairs to 
convince me otherwise. Receiving your dispatch of 2 
p. M. from General Halleck, before I did the one to me, I 
telegraphed to suspend the order relieving you until we 
should hear further. I hope most sincerely that there will 
be no necessity of repeating the orders, and that the facts 
will show that you have been right all the time. 2 

The embargo of the storm did not seem to have 
impressed Grant, and, as his telegram completely 
ignored or turned down this and other very full ex 
planations of the delay, Thomas, at 11 :30 p. M., on 
the same day, tersely repeated his controlling and 
most important reason for the delay, with the ap 
parent purpose of leaving Grant free to do as he 

Your dispatch of 7:30 p. M. is just received. I can 
only say in further explanation why I have not attacked 
Hood that I could not concentrate my troops and get their 
transportation in order in shorter time than it has been 
done, and am satisfied I have made every effort that was 
possible to complete the task. 3 

1 O. E. Serial No. 94, p. 116. 

2 76., p. 115. 
/&., p. 115. 



Earlier in the evening, at 9:30 p. M., Thomas 
closed the day by a further report to Halleck : 

There is no perceptible change in the appearance of the 
enemy s lines to-day. Have heard from the Cumberland 
River, between Harpeth and Clarksville, and there are no 
indications of any preparations on the part of the enemy 
to cross. The storm still continues. 1 

The record shows that Thomas, as was his duty, 
kept Halleck fully and accurately advised from day 
to day, almost from hour to hour, especially as to 
the imperative delay incident to the storm and its 
effects, and reiterated his purpose to attack Hood 
"as soon as we have a thaw." But he did not again 
volunteer any direct communication to Grant. On 
the llth, at 4 p. M., however, Grant wired Thomas 
in terms showing that it was still "On to Rich 
mond " with him, regardless of weather: 

If you delay attack longer the mortifying spectacle will 
be witnessed of a rebel army moving for the Ohio River, 
and you will be forced to act, accepting such weather as 
you find. Let there be no further delay. Hood cannot 
stand even a drawn battle so far from his supplies of ord 
nance stores. If he retreats and you follow, he must lose 
his material and much of his army. I am in hopes of re 
ceiving word from you to-day announcing that you have 
moved. Delay no longer for weather or reinforcements. 2 

To this Thomas, on December 11, at 10 :30 P. M., 
replied : 

Your dispatch of 4 p. M. this day is just received. I 
will obey the order as promptly as possible, however much 
I may regret it, as the attack will have to be made under 

1 O. R. Serial No. 94, p. 114. 
z ll., p. 143. 



every disadvantage. The whole country is covered with a 
perfect sheet of ice and sleet, and it is with difficulty the 
troops are able to move about on level ground. It was my 
intention to attack Hood as soon as the ice melted, and 
would have done so yesterday had it not been for the 
storm. 1 

This ended all correspondence between them un 
til after the battle had been fought and won. To 
show indisputably that Thomas was perfectly sin 
cere and quite correct as to the imperative need for 
delay, and that Grant was wholly wrong in his in 
sistence upon attack, it is only necessary to quote 
from the record the judgment of other competent 
observers on the ground. On the 9th Van Duzer re 
ported to Eckert: ". . . Storm of sleet and snow 
to-day prevents any movement of our force or of 
the enemy/ On the llth: ". . . . Frost still 
holds everybody, except wood cutters, idle. No 
movement to report either on our part or that of the 
enemy for the past three days." On the 13th: 
11 . . . . Thaw has begun and to-morrow we can 
move without skates. " 2 General T. J. Wood, the 
capable commander of the Fourth Army Corps, re 
ported to Thomas on the 10th: ". . . . The 
ground between the enemy s lines and my own is 
covered with a heavy sleet, which would make the 
handling of troops very difficult, if not impracti 
cable. 3 That this also was the judgment of every 
corps commander in the army will further appear in 
the course of my personal narrative. Schofield, who 
was to be the beneficiary of Thomas s removal on 

1 O. E. Serial No. 94, p. 143. 
2 Ib., pp. 117, 143, 171. 
8 Ib., p. 132. 



the 12th, reporting to Thomas, said: ". . . . It 
seems hardly possible that Hood can attempt any 
move at this time." 1 

Nowhere, and never, perhaps, in Grant s life 
can be found an episode which better illustrates that 
trait in his character which Mrs. Grant had in mind 
when she said: "My husband is a very obstinate 
man, a quality which, rightly directed, as it always 
was in battle, helped to make him great, but which, 
in this instance, was wholly misdirected and came 
perilously near to involving him in an act of cruel 
injustice and a great and harmful mistake. He 
had, however, met his match even in that quality, 
and, having been fought to a standstill by the equal 
or greater obstinacy of Thomas, ceased to urge him 
further to an act which was against his judgment, 
and, without confessing his defeat, relentlessly 
turned to other expedients. Logan, having been on 
sick leave and left behind at his home in Illinois 
when Sherman cut loose from Atlanta, did not par 
ticipate in the March to the Sea, and in an effort to 
get to the front and rejoin his corps command under 
Sherman visited Grant s headquarters at City 
Point. The result of his conference with Grant was 
special order No. 149, dated December 13, 1864 : 

1. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan, U. S. Volunteers, will 
proceed immediately to Nashville, Tenn., reporting by tele 
graph to the Lieutenant General commanding his arrival 
at Louisville, Ky., and also his arrival at Nashville, Tenn. 
By command of Lieutenant General Grant. 2 

Just what use Grant proposed to make of Logan 
on his arrival at Nashville does not officially appear, 

1 O. R. Serial No. 94, p. 157. 
2 /b., p. 171. 



but the latter is himself authority for the statement 
that he expected to assume command of the army 
at Nashville in case Thomas had not engaged the 
enemy when he arrived there, and this view is sup 
ported by David Homer Bates, in an interesting 
book, in which he says that on the date of the above 
order sending Logan to Nashville " Grant wrote his 
second order relieving Thomas and sent it by the 
hand of Logan, to be delivered in person, provided 
when Logan arrived at Nashville Thomas had not 
yet advanced. J>1 But not satisfied with this Bates 
further states that Grant, before Logan was a day s 
journey away, started in person for Nashville via 
Washington, where he arrived on the afternoon of 
the 15th and found the wires interrupted, for rea 
sons which all the world now understands. A con 
ference between Lincoln, Stanton, Grant, and Hal- 
leek followed, at which Grant declared his purpose 
to go to Nashville, meantime relieving Thomas and 
placing Schofield in immediate command until his 

Grant then wrote this third order, removing Thomas, 
and although Lincoln and Stanton were strongly opposed 
to such action, they were forced to consent because of 
Grant s urgent importunity. The final order for the re 
moval of Thomas was then handed to Eckert for transmis 
sion, Grant going to Willard s Hotel to prepare for his 
departure. 2 

Most interesting details follow, telling how Eck 
ert, on his own responsibility, held the telegram 
until he could hear from Van Duzer, which he did 
in the course of an hour, at 11 P. M., in cipher, in- 

1 Bates, "Lii 
a lb., p. 315. 



eluding one from Thomas, dated December 14, at 
8 P. M., both of which Bates translated; the one from 
Thomas to Halleck was as follows : 

Your telegram of 12 :30 p. M. to-day received. The ice 
having melted away to-day the enemy will be attacked to 
morrow morning. Much as I regret the delay in attacking 
the enemy, it could not have been done before with any 
reasonable hope of success. 1 

The second telegram was from Van Duzer, Nash 
ville, December 15, at 10:30 p. M., telling of the 
battle fought on that day and the great victory won. 
This message is historic, and is found at page 196, 
0. E., Serial No. 94. Great use was made of it and 
great rejoicing on the part of Eckert, Stanton, and 
Lincoln followed, of which Bates gives a graphic 
and picturesque account. On its being sent to Grant 
at Willard s he handed it to Beckwith with the re 
mark: "I guess we will not go to Nashville. " He, 
however, at once, 11 :30 p. M., telegraphed Thomas : 

I was just on my way to Nashville, but receiving a dis 
patch from Van Duzer, detailing your splendid success of 
to-day, I shall go no further. : 

And fifteen minutes later he sent his congratula 
tions to Thomas. 

It was upon this historic setting on this forbid 
ding background, so full of menace to the fortunes 
of General Thomas, that the decisive battle of Nash 
ville was fought and won. Despite all the untoward 
and uncalled for "nagging" disclosed by the record, 
I make bold to say that the battle was fought with 
out "unnecessary delay, " just as Thomas all along 

1 O. R. Serial No. 94, p. 180. 
3 II)., p. 195. 



promised, with the result he had so carefully planned 
for and so confidently anticipated. While prophecies 
after the fact are always easy, it is in the highest 
degree probable, tried by the facts actually devel 
oped in the course of the battle and by the experi 
ence of both armies, that if Thomas had made the 
attack, as ordered so peremptorily, upon Hood s 
strongly entrenched troops at any time prior to De 
cember 15, without waiting for reinforcements, 
and especially without the aid of " a respectable cav 
alry force/ he would have met with a disastrous re 
pulse. This, in fact, at first occurred everywhere 
along the line, both on the first and second days, 
except on the swinging flank, where McArthur s di 
vision and my cavalry were engaged. Grant had 
no right to assume that Thomas would have had 
any better luck in assaulting entrenchments, even 
though held by inferior numbers, than he had him 
self had in Virginia, or Hood at Franklin, or Lee at 
Gettysburg, or Sherman at Chickasaw Bluffs, or at 
Missionary Eidge, or throughout the Atlanta cam 
paign, or than Grant himself on May 22, 1863, at 
Vicksburg. These lessons of frightful disaster had 
not been lost upon Thomas, a soldier of sound judg 
ment, and always a close student of the military art. 
It is a notable fact, also, that the two most de 
cisive assaults of the war were made by troops un 
der Thomas s command at Missionary Eidge and 
again at Nashville. Some may say that my state 
ment above, that even at Nashville the initial as 
saults on both days failed all along the line, except 
as the operation of my cavalry on the flank and rear 
made it easy, partakes of vainglory. I admit that 
it is a somewhat startling statement, and may be 



new to many, but it is not at all vainglorious. It 
is the simple truth. I repeat it with great pride, but 
in justice to the heroic valor of the noble men 
" whose swords are rust and whose bones are dust," 
who so gloriously opened the road and showed the 
way to victory where others not less brave but less 
fortunate failed. As one among few survivors, 
nearly half a century later, it is the last service I can 
pay to the memory of my brave troops and the last 
expression of my gratitude for their unfaltering 
courage and support that I should make plain to 
all who read these lines, for all time, a truth resting 
not only upon my own observation and knowledge 
but upon the incontrovertible evidence of others, a 
truth that vindicates the judgment and the memory 
of the illustrious Thomas, that answers my own 
unfriendly critics, and that crowns the names of 
Hatch, Croxton, Knipe, and Johnson, and the heroic 
officers and men of their commands with imperish 
able glory. 

It has been seen how large and free a use was 
made of my name and how prominent the necessary 
remount of my troops came to be in the issue be 
tween Thomas and his superiors in rank and au 
thority. In view of the great part played by the 
cavalry in the battle, it will clearly appear that the 
flippant criticisms of Stanton and Halleck were even 
more uncalled for in my case than those made of 
Thomas by Grant. The latter, it is to be observed, 
nowhere echoed Stanton as Halleck did Thomas in 
the use of my name and to my prejudice, but al 
ways recognized the need and utility of an adequate 
cavalry force and did what he could to help Thomas 
and myself in resurrecting it from the wasted, scat- 



tered, and run-down material with which, under the 
stress of severely adverse circumstances, we had to 
deal. Aside from the impatience of Grant, and the 
pressure from him, the mere fact of Hood s pres 
ence in front of our entrenchments was of itself 
sufficient, without urging from any quarter, to speed 
every one to his utmost. All the wisdom, experi 
ence, and skill of the veteran Thomas and every 
atom of the energy and ability of my being were 
brought to bear, day and night, in an unceasing ef 
fort to overcome our deficiencies and to be ready 
at the earliest opportune moment to strike a deadly 

Although the campaign just ended had been 
crowded with marching and fighting, exposure and 
privation, which had tried the nerves and endurance 
of all, the cavalry in the field, notwithstanding its 
inferiority in numbers, had successfully gained con 
fidence and efficiency from the start. It felt in 
stinctively that the day for numerous and unnec 
essary detachments, of desultory and inconclusive 
operations had gone by. The era of concentration 
and movements in mass had arrived. Both men and 
officers had fully caught the new spirit and showed 
by their bearing that they needed but to be correctly 
handled and intelligently looked after to give a bet 
ter account of themselves than they had ever done 

With the Seventh Ohio Cavalry scouting the 
north bank of the Cumberland as far down as 
Clarkesville, and Hammond s brigade as far up as 
Carthage, it was reasonably certain that Hood, even 
if he had so intended, could make no movement 
toward the invasion of Kentucky which we should 



not promptly discover. Our central camp at Edge- 
field was thus left entirely quiet, and this afforded 
opportunity not only to rest and refit but to drill 
and reestablish proper discipline and administra 

The first week of December was the busiest and 
most important period in the reorganization of the 
cavalry forces. Clothes were drawn for the men, 
the horses were rested, reshod and well fed, extra 
shoes were fitted, new arms were issued, old ones 
were repaired, and equipments of every kind were 
put in order. . As fast as horses were received, they 
were issued where they would do the most good, 
and while they came in large numbers dismounted 
men from the rear came more rapidly in numbers 
sufficient to constitute two extra brigades of fifteen 
hundred men each. These were organized and used 
on foot as infantry till horses could be got for 

On December 9, as a result of daily confer 
ences, Thomas ordered me to break camp at Edge- 
field, to recross the Cumberland with my entire 
force, and to take position within the defenses of 
Nashville between the Hillsboro and Harding 
turnpikes so as to be ready to join in the attack 
against Hood the next day. But a heavy rain set 
ting in about the time the movement should have 
begun my orders were countermanded till further 
notice. Eain, snow, and sleet in abundance fol 
lowed by intense cold covered the ground that night 
with such a glare of snow and ice as to render it 
impossible to move cavalry not especially rough 
shod for the occasion. In fact, neither infantry nor 
cavalry could have made any progress whatever 



over a battlefield so undulating and broken and so 
covered with ice and frozen snow as was that which 
separated our lines from those of the enemy. There 
cannot be the slightest doubt that the prevailing 
conditions made it necessary to suspend operations 
and were a full justification for every hour of delay 
that followed this remarkable storm. It was at its 
greatest intensity when Grant telegraphed positive 
orders directing Thomas to attack the enemy with 
out further delay, and it was after it had spent its 
full force that Thomas, on the evening of Decem 
ber 10, invited his corps commanders to his head 
quarters for the purpose of reciting his orders, mak 
ing known his reply, and asking their views as to 
the action he had taken entirely on his own respon 
sibility in the emergency then at hand. 

As I was the junior corps commander present, 
in years as well as in rank, it was my duty to speak 
first. Thomas laid before us Grant s orders and 
his reply thereto, and then stated that he had 
reached his decision and sent his answer absolutely 
upon his own judgment and merely wanted us to 
know what the situation was and what his sense of 
duty had demanded of him. He intimated that he 
would be glad to know that his action was in con 
formity with our views, but assured us in a tone of 
lofty dignity and resolution that he was prepared 
to take all the consequences of it upon his own 
shoulders, whatever they might be. With this manly 
declaration from the lips of our commander, I has 
tened to express my full approval of the course he 
had adopted and then added that, as I understood 
the plans, in which I fully concurred, the initial 
movements and maneuvers would naturally fall to 



the cavalry and that it was my deliberate judgment 
that no hostile movement of any kind could be prop 
erly made either by infantry or cavalry till a thaw 
had set in and the ground and its covering had be 
come sufficiently soft to enable both men and horses 
to make their way over it. I then declared that if 
my command held any part of Hood s position I 
would agree to defend it successfully against any 
force that could be sent against it with my own men 
armed with nothing more dangerous than baskets of 
brickbats, for I felt sure that the first volley dis 
charged would set the men to dodging and slipping 
in such manner as to throw them into inextricable 

It will be remembered that Hood occupied at that 
time a line of entrenchments on the tops of the Over- 
ton Hills, the sides of which were steep enough to 
make them difficult to surmount even if undefended. 
My remarks seemed so appropriate to the real situ 
ation that they were received with a smile of ap 
proval by my brother officers. Thomas J. Wood, 
commanding the Fourth Corps, was the next to 
speak. At the outbreak of the war he was the 
youngest cavalry colonel in the army, but he was 
a soldier of great experience and unfaltering cour 
age. Much to my satisfaction he expressed his 
hearty concurrence in what I had said. A. J. Smith 
and Steedman were equally outspoken, and, as no 
one present denied or criticised my proposition or 
the conclusion drawn from it, and, as it was admit 
ted by all that the success of our operations would 
depend largely upon the cavalry s turning move 
ment, the meeting was shortly dissolved, and the 
officers dismissed to their quarters. Schofield, who 



was present at the meeting, claims that, " without 
waiting for the junior members of the council," 
he immediately replied: "General Thomas, I will 
sustain you in your determination not to fight until 
you are fully ready. 1 But on the testimony of all 
who were present it is certain that Schofield s ad 
vice, whatever it was, must have been given in pri 
vate. The fact is that upon this notable occasion 
he sat silent and by that means alone, if at all, he 
concurred in the judgment of those present that 
Thomas s course first and last was fully justified by 
the circumstances and conditions which confronted 
him. It was doubtless this silence that gave rise to 
the suspicion on the part of Steedman, and pos 
sibly of Thomas himself, that Schofield was already 
in touch with Grant or the War Department. 

As the others were withdrawing Thomas asked 
me to remain for further conference, and this I did 
with great pleasure. As soon as we were alone he 
said, with much feeling : 

"Wilson, the Washington authorities treat me 
as if I were a boy. They seem to think me incapable 
of planning a campaign or of fighting a battle, but 
if they will just let me alone till thawing weather 
begins and the ground is in condition for us to move 
at all I will show them what we can do. I am sure 
my plan of operations is correct, and that we shall 
lick the enemy, if he only stays to receive our 

Saying what I could to soothe Thomas s 
wounded feelings and to make it clear that Grant 
and Stanton could hardly understand the effects of 

lt Forty-six Years in the Army," by Lieutenant General John 
M. Schofield, Century Co., p. 238. 



the hard winter storm which had come upon us, 
without seeing them in person, I again expressed my 
approval of his plans and my entire confidence in 
our success if we did not throw our chances away by 
attacking prematurely. This done, I gradually 
led him into the discussion of other subjects and our 
conversation lasted till after supper. It was my 
custom to consider every question of organization 
and administration with him. He was an old West 
Point instructor who had devoted his entire life to 
the study of professional questions, and it was a 
rare opportunity for an officer of my age and lack 
of experience to invite his counsel and confidence. 
It was during an interview which took place a day 
or two after we had come within the defenses of 
Nashville that I told him of the disorganized and in 
efficient condition of the Tennessee cavalry regi 
ments and of my intention to court-martial the offi 
cers absent from duty without authority, and to 
detail in their place field officers who could be spared 
from the depleted Northern regiments. It was upon 
that occasion that he suggested that I should call 
upon Andrew Johnson, then military governor of 
Tennessee, and ask for his cooperation. I have 
given an account elsewhere of what took place be 
tween us but I had had no suitable opportunity 
to explain the unfortunate result of the meeting 
to General Thomas. This I now did and in do 
ing so raised a smile at the language I had used 
and the nerve which I had displayed. He ex 
pressed no surprise at Johnson s conduct nor at 
the course I had adopted without waiting for that 
official s concurrence, but fully agreed with me in 
my estimate of Johnson, as well as in the meas- 



ures which I had taken to vitalize the Tennessee 
mounted regiments. He admitted that it was a 
great mistake on the part of the War Department 
to permit their organization at all, and encouraged 
me by his full approval of the course I had 

I went to camp that night with a higher opinion 
of Thomas and his character than I had ever had 
before. He was by no means a rapid thinker or a 
brilliant conversationalist, but his mind was well 
stored with all sorts of military information and 
this was not all. He was an officer of unshakable 
resolution and of the highest character. His self- 
control was perfect, his bearing lofty and serene, 
and in all that he said and did he reminded me of 
the traditional Washington more than any man I 
had ever met. 1 He was a patriot without flaw and 
a soldier without reproach. He was as modest and 
as composed in his demeanor as any woman could 
have been, and yet he was not without the pride of 
conscious merit and did not hesitate to use strong 
and vigorous language when he thought he was im 
properly treated. He was as calm during the whole 
of this interview and as confident of victory as it 
was possible for a soldier to be. Withal he made 
it clear that he would not permit himself to be hur 
ried into battle, but would lay down his commission 
rather than fight against his judgment or before he 
had done all in his power to complete his prepara 
tion and to insure victory. 

And yet he could not forget the fact that Sher- 

1 Others, Admiral S. P. Lee for one, commanding our Mississippi 
Squadron, were similarly impressed. See also, "Recollections of the 
Civil War," C. A. Dana, pp. 124-125. 



man, who had taken the pick and choice of the West 
ern troops, including his own splendid Fourteenth 
Corps, was marching unopposed through the South, 
while the enemy he should have destroyed before 
starting on his holiday excursion had assumed the 
offensive and was now confronting us at Nashville 
within a line of circumvallating entrenchments which 
all experience admonished us were inexpugnable 
if properly defended. He commented on this more 
than once during the so-called siege with bitterness 
and resentment. But badly as he felt about it he 
felt still worse in regard to Grant s impatient and 
inconsiderate orders to fight without further delay. 
Generals, however great, are but men after all, and, 
while Thomas was always composed and dignified, 
he would have been more than human had he not re 
ferred to the fact that Grant, with an army of nearly 
a hundred thousand men, mostly seasoned veterans, 
had been confronting Lee at Petersburg for seven 
months, while Hood had been confronting us at 
Nashville for only ten days. The deadlock in Vir 
ginia was far more complete than in Tennessee. 
Lee, as if in contempt of Grant s generalship, had 
made detachments to Lynchburg and the valley of 
Virginia, thus greatly weakening his main army, and 
while those diversions had in the end come to grief 
Grant had not been able to avail himself of them for 
a successful counter attack against the enemy in his 
own front, but had finally settled down into a list 
less deadlock which continued substantially till the 
first of April, the next year. Under the circum 
stances, which were well known to the entire army, 
it was hard for Thomas, who was conceded to be a 
better technical soldier and organizer than either 



Grant or Sherman, to understand why he should be 
censured and lectured by either of them. Both were 
far away, as well as more or less ignorant of the 
actual condition of affairs in our front, and both 
more or less responsible for the perils by which we 
were surrounded. Thomas felt all this most keenly, 
but, with a reticence which was one of his greatest 
characteristics, he contented himself with recounting 
it to me, possibly with the hope that I might use it 
in some way for his justification, though he did not 
intimate that I should use it then or at any future 
time. He knew my intimacy with Grant and his 
staff, and evidently had confidence in my judgment, 
and, therefore, contented himself with the final dec 
laration that the authorities might relieve him from 
command and put some one else in his place, in 
which case he would do all in his power to help him 
out, but that in no case would he fight against his 
own judgment, or till local conditions should become 
more favorable. For the adoption of this course, 
the events which followed were a full justification, 
but it is a curious circumstance that, although Grant 
afterward went so far as to admit that he was wrong 
and Thomas was right in not fighting till the 
r eather had moderated and the thaw had come, 
neither he nor Sherman ever fully or fairly with 
drew the charge that Thomas was slow at Nash 
ville. 1 

On the evening of December 11 the weather 
moderated and the ice which covered the hills and 
fields began to melt. It required but a few hours 

1 On this interesting topic the critical reader should consult 
General Boynton s little book: "Was General Thomas Slow at 
Nashville?" &c. Frances P. Harper, New York, 1896. 



in that climate to clear and soften the ground 
so that troops could move without danger. By the 
next morning I began crossing to the south side of 
the river, and before night had taken up the position 
assigned to me, ready to attack as soon as the word 
should be received. By the night of the 14th all 
my near-by detachments had been called in and 
every arrangement within my own control had been 
completed, and, what is still better, both officers and 
men showed every confidence of victory. 

The plan of battle, as fully explained to all, re 
quired the cavalry to advance on the right of the 
infantry, conform to its movements, drive the enemy 
from the bank of the Cumberland at Bell s Land 
ing as well as from the Charlotte and Harding turn 
pikes, turn and envelop the enemy s left flank, and, 
if possible, strike him in the rear. In arranging 
to carry out these instructions, I conferred with A. 
J. Smith, whose corps had been holding that por 
tion of our line between the Hillsboro turnpike 
and the river, pointing out clearly that he should 
reach his point of passage through our entrench 
ments in such a way as not to encumber the ground 
over which the cavalry would have to operate. As 
the result of this conference, Smith assured me that 
the division on my right should march to the left 
by the rear of my command inside the entrench 

In order that there should be no mistake as to 
what was expected of them, I personally showed my 
division and brigade commanders the ground over 
which they were to advance, assembled them at my 
headquarters, and verbally reiterated my instruc 
tions. To make sure that there should be no mis- 



understanding, I then furnished each with a writ 
ten copy of the orders for his government. 

I had three divisions and one extra brigade in 
hand ready for the attack. The Fifth Division under 
Hatch held the left and was directed to sally from 
the fortifications on the Harding turnpike, its left 
flank connecting with Smith s infantry and its right 
flank moving by the turnpike. As soon as Smith had 
carried the enemy s position in his front, Hatch was 
to swing to the left, enveloping the enemy s flank 
and taking him in reverse. 

Croxton s brigade of the First Division, the 
other two being still absent in pursuit of Lyon, was 
ordered to conform to the movement on his left. 

E. W. Johnson s Sixth Division, one brigade 
mounted, the other having no horses, was directed 
to clear the Charlotte turnpike of the enemy, to keep 
in touch with Croxton, and to push on as far as 
Davidson s House, eight miles from the city, so as 
to cover the movement of the cavalry behind it from 
a counter attack by the enemy. 

Knipe s Seventh Division, one brigade mounted 
and the other without horses, was directed to de 
bouch from our entrenchments on the Harding turn 
pike and advance in readiness to reenforce any 
portion of the general advance which might require 
it. Although the plan of operations was plain and 
simple, a staff officer was told off to each division 
to see that everyone was in his place and did his 
part in conformity with the general plan of opera 
tions. As the entire battlefield was composed of 
plowed land and heavily timbered hills, all were 
directed to leave their transportation behind and to 
take nothing with them except the artillery, the 



teams of which should be doubled. The entire force 
consisted of something over nine thousand mounted 
men and three thousand dismounted. McCook had 
not returned. 

With all arrangements complete and the cavalry 
in bivouac on the commons inside of the entrench 
ments fronting the ground on which they were to ad 
vance the next day, I withdrew to my own tent and 
wrote, at 11 :40 p. M., December 14, 1864, to a friend 
at Grant s headquarters as follows: 

. . . Everybody else has made his last will and tes 
tament or written to his wife or sweetheart, but, having 
nothing to dispose of, and neither wife nor sweetheart to 
write to, I give you about four minutes before preparing 
myself for four or five hours of sleep. 

All arrangements are made for battle in the morning, 
and much seems in our favor. If we are ordinarily suc 
cessful, and Hood ordinarily complacent, we shall have but 
little time for letter writing during the next two weeks. 
The weather has moderated, the rebels are quiescent, and 
our troops in good condition. . . . 

Everything was astir, breakfast was over, and 
the cavalry corps ready to move out by daylight 
the next morning, but, owing to a dense fog which 
followed the change in the weather, the cavalry as 
well as the infantry was compelled to delay the ad 
vance till half past eight, by which time it had 
cleared sufficiently to enable each organization to 
move against the enemy as directed. In spite, 
however, of every precaution, McArthur s division 
of Smith s corps, instead of marching to its position 
on the left by my rear, as Smith had promised, de 
liberately crossed my front, thereby delaying not 
only my advance but the advance of the rest of the 



army till nearly ten o clock. Had the enemy been 
specially alert, this unnecessary delay might have 
greatly deranged our plan of attack. As it was it 
cost the entire army an hour and a half, which, in 
the short days of December, could ill be spared, and 
might have been of inestimable value in our opera 
tions of that afternoon. 

Simultaneously with the advance of the infantry, 
the cavalry moved out as directed, though Hatch s 
division was further delayed after beginning its 
march by the fact that Me Arthur s infantry still 
blocked its way. Finally having got a clear road, 
it advanced rapidly under the cover of a strong line 
of skirmishers. Brushing away the enemy s pickets, 
it soon encountered Ector s brigade of infantry on 
the farther side of Eichland Creek, strongly en 
trenched on commanding ground. Without a mo 
ment s hesitation, Stewart s brigade threw itself 
headlong against the enemy, broke through his line, 
and drove him rapidly beyond Harding s House. 

In this attack, the Twelfth Tennessee Cavalry, 
which I had placed under the command of Colonel 
George Spalding, of Michigan, charged the enemy 
in the most gallant manner, capturing Chalmers s 
headquarters, baggage, papers, and records, forty- 
three prisoners, and fourteen wagons, all of which 
was exceedingly gratifying because it fully vindi 
cated my action in putting a Northern field officer in 
charge of a Tennessee regiment. 

Having by this brilliant operation cleared his 
front and put the enemy s cavalry to flight, Hatch 
pushed his first brigade by flank rapidly to the left 
to join his second brigade. This done, the division 
found itself on the flank of a four-gun battery, 



posted in a redoubt which formed the left of the 
enemy s position. Sending his own battery "I," 
First Illinois Light Artillery, still farther to the 
right to a position from which it could enfilade the 
enemy s entrenchments, Hatch threw forward 
Coon s brigade, dismounted, broke through the en 
emy s infantry, and captured the redoubt with four 
guns. Turning the captured guns upon the enemy 
occupying a higher hill farther on, Hatch promptly 
threw forward his second brigade, supported by his 
first, and swept over a second redoubt, capturing 
four guns and two hundred and fifty prisoners. 
This operation was conducted in sight of the in 
fantry, which had never seen dismounted cavalry 
assault a fortified position before. To men less 
brave and determined than these dismounted horse 
men it would have seemed like madness to attack 
such entrenchments, but armed with magazine car 
bines the strong line of skirmishers made light of 
the work before them. In spite of the steep acclivity 
and of the withering fire both of artillery and mus 
ketry, the dismounted cavalrymen swept over the 
next redoubt and, putting the enemy to flight, cap 
tured still another four-gun battery which the enemy 
abandoned in the valley beyond. It was now almost 
dark, and the cavalrymen, having been fighting on 
foot swinging on a long radius from hill to hill, over 
rough and muddy ground, had become exceedingly 
fatigued. Besides, night was at hand, and Hatch 
was, therefore, directed to bring forward his horses 
and bivouac on the Hillsboro turnpike, connect 
ing with Schofield s right and covering it from the 

Knipe s mounted brigade had conformed to 


Hatch s movement, striking the Hillsboro pike 
at the six-mile post. Three-quarters of a mile far 
ther out, he turned up a branch of Eichland Creek 
and, just at dark, struck the Granny White turnpike 
still farther around, where he found himself in rear 
of the enemy s line. 

The cavalry operations still farther to our right 
had been equally successful. Croxton s brigade and 
Johnson s division, although delayed by McArthur s 
infantry, had found the enemy posted behind Eich 
land Creek, but, pressing him vigorously in front 
and flank, they brushed him quickly out of the way. 
Croxton, after following him several miles, also 
turned to the left, skirmishing heavily with the en 
emy, and finally went into bivouac near the sixth 
mile post on the Hillsboro turnpike. Both he 
and Johnson had swept everything before them, 
thus making it easy to concentrate the entire 
mounted force within supporting distance of each 
other on the left and rear of the enemy s position. 

From this condensed account, it will be seen 
from the map that the cavalry corps had driven 
back the enemy s entire left wing an average of 
over four miles, and had placed itself in a position 
from which it was enabled to renew the attack 
against the enemy s left and rear the next day with 
deadly effect. 

It was an unusual day s work for cavalry. For 
the first time on any American battlefield all the 
available mounted force, a full army corps in 
strength, were massed on the flank of an advancing 
army, making a turning movement of the first im 
portance against an enemy occupying a strongly for 
tified position. For the first time in our country 



the horsemen on foot had charged side by side with 
the infantry, carrying the enemy s entrenchments, 
taking his field guns, and capturing the detachments 
told off for their support. For the first time they 
had planted themselves in force behind the enemy s 
flank on one of his main lines of retreat in exactly 
the position for which they had started. The night 
was, however, so cloudy and dark, the country so 
broken, and the troops so fatigued, that a further 
advance that night was impossible. There was noth 
ing for the cavalry to do but to make their bivouac 
sure. Having done this, they slept without unsad 
dling and were ready at the earliest dawn to resume 
operations. Having seen that they were invincible 
in cooperating masses, they believed themselves 
sure of victory the next day, and, with this exultant 
feeling, they rested, though most uncomfortably, 
till the next morning. 

Having made my dispositions for the night, I 
rode to Thomas s headquarters, which I found on 
the turnpike, a mile or so outside the fortifications 
surrounding Nashville. He received me with compli 
ments which might well have made an older and bet 
ter soldier blush. His only regret was for the fog 
and the delay which had occurred from the blun 
der of McArthur s division. He felt that, if our 
movement could have begun at seven o clock instead 
of at ten, we should have had three hours more 
daylight and might have finished up our work and 
routed the enemy before dark. He was well satis 
fied, however, with the day s work and still more 
confident than ever that we should achieve a com 
plete victory the next day. Thanking me again for 
the services of the cavalry and expressing his confi- 



dence with still greater emphasis in the final re 
sult, he directed me to resume operations without 
change of plan, and to press the enemy s flank and 
rear as soon as I could see to move, with all the 
force I could bring to bear. 1 

Shortly after dawn of the 16th, the enemy drove 
in Hammond s pickets and took possession of the 
Granny White pike. This was the initial movement 
of the day, but Hammond, a gallant soldier, realiz 
ing the importance of that turnpike, without wait 
ing for orders threw out the dismounted men of his 
entire brigade, drove the enemy back in turn, and 
regained firm possession of the turnpike. The fight 
ing was sharp and determined, but its results were 
encouraging from the first. Hammond now had the 
most exposed position, but at the first sound of his 
carbines Hatch, to the left, pushed forward his whole 
dismounted force and joined in the attack on the 
enemy s left and rear. We were in the midst of 
the Brentwood Hills, densely covered with under 
brush and broken by fences which made the wooded 
country entirely impracticable for mounted men. 
The front covered by my fighting line was about a 
mile and a half in length. Its advance was diag 
onally across the Granny White pike, inclining to 
ward Nashville. Croxton s brigade was near at 
hand, ready to support either Hatch or Hammond, 
while Johnson s division was making its way on a 
greater arc across country to the Hillsboro turn 
pike. But the enemy held on stubbornly, and it 
looked for a while as though the cavalry might do 
more to annoy the enemy if it were on the other 

^chofield also called on Thomas that night and received simi 
lar orders. " Forty-six Years in the Army," p. 244. 



flank. At 10:10 A. M. I wrote Schofield and spoke 
with Thomas to that effect. 1 

But by noon our skirmishers, not less than four 
thousand in number, had pushed their way slowly 
through the underbrush and woods up the hills in a 
curved line from Schofield s right, across the 
Granny White pike, to a position parallel with the 
enemy s line and facing Nashville. There was no 
longer any uncertainty as to which flank we ought 
to be on, for all was now going well. Led and di 
rected by their gallant officers, the men of the two 
divisions, skirmishing heavily, pressed the enemy 
steadily back from the start at every point. 

In the midst of the heaviest fighting, one of our 
detachments captured a courier from Hood, carry 
ing a dispatch to Chalmers, directing him "for 
God s sake to drive the Yankee cavalry from our 
left and rear or all is lost. 2 Eegarding this dis 
patch as of the first importance, I sent it at once 
to Thomas without even making a copy of it. Hav 
ing already informed both Thomas and Schofield 
by courier of my success and of the steady progress 
my troopers were making, I sent three staff officers, 
one after the other, urging Schofield to attack the 
enemy in front and finish up the day s work with 
victory. But nothing whatever was done as yet 
from the right of the infantry line to support my 
movement. Finally, fearing that nothing would be 
done, and that night would come on again before the 

1 Schofield s < Forty-six Years in the Army, p. 264. 

2 O. E. Serial No. 94, p. 693, Forrest s Inspector-General to Jack 
son, "The enemy ... at 2 o clock were attempting to turn our 
left flank." /&., 697, Stewart to Walthall, "It is important to 
check the force operating against our left flank. 



enemy could be shaken out of his position, by the 
efforts of the dismounted cavalry alone, I rode 
around the enemy s left flank to Thomas s head 
quarters, which I found on the turnpike about two 
miles from my own. This was between three and 
four o clock, and, as it was a cloudy, rainy day, it 
was already growing dark. Thomas and Schofield 
were standing together on the reverse side of a 
small hill, over the top of which the enemy s line 
on a still higher elevation could be plainly seen less 
than a mile away. What was of still more impor 
tance was that my dismounted men, with their gui 
dons fluttering in the air, flanked and covered by 
two batteries of horse artillery, were in plain sight 
moving against the left and rear of the enemy s line. 
Shots from their batteries aimed too high but pass 
ing over the enemy s heads were falling in front of 
Schofield s corps. And yet he gave no orders to 
advance. Pointing out the favorable condition of 
affairs, I urged Thomas, with ill-concealed impa 
tience, to order the infantry forward without fur 
ther delay. Still the stately chieftain was unmoved. 
Apparently doubting that the situation could be as 
I represented it, he lifted his field glasses and coolly 
scanned what I clearly showed him. It was a stir 
ring sight, and, gazing at it, as I thought, with un 
necessary deliberation, he finally satisfied himself. 
Pausing only to ask me if I was sure that the men 
entering the left of the enemy s works above us 
were mine, and receiving the assurance that I was 
dead certain of it, he turned to Schofield and as 
calmly as if on parade directed him to move to the 
attack with his entire corps. 

Fully realizing that the crisis was now on, I 


galloped as rapidly as my good gray, Sheridan, 
could carry me back to my own command, but when 
I reached its front the enemy had already broken 
and was in full but disorderly retreat by the only 
turnpike left in his possession. This was shortly 
after 4 p. M. 

The dismounted troopers had closed in upon the 
enemy s entrenchments and entered them from the 
rear before the infantry reached them in front. 
They had captured fifteen more field guns, thus 
bringing their score up to twenty-seven for the two 
days, and had picked up several hundred prisoners. 
Without permitting them to delay for the trophies 
of battle, I directed them to turn over both guns 
and prisoners to the infantry, while they went for 
their horses and mounted for the pursuit. Hatch, 
Knipe, and Hammond, full of enthusiasm, did their 
best to carry these instructions into effect, while 
Croxton, still some distance to the right, mounted in 
hot haste and pushed forward to and through Brent- 
wood. It was now raining heavily, mist was gather 
ing, and dark was closing down like a pall over 
both victor and vanquished. 

As on the day previous, the ground was not only 
soft but heavily overgrown with timber and under 
brush. The distance which separated the dis 
mounted troopers from their led horses was consid 
erable, and although every man hurried as though 
his life was at stake it was pitch dark before they 
were remounted and in pursuit. Not a minute was 
unnecessarily lost, but rapid movements across 
rough country and plowed fields in the dark were 
impossible. The only chance was to follow the turn 
pikes, and we had not yet reached, nor were there 



any crossroads to the Franklin pike, which was the 
main artery of Hood s connections with the rear. 
The Granny White pike was in our hands, but its 
junction with the Franklin pike was at Hollowtree 
Gap, a strong position five miles farther toward 
Franklin, which made it necessary that the broken 
and retreating columns of the enemy should clear 
that point before we reached it. But the enthusiasm 
of victory was now all on our side. " There was 
mounting in hot haste" and, although it was so 
dark that our troopers could hardly see their horses 
ears, Hammond and Hatch, in the order named, led 
their gallant horsemen in headlong pursuit. It was 
now raining hard and the rain was gradually turn 
ing into sleet. The night was cold and dismal, but 
both officers and men felt that the opportunity was 
all they could expect and that no effort should be 
spared to gather the fruits of victory. They noted 
the low roll of thunder, which they may have mis 
taken for the roar of distant cannon, and they 
were grateful for the momentary flashes of lightning, 
which showed them the highway and fitfully lit up 
the landscape on either hand, giving them a sight 
here and there of straggling detachments of the en 
emy hurrying to the rear. 

Again the slowness of the infantry from the right 
of our line had cost us the hour of daylight which 
would have enabled us to make our victory com 
plete. Hood, foreseeing the disaster about to over 
take him, and making it known to Chalmers and to 
us alike, by his despairing cry, with the experience 
of an old soldier, had evidently held on till the last 
minute in the expectation that darkness would en 
able him, by a hurrying retreat, to reach Franklin, 



less than eight miles away, and put the Harpeth be 
tween him and us before daylight. 

But the Confederate chieftain had, quite un 
known to us, committed a second and still more 
grievous error, which had so far escaped our ob 
servation. Although many stragglers were picked 
up and hastily examined by the proper officers, it 
was soon discovered that they all belonged to Chal 
mers s cavalry or to the infantry of Hood s army, 
and none to Jackson s or Buford s cavalry. Be 
sides, nothing was seen or heard of the redoubtable 
Forrest himself. He was not on the field or we 
should have certainly known it before. The rattle 
of his repeater, the clang of his saber, and the 
shout of his clarion voice were absent from the 
racket and fighting which made that night so mem 
orable. 1 

We had not heard of Forrest s absence before, 
for, being north of the river or encircled by the en 
trenchments of Nashville, we had no means of learn 
ing what was going on behind the hills or in the en 
emy s camps. But after the fighting of the second 
day was all over and silence had followed "the noise 
of the captains and the shouting, it became certain 
that Forrest was absent from the battle. A day or 
two later we learned to our surprise that he had 
been sent by Hood, December 6, with two divi 
sions of cavalry and Walthall s division of infantry, 
to capture Murfreesboro on the Nashville and Chat 
tanooga Eailroad, some two days march to the 
southeast. This detachment, amounting to about 
a quarter of the entire investing army, was an in- 

1 O. R. Serial No. 94, pp. 202 et seq., Wilson s orders. Ib., 
Thomas to McCook. Ib., p. 699, Hood to Seddon. 



excusable violation of all the rules of war. While 
it cannot be said with certainty that, had Forrest 
been present with this force united with that of 
Chalmers, on the left of Hood s line he would have 
been able to hold it, it may well be claimed that he 
could have made a better and more stubborn defense 
than was made by Chalmers and Ector alone. 

Our mounted force was at least equal if not supe 
rior to Hood s and, cooperating with the infantry 
against a long line of entrenchments but poorly 
manned, we should doubtless have broken through, 
but with Forrest also resisting us we should have 
had much more difficult work and could hardly have 
pushed our turning movement far enough to reach, 
drive back, and take in reverse Hood s main line 
of defense for a mile and a half as we did. When 
it is remembered that every infantry attack against 
Hood s center and right on both days of the battle 
had been at first repulsed and that neither Schofield 
nor Smith fired a shot on the second day till after 
our dismounted men were seen entering the enemy s 
entrenchments from the left and rear, it may well be 
believed that had the cavalry s assault and turning 
movement also failed our general plan would have 
been defeated. According to all the rules of war, 
the cavalry was fully justified in claiming, as it al 
ways did, that, but for the part they took in the two 
days battle, the Confederate army would have main 
tained its position and the investment would have 
been indefinitely prolonged. 1 

Meanwhile, the Confederate commander had com 
mitted his final and fatal mistake and had lost out 

1 O. E. Serial No. 94, see especially Hood to Seddon, p. 699; 
also Beauregard to Cooper, p. 768. 



forever. His flank was turned and taken in reverse 
and his line was irretrievably broken. The most 
he could hope to do now was to save his army by 
flight from total destruction and capture. And in 
this his most potent allies were darkness, rain, snow, 
sleet, mud, and rising rivers, all of which he was to 
have in succession for the next two weeks. With 
the beginning of darkness he was in full retreat 
along the two turnpikes and we were thundering at 
his heels. While Hatch, Hammond, and Croxton, 
with more men than they could properly use in the 
dark on a single road, were charging every sem 
blance of a rear guard with no guide but an occa 
sional flash of lightning showing the white surface 
of the turnpike, and no knowledge of the enemy s 
position but that given by the blazing of his pistols 
and carbines, Johnson pushed down the Hillsboro 
pike for the purpose of crossing the Harpeth 
and swinging into Franklin from the west, if pos 
sible, before Hood could pass beyond that point. 

Our contact was at first with the disorganized 
Confederate infantry. In spite of our capture of 
Hood s dispatch to Chalmers in the afternoon, Chal 
mers had doubtless received a copy of it or had got 
instructions direct from Hood, for, according to 
the Confederate accounts, he had hastened with 
Eucker and Kelly, just before the break took place, 
to the rear on the Granny White pike for the pur 
pose of standing us off. He had selected a favor 
able position for felling trees and had constructed 
a barricade of brush, logs, and fence-rails behind 
which to hold on while the infantry passed to the 
rear. This accounts for the fact that, after sweep 
ing the broken Confederate infantry from the road, 



the head of our column ran into a strong defensive 
line a couple of miles further on. Without pausing 
to ascertain who or what it was, the gallant troopers 
formed front into line and dashed headlong in the 
thick darkness against the layout which barred their 
way. The blaze of the enemy s carbines plainly in 
dicated its extent and one of the fiercest conflicts 
occurred that ever took place in the Civil War. The 
brunt of the Confederate defense fell upon Colonel 
Eucker with a small brigade composed mostly of 
Tennesseeans. As if by design, though it was pure 
ly an accident, the leader of Hatch s column was 
the same Colonel Spalding who broke the Confed 
erate line on the Harding pike the day before. At 
the first dash, he found himself and his command 
inextricably mixed up in a hand to hand fight in 
which no man could distinguish friend from foe. 
But all did their best with pistol shot and saber 
stroke to clear the ground they had gained. In the 
midst of the clash a clear voice rang out : i Who are 
you, anyhow ?" The answer came back in defiance: 
"I am Colonel George Spalding, commanding the 
Twelfth Tennessee Cavalry, " thereupon Eucker 
rushed at Spalding, grabbing at his rein, and calling 
out fiercely : Well, you are my prisoner, for I am 
Colonel Ed Eucker, commanding the Twelfth Ten 
nessee Eebel Cavalry!" "Not by a damned sight," 
shouted the Union colonel, and giving his horse the 
spur, with a front cut in the dark, he broke the grip 
of his antagonist and instantly freed himself. 

By some strange chance, at this instant Captain 
Joseph C. Boyer of Spalding s regiment also be 
came engaged with Eucker. He had heard both chal 
lenge and answer and pushed boldly in to assist his 



colonel in the blackness of the night, fighting to the 
front like the hero he was. Without knowing ex 
actly how it came about, Boyer closed in upon 
Eucker, wresting his saber from his hand, while 
Eucker, in turn, grabbed Boyer s saber from him. 
Then occurred one of the most remarkable incidents 
of the war, for, while the sturdy combatants were 
whacking each other with exchanged sabers, a pis 
tol shot from an unknown hand broke Eucker s 
sword arm and thus disabled him, compelling him 
to surrender at discretion. Just which of his as 
sailants actually captured him is unknown, but the 
sword which he had used so well fell to Spalding s 
lot and was sent to Monroe, Michigan, where it re 
mained for twenty-five years a cherished trophy of 
the War for the Union. 

When the gallant deeds of that night had become 
a pleasant memory of their declining years, Spald- 
ing and Eucker met in the course of business or 
pleasure, and this led to friendly relations and cor 
respondence, the result of which was that Spalding, 
then a banker and a member of Congress, returned 
the captured sword to Eucker, who had become a 
most distinguished citizen, a capitalist, and a manu 
facturer at Birmingham, in the iron district of Ala 

Later, during the confused and frenzied night 
fighting on the Granny White pike, Colonel Benja 
min Gresham of the Tenth Indiana Cavalry, brother 
of General Walter Q. Gresham, afterwards United 
States Judge and Secretary of State in Cleveland s 
cabinet, while charging a fence-rail layout farther 
to the right, also became engaged in a hand to hand 
conflict, in which he was struck from his horse and 



had five ribs broken by a crushing blow from a 
clubbed rifle in the hands of a sturdy Confederate. 
All along the line and down the crowded road sim 
ilar incidents took place and similar fighting made 
the night one of the most exciting of the war. It 
was a scene of pandemonium, in which flashing car 
bines, whistling bullets, bursting shells, and the im 
precations of struggling men filled the air. 

My own staff, carried away by the excitement, 
threw themselves into the melee nominally to see 
and report, but really to lend a hand. Followed 
by their orderlies, with drawn saber and flashing 
repeater, one and all rushed into the fight and were 
soon bringing back prisoners and recounting their 
adventures. There were neither laggards nor horse- 
holders that night. Every officer and man, mounted 
and eager for the fray, did his full duty in the 
headlong rush which broke line after line, carried 
layout after layout, captured gun after gun, and 
finally drove Chalmers and his gallant horsemen 
from the field, in hopeless rout and confusion. They 
had stood their ground bravely, but were overborne 
at every turn and at every stand by the weight and 
fury of the Union onset. 

The victory was all we could wish, but by the 
time the fighting was over and the enemy had at 
last disappeared into the darkness, which prevented 
wholesale capture, it was nearly midnight and my 
own columns were badly scattered. Although flushed 
with success and still anxious to continue the fray, 
they had been marching and fighting, dismounted 
and mounted, skirmishing and charging the enemy s 
works, capturing his guns, and pursuing in hope 
less confusion for nearly eighteen hours. They had 



no time to eat or feed after dawn, but with the cer 
tainty of victory, they cheerfully answered every 
call made upon them. Hungry and tired and badly 
needing rest, nothing could stop them as long as the 
enemy was in sight. Sustained by the splendid work 
they were doing and the splendid results they had 
gained, I was probably the only officer in the com 
mand fresh enough to keep the saddle and to con 
tinue the pursuit. I needed neither rest nor refresh 
ment, but realizing that we were in a strange stretch 
of country, the features and accidents of which were 
unknown to us, I concluded, just before midnight, to 
sound the recall, to send out word for each com 
mand to bivouac where orders overtook it, and to 
take up the advance at the first sign of dawn the 
next morning. 

No other pursuit of the war had been so promptly 
begun nor pushed so far without pause or halt, and 
while we might have done more had we had moon 
light or even starlight, instead of rain, sleet, cold, 
and the thick darkness of a winter s night, there 
seemed to me nothing else for us to do under the cir 
cumstances but to halt and rest as best we might 
for a few uncomfortable hours. 

It had been an exciting day and night for me as 
well as for the command. My policy of concentrat 
ing and operating in masses instead of detachments 
had received a signal vindication. Thomas s delay, 
in order that this policy might be carried out, had 
been fully justified, but I had received no orders 
after parting with him and he had ordered Schofield 
to move out. Indeed, I needed none. The merest 
tyro would have known what to do, but shortly after 
I got well under way that night down the Granny 



White pike in pursuit of the enemy, I heard the 
heavy gallop of horses on the macadam behind me 
and as it came nearer and clearer the intuition 
flashed through my mind that it might be Thomas 
galloping to overtake me. It was too dark to see or 
to recognize anyone, but reining up my horse and 
pulling him toward the side of the road, a heavy 
figure loomed up abreast of me, calling out: "Is 
that you, Wilson ?" Eecognizing the voice I halted 
instantly and answered: "Yes, General Thomas!" 
By the time these words were out, the dignified com 
mander, for it was he indeed and no one else, shouted 
so that he might have been heard a quarter of a 
mile : "Dang it to hell, Wilson, didn t I tell you we 
could lick em, didn t I tell you we could lick em?" 

With scarcely a pause for my reply, the General 
wheeled about and galloped for Nashville, with a 
word of praise for the cavalry. He disappeared 
in the darkness shouting: "Continue the pursuit as 
far as you can to-night and resume it as early as 
you can to-morrow morning. 

While Thomas was famed as one of the most re 
served as well as one of the most dignified of men, 
this incident makes it certain that he had been 
deeply wounded by the impatience of those above 
him and after all he was but human. He had told me, 
it will be recalled, at the personal interview on the 
night of the council with his corps commanders, that 
he was sure we should "lick Hood" if we were al 
lowed to choose our time and fight him under favor 
able circumstances, and it was but natural that he 
should ride out after the battle was won to remind 
me that he had told me so. While he never used 
profane language, it must be noted that upon this 



occasion he said "dang it" with all the vehemence 
of an old dragoon. This was the nearest approach 
I ever heard him make to actual profanity. 

My quartermaster having selected a house by the 
roadside for a hospital, I occupied it also with my 
staff as soon as I had given the necessary orders 
for the night. Rucker was among the wounded who 
had found shelter there, and had been assigned to 
a bed in my room. His arm had been so badly shat 
tered that my staff surgeon had amputated it before 
I got there. Of course, every attention possible un 
der the circumstances was extended to the gallant 
sufferer, who was made as comfortable as our field 
resources would permit. He was, however, more or 
less excited and wakeful, while I was compelled to 
receive dispatches, send out orders, and make ar 
rangements for the next morning. Under such con 
ditions neither of us slept much, but as Rucker s 
excitement wore away and my business was dis 
patched, we both fell into silence and may have 
caught an hour s restful sleep, but I was up and 
out by dawn, while Hammond, Hatch, and Croxton, 
without urging, were spurring to the front. 




Hollowtree Gap Affair at the West Harpeth Forrest 
takes the rear Charge of the Fourth Cavalry Delay 
at Rutherford Creek and Duck River Cheers of the 
infantry Winter floods and ice Croxton routs Bu- 
ford Enemy makes only counter attack End of 
campaign McCook drives Lyon from Kentucky 
Summary of campaign and results. 

During the night of December 16 the enemy in- 
provised a new rear guard which had taken up a 
strong position at Hollowtree Gap, near the junction 
of the two turnpikes. But with daylight, although 
it was both foggy and rainy, to say nothing of cold, 
it was easy to find his flanks. The country was now 
open and, although the fields were knee-deep in mud, 
we soon doubled him up and sent him whirling down 
the road, across the Harpeth Kiver, through Frank 
lin and out on the turnpike toward Spring Hill and 
Columbia. Chalmers made a gallant stand and 
compelled us to develop a full front, thus gaining 
precious time, but the weight of numbers and the 
impulse of confidence were now with us and noth 
ing could withstand our onset. We had at last struck 
country which we knew and over which we could 
move with confidence, so long as we kept on the 



turnpike. But the slightest departure from it into 
the open fields at once involved us in difficulty and 
delay, and thus it was for the next two weeks. 

Johnson s division, marching by a half circle and 
crossing the Harpeth lower down, had been delayed 
and, unfortunately, did not reach Franklin till after 
the enemy had swept beyond it. The morning s 
work gave us four hundred and thirteen prisoners, 
including two colonels, two lieutenant colonels, three 
colors, and many stragglers, together with two thou 
sand of the enemy s and two hundred of our own 
sick and wounded, whom we found in the hospitals 
at Franklin. Without making a detachment to care 
for them we left them behind, as the cavalry fre 
quently did, to swell the trophies of the infantry, 
while my five mounted brigades, for the first time 
united into a compact mass nearly ten thousand 
strong, pushed cheerfully to the front. 

After the victory at Hollowtree Gap Knipe 
forded the Harpeth at Franklin, while Hatch and 
Croxton did the same at the crossings above the 
town, through which they had driven Forrest a fort 
night before. With the whole corps now well in 
hand, Croxton on the Lewisburg pike to the left, 
Hatch and Knipe in parallel column followed the 
Columbia pike, while Johnson turned down the Car 
ter s Creek pike to the right. These were diver 
gent roads, but I hoped that the outer columns at 
least could march rapidly enough to pass around the 
flank of the enemy, while Hatch and Knipe, pressing 
him on the central highway, would compel him to 
halt and form line frequently throughout the day. 

By these means I expected to bring him to a 
stand and capture or scatter his last organized force 



and make prisoners of the broken and flying mass 
it was covering. The prize was a great one, and my 
subordinates, realizing this as fully as I did, re 
sponded to every order with alacrity and precision. 
But the enemy, finding his flanks constantly en 
dangered, retired so rapidly under the cover of his 
infantry skirmish line that all our efforts to bring 
him to bay failed till the day was almost spent. It 
was killing work for both sides. The rain was still 
pouring and the fields on both sides of the roads 
were soaking wet, so that both retreating Confeder 
ates and following Union men had all they could do 
to get forward without the delay of fighting. 

Late in the evening, after a dense fog and the 
shades of coming night had darkened the scene, the 
rebel rear guard, apparently exhausted by its toil 
some march, threw itself into a strong position in 
the open fields about two miles north of the west 
Harpeth and with a battery so placed as to sweep 
the turnpike, gave unmistakable evidence of a de 
termination to stay our further progress. It made 
a sullen but brave array, the first of the kind we 
had seen during the pursuit, and this showed that 
a master mind had taken charge. 

At it turned out, Forrest, having been recalled 
from Murfreesboro at the first sign of disaster, had 
rejoined the retreating army that afternoon and, 
assisted by Walthall, a sturdy, stately soldier, after 
ward for many years a distinguished senator from 
Mississippi, had assumed the task of covering the 
retreat. He had put himself, with a noble disregard 
of danger, at the disposition of his disheartened 
chief and, although it is believed that from that day 
he despaired of the Confederacy, he willingly put 



forth all his powers to restore confidence and save 
the wreck of the retreating army. But he was now 
playing a new role, and one he was destined to play 
to the end of the drama. Hitherto, his part had 
been with the advance ; henceforth it was to be with 
the retreat. 

In the gloom which was now rapidly settling 
upon both sides, Hatch s advancing detachments had 
become so intermingled with the sullen and disor 
ganized enemy that, doubting the force in front 
was really the rebel rear guard, Hatch hesitated 
to order the charge. The delay which followed, 
though scarcely perceptible, gave Forrest time to 
swing his battery in position and strengthen the 
weak points of his line, but, fortunately, I was close 
enough to see plainly that the soldiers at the front, 
although clad in bluish overcoats, were really the 
enemy. Our own men, well closed up, were ready 
for the fray. Without an instant s hesitation, I or 
dered my bugler to sound the charge, sang out for 
Hatch and Knipe to advance on both flanks, and 
ordered Lieutenant Hedges, commanding my es 
cort, the Fourth Eegular Cavalry two hundred 
strong, in column of platoons, to charge the enemy s 
center, head on with drawn sabers. Hedges was a 
true hero, and with only enough hesitation to satisfy 
himself as to what was really required, dashed to 
the front, with the regulars thundering at his heels 
down the turnpike. He had hardly got fairly under 
way when the enemy opened on him with canister 
at point blank range, but failed to check his onset. 
Hatch s Chicago Board of Trade battery, always in 
the advance, replied from the roadside and, under its 
.diagonal fire sweeping the ground to the front, the 



regulars broke through the enemy s line, sabering 
the cannoneers and forcing the guns to withdraw 
at the gallop, while Hatch s division and Ham 
mond s brigade with their deadly Spencers swept 
the rest of the field before them, overthrowing both 
flanks and driving the whole line from its chosen 
position to the other side of the west Harpeth in 
the utmost disorder. Hedges, outstripping his men, 
was captured three times, but waving his hat and 
yelling as though frightened out of his wits: "The 
Yankees are upon us, run for your lives," succeeded 
in escaping in the confusion and rejoining his 
command before his men missed him from the 

The rout was instantaneous and complete and, 
although friend and foe were at once intermingled, 
every man striking and shouting at whomsoever or 
whatsoever he saw, the whole command pressed 
rapidly to the front as best it could without hesita 
tion or delay. It was a scene of wild excitement, but 
Hammond had, fortunately, struck a path leading to 
a ford by which he crossed the west Harpeth, al 
though it was dark as Erebus. Eealizing from the 
musketry that he was on the flank of a new line, he 
led his gallant followers headlong into the darkness 
and, overthrowing everything before them, picked 
up many infantry prisoners, together with the bat 
tery Hedges had sent galloping to the rear. 

It was another running night fight, in which all 
semblance of order was lost, where regiment got 
separated from regiment, troop from troop, and 
officers from men. There was no guide but the turn 
pike, and no rule but "when you hear a voice, shoot" 
or i see a head hit it. The game was with us now 



to our heart s content, and while everybody was 
filled with enthusiasm, there was nothing to do in 
the darkness and confusion which closed the scene 
but to direct division and brigade commanders when 
they could be found to sound the recall. There was 
no danger that any one would pull up too soon. 
As a matter of fact, the pursuit was kept up till 
both men and horses were so blown that they could 
go no farther into the darkness. 

It is worthy of note that Hood s rear guard, or 
what there was left of it, bivouacked that night near 
Stanley s old camp at Spring Hill, from four to 
five miles from the scene of conflict, while the vari 
ous divisions and brigades of the Cavalry Corps 
halted, wet and hungry, at such places on the turn 
pike as seemed to be the least disagreeable. They 
were completely out of rations and forage, and on 
Sancho Panza s proverb, which is so often the cav 
alryman s only consolation, that "he who sleeps 
eats," both sides threw themselves on the ground, 
the weary to rest and the wounded to suffer with 
out relief. 

As the entire country from Nashville to the Ten 
nessee had been fought and foraged over by the con 
tending armies, it had been swept about clean of 
food for man and beast, and this was the second 
day of the pursuit. Literally, there was nothing 
for men and horses of either side but to go hungry. 

The enemy, having nothing to cook, lit out by 
daylight. There was, indeed, no choice for them but 
to imitate the French in the retreat from Moscow 
to take a drink, tighten their belts, and hit the road 
to the rear at the best gait they could make. It 
was but little better with the victors, and so both 



sides were under way as soon as it was light enough 
to see their hands before them. Both put forth their 
best efforts, but with the Confederates on the direct 
turnpike hurrying to Columbia, with no thought of 
making a stand again till they were safely beyond 
Duck Eiver, there was but little fighting that day. 

Marching as we were through densely wooded 
country or fallow fields, by muddy roads, almost 
impassable from constant rains and rising streams, 
it Avas impossible for our flanking brigades to get 
around the enemy while he was sticking to the turn 
pike and taking his best gait to the rear. 

It was easy enough for the advance guard of 
our main column to keep in touch with the enemy s 
rear guard, but before we could form front into line 
he would withdraw without waiting for an attack. 
Thus it was till well into the third night, when 
word came that the supply trains had caught up and 
that rations could be had. These were issued as 
soon as possible, although the operation was a slow 
one in the dark, and at the first blush of dawn, in a 
heavy rain and snow storm of the fourth day, I 
ordered Hatch again to the front. But as fate would 
have it, both Eutherford Creek and Duck Eiver 
were already out of their banks, the bottoms were 
flooded and there was nothing the best officer could 
do but to call a halt. This had already been author 
ized by Thomas because of the wintry weather and 
the high water, but it now became an absolute neces 
sity. Hatch was, however, an energetic and enter 
prising leader, anxious to get forward and again at 
work on the enemy s rear guard. Under my per 
sonal supervision, he pushed a few dismounted men 
over the ruins of the railroad bridge, but it re- 



quired several hours to gather sufficient materials by 
tearing down the neighboring barns and outhouses 
to floor over the track and make it passable for men 
and horses. It took the better part of two days 
for the staff engineer to make a raft bridge of sim 
ilar materials with sufficient buoyancy to pass our 
columns to the south side of the river by the turn 

Meanwhile, the only pontoon train belonging to 
that army had been sent on the wrong turnpike by 
someone whose name was never known. But as it 
did not get back to the direct road nor overtake 
my leading division for forty-eight hours the re 
sult was that two whole days and nights were lost. 
With one raging creek and one river out of banks 
to bridge and cross, it was now certain that Hood 
would gain sufficient time to save the wreck of his 
army and get well on toward Alabama before we 
could possibly get strung out again in orderly pur 

Much has been said, first and last, in condemna 
tion of Thomas for letting this pontoon train go 
astray, and it was certainly a grievous mistake, 
whoever made it, but it may well be doubted, even 
if we could have laid the bridges one after the other 
and got across the two streams, whether we would 
have been in time to bring Hood to bay or to in 
terfere materially with his safe retreat from Co 
lumbia to the Tennessee Eiver. It is easy to criti 
cise, but I am sure that neither critic nor troops, no 
matter who they might be, could have better with 
stood the exposure and hardship of the campaign, 
captured more guns and prisoners, or inflicted 
greater injury upon the retreating enemy than did 



the cavalry corps between Nashville and Columbia 
in the midwinter of 1864. It was the only pursuit 
of the kind on either side of the entire war. 

While the greater part of the cavalry were wait 
ing, as they were forced to do, for the detachments 
to bridge creeks and rivers, the Fourth Corps caught 
up with us at Rutherford Creek, and I shall never 
forget the enthusiastic greeting that its gallant of 
ficers and men shouted at us as we were passing 
again to the front. Both General Wood, himself an 
old cavalryman, and his officers declared they had 
never seen so many cavalry in one body before; 
they had never known cavalry to be handled as we 
had handled it; they had never seen cavalry turn 
ing the enemy s flanks, rushing his breastworks, 
capturing his cannon, taking his flags, and gather 
ing in prisoners as we had done at Nashville; and 
finally, that they had never known cavalry to mount 
so quickly nor so promptly nor to continue the pur 
suit so long. Not one of these veteran infantrymen 
had yet realized the true cavalryman s dream of 
mounted troops nor seen them as Wood declared 
1 used like a whip around the enemy s flanks and 
rear" as we had used them for the last four days. 
Finally, as we were marching to the Duck Eiver 
bridge, an infantry corps, for the first time in the 
history of that army, lined both sides of the turn 
pike, splitting their throats with cheer after cheer 
for the gallant fellows who had not only shown 
them how cavalry should fight, but had won the 
substantial trophies of victory from the infantry, 
who witnessed and gave such willing praise to their 

It was an inspiring scene long to be remembered, 


and the only one of the kind I ever witnessed. In 
deed, it was the only one of the kind I ever heard 
of even. It was not only the first but the last like it 
that ever took place in the West, for after the cav 
alry got fairly under way south of Columbia, no 
part of the infantry ever caught up with it again 
in that theater of operations. As is well known, it 
acted thenceforth as an independent body, and with 
a few weeks rest and reorganization grew, as I 
shall show, into an invincible mounted army, which 
played a separate and conclusive part not only in 
defeating the Confederate cavalry, but did much in 
destroying the resources of the Confederacy and in 
bringing the Civil War itself to a glorious conclu 

On the night of December 18, eight miles north 
of Columbia, I wrote as follows to Grant s head 
quarters : 

. . . Our campaign is so far complete, and I know 
you will rejoice. How is gold? If the right steps are 
taken, and Dana operates properly from Memphis, Hood 
ought to be destroyed. 

I don t know how many trophies, nor how many pris 
oners we have, though I can safely say no corps of this 
army has more of the real evidences of victory than the 
one I have the honor of commanding. . . . 

Having been brought to a standstill, as shown, 
by conditions beyond human control, I sent Johnson 
and Knipe back to Nashville on December 20 with 
orders to gather up and remount their foot brigades 
as soon as possible, but I relaxed no effort to get 
Hatch, Croxton and Hammond across the Duck 
River and strung out again in pursuit of the enemy. 
It was a strenuous and distressing time for both 



men and horses, but with all I could do we lost 
much time and suffered much hardship in that deso 
late and difficult region. 

The conditions which confronted Hood in his ad 
vance, and especially in his efforts to cross the Duck 
Eiver, were far more favorable than those which 
beset us in our efforts to cross that stream in pur 
suit of his defeated army. Winter and its floods 
were now upon us, and not till the fourth morning 
were we again fairly in motion. Hood, having 
crossed the river and destroyed his bridges on the 
19th, hurried his shattered divisions and impedi 
menta as rapidly as possible toward the Tennessee 
at Bainbridge, about seventy-five miles away. While 
resting south of the river at Columbia, he organized 
a stronger rear guard, composed of eight picked in 
fantry brigades, each about five hundred strong, 
under Walthall, "one of the ablest division com 
manders of the Confederacy, and, leaving him and 
Forrest to bring up the rear, he pushed on with 
more confidence and much better order to the river, 
which he reached and crossed on Christmas day. 1 

While Hood s rear guard under these able lieu 
tenants had a macadamized road from Columbia to 
Pulaski, and the worst sort of dirt roads through 
a thinly settled and barren country from Pulaski 
to the Tennessee Eiver, it had secured a sufficient 
lead to select and occupy the most favorable posi 
tions, one after the other, for delivering battle and 
compelling us to develop front whenever they 
thought their interests required it. Forrest s prin 
cipal object, after gathering up stragglers, was ob 
viously to gain sufficient time for Hood s main body 

1 Hood s "Advance and Retreat," pp. 243 et seq. 


to cross the river before we could fall upon and cap 
ture such part of it as we might still find on our 
side. This I fully understood and, with five bri 
gades well in hand, lost not an hour night or day 
that could possibly be avoided. But with rain and 
frost to chill and distress both horses and men, and 
the country getting wilder and more desolate as we 
pushed into it, we could not get forward fast enough 
on the flanks of the enemy s rear guard to seriously 
engage it, till we came to a more favorable stretch 
of country in the neighborhood of Lynnville. Here 
we succeeded in spreading out somewhat and in 
closing upon and driving the stubborn and still 
unshaken Southerners beyond Eichland Creek. 

In that spirited affair which took place toward 
night, Hatch on the main road and Croxton at last 
on the flank routed Buford s cavalry and drove it 
from the field in confusion, capturing Buford s bat 
tle flag, wounding him through the leg, and taking 
many of his escort and fighting force, prisoners of 
war. The leaders in the melee, Croxton on our side 
and Buf ord on the Confederate side, were Kentuck- 
ians from the Blue Grass region. They were both 
descended from men of the strong hand and were 
soldiers of gallantry and experience who had tackled 
each other many times before. With bugles blowing 
and guidons fluttering in the wind, they rushed 
bravely at each other and with their followers be 
came engaged in a hand to hand fight which lasted 
till darkness closed the scene in Croxton s favor. 

Owing to the dash and skill of Tom Harrison s 
brigade (Sixth Division), the Eichland Creek 
bridges were saved, and this enabled the entire 
command to continue the pursuit without delay, but 



the advance was necessarily compelled to move in 
weak order. Just at night it came up with the en 
emy, occupying a strong fence-rail layout at the 
head of a heavily wooded ravine through which the 
road passed. While Harrison was deploying to at 
tack, he paused for Hammond, Croxton, and Hatch 
to pass around the enemy s position. But at this 
juncture, as if to show that they still had fight left 
in them, the enemy sallied from their layout, broke 
through and drove back Harrison s attenuated line, 
and before the brigade behind could gather itself for 
an effective defense or counter attack, captured, cut 
out, and got away with one gun of Smith s battery, 
I, Fourth United States Artillery. This was a gal 
lant but expiring effort. In those days it was cus 
tomary for the horse batteries to keep close up 
with the advanced guard, so as to open promptly 
with canister and shrapnel as soon as it got within 
range of the enemy. Smith and his lieutenants, es 
pecially Eodney of the old Delaware family of that 
name, were particularly active and aggressive and 
no reflection rested upon them for the loss of the 
only gun ever taken from the cavalry corps. The 
incident was a surprise, due entirely to the rough 
ness of the ground, the narrow ravine in which the 
battery was caught, and the dense forest in front, 
but the spirited sally was promptly repulsed by the 
cooperating troopers whose dismounted line over 
lapped, turned, and enveloped the rail layout, and 
forced the rebel rear guard again to withdraw. 

At this stage of the game nothing could resist 
our onset. The enemy apparently realized that, and 
again took up his line of retreat under the cover of 
darkness through the wild and heavily wooded coun- 



try stretching onward to the Tennessee River. Dash 
after dash was made for the lost gun, but Forrest 
gave his personal attention to hurrying it to the 
rear, and it was not finally recaptured till a few 
months later in the campaign against Selma. 

Darkness again put an end to the pursuit, but it 
was continued the next day to Sugar Creek, a clear, 
beautiful stream of limpid water running through 
an unbroken forest to the river. All efforts to bring 
the enemy again to anything more than a skirmish 
were futile. The road was lined with abandoned 
wagons and broken down mules, giving conclusive 
evidence that the fighting of that campaign was at 
an end. Beyond the creek Forrest formed line and 
made a brief show of resistance, but a flank move 
ment by Hammond s brigade easily turned him out 
of his position and sent him again to the rear under 
the cover of darkness. 

The country in which we now found ourselves 
was the worst we had yet seen. It was entirely 
stripped of forage and supplies. Our own trains 
were far to the rear, our haversacks and forage bags 
were empty. There was absolutely nothing at hand 
except the beautiful, clear spring water of Sugar 
Creek, but neither men nor horses could live on 
water alone. As I well knew, the enemy had had 
ample time to reach his floating bridge at the foot of 
Mussel Shoals, but that night it became certain from 
the report of the country people that their main 
body had not only reached it, but got safely to the 
other side on Christmas day. My only hope, there 
fore, was to catch Forrest s cavalry and his eight 
brigades of infantry before they could cross the 
river. I therefore halted the corps and at once 



selected five hundred of the best mounted men from 
those regiments which had done the least work and, 
placing the whole under the command of Colonel 
Spalding, who had shown such untiring activity and 
enterprise, ordered him to push forward by the 
shortest possible route without pausing for any ob 
stacle he could 1 overcome or pass around till he 
reached the Tennessee Eiver. All day of the 27th 
and most of that night he crowded his troopers to 
the utmost of their strength and endurance but 
without any other result than picking up a few tired 
stragglers and seeing on either hand increasing evi 
dences of the ruin of the army which had confronted 
us on the morning of the 15th, but only to find that 
the last of the enemy s organizations had crossed 
the river and destroyed the bridge during the night. 

Foreseeing that this must be the inevitable re 
sult, I had taken the precaution several days before 
of suggesting to Thomas that the light iron-clad gun 
boats of Admiral Lee s fleet should push their way 
up the river through Mussel Shoals for the purpose 
of destroying the bridge, as well as such boats as 
might be found, before the enemy could cross. It is 
now known that this operation was entirely feasible, 
but Admiral Lee let it slip by unimproved. Al 
though he got within one mile of the bridge in ample 
time, he did not reach it because, as he afterward 
told me, he had no pilot he could trust. This was 
indubitably our last and best chance, but the inde 
pendence of the navy and the natural timidity of 
a deep-water sailor in a shoal-water river defeated 

The Nashville campaign was at an end. It had 
lasted nearly six weeks through untold hardship 



of advance, battle, and retreat. Men and horses 
had suffered all the rigors of winter, snow, rain, 
frost, mud, and exposure. During the nights, the 
temperature would fall so as to make ice from half 
an inch to an inch thick, and this was far too thin 
to carry horses without breaking through. As a 
consequence, the roads were worked up into a con 
tinuous quagmire. The horses legs were covered 
with mud, and this, in turn, was frozen, so that great 
numbers of the poor animals were entirely disabled, 
their hoofs softened and the hair of their legs so 
rubbed off that it was impossible for them to travel. 
Hundreds lost their hoofs entirely, and in all my 
experience I have never seen so much suffering. 
My own horse, the "Waif," with all his pluck, was 
disabled and I had to send him from the Tennessee 
to the depot hospital at Nashville for treatment. It 
was six weeks before he was returned fit for service. 
Of course, it was impossible to suspend operations as 
long as there was the least chance of bringing the 
enemy to bay. It was absolutely necessary to con 
tinue the pursuit while we had horses enough left 
to carry the organization forward. During the fort 
night from Nashville to the Tennessee, over five 
thousand horses were so disabled and so worn down 
by fatigue, exposure, and starvation that such of 
them as it was not merciful to kill had to be gath 
ered up and sent back for treatment. Fortunately, 
a respite was now at hand, during which the work 
of repair and restoration was to go on till the cav 
alry corps reached the condition of efficiency which 
had not hitherto been possible. 

It will be remembered that throughout this cam 
paign McCook with two brigades, about three thou- 



sand sabers, was absent. He had been detached on 
the eve of battle by direction of Thomas to south 
western Kentucky in chase of Lyon, a West Point 
acquaintance of mine who had broken into that re 
gion with a small brigade of seven or eight hundred 
men and was threatening our communications in 
the direction of Bowling Green. 

I should have delayed that detachment till after 
Hood s defeat, but my duty was to obey orders. 
Lyon was known as an "illusive cuss" whose force, 
composed mostly of guerrillas, usually did more run 
ning than fighting. Of course, McCook, with his 
much heavier column, failed to overtake him. But 
during the pursuit, in which his men suffered great 
hardships, he passed at first through a region in 
which he picked up many horses and had some fun. 
Finding himself one night at Trenton, a small town 
near the state line between Tennessee and Kentucky, 
he went into camp at the plantation of Colonel Se- 
bree, a loyalist and gentleman of boundless hospital 
ity, with whom I was for many years afterward as 
sociated in a coal-mining enterprise at Earlington, 

Of course, McCook and his leading officers were 
invited to make their headquarters in the Colonel s 
mansion, and as they had been paid off a few days 
before they had an abundance of greenbacks. After 
dinner the Colonel according to the custom of the 
country invited them to a game of cards as the 
only entertainment he could offer them. Of course, 
the stakes were heavy and, as the host lived in a 
region where poker is not regarded as a game of 
chance, the luck was with him. He, at least, had 
nothing to complain of, but in the midst of the 



game his colored overseer softly entered the room 
and whispered: "Colonel, them Yankee soldiers 
outside are burning your fence-rails. The Col 
onel dismissed him with a deprecatory wave of the 
hand and gave increased attention to the game. 
Shortly afterward, the overseer burst into the room 
and called out this time so all could hear him: 
"Colonel, if you don t come out here and stop it, 
them Yankee soldiers will burn the very last one of 
yo fence-rails ! " Even this did not move the im 
perturbable Kentuckian, for the game was still go 
ing his way, but raising his voice without taking his 
eyes from the table, he called out: "Go away from 
here, you black rascal; don t you see I m making 
fence rails a heap faster than those soldiers can 
burn them?" 

McCook s eccentric march carried him far away, 
both from the battle and from Hood s line of re 
treat. He was gone seventeen days, marched more 
than four hundred miles over the worst roads in 
the country, hundreds of his men got frosted hands 
and feet in the storm that delayed the attack on 
Hood, and all suffered untold hardships, without 
the consolation of having done the Confederate 
cause the slightest injury. 

It is well known that Hood s army was prac 
tically destroyed by this campaign. It was reduced 
to less than fifteen thousand infantry, 1 without guns, 
trains, or munitions. If I had had the use and help 
of McCook s division it is doubtful whether any of 
the enemy would have been left to tell the tale. It 
is also well known that all prisoners taken prima 
rily passed through the hands of the cavalry or were 

1 O. E. Serial No. 94, p. 780, Beauregard to Davis. 


picked up by the infantry because their escape had 
been cut off by the cavalry. My provost marshal s 
report shows that the cavalry .actually captured 
thirty-two field guns, eleven caissons, three thou 
sand two hundred and thirty-two prisoners, one gen 
eral officer, twelve colors or battle flags, besides 
nearly all Hood s wagons and mules. It should be 
noted that these figures do not include the sick and 
wounded taken at Franklin, but the report also 
shows that, after the operations of the main cavalry 
column had come to an end, detachments from the 
Sixth and Seventh Divisions went with General 
Steedman s column south of the Tennessee, where 
they burned the rebel pontoon train of eighty boats 
and one hundred and twenty-five wagons, and cap 
tured a large number of horses and mules. 

Our losses in these operations were one field 
gun, recaptured the next spring, one hundred and 
twenty-two officers and men killed, five hundred and 
twenty-one wounded and two hundred and fifty-nine 

During the campaign it was my pleasant duty to 
congratulate my command in field orders i i for their 
success, good conduct, and the dashing gallantry dis 
played in the engagement near Nashville/ A few 
days later I had the privilege of adding to my own 
congratulations the thanks of General Thomas "for 
the vigor, skill, bravery, and endurance displayed," 
by the officers and men of the cavalry corps "in their 
long and toilsome pursuit of the retreating rebel 
army." While Thomas never wasted compliments 
nor extended thanks where they were not fairly and 
fully earned, this served to make his praise all the 
more acceptable. But in order that individual merit 



should not be swallowed up in the wholesale com 
mendation of the corps, I published a general order 
from my headquarters, at Gravelly Springs, Ala 
bama, on February 24, 1865, commending the gal 
lant and meritorious conduct of many officers and 
men, giving their names and specifying their indi 
vidual services. Among them will be found those 
of Spalding, Harrison, Gresham, Boyer, Davis, Nor 
man Smith, Mitchell, Mead, Hedges, and many other 
commissioned officers, non-commissioned officers, 
and privates. 1 The list was long, but might well 
have been doubled, for no army corps ever had bet 
ter officers or more gallant soldiers. As far as I 
know there was not one in all the number who strag 
gled, skulked, or voluntarily remained in the rear. 
All put forth their best efforts to get to the front, 
and the only cry from those behind was : Hurry up, 
boys, or it will all be over before you get there!" 
And that martial spirit lasted till the last gun was 
fired, the last prisoner taken, and the last man mus 
tered out of service! 

In this entire campaign I have not hesitated to 
give the principal credit to the cavalry, not only 
for the overwhelming victory at Nashville, but for 
all the injury inflicted on the enemy during the re 
treat into Alabama. I have not hesitated to claim 
that every attack made by the infantry, except pos 
sibly those of McArthur, from the morning of the 
first day till toward the close of the second day, 
when I personally pointed out to Thomas and Scho- 

1 For the Official Keports of these operations from the date of 
the Corps Organization, Oct. 24, 1864, to Feb. 1, 1865, and for the 
list of those who had especially distinguished themselves, see Official 
Records, Serial No. 93, pp. 550 et seq. 



field my men entering the left and rear of the en 
emy s works and my guns enfilading and overshoot 
ing his entrenchments, was either too long delayed 
or primarily a failure. 

I have not hesitated to say that but for the suc 
cess of the cavalry s turning movement on both 
days, Hood would have been able to maintain his 
position in front of Nashville indefinitely so far as 
the infantry was concerned. Withal, of course, I 
cheerfully concede that without the presence of the 
infantry on the field to take advantage of the initial 
demoralizing breaks, on both days, in the enemy s 
lines, which they promptly and nobly did, the suc 
cesses of the cavalry would doubtless have been 
quickly arrested and brought to naught. It is also 
quite true that by far the heaviest fighting and the 
greatest losses fell, as usual, to the lot of the in 

That Schofield s corps met no serious resistance 
and did no real fighting at Nashville or afterwards 
is shown beyond doubt or dispute by the fact that 
its killed in both days battle was l only nine men. 

But if there were any doubt on this point, it 
would be set at rest by Schofield s own generous ad 
missions. In his official report, referring to the op 
erations on the second day, he says : 

The hill was, however, carried by General Wilson s 
cavalry (dismounted), whose gallantry and energy on that 
and other occasions, which came under my observation, 
cannot be too highly praised. . . . My order was not 
executed with the promptness or energy which I expected. 
. . . The cavalry had cut off his line of retreat by the 
Granny White pike. 1 

J O. E. Serial No. 93, p. 346. 



That my statements and inferences are fully 
justified is further shown by the facts as recounted 
by Thomas and VanHorne, as well as by the state 
ments contained in the various official reports. 

Moreover, Thomas, in recommending me on De 
cember 25 for promotion to the full rank of major 
general for what he was pleased to term "the ex 
cellent management of his [my] corps during the 
present campaign, " did not hesitate to say of the 
cavalry: "It has peculiarly distinguished itself, at 
tempting such things as are not expected of cavalry, 
such as assaulting the enemy in intrenched positions, 
and always with success, capturing his works with 
many guns and prisoners. His corps has always 
been conspicuous for its energy in the pursuit of 
the retreating rebel army, which has cost the rebel 
commander many men, several pieces of artillery, 
and tended much to the demoralization of his army." 
He also specially recommended the dashing com 
mander of my Fifth Division, Brigadier General Ed 
ward Hatch, to be full major general, quoting with 
approval my prior recommendation and giving my 
command full credit for enveloping and driving back 
the enemy s lines on the flank and rear into the forti 
fications on the Brentwood Hills and then by a bold 
charge carrying the works. 1 

The infantry on my immediate left and next to 
my troops, when they first enveloped and broke 
through the rebel lines, belonged to Smith s corps. 
Next to his left was the Fourth Corps, under the 
able command of General T. J. Wood. Wood s 
final assault on the enemy in his front was a 

a O. E. Serial No. 94, pp. 343, 344. See also, p. 210; also, 
Serial No. 93, pp. 38-39. 



desperate and bloody, but successful, affair, for 
which Wood and his brave soldiers are entitled to 
the highest credit. It is right, however, to say that 
it followed in point of time the assault of my troops 
on the enemy s extreme left. Nor can too much 
praise be given to the gallant soldiers of Smith s 
corps, who vied with my men and whose skirmishers 
entered the forts with them. Here again, it is per 
fectly right to claim that the cavalry were in the lead 
and showed the way. This is not at all disputed 
either by General Smith or his subordinates. The 
General himself officially says : The cavalry claimed 
the guns as their capture, and more for their gallant 
charge than because they were entitled to the pieces, 
they were conceded to them. Me Arthur, one of his 
division commanders, reports : i Simultaneously 
with their advance, the cavalry of General Hatch s 
division charged, and from their advantageous 
position entered the works with my skirmishers 
and claimed the guns as their capture, which I con 
ceded to them, their gallantry on that occasion be 
ing conspicuous, although the fort had been rendered 
untenable by the fire from my batteries." In this 
last remark, however, he is not correct, and is not 
supported by the report of Colonel William L. Mc- 
Millen, commanding his First Brigade, who admits 
my guns were in position, engaging the fort when 
he arrived on the field : A battery far to our right, 
belonging, I think, to some cavalry command, was 
engaging these guns when we came up." He, some 
what grudgingly, concedes : The cavalry regiments 
on my right deserve credit for the dashing part 
they took in assaulting and carrying these works." * 

1 0, E. Serial No. 93, pp. 434, 438, 441. 


Hood in his report says : 

. . . Nothing of any importance occurred until the 
morning of the 15th of December when the enemy . . . 
attacked simultaneously both our flanks. On our right he 
was handsomely repulsed, with heavy loss, but on our left, 
toward evening, he carried some partially completed re 
doubts of those before mentioned. 

During the night of the 15th our whole line was short 
ened and strengthened, our left was also thrown back, and 
dispositions were made to meet any renewed attack. The 
corps of Major General Cheatham was transferred from 
our right to our left. . . . 

Early on 16th . . . the enemy made a general 
attack on our lines accompanied by a heavy fire of artil 
lery. All his assaults were repulsed with heavy loss till 
3 :30 p. M., when a portion of our line to the left of the 
center . . . gave way . . . the position gained by 
the enemy [clearly Hatch and Hammond] being such as to 
enfilade and cause in a few moments our entire line to give 
way and retreat rapidly down the pike ... in 
great confusion. . . . Our loss in artillery was heavy 
fifty-four guns. 1 

He adds: 

During this day s march (17th) the enemy s cavalry 
pressed with great boldness and activity, charging our in 
fantry repeatedly with the saber, and at times penetrating 
our lines. 

Lieutenant General S. D. Lee says in his official 

. . . About 9 A. M. on the 16th the enemy . . . 
opened a terrible artillery fire on my line, principally on 
the Franklin pike, . . . lasting about two hours, when 
his infantry moved to the assault ... in several lines 
of battle, but the assault was easily repulsed. It was re- 
1 0. E. Serial No. 93, pp. 654-5; also Serial No. 94, pp. 699-768. 



newed, however, several times with spirit, but only to meet 
each time with a like result. . . . Their last assault 
was made about 3 :30 p. M., when they were driven back in 
great disorder, . . . but suddenly all eyes were turned 
to the center of our line near the Granny White pike, 
where it was evident the enemy had made an entrance and 
our men were flying to the rear in the wildest confu 
sion. . . . 

Although from this out the report is somewhat 
confused, he adds : 

The enemy soon gained our rear, and was moving on my 
left flank, when my line gradually gave way. . . . The 
only pursuit made at that time was by a small force com 
ing from the Granny White pike. . . . When Brent- 
wood was passed the enemy was only a half mile from the 
Franklin pike, where Chalmers was fighting them. . . . 

Early on the morning of the 17th our cavalry was 
driven in confusion by the enemy, who at once commenced 
a vigorous pursuit, his cavalry charging at every oppor 
tunity and in the most daring manner. It was apparent 
that they were determined to make the retreat a rout if 
possible. . . .* 

Major General Stevenson says : 

. . . Toward evening General Lee sent me informa 
tion that things were going badly on the left, and that it 
might be necessary to retire under cover of approaching 
night. . . . 2 

Lieutenant General A. P. Stewart describes the 
battles as having begun "on the left, and resulted 
in the capture of redoubts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5," when 
he notified the commanding general, who sent re- 
enforcements, and finally ordered Cheatham s whole 
corps from the extreme right to the extreme left. 

1 O. R. Serial No. 98 ; pp. 686 et seq. 

2 76., p. 695. 



He adds that "as the object of the enemy seemed 
to be to turn our left flank/ the first reinforcements 
were put in on the left, "parallel to the Hillsboro 
pike," . . . and were in turn reenforced by 
later arrivals. . . . "By this time the other 
brigades of Johnston s division had come up, but 
they were unable to check the progress of the en 
emy, who had passed the Hillsboro pike fully a 
half mile, completely turning our flank and gaining 
the rear of both Walthall and Loring, whose situa 
tion was becoming perilous in the extreme. " . . . 
The next day, the 16th, a reserve brigade . . . 
was finally sent "to the hills in our rear, . . . 
east of the Granny White pike" to drive back the 
enemy who had "passed our left, crossed to the 
east side of the pike and held this portion of the 
ridge." He adds: "The situation then was briefly 
this: The left flank completely turned, the enemy 
crossing to the east side of the Granny White pike 
in our rear, and holding the ridge on that side. 
... It seemed as though in case of disaster, es 
cape was impossible. . . . About two or three 
o clock in the afternoon, while in conversation with 
Hood, an officer of his staff announced that the line 
had given way. 1 

No regular report from General Cheatham can 
be found, but General Bate, commanding one of his 
divisions, after describing the various operations 
which ended in turning and driving back the left 
of the Confederate line on the 15th, takes up the 
operations of the 16th, describes how he moved 
from the Granny White pike, how he called for re- 
enforcements without getting them, how the extreme 

1 0. E. Serial No. 93, pp. 712 et seq. 


left of the Confederate line of battle "was driven 
back down the hill into the field in his rear, and 
the balls of the enemy were fired into the backs" 
of his men, and how the brigade on the left of our 
line of battle gave way and the enemy took his place 
on the hills in my rear." About 4 p. M. the same 
general, seeing "the enemy assault and carry the 
line near the angle," was ordered to form line on 
the opposite side of Granny White pike, but found 
on getting there that that part of the Confederate 
line "had also given way and the enemy was al 
ready commanding it with his small arms. The 
men then one by one climbed over the rugged hills 
in our rear and passed down a short valley which 
debouched into the Franklin turnpike. 1 

General Chalmers, commanding the Confederate 
cavalry, actually present at the battle of Nashville, 
is a witness of the highest credibility. He says: 
. . . "On the morning of the 15th the enemy 
made a general attack . . . and after forcing 
Ector s brigade to swing around and join the in 
fantry on its right, thus leaving the Harding pike 
open, the enemy moved down it and the first intelli 
gence I had of their presence, they were already 
two miles in my rear on the turnpike." He adds: 
"I had several times during the day attempted to 
communicate with General Hood, but my couriers 
were either killed or captured or failed to reach 
him." 2 

It is more than likely that the same was true of 
Hood s efforts to communicate with Chalmers. 

"Before daylight of the 16th," says Chalmers, 

1 O. K. Serial No. 93, pp. 750 et seq. 

2 Ib., pp. 765 et seq. 



"I had taken position on the [Hillsboro] pike" 
. . . and was soon engaged in skirmishing with 
the enemy *s cavalry, whose object was to move in 
a direction " which would have placed them entirely 
in rear of our army and put them in possession of 
the road by which it afterwards retreated. . . . 
About 4:30 p. M. I received an order from General 
Hood" ... to hold the Granny White pike at 
all hazards, and sent Kucker s brigade "to take po 
sition in rear of that from which Kelly had been 
driven. It was attacked at once in front and flank by 
Hatch and Johnson and after a sharp struggle was 
forced back in some disorder." . . .* 

It must be observed that, while the Confederate 
reports are more or less confused and difficult to 
follow, they all concur in saying that the attack 
which turned their infantry and cavalry came from 
their left across the Hillsboro and Granny White 
pikes, and as my cavalry were the only troops that 
ever made claim to having followed that line on 
the second day, the conclusion is inevitable that to 
them and them alone is due the credit of having 
turned that flank, taken it in reverse, and sent 
Hood s entire army in confusion down the road to 
Franklin, Columbia, and the Tennessee Eiver. This 
conclusion is made certain by the fact that all Con 
federate accounts concur in declaring that every in 
fantry attack failed till the last one, and as that 
was made only after Thomas saw my cavalry enter 
ing the left and rear of the Confederate works, there 
can be no doubt as to the actual cause of the Con 
federate overthrow. 

As none of the leading Confederate generals 

1 O. R. Serial No. 93, p. 765 et seq. 


were personally present at the spot where the break 
actually took place, it is not strange that none of 
them undertakes to say just at what place or at what 
minute it occurred. 

No vindication of the foresight and firmness of 
General Thomas in his resolute stand for an ade 
quate cavalry force could possibly be more complete 
than that furnished by the results of the battle and 
pursuit. If anything is, however, needed to make 
it more convincing, it will be found in the most 
interesting testimony of General Forrest himself. 
Under the date January 2, 1865, writing to his new 
commander, General Eichard Taylor, successor to 
the unfortunate Hood, Forrest said: 

My command is greatly reduced in numbers and ef 
ficiency by losses in battle and in the worn down and un 
serviceable condition of the animals. The Army of the 
Tennessee was badly defeated and is greatly demoralized, 
and to save it during the retreat from Nashville I was com 
pelled almost to sacrifice my command. Aside from the 
killed, wounded, and captured of my command, many were 
sent to the rear with barefooted, lame and unserviceable 
horses, who have taken advantage of all the confusion and 
disorder attending the hasty retreat of a beaten army, and 
are now scattered through the country or gone to their 
homes. The enemy have about ten thousand cavalry, 
finely equipped and recently mounted on the best of horses, 
and I ask that you will send McCullough s brigade to me 
at once, with any other cavalry you can possibly spare. 1 

To this, General Chalmers, one of Forrest s 
most capable division commanders, in an unofficial 
letter to him, dated at Eienzi, Mississippi, January 
3, 1865, adds: 

1 O. E. Serial No. 94, p. 756. 


To learn wisdom from your enemy is one of the wisest 
maxims of history. At Nashville our enemy had a large 
force of cavalry, but, instead of wasting its strength in the 
front, he kept it quietly in the rear of his infantry, resting 
and recruiting, until the time for action came and then 
moved it out fresh and vigorous with telling effect. . . . 
If we had time to organize, recruit, and fit up the command 
in a place where forage could be procured, we can whip the 
enemy s cavalry, and every man in your command is anx 
ious that you should have a fair trial of strength with 
Major General Wilson. You will pardon me for the plain 
ness of this letter, but there are times when every man 
should think, and should not hesitate to express his 
thoughts. 1 

Alas for Hood! He passed out broken-hearted 
at last by the weight of his misfortunes. His cour 
age and his undoubted ability as a leader and a 
general deserved better luck. But it was his sad 
fate to dash his veteran army to pieces against far 
better leadership backed by the still greater infal 
libility of numbers. The larger remnant of his 
shattered army, two corps at least in name, was 
hurried off to confront their debonair old antago 
nist, Sherman, in Georgia. A third corps, with 
what was left of Forrest and his cavalry, were 
turned over to General Taylor, the gallant son of 
"Old Bough and Ready," to become the backbone 
of whatever further resistance might be found pos 
sible to the impending onward march of Thomas s 
victorious army. It was this rested, reorganized he 
roic remnant, under Taylor and Forrest, which, with 
undaunted pluck, confronted a little later the rested 
and fully organized Cavalry Corps of the Military 
Division of the Mississippi. 

1 O. R. Serial No. 94, p. 759. 


After some days of hesitation and delay on 
Grant s part, he finally consented to Thomas s well 
deserved promotion to be major general in the regu 
lar army. He was, however, apparently still dis 
posed to be exacting as to the troops and refused his 
consent to winter quarters and greatly needed rest, 
both of which were imperative for Thomas s army, 
but instead marked out for them an almost impos 
sible further winter campaign in pursuit of Hood. 
Thomas did not hesitate to declare it impracticable 
and had his way, but was punished by seeing his in 
vincible army broken up and scattered, thereby re 
ducing him to a comparatively unimportant role for 
the remainder of the war. I do not know on what 
authority David Homer Bates makes the statement 
that President Johnson offered, in 1868, after 
Grant s election to the presidency, to make Thomas 
lieutenant general over Sherman and Sheridan. No 
doubt the offer was really made and it was like 
this patient, high-minded man to refuse. His tele 
gram refusing on grounds most creditable to him is 
quoted. Who could have blamed him if he had ac 
cepted? It is safe to say that neither of his great 
rivals would, under like circumstances, have de 
clined. 1 

As for my own promotion to be major general, 
thanks, probably, to Stanton s good memory for 
what he may have considered my impudence, it was 
hung up in the balances for me to earn a second 
time in a later, larger, and final campaign, in which 
it was the good fortune of the troops under my 
command to meet Dick Taylor and my old antago 
nists, Forrest and Chalmers, on their chosen fields 

* Lincoln in the Telegraph Office/ p. 321. 


and behind the strong fortifications into which they 
were driven for refuge. It was still reserved for my 
incomparable troopers to repeat again at Monte- 
vallo, Ebenezer Church, Selma, West Point, and Co 
lumbus their successes at Nashville to ride down 
the redoubtable Forrest, to scale again still more 
formidable fortifications, to destroy the last strong 
holds and resources of the Confederacy, to deal the 
final crushing blow and to end forever its last hopes 
of further resistance in dreaded and threatened 
guerrilla warfare by the capture of its fleeing Presi 

I cannot close this chapter without emphasizing 
the important lesson it teaches, that the extraor 
dinary success which fell to the lot of the cavalry 
in the Nashville campaign, as well as in that of the 
following spring through Alabama and Georgia, 
while largely due to the excellent character and dis 
cipline of both officers and men, was still more large 
ly due to their concentration into a single corps, to 
their close cooperation in mass with the infantry 
at Nashville, and to their mutual and unselfish sup 
port of each other in every stage of the campaign 
from the Tennessee Eiver till the end of the war. 
Finally, the following chapters will show that the 
only correct principle for the use of cavalry was 
stated in my letter of October 26, 1864, from Gayles- 
ville to Eawlins, Grant s chief-of-staff : 

. . . Cavalry is useless for defence; its only power 
is in a vigorous offensive. Therefore I urge its concentra 
tion south of the Tennessee and hurling it into the bowels 
of the south in masses that the enemy cannot drive back as 
he did Sooy Smith and Sturgis. . . . 1 

1 O. E. Serial No. 79, pp. 442, 445. 


March to Gravelly Springs and Waterloo Pinhook Town- 
Construction of cantonments Long and Upton arrive 
Division and brigade commanders Organization of 
command Daily instruction Review for Thomas 
Knipe detached to Canby The Confederacy is doomed 
Flag of truce to Forrest Ready to move Amplest 
latitude of an independent commander. 

Having camped on December 28, about two 
miles west of Sugar Creek in the valley of the Ten 
nessee at a hamlet of two or three log houses, known 
as Pinhook Town, we remained there till orders 
came to collect my command at Huntsville, about 
fifty miles to the eastward. General Wood joined 
me for conference and his corps closed up within 
supporting distance, but as the enemy had made 
good his escape across the Tennessee and the coun 
try was impassable for wagons, as well as destitute 
of everything except fuel and water, it was impossi 
ble for either cavalry or infantry to remain in that 
region. Wood reported that with double teams it 
took twelve hours to move an army wagon six miles, 
and this made it necessary for us to separate. 

Pinhook was one of the most desolate places in 


the South, but the creek valleys and out-of-the-way 
nooks which the Confederates had not found con 
tained enough corn to keep our horses alive till we 
left the region. While waiting, the Nashville news 
papers overtook us with an account of Sherman s 
capture of Savannah and its presentation to the 
President as a Christmas gift. This suggested to 
one of the staff that we should present "the city of 
Pinhook with all its dependencies and resources " to 
Mr. Lincoln as a New Year s gift, and much merri 
ment was had over the tentative messages submitted 
for my approval. It was a grim and cheerless sort 
of fun, but there were no holiday dinners, no steam 
ing hot punch, and no revelry for those dreary 
days. It was a mercy that we found "hog and 
hominy " enough to keep body and soul together in 
that land of poor whites with neither turkeys nor 
chickens, and not enough girls within twenty miles 
for a country dance. It was mid-winter, cold, cheer 
less and distressing, and this made camp life almost 
unbearable. Fortunately, we had but a few days 
wait till orders took us to Huntsville, an old plant 
ing town on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad 
about fifty miles east of Pinhook. 

The country in that region was well settled and 
had been flourishing, but, lying in the path of war, 
it had been stripped of its surplus supplies and 
completely impoverished. Connected with the outer 
world by a single line of railroad, which had been 
frequently broken and was now in specially bad con 
dition, it offered no attractions as a point of con 
centration, except that it lay on the direct route 
from Nashville to central Alabama. I reached there 
late on New Year s day. Fortunately, almost at 



once I was directed to concentrate the cavalry corps 
at Eastport, the foot of Mussel Shoals on the Ten 
nessee about one hundred miles further west. 

The next day, January 2, 1865, 1 wrote to Grant s 
headquarters, as follows: 

. . . Several times before coming here I wrote to 
General Thomas, urging Eastport as the proper place at 
which to concentrate the cavalry. In face of the very pal 
pable necessities of the case we were ordered to Hunts- 
ville. I arrived here last night, and twenty minutes later 
orders came to go to Eastport. 

. . . As soon as horseshoes arrive from Nashville, 
say to-morrow, I shall begin the march to Eastport about 
one hundred miles distant. My cavalry, including Long s 
and McCook s divisions, can all be united there by the 
15th, but how a campaign of more than three days can be 
conducted from that point is more than I now know. The 
roads in this country are not well adapted to hauling sup 
plies by wagons at this season of the year. . . . 

To reach my new destination involved a toilsome 
march through a poor planting country broken only 
by the old towns of Athens and Florence. At Ath 
ens, on the Nashville and Decatur Bailroad, we 
halted twenty-four hours to rest and set horseshoes, 
and while there I wrote again to Grant s headquar 

. . . You may not have forgotten the remarks in one 
of my letters in regard to General Thomas. ... I am 
sure I have not overdrawn or overcolored the facts and in 
continuance of the subject, let me add, there is some dis 
satisfaction existing in this army with the powers that dis 
pense military rewards, for what is regarded as partiality 
to the Eastern army. You know there is a sort of jealousy 
existing between the East and West, and while it is of no 
vital importance, wise men should not entirely ignore it. 



The promotion, therefore, of Thomas in the regular army 
and of Wood, Cox, and probably some others of the volun 
teers either in fact or by brevet would be received very 

I have heard men high in rank speak most unkindly 
of General Grant in this connection. Feeling as I do, I 
cannot forbear suggesting to -you the propriety of not al 
lowing to pass an opportunity for doing the service and the 
General a kindness. I have never looked into the relative 
number of promotions made East and West, nor considered 
the merits of those already made, but it is your place to in 
vestigate the justice of the complaint I have mentioned. 

. . . I am almost afraid to write fully because 
. . . my motives may be misconstrued. A man of my 
make-up likes to know that his views are approved or dis 
approved upon their separate merits, not upon personal 
grounds. I frequently differ with the policy of my su 
periors, say so squarely and unhesitatingly, and then set 
about performing my part with all the zeal of which I am 

. . . You will be sorry to know that the "Waif " is 
sorely afflicted with boils and skinned legs. I send him to 
Nashville to-morrow for medical treatment and rest. My 
stud is more of an infirmary for broken-down cavalry 
horses than when I used to be on the General s staff. I 
am nearly a-foot once more. 

What is the truth in regard to the Wilmington ex 
pedition? From the childish tone of Admiral Porter s 
published report, I am afraid the expedition is so far a 
failure. Was Butler actually in command of the land 
forces ? 

Remember me kindly to Rawlins and "all," and tell 
him I saw his man Johnson a day or two ago. He has re- 
enlisted in the Second Iowa Cavalry, and wishes to be re 
membered to him. Is Rawlins health really established? 
A friend of his who had seen him lately says not. I had 
received the impression that he had entirely recovered. 



Passing through Florence several days later, I 
tarried there a few hours while the column passed 
on to Gravelly Springs, twenty miles further west. 
I selected that place as the center of my canton 
ments, because it was near the head of steamboat 
navigation at all stages of the river, and I felt sure 
we could get supplies of every sort from the depots 
on and beyond the Ohio. The region is high and 
salubrious, the creek and river valleys abounded in 
plantations, suitable for drill grounds, while the 
wooded ridges of sandy and gravelly soil afforded 
excellent camp sites with plenty of timber and many 
beautiful springs and running streams. Indeed, it 
was an ideal region for the work we had in hand. 

I established headquarters at the house of Miss 
Houston, a sister of Governor Houston of Alabama. 
The family was an old and distinguished one, nat 
urally inclined to loyalty but its possessions lying 
in a Southern state had compelled it, like many an 
other, to cast its lot in with the Confederacy. Curi 
ously enough, Mr. Boggs, a first cousin of General 
Grant, with his wife and a charming young daugh 
ter, had taken refuge with their kinswoman in the 
large and commodious mansion near the springs 
which gave their name to the place. The family 
of four were most amiable and were, of course, de 
lighted to give us shelter in exchange for protection. 
In a few days the word went out that although 
Northerners we were civilized and humane, in conse 
quence of which the mansion soon became the social 
as well as the military center for the neighbor 
ing planters and their families. 

For the first time, the cavalry corps now went 
into regular cantonments of rapidly constructed 



log cabins and lean-to stables, which gave fair pro 
tection to the men and horses. Every effort was 
made to collect the entire corps, to remount the dis 
mounted, to drill, instruct, and discipline both offi 
cers and men, as well as to build up, train and break 
in the horses for the spring campaign. No such 
systematic work had ever been done with the west 
ern cavalry. 

Hatch, Croxton, and Hammond had accompanied 
me to that place and were soon followed by Long, 
Upton, McCook, Alexander, and Winslow, and in 
a few weeks I had the entire corps of six divisions 
assembled there or within reach. 

It will be recalled that Kilpatrick with the Third 
Division had gone with Sherman, while a few de 
tached regiments were serving in east Tennessee 
and along the river between our encampments and 
the great depot at Chattanooga. But withal, this 
was the largest body of cavalry ever collected on 
the American continent. By the middle of February 
there were twenty-seven thousand men in camp, fully 
twenty thousand of which were mounted and ready 
for any duty that might be required of them. 
Horses had been gathered up and furnished with 
liberality, but still many were needed to complete 
the remount. We could easily have used seven thou 
sand more than we ever had, and they could have 
been furnished had Halleck and Stanton believed 
in the policy of doing it. 

As before stated, the campaign against Hood 
both in the advance and retreat, had cost us many 
horses. It was a winter of marching and fighting 
in rain, snow, and slush, with constant work and 
exposure which not only disabled many men, but 



thousands of horses, so that the mobility of the corps 
as well as its strength had been materially impaired. 
Long s division, it will be recalled, had gone to 
Louisville for remounts, while Upton, with one bri 
gade in Missouri and one in west Tennessee, was on 
the rail rather than in the fields. McCook, with La- 
Grange s and Watkins s brigades, had been detached 
to drive Lyon and Crossland from Kentucky, so 
that none joined us in time to take part in the pur 
suit of the rebel army. One by one, however, they 
all arrived and took part in the work of instruction, 
equipment, and reorganization at the cantonments 
between Gravelly Springs and the steamboat land 
ings at Eastport and Waterloo. 

Upton, of the West Point class of May, 1861, 
was an incomparable soldier, and, although a mere 
youth, he was a veteran in both artillery and infan 
try. He had been detailed for service with me as 
soon as he was sufficiently recovered from the wound 
received at Winchester. With three years of un 
broken success he had become widely known as one 
of the most accomplished and aggressive soldiers 
of his time. Naturally anxious to round out his 
career with the cavalry, he threw himself into the 
work of instruction and discipline with all the ardor 
of a military enthusiast. Ambition impelled him 
never to waste an hour in aimless idleness. His 
constant thought was about organization, tactics, 
strategy, and logistics. He knew all that the books 
could teach about administration and military mV 
tory, and, withal, was as gallant a soldier as ever 
drew a sword or mounted a horse. 1 His two bri- 

lf Life and Letters of Emory Upton," by Prof. Michie, with 
an introduction by James H. Wilson, Appletons, 1885. 



gade commanders were Alexander and Winslow. 
The first, a citizen appointed from Kentucky in the 
old army, who had served on Stoneman s staff in the 
Army of the Potomac and afterwards as chief-of- 
staff to General Blair of the Seventeenth Army 
Corps. He had been appointed colonel of the Tenth 
Missouri Cavalry, but, owing to the regiment s re 
duction in strength, he could not be mustered into 
service. In other words, he was a young, handsome, 
and vigorous supernumerary officer, who had been 
left behind and therefore joined me at Nashville as 
chief-of-staff. After I became well acquainted with 
him he was, at my request, brevetted a brigadier 
general and assigned to Upton s division. His 
career is fully described in a memoir which I pre 
pared after his death many years later. 1 

Edward F. Winslow, of the old and distinguished 
New England family of that name, absolutely with 
out military training till he entered the service as a 
captain of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry, and still a mere 
youth, was a veteran of varied experience, fine judg 
ment, and approved courage. He fought on every 
battlefield from Missouri and Kansas to Mississippi 
and Tennessee and had shown the highest quality. 
I met him first in the Vicksburg campaign when 
only a major of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry. His 
youthful appearance, delicate complexion, and mod 
est behavior had impressed me favorably, but he had 
dropped out of my memory or become confused with 
another officer of higher rank. Although he had 
commanded a brigade and a division with signal 
success, he had reached no higher grade than that 

1<; Life of Andrew Jonathan Alexander," by James H. Wilson, 
privately printed. 



of colonel. When Upton first recommended him 
as a brigadier I was reluctant because of uncertainty 
as to his identity. But a few days later Upton pre 
sented him at headquarters and at a glance I rec 
ognized him as the worthy major of his regiment 
who had already won my commendation, and, of 
course, I consented at once to his assignment. At 
my request he was also brevetted a brigadier gen 
eral so as to give him proper rank. From that 
time till the end of the war he was one of our most 
useful and resourceful brigade commanders. As 
he had had considerable experience in railroad build 
ing, he was assigned not only to the permanent com 
mand of a brigade, but to work of destruction and 
reconstruction, whenever occasion offered. His last 
service was in rebuilding the railroad from Atlanta 
to Chattanooga, which he did in a few weeks in a 
masterly manner. After the war he became a dis 
tinguished railroad builder and accumulated an am 
ple fortune. 

McCook, of the First Division, was a member of 
the distinguished Ohio family which contributed 
so many soldiers to the Union cause. He had en 
tered the service with the Fourth Indiana Cavalry 
and, possessing all the talents of his race, had risen 
by degrees to the command of a division. He was 
unusually handsome, strong, and vigorous and, 
while not specially a student nor learned in the 
military art, he had had excellent experience and 
was always prompt and cheerful in such duties as 
fell to his lot. He was exceedingly fortunate in hav 
ing two of the best brigade commanders in the Vol 
unteer Army. John T. Croxton of Kentucky, al 
ready frequently mentioned in this narrative, com- 



manded his first brigade of mounted infantry. He 
was tall, handsome, dark-eyed, of straight English 
descent, from the Blue Grass region. He graduated 
at Yale a few years before the outbreak of the Civil 
War, and, having grown up with slavery and its 
abuses, like Lincoln, Palmer, Oglesby, Cullom, Fry, 
Clay, Harlan, Bristow, the Goodloes, and many other 
notable Kentuckians, had imbibed a bitter hatred of 
that institution as well as an ardent love for the 
Union. As a boy he had sent money to buy Sharp s 
rifles for the free-state men in Kansas and when the 
Civil War broke out he was one of the first to en 
list in Cary B. Fry s regiment of Kentucky Infan 
try, of which he finally became colonel. He partici 
pated in all the battles of the Army of the Cum 
berland and distinguished himself for coolness and 
courage in action. At the battle of Chickamauga 
he won special mention for intrepidity. A staff of 
ficer had reported to Thomas that a certain piece 
of woods to the front was full of disorganized reb 
els waiting to be brought in, whereupon the grave 
and dignified general, turning to Croxton, directed 
him to go out and bring them in. Croxton started 
at once, but had hardly entered the woods in front 
when he woke up one of the fiercest fights of the 
day. Without stopping to count the rebels waiting 
to be brought in, he found a full division moving to 
the attack. Of course, he put up the best fight he 
could but was quickly overborne and driven back to 
rally behind the works from which he had advanced. 
As soon as he reformed Croxton rode to Thomas 
and saluting him, gravely remarked: "General I 
would have brought them in if I had known which 
ones you wanted !" 



This grim humor touched Thomas deeply and 
made him always the firm friend of Croxton. Shortly 
afterward this brigade was mounted and added to 
the cavalry corps, with which it served efficiently till 
the end of the war. Croxton was an officer of rare 
discretion, coolness, and courage, always ready for 
any duty that might be assigned him. 

0. H. LaGrange commanded McCook s second 
brigade. He entered the army as a captain and had 
reached the colonelcy of the First Wisconsin Cav 
alry before he was thirty. Tall, powerful, and ac 
tive, he had risen through hard knocks and experi 
ence to command a brigade. He looked like a ber 
serker and was full of enterprise and daring. His 
fixed rule was to let no man get deeper into the 
battle than himself. Withal, he was a cool, watch 
ful, and cautious officer, who exacted implicit obe 
dience but never exacted a service in which he was 
not willing to lead. Without being a martinet, he 
was one of the best all-round soldiers I ever met and 
had the war lasted he must have risen to much 
higher rank and more important command. 

Eli Long was a Kentuckian, appointed from 
civil life. He commanded the Second Division, com 
posed of one cavalry and one mounted infantry bri 
gade. He was serious, deliberate, methodical, " still 
as the breeze, but dreadful as the storm. " He en 
tered the regular army two years before the war 
broke out, but never showed the slightest doubt as 
to his loyalty or as to his duty. Like many other 
Kentuckians, he was a born soldier. As modest and 
noiseless as a woman but as intrepid as one of Crom 
well s "Ironsides," he was never absent from duty 
except when suffering from wounds of which he man- 



aged to pick up his full share. Impassible and se 
rene under all conditions, he was without a trace 
of the fanfaronade and fondness for dress and dis 
play which are supposed to be the characteristics 
of the cavalryman. Looking out constantly for the 
comfort of his men and horses, he needed no super 
vision and but few orders. He was always in his 
right place and always ready for such service as 
might come his way. Having long served in the 
division, he naturally succeeded Kenner Garrard in 
commanding it, took it to Louisville, remounted and 
refitted it, and then brought it by easy marches to 
the camp, where it speedily became known as the 
strongest and best mounted division of the corps. 
Strong and trustworthy as Long was himself, he 
was extremely fortunate in his brigadiers, the first of 
whom was E. H. G. Minty, the son of a British of 
ficer but of Irish blood. He was an educated sol 
dier of great intelligence and enterprise. He en 
tered the service as a captain, rose to the colonelcy 
of the Fourth Michigan Cavalry, and then, by sen 
iority, to the command of a brigade. He had served 
creditably through all the campaigns in Kentucky, 
Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama and had gained 
the esteem of all who had served with him. Long 
before the close of the war his regiment had justly 
come to be regarded as one of the very best in the 
army. Young, natty, fair-haired, and debonair, 
Minty was a dandy cavalryman, of many hard 
knocks and not a few vicissitudes. As a man of 
military instincts and professional aptitudes, he nat 
urally had his own ideas, and it was not strange 
that they did not always receive the approval of 
his less enterprising and less experienced superiors. 



At all events, they gave him the reputation of be 
ing headstrong and bumptious but from the time he 
fell under my command till the end of the war, he 
was in every respect a modest and obedient officer, 
an excellent disciplinarian, and as good a leader as 
Murat himself. He needed but the continuous 
chances of war to become famous as the best Irish 
soldier of his day. 

A. 0. Miller, commanding Long s mounted in 
fantry brigade, originally Wilder s, was a doctor by 
profession but a soldier by instinct and preference. 
He entered the army from Indiana and rose by ardu 
ous service to the colonelcy of his regiment and to 
the command of the mounted infantry brigade of 
which it formed a notable part. Steady as a clock 
and as intrepid as the best grenadier of them all, 
Miller was equal to any undertaking that might fall 
to his lot. Quiet, unassuming, and unobtrusive, he 
might well have been taken, in plain clothes, for a 
country doctor on his rounds, but he was a big, solid, 
sound, and successful soldier, without a superior in 
either the cavalry or infantry. With no bluster and 
no thoughtless promises, he did his daily work with 
persistence and patience which made him invincible. 
He was at that time in middle life, but far above 
middle merit as an officer. His brigade, armed with 
Spencer magazine rifles, was a model of efficiency. 
Whether mounted or on foot as skirmishers, it was 
invincible. To my certain knowledge, it never made 
a charge in which it was not completely successful, 
and it fully sustains the dictum that the best cavalry 
is the best infantry, mounted. 

Edward Hatch of Iowa commanded our Fifth 
Division. He was a lumberman who perhaps had 



never seen a company of uniformed soldiers till he 
entered the army as a volunteer. Eising rapidly 
through all the grades, he won his brigadier s stars 
before he fell under my control. He was a young 
man, still in his lower thirties, of splendid constitu 
tion and striking figure. It was his good fortune 
and mine that he came to our assistance against 
Hood in middle Tennessee with a well mounted and 
well seasoned division, and to him more than to any 
one else was due the early and exact knowledge 
which we obtained of Hood s movements from the 
time he left the Tennessee till he sat down in front 
of Nashville. Hatch more than anyone else should 
have credit for the active and aggressive advance of 
the cavalry against Hood s left in front of Nashville. 
It* was under his dashing leadership that Ector s 
brigade was broken and driven back and that Chal 
mers s headquarters and ammunition trains were 
captured. It was largely to him that the principal 
success of both the first and second days in front 
of Nashville was due. He was brave, energetic, and 
aggressive, and needed only to be told what he was 
to do and then attended to the rest himself. He had 
only one fault. He was so ardent and active on the 
fighting line and in pursuit, that he always said 
"yes" to every suggestion and always declared him 
self ready without reference to food, forage, or am 
munition. He always took the chances of getting 
them from the enemy or from the general trains 
and seemed to fear nothing but that he and his com 
mand might not do their full share of the work, or 
get their full share of the glory. It was a supreme 
pleasure to command such a man and to look out for 
the comfort and needs of such troops. 



Although Hatch was talkative and somewhat 
given to harmless gasconade, he never committed 
himself to any enterprise or adventure, however dif 
ficult or desperate, which he was not willing to 
undertake or which he did not throw himself and 
his command into with absolute fearlessness. Short 
ly after reaching our cantonments on the Tennessee, 
he fell sick, doubtless from exposure and over-exer 
tion, whereupon I ordered him on twenty days leave 
of absence, suggesting that if well enough he might 
visit Sheridan in the Valley of Virginia and see how 
the cavalry of that incomparable leader was or 
ganized and handled. He seized the opportunity 
with avidity and made the visit before he was fully 
well. Shortly after his return, he was giving an 
account of his observations, concluding with the re 
mark that he would be willing to die if he could 
"have the command of Sheridan s cavalry for just 
one day." One of his staff, bolder and perhaps 
more impudent than the rest, broke in with the in 
quiry: "But, General, wouldn t you like to live just 
another day to brag about it ? The shot was a good 
one and brought a laugh to the party in which 
Hatch joined cheerfully with the rest. He was a 
generous and magnanimous soul who had the 
love of every officer and man in his command. I 
desired, therefore, that his division should be re 
mounted, re-armed and re-equipped in the best pos 
sible manner. Consequently, I asked him to turn 
over his horses to the other troops and make a spe 
cial requisition for their replacement. Unfortu 
nately, however, the Government would not or could 
not furnish them in time to permit his division to 
take the field with the rest of the corps a few weeks 



later. He, therefore, remained in camp keeping 
watch and ward over northeastern Mississippi and 
west Tennessee, but as the war in that region ended 
with Hood s defeat, Hatch s splendid division took 
no effective part in the last campaign. 

I have always felt that I made a serious mistake 
in leaving this division behind. I am now certain 
that it would have been far better to march it on foot 
behind the corps as a reserve, with the expectation 
of mounting it with horses captured or impressed 
from the enemy as the campaign progressed. Had 
I to do it over again I should certainly follow that 

Hatch s senior brigadier, Datus E. Coon of Iowa, 
doubtless Kuhn originally, was a solid and serious 
man, much like Miller in general characteristics. He 
had had first-class experience, was full of resources, 
and knew neither fear nor discouragement. His 
career throughout the war was in the highest degree 
praiseworthy and honorable. 

Hatch s second brigade commander was Colonel 
Stewart of Indiana, a brilliant, dashing, and experi 
enced soldier, equal to anything that might have 
been demanded of him. 

R. W. Johnson, commanding the Sixth Division, 
was a West Pointer of high character and long ex 
perience. He had been chief of cavalry and knew 
the needs of that arm as well as any man in the 
service. His brigade commanders, Harrison of In 
diana and Palmer of Pennsylvania, were men of un 
usual ability, but, as General Thomas directed me 
to leave the division in middle Tennessee under his 
special orders, its services, except at Nashville and 
in the pursuit of Hood, constitute but a small part 



of the corps history. Palmer, early the next spring, 
while the rest of us were "breaking things down 
in Georgia," sallied out through east Tennessee into 
the region through which the rebel chieftains were 
endeavoring to make their way to the trans-Missis 
sippi and did valuable service in the general windup. 

Joseph F. Knipe of Pennsylvania commanded 
the Seventh Division with energy and ability, tak 
ing an active part in all the engagements from 
Nashville to the Duck Eiver. He was nervous, gal 
lant, and enterprising, slight in person, cheerful 
in manner, and entirely subordinate in behavior. 
Hammond, commanding his first brigade, was a New 
Yorker by birth, but a Kentuckian by adoption, with 
liberal education and plenty of enterprise and spirit. 
He was for several years Sherman s adjutant gen 
eral and chief -of-staff, but, falling sick, he reported 
at Nashville after Sherman began marching through 
Georgia and asked for service with me. Having 
known him well in the Vicksburg and Chattanooga 
campaigns, I had him brevetted brigadier general, 
and gave him command of Capron s old brigade. 
While he had never commanded troops, he was an 
officer of great intelligence, energy, and courage, 
and as such rendered valuable services in the defeat 
and expulsion of Hood from Tennessee. Throwing 
himself earnestly and enthusiastically into the work 
of drilling and refitting his brigade, he again fell 
sick, and, learning from the chief surgeon that his 
ailment was of such nature that he could not with 
stand the fatigue of another campaign, I relieved 
and sent him to the rear for treatment. 

Before my winter s work was completed, those in 
authority ordered me to send one division, fully 



mounted, armed, and equipped, by transport to 
Canby, on the lower Mississippi, and I selected 
Knipe s for the detail, with such remounts as he 
would need from Hatch s division. He embarked 
five thousand strong, with everything complete for 
an active campaign, but rendered no useful service 
in the windup. He and his gallant comrades were 
merged with Canby ? s other mounted troops, and, 
while they made a cooperating expedition from the 
neighborhood of Mobile to the lower Chattahoochee, 
they met with no resistance and were too far out 
of the way to be of any service in the last campaign. 
With Kilpatrick s division sent to Sherman, 
Knipe s to Canby, Johnson s to middle Tennessee, 
and Hatch s to remain in northwestern Alabama, 
the Cavalry Corps which I had assembled and got 
ready for service was reduced from seven divisions, 
approximately thirty-five thousand men, to three 
divisions of about twelve thousand five hundred 
mounted and one thousand five hundred dismounted 
men. Thus that magnificent body of cavalry and 
mounted infantry, with a full complement of horse 
artillery, constituting a mounted army equal to any 
military task that might fall to its lot, was divided 
and again widely scattered. Had the Confederacy 
not collapsed or had its leaders concentrated its 
armies in a final effort, this dispersion of our cav 
alry might have been a fatal error. And yet it is 
conceivable that the course of the war in the spring 
of 1865 might easily have been such as to bring 
together those widely scattered divisions somewhere 
between central Georgia and south Virginia. At all 
events, that was what I worked for to the end. Six 
or eight weeks more might have seen my seven divi- 



sions of about five thousand men each, or a total 
of thirty-five thousand men in the saddle, reunited 
in Virginia. With that done and the force divided 
into two army corps, one for Upton, it would have 
given Sherman such flanks as no modern army ever 
had. With Sheridan s twelve thousand sabers, the 
entire mounted force under Grant, not counting out 
lying detachments and regiments, would have 
amounted to nearly fifty thousand men for duty, 
and every professional soldier at least would have 
watched with intense interest the decisive part which 
such a mounted force must have played in closing 
one of the greatest wars of modern times. 

While the true function of history is to chronicle 
events as they actually occur, rather than to specu 
late upon what might have taken place under dif 
ferent conditions, it is, nevertheless, worth while to 
point out obvious mistakes and to show not only 
how they might have been avoided, but how the same 
or better results might have been gained with less 
expense or with greater certainty. All useful mili 
tary criticism is based upon this principle, and 
hence it has always been a matter of regret that 
the splendid Cavalry Corps which I had the honor 
of forming out of its widely scattered elements serv 
ing in the Military Division of the Mississippi was 
again scattered before it had the opportunity of 
showing its irresistible power against the enemy. 
It is this feeling that made me sympathize so deeply 
with the deliberate and serious-minded Long, who 
said while suffering from a bullet wound in the 
scalp : c General, I am sorry that this war did not 
last just six weeks longer, for that would have 
brought us to Virginia, alongside of Sheridan s 



gayoso cavalry, and I am sure we should have 
fanned the wind out of their sails, and shown them 
how cavalry should both march and fight. 

That was the spirit which inspired both officers 
and men of the western cavalry, and it is fair to 
add that it was due, not only to their real quality 
and character, but to the policy of collecting them 
into a single corps and hurling them in close co 
operation with infantry on the flanks, rear, and com 
munications of the enemy, or of sending them on 
independent operations against the interior of the 
enemy s country in such overwhelming masses as 
to make them irresistible. 

It has been my pleasant privilege to commend 
my division and brigade commanders in this nar 
rative with some particularity. If not natural 
leaders of the highest quality, as several of them 
undoubtedly were, they were from aptitude and ex 
perience most unusual men, true Americans in hardi 
hood, self-reliance, and soldierly requirements, and, 
therefore, capable of overcoming every obstacle they 
might encounter and of accomplishing every task 
that might fall to their lot. And this was true not 
only of division and brigade commanders, but of 
regimental and company officers as well. Drawn 
from every calling and condition of the plain people, 
they had become good and self-reliant soldiers, free 
from airs and pretensions, and inured by actual 
experiences to all the tasks and vicissitudes of the 
mounted service. The weaklings had been weeded 
out, leaving the best to fight the war through and 
reestablish the Union forever. 

As our work at Gravelly Springs was drawing 
to a close Thomas paid me a visit for the purpose 



of looking over my command and conferring with 
me about future operations. General Grant had di 
rected him, after sending my Seventh division to 
Canby, to detach me with a force of "say five thou 
sand men to make a demonstration on Tuscaloosa 
and Selma." Evidently both Grant and the War 
Department, although doing but little in Virginia, 
intended that Thomas and his army should make 
no pause, but continue their operations indefinitely 
through the winter. They apparently did not un 
derstand that, although the weather was generally 
milder in the country south of the Tennessee than 
farther north, the streams would be swollen and the 
roads impassable till the winter rains were over and 
the roads had measurably dried out. Just what they 
counted upon or expected from Thomas, whom they 
had promoted to a major general of the regular 
army and who had fallen heir to the fragmentary 
command Sherman had left behind him, they never 
made clear. They sent Schofield with one army 
corps to the east, Smith with another to the north 
western corner of Alabama, and Wood to Huntsville. 
In other words, they scattered their infantry as 
well as the splendid body of cavalry I had got to 
gether with so much trouble. Fortunately, however, 
in passing seventeen thousand troopers in review 
before Thomas, I convinced him that a " demonstra 
tion " in any direction would be a useless waste of 
strength and, if permitted to go with my whole 
available force into central Alabama, I would not 
only defeat Forrest and such other troops as I 
might encounter, but would capture Tuscaloosa, 
Selma, Montgomery, and Columbus, and destroy the 
Confederacy s last depots of manufacture and sup- 



ply and break up its last interior line of railway 

Thomas, with sound judgment, heartily agreed to 
my representations, telegraphed Grant, fully ap 
proving them, and earnestly requested that I should 
be permitted to carry them into effect. Grant not 
only gave his consent at once, but directed that I 
should be allowed all "the latitude of an independ 
ent commander. " Much to my gratification, this 
relieved me from direct responsibility to either 
Sherman or Thomas. It will be recalled that the 
former, in sending me back to help Thomas, sug 
gested that as soon as we disposed of Hood I should 
gather all the cavalry I could get my hands on and 
then sweep down through Alabama and Georgia to 
join him wherever he might be found, either in the 
Carolinas or on the march to Virginia, for the pur 
pose of taking part in the final struggle between 
Grant and Lee. This wise policy I had kept con 
stantly in mind, and, now that Hood had been beaten 
and driven out and I had collected and organized 
the greatest body of cavalry the country ever had, 
remounted and rearmed most of its men, and sup 
plied the whole with everything necessary to take 
the field, I was naturally anxious to carry that pol 
icy and those instructions into effect. It was the 
great opportunity of my life and, with the hearty 
support of my officers of all grades, I felt perfectly 
certain of success. 

While engaged in remounting, refitting and in 
structing my command, a lady of the neighborhood 
got permission to visit Nashville on a shopping ex 
pedition. I gave her a safeguard in addition, but 
she had gone only two days when Lieutenant Rodney 



of the horse artillery reported at headquarters with 
the lady s pocketbook, her pass, and two hundred 
and fifty dollars in gold which one of his men had 
picked up and passed on to him through the reg 
ular channels. Eecognizing the pass at once, I put 
the pocketbook and its contents in my field desk. 
Two weeks later the lady called to report her re 
turn, whereupon I asked what kind of a trip she 
had had. To this she replied that she had had a 
most successful one, but that she had lost her pocket- 
book and money and had been compelled to borrow 
for her purchases. At this I reached into my desk 
and handed her the pocketbook with its contents in 
tact. Of course, she received it with surprise and 
then grew desperately pale, as though she were 
about to faint. Seeing her agitation, I asked what 
was the matter, to which she replied: "Oh, the 
Confederacy is doomed, the Confederacy is doomed! 
It cannot prevail against an army in which such 
discipline exists! This surpasses anything I ever 
dreamed of. Had my pocketbook been found by Con 
federate soldiers, I should certainly never have seen 
it again!" 

From the time I took post at Gravelly Springs 
I, of course, lost no opportunity to gather informa 
tion of what was going on in eastern Mississippi 
and central Alabama. I soon learned that Forrest 
had command of all the Confederate cavalry in that 
region; that Wheeler with his corps had followed 
Sherman into the Carolinas; that Hood had been 
relieved at his own request in northern Mississippi ; 
that he had given his infantry and artillery furlough 
for twenty days; and, finally, that all the Confed 
erates in those important states were on the defen- 



sive. But, knowing that Forrest was a determined 
and resourceful commander, I did my best through 
spies, scouts, flags of truce and other available 
means, not only to confirm this information, but to 
ascertain at what place he had ordered his troops to 
reassemble. While he had evidently begun to de 
spair of the Confederacy from the time he took com 
mand of Hood s rear guard, he betrayed no weak 
ness, but put forth ceaseless energy and activity in 
the reorganization of his own corps and for the de 
fense of the great stretch of country committed to 
his care. To this end he gathered all absentees from 
the ranks he could find, mercilessly shot deserters, 
and conscripted every able-bodied man fit for mili 
tary service. While doing his best to fill up his 
ranks, he also sent his picked and trusty scouts, 
most of whom were Tennesseeans, to locate our 
camps, estimate our numbers, and gather such in 
formation as might throw light on our plans and 
future movements. 

But this, as already seen, was a game at which 
two could play. My spies and scouts were as good 
and resourceful as Forrest s and it was not long 
before they located his command, estimated his 
strength, and got a fair idea of his plans and ex 
pectations. My conclusion was that Forrest s main 
body under Chalmers, Buford, and Jackson, with 
Wirt Adams s and Eoddy s outlying brigades, would 
have a force of not less than ten thousand men and 
possibly twelve thousand, and that with the co 
operation of those veteran leaders it would be easy 
for him to thwart any demonstration made by a few 
thousand Union cavalry. 

In order, however, that no precaution should be 


neglected and no information left unsought, I sent 
Captain Hosea of the regular army, one of my most 
intelligent officers, with a flag of truce, to negotiate 
an exchange of prisoners with Forrest, and, inci 
dentally, to interview that wily commander, to study 
his frame of mind, and to gather such information 
as he could get in regard to the country, its food 
supplies and military resources. In short, he was 
instructed to keep his eyes open and play the game 
before him for all in sight. Forrest, whom he found 
at West Point, Mississippi, received him politely and 
entertained him with true Southern hospitality. 
While Forrest declined to consider any arrangement 
for the exchange of prisoners, he seemed to be in 
no hurry to get rid of his visitor. He talked freely 
on all subjects except numbers and plans. He seemed 
curious to learn what he could about me and my 
career. He had never heard of me till I confronted 
him on Duck Eiver in November, and did not know 
whether I was a regular or a volunteer, a young man 
or an old one, but when Hosea told him that I was 
a West Pointer, an officer of engineers, had recently 
commanded a division of Sheridan s cavalry, and 
had some knowledge of tactics, strategy, and mili 
tary organization, he seemed to be greatly interested. 
In the conversation he dropped the remark that he 
had rubbed his back t against no college and knew 
nothing of military tactics, except what he had 
learned in actual campaigning. Then he added re 
flectively: "But I always make it a rule to get 
there first with the most men." After announcing 
this sound, fundamental principle, he continued 
somewhat contemptuously: "But you can tell your 
General that I would give more for fifteen minutes 



of the bulge on him than for three days of tactics." 
He apparently cared but little for regular forma 
tions or for the lessons of the military books. He 
spoke contemptuously of the saber and declared his 
preference for the " repeater " or revolver as the 
true weapon for the charge and the melee. He val 
ued courage and dash over the formal methods of 
the old school soldiers. He showed great confidence 
in himself and his followers and finally said in bid 
ding his guest good-bye: "Captain, you can tell 
General Wilson that I have picked out a first rate 
place for a cavalry battle down here and if he ll 
come down with any force he pleases, I ll meet 
him with the same number and agree to whip the 

From Hosea s report a few days later, supple 
mented by information from other sources, I became 
satisfied that Forrest would be my principal oppo 
nent and that his line of operations would be from 
his main camp at West Point toward central Ala 
bama, across my advance, and that I would have to 
march rapidly to beat him to the important points 
in the field of operations. 

I explained all this on the maps to General 
Thomas and from that moment had his entire sup 
port and confidence. Fully realizing that I would have 
strength enough, even without Hatch, to go where 
I pleased, he returned to Nashville and gave himself 
no farther care on my account. Meanwhile, Sher 
man was uneasy. About that time he sent a dispatch 
to Thomas, saying: "I suppose . . . Forrest 
is again scattered to get horses and men and to di 
vert attention. ... I would like to have him 
hunted down and killed, but doubt if we can do that 



yet." 1 Forrest had, indeed, scattered his forces, 
but, withal, he was gathering horses and improving 
discipline and efficiency. Having been made a lieu 
tenant general and put in charge of a cavalry de 
partment covering Alabama, Mississippi, and east 
Louisiana, to give him equal rank and command 
with Wheeler as well as with other rivals, he was 
now the main dependence of the Confederacy to re 
sist hostile expeditions from Memphis, Vicksburg, 
and Baton Rouge. He knew also that Canby was 
threatening Mobile and that another Federal force 
was gathering at Pensacola. While he overesti 
mated our various columns at seventy-five thousand 
men, we are told by his biographers that it was my 
command on the Tennessee River which gave him 
the greatest concern and that he clearly foresaw 
that my principal object would be the destruction 
of the Confederate arsenal at Selma. So firmly was 
he convinced of this that he moved his own head 
quarters to West Point and began the concentra 
tion of his troops in that region. Early in March 
he took the precaution to have the various roads 
leading toward Tuscaloosa, Selma, and the west 
newly sign-boarded, and marked with crosses and 
blazes in such manner that the most stupid of his 
subordinates could find their way. 2 

By the first of March my command was ready 
to move, but, unfortunately, heavy rains flooded the 
country and raised the streams, which delayed my 
movement, much to my sorrow, for fully three weeks. 
So violent and continuous was the downpour that 
the Tennessee was soon out of its banks and a large 

1 0. E. Serial No. 94, pp. 621 et seq. 

2 Wyeth a Life of Forrest, pp. 584 et seq. 



quantity of the quartermaster s stores near the 
steamboat landing were swept away, and this added 
to our difficulties through the first hundred miles 
south of the river. We should have had grain 
enough to feed our horses for five days at least. 

While trying to get ready for an early start I 
wrote frequently to Eawlins, Porter, and Badeau 
at Grant s headquarters, touching matters of com 
mon interest, such as the relief of Butler from fur 
ther command, the fate of Baldy Smith, and the pro 
motion of Thomas, Schofield, Wood, and other west 
ern generals. I referred to the futility of the effort 
to capture Wilmington, the rise of gold, and the 
abolition of slavery. Finally I commented on the 
fact that, while I had the largest corps in the army, 
the President had not yet formally approved its 
corps organization or given my staff the rank to 
which they were fairly entitled by their deserts and 
good works. 

On March 7 I wrote as follows : 

. . . I am sorry your letters find me here instead of 
on the road to Dixie as the General expects and as I hoped. 
This is the only time in my life I was ever ordered to start 
by a certain date and could not do it. My command was 
all ready, everything in tip-top order, but the extraordi 
nary rains and flood in the Tennessee have stopped every 
thing. My cantonments were located on the north side of 
the river for many reasons, all good. My command by its 
present condition clearly proves my wisdom in the matter. 
The Tennessee is higher than ever before known, though, 
thank heaven, it has begun to fall rapidly, and unless it 
rains again in three or four days I shall be able to get to 
the river bank and begin crossing. Once on the south side 
I can start whenever I choose ; and as soon as possible, of 



course. Please explain this to the General, and tell him I 
shall not lose a moment in getting away. 

The first eighty miles will be severe for my command, 
as the region is entirely desolate. Once through it, how 
ever, I think we shall experience no great difficulty in liv 
ing. Tell tljp General I wrote a note to Babcock in which 
I gave my views of what my command is capable of doing. 
It may be the fifteenth or sixteenth, even with favorable 
weather, before I can march. I am most anxious lest my 
delay may not be sufficiently explained, but I venture to 
hope the General will not lose any of his confidence in my 
promptitude and determination, and also that the delay 
will be really advantageous to our cause. At all events, 
it has been simply impossible to cross the river and im 
possible to move out after we were over. . . . 

I am sure my command is a good one, well organized, 
and in fine condition. I am sorry to know that General 
Halleck is allowed to prevent the approval of the corps 
organization. If seven divisions of cavalry with over 
twenty-five thousand men mounted and doing duty are not 
entitled to a corps organization, I am sure I do not know 
what is. I am anxious about it only because I want my 
staff to have for their duty all the rank they can get. I 
know there is no corps in the army better entitled to it, 
not one in which the staff has done half as much work and 
not one in which it is required to do as much. My officers 
have well earned their promotion and ought to have it. 

However, if ... the venture upon which we are 
about to start turns out right, the officers as well as the 
corps will win recognition. I have no fear that when 
Grant receives my report of operations he will do all for 
us we are entitled to. He may begin to look for it about 
the first of May, and, if matters work well, I shall present 
it in person with something between fifteen thousand and 
twenty thousand troopers to tell the story and cross sabers 
with the rebels in Virginia. 

On March 20 I wrote from Chickasaw, Alabama : 


... I expected to have been well on my way before this 
time. My command is all here in magnificent condition. 
Orders were given to march at half-past five this morning 
when information reached me that forage to supply us 
through the barrens of Alabama had not yet arrived. We 
must carry the forage, for my scouts report absolutely 
none in that region. The boats are expected with it every 
minute, and just as soon as they get here we shall be off. 
Isn t it unfortunate that the rain cannot be controlled 
by General Grant? Had we not had the recent extraordi 
nary floods in this country our grain would not have been 
destroyed. I am greatly provoked at the delay, but am 
powerless to help it. On the llth inst. no advance had yet 
begun at Mobile, though the rebels thought they could see 
indications of an early movement on our part. Withal, 
I hope we shall be off in time to do good service. My 
command is certainly in magnificent condition, well armed, 
splendidly mounted, perfectly clad and equipped, and will 
turn out a heavier fighting force than ever before started 
on a similar expedition in this country. I am personally 
in the best of health and spirits. 

Notwithstanding my anxiety and the arrival of 
the forage, my actual advance did not begin till the 
morning of March 22, but this was fully a week 
earlier than they were able to start with the Army 
of the Potomac. It is a striking coincidence that, 
while we had to march fully a hundred and fifty 
miles and fight our way over the last third of it to 
Selma against the active opposition of Forrest and 
his cavalry, Sheridan had only to march about a 
tenth of that distance to meet Hampton and his cav 
alry at Dinwiddie Court House. It is a still more 
interesting coincidence that Selma and Richmond, 
fully a thousand miles apart by the traveled roads, 
fell on the same day, April 2, 1865. 




Line of march through northern Alabama Passage of the 
rivers Face to face with Forrest Forrest s mistakes 
Defeat and pursuit of Forrest Capture of Tusca- 
loosa Close in on Selma Assault and capture of 
Selma Results and summary of campaign. 

While the campaigns then opening east and west 
were destined to be the last of the war, none of us 
had any adequate idea of the important part ours 
was to play in closing the great drama. The ex 
tracts from private correspondence show that I had 
definite ideas of what should be done and definite 
hopes of the results, but neither I nor anyone else 
foresaw the overwhelming success the cavalry army 
under my command finally achieved. 

As before stated, I started from the Tennessee 
Eiver with McCook s, Upton s, and Long s divisions, 
all mounted and equipped, twelve thousand five hun 
dred men in the saddle, with a battery of four guns 
to each division, and one brigade, or one thousand 
five hundred dismounted men, to act as train guard 
and reserve till we could capture horses enough to 
remount them. We also had one light pontoon train 
of thirty canvas boats, hauled by fifty six-mule 



teams, escorted by Major Hubbard with a battalion 
of the Twelfth Missouri Cavalry. 

Each trooper carried five days light rations, one 
pair of horseshoes, and one hundred rounds of am 
munition on his saddle. We also had a supply train 
of two hundred and fifty wagons, carrying forty- 
five days rations of coffee, twenty of sugar, fifteen 
of salt, and eighty rounds of ammunition, besides 
five days rations of hard bread and ten of sugar 
and salt on pack animals. My calculation was that 
these supplies, with what we could gather from the 
country, although the first half of our march lay 
through a desolate region, would be sufficient for a 
campaign of sixty days, at the end of which we 
should reach a new base in Georgia, the Carolinas, 
or Virginia. As trains in a country of good roads 
are a great impediment to cavalry, I directed the 
division commanders to send the " extra wagons" 
back to the Tennessee as fast as emptied. 

This order gave rise to a laughable incident 
which my adjutant general did not hear the last 
of for some time. When Long received it he made 
the mistake of reading "majors" for " wagons" and 
replied that, as he had no "extra majors," he could 
not comply with the instructions. Of course, a few 
hours straightened out the misunderstanding and re 
lieved his division of its "extra wagons." 

Hoping that the promised horses would soon 
reach Hatch, I ordered him to follow with his fine 
division of over six thousand men as soon as pos 
sible, but, much to our common disappointment, the 
horses never came and he took but little part in the 
closing operations of the war. Could I have been 
sure of securing the large number of horses and 



mules we captured at Selma and found in the 
enemy s country, I should have taken Hatch along, 
as I have elsewhere said, thereby increasing my 
train guard and reserve to fully eight thousand and 
raising my entire force to twenty-two thousand men. 
With the experience gained in the campaign 
through Selma, Columbus, and Macon, I am sure I 
should have had an ideal command, every man of 
which could have been well mounted before we 
reached the Chattahoochee Eiver. 

From that day I have held that in a farming 
country, fairly well supplied with forage, an invad 
ing force, consisting of two-thirds cavalry and one- 
third infantry, with one field-gun for each thousand 
men, would be the most effective organization, for 
the large mounted force would enable it to move 
rapidly, much more rapidly, indeed, than would be 
possible for infantry. And, moving rapidly, it could 
strike the flanks, rear and communications of the 
enemy much more effectively than would be possible 
with infantry alone. As celerity of movement is 
the most variable factor in modern military opera 
tions, that force which moves most rapidly can place 
itself in the best position for effective service. 

In beginning the invasion I started my columns 
on divergent routes for the purpose of confusing 
the enemy, whose headquarters, first at Verona and 
later at West Point, Mississippi, were about one 
hundred miles southwest of mine, as to my plans 
and of giving the greatest possible celerity to my 
movements. Upton s division took the route 
through Eusselville, Mount Hope, and Jasper to 
Saunder s Ford, on the west branch of the Black 
Warrior Eiver. Long s took the middle road by 



Cherokee s Station and Frankford and thence south 
by the Byler road toward Tuscaloosa to upper Bear 
Creek, where it turned east to the same ford of the 
Black Warrior. McCook s division followed Long s, 
but passed beyond as far as Eldridge, where it 
also turned to the east. In this way they scooped 
up all the food and forage that could be found in 
the bottom farms, and kept well out of each other s 
way. While each commander was left to regulate 
the details of his own march, every precaution was 
taken to get through the country as rapidly as pos 
sible. It was throughout a hilly, gravelly, and bar 
ren region, covered with dense forests of pine and 
oak, broken here and there by the small clearings of 
poor white folks. The valleys are deep and narrow 
and the roads which threaded them much of the way 
were often almost impassable for lack of bridges 
and from the presence of quicksand and quagmires. 
While both men and horses could pick their way 
and make fair progress, especially along the ridges, 
it was frequently necessary to construct corduroy 
roads in order to get the artillery and wagons for 
ward at all. 

Fortunately, the enemy was badly scattered. He 
had gathered his principal force close to the Ala 
bama and Mississippi line, near the crossing of the 
Mobile and Ohio Eailroad and the railroad from 
Vicksburg to Montgomery and Atlanta., Department 
headquarters under Lieutenant General Taylor were 
at Meridian, while Forrest with cavalry headquar 
ters was at West Point, some forty or fifty miles 
farther north. In view of the fact that Selma, the 
seat of the great Confederate arsenal, manufactories, 
and storehouses, and Montgomery, the first capital 



of the seceding states, were the chief objectives of 
our campaign, the disposition of the Confederate 
forces was decidedly unfavorable to their operations, 
but exceedingly favorable to ours. It had but one 
thing to recommend it. It would have facilitated 
concentration after the fall of Selma for the defense 
of the region to the westward. 

It will be remembered that Canby had a strong 
army threatening Mobile; Grierson and Knipe with 
Canby s cavalry were arranging to move eastward 
from the Mississippi; Thomas, with one corps of 
infantry and two divisions of cavalry, occupied mid 
dle Tennessee, ready to move in any direction offer 
ing the greatest attraction. Not knowing who would 
strike first, the enemy was slow in divining my move 
ment and still slower in concentrating to resist it. 
He was far too much spread out watching a vast 
extent of country and was nowhere strong. Indeed, 
but for Koddy s small force operating from Monte- 
vallo toward the Tennessee, we should not have 
known we were moving through a hostile region till 
we crossed both forks of the Black Warrior and 
reached the Cahawba valley. And yet the first half 
of our march was not without anxiety. Forrest was 
an aggressive and swiftly marching enemy, and no 
one could tell when we might find him in the front. 
I, therefore, kept scouts and patrols well out with 
a view to getting the first possible intimation of his 
approach. It is now known that he did not per 
sonally leave West Point till March 28, six days 
after I left Waterloo Landing, and even then he 
regarded my force as mere raiders which might be 
driven back without much trouble. 

It now appears from the Official Records that 


both Taylor and Forrest were looking for the prin 
cipal invasion of central Alabama to come from 
Canby s department, and hence all their dispositions 
prior to the discovery of my advance were made to 
cover Montgomery and Selma from the south rather 
than from the north. While they held the principal 
part of their cavalry and such infantry as they could 
gather well in hand near the railroad crossing in 
the western part of the state, they directed Buford s 
division first to Montevallo to support Eoddy and 
afterward to the south side of the Alabama Eiver 
to cover Selma and Montgomery against a move 
ment from the Gulf coast. Eoddy, with such help 
as Dan Adams, the district commander, could 
give, was to watch the movements from the Ten 

Forrest himself, however, had his own eyes on 
the roads to both Montevallo and Tuscaloosa. By the 
direct route the distance from West Point to Monte 
vallo was about one hundred and twenty-five miles, 
while it was considerably more by the way of Tus 
caloosa, either to Montevallo or to Selma. But, as 
the Sipsey, the Black Warrior, and the Tombigbee, 
with all their affluents, were out of their banks and 
still high from the same rains that delayed us, For 
rest s concentration and march to the eastward, even 
after he learned we were in motion, were compara 
tively slow. As his escort moved much faster than 
either division, within four days he was in our front, 
while Chalmers and Jackson were straggling along 
toward the Cahawba and Selma. 

As early as March 7 Beauregard, the supervising 
generalissimo, with headquarters on the railroad, re 
ported to Lee at Petersburg that he would be unable 



to resist anything more than a cavalry raid l in the 
direction of Selma and Montgomery, whereupon Lee, 
now a real dictator, authorized him to select any 
other place for concentration and defense that prom 
ised greater safety. The next day he mentioned 
Forrest for the first time as lieutenant general and 
directed him to garrison Selma, from which it will 
be seen that Lee, at least, had a correct understand 
ing of that stronghold as a strategic center. Had 
Beauregard, Taylor, and Forrest comprehended that 
essential fact as clearly as did their common chief 
and concentrated their forces within its fortifications, 
as they could easily have done, they might have 
made a more fortunate campaign than the one which 
burst upon them a few days later. 

On March 11 Beauregard reported Forrest s 
and Roddy s cavalry at " about twelve thousand 
men," 2 and Forrest -could doubtless have got that 
number together had he dropped all other tasks and 
given his whole time to concentrating either at Tus- 
caloosa, Marion Junction, or Selma. But, fortu 
nately for us, a multiplicity of minds and orders pre 
vented the adoption of any coherent or well-defined 
policy. It will be remembered that the cavalry 
corps under Forrest consisted of four divisions, 
commanded respectively by Jackson, Chalmers, Bu- 
f ord, and Eoddy, with a few infantry and other out 
lying detachments operating more or less independ 
ently. Their cavalry was approximately three thou 
sand five hundred men to the division, and, although 
a considerable number of Tennesseeans, Kentucki- 
ans, and Mississippians were still absent from the 

1 O. R. Serial No. 103, p. 1035. 
2 O. E. Serial No. 103, p. 1048. 



colors, and stragglers and deserters increased as 
soon as active operations began, I have never doubt 
ed that Forrest could have confronted us with at 
least ten thousand men in the saddle, had he under 
stood the situation or got timely notice of our ad 
vance. Wyeth gives Chalmers s division on March 
24, 1865 at three thousand six hundred and forty- 
eight men, while Forrest reported to Taylor on 
March 6 that as soon as the waters receded he 
could place Jackson in the field with almost two 
thousand five hundred effective men, though we al 
ways estimated his force at from three thousand to 
three thousand five hundred. 

From the Official Eecords and the narratives of 
Jordan and Wyeth it appears that Forrest himself 
was uncertain from the start as to the strength of 
my columns and the direction in which they might 
move. On March 13 he frankly said: . . . "I 
have sent two flags of truce up to them, besides have 
thrown out sufficient scouts to learn their real move 
ments. l The next day, although his mind was 
made up, he asked Chalmers if he " could be ready 
to march day after to-morrow morning to Monte- 
vallo." 2 

On March 18 Forrest was at West Point, writ 
ing a vigorous letter to Breckenridge, Confederate 
secretary of war, and another to Taylor, protesting 
against the policy of sending officers into west Ten 
nessee, northern Alabama, and Mississippi for the 
purpose of organizing and bringing out the large 
number of deserters and stragglers who were in 
festing those regions and living by plunder and rob- 

1 O. R. Serial No. 103, p. 1030, Forrest to Taylor. 
*Ib., p. 1060, Forrest to Chalmers. 



bery. 1 Eoddy wrote in a similar strain, and both 
at that date were acting on matters of policy ex 
actly as though they expected the war to continue 
indefinitely. While Wyeth tells us that Forrest, al 
though claiming to be the savior of Hood s army, 
had lost all hope for the final success of the Confed 
eracy, and that he "was fully impressed with the 
hopelessness of the struggle, but as a soldier he was 
in honor bound to fight to the bitter end." . . . 2 
It is evident, however, that Hood ? s overwhelming de 
feat and expulsion from Tennessee had greatly dis 
couraged Davis, Lee, Beauregard, Johnston, and 
Taylor, though it failed to give any one of them a 
definite conception of the impending catastrophe or 
a definite plan for averting it. This was, perhaps, 
natural enough for those at a distance, but it is diffi 
cult to understand how it was that neither Taylor 
nor Forrest had the slightest conception of the real 
danger, nor the slightest idea of the direction from 
which it was to come till March 27 brought the in 
formation that my corps had crossed the Tennessee 
and was advancing toward Jasper. 

On March 22 Taylor telegraphed Forrest : ... 

. . . General Stephen D. Lee . . . yesterday 
reports enemy concentrating at Knoxville. Your main 
force will move either to middle Tennessee or across Tom- 
bigbee to Greenville. 3 

The next day he telegraphed : 

Enemy moving up from Pensacola. Start all troops 
. . . at once for Greenville via Selma, where there is 
a pontoon. 4 

1 O. E. Serial No. 104, pp. 1124-26. 

2 Wyeth >s " Life of Forrest," p. 578. 

8 O. R. Serial No. 104, p. 1144. 

4 /b v p. 1146. 



On that day Forrest ordered Armstrong s bri 
gade to Selma, and here it should be noticed that 
Armstrong s brigade is the only one that reached 
that place in time to take position within its de 

As late as March 24 Taylor still thought Canby 
1 1 might give Mobile the go-by and march on Selma 
or Montgomery/ in which case, he added, "it might 
become necessary to suddenly throw six or seven 
thousand infantry up the river from Mobile to as 
sist the cavalry. l 

On the same day Forrest ordered Chalmers to 
start Starke s brigade after Armstrong, 2 and gave 
notice that Wirt Adams should follow in the same 
direction, while he and Taylor would review Jack 
son s division and Crossland s, late Lyon s, brigade 
at West Point, and that immediately after the re 
view Crossland should set out to report to Dan 
Adams at Montevallo for the purpose of relieving 
Eoddy, who was ordered south. It was not till the 
25th that Taylor directed Forrest to push Chalmers 
with his other brigades as rapidly as possible by 
the way of Tuscaloosa to Selma, and that Jackson 
should follow without delay . . . "to meet raid 
from below." 3 The distance to be covered was 
from one hundred and fifty to one hundred and sixty 
miles, and, although the roads were bad and the 
streams were high, with due diligence the time was 
sufficient. But with the delay for the review and 
the uncertainty as to our advance, it will appear 
in the course of this narrative that Forrest s loss 

1 O. B. Serial No. 104, p. 1148. 
a /fc., p. 1150. 
*/&., p. 1155. 



of time was both irreparable and fatal. It is certain 
that he had as yet no news of my actual movements. 
Buford was still south of the river, looking to the 
junction with Armstrong, advancing through Selma 
for the purpose of guarding the roads from the Gulf 

On March 26, however, Taylor seems to have got 
news of my having reached Eussellville, whereupon 
he instructed Forrest that Jackson, following Cross- 
land . . . "should meet, whip, and get rid of " 
my column, while Wirt Adams and Scott should 
stand off any force coming from the Mississippi. 
As if to emphasize these instructions, he added: 
"Our plan is to meet and whip these detached col 
umns before they can unite with each other. You 
had better, soon as possible, move [by rail] via 
Meridian to Selma, whence you can assume direc 
tion of Chalmers s, Jackson s, and Buford s move 
ments. " . . * 

The next day Taylor telegraphed Forrest, still 
at West Point . . . "a large and well-equipped 
cavalry corps is moving from north Alabama, 2 
and to Dan Adams that "Forrest, with three bri 
gades, moving via Tuscaloosa, is intercepting the 
raid from above. " 3 On the 28th he telegraphed 
Beauregard that . . . "a heavy force of Thom 
as cavalry is moving down through north Ala 
bama"; and to Maury at Mobile: . . . "The 
Lieutenant General commanding hopes in three or 
four days to whip the large raids moving from 
north Alabama, and will then be in condition to as- 

1 O. E. Serial No. 104, p. 1160. 
*Ib., p. 1164. 
8 /ft., p. 1165. 



sist you with all the force of the department. " 1 
... All this was reported to Lee, the dicta 
tor, and by Lee to the Confederate Secretary of 

The truth was beginning to dawn upon the Con 
federate authorities. Forrest learned it as soon as 
anyone, but no sooner. Having made such disposi 
tions as his means allowed to meet the expeditions 
he supposed to be "threatening from Memphis " 
and from the Mississippi below, he took the road 
eastward on the 28th, and the next day was at Sip- 
sey Bridge, where, after shooting "two deserters, " 
one of whom claimed to be too old and the other too 
young for military service, he directed Jackson to 
detach an officer and twenty men to guard the cross 
ings, to bury the dead, and to execute such other 
deserters as they might catch. 2 His blood was up 
against his own people as well as against "the 
Yankees," and, spurring to the front, he was "nine 
miles from Centerville, on the Montevallo road, at 
2 P. M. March 30." Here he issued an untimely or 
der countermarching Jackson s column and sending 
him new instructions. 

This was his first mistake and the beginning of 
a series. The race was now on for Selma and it 
remained only to decide whether Forrest, Chalmers, 
Jackson, Buford, Roddy, Armstrong, Crossland, and 
Adams could get there before McCook, Long, Upton, 
Croxton, LaGrange, Minty, Miller, Alexander, and 
Winslow. Hitherto the Confederate cavalrymen 
had been rarely caught napping, but the National 

1 O. R. Serial No. 104, p. 1167. 

2 "Life of General Forrest," by John A. Wyeth, p. 589, and 
O. R. Serial No. 104, p. 1172, Strange to Jackson. 



leaders had learned their lessons at last and, hence 
forth, let no grass grow under their feet. 

Had Forrest moved with his usual celerity 
straight across country to Tuscaloosa or south of 
it, he would have reached Selma with all his force 
before we could have struck him or any of his de 
tachments. This was clearly his better course and, 
had he followed it, his chances for stopping or stand 
ing us off, if not for defeating us in the end, would 
have been far more promising. But the chance of 
meeting Forrest and his forces before we got out 
of the barrens into the rich country below was not 
the worst of our dangers. The spring was an un 
usually rainy one and it was a source of constant 
apprehension both to Forrest and myself that a 
heavy downpour might put the creeks and rivers 
again out of their banks, which in turn would have 
made it impossible to cross the broadest of them 
without considerable delay. Fortunately, although 
we had no Weather Bureau, a good many of our 
officers had become sufficiently weatherwise to know 
what winds and conditions would bring rain. I had 
acquired enough skill to prognosticate with a fair 
degree of certainty. 

The Mulberry fork of the Black Warrior is a 
wide and rapid stream with a gorge-like bed be 
tween hills five or six hundred feet high on either 
side, and is unusually difficult to cross anywhere ex 
cept by bridge or ferry. It was reported fordable 
beyond Jasper at ordinary low water, and this made 
it all the more necessary that we should reach it be 
fore the rains which were threatening should swell 
it unduly. 

We, therefore, pushed on rapidly to Saunder s 


Ford, which our advance reached early on the 27th. 
The rain set in during the night and the river had 
begun to rise, which made Upton fear at first that 
he could not cross without the pontoon train. But 
he was an officer who took nothing for granted, and 
soon ascertained by personal examination that the 
ford, although a hundred and fifty yards wide, was 
still passable. He found it composed of gravel and 
sand lodged against a rough ledge of rock connect 
ing the hills on the opposite sides. Pushing boldly 
through the rushing stream in loose order, and tak 
ing every precaution to hurry his dripping horses 
up the muddy bank, Upton cleared the way for the 
following divisions before the river had risen enough 
to compel the rear of the column to swim. Several 
troopers were, however, swept away and one was 
drowned before assistance could reach him. The 
passage was most perilous, but the entire command 
got safely over, leaving the wagons in the forks of 
the river under a dismounted guard, while the col 
umn, thus lightened, pushed on to the Locust fork 
of the Black Warrior, which was also rising. For 
tunately, it was still passable, and, as the crossing 
was also made with great rapidity, it was soon left 
behind. The roads beyond were in better condition 
and, as the enemy offered but slight resistance, we 
pushed rapidly through Elyton to the Cahawba 

Elyton at that time was a poor, insignificant 
Southern village, surrounded by old field farms, 
most of which could have been bought at five dollars 
per acre. It presented no evidence of ever becoming 
a great city or the seat of the iron and steel in 
dustry of the Southern states. Having taken posi- 


tion on the top of an overlooking ridge to inspect 
the passing column, I was deeply impressed by the 
poverty-stricken and uninviting appearance of the 
landscape. It was, of course, known to the geolo 
gists that the ridges dividing the river valleys con 
tained large deposits of both coal and iron in prox 
imity to each other. A few blast-furnaces had been 
erected in the adjacent region and pig-iron had been 
produced in considerable quantities for the arsenal 
and foundries at Selma, but there was no sign what 
ever of the tremendous movement which a few years 
later made Birmingham the coal and iron center of 
that remarkable field. At that time the farms and 
villages were poor and primitive, the yield of corn 
and cotton insignificant, and the people without hope. 
It is now one of the most flourishing manufacturing 
districts in the United States. 

While at Jasper on the 27th my scouts reported 
Armstrong s brigade of Chalmers s division some 
forty or fifty miles south of us moving through 
Bridgeville and Tuscaloosa toward Selma. This 
was a distinct admonition that we should quicken 
our own speed so as to cross the Cahawba and reach 
the district about Montevallo before the enemy could 
interpose to delay us. I knew that Forrest, as soon 
as he discovered our real direction, would lose no 
time in throwing his whole available force in front 
of us. It was now raining hard, the streams were 
again rising rapidly, and this made it necessary to 
march all night in order to reach and cross the 
Cahawba and to get into the open and more pros 
perous country beyond. Happily, Upton and his bri 
gade commanders, Winslow and Alexander, were 
full of energy and enterprise which no difficulty 



could thwart or discourage. Reaching the banks of 
the Cahawba ahead of the pontoon train, they found 
the ford obstructed by fallen trees and impassable. 
But, turning downstream, they came shortly to the 
railroad bridge near Hillsboro and rushed upon 
it before the enemy s pickets could set it on fire. 
Both the bridge and the trestles connecting it with 
the highland were then floored over with cross-ties, 
making it safe for horses and men. By these means 
we crossed the river and soon left it behind. This 
was a notable feat, well illustrating the enterprise 
and energy of the western cavalry. Not an hour 
was lost and, although the actual passage on account 
of the rude roadway was relatively slow, it took 
the entire corps safely into a region abounding in 
forage, corn, bacon, chickens, turkeys, and other 
comforts for hungry soldiers. But, what was still 
more important, was the fact that it brought us 
quickly to the state road leading directly south to 
the stronghold which was the main object of our 

To make sure that Armstrong and those follow 
ing in the same direction should not interfere with 
or delay our advance, I detached Croxton near Ely- 
ton on the evening of March 30 to march rapidly 
on Tuscaloosa, which was not only the seat of the 
Alabama Military College, but the center of a com 
paratively rich and populous region. After cap 
turing the town and burning the public buildings, 
foundries, factories, stores and bridges, he was di 
rected to rejoin the main column by the way of 
Centerville, where the direct road from Tuscaloosa 
to Selma crosses the Cahawba. 

Croxton executed the first half of his orders after 


some countermarching with an allowable precaution 
ary delay. Tuscaloosa did not, however, fall into 
his hands till April 3, when the Military College, 
other public buildings, and property were destroyed, 
and ample supplies of every sort were captured. 
As Jackson s columns had passed on toward the 
Cahawba, Croxton occupied the town for the night, 
and it so happened that he found there several Con 
federate officers, with their fiancees, who had met 
for the purpose of getting married. Instead of for 
bidding the bans, the gallant Kentuckian gave his 
hearty consent and encouraged the contracting par 
ties to proceed with the ceremony, which they gladly 
did. Early the next day he took the road again, 
but, fearing he might encounter more rebels than 
he cared to tackle, marching through or upon that 
important town, he turned northward for safety. 
As the direction of his original march lay in the 
main at right angles to that of the Confederates, 
it necessarily brought him into such contact with 
them as led to the confusion of both without any 
considerable advantage to either, except that Jack 
son and Chalmers, who were following Armstrong, 
were so delayed by the presence of an enemy in their 
rear and afterward on their flank that neither suc 
ceeded in crossing the Cahawba, without which it 
was impossible to confront my main column or in 
any way to delay the assault and capture of Selma. 
This was of great advantage to me and in itself 
justified the detachment of Croxton. 

Meanwhile, my plan was clear and distinct from 
the first. I knew it was absolutely necessary that 
I should get through the barrens and across the 
creeks and rivers, and, leaving my impedimenta be- 



hind, unite my columns at Montevallo, where I was 
sure we should have what all good cavalrymen want 
an open country and a clear road to the front. 

I reached Montevallo at one o clock on March 31. 
Upton, having the lead, occupied the place at dusk 
the evening before and by the time he had given 
me the lay of the land, the location and direction 
of the roads, and the enemy s probable position, 
Long s division and LaGrange s brigade of Mc- 
Cook s division, free from all wheels except those 
of their batteries, had closed up and were ready to 
strike at the word. Upton s detachments had al 
ready destroyed or were engaged in destroying the 
Bed Mountain, Bibb County, and Columbiana Iron 
Works, the Cahawba Valley Boiling Mills, and all 
the collieries within reach. All these establishments 
were in full operation and their destruction was a 
vital blow to the Confederacy, inasmuch as they 
were the source of the last and only raw materials 
and fuel for the arsenals, foundries, and navy yard 
at Selma. 

My command present on the field mustered full 
nine thousand men and twelve field guns. Straggling 
had disappeared, and every trooper was in his place, 
eager for the fray and confident of victory. Not 
a minute had been lost and it so fell out, just as we 
were advancing, that we discovered the enemy on the 
Selma Boad beyond the first field, with dense woods 
behind. Simultaneously our pickets reported him 
moving to the attack. As it turned out, Forrest was 
in our front. We were face to face at last. True 
to his own rule, he was striving with Boddy s divi 
sion, Crossland s brigade, and Dan Adams infan 
try and militia to strike the first blow. But we had 



anticipated him and, as soon as advised of his ad 
vance, I ordered Upton, who was fully ready, "to 
sail in ! He was no laggard ; his skirmishers from 
both brigades were already in line and, to add to 
their weight, the splendid regular battery was 
thrown well to the front, followed by Winslow, 
Noble, Benteen, Peters, Garrard, Eggleston, and 
Young, with guidons unfurled and the trumpets 
sounding the charge. In less time than it takes to 
tell it the rattle of cannon and carbine began. The 
enemy was checked, his formation broken, and his 
whole line overthrown and in retreat. Our skir 
mishers hastened to remount and with their sup 
ports joined promptly in hot pursuit. What For 
rest thought has never been told, but he was a bold 
and resolute man, not easily overborne, and never 
rattled. Eiding rapidly to the rear, he selected a 
new position covered by a creek some five miles 
south of Montevallo, and, again rallying his follow 
ers, made another stand in hopes of holding his po 
sition till nightfall. His men, and especially his 
Kentuckians, made a gallant fight. But Upton, 
aided by Alexander and Winslow, attacking both 
center and flanks, soon lifted him from his new 
position and drove him in confusion down the Selma 
road, till darkness put an end to the pursuit and 
gave his routed Confederates a few hours rest. 

Upton, flushed with victory, bivouacked that 
night fourteen miles south of Montevallo. The first 
day s work was a good one. Both cavalry and ar 
tillery had covered themselves with glory. They 
had crumpled up the enemy s line, capturing a num 
ber of prisoners with arms, accouterments, and loose 
material. Both officers and men had shown con- 



spicuous gallantry and had gained for themselves 
and for the corps a moral supremacy over the enemy 
which they never lost. They had fairly "got the 
bulge on Forrest " and his followers and held it till 
the end. 

At dawn on April 1 Upton again took the lead 
and, followed by Long and LaGrange, moved rapidly 
and irresistibly to Eandolph. But soon after get 
ting under way Upton had the good fortune to cap 
ture a rebel courier just from Centerville, on whose 
person he found three dispatches, which he sent me 
without delay. The first was from Forrest, dated 
six miles from Montevallo, March 31, 6 P. M V in 
forming Jackson . . . that the enemy are mov 
ing right on down the railroad with their wagon 
train and artillery, directing him . . . * to fol 
low down after them, taking the road behind them 
from Montevallo, " but cautioning him not . . . 
"to bring on a general engagement, as their force 
is much stronger than yours," and finally saying 
. . . "an engagement should be avoided unless 
you find the balance of our forces in supporting dis 
tance of you." 1 

The second dispatch was from Anderson, A. D. 
C., to Forrest, dated Centerville, April 1, 2 A. M., 
saying : 

I opened the enclosed dispatch from General Jackson 
to ascertain his position, etc. Sent couriers last night at 
11 :30 to Chalmers and Mason. From reports received and 
from this dispatch, enemy s cavalry or a portion of it have 
crossed the Cahawba and General Jackson will attack them 
at daylight. I shall remain here for further orders and de 
velopments and at daylight will take one side of the river 
X O. R. Serial No. 104, p. 173. 


or the other. Have sent to General Jackson to know the 
position of his artillery. If the couriers can be relied on 
the enemy [Croxton] is between him and the battery. 
Have the dismounted men entrenched on this side east of 
the river, and if the enemy are as represented, will move 
the battery here, cross it over and move on the nearest 
road to Selma as directed. The courier can explain Jack 
son s position and that of the battery. From this state 
ment the battery is in rear of General Jackson, on the 
Tuscaloosa road, and the enemy between his force and his 
artillery. Have heard nothing of General Armstrong, but 
sent orders to General Chalmers to move to or between the 
enemy and Selma. Will dispatch you all information as 
soon as received. 1 

The third dispatch was a " sub-enclosure, " dated 
March 31, 8:45 P. M., from Jackson to James Hill, 
senior. The site of the encampment is not given, but 
it was doubtless on the road from Tuscaloosa to Cen- 
terville at Hill s Plantation, three miles from Scotts- 
ville. It runs as follows : 

I find the enemy [Croxton] encamped on Huntsville 
and Tuscaloosa road at Whites, three miles from point 
where Huntsville road comes into Tuscaloosa Road, and six 
miles from this place. Their strength not yet ascertained. 
I am closing around them with a view of attacking, or if 
they move to-night will drive into them. I am placing a 
force between them and Tuscaloosa. Have also directed 
Colonel Cox, who is in charge of artillery and train some 
fifteen miles from here, that in case I do not gain their 
front and they advance on Tuscaloosa, to fall back before 
them, impeding their progress; to notify Colonel Hard- 
castle, commanding post [Tuscaloosa], to have everything 
in readiness to meet them and to tear up planks on the 
bridge and to remove them, nothing preventing. All ap 
pears bright and I expect success. 2 

1 O. B. Serial No. 104, p. 173. 2 /&., p. 174. 



Shortly after intercepting these dispatches, I also 
received one written by Croxton at Trion, north of 
Tuscaloosa, the night before, informing me that he 
had struck Jackson s rear, and instead of pushing 
on toward Tuscaloosa as ordered, he would follow 
up Jackson and endeavor to bring him to an engage 
ment, hoping thereby to prevent his junction with 

These dispatches, taken with the operations of 
the day before, made it clear that Forrest had met 
us in person near Montevallo, and helped by Eoddy, 
Crossland, and Adams, was doing what he could to 
stay our progress; that Jackson with his division 
somewhat scattered was devoting his attention to 
Croxton instead of trying to get in my rear; that 
Croxton had interposed between him and his trains 
and, understanding his duty, was endeavoring to 
bring Jackson to an engagement ; that Chalmers was 
still west of the Cahawba at or near Marion; and 
finally, that if I could seize and destroy the bridge at 
Centerville uniting LaGrange with Croxton, McCook 
might not only beat Jackson but render it certain 
that neither he nor Chalmers could cross the Ca 
hawba to form a junction with Forrest except lower 
down the river where there were no bridges and no 
fords. In other words, I now knew exactly where 
every division and brigade of Forrest s corps was, 
that they were widely scattered and that if I could 
force the marching and the fighting with sufficient 
rapidity and vigor, I should have the game entirely 
in my hands. My greatest danger clearly was that 
Jackson might overwhelm Croxton in time to cross 
the Cahawba at Centerville and fall upon my rear 
while I was fighting Forrest in front. The best way 



of preventing this was clearly to seize the Center- 
ville bridge before the enemy could concentrate there 
to hold it. 

As Eandolph is abreast of Centerville only 
twelve or fifteen miles away, I directed McCook l to 
follow up the battalion already ordered there with 
a regiment and to follow that with the rest of La- 
Grange s splendid brigade, all to march as rapidly 
as possible on that point, capture the bridge, and 
open communications with Croxton. This done, Mc 
Cook was directed to attack Jackson with his united 
division, scatter his forces and confuse him as much 
as possible, after which he was to fall back, burn 
the bridge at Centerville, and take the direct road 
for Selma. His entire outward march was about 
thirty-eight miles, and, although he did not leave 
Eandolph till nearly 11 A. M., he was successful in 
driving the rebel force from Centerville, capturing 
the bridge, and pushing rapidly forward to Scotts- 
ville, eight miles beyond, but without finding either 
Jackson or Croxton. They were evidently engaged 
with each other. As the region in which they were 
operating was lacking in towns and highways, Mc 
Cook, judging that he should not be led away on a 
wild-goose chase, returned to the bridge. After 
burning it he set out by the direct road toward 
Plantersville and Selma for the purpose of watching 
the crossings and preventing the enemy s outlying 
columns from getting into Selma ahead of him. But 
his movements were somewhat over-cautious, and, 
therefore, did not bring him to a junction with the 
corps till after Selma surrendered. This detachment 
has been criticised as weakening my force before 

1 O. B. Serial No. 104, p. 173. 


the battle, but had Jackson, instead of following 
Croxton, kept on toward Centerville, McCook s 
movement would have been exactly the right one to 
prevent Jackson s junction with Forrest. And this, 
of course, was its primary purpose. McCook and 
Croxton together had effectually neutralized one of 
Forrest s strongest divisions. They had not only 
greatly confused Jackson, but by the destruction 
of the Centerville bridge had also confused Chalmers 
as well and had prevented both from taking any part 
in the fighting which occurred in the next thirty-six 
hours. I have also been criticised for detaching 
Croxton, and the reasons given for this criticism 
are similar to those given in the case of McCook 
and LaGrange. The answer is the same and the 
success of the two aggressive movements in keeping 
the bulk of Forrest s corps west of the Cahawba 
and thus allowing me to beat him in person by 
superiority of numbers, as well as by more rapid 
marching, was my complete justification. 

Meanwhile Forrest was far from idle. Not sat 
isfied with having directed Jackson to fall in behind 
and follow me down from Montevallo, he sent a 
courier to Chalmers directing him to push across the 
Cahawba with all possible celerity to Ebenezer 
Church, six miles north of Plantersville, for the pur 
pose of joining Forrest and helping him stay my 
advance. This was a brilliant plan, but, like John 
ston s for the destruction of Grant s army between 
Jackson and Vicksburg, it came too late and took 
too long to carry it out. Like Grant, I had inside 
lines, and, knowing it, determined to force the fight 
ing, confident that it would result in my favor. Hav 
ing taken care of both my right flank and rear, as 



there was no danger to be apprehended from the 
left, it remained only to hurl my two splendid divi 
sions with all possible speed against the enemy in 
front, which I knew they outnumbered. Having an 
ticipated Forrest in his own game of getting on the 
rear of his opponent, I determined to allow him no 
rest but to overwhelm him if possible on the road, 
and, failing in that, to drive him inside the works 
of Selma as soon as possible. 

Had Jackson and Chalmers been swifter than 
Croxton and McCook, the worst that could have hap 
pened would have been a battle between the entire 
strength of the two corps. Had Long and Upton 
been slower than they were in crossing the rivers 
and in reaching the main road through Montevallo 
to Selma, the two corps would doubtless have met 
head-on somewhere north of Selma. But even in 
that case the odds were in our favor, and we were 
fully justified in the expectation that we should be 

As it turned out, Forrest received no substantial 
additions to his own column and, moving as we did, 
from twenty to thirty miles a day, with nine thou 
sand sabers, it was easy to brush his three cavalry 
brigades and his infantry detachment out of the 
way and to bring my victorious and exultant force 
face to face with the fortifications of Selma. 

I was constantly in close touch with Long and 
Upton, both of whom fully understood what the sit 
uation demanded of them. 

In accordance with the order of march for the 
day, Upton at Randolph turned eastward to Old 
Maplesville, where he struck the main road to Selma, 
while Long pushed straight forward by the new road. 



This gave us the advantage of two columns in close 
cooperation, nowhere more than two miles apart. 
Both promptly encountered small parties of the 
enemy evidently watching their approach, and with 
the impulse of yesterday s success in their blood, 
they drove the Confederates rapidly back on their 
main line, which Forrest had deployed in a strong 
position near Ebenezer Church. His right rested on 
Mulberry Creek, his center was behind Bogler s 
Creek, while his left occupied a high wooded ridge. 
Four field guns swept the Randolph road and two 
the road to Old Maplesville. The position, naturally 
a strong one, had been made still stronger by a fence 
rail barricade and a slashing of pine trees. 

Forrest had at that place, as near as I can make 
out, something like five thousand, but both he and 
his biographer state it as less than two thousand 
men. It was made up of Boddy s division, Cross- 
land s Kentucky brigade and Dan Adams infantry 
and state troops from Selma. A detachment of 
Armstrong s brigade was also present and Arm 
strong himself with the rest of his troops was on 
the way, but did not reach there till dark, when all 
the fighting was over. Chalmers with Starke s and 
Dan Adams s brigades did not get there at all. 
Wyeth tells us that Chalmers sent a dispatch instead, 
saying that he had met obstacles which had so de 
layed him that he could not effect a junction in time 
to be of service. 1 As can well be understood, For 
rest "was furious with rage" upon receipt of this 
dispatch. He evidently did not know that McCook 
had interposed between him and Chalmers, and, 
therefore, unjustly, but perhaps naturally enough, 

1 Wyeth a "Life of Forrest," p. 597. 


accused the latter of lacking "the alacrity and 
swiftness which the emergency required and which 
had characterized him on other occasions. " War 
is full of vicissitudes and Forrest was now in the 
midst of them. Confronted by a superior force, his 
own command was badly scattered, with the larger 
part of it hopelessly shut out of the impending battle. 
There was nothing left him but to curse and fight, 
and he did both with characteristic energy and des 
peration. He hoped to stay our progress till 
Chalmers could at least reach Plantersville, five 
miles to the rear. But McCook was in the way and 
all Forrest s efforts to unite his corps in my front 
were in vain. We still "had the bulge on him" and 
knew how to keep it. Long with his big division 
of mounted infantry and cavalry had not yet been 
seriously engaged, and, envious of Upton s successes 
the day before, he now rushed eagerly upon the 
enemy s thin line of skirmishers, from which it was 
evident he intended to make his principal fight be 
hind his defenses. 

It was now about four o clock in the afternoon, 
and, discovering at a glance the real situation, Long 
strengthened the leading battalion of the Seventy- 
second Indiana Mounted Infantry with the rest of 
that splendid regiment dismounted. Armed with 
Spencer magazine rifles, they deployed in open or 
der on the left of the road, and when the word 
reached them they rushed to the attack, pumping 
out a sheet of lead with each discharge which noth 
ing could resist. They easily broke through and 
drove back the enemy s line, shortly after which 
Long finished the fighting on that part of the field 
by throwing Lieutenant Colonel Frank White with 



the saber battalion of the Seventeenth Indiana 
Mounted Infantry headlong into the midst of the 
retreating Confederates. White himself was a ber 
serker of the Norseman breed, broad-shouldered, 
deep-chested, long-limbed, over six feet tall, and 
"bearded like a pard." He would have been a full 
match for Forrest himself had they met, but that 
fate was reserved for a younger and slighter man, 
Captain Taylor, a mere stripling, but a braver one 
never rode to his death. 

This brilliant charge was followed by a running 
fight in which both sides and every man displayed 
the highest valor. White, in the flower of his 
strength, was more than once completely surrounded 
by the enemy. But his life seemed to be charmed 
and he fought his way out with but little injury. 
Taylor, younger and more impulsive, was not so 
fortunate. Eiding through the melee, he singled out 
Forrest, whom they all knew, and assailed him so 
fiercely with a shower of saber strokes aimed at 
his head and shoulders that for a moment it looked 
as though he would kill or capture the fleeing chief 
tain. So closely did the boy-captain follow him and 
so nearly were their horses matched in strength 
and speed, it was several moments before Forrest 
could open space enough to allow him to turn and 
shoot his pursuer from the saddle. Speaking of it 
a few days later, under a flag of truce with his arm 
still in a sling, he said reflectively: "If that boy 
had known enough to give me the point of his saber 
instead of its edge, I should not have been here to 
tell you about it. 

Long himself was close to the fighting line, but 
before he could deploy the whole of his division to 



support White, Alexander, on the road to the left, 
hearing the firing in front, pushed rapidly forward 
on Long s left till he also struck Forrest s line 
stretching through the woods with its fence rail lay 
out and a slashing of trees further strengthened by 
two guns sweeping the road on which Upton was 
advancing. It was a well-chosen position, promising 
plenty of hard work for the assailants, but Upton 
with his entire division was soon abreast of Long. 
Both commanders knew their business perfectly, 
and with their men all on the field together, with 
out delaying to reconnoiter the enemy s position, 
to count his numbers, or to ask for instructions, they 
threw forward a strong dismounted skirmish line, 
which at once became hotly engaged. In the midst 
of the rattle and racket Upton sent Alexander with 
two mounted regiments to charge from the left of 
his line and this was done just in the nick of time 
to catch the enemy in flank and drive him in con 
fusion from the field. Long captured one gun ; the 
impulse of his onset was so great that, striking the 
carriage in flank as it was withdrawing, he crushed 
it to the ground. Upton captured two others in his 
front. Forrest s whole line was overborne and 
driven from the field. So rapid was the charge that 
four hundred infantry and dismounted cavalry fell 
into our hands as prisoners of war. 

The impetuosity of the Union cavalry was beau 
tiful to behold. Its instinct for the flank had led 
it to the vital spot at the vital time, and it was now 
evident that nothing could stop its gallant onset. 
It had fairly turned Forrest s rules of war against 
himself, for, without disregarding tactics, it had not 
only "got the bulge on him," but "had got there 



first with the most men." Forrest, again in full 
retreat, was taxed to the utmost to save his com 
mand and keep it together till darkness put an end 
to the pursuit. 

It was a running fight for twenty-five miles, last 
ing till dark, and, although the victory was com 
plete, the day s work was an exhausting one and 
both men and officers were glad to find rest and 
abundant food for themselves and their good steeds 
at the bivouac fires which blazed that night in great 
numbers around the little village of Plantersville, 
just twenty miles from Selma. The principal affair 
of the day was afterward known as the battle of 
Ebenezer Church, and this name was inscribed on 
the banners of every regiment of the two divisions. 
The little meeting-house for which it was called stood 
on the ridge near the scene of action. Every officer 
and soldier who participated in it was satisfied with 
himself and the part he had played. There were 
neither hesitation nor laggards on that day. Even 
the horses seemed carried away by "the noise of 
the captains and the shouting." The foraging par 
ties brought in plenty of provisions that night and 
a more joyful bivouac was never made by hungry 
and tired soldiers. All were full of hope for the 
morrow. No command ever worked more harmoni 
ously. The elan was perfect and the cooperation all 
that could be desired. Straggling was unknown 
from the time we left Nashville, and all seemed to 
understand that the true plan of action was a heavy 
dismounted skirmish line corresponding to the in 
fantry line of battle, with a mounted force to charge 
the enemy s flanks and cut in upon his rear as op 
portunity offered. The weather was fine and the 



landscape beginning to show the first approach of 

It was near this pretty planting village that Cap 
tain Hill, superintending his foragers, found him 
self on the lawn of a fine country house standing 
back from the highway. While directing one detach 
ment to gather forage from the barns and another 
to get bacon from the smoke-house, and still another 
to catch chickens and collect eggs, he was astonished 
at a woman s voice calling out: "You, Boss Hill! 
How dare you rob my plantation ! If you don t call 
your men from my smoke-house and stable-yard, 
I ll go up to Indiana and make your mother whip 
you within an inch of your life!" The hungry 
young cavalryman was face to face with a danger 
he had not thought of and, turning to meet it like 
a man, he recognized a handsome young woman who 
had resided in his native town just long enough be 
fore the war to get a divorce. Exactly what fol 
lowed has not been told, but it is a safe inference 
that the impressments from that plantation were 
minimized as much as possible. 

While food and forage were abundant and the 
camp fires that night were brilliant with blazing 
fence-rails, the situation was by no means devoid 
of anxiety. Forrest was still in front, and, although 
I hardly expected him to make another stand out 
side of his fortifications, I supposed that Chalmers, 
Jackson, and Buford were straining every nerve to 
unite their forces with his for a final stand at Selma. 
Although every step of the campaign had gone our 
way so far, I still lacked exact information as to 
the extent and character of the fortifications sur 
rounding the city, the number and size of the guns 



surmounting them, and the number of fighting men 
available for their defense. 

The situation was a grave one, but good fortune 
was still with us. That afternoon or night an Eng 
lish civil engineer named Millington, who had been 
employed on the fortifications at Selma, gave him 
self up to Upton, and that enterprising officer at 
once set about finding out what he knew. It did not 
take long to learn that he was exactly the man we 
needed. He made no concealment of his knowledge, 
and at Upton s request prepared an accurate pencil 
sketch of the trace and profile of the works and of 
the topography in front and rear of them to scale, 
together with the number and position of the guns 
in place. This sketch is still in my possession. 

Upton brought it, as well as the engineer, at 
once to my headquarters, and it took but a cursory 
examination to make certain that we were confronted 
by a problem of great difficulty and Complexity and 
that the next day would be one of hard work and 
desperate fighting. 

The sketch showed that the city of about eight 
thousand people was surrounded by a well-con 
structed, bastioned line of earthworks and stockades, 
extending in a semicircle of about three miles, from 
the river bank above to the river bank below the 
town, with an inner but incomplete line covering the 
principal roads from the city to the surrounding 
country. The site of Selma is a river terrace above 
overflow, rising gently to the northward, surrounded 
by cultivated land well commanded and swept by 
thirty-two guns in position behind heavy parapets 
completely covered by well-constructed stockades 
five and a half feet high, the stakes, from six to eight 



inches thick, firmly planted in the ground and their 
tops sharpened. The sketch also showed the earth 
works to be continuous except on the sections next 
to the river, where the line crossed short stretches 
of swamp or creek bottom, evidently considered im 
passable. Although these sections were also com 
pletely covered by the stockade, we hoped to find 
the right more or less undefended. 

So far as I could see, nothing had been left un 
done to make the place impregnable. Its fortifica 
tions were adapted to either a small force or a large 
one, and, as no such works had ever been carried 
by cavalry, or for that matter by infantry either, 
where proper defense had been made, it was evident 
that we were confronted by a mighty serious 

Upton and I spent an anxious hour considering 
every possible aspect of the case. He had had un 
usual experience and success with infantry in just 
such work and from Marye s Heights to the Dead 
Angle at Spottsylvania had never failed to break 
through the entrenchments he had attacked. He was, 
therefore, my main dependence, but, as I wanted 
to lighten his task and divide the risk as much as 
possible, I concluded that he should approach the 
city by the left-hand road and make his principal at 
tack farther to the left through the swamp, if pos 
sible, where the defense was likely to be the weak 
est, while Long s division, heavier by two regi 
ments, was to follow the right-hand road, parallel 
with the other, to the main entrance of the city. 

On Sunday, April 2, the reveille was sounded 
before daybreak, horses, arms, and equipments had 
been well looked after and all arrangements had 



been made for a rapid advance and a desperate 
fight. Everybody was ready and Long was on the 
road before sunrise, but had hardly got strung out 
before Upton was at his heels. All wagons, camp- 
followers, animals, and surplus impedimenta were 
left in the rear so as not to delay or interfere with 
the march of the fighting men. Mile after mile 
through a thickly settled country, dotted with houses 
and enclosures, and broken by corn and cotton fields, 
was covered without firing a single shot. The enemy 
was nowhere in sight, but this was not surprising, 
for Forrest, having been beaten in every encounter 
from Montevallo to Plantersville, had wisely made 
up his mind not to fight again till he had shelter 
and protection from the fortifications of Selma. It 
was clearly his duty and determination to defend 
that place at every cost, for it contained the prin 
cipal gun factory, armory, machine shops and manu 
facturing establishments turning out military muni 
tions for the Confederate Government. With those 
establishments destroyed and the Southern coast 
strictly blockaded it would necessarily be but a few 
months, probably but a few weeks, till the Confed 
eracy must collapse and its armies fall to pieces for 
want of supplies. On the other hand, it was abso 
lutely necessary that our movement against Selma 
should be successful. Failure to carry its defenses 
would be defeat for us and would bring the entire 
rebel force of that region together on our back. 

There was not an officer that did not understand 
this. Upton was a veteran who needed no super 
vision and no incitement to the full performance 
of the task before him. Long was a good soldier, 
but had had no experience except with cavalry, and 



up to the time lie fell under my command had seen 
but little good military team work. His brigade 
commanders, Minty and Miller, with similar experi 
ence, were men of untiring energy, but had never 
engaged in such an enterprise as that now before 
them. Nothing was concealed from them, however. 
I rode all day, talking first with Long and then with 
Minty and Miller in turn. I showed them the Eng 
lishman s sketch, explaining every detail as to the 
cross-section of the works and their ditches, the 
stockades, the open ground, the small creeks or runs, 
the woods and the swamps outside, and pointed out 
every conceivable difficulty. Dwelling upon the re 
sults of failure and disaster, I emphasized the dec 
laration that the works must be carried at no matter 
what cost. I directed my efforts especially to 
strengthening Miller s determination and confidence. 
Although his brigade of veteran infantry was re 
garded as more capable of such work than the cav 
alry, I pointed out they were up against a heavier 
contract than they had ever yet carried through. 
Miller was a serious and thoughtful man, sparing 
of words as well as of promises. When he thor 
oughly understood his task the most he would say 
was that he and his men would do their level best. 
No soldier ever more fully redeemed his modest 
promises than did Miller and his veterans. But no 
body was forgotten on that long, bright day as our 
column hurried southward. Minty, the handsome, 
educated Irishman; Biggs, the stalwart farmer; 
Kitchell, the modest lawyer ; Vail, the intrepid mer 
chant, and Frank White, the modern berserker, as 
well as Alexander, Winslow, Noble, Garrard, Peters, 
Benteen, Young, and Eggleston, the splendid colo- 



nels of Upton s division, all got a word of explana 
tion and encouragement. Each in his own way prom 
ised and each made good to the letter. And in ad 
dition there was the Fourth Regular Cavalry, my 
own escort under the daring Lieutenants Davis, 
O Connel, and Eendelbrook, every one of whom 
gave assurance of success. They had been burning 
bridges, stations, and cotton warehouses and tear 
ing up railroads all day, but were as eager as fresh 
troops for the fray. It was a day of intense interest 
and anxiety to no subordinate more than to myself. 
While we had only nine thousand sabers, with two 
field batteries, every man was a veteran and knew 
that he was before the first objective of a great cam 
paign involving the military considerations of the 
highest order. While no one could foresee the cer 
tainty of success, every officer fully realized its ab 
solute necessity and promised his best effort to in 
sure it. 

As our column approached the city Long turned 
to the right and crossed over to the Summerfield 
road, while Upton continued down the direct road. 
Shortly after three o clock we caught sight of the 
city from the higher land and immediately developed 
our line with the assaulting regiments and their sup 
ports dismounted and their led horses sent to cover 
in the rear. While this was going on I made a rapid 
reconnoissance with my staff to verify the English 
engineer s plan and, much to my gratification, found 
it to be surprisingly accurate. This made it easy to 
complete our dispositions for the attack, which I de 
termined to make in accordance with the ideas de 
veloped by the plan and appearance of the entrench 
ments and the ground in front of them. 



Satisfied that I was making no mistake, I di 
rected Long to post a strong regiment at the creek 
to his right and rear to look out for Jackson and to 
protect the led horses and the pack train, and under 
this cover to form his dismounted line across the 
Summerfield road, with its right extending toward 
Mill Creek, the whole parallel to the entrenchments 
in front. This formation, concealed from the enemy 
by a low intervening ridge, consisted of only one 
thousand five hundred and fifty men and officers in 
the fighting line. They were in single rank, open 
order, with about one man to the yard, but as they 
were all veterans of the finest quality, armed with 
Spencer carbines or rifles, I regarded them as in 
vincible. The rest of the division and the horse- 
holders were in close supporting distance. 

Upton halted about a mile from the works be 
hind a bit of woods, and, immediately dismounting, 
deployed Winslow s brigade in line, while he held 
Alexander s mounted, ready to move in any direc 
tion. Bobinson s Chicago Board of Trade battery 
took position on the Summerfield road, while the 
regular battery formed front into action on the 
Plantersville road. Both held commanding posi 
tions within close range. It was evident, however, 
from the start that we were heavily outweighed in 
artillery and that the fight would have to be won as 
planned by a direct and dashing assault of the en 
trenchments by the dismounted men. 

I decided after careful consideration that the at 
tack should be made under cover of darkness by 
Long, while Upton, with three hundred picked men, 
should push through a thick growth of young trees 
and underbrush to his left and penetrate Bench 



Creek Swamp for the purpose of assaulting the 
enemy s works where they were weakest. Although 
it was growing late, ample time was left for each 
division to reach the ground assigned it and to make 
its preparations with precision. 

The signal for the advance was to be a single 
shot from Bodney s guns, but this arrangement 
was interfered with by a movement against our 
rear, which turned out to be an attack by a part of 
Chalmers s division against the regiment that Long 
had sent back to cover the pack train and led horses 
in rear. It was promptly reenf orced by another regi 
ment and, as the position was a good one for de 
fense, Long rightly concluded that he could hold it 
till the battle in front should be won. McCook was 
not yet at hand and the situation was a grave one. 
Foreseeing that time was of the essence of the un 
dertaking, Long, without even reporting that he had 
been attacked in rear, dashed to the front and or 
dered his dismounted line to advance. It was now 
just five o clock. Assisted by both brigade com 
manders, with four field officers leading their respec 
tive regiments, he pushed his dismounted troopers 
straight at the rebel works six hundred yards to the 
front. They met at once a storm of shot and shell 
from fully twenty guns, sweeping the ground over 
which they were advancing. Armstrong s brigade, 
equal in numbers to themselves, poured a galling 
fire of musketry from the parapets as soon as they 
got within range. Not an officer or man halted or 
hesitated and, pumping out charge after charge from 
their deadly Spencers, the men soon reached the 
glacis, with Minty, Vail, and Kitchell leading, 
clambered over each other s shoulders like boys play- 



ing leapfrog, surmounted the stockade, rushed down 
into the ditch, and scrambled up the escarpment, 
through the embrasures, and over the parapet into 
the works. The enemy met them bravely in a sharp 
hand-to-hand fight and Forrest always claimed that 
Armstrong had enough men to repel the attack, but 
the courage and impulse of the Union soldiers were 
irresistible and soon gave them a complete victory. 
In less time that it takes to tell it, four officers and 
thirty-eight men were killed, while two hundred and 
seventy were wounded. Long himself was stricken 
down within a few yards of the enemy s works by 
a bullet which ploughed through his scalp. Colonel 
Dobb of the Fourth Ohio was killed, while the in 
vincible Miller, with Colonel McCormick and Lieu 
tenant Colonel Biggs, were also knocked out, but 
nothing daunted or delayed the rush of that gal 
lant line in blue. 

Upton, hearing the noise of battle to his right, 
punctuated as it was by the rattle and roar of the 
opposing artillery, waited for neither signal nor or 
ders, but made his way through the brush, across 
the swamp, carrying the works in his front with 
a rush and but trifling loss. Thus the entire outer 
line of the defenses was captured with no other or 
ders than those I had given by way of preparation. 

Hearing the fusillade and roar of artillery and 
realizing that the fight was indeed on for better or 
for worse, I galloped at once to the left of Long s 
charging line, and, pausing only long enough to 
learn what had precipitated the action, I sent a staff 
officer to Upton with directions to carry out the 
orders previously given him, to push across the 
swamp, break through the stockade, and turn the 



enemy s right. But before the officer reached him 
Upton, with true military instinct, was under full 
headway, doing his part and gaining his share of 
the victory. The whole plain for a mile and a half 
was covered at once with a whirlwind of battle. 
Without waiting for the result, I promptly dis 
mounted the horse I had been riding all day, sprang 
onto my splendid gray gelding, "Sheridan," and, 
turning to the Fourth Eegulars, bade them follow 
at the charge. Eegarding it as one of those emer 
gencies which occur but once in a soldier s life and 
realizing that I had not another man to put in, I 
felt it my duty to show myself on my most con 
spicuous horse with staff, escort, and red battle-flag 
in the thickest of the fight. Not a man faltered. 
Straight down the turnpike, through the first line 
of works we rode all together, every man with saber 
drawn and nerves strained to the utmost, as though 
his personal example was essential to victory, and 
while Long, to the right, swept over stockade, ditch, 
and parapet, driving Forrest and Armstrong from 
their outer entrenchments back upon the inner line, 
I found myself abreast of our dismounted men, close 
enough to the enemy s second line of entrenchments 
to hear an officer call out : * Shoot that man on the 
white horse. My horse fell instantly with a bullet 
in the breast. As he sank to the ground I threw 
myself from the saddle, but had hardly touched the 
ground before he was on his feet with his head high 
in the air and his eyes blazing as though they w r ere 
balls of fire. As there was only a trickle of blood 
from his breast and no other horse within reach, 
I remounted and loudly sounded the rally. Incred 
ible as it may seem, I rode the wounded horse till 



eleven that night. He showed neither pain nor fa 
tigue, but his wound was a mortal one. Two weeks 
later he was wounded again through the neck by a 
stray bullet in the dark inside the Chattahoochee 
bridge, at Columbus, and died a week later at Macon. 

My escort was badly scattered in the charge, 
but, responding to the stirring calls of my Indian 
bugler, it reformed at once and followed me at a 
rattling pace through the entrenchments at the high 
way. As the ground was clear of obstructions from 
that point, I sent the regiment again headlong after 
the enemy and had the satisfaction of seeing it dis 
appear in the mass of broken and fleeing Confeder 
ates, when I halted and sent word to Minty, who 
had succeeded Long in command of the Second Divi 
sion, to press his advantage for all that was in 
sight. Upton was doing his work well from the 
Eange Line road around to the left, sweeping every 
thing before him. He also broke through the inner 
line, putting the enemy after a headlong charge 
again to flight. Orders were sent to press his ad 
vantage, but upon such an occasion and to such a 
man orders were hardly necessary. Withal he fol 
lowed the retreating enemy on the Burnsville road 
back into the country, far into the night, capturing 
four guns and many prisoners. 

Eodney and Eobinson, with their field rifles, 
pounded away from their advantageous positions 
till the first line was carried, when they limbered 
up and galloped into new positions almost muzzle 
to muzzle with the enemy s guns on the inner en 
trenchments. From their last position they poured 
a storm of canister and shrapnel into the retreating 
enemy, thus adding to the rout and excitement, 



which now threw the suburbs of the city into wild 
confusion and terror. 

Our victory was complete, but night settled down 
before the fighting ended or the dismounted troopers 
could reassemble and remount their horses from 
the rear. The only mounted men that actually got 
into the melee were the Fourth Regulars, who were 
always kept at hand for such purposes. Most of 
the Confederates left their horses behind to the 
victors for the simple reason that they were so 
pressed from first to last they could neither reach 
nor remount them. 

Forrest, Buford, Armstrong, and Adams exerted 
themselves as they never did before to stem the tide 
of defeat, but all their efforts were futile. Dark 
ness having fallen upon them as well as upon us, 
it was impossible to rally or reform their men or 
to do anything effective to bring order out of chaos. 
Knowing the streets and open places better than 
it was possible for us, they knew what direction 
to take to escape from the city. The first three 
made their way by the Burnsville road to the east 
ward out of the fortifications and into the open coun 
try before Upton s men discovered their route or 
could go in pursuit. Dan Adams, it is said, took 
to the Alabama Eiver and succeeded in reaching 
the other side, but whether by boat or by swimming 
is not known. Many men followed and were drowned 
in their efforts to escape. 

Before the attack began, but after we had made 
our appearance in front of the town, Lieutenant 
General Dick Taylor, the department commander, 
seeing that the defense could hardly be made good, 
escaped to the west by the last railway train that 



left the city before our men cut off communication 
with the country beyond. 

As soon as the city was in our possession, all 
organized resistance ceased, but desultory street 
fighting continued till the remnants of the Confed 
erate force were picked up or had made their es 
cape. But this did not end the confusion and racket. 
On the contrary, it seemed to increase them. The 
inexorable Forrest had forced every male strong 
enough to pull a trigger, including judges, lawyers, 
preachers, doctors, and government employees, old 
and young alike, to the number of two thousand or 
more, into the defenses. Not one was excused. It 
was " fight or swim; into the works or into the riv 
er, 7 for everybody, and, according to all accounts, 
Forrest did not care much which. But when the 
break came it was every man for himself. Many 
were captured, and those that were not sought con 
cealment in the houses of the town. 

It was now pitch dark and, as though this had 
been the chance they were waiting for, the negroes 
broke loose and began to plunder the shops and 
stores. Pandemonium followed, and before our pro 
vost guard could get control fires were raging at 
several places, and, as the firemen had been called 
out to fight, it looked as though the town would be 
destroyed by the fires. None of my people knew 
where the fire engines were or how to get them at 
work, and, although my staff, with the assistance 
of the leading officers, did all they could to restore 
order and prevent the fires from spreading, it was 
nearly midnight before they got the situation com 
pletely under control. Some of the marauders and 
desperadoes who always find place in modern armies 



doubtless took part in plundering the stores and 
occasionally in breaking into private houses, but all 
such work was ruthlessly and promptly stopped as 
soon as it became known. 

Naturally, I gave personal attention to restoring 
order and finding the Confederate arsenal, gun 
shops, foundries, factories, and storehouses, and to 
putting them under military guard. Most of them 
on the river front, covering some twenty acres, were 
easily found and protected. Of course, they were 
from the first doomed to destruction. Indeed, that 
was the principal object of our expedition, but they 
were spared for several days. They were finally 
fired on a dark night in the midst of a heavy rain 
storm, but not till all the machinery had been dis 
abled and all the stores, ammunition, shot, and shell 
had been tumbled into the river. This work, with 
the construction of the necessary troughs and run 
ways, was placed under Winslow s supervision, who, 
in addition to commanding the city, was charged 
with destroying whatever it contained belonging to 
the Confederate Government. The final act of the 
drama was most impressive. The buildings, mostly 
of dry pine, when ignited from the inside burned 
like tinder. The rain, which shortly came down in 
torrents, and the impenetrable clouds which over 
spread the skies added to the grandeur of the scene 
and at the same time made it possible to confine 
the fire strictly to the property destined for destruc 
tion. Every point in the neighborhood was watched 
with vigilance to see that not a dollar s worth of 
private property was injured in the conflagration 
which closed the scene. 

At eleven o clock on the night of capture, after 


restoring order and assuring myself that every or 
ganization under its own officers was safely assem 
bled in bivouac, I established headquarters at the 
Gee House, the leading hotel of the place, turned 
my poor wounded gray over to the veterinary and 
prepared myself for the rest we had all so fully 
earned. Selma was ours and fairly won, but it was 
not till well into the next day that we realized the 
full extent and value of our victory. 

Sunday, April 2, 1865, was the greatest day in 
the history of the Cavalry Corps M. D. M., for on 
that day it had not only captured the most complete 
set of fortifications in the South, covering the most 
important Confederate depots of manufacture and 
supply, but it had by the same act planted itself 
firmly across the central line of railway connecting 
Eichmond with the southwestern states. It had 
practically turned the Confederacy s left flank, cap 
tured its last and most valuable stronghold, put it 
self in position to occupy and roll up its last line of 
interior defense and communication, and finally 
made it certain that the cavalry army which had 
done these things could in a month more join 
Sherman and Grant in Virginia. But it was not till 
three weeks later that we knew Eichmond, at the 
other end of the line, had fallen on the same day 
with Selma, and that these simultaneous events were 
practically the end of the War for the Union. 

With nine thousand cavalry actually at hand 
and three thousand more in supporting distance, 
but less than half the number actually engaged, a 
single line of one thousand five hundred and fifty 
dismounted officers and men, led by Long, Minty, 
and Miller, and four regimental commanders, aided 



by Upton, Winslow, and Alexander, farther to the 
left, had broken through and swept over a strongly 
constructed, double-bastioned line, covered by a con 
tinuous stockade, with a deep ditch containing mud 
and water at places, mounting thirty-two cannon of 
various calibers, and holding, according to the best 
account we could get, from five to six thousand men, 
cavalry, artillery, infantry, and militia. It is cer 
tain that Armstrong s veteran brigade, estimated at 
not less than one thousand five hundred men, held 
the entrenchments in front of Long and ought to 
have repelled the force of equal size which carried 
them. Be this as it may, the victory, no matter how 
gained or what the odds, was an unheard-of one 
for cavalry, and the results and incidents which 
followed during the month of April made it abso 
lutely impossible for the Confederate Government 
to continue the war after Lee s surrender at Appo- 
mattox eight days later. 1 

The enemy s killed and wounded in the campaign 
ending at Selma were never reported, but probably 
were somewhat less than ours, while their loss of 
property and munitions was not only great, but ir 
reparable. We captured two thousand seven hun 
dred prisoners, with one hundred and fifty officers, 
two thousand cavalry and artillery horses, thirty- 
two guns in position on the defenses, besides forty- 
four siege and seacoast guns and twenty-six field 
guns, with their carriages and caissons, in the ar 
senal and foundries, sixty-six thousand rounds of 

1 For a detailed account of the Selma Campaign with particulars 
as to Forrest s command, see Scott s admirable work, The Story 
of a Cavalr7 Regiment," G. P. Putnam s Sons, New York, 1893, 
pp. 410-463; also Official Records, Serial Number 103, Wilson s Raid, 
Alabama and Georgia, pp. 339-504. 



artillery ammunition, large quantities of cartridges 
ready for issue, and fourteen thousand pounds of 
gunpowder. The Selma arsenal, consisting of twen 
ty-four buildings filled with machinery and muni 
tions of war, the great foundry for casting naval 
and military guns, with its machinery and tools, 
three full iron plants in operation, many large shops 
and factories making machinery, tools, and equip 
ments, the central powder and niter works, two maga 
zines, with seven buildings connected therewith, be 
sides many storehouses filled with quartermaster s 
and commissary s supplies, were burned a few days 
later. The blow was an overwhelming one to the 
Confederacy and of corresponding advantage to the 
Union national cause. 

The sudden end of the war necessarily rendered 
it impossible for the Confederate leaders to make 
or send in detailed reports of the final campaign 
through Alabama and Georgia. For a decade or 
more the Confederate sympathizers and historians 
either ignored it entirely or did what they could to 
minimize its effects, but Lieutenant General Kichard 
Taylor, the supreme Confederate commander in 
that theater of operations, after all was over wrote 
as follows: 

I have never met this General Wilson, whose soldierly 
qualities are entitled to respect; for of all the Federal 
expeditions of which I have any knowledge, his was the 
best conducted. 1 

This is high praise, but we may well be pardoned 
for leaving it at that. 

1 " Destruction and Keconstruction, " p. 220. 



Message to Canby Meeting with Forrest Campaign 
against Montgomery, West Point, and Columbus 
Colored regiments Capture of rebel supply boats by 
Major Weston. 

I was up and at work at an early hour on April 3. 
Although Selma was firmly in our possession, it 
was necessary to make our position secure and the 
first measure to that end was to draw in our detach 
ments and trains and send out scouts to ascertain 
the enemy s position and movements. We were en 
tirely ignorant of what was taking place in Vir 
ginia, or in Mississippi and Alabama. While my 
campaign had been primarily intended as a demon 
stration in favor of Canby s operations against Mo 
bile, its success had made it certain that Canby with 
his overwhelming force would also succeed. I, there 
fore, sent Upton out for McCook, whom he found at 
Plantersville, to bring in the pontoon train, the 
wagons, and the dismounted men, and this he did 
without delay or loss. The whole command, except 
Croxton s brigade, was reunited and refitted as far 
as the resources we had captured would permit. All 
our dismounted troopers and servants were mounted 
on captured horses, and after all swapping and ex- 



changing were finished there was a surplus of about 
five hundred horses and many mules. Fearing that 
these might fall into the enemy s hands when we 
left, I ordered them shot and thrown into the Ala 
bama Eiver, which was done. The measure seemed 
cruel, but in war it is frequently necessary to do 
such things for self-protection as well as for the 
injury of the enemy. 

We had no means of knowing that the Eebellion 
was so near its end. We were in the heart of the 
enemy s country, cut off from all communication 
with the North and with the Government. The tele 
graph lines were broken or in hostile hands, the 
trains were stopped, the newspapers and mail were 
suspended, and the people sullen and dismayed. Our 
only source of information were the "grapevine 
telegraph" and the negroes. While the latter were 
unreliable, but willing, they knew but little. We had 
no white friends to declare themselves, and were, 
therefore, thrown entirely on our own resources and 

Feeling sure that Mobile would necessarily fol 
low Selma, I regarded it of the first importance to 
acquaint Canby with our success and our future 
course, but the intervening country, including the 
Alabama valley, was entirely in the hands of the 
enemy. The distance from Selma to Mobile is one 
hundred and fifty miles as the crow flies, by the 
river at least twice that distance, and, while it is 
now certain a squadron of cavalry could have ridden 
through that region safely and rapidly, I concluded 
it best to send a negro by skiff with the current of 
the great river to carry him forward both day and 
night. After some search I found a middle-aged 



black man named Charles Marven, sensible, trust 
worthy, and well acquainted with the river, who was 
willing to carry my dispatch to Canby, which I wrote 
on tissue paper, to be concealed in his clothing, but 
I took the precaution of explaining its contents fully 
to my dignified and silent messenger. As though 
proud of his trust, he received it with becoming 
gravity and solemnly assured me he would deliver 
it in person to Canby within five days unless killed 
on the way. It is pleasant to record that he started 
on the 4th and without resting night or day reached 
his destination and delivered his message safely 
into Canby s hands. In compliance with my request, 
the General gave him two hundred dollars for his 
valuable service, and, after celebrating our victory 
at Selma with a salute of a hundred guns, which 
the enemy were slow to understand, he proceeded 
with confidence and deliberation to enforce the sur 
render of Mobile and the strong places he had been 
confronting for several weeks as a necessary pre 
liminary to his pushing into the interior as I ad 
vised. He knew as well as I did that the war was 
over in Alabama and that our true line thenceforth 
was to the eastward. The enemy to the westward 
was soon advised through Taylor that Selma had 
fallen, and this was followed by the assault and 
capture of the Spanish Fort and Blakely, and the 
surrender of Mobile. Of course, I was ignorant 
of these events till several weeks afterward, but, 
feeling assured that they would occur sooner or 
later, my campaign to Montgomery and eastward 
was fully justified. 

Forrest, in escaping from Selma, rode rapidly 
around the city to the westward under the cover 



of darkness. On the way his escort fell upon an 
outlying detachment of the Fourth Cavalry at a 
farmhouse and killed the last one of them, including 
Lieutenant Roys in command. Such incidents as 
this were far too frequent with Forrest. He ap 
pears to have had a ruthless temper which impelled 
him upon every occasion where he had a clear ad 
vantage to push his success to a bloody end, and 
yet he always seemed not only to resent but to have 
a plausible excuse for the cruel excesses which were 
charged against him. 

After calling in my detachments and decreasing 
my impedimenta, I directed my engineer, Lieuten 
ant Heywood of the Fourth Michigan, to gather 
materials for the construction of wooden pontoons 
or batteaux with which to piece out our bridge train, 
and to lay a bridge across the Alabama, which at 
that place is eight hundred and fifty feet wide and 
very deep, with a strong current toward the Gulf 
of Mexico. Heywood and Hubbard were vigorous 
and resourceful men, and, while they found but 
little lumber ready, they fitted up a disabled saw 
mill and cut the saw logs by hand into lumber of 
proper sizes for use. With the assistance of the 
Michigan men, many of whom were lumbermen, they 
made rapid progress, and, although nails, spikes, 
and cordage were extremely scarce, they had a float 
ing bridge spanning the river by the night of April 7, 
or within four working days. 

Meanwhile, I was anxious to know what had be 
come of Croxton, who had neither come in nor re 
ported his whereabouts. As we were encumbered 
with several thousand prisoners, many of them citi 
zens who had been forced into the defenses of Selma, 



it occurred to me that I might arrange an exchange 
with Forrest, whom I knew to be still in the vicinity, 
west of the Cahawba. While I had lost relatively 
few men, a sufficient number was missing to justify 
an effort at their recovery. As Forrest was in much 
worse condition, we arranged by correspondence 
and couriers to meet under a flag of truce for the 
purpose of discussing an exchange of prisoners and 
such other matters as might interest us. Accord 
ingly, I started to Cahawba, nine or ten miles from 
Selma, on the morning of the 7th, but, finding the 
streams much swollen and the bridges broken or 
swept away, I reluctantly gave up the trip and re 
turned to the city for the night. Early next morn 
ing I started out again and by ten o clock reached 
the hospitable mansion of Colonel Matthews in the 
town of Cahawba. I found a gentleman of great 
intelligence and high character and, although a slave 
holder and a rich planter, he had never given up 
his allegiance to the Union. He received me and 
my two aids with true Southern hospitality and, 
although he expressed surprise at my youth and 
modest suite, he at once made me understand that 
I was a most welcome guest. 

Forrest arrived at 1 P. M V and as soon as our 
greetings, which were made with some reserve on 
his part, were over, we were summoned to a bounti 
ful Southern dinner. With good cheer the formali 
ties were relaxed and all embarrassment disap 
peared, so that by the time the meal was over we 
were treating each other like old acquaintances, if 
not old friends. Left to ourselves, Forrest and I 
withdrew to the parlor, where we had a long but 
guarded conversation covering recent events and 



their possible consequences. It was easy to see, 
however, that he was depressed. He carried his left 
arm in a sling and moved with cautious deliberation. 
He appeared to be in the full maturity of his pow 
ers. Born in 1821, he was forty-four years of age 
and in excellent condition, though, like myself, lean 
in flesh and hard of muscle. -With cold, steel-blue 
eyes, regular features, full brown hair and a com 
manding figure, I found him neither so tall nor so 
masterful in appearance as I expected. His biog 
raphers tell us he was over six feet tall. Before see 
ing him I thought of him fully up to that stature, 
with the erect figure and martial bearing of the typ 
ical Southern cavalier, but I frankly confess I was 
somewhat disappointed. I found him loosely put to 
gether, if not somewhat stooping and slouchy in ap 
pearance, and he appeared rather under than over 
six feet. His frame was large and his body full, and 
I guessed his weight at one hundred and seventy-five 
pounds. His countenance was serious, his conduct 
diffident, but self-possessed, and his bearing free 
from military affectations. It took but a glance to 1 dis 
cover that life and its duties were all-important to 
him, and that whatever engaged his attention would 
receive most careful consideration. He was well 
clad, and as he rode up it was evident that he was 
admirably mounted. His general appearance indi 
cated great firmness, excellent judgment, and inflex 
ible will. I came to know him well, if not intimately, 
after the war, when we were both engaged in build 
ing railroads. I found him in civil life a modest, 
unassuming, and trustworthy man of affairs. What 
he thought of me I never knew, except that he al 
ways treated me with due respect and consideration. 



I was about sixteen years his junior, somewhat 
shorter, and of lighter build, and, judging from his 
first remarks at the Cahawba meeting, he was quite 
as curious about me as I was about him. We had 
hardly shaken hands and taken our seats when, look 
ing me steadily in the face, he said : 

i i Well, General, you have beaten me badly, and 
for the first time I am compelled to make such an 
acknowledgment. I have met many of your men, 
but never before one I did not get away with, first 
or last." 

I replied at once: "Our victory was not with 
out cost. You put up a stout fight, but we were too 
many and too fast for you." 

To this he rejoined: "Yes, I did my best, but, 
if I now had your entire force in hand, it would not 
compensate us for the deadly blow you have in 
flicted upon our cause by the capture and destruc 
tion of our great arsenal, foundries, workshops, and 
storehouses at Selma." 

The conversation then turned to details, during 
which he did not hesitate to say that Armstrong, 
holding that section of the works carried by Long 
with about as many men behind the entrenchments 
as came against them, ought to have repelled the 
attack instead of yielding to it. In this connection 
he confessed that our movements were too rapid 
for him, and that, although he had pressed every 
townsman from the oldest down to the schoolboys 
into the works and ought to have made good, we 
had got the start of him from the first and, in spite 
of all he could do, had carried everything before 
us. While making no effort to conceal his surprise 
nor to hide his chagrin, he closed his lips rigidly 



with reference to all other operations and said abso 
lutely nothing as to the future course of the war, 
either in our own theater or elsewhere in the Con 

When I suggested an exchange of prisoners he 
pleaded lack of authority, but offered to communi 
cate with those above him and give me their views 
later. Whether he discovered that I did not regard 
the matter as of serious concern, I never knew, but 
in the conversation which followed he made it clear, 
perhaps inadvertently, that he had captured but few 
of Croxton s men, that Croxton, after operating 
about Trion and Tuscaloosa, had gone well down 
toward Meridian, and, finally, that he was still at 
large, going practically where he pleased. As this 
was precisely what I wanted to know, and, indeed, 
had gone out to learn, I brought the conference to 
a close with the remark that it was getting late and 
I must return to Selma. 

On taking leave I said with sincere sympathy: 
"General, I notice that you are carrying your arm 
in a sling. I hope you are not badly hurt." Where 
upon he replied : Oh no, merely somewhat severely 
bruised. A young captain of yours singled me out 
at Ebenezer Church and rained such a shower of 
saber strokes on my head and shoulders that I 
thought he would kill me. While warding them off 
with my arm I feared that he would give me the 
point of his saber instead of its edge, and, had he 
known enough to do that, I should not have been 
here to tell you about it." 

This incident may now be dismissed with the 
remark that I cautioned Forrest to be more careful 
hereafter, as many of our men knew him by sight 



and would naturally regard it as a great feat of 
arms to kill him in battle. Without the slightest 
appearance of emotion he answered: "I am much 
obliged to you, General, but I have no fear ! I have 
faced death on a hundred fields and I am sure the 
bullet has not been cast which is to kill me." 

Having satisfied myself that Croxton was safe 
and still cooperating with me, I galloped back to 
Selma, resolved and ready to cross the river and 
continue my operations, first against Montgomery, 
and afterward onward to Columbus, West Point, and 
central Georgia. Our floating bridge, eight hundred 
and fifty feet long, composed of thirty canvas and 
six wooden pontoons, with three large barges for 
the shore ends, was now in position and ready for 
use. It was firmly anchored by heavy pieces of ma 
chinery, but the river was rising rapidly and was 
full of drifting trees, which made it difficult to keep 
the bridge in position. While under construction 
it had been broken more than once, but early the 
next day the crossing began and continued with oc 
casional intermissions till the entire command was 
safely south of the river. The passage was char 
acterized by several exciting incidents. The work 
of protecting the bridge was difficult in the extreme, 
but by the use of skiffs the floating trees were guided 
either to the shore above and fastened there or 
through the openings of the bridge. In supervising 
this work General Alexander was particularly active, 
but while warding off a heavy log the current dashed 
him against one of the anchor lines, overturned 
his boat, and threw his crew into the river. For 
tunately, he caught the bow of a pontoon as he came 
up and was drawing himself over the gunwale when 



the log caught him between it and the pontoon, broke 
three ribs and came near crushing his life out of 
him, but happily the pontoniers succeeded in res 
cuing and lifting him onto the bridge without fur 
ther injury. 

The march of our column by twos across the 
bridge continued night and day till completed. Ow 
ing to the great depth and rapidity of the current, 
the anchor lines pulled the bows of the boats so deep 
that they occasionally took water, and in one in 
stance a section of the bridge was torn from the 
structure. The boats were so short that it was diffi 
cult to keep the moving column close enough to the 
downstream side to keep the bridge stable. The pas 
sage was, therefore, slow, but continued without halt 
throughout the night till finished. This made it 
necessary to light up the scene by the blaze of burn 
ing frame buildings, several of which near the bank 
were set on fire for that purpose. The scene was 
a romantic and brilliant one, long to be remembered. 

The rear guard, composed of the Fourth Iowa 
Cavalry, by midnight of the 9th had safely crossed 
the river and gone into bivouac half a mile south 
of the bridge. Winslow, commanding the city, hav 
ing satisfied himself that the entire command and 
all its impedimenta were safely over, remained in 
the town with his aids, orderlies, and a few troopers 
till the morning of the 10th. Having personally 
superintended the establishment of a hospital, in 
which about eighty of our wounded were left be 
hind in charge of our own surgeons, with instruc 
tions to treat both Confederates and Union men 
alike, he withdrew, instructing the pontoniers to 
dismantle the bridge. All the new batteaux and 



half of the canvas boats were then destroyed so that 
the bridge train, thus lightened, could easily keep 
up with the rapidly moving column. It had laid 
three bridges before reaching Selma, and, as the 
rivers east of that place were either narrow or 
spanned by permanent bridges, it was confidently 
believed we should be able to cross them without 
material delay or difficulty. 

While the corps greatly profited by the week s, 
rest at Selma, it devoted all the time necessary while 
there to looking after harness and equipment and 
to shoeing horses and mules. Wagons, pontoon 
train, and pack animals had been reduced to the 
lowest limit, and, as will be seen, camp followers 
were rigidly cut off. But a great number of fugi 
tives from the surrounding country flocked into the 
town and our march to the eastward had hardly 
begun when it became apparent that new crowds 
were following us, which made vigorous measures 
necessary for getting rid of them. The rear guard 
could keep them behind, but could not prevent them 
from taking the road to freedom. The first day out 
I became deeply impressed with the necessity of 
turning the multitude to some useful purpose. Ac 
cordingly, I concluded to organize the able-bodied 
men of military age into regiments, one to each 
division, and to ruthlessly shut off the old men, 
women, and children. 

As Forrest was not willing to exchange prisoners, 
I adopted the plan of marching those captured at 
Selma through the country, and as they gave out 
to parole and allow them to straggle back to Selma 
or to their homes as best they could. This also de 
layed our rear guard somewhat, but the plan worked 



well, as it gave every white man who fell into our 
hands a severe lesson as to what might happen to 
men captured in arms against their country. 

As the surgeons examined and selected the able- 
bodied negroes I detailed the necessary line officers 
for the preliminary organization of companies and 
regiments. This done, we mounted the men on such 
horses and mules as we could pick up in the country. 
The most rigid discipline was established, and from 
that time we incurred no delay or inconvenience 
to the marching column. No matter what distance 
the white troops covered, the negroes always got 
into camp at a reasonable hour the same night. Upon 
one occasion many of them marched forty miles on 
foot without stopping. This shows that they were 
in fine condition for military life. 

I am glad to add that this organization consti 
tuted the only instance of the kind that came to my 
knowledge during the war. The results were satis 
factory and, although hostilities were practically at 
an end, the organization and equipment of the regi 
ments were approved and they were duly mustered 
into the army later, under the authority of the War 
Department. Commanded by such men as Benteen, 
Boot, and Archer, they could not fail to reach an 
excellent state of discipline and efficiency. During 
our march to the eastward a number were also used 
as teamsters, train guards, and road makers, in all 
of which work they soon became experts, and found 
their highest utility. 

Our march from Selma lay nearly due east 
through the planting villages of Benton, Churchill, 
and Lowndesborough. Little opposition was encoun 
tered, although Clanton s brigade of Buford s divi- 



sion preceded us, keeping careful watch of our move 
ments. Slight skirmishing took place at the bridges 
and other positions favorable for defense, but our 
column, covered by strong and rapidly moving ad 
vance guards, was nowhere materially delayed. 
Swamps and creeks alternating with rolling uplands 
varied the scene from hour to hour. We were at 
last within the richest planting district of the South 
and found it, not only untouched by war, but abound 
ing in forage and provisions of every sort. The 
roads, bordered by hedges of Cherokee roses, were 
redolent with spring perfumes. The march was, 
therefore, not only rapid, but delightful and 

The facility with which the negroes were organ 
ized, armed, and equipped and the service they ren 
dered made it certain that Hatch s division could 
easily have been furnished at Selma and on the 
march with horses and everything else essential to 
its efficiency. When this came to me in all its force 
I could not help wishing that I had brought Hatch 
with me. His presence would have provided against 
every possible contingency and would have given me 
such a preponderance of force as to make victory 
certain even if Forrest had succeeded in confronting 
me with all the Confederate cavalry in the South 
west. The lesson taught by this incident should not 
be lost sight of by military men hereafter. 

Although the Confederates made but little show 
as we approached Montgomery on the morning of 
April 12, there was nothing visible to indicate the 
peaceful surrender of the place. As the first capital 
of the Confederacy and the strategic and commercial 
center of a" wide region, we naturally supposed it 



had been fully fortified and would be stoutly de 
fended. While I knew that neither Taylor nor For 
rest was there, I supposed that some other general 
would necessarily gather a strong force within its 
works and that we should have a sharp fight for their 
possession. But as it turned out the local authori 
ties decided that, as no effective defense could be 
made, their only alternative was to place the city 
and themselves under my protection. For this pur 
pose the mayor and several of the principal citizens 
rode out with a flag of truce and surrendered their 
charge into my hands without terms or conditions. 
This made it necessary to halt, close up the column, 
and take measures for raising the national flag over 
the first Confederate capitol. During this halt officers 
were told off to guard the public stores, to maintain 
order, and to prevent straggling and marauding. 
Finally every known precaution was resorted to for 
the purpose of impressing the people with the disci 
pline, strength, and invincibility of the forces under 
my command. 

Naturally both officers and men were at once noti 
fied that the city had surrendered and that there 
would be no fight. It is but the truth to add that 
they were disappointed. They had not thought it 
possible that Montgomery, after having given such 
proud defiance at the outbreak of the Rebellion to 
the national unity and power, would surrender with 
out even a show of resistance. But when they be 
came convinced that such was the case, they consoled 
themselves with making the best possible prepara 
tions for a triumphal march through the principal 
streets to their designated camp beyond. Having 
sent the Fourth Cavalry forward as provost guard, 



the entry was made with all the decorum and cere 
mony possible to a fighting force in the heart of a 
hostile country. 

With perfect order in column of platoons, every 
man in his place, division and brigade flags unfurled, 
guidons flying, sabers and spurs jingling, bands play 
ing patriotic airs, and the bugles now and then 
sounding the calls, the war-begrimed Union troopers, 
batteries, ambulances, and wagons passed proudly 
through the city. Not a man left the ranks, not a 
loud word was uttered, and not an incident hap 
pened to hurt the feelings of the misguided people. 
It was an example of discipline, order, and power 
lasting nearly all day and constituting a far more 
impressive spectacle than a bloody battle would have 
been. Five brigades, not far from twelve thousand 
troopers, were in that column passing in review, as 
it were, before the ladies and gentlemen of the city. 
Many witnessed it from the windows, doorsteps, and 
sidewalks with silent respect, which showed clearly 
that the great Eebellion was at an end. The Union 
flag, which we promptly hoisted over the State 
House, was recognized by all as the emblem of na 
tional authority, and as regiment after regiment 
passed onward beneath the shadow of its starry 
folds, they made the city ring with their exultant 
salute, and this must have impressed all with the 
conviction that the Union had been reestablished, 
and that peace was near at hand. It was a great 
day for the Cavalry Corps, every man of which 
seemed to understand and to act upon the under 
standing that the city, having surrendered without 
a fight, belonged to the commanding general, and 
that every soldier was in honor bound not only to 



respect his truce, but to show the highest discipline 
of which he was capable. It was an impressive sight 
long to be remembered by both citizens and soldiers. 

Having on my arrival accepted the hospitality 
of Colonel Powell, a leading citizen, I dismounted, 
my headquarters at his handsome house. He 
and his family were people of education and refine 
ment, who knew how to be polite even to unwelcome 
guests. They had seen no Union soldiers except 
prisoners of war, but, fearing that those in arms 
with me would be violent and predatory, the colonel 
had, as a precautionary measure, emptied his wine- 
cellar and broken the bottles on the curbstone. Many 
of his neighbors had followed his example, and when 
I got there the gutters were red with running wine. 
But when it was seen that not a trooper left his 
place in the ranks, that there were neither marauders 
nor drunken men, and that perfect order prevailed, 
a feeling of silent awe seemed to spread to the fea 
tures of those worthy people. More than one lady 
expressed her surprise and gratification at the per 
fect behavior of our men, while all concerned de 
clared their regret at the waste of wines and liquors 
which had been poured into the gutters to make 
certain that the Yankee troopers should have no 
opportunity for drunkenness. 

Here, as at Selma, while protecting private prop 
erty, we burned such foundries and factories as 
might be used in aid of the expiring rebellion. The 
Confederate authorities, while making no resistance, 
had burned eighty-five thousand bales of cotton and 
loaded their military supplies on a fleet of steam 
boats, which they sent to the Tuckabatachee bend 
of the Coosa Eiver, some twelve or fifteen miles 



above the city, near Wetumka. But as soon as this 
was reported I sent a detachment of the Fourth 
Kentucky Cavalry under the command of Major, af 
terward Major General, John P. Weston to capture 
and bring in the fleet. This service was performed 
in a manner that well illustrates the hardihood and 
enterprise of the western cavalrymen. As the boats 
were found under guard, tied up to the opposite 
shore, it seemed at first glance hardly possible to 
reach them, but, nothing daunted, the young and 
gallant major, with a non-commissioned officer and 
two privates, pulled off their clothes and swam the 
river behind a floating log at the bend above for 
a couple of skiffs, with which they came back, and 
ferried the rest of their men to the other shore. 
While engaged in this operation a detachment of 
the Fourth Iowa Cavalry came to the crossing and 
offered their support, but this was declined, and, 
although the Iowa men remained near at hand, they 
took no other part in the enterprise. The Kentuck- 
ians alone captured the steamboats, got up steam, 
took their horses aboard, and brought the fleet to 
Montgomery that night. After taking such of the 
supplies as were required for our troops the boats 
and cargoes were burned to the water s edge, mak 
ing a brilliant bonfire for the multitude which lined 
the shore. 

Years afterward, at my request and on my rec 
ommendation, the Congressional medal of honor was 
bestowed upon Weston for his gallantry and enter 
prise in this unusual affair. 

At Montgomery the local newspapers published 
what appeared to be a truthful statement that Lee 
had abandoned the defenses of Petersburg and re- 



treated to the interior, closely followed by Grant, 
while Davis and his cabinet had fled from Richmond 
and reestablished their Government, first at Dan- 
bury and afterward at Saulsbury, North Carolina. 
While these reports seemed to be entirely credible, 
I could get no detailed confirmation of them. No 
one would admit that he knew positively what had 
taken place in Virginia, and not a word reached me 
indicating that Lee had surrendered. 

It is possible that no official report of what had 
happened in front of Petersburg had been sent out 
or permitted to reach central Alabama. At all 
events, I got no trustworthy details till the night 
I entered Macon a week later. The air was full 
of rumors, but I could find no one to confirm or 
vouch for them. The most that I could consider 
certain was that Eichmond had been abandoned by 
both the Government and the army, and that con 
clusive events might follow at an early day. This 
convinced me that my command was operating in 
exactly the right line to produce the greatest effect 
in the final windup of the great drama. 

The situation as I still saw it made it my duty 
to continue "breaking things " along the main line 
of Confederate communications through central 
Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas. I, therefore, 
spent but a single night in Montgomery, pushing my 
advanced brigade under LaGrange without halt or 
delay in pursuit of Buford, whom he overtook at 
nightfall twelve miles to the east. Without halt 
or delay LaGrange charged boldly into Buford ? s 
line, capturing his battle flag with forty or fifty 
prisoners, and driving him in confusion from the 



Having taken the precaution of sending another 
courier from Montgomery to inform Canby of our 
continued success, I pushed on to the Cubahatchee, 
some twenty miles to the eastward, on the 14th. 
With detachments scouting the country, front, flank, 
and rear, the column reached Tuskegee about noon 
the next day. Situated in the heart of a planting 
country, this town was, even at that day, a beautiful 
one of three thousand five hundred or four thousand 
inhabitants, and has since been made famous by 
Booker Washington and the Tuskegee Institute for 
the education of negroes. It was the seat of edu 
cation and refinement for an extensive region, and 
contained several private schools and seminaries for 
both girls and boys, which contributed much to its 
importance. Here, as at Montgomery, the mayor 
and leading citizens met our advance guard and 
surrendered at discretion, begging only protection 
for person and property. I promptly granted their 
request and told off the trusty Fourth Cavalry again 
to guard the town and maintain order. Detachments 
were sent to the principal schools, videttes were 
posted at the street corners, and all the usual pre 
cautions were taken, not only to prevent straggling 
and marauding, but to impress the people with the 
good behavior and discipline of the Northern cav 
alrymen. As was now the rule, corps, division, and bri 
gade flags, regimental colors, and company guidons 
were unfurled, the bands played patriotic airs to 
the accompaniment of clanking saber and jingling 
spur as brigade after brigade and regiment after 
regiment, followed by the artillery and trains, passed 
on to the eastward. Not an officer or man left the 
ranks, but all bore themselves as proudly as if they 



were on parade. With colors, staff, and escort I 
made my headquarters at the best hotel for five 
hours, while the mayor, the leading citizens, and 
the principals of the seminaries called to pay their 
respects. They were at first naturally timid and 
backward, but when they saw the perfect order and 
decorum which prevailed they gained confidence and 
expressed both their gratification and surprise and 
then their admiration and awe. 

One of the first callers was a dignified and 
serious woman, who said that a detachment of men 
under the direction of an officer were threatening 
to destroy her printing press and type because, as 
the officer alleged, they were used in the publication 
of a rebel newspaper. She asked me politely if this 
was in accordance with my orders. 

I replied at once that it was, as our policy and 
practice were to break up all the rebel newspapers 
we could find or overtake. 

At this she lost her temper, declaring that she 
had expected nothing better. She had never be 
lieved that Yankees could be as liberal or enlightened 
as they pretended to be. She had always doubted 
their sincerity, and, now that they were destroying 
the only means the country had of printing Bibles 
and schoolbooks, she was sure they were the enemies 
of religion and education, as well as of the indus 
tries and political rights of the South. 

When she paused I replied : But, Madam, you 
said nothing at first about printing Bibles and 
schoolbooks, and you frankly admit that you have 
been publishing a rebel newspaper. Thereupon I 
told you quite as frankly that we were destroying 
such presses as we could find engaged in that work. 



If, however, you will give me a bond for $5,000, 
with the Mayor and two of your principal citizens 
as surety, that you will print nothing inimical to 
the Union or to the Constitution, but will confine 
your press hereafter exclusively to the publication 
of Bibles and schoolbooks, I shall order my provost 
marshal to suspend the destruction and give you 
a safeguard for your printing office. " 

Although evidently surprised at this turn in the 
affair, she promptly accepted my offer and hurried 
off to find her sureties, while I dispatched an aid 
to see that no harm was done for the present. I then 
sent for Colonel Noble, already noted as a rising 
lawyer, and many years afterward greatly distin 
guished as secretary of the interior in Harrison s 
cabinet, and, after explaining the case, directed him 
to draw up a bond to cover the agreement. This 
was work to his taste, and with all the solemn and 
dignified phrases he could command he pledged her, 
her heirs, and assigns, "so long as water runs and 
grass grows, " to publish nothing against the Gov 
ernment or the Constitution of the United States, 
but to confine her printing establishment to the pub 
lication of Bibles and schoolbooks, thenceforth and 
forever, unless otherwise permitted by proper au 
thority. The document, with no objection to its 
stately phrases, was formally signed, sealed, and 
delivered, one copy to her and one for the War De 
partment, where it will be found on file even at this 
late day. 

With this weighty matter disposed of, I was 
about to take leave, but meanwhile the ladies con 
nected with the seminaries, none of which had suf 
fered the slightest mistreatment or inconvenience, 



had called to pay their respects, after which they 
decked my horse with garlands and prepared a let 
ter thanking and commending me and my command 
for our forbearance and good behavior. The docu 
ment was duly delivered, but the situation was be 
coming embarrassing. It was a novel performance 
and I was anxious to put an end to it. After all 
the troops, except the rear guard, had passed, a vio 
lent rainstorm broke upon the scene. Naturally both 
officers and men, as well as the assembled citizens, 
expected me to delay my departure, but, instead of 
doing so, I took to the road, followed by staff and 
escort, and made a march in pelting rain to a rich 
and favorably located plantation six miles beyond. 
Meanwhile I had detached McCook with LaGrange s 
brigade to follow the railway northeasterly by Ope- 
lika to West Point, with instructions to burn the 
trestles and stations and capture the fort and gar 
rison covering the bridge across the Chattahoochee. 
After a comfortable night in a country with 
plenty of food for man and beast, we resumed the 
march at early dawn on a beautiful, clear, spring 
like morning, by the road through Crawford, to the 
twin towns of Girard and Columbus, on the opposite 
sides of the river. Upton had the lead and, brush 
ing the militia out of his way, rapidly closed in 
upon Girard, where he made all his dispositions for 
the attack before the middle of the afternoon. 
Minty s division in rear made its appearance in 
ample time to support Upton and to take such part 
in the capture of the place as might fall to its lot. 
It had borne the brunt of the attack at Selma, and 
it was naturally Upton s turn to have the post of 
honor at Columbus. 



I was between the two columns and shortly after 
arriving on the bluff overlooking the valley and the 
city of Columbus beyond Upton crossed my front 
within two hundred yards, riding rapidly to the 
north. Supposing that he had seen me, but was 
placing his troops and perfecting his dispositions, 
I neither hailed nor recalled him till he had en 
tirely disappeared. After waiting patiently ten or 
fifteen minutes for his return, I sent a staff officer 
after him, but it was fully a half hour before he 
reached my position. Biding up rapidly and saluting 
with impatience, he said: "Everything is ready 
for the assault, but I cannot find Winslow and must 
delay the attack till he is in position. " As I had 
passed Winslow with his command properly con 
cealed in a wooded valley close by, I pointed out 
his position, whereupon Upton replied: "But it is 
now too late. It will be dark before I can get him 
into position and lead the division to the attack." 

As we had already become pretty well accustomed 
to night fighting and its advantages, it occurred to 
me that an attack after dark would be accompanied 
by less loss and greater success than one in full 
daylight. As the position was a formidable one, 
with two highway and one railroad bridge connect 
ing the two towns, all covered by a line of formid 
able entrenchments with many guns in position, I 
felt that no mistake should be made. So far as could 
be seen the works were well manned with both in 
fantry and artillery, and every indication led to the 
belief that we should have a sharp and vigorous 
fight, which might possibly end in our discomfiture. 
Consequently, after learning Upton s plan, and sat 
isfying myself by careful scrutiny that it was the 



best that could be devised, I expressed my approval 
and then said: "But it is not too late to carry the 
plan into effect to-night ; you will make all your ar 
rangements to attack at 8:30." With flashing eyes 
he exclaimed: "Do you mean it? It will be dark 
as midnight by that hour and that will be a night 
attack, indeed!" Assuring him that it was just 
what I wanted and that it should be made, with 
Minty s division supporting, I instructed him to get 
everything ready to carry it into effect. With en 
thusiastic promptitude he exclaimed: "By jingo, 
I ll do it; and I ll sweep everything before me!" 

In approaching Girard Alexander s brigade, with 
the veteran Eggleston and the First Ohio in the 
lead, had pressed the enemy rapidly and fiercely 
back into their works without halting. Retreating 
rapidly down the road and across the lower bridge, 
which they had stuffed with cotton and turpentine, 
the frightened rebels gave the bridge to the flames, 
and, of course, put an end to the pursuit, as well 
as to the capture, of Columbus in that direction. It 
was this fact that hurried Upton northward along 
the bluffs to the Salem-Opelika road leading by the 
central highway bridge into the city. With this 
road as directrix he planned to make the final at 
tack, and had from two to three hours in which to 
complete his arrangements. With our field guns 
displayed at commanding points and firing an occa 
sional shot at the entrenchments covering the ap 
proaches to the city, it was impossible for the Con 
federates to discover our real plan or the exact 
point of attack. 

Upton, with consummate ability, made a rapid 
but close reconnoissance along the rebel entrench- 



ments. He had selected Winslow s brigade for the 
principal attack, and under the cover of darkness, 
which was intensified by the shadows covering the 
hillside, placed it, dismounted, in position as close 
to the enemy s works as it could get without re 
vealing its presence or purpose. 

After all arrangements were completed the men 
made coffee, got supper, and passed an hour in ab 
solute rest, while Upton waited for the appointed 
minute with confidence and patience. We were to 
gether on the turnpike behind the dismounted line. 
I allowed him the amplest latitude, but every detail 
of his plan was submitted for my supervision and 
approval, and when the time came a signal gun was 
sent and the dismounted cavalrymen, without a mo 
ment s hesitation, rushed from their concealment, 
elbow to elbow, to the attack. The white road 
through the works was their sole guide and direc 
trix. The intervening ground, obscured by shadows, 
was soon passed, but when the gallant troopers 
emerged from cover and got so close to the enemy s 
entrenchments that the noise of their onward sweep 
could be heard they were received with a withering 
fire of musketry and the discharge of twenty-five 
guns in position swept the ground over which the 
attack was made. The starlight was so faint, how 
ever, that nothing could be clearly seen except the 
flash of firearms. The roar of artillery and mus 
ketry was continuous and appalling, but the enemy 
fired so high that they did but little harm to our 
dismounted men. Darkness was their best protec 
tion, and, being veterans of four years experience, 
they continued their advance unshaken and almost 
unharmed. Before ten minutes had passed they, 



closed in and swarmed over the outlying entrench 
ments and had them firmly in their possession. The 
defenders fell back in confusion, and, although the 
rattle and roar of the conflict made night hideous, 
it was far more noisy than destructive. 

The capture of the outlying works followed al 
most instantaneously. It certainly could not have 
taken five minutes, and, seeing them firmly in our 
possession, I personally ordered Benteen with the 
Tenth Missouri, in column of fours, to enter the 
captured works and follow the road through the 
inner entrenchments to the bridge. Promptly re 
sponding to this order, that gallant officer moved 
at the trot, but had gone only a short distance when 
Upton, who encountered him on the way, directed 
him to halt and detach two companies to carry out 
the mission which had been entrusted to the whole 
regiment. This was done with the greatest spirit 
under the lead of Captain McGlasson. It will be 
remembered that there was nothing but starlight 
and the flash of the enemy s guns to indicate the 
road or the direction of the advance. McGlasson 
was a daring and experienced soldier, and, although, 
much to his surprise, he found himself in front of 
an inner line of fortifications, he rode coolly through 
an opening in their parapet, lined on either side 
with Confederate soldiers, who evidently mistook 
his command for a part of their own forces. Once 
inside the enceinte he galloped directly to the 
bridge, captured its guard of fifty men, and sent a 
detachment through it to capture the battery at the 
other end. All this was successfully executed, but 
the enemy, discovering what had happened, at once 
began to close in upon McGlasson, pouring a heavy 



fire on him from all sides. Having no cover from 
which to fight dismounted, he recalled his lieutenant 
from the bridge-head and with his united force gal 
loped back to the point from which he had started. 
By that time Upton had reached the inner line of 
entrenchments, and under the immediate leadership 
of Winslow and Noble, with my personal supervision, 
he threw his whole force against them with an ir 
resistible impulse. Winslow s dismounted men, 
breaking through the abattis, swept over the en 
trenchments and put the whole opposing force to 
flight. It was in this movement that Upton dis 
played the extraordinary insensibility to danger 
which always characterized him. With his mind 
entirely absorbed in the various problems before 
him and in the measures necessary for their solu 
tion, he appeared as utterly unconscious of danger 
as if he were on parade. Having given instructions 
for the assault, with the white and dusty highway 
as the only directrix and the bridges his only aim, 
he called out continually in a high and penetrating 
voice, plainly heard above the rattle of carbines 
and the still louder roar of artillery : Charge em ! 
Charge em!" With the bugles repeating the stir 
ring call as the men broke through the slashing and 
the abattis, and clambered over the entrenchments, 
I remember the scene almost as vividly as if it were 
actually passing before my eyes forty-seven years 

The plan was faultless and easier of execution 
than it could possibly have been by daylight. With 
out pausing to take prisoners or to return the scat 
tering fire of the enemy, the dismounted troopers 
pushed through the main bridge into the town, cry- 



ing: "Selma, Selma! Go for the bridge! Waste 
no time with prisoners!" Upton, Winslow, Noble, 
Peters, Abrahams, Dee, Dana, Benteen, and Glass- 
ford were heroes that night. Every commissioned 
and non-commissioned officer and every private did 
his part as though he were a knight of old. The 
bridge was soon passed, and, although it was stuffed 
with cotton, wet with turpentine, the gallant troopers 
rushed across it so intermingled with the flying 
enemy that those charged with setting fire to the 
wooden structure and sweeping its roadway with 
canister and shrapnel were so confused with fear 
and excitement that they not only failed to apply 
the torch, but to fire a shot. The brave cannoneers 
stood to their guns, waiting for orders and making 
the best personal defense they could. They had 
adopted every precaution, but resistance was hope 
less. Many of them were shot at their post, and 
such as were not killed or wounded were compelled 
to surrender to the onrushing victors. The bridge 
was saved and the city penetrated, but the end was 
not yet, nor could the victory be regarded as com 
plete till the railroad bridge nearby was seized and 
the rebels retreating over it were captured. The 
guns at the burned bridge below were taken, and 
the scattered detachments left at the defenses, as 
well as those who had been overborne and driven 
back, were gathered up and made prisoners. Not 
withstanding the confusion and the further fact that 
the victors found themselves in a strange city, on 
unknown streets and roads, proper detachments were 
told off and made their way to the railway station 
and to the important points with incredible rapidity. 
Within an hour from the first shot the fighting was 



ended, the city was firmly in our possession, and 
the entire garrison were prisoners, with the excep 
tion of one train-load, which included Howell Cobb, 
a number of officers, a few leading citizens, and a 
handful of soldiers. 

It was the last real battle of the war and had 
been won in the dark by a single brigade of dis 
mounted cavalry. Columbus was the door to Georgia, 
four hundred miles from the point where our cam 
paign began. Our troopers had displayed the high 
est discipline and courage. Every man had acquitted 
himself like a hero, and, although the resistance had 
been noisy and determined, by eleven o clock that 
night absolute quiet and order reigned throughout 
the city. 

This final performance of the cavalry, involving 
as it did not only the successful assault of strong 
entrenchments, but the capture of two bridges span 
ning the Chattahoochee, was one of the most re 
markable, not only of the war, but of modern times, 
and shows with unerring certainty that American 
cavalry and mounted infantry when properly trained 
and led are equal to any enterprise that can fall 
to their lot by day or by night. 

It was not till the next morning that the full 
value of our victory became known. The enemy s 
precise loss in killed and wounded was never re 
ported, but, like ours, it was doubtless inconsider 
able. Darkness had protected the fighting men of 
both forces. We captured one thousand five hun 
dred prisoners, twenty-seven guns on the defenses 
and thirty-six in the arsenal. We burned the ship 
yard with a new gun-boat ram, the Jackson, mount 
ing six heavy guns, and about ready to put to sea. 



The most conspicuous man killed in the city was 
Colonel Lamar of the slave pirate Wanderer. He 
had given up the slave trade and taken his place 
among the land forces in defense of his native state. 
He fell by a stray shot near the end of the central 
bridge after the fighting had ceased. 

The most gratifying circumstance connected with 
this remarkable victory is that our entire loss was 
only twenty-four officers and men killed and 

As Columbus was the last great manufacturing 
place and storehouse of the Confederacy and we 
were still without official information as to what 
had taken place in Virginia, I resolved to destroy 
everything within reach that could be made useful 
for the further continuance of the Eebellion. It 
will be recalled that up to that time the Confederate 
authorities had been burning all the baled cotton 
within reach of our column, whether it belonged 
to the Confederate Government or to the Southern 
people. It was the only product of the South that 
would sell for gold and it was at that time worth 
over a dollar a pound, for the simple reason that it 
was required by the entire civilized world. And yet 
with insensate folly the Confederates were destroy 
ing it, as though it were food or military supplies 
necessary to meet our daily wants. So long as they 
took that absurd view of it I willingly helped them. 
Accordingly, the next day, Winslow, in command of 
the city, burned seven warehouses, containing one 
hundred and twenty-five thousand bales, and it is 
a notable circumstance that before the torch was 
applied the warehouse-men came with their books, 
showing the number of bales on storage, and asked 



me to take for my own use what I thought proper 
on the sole condition that I should spare the re 
mainder. This, of course, made the destruction all 
the more certain, but, as at Selma, I was anxious 
that the burning warehouses should not set fire to 
private property and saw that every precaution was 
taken to keep the fire under control. Only one ware 
house in the city was spared. That was the prop 
erty of a Union man, at whose house I made my 
headquarters, and within the dome of which he as 
sured me the American flag had been kept flying 
from the outbreak of the war to that unfortunate 
day. He claimed with the fervor of a patriot that 
his house and grounds had never been out of the 
Union. Of course, I ordered his property safe 
guarded till we withdrew from the city and that 
was done, but our last man had scarcely taken the 
road to Macon when Buford s division, of Forrest s 
corps, entered the town. It is a suggestive fact 
that the first thing they did was to set fire to and 
completely destroy the warehouse we had spared. 

In addition to one hundred and twenty-five thou 
sand bales of cotton, much of it belonging to the 
Confederate Government, Winslow destroyed twenty 
thousand sacks of corn, fifteen locomotives, two hun 
dred and fifty freight cars, the two bridges over 
the Chattahoochee, the machine shops, roundhouses, 
and railway supplies, one naval armory and ship 
yard, two rolling mills with all their machinery, the 
government arsenal and niter works, two powder 
magazines, two ironworks, three foundries, ten mills 
and factories engaged in making cotton cloth, paper, 
guns, pistols, swords, shoes, wagons, and other mili 
tary supplies, and over one hundred thousand rounds 



of artillery ammunition, together with immense 
quantities of small arms, military accoutrements, 
and army clothing of which no account could be 
taken. The destruction of the last factories, depots, 
and warehouses of the Confederacy was as com 
plete as fire could make it, and of itself must have 
been the deathblow to the Confederacy, even if it 
had been able to keep its armed forces together for 
a further struggle. 

One of the most gratifying incidents of this event 
was the capture of a notorious Southern newspaper, 
known as The Memphis Appeal. When Memphis 
was taken the proprietor fled and reestablished his 
press at Grenada, whence he removed it to Jackson, 
the capital of Mississippi. He later transferred it 
to Atlanta, but when Sherman captured that place 
the editor turned back to Montgomery, where he 
continued the publication of disloyal and inflamma 
tory articles against the Union and its armies, add 
ing the name of each place in turn to the title of his 
journal. As my command approached Montgomery 
the fire-eating editor again gathered up his presses 
and printing materials and took train to Columbus. 
Here, however, we were so close upon his heels that 
he had no time to set up his press or to resume the 
publication of his peripatetic journal. He fell into 
our hands with all his materials, but, recalling the 
eloquent terms in which Colonel Noble had bound 
the owner of the Tuskegee Press for all time to 
publish nothing but Bibles and schoolbooks, I de 
tailed him again to draw the bond for our captive 
editor and proprietor, requiring him henceforth and 
forever to publish nothing inimical or hostile to 
the Constitution or to the sovereignty of the Union. 



The document was duly executed, forwarded, and 
filed in the War Department. By that time Noble 
had become an expert in framing and phrasing such 
papers and took the keenest delight in binding the 
editor of the Memphis-Jackson-Atlanta-Montgom 
ery-Columbus Appeal, his heirs and assigns forever, 
in all the formal phraseology of the law, not only 
to abjure and recant the false doctrines he had pro 
fessed, but thereafter so long as he might live to 
conduct himself in deed and work as a loyal citizen 
of the great Eepublic. 



Capture of West Point by LaGrange Minty at Double 
Bridges Occupation of Macon Surrender of Gen 
eral Cobb Peace declared Croxton s raid Resume 
of campaign. 

After the capture of Columbus I sent another 
messenger through the country to Canby, advising 
him of my further success and of my future plans ; 
and, while Winslow delayed to destroy the Con 
federate property and warehouses, I sent Minty 
with Long s division forward into central Georgia, 
directing him to push as fast as possible to Thomas- 
ton and the Double Bridges of Flint Eiver, some 
fifty miles to the eastward. With those bridges in 
our possession nothing could save the state from 
complete subjugation. 

Meanwhile, LaGrange marched rapidly through 
Opelika to West Point, where there were both a rail 
road bridge and highway bridge across the Chat- 
tahoochee. Following the railway, destroying 
trestles, bridges, stations, and woodpiles, he cap 
tured several trains, and finally at 10 A. M. on 
April 16 his leading regiment was in front of Fort 
Tyler, a strong and well-defended, square redoubt, 
covering both the town and the bridges. While the 



next regiment with two field pieces kept the fort 
and its garrison shut up, LaGrange with the rest of 
his brigade carried the town entrenchments, rushed 
across the Chattahoochee bridge, leaping a breach 
in the roadway, and captured the squad who were 
trying with turpentine and cotton to set the bridge 
on fire. Having thus secured control of both bridges, 
his passage into Georgia was now assured. Satis 
fied of this important fact, he returned to the west 
side of the river and without pausing closed in on 
the fort. By these rapid movements he had not 
only relieved his command from the danger of a 
counter attack, but put his entire force in position 
to attack the keypoint of the defenses. 

A rapid reconnoissance convinced him that he 
was up against a work of commanding position and 
great strength, held by enough soldiers to repel any 
ordinary attack. The main fort was a square re 
doubt of thirty-five yards face, with a closed gorge, 
the whole surrounded by a ditch twelve feet wide 
and ten feet deep, and still further strengthened by 
an abattis and slashing, under command of General 
Tyler, assisted by Colonel Fannin and about three 
hundred men, with one thirty-two-pounder sweeping 
the approaches and the ground beyond with canister 
and grape. It was a formidable stronghold, but 
nothing delayed or daunted LaGrange. His skir 
mishers had already discovered that they would 
have to bridge the ditches, which was done on three 
sides by the use of materials obtained by tearing 
down frame houses nearby. No time was lost in 
making sap-rollers or ladders. It was evident from 
the first that if the place could not be carried with 
a rush it could not be carried at all. So, after plac- 



ing two guns, one of which was a rifled field-piece, 
supported by a close line of skirmishers, to comb the 
parapets, and to keep down the fire of the fort, 
LaGrange threw his dismounted men in three sepa 
rate columns, the first led by Colonel Harnden of 
the First Wisconsin, the second by Captain Hill of 
the Fourth Indiana, and the third by Major Bloom 
of the Seventh Kentucky Cavalry, straight against 
the rebel citadel. Like heroes of romance, these gal 
lant officers led their men through a withering fire 
to the ditches, where, without faltering, they laid 
their bridges, but this work broke their onset and 
gave the enemy the momentary hope of stopping it 
entirely. During the short check the enemy threw 
hand-grenades and poured a withering rifle fire 
upon the assailants without inflicting serious injury. 
The bridges were ready in a few minutes, whereupon 
the bugles sounded the charge and the dismounted 
troopers, rising to their feet, rushed at the fort, a 
part crossing the bridges, while the others descended 
into the ditch. It was a race to see who should get 
there first, and whether from the level of the bridge 
or from the bottom of the ditch all clambered up 
the slopes, crossed the parapets to the terreplein 
of the fort, shouting and fighting like demons. It 
was a struggle with swords and clubbed muskets, 
but the Yankees were too many for the Confeder 
ates and forced them to surrender at discretion. 
Harnden, the older and more deliberate man, reached 
the flag staff first and had the honor of hauling 
down the Confederate flag, while Hill, still lame 
from his wound at Ebenezer Church, was stricken 
down outside the breastworks by a shot passing 
through his thigh within an inch of his old wound 



and so shattering his leg that it had to be ampu 
tated close to his body. It should be recalled that 
this gallant officer had ridden in my ambulance from 
Selma till he overheard me detaching his brigade for 
the movement on West Point. With such wounded 
men of both sides as could not travel, he was left 
in a temporary hospital at that place. He was at 
that time a strong, stalwart, youthful fellow, nearly 
six feet tall and full size, who, after losing about 
one-quarter of his weight by the operation, yet re 
covered so rapidly and so completely that he re 
ported for duty, incredible as it may seem, at the 
end of twenty days, requesting that he might be 
permitted to resume command of his regiment. Of 
course, this request was denied and he was sent on 
furlough instead, but he always claimed that he was 
sufficiently recovered before leaving to perform all 
the duties of his rank. His conduct upon that and 
numerous other occasions fully justified LaGrange s 
official statement that "no braver man nor better 
soldier ever wore a saber. He deserves to command 
a brigade. " 

Colonel Biggs of Illinois was an officer of greater 
age, stature, and rank, who was wounded at Selma 
by a bullet passing completely through his shoulder 
and the upper lobe of his right lung. He also re 
ported at the end of twenty days and seemed so 
perfectly healed that he was actually permitted to 
resume command of his regiment. These cases are 
cited to show not only the vigorous character and 
perfect bodily condition, but the splendid spirit 
which prevailed among our officers at the close of 
the war. 

In the capture of West Point General Tyler, with 


three officers and fourteen privates, were killed, 
while twenty-eight were wounded, mostly in the 
head, their bodies having been protected by the 
breastworks. The remainder fell into our hands 
as prisoners, and were shortly afterward paroled. 
LaGrange also captured nineteen locomotives and 
many passenger and freight cars, besides large 
quantities of military stores and supplies, all of 
which, after taking what he required for his com 
mand, were destroyed. LaGrange s brigade in this 
remarkable performance lost only seven killed and 
twenty-nine wounded, and yet the struggle was a 
fierce and determined one on both sides. 

A year before no officer in either service would 
have thought of sending cavalry against such en 
trenchments as those at West Point and Columbus, 
but after the capture of the redoubts and guns in 
front of Nashville and of the regular bastioned 
earthworks covering Selma our officers and men felt 
that nothing was impossible to them. Eelying on 
their Spencers, firing six shots without reloading, 
their splendid horse artillery always close up with 
the skirmish line, they had justly regarded them 
selves equal to any task that might fall to their lot. 
It was after the night attack and capture of Co 
lumbus with such insignificant loss that Upton, with 
over three years experience as an artillery and in 
fantry commander, declared that till then he had no 
idea of what cavalry could do. After seeing what 
it actually had done, both at Selma and at Colum 
bus, especially by night fighting, he did not hesitate 
to declare that his division alone could go anywhere 
and break its way into any place in the Confeder 
acy. He declared that his men could surmount any; 



obstruction and clamber over any obstacles they 
might meet, and that nothing short of the ocean 
could stop them. When I add that this feeling pre 
vailed throughout the cavalry corps, some definite 
idea may be had of the discipline as well as of the 
coherence and aggressive temper which character 
ized that remarkable body of horsemen. 

Having by these divergent operations secured 
independent crossings of the Chattahoochee at Co 
lumbus and at West Point within forty miles of 
each other, convergent roads were now open to 
Macon and central Georgia, and every man was con 
fident that nothing could delay or imperil our fur 
ther progress. Minty s advance reached Flint Eiver 
and captured the Double Bridges, fifty miles from 
Columbus, by a single forced march ending in a 
charge against the detachment guarding the bridges. 
Some fifty prisoners, together with three pieces of 
artillery and a wagon train of military supplies, fell 
into his hands. What was quite as important was 
the fact that one hundred and fifty horses and mules 
were also gathered up. 

This was the last stand of the enemy till our ad 
vance guard under Colonel Frank White of the 
Seventeenth Indiana reached Mimms Mills at the 
crossing of the Tobesofkee Creek, fifteen miles west 
of Macon, on the afternoon of April 20. Some three 
hundred Confederates had taken position behind the 
creek, the mills, and a heavy barricade of fence-rails 
to the right and left. As White made his appearance 
in front they tore up the planking and set fire to 
the bridge, and while this checked White s progress, 
it did not stop him longer than it took to dismount 
and deploy. Without regard to numbers or to the 



position in front, with splendid dash and audacity 
his troopers rushed through the flames, crossed the 
bridge on the stringpieces, and charged the entrench 
ments, sweeping everything before them. This was 
the final stand of the Confederates and, as though 
they realized its futility, they threw down their 
arms and blanket rolls and fled, mounted and on 
foot, as rapidly as possible from the scene. The 
only point at which they had the slightest chance 
to rally was at Eock Creek, where a determined and 
deliberate foe might have delayed the pursuers,, but 
this was not done, and but little effort was made 
even to destroy the bridge at that place. 

Waiting only for his column to close up, White 
again took the road at the trot and shortly after 
getting under way he met a flag of truce borne by 
General Eobertson, a West Point companion of 
mine, with a letter from General Howell Cobb to 
"The Commanding General, United States forces." 
Pausing merely to ask what it was about and, hear 
ing that it was from General Beauregard to General 
Cobb, directing him to inform the commanding offi 
cer of the troops in his front that "a truce looking 
to a final settlement had been entered into the day 
before between General Sherman and General John 
ston in North Carolina," with rare presence of mind 
White promptly declared: "I know nothing about 
1 truces, armistices or final settlements. All I can 
do is to send this letter back to General Minty, my 
division commander, and wait for further orders." 
Minty, who was close behind, opened the envelope 
and read the enclosure. Eealizing that he was also 
a subordinate, he sent it in turn to me. Having 
done this, he ordered White to give the flag of truce 



five minutes to get out of the way and then to re 
sume his march on Macon in accordance with pre 
vious instructions. White, already getting impa 
tient, pulled out his watch and, turning to Eobertson, 
with whom he had been chatting pleasantly enough, 
said: "My orders require me to push for Macon 
as rapidly as possible, and I ll give you just five 
minutes to get out of the way with your flag of 
truce and escort. " Kealizing that discussion could 
not change the situation, Eobertson, wheeling about 
and rejoining his own escort, started at a brisk trot 
to report to his commanding officer. 

Meanwhile White, at the end of the short period 
of grace, resumed the advance, but, moving at a 
quicker gait, overtook the flag of truce as it was 
closing up on the defeated detachment driven from 
the Tobesofkee an hour before. White realized, how 
ever, that both were retreating slowly and with de 
liberation for the purpose of gaining time and delay 
ing our march. It was an exciting and somewhat 
puzzling situation. It was nearly sunset and quite 
apparent that the enemy was doing what he could 
without actually fighting to make delay. I was far 
in rear, with the other parts of the corps moving 
on converging roads for a common objective. At 
the same time both Minty and White, realizing that 
it would be inconvenient, to say the least, for either 
themselves or the rest of the corps to halt outside 
the defenses of Macon, hastened their march as much 
as possible. Fearing that delay on their part would 
enable the enemy to destroy the remaining bridges, 
they rushed each as they came to it and, fortunately, 
not only saved them all, but kept the road intact 
for the corps to enter the important city that night. 



Fortunately, Cobb s communication did not reach 
me till 6 p. M., when I was still nineteen miles from 
Macon. I, therefore, made no written reply, but 
sent an officer to halt the head of column if he 
should overtake it. I then hastened my own march 
with a half dozen staff officers and a small escort, 
for the purpose of ascertaining the actual condition 
of affairs before replying to General Cobb or ac 
knowledging the existence of an armistice applicable 
to my command. 

While I moved rapidly and it was completely 
dark, my situation was a peculiar one. It will be 
remembered that, with Sherman in North Carolina, 
and Thomas in middle Tennessee, I was conducting 
an independent campaign through the country which 
separated them and had the amplest latitude of an 
independent commander. I was over five hundred 
miles behind Sherman and as many in advance of 
Thomas and, although I should have cheerfully 
obeyed the slightest order of either, I felt that it 
was my first duty, while caring for my own com 
mand, to look out for the interests of the govern 
ment in the region under my immediate observation. 
With this thought uppermost, I pushed on toward 
Macon as rapidly as I could, but, on arriving at the 
fortifications at half past eight, I found them, as 
well as the city, safely in White s possession, with 
the garrison shut up in the stockade pen which the 
Confederates had built for Yankee prisoners. Cobb, 
G. W. Smith, Makall, Mercer, and Robertson, with 
their respective staff officers, were impatiently 
awaiting me at the City Hall. They had made no 
defense, but yielded under protest to a force they 
could not successfully resist. Cobb, the chief com- 



mander, claimed that White s action was in viola 
tion of an armistice which, according to his views, 
was equally binding on the National as well as the 
Confederate troops operating in that region. Proud 
and imperious by nature, he could not be made to 
understand that, while he had received direct orders 
from his own chief and was bound to obey them, my 
subordinates could neither acknowledge him as a 
proper channel of communication, nor assume the 
responsibility of suspending operations which they 
had been told off to conduct. They were old and 
experienced soldiers who knew their own duty and 
naturally doubted the disinterestedness of the 
enemy. They could neither be persuaded nor bul 
lied into heeding any orders except mine, and in 
this they were clearly right. In spite of Cobb s vehe 
ment contention, both Minty and White insisted on 
their right not only to disarm the garrison, but to 
confine it as prisoners of war. With this done and 
the city under perfect control, they met me at the 
outworks and conducted me directly to the City 
Hall. Here I met Howell Cobb for the first time 
and had a most interesting interview with him and 
his officers. The general, who was noted for his 
proud and haughty bearing, even among the South 
erners, received me with lofty politeness, but, with 
out wasting any time whatever in civilities, renewed 
his protest against his capture, insisting not only 
that I should acknowledge the armistice as promul 
gated in the communication he had sent me that 
morning, but that I should withdraw my troops 
from the city to the point at which my advance 
guard met his flag of truce. This I, of course, 
promptly declined with the statement that nobody 



had a right to stop niy command against my will; 
that my officers had acted strictly within their or 
ders; that I had used due diligence to overtake my 
head of column, but, having failed, I regarded Gen 
eral Cobb and his command rightfully as prisoners 
of war. 

Thereupon, the General, declining to consider the 
matter from my point of view, in emphatic terms 
reiterated his demand for the unconditional release 
of his command and himself and for the restoration 
of what he proudly designated as "the status quo 

Seeing that argument was useless without more 
exact information than I had yet received, I said: 
"General, if there is an armistice in existence there 
must be full justification for it and I can imagine 
none sufficient except the surrender of Lee and his 
army. Has that event taken place!" 

Thereupon, with great dignity and decision, he 
answered : i * Sir, I am not here to give you informa 
tion. I decline to answer your questions and I again 
demand the unconditional release of myself and my 

To this I replied with corresponding firmness: 
"I shall not comply with your demand and you must 
consider that point settled for good and all." 

Turning then to General Gustavus W. Smith, an 
old and distinguished West Pointer, whom I had met 
while a cadet, and who was now at Macon as com 
mander of the Georgia Militia, I said: "General 
Smith, I am going to ask you the question I have 
just asked General Cobb and hope you feel at lib 
erty to answer it fully and frankly. Have General 
Lee and his army surrendered? - Straightening 



himself up and drawing in his chin in a manner pe 
culiar to himself, the general, without a moment s 
hesitation, replied: "Yes, sir, Lee and his army 
have surrendered!" 

As this was the first trustworthy information I 
had on that subject, I regarded it as absolutely true 
as well as sufficient to account for and even justify 
an armistice. I, therefore, turned to Cobb and said: 
"General, while I no longer doubt that an armistice 
is in existence, I cannot admit its application to my 
command till I receive confirmation, with proper 
instructions, from General Sherman for my govern 
ment in regard thereto, but I shall conduct my opera 
tions hereafter on the theory that any man killed 
on either side is a man murdered. General, you and 
your officers, with this understanding, may go to 
your quarters on your parole of honor that you will 
report here daily at nine o clock till further orders." 

Thus ended the interview in a manner apparently 
satisfactory to all. Even Cobb, although still sullen 
and deeply dejected, accepted my decision as the best 
he could get. Thereupon, he and his officers took 
their leave and thenceforth Conducted themselves in 
a most satisfactory as well as a most complimentary 
manner to me and to my authority. 

Macon at that time was the leading city of cen 
tral Georgia and came under my control late on 
April 20, 1865. When my interview with Cobb and 
his officers came to an end it was nearly midnight. 
Considering the exciting incidents of the last four 
weeks, I realized that the last campaign, as well as 
the war, was ended, and I was heartily glad of it. 
After wishing my unwilling guests a friendly good 
night, I went to the Lanier House, where my staff 



had established headquarters. It was the leading 
hotel in full operation, and, although I can scarcely 
claim that we were welcome, the manager assigned 
me and my staff the best rooms he had and did all 
in his power to make us comfortable. It was after 
midnight before I received reports from the various 
officers and gave proper instructions for the main 
tenance of order and the protection of persons and 

Both General Minty and Colonel White had dis 
played such sound judgment and such unusual en 
terprise on the march and in forcing the city to sur 
render without waiting for me that I felt under spe 
cial obligation to them. White had covered the en 
tire distance from Columbus to Macon, one hundred 
and four miles, from 6 p. M., April 18, to the same 
hour of April 20, and this heightened the satisfac 
tion with which I received the information that, im 
mediately after occupying the city and confining his 
prisoners, he took all proper precautions without 
waiting for orders to post videttes, patrol the streets, 
and place the citizens under perfect safety and con 
trol. When I reached ithere two hours and a half 
later it was as quiet as a country village that had 
never heard a harsher tone than a flute note. 

In special recognition of his valuable services I 
assigned him to the command of the city, in which 
position he proved himself to be a judicious and 
able administrator. In addition to maintaining or 
der, it was his duty to gather up and care for such 
Confederate property, both civil and military, as 
might be in the warehouses or the surrounding coun 
try. With our large force the question of food and 
forage and the care of supplies at hand were mat- 



ters of great importance in connection with which 
White also rendered most valuable services. 

While the armistice and its applicability to my 
command were still under consideration I proposed 
to dissolve all doubt by sending a message of in 
quiry over the Confederate telegraph to Sherman 
through Beauregard s headquarters at Greensbor- 
ough, North Carolina. As Cobb agreed, I prepared 
a message, dated 9 p. M., April 20, saying in sub 
stance that my advance had captured and occupied 
Macon after meeting a flag of truce which claimed 
the existence of an armistice applicable to both sides ; 
that I had not been able to overtake my advance in 
time to prevent the capture ; that I should, therefore, 
hold Generals Cobb, Smith, and Makall with the 
garrison as prisoners of war; and, finally, that I 
should remain there a reasonable time for orders. 
Fearing that this frank declaration might be changed 
in transmission, I transposed it into cipher, in which 
form it duly reached Sherman, but not till after he 
had sent me through the same channel a dispatch 
dated 2 p. M., April 21, which I received at 6 p. M. 
the same day. While it was not in reply to mine, it 
made it certain that Sherman had agreed with John 
ston "for a universal suspension of hostilities look 
ing to a peace over the whole surface of our coun 
try, " which he felt, "assured would be made per 
fect in a few days. 7 He added: "You will, there 
fore, desist from further acts of war and devasta 
tion until you hear that hostilities are resumed. " 
From the rest of the message which referred to the 
subsistence of my command in western and south 
western Georgia and directed me to communicate 
the information it contained to Canby, it is evident 



that Sherman did not know my exact whereabouts, 
nor that I was so far east as Macon. 

The newspapers shortly afterward reported 
Sherman as having directed me to release my 
prisoners and to withdraw my command to the place 
at which my advance met the flag of trace, but I 
received no such instructions and doubt if any such 
were ever sent. The lines were certainly open to 
both Sherman and myself, and if he had desired to 
send such orders they would have been promptly 

Eegarding Sherman s message as authentic, I 
decided to suspend operations till ordered by proper 
authority to resume them, or till circumstances 
should require independent action. I have no doubt 
this decision was correct, and should have been 
greatly surprised had Sherman disapproved or over 
ruled it. 

By the next day Cobb had become reconciled to 
my course, and, foreseeing that the addition of so 
large a force to the population of Macon would 
bring about a scarcity of provisions, he gave me 
every assistance, not only advising me as to the dis 
tricts in which forage and provisions could be found, 
but directing his quartermasters and commissaries 
to ship such forage and provisions as they might 
have on hand to my chief quartermaster at Macon. 
And, what is more to his credit, he did this even be 
fore he knew the actual terms of the arrangement 
between Sherman and Johnston. 

It is a matter of history that Cobb was not only 
one of the largest slaveholders, but an original se 
cessionist, whose proudest boast was that his state 
followed him, not he his state. Nor is there any 



doubt that from the first he threw his whole heart 
and fortune into the Confederate cause, but he was 
sagacious enough to know when Lee and Johnston 
surrendered and Davis became a fugitive that the 
end had come, and from that moment he did all in 
his power to restore order and confidence and to 
help earnestly in the work which pressed upon me 
at Macon. He was a man of austere manners and 
great dignity, who scorned to ask favors for him 
self, but did his utmost to ameliorate the condition 
of his fellow-citizens. It is a matter of sincere grati 
fication to me that our acquaintance, begun under 
such unusual conditions, soon ripened into a friend 
ship which lasted till his death, and was continued 
by his family to the present time. 

Hostilities having ceased from the hour of our 
occupation, my first duty was to collect my com 
mand and put it in a state of readiness for what 
ever might be required. Fortunately, this was an 
easy task. Upton, following closely behind Minty, 
left only McCook s division to come in. LaGrange s 
brigade, after its splendid victory at West Point, 
left that place on the 17th, passing through La- 
Grange, where it also broke the railroad, marched 
thence to the Macon and Atlanta Eailroad, which it 
followed through Grimn and Forsyth to Macon, ar 
riving at that place early on the 21st, where it re 
mained in camp till the end of the month. The per 
formances of this brigade, operating generally by 
itself or on detached service, were quite remark 
able. They are summed up by LaGrange as follows : 

A march of five hundred miles through the enemy s 
country, the capture of four hundred and fifty-six prison 
ers with arms in their hands, including thirty-five officers, 



seven battle flags, twenty-one thousand three hundred 
stands of small arms, two siege guns in position, six field 
pieces, three steamboats laden with stores, twenty locomo 
tives, two hundred and fifty cars loaded with stores and 
machinery, and enough horses and mules to replace those 
broken down by the march; the destruction of eight rail 
road depots, storehouses, water tanks, wood piles, three 
railroad and two covered bridges, and innumerable cul 
verts, three large cotton factories, a saddle factory, niter 
works, tanneries, three foundries, two machine shops, two 
rolling mills, and a large number of smaller manufacturing 
establishments. Where it was possible the provisions cap 
tured from the enemy were given to the poor. 

The casualties of the brigade were ten killed, sixty-four 
wounded, and sixteen missing. The brigade did all that it 
was ordered to do, but, considering the nature of the ex 
pedition, the temptations offered, and the injuries many of 
our men had previously received from the rebels, I have 
less pride in what was accomplished than in what was 
omitted. The steadiness, valor, and self-denial of the men 
are beyond my praise. 

In addition, the brigade recaptured two United 
States regimental colors. In sending his trophies 
to headquarters LaGrange cited the fact that the 
First Wisconsin, of which he was colonel, was first 
in the fort at West Point and lost twice as many 
men as both the other assaulting columns. He, 
therefore, modestly requested as a personal favor 
to himself and as a reward for the good conduct 
of the regiment that the garrison flag of Fort Tyler 
should be returned to Colonel Harnden with per 
mission to send it to the Governor of Wisconsin, to 
be placed in the State capitol among the trophies 
forwarded by other regiments. He added: "No 
other trophy has ever been asked for by the regi- 



ment and no regiment from the State has captured 
a greater number. l 

It will be remembered that Croxton was detached 
from the main column at Elyton at 4 p. M. on March 
30, with one thousand five hundred men in the sad 
dle, for the purpose of capturing Tuscaloosa and 
destroying the Alabama Military Academy, the fac 
tories, and whatever else might be found at that 
place beneficial to the rebel cause. That done, I 
personally instructed him if practicable to break 
the railroad between Selma and Demopolis. The 
last word received from him was up to April 3. On 
that night he carried the Black Warrior bridge by 
assault, taking sixty prisoners and three pieces of 
artillery, thus putting his command in position to 
occupy Tuscaloosa at daylight the next morning. 
From that time the story of his march reads like 
a romance of chivalry. After scattering the garri 
son and corps of cadets and burning the Military 
Academy, the foundry, factory, and niter works at 
Tuscaloosa, supplying his command with all the pro 
visions they could carry, and sending out recon- 
noitering parties while resting the main body of 
his brigade, he devoted himself to working out a 
plan for rejoining the corps. He knew that both 
Jackson and Chalmers were between him and me, 
and, believing that the country behind them was 
open for an incursion, he struck out to the south 
west by King s Store and Lanier s Mills for the 
Demopolis-Selma Railroad with the hope of reach 
ing and breaking it effectually. He reasoned cor 
rectly upon this and other occasions that if Forrest 
detached a force inferior to his own to look after 

1 O. R. Serial No. 103, pp. 427 et seq. 



him, he would "smash it up" and go whither he 
pleased, while if Forrest sent a superior force 
against him it would be his object to draw it as far 
as possible from the theater in which the larger 
forces were operating and thus give our cavalry 
corps a still greater advantage in numbers. 

On April 6, while moving down the Tombigbee, 
which was then much swollen, he learned that Wirt 
Adams was marching to meet him with a heavier 
force than his own ; that Selma had been taken ; that 
Forrest and Chalmers were at Marion; and that 
Jackson was still in the neighborhood of Tuscaloosa. 
Fearing that these forces would unite and turn 
against him, he prudently resolved to retrace his 
steps, but while doing so his rear guard was over 
taken and had a sharp fight near Romulus with 
Adams s command, which he estimated at two thou 
sand eight hundred men. In that affair he lost two 
officers and thirty-two men, but put up such a stub 
born fight that the enemy drew off and molested 
him no further. 

His only purpose henceforth was to rejoin the 
corps. Marching first to the northeastward, he 
struck the Byler road and followed it twelve or 
fifteen miles on the 8th. Here he rested for three 
days, trying to open communication with me, but, 
failing in that, he made his way by a circuitous 
route across Wolf Creek, Blackwater, Sipsey, Mul 
berry, and Locust forks of the Black Warrior and 
thence across the Cahawba Eiver into the Elyton 

As it was spring and all the streams high, most 
of the bridges were gone and the roads were nearly 
impassable. Fording or swimming was necessary 



in many cases, and it was not till the 19th that 
Croxton reached Mount Pinson, fourteen miles north 
of Elyton, where he learned at last that after taking 
Montgomery I had continued my march to the east 

From that time his course was plain, but his 
difficulties were by no means ended. In marching 
to join me he naturally chose a northerly route, 
where the streams were smaller, but, as they were 
all swollen and some of them wide, his difficulties 
were great. After destroying the foundry and niter 
works near Mount Pinson, he passed through Truss- 
ville and Cedar Grove, where he turned toward 
Montevallo to give the impression that he was going 
that way. On April 21 he moved eastward toward 
Talladega, which brought him the next day to the 
Coosa, an unfordable stream over which he had to 
ferry, and this was slow and dangerous work. 
The enemy in his front apparently had not heard 
of the events in Virginia, and, as Croxton was in 
the same state of ignorance, the war continued in 
that section with frequent skirmishes, ending in a 
sharp affair at Munford Station with five hundred 
men and one piece of artillery under the command 
of General Hill. After capturing the artillery and 
a number of prisoners and scattering the force in 
front of him, Croxton destroyed the Oxford and Blue 
Mountain Iron Works, the railroad bridges and 
depots, rolling stock, a large quantity of ordnance 
stores, and a cotton factory. On April 26 he crossed 
the Chattahoochee and met a flag of truce from New- 
nan, Georgia, informing him of the armistice be 
tween Sherman and Johnston and claiming protec 
tion under it. While admitting the probability that 



a truce had been entered into, like the corps com 
mander, he declined to recognize it as official or to 
discontinue his march, but gravely notified the rebel 
authorities that he " would trouble nobody who kept 
out of his way." This done, he crossed Flint Eiver 
at Flat Shoals on April 28, and, marching by the 
way of Barnesville to Forsyth on the railroad, he 
sent two of his staff officers by train to inform me 
of his whereabouts. This was the first direct report 
I had received from him for just one month. The 
next day he rejoined the corps at Macon, having 
marched six hundred and fifty-three miles, most of 
the way through a country so destitute of supplies 
that he subsisted his command with the greatest 
difficulty. He swam four large rivers, destroyed 
five ironworks, three factories, numerous mills, and 
immense quantities of supplies. In addition, he cap 
tured four pieces of artillery, three hundred prison 
ers, and a large quantity of small arms. His own 
losses were four officers and one hundred and sixty- 
eight men ? half of the latter captured while forag 
ing or scouting. Throughout this long and arduous 
campaign his veterans never faltered. Officers and 
men vied with each other in the cheerful perform 
ance of every duty. He specially commended Colo 
nels Dorr, Kelly, and Johnston, Major Fidler, and 
Captain Penn. He was accompanied throughout this 
march by Lieutenant Prather, Fourth Indiana Cav 
alry, one of my aids-de-camp, who gave me a most 
glowing account of the steadiness and efficiency of 
both officers and men from the time they were de 
tached till they rejoined the corps. 

Having described in some detail the organization 
of the cavalry corps and given some account of its 



great performances, including those of its detach 
ments, I am sure I shall be pardoned for again call 
ing attention to the fact that its great successes 
were mainly due to the policy of concentration which 
I inaugurated and, as far as permitted, carried into 
effect, operating en masse as far as possible, instead 
of in detachments, as had hitherto been the rule. 

From the day I took command in front of Hood 
till we defeated and drove him from the state with 
the loss of his artillery, trains, and many thousand 
prisoners, I kept the policy of concentration con 
stantly in force. At the beginning of that campaign, 
it will be remembered, I found only five thousand 
five hundred men in the saddle. At the middle, by 
the purchase and impressment of horses, we had 
fourteen thousand, of which three thousand were 
detached to drive Lyon and Crossland from western 
Kentucky. At the end, although we had lost over 
six thousand horses in two weeks from overwork 
and exposure, muddy and frozen roads, rainy and 
sleety weather, in a wild and desolate country, de 
void of food and forage, we reached the Tennessee 
Eiver with only seven thousand five hundred men 
in the saddle. 

In a few weeks thereafter I had collected into 
cantonments between Gravelly Spring and Waterloo 
Landing six divisions, amounting to an aggregate 
of twenty-seven thousand men, all of whom, except 
one division, were mounted and ready for service. 
After sending Knipe s division to Canby, detaching 
Johnston s for service in middle Tennessee, and leav 
ing Hatch s behind on the Tennessee, because horses 
could not be got, we took the field with three divi 
sions, all of which, except one brigade with the wagon 



train, were mounted, equipped, and fully provided 
for a sixty days campaign. They were all armed 
with Spencer magazines, carbines, and rifles, and it 
is worthy of repetition that this was the first army 
corps in the world armed with such firearms. It is 
also worthy of repetition that much of their sur 
prising success was due to that fact. 

During Hood s Advance and Eetreat the corps 
marched approximately three hundred miles, the last 
two hundred in midwinter. It turned the enemy s 
left flank at Nashville, took his line in reverse, as 
saulted and captured three redoubts, took thirty-two 
field guns, twelve battle flags, three thousand two 
hundred and thirty-two prisoners, one pontoon train 
of eighty boats, many wagons, and thousands of 
horses, mules, and small arms. 

General Thomas twice thanked me in orders for 
"its success, good conduct, and dashing gallantry" 
and for "its vigor, skill, and bravery in the long 
and toilsome pursuit of the retreating rebel army." 
Many of its officers and men, from division com 
mander to private soldier, were mentioned by name 
for promotion and for medals of honor which were 
issued for "unusual and conspicuous gallantry." 

During the pursuit of Hood it lost one gun which 
it recaptured in the Selma campaign. It had one 
hundred and twenty-two officers and men killed, five 
hundred and twenty-one wounded, and two hundred 
and fifty-nine missing. 

By reference to the reports, which will be found 
fully set forth in the Official Becords, 1 it will be 
seen that the corps in its last campaign from the 
Tennessee Eiver to Macon, Georgia, where it was 

1 0. E. Serial No. 103. 



stopped by the armistice and the subsequent sur 
render of Johnston s army, marched an average of 
five hundred and twenty-five miles in twenty-eight 
days, crossed six large rivers, captured five fortified 
cities and towns, twenty-three stands of colors, two 
hundred and eighty-eight pieces of artillery, six thou 
sand eight hundred and twenty prisoners in battle, 
including five generals. It also captured and de 
stroyed two gun-boats nearly ready for sea with the 
shipyards in which they were constructed, seven 
ironworks, seven foundries, seven machine shops, 
two rolling mills, seven collieries, thirteen factories, 
two niter works, one military university, three ar 
senals and contents, one naval armory and contents, 
one powder magazine and contents, five steamboats 
and cargoes, thirty-five locomotives, five hundred 
and sixty-five passenger and freight cars, a great 
number of railroad bridges, trestle-works, and sta 
tions, besides immense quantities of quartermaster, 
commissary, and ordnance stores which could not 
be enumerated. In addition to the foregoing 
trophies of war the corps, after the peace was de 
clared, paroled six thousand one hundred and 
thirty-four commissioned officers and fifty-three 
thousand seven hundred and forty-four enlisted men. 

Summarizing the principal items for the two cam 
paigns, it marched eight hundred and twenty-five 
miles and captured ten thousand and fifty-two pris 
oners, thirty-five colors and three hundred and 
twenty guns in the open field and behind fortifica 

During its last campaign it lost thirteen officers 
and eighty-six enlisted men killed, thirty-nine officers 
and five hundred and fifty-nine enlisted men 



wounded, and seven officers and twenty-one men 
missing. Or from the time it left Nashville till the 
surrender at Macon, it lost a total of two hundred 
and twenty-one officers and men killed, eleven hun 
dred and fifty-nine wounded and two hundred and 
eighty-seven missing. 

The march from Montgomery to Macon, two hun 
dred and fifteen miles, was made between the 14th 
and 20th of April at an average rate, including the 
delay at Columbus and West Point, of slightly over 
thirty miles per day. Involving, as this march did, 
the capture of two fortified bridge-heads command 
ing the crossings of the Chattahoochee Eiver, and 
the destruction of the Confederate property at those 
places, it may well be considered as one of the most 
rapid and important campaigns made by either side 
during the War for the Union. Indeed, the cam 
paign from the Tennessee Kiver through Selma, 
Montgomery, and Columbus may be fairly claimed as 
the most rapid, far-reaching, and successful cavalry 
campaign of modern times. 

The complete destruction of the iron works, 
foundries, collieries, factories, and boat yards with 
their supplies and provisions, as well as the princi 
pal lines of railroad communication, connecting the 
armies under Taylor, Beauregard, and Johnston was 
an irreparable blow to the Confederacy. 

Lee and other Confederate generals have been 
praised for accepting the inevitable results and for 
surrendering their armies and declining to inaugu 
rate a guerrilla war, but it must be remembered that 
those officers had no choice. The great mass of the 
enemy s armed force was in our hands as prisoners 
of war or had deserted their colors and taken to the 



woods. The means of transporting troops, food, 
arms, and military munitions having been effectually 
destroyed, there was nothing left for the Southern 
leaders east of the Mississippi to do but lay down 
their arms, disband their organizations, and return 
to the walks of peace. "The rich man s war and the 
poor man s fight " had been fought to a finish. It 
was ended for good and all, for the sufficient reason 
that the means of carrying it on and keeping rank 
and file with the colors, had been completely de 
stroyed, and it is but justice to the Cavalry Corps, 
Military Division of the Mississippi, to assert that 
this great result was due more to its prowess and 
performances than to any other single cause. 

It had put an end by its example to the cavalry 
raid with a weak and inadequate force, and had in 
troduced instead the great campaign with an army 
of mounted men. In doing this it made the last 
campaign and fought the last battle of the great war 
and at the close had something over thirteen thousand 
white mounted infantry and cavalry and thirty-six 
hundred negro infantry with the colors. In addition 
every cavalry man was mounted and it had besides 
eight thousand horses and mules for its teams and 
for distribution afterward. It was a close, com 
pact, and efficient organization of three divisions 
and six brigades with from three to five regiments 
to a brigade and a battery of horse artillery to each 
division, the whole capable of marching easily and 
indefinitely at the average rate of thirty-five miles 
per day. It is worthy of special note that this rate 
would have brought it to a junction with Sherman 
and Kilpatrick in North Carolina or even with Grant 
and Sheridan in Virginia inside of thirty days. With 



such a reenforcement either army, separate or the 
two united, would have been invincible against any 
force the Confederacy could have mustered, no mat 
ter what stroke of good fortune might have fallen 
to its lot. When we add that from the time the cav 
alry corps left Nashville till it reached Macon it 
attacked no fortifications that it did not carry, and 
came within range of no cannon that it did not cap 
ture. When it is recalled that in all this, it never 
avoided nor went around, but in every case attacked 
and passed through the Confederate cities and 
towns on or near its route, it will be readily admit 
ted that it fully justified Sherman s high praise 
when he said that it was by far the largest, best 
equipped, and best handled cavalry force that ever 
came under his command. 

Finally, it seems to have fairly earned for me 
these kindly words from John Hay: "General J. 
H. Wilson, who had been put in command of all the 
cavalry in the Military Division of the Mississippi, 
and who came endorsed by Grant, with the predic 
tion that he would increase the efficiency of that arm 
by fifty per cent." . . . 

"The ride of Wilson s troopers into Alabama 
was one of the most important and fruitful expedi 
tions of the war. ... If the Confederacy had 
not already been wounded to death, the loss of Selma 
would have been almost irreparable. ... It 
justified by its celerity, boldness, and good judgment 
the high encomium with which Grant sent Wilson to 
Thomas." 1 

"Life of Lincoln," Nicolayand Hay, Vol. X., pp. 8, 234, 238, 




Administration of affairs in Macon Measures for the cap 
ture of Davis Jefferson Davis captured. 

After the capture of Columbus, West Point, and 
Macon, it was evident that there was no Confederate 
force left to carry on the war in any part of Georgia. 
The granary of the Confederacy had escaped the 
horrors and devastation of war. Even Sherman 
after capturing Atlanta left southwestern Georgia 
intact, and on his March to the Sea came no nearer 
Macon than Milledgeville, the capital of the State. 
Although Cobb with a few thousand Confederate 
soldiers and militia made the best fight he could at 
Columbus and did all in his power to delay us on 
the road, the people themselves kept as close to 
their homes as possible, suspending all business em 
ployments and waiting for such outrages as they had 
been taught to believe the Yankees would inflict 
upon then. Although we were forced to impress 
food and forage from the region through which we 
were marching, it was our custom to do this with as 
much regularity and impartiality as possible, and 
when it is remembered that the path of a marching 
column, whether cavalry or infantry, is necessarily 
narrow even for the foragers, it will be seen that 



relatively few people suffer severe loss and that 
those who are absolutely cleaned out have but little 
distance to go to the right or left in order to supply 
themselves with food from their neighbors. The 
real difficulty and hardship comes when a corps with 
a large number of men and animals is compelled to 
halt, for in that case it soon clears a country of both 
forage and provisions. We had already discovered 
that an ordinary county would not feed our seven 
teen thousand men and twenty-two thousand animals 
longer than a day or two without greatly impover 
ishing the people. Sherman knew this as well as 
anybody, and hence his telegram, calling attention 
to southwestern Georgia and directing me to pur 
chase supplies in that region as far as possible, was 
both kindly and considerate, and so far as it was 
necessary and practicable his instructions were car 
ried into effect. But the left-over Confederate sup 
plies were soon exhausted and those in the hands of 
the people were drawn upon heavily. All foraging 
was, of course, discontinued from the time the war 
had ended. This, together with the fact that there 
was no tendency amongst the cavalrymen to vio 
lence, had a reassuring and tranquilizing effect. The 
people gradually resumed their usual avocations 
and, perceiving that we were not the barbarians they 
had been accustomed to call us, gradually softened 
in their behavior, and some even went so far as to 
speak of us as fellow countrymen. While division, 
brigade, and regimental commanders busied them 
selves with the maintenance of discipline and good 
order in the camps and about them, the leading men 
of the community, both soldiers and civilians, re 
sponded by counselling moderation of behavior and 



total abstention from political discussion on the part 
of the people. Evidently the soldiers as well as the 
citizens were heartily glad the war was over. Here 
and there a woman failed to recognize that fact, and 
if she spoke at all, flouted the Union and those who 
upheld it. 

A day or two after we established headquarters 
at the City Hall, the national flag was hanging over 
the street, when one of the principal ladies out shop 
ping, caught sight of its shadow on the sidewalk, 
and as though she might commit herself to some 
thing she or her neighbors would not like, rather 
than pass under it, she crossed over the street and 
started down the other side. As she did this, Col 
onel White, of stalwart frame and flowing beard, 
caught sight of her through the window. Buttoning 
his coat and hitching up his saber, he walked down 
the steps and across the street, meeting the lady 
opposite headquarters. Lifting his hat with dignity 
and politeness, he took her hand and placing it under 
his arm said: "Permit me, madam, " and with that 
led her, trembling and confused, carefully across 
the street, and then pointing to the flag, he added: 
"Madam, you seem to fear that the shadow of the 
stars and stripes will do you some injury, but I as 
sure you you are mistaken. That flag is the emblem 
of national sovereignty and of equal rights to all. It 
is the banner of our reunited country, and when you 
think you can pass under it without shying, you will 
be permitted to go about your business." After 
escorting her once more beneath its folds, he gal 
lantly raised his hat again and bade her good morn 
ing. The incident, of course, soon became known 
throughout the town, and it gives me pleasure to 



add that it needed no repetition. From that day 
forth the flag was treated with perfect respect by 
every member of the community. Good order pre 
vailed from the day of our entry, and although the 
negroes showed a disposition to leave the farms and 
to flock to the towns, it would have been difficult for 
the onlooker to perceive any unusual movement in 
Macon. Notice was given that both blacks and 
whites were expected to remain at home, and this 
was emphasized by the fact that our Kentucky, Ten 
nessee, and Missouri cavalrymen soon made it 
known that they had no use for "idle niggers." 

Shortly after the occupation of the place the pro 
vost marshal reported that two dead negroes had 
been found in the Ocmulgee River with bullet holes 
in their bodies, indicating that they had been mur 
dered. Investigation cast suspicion upon the sol 
diers and the soldiers cast suspicion upon the citi 
zens, and while the real murderers were never dis 
covered, the investigation produced a good effect. 
Becoming known in the neighborhood, it discouraged 
vagabondage and idle curiosity. But with all we 
could do there was more or less uneasiness and dis 
contentment among the negroes, especially the house 

One morning a lady in the deepest mourning 
asked for a personal interview with General Wilson. 
She was shown in, but had hardly reached her seat 
before she showed that she was in a state of great 
agitation. Of course, I asked her name and business, 
whereupon, throwing up her hands and bursting 
into a storm of tears and sobs, she said: "I am 
Mrs. Blank of Blank. And, oh, sir ! I have shot my 
nigger ! I have shot my nigger ! Then rocking to 



and fro as though she feared instant execution, she 
gradually regained her composure, as I said what I 
could to soothe and reassure her. My sympathy 
as well as my curiosity were thoroughly aroused 
while she told her tragic story between her sighs 
and sobs. 

It appears that a slave woman, her cook and 
laundress, left home when she heard the Yankees 
had come, but after her excitement was over had 
gone back to get the washtub which she had come to 
regard as her own. Unfortunately, she found her 
mistress seated at the cooking stove, probably for 
the first time in her life, roasting coffee. In reply to 
a question she said: "Miss Jane, I ve come back 
for de tub." Whereupon the mistress told her she 
could not have it and bade her begone. When she 
rose from her chair as though she would enforce 
her command, the colored woman put her arms about 
her shoulders and forced her back into the seat. This 
was more than any Southern woman could endure, 
and boiling over with rage, she drew from her 
pocket a small revolver, which she pointed upward 
and fired. Although her arms were pinioned, the 
shot ploughed through the colored woman s cheek 
and knocked her senseless to the floor. The blood 
flowed freely and consternation prevailed. The 
neighbors rushed in and did what they could to re 
store order and give help, but before the wounded 
woman s injury was fully known, or the local au 
thorities were found, they hurried the mistress off 
to make a virtue of telling her story first to the 
commanding general. 

On her own statement it was a serious case made 
still more so by the paralysis of such justice as the 



local laws provided, but after satisfying myself that 
the injured woman was not dead, and assuring the 
mistress that she might go for the present with an 
aid-de-camp who would make further investigation, 
I permitted her to return home. The next day I was 
gratified to learn that the wound was but a super 
ficial one which would soon heal and that the mis 
tress had not only suffered almost as much as the 
victim of her wrath, but had done what she could 
for the comfort and cure of her old servant. What 
the public expected in this case I never knew, but 
on the officer s report, I was glad to drop it and to 
leave the future relations of the parties to the 
ameliorating hand of time. 

Shortly afterward a more difficult and compli 
cated case came to my attention. A negro, arrested 
and imprisoned for a petty offense, had apparently 
been forgotten. After ten days or two weeks he 
was offered his release on the payment of $50 to 
a disbanded Confederate colonel making his way 
home to Mississippi. It was also reported that the 
colonel had arranged to give half the money in this 
and in similar cases to the assistant provost mar 
shal for his cooperation. The story as told was al 
most incredible, but satisfying myself that it was 
substantially true, I directed that the lieutenant 
should be court-martialed and that the Confederate 
colonel should be arrested and imprisoned for ten 
days in the cell of the released negro. My orders 
were promptly carried into effect, and as the people 
heard of and approved my action in these cases, 
much to my surprise, I became somewhat popular 
with them. 

The first day after reaching Macon a leading 


citizen and lawyer, afterward a distinguished 
judge, came for permission to resume the publica 
tion of the Macon Messenger as a daily newspaper, 
which I granted on the sole condition that it should 
publish nothing against the United States or its 
Constitution. Two days later the same gentleman 
came again and asked if I had any printers in my 
command, adding that his compositors had struck 
and that he was exceedingly anxious to get out the 
paper at the usual hour the next morning. Turning 
to my aid, Captain Van Antwerp of the Fourth 
Michigan Cavalry, whom I knew to be a practical 
compositor and the editor of the Jackson Patriot, I 
asked if he had any printers in his troop. He re 
plied at once: "Oh, yes. I have between seventy 
and eighty. After learning that only three or four 
were needed, I directed the captain to send down ten 
or a dozen to get the paper out. I need only add 
that when they appeared with rattling sabers and 
jingling spurs, the strike instantly ended. The old 
printers hastened to say everything was "all right " 
and that the paper would be forthcoming at the 
proper hour. But the Michigan men, instead of re 
turning to camp that night, went to the cases and 
completed the type-setting in shorter time than it 
had ever been done before. They thoroughly en 
joyed the change of work and returned to camp next 
morning a jolly and elated lot, assuring their fore 
man, one of their own non-commissioned officers, 
that they would be glad to undertake any other 
printing job the breakdown of the Confederacy 
might bring to their attention. As far as I know, 
however, this was the only case and their services 
were not again required. 



But the first week of our stay in Macon derived 
its chief importance from other and far more im 
portant matters. Sherman s dispatch of April 20, 
telling me of the truce and the arrangement he had 
entered into with Johnston for i a universal suspen 
sion of hostilities," although definite enough, was 
followed by no detailed instructions. On the con 
trary, I was left entirely to my own discretion for 
eight or nine days. I knew that the silence which 
had fallen on General Cobb and the state authori 
ties alike indicated a hitch in the arrangements 
somewhere, but I heard nothing definite till April 
30 brought again over the Confederate wires the 
news that Johnston had surrendered not only his 
army but all other Confederate forces east of the 
Chattahoochee on terms identical with those Grant 
had extended to Lee and the Army of North Vir 
ginia at Appomattox. 

On May 1, the very next day, I received through 
the hands of Colonel Woodall, who had come by the 
way of Chattanooga and Atlanta from Thomas at 
Nashville, an order from Stanton, secretary of war, 
notifying me as well as other commanders that 
Sherman s first truce had been disapproved, and 
directing me to disregard his orders and re 
sume operations forthwith against the enemy s 
armed forces wherever they might be found. While 
I did nothing under these orders for the simple rea 
son that they had been rendered nugatory by the 
time lost in transmission, they confirmed me in the 
determination to act in all cases according to the 
requirements of the public interests. While the final 
capitulation made it clear that all Confederate offi 
cers and men who laid down their arms should be 



paroled and allowed to remain at home without fur 
ther molestation, Stanton s order, issued prior to 
the actual surrender, seemed to indicate that it was 
the policy of the Government that we should pursue 
and capture the Confederate chiefs who might be 
trying to escape from the country. At all events, 
this was the view I took of that matter. I had al 
ready learned on April 23, from a foreign-born citi 
zen of Georgia that he had seen Jefferson Davis and 
his family a few days before at Charlotte, North 
Carolina, with several members of his cabinet and 
the remains of the Confederate treasury, making 
their way south under an escort. 

Although the President of the Confederate 
States was also commander-in-chief of their army 
and navy under their Constitution, it was evident 
that Davis did not consider himself as covered by 
the terms of the capitulation, but was endeavoring 
to reach the trans-Mississippi Department or to 
escape from the country. It was a juncture of ex 
treme gravity and I gave every circumstance con 
nected with it the most careful consideration. Hav 
ing an independent command in central Georgia with 
no free telegraph or other safe means of communica 
tion, I dared not try to reach Sherman on such an 
important matter as the flight of Davis with even 
a cipher message, and as I had no possible way 
of reaching either Grant or Stanton or of getting 
their instructions in time, I was forced to assume 
the entire responsibility. And this I did without the 
slightest delay or hesitation. The capture of Davis 
in southern Georgia within ten days proved that my 
information and conclusions were sufficiently cor 
rect to justify my action. The details have been 



more or less confused by contemporaneous writers ; 
in one case at least they were ridiculously exag 
gerated, but all the essential particulars of the flight 
and capture have been forever set at rest by Jeffer 
son Davis himself. 1 

As the part taken in these events by the officers 
and men of my command not only ended the drama 
but made one of the most interesting chapters of 
modern history, I shall proceed to tell it exactly as 
it occurred. The records and contemporaneous pub 
lications afford abundant testimony upon all dis 
puted points. 

As soon as I got word of Johnston s capitulation 
on April 27, I directed Upton to proceed with an es 
cort from his division, followed by Alexander s bri 
gade, by rail to Augusta, which he reached on May 
3. At the same time I ordered Winslow with the 
rest of the division to march as rapidly as possible 
to Atlanta, one hundred and fifty miles north, where 
they should take post for the purpose of carrying 
out the Sherman-Johnston Convention. Colonel Eg- 
gleston with the First Ohio was first to occupy that 
unfortunate city. As Eggleston was an experienced 
officer of discretion and judgment he was naturally 
assigned to command the post with instructions to 
send a strong detachment by rail southwest to West 
Point. Winslow reached Atlanta several days later, 
and from that time with Alexander, Noble, and Eg 
gleston, kept watch and ward over every road in 
northern Georgia. Every officer and man was anx 
ious to assist in the capture of Davis and his party, 
and had there been the slightest disposition to let 

X "A Short History of the Confederate States," by Jefferson 
Davis, New York, Belford & Company, 1890, pp. 491 et seq. 



up in the work Upton would not only have discov 
ered it but would have taken radical measures to 
stimulate the vigilance and enterprise of those in 
fault. His position at Augusta on the northeastern 
boundary of the State, gave him an unusual oppor 
tunity to learn everything of importance taking 
place in the surrounding country. As he was both 
alert and full of expedients, he rendered most im 
portant service. He it was who suggested offering a 
reward of $500,000 for the capture of Davis before 
information reached us that the Secretary of War 
had denounced him with others for complicity in the 
assassination of Lincoln, and had based thereon an 
official offer of $100,000 for his apprehension. Up 
ton had as yet no suspicion that Davis had partici 
pated in that crime, but like the rest of us he was 
anxious that the great chieftain, who had waged 
such a determined war for four years against the 
Union, should be captured and brought to trial. He, 
therefore, submitted his recommendation, and urged 
that it afforded a cheap way to end the war. He 
suggested that Davis would not travel blindly 
through the South, but would know his friends be 
fore reaching them, and that such a large reward 
would enlist thousands in his pursuit. As we had 
already received " grape-vine reports that Davis 
had a large quantity of gold and other bank assets 
with him, it occurred to me that without assuming 
the risk of using the irascible Stanton s name or 
putting a price on Davis s head, I might properly 
offer a reward for his apprehension and delivery on 
the expressed condition that the reward should be 
paid out of the treasure captured with the fugitive. 
In view of the Secretary s stormy and arbitrary 



temper even that action was rather bold for a sub 
ordinate, but I promptly wired Upton " to go ahead, 
giving him the assurance that we would "take the 
consequences together." Thus, it will be seen, our 
reward was offered before official authority reached 
us from Washington and not without the thought 
that it might possibly get us into trouble. 1 It is but 
just to the officers and men actually engaged in the 
pursuit of Davis to say, however, that not one of 
them ever heard of the actual offer till after the 
capture was made. I may add that, inasmuch as 
Davis had distributed his treasury gold to his fol 
lowers before leaving Washington, Georgia, no part 
of it fell into the hands of his captors or was paid 
for his apprehension. On the other hand Stanton s 
offer was duly redeemed by an act of Congress ap 
propriating the money which in turn was distributed 
according to the law of prize substantially as I had 

Before his brigade left Macon, Alexander was 
authorized at his own request to send Lieutenant 
Joseph A. 0. Yeoman, First Ohio Cavalry, brigade 
inspector, with twenty picked men disguised as 
" rebel soldiers" northeastward for the purpose of 
obtaining definite information of Davis s movements 
and of cutting him out and bringing him in as a 
prisoner of war if opportunity offered. With cap 
tured Confederate uniforms, these men would have 
been taken by the closest observer for a smart de 
tachment of Confederate cavalry. 

The other commanders were authorized to send 
out similar parties to both front and rear. By these 

1 O. R. Serial No. 104, pp. 628-629, Stanton and Schofield; also, 
pp. 633-634, Upton and Wilson; also, p. 640, Stanton to Wilson. 



means it was thought certain that all considerable 
bodies of rebel troops moving in military order 
would be duly discovered and that information would 
be got which would enable us to disperse them and 
to secure the principal leaders if they should try 
to pass through the country in any other way than 
as individual travelers or fugitives. With all the 
railroads in Georgia under my control and a division 
of four thousand national cavalry operating from 
Atlanta in all directions, it seemed highly improb 
able that any considerable body of fugitives could 
pass westward through northern Georgia by the or 
dinary roads, and as this narrative progresses it 
will become evident that Davis himself reached the 
same conclusion soon after crossing the Savannah 

With the First and Second Divisions occupying 
Macon and sending out detachments in all directions 
and especially east, southeast, and southwest, that 
place had also become a center of vigilance and ac 
tivity. In an incredibly short time every important 
road in the surrounding country as well as every 
ferry and crossing of the Ocmulgee and Oconee, 
flowing through the center and southeastern part of 
the state to the Altamaha and the Atlantic, was 
closely patroled and guarded. The same was true 
of the railways as well as of the bridges and ferries 
of the Flint and Chattahoochee to the west. Little 
by little it appeared likely that Davis would try to 
escape to the southward rather than to the westward, 
and hour by hour our efforts were increased to dis 
cover the road on which he was actually traveling. 
Rumors and false reports came in constantly. One 
day Davis was crossing the Chattahoochee in north- 



ern Georgia, the next he was crossing the Appa- 
lachee near Madison. On the third he was reported 
as being near Covington on the Ocmulgee. But as 
it turned out all these reports were false. Davis, 
who left the railroad at Abbeville, South Carolina, 
had ridden through the country with his party, 
crossed the Savannah at Petersburg, where there 
was a pontoon bridge, and arrived at Washington 
in northeastern Georgia on the 3rd or 4th of May. 
Trustworthy news to this effect reached me on the 

Fortunately, Yeoman s party, having started 
first and traveled rapidly in the direction whence it 
seemed most likely Davis would come, was first to 
send in accurate information. He had not only 
passed through northern Georgia but had joined 
Davis s party in South Carolina, and marched with 
him to Washington, seeking an opportunity to cut 
out and get away with him as a prisoner, but in this 
he was disappointed. It was easy enough for Yeo 
man and his small body of troopers to circulate up 
and down the column, made up as it was, of detach 
ments from many different commands. Everybody 
was bent on saving himself, or at best on "going 
along down with the rest." Nobody suspected his 
chance neighbor of being a Yankee, but Davis nat 
urally kept his own friends and acquaintances near 
by and, although but little formality and less state 
was observed, no one without special business could 
make an excuse for approaching him. The most 
Yeoman could do was to follow the column as part of 
it to Washington, but once there it disintegrated 
and he soon lost sight of Davis. Although he hung 
about and made cautious inquiries for a while, he 



failed to learn Davis s actual lodging in the town, 
when he left, what direction he took, or by what road 
he traveled. He sent several couriers to the railroad 
to notify headquarters by wire what he had learned, 
but that was also slow and uncertain work, and the 
only definite information we actually got from him 
was that Davis had been at Washington and had 
disappeared. Yeoman, realizing that his own po 
sition was a perilous one, returned to the railroad 
and the next we heard of him he was on the way to 
Atlanta. Meanwhile, from the multiplicity of con 
flicting rumors and reports, and from the absence 
of anything certain except that Davis had been seen 
at Charlotte and been followed into Washington, 
and had gone south from that place with an escort, 
I concluded that he would try to make his way 
through the pine forests east of us to southwestern 
Georgia or to Florida and that if I started fresh 
detachments from Macon, one to march southeast- 
wardly across country in the direction of Dublin 
on the Oconee and the other down the right bank of 
the Ocmulgee, one or the other would be likely to 
cross his trail. Accordingly, on the evening of May 
6, I directed Croxton to select his best colonel and 
best regiment and send them to march as rapidly 
as possible by way of Jeffersonville to Dublin, post 
ing small parties at the principal crossroads and 
sending others out still farther to the east after he 
reached Dublin. By these means I hoped to dis 
cover Davis s later movements, in which event the 
commanding officer was to follow the fugitives till 
they should be overtaken and captured. Under 
these instructions Croxton selected and started Col 
onel Harnden with the First Wisconsin at once. 



That night and the next day my conviction that 
Davis would try to escape into Florida became so 
strengthened that I directed Minty, commanding 
the Second Division, also to select his best colonel 
and best regiment and send them with orders to 
follow the right or south bank of the Ocmulgee, 
watching all the crossings and ferries as far down 
as the mouth of the Ohoopee Eiver. In case he 
crossed the trail of any important party he was 
directed to follow it to the Gulf of Mexico if nec 
essary. For this purpose Minty detailed Lieuten 
ant Colonel Pritchard with the Fourth Michigan 
Cavalry, and as both commanding officers were sol 
diers of the first quality and their men hardy vet 
erans, neither lost any time in carrying out the in 
structions he had received. 

My final dispositions may be summarized as fol 
lows: Upton with parts of two regiments was at 
Augusta watching the country in that vicinity and 
informing me by telegraph of every important cir 
cumstance which came under his observation. Wins- 
low with the larger part of Upton s division occu 
pied Atlanta scouting the country in all directions 
from that place. Alexander with five hundred picked 
men patroled the country north of the Chattahoochee 
toward Dalton, while smaller detachments occupied 
Griffin and Jonesborough, watching the crossings of 
the upper Ocmulgee and scouting the country to the 
eastward. Small detachments had also been sent to 
West Point and Columbus to watch the Alabama line 
in that quarter. 

Croxton, commanding the main body of the First 
Division, had also sent a detachment to northeastern 
Alabama by way of Talladega and another through 



northeastern Georgia toward North Carolina, while 
the rest of the division was watching the Ocmulgee 
from the right of Upton s line to Macon. Minty 
with the larger part of the Second Division, after 
detaching Pritchard, scouted the country on both 
sides of the river to the lower crossings of the Oc 
mulgee and had small parties at all the important 
points on the Southwestern Eailroad and in western 
and southwestern Georgia, while McCook with a 
strong detachment at Albany and seven hundred men 
between that point and Tallahassee, Florida, was 
keenly on the lookout with the rest of the division 
for important fugitives. By now I also had tele 
graphic communication with Atlanta, Augusta, West 
Point, Columbus, Albany, Eufala, and Milledgeville, 
so that it seemed certain we should hear of and 
capture all important persons endeavoring to get 
out of the country. 

In addition to these arrangements it must be re 
membered that Stoneman and Palmer, the latter be 
longing to Johnson s Sixth division, with strong col 
umns had broken into North Carolina and were 
moving through that state toward the Georgia fron 
tier, breaking the railroad and looking for the Con 
federate leaders. 

By inspecting the map it will be seen that not less 
than fifteen thousand horsemen, counting Palmer s 
brigade, were occupying central and continuous 
lines from Kingston, Upper Georgia, to Florida, 
covering the whole country with detachments and 
scouts in all directions to the front and rear. When 
it is recalled that with the surrender of Johnston s 
army the conviction forced itself on the Confederate 
leaders still at large that the war was ended for- 



ever and that Davis had lost his control of the 
Southern people, it will be recognized that Upton s 
suggestion of a reward for his capture was based 
on strong probabilities. 

Let us now turn to Davis. While we knew he had 
been at Charlotte, Abbeville, and Washington, we 
did not know just when he got to those places. From 
his own "History of the Confederate States it now 
appears that Lee late in March notified him that it 
might be necessary to abandon Petersburg and Rich 
mond at an early day and to concentrate the Confed 
erate forces, if possible, at Danville south of the 
Eoanoke River. Neither at that time seems to have 
despaired of the Confederacy. It was then, doubt 
less, the intention of both to continue the war with 
their main armies and if those were broken up, to 
inaugurate a system of guerrilla warfare. The Con 
federate Congress had offered Lee the formal dic 
tatorship but he had declined, and this circumstance 
allowed Davis to retain actual control to the end. 

It will be recalled that Grant s army broke 
through the defenses of Petersburg on April 1-2, 
immediately after which Lee notified Davis that the 
evacuation would have to begin that night. It is 
now alleged that a forerunner of that notification 
reached him on the way to church, but the formal 
message was not handed to him till he took his seat 
in his pew. It also appears that he had been busy 
several days, selecting and packing the Confederate 
archives, and that when this work was finished, 
which was not till about midnight, Davis, his cabinet, 
and his family took train for Danville, which place 
they reached the next evening. They remained there 
till seven hours after Lee s surrender at Appomat- 



tox on April 9, and then went on to Greensbor- 
ough, where they became the guests of Colonel 
Moorehead for the 10th and llth. At that place Davis 
held a council with Generals Johnston, Beauregard, 
and Breckenridge, and with Benjamin, Mallory, 
Eeagan, and George Davis of his cabinet on April 12 
for the purpose of deciding on the policy of the Con 
federacy for the immediate future. It was at this 
council that he made an eloquent and impassioned 
speech, by which he endeavored to convince his hear 
ers that all was not lost. Although he doubtless 
knew that Selma had fallen and that Montgomery 
and Columbus were in danger, he contended that 
they could still make head against the Union army, 
and if it came to the worst could unite a large force 
composed of Johnston s, Taylor s, Beauregard s, 
Maury s, and Forrest s troops in western Alabama. 
He claimed that if this army, thus organized, should 
be overborne, a large part of it could make its way 
to the trans-Mississippi Department and there con 
tinue the war indefinitely. Although he received 
but little encouragement from the council it is evi 
dent that he had not yet given up all hope. 

While at Charlotte, where he arrived on April 
18, he reluctantly authorized Johnston to open ne 
gotiations with Sherman for an arrangement by 
which peace should be concluded. Some writers al 
lege that he drafted with his own hands the terms 
finally agreed upon; others declare that the draft 
was made by Breckenridge, his secretary of war, but 
without reference to the real author of the scheme, 
it is sufficient to state that Sherman accepted it and 
reported it to his superiors for ratification, that 
Stanton, the national secretary of war, promptly re- 



pudiated it, and that Sherman in accordance with 
instructions thereupon gave forty-eight hours no 
tice that the armistice would terminate at noon 
April 27. 

Davis seems to have remained at Charlotte till 
that day, although he claims that he did not hear 
that the termination of the armistice was followed 
at once by the surrender of Johnston with all the 
Confederate forces east of the Chattahoochee Eiver 
on terms substantially the same as those granted to 
Lee and his army. 1 Be this as it may, it is now cer 
tain that Davis left Charlotte on April 27 and by 
short marches with two intervals of a half day each, 
reached Abbeville, South Carolina, May 3. Mrs. 
Davis and family had already arrived at Wash 
ington some fifty miles to the southwest under the 
escort of Burton Harrison, but had notified Davis by 
letter which reached him the same day, of her inten 
tion to make her way to Pensacola by traveling 
through the country to the south between Macon 
and Augusta. 

Disturbed by this information, Davis pushed on 
at once, crossing the Savannah at Petersburg on the 
morning of May 4, and arriving at the town of 
Washington the same night. It was from that place 
that Yeoman sent in his first information, and it was 
there also that Davis first heard of Upton s occupa 
tion of Augusta. 

Admonished by his proximity to our forces and 
hearing that the country was full of marauding de 
tachments, mostly Confederates going home, he dis 
tributed the treasury gold and silver to the troops 
who had not yet disbanded, and started early on the 

1 0. E. Serial No. 97, pp. 1390-91. 


morning of the 6th through Laurens and Dodge 
Counties to the south. His escort, consisting of five 
small cavalry brigades, deserted him at Washington, 
though General Basil Duke and Colonel Brecken- 
ridge marched westward to Woodstock to cover his 
movements. Benjamin and Mallory left him before 
getting to Washington while Breckenridge and Eea- 
gan continued with Davis to that place. From Wash 
ington, with a volunteer escort of only ten or twelve 
men and no encumbrance but a light wagon, he soon 
caught up with Mrs. Davis and her party. From 
this reunion, which doubtless occurred on the 7th, 
they traveled together till the entire party was cap 
tured near Irwinville, the county seat of Irwin 
County, three days later. 

It is worthy of note, however, that Davis to the 
time of his death declared that while it was his pur 
pose to send his wife to Pensacola, it was his own 
intention to pass around or through my main line, 
and across the lower Chattahoochee, into southern 
Alabama, and then to continue his journey to a junc 
tion with Taylor, Maury, and Forrest. His narra 
tive shows that he conformed to that plan from 
the time he crossed the Oconee River near Dublin 
till he was captured considerably out of the 
course by which Breckenridge and Benjamin reached 
the coast of Florida and finally escaped from the 
country. Davis rode about one hundred and thirty 
miles as the crow flies from Washington to Irwin 
ville, but taking into account the crooked roads the 
distance was from one hundred and forty-five to 
one hundred and fifty-five miles, which he made in 
four days or at the average rate of something less 
than forty miles a day. Considering his indistinct 



route and the encumbrance of the family train, this 
must be considered as good speed. 

But to return to Harnden and the pursuit. That 
sturdy veteran realizing that he was out for a long 
chase, selected only three officers and one hundred 
and fifty men with the best horses. When they were 
drawn out and inspected for the march he briefly 
explained in his own rough way that they had been 
chosen to go in pursuit of Davis, vhose escort would 
probably outnumber them and would certainly fight 
to the death, but as the First Wisconsin had never 
been whipped yet, he did not expect them to be 
whipped now no matter how many rebels they might 
encounter. Eeceiving this speech with cheers, they 
took the road late in the evening of May 6. March 
ing southeastwardly all night by forest roads, they 
reached Jeffersonville about daylight the next morn 
ing. Leaving there an officer and thirty men with 
orders to scout the country in all directions for re 
liable information of Davis and his party, the re 
mainder, now reduced to one hundred and twenty, 
pushed on without halting to Dublin, a poor little 
town on the west bank of the Oconee, which they 
reached at seven o clock that evening. They cov 
ered something over fifty miles in twenty-four hours. 
Harnden sent out scouting parties all day to the 
right in pursuit of small detachments which in every 
case proved to be paroled men from Johnston s army 
on their way home. On arriving at Dublin, he found 
the white people somewhat excited by his presence, 
but after assuring them that he was establishing a 
courier line between Macon and Savannah, he went 
into bivouac between the town and the river and set 
tled himself apparently for the night. The leading 



gentlemen of the place affected entire ignorance if 
not indifference to the movements of Davis and 
other important rebels, but were unusually profuse 
in their offers of hospitality to the grim old colonel. 
As this was a trait of Southern character he had 
seen but little of as yet, it naturally aroused his sus 
picion, and this was strengthened by commotion 
amongst the negroes. 

The town was full of Confederate officers in uni 
form, and their sullen looks indicated no friendship 
to the Yankee colonel or his detachment. Shortly 
after going into bivouac he got an intimation that a 
party with wagons had crossed the ferry from the 
east side that day, and after some delay "had gone 
south on the river road," but his questions in regard 
to the party were evaded, or if answered, the an 
swers were in terms intended to avert suspicion or to 
put him on the wrong scent. The most he could be 
sure of after all his inquiry was that a considerable 
party had arrived there about noon and had gone on 

Having been twenty-four hours in the saddle and 
thirty-six without sleep, Harnden turned in for rest 
as soon as his arrangements were complete, but had 
hardly struck his blankets when his body servant, 
an ex-slave left behind by Bragg when Eosecrans 
drove him from Tennessee, called him up with a 
whispered word that he had found an old colored 
man who could give him the information he was 
looking for. Carefully questioning both men, the 
colonel soon satisfied himself that "President 
Davis" and "Mrs. Davis" had been in town that 
day; that they had arranged to take dinner with a 
local judge and were about seating themselves when 



information came which caused them to start without 
eating, and that they had gone south with their en 
tire party. The colored man also said that another 
party with horses and wagons had come to the land 
ing but, instead of crossing, had gone on down the 
river to a lower ferry. He thought the two parties 
had joined each other in the town and had been 
traveling together, but was not certain. This was 
confusing, but with the hope of getting more exact 
information he went to the ferry with two men and 
called out the ferryman, whom he questioned closely, 
but found him so obstinate, stupid, or ignorant that 
he could get nothing confirmatory from him. Con 
vinced, however, that it was his duty to follow the 
united party now fully twelve hours on its way, he 
returned to the bivouac, called out his half-rested 
men and took the road again in pursuit. The de 
tachment left behind on the Macon road had not yet 
come in, and it was necessary under his instruction 
to occupy Dublin and scout the country up and down 
the river as well as to the eastward. He, therefore, 
told off Lieutenant Lane with forty-five men for that 
purpose, and with the remaining seventy-five started 
by the road which he supposed the party had taken. 
Unfortunately, it was still dark as midnight and as 
the roads through the pine woods of that region were 
mere trails, difficult to follow in the daytime and im 
possible to follow at night, he had great difficulty in 
getting straightened out in the right direction. In 
deed, his little column wandered about in uncertainty 
for some time and finally found itself, as day began 
to break, again in the edge of the town. With com 
ing dawn it readily got off on the right road, but at 
the end of the first five miles, it halted a few minutes 



at Turkey Creek where the bridge had been torn up. 
While the men were replacing the planking, the 
colonel learned at a house near by that a party with 
wagons had passed that way the evening before and 
that two of the men had stopped to get some milk. 
One of them dropped a scrap of newspaper which 
had a late Eichmond date on it. A bright little girl 
of the house had heard one of the gentlemen call the 
other "Colonel Harrison, " who in turn addressed 
the first as Mr. President. From further inquiry, 
it appeared, both were well dressed and neither had 
shoulder straps, but one had stars on his collar and 
gold braid on his sleeves, while the others had no 
noticeable marks about them, though "their clothes 
were not like the colonel s." The information, how 
ever, when put together, convinced Harnden that 
he was now on the track of Jefferson Davis, and in 
this conviction he sent a courier to me with a dis 
patch to that effect; but the courier was captured 
on his way to Macon, robbed of his horse and equip 
ments, and compelled to make his way to that place 
on foot, and he did not get through till after the 
colonel and his companions had returned from Ir- 

Having repaired the bridge at Turkey Creek with 
but little lost time, Harnden pushed on again, fol 
lowing the wagon tracks, which could be plainly seen 
for a while, but a heavy rain setting in soon obliter 
ated them. Still the column continued its march, 
sending out encircling parties in the hope of finding 
the trail again, but in this they were unsuccessful. 
One, however, brought in a countryman riding a fine 
horse and claiming to be hunting sheep. He strenu 
ously denied all knowledge of the party that Harn- 



den was pursuing, but the colonel threatening to take 
his horse and compel him to march on foot, extorted 
a confession that he did know where the party had 
spent the night before. Closely guarded by two men, 
he guided the column in a southwesterly direction to 
a poor plantation where the fugitives had rested 
over night. Here the column got forage for their 
hungry horses, and while the owner stoutly declared 
that he did not know where or in what direction the 
fugitives had gone, he finally admitted that they 
might have continued their march southwestward 
across Gum Swamp, but followed this with the dec 
laration that the heavy rain had so raised the water 
that it would be impossible for the pursuing column 
to find its way through it. 

By no means discouraged, the colonel ordered the 
countryman to get his horse and guide the column 
through the swamp to the dry land beyond and ac 
companied this order with the stern admonition that 
if he did not lead the column safely through, he and 
his men would return and eat him out of house and 
home. As this threat brought him face to face with 
a very real danger, he hesitated no longer but guided 
the column for several miles safely through water 
much of the time up to the saddle skirts. This was 
a long and weary day, but the Union horsemen, with 
out flagging, continued the pursuit by a fairly plain 
path threading the dense pine forest almost devoid 
of settlements and supplies, in a southwesterly di 
rection till darkness compelled them to halt for the 
night. Finding but little food for man or beast, and 
no shelter for either, they made themselves as com 
fortable as they could by huge camp fires of pine logs, 
but their rest about midnight was rudely broken by; 



a terrible storm of wind, rain, thunder, and light 
ning which blew down several forest trees near by 
and so saturated the ground that none but veteran 
cavalrymen could have got the slightest relief from 
fatigue because of the discomfort of the bivouac. 

Up and on the path again before daylight of the 
9th, they pushed forward as rapidly as possible till 
they reached the Ocmulgee Eiver, which they had 
crossed first at Macon, nearly a hundred miles to the 
northwest. They had made almost a circle, but find 
ing no means of crossing they continued down the 
left bank till they came to Brown s Ferry. Here 
they found an old flat boat which they overloaded in 
their anxiety to cross quickly, and the restive horses 
kicked loose one of the bottom planks on the upward 
curve of the bow, so that the boat took water rapidly. 
This made it necessary to carry half loads after 
ward, which in turn prolonged the passage two 
hours, but the delay gave Harnden the opportunity 
of learning that the party he was pursuing had 
crossed the river that day only a few hours ahead 
of him. As soon as his men were all over, he fol 
lowed the river for an hour to the little town of 
Abbeville, where he halted to feed and rest. Here 
inquiry elicited the information that a party with 
wagons had passed through the town that day, go 
ing toward Irwinville, some twenty-five miles far 
ther south. He now had no doubt that he was within 
reach of the party he had been pursuing for three 
days, but decided not to close in on it till after dark. 
Having fed his horses and refreshed his men, he 
again took the road, but just as he was moving out, 
he met four soldiers coming from the north. As it 
turned out, they were the advance of the Fourth 



Michigan Cavalry, under Lieutenant Colonel Prit 
chard, near at hand. 

It will be remembered that Pritchard had left 
Macon the day after Harnden had started to Dublin. 
He had marched rapidly, leaving detachments at all 
the important crossings, and was now approaching 
the lower bends of the river to which his attention 
had been particularly directed. It was about the 
middle of the afternoon. Without halting his own 
column, Harnden rode back to meet Pritchard, to 
whom, as they were engaged in a common enterprise, 
he gave all the information he had gathered in his 
three days pursuit, and this was most important for 
Pritchard, who had a larger and fresher command, 
but who as yet had learned nothing from any other 
source as to Davis s movements. After declining 
reinforcements, Harnden rejoined his own column 
near the spot where Davis and his party had halted 
for luncheon and left their camp fire still burning. 
This, of course, encouraged and quickened Harn 
den s march till night, when he found himself in a 
swale of the forest containing both water and grass, 
and accordingly halted to rest and graze his horses. 
Neither he nor his men had had anything to eat ex 
cept a small supply of damaged corn meal, but withal 
they made a cheerful and hopeful bivouac till nearly 
daybreak in the confident belief that they were but 
a short distance from the party they were following. 

Meanwhile, Pritchard continued his march by the 
river road to the left for several miles, when he met 
a negro, from whom he obtained information con 
firmatory of the information that Harnden had given 
him an hour before. It removed all doubt that the 
party Harnden had been pursuing was really that 



of the Confederate President, and that it was also 
his duty to join in the pursuit. In this he was clearly 
right, and had he acted otherwise he would have 
been censurable for negligence and want of enter 
prise. It should not be forgotten that he and Harn- 
den were lieutenant colonels of different regiments 
from different states belonging to different brigades 
and different divisions. They had probably never 
met before, and were, therefore, comparative stran 
gers. Had they continued together it would have 
been necessary to compare commissions in order 
that the senior might properly assume command of 
the joint forces. But as they were acting under sep 
arate and distinct orders, they parted with the un 
derstanding that Harnden would continue the pur 
suit on the direct route while Pritchard would fol 
low the river indefinitely or till he found something 
further to justify his leaving it. This was the condi 
tion when the latter got the negro s later informa 
tion which caused him to change his plan, and the 
only mistake he made after that was that having de 
cided to join in the pursuit he should have sent a 
courier to notify Harnden and especially to caution 
him to look out for the Michigan men on the first 
road farther south running toward Irwinville. For 
some reason never clearly explained he failed to 
take this precaution, and although it will appear 
later that the consequences were unfortunate and 
directly due to this failure, I have never thought 
that Pritchard s conduct was censurable for the rea 
son that it was probably an oversight which might 
have occurred to any vigorous and zealous officer in 
the heat and anxiety of the hour. While proper co 
operation would certainly have prevented mistakes 



and accidents, it could scarcely be foreseen that the 
converging columns would come together in the dark 
at Davis s camp, or that a collision would take place 
near it during the night. 

In order to march as rapidly as possible, Prit- 
chard took only seven officers and one hundred and 
twenty-eight men, selecting his best troopers and 
strongest horses, and at four o clock in the afternoon 
of May 9, started by a roundabout road through 
Bowenville toward the county seat of Irwin County. 
He had nearly thirty miles to go, or from ten to 
twelve miles more than Harnden, in order to reach a 
common junction point. Leaving the remainder of 
his men under Captain Hathaway with orders to 
picket the crossings and continue the march in com 
pliance with the original instructions, Pritchard took 
the first right-hand road at as rapid a gait as he 
could maintain, following it without drawing rein 
till his advance under Captain Hudson found itself 
in the vicinity of Irwinville. The situation was now 
an exciting one, and yet neither colonel was con 
scious of the other s exact position or what he was 
doing. Pritchard s road brought him into the sleep 
ing village at one o clock in the morning of May 10, 
and although he and his men naturally made as 
little noise as possible, the women and children soon 
discovered their presence and became greatly ex 
cited. Eestoring quiet by the assurance that his 
column was the rear guard of the rebel President s 
escort, he was gratified to learn that the party he 
was looking for had encamped that night about a 
mile and a half north of the village on the Abbeville 
road. With this important information, guided by 
a negro, the column with Hudson in front now moved 



noiselessly northward till within a short distance of 
the camp. 

There the colonel detached Lieutenant Purinton 
and twenty-five troopers to make their way through 
the woods as silently as possible to the Abbeville 
road north of the camp for the purpose of cutting off 
all chance of escape, and with the hope that they 
might also interpose between the party and its es 
cort. As a necessary precaution he directed Purin 
ton in case of alarm or discovery to close in on the 
camp from wherever he might be at the time, while 
the remainder of the command would charge the 
camp along the main road. 

These preliminaries having been successfully 
carried into effect without disturbance, Pritchard 
moved a few minutes later undiscovered to within 
a few rods of the camp, where he patiently waited 
against the protest of one of his officers for the first 
appearance of dawn, confident that no one could get 
away undiscovered and that the chances of complete 
success would be more certain by daylight. 

Meanwhile Harnden, who had started as soon as 
it was light enough to see, after a march of a mile 
or two," found himself in front of a detachment 
which opened fire upon him. From the rattle of the 
carbines he estimated this party at from twenty to 
thirty and, assuming naturally enough that they be 
longed to Da vis s escort, he promptly dismounted a 
part of his force to fight on foot while he started the 
remainder on a turning movement through the 
woods. A sharp skirmish followed in which two 
men were killed, and one officer and three men se 
verely wounded before either party discovered that 
it was fighting Union men instead of Confederates. 



Whether the noise of the unfortunate engagement 
preceded Pritchard s dash or whether his movement 
against the camp which had been timed for dawn 
merely happened to be simultaneous with Harnden s 
cannot be positively stated, but Pritchard after sur 
rounding the camp and leaving it in charge of his 
adjutant, like the true soldier he was, rode at once 
toward the firing, where he and Harnden shortly 
encountered each other riding from opposite direc 
tions. Both were greatly surprised, but the increas 
ing light and the hasty explanations which followed 
soon cleared up the immediate situation and left the 
colonels free to ride back together to a scene of a 
much greater importance. 

Without regard to the antecedent facts resulting 
in the unfortunate skirmish, as well as in a lifelong 
estrangement between the commanders, it is certain 
that the firing up the road aroused Davis and his 
party just as the Michigan men were closing around 
the camp. Captain Hudson with a sergeant claimed 
to be the first man to ride up to the central tent in 
the camp, and was about to dismount when he saw 
a woman en deshabille through the opening of the 
tent front who asked him not to intrude upon the 
privacy of ladies, but to give them time to dress. As 
she followed this with the declaration that there was 
no one but ladies in the tent, and that it belonged to 
"Mr. Smith and his friends, " he was about to grant 
her request, but just at that moment he also heard 
sharp firing up the road and, leaving a trooper to 
guard the tent, he rejoined his detachment and has 
tened to the fighting line. 

This brings us to the actual capture of Jefferson 
Davis and his party a few minutes later by men 



operating under the immediate direction of Lieu 
tenant Julian G. Dickinson, adjutant of the Fourth 
Michigan. In compliance with Pritchard s orders, 
that officer, after taking the necessary precautions 
for the security of the captured camp and sending 
forward .several men who had straggled, was about 
starting to join the colonel when his attention was 
called "to three persons dressed in female attire " 
who were apparently just leaving the tent and were 
moving toward the thick woods near by. Turning 
his horse toward them, he sang out: "Halt!" but as 
this failed to stop them, he repeated the command in 
a more imperative tone, which drew Corporal Hun 
ger and three men from the cordon about the camp, 
with carbines advanced. This brought the party 
promptly to a standstill. In the fright and confusion 
which followed it became evident that one of the 
party was Mr. Davis in disguise, and that the others 
were Mrs. Davis and her sister, Miss Howell. 

At this juncture, before any persons had reen- 
tered the tent, Pritchard and Harnden, returning 
from the front, rode up to the group which had now 
become the center of interest. Davis, who had been 
permitted to throw off his disguise, was still some 
what excited, but, recognizing the officers, turned 
fiercely upon them and asked which of them was in 
command. As will be remembered, they had never 
compared dates of commissions, so they were mo 
mentarily at a loss, if not somewhat disconcerted, by 
the imperious question of their prisoner. Exactly 
what followed has been variously told by the officers 
present, but it seems clear that Colonel Pritchard, 
who was a man of self-possession, replied substan 
tially as follows : "I am Lieutenant Colonel Pritch- 



ard, commanding the Fourth Michigan, and this is 
Lieutenant Colonel Harnden, commanding the First 
Wisconsin Cavalry. We belong to different brigades 
and different divisions, and do not know who holds 
the older commission, but that is not important, for 
between us we shall doubtless be able to take care of 
you and your party. 

Corporal Hunger later claimed to have been the 
first to recognize Davis under his disguise by his 
boots and spurs, while Colonel Harnden, in his ac 
count of the capture, says that John H. Eeagan, 
Confederate postmaster general, was the first man 
he and Pritchard saw, and that Reagan pointed out 
Davis to them, whereupon they rode up, dismounted, 
and after saluting asked the person indicated if he 
was Mr. Davis. To this he replied: "Yes; I am 
President Davis. " Harnden adds that up to that 
minute no one actually engaged in the arrest knew 
certainly that their principal prisoner was the per 
son they were looking for. 

On counting the captured party, it was found that 
it consisted of Mr. Davis, Mr. Eeagan, postmaster 
general, Colonel Burton N. Harrison, private secre 
tary, Colonels Johnson and Lubbock, aids-de-camp, 
four younger officers and thirteen private soldiers, 
besides Mrs. Davis, Miss Howell, her sister, two 
maid servants, four children, and several colored 
servants and teamsters. One of the party, a private 
soldier, in the confusion succeeded in slipping into 
the woods and getting away. 

As both Harnden and Pritchard had been notified 
before starting that Davis was escorted by a party 
variously reported at from ten to fifty picked men, 
who would probably make a desperate fight, they had 



fully made up their minds to take him dead or alive, 
and this doubtless accounts for the sharpness of the 
fight between the Wisconsin and Michigan men. 

The women and children were carried by two 
army ambulances, while six army wagons carried the 
baggage and personal effects of the party. 

News of the capture reached me two days later 
by Pritchard s written report to Minty, who in turn 
brought it to me at the Lanier House. On entering 
my office, this natty and dashing officer, hastily 
saluting, called out in an exultant tone: "General, 
we have captured Jeff Davis and, by jingo, we got 
him in his wife s clothes !" 

Minty s first words brought me instantly to my 
feet, but those which followed and the manner of 
their delivery suggested that Minty might be treat 
ing the subject with untimely levity, whereupon I 
replied : * General, that is most important news, but 
I trust there is no mistake about it." It flashed 
through my mind that Davis s capture would be 
hailed throughout the North as the end of the Re 
bellion, and that if he were really caught in his 
wife s clothes it would overwhelm him and the Con 
federate cause alike with ridicule. The severity of 
my manner was instantly followed by a serious ex 
pression on the part of Minty, who said: "It s all 
right, General; here is Pritchard s dispatch by a 
special courier." Harnden himself, sad with disap 
pointment that the actual capture had been made by 
another, appeared shortly afterward and not only 
confirmed Pritchard s report, but gave the details 
substantially as set forth in this narrative. 

The next day Pritchard arrived with Davis and 
his party, and it was on the authority of the verbal 



but official statements submitted by Pritchard and 
Harnden that my preliminary reports were made to 
those in authority at Washington. In the haste and 
excitement of the great event but few formal reports, 
and they of the most general character, were ever 
written. Months and even years afterward several 
narratives, giving more or less of the details, were 
published in the newspapers and magazines, but 
they lacked the character of official documents. 

Of course, I sent off my first dispatch on the 
strength of the information brought in by Minty, 
saying amongst other things that Davis was cap 
tured "in his wife s clothes, " which was literally 
the fact. 

Although both officers and men declared that 
when arrested Davis was endeavoring to escape in 
disguise, I gave no details and specified no particu 
lar articles of clothing. My report, however, was 
instantly flashed to all parts of the country as well 
as to all parts of Europe. It was published every 
where in the newspapers and illustrated journals 
with details and amplifications from the imagination 
of the writers and artists who commented upon the 
event and supplied details according to their own 
fancy. So far as I know no officer ever asserted that 
the Confederate chief was caught in crinoline or 
petticoats as worn in those days, and yet his friends 
everywhere hastened to deny the allegation as pub 
lished in the newspapers, and many went so far as 
to declare that Davis was not disguised at all and 
that the whole story was a tissue of falsehoods. 

It will not be forgotten that the country was at 
that time hung in black and overwhelmed with sor 
row for the assassination of Mr. Lincoln, and that 



so long as the Confederate chiefs were at large, 
threatening to carry on the war more fiercely than 
ever, there could be no assurance of peace. But 
when the news that Jefferson Davis had not died in 
the last ditch, " but had been caught trying to get 
away in woman s clothing, it was evident to all that 
the war was ended completely and forever. The 
illustrated journals made this more certain than 
ever by depicting the disconsolate chieftain, seated 
at the edge of "the last ditch " with his dress drawn 
up over a hoop skirt, revealing a pair of cavalry 
boots and spurs. That picture without reference to 
its literal truth was also republished throughout the 
world, and did quite as much as all the regular re 
ports and narratives together to restore public con 
fidence and to bring back to the faces of the people 
the smiles which had vanished from them when they 
heard of the wicked and senseless assassination of 
Lincoln three weeks before at Washington. 

The precise articles of Davis ? s disguise were a 
lady s waterproof cloak, buttoning down in front, 
and known in those days as an " aquascutum, " which 
he doubtless put on at the instance of his wife. In 
addition, he wore a small, black, long shawl, with a 
colored, cross border, wrapped about his neck and 
over his soft felt hat. To the ordinary soldier the 
"waterproof " looked exactly like a woman s coarse 
gown for rough weather, and while put on over an 
ordinary suit of Confederate gray, it was certainly 
intended as a disguise by Davis and his wife, and 
was so taken by those who saw it on him. If it had 
proved successful and Davis had escaped by its use, 
his friends would doubtless have fully justified its 
use. The dress and shawl were delivered to Colonel 



Pritchard and by him turned over to the Adjutant 
General at the War Department, where they can 
doubtless be inspected by such as are curious to 
knew their exact form and construction. All the in 
cidents of the pursuit and capture, including a de 
scription of the disguise in which Davis had at 
tempted to escape, will be found fully described in 
the official records, 1 in "Annals of the War," 2 in 
the Century Magazine? in "Battles and Leaders of 
the Civil War," 4 in "Colonial Harnden s Narra 
tive," 5 in the Pamphlet of Brevet Lieutenant Col 
onel Charles L. Greeno, Seventh Pennsylvania Cav 
alry, 6 in Jefferson Davis s "Eise and Fall of the 
Confederate Government," 7 and finally in Davis s 
"Short History of the Confederate States." 8 In one 
form or another, each of these publications fully con 
firms the story of the disguise as given above. 

It can hardly be necessary to call further atten 
tion to the fact that I was not personally present at 
the capture of Davis and, therefore, did not see him 
till he arrived at my headquarters at Macon in the 
afternoon of May 13. I never saw the disguise and 
all that I have related is consequently based upon 

1 O. E. Serial No. 103, pp. 370, et seq. 

3 "Annals of the War," Philadelphia Times Pub. Co., 1879, pp. 
554 et seq. 

* Century Magazine, Vol. XXXIV, pp. 386 et seq. 

4 Century Magazine, Vol. LV, pp. 759 et seq. 

"Capture of Jefferson Davis," &c., by Henry Harnden, Madi 
son, Wis., 1898. 

""The Capture of Jefferson Davis, and What I Know of It," 
by Lieutenant Colonel Charles L. Greeno. 

7 Davis s "Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, 7 

pp. 71-2. 

8 Davis s "Short History of the Confederate States," Belford 
Company, New York, 1890, pp. 491 et seq. 



verbal and official reports and the statements of the 
various participants in the events of the time, and 
yet I have no doubt that I have given the truth with 
accuracy just as it occurred. 

As Davis and his escort were on the way to 
my headquarters they found the streets of Macon 
crowded with men and women who had supported 
or sympathized with the Confederacy, but not a 
single one of whom gave them a kindly greeting or 
a word of recognition. While Davis and his party 
were closely guarded no one was prohibited from 
showing them personal respect or from offering 
them a friendly salutation. From the fact that all 
stood silent I have never doubted that from that 
time at least Davis had lost most of his popularity 
in that community. Neither then nor afterward 
while at Macon did a single Confederate leader or a 
single personal friend make inquiry in regard to 
him. Not one soul showed the slightest interest in 
his behalf while he remained at that place. 

Of course, I received and treated the Confederate 
President with every courtesy and consideration, 
assigning him and his party the best rooms in the 
hotel and, as soon as they had refreshed themselves, 
I directed my own steward and servants to give the 
tired and hungry travelers the best dinner the re 
sources of the hotel and the town could supply. It 
is pleasant to add that they ate as heartily and with 
as much freedom from annoyance as if they had 
been my personal friends and honored guests. 

Shortly after dinner I received Mr. Davis in my 
official apartment and conversed with him till his 
train was ready to start, which was set for five 
o clock that afternoon. 



Mr. Davis called alone and without escort, and 
we had an informal and friendly interview lasting 
something over an hour. He looked bronzed and 
somewhat careworn, but hardy and vigorous, and 
during the conversation behaved with perfect self- 
possession and dignity. However petulant he may 
have been at the time of his capture and during his 
march to Macon, he had entirely recovered his equa 
nimity. While I had seen him before at West Point 
both as secretary of war and as senator from Mis 
sissippi, I had never been presented to him, but my 
classmate, John M. Wilson, knew him well and had 
met Mrs. Davis frequently. From that circumstance 
both of them evidently expected to meet an old 
friend, but Mr. Davis, seeing at a glance that I was 
another man, turned the conversation without em 
barrassment to West Point and our common recol 
lections connected therewith. 

He asked kindly about the old professors, espe 
cially Mahan, Bartlett, and Church, commenting 
upon their peculiarities with good feeling and criti 
cal discrimination. This naturally led to the con 
sideration of graduates who had become leading gen 
erals on the opposing sides. He spoke both freely 
and feelingly of Lee s character and deeds, declaring 
him to be the ablest, most courageous, and most 
aggressive, as well as the best beloved of all of his 
generals. On the expression of some surprise at his 
ascription of an aggressive temper to Lee, he not 
only repeated his high praise but went on to say that 
Lee was the only Confederate commander of the first 
rank whose aggressiveness amounted to rashness, 
and whose bold advice and policies he had felt com 
pelled more than once to restrain. He also com- 



mended Bragg, Hardee, Taylor, and several others 
for high qualities and leadership, but, as might have 
been expected, he spoke slightingly of Johnston, 
charging him with timidity and insubordination. He 
condemned Beauregard s military pedantry and 
deprecated Hood s heroic rashness. 

On the other hand he expressed surprise at 
Grant s skill and persistency, admiration for Sher 
man s brilliancy, and respect for Thomas s solid 
qualities. He did not hesitate to say that he had ex 
pected more from McClellan, Buell, and Fitz-John 
Porter than they had performed. His comments and 
criticisms were clothed in excellent language and de 
livered with felicity and grace, while his manners 
were stately and dignified without being frigid or 

During our conversation, without the slightest 
suggestion on my part, he referred to Mr. Lincoln 
and his untimely death. Speaking of him and his 
public services in terms of respect and kindness, he 
seemed to regard the martyred president as having 
been a worthy if not a brilliant member of Congress 
and a conscientious president. He did not hesitate 
to express his sorrow that a man of so much sensi 
bility and kindliness had been succeeded in the presi 
dency by Andrew Johnson, for whom he made but 
little if any effort to conceal his dislike, and whom 
he seemed to fear would be governed by a vindictive 
and unforgiving temper toward the Southern peo 

He voluntarily alluded to the reward offered for 
his arrest and which he heard of for the first time 
on the road from Irwinville to Macon, declaring with 
modest language and bearing that while he was 



both surprised and pained at the charge of complic 
ity in the assassination of the President he solemnly 
asserted that it gave him no serious apprehension. 
In connection with this subject he added: "I have 
no doubt, General, the Government of the United 
States will bring a much more serious charge against 
me than that, and one which will give me much 
greater trouble to disprove. " Of course I under 
stood this as an allusion to his well-known public 
actions in connection with secession and the war 
against the Union. 

His conduct throughout the interview was in 
every way natural and self-possessed and, as far as 
I could discover, did not reveal the slightest uneasi 
ness or apprehension. It gave me the impression 
that, although he was the fallen chief of the Confed 
eracy who had lost and become a prisoner of war, he 
still felt that he would in some way remain an im 
portant factor in the political reconstruction of the 

In the midst of our interview he sent for his in 
telligent and manly little son, Jefferson, and politely 
introduced him to me. This boy grew to manhood, 
but had hardly started in life when he died of yellow 
fever in the epidemic which prevailed at Memphis 
and on the lower Mississippi some years later. 

I did not meet either Mrs. Davis or Miss Howell. 
As reported to me by Colonel Pritchard, Mrs. Davis, 
womanlike, in her deep distress and anxiety, had 
taken some slight comfort in the thought that she 
would find me an old acquaintance in the person of 
my classmate, Jack Wilson. That it was not so was 
doubtless a disappointment to her. She did not, how 
ever, ask to meet me and I so far respected her 



wishes and those of Miss Howell as not to ask to be 
presented to them. Of course, every proper atten 
tion was paid to their comfort, and I am sure no due 
or becoming courtesy was omitted either by 
Colonel Pritchard or by any of my officers or by 

After touching on the various subjects alluded to 
in this narrative, I informed Mr. Davis that he was 
to be sent that afternoon, when ready, by the way of 
Atlanta and Augusta to Savannah and thence by sea 
to such point north as the Secretary of War might 
designate. At this he expressed no surprise, but as 
he was about to take leave, he said: "I suppose, of 
course, Colonel Pritchard will be my custodian here 
after as heretofore, and I wish to express my satis 
faction at this arrangement, for it is both my duty 
and my pleasure to say that Colonel Pritchard has 
treated me with marked courtesy and consideration. 
I have no fault to find with him and beg you to tell 
him so. I should do it myself but for fear it might 
be regarded as a prisoner s effort to make fair 
weather with his captor. " He seemed to be specially 
impressed by the Colonel s dignity and self-posses 
sion and intimated a regret that he had not been 
more fortunate in his own conduct at the time of his 
capture and during his march to Macon. In the first 
instance he doubtless alluded to his loss of temper, 
and in the second to the fact that he spoke sharply 
and imperiously to the officers and men whose duty 
it was not only to make sure of his safety, but to see 
that he should have no chance to escape. 

For the purpose of cutting off all hope of rescue, 
I sent Mr. Davis and his party by the train leaving 
at five o clock for Atlanta and Augusta in personal 



charge of Colonel Pritchard with twenty picked men, 
escorted by eight hundred men carried on two trains, 
one preceding and one following the train carrying 
the prisoners. As far as I knew there was not a 
single man and still less a single military organiza 
tion in Georgia, although the State was full of dis 
banded Confederates, which would have dared to 
undertake his release, but it was clearly my duty 
to see that every precaution was taken to make that 

The party passed safely over the road and, al 
though it was before the era of sleeping cars, 
reached Augusta the next day in fairly good condi 
tion. General Upton, who had been duly instructed, 
was on the lookout, and transferred them on arrival 
to a river steamer with every possible provision for 
their comfort. Under orders from Washington he 
had also arrested Alexander H. Stevens, vice-presi 
dent of the Confederacy. As was well known at the 
time that distinguished statesman was not on good 
terms with Davis, for which reason Mr. Stevens ex 
pressed the hope that they would not be brought in 
contact. For this reason Upton gave instructions to 
keep them apart while they were on the steamboat. 
They were also accompanied by Mr. Mallory, the 
Confederate secretary of the navy, Mr. Reagan, 
postmaster general, Mr. Hill, a Confederate senator 
for Georgia, and Mr. Clement C. Clay, who had sur 
rendered himself a few days before. General Joe 
Wheeler and staff also accompanied the party. They 
had been arrested at Conyer Station, near Atlanta, 
by a detachment of Palmer s brigade, while trying 
to make their way to the trans-Mississippi. Wheeler 
had a forged parole with which he tried to pass him- 



self off as Lieutenant Sharp. His conduct appeared 
highly suspicious, and while he did not deny the 
forged parole, he protested that he was not trying to 
escape. But, withal, his prevarication and irrespon 
sible talk were such as to convince Palmer that he 
should be deprived of his liberty and sent up for 
such action as the Washington authorities might 
choose to take. Both Upton and I had known 
Wheeler well as a cadet and, while we regarded him 
in no way as a dangerous opponent, it had always 
been a mystery to us that he should have reached 
such high rank and command in the Confederate 
service. Upton, probably as much to get rid of him 
as for any other reason, sent him with Davis s party. 
He, of course, made his companions believe that he 
was a martyr to the Lost Cause, and his belief, 
I regret to add, was strengthened by his transfer 
with the rest to the gun-boat which conveyed the 
party from Savannah to Hampton Roads. Without 
further details, it will be remembered that Davis was 
separated at that place from his family and his 
friends and then imprisoned at Fortress Monroe. 
May 22, 1865. 

While it has been frequently contended that it 
would have been better to " build a bridge of gold" 
over which Davis might escape, it must not be for 
gotten that the assassination of President Lincoln 
had changed the feeling of the country from one of 
indifference to one of intense anxiety that the lead 
ers of the Confederacy, as well as all persons who 
might have been engaged in that wicked and unfeel 
ing crime, should be arrested and brought to pun 
ishment. And it was doubtless as the exponent of 
that feeling that the Secretary of War took such an 



intense interest in the pursuit and capture and the 
safe transportation and imprisonment of Davis. 
Both Stanton and President Johnson were accused 
of vindictive feelings toward him. In common with 
most military men I supposed that Davis would at 
least be tried by a military commission for levying 
war against the United States, but from the fact that 
he was never brought to trial before either a mili 
tary or a civil court, it cannot be successfully con 
tended that he was vindictively treated, although 
confined in a casemate with irons on his wrists. The 
most that can be said against that treatment is that 
it was foolish and unnecessary. While it is true that 
every effort was made for the next six months to 
find proof connecting Davis with the plot to assas 
sinate the President and his cabinet, all efforts in 
that direction finally failed, and the charge was 
properly dismissed along with all other charges 
against the great prisoner. After nearly half a 
century in the full light of every fact disclosed, it 
does not appear that there was ever the slightest 
justification even for the suspicion that Mr. Davis 
had either personal or official knowledge or respon 
sibility for the wild and dastardly plot to murder his 
great contemporary. That he was not only per 
mitted in the end to go free, but to die of old age in 
peace, redounds to the glory of our common country 
as well as to the moderation if not to the magnanim 
ity of both Stanton and Johnson. Both were at times 
foolish and arbitrary, but neither was a corrupt or a 
wicked man. 

As before stated, the capture of Davis and his 
family, following, as it did, the capture and destruc 
tion of the last Confederate arsenal, storehouse, and 



stronghold and the disbandment and parole of the 
last Confederate army, made peace not only certain 
but effective and permanent. Our task was done and 
done well, and it remained but to retain only enough 
troops to keep order in Georgia. 




Winslow rebuilds railroad from Atlanta to Dalton Presi 
dent s message Governor Brown of Georgia Recon 
struction policy Conference with Brown Attitude of 
the churches General Cobb s letter The South 
Mustering out of cavalry corps Career of officers of 
Cavalry Corps Letter to Sherman Andersonville 
Prison Meeting with Grant. 

Having captured and disposed of the principal 
civil officers connected with the Confederate Govern 
ment, the cavalry corps was concentrated as before, 
two divisions at Macon and one at Atlanta, but while 
the concentration was going on many other matters 
engaged my attention. 

I had kept Stanton, Grant, Thomas, Schofield, 
Gillmore, and Canby daily informed of what was go 
ing on in Georgia, but the mails and telegraphs were 
badly disarranged and their service was generally 
far behind the events referred to. All the reports 
and dispatches will, however, be found fully set forth 
in the Official Kecords. 1 They epitomize a short but 
interesting period of history, but as I have summar 
ized the military events, I shall confine myself hence 
forth to such civil matters as seem particularly im 

1 O. E. Serial No. 104, pp. 628 et seq. 


I was without experience to guide me through the 
complications which followed the collapse of the 
Southern governments both confederate and state, 
and yet, having recently reread all the correspon 
dence and considered all the events in which I exer 
cised a controlling influence, it is a matter of su 
preme satisfaction that I find neither word nor deed 
of mine that I should care to change. 

My first care after arriving at Macon was to sub 
sist my command without inflicting unnecessary 
want or injury on the people by which we were sur 
rounded. Efforts were made to send supplies to 
me by way of the rivers bounding or penetrating 
the state, but all such efforts proved inadequate or 
abortive. Sherman intimated that I should send the 
entire corps, except a few veteran regiments to keep 
order, to the Tennessee Kiver, but, as the interven 
ing country was poor and thinly settled, and had 
already been stripped of its supplies, I regarded 
that suggestion as impracticable. As far as I could 
see there was nothing for us but to rebuild and re 
open the railroad from Atlanta to Dalton and Chat 
tanooga, which Sherman had destroyed before 
starting on the March to the Sea, and this I pro 
posed to both Thomas and Grant, but the latter 
thought it unnecessary and forbade its being done, 
mostly, as I supposed, on account of the large ex 
pense it would entail. This made it obligatory to 
finance the undertaking, as well as to find men and 
materials to carry it out. Fortunately, Winslow 
was in the region of the railroad, and, although as 
young as the rest of us, he had had some experience 
before the war as a railroad contractor and was, 
besides, full of resources. I, therefore, put him and 



his entire brigade at the work, with instructions to 
keep careful account of its cost, with the under 
standing that we should require the railroad com 
pany to repay it out of its first receipts. And this 
was done. Fortunately, the timbers for one or two 
of the most important bridges destroyed by Sher 
man had been framed by the railroad employees 
and were on the ground ready for erection. The 
adjacent forest was full of suitable timber, and, al 
though the sawmills had been generally destroyed, 
sufficient trees were soon felled and shaped for use. 
Many of our troopers were experienced axemen, 
bridge-builders, and track-layers. With seven hun 
dred axes, which were slow in coming from Chat 
tanooga, and the hearty cooperation of the railroad 
officials, Winslow soon had out the necessary piles, 
bridge timbers, and cross-ties, but to straighten the 
rails, many of which had been wrapped around the 
trees or otherwise bent out of all shape, was a more 
serious undertaking. With the aid of his handy 
men Winslow was equal to that job also. Working 
night and day with frequent relays, he closed 
up the gaps between him and Steedman, who 
was working south from Dalton, and got 
the trains running from end to end within 
three weeks, thus solving all of our difficul 
ties. Mail, passenger, and freight communica 
tion was reestablished with the North, and all 
our wants, as well as those of the people, were 
soon fully supplied. 

I have always regarded Winslow s work in re 
building the railroad as most creditable. Indeed, 
there was no other instance which more fully or 
more creditably illustrates the capacity and re- 



sourcefulness of the American volunteer cavalry 

Early in May Joseph E. Brown, Confederate 
governor of Georgia, without consulting me, but en 
tirely on his own responsibility, summoned the Leg 
islature of the State to meet at the Capitol on the 
22nd of that month. I invited him to Macon for a 
conference and, after telling him he had made a 
serious mistake, I authorized him, at his urgent re 
quest, to telegraph the President for his views, and 
for such orders as he might issue in the premises. 
The President made no direct reply, but the next 
day Secretary Stanton instructed me by telegraph 
to give Mr. Brown the following answer by order 
of the President : 

First : That the collapse in the currency and the great 
destitution of provisions among the poor ... of 
Georgia, mentioned in his telegram, have been caused by 
the treason, insurrection, and rebellion against the au 
thority, Constitution, and laws of the United States, in 
cited and carried on for the last four years by Mr. Brown 
and his Confederate rebels and traitors who are responsi 
ble for all the want and destitution now existing in that 

Second: What Mr. Brown called the result which the 
fortunes of war have imposed upon the people of Georgia 
and all the misery, loss, and woe they have suffered are 
chargeable upon Mr. Brown and his Confederate rebels 
who usurped the authority of the State . . . and 
waged treasonable war against the United States and 
. . . protracted the war to the last extremity until com 
pelled by superior force to lay down their arms and accept 
the result ... as a just penalty of the crimes of 
treason and rebellion. 



Third: That the restoration of peace and order cannot 
be entrusted to rebels and traitors who destroyed the peace 
and trampled down the order that had existed more than a 
half century and made Georgia a great and prosperous 
State. The persons who incited this war . . . will not 
be allowed to assemble at the call of their accomplice to act 
again as a Legislature of the State and usurp its authority 
and franchise. ... In calling them together without 
permission of the President, Mr. Brown perpetrated a 
fresh crime that will be dealt with accordingly. 

Fourth: You will further inform Mr. Brown that the 
President of the United States will, without delay, exert 
all the lawful powers of his office to relieve the people of 
Georgia . . . from the bondage of military tyranny, 
which armed rebels and traitors have so long imposed alike 
upon poor and rich. The President hopes that by restor 
ing peace and order, giving security to life, liberty and 
property, by encouraging trade, arts, manufactures, and 
every species of industry, so as to revise the financial credit 
of the State and develop its great resources, the people will 
again soon be able to rejoice under the Constitution and 
Laws of the United States and of their own State in the 
prosperity and happiness they once had, but were deprived 
of by the treason and rebellion now overthrown. To all 
private persons who return to their allegiance to the United 
States and devote themselves to peaceful pursuits liberal 
clemency will be exercised. 

You will communicate the foregoing answer to Mr. 
Brown and take prompt measures to prevent any assem 
blage of rebels as a Legislature or under any other pretext 
within your command. If any persons shall presume to 
answer or acknowledge the call of Mr. Brown mentioned 
in his telegram to the President you will immediately ar 
rest them and report to this department for further in 
structions. 1 

1 O. E. Serial No. 104, p. 646. 


This was followed by another an hour later by 
the same authority, directing me to arrest Joseph 
E. Brown, " pretending to act as governor of 
Georgia" and to send him "in close custody under 
sufficient and secure guard " to Major General 
Augur at Washington, allowing him to hold no ver 
bal or written communication with any person but 
the officer having him in charge after the receipt of 
this order. 1 Of course, this was done, but what took 
place there I never knew. Brown was an adroit 
politician and special pleader and doubtless estab 
lished personal, if not political, relations with Mr. 
Johnson. At all events, he returned shortly to the 
State, and, while he did not pretend to exercise any 
of the functions of governor, from that time forth 
he certainly had more influence and was on more in 
timate terms with the President than any other man 
in the State. He was subsequently governor more 
than once and finally died many years afterward as 
a member of the U. S. Senate. 

Mr. Stanton s instructions were more important 
as foreshadowing the Government policy in regard 
to " reconstruction " than as humiliating or restrain 
ing Brown in the exercise of authority after the 
collapse of the Confederacy. It made it clear that 
treason and rebellion were to be made odious, that 
no secession or confederate authority would be rec 
ognized at Washington, and that in their own time 
and way the Washington authorities would indicate 
the course to be followed by the states that had 
made war against the Union. While it did not in 
timate upon what class or group the work of reor 
ganization would be laid, it made it certain that for 

1 O. K. Serial No. 104, p. 647. 



the present, at least, it would not be entrusted to 
"Mr. Brown and his Confederate rebels and 
traitors/ As nearly all the Southern politicians 
had been engaged "in treason, insurrection, and re 
bellion," they were as a class included within the 
terms of the President s anathema. There was no 
thought of pardoning or consulting the old leaders, 
and no hope could be drawn from it by even the old 
Union men. It was a note of vengeance and nothing 

But the order for Brown s arrest in face of the 
parole I gave him was clearly an indication that 
such paroles might be disregarded and set aside. 
While obliged to carry out the President s order as 
received, I also felt it my duty to inform both Grant 
and the Secretary of War that I had paroled Gov 
ernor Brown as commander-in-chief of the Georgia 
militia, nearly all of which was under arms when I 
entered the State. 

The circumstances were interesting. Foreseeing 
shortly after Johnston s surrender that Brown, who 
had defied the Confederate authorities, might con 
sider himself an independent authority, I sent him 
word that he had better not exercise any authority 
whatever as governor, but in face of this he issued 
his proclamation calling the legislature together at 
an early date. Thereupon I sent an officer to invite 
him to Macon for a conference. I took the precau 
tion of telling the officer to say to the Governor that 
if he thought he would have any difficulty in finding 
his way he would personally escort him to Macon. 
The Governor thanked him and said he would go at 
once. That night, shortly after supper, a natty ma 
jor in a brand new Confederate uniform called at 



headquarters and on admission said in the most re 
spectful manner: "His Excellency, Governor 
Brown, has taken rooms at the Brown Hotel, Suite 
28, where he will be pleased to receive General Wil 
son at 8 :30 this evening. As the message seemed 
somewhat peculiar under the circumstances, I asked 
the Major if he was sure he had delivered it as he 
had received it from the Governor. To this he said : 
"Yes, sir exactly as the Governor gave it to me." 

I replied: "Major, please repeat it," which he 
did in the terms he had just used. 

Thereupon, I replied deliberately: "I see, Major, 
you have correctly given me the message entrusted 
to you. If there is any mistake it is the Governor s 
and not yours. You may, therefore, return to the 
Governor with my compliments and say: General 
Wilson s quarters are at the Lanier House in par 
lor A, where he expects to see His Excellency Gov 
ernor Brown promptly at nine o clock to-morrow 
morning. General Wilson adds, if His Excellency 
has the slightest doubt as to the significance of this 
message, General Wilson will send a sergeant of 
the guard with four men to escort His Excellency 
to General Wilson s headquarters. " 

From the change in the Major s countenance it 
was more evident than ever that he had made no 
mistake, and that he fully understood my meaning. 
At all events, he disappeared without further cere 
mony, and promptly at the hour designated "His 
Excellency" presented himself at my headquarters. 

Neither referred to the messages exchanged the 
night before. The Governor seemed to understand 
my position exactly and I received him with every 
proper mark of respect and consideration, except 



that I did not turn out the guard, nor fire a gov 
ernor ? s salute for him. 

The meeting was a pleasant and interesting one. 
The Governor was at that time in middle life and 
in the possession of all his faculties, which, I soon 
discovered, were by no means of a low order. I had 
heard an amusing account of himself and his family 
as having been reared in "the wire grass country 
of Cherokee, Georgia, where they had but few edu 
cational advantages and none for the cultivation 
of the graces. I was, therefore, somewhat sur 
prised to find him smooth, suave, deferential, and 
polite, as well as more than usually intelligent. He 
carried himself with easy self-possession and ap 
peared well dressed and prosperous, as might have 
been expected of one who had grown rich by block 
ade running, while the majority of his fellow-citi 
zens had lost almost everything they had from the 
ravages of war. 

After the usual salutation I told him on my own 
responsibility not to hold the meeting of the Legis 
lature he had called against my warning, pointing 
out that such a meeting would probably be regarded 
by the Washington authorities as both premature 
and inexpedient. He argued the case in favor of 
early measures for the reestablishment of social 
order and prosperity, but I remained firm. I urged 
him as a leading citizen to discourage even mass- 
meetings and public discussions as prejudicial to 
the quietude and exemption from excitement which 
all should desire throughout the state. I explained 
that, while I should hold myself responsible for the 
maintenance of order, I should expect the surrender 
of all State militia under arms when I entered the 



state or called out since my arrival under no matter 
what pretext. I made it clear that this surrender 
should include the Governor as commander-in-chief 
and all military State officers. At this he seemed 
deeply concerned, apparently on the ground that 
such a policy on my part would rob him of his power 
and influence, whereupon I warned him earnestly 
against exercising any authority or power under 
the last election or under any other pretense what 
ever. He listened attentively to what I said, but 
was evidently unwilling to regard my authority as 
military commander with anything else than dis 
trust, and during the discussion he made it apparent 
that he wished to appeal to the President to set 
aside my decision. As far as I knew, our meeting 
was the first one held between a loyal army com 
mander and an elected governor holding authority 
from a seceding state, but, as I was also anxious 
to know what political view as well as what prac 
tical measures would be taken by the constituted 
authorities in reference to " reconstruction, " I ap 
proved and forwarded his message to the President 
with the assurance that I should transmit to him 
any reply which might reach me. 

After that was settled he tarried awhile and 
from his conversation showed clearly that he was 
not on good terms with General Cobb, whom he 
thought overbearing, bombastic, and inconsiderate. 
He had seen Cobb and other leading men the night 
before repeating more than once, as I thought, in 
a tone of ridicule the words which Cobb used in 
describing the recent battle: "My God! How the 
Georgia line did fight in the defense of Columbus ! 

I naturally encouraged him to tell me what he 


thought of Alexander H. Stevens, Herschell V. 
Johnson, Senator Hill, Mr. Tombs, Eandolph Mott, 
James Johnson, and Colonel Washington, the last 
three of whom were Union men. It was evident that, 
while he talked freely of all and unkindly of none, 
he thought himself not only the most considerable 
man of the State, but its safest guide back into full 
and harmonious relations with the other states of 
the Union. He dwelt complacently on his strenuous 
opposition to Davis, his devotion to state s rights, 
and to the organization of the state militia under 
his own chosen commander as an independent force 
for its defense, and yet he did not seem to appre 
ciate or even to have thought of a parole which 
would protect him as commander-in-chief from ar 
rest and imprisonment. Foreseeing that this might 
be his fate, I had already directed Colonel Noble, 
who, it will be remembered, was gifted in that di 
rection, to prepare a drastic document covering 
Brown s case, and as he was about to take his leave 
I handed it to him with the remark that perhaps 
he had better read and sign it. Cautious to the 
last, he asked what it was, and when I replied that 
it was a special parole prepared to cover his case 
he said : " Yes, yes, I thought of that some time ago, 
but it had escaped my mind." He then read it 
carefully with a changing and saddening counten 
ance, and at the end laid it gravely on the table 
with the remark: "But, General, I can t sign that 

At this surprising conclusion I asked why he 
could not sign the paper, calling attention to the fact 
that it might be a protection which under the John 
son-Sherman capitulation he was entitled to have. 



To this he replied: "Why, General, it requires 
me to recant and abjure all the political acts and 
opinions of my life." 

"Yes," said I. "Governor, that is one of its 
conditions, and if it does not cover the case com 
pletely it is a mistake and not an intentional omis 
sion, but under the circumstances I am still at a loss 
to understand why you hesitate. Please under 
stand, however, that it is in no way compulsory ! 

To this, with a deep and audible sigh, he replied : 
"If I sign that paper it will destroy all my political 
prospects forever." 

That view of the case was novel, and it struck 
me as indicating that the Governor had not yet 
fully realized the significance or extent of the Union 
victory, and, therefore, rising from my seat and fac 
ing him squarely, I said: "My God! Governor, is 
it possible that you imagine, in the face of the part 
you have taken against the United States for the 
last four years, you have any prospect in this coun 
try but to be hanged?" 

Evidently this presented the situation under a 
new and unexpected aspect, for, without a moment s 
hesitation, he said: "That view of the matter had 
not occurred to me." Thereupon, sitting again, 
and taking up the pen, he deliberately signed the 
document in duplicate, one copy of which I handed 
to him and the other forwarded immediately to the 
"War Department, where it will doubtless be found 
duly briefed and filed. So far as I know, it was 
never published, though it served the governor more 
than one useful turn. 

Taking his leave, with a countenance somewhat 
"sicklied o er with a pale cast of thought," he re- 



turned to the hotel, where several leading men were 
waiting for him. The next morning General Cobb 
told me what took place on his return. They asked 
at first for the results of his interview, to which he 
replied: "Well, gentlemen, General Wilson is a 
very clever young man, but he takes the military 
view of the situation. 

This phrase gave Cobb particular satisfaction, 
for he repeated it frequently with a grim smile 
and an emphasis on the word that showed quite 
plainly not only his contempt for the Governor as 
a "poor white from Cherokee, Georgia, " but as a 
scheming politician whom he was glad to see foiled 
in his effort to beguile me while striving to avoid re 
sponsibility for his own acts. It was interesting 
to note that even adversity had not yet leveled the 
distinctions between the rich and the poor, the slave 
holder and the non-slaveholder, the military man 
and the politician, with their varying shades of in 
terest and belief. It was apparent that their rival 
ries, even in the work of rehabilitation and recon 
struction, were to continue to the end. 

During the next four weeks I mingled much with 
the leading men, seeking their views and giving my 
own on every public question of interest. I coun 
seled moderation in speech, abstention from pub 
lic discussions, and a strict and studious devotion 
to the private duties of life. Many of those who 
had been prominent in affairs wanted to hold mass- 
meetings for the purpose of assuring the Govern 
ment of their readiness to accept the Union and such 
laws as Congress might make for its complete re- 
establishment. To all such I said: "Don t do any 
thing of the sort, but go home and attend to your 



farms, stores, and business and you will be gratified 
in a short time to find that public affairs have taken 
care of themselves. " While I cannot claim to have 
anticipated Senator Hoar s sententious but sound 
advice to all Southerners, "to raise more cotton 
and less hell," that was the substance of my coun 
sel, and I am glad to record that it was accepted by 
the people of Georgia as a wise and safe rule of 
conduct. No public meetings were held and the 
planting population, at least, devoted itself indus 
triously to taking care of the crops, and this busi 
ness, owing to the high price of cotton, promised 
great profit. 

The poor whites, who had been renters before 
the war, were nearly as well off after it. They took 
this advice in good part, and, although the season 
was late, made one of the best and most profitable 
crops the State ever raised. So deeply was I con 
vinced of the wisdom of this course, and that peace 
would soon leave me without occupation, I thought 
for a time seriously of going into the planting busi 
ness myself, not as a proprietor, for I had no money, 
but as a renter who could probably get all the negro 
labor I wanted. I proposed that General Croxton, 
a free-soil Kentuckian, and Major Beaumont should 
join me in the enterprise, but, fortunately, we en 
countered difficulties in securing a sufficient quan 
tity of good land, which caused us to give up the 

The attitude of the churches as a social force 
early attracted my attention. The clergy of all de 
nominations, and especially the Episcopalians, from 
the bishop down, were slow in accepting the inevi 
table and at first were strongly disinclined to in- 



elude "the President of the United States and all 
others in authority" in their regular supplications. 
The first to conform to this usage in the Southern 
states was the pastor of the principal Presbyterian 
parish of the town, who called upon me with a lady 
dressed in deep mourning one night shortly after 
my arrival. They came to intercede for her father, 
a distinguished judge, the Commissioner of Seques 
tration, who had gone into concealment for fear of 
arrest. Of course, their request was granted and 
a safeguard furnished at once, and this led to a gen 
eral conversation, followed in due time by a pleas 
ant friendship. Before leaving the reverend gen 
tleman expressed some doubt as to his own course, 
whereupon I suggested that he should preach next 
Sunday on the text : i Eighteousness exalteth a na 
tion, but sin is a reproach to any people. I pointed 
out that this proverb, inscribed under Weir s beau 
tiful picture over the chancel of the old chapel at 
West Point, would be regarded by every army offi 
cer, as well as by every man familiar with the Bible, 
as appropriate to the conditions which prevailed 
about them. My visitor promptly accepted my sug 
gestion, and, I am glad to add, he preached an elo 
quent and appropriate sermon the next Sunday and 
followed by praying "for the President of the United 
States and all others in authority. " The example, 
much to my gratification, was promptly followed 
by all the other churches of the city and the neigh 
boring towns. 

During that summer I established intimate re 
lations with General Cobb, who, it will be remem 
bered, had been before the war a member of the 
National Congress, speaker of the House of Bepre- 



sentatives, and secretary of the treasury in 
Buchanan s cabinet. He was still in middle life 
with unimpaired faculties, and, while possessing all 
the lofty pretensions of the old school Southerner, 
he was philosopher and statesman enough to recog 
nize that he had lost all with the Lost Cause; that 
slavery was forever at an end, and that all who 
loved the South and its people must now accept the 
inevitable results and give their best efforts to re 
pairing the ravages of war, reframing their laws, 
remodeling their institutions, and reestablishing 
their industries. He called upon me frequently, and, 
while asking nothing for himself, it was easy to per 
ceive that he stood with his class, all of whom had 
been rebels, and regarded it as the class whose ad 
vice and active assistance should be sought in the 
great work now before the country, and which was 
of such transcendent importance to both the North 
and the South. 

I drew him out, as opportunity offered, on every 
aspect of the situation, and it was at my personal 
request that he wrote his celebrated letter, dated 
Macon, June 14, 1865, 1 which I transmitted the same 
day to President Johnson, the original manuscript 
of which is now on file in the Library of Congress. 
It was printed and widely circulated by the news 
papers of the day, and, although full of wisdom, I 
regret to add, it was not received in any part of 
the country with the favor to which its moderate and 
statesmanlike views entitled it. It opened with the 
manly declaration that he was a secessionist and 

1 " Documentary History of Reconstruction," by Prof. Walter 
Fleming, Arthur H. Clark Company, Cleveland, 1906, Vol. I, p. 128, 
Howell Cobb to General Wilson. 



counseled the people of his State to secede, that he 
had served in the army till the end of the war, and 
that his actions since then had conformed to the 
obligations of the surrender. He regarded the South 
as subjugated, and on that basis laid down the prin 
ciples which he thought should guide the policy of 
both parties. He pointed out that the South s plain 
and simple duty was "a return to the peaceful and 
quiet employments of life; obedience to the Consti 
tution and laws of the United States ; and the faith 
ful discharge of all the duties and obligations im 
posed upon them by the new state of things. " 

While recognizing that the policy of the North 
could not be so easily determined and that the hour 
of triumph was not necessarily the hour for wise 
judgments, he maintained that not only the present 
condition, but the conditions which should be de 
sired, should receive primary and paramount con 
sideration. He then declared that the actual sit 
uation was as bad as the South s worst enemy could 
wish, that the institution of slavery had been inter 
woven with the entire framework of Southern so 
ciety and into every page of its statute books, and 
that its abolition which all accepted would neces 
sarily revolutionize the whole system of agriculture 
and labor, as well as greatly retard the restoration 
of prosperity. Acknowledging fully and without 
qualifications that the successful termination of the 
war had restored the Union, he pleaded, not only 
for the South, but for the whole country, that the 
bitter animosities should be softened, that prosper 
ity should be restored, and that a spirit of mag 
nanimity and generosity should shape the policy of 
the conquerors. He added in impressive language 



that the world was sadly in need of such an example 
and that the United States should show it. He 
deprecated the prejudices and passions and appealed 
to the mellowing influences of kindness and of gen 
erosity as the surest means of making the South 
erners forget the privations of the present and the 
sufferings of the past. Finally he declared that the 
security of the future required no further punish 
ment of the South. 

Having laid down these general principles, he 
proposed that they should be carried into practical 
effect by the discontinuance of all prosecutions and 
penalties and by the proclamation of a general 
amnesty for all past acts to those who had in good 
faith abandoned the contest and returned to their 

In further support of these merciful measures 
he said : If my voice could be heard in the coun 
cils of the Government, I should seek to restore con 
cord and good feeling by extending it to those from 
whom I ask it in return, and by a course of generous 
confidence to win the willing and cheerful support 
of those whose loyalty and allegiance when thus won 
could be relied upon. No one will doubt that the 
man who is received back into the Union and feels 
that he has been subjected to no severe penalty, and 
been required to submit to no humiliating test, will 
make a truer and better citizen than the one who 
feels that his citizenship has been obtained by sub 
mitting to harsh and degrading terms which he was 
compelled to yield to, to secure the rights he has ac 
quired. . . ." 

After reiterating his opinion that the institu 
tion of slavery provided the best system of labor 



that could be devised for the negro race and point 
ing out that the Southern people were not only pre 
pared to conform to the new state of things, but 
disposed to pursue it toward the negroes "in a spirit 
of humanity and kindness/ he took it for granted 
that "the future relations between the negroes and 
their former owners, like all other questions of do 
mestic policy, would be under the control and direc 
tion of the State Governments. " He suggested that 
a more certain and well-defined system than could 
be enforced under military regulation should be de 
signed and promulgated to meet "the many ques 
tions that might arise. " He seemed also to fear 
that a system of internal taxation might be adopted 
which would impose burdens upon the people they 
could not meet, and might end in the virtual con 
fiscation of their estates, and that time should be 
given to taxpayers to raise the necessary money and 
thus save the remnants of their properties. 

Lastly, while fully conscious that what he had 
written might be criticised as proceeding from an 
interested party, he frankly said: "This is true, I 
am . . . deeply interested in the question, not 
so much for myself, for I have no future, as for my 
friends, and my countrymen. . . . But we are 
not the only persons interested in the solution of 
the great problem which stands in the history of the 
world without precedent or parallel. . . ." 

I need not call attention to the fact that in trans 
mitting this weighty and dignified contribution to 
the question of reconstruction, I counted myself as 
having performed a public duty, the wisdom of which 
has been amply justified by the course of subsequent 
history. It was followed by many other letters of 



similar tenor from original Union men and original 
secessionists from various parts of the South. But 
I regret to add that none produced the slightest 
favorable effect on the course of events at Wash 
ington. The passions and animosities of Stanton 
and the radical leaders, doubtless aided by the split 
between them and Johnson, resulted in plans and 
measures for the restoration of the South to the 
Union which led to great confusion and aroused the 
opposition of the old secessionists, heated the South 
ern blood, and led later to the organization of the 
Ku Klux Klan as the only practicable means of 
driving out the scandalous governments of the car 
pet-bag adventurers and ignorant freedmen, aided 
by renegade allies among the poor whites. 

While it was General Grant s purpose to give me 
command of the Department of Georgia, 1 I have al 
ways been thankful that he failed, whether from the 
opposition of Stanton, the preference of the Presi 
dent for James B. Steedman, or from the fact that 
Johnson had not forgotten the plain talk I gave him 
at Nashville in regard to the Tennessee cavalry. 
Whatever may have been the motive, it left me in 
comparative idleness, which impelled me to ask for 
muster out a few months later. My request was 
granted by the Adjutant General as a matter of 
course, but when the order passed through General 
Grant s headquarters he countermanded it with the 
understanding that he should retain me as a major 
general as long as he could find appropriate em 
ployment for me in that grade. While my subse 
quent service as a district commander was not equal 
to my rank, it afforded perfunctory employment, 
and doubtless saved me from extended and annoy- 

1 O. E, Serial No. 104, p. 882. 


ing participation in the thankless and complicated 
work of reconstruction. 

While the Cavalry Corps was reassembling from 
its wide distribution throughout Georgia and Flor 
ida, as heretofore described, Thomas notified me to 
hold it in readiness for transfer to Texas, and this 
gave both officers and men unalloyed satisfaction. 
It indicated that we were to participate in the ex 
pulsion of Maximillian and his allies from Mexico, 
as required by the Monroe Doctrine, if they con 
cluded to fight rather than leave the country peace 
ably. Wisely enough, they chose the latter course 
and our short-lived dream of service on foreign soil 
gave way to the muster out, which was fully de 
cided upon before the end of May. It was at first 
proposed to discharge only the newer regiments 
and to retain the veterans, estimated at ten or twelve 
thousand men, who had from one to two years yet 
to serve on their second enlistment. But on my rep 
resentation that no such force was needed in 
Georgia, that cavalrymen charged with the care of 
their horses for at least an hour daily were not fitted 
for garrison service in connection with reconstruc 
tion, and, finally, that two or three infantry regi 
ments would be ample to maintain order in the 
State, it was decided to send my three divisions to 
the North by the way of Atlanta, Dalton, and Chat 
tanooga for muster out. 

This routine work fell to the regular mustering 
officers, supervised by Major Hosea of my staff and 
General Upton of the Fourth Division. The troops 
made their way without haste along the railroad 
which Winslow was rebuilding. Depots of supplies 
had been established at convenient points by the 



corps chief quartermaster and chief commissary, 
which made the march an easy one. This was fol 
lowed by the muster out of each division as it 
reached its designated camp and by the transpor 
tation of the various regiments to their respective 
states. Nothing could have been conducted more 
rapidly, nor with more perfect discipline. The en 
tire command disappeared from the service and 
dropped into the bosom of the people with no other 
commotion than that which naturally followed the 
return of the war-worn soldiers to their homes and 

A formal order dissolving the corps was issued 
by General Thomas and I followed that by my fare 
well General Order Number 39, dated at Macon, 
Georgia, July 2, 1865 : 

To the officers and men of the Cavalry Corps, Military 
Division of the Mississippi. Your corps has ceased to ex 
ist! The rebellion has terminated in the reestablishment 
of your country upon the basis of nationality and perpetual 
unity. Your deeds have contributed a noble part to the 
glorious result; they have passed into history and need no 
recital from me. In the nine months during which I have 
commanded you I have heard no reproach upon your con 
duct and have had no disaster to chronicle. 

The glowing memories of Franklin, Nashville, West 
Harpeth, Ebenezer Church, Selrna, Montgomery, Colum 
bus, West Point, and Macon may well fill your hearts and 
mine with pride. 

You have learned to believe yourselves invincible and, 
contemplating your honorable deeds, may justly cherish 
that belief. You may be proud of your splendid discipline 
no less than of your courage, zeal, and endurance. The 
noble impulses which have inspired you in the past will 
be a source of enduring honor. 



"Peace hath her victories no less renowned than war." 
Do not forget that clear heads, honest hearts, and stout arms 
guided by pure patriotism are the surest defense of your 
country in every peril. Upon them depend the substantial 
progress of your race and order of civilization as well as 
the liberty of all mankind. 

Let your example in civil life be an inducement to in 
dustry, good order, and enlightenment while your deeds in 
war shall live in the grateful remembrance of your coun 

Having discharged every military duty honestly and 
faithfully, return to your homes with the noble sentiment 
of your martyred President deeply impressed upon every 
heart: "With malice toward none and charity for all, 
strive to do the right as God gives you to see the right. 1 

While many of these officers and men fell by 
the wayside in civil life, the great majority became 
good citizens, all the better for their sacrifices and 
services in behalf of the Union. Many afterward 
rose to distinction both in civil and military life. 

McCook of the First Division became governor 
of Colorado Territory and minister to the Hawaiian 
Republic. He died at advanced age in 1909. 

Croxton was appointed by President Grant min 
ister to Bolivia, where he died of tuberculosis at 
the end of a few years service. 

LaGrange studied law and became an eloquent 
public speaker in San Francisco, where he served a 
term as superintendent of the mint. Later he be 
came a promoter and mine owner and afterward 
commander of the Soldiers Home in southern Cali 
fornia, where he now lives. 

Robert M. Kelly was for many years collector 

1 O. E. Serial No. 104, p. 1059. 


of internal revenue and editor of the Louisville 

Wickliffe Cooper became an officer of the regu 
lar army, in which he died before reaching middle 
life. John M. Bacon was appointed to the regu 
lar army, where he served with marked usefulness 
and distinction till he reached the age of retire 

John F. Weston was appointed on my recom 
mendation to the regular army, where he became in 
turn captain of cavalry, commissary of subsistence, 
graduate of various service schools, and commissary 
general. He received the medal of honor for un 
usual gallantry and enterprise in the capture of a 
fleet of steamers on the Alabama River, served with 
distinction in the Spanish War, commanded the Mili 
tary Division of the Philippines, and is generally 
regarded as one of the most intelligent, dashing, 
and independent officers of his day. 

Eli Long never recovered entirely from the par 
tial paralysis produced by the wound received in 
the assault of Selma. And although placed on the 
retired list, he became a lawyer and a grape cul- 
turist and lived to a comparatively old age, hon 
ored and respected by all who knew him. 

General Minty became a railroad superintendent 
in the middle and western states, but his life was 
one of vicissitude, mingled with success and failure. 

A. 0. Miller returned to the practice of medi 
cine. His military life was an episode which in 
spired him to do his best to the end and he made 
no failures. 

General Kilpatrick threw up his commission in 
the regular artillery and, true to his ambition, be- 



came an active politician. He was an orator of rare 
power and eloquence and a popular Republican 
leader whose patriotism was ardent and whose am 
bition was boundless. He was twice rewarded for 
his services and failures by the appointment of min 
ister to Chili, where he died on December 2, 1881, 
a disappointed man. 1 

Eli Murray became United States marshal for 
Kentucky and twice governor of Utah Territory, 
where he acquitted himself with equal satisfaction 
to the Mormons and the Gentiles. He was a lawyer 
by profession and died past middle life at Salt Lake 

Smith D. Atkins returned to the practice of the 
law when the volunteer army was disbanded. He 
has been for many years an editor and an able 
leader of public opinion at Freeport, Illinois. 

General Upton, shortly after the war, made a 
tour of Europe and Asia and wrote a work on the 
"Military Policy of the United States, which was 
printed many years afterward by Congress and is 
now regarded as a standard authority in our army. 
He was always a military enthusiast and tactician. 
He suffered from an incurable malady of the head 
and its passages, which ultimately became unbear 
able and led to suicide before he had passed middle 
life. 2 

Alexander returned to his regiment and in due 
course became a field officer for most of his life on 
the frontiers. He was finally retired because of in- 

1 See Cullum s Register for details of Kilpatrick s service, Vol. 
II, p. 786, by J. H. Wilson. 

2 "Life and Letters of Emory Upton, " by Peter S. Michie, with 
an introduction by James Harrison Wilson, D. Appleton & Co., 1885. 



firmities incident to the service, which caused his 
death on May 4, 1887. 1 

General Winslow became a successful contractor, 
railroad builder and manager, and did much work 
which was better than the pay he got for it. He 
has lived many years in Paris, where he has a wide 
circle of acquaintances and friends. 

John W. Noble settled after the war at St. Louis, 
where he developed into a lawyer of great learning 
and distinction. He became secretary of the interior 
in Harrison s cabinet and now lives in St. Louis. 
No man s career better illustrates what a citizen 
of the great Eepublic should do in the emergencies 
of life. 

General Hatch became a full colonel of regular 
cavalry and no one better deserved that unusual 
distinction. He served capably and well till he 
reached the retiring age. He was finally killed in 
a runaway accident instead of on the field of battle. 

General Datus E. Coon became a citizen of Cali 
fornia, where he played an honorable and useful 
part to the end, but died before reaching old age. 

Colonel Eobert E. Stewart returned to his state 
after peace was established and became a successful 
man of affairs and a citizen without reproach. 

General E. W. Johnson returned to his regiment 
in the regular army, performed his routine duties 
for many years, but voluntarily retired and settled 
-at St. Paul, where he played the exemplary part 
of a good citizen in all that pertained to the welfare 
of the community in which he lived. He devoted 
his declining years to letters, leaving behind him 

of Andrew Jonathan Alexander, " by James Harrison 
Wilson, privately printed. 



several interesting volumes of military biog 

Colonel Thomas J. Harrison returned to Indiana 
and became a useful and honored citizen. 

Colonel James Biddle rejoined his regiment in 
the regular army and passed much of his life on 
the frontier. He retired as a brigadier general in 
1894 and died in 1910. 

General William J. Palmer became a successful 
promoter and railroad builder who iinanced and 
constructed the Denver and Eio Grande Eailroad 
and most of its connections. He was the leading 
man of the region of his activities and accumulated 
a great fortune, which he devoted liberally to the 
arts and to the advancement of the growing city in 
which he died after a long and useful life. He was 
always a lover of horses, one of which fell with him, 
dislocating his spine and completely paralyzing his 
body from the neck downward. An equestrian 
monument is quite properly to be erected to his 
memory at Colorado Springs. 

General Joseph F. Knipe, Colonel George W. 
Jackson, and Colonel Gilbert M. Johnson returned 
to their native states when mustered out and re 
sumed the occupations to which they were devoted 
before the war. They became useful citizens, but 
achieved no marked success to distinguish them from 
the great mass of their fellow soldiers. 

General John H. Hammond, after several years 
service in the Interior Department, acquired an in 
terest in Superior City, at the head of the Great 
Lakes, which in due course made him and his fam 
ily rich and prosperous. 

Many other officers of the corps rose to useful- 


ness and distinction both in civil and military life, 
but it would extend this work beyond its proper 
limits to detail the distinctions they achieved. Many 
officers were specially commended in my reports for 
unusual gallantry and conspicuous services, and I 
think the Official Eecords will show that a larger 
number received the medal of honor than any other 
corps of the Union army. 

While still at Macon trying to get into touch 
with General Sherman, over four hundred miles to 
the northward, I received a letter from him, which 
I answered as follows on May 8, 1865 : 

. . . Permit me to write you a few lines unofficially : 
I believe that under the circumstances I have done 
everything you could have required and have kept you 
and others duly informed. For your personal information, 
however, I send you a copy of my summary of operations, 
from which you will see that in thirty days we marched 
over five hundred miles, took six thousand three hundred 
prisoners, twenty-three colors, and one hundred and fifty- 
six guns, defeating Forrest, scattering the militia, destroy 
ing every railroad, iron establishment, and factory in north 
Alabama and Georgia. We marched from Montgomery to 
this place, two hundred and twenty miles, in six days, rest 
ing one day at Columbus and West Point. I mention these 
things to show you that our cavalry is cavalry at last. You 
may not have forgotten our conversations in regard to the 
matter at Gaylesville and your own remarks in reference 
to it. I ll remind you of them one of these days. 

I have now thirteen thousand five hundred men for duty 
in the three divisions with me, thoroughly armed, well 
mounted and equipped. I believe when you see them you 
will say with me, it is nothing more than the truth, that 
they cannot be excelled. I regard this corps to-day as a 
model for modern cavalry in organization, armament, and 



discipline, and I hazard nothing in saying that it embodies 
more of the virtue of the three arms, without any sacrifice 
of those of cavalry, than any similar number of men in the 
world. From an undisciplined mass it has taken the most 
perfect discipline; from fragments of every variety it has 
taken a most coherent organization. The spirit of the men 
is magnificent, the officers are admirable, and all think their 
corps invincible. This is strong language, and may look 
like self-praise, but it is simply for you and should be your 
pride as well as mine. Without your carte blanche and the 
admirable support of General Thomas nothing could have 
been accomplished. 

To put the test to my assertions, I would like to have 
the corps put in camp at any point you may designate, 
and everybody, including General Grant, who feels an in 
terest in such matters invited to review and inspect it. If 
you do not agree with me I shall acknowledge myself mis 
taken in my opinions. . . . 

... I have recommended Brevet Major General Up 
ton and Brigadier General Long, for major generals, Briga 
dier Generals Croxton and McCook for brevet major gen 
erals, Brevet Brigadier Generals Alexander and Winslow 
for full brigadiers; also Colonels Minty, Miller, and La- 
Grange for the same. I think the officers I just mentioned 
are the best cavalry officers I ever saw. They have richly 
earned their promotion, and I hope you will urge General 
Grant to give it to them. 1 

1 That the history and performances of the Cavalry Corps 
M. D. M. fully justify the high praise given above to General Sher 
man appears from Colonel George Denison s t History of Cavalry, 
London, Macmillan & Co., 1878, pp. 469 et seq. After giving a con 
densed account of the organization and operations, the author con 
cludes, notwithstanding his English partiality for the Confederates: 

1 This was one of the most remarkable cavalry operations of 
the war, for, as we have said, it was not a mere raid or dash, but 
an invading army determined to fight its way through. . . . It is 
certainly one of the most extraordinary affairs in the history of 
the cavalry service, and recalls the romantic episodes of the 



It is no part of my plan to dwell upon the 
troubles of reconstruction. While I early favored 
the abolition of slavery as a measure of humanity 
and civilization no less than of punishment for the 
crime of secession and rebellion, I had but little con 
fidence in the average Southern politician. While I 
found some Union men, like James Johnson, first 
provisional governor of Georgia; Eandolph Mott, 
and Colonel Washington, a kinsman of George Wash 
ington, and the first loyal postmaster at Macon, I 
was forced to the conclusion that there were not 
enough sterling and unshaken Union men and states 
men in the South at the close of the war to manage 
the complicated business of reconstruction. I sup 
posed that some workable plan would be found to 
call the best men of both sections to assist in de 
vising a plan and bringing the states that had tried 
to secede into proper political and economic rela 
tions with the rest of the Union. But I was at no 
time asked for my views by anyone except Badeau, 
who wrote, as I supposed for Grant as well as for 
himself, and yet I found means of giving them not 
only to the War Department but to the public at 
large before terminating my connection with the 

On account of unsettled social conditions and 
vagabondage, which necessarily followed the break 
down of the Confederacy and the abolition of slav 
ery, I found it necessary, without instruction from 
above, to meet actual conditions, to issue on July 5, 

Crusades, where the armies consisted almost solely of knights who 
dismounted to attack fortified places. It is a striking illustration 
of what can be done by the judicious use of a force of mounted 
riflemen if bravely led and skillfully commanded." 



1865, the following orders for the guidance of the 
freedmen and their former masters till superseded 
by the orders of the Freedman s Bureau: 

1. The common law governing domestic relations, giv 
ing parents authority and control over their children and 
guardians control over their wards, is in force. 

2. The former masters are constituted the guardians 
of minors and of the aged and infirm in the absence of 
parents or other near relations capable of supporting them. 

3. Young men and women under twenty-one years of 
age will remain under the control of their parents or 
guardians, until they become of age, thus aiding to sup 
port their parents and younger brothers and sisters. 

4. The former masters of freedmen must not turn 
away the young and infirm, nor refuse to give them food 
and shelter. Nor shall the able-bodied men and women 
go away from their homes or live in idleness and leave their 
parents or children or younger brothers or sisters to be 
supported by others. 

5. Former masters of freedmen will not be permitted 
to turn away or drive from their plantations faithful hands 
who have helped to make the crops, when the crops are 
saved, without paying for the labor already performed. 

6. Freedmen, like all other men, are amenable to civil 
and criminal law, and are liable to be punished for viola 
tions of law just the same as white citizens, but in no case 
will brutality be allowed on the part of the former master. 
Thinking men will at once see that, with the end of slav 
ery, all enactments and customs which were necessary 
for its preservation must cease to have effect. 

7. Persons of age who are free from any of the obli 
gations referred to above are at liberty to find new homes 
whenever they can obtain proper employment, but they will 
not be supported by the Government or by their former 
masters in idleness and vagrancy. 



8. It will be left to the employer and servant to agree 
upon the wages to be paid, and any just arrangement or 
contract will not be interfered with ; but freedmen are ad 
vised that for the present they ought to expect only mod 
erate wages, and when their employers cannot pay them 
money they ought to be content with a fair share in the 
crops to be raised. This rule is subject to such modifica 
tion as the Freedman s Bureau may require. 

9. All officers, soldiers, and citizens are requested to 
give publicity to these rules and to instruct the freed peo 
ple as to their new rights and obligations. 

All offenses hereunder may be tried by a military com 
mission or provost s Court. 1 

As can be well understood, I was up against one 
of the gravest problems of the times, and did what 
I could to solve it with as little violence as possible, 
and without unnecessary embarrassment either to 
the Government or to the people. I had, of course, 
had no experience in framing such orders, but, in 
looking back on them with such additional wisdom 
as a half century may have brought me, I cannot see 
how they could have been much improved. They 
were widely circulated by newspapers and hand 
bills, and it is a pleasure to add that no 
complaint ever reached me about them from either 
the white or colored people of Georgia or from 

Having early after my arrival at Macon exam 
ined into the conduct of Captain Wirtz at the An- 
dersonville prison and caused his arrest and trans 
portation to Washington for trial, I was ordered 
to appear as a witness before the military commis 
sion with books, records, and plans to testify as to 

1 0. R. Serial No. 104, p. 1068. 



the condition in which I found the prison camp in 
my first visit to that region. 1 

I had hoped to meet General Grant and his staff 
on my trip north, but they were taking a holiday 
and visiting their friends in the various parts of 
the country. Some delay occurred in taking my 
testimony, which I spent at Wilmington and Phil 
adelphia, and finally, when discharged from at 
tendance on the court, I made a short visit to my 
home in Illinois. From there I went to Louisville 
and Cincinnati for the purpose of meeting General 
Grant, but he had changed his plans and gone east, 
and hence I failed to meet him till he came to 
Georgia in November. I was naturally anxious to 
hear the inside of the wonderful campaign in 
Virginia, as well as to give him a personal 
account of my own campaign through Alabama and 

The summer was long and hot and all the more 
oppressive because the excitement of war was at 
an end. While I had been assigned to command the 
district of Macon and had accompanied General 
Steedman to Milledgeville to witness the proceed 
ings of the first convention which President John 
son had permitted to assemble in October, and had 
afterward relieved General Steedman for a few 
days at Augusta, I was far from pleasantly em 
ployed. I foresaw that I should soon be mustered 
out, and before returning to duty as a captain of 
engineers I had dreams of European travel, of a 
trip to Mexico, and even of a fortune in cotton 
planting, but none of them materialized. They all 

1 My testimony will be found in General A. P. Chipman s Trag 
edy of Andersonville, " pp. 47 et seq. 



failed, doubtless, for the simple reason that I had 
not sufficient money to carry any one into effect. 

Late in November Grant, with Badeau and Bab- 
cock, made a tour through the South and asked me 
to meet him at Atlanta, which I did. After dining 
we spent the evening in a full and friendly discus 
sion of every important military and civil event 
which had taken place since we parted the year 
before in the valley of Virginia. I have always re 
membered that night as one of the most interesting 
of my life. General Grant never appeared in bet 
ter condition, nor in better light. He showed me 
the most perfect friendship and confidence, exactly 
as though I had never been out of his military fam 
ily, and as though I were his equal in every respect. 
With rare modesty and yet without the slightest 
restraint, he told the story of his last campaign in 
all its details. He praised both officers and men in 
unstinted measure, passing in review all the lead 
ing generals of the day, speaking ill of none and 
kindly of all. He praised Sheridan and Hum 
phreys as the greatest of his immediate lieutenants. 
He minimized the hurtful effects of delay upon his 
own reputation. While magnifying the importance 
of the March to the Sea, he claimed that he first 
suggested it, but feared it might be carried prema 
turely into effect. While admitting that he had al 
ways trusted Halleck s good offices and kind dis 
position farther than he should have done, he cred 
ited him with disinterested motives and respectable 
talents. He spoke in high terms of McPherson and 
Sedgwick, both killed in battle, and mentioned many 
officers of inferior rank with affection and admira 
tion. While he had nothing but praise for the Army 



of the Potomac, he did not disguise the fact that 
he regarded the Army of the Tennessee as the best, 
all things considered, he had ever been personally 
associated with. 

He expressed profound sorrow for Lincoln s 
death as an irreparable blow to the orderly and 
conservative reconstruction of the Southern states. 
While he did not hesitate to discredit the judgment 
and statesmanship of Andrew Johnson, nor to con 
ceal his dislike of Stanton s arbitrary ways, he dis 
trusted the senatorial group with which Stanton 
was associated, and declared that his own views 
were not only thoroughly conservative, but thor 
oughly kind, as to the generals and politicians of 
the South. He hoped that all classes would frankly 
accept the situation and devote themselves unself 
ishly to the restoration of friendly relations between 
the North and the South. He emphasized the state 
ment that we had had bloodshed and punishment 
enough, and that we of the North should now strive, 
without prejudice or passion, to protect those we 
had paroled, to close the wounds of war, and to start 
the South anew on the road to prosperity and 

At eleven o clock he dismissed Badeau and Bab- 
cock to their rooms with the remark that he wanted 
to talk alone with me, and when the talk was 
through would give me the spare bed in his own 
room. With their withdrawal we renewed the con 
versation and kept it going till one o clock in the 
morning, during which he stated his views on other 
important questions of the day. He indicated for 
the first time his desire, now that Maximillian s Em 
pire had come to an end, to march an army into 



Canada for the settlement of the Alabama claims 
and the expulsion of the British flag, not only from 
that country, but from every British colony on the 
continent. He declared that in carrying out such 
a policy we could mobilize five hundred thousand 
of the best infantry and artillery and fifty thousand 
of the best cavalry in the world, and suggested that 
the ex-Confederate leaders would hasten to enroll 
themselves under the national flag for the execu 
tion of that great purpose. 

At one o clock we went to bed, but, as can well 
be understood, I had by that time become thoroughly 
aroused to the great events of the past and to the 
great questions of the future which he had brought 
forward that evening, and, instead of going to sleep, 
I lay pondering their solution. After perhaps thirty 
minutes I turned over, heaving an unconscious sigh, 
whereupon the General said: "If you can t go to 
sleep, Wilson, let us get up and finish our conver 
sation. " Of course, I accepted the suggestion and 
we at once carried it into effect, our talk continuing 
unbroken till we were called to breakfast at eight 
o clock. 

To use the phrase of a common friend, we had 
"posted and closed the books;" peace was fully re 
established; the War of the Eebellion was ended 
forever; and we were both entering upon a new 
period of our lives. 




Disbanded officers National Express and Transportation 
Company Leave of absence Defenses of the Dela 
ware Surveys and internal improvements Panama 
Canal Transferred to the infantry Des Moines and 
Rock Island Rapids St. Louis and Southeastern Rail 
way Resign from the army Cairo and Vincennes 
Railroad Employments of civil life. 

Before leaving Georgia, which I did in Decem 
ber, 1865, I made a report to the Secretary of War 
setting forth at some length the conditions which 
prevailed in that State from the close of the war 
till the end of 1865. It was my only contribution 
to the problem of reconstruction, and, as it is not 
only too long for condensation, but has long since 
ceased to be of vital interest, I merely refer the 
student of such matters to the Chicago Republican 
for December, 1865. 

One of the subordinate questions after peace was 
established was to find employment for the dis 
banded officers of both sides, especially for the Con 
federates. A number of the latter, in the heat and 
humiliation of defeat, were irreconcilable. A few 
emigrated to Mexico, a few were later employed 
as officers in the Egyptian army, but the great ma- 



jority cast in their lot with the people from whom 
they sprang and resumed the callings they had left 
in civil life. But there was a large number who had 
been officers and soldiers by profession in the old 
army, who had no other calling, and for whom the 
leaders thought it the part of wisdom to find honor 
able occupation. Joseph E. Johnston and a number 
of his friends conceived the idea of establishing the 
National Express and Transportation Company, 
which would require managers and agents in all the 
important business centers, north as well as south. 
They formed a corporation under that title, sub 
scribed the capital and elected Johnston president. 
On application for an officer of the Northern army 
to manage the business, especially in the Northern 
states, General Grant designated me for the place 
in flattering terms and just as I was starting north 
I received notice both from Grant and Johnston 
that the business was already in order for my co 
operation. As I was only a captain of engineers, 
and did not intend to remain in the army for pro 
motion, I notified all parties that I should accept. 
My salary was fixed at the high figure of $12,000 
a year, with the understanding that I was to become 
the chief executive officer of the company. I was 
without experience in the transportation business, 
but, as I had confidence in General Johnston, who 
had been quartermaster general of the army and 
was therefore well versed in matters of that sort, 
I had but few misgivings as to my capacity to man 
age the new company or as to its probable success. 
The Adams, and the American were at that time 
the leading express companies. It was currently 
stated that the Adams Company, which had been 



divided and continued business in the Southern as 
well as Northern states during the rebellion, had 
called in only five per cent, of its subscriptions. 
This became an unfortunate example, for each 
Southern subscriber naturally reasoned that the new 
company would not require a larger assessment and, 
consequently, each man who had only a hundred 
dollars subscribed for twenty shares, instead of for 
one or two. The consequence was that many failed 
to pay the second installment and, therefore, the 
company was without sufficient capital from the 
start. This circumstance was unknown to me at the 
time I accepted, but it came forcibly to my attention 
a few weeks later. 

In my efforts to establish the business over the 
Pennsylvania Eailroad and its connections, then the 
central and most important artery of transporta 
tion, I soon found that I should have to contract 
under the practice of the day for a certain space 
in the baggage or express cars at the same or simi 
lar rates paid by the established companies. This 
necessitated ready money to the extent of at least 
$200,000 for the first year, and after satisfying my 
self that the business could not be established with 
out that sum I made requisition for the same. I 
had, of course, been in constant communication with 
General Johnston and his experts and had kept 
them constantly and precisely informed in respect to 
every aspect of the business. They knew as well 
and as accurately as I the amount that would be 
needed and caused the necessary assessments on the 
subscribed capital to be issued, but, unfortunately, 
the assessments were not paid. A few subscribers 
responded, but by far the larger number were un- 



able to meet their calls. Consequently the company 
was bankrupt, and, foreseeing this result, I accom 
panied my requisitions with the request that my res 
ignation, which I also enclosed, should be accepted, 
and this was done. 

I came north late in December and was married 
at Wilmington, Delaware, on January 3, 1866, to 
Ella Andrews, the daughter of General John W. 
Andrews, late Colonel of the First Delaware Vol 
unteers, and the sister of my classmate and aid-de 
camp, Captain John N. Andrews, afterward colonel 
of the Twelfth U. S. Infantry and Brigadier Gen 
eral of Volunteers in the Spanish War. 

After ten days in New York, made memorable 
by dinners, balls, and theater parties, we went to 
Eichmond, where I completed the arrangements with 
General Johnston in reference to the new express 
company. While life seemed full of hope and prom 
ise, there was already more than one cloud above 
the horizon. 

As I had saved but little, I was forced soon af 
ter leaving the express company to throw up the 
year s leave of absence which had been granted me, 
with the understanding that I should resign at its 
expiration. Through the official kindness of the 
Chief of Engineers, I was then assigned to tempo 
rary duty as assistant engineer on the defenses of 
the Delaware, which lasted less than three months, 
at the end of which, in the fall of 1866, I was or 
dered to Davenport, Iowa, to make surveys and 
plans for the improvement of the Rock Island and 
the Des Moines rapids and for a line of deep water 
navigation from Green Bay by the way of Fox Riv 
er and Rock River, and also from Chicago by the 



Illinois Eiver to the Mississippi. This was the 
opening measure for the systematic and comprehen 
sive improvement of our inland waterways. 

I had had no experience whatever in such work, 
nor in dealing with such important questions, but 
General Grant, reasoning from what he had seen 
me doing on the bayous of Mississippi and Louisi 
ana, had reached the conclusion that I was the right 
man to study, grow up with, and solve the questions 
involved in my new assignment. 

Somewhat later he directed the Chief of En 
gineers to charge me with the official study of the 
question of an isthmian or inter-oceanic ship canal 
in Central America and to place all reports and cor 
respondence relating thereto at my disposal. His 
own interest in that important question was first 
aroused by his friend and fellow statesman, Captain 
Ammen of the navy, who, to the day of his death 
many years afterward, was one of the most intelli 
gent and constant friends of "an inter-oceanic ship 
canal" at such place as exhaustive surveys should 
show to be best adapted to that purpose. My own 
interest in the question has remained unabated to 
the present day, and with a tolerable knowledge 
of all that has been said and done I held, and still 
hold, that there is no adequate solution of the prob 
lem but a tide-level canal, without respect to cost 
or length of time required for its completion. 

While steamboats were still the principal means 
of transportation on the western rivers, Eobert E. 
Lee and his classmate, Mason, both distinguished 
engineers, with the aid of other military and civil 
engineers, had been charged with the improvement 
of the rapids of the Mississippi. They confined 



themselves, however, to subaqueous blasting and 
chisel work, but their efforts, although persisted in 
for years and costing large sums of money, proved 
entirely futile. The places where they worked could 
hardly be found. All such projects had been sus 
pended during the war, but with the return of peace 
and the revival of business, river transportation 
again became an important factor. It was just as 
true then as it is now that the rivers did not gen 
erally run in the right direction, and that those in 
the Northern States at least froze up during the 
winter, but the people called vociferously for im 
provements, and the most important improvements 
were undertaken in turn as soon as feasible plans 
could be devised. 

My first duty under my new employment, after 
a personal examination of the sites and routes of the 
various works and surveys, was the employment of 
the most competent civil engineers that could be had 
and the organization of parties to make complete 
surveys of the various routes and to prepare ex 
haustive studies for such works as might be found 
necessary. I reasoned that when I knew the exact 
facts of each case and had familiarized myself with 
the treatment and results of such streams and rapids 
as were similar, or in any way like those which had 
already been disposed of in our own or other coun 
tries, I should know as much as any more experi 
enced engineer in reference to the questions under 
consideration. At all events, that was my working 
conclusion and the basis of all measures I recom 
mended thereafter. 

As soon as I reached Davenport I organized com 
petent surveying parties under Mr. D. C. Jenne of 



New York, Mr. James Worall, and Mr. W. P. Shunk 
of Pennsylvania, Major Hoffman, and Captain 
Ulffers, late of the volunteer army. Captain Plains 
of the Engineer Corps had already been detailed 
as my assistant, and with the aid of these able men 
I soon had four principal and several subsidiary 
parties in the field, numbering in the aggregate be 
tween thirty and forty civil engineers of all grades. 
I, of course, pushed field operations with all pos 
sible vigor, and by early the next year the various 
projects began to take definite shape. 

Here I should explain that in the reorganization 
of the regular army in 1866 I was appointed lieu 
tenant colonel of the Thirty-fifth Infantry, but con 
tinued in charge of the works previously assigned 
to me. General Grant had put my name at the head 
of the list of colonels, intending to give me prece 
dence over all new appointments, whether of cavalry 
or infantry, but when the list went to the President 
for his sanction he insisted on putting two older 
regulars who outranked me into it. The list then 
went to the Adjutant General, who, as required by 
army regulations, arranged it according to the date 
of prior regular army commissions for appointments 
made the same day. Besides, the act of Congress 
required that one-third of the new field officers 
should go to volunteers and that no regular officer 
should be considered as a volunteer. These two cir 
cumstances threw both Upton and me into the list 
of lieutenant colonels, and, as that list had also to 
be arranged according to the dates of prior regular 
commissions and we were junior captains, we finally 
landed at the foot of the lieutenant colonels, I in 
the infantry and Upton in the artillery. 



As might have been supposed, my surveys and 
examinations eliminated the Rock River and Green 
Bay route as not only impracticable but far too 
costly for a deep water line between the Lakes and 
the Mississippi. 

The Chicago, Des Plaines, and Illinois River 
route was found to be practicable, and a project was 
submitted to cut down the summit level, widen and 
deepen the canal from Chicago to Ottawa, and then 
by a system of locks and dams through the Illinois 
to the Mississippi. It was substantially the first 
part of this project with all of its principal dimen 
sions which the Chicago Drainage Commissions 
adopted and carried into effect many years later. 

The surveys showed the fall of the Rock Island 
Rapids to be about twenty-one feet in thirteen miles, 
divided into reefs or chains and navigable pools, 
which could be effectually connected by removing the 
rock ledges, but, as this involved the excavation of 
many thousand cubic yards, instead of undertaking 
such a task under running water, I resolved to do 
it by constructing coffer dams around the proper 
areas and, after pumping out the water, covering the 
bed with workmen, blasting out and removing the 
broken stone so as to make proper channels. This 
plan was proposed by Charles G. Case and Company 
of New York, the lowest bidders, and, although the 
coffer dam at Sycamore Chain included and laid 
bare one hundred and sixty acres of river bed, the 
work was carried through without accident or delay 
and has proved sufficient for the accommodation of 
the river commerce at that place. 

The case at the Des Moines Rapids from Mon- 
trose and Nauvoo to Keokuk, twelve miles below, 



was somewhat different. The river was consider 
ably wider, the channel shallower and not so well 
defined, and the fall of about twenty feet was largely 
confined to the lower eight miles. The solution of 
the problem was, therefore, more difficult. While 
there was no case exactly like it known, the rapids 
of the St. Lawrence, although carrying a much 
larger and more constant volume of water in the 
dry season, resembled it more closely than any other. 
Several rapids on that river had been overcome by 
the construction of locks and dams and that prece 
dent was a large factor in favor of a similar remedy 
at Keokuk. This plan with its details was carried 
out by Mr. Jenne under my supervision, but at my 
request the project was submitted to a Board of 
Engineers, which included W. Milner Eoberts, C. E., 
of Pittsburgh, and after approval of the work was 
let to local contractors, who carried it successfully to 
completion. These projects and my supervision of 
them covered a period of four years. The locks of 
the Keokuk canal were at their completion the larg 
est in America or in the world, and the canal itself 
has proven equal to all the demands made upon it. 

It is noteworthy that I reported that it would 
be but a few years till a much larger volume of traf 
fic would pass across than through or along any of 
these improvements, and this prediction was abun 
dantly verified in due time. 

It was during this period, shortly before I left 
the army in 1870, that Captain James B. Eads of 
St. Louis brought forward his project for the im 
provement of the mouth of the Mississippi by the 
jetty system and sought my advice. 

His project, as original as it was bold, led to a 


heated discussion among both military and civil en 
gineers. The Chief Engineer of the army took 
strong ground against the Eads plan, and suggested 
an artificial cut-off or canal into Lake Pontchartrain. 
But General Barnard, also a high scientist, differed 
with him and pronounced in favor of Eads. The 
controversy was a notable one, and, after consider 
ing all the attainable facts, I gave Eads a written 
opinion endorsing his plans, but in a personal inter 
view I warned him that he would find the opposition 
too strong for him, unless he could secure the help of 
influential men at Washington, to whom I later gave 
him letters of introduction. 

Eads was a man of great natural ability and, 
although laying no claims to the profession of en 
gineer, he proposed to ask the Government for 
neither money nor assistance of any kind till he 
had demonstrated both the feasibility and the effi 
ciency of his plan. Such a proposition as this, in 
volving as it did several million dollars, had never 
been submitted to our Government or to any govern 
ment, in fact, by a private citizen, but it was so fair 
and was pushed with such energy and tact that Con 
gress finally gave its approval, and the bold engineer 
not only completed his contract and demonstrated its 
success, but received the entire sum in consecutive 
annual payments, extending over something more 
than twenty years, when the works reverted to 
the general Government, as provided for in the 

While still engaged on the Mississippi Eiver in 
frequent contact with leading promoters and con 
tractors, my attention was drawn to the great need 
of railroads in southern Illinois. At that time 



only the Illinois Central and the Ohio and Missis 
sippi Eailroads had been built and put in operation. 
Many years before a line had been located from 
Shawneetown to Alton, near St. Louis, and much 
work had been done on it, but, like every other en 
terprise of the time, it fell into bankruptcy and was 
abandoned in the great financial crisis of 1837, after 
which the entire region had languished for means 
of transportation. The country was rich in timber, 
coal, and agricultural products, but was backward 
in development for lack of capital and enterprise. 
Under the inspiring leadership of Stephen A. Doug 
las, and in spite of alleged leanings toward the 
South, it had contributed a larger percentage of 
soldiers than any other portion of the State to the 
Union army, and with the return of the disbanded 
volunteers it naturally looked to the outer world for 
help. My uncle, who was at that time the largest 
landholder and the richest man in that part of the 
State, and, therefore, greatly interested in improve 
ment, sought to interest me in building a railroad 
from St. Louis to my native town. He represented 
the various counties through which the road would 
run as willing under the railroad laws of the State 
passed in 1869 to advance their credit and issue 
bonds in aid of the enterprise. But what was still 
more surprising was the fact that, while they were 
ready to subscribe the full face of the bonds to the 
stock of the railroad company, they would give it 
to me if I would successfully finance, build, and 
equip the railroad. It was a favorable and flattering 
offer, and, as it was my purpose to leave the army 
if I could find a suitable opening, I immediately sent 
contractors to look over the route and give me their 



conclusion as to its merits and their figures as to 
the probable cost of the railroad. On receipt of 
favorable reports, I notified the parties in interest 
that I would take up the enterprise and put it 
through if I could get the cooperation of General 
Winslow, who, it will be remembered, had rebuilt 
and reopened the Atlanta and Chattanooga Railroad 
under my direction. As Winslow was at that time 
engaged in building the Vandalia Railroad, he was 
obliged to delay till he leased it to the Pennsylvania 
Company. This was done in 1869, shortly after 
which we took up the new project, which we desig 
nated the St. Louis and Southeastern Railway. The 
whole enterprise was soon on its feet, and, like many 
others of the day, it grew into notice under our di 
rection. We found it advisable to extend the main 
line to Evansville, in the southwestern corner of 
Indiana, a large and flourishing city on the Ohio 
River, with a branch through the Saline coal field 
to Shawneetown. Evansville had already voted a 
large cash subsidy, which, after a sharp contention 
with the late Samuel J. Tilden and his agents, also 
passed into our control, principally on the ground 
that Evansville, having already been connected with 
Chicago, now wished to establish rail connection 
with St. Louis, to which our line was the direct 

The negotiations with the city authorities and 
leading men were by no means easily carried 
through. We were comparatively unknown in the 
business world, and had to have the support of in 
fluential outsiders. Fortunately, my friend, Major 
Samuel K. Casey, the first citizen of Mount Ver- 
non, an interior town on the line to St. Louis, came 



willingly to our assistance. He had known me 
always, and after an adroit and strenuous appeal 
in behalf of the proposition my associate and I had 
submitted, concluded somewhat as follows: "And 
now, gentlemen, I hope you will close with my 
friends. I know they will do as they say and fulfill 
all promises to the letter. We Democrats over in 
Illinois " then pausing and looking gravely over 
the assembled notables, nearly all of whom were of 
the same political faith, he added I hope I offend 
no one by the use of that word but, gentlemen, 
that s my persuasion we Democrats over in Illi 
nois, whenever we find men who will stand with 
out hitching, we are willing to trust them to the end. 
And now if you will close the contract with these 
young men, I ll tell you what I ll do; I ll come over 
here from Mount Vernon and buy the very last one 
of my catfish from you ! 

It is needless to add that this appeal was re 
ceived with applause and was followed shortly by 
a formal contract which gave the subsidies of both 
city and county, amounting to something over a half 
million dollars, to the St. Louis and Southeastern 
Eailway, which was promptly completed and put 
into operation. 

This business soon absorbed most of my time, 
and, as the local subscriptions were not sufficient to 
pay for more than the right of way and the grad 
ing, it became necessary to mortgage the property 
for enough to buy the rails, crossties, bridges, sta 
tions, and rolling stock. The next thing was to sell 
the bonds and this fell to my lot. 

About that time Congress reduced the army and 
I availed myself of that opportunity to put in my 



resignation (December 31, 1870), which I phrased 
" to be in effect from the date hereof till the begin 
ning of the next war to which the United States 
might be a party." Fortunately, the surveys and 
government work with which I had been charged, 
especially the improvement of the Des Moines and 
Eock Island Rapids, were so far advanced that the 
plans could not be changed. But to prevent this 
and to secure their completion I was retained as 
consulting engineer for a year or two longer. 

Although my pursuits in civil life absorbed my 
entire time and attention, they did not prevent my 
consideration for public office. Shortly after re 
turning from Europe, in 1873, I was asked semi-offi- 
cially if I would accept the commissionership of 
Internal Eevenue, but, regarding the private station 
as the post of honor, in times such as then prevailed, 
I gave the matter no consideration, and never from 
that time to this have I sought civil office. My per 
sonal relations, however, with Grant and his official 
household, as well as with the members of his cabi 
net, continued on an intimate footing till well 
toward the end of his second term, and it is a grati 
fying circumstance that I retained his approval to 
the end as a military man. This is confirmed by 
the fact that Mr. Fish, who had been his secretary 
of state, asked him a decade later what the country 
would have done for army commanders in case of 
the death of Sherman, Sheridan, and Schofield. To 
this the General replied that there were others com 
ing forward who could quite well fill their places, 
and then named "Upton, McKenzie, and Wilson," 
in the order given. 1 

1 See Hamilton Fish on Grant The Independent, July 30, 1885. 



Removing to New York early in 1871, I was 
elected a member of the principal clubs and through 
George Opdyke, the late mayor, Governor Morgan, 
Commodore Vanderbilt, and Colonel Cannon, I made 
the acquaintance of Jacob H. Schifr*, Morton, Bliss 
and Company, Seligman Brothers and Company, 
Naylor and Company, Morris K. Jessup and Com 
pany, Perkins, Livingston and Post, the Grant Loco 
motive Works, Rogers Locomotive Works, Baldwin 
Locomotive Works, the principal car-building com 
panies, and many other firms prominent in the vari 
ous branches of railroad exploitation. My acquain 
tance with Mr. Opdyke, Mr. Jessup, Mr. Schiff, Mr. 
R. Suydam Grant and many others in New York and 
Europe, ripened into friendship which has lasted 
unbroken save by death to the present day. 

At that time all rails and fastenings as well as 
a large portion of the capital necessarily came from 
Europe. I made my first and second visits to Eng 
land and the Continent with Mr. Schiff for the pur 
pose of selling bonds, and in two years Winslow and 
I built and equipped two hundred miles of railroad 
in Illinois and Indiana and acquired one hundred and 
fifty more by purchase and consolidation in Ken 
tucky and Tennessee, which gave us the shortest line 
from St. Louis as well as from Chicago to Nashville 
and beyond. Although the gauge changed at the 
Ohio River from four feet nine inches to five feet 
south of that river, it was the first railroad in the 
United States to run loaded cars both ways without 
breaking bulk between the Northern and Southern 
states. It penetrated a rich and undeveloped coal 
field both in Kentucky and Illinois, passed through 
heavily timbered districts, and connected widely 



separated regions for the interchange of fuel, lum 
ber, farm products, and merchandise. 

During the same period we took over and built 
the Cairo and Vincennes Railroad in connection with 
General Burnside and his friends under contract 
with the Pennsylvania system to the junction of the 
Ohio and Mississippi Rivers at Cairo. Winslow was 
as able and energetic a railroad builder as he was 
a soldier, and everything seemed going our way. 
The roads were properly located, rapidly and eco 
nomically built. Every dollar of the subscriptions 
as well as the proceeds of all the bonds went hon 
estly into the roads and their equipment. Neither 
of us received salaries, but both depended solely 
upon the stocks we were to receive under our con 
tract for compensation, and with the unusual suc 
cess of our operations it looked as though the stocks 
would enrich us. Of course, we divided with our 
bankers with a fair margin of profit for all, and 
everything went on swimmingly till the crash of 
1873, which carried down every uncompleted rail 
road in the country. The most promising and those 
most nearly completed went with such as had not 
yet been fairly started. The Northern Pacific, the 
Union Pacific, the Texas Pacific, and the Wabash 
shared the fate of the Ontario and Western, the St. 
Louis and Southeastern, the Cairo and Vincennes, 
and scores of others, all of which were overwhelmed 
in bankruptcy and ruin. It was a period of wide 
spread distress during which there was no immu 
nity either for new corporations or new contractors. 
All suffered alike. 

During its first years our consolidated road 
earned a considerable surplus above operating and 



interest charges, and even in the hard times its 
traffic continued so large that we felt sure it would 
carry us through. But it was still the age of unregu 
lated competition and arbitrary management in 
which each railroad was a rule unto itself and self- 
preservation was regarded by all as the first law of 
nature. Our through cars south from Nashville 
ran over the Louisville and Nashville and the Nash 
ville and Chattanooga Eailroads and their connec 
tions, and when the pinch of hard times came, which 
commenced with the failure of Jay Cooke and Com 
pany, these railroads shut off our through traffic to 
the last car and the last pound of freight, and as 
there was no statute law against this, in spite of our 
urgent appeals to equity in the U. S. circuit courts 
at Louisville and Nashville, they completely de 
stroyed our business and our revenues and thereby 
forced us into default and into the hands of a re 
ceiver. While in due time I became receiver and 
general manager, the Southeastern Eailway finally 
passed into the control of the Louisville and Nash 
ville by purchase after foreclosure, which wiped out 
both stock and bonds. The road they covered now 
constitutes the principal connection of that flourish 
ing system to Chicago, St. Louis, and the North 
west, and for many years has earned and paid both 
interest and dividends on a much larger amount of 
money than it cost, thus fully justifying its construc 
tion and the hopes which we entertained of its use 
fulness and profit. 

My connection with it brought me but one con 
solation. The country it served has made great 
strides in wealth, education, and refinement. The 
interior counties were then the home of idleness, and 



often of drunkenness and violence. The churches 
were neglected and the schools comparatively empty. 
Now and for many years all this is changed. The 
lands have been drained, churches built, streets 
paved, schools opened and prosperity established on 
every hand. Population has doubled, villages have 
become towns and towns enterprising cities. Pro 
hibition is the rule, violence and even litigation are 
hardly known, and contentment, progress, and plenty 
are found from the Mississippi to the Cumberland. 
The greater part of the praise for all this is due to 
the railroads. They let the light through, aroused 
ambitions, and furnished markets, while the people 
did the rest. The transformation which is complete 
came as though by magic. The region prospered. 
The bankers and contractors alone suffered loss. 

My unfortunate experiences in that field con 
vinced me that something more than the common 
law was necessary for the regulation of railroads, 
and from the day of our break with our Southern 
connections, I saw the necessity for a national law 
compelling all railroads engaged in interstate com 
merce to make physical connection with the tracks 
of all connecting and intersecting railways, to issue 
and participate in through bills of lading, to give 
prompt dispatch to business from whatever source, 
to make fair and equitable rates to all and to dis 
criminate against none. I had studied the Constitu 
tion of the United States as well as all the great 
commentaries upon it. I was familiar with the com 
mon and the statute law for the regulation of com 
mon carriers, and while I was reluctant to invoke 
national legislation to compel just and fair treat 
ment, I saw no other means of dealing adequately 



with the far-reaching abuses, of which my associ 
ates and I were the innocent victims. In the midst 
of my employments I wrote many times to friends in 
Congress and in the newspaper world supporting 
and invoking the right of Congress to regulate com 
merce between the states. Later I went before the 
committees of both Houses and stated my case as 
strongly as the facts would allow and yet opposing 
any law which did not apply equally to foreign 
and inter-state railroads, doing business with or 
forming links in railroads between one section of 
the country and another, and especially along the 
Canadian border. Senator Cullom and Senator 
Reagan openly expressed their approval of my 
views, declaring that they were with me "all along 
the line of my argument, and yet they were unable 
to incorporate the restrictions I pointed out in the 
act which ultimately became the law. It has been 
amended if not improved in many particulars since, 
and while I was one of the first, if not the very first 
railroad manager, to urge such a measure upon the 
attention of Congress, it came far too late to benefit 
the railroads in which I was so largely interested. 
The effects of the law and the restoration of con 
fidence and prosperity were too slow to save my in 
terest or any part of it from the general wreck. I 
held that the mortgages should have absolute pri 
ority over the shares of the stockholders, no mat 
ter how much money or labor had been paid for the 
stock. The day had not yet come for recognizing 
such equities, and all the stockholders were ruth 
lessly wiped out. It was not till a good many years 
later that stockholders were recognized and taken 
into account in the new schemes of capitalization. 



Meanwhile many millions of honest money and much 
honest work were foreclosed out of existence and 
it is this fact which has always made me believe that 
our railroads are on the whole far from being over 

My only consolation is that I gained a great deal 
of useful experience, and with the loyal help of my 
associates made good my undertakings. I had had 
some influence in ending the abuses of which I com 
plained, and I am sure they can never be again prac 
tised or directed against those who come after us. 
A great country like ours still affords splendid op 
portunities and holds out great inducements for the 
capital and enterprise which are necessary for the 
development of its resources. With their encourag 
ing stimulus its citizens may put forth their noblest 
efforts with the assurance that it is rarely ever 
necessary to do more than lay down general rules 
for the regulation and control of its enterprises to 
insure an equal opportunity and fair treatment for 

During my railroad life from 1870 to 1883, a 
period of thirteen years, I lived in New York, St. 
Louis, and Chicago. In the earlier part of that 
period I became associated with George M. Pullman 
and Henry M. Alexander as an active promoter of 
the New York Elevated Eailway, and after several 
visits to Europe and many changes of plan took 
charge of its construction as general manager and 
chief engineer. In the latter capacity I controlled 
the plans and awarded the contracts for the sec 
tion between Rector Street and Central Park, and 
with the help of my able chief assistant, Mr. William 
F. Shunk, I regulated all and devised many of the 



details of structure, track, stations, locomotives, 
and cars, none of which have ever failed, but all of 
which have stood the test of daily use for many 
years. It was a pioneer work and has been imitated 
in its principal features by all similar undertakings 
down to the present day. 

At a pause in its plans and construction I found 
it necessary to take the receivership and manage 
ment of the Southeastern Eailway in which I had a 
much larger interest. Having wound up that busi 
ness and transferred the railroad to its purchaser, 
I accepted the vice-presidency and presidency in 
turn, of the New York and New England Railroad 
and, after buying one hundred and three acres of 
the South Boston flats for its eastern terminal and 
extending it as a trunk line to Fishkill and New- 
burg on the Hudson, thus making it a competitive 
oad for the principal cities of New England, the 
group I was associated with gave up control and, 
although rich enough to hold it, allowed the system 
with a greater mileage than any other in New Eng 
land, to pass into the hands of the New York and 
New Haven Company which had been from the first 
its most unrelenting and irreconcilable rival. See 
ing that this result was inevitable, I gave up my po 
sition and in 1883 removed from Boston to Wil 
mington, Delaware. 

This ended the most strenuous period of my 
business life and although a few years later I be 
came a co-receiver of the Louisville, Evansville and 
St. Louis Eailroad, which I had helped my brother 
and others to promote and in which I had acquired 
an interest under a previous foreclosure, I took no 
part after that in active railroad management. 



During my residence in Delaware, I devoted my 
self to my business interests, to letters, to public 
affairs, and to travel, Visiting Europe, Mexico, 
Canada, Japan, Formosa, and China, 1 and, although 
I had many interesting experiences and met many 
notable men, I have sufficiently described most of 
them in newspapers, magazines, or books. Before 
completing this narrative I may refer to others 
for special reasons, but looking back upon that part 
of my life as personal rather than public, I pass 
on to the Spanish War. 

1 1! China, Travels in the Middle Kingdom," Appleton fe Co. 




Cuba and the Cuban Rebellion Cane and beet sugar 
Spanish oppression The Maine blown up in the 
harbor of Havana Declaration of war Reenter 
army as senior major general from civil life Inter 
view with the President Composition of army. 

For over four hundred years Cuba played an 
important part in the world s history. Discovered 
in 1492 by Columbus, it was thought for many years 
to be a part of the Asiatic mainland. Containing 
approximately forty-four thousand square miles, 
lying just within the north torrid zone, it is one of 
the most fertile and productive countries in either 
hemisphere. Settled and populated by Spain, its 
growth was never rapid, and this is to be accounted 
for mainly by the fact that from the date of the ex 
pulsion of the Jews and Moors, Spain has always 
been more or less short of labor. 

The native population of Cuba at the time of its 
discovery was estimated at from two hundred thou 
sand to a million souls, who were first enslaved and 
then exterminated by forced labor in the search for 
gold and by diseases introduced by the whites. 
Their places were gradually filled by negroes, the 
first of whom were imported in 1501, and with but 



little interruption the last in 1880. In this year 
slavery was abolished by law, but it continued in 
the remote districts till 1887. 

Contrary to the common opinion the proportion 
of the white population to the colored for the last 
hundred years at least has stood in the ratio of two 
to one, and is now gradually on the increase, the 
last census giving it as 70 to 30. Curiously enough 
no trace of Indian blood is found in the population. 
I met one woman in the valley of Manicaragua and 
the census takers another in the Cienaga de Zapata, 
showing distinct traces of Indian blood, but neither 
had children in whom Indian blood could be recog 
nized. There had been an intermixture of the white 
and negro races and it may be safely said that no 
Cuban dark enough to be asked his color ever says 
anything but white. Nevertheless, the white popu 
lation is largely in excess in all recognizable shades, 
and as there is but little of the race prejudice that 
exists in our Southern states, there is a far greater 
homogeneity than is found in any other Spanish- 
American country or even in South Carolina, Ala 
bama, Mississippi, or in Louisiana. Illiteracy does 
not exist so largely amongst the blacks of Cuba as 
in any of the states just mentioned, but for three 
hundred years there were practically no schools in 
the island and the lack of educational facilities 
greatly retarded the material prosperity of all 
classes of native Cubans. Like the colonies of all 
other countries, those of Spain were established, 
exploited, and controlled mainly for the benefit of 
the home government and people, and yet for many 
years the Cuban trade with Spain languished for the 
sufficient reason that Spain herself was impover- 



ished. Notwithstanding the wealth, which for years 
poured in from the colonies in exchange for sup 
plies which were frequently got in other countries, 
Spain became little more than a clearing house for 
colonial products. 

The principal staples of this beautiful and fruit 
ful island are sugar and tobacco, the first a neces 
sity for the world at large, and the second a luxury 
which required but little skilled labor and no sci 
entific manipulation to prepare it for use. But 
tropical fruits of all kinds flourish and, with rail 
and steamship transportation and a remission of 
duties, might be produced and delivered in the Euro 
pean as well as in the near-by countries in bound 
less profusion. Even with the oppression and ex 
actions of the mother country the value of the ex 
ports from the island per capita were larger than 
those of any other colony or country in the world, 
but under the pernicious system in force the profit 
therefrom was squeezed out of the producers in the 
shape of taxes and salaries which went to Spain and 
not to the people of the island. Duties were levied 
on exports as well as on imports, direct taxes were 
laid on personal property, industries, trades, and 
professions, while seal and stamp duties on all kinds 
of legal papers and business transactions, a munici 
pal tax on the slaughter of cattle as well as a 
heavy head tax on every immigrant, white or black, 
were also collected. Having neither banks nor local 
currency, the financial and commercial difficulties 
were heavily increased, and when it is considered 
that the entire system of government and adminis 
tration was monopolized by the Spanish officials to 
the exclusion of natives, sufficient reason will be 



seen for the discontentment of the Cuban people. 
From 1821 down to the beginning of the last rebel 
lion in 1895, it may be truthfully said that the hopes 
of the Cuban people were directed to independence 
of Spain and to the establishment of closer trade 
relations with the rest of the world. 

From Jeff er son s administration to McKinley s 
the island of Cuba, lying directly south of Florida, 
less than a hundred miles away, has always been 
viewed with interest by the American people. Its 
position was regarded as the key to the Gulf of 
Mexico and our southern seaboard, and this caused 
the possibility of its transfer to any other power to 
be considered a menace to our paramount interests, 
which could not be tolerated. As its great produc 
tivity became better known, the desire for annexa 
tion spread throughout the country, and had it not 
been for the difficulty between the North and the 
South in regard to slavery, there can be but little 
doubt that vigorous and effective measures would 
have been taken to secure the annexation of the isl 
and before the Civil War broke out. Indeed, efforts 
more or less persistent were made from time to time 
to purchase the island from the Spanish Govern 
ment, but, unfortunately, these fell to the ground 
and the Cuban people were left to struggle on un 
aided till their burdens became greater than they 
could bear. 

And yet the home Government was not altogether 
to blame for the condition which prevailed in Cuba. 
While the Spanish people had had no reformation 
and no renaissance, they were not materially worse 
nor much more intolerant than the people of other 
European countries. Their Government and colonial 



system were rotten, while their statesmen and phi 
losophers were backward, if not illiberal. Nor can 
they be blamed for failing to see what all other na 
tions equally failed to see, namely, the concealed but 
far-reaching consequences of certain important facts 
and influences growing out of the wars of the Na 
poleonic period. 

Up to the Battle of Trafalgar, the entire sugar 
supply of the world came from the tropical islands, 
but the successful blockade which followed that vic 
tory enabled Great Britain to close the ports and 
coasts of Europe against tropical productions of 
every kind. And it was this that vitalized the Ger 
man discovery that the sugar of the carrot and beet 
was identical with that of sugar cane, but beets car 
ried only four per cent, of extractable sugar, while 
cane carried ten, and the supply of beets was insig 
nificant. A new industry had to be created. By 
selection and cultivation the sweetness of the beet 
was increased to ten, fifteen, twenty and finally, 
after a hundred years, to twenty-five per cent, in 
parts of California, while the best sugar cane con 
tinued to carry only ten or twelve per cent, of ex- 
tractable sugar. With the continental blockade the 
price of sugar soared in Europe, while ruin stalked 
abroad in the islands in which it was produced. 

Whether the cane-sugar planters knew what had 
befallen them, or foresaw what would be its effects 
or their duration is more than doubtful, but it is 
certain that the Germans, followed quickly by the 
French, and later by the Eussians, did all they could 
to put the beet sugar business on its feet. Within 
ten years, from Trafalgar to Waterloo, over six 
hundred factories were put into successful opera- 



tion in Germany and France alone. By 1840 fifty 
thousand tons of beet-sugar were produced annu 
ally and although hundreds of sugar planters had 
been ruined, the cane-sugar industry was not yet 
dead. Beet-sugar, stimulated by duties and restric 
tions on cane-sugar, was annually increasing in out 
put and decreasing m cost throughout Europe. 
Sugar was no longer a luxury, but had become an 
article of staple necessity which its cheapness finally 
put within the reach of all mankind. For the year 
1900, the world s sugar output was eight million 
four hundred and forty-eight thousand and forty- 
four long tons, of which five million six hundred and 
eight thousand or a little less than two-thirds were 
of beet, while two million eight hundred and thirty- 
nine thousand were of cane-sugar. This was the 
high-water mark of beet-sugar. Since the indepen 
dence and pacification of Cuba, the output of cane- 
sugar has been relatively increasing. For the year 
1909-10 the total output of sugar was fourteen mil 
lion eight hundred and ninety thousand long tons, 
of which seven million nine hundred and thirty-five 
thousand were of cane and six million seven hun 
dred and fifteen thousand were of beet-sugar. For 
the first time in this decade the output of cane 
passed that of beet-sugar in 1908. The crop year 
of 1910-11 gave a still greater relative output of 

At the beginning of this revolution in one of the 
world s great industries, the price of raw sugar was 
something like $.20 a pound or $450 a ton. From 
that date till the end of the Spanish War it 
went down till it sold at $40 per ton at the planta 
tion. It has even touched $35 per ton more than 



once during the previous twenty years. For most 
of the last hundred years the war between beet- and 
cane-sugar was a war without mercy or quarter, 
during which the plotted curve of prices is a de 
scending one every subdivision of which is marked 
with the ruin of sugar-cane planters throughout the 

Although the sugar industry started in Cuba as 
early as 1523, it was not till the end of two cen 
turies that the output reached twenty-five thousand, 
and not till 1750 that it reached seventy-five thou 
sand tons per year. At the end of another hundred 
years it had reached three hundred and twenty thou 
sand tons. During the next sixteen years it gradu 
ally increased to seven hundred and fifty thousand 
tons. But this was a period of high prices and great 
improvements in grinding the cane, converting the 
begasse or fiber into fuel and extracting the sugar, 
but it was offset by a period during which the an 
nual exactions of Spain amounted to an average of 
$5,000,000 in excess of the official budget. With 
these exactions a third of the Cuban planters were 
driven into bankruptcy, which in turn threw both 
skilled and unskilled laborers by the thousand out 
of employment. And it was this state of affairs, and 
not any special or unusual oppression or any new 
form of outrage and wrong which drove the Cuban 
people into poverty and insurrection. 

The first Cuban Eepublic was proclaimed at Yara 
in 1868, and the struggle which followed lasted with 
varying fortunes and inconclusive results till 1878. 
Carlos Manuel Cespedes was the president and Max 
imo Gomez, who had experience in the Spanish army 
as a non-commissioned officer, became the active 



leader. The fierce but desultory struggle was con 
fined mostly to the Eastern provinces, and was fi 
nally ended by a series of concessions and stipula 
tions on both sides, with the payment of a consider 
able sum of money to the insurgent leaders, as pro 
vided in the so-called Capitulation of Zanjon. 

Without dwelling on the settlement which each 
party charged the other with violating, it is certain 
that the war cost both Cuba and the mother country 
an enormous sum in property as well as in money, 
and that on this account Spain added $300,000,000 
to the public debt, thus bringing it fully up to $400,- 
000,000 or to $283 per capita, all of which was 
charged to Cuba. What was worse, Spain insisted 
upon adding the interest on the same to the Cuban 
budget, already far greater than the Cuban people 
with the decreasing profits of their principal busi 
ness could bear. 

To make a deplorable case desperate, a further 
fall in the price of sugar took place in 1884, which 
brought another crop of planters to ruin and con 
tinued the depression till the American Congress 
put the Elaine system of reciprocity into effect. As 
this admitted Cuban sugar into the States without 
duty, the crop rapidly responded to the magic touch 
of free trade till it reached its maximum of one mil 
lion fifty-four thousand two hundred and fourteen 
tons in 1895. But, unfortunately, the competition 
with beet-sugar at the same time grew fiercer and 
fiercer till it finally culminated with the repeal of 
the reciprocity arrangements during Cleveland s 
second term, in an apparently complete victory for 
beet-sugar. Our part in the battle was the straw 
which broke the camel s back. and whelmed both the 



surviving planters and the common people of Cuba 
in ruin. 

In a storm of fury against Spanish oppression, 
and apparently in entire ignorance of the fatal blow 
we had struck their most flourishing industries, the 
second rebellion broke out in 1895, under Cisneros, 
Maso, Marti, Gomez, and Maceo. Although the in 
surgents were poorly prepared to carry on war 
against Spain, the infuriated combatants with torch 
and machete, small arms and artillery soon had the 
beautiful island ablaze and running with blood from 
end to end. Industry ceased, idleness became the 
rule, the rate of wages for the few workmen still 
employed fell to a nominal figure, the cost of living 
rose and the output of sugar dwindled in a single 
season to a little more than two hundred thousand 
tons. Spain had filled Cuba with soldiers while the 
Cuban leaders had called every unemployed man to 
the banner of his country. Every "central" that 
could not pay tribute to both sides was burned, the 
cane-fields were fired and all the cattle that could be 
found were driven away, slain and eaten. No animal 
escaped. Nothing that could be eaten was spared. 
The infuriated forces vied with each other in the 
work of destruction, each declaring its purpose to 
make the island valueless to the other. Spain in her 
desperation increased her army of occupation as fast 
as the ships could bring them over to full two hun 
dred thousand men, a force amply sufficient to sweep 
the country from side to side and from end to end as 
rapidly as the troops could march had it been pos 
sible for them to march at all. The most that the 
invaders could do was to occupy the principal cities 
and towns, driving the people from the neighboring 



farmhouses and cabins and shutting them up within 
fortified limits so restricted that it was impossible 
for them to find food enough to keep body and soul 

This cruel and infamous practice became known 
as "Beconcentration," the poor victims of which, 
called "Reconcentrados," died by thousands from 
starvation and disease. According to the best evi 
dence obtainable, the population of the island was 
reduced by these means fully two hundred thousand, 
before the practice was abandoned and succor came 
to the suffering Cubans. A cry of horror went up 
against the inhuman policy all over the world, but 
Spain, as long as Weyler held command, was inex 
orable. It may be truthfully said that Spain was 
also powerless to carry on the war in civilized fash 
ion, not that she was short of men or resources, but 
that her rapacity and misrule for four hundred years 
had been such as to sweep all the surplus wealth out 
of the island into her own coffers instead of leaving 
a reasonable part for building turnpikes and rail 
roads. Had she located and constructed a central 
highway of either sort from the ends of the island 
to Havana, with branches from the principal ports, 
she could easily have overwhelmed the Cuban re 
bellion before the nearest outside power could have 
gone to its assistance. 

The American people from Maine to California 
and from St. Paul to New Orleans without refer 
ence to party were outraged by the cruel policy of 
the Spanish Captain General. The adventurous re 
porter never better displayed his enterprise than in 
the accounts he gave of the sufferings inflicted on 
the Cuban people. Food, clothing, and medicines 



were sent by shiploads to the suffering Eeconcen- 
trados, and curiously enough the Spanish authorities 
amiably assisted the Eed Cross in distributing them 
to the sick and starving Cubans. Scores of enthusi 
astic young Americans had flocked to the standard 
of the insurgents, and the conviction was spreading 
like wildfire throughout the States that the Cuban 
Eepublic should be recognized, and if that should 
not prove sufficient, that the Spanish forces should 
be driven out of the island at the point of the bayo 
net. But notwithstanding the excitement, both the 
President and Congress proceeded with delibera 
tion. Both recognized the gravity of the situation 
and honestly strove to avoid war. In memory of 
our own great rebellion they were loath to recognize 
the new Eepublic or to intervene for the expulsion 
of the Spaniards and the reestablishment of peace. 
They offered the country s "good offices " but the 
hour had not yet come for their acceptance. Al 
though the disturbance in the house of the next door 
neighbor was intolerable and ought to be suppressed 
as a matter of common right, they were reluctant to 
play the part of policeman. 

As time passed, however, the row seemed to sub 
side from within, but this was doubtless due more to 
the exhaustion and powerlessness of the combatants 
than to a disposition on either part to reach a just 
and peaceable settlement. The enormous expense 
coupled with the impossibility of concentrating their 
forces and of conducting successful operations in the 
interior appeared to be dawning at last upon both 
the Captain General and the home Government. 

But as yet neither Spain nor the outer world 
seemed to understand that the underlying cause of 



the rebellion was primarily economic and not alto 
gether political. While it was true that Spain s do 
minion on this side of the Atlantic was regarded by 
many as an anachronism, and that Cuba had a par 
donable desire for independence, no one seemed to 
recognize the deep-seated and fatal cause of her 
discontentment. No political economist had yet 
discovered that the island and its people were hope 
lessly bankrupt. No statesman had perceived that 
they paid willingly so long as they had profit enough 
to defray the cost of production including taxes and 
extraordinary exactions and leave a reasonable sur 
plus behind. No governor general and no Spanish 
minister had suggested that Cuba could not possibly 
continue to pay after its business had been destroyed 
and its debt had become greater than it could carry. 
No accountant had discovered that its surplus had 
already given place to a deficit that it could not 
make good or that financial ruin was stalking abroad 
in the land. Strangely enough no American from 
the President down seems to have got the faintest 
glimpse of the real trouble, and thus Spaniards, 
Cubans, and Americans alike were drifting help 
lessly and unconsciously toward a catastrophe which 
shocked the world and led ultimately at a great cost 
of life and money to only a partial amelioration of 
conditions rather than to a radical cure of the deep- 
seated disease. 

This was the general situation when the tragic 
event to which I allude took place, fixing if not 
changing the course of history. For the protection 
if not at the direct request of Consul General Fitz- 
hugh Lee and the American residents of Cuba, the 
Washington administration, acting entirely within 



its discretion but, as the outside world thought, 
without sufficient justification, sent the battleship 
Maine to Havana where she was received with 
proper if not effusive respect. An advantageous 
anchorage was assigned to her, but shortly after 
ward this was changed. Then came an explosion 
blowing out her bottom and causing her to sink be 
fore a large part of the crew, which were below 
deck, could escape. This occurred on February 15, 
1898, at about ten o clock at night. The dull heavy 
rumble of the explosion was heard ashore, and when 
its cause was ascertained the news was flashed by 
cable and telegraph to all parts of the world. While 
there was no positive proof, the suspicion was al 
most irresistible that the disaster was the result 
of hostile design and not of accident. A board of 
naval officers investigated the matter as best they 
could, and although they got nothing but circumstan 
tial evidence, they expressed the opinion that the 
ship had been blown up by a torpedo or sub-marine 
mine directed or planted by the hands of the Span 
iards. The Spanish authorities were swift to deny 
the charge. They were also swift to make an in 
vestigation which, without throwing any positive 
light upon the tragic incident, expressed the counter 
opinion that the battleship was sunk by an explosion 
from within. It is, however, worthy of note that the 
American solution of the mystery has finally been 
confirmed by a new board of army and navy ex 
perts, who made a careful examination and survey 
of the hulk after it had been laid bare within a cof 
fer dam constructed for the purpose of removing it 
from the harbor. 

A wave of excitement swept over the country 


when the news of the disaster came to hand. Many 
newspapers and many congressmen clamored for an 
immediate declaration of war. But the President 
and the cooler heads, knowing that the country was 
not prepared for extreme measures, did all they 
could to make delay. Diplomacy was called upon 
again to do its work. An armistice with a revoca 
tion of the order of reconcentration was suggested 
to be followed by a fair and honorable peace be 
tween the belligerents. Counter propositions fol 
lowed ; a meeting of ambassadors in Washington of 
fered the good offices of the European Governments ; 
Spain proclaimed an armistice, revoked its order of 
reconcentration, appropriated money to assist in re 
lieving the suffering Cubans, and finally took meas 
ures to establish an autonomous government in the 
island ; but it all came too late. The conviction that 
Spaniards if not the Spanish government had blown 
up the Maine, was too strong to permit an impartial 
arbitration. McKinley had stood firmly for peace 
up to that time, but his position now became uncer 
tain. Whether he sincerely wished for peace, or was 
working for delay in the hope that he would be bet 
ter prepared for war, remains a matter of doubt to 
the present day. He was naturally a timid man if 
not an opportunist. Although his service in the War 
for the Union began with the humble rank of com 
missary sergeant and ended with that of brevet 
major on the staff, there is reason for believing that 
he regarded himself like many another distinguished 
civilian, as in fact a great military organizer and 
administrator. And yet in calling an ex-colonel of 
volunteers who, although reinstated, had been sum 
marily dismissed from the army a third of a cen- 



tury before, to the high position of secretary of 
war merely because he had become rich and had 
made large contributions to pay the personal debts 
and campaign expenses of the presidential candi 
date, he had rudely shaken the confidence of the 
try as well as of the army in his discretion and 
judgment. But he was both president and comman- 
der-in-chief and the war with all of its uncertainties 
was not only on but under his supreme direction. 

Although I knew as little as any one else at that 
day as to the misrule and economic ruin in Cuba, I 
had sympathized deeply with her from the day of 
the first rebellion and wanted to see her freed from 
Spanish tyranny and annexed to the United States. 
I, therefore, made haste to offer my services to the 
Government, and in doing so called special attention 
to the fact that my resignation from the army in 
1870 was by its terms to remain in effect for the in 
terval of peace which might elapse between the date 
thereof and the beginning of the next war to which 
the United States were a party. In due course I 
notified the Adjutant General that I was ready to 
accept any rank and command which might be as 
signed to me with due regard to my past services. 

Shortly afterward I was invited to the executive 
mansion, and on my arrival with Corbin, the Adju 
tant General, the President, whom I knew well, and 
who received me most cordially, told me that he had 
placed my name at the head of the list of major gen 
erals to be appointed from civil life. He then showed 
me his list and asked me what I thought of it. As a 
cursory examination revealed that he had left off 
several of the best men of the old army, notably 
Ames, Fitzhugh, and Hall, still in their prime, and 



also Basil Duke of the Confederate army, to all of 
whose merits I called special attention, he said at 
once that he would put them on the next list. They 
were notified at once and so far as they were ready 
to accept, he sent their names to the Senate for con 
firmation, in due time. 

Thus, by my appointment and previous services, 
I became the senior major general from civil life. 
Fitzhugh Lee and Joseph Wheeler had also gradu 
ated at West Point and held commissions in the reg 
ular army before they went into the Eebellion, but 
with my longer service and higher rank in the old 
army, I had precedence over them. The first five 
army corps were assigned to the senior regular offi 
cers of continuous service. The sixth fell to my lot 
and the seventh to Lee s, but when it came to the 
actual reorganization of the new army all the corps, 
except mine, were filled up. A full staff of able and 
acceptable regulars for the chief places, competent 
to administer an army of two hundred thousand men, 
was detailed and promptly reported to me at Camp 
Thomas, Chickamauga Park. They were Lieutenant 
Colonel Tasker H. Bliss, of the regular artillery, 
Lieutenant Colonel Wilber E. Wilder, of the cav 
alry; Lieutenant Colonel Avery D. Andrews, lately 
of the artillery ; Lieutenant Colonel John Biddle and 
Major Clement A. F. Flagler, of the engineers ; Lieu 
tenant Colonel Henry D. Borup, of the ordnance; 
Lieutenant Colonel Eeber, of the signal corps; Ma 
jor Eli D. Hoyle and Captain Arthur Murray, of 
the artillery, and Captain Helmick, of the infantry. 
Later Colonels McClernand, Dorst, Greble, Craig, 
and Cecil, all regular officers of the highest char 
acter and great experience, came to me in turn. 



From civil life came Colonels Hull and Hill, Ma 
jors Carlton, Vernadoe, Parkhill, and McMichael; 
Captains Allison, Breckenridge, Hewitt, and La- 
trobe ; and Lieutenants Black, Fullington, and Titus, 
each of whom showed himself steady, honest, patri 
otic, and faithful to the duties which fell to his lot. 

But with all this array of experience, talent, and 
ambition not a single regiment or battery was ever 
assigned to the Sixth Corps. While I never made 
inquiry or asked for an explanation, I have always 
felt that the failure to fill up the Sixth Corps was 
very unfair to me and was due to political pull or 
influence or possibly to Alger s hostility which might 
have worked as much disadvantage to the country 
as to myself had the war been mainly on the land 
or seriously protracted on either land or sea. As it 
turned out, the Spaniards were as unready as we 
were and no ill effects can rightly be ascribed to 
our War Department s partiality and favoritism 
whatever may have been their origin. 

There was a good deal of comment, however, dur 
ing the entire war amongst the West Pointers and 
other observant men on the fact that both the Presi 
dent and the Secretary of War as well as the Gen 
eral-in-Chief, the Adjutant General, and all the gen 
erals commanding expeditions were civilians or offi 
cers appointed to the regular army from civil life 
or from the volunteers. The President, the Secre 
tary of War, Generals Miles, Corbin, Shafter, 
Chaffee, Young, Lawton, Brooke, Coppinger, Wade, 
and Bates, as well as Colonels Eoosevelt and Wood, 
belonged to this class. With the exception of Lee 
and myself, no West Pointer had corps rank and 
none received the command of an independent ex- 



pedition. It all looks as if it was the deliberate 
purpose to prefer the volunteers and to turn down 
West Pointers. Inasmuch as I was the only sur 
viving general of the Civil War still below the re 
tiring age, who had commanded an army in inde 
pendent operations, and was besides the only one 
of any grade who had accompanied a great mili 
tary expedition by sea to its objective base of oper 
ations, my friends thought it strange that I should 
not have been assigned to chief command in the 
Cuban or Porto Rican operations. General G. M. 
Dodge of the Sixteenth Army Corps in the Civil 
War had been offered and declined the rank of ma 
jor general in the Spanish War, but took the liberty 
of telling the President that he had only one officer 
of high rank fitted by experience and character for 
the command of an independent expedition, or army, 
and that officer was General Wilson. This was with 
out my knowledge or connivance and did not become 
known to me till long after the confusion and mis 
management attending the embarkation and disem 
barkation of the expedition to Santiago had become 
a military scandal. Later when charged with the 
transfer of a part of the First Division by ship to 
Porto Eico, I made requisition for the proper flat- 
bottomed scows and motor boats to disembark my 
command promptly and expeditiously, but my requi 
sitions were quietly ignored, and the expedition was 
sent to an unknown coast with nothing but the ship s 
yawls or row boats to land the troops. It is need 
less to add that the landing would have been greatly 
delayed if not rendered impossible had the enemy 
been strong and determined enough to make a stand 
at Ponce, 



It is just such ignorance and neglect that bring 
our War Department into discredit, subject our 
commanders to criticism and contempt and endan 
ger the success of their operations. It is safe to 
add that all the confusion and delay in landing and 
most of the exposure and sickness of the Santiago 
expedition, ending in the scandalous round robin 
and the withdrawal of the Fifth Corps from Cuba 
as unable to keep the field with less than thirty days 
campaign duty to its credit, were due to the igno 
rance and inexperience of its leading officers. It is 
inconceivable that an invading army composed of 
good volunteers properly commanded, should have 
been reduced in so short a time to the helpless con 
dition set forth in the round robin. It is inconceiv 
able that it could not have continued indefinitely in 
the field in spite of its sick and wounded, had proper 
provision been made or proper measures taken by 
officers of experience to provide for its health, sub 
sistence, and transportation. When we recall that 
an Anglo-American expedition made up mostly of 
colonial militia carried by sailing ships, captured 
and held Havana for over six months in 1762, it will 
be difficult to understand how an army of the pres 
ent time transported rapidly and comfortably to 
destination by steamer could have been placed hors 
du combat by a few weeks service about Santiago 
in 1898. Who the author of the round robin was is 
not definitely known, though I am sure it could not 
have been drawn up by an officer of experience nor 
signed by those who did sign it had they been free 
from panic and demoralization. 

But it is not my purpose to give an outline, much 
less a detailed history of the Spanish War, the for- 



tunate ending of which was due more to the unreadi 
ness and inefficiency of the Spanish army and navy, 
than to the superior organization and management 
of our own. While our navy was then as always, 
from the date of its earliest existence, a well- 
trained and efficient organization in which both rank 
and file were regulars with no volunteers amongst 
them, it was fully abreast, ship for ship, gun for gun, 
and man for man, with the best navy of the times, 
success at Manila was generally regarded by other 
nations as a "scratch," but when Sampson s fleet 
destroyed the Spanish fleet coming out of Santiago 
Harbor, it is safe to say that a cold chill went down 
the back of every naval power in the world. Al 
though our English cousins professed to rejoice with 
us, there is good reason for saying that they were 
particularly skeptical in reference to American gun 
ners and gunnery. Captain Paget, naval attache at 
my headquarters, in discussing the naval victory off 
Santiago at my mess table, was indiscreet enough to 
attribute our success to the statement that we had 
got all of our best gunners from the English navy. 
This was so far from the truth as well as so lack 
ing in politeness that I replied, possibly with some 
heat: "I suppose you will say that the capture of 
the Serapis by the Bon Homme Richard, the Guer- 
riere by the Constitution, Macdonough s victory of 
Lake Champlain, and Perry s victory of Lake Erie 
were also due to the same cause?" 

Whatever may have been the merits of this retort 
it silenced the captain and was evidently regarded 
by other naval guests as disposing of the claim, that 
our recent naval victories were due in any degree 
to English gunners. 



But to return to my personal narrative. Having 
been for a second time appointed a major general of 
volunteers on May 4, 1898, I took post two weeks 
later at Camp Thomas, Chickamauga Park, with my 
able staff of regulars and volunteers, for the pur 
pose of organizing and commanding the Sixth Army 
Corps in pursuance of my assignment. I selected 
an advantageous camp on the old battlefield of 
Chickamauga and at once put the regular officers to 
teaching the volunteers the practices and duties of 
military life. They were an able and brilliant lot 
who made enthusiastic and rapid progress in learn 
ing their new duties. Having named Lieutenant 
Colonel Tasker H. Bliss, United States Volunteers, 
of the regular artillery, an officer of rare ability and 
learning, as chief-of-staff, the task and responsibil 
ity of getting its members into working order rested 
mainly on him, though the technical instruction of 
those from civil life fell mostly upon Lieutenant 
Colonel Biddle and his able assistant, Major Flagler 
of the Engineer Corps. They opened at once a staff 
school for the purpose of giving systematic instruc 
tion, and by earnest devotion to the students soon re 
ported them as nearly ready for field service as they 
could be without the practical experience of actual 
war. With all branches of service and administra 
tion thoroughly provided for, it would have been a 
great pleasure to organize my share of the raw vol 
unteers, which the President had called out, into an 
efficient army corps, but, as previously explained, 
no troops were ever assigned to the Sixth Corps. 
Its only existence was on paper. 

But neither I nor my officers were willing to re 
main idle and, therefore, we offered ourselves to 



General Brooke commanding the camp as well as 
the First Army Corps, for the command and instruc 
tion of his First Division. This he cheerfully ac 
cepted, and from that day till the end of the war we 
were fully employed. The Division was composed 
of excellent officers and men mostly from the Na 
tional Guard, who threw themselves heartily into 
the task of transforming it as nearly as possible into 
a division of regulars. The camp was beautiful and 
abundantly supplied with excellent water from 
Crawfish Springs, the drills and exercises were fully 
within the capacity of men and officers, and the 
work at hand went on with as much regularity and 
as much to my satisfaction as it could have done 
had I devoted my whole life to the army instead of 
leaving it nearly a third of a century before. Such 
is the force of systematic military education and ex 
perience, and so different are the occupations and 
habits of civil life, that it seemed to me as though 
I had merely returned from a short leave of absence 
and was resuming my daily routine just where I left 
off many years before. One of my regular staff re 
marked that in this respect I had apparently for 
gotten nothing but had learned much while in civil 




Volunteered to command First Division, First Army Corps 
Santiago Campaign Ordered to Porto Eico by the 
way of Charleston Waiting for transports Hospi 
tality of Charleston. 

While the bustle and excitement of the Spanish 
War in its opening days centered around Tampa 
and the force gathering there under Shafter, the 
Administration s favorite commander, chosen doubt 
less because he was of Michigan antecedents by a 
Michigan secretary of war, the life at Camp Thom 
as was by no means a quiet one. It had been the 
intention of the Government to make it the camp 
of instruction for three army corps, the First, 
Third, and Sixth, or in all about one hundred thou 
sand men under Brooke, Wade, and myself. As it 
turned out, this intention was partly realized only 
in respect to the First and Third Corps, and as my 
lot was soon cast in with the First, I became ab 
sorbed in its work and history. After Brooke was 
named governor general of Porto Eico I succeeded 
Breckenridge in the command of the First Corps 
and my story henceforth is rather of what might 
have been than of the important events which ac 
tually took place. 



Brooke, whom I had met casually in the Army of 
the Potomac many years before, was a handsome 
man of fine figure, great dignity and impressive 
carriage. Having won his way by hard fighting and 
exemplary conduct from the command of a regiment 
of Pennsylvania volunteers to the command of a 
fine division, he was appointed to the regular army 
at the close of the war, and had risen to high rank 
and command not only by seniority but by excellent 
service and behavior. No finer specimen of a sea 
soned veteran could be found in ours or in any other 
service. He was an officer of correct habits, unim 
paired powers, and deliberate judgment, but made 
no claim to unusual ability and still less to military 
genius. He was a general of real modesty but, 
withal, an excellent disciplinarian who not only re 
quired obedience to his own orders but gave prompt 
and unquestioning obedience to those in authority 
over him. He was, besides, fully able with proper 
instructions from those above to perform all the 
duties of any command to which he might be as 
signed either in the field or in the cabinet. In short, 
he was the superior in rank and in every other re 
spect, unless I except the knowledge of medicine and 
surgery, to either the officer who received prece 
dence over him then, or to the one who superseded 
him later in Cuba. 

It was a pleasure to serve under and to assist 
such an officer, and had the Government appreci 
ated his character and quality at their real value, or 
taken him into its confidence in respect to its plans 
and policies, there can be no doubt that he would 
have carried out his orders to the letter without 
giving the slightest cause for criticism or complaint. 



It will be remembered that lie was the first governor 
general of Porto Eico after it passed under our con 
trol, and was transferred soon after the Treaty of 
Peace with Spain to the same position in the island 
of Cuba. At the end of a year s loyal, if not bril 
liant service, he was relieved of his high office by 
an officer who had won favor in Washington of 
the President and other high officials. This offi 
cer had within the short space of two years been 
raised from the humble rank of captain in the 
Medical Corps, through that of colonel and briga 
dier, to major general and governor general of 
Cuba, not only over the head of Brooke and all 
the other corps and division commanders, but over 
the heads of some six hundred other regular offi 
cers, his seniors in service, rank, and military merit. 
It was a most remarkable case of favoritism which 
could not have occurred in any other country ex 
cept in case of revolution. Brooke bore the humilia 
tion without a word of official remonstrance, but 
his closest friends know that he felt the injustice 
like a blow in the face. 

As long as I remained under the immediate com 
mand of General Brooke, it was my custom to pay 
my respects with my staff in uniform, fully mounted 
and accompanied by our orderlies, every afternoon 
between four and five o clock for the purpose of con 
ferring with him and receiving his orders for the 
next day. I am surely within bounds when I add 
that he looked forward to my daily visit with as 
much pleasure and satisfaction as I did. At all 
events, our service at Camp Thomas was the begin 
ning of a friendship which has lasted to the present 
time without a cloud, and I am sure will continue 



unbroken to the end. Happy is the country that is 
served by such officers as Brooke in its high places 
of power and responsibility. A true and loyal sol 
dier without fear and without reproach, sound, 
healthy, and capable, he discharged the duties of his 
high position efficiently and well, and when it is con 
sidered that he had received no special instructions 
from the Government, and had no intimation of its 
policy if it had one, the student of history will find 
it difficult to account for his relief from command 
in Cuba by a junior who had had but little experi 
ence except as a subordinate department commander 
in that military division. 

Of course, the principal interest in our camp at 
Chickamauga Park was the force gathering at 
Tampa. While its destination was unknown outside 
of the Washington authorities, the common supposi 
tion was that it was for the invasion of Cuba, and 
all the principal officers were anxious to join it. This 
kept us more or less in a state of change and excite 
ment. Leading generals, with us one day, would be 
gone the next. First Wheeler, the ex-Confederate 
anxious to rehabilitate himself as a loyal officer, and 
then Lawton, the veteran frontiersman who needed 
no rehabilitation, but merely a chance to show what 
he could do as a leader of men. None wanted work 
in a camp of instruction, but all were looking for a 
chance in the field. Ernst, the courtly and dignified 
superintendent from West Point, Sanger, the dis 
tinguished artillerist and brigadier general of vol 
unteers, still sound and ambitious, Grant, long out 
of service, but now wearing his stars in recognition 
of his great father, were all hard at work, each hop 
ing that he might be called to the front, and some 



perhaps leaving no stone unturned to secure that 
honor without delay. 

In the midst of the anxiety, I devoted myself con 
stantly to getting the First Division " ready to the 
last linchpin, " and for my success in that received 
Brooke s hearty and affectionate thanks and com 
mendation. After a creditable review on June 12, 
he said : " You are most helpful to me. I never give 
the First Division a thought." But it soon became 
certain that there was anxiety in Washington if not 
In our camps. The inside history of the embarkation 
at Tampa was coming to us ; we heard that there was 
much confusion amongst both officers and men, but 
in view of the fact that not one of them had ever 
been connected with such an expedition, or had 
had the slightest experience in that direction, I 
thought it but natural. Not so with others. Colonel, 
afterward Major General Weston, deputy commis 
sary general, who was on the ground, outfitting the 
expedition with food supplies, seeing the confusion 
and lack of system and remembering his service with 
me during the closing year of the Civil War, blurted 
out to Miles, the general-in-chief : "If you want to 
get things straightened out here you had better send 
for Wilson and put him in charge. He has had ex 

What impression this remark produced is a mat 
ter of conjecture, but a few days later orders came to 
Brooke to send me with fifteen thousand men to 
Tampa as soon as practicable. The first expedition 
had sailed and all the transports were in use. It 
was, therefore, certain that we could not embark till 
they returned, but my division was ready and anx 
ious. Not so the authorities. Indeed, they seemed 



uncertain as to the course to be pursued, and kept 
us waiting in camp for ten days. Meanwhile Shaf- 
ter s expedition had landed at Daiquiri in a still 
greater state of confusion if possible than when it 
embarked. Fortunately for the country, however, 
it was composed mostly of well-trained regulars, ac 
cording to all accounts the finest body of men the 
country had ever assembled, amounting, all told, to 
about fifteen thousand. It had a few regiments of 
volunteers and two battalions of so-called Eough 
Eiders without horses. The landing was made on 
an open deep-water beach, and but for the presence 
of the navy and its small boats would have been 
seriously delayed, especially if the enemy had made 
an effective resistance. There were no roads, and 
this, added to the fact that the commanding general 
was unfit by excessive obesity for active service, not 
only delayed the advance but gave it a haphazard 
character far from reassuring. 

It will be recalled that shortly after the landing 
at Daiquiri and the affairs at Las Guasimas and El 
Caney, Shafter s main body, under the immediate 
command of Kent, Hawkins, and Sumner, crossed 
the San Juan Creek and assaulted and captured the 
enemy s entrenchments crowning San Juan Heights 
and covering the city of Santiago. With victory ap 
parently in his grasp, Shafter, losing confidence, if 
not courage, telegraphed the Secretary of War on 
July 3, 1898, much to the surprise of all, that he was 
. . . "seriously considering withdrawing . . . 
about five miles and taking up a new position on the 
high ground between San Juan Eiver and Siboney." 1 

In order that this startling proposition, com- 

1 Eeport of War Department, 1898, Vol. I, part 2, p. 17. 


ing so closely upon a notable success, and followed 
as it was the next day by a hurry call for fifteen 
thousand more troops, 1 may be clearly understood, 
it should be stated that Shaf ter himself had not seen 
nor directed any part of the assault and knew noth 
ing whatever from personal observation as to the 
character and value of the position his forces had 
carried, for the simple reason that his disability was 
so great that he could neither mount his horse nor 
go afoot. He had managed to reach El Poso two 
miles short of and across the valley from the en 
emy s line of defense, but in so doing had so 
abraded his abdomen that he was suffering much 
pain therefrom and not only compelled to confine 
himself to his tent but to depend entirely upon 
others for his information, if not for his inspiration. 
To add to the confusion, it now appears that 
both Wood, the colonel, and Eoosevelt, the lieuten 
ant colonel of the Rough Eiders, were more 
active, at least with the reporters, and it was 
this activity that afterward brought them the great 
est fame and the highest reward, although it is now 
known that they took no leading part and rendered 
no important service whatever in the actual capture 
of the entrenchments crowning San Juan Heights. 
It is also certain that they directed their efforts, 
such as they were, solely against Kettle Hill, which 
a personal inspection of the ground and an exam 
ination of all maps showed to be an outlying, un 
fortified, and practically undefended knob some sev 
enty or eighty feet high, and fully a half mile to 
the left front of San Juan Hill and its principal en- 

1 Report of the War Department, 1898, Vol. I, part 2, p. 18, Shaf- 
ter to Adjutant General, July 4, 1897. 



trenchments, from which it is separated by a swamp 
that could not be crossed and was not flanked till 
after the enemy beyond had ceased firing and with 
drawn from his main defenses. 

It was upon the judgment of such officers as these 
that the fortunes of the United States depended in 
this campaign. The ranking general had never 
commanded during his whole life in an important 
action, and could not direct in this one, because of 
physical disabilities of a kind which the War De 
partment should have fully understood. Neither 
Wood nor Koosevelt had ever before seen, much less 
taken part in a real battle. To make matters worse 
Young, afterward made lieutenant general without 
additional service, was too sick to leave the landing 
in rear, and Wheeler, although present with the 
troops at the front, was physically disqualified for 
active service, while Lawton and Chaff ee were neu 
tralized in a roundabout march from El Poso to El 
Caney and back to the main army. 

No message of any sort had reached the War De 
partment from Shafter for over twenty-four hours, 
but the air was filled with " foreboding rumors. " 
Previous dispatches had announced that Shafter 
and Wheeler, the second in command, and Young, 
were sick or disqualified for duty, and finally that 
yellow fever had appeared among the troops. The 
President and his secretaries were up nearly all 
night waiting with intense anxiety for tidings, and 
when Sunday morning opened with no bulletins from 
the army, the anxiety had spread to the whole coun 
try and the situation was justly regarded as one of 
extraordinary gravity. 1 

144 The Spanish American War, 7 by E. A. Alger, secretary of 
war, &c., Harper & Brothers, pp. 172 et seq. 



Under these alarming circumstances with the 
possibility of a national disaster staring them in the 
face, it is not strange that the Secretary of War in 
consequence of Shafter s proposed retirement and 
in compliance with his call the next day for reen- 
forcements, should have telegraphed Brooke, com 
manding the principal camp of instruction, as he did, 
to send me with fifteen thousand men as soon as pos 
sible to reenf orce the army in front of Santiago. As 
I recall it, this order must have reached Brooke be 
fore midnight and me early on the morning of July 
4. Of course, it was gladly received and, fortu 
nately, my division had been ready for ten days to 
entrain as soon as cars could be got for it. Early 
the same morning Brooke called at my camp, and 
after we had discussed the situation and settled the 
plans for a rapid movement to Charleston, where 
the transports were to meet us, he expressed a sol 
dier s regret that he could not go also. Kealizing 
that if reinforcements were really required at San 
tiago, we should send all the troops we had ready 
and thus make sure of the result, and in full sym 
pathy with Brooke s desire to go with them, I sug 
gested that he should notify the War Department 
that he was ready to follow with the balance of 
the First Army Corps as rapidly as transportation 
could be furnished. 

But to this the General replied: "The rest of 
the corps is not ready and I cannot get it ready in 

1 Oh yes, you can ; there are over thirty thousand 
men fully armed and equipped in this camp, and you 
can follow with them all as soon as I get out of the 
with my Division. 



"No, that s impossible without breaking into 
Wade s corps and transferring his best troops to 
my immediate command. " 

"Well, why should you not do that! You are in 
command of this camp, and know better than any one 
in Washington what its resources are. As the senior 
officer you are fully entitled to go with them, if you 
think it best for the country s interests." 

"Why, General, you talk as though you would 
take everything Wade has, including his overcoat, 
as well as his troops and transportation." 

To this I replied : "I certainly would if I thought 
the country would be benefited by it, and as Wade 
was present listening with deep interest, I added: 
"Wade would be just the man not only to approve 
it, but to offer to go himself in command of a divi 
sion if permitted to do so." 

Thereupon, Wade, who had sat silent, spoke up, 
like- the true soldier he was, expressing his hearty 
approval of what I had said, and offering to do all 
in his power to carry it into effect at the earliest 
possible moment. With this they took their depar 
ture together, Brooke looking much happier than 
when he arrived at my headquarters. 

Just what further action Brooke took in the 
premises I never knew, but I have always assumed 
that he presented the whole case, exactly as it stood, 
loyally and promptly to the War Department. At 
all events, that is what I expected of him, and I am 
glad to add that he was shortly ordered with an 
other part of his command to Porto Eico. But, for 
tunately for the country, Shafter, meanwhile, in 
stead of withdrawing from his advanced position, 
permitted Colonel McClernand, his adjutant general, 



in response to the earnest request of that officer, 
to frame and send a letter to the Spanish comman 
der demanding his surrender, and although he did 
this in language not as direct or as confident as 
he might well have used, it was sufficient to change 
the situation radically. It was followed by further 
correspondence which led to the immediate with 
drawal of the foreigners from the city, to the main 
tenance of the army s advanced position and of 
Shafter s prestige, and finally, as one of our major 
generals afterward wittily remarked, to the surren 
der of Santiago, "when Toral s sand gave out." 

While this sequence of events made it evident in 
due time that my reinforcements would not be re 
quired, there can be but little doubt that the credit 
of the demand for surrender was due mostly to Col 
onel McClernand rather than to General Shafter, 
who discouraged it at first and yielded only on the 
urgent representation that it could do no harm but 
might do much good. As it frequently turns out in 
military life, the demand was a fortunate one, for 
it found the Spanish commander worse demoralized 
by his own situation and by the destruction of the 
Spanish fleet than Shafter was by the difficulties 
which confronted him and his army. 

Without dwelling further on the Santiago cam 
paign and its fortunate termination, I may say that 
in pursuance of the first orders received, my Divi 
sion was transported rapidly by regiment and bri 
gade through Chattanooga and Atlanta to Charles 
ton, but as it found no transports on its arrival at 
the seaport, it was obliged to go into camp, where it 
remained for two weeks. While waiting, regular 
instruction, drills, and reviews were resumed, and 



everything practicable was done to interest, if not 
to please, the people of the city. Eigid discipline 
was maintained, due respect was shown to the local 
authorities, open-air concerts were given by the 
bands, the national colors were displayed on every 
occasion and every respect, including standing at 
attention with bared heads, was shown by the officers 
present when the "Star Spangled Banner " was 
played. But the people were slow to respond. They 
had been rebels in the days of the Civil War, and 
seemed to be disposed to look upon both officers and 
men not only as Northerners but as hirelings of a 
hated Government. All the white people, including 
the ladies, held themselves aloof till the federal 
judge, a gallant one-armed ex-Confederate, and a 
leading newspaper, recognized and extended to us 
the right hand of fellowship. Fortunately, a few of 
our officers were acquainted with some of the lead 
ing ladies, upon whom they called, and to whom 
later they introduced their friends. By a few well- 
directed civilities the ice was broken and in a short 
time the principal houses were open and extending 
their hospitality to our officers. Finding that- 
there was not a single man in the command ex 
cept myself and General Ernst who had ever borne 
arms against the South, the frigid atmosphere 
warmed and friendly relations were soon estab 
lished. Balls were given by us as well as by the citi 
zens, which were followed by breakfasts, teas, and 
dinners exactly as though no estrangement had ever 
existed. It was an interesting coincidence that I had 
been present with our army on James Island just 
across the bay, and had participated in the battle of 
Secessionville, fought within sight of Battery Point, 



the chief promenade of the town, during the first 
year of the Civil War. As far as I know this was 
not laid up against me, for I was treated by every 
one as an honored guest, if not as a cherished per 
sonal friend. The two weeks of our occupation of 
Charleston were really the only period in the his 
tory of the town when a United States force strong 
enough to hold it, was concentrated within its bor 
ders. It was a pleasant episode and one which, no 
doubt, did much to break down prejudice and rees 
tablish friendly relations between that city and the 
rest of the United States. I have always regarded 
my stay at that place as one of my happiest experi 
ences, and the friendships contracted there amongst 
the pleasantest and most durable of my life. 

There was only one episode connected with the 
matter of transportation and its supply worthy of 
record. Immediately after arriving at Charleston 
and finding that no ships were in port to convey us 
to our destination, Judge Brawley, of the United 
States admiralty court, told me that the tramp 
steamer Rita, trying to run the Cuban blockade, had 
been captured, brought in, and condemned as a prize, 
and with proper authority and security he would 
turn her over to me. I at once had her inspected by 
Colonel Biddle, chief engineer, and Major Wood- 
bury, chief surgeon, and on their report that she 
was sound and seaworthy and could be furnished, 
coaled, and got ready to sail with a regiment of sol 
diers within forty-eight hours, I asked and obtained 
orders from the War Department to use her as a 
troop ship. Although she was almost immediately 
taken out of my control for twenty-four hours by the 
general-in-chief, who was also under orders for Cuba 



or Porto Eico, my officers actually outfitted and dis 
patched her with eight full companies of another 
command for Santiago within two days. It is pleas 
ant to add that she reached her destination in safety 
after rather a long voyage of six days. The readi 
ness with which this steamer was dispatched grew 
out of my experience at Port Eoyal farther down 
the South Carolina coast the first year of the Civil 
War, and its success was not only gratifying to me 
but was most creditable to the officers who prepared 
and dispatched her for sea with such unusual ex 
pedition. In connection with our delay the incident 
served besides to emphasize the fact that a nation 
should not engage in a war beyond sea without an 
ample fleet of suitable transports and a body of 
trained officers to outfit, supply, load, and dispatch 
them in an orderly and systematic manner. It is not 
a simple branch of military service in which the in 
experienced volunteer is likely to excel. 

Another incident of less importance but far more 
amusing took place a few days later. After the good 
people of Charleston had got used to our presence 
and began to entertain us, my staff arranged for a 
return ball. I was holding a conference on the front 
piazza of the hotel with General Ernst, a most digni 
fied and serious officer, commanding my first brigade. 
It was after dark and the hotel was filled with wives 
and daughters who had come to bid us good-by and 
to see us embark. Eumors had already begun to 
circulate that our destination would be changed and 
that we should be sent on some perilous expedition 
against the public enemy. Everybody was eager to 
know what was going on, and everybody kept us 
under close and anxious surveillance. It was now 



the middle of July, and in that latitude it was nat 
urally hot and sultry. It was before the days of 
khaki, and both officers and soldiers were badly clad 
for the weather and still worse for the season in the 
tropics. Under these conditions Ernst and I were 
seated apart in the coolest spot we could find. We 
were supposed to be engaged in a "council of war," 
and were unconscious that we were under observa 
tion. The ladies thought surely that orders had 
come at last, that there would soon be bleeding 
hearts and parting in hot haste, and that all the dis 
tressing details would probably be arranged and 
made known by morning. The anxiety and suspense 
were at the highest when I broke the spell by bring 
ing my hand down with a sharp slap, saying aloud : 
"Well, Ernst, that settles it! You can wear regula 
tion uniform if you like, but I am going to wear 
white to the ball to-morrow night. 

The glad news spread rapidly, and the anxious 
crowd on the piazza soon thinned out, but I did not 
know, till a bright girl told me the next day, how 
great the anxiety or how perfect the relief had been. 
And it is frequently this way in war time. Neither 
the gravest men nor those charged with the heaviest 
responsibility are always pursing their brows or 
turning over in their minds the weighty affairs of a 
coming campaign. 

While we were waiting for transports, and would 
have continued to wait impatiently, however grave 
the emergency, our destination was changed from 
Santiago, the early surrender of which had now 
become certain, to Porto Eico, the next most popu 
lous and most important Spanish island east of 



Sail for Island Land at Ponce Miles in chief command 
Advance to Juana Diaz Capture of Coamo and its 
garrison Rumors of peace Armistice End of the 
War Civil Administration Address planters at El 
Paraiso Relieved from duty Return to the States. 

General Toral and the Spanish forces defending 
Santiago surrendered July 14, 1898, but the Peace 
of Paris, which ended the war and defined the rela 
tions of the parties thereto, was not concluded till 
several months later. Meanwhile, hostilities con 
tinued in a somewhat languid way. Spain was sup 
posed to have other cruisers besides those destroyed 
or captured at Manila and Santiago, and there was 
still some ground for the fear that they would keep 
the sea, especially against our commerce, and might 
even make a descent on exposed points of our long 
and undefended seacoast. In face of this possibility 
we sailed from Charleston at 7 P. M. on July 20, 1898, 
with Ernst s brigade, First Division, First Army 
Corps, embarked on the transports Obdam, La 
Grande Duchesse, and the Mobile, for Porto Kico, 
but entirely without naval escort or protection of 
any kind. Fortunately, the weather was fine and the 
sea smooth, so that we arrived at our destination off 



the east end of the island abreast of Fajardo on the 
morning of the 26th. One of our ships had met with 
an accident to its condensers, and one was slower 
than represented, but the whole fleet was well in 
hand when we met the United States cruiser Colum 
bia, just east of the island with an order from Gen 
eral Miles to join him without delay at Guanica, a 
small landlocked harbor near the southwestern end 
of the island. A beautiful sail in sight of land all 
day brought us to our anchorage shortly after dark. 
Early the next morning we entered the harbor and 
reported to General Miles, whom we found there 
with one brigade, but the little bay was utterly out 
of the way and the roads entirely inadequate for ef 
fective operations in any direction. Accordingly, 
Miles changed his plans and decided to disembark 
sixteen miles farther east at Ponce, the second city 
of the island, connected with San Juan on the north 
coast by a broad macadamized highway, said to be 
at that time the best road in the West Indies. 

The harbor of Guanica which we had entered 
head on, although sufficiently deep, was almost land 
locked and so crowded with transports that our 
steamer could not turn about in it. This made it 
necessary for us to back out for over a mile through 
a narrow crooked channel, but the maneuver, al 
though hitherto unheard of for a long, ocean-going 
steamer, was successfully managed by the captain, 
who was a bold and skillful navigator. Had the 
weather been rough this fortunate result could not 
have been attained, and our withdrawal as well as 
our further movements would have been correspon 
dingly delayed. But fortune favored us. We found 
that Ponce had been abandoned early that morning 



and was already occupied by a small detachment of 
marines from our blockading ships. My whole com 
mand was at hand, but as the beach, or playa, two 
miles in front of the city, was shallow and shelving 
for a half mile out, and my requisitions for flats and 
motor boats had not been filled, the landing of our 
animals and supplies was a long and tedious opera 
tion. Had our movement into the interior depended 
upon a prompt advance after our first appearance, 
it would have been seriously endangered by the fail 
ure of the War Department to fill my requisitions, 
and by its generally inadequate preparation to meet 
perfectly well-known conditions. With our trans 
ports anchored more than a half mile from the 
shore, with no wharf or landing facilities, it would 
have been impossible to disembark the transporta 
tion and supplies of the command without the as 
sistance rendered by the navy, and especially by 
Captain Higginson, of the battleship Massachusetts. 
The troops got ashore that day, but with all we could 
do our impedimenta were seriously delayed and our 
preparations to advance were not complete for fully 
a week longer than would otherwise have been neces 

As the enemy had withdrawn toward the interior 
and made no sort of effort to resist or embarrass us, 
I had ample time in which to restore order, establish 
a military administration and reconnoiter the coun 
try along the great highway toward Coamo. Not 
withstanding the improvements in infantry firearms, 
my command had been supplied with Springfield 
rifles and cartridges of black powder on the theory 
of the Ordnance Department that these would be 
good enough for fighting the Spaniards, but under 



my earnest protest the new standard rifle, of which 
a supply was on hand in the States, was furnished 
and issued to the command on the third day of Au 
gust on foreign soil only four days before we began 
our forward movement. With any men less intelli 
gent than the American soldier this might have been 
a costly if not a fatal change, but the volunteers 
readily adapted themselves to the new rifle and used 
it in their first and only action with great effect. 

The authorities and people of Ponce received us 
with an enthusiastic welcome. They were heartily 
tired of Spanish domination and quite ready to give 
us every help in their power. Under the guidance 
of young and patriotic citizens my engineers soon 
had a perfect understanding of the surrounding 
country to the vicinity of the stronghold at Aibo- 
nito, thirty miles from Ponce on the military road 
near the summit of the main divide between the 
north and south sides of the island. It is a bold and 
rapidly rising region broken by brooks and rivers 
which are insignificant in the dry season but become 
raging torrents, many of them deep enough to float 
a first-class battleship, in the rainy season. 

The enemy had abandoned all the near-by coun 
try and posted his advanced detachment at Coamo, 
a small and beautiful town in the coffee region some 
twenty miles inland on the main road near the junc 
tion of the Coamo and Cuyon Rivers. It is a com 
manding site of great natural strength where one 
determined soldier might well defy a hundred. But, 
fortunately, the broken country about it was heavily 
timbered and the position was found to be easily 
approached and turned. 

Miles, the general-in-chief, joined me ashore 


shortly after I had landed and, escorted by the fire 
men of the city with a military band playing one of 
Sousa s marches, we drove to the City Hall, where 
we held a reception and received the heartiest as 
surance of welcome. At the conclusion of that cere 
mony, Miles appointed me military governor of the 
city and district and then returned on board to look 
after the scattered force of twelve or fourteen thou 
sand men which constituted his invading army. He 
had landed two brigades at Guanica, sending one 
around the island to the left toward Mayaguez, one 
to join me at Ponce, and two further to the east 
under the immediate command of General Brooke, 
while my column of only one brigade of infantry 
with two regular batteries and a troop of New York 
cavalry had the main and only practicable road to 
the capital of the island, which would naturally be 
come our main objective as well as the enemy s final 
stronghold. It requires no knowledge of strategy 
to show the reader that this disposition of the in 
vading force, while well calculated to confuse the 
Spaniards, made it almost impossible to synchronize 
and coordinate our own movements. My advance was 
pushed out to Juana Diaz, ten miles from Ponce, 
soon after landing, but my main column did not be 
gin its advance till August 8. Miles followed me to 
the front and, after approving my plan to turn 
Coamo with a strong regiment and if possible shut 
up and capture its garrison, he left me to look after 
his other columns, remarking as he took his leave 
that he wished he could depend upon me "not to go 
too fast." Regarding this as a mild though some 
what complimentary criticism, I replied at once: 
"You are commanding general. in the island, and if 



you are not willing to trust my discretion, you have 
only to give your specific orders and they will be 
literally obeyed/ To this he gave a reassuring re 
ply, and then rode back to Ponce. 

Accordingly, with a thorough understanding of 
the country and the problem before us, I moved for 
ward from Juana Diaz to within three miles of 
Coamo. I sent Colonel Hulings with the Sixteenth 
Pennsylvania Volunteers under the guidance of 
Colonel Biddle by a night march through the cross 
trails and valleys and over the divide into position 
behind the enemy, while Ernst with the rest of his 
brigade supported by the batteries with his right 
covered by Clayton s troop of New York cavalry, 
guided by Major Flagler, advanced by the right of 
the highway directly against the town. These move 
ments were so timed as to bring the main force 
against the left and front of the Spaniards shortly 
after daylight, but also after the turning column 
had reached its designated position in rear. Al 
though the indistinct trails and the shades of night 
made the movement through the tropical forest 
somewhat slower than it should have been, the com 
bination was entirely successful and by eight o clock 
in the morning the narrow valley both above and be 
low the town, and the surrounding heights, were 
reverberating with the field artillery and the tearing 
rattle of our Krag-Jorgensens. An outlying block 
house on the road to Los Baiios held by the enemy s 
pickets, was set afire by our shells and the whole* 
beautiful landscape was soon covered by the smoke 
and made horrid by the noise and confusion of bat 
tle. But our plans were well laid and although not 
a man of the command except Lancaster, the chief 



of artillery, Ernst, and myself had ever seen 
a gun fired in anger or a man killed in 
war, every officer and soldier did his duty ac 
cording to the part assigned him, as fully and satis 
factorily as if he had been a seasoned veteran of 
many campaigns. 

The Spaniards made a bold stand, and from their 
serried and well-formed ranks, poured volley after 
volley upon our converging columns, and especially 
upon Hulings and his Pennsylvanians in the rear. 
But they were evidently taken by surprise, though 
not in their beds. Our soldiers were closing in upon 
them from all sides as well as from the rear, and 
there was nothing left for them but to fly or to lay 
down their arms and surrender. They did both. The 
teamsters, clerks, and invalids to the number of 
seventy or eighty starting at the first alarm by the 
highway to the interior got off in the con 
fusion, but the bulk of the fighting force five 
officers and one hundred and sixty-two men were 
made prisoners. The gallant Spanish colonel 
and four men were killed, while between thirty and 
forty were wounded. The Spanish firing was unusu 
ally wild, for not one of our men was killed and 
only six wounded. 

The cavalry which struck the highway east of the 
town, pushed promptly along the great road to pre 
vent the enemy from blowing up the bridges and cul 
verts, while the infantry and artillery followed 
closely in support. One single-span bridge across 
the Coamo had been destroyed before we reached 
the town, but the pursuit was so prompt and rapid 
that all beyond it were saved, although the enemy 
had exploded a mine, blowing a hole in the arch of 



one bridge, and with his ample preparations would 
have treated others in the same way, if his main 
force had not been captured. 

That portion of the enemy which escaped lost 
no time in getting back to the stronghold of Aibo- 
nito, some five miles beyond Coamo, but this was a 
place near the top of the mountains, not only so 
strong of itself but so covered by fortifications and 
guns on the cragiike and lofty ridges of El Peiion 
and Asomanti, that it was impossible to reach them 
by a front approach. The intervening country, al 
though as beautiful as the Vale of Cashmir, was so 
broken and tumbled into ravines and impassable 
ridges that regular operations through it were im 
practicable. The only road that could be traveled 
through the region is the beautiful highway which, 
twisting through crooked valleys, doubling around 
sharp promontories, skirting the base of overhang 
ing cliffs, and hugging the sides of the precipitous 
slopes, all the time rising rapidly to their summits, 
was swept at its most favorable reaches by the en 
filading, plunging, and cross fire of the batteries 

A personal reconnoissance with the aid of my 
enterprising engineer officers under the cover of the 
mountains to heights from which the whole scene 
could be taken in, convinced me that afternoon that 
the enemy s position on the summits beyond was im 
pregnable by direct attack. Before nightfall it be 
came apparent that our progress would have to be 
suspended till we could work out a route through the 
trails and ravines and up the mountain sides, by 
which we could repeat the operation at Coamo and 
again turn the enemy out of his commanding posi- 



tion. Experience was our only safe guide and, for 
tunately, we had plenty of that. 

Accordingly, the command was ordered into 
bivouac by the side of a mountain stream flowing 
with crystal water, amidst mountain air which was 
filled with balm and pleasant odors. We had been 
taught that great rainstorms and tropical cloud 
bursts followed by raging floods might drive us to 
the tops of the ridges, hence our camps were se 
lected most carefully above the reach of overflow, 
and were soon ablaze with cheerful camp fires. 
Meanwhile, our engineers who had learned Spanish 
at West Point, guided by natives, were again work 
ing their way to the front, through defiles and rocky 
valleys, for the purpose of seeing how the heights 
above could be turned. Fortunately, by the second 
day they had found practicable routes around both 
of the enemy s flanks, which would surely enable me 
to place our column again across his line of retreat. 
Both routes were obscure and exceedingly precipi 
tous, but as the shorter led to the left, it became our 
plan to make the new turning movement in that di 
rection. As that movement would at first carry us 
far afield and up the craggy mountain sides, Ernst 
in person with the bulk of his brigade was told off to 
lead it through Baranquitas and Honduras, mere 
points on the map, to the rear of Aibonito. 

Rumors of peace had already begun to reach us 
at the front, and to make sure that the enemy was 
still there, as well as to learn what I could of his 
temper and disposition, I sent Colonel Bliss, chief- 
of-staff, next day under a flag of truce to demand 
the surrender of the enemy in our front. While I 
had but little, if any, expectation that the Spanish 



commander would yield to my cheeky demand, I had 
long years before learned that it was no mistake 
in war to ask for what you would like to have, even 
if you should be forced to accept only what you could 
get away with. While my flag was politely received 
and my demand sent to the commanding officer in 
rear for an answer, which would probably be forth 
coming the next morning, Bliss returned to Coamo. 
The next day at sunrise he went for the promised 
answer, which was, of course, not only a negative, 
but accompanied by a strong intimation that no 
more flags would be received and that if we wished 
to avoid an effusion of blood we had better not ad 
vance against the position in our front. 

As nothing further was to be gained by delay, 
I decided to begin the turning movement that night 
and push it to a conclusion. The distance to be cov 
ered, with all its turnings and difficulties, could not 
be less than ten miles, and, as much of it was to 
be straight up the mountain side, it might fairly 
be regarded as twice and possibly three times that 
distance on the level. Every possible arrangement 
was made to hold the road to the rear with artillery, 
cavalry, and a small detachment of infantry, while 
the main body was struggling up the mountain in 
search of victory, which would force the enemy to 
retreat and clear the road to San Juan. To make 
sure that no effort in that direction and that no ac 
cident to Ernst should cause confusion or uncer 
tainty in the turning movement, I sent Colonel 
Biddle and Major Hoyle, both able and vigorous offi 
cers, to guide and, in case of need, to assist the 
commanding officer. With all these precautions the 
head of column had begun its march along the trail 



toward Baranquitas, when a courier arrived at my 
headquarters with the news that an armistice had 
been concluded between the United States and Spain 
and that all military operations were to cease for 
the present, the opposing forces to hold their re 
spective positions till further orders. 

General Miles, still at Ponce, sent for me the 
next day and after showing some displeasure at my 
flag of truce he heartily thanked me and my com 
mand for the successes we had gained at such little 
expense, declaring that we could not have taken 
more trouble or done better work had we been con 
fronting a hostile force of twenty-five thousand men. 
His praise was unstinted, and when it is remem 
bered that the affair at Coamo was the most com 
plete of any connected with the operation in Porto 
Eico, his gratification can be well understood. 

But the war was over, and the conditions of 
peace were now to be determined by high commis 
sioners who were to meet in Paris. The Porto Eico 
campaign had been made by experienced regular 
officers, with but few newspaper men at hand to 
spread exaggerated reports about it for the glori 
fication of popular favorites. As far as Miles and 
his subordinates were concerned they had managed 
every detail methodically and efficiently. The coun 
try was naturally quite as difficult as Cuba and just 
as sickly, but it is proper to say that, with the ex 
ception of a typhoid infection brought from the 
States and slight digestive disturbances, due more 
to the native fruits than to climate, the troops were 
free from epidemics and any unusual sickness. The 
records showed but few deaths and at no time over 
twenty-three per cent, from all causes unfit for duty, 



the larger part of which were light cases, mostly 
developed after the campaign had ended, and the 
friendly people, with pardonable anxiety to please 
our soldiers and satisfy their curiosity, had sup 
plied them too freely with oranges, pineapples, and 
bananas and with the rarer and less wholesome 
varieties of tropical fruits. Withal, there was no 
lack of hospitals, medicines, Bed Cross nurses, or 
supplies, and no cause for alarm at any time. Al 
though our occupation continued for over two 
months, there was no round robin and no necessity 
for withdrawing the troops to Montauk Point. The 
simple fact is that the campaign and occupation of 
Porto Eico in July and August were managed so 
well that the officers and men, as well as the people 
of the island, regarded it as a continuous picnic or 
gala fiesta, while the campaign and capture of San 
tiago at practically the same time of year were char 
acterized by sickness, disorder, and general misman 
agement, which came uncomfortably near to national 
disaster and disgrace. 

As military governor I took every precaution as 
long as I remained in the island to maintain order, 
to enforce discipline, and to reassure and protect 
the people, who received us everywhere with open 
arms as friends and liberators. While the great ma 
jority of the islanders were peacefully rejoicing 
that the Spanish dominion was at an end, a few 
pronounced revolutionists and patriots who had not 
taken up arms with the Cubans now showed a dis 
position to wreak vengeance on the Spanish sym 
pathizers who were still in the island. In one case 
they burned a village, pillaged the shops, and com 
mitted other outrages, but, sending troops at once 



to the spot, the ringleader was promptly arrested. 
As the insular judges holding under Spanish author 
ity had abandoned their offices and fled, the enforce 
ment of the local laws was necessarily suspended, 
and this made it necessary to hold all prisoners in 
definitely or try them at once by military commis 
sion. Naturally, I chose the latter course for the 
great offense referred to above. I convened a com 
mission of high officers in accordance with regula 
tions and orders in force and designated Colonel 
Burpee, my staff judge advocate, to conduct the trial. 
This was done with promptitude, patience, delibera 
tion, and with a due regard for all the prisoner s 
rights, as well as for such formalities as could in 
any way concern the prisoner or impress the public. 
The meetings were open and, of course, conducted 
with the utmost decorum. Interpreters were pres 
ent and all questions and answers were duly trans 
lated into both Spanish and English where neces 
sary. Fortunately, the facts were all easily ascer 
tained and clearly proven, and after due delibera 
tion the prisoner was convicted and sentenced to im 
prisonment in the Minnesota state prison for fifteen 

The proceedings and findings were duly approved 
and forwarded to the War Department and the 
President, who also approved them and ordered the 
sentence to be carried into effect. This was done, 
and, as proper notice was given through the in 
sular newspapers, the beneficial results were instan 

A certain Senor Fajardo, one of the most promi 
nent republicans of the island, shortly after our 
landing asked authority of General Miles to raise 



a regiment of Porto Rican soldiers, but upon my 
advice the general denied or recalled the authority 
which the applicant claimed to have received from 
him and made certain that there should be no divided 
responsibility in the maintenance of order and no 
interference with the peaceful pursuits of the people. 
Several of our higher officers, notably General 
Henry, seemed to regard themselves as in authority 
over an alien, if not a conquered, people, and, there 
fore, charged with supervising and correcting their 
manners and customs. The custom of yoking cattle 
in Porto Eico is by binding a padded beam across 
their foreheads to the base of their horns with raw 
hide thongs or ropes. This method made such an 
appeal to Henry s pity that he was about to issue 
an order forbidding it and prescribing the American 
method instead. Fortunately, however, he consulted 
me about it and I forbade his making any order 
whatever on the subject, calling his attention to the 
fact that, while it was none of our business how the 
Porto Eicans yoked their cattle, they were but fol 
lowing the method that had come down to them 
from Bible days and had been used in nearly all 
countries except our own from the dawn of civiliza 
tion to the present time. This view of the matter, 
my gallant friend frankly confessed, had not oc 
curred to him, and without further reference to the 
relative merits of the two plans he gave up his idea 
and made no order on the subject. 

But this was not the end of our work. The civil 
officers of all grades were slow to resume their func 
tions. The mayors, or alcaldes, held over without 
question, but they were naturally more or less in 
doubt as to what would be expected of them by the 



new regime. I therefore reassured them at the ear 
liest hour by calling attention to the fact that the 
municipality is in all countries regarded as the po 
litical unit, and no matter what changes of govern 
ment may take place above, whether through con 
quest or revolution, the mayor and council not only 
remain in office till removed by competent author 
ity, but are held responsible for the maintenance 
of order, the protection of persons and property, 
and the continuance of municipal business exactly 
as though there had been no interruption or change 
in the regular course of affairs. With this assur 
ance the police, the markets, and the railroads were 
set in motion without delay, but the custom house 
and postoffices were more complicated affairs. They 
belonged to the nation and were taken over by my 
appointees the first thing after our occupation, much 
to the gratification of both natives and invaders. 
The customs receipts the first day were over $7,500, 
and increased rapidly thereafter. The idea that we 
were among friends whom we must protect and not 
harass was quickly adopted by our soldiers. The 
best of feeling followed immediately. Our bands 
gave public concerts in the parks, and from the first 
every boy in Ponce was whistling "A Hot Time in 
the Old Town To-night," and regarding it as our 
national air. Within a week the islanders, as well 
as our own people, recognized that we stood for or 
der, good behavior, and a peaceful resumption of 
business, while the powers above would settle the 
future status of the country in their own good time. 
When this understanding had become established 
some of the leading citizens of the district invited 
me to meet them at the coffee plantation of El 



Paraiso, some fifteen or twenty miles back of Ponce, 
ostensibly for breakfast, but really for an informal 
conference in regard to the future of the island. 

This meeting took place on the last day of 
August, 1898. The weather was fine and the journey 
on horseback most delightful. The first five miles 
were over a splendid macadamized highway pointed 
toward Adjuntas on the north side of the island, 
but not yet finished. The rest was a zigzag climb 
up steep hills and through beautiful tropical forests 
which filled the soul with delight. The breakfast, 
or as we should call it, the luncheon, was at a Cor- 
sican planter s, Mr. Pierluisi s, modest but commo 
dious country house. It consisted of native fruits 
and a number of tasty dishes, including "bacalao 
biscayino" and light Spanish wines, ending with 
the best coffee I ever tasted, made from caracolillia 
grown on the place. It was my first Spanish- Ameri 
can fiesta and left nothing to be desired. It will al 
ways be remembered as a most delightful experience, 
not only for the sympathetic hospitality extended to 
me, but for the opportunity it gave me of meeting 
the leading lawyer, merchants, and planters of the 
region, and of advising them as to their duties and 
prospects as affected by the expulsion of the 

Addressing them as " gentlemen and fellow citi 
zens," with the explanation that Porto Eico had 
become an American dependency, I pointed out that 
the great Republic, unlike European governments, 
has no subjects but extends its rights and privileges 
freely and equally to all men who reside within its 
far-reaching boundaries. I expressed the hope that 
the termination of Spanish rule and the establish- 



ment of military government under the American 
flag would soon be followed by local self-govern 
ment based on the essential principles of American 
liberty. I called attention to the fact that we did 
not pretend to interfere with the local laws except 
when necessary to protect our army and to maintain 
peace and good order, and that we looked to the 
local courts to do justice between man and man, and 
to the moderation and good sense of the people them 
selves for the continuance of that tranquillity which 
had so far characterized their conduct. I added in 
substance: If every one, high and low, rich and 
poor, Puerto-Riqueno and Espanol, devoted himself 
strictly and exclusively to his own private affairs 
or to official business, eschewing politics and public 
discussion, everybody would find in the end that the 
island had not only been well governed and pros 
perous, but worthy of the good fortune which had 
come to it. With proverb and precept I warned 
both insulares and peninsulares that they must re 
gard the past as a sealed book which we would not 
permit either side to open, and that they must live 
together in peace and harmony. I then called at 
tention to the fact that as soon as the Spanish left 
the island the President would probably appoint a 
military governor, the length and character of whose 
administration would depend largely upon their own 
behavior; that in the natural course of events it 
would be replaced by a territorial government, the 
powers of which would be prescribed by Congress, 
and would be followed in turn by an autonomous 
state, which would doubtless be finally admitted into 
the Union. How long they would be kept in pro 
bation was a matter of conjecture. With peace and 



good order showing the people really worthy of self- 
government, the period would be merely nominal, 
but, if unfortunately they disregarded the rights 
of each other or showed by turbulence, intolerance, 
and ignorance that they were unfit for self-govern 
ment, they could rest assured that that great privi 
lege would be withheld indefinitely. 

Finally, I pointed out that, as we have no state 
church, the Catholic church would no longer be sup 
ported by the public treasury, but must adopt the 
parochial system like the Protestant sects; that 
there must be perfect freedom and toleration for 
all; that no enlightened man in the United States 
ever asks another what his religion is ; that all rec 
ognize perfect freedom of choice for everyone else; 
and that God, the Compassionate, is alone the judge. 
I then told the story of the Wisconsin boy who car 
ried a saber for the Union till the end of the Ee- 
bellion, worked his way through college, became a 
missionary in the South, and founded "The Helping 
Hand," with the following impressive words as its 
motto : 

"I shall pass through this world but once; there 
fore, whatever good thing I may do for any human 
creature, let me do it now ; let me not postpone nor 
delay it, for I shall not come this way again." 

Emphasizing this as the true philosophy of life 
in politics as well as in religion, I concluded with 
a word against the intolerance of one and the bigotry 
of the other and then warned them as solemnly as 
I could against the danger of insular turning against 
peninsular, of Puerto-Eiqueno turning against Es- 
panol with torch and dagger to avenge the wrongs 
and oppression of Spanish domination. It needed 



no argument to show that an outbreak against this 
feeling could not fail to condemn their countrymen 
as a turbulent and law-breaking people, unfit for 
self-government, and therefore doomed to be ruled 
by the strong hand of a military governor. Feeling 
that they were, in fact, docile, orderly, kindly, and 
fully prepared already for a better government than 
they had ever enjoyed, I urged them to lose no op 
portunity to show the world that they were tolerant 
and magnanimous as well. In conclusion I called 
special attention to the fact that their wrongs, what 
ever they might have been, had already been amply 
avenged by the expulsion of the Spanish flag, with 
out cost or effort on their part, and that the least 
they could do in return was to repress the spirit 
of revenge and resolve to live in peace, quietude, 
and forbearance with their Spanish neighbors. Thus 
and thus only could they show themselves to be 
worthy of the great destiny which had overtaken 
them, and which, it was to be hoped, would finally 
clothe their beautiful island with sovereignty and 
membership in the great continental republic, and 
make them our " fellow citizen" forever. 

Fortunately, several of the gentlemen present 
understood English, and this, with an occasional 
pause for translation, gave the entire party ample 
time to gather my meaning. All seemed deeply im 
pressed and gave the most flattering assurance of 
approval and support. The next day Matienzo Oin- 
tron, the most eminent lawyer in that part of the 
island, asked me to write out my remarks so that 
they might be translated at length, printed, and cir 
culated in the insular newspapers. This I did at 
once and, judging from the favorable response which 



came in from all quarters, my remarks were recog 
nized by all as the right word at the right time. 
They found their way to the States shortly after 
ward and, much to my gratification, were widely 
republished and favorably commented upon. 

In due time, with unanimous approval, I ap 
pointed Matienzo Cintron judge of the highest 
district court. Later Governor General Brooke not 
only confirmed him in office, but promoted him to 
the supreme court, with which he has been honorably 
connected for many years. Thus it is that timely 
forethought, forbearance, patience, and good judg 
ment on the part of those in high authority are fre 
quently far better than the strong hand in dealing 
with alien people and their affairs. 

With the tranquillity which followed, my task as 
military governor was not only a light one, but came 
to a calm and peaceful end. Within two months 
from our landing I was relieved from duty in the 
island and ordered back to the States with the 
greater part of my command. 

My connection with the expulsion of the Spanish 
flag from Porto Rico and with the establishment and 
maintenance of a just and orderly peace among the 
people has always given me unalloyed pleasure, not 
only because the exemplary conduct of the command, 
drawn as it was from widely separated states of 
the Union, reflected great credit on the American 
name, but because it won the warmest commendation 
of the Porto Eican people. The hearty and affec 
tionate farewell they gave us made it certain that 
they regarded us as " amigos muy simpaticos/ and 
our country as "la mas grande del mundo!" 

The only dissatisfaction I witnessed and did not 


fully understand at the time was on the part of 
General Miles, who as commanding general of the 
invading army naturally expected to be at the head 
of the commission to arrange for the withdrawal 
of the Spanish forces and the occupation of the en 
tire island by our own. He also signified his inten 
tion to put me in chief command, but the Govern 
ment, for reasons of its own, had other plans. It 
appointed Brooke, Wade, and Gordon as commis 
sioners, and afterward made Brooke governor gen 
eral, while it ordered Miles home, and he in turn 
ordered me to take my troops to New York on their 
way to be mustered out. I had wished to march 
them by the Eoyal Eoad through the island to San 
Juan, but, seeing that this might delay us, and that 
he was to have nothing further to do with estab 
lishing the national authority in the island, he or 
dered me to take the first transports that could be 
had for New York, authorizing me to review the 
troops and lead them in triumph through the streets 
of the metropolis before sending them to their re 
spective states. But this was countermanded from 
Washington on our arrival, and thus the only or 
ganization that came back from the war in better 
condition than when it entered it was disbanded and 
sent home without any public recognition or cere 
mony whatever. While no explanation of this un 
usual course was ever made, I have always supposed 
that it was due partly to politics and partly to the 
controversy which was soon on in full blast between 
Miles and the Administration in regard to the food 
supply of the army. But why it should have affected 
me, who had no part in either, I could never un 




Commanding First Army Corps at Lexington and Macon 
Eenew acquaintance with people at Macon Review 
for President McKinley Remarks on Continental 
Union Negro regiments left behind Transfer Corps 
to Matanzas Recommended for chief command 
Brooke as Governor General Province and city of 
Matanzas fall to my lot Conditions prevailing in the 
Island Reception of Maximo Gomez Brooke s ad 

The campaign of Porto Eico was a short one. 
Within thirty days from the time we sighted the 
island off Point Fajardo I was ordered back to the 
States with troops which had beaten the Spaniards 
in the field and were no longer needed for military 
operations. Shortly after reaching home and enjoy 
ing a few days rest I was assigned to command the 
First Army Corps, vice Brooke, who on leaving for 
Porto Eico had been temporarily succeeded by 
Breckenridge. That part of the corps left at Chicka- 
mauga Park, naturally one of the wholesomest 
places in the country, had become so seriously in 
fected with typhoid fever from the State encamp 
ments that it had been transferred to a new encamp 
ment near Lexington, Kentucky, where I rejoined it 



on October 20. I found it comfortably and advan 
tageously situated. Every known precaution had 
been taken to leave the infection behind. Its sani 
tary condition was greatly improved, but many gen 
erals, as well as staff and line officers, were absent 
on leave and much work was necessary to put it 
into proper condition for service in what was sup 
posed to be the sickly climate of Cuba. There were 
still a few typhoid cases, and another change of en 
campment seemed to be necessary to get entirely 
rid of that disease. The fall season was well under 
way and cold weather coming on. Our next duty 
was known to be as a part of the army of occupation, 
which had been fixed at about fifty thousand men. 
In accordance with my own judgment, as well as 
that of the Washington authorities, I was ordered to 
transfer the corps by rail to southwestern Georgia, 
with my own headquarters at Macon. Of course, I 
was familiar with the entire region, for I had ended 
the War for the Union in it a third of a century be 
fore. The climate at that season was delightful, the 
soil was porous and easily drained, and the officers 
by that time highly skilled in moving and making 
camps as well as in all sanitary measures necessary 
to keep them clean and healthy. With such division 
commanders as Bates, Sanger, and Ludlow, the corps 
was soon comfortably settled, this time in the most 
perfect surroundings. Every known precaution had 
been taken; all sick or ailing soldiers were left be 
hind, disinfectants of every kind had been used in 
abundance, and before a fortnight elapsed it was 
certain that the entire command was not only free 
from infection of every sort, but in better condition 
than ever before. Methodical instruction and drills 



were resumed, and it was but a few days till all 
branches of administration were brought to a high 
state of perfection. 

In the desire to obtain troops that would be im 
mune, several negro regiments had been lately or 
ganized in the South, and, although commanded by 
good officers, several of whom were regulars, one 
of the regiments reached camp in a somewhat law 
less condition. The first night it got liquor and 
was soon reported drunk and disorderly. A few 
men left camp with their guns and on some trivial 
pretext began shooting up the neighborhood. When 
this was reported I ordered the division commander 
with white troops to surround the camp, to parade 
the regiment, call the rolls, report the absentees, 
stack arms, take away the colors, arrest and confine 
the disorderly, and then send the men to quarters 
with notice that none could leave camp or have their 
arms again till their commander could assure me 
that they knew how to behave themselves as soldiers. 

The lesson was silently but promptly adminis 
tered, though it was not till the climax that its full 
import was understood. By daylight the absentees 
had been gathered in and confined, and the entire 
command taught a lesson of discipline and obedi 
ence that it never forgot. A system of squad drills 
and camp instruction was rigidly enforced, and 
within a week the arms were restored and the negro 
brigade was one of the most quiet and well behaved 
in the corps. And yet the episode taught me a les 
son also. Eealizing that the Cubans were a civilized 
people who had rightly rebelled against foreign op 
pression and were entitled to be regarded as friendly 
allies, instead of alien enemies, I at once recom- 



mended the discharge of all negro volunteers from 
the First Army Corps. I represented them as in 
no way fit exemplars of the American army in the 
work of restoring order, pacifying the island and 
preparing it for self-government. Fortunately, my 
views were accepted by the President, and all the 
colored troops were discharged before the corps was 
transferred to Cuba. The result was most satis 
factory in every respect, for it left none but white 
Americans of the best type to carry on the work 
which fell to their lot under the joint resolution of 
Congress and the Treaty of Paris. Of course, there 
were occasional acts of bad behavior and even of 
violence on the part of a few drunken soldiers, but 
on the whole no country ever sent out an army corps 
which better represented its civilization or better 
understood the mission upon which it was about to 
embark. Here and there an officer, not always of 
inferior rank, forgot or failed to comprehend the 
simple work of pacification and took up that of 
political reconstruction and administration exactly 
as though they were conquerors who had come to 
occupy the land indefinitely. How far that was due 
to misconception or to unofficial intimations from 
those in higher authority will probably remain al 
ways a matter of conjecture, but I shall have more 
to say on that subject as it develops during my stay 
in the island. 

Meanwhile, the First Corps remained in its 
Georgia encampment for about two months, during 
which it did much good work outside of the strictly 
military line. As I had made many acquaintances 
throughout the State, and especially at Macon, dur 
ing the six months after the close of the Civil War, 



the leading people received my family, my higher 
officers, myself, and my staff with every social at 
tention. Most of the older citizens had "gone over 
to the majority, 7 but here and there was one who 
had not only survived, but forgotten the days of 
humiliation and defeat and welcomed me and my 
command with pleasant memories and assurances 
of high respect. Among these were Senator Bacon, 
Major Hanson, the Nesbits, the Johnstons, and the 
family of Howell Cobb, but there were also many 
others who had heard their parents and friends 
speak kindly of my stay among them in former 
days, so that all extended the hand of good fellow 
ship and did what they could to show that they 
regarded us not only as fellow citizens, but as the 
soldiers and representatives of a common and re 
united country. It was to Senator Bacon that I 
was indebted for my prompt confirmation as a ma 
jor general the year before. 

It seems that the Senate in executive session was 
about to vote on my nomination, when the Senator 
asked for delay, speaking substantially as follows: 

1 The fortunes of war made me a prisoner to Gen 
eral Wilson at the close of the late unpleasantness, 
and I was under parole to report daily at his head 
quarters. Having done this several times, I grew 
restive, and called one morning to see General Wil 
son, whom I found a younger man than myself. 
After giving him my name as a staff officer of 
General Cobb, I told him that the war was over, 
and I wanted to give my general parole, and see if 
I could not make a living for myself and family. I 
had but little money; my negroes were free, but 
I had plenty of land, and wanted to cultivate it. 



"At this juncture, Senator Hawley, Chairman of 
the Military Committee, fearing that I was going to 
make trouble, came over and asked me what was the 
matter with General Wilson. Waving him aside, I 
said: Wait a minute/ and then proceeded as fol 
lows : . . . After hearing me through, rising from 
his seat, Wilson placed his hand on my shoulder and 
said: Of course, you can have your general parole. 
The flag flying over us is your flag as much as it is 
mine, and this is your country to assist in restoring 
to prosperity; and by the way, Captain, perhaps 
you could use a few horses and mules in your farm 
ing operations. If so, I shall have pleasure in di 
recting my quartermaster to give you a supply. 

"Of course I was surprised at this unexpected 
generosity from a Federal commander, and as a 
token of my appreciation, even at this late day, I 
want to move General Wilson s unanimous con 
firmation without further ceremony. " I need not 
add that it has always been a most gratifying cir 
cumstance that the motion was carried immediately. 

At Macon every one now appeared to be willing 
to forget and to forgive the past and to recall only 
the acts of good temper and good feeling which were 
ascribed to me in days long gone by. I had my 
headquarters in the identical rooms of the Lanier 
House that I had occupied in the summer of 1865. 
There was but little change in the hotel, but the 
city was two or three times larger. Business was 
brisk, the country was flourishing, and the people 
were happy and contented. We received and gave 
breakfasts, teas, dinners, and balls. The bands 
played, the flags were unfurled, and reviews were 
held. The President, the Secretary of War, mem- 



bars of Congress, and many distinguished men from 
all parts of the country visited us. Banquets were 
given, patriotic speeches were delivered, and a sin 
cere and successful effort was made "to bridge the 
bloody chasm" between the North and the South. 
In all that took place I was necessarily the central 
figure till the President arrived on the scene, but I 
minimized my speeches or reserved them for the 
promotion of friendly relations between the troops 
and the people by whom they were surrounded. 

I had known and held friendly, if not intimate, 
relations with Major McKinley ever since he had 
entered Congress. We had always talked freely in 
regard to public matters at the national conventions 
and at other meetings. I had visited him while he 
was Governor of Ohio, had assisted in electing him 
as President, and had conferred with him at his 
home at Canton after his election, as well as at the 
White House after his inauguration, and, while I 
never regarded him as the greatest and most virile 
statesman our country produced, I did regard him 
as an amiable and able man of irreproachable habits 
and character, as well as a very astute politician. 
He knew very well the views I held in regard to 
"continental union, " and especially in favor of an 
equal and honorable union of the Dominion of Can 
ada with the United States whenever it could be 
arranged. We had discussed those questions in all 
their bearings at Canton only eighteen months be 
fore. He had assured me of his hearty concurrence 
in my views and especially in the suggestion that 
the Republicans should favor such trade and eco 
nomic relations with the Dominion as would result 
sooner or later in bringing about a commercial, if 



not a political, union between the two countries. 
That this was no casual or evanescent thought is 
shown by the fact that for eight years "continental 
union " was a cardinal principle which had gone into 
the Republican platform through the consent, if not 
the efforts, of himself and his Ohio supporters and 
as a direct result of my report on that subject from 
a sub-committee of which I was chairman. 

But this is not all. In the last discussion, when 
the Cuban Rebellion and the Spanish War were far 
from occupying the center of the stage either at 
home or abroad, we went over the entire subject 
again, and in parting he assured me that he looked 
upon political union with Canada as a measure to 
be kept constantly in mind, and that if it should be 
his good fortune to carry it through he should re 
gard it as "the crowning glory " of his adminis 

With these statesmanlike sentiments in mind, I 
was unexpectedly called upon as the next speaker 
after the President at Macon. The troops had gone 
by when shouts from the people brought the Presi 
dent to the front with a few remarks in which he 
glorified the power and prestige of the country as 
manifested in the war with Spain. Although it can 
not be said that he used the words, "world power, " 
the germ of the idea was evidently in his remarks 
as well as in his mind. The response was enthu 
siastic. Under that inspiration, although I spoke 
with reluctance, I not only approved and emphasized 
all the President had said, but added in substance 
that, as the United States was the largest area in 
the world ever devoted to free government and free 
trade, I hoped the day would come when our flag 



would fly supreme from the Arctic Ocean to the 
Isthmus of Panama, over an entire continent, not 
only free from European dominion, but dedicated 
eternally to the cause of peace. The response was 
still more enthusiastic, and after the pause which 
followed I declared that the realization of that hope, 
which might be delayed, but could not be defeated, 
would be "the crowning glory " of the administra 
tion whose good fortune it should be to bring it 

There was not a word said about war, conquest, 
or forcible annexation, yet the outburst of cheers 
was loud and prolonged, and the President s ap 
proval seemed to be hearty and enthusiastic. But 
the whole proceedings were unpremeditated and 
spontaneous. I had not thought of speaking, much 
less of writing out, my remarks. The reporters were, 
therefore, taken by surprise, not only by the turn 
of our remarks, but by the fact that we spoke at 
all. They naturally got a poor report of what was 
actually said, but condensed my part therein into 
a spread-eagle intimation to all the world, and es 
pecially to Great Britain, that she must not only 
withdraw from the Western Hemisphere, but leave 
it to the exclusive control of the American people. 
While the President knew as fully what was in my 
mind as in his own, he was naturally a timid man 
who had already become alarmed by the manifest 
disposition of the European nations to minimize 
the advantages which we might claim from the Span 
ish War. It will be recalled that the British Gov 
ernment had sympathized with us rather than with 
Spain. It is possible that her leading statesmen 
and journalists, considering our success and oppor- 



tunities, may have reached the conclusion that as 
her flag was the only European flag still flying over 
any part of North America, it would be the next to 
go, and that it would be good policy on her part to 
turn over a new leaf, and, instead of taking sides 
against us as she had always done in the past, tot 
cultivate a better understanding and closer rela 
tions with the great Eepublic hereafter. 

Be this as it may, "continental union " disap 
peared from the platform of the Eepublican party, 
nobody has ever told exactly when or exactly how, 
and from that day forth much more has been said 
about the natural bonds of interest and affection 
between the United States and Great Britain than 
in the entire century prior thereto. Whatever the 
motive, it is certain that McKinley was the first to 
weaken on this time-honored policy, the realization 
of which he had not long ago frankly said he should 
regard as the crowning glory of his administration. 

Whatever may be the secret history of this ap 
parent change of policy, there can be but little doubt 
that the recent defeat of reciprocity in certain nat 
ural and manufactured products by popular vote 
in Canada was a disappointment to President Taft 
and his supporters. It was a deliberate rejection 
by friends of the British connection and the enemies 
of the great Eepublic of closer trade relations with 
the American people, but it is to be hoped that 
Congress will put all such articles produced in Can 
ada as are desirable and useful in the States on the 
free list and keep them there without reference to 
the course pursued by the Dominion. In the end 
that policy cannot but be favorable to American con 
sumers, and to the solidarity of the English-speak- 



ing people in the Western Hemisphere. What Gold- 
win Smith termed the "greater forces" appear to 
be working to that end with Canada as with Cuba, 
as silently, reasonably, and inevitably as they did 
two centuries ago for the union of England and 

The practical matters to dispose of w nen Mr. 
McKinley visited Macon were the occupation of 
Cuba, the disposition of the forces, the designation 
of the officers for the chief and department com 
mands, and the settlement of the policy to be car 
ried out in the island. Miles had become embroiled 
with the War Department in regard to details of 
army administration, besides his proper place as 
general-in-chief was Washington. Brooke had been 
left in Porto Eico, but was supposed to be some 
what dissatisfied with the small number of troops 
left under his command. Wood had succeeded Law- 
ton at Santiago under circumstances reflecting on 
Lawton, and this left Wade, Lee, and myself as the 
seniors from whom a commander would naturally 
be selected. Wade was from a distinguished and 
influential Ohio family, and it soon became known 
that for this reason, if for nothing better, he was 
strongly favored by the President. His age, serv 
ices, and character were all most creditable and his 
name was advocated by many influential men. Lee 
had been governor of Virginia, and was, besides, 
an officer of merit and deserved popularity. The 
strongest argument against him was that he had 
been in the Confederate army and was a Democrat. 
But I was not without highly influential friends. Al 
though I had never been a civil office-holder, I knew 
many governors, senators, representatives, leading 



journalists, and ex-army officers, and for a third of 
a century had been active in various parts of the 
country as a railroad manager and man of affairs, 
who had always done his full duty as a loyal citizen. 
Senators Frye, Allison, Platt of Connecticut, For- 
aker, Aldrich, Cullom, Fairbanks, Lodge, Bacon, 
and Cushman K. Davis, all intimate friends of mine, 
had early reached the conclusion, without the slight 
est solicitation on my part, that I was the best quali 
fied and most available major general either in the 
regular or volunteer army for the principal com 
mand in the field and afterward for governor gen 
eral of Cuba. The regular army officers, especially 
those of high rank, were largely in my favor, and 
so far as they dared, were the earnest advocates of 
my appointment. Generals Howard, Schofield, Mc- 
Cook, and Dodge, all of whom I had known for many 
years, recommended me on their own motion for the 
chief command in the Spanish War. Besides this, 
General Dodge went out of his way, after having 
spent some time with me at Lexington as chairman 
of a commission which was making certain investi 
gations, and strongly advised the President to give 
me the appointment. 

But this was not all. Secretary Alger, of whom 
I was no admirer and with whom I had but a 
slight acquaintance, sent out a confidential officer 
of rank, a stranger to me, to make a careful and 
exhaustive examination into my personal and offi 
cial fitness for high command, and on the receipt 
of a favorable report proceeded at once to strong 
ly urge the President not only to put me in chief 
command of the army of occupation, but to give 
me the much higher and more important appoint- 



ment of governor general. The New York Sun, 
the Evening Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Cin 
cinnati Commercial, the Louisville Courier-Jour 
nal, the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, and many other 
leading journals east and west, from the first, re 
peatedly and in no uncertain terms expressed them 
selves in favor of my appointment. This commen 
dation was all unsought and still more gratifying 
on that account. The work would have been en 
tirely congenial and I felt confident of my ability 
to carry it through in such a manner as could not 
fail to promote the welfare of both Cuba and the 
United States. But, withal, the President was evi 
dently unfavorable to me, while his outgivings, non 
committal as they were, strongly indicated the ap 
pointment of Wade till the very day on which 
Brooke turned up in Washington about the middle 
of December. There had been little or no mention 
of him till his detail was actually given out on De 
cember 13, 1898, as commander of the newly estab 
lished Military Division of Cuba and as military 
governor of the island. What the arguments cr 
influences were in his behalf I never knew, but I 
always supposed they were that he was a regular 
officer of unbroken service and high character and, 
as next in rank to Miles, entitled to precedence. 
As he was my senior both as a regular and volun 
teer, I gave him my most loyal and unqualified 
support. I did not doubt then, nor have I ever 
doubted since, that with proper instructions he 
would have faithfully and successfully carried out 
the policy of the Administration. 

The island, something over seven hundred miles 
in length and an average of over sixty miles in 



width, with an area of something like forty-four 
thousand square miles, was at first sub-divided by 
province into six military departments, and, while 
it afterward came to my knowledge that Brooke 
wished me to command at Havana, he was not al 
lowed to have control even in that matter. The 
President made the assignment himself of Brooke, 
Lee, and Ludlow,and under this assignment the prov 
ince of Havana fell to Lee, while Ludlow, one of my 
division commanders, got the city of Havana. As he 
was a regular of the Engineer Corps, it was doubt 
less thought that he was peculiarly fitted for the 
work of sanitation and repair. The province and 
city of Matanzas fell to my lot, under an assignment 
of the War Department. Bates, another of my divi 
sion commanders, got the province of Santa Clara 
and the city of Cienfuegos, but remained in com 
mand for a short time only, after which it was added 
to my command in April of that year, and the num 
ber of military departments in the island was re 
duced to three. 

It was originally intended that the First Army 
Corps should reach the island in December, but lack 
of transports made it impossible to carry that in 
tention into effect till early in January, 1899. While 
the movement was in progress the corps organiza 
tion was dissolved and the troops assigned to ter 
ritorial departments as above indicated. I reached 
Matanzas with Sanger s fine division, every man 
of which was in perfect health, two days before the 
last Spanish troops embarked for home. Without 
recognizing the insurgents or having anything to 
do with the insurgent leaders, the Spaniards had 
maintained order and drawn in their detachments 



as rapidly as transports could be furnished to take 
them out of the country. They occupied that part 
of the city and shore east of the bay, while the ad 
vanced troops of my command, a battalion of the 
Third U. S. Volunteer Engineers, under the super 
vision of Colonel Biddle of my staff, took posses 
sion of Fort San Severino and that part of the city 
and suburbs west of the bay. No prescribed ceremo 
nies or courtesies took place between the Spanish 
and American forces. Our communications were of 
the most formal character and there was no sign of 
the departing sovereignty of Spain or the oncoming 
possession of the United States, except that at noon, 
when, with appropriate salutes, the Spanish colors 
were lowered and the Stars and Stripes hoisted to 
the head of the flag staff in San Severino. That 
night the last transport disappeared, and for the 
first time General Betancourt and his native troops 
made their appearance, but not till after I sent a 
courier to the country to find the General and his 
escort and bring them into the city for a patriotic 
fiesta. General Betancourt and I met on the bal 
cony of the City Hall, overlooking the public square, 
which was crowded with patriotic soldiers and citi 
zens. We embraced in the sight of the multitude 
amid the plaudits of the Cuban citizens and soldiers 
and under the inspiring strains of martial music. 
It was a gala night characterized by a noble out 
burst of enthusiasm and marred by no single act 
of violence or misbehavior. The only condition put 
upon the patriotic forces was that they should en 
ter the town absolutely without ammunition and 
that no act of resentment or contumely should be 
manifested toward the Spaniards who remained be- 



hind as loyal subjects of the Spanish Government. 
It was the beginning of a friendship between Gen 
eral Betancourt and myself, as well as between my 
troops and the insurgent forces of the Cuban Re 
public, which, I am sure, will last as long as life 
is spared to any of us. 

Brooke, under the President s assignment, which 
was absolutely silent as to his functions except in 
so far as they were implied by the words "who in 
addition to the command of the troops in the Divi 
sion, will exercise the authority of military gover 
nor of the island, " issued his first order from 
Havana on December 27, 1898. Neither instructions 
nor order contained the slightest allusion to the 
course to be pursued toward Cuba, the Cuban peo 
ple, or the various governments left behind by the 
Spanish authorities. It will be remembered that 
the latter, before retiring, had authorized what was 
known at the time as an autonomistic government 
for the island and its various provinces. It had ap 
pointed and installed a governor for each province, 
and had designated or acknowledged an alcalde and 
council for each important town and city. As far 
as I knew then or afterward, these officials were in- 
sulars of good character, conservative views, and 
fair education. In my province they gave ready 
and cheerful support to the military government 
without putting themselves forward, claiming pre 
cedence, or pressing their views upon my attention. 

But there was in addition a more or less inde 
pendent republican government and national assem 
bly which represented the cause of "Cuba Libre y 
Independiente." This government was strictly na 
tive. It stood for the successful revolution, and, 


while it had no fixed habitation or national capital, 
and could hardly claim that it had been chosen by 
the people at a regular election, there can be no 
doubt that it had a written constitution under which 
it controlled the rebellion against the mother coun 
try, conducted all its negotiations, and managed all 
its military, financial, and political business at home 
and abroad. True, Maximo Gomez had in the pro 
tracted, and at times almost hopeless, course of 
the war been clad with the powers of a dictator, 
and, while he had shown a disposition to be some 
what arbitrary with his own people in the field, 
he proved himself in the end to be the loyal and 
obedient servant of the Cuban assembly. He did not 
resign his commission and lay down his sword with 
as much ceremony as our own Washington, for, in 
stead of being the greatest landowner and richest 
man of Cuba, he was but a poor adventurer and 
patriot of the same race from another island; but 
when formally notified by the assembly a few months 
later that the war was over, the island independent, 
and its army disbanded, he promptly handed in his 
resignation without a word of protest and with 
as much modesty as if he had been Cincinnatus 

Under these circumstances, all of which were 
creditable to the Cuban people and their leaders, 
it must be regarded as strange that in converting 
the island into a military division and sending an 
army of fifty thousand men to occupy it after the 
treaty of peace, which they did without the slightest 
authority from Congress, neither our civil nor mili 
tary authorities uttered a single word nor promul 
gated a single order defining our policy, declaring 



our intentions, or telling the Cuban people what was 
expected of them during the intervention. In view 
of the specific declaration of the Joint Eesolution 
which had been widely published throughout the 
world, that the United States would exercise neither 
sovereignty, jurisdiction, nor control in the island 
of Cuba, except for the pacification thereof, and 
that it was its determination and purpose when 
that was accomplished to withdraw all armed forces 
and leave the island and its government to its peo 
ple, it may be contended that no further notice of 
any kind was necessary. But the formal occupa 
tion of the island after the peace was a most im 
portant event in the eyes of the world, and a full 
statement of its purpose, as well as of the duties 
of the army and what was expected of the Cuban 
people, would have been received by all concerned 
with the highest satisfaction. It would have been 
a guide to the military governor, the department 
commanders, and the civil officers of every grade, 
as well as to the people themselves. That they 
expected something of the kind is certain. The 
Cuban army modestly asked permission to take part 
in the ceremonies which terminated the Spanish sov 
ereignty, but this was denied, as afterward reported, 
till "the excitement had cooled off" and the "pas 
sions of the people could be controlled." The mo 
tive as described was, of course, a good one, but 
the apprehension of danger to life and property, 
with fifty thousand American troops to maintain 
peace and order among the people, who had as yet 
shown no sign of violence or outbreak, was without 
sufficient justification. 

Brooke s denial had, however, aroused a feeling 


of apprehension which was but partly quieted by 
his formal order of January 1, 1899, announcing 
himself as the representative of the President in 
the humane purpose of putting an end to the dis 
tressing conditions in the island, and announcing 
that this was to be done by a military government, 
While he declared that the object of this govern 
ment was to give protection to the people, security 
to persons and property, and to restore confidence, 
encourage the resumption of the pursuits of peace, 
build up waste plantations, restore commercial traf 
fic, and to afford full protection to all civil and 
religious rights, he also declared that this was to 
be done through the channels of civil administration 
under the civil and criminal code previously en 
forced and invited the Cuban people to cooperate 
in these objects. With the final statement that this 
course would "insure kind and beneficent govern 
ment/ it was absolutely silent as to what, if any, 
political action the people themselves should take. 
It ignored both the autonomistic government author 
ized by Spain and the Eepublican government es 
tablished by the revolution, while it quietly assumed 
for the American commander all the arbitrary 
powers of a Spanish captain general. There was 
not a word recognizing the Cuban Eepublic, nor the 
sovereignty of the Cuban people. With all that was 
said and done, much of which was admirable, there 
was not a word acknowledging the obligations placed 
upon the President and his Government by the 
Teller Amendment as set forth in the fourth article 
of the Joint Eesolution, not even a suggestion look 
ing to the limitation of the government of interven 
tion, nor to the establishment of a government by 



the Cuban people. It could not have been more in 
definite and non-committal had it been the open 
purpose of the United States to continue in posses 
sion of the island and ultimately to annex it in spite 
of the plain obligation placed upon it by Congress 
in the declaration of war. In view of all the cir 
cumstances, no one can successfully contend that 
the phraseology of the orders was a mere matter 
of chance, or that by its omissions, at least, it was 
not well calculated to alarm such of the Cuban peo 
ple as favored the establishment of a free and inde 
pendent republic. 

On the day I arrived at Matanzas the division 
of the civil government into four departments was 
announced and the next day the Cuban secretaries 
were appointed. It is hardly necessary to call at 
tention to the fact that they were all civilians. Dur 
ing the year which followed they devoted themselves 
to taking over and perfecting the administration 
of the several departments as established under the 
Spanish civil government, and, while this work was 
honestly and capably done, it naturally failed to 
allay the distrust of the people. They had neither 
part nor interest in it, but gave it quiet and un 
questioning obedience for the simple reason that 
they could not help themselves. The government 
was in every respect a government of conquest and 
in no way the choice of the Cuban people. The 
most fortunate circumstance connected with it was 
that as long as Brooke and his department com 
manders were in control it was honestly and 
humanely administered. But it is worthy of note 
that when I asked Brooke, as I did frequently dur 
ing that year, what our Government s policy and 



ultimate purpose were in all that it was doing, in 
short, what was the state of the law under which 
we were acting, he frankly confessed that he did 
not know, * except by induction. He said his pub 
lished orders contained all the information he had 
on that subject. He had no private instructions and 
had received no personal or official intimation from 
those in the confidence of the President or of his 
Administration. He regarded the pacification of the 
island and the reestablishment of prosperity as com 
prising the whole duty with which he was charged. 
And this would have been sufficient had the island 
been in a state of turbulence and violence, instead 
of being as quiet and peaceful as any state of the 
Union from the day of our arrival within its limits. 
Fortunately, the Cuban people and their leaders 
were well advised. They behaved with what must 
be regarded as unusual patience, moderation, and 
wisdom. Having on the first intimation discharged 
their commander-in-chief, disbanded their army, and 
dissolved their Asamblea, they waited with compo 
sure, though the air was filled with alarming 
rumors, till McKinley got time eighteen months 
later to formulate and adopt a policy which finally 
acknowledged their autonomy and gave them the 
right of independent self-government. 



Absence of national policy State of the law in Cuba 
Inspection of Provinces under my command Popula 
tion and distressing conditions Recommend measures 
for their relief Meeting of generals in Havana Re 
port on economic, industrial, and social conditions 
Grafters and speculators at work Wood, Governor 

While there was no affirmative authority of law 
after the peace with Spain for the occupation of 
Cuba by an American army, and certainly no Con 
gressional mandate requiring the President to ap 
point a governor general or to establish a republi 
can or any other government in that island, the 
next two years and a half were full of interesting 
incidents. Goldwin Smith thought they marked the 
beginning of a fatal policy of expansion by the 
thoughtless absorption of a mongrel and mixed 
population alien to the American people, which 
would start us on the road of " Empire." The un 
explained facts and the comments of both the home 
and foreign press filled the country with mingled 
doubt and apprehension. While McKinley in his 
message to Congress in December had declared that 
our relations with Cuba should be " close and recip- 



rocal," lie failed to define the state of the law under 
which he was acting, or to indicate how long our 
army would stay, or what the Cuban people should 
do to get rid of it. The situation from the first was 
enigmatical and embarrassing. 

While it is a well-established principle that mili 
tary men must obey the orders of those in authority 
over them, it is equally well understood, by Ameri 
can officers at least, that this obligation is not a 
sufficient warrant for obedience to illegal orders. 
In other words, it rests with the officer at his own 
peril to decide in every important case whether 
orders from those higher up are legal or illegal. 
With this well-established principle in mind, I went 
to Havana shortly after taking charge of my de 
partment for the purpose of conferring with Brooke 
as to what was expected of me as a department 
commander. While he was most friendly and con 
ciliatory, it soon became apparent that he had no 
specific orders for his Government and did not know 
the state of the law under which he was acting. He, 
therefore, gave me no special instructions, but left 
me to take my own way through the maze which 
surrounded us both. 

Manifestly, the first thing that required my at 
tention was to ascertain for myself as fully as pos 
sible the state of the law under which we were act 
ing in Cuba, and this was done from the statutes, 
the acts of Congress, the treaties, and the general 
orders and army regulations then in force. As far 
as I know, Major Carbaugh, my judge advocate, 
who had this matter in hand, was the first and only 
officer, either in the island or out of it, to collect 
and codify everything bearing on this important 



question. Not even the President s messages or 
proclamations were omitted, and when I declare that 
the whole codification did not make four foolscap 
pages, it will be seen that we had but little that 
was definite or positive to go upon. We were left 
absolutely to our own conception of the situation 
and what it required of us. This made it still more 
important that we should fully understand the con 
dition of the people and of the country by which 
we were surrounded and with which we had to deal. 

To this end the next thing in order was to send 
out staff officers in every direction and, then, with 
the civil governor and local officials, to go in person 
to all the important towns and cities reached by 
rail, and when there was no railroad to go by horse 
back to every outlying village and barrio in the de 

By these means I visited all parts of both prov 
inces and interviewed every alcalde, every member 
of the ayuntamiento, every magistrate, and every 
important lawyer, doctor, engineer, merchant, 
planter, priest, schoolmaster, and military officer 
within my jurisdiction. My secretary made an ac 
curate stenographic typewritten record of all we 
saw and heard and nothing important escaped our 
notice. My first trip was to Cardenas, Union de 
Eeyes, Colon, Macariges, and Jovelanos, in the 
Province of Matanzas. A few weeks later I took 
in Sagua la Grande, Eemedios, Caibarien, and 
Placetas, on the north side of Santa Clara, and then 
Villa Clara, in the interior, after which I went to 
Cienfuegos, at the southern end of the railroad, and 
thence along the coast by steamer to the old cities 
of Trinidad and Sancti Spiritus. From the latter 



place I went by quartermaster s steam tug to Tunas 
de Zaza, crossing again to the north side of the is 
land and back by the Jucaro and Moron trocha and 
railroad. I then returned to Castillo and Sancti 
Spiritus and with a small escort rode northward 
to the rich planting town of Placetas, where I in 
spected the detachment of cavalry which had re 
cently taken post there, and then struck out to the 
southwest, traversing forest, plain, and the beau 
tiful tobacco valley of Manicaragua to Cienfuegos, 
on the south coast, about one hundred and twenty 
miles away as the crow flies. By these means I 
familiarized myself personally with the condition 
of both provinces, with the lay of the land, and with 
the state of the people and their industries. But, 
not satisfied with this, I sent my engineer officer 
to explore the Cienaga de Zapata, an extensive 
swamp region in the southern part of Matanzas, 
extending from a few miles north of the bay of 
Cochinos to the mouth of the Hatiguanico River. 
In addition to ascertaining that this extensive re 
gion could be easily drained and brought under cul 
tivation, especially for rubber, he also surveyed and 
reported upon the condition of all the railroads in 
the department, submitting estimates for their re 
pair and full reports as to the topographical and 
agricultural features of the thinner settled regions 
traversed by him. The chief surgeon made a care 
ful examination and report upon the sanitary con 
dition of all the chief cities and towns, as well as 
of the outlying districts, which might become the 
source of infection from epidemic disease. The in 
spector general, chief commissary, and chief quar 
termaster did similar work in their respective de- 



partments. It is safe to say that no area of like 
extent in the world was ever more thoroughly or 
more rapidly reported upon with reference to its 
economic and sanitary conditions. The result of 
these examinations was set forth in elaborate re 
ports with the necessary sub-reports to the com 
manding general of the Military Division. 

The story was everywhere the same. From the 
largest cities, Matanzas and Cienfuegos, to the 
smallest and remotest villages, the greatest poverty 
and distress prevailed. No repairs of roads, streets, 
or public buildings had been made for four years, 
and but little revenue from any source had been col 
lected or disbursed. The people had been driven 
from the farms and the poorer plantations into the 
larger towns and cities. Production had been ab 
solutely suspended everywhere except upon the plan 
tations which were rich enough to buy protection, 
and, although yams, or boniatos, could be produced 
anywhere in quantities within six weeks from the 
date of planting, it was evident that starvation had 
been abroad in the land and that if the conditions 
existing at the close of the war with Spain had 
continued a few months longer half the population 
would have been dead of starvation. In other words, 
Weyler s policy of reconcentration with its mani 
fold horrors was everywhere doing its fatal work, 
and, had our intervention not put an end to it, there 
can be but little doubt that a year s further en 
forcement of it would have destroyed the bulk of 
the Cuban population. As it was, when we took 
charge the people had had several months in which 
to start new crops in a small way. Fortunately, 
in a country of Cuba s fertile soil and mild climate 



tlie recovery was rapid. But, in view of the fact 
that every farmhouse, however humble, and every 
sugar mill, however impoverished by competition 
with beet-sugar, that the Spaniards could reach had 
been burned, every banana and fruit tree destroyed, 
all agricultural implements broken up, and all poul 
try and cattle killed, the state of impoverishment 
was pitiful beyond description. In all my travels 
over the two provinces, an area of something over 
twelve thousand square miles, or about one-fourth 
of the entire island, I did not see many acres of land 
under cultivation, and yet there was not one acre 
that was not admirably adapted to the production 
of tropical fruits, coffee, tobacco, or sugar cane. All 
the country needed was peace, proper economic con 
ditions, and capital. With these everything could 
be supplied, without them a continuation of the dir 
est poverty and distress was inevitable. 

As near as could be ascertained, the total popu 
lation of the department was at that time slightly 
in excess of five hundred thousand souls, approxi 
mately two-thirds of which were white and one- 
third colored. We estimated that during the war 
and the few months immediately following over one- 
third of the population of Matanzas and one-seventh 
of the population of the Santa Clara province had 
been killed or had died of sickness and starvation, 
leaving behind forty-four thousand widows and 
sixty-nine thousand orphans in the two provinces. 

From the insular statistics it appears that those 
two provinces at the outbreak of the war contained 
one million two hundred and sixty-five thousand 
head of horned cattle, which, according to the re 
port of my officers, had been reduced to forty-one 



thousand eight hundred head at its close. In other 
words, the Spaniards, aided by the insurgents and 
the people, had in three years killed and eaten about 
one million two hundred and twenty-five thousand 
head. During the first six months of our occupa 
tion thirty-two thousand seven hundred and seventy- 
five head had been imported from Central America 
and the Spanish Main. But, as these were mostly 
for the use of the plantations, the poor people re 
ceived but little advantage therefrom. As all cul 
tivation in the island is carried on by the help of 
oxen, it will be seen from this brief statement that 
the great and pressing want was work, cattle, agri 
cultural implements, poultry, building materials, 
and tools. With these means the work of reestab 
lishing their homes and restoring agriculture would 
have been easy, but these means were precisely what 
they could not get. Manifestly, they were impera 
tively needed, and after gathering the distressing 
facts I lost no time in asking General Brooke to 
supply them out of the insular revenues, which were 
now rapidly accumulating at the various custom 
houses. My first report was dated February 16, 
the second June 20, the third August 1, and the 
fourth September 7, 1899. With appendices and sub- 
reports they covered two hundred and fifty pages, 
and gave all the information properly indexed nec 
essary for a perfect understanding of the case. 

I have every reason to believe that General 
Brooke fully understood it and sympathized deeply 
with the suffering Cubans. The revenues were am 
ple, and in view of the fact that it required only 
about $350 to supply an impoverished farmer with 
a yoke of oxen, a cart, two plows, two hoes, one 



harrow, two pigs, ten chickens, an axe, and a pick, 
and a loohio, or cabin, it is difficult to understand 
why this policy was not adopted. It should be re 
membered that it was never so much as intimated 
that the money should be given gratuitously to any 
one, but that in every case it should be lent to the 
honest needy with security, at not less than five per 
cent, interest for one, two, and three years. It was 
even suggested that as it was paid back it should 
be added to the capital of an agricultural bank, 
which all admitted was greatly needed in behalf of 
that suffering interest. Inasmuch as it was the 
money of the Cuban people which we were admin 
istering as a benevolent intercessor for their bene 
fit, every conceivable argument seemed to favor put 
ting it where it would do most immediate good. 
When we consider, besides, that the insular rev 
enues were already largely in excess of the current 
needs for both civil and military administration 
and many millions were turned over by Brooke to 
his successor, it is impossible to imagine any sound 
reason for withholding the help the people needed 
so badly. Indeed, no good explanation was ever 
advanced for not offering it to them. But it leaked 
out finally that someone at Brooke s headquarters 
thought it would look like " paternalism," whatever 
that might be, and so it was withheld to the end of 
the intervention mainly for sanitation, schools, and 
public roads. 

In my argument favoring the proposition I went 
so far as to ask that the money already set aside 
for the payment of the unnecessary rural guard 
which had been established in the province of Santa 
Clara before I took charge of it, and which it was 



proposed to set aside for the payment of a rural 
guard in the province of Matanzas, should be turned 
over to me monthly for the purpose of lending it as 
far as might be necessary in the manner fully set 
forth in my reports. I urged that the rural guard 
was neither republican nor American and that, as 
the municipality was the unit of civil administra 
tion, all the authorized police force should belong 
to, be paid, and controlled by municipal authority, 
subject, however, to the inspection of a military 
superintendent belonging to my staff, and this was 
the policy followed with perfect success and perfect 
immunity from outbreak and violence in the prov 
ince of Matanzas till I surrendered the command 
and left the island. It is but fair to add that Gen 
eral Brooke yielded to my importunities so far as 
to send me a few thousand dollars, which were most 
successfully lent out and expended near Matanzas 
in accordance with my recommendation, with the 
result that up to the time I left every dollar due 
had been repaid and, so far as I know, so continued 
to the end. 

Both Betancourt, the governor of Matanzas, and 
Gomez, the governor of Santa Clara, the latter now 
President of the Cuban Kepublic, offered their guar 
anty of peace, and gave their personal and official 
support to the measures which I proposed for the 
reestablishment of industry and the relief of the 
people s most pressing wants, but their interces 
sions were also in vain. 

After I had completed my inspections and formu 
lated my measures for the immediate relief of the 
people, General Brooke called a meeting of the 
department commanders at his headquarters in 



Havana and asked them to discuss and elaborate 
a plan for the reestablishment of agriculture, in 
dustry, and commerce. Generals Ludlow, Lee, Car 
penter, Wood, and I attended this meeting. I 
brought forward my proposition, supporting it with 
details which must have been as true and fully as 
applicable in every other department as in my own. 
The matter was discussed fully, pro and con. No 
one denied the facts as stated by me, but not an 
other officer approved the remedy which I proposed. 
The four agreed, however, in asking the Governor 
General to divide the surplus revenue of the island 
between them according to the population of the 
several departments. They seemed to have no defi 
nite idea of what should be done with the money 
farther than to clean up the towns, establish proper 
sanitary conditions, and build a system of country 
roads from town to town and to the seacoast. All 
advocated reopening the schools and enlarging the 
school system. One or two remained silent, but both 
Ludlow and Wood talked exactly as though they 
expected to occupy the island and remain in mili 
tary command indefinitely. Both seemed confident 
that pacification, which under the law was our sole 
function, could not be established for years. Lud 
low went so far as to say afterward in Washington, 
probably to the President, that he did not think 
the Cuban people would become sufficiently pacified 
or fitted for self-government within a generation. 
Whatever may have been Wood s real views at that 
time he gave ready assent to the President s final 
determination to set up an autonomous government 
in the island, to withdraw our armed forces, and 
to make a treaty with the new government which 



should determine its relation with the Government 
of the United States, and which I was the first and 
only one to recommend. 

At the Havana meeting I not only combatted 
the opinions Ludlow brought forward, but asked him 
bluntly where he got them. His reply was as frank 
as my question: "I got them from William Mc- 
Kinley, President of the United States. " This was 
a startling statement, and, as far as I knew, could 
have had no foundation except that of a personal 
interview, but, as it seemed to me to be in absolute 
violation of the actual conditions as well as of the 
Joint Eesolution, I added at once: "No matter if 
you did get your views from President McKinley, I 
venture the prediction that we shall all be lifted 
out of here by the will of the American people within 
less than two years. They will never consent that 
the President or any of his subordinates shall vio 
late the public faith as pledged in the Joint Resolu 
tion in face of the treaty with Spain and of the con 
ditions as they have been shown to exist in this 
island. " It is with pride that I call attention to 
the fact that such was afterward the course of 

It is not within the scope of this narrative to 
recount the circumstances by which my prediction 
was made good, but in order that it may be more 
fully understood I shall briefly state my connection 

In my special report, which was the only one 
of the kind submitted, on the industrial, economic, 
and social conditions " existing in the department, 
dated September 7, eight months after the occupa 
tion of the island, I reiterated and elaborated my 



views in reference to the pacification and reconstruc 
tion of the provinces under my control. I set forth 
fully the condition of the disbanded Cuban army 
and of the people to which it had returned ; the sup 
pression of the spirit of retaliation ; the reestablish- 
ment of municipal government and of the judicial 
system with such modifications as had become nec 
essary through the change of government; the re 
opening of the schools ; the restoration of the sugar, 
tobacco, and cattle industries, and of such other in 
terests as had been deranged or destroyed by the 
war or by the disturbed economic conditions which 
had resulted therefrom. After declaring that a per 
fect state of tranquillity had prevailed from the date 
of our arrival in the island, I pointed out that the 
circumstances of the case confronting us had had 
no parallel in modern history for the destruction of 
life and the ruin of industry. While I called atten 
tion to the fact that distinguished statesmen had 
confidently suggested British Indian methods for 
our imitation, I showed that those methods were 
not applicable to the free people of Cuba; that we 
had intervened as a friendly ally, not for spoil or 
conquest, and for the purpose of securing to our 
selves a quiet neighborhood and to the Cubans the 
right of self-government, free from repressive 
commercial conditions, as well as from the embar 
rassments of a state religion. The cases were by 
no means similar. The problems of India and of 
British domination were entirely different from the 
problems of Cuba and of the western world, in which 
oppressive colonial government and the persistent 
violation of economic laws had always prevailed. 
Those violations, extending over a period of four 



hundred years, had enriched the Spanish official 
classes, while they had impoverished the Cuban peo 
ple. Spain herself had spent nearly a thousand 
years in war against the Moorish invaders. She 
had succeeded through extraordinary heroism in ex 
pelling both the converted and the unconverted, and 
had followed that by driving out the Jews. She had 
established the Inquisition and burned heretics with 
out number for a hundred years. She had taken 
no part in the crusades and had devoted no time to 
a renaissance or to a reformation. She had dis 
covered and occupied the new world, exterminating 
the native races and introducing African slavery in 
her search for gold. She sent her civilization, such 
as it was, along with her colonists, but seems to 
have had no adequate conception of justice and 
mercy. How far these facts may have changed the 
underlying nature of the Spanish people or modified 
their civilization, and how far they unfitted the 
Spanish colonists for the establishment and main 
tenance of a just and peaceable system of local self- 
government, I leave others to explain. While I am 
willing to admit that neither the Cuban, the Mexi 
can, nor the South American Spaniard seemed to 
have been as well fitted at any time for self-gov 
ernment as were the English, Dutch, and Swedish 
colonists, I maintain that the Cuban people, with 
all the faults they may have inherited, would more 
rapidly fit themselves for self-government if they 
were freed from the oppressive conditions which 
they had inherited from, or which had been inflicted 
upon them by their Spanish ancestors. 

I contended then and I contend now that the 
sooner the Cubans were permitted to establish their 



own government, take charge of their own internal 
and external affairs, and get rid of the restraints 
and exactions of hostile tariffs and foreign trade 
restrictions, the sooner they would become a pros 
perous and enlightened people, capable of peace 
able, intelligent, and stable self-government, as well 
as a source of profit to the United States. 

While these conclusions were the merest truisms 
of political economy, they received but scant and 
tardy recognition from our own Government. The 
senators and the representatives in Congress were 
slow to learn the facts. Even the great independent 
newspapers of the country were apparently indif 
ferent to the real situation and to the actual state 
of affairs among the Cuban people. After the first 
excitement over the establishment of peace and the 
occupation of the island wore off the Associated 
Press news agency at Havana fell under the control 
of an alien ex-convict, who became the facile tool 
of the grafters and speculators from the States and 
deliberately perverted the news from all parts of 
the island to the glorification of the Administra 
tion s favorites and to the prejudice of the Cuban 
people. Every little row between drunken soldiers 
and idle citizens was magnified into a lawless out 
break. The islanders were called " dagoes " and 
"niggers" and stigmatized as ignorant and vicious. 
"Bandoleerism" was said to prevail in all the rural 
districts, and the severest measures of repression 
were openly urged upon the military commanders. 
But, fortunately, all the American newspapers did 
not belong to the Associated Press. Several of them 
had able and independent correspondents, who made 
it their business to see things as they were and to 



report them truthfully. Still more fortunately, the 
New York Sun, which, under the control of the late 
Charles A. Dana, had always been favorable to Cuba 
and its heroic sons, got from the police records the 
history of the Havana news agent, and by publish 
ing it on its editorial page eliminated from news 
paper activities the person who had already done 
such irreparable mischief. From that day the Amer 
ican press began to publish more truthful accounts 
of the conditions prevailing in the island of Cuba. 
This was especially true of the Sun, whose able 
writers made a careful study of the actual conditions 
prevailing in the island and of the antecedent causes 
which produced them. At my suggestion the sugar 
question, as affected by the commercial war between 
beet and cane sugar, and as it in turn would cer 
tainly affect the actual and future economic condi 
tion of Cuba, was fully discussed in the columns of 
that journal. The discovery of beet sugar and the 
influence of the Battle of Trafalgar and the Orders 
in Council upon the establishment of the beet sugar 
industry were fully and impartially set forth. The 
system of bounties in favor of beet sugar and of 
the duties and imposts against cane sugar, were 
carefully described. The improved methods of sugar 
manufacture, the consequent world-wide fall in 
prices, the ruin of the cane sugar planters in all 
the tropical countries, the increased use of sugar 
from a luxury of the rich to a daily necessity of 
the poor throughout the civilized world, together 
with the far-reaching consequences of these facts, 
and the important economical and political changes 
they had produced, were pointed out so clearly that 
a country storekeeper could understand them. In- 



deed, it is safe to say that two articles published 
in the Sun in the year 1899 contained more facts 
and information than the Administration ever got 
elsewhere and more wisdom and statesmanship in 
regard to Cuba and its future than Congress in all 
its legislation ever utilized or displayed. 

During the eighteen months that I remained in 
command at Matanzas two secretaries of war, one 
postmaster-general, and many of the leading sena 
tors were guests at my headquarters, where all the 
facts of the actual situation were laid before them. 
The leading Cubans of all occupations were freely 
introduced to them, and they were taken, besides, 
to all the important towns and cities and to several 
of the most important plantations, where they saw 
for themselves the conditions as they actually were 
at the time. There was no room for ignorance or 
deception. The facts were everywhere perceptible, 
and no one disputed them, but little perceptible 
progress was made in the solution of the grave and 
important questions they presented and illustrated. 
The grafters and speculators were actively at work, 
some striving to get concessions and contracts 
through the government of intervention, others 
striving to stir up doubt and dissatisfaction in the 
United States, if not social and political disturb 
ance among the Cuban people. The evident inten 
tion was to prolong the military occupation and to 
delay the establishment of local self-government and 
independence. But, fortunately, Senator Foraker, 
with whom I was in close correspondence, had great 
influence in Congress, by which he succeeded in at 
taching to the appropriation bill an amendment 
which positively forbade the granting of any conces- 



sions whatever in Porto Rico, Cuba, and the Philip 
pines during the period of intervention. While this 
brought all such schemes to a standstill and was a 
great relief to the military governors, the actual 
work of political reconstruction and rehabilitation 
still languished. 

General Brooke was relieved from the supreme 
command in Cuba after a year s conservative man 
agement, during which he knew nothing of the Wash 
ington government s real policy "except by induc 
tion," and there can be but little doubt that this re 
moval was due to misrepresentation, or that it was 
made mainly for the further reward of the Presi 
dent s personal friends. 

Cushman K. Davis, the distinguished Eepublican 
senator from Minnesota, naturally favored the re 
tention of his old friend, Brooke. Several others, 
recognizing that Brooke was doomed, urged the 
appointment of Ludlow; a few recommended Wade, 
while one of the Virginia senators asked for 
Lee. But by far the larger number, including the 
leaders of that body, strongly urged my appoint 
ment on the ground that I had had many years ex 
perience in civil life and had successfully managed 
the department with which I had been entrusted, and 
that my appointment would be approved by the peo 
ple of both countries. Influence and public consid 
erations, however, were of no avail against the 
preferences of the President and his family and 
personal coterie. 



Interview with Secretary of War Conference with the 
President Statement to the Senate Committee on 
Relations with Cuba Return to Matanzas Death of 
my wife Annual reports and general statements. 

Early in January, 1900, shortly after the change 
of governor generals was made in Cuba, I was sum 
moned to Washington. On my arrival I reported 
to the Honorable Elihu Eoot, the newly appointed 
secretary of war, whom I had known favorably and 
well from the first year of his advent in New York. 
After the usual friendly greetings he said in sub 
stance : 

"General, I am sorry you wrote your reports 
about the conditions in your department." 

While this was somewhat of a surprise, I re 
plied at once: 

"What is the matter with my reports, Mr. Sec 
retary? If they are not correct in both statement 
and conclusion, I wish you would point out wherein 
they are wrong." 

To this he answered with some confusion: 

Oh, they are all right, but I wanted you to sup 
port the policy of the Administration." 

This was still more surprising, but, pausing long 


enough to call his attention to the fact that as secre 
tary of war he was my superior in rank and ought 
to know that he had only to issue his orders to com 
mand my prompt obedience or my immediate resig 
nation, I asked with emphasis and possibly with 
some show of feeling: 

"But what is the policy of the Administration, 
Mr. Secretary? That is exactly what I want to 
know, and I have been trying for a year to find out. 
I have carefully read all the statute laws, orders, 
and messages in any way connected with Cuba, have 
asked every officer of the Government and every 
senator and important person who has visited or 
written to me, and have, besides, read such of the 
leading newspapers as could be in any way regarded 
as inspired. I have utterly failed withal to find that 
the Administration has any policy whatever in ref 
erence to this important matter, or, if it has one, 
what it is, or how it is to be carried into effect." 

This prompt return seemed to slightly embarrass 
the Secretary, and, instead of giving me a direct 
reply, he began immediately to discuss the ques 
tion of establishing municipal government in the isl 
and of Cuba, whereupon I called attention to the 
fact that the departing Spanish Governor General 
had appointed mayors and members of the ayunta- 
mientos, all of whom had taken their offices, and that 
under Spanish law they had had fair and regular mu 
nicipal government in the island of Cuba by alcalde 
and ayuntamiento , mayor and alderman, a hundred 
years before there was a city of English-speaking 
people in the Western Hemisphere. I also called his 
attention to the Spanish code in respect to this mat 
ter, and to the fact that the municipality is the unit 



of all civilized government and that the same code 
prescribed the qualification of Cuban citizenship in 
terms which are far more precise, fair, and equitable 
than those contained in our national laws or in many 
of those enacted by the different states. This led 
to a fair and full discussion of the subject, in which 
I contended that little needed to be done by the in 
tervening government in prescribing the qualifica 
tion of Cuban electors, or in reestablishing munici 
pal government in the island. No race question and 
no question of loyalty or disloyalty had yet been 
raised in the island, and, so far as I could see, no 
such question could be raised in time to delay or 
otherwise embarrass the establishment of civil gov 
ernment. The discussion then took a wide range 
over the affairs of the island as I had reported upon 
them, and this discussion was renewed day after 
day for nearly an entire week, during which the Sec 
retary pointed out no misstatement in my reports 
and joined no issues with me in respect to either 
the facts as they existed or to the conclusions which 
I had drawn therefrom. In the most thorough and 
friendly manner, every aspect of the problem before 
the Government was fairly and fully considered. I 
had arrived in Washington early on a Monday morn 
ing. Our conferences lasted from an hour to two 
hours daily and upon one occasion well into the 
night. At the end of them the Secretary signified 
his desire that I should see the President, and, as 
I was entirely under the order of the President 
and his Secretary, I promptly said as much and that 
I would go whenever the former was ready to re 
ceive me. 

The Secretary accompanied me to the White 


House and promptly presented me to the President, 
who received me in a most friendly and cordial man 
ner. He had evidently been fully informed as to 
the range of the discussion at the War Department, 
and, although he indicated at the outstart that he 
was pressed for time and could give me only twenty 
minutes, he finally gave me full four hours, during 
which I laid my views and conclusions fully before 
him. He was, however, a highly interested inter 
locutor from the first, who asked many questions, and 
seemed to be entirely satisfied with my prompt and 
complete replies. I did not hesitate to declare the 
island absolutely pacified from the date of our oc 
cupation and under the Joint Kesolution of Con 
gress, which was the controlling law, "pacification" 
seemed to be the only duty with which we were 
charged, I unhesitatingly advised that a convention 
should be called to frame a constitution of govern 
ment under which, as soon as promulgated, an elec 
tion should be held for President and members of 
Congress, and, finally, that as soon as the result 
was known the newly-elected government should be 
installed and a treaty should be negotiated between 
it and the United States, defining fully the relations 
between the high contracting parties. Pointing out 
that the census, which I had been the first to recom 
mend, had been ordered, and that it would reveal 
the fact that the population would be found to be 
two-thirds white and one-third colored, and that, 
while no conflict between the races had yet appeared, 
the dominion of the white race in Cuba rested upon 
as solid a foundation as it rests upon in our South 
ern states, I contended that the new government 
would probably be peaceable and stable. I then 



briefly referred to the economic and social condi 
tions prevailing in the island as set forth in my 
reports, and argued that they not only called for, 
but fully justified, such " close and reciprocal rela 
tions " as would stimulate and develop Cuban in 
dustries and commerce and prove equally beneficial 
to our own people. Under the conditions before and 
after the war, as well as under the provisions of the 
Teller Amendment or the Fourth Article of the Joint 
Resolution, declaring war with Spain, it seemed to 
be self-evident that no other course was open to 
him or to the government, and that the sooner this 
course was adopted and carried into effect the better 
it would be for all concerned. 

Without contesting my statement of fact or my 
argument, the President, in concluding the audience, 
which had been extended far beyond the limit placed 
upon it at its beginning, said without the slightest 
intimation that his remarks should be regarded as 
confidential : 

"General, I am greatly obliged to you for the 
information you have given in reference to the con 
dition of affairs in your department and in the isl 
and of Cuba. Up to this time we have had no policy 
in regard to Cuba or our relations therewith, for 
the simple reason that we have had no time to 
formulate a policy. But the situation is now en 
tirely clear to me. Henceforth we shall proceed with 
certainty toward a definite end." 

While he did not so far depart from his usual 
caution as to indicate in terms what his policy was 
to be, I understood him to imply that it would be 
substantially in the line I had indicated, and sub 
sequent events confirmed this conclusion. Several 



months after my own connection with Cuba and with 
the department which I had administered had ter 
minated Mr. Eoot assured me in the most unequivo 
cal terms that I had never written a report nor made 
a recommendation in reference to Cuba or to the 
policy which our government should adopt toward 
that country that did not receive his hearty ap 
proval, and yet it was fully another year till our 
army was withdrawn and the new government had 
taken charge of Cuban affairs. Many people, doubt 
less, thought that our occupation of the island, its 
pacification, and the government which was organ 
ized under our supervision constituted not only a 
most rapid and satisfactory job, but one which was 
greatly to the credit of the Administration. 

Having concluded my interviews with the Presi 
dent and Secretary of War, I was called before the 
Senate Committee on Eelations with Cuba. Sena 
tors Platt, chairman, McMillan, Spooner, Teller, 
Money, and Butler were present, and during the ses 
sion, which lasted several hours, every aspect of 
affairs in Cuba was fully considered. Many ques 
tions were asked by the senators, all but two of 
whom had recently visited Cuba. With my last re 
port in hand they were all answered as fully as 
time and circumstance would allow. Nothing was 
concealed or glossed over. The conditions of the 
island and its people as affected by the war, the 
policy of reconcentration, the great loss of popu 
lation from the war, the destruction of property, 
the ruin of industry, agriculture, and commerce, the 
need of financial help, the relation and proportion 
of whites to colored, the policy of the Spaniards, 
their expulsion, the judicial system, and municipal 



institutions, the immediate establishment of a stable 
republican government, and, finally, the negotiation 
of a treaty which should safeguard our interests and 
provide for close and reciprocal relations on a free 
trade basis, or, failing in that, on a preferential 
basis which should be as liberal as possible, were 
all considered and every point of interest was elab 
orated and fully explained. 

The meeting, which took place Friday, January 
12, 1900, was a most friendly one in which no dis 
cordant note was heard and no sign of disagree 
ment or antagonism was developed. Eepublicans 
and Democrats vied with each other in striving to 
draw from me a full and fair statement of every 
fact and condition bearing upon the military occu 
pation of Cuba, the pacification of its people and 
the establishment of a republican government which 
should be stable and peaceful. During my examina 
tion I was even asked if to my knowledge any of 
the other commanders in Cuba held the same views 
I did in regard to the questions under consideration, 
and in reply I was obliged to say they did not, but, 
on the contrary that they would, one and all, prob 
ably take the view that we had better go slow in 
arriving at definite conclusions. 

With all the arguments I could bring to bear, I 
urged the calling of a sovereign convention at an 
early day, to be held at Santa Clara, rather than 
at Havana. This convention should receive the as 
sistance of a committee of United States senators 
and judges in framing a constitution of government, 
which when finished should not be submitted to the 
people, but should be declared to be the Constitu 
tion of the Republic of Cuba. It should be put im- 



mediately into effect, and as soon as the government 
provided for should be installed and ready for busi 
ness, a treaty of peace and commerce should be 
negotiated by the United States with it in such man 
ner and in such terms as would fully define the poli 
tical and commercial relations of the two countries 
and provide for carrying the terms of the treaty 
into effect. 

So important did the chairman of the committee 
regard my statement and the plan I had outlined 
that he notified all present to regard the hearing 
and the views which it had brought out as strictly 
confidential. He even went so far as to direct the 
official stenographer not to transcribe his notes, and 
as a matter of fact they were not transcribed or put 
in print till nearly two years later, long after the 
policy adopted had been carried into effect and our 
army withdrawn from the island. Even then the 
notes were somewhat carelessly transcribed and 
abridged. But such as they were they were finally 
clearly printed by the Committee without any re 
vision from me and may now be consulted by the 
student of our relations with Cuba. 1 

But in order that there may be no misconception 
in regard to conditions in Cuba during our first in 
tervention, or to the views I held and expressed 
thereupon, I summarize my testimony substantially 
as follows: 

I have made a thorough study and report upon 
all conditions prevailing in the central provinces 
of the island from January 10, 1899, to the same 

1 Conditions in Cuba, Testimony of General James H. Wilson, 
Jan. 12, 1900, as printed by the Senate Committee on Eelations with 



date in 1900, and after asking Governor General 
Brooke first as to the state of the laws of the United 
States in regard to the military occupation of the 
island and second as to the policy of the adminis 
tration in carrying the laws into effect, without get 
ting any definite instructions as to either, I pro 
ceeded to visit every town, township, municipality, 
city, and seaport under my jurisdiction by water 
and rail, or on horseback, interviewing every intel 
ligent citizen and official from the provincial gov 
ernor and leader of the insurgent forces to the 
mayors, judges, councilmen, priests, school-teachers, 
and planters. Their statements were taken down 
by my stenographer, and the reports I submitted 
were based on information gathered in that way. 

The two provinces were found to contain a super 
ficial area of about twelve thousand square miles 
and a population of five hundred and sixty thousand, 
two-thirds of which were white. They were produc 
ing at that time about eighty per cent, of all the 
sugar and forty-five per cent, of all the tobacco of 
the island. Their maximum output up to that time 
was a little over a million tons of sugar, with a prob 
able expansion under favorable conditions to two 
million and a possible expansion to four million tons 
per year. It is the best cane sugar growing area 
in the world. 

At the time of the occupation the towns, cities, 
and reconcentration camps were crowded with starv 
ing men, women, and children, dying at the rate 
of eight hundred per week, and I estimated that 
within a year under the same heartless policy the 
entire agricultural population would have perished. 

The richer planters had by bribery or by force 


protected their plantations and farm buildings from 
destruction, but nearly all the farm houses, agricul 
tural implements, and growing crops of the poorer 
people had been destroyed, and nearly all the farm 
stock of every kind had been killed and eaten. Most 
of the insular officials under the Spanish regime had 
thrown up their commissions and withdrawn from 
the island. The governors recently appointed under 
the plan of insular autonomy were good men, but, 
feeling that the insurgent leaders were entitled to 
the offices, the new governors after a short interval 
insisted on resigning. The place in Matanzas was 
given to General Pedro E. Betancourt, a distin 
guished physician and surgeon, educated in the 
States, while that in Santa Clara was given to Gen 
eral Jose Miguel Gomez, a successful ranchman, of 
high character and ability, who is now President 
of the Republic. They had both been despoiled of 
their property and had taken up arms on the broad 
principle that they might as well be killed by the 
Spaniards as starved to death in the woods. 

The mayors appointed by the Spaniards before 
leaving or by us afterward were, without exception, 
a most excellent set of men. And they, as well as 
the citizens of all classes, cooperated with us most 
cordially in maintaining order, relieving and caring 
for the sick and starving, and in preparing for local 
self-government. I gave a full account of munici 
pal government, the machinery for the administra 
tion of justice, the need for schools, and the means 
necessary for the restoration of agriculture, indus 
try, and commerce. 

I pointed out that there was no friction between 
the people of my department and the army of occu- 



pation, and that the natives were obedient to the 
law, free from violence and crime, patient, and 
friendly with those in authority over them, and anx 
ious only that we should tell them what we wanted 
done and how to do it. Natives and Spaniards were 
treated alike and counseled to live together in mu 
tual peace and forbearance without reference to the 
past. They were told in no uncertain terms that 
bygones must be considered as bygones and that all 
peaceable citizens must be regarded as equal before 
the law, and this they seemed to accept as just and 
fair to all. I also pointed out that Cuba was then, 
as it is now, the only Spanish- American country in 
which the whites had always been largely in the ma 
jority, that the planters, engineers, doctors, priests, 
lawyers, and merchants were educated people, but 
most of the poorer classes were illiterate and com 
paratively ignorant. 

After answering every question fully and fairly 
I told the committee that, while the planting class 
and many of the merchants evidently wanted an 
nexation, I had no doubt that the mass of the people 
wanted a free and independent republic, and to that 
end expected the United States to carry out the pro 
visions of the Fourth Section of the Joint Resolu 
tion, which pledged the United States to exercise 
neither sovereignty, jurisdiction, nor control in the 
island of Cuba, except for the pacification thereof, 
and declared it to be their purpose when that was 
accomplished to withdraw their armed forces and 
leave the island and its government to its people. 

Obviously, the only question left for considera 
tion was when and how this policy should be carried 
out. As the pacification was complete, the first thing 



to be done was to lay the foundation for a republi 
can government which should be peaceable and 
stable. In other words, to frame a constitution 
through the agency of a sovereign convention, which 
by its terms would go into effect without submis 
sion to the people. This convention should be elected 
by a popular vote under the excellent election laws 
which the Spaniards had left behind them. I sug 
gested that this convention should have the advice 
of three or four United States Senators and two 
justices of the supreme court, standing, as it were, 
in loco parentis. 

After adopting a constitution fixing the form and 
organization of the government, the next step would 
be to hold an election for president, senators, and 
congressmen, and when the result was known to in 
stall the new government, and give it complete con 
trol over all the affairs of the Kepublic, subject only 
to the conditions which might be imposed by the 
Congress of the United States as a necessary safe 
guard to our common interests. 

Meanwhile, I advised a conservative expenditure 
of the insular revenues, mainly for the promotion 
of agriculture and the reestablishment of industry 
and commerce. I deprecated the expenditure of any 
money by the government of intervention for roads, 
harbors, or even for schools, except for school fur 
niture and for starting a normal college for the edu 
cation of schoolmasters. I would prohibit the grant 
ing of franchises for the extraneous development 
of the island s resources, and would confine the gov 
ernor general to the maintenance of order and the 
collection of the revenues. 

Having thus formed and installed the new gov- 


eminent, I should then proceed to the negotiation of 
a treaty defining the "close and reciprocal rela 
tions" which President McKinley had already wisely 
said should prevail between the two Republics. I 
then recommended that that treaty should guarantee 
to the Cuban people a republican government which 
should be stable and peaceable, provide for a postal 
union, for reciprocal free trade relations in natural 
and manufactured products under a common tariff, 
and possibly a common supervision of the customs. 
Failing in that, I advised reciprocal and fair reduc 
tions in tariff rates both ways, on the ground that, 
while this would greatly stimulate agriculture, es 
pecially in sugar, tobacco, and fruits, in Cuba, it 
would give us the control and profits of trade with 
the island. I urged that some such general arrange 
ment under a new treaty would not only make the 
greatest boom Cuba had ever had, but it would help 
to Americanize the island more than anything else. 

Finally, I suggested the cession of one or more 
naval stations to the United States "for the better 
protection of the American ports in the Gulf of Mex 
ico and of such inter-oceanic canal as might be con 
structed by the United States at Nicaragua or 

My session with the Senate Committee was a 
most interesting one, and covered every possible 
question that the senators could suggest. In con 
clusion it was decided that my testimony should be 
regarded as confidential until the Committee should 
think proper to give it out, but it was printed for 
the use of the Committee on Relations with Cuba. 
That it had a controlling influence in the legisla 
tion and policy which followed is shown by the fact 



that a census was taken, that a sovereign conven 
tion was elected and assembled, that it framed and 
adopted a constitution modeled on our own, that 
this was followed by the formation and installation 
of a republican government, which in turn entered 
into a treaty with the United States, in which the 
latter was represented by Colonel, now General, 
Tasker H. Bliss, who had been my chief-of-staff, 
and was taken from it to be collector of customs for 
the island during the first occupation. I was con 
sulted no further, and, although the plan I had out 
lined was adopted, no mention was ever made of my 
part in it either by the Washington administration 
or by the Senate. 

It is worthy of note, however, that, instead of 
forming a Customs Union, or Zolverein, under which 
reciprocal free trade would have been established to 
the great profit of both countries, a treaty was ne 
gotiated in which the United States granted a twenty 
per cent, reduction of duties on Cuba s principal 
products, and exacted from forty to eighty per cent, 
reduction on such articles as she might buy from us. 

While the arrangement has worked well and 
Cuba has greatly profited under it, white wages have 
risen, immigration of white people has increased, 
agriculture has been reestablished, railroads have 
been built, and commerce has flourished, it is greatly 
to be regretted that the more liberal policy of abso 
lute free trade had not been adopted, for it is now 
certain that that would have still more powerfully 
stimulated the progress of Cuba in all directions 
referred to above. It is equally certain that it would 
still more largely have increased the profits of the 
United States from the joint traffic, stimulated the 



emigration of Americans to the mild climate and 
fruitful land of Cuba, and, finally, added more than 
all other causes to the peace and stability of the 
Cuban government. 

What will ultimately become of Cuba it is im 
possible to say, but, having come within the in 
fluence of our economic system, it may well be hoped 
that it will sooner or later be received fully into 
our political system on such fair and equitable terms 
as shall be beneficial, as well as satisfactory, to 
both countries. 

Having concluded the business which called me 
to Washington, I returned at once to my post at 
Matanzas, where I took up again my decreasing civil 
and military duties. As long as I remained there 
my relations with the Military Governor at Havana 
and with the people of the two provinces were most 
friendly and satisfactory. I continued to do what 
I could to preserve the peace, restore agriculture, 
and promote commerce without calling for or wast 
ing the revenues of the island unnecessarily, and 
also without controversy of any sort. The remain 
der of the cooler season was delightful. The troops 
of my command had been reduced to two regiments 
of infantry and one of cavalry, or about two thou 
sand one hundred of all arms. Their behavior was 
all that could have been desired, and their health 
quite as good as it would have been in the States. 
With the help of my wife and daughters and of the 
able and accomplished officers of my staff, the beau 
tiful Quinta Felix Torres, which had been rented and 
refitted for my official residence, became the social 
center of the region under my control. I received 
and entertained all the important people, whether 



foreign or native, who did me the honor of calling, 
and once a week I gave a ball for the civil and mili 
tary officers and their wives, as well as for the lead 
ing gentlemen and ladies of Matanzas. It was the 
beginning of a new and happy era for the entire 
region. The city was a model of order and cleanli 
ness. The people had returned to their homes, the 
plantations and ingenlos had resumed operations, 
and prosperity was everywhere showing its smiling 

In the midst of growing contentment and happi 
ness on the morning of April 28, 1900, a terrible 
calamity befell me and my family. I had just ar 
rived at my office in the town when I was startled 
by an excited orderly with the information that my 
wife had been frightfully burned while driving from 
the Quinta to the bathing beach near San Severino. 
Eushing up the street as rapidly as possible, I found 
her seated on the sidewalk, surrounded by a crowd 
of sympathetic but panic-stricken women. Her 
skirts had been set on fire and completely burned 
off by a wax friction match which someone had care 
lessly dropped on the floor of the army springwagon 
she was using. I drove her home immediately and, 
although the staff surgeon, aided by her daughters 
and servants, did all in their power to alleviate her 
suffering, she died at the end of a few hours in un 
told agony. Like a bolt out of a clear sky, it over 
whelmed us with consternation and grief. The whole 
city went into mourning, while the President, the 
cabinet, and our friends throughout the United 
States sent us by cable and mail the warmest as 
surances of sympathy and condolence. 

She was buried at Wilmington, Delaware, early 


in May, 1900, in the cemetery of Holy Trinity, Old 
Swedes Church, near the last resting place of her 

At the close of the fiscal year ending July 1, 
1900, I sent in the usual reports required by stand 
ing orders and army regulations, and had the satis 
faction of calling attention to the fact that the 
statistics, conclusions, and recommendations of my 
previous reports had all been fully justified by the 
census and the lapse of time. The provinces had re 
mained tranquil, the people had resumed their in 
dustries as fast and as far as their scanty resources 
would permit, and the municipal elections had been 
conducted with perfect order and propriety. In 
short, everything was in train, with the continued 
patience and tractability of the people, for Cuba s 
becoming "at an early date, a rich, independent, 
and well-governed country. 1 

This report, touching both civil and military af 
fairs, concluded my official connection with the first 
intervention. Whatever delay there was in organiz 
ing the Cuban Republic, it is now known, was due 
entirely to the Washington government. The first 
president, Estrada Palma, who had been for many 
years the financial representative of the insurrection 
in the United States, was elected and inaugurated 
without opposition. His administration was conser 
vative, honest, and non-partisan, though it was more 
or less crippled from the first by a depleted treas 
ury and a lot of continuing contracts made by the 
Government of Intervention, but withal its period 

1 Annual Report of Brigadier General James H. Wilson, &c., 
commanding the Department of Matanzas and Santa Clara, July 22, 



of four years was one of rapid recovery and increas 
ing prosperity. Palma was reflected as a conserva 
tive without an opposing candidate, and this gave 
him, whatever else may be said, a clear and un 
clouded title to his office, though it did not shield 
him from the criticism of the radical party, which 
had come into existence during his first term. 
Shortly after his second inauguration an armed in 
surrection took place, and this in turn forced him 
to call upon the Government of the United States 
for support. The Second Intervention followed un 
der Secretary Taft and Mr. Magoon, but, instead 
of supporting President Palma and his Government 
and requiring the former to retain his office as the 
head of the constitutional republic and making him 
and such part of his cabinet as could properly be 
retained the basis of a reorganization, matters 
were so managed that Palma felt compelled to 
withdraw from his high position, along with the 
cabinet and such part of their congressional sup 
porters as had been declared improperly elected. 
In other words, an entirely new government was set 
up under Magoon and the old round of activities 
organized by the first Government of Intervention 
was taken up by the second, as a result of which 
the insular treasury, at the end of a year and a 
half of poor administration, was left in a worse con 
dition than Palma found that of his predecessor. 
This had a powerful influence in solidifying the peo 
ple and the radical party in opposition to the United 
States and to their management of Cuban affairs. 
With a broader and more liberal policy and a strict 
er observance of their duty under the treaty, it is 
probable that the feelings of the Cuban people 



might well have been made much more friendly than 
they have ever been. 

My friend, General Jose Miguel Gomez, whom I 
came to respect most highly for his honesty and 
sound judgment while serving under me as gover 
nor of Santa Clara, became the radical candidate 
for the presidency and was elected by an overwhelm 
ing majority. He had always been known as an ar 
dent advocate of Cuban independence and of firm but 
conservative government. It is fair to observe, how 
ever, that his administration was handicapped from 
the start by the burdens the Second Intervention 
had placed upon it through unnecessary activities 
and extravagances. The contracts left behind were 
not only beyond its strength, but carried with them 
conditions which imposed upon the new President 
a policy in some respects wasteful and unrepubli- 
can. By increasing and spreading the rural guard 
far and wide, the Cuban Congress has called into 
existence a system which is not only useless in war, 
but can easily be made an instrument in the hands 
of the President for the maintenance of govern 
mental control against the will of the Cuban people 
in the time of peace. A tendency in that direction 
is generally regarded as natural to Spanish- Ameri 
can countries, and obviously should be discouraged 
upon all occasions in which the United States have a 
controlling influence. As the Monroe Doctrine re 
quires us to defend the countries of the Western 
Hemisphere from European aggression and unjust 
oppression, it should be our established policy, as 
far as possible, for the present at least, to discour 
age standing armies and navies for our North and 
South American neighbors. 



Condition of affairs in China Offer my services to the 
Secretary of War Ordered to Peking The only gen 
eral of any service familiar with theater of operations 
In command of South Gate of Forbidden City Re- 
establishment of order Commanded joint American 
and British forces in capture of the Eight Temples 
Count von Waldersee Return to America Brigadier 
General Regular Army Retired by Special Act of 
Congress Summary of Services. 

Without devoting further time to the affairs of 
Cuba, in regard to which I was charged with no re 
sponsibility except in my own department, I return 
to my personal narrative. As may be recalled, I had 
traveled extensively in China (1885-86) and estab 
lished close relations with gentlemen of intelligence 
and influence. Through them I had become deeply 
interested in the unsettled condition of affairs and 
the family embarrassments of the Empress Dowager 
at Peking. That extraordinary woman, confronted 
by the impending failure of the dynasty through the 
impotency of the Emperor, had notified the world 
of his probable death at an early date and of the 
necessity of finding a new and more promising heir 
to the throne than the one she had previously chosen. 



This led to a wide discussion among the Chinese, 
as well as among the foreigners resident in the Em 
pire. Nearly every Chinaman, at least, understood 
that these outgivings indicated the early and, pos 
sibly, the violent death of the Emperor Kwang Hsu. 
The diplomatic corps were deeply moved, and, hav 
ing but little else to do, took part in the discussion, 
keeping their own Governments fully informed in 
regard to its various phases. Mr. Pethick, my most 
intelligent correspondent, a man long resident in 
China, and profoundly learned in Chinese history, 
art, jurisprudence, and affairs, kept me fully in 
formed of all that was taking place. He was one 
of the first to recognize the serious importance of 
the Boxer movement and the dangers it threatened. 
It was through him that I learned how great were 
the difficulties which confronted the Empress Dow 
ager and how alarming the dangers that were men 
acing the legations of the treaty powers. At bottom 
it was a conflict between ignorance and superstition 
on one side and enlightened progress on the other, 
and this conflict threatened the life and business 
interests of every foreigner, including the foreign 
ministers, and the Christian missionaries in the Em 
pire. The crisis was a grave one sure to involve 
China in serious complications with the outside 
world, and this especially aroused my deepest inter 
est. Foreseeing that the troubles would involve our 
legation and our diplomatic interests, along with 
those of the other nations, and that we should be 
compelled to cooperate with them against any out 
break that might occur, I telegraphed the Adjutant 
General of the army on June 17, 1900, suggesting 
that in case of actual war my experience and ob- 



servations as a traveler in northern China might 
enable me to render important service to the Gov 
ernment, and I wished to be considered as placing 
myself entirely at its disposal. 

Within a few weeks the telegraph brought the 
announcement that Admiral Seymour had started 
to Peking with a relief expedition. A few days later 
it was announced that the expedition was a failure 
and had come to a halt, that communication with 
the legations had been cut off, and that all for 
eigners were evidently in great peril. A few days 
later still, the world was startled by the news that 
Seymour had been defeated and drivon back, and 1 
that nothing but a powerful intervention of the 
Treaty Powers with a strong army to be contributed 
by those nations who were willing to participate in 
the enterprise, could save the legations and prevent 
a disaster which would horrify the world. The next 
thing I heard the Secretary of War had ordered a 
force from the Philippine Islands to Taku and 
Tientsin and had announced General Adna B. Chaf- 
fee, who had been specially promoted to the rank of 
major general, as commander of the relief expedi 
tion. Three weeks later on July 22 I received a tele 
gram from the Adjutant General notifying me that, 
as a larger force would probably be sent forward 
than had at first been intended, the presence of an 
other general would be needed, and that, if agree 
able, I would be detailed as second in command to 
Major General Chaffee. Of course, this was wel 
come intelligence, and, although it required me to 
serve under an officer whom I had always outranked, 
I saw in that no ground for hesitation. The serv 
ice was a most important one, the General was a sol- 



dier of large experience and high character, and I 
had, besides, placed myself unreservedly at the dis 
posal of the War Department. Within forty-eight 
hours I turned over the command of my department 
to General Fitzhugh Lee, forwarded my military 
and civil reports, sent my horses by the way of 
Galveston and the Southern Pacific Railroad to San 
Francisco and started in person on July 24 with my 
aids-de-camp, via New York and San Francisco, 
to the scene of my new services in northeastern 

As it turned out, I was the only general officer 
of any army connected with the Boxer War who had 
ever traveled extensively in the actual or probable 
theater of operation. I had personally ridden over 
all the country from the Great Wall to the Yangtse 
Kiang, and from Kaifong fu, the capital of Honan, 
near the western border of the Great Plains, to the 
seacoast. In addition, I was well informed as to the 
disorganized state of the Chinese military forces 
and of the utter incompetency of the Chinese Gov 
ernment to make war in accordance with modern 
practice. But I was also fully alive to the defense 
less condition of the legations in Peking, and, there 
fore, felt that they might succumb any day to the 
outbreak of a local mob or to a frenzied attack of 
the Boxers, or of the imperial troops, and, hence, 
put forth my best efforts to reach China and the 
scene of disturbance at the earliest possible day. 

Specially relieved from the delay of quarantine, 
I tarried in New York only a few hours. Traveling 
by express trains with my aids-de-camp, Lieuten 
ants Eeeves and Turner, I reached San Francisco 
at midnight of the fifth day, and the next day, 



August 3, at noon, I left for Yokohama and Naga 
saki, via Honolulu, on the fast Japanese steamer 
America Maru. Touching for a few hours at Hono 
lulu and ten days later at Yokohama, where I 
changed steamers, I pushed on through the Inland 
Sea to Nagasaki, where the United States transport 
Indiana was waiting for me. While far from fast, 
she landed me on the third day at Taku, the mouth 
of the Peiho, just thirty-seven days from Cuba. As 
far as I know, this is the quickest trip ever made 
from that island to northeastern China. With only 
a day s delay at Tientsin, some thirty miles inland, 
I took train for Yangtsun, from which place I 
reached Peking on September 6, escorted by a small 
detachment of the Sixth United States Cavalry un 
der Lieutenant C. D. Rhodes, afterward my adju 
tant. Although the distance covered was about 
twelve thousand miles, equal to half the world s cir 
cumference, and involved four steamship voyages, 
three railway trips, and a march of fifty miles over 
land, the entire distance was made without accident 
or delay and with no other anxiety than that which 
was natural to an officer who was striving to reach 
the scene of what might end in a world tragedy. 
Fortunately, I found all semblance of actual war 
had been over for three weeks and a state of per 
fect calm prevailing. 

As I have given a condensed but comprehensive 
account of the origin, progress, and principal events 
of the Boxer Rebellion, the relief of the legations, 
and the reestablishment of peace in a new edition 
of my little book on China, 1 to which I refer for de- 

1(1 China, &c., Together with An Account of the Boxer War," 
by James Harrison Wilson, D. Appleton & Co., 1901. 



tails, comments, and opinions, I shall content myself 
here with a few personal reminiscences. 

My trip from Taku and Tientsin to Peking was 
over familiar ground, but the villages had been 
burned and looted by the allied columns, the people 
had fled from their homes, their cattle, poultry, and 
provisions had been carried off, and their growing 
crops had been broken down and trampled under foot. 
Desolation prevailed along the entire route, and, al 
though the fighting had ended three weeks before, 
the sedgy banks of the Peiho were reeking with the 
stench from the floating bodies of dead Chinamen. 
At Tungchow, the port of Peking on the Peiho, I 
heard of one well in which several women had 
drowned themselves to escape what they regarded 
as a worse fate. It was evident on all sides that 
the allied armies had spared no Chinaman with 
arms, or even with the appearance of arms in his 
hands, but had been conducting war on the old plan 
of kill, ravish, burn, and destroy. The people of 
all ages and conditions, men, women, and children, 
had fled as from a besom of destruction, leaving 
their possessions to the plunderer and the torch. 

A few weeks later in conversation with the grave 
and dignified Field Marshal von Waldersee, who 
had been chosen generalissimo of the allied forces 
on account of seniority, in regard to the relative 
practice of Europeans, Asiatics, and Americans in 
conducting warfare, I took occasion to condemn as 
a recrudescence of barbarism the wholesale prac 
tice of violence, outrage, and robbery which had 
evidently characterized the campaign on the part 
of the Europeans and Asiatics. In doing so I ex 
pressed the thought that, while our forbears ap- 



peared to have left the customs of the Middle Ages 
behind when they came to America, their racial kins 
men from European countries, greatly to my sur 
prise, seemed to return naturally to the cruelties 
of primitive man. I frankly confessed that I could 
not understand it. To this remark the humane and 
courtly Field Marshal replied with a sigh: "Ah, 
General, I regret to say that Europeans, no matter 
whence they come, have never abandoned the cruel 
and outrageous practices which you so justly con 

On arriving at Peking I dismounted at the Amer 
ican legation, where the Minister and his Secretary, 
my friend, Herbert G. Squiers, an ex-officer of our 
regular army, were on the lookout for me. They 
gave me unstinted hospitality and during the week 
I remained the guest of the Secretary and his fam 
ily they told me the interesting story of the defense 
of the legations, in which they modestly minimized 
the prominent and creditable part they had taken. 
Here again I met my friend Pethick, the experienced 
and learned sinalogue, who, it will be remembered, 
had served as a trooper in the Twenty-second New 
York Cavalry under me in the War of the Rebellion. 
True to the gallant instincts of his youth, he had 
taken a modest but essential part with Captain 
Meyers, commanding the Legation Guard of U. S. 
Marines, in the capture of the enemy s advanced 
posts on the city wall and in holding that command 
ing position against all subsequent attacks. What 
a fortunate thing it was for all the legations and for 
the Christian converts who flocked into them that 
the American minister, Mr. Conger, an ex-major of 
Illinois Infantry Volunteers, had had four years of 



strenuous marching and fighting during the Civil 
War, while Sir Claude MacDonald, the British min 
ister, the elected commander-in-chief, had had much 
experience in the English army! With these two 
veterans in daily council and mutual support, the 
gallant detachment of United States Marines, aided 
and encouraged by Squiers and Pethick, as well as 
by their sick and wounded captain, successfully 
guarded both legations against attack from the di 
rection of the city walls night and day till the com 
ing of the allied columns put an end to the siege. 

General Chaffee received me with a hearty wel 
come and with marked courtesy and consideration 
and at once assigned me to the command of all the 
American troops in and about Peking. In addition, 
he gave me special charge over the main entrance 
to the Forbidden City, as well as over the imperial 
palaces, residences, and temples, including the quar 
ters occupied by the concubines and eunuchs which 
the imperial court in the hurry of their fight had 
left behind. He also put me in charge of that part 
of the Chinese city which had been allotted to the 
American troops. This was a great responsibility, 
but all the officers of the American contingent ma 
rines and troops of the line were regulars and a 
number of them graduates of West Point, who knew 
exactly how to obey orders, as well as how to take 
care of their commands and to respect the rights of 
the people with whose interests they were charged 
and for whose good order they were held responsible. 
Through Pethick, who was the best Chinese scholar 
among the foreigners, my orders and instructions 
were translated into Chinese and posted in all public 
places so that the merchants and men of authority 



could read them freely and without interruption. So 
far as I know, not a single breach of discipline oc 
curred after that. The result was magical. Slowly 
at first, but certainly and completely in the end, the 
Chinese came to understand that not only life but 
property of every sort was safe in the American 
quarter. In a few days the streets had been policed, 
the markets and shops were reopened, and the peo 
ple of all classes had apparently resumed their daily 
occupations as though no foreign soldiers were at 
hand or disposed to make them afraid. It is a pleas 
ure to add that our example was followed by the 
Japanese with the same happy results. 

I had early established my headquarters at the 
fine old Temple of Agriculture, on the edge of an 
extensive grove of cedars not less than a thousand 
years old, and at once proceeded to familiarize my 
self with the station of the various detachments, 
charging their officers specially with supervising the 
work of cleaning the streets and open spaces, and 
with the establishment and maintenance of proper 
sanitary conditions in the precincts under their 
jurisdiction. As Major Ives, my chief surgeon in 
Cuba, again came within reach and knew from long 
experience exactly what was to be done, no neces 
sary precaution was neglected. Every line officer, 
as well as every surgeon, received full instruction 
and gave the heartiest and most intelligent co 

Finally, to broaden and more fully define our 
purposes and methods, I put in force the provisions 
of the military code, prepared by the distinguished 
Professor Lieber and promulgated by Secretary 
Stanton April 24, 1863, in General Orders Number 



100, for "the government of the armies of the 
United States in the field. " It will be recalled that 
those instructions define in precise terms both mar 
tial law and the customs of war, in actual cam 
paign as well as in the occupation of captured ter 
ritory. It is a just, liberal, and humane code, the 
first of the kind, I believe, ever formally issued 
by a civilized nation for the government of its 
armies, and, although I had put its principles 
into effect in the Department of Matanzas and Santa 
Clara, this was the first and only time, so far as 
I know, that they were ever formally enforced in 
an Asiatic country. 

It will not be denied that a few men and officers 
of the marine detachment, during the earlier days 
of the occupation had appropriated abandoned prop 
erty and works of art, but, as these could not be 
used for military purposes, the quartermasters were 
directed to take charge of them in accordance with 
standing orders and army regulations, to sell them 
at public auction, to take the money received from 
the sale into their regular accounts and to apply it 
to supplying the current wants of the command. It 
is confidently believed that no part of the regular 
army got off with either silks, carvings, lacquers, 
or porcelains in the way of loot, and that whatever 
they carried back to the States they purchased at 
the regular daily sales in the British quarter or 
at the special sales of our own quartermasters. It 
is a matter of pride that so long, at least, as I re 
mained in command, my orders as above specified 
were strictly and cheerfully observed. 

Shortly after arriving at Peking it was reported 
that the Boxer general headquarters had been estab- 



lished at Pa-ta-Chow, the Eight Temples in the foot 
hills some twelve miles northwest of the city, and 
that the place was held by a strong force of Boxers, 
or Chinese insurgents. It was decided by the allied 
commanders that an expedition should be sent out to 
capture those headquarters, to destroy the arsenal 
a few miles further on, and to scatter the forces 
which might be found in that region. The duty of 
carrying this policy into effect was assigned to the 
American and British contingents, and, very much 
to my surprise, I was designated to command the 
expedition of the joint forces. To what influence I 
owed that honor I never knew, but I always sup 
posed that it was partly due to the fact that I had 
visited the Eight Temples during my trip to China 
in 1885-86, and that I was familiar with the topog 
raphy of the surrounding country. At all events, I 
took charge of the expeditionary force and sallied 
out from Peking with a column of about two thou 
sand men, made up of two battalions of the Ninth 
and one of the Fourteenth Infantry, under Major 
Quinton, one section of Riley s battery, a small de 
tachment of the Sixth Cavalry of our army, and 
from the British force, the Welsh fusileers, two 
battalions and one extra company of native Hindu 
troops, Baluchs, Sikhs and Pathans, followed by a 
large number of Hindu packers. As Lieutenant 
General Sir Alfred Gazelee of the British contin 
gent, and his Adjutant, Brigadier General Barrow, 
outranked me and my Adjutant, Lieutenant C. D. 
Rhodes, they did not accompany the expedition, but 
generously put their officers and troops absolutely 
under my command. 

Commencing the march at 3 p. M. on September 


16, 1900, to the southwest and toward the Hun-ho 
for the purpose of misleading the enemy, the whole 
force bivouacked at Lin Ko Chow after dark that 
night. At two o clock the next morning we took 
the road to the north and by a rapid march toward 
the hills found ourselves shortly after daylight in 
the vicinity of the Temples. Here I divided the 
force into two detachments, the first composed of 
the Baluch battalion and the Fourteenth United 
States Infantry, which I dispatched under the super 
vision of my aid-de-camp, Mr. Turner, guided by 
Mr. Squiers, and Mr. Jameson, both Americans, long 
resident in the country and familiar with the local 
ity, to make a turning movement through the hills 
to the rear of the Temples about the White Pagoda. 
The main body of the command pushed at the proper 
time to the opening in the foothills on the slopes 
of which the Temples were situated. This com 
pleted the investment of the position except to the 
eastward, on which side a detachment of German 
troops was expected to take position. 

The combined movements and operations were 
attended by complete success. The Baluchs, who 
were famous as mountain climbers, were kept in ad 
vance, closely followed by the Fourteenth U. S. In 
fantry, but, instead of l skipping from rock to rock 
like mountain goats, " as we had been led to believe 
they would do, the Baluchs soon became fatigued 
and, as Jameson afterward described it, they halted 
"without skipping a single rock," while the Amer 
icans pushed by them and were the first not only to 
reach the summit, but to descend into the valley be 
hind the Boxer position. With but little delay both 
battalions opened fire on the Boxers in and about 



the White Pagoda, the Americans pressing forward 
and cutting off the retreat of the main body, while 
a few broke from their position and, scattering up 
the bare hillsides and ravines to the northeastward, 
succeeded in making their escape to the open coun 
try. The principal force of Anglo-Americans, mov 
ing forward under the hills at the proper moment, 
with a few minutes of light skirmishing, promptly 
closed in on the Temples without casualty or acci 
dent of any sort. When I reached the Boxer shrine, 
at or near Boxer headquarters, I found the altar still 
smoking with incense and the few native women that 
were left behind, running hither and yon with heart 
rending shrieks and frenzied excitement. 

While the fugitives were pursued far enough to 
discover that they had neither coherence nor organi 
zation and a number of prisoners were taken, the 
affair was soon ended and the main body of the at 
tacking force went into bivouac for breakfast and 
rest while the Baluchs went to looting. The victory 
was an easy one. Nine Boxers in uniform were 
killed, while many more were wounded and carried 
off, but, sadly enough, the only wounded person I 
actually saw was a Chinese woman who had been 
hit in the elbow by a stray rifle shot. Of course, she 
received surgical attention at once and was reas 
sured and pacified, without further injury, but ap 
parently much to her surprise. 

The whole affair was over before eight o clock, 
and a half hour later the British Adjutant General 
joined us. After profuse congratulations and 
praises for the skillful manner in which the joint 
operations had been conducted, he asked permission 
in the name of Sir Claude MacDonald to destroy 



the beautiful white porcelain pagoda which had 
stood on the brow of the hill overlooking the plains 
beyond for a thousand years, and was still as fresh 
in appearance as the day it was built. Amazed 
at the request, which seemed to be made in a spirit 
of barbarism, I declared at once that I could not 
countenance the destruction of such a beautiful 
building while I remained in command of the joint 
forces. Desirous, however, of knowing what jus 
tification could be advanced in support of this 
strange request, I asked General Barrow why the 
British Minister wanted to destroy so notable a 
landmark. His reply was still more amazing, for 
he explained at once that if the Christians did 
not destroy this famous Chinese temple, the Chinese, 
who had destroyed many missionary churches, would 
conclude that their gods to whom the Pagoda was 
dedicated were more powerful than the God of the 
Christians. A brief conversation followed, in which 
I stood by my disapproval of the proposition, but 
concluded with the remark that I should dissolve 
the Anglo-American command and withdraw our 
contingent to Peking at an early hour the next morn 
ing, after which the British Minister and the British 
commander would, of course, be free to take such 
action as they might think proper. And there the 
matter rested that night and the next morning till 
I took up my return march, but I regret to add that 
we had hardly got strung out in the plain below 
when the British contingent, which had already un 
dermined the foundation of the pagoda, exploded 
a charge of gunpowder under its base and toppled 
the world-famed structure over in irretrievable ruin. 
The curious and inexcusable sequel to this inci- 


dent was that the Chinese correspondent of the Lon 
don Times, a Mr. Middleton, I believe, cabled that 
journal that the White Pagoda had been destroyed 
by my command and authority. Of course, news 
of this message reached me a few days later, where 
upon I demanded that the correspondent should cor 
rect his inexcusable misstatement by cable at the 
earliest possible moment and this, I believe, was fi 
nally done. But the event left a most unfavorable 
impression in my mind, both on account of the views 
brought forward by the British Minister and of the 
unfair account the correspondent made haste to give 
of it without even taking the trouble to learn the 
real facts of the case as they would have been given. 
The whole performance, although but seldom men 
tioned, was generally regarded by the allies as an 
act of superstitious vandalism, alike discreditable to 
the British officers concerned and to the British 
civilization which they represented. 

While I held command at Peking during the ab 
sence of General Chaffee, I sent out several other 
small expeditions to scour the country east, south 
east, and south of the city, to break up predatory 
Boxer bands, to gather in the property, and to pro 
tect the Chinese converts at the missionary stations, 
but in no instance did they discover any consider 
able armed force, nor any disturbance among the 
people. Everywhere outside of the line of the allied 
operations they found peace, order, and industry 
prevailing as though there had been neither vio 
lence nor war in the land. Whether this was due 
to the ignorance or to the duplicity of the people, 
I leave others to decide. It has always been some 
what of a puzzle to me. 



Our daily life in Peking was full of interest, for, 
although every officer of the imperial Government 
had disappeared with the Empress Dowager and 
the court and the war had come to an end, the allied 
powers were continuing their measures to establish 
a definite and lasting peace. Field Marshal Count 
von Waldersee was the last of the commanders to 
arrive, and owing both to his high character and 
his unusual rank the other commanders and the 
members of the Diplomatic Corps received him with 
every honor. Linevitch, the sturdy old Eussian; 
Gazelee, the polished Briton; Yamaguchi, the mod 
ern Japanese, followed by Chaffee and myself, with 
our staff officers in full uniform, escorted by a troop 
of the Sixth Cavalry, met the Field Marshal outside 
the walls on the Tung Chow road and, after extend 
ing the usual military courtesies, escorted him in 
state to his headquarters in the imperial city. The 
next day we called upon him formally, but without 
notice. Not finding him within, we renewed our call 
the following afternoon, according to appointment, 
and were received with a blare of trumpets and a 
salute of the guard. The stately Field Marshal him 
self came to the front and after a formal welcome 
escorted us to his private quarters. Here showing 
us to seats and taking one himself, he scanned us 
closely, but kindly. After gathering in the details, 
which he evidently approved, he turned to me and 
said in excellent English, which he had doubtless 
cultivated by daily conversation with his American 

"And that is the full uniform of an American 
general. I never saw it before, but it is mighty 



This, of course, broke the ice and led to a friendly 
conversation, early in which he showed us with pride 
the photograph of the Countess von Waldersee and 
signified his decided admiration for American 
women. This won our sympathy at once, and, al 
though the American contingent never formally 
placed itself under his command, both Chaffee and 
I became quite intimate with him. Shortly after 
ward Chaffee went again to Tientsin for a fort 
night, during which I had occasion to see the Field 
Marshal frequently. I took luncheon with him and 
his personal staff several times, and had many con 
versations with them. His chief -of -staff, Major Gen 
eral von Schwartzoff, and his assistant, Count von 
York, were officers of great merit, the first of whom 
lost his life in a fire which burned the headquarters 
building in which he was sleeping, while the second 
was asphyxiated north of the Great Wall by the 
fumes from a brazier of smouldering charcoal. It 
was a sad loss to the Field Marshal and in the lat 
ter case an unfortunate ending to the career of one 
who had been counted on to fill the place of Von 
Moltke, the great German chief-of-staff. 

The German expedition to Paoting-fu was made 
before their death, and, although its object was far 
from apparent, Mr. Turner, my aid-de-camp, who 
represented me on Von Waldersee s staff, gave both 
him and his officers high praise for the thorough 
ness with which they did their work. Of course, 
he was there to help and to observe, and he seems 
to have won the good opinion of all the officers, es 
pecially those of the Japanese staff, who did not 
hesitate to assure me on their return that they felt 
far more at home with my staff and the American 


officers than with those of any other country. This 
was probably because most of the Europeans, spe 
cially the English, seemed to look down upon them 
very much as Li Hung Chang did before the Japan- 
Chinese War. 

After the expedition to Paoting-fu had started 
and General Chaffee had returned to Peking, I gave 
him a review of the troops serving under my com 
mand. This took place on October 3 between the 
Temple of Agriculture and the Temple of Heaven 
on the Chien Men, a wide street, running north be 
tween broad open spaces to the principal southern 
gate of the Tartar city. It was admirably adapted 
to the purpose for which we used it, the weather 
was fine, and many of the generals, ministers, at 
taches, and officers of the various contingents were 
present in full uniform. 

The Ninth and Fourteenth Infantry, the marine 
battalion, six troops of the Sixth Cavalry, and 
Biley s battery of six rifled guns, all in excellent 
condition and equipment and constituting as com 
pact and complete a brigade of fighting men as ever 
made its appearance in the Far East, marched by 
in column of companies, sections, and troops, with 
their flags and guidons fluttering gayly, to the music 
of the consolidated bands playing "A Hot Time in 
the Old Town To-night !" The rank and file were 
all young, stalwart, and fit, their service uniforms 
were becoming, their arms in perfect condition, and 
their alignment and marching all that could be ex 
pected of the finest veterans in the world. 

The scene was one never before witnessed in 
China, and never imitated afterward. The invited 
guests were surprised and enthusiastic, and the 



whole occasion was one which deeply impressed all, 
including the Chinese, who saw it from afar. After 
the troops had marched to their encampments the 
invited guests were escorted to my headquarters in 
the Temple of Agriculture, where they were regaled 
with an abundant supply of punch and light refresh 
ments, with the usual assortment of American airs 
from our military bands. All seemed delighted with 
our entertainment. This was particularly true of 
the East Indian officers, whose handsome uniforms 
and soldierly bearing added to the interest of the oc 
casion. We were particularly struck, however, by 
the fact that the lowest white officers in rank took 
social precedence of even the Indian field officers. 
If this is the common rule in the native army, it 
must ultimately give our British cousins a good 
deal of trouble before they are through with it. 

The remainder of my stay in Peking was passed 
in the routine duties of administration. Chaffee and 
I made expeditions to the nearby places of interest 
frequently, and on one occasion rode entirely 
around the city with several staff officers and order 
lies on the top of the wall, which was furnished with 
ramps at various points, where we went up or down 
without dismounting. The trip of fifteen or six 
teen miles gave us a splendid view of the city and 
surrounding plains and was one to be long remem 

After the beginning of proceedings looking to 
peace, Secretary Hay of the Department of State, 
looking upon me as an expert " China hand," pro 
posed that I should be associated with Mr. Eockhill 
and Minister Conger as commissioners to represent 
our Government in the negotiations, but Mr. Con- 



ger made objections on the ground that the com 
mission would be larger than any other and there 
fore too cumbersome, and on consideration this view 
was accepted. As my military work was at an end, 
I was relieved from further service and returned to 
the States by the way of San Francisco, reaching 
home by the middle of December, 1900. 

President McKinley received me with every mark 
of consideration, and, after thanking me for my 
services in China, as well as in Cuba, told me that 
he intended to ask Congress for authority to trans 
fer Fitzhugh Lee, Joseph Wheeler, and myself to 
the regular army, and then retire us with the rank 
of brigadier general. Of course, I was gratified at 
this very unusual proposition, recognizing it as good 
policy so far as concerned Lee and Wheeler, both 
of whom had served with high rank and great dis 
tinction in the Confederate Army, but I then called 
the President s attention to the fact that I was not 
eligible for retirement either by age, continuous 
service, or infirmities. He, however, with good na 
ture and kindness, waived all that, and subsequently, 
at his request, Congress passed a special act to put 
us on the retired list, accordingly, and that was done 
in due time. 

Before leaving Washington, Mr. Boot, the sec 
retary of war, asked what further duty or assign 
ment I wanted, whereupon I replied, none that he 
could give me. I then added that I had reentered 
the army to take part in any war the Government 
might have on hand, but, as it had reestablished 
peace with all powers and potentates, I was ready 
to return again to civil life and take up my private 
business. I had no active interest in military af- 



fairs except in times of war, and no desire but to 
resume the pursuits of peace. That, he was good 
enough to reply, was exactly what he expected me 
to say, and so we parted. 

I returned to my family and home at Wilming 
ton, where I have remained ever since, except for 
three months, during which, accompanied by my 
aids-de-camp, Lieutenant Colonel John Biddle of 
the engineers, Lieutenant Colonel Henry D. Borup 
of the ordnance, my secretary, F. E. Mayer, and two 
daughters, I represented the army, under appoint 
ment from President Eoosevelt, at the coronation of 
King Edward VII in 1902. This was an interesting 
event. We were all duly presented at court, and I 
placed a wreath on Queen Victoria s tomb at Wind 
sor, and, although the coronation was delayed two 
months by the King s illness, my party were spe 
cially, but informally, invited to return to the ad 
journed ceremony, which we did, much to our per 
sonal edification and enjoyment. 

This was my last appearance in public life, and, 
although still enjoying unimpaired health and vigor, 
and taking an unabated interest in everything that 
concerns the public welfare and the prosperity and 
greatness of our common country, I have little else 
to do but to publish these historical glimpses of the 
wars and events in which I took part according to 
my opportunities. 

If called upon to summarize my most notable 
services, I should start with the part I played in the 
Port Eoyal expedition, particularly in leading the 
way across the salt marshes and planting the battery 
which isolated Fort Pulaski and made its surrender 
a mere question of time. 



I regard my services on McClellan s staff dur 
ing the Antietam campaign and my personal sug 
gestions in regard to the course McClellan should 
pursue when relieved from the command of the 
Army of the Potomac as worthy of commendation. 
I have never doubted that, had he followed my ad 
vice to the end, he would have been elected Presi 
dent of the United States, or come far nearer to that 
destiny than he did. 

The part I took as engineer and assistant 
inspector general on General Grant s staff in the 
Vicksburg and Chattanooga campaign, as set forth 
in the foregoing narrative, I have never doubted, 
won General Grant s confidence and friendship. 
This is shown, not only by his words, but by the fact 
that through his recommendation I gained the rank 
of brigadier general of volunteers. 

I have always regarded my brief but rapid work 
in reorganizing and administering the Cavalry Bu 
reau, the opportunity for which I owed principally 
to Charles A. Dana, assistant secretary of war, as 
having been highly valuable, for it resulted in giv 
ing the cavalry service more and better horses, arms 
and equipments than it ever had before. My revised 
regulations for the inspection of horses were a large 
factor, not only in giving Sheridan s cavalry better 
and improving mounts to the end, but in enabling 
me to regenerate and make invincible the Cavalry 
Corps of the Military Division of the Mississippi. 

While my assignment to command the Third Cav 
alry Division, Army of the Potomac, over my sen 
iors may have been an injustice to them, I have al 
ways held that the services I rendered in the Wil 
derness, at the Yellow Tavern, Chesterfield Court 



House, Hanover Court House, Ashland Station, 
Hawes Shop, the crossing of the Chickahominy, St. 
Mary s Church, and the passage of the James were 
as valuable as the operations of any division in the 
Cavalry Corps, while my success in breaking and 
disabling the railroads in southern Virginia was the 
severest blow the cavalry ever struck the Confeder 
acy, till Five Forks, Appomattox, and Selma 
ended it. 

The good results produced by my division at 
Kearneyville and afterward at Winchester, were 
largely due in both cases to the Spencer carbines 
with which I armed it. This was besides the first 
instance of the close and effective cooperation of 
cavalry with infantry up to that date in Virginia. 

Military writers generally regard my reorgani 
zation of Sherman s cavalry, its services at Colum 
bia, its defeat of Forrest at Franklin, and its col 
lection into a single corps in front of Hood s invad 
ing army as notable achievements. The impress 
ment of horses and the increase of the corps effec 
tive force in ten days to twelve thousand men, who 
broke through Hood s line at Nashville, turned his 
flank, captured his batteries, took his left wing in 
reverse, and compelled his army to retreat in dis 
order, closely pursued through the rain, frost, mud, 
and ice of midwinter, have been cited as the best 
instance of proper cooperation between cavalry and 
infantry in the War for the Union. 

The collection of twenty-seven thousand men, or 
five divisions of cavalry, with proper artillery in 
midwinter into cantonments at and near Gravelly 
Springs, seventeen thousand of whom were well 
horsed and armed, was a creditable performance. 



The system of instruction, drill, and discipline there 
instituted, lasting for ten weeks, produced most ex 
traordinary results, and, although I detached one 
full division to Canby, another to middle Tennessee, 
and still another to remain in camp with orders to 
follow when mounted, I took with me three divisions 
with twelve thousand five hundred men mounted 
and one brigade of one thousand five hundred dis 
mounted. These figures seem to fully justify the 
policy of concentrating and using cavalry in masses, 
instead of scattering it far and wide in detachments, 
as had been the previous practice in the West. 

Finally, if anything further is needed to com 
mend this policy it is found in the history of what 
turned out to be the "Last Campaign of the War." 
I refer, of course, to that which defeated Forrest, 
scattered his forces, captured Selma, destroyed the 
armory, factory, arsenal, storehouse, and shipyard 
at that place, and which opened the way to Mont 
gomery, West Point, and Columbus, to the passage 
of the Chattahoochee Eiver into Georgia, to the oc 
cupation of Macon, Atlanta, Augusta, and Milledge- 
ville, and, finally, to the capture of Jefferson Davis 
with his aids-de-camp and several of his cabinet 
trying to make their way to the trans- Mississippi 
Department for the purpose of continuing the war. 

While General Lee has been credited with declin 
ing to carry on guerrilla warfare and to the noble 
and disinterested example which gave the country 
peace, it must not be forgotten that the capture 
of Selma and its supplies on April 2, of which he 
doubtless heard before he surrendered on April 9, 
must have convinced him, as it certainly did Joseph 
E. Johnston and other leading generals and mem- 



bers of the Confederate cabinet, that the end had 
come and that further resistance was useless. 

If the Confederate soldiers and statesmen had 
any doubt on this question after our destructive 
march through Alabama and Georgia along their 
main artery of inter-communication, it wa s neces 
sarily ended by the capture of Davis and his suite 
and his imprisonment at Fortress Monroe. The fact 
is Davis s official work ended at Danville. Aided 
by Lee, Johnston, and Forrest, he had got all out 
of the Confederate army that was in it, and, as 
shown by his final cabinet conference at Charlotte, 
needed only the ruin I had committed further south, 
followed by his own capture as a fugitive, to con 
vince even him that the Union was triumphant and 

That I was able a third of a century after the 
close of the Civil War to resume my sword and do 
my fair share as a general officer in two later wars 
was an interesting, if not unique, experience, and 
will, I hope, afford all justification necessary for 
the personal reminiscences touching my part therein 
and the great men who have honored me by their 
friendships or by the reverse. 

My success as a government engineer speaks for 
itself. The removal of the rapids of the Mississippi 
at Eock Island and the neutralization of those at 
Keokuk were works of a pioneer character. The 
surveys and plans submitted, by me in 1868-9 for 
cutting down the summit level and making a line 
of deep navigation from Lake Michigan to the Illi 
nois River were, in the main, adopted and carried 
into effect without serious modification many years 



The plans which I supervised, controlled, and car 
ried into effect for the location, construction, and 
equipment of the Sixth Avenue Elevated Railroad 
between the Battery and Central Park, New York 
City, was pioneer work which served as guides for 
all similar undertakings till the introduction of elec 
trical power for the operation of city railroads. 

But the undertaking in civil life that gave me 
the greatest satisfaction was the construction of the 
St. Louis and Southeastern Railroad, connecting 
Evansville and my native town on the Ohio with 
St. Louis. It led to the purchase of the roads from 
Evansville to Nashville and their consolidation into 
a through line, which gave both St. Louis and Chi 
cago the shortest and most direct connection with 
the central Southern states. It was entirely success 
ful till the breakdown of 1873, at which time the 
principal connecting railroads south shut off its 
business and forced it into bankruptcy, which in 
turn wiped out the stock, and on the foreclosure of 
the bonds made the road a part of the Louisville 
and Nashville system, where it has since proved 
profitable to the purchasers, as well as to the coun 
try through which it runs. But that is not the best 
of it. It opened up in connection with our other 
railroads the entire region, which was almost a 
forest much of the way, from St. Louis to Nash 
ville, from St. Louis to Louisville, and from Cairo 
to Vincennes, to progress in all its branches. From 
backwoods and the rudest sort of country life, 
it has become the abode of industry, plenty, good 
schools, flourishing churches, and thriving towns and 
villages, in which prohibition is the rule and law 
lessness the exception. 



While I lost my time and the profit I had fairly 
earned, I feel that my associates and I did good 
work, and I sincerely rejoice, not only in having 
been a pioneer in it, but that I have been permitted 
to live and to see its full fruition. I know of no case 
in the whole country that did more good to the peo 
ple served by those lines in southern Illinois, for 
the construction of which I was largely responsible, 

In concluding this work I trust I shall be par 
doned if I venture to say, in no boastful spirit, I 
have played my part as it came to me in war and 
peace, and under all circumstances to the best of 
my abilities and opportunities, and always and 
everywhere according to the soldier s motto: "Aut 
veniam viam, aut feciam!" 





MACON, GEORGIA, November 23, 1865. 

It has occurred to me that the results of my observa 
tion during and since the Rebellion might throw some light 
upon the various questions growing out of the abolition of 
slavery, and thereby assist the public in obtaining a clear 
understanding of the condition of the South at this time. 
It is important that intelligent men should deal with these 
questions dispassionately and discuss them without acer 
bity or prejudice. They are no longer local, but concern 
the entire nation. The day of strife is past, and the era 
for free thought has at last dawned upon the South. It 
is hardly necessary to assure the reader that in view of 
these facts I shall endeavor to write plainly and say noth 
ing but what is susceptible of proof. 

Many of our writers have said, and not a few of our 
people have believed, that the suppression of the rebellion 
had settled the negro question, but this is a grave mistake. 
That question is now fairly open for discussion, and justly 
claims our serious attention. Upon its practical solution 
depend the prosperity of the entire South and the welfare 
of a race. How can the freedmen be best protected in their 
personal, social, and civil rights, be made a self-sustaining 
and useful element in society, and be secured in the bene 
fits of their own labor and intelligence, with the privilege 
of developing both to the utmost of their capabilities ? 



The discussion will involve a statement of the rights of 
freedmen, the present moral, intellectual, and physical con 
dition of the negroes, the influences which have been at 
work upon both white and black society, as well as the 
means necessary to secure simple justice to all persons un 
der the laws of the United States. An exhaustive discus 
sion of these subjects would require months of minute re 
search and patient industry, and would fill an entire vol 
ume ; but I shall endeavor to compress into this chapter all 
that is essential. 

The rights of freemen under our Government are by 
no means generally understood in the South ; the rights of 
freedmen, or people of color emancipated by the President s 
Proclamation, and the successful enforcement of the latter 
by the army, have neither been clearly defined nor gen 
erally recognized. A part of the difficulty arises from the 
use of terms regarded as synonymous by Northern people, 
for purposes of the law, but which in the minds of South 
ern people have a widely different meaning. Free men are 
white and were always free freedmen are blacks, and were 
once slaves, but by the force of arms are so no longer. 
This much, and no more, the Southern people as a class 
admit. In other words, the freedman is "a negro a two- 
legged, vertebrate animal, good enough as a machine in his 
place, but entitled to no consideration out of it, valuable 
as a slave, but worthless as a freeman, and possessed of no 
rights which a white man is bound to respect." But few 
^Southern men have surrendered their convictions based 
upon "the Bible right to enslave the descendants of Ham," 
or have yielded assent to the constitutionality of the Eman 
cipation Proclamation. Many say, I have no doubt, sin 
cerely, they are glad slavery has ceased to exist, but they 
see no more plainly to-day than ten years ago the moral 
wrong of withholding liberty from a fellow man. The ma 
jority do not acknowledge the negro as a fellow man ; they 
are bound to him by no relation except those established 
for self-interest, and acknowledge no obligation except that 



which may be mentioned "in the bond." It is no uncom 
mon thing for them to denounce abolitionism as bitterly 
as they did before the war. I have known of one case in 
which a minister of the Gospel, thoroughly identified with 
the Rebellion, was charged by members of his church with 
the advocacy of miscegenation, because in a sermon upon 
practical Christianity he announced the Bible doctrine of 
the unity of the human family ! The sentiment which un 
derlies these facts is not universal, but it is the popular 
and positive one, which opposes liberal views, and which, 
conjoined with ignorance and prejudice, prevents substan 
tial progress, and keeps from the people a knowledge of 
what constitutes the rights and duties of freemen. It is 
no exaggeration to say that no Southern newspaper has yet 
dared to divest itself of prejudice and discuss that subject 
truthfully, fearlessly, and persistently, and but few have 
adverted to it in any other than a tone of expedient sub 
mission to national dictation. There is no such thing yet 
as a free press in the South, nor can there be till free 
thought becomes habitual. The feeble and timid efforts of a 
newspaper in the city of Macon to conduct itself in ad 
vocacy of "the restoration of the civil order, and the ex 
istence of the national unity under the Constitution and 
the laws," subjected its editor to so much insult and con 
tumely that he was compelled to appeal to military au 
thority for protection. 

No public man of importance in this region, unless I ex 
cept Mr. James Johnson of Columbus, has had the nerve to 
tell his people the plain, unvarnished truth, or to show 
them clearly their relations to the general Government and 
what would be required of them. His speeches were re 
garded as too radical on the points touching freedmen, 
and have not been published ; or, if published at all, have 
been changed to suit the popular temper. No organic law 
has yet been framed in the South which secures to the 
negroes the simplest rights of freemen, no bill of rights 
which declares that they shall not be punished for crimes, 



except upon legal conviction thereof, or that enables them 
to sue and be sued, acquire and convey title to property, 
and testify in courts. Without further enumeration, it 
may be clearly seen that no Southern state has yet framed 
a constitution strictly republican in form since none has 
yet provided for the security of those rights justly re 
garded by freemen as inalienable, and without which, se 
curity for li^e, liberty, and happiness is impossible. 

Under the orders of military authority and in the proc 
ess of reconstruction, civil courts have been allowed to re 
sume their functions with instructions to administer the 
laws as they existed previous to January 1, 1861, except 
that in no case shall there be discrimination in reference 
to color. But in the face of this clear principle of justice 
the commanding officer of this district was to-day compelled 
to arrest two justices of the peace for refusing, while in 
the execution of their office as an inferior court, to receive 
the testimony of negro men in a case touching the rights 
of property between a white and a black man, although 
both sides desired to introduce such testimony and both 
had more than one witness to prove the same fact. The 
justices gave as a reason for action "that the laws of 
Georgia in force previous to January 1, 1861, prohibit 
the use of negro testimony; they did not know any other 
law had been established, and did not intend to do wrong 
or violate military orders. The difficulty is that they did 
not intend to do right, for, admitting the truth of their ex 
cuses, they had failed to inform themselves of the law set 
tled by the war and to become acquainted with the points 
which the President had declared "no longer debatable." 
The fact is the moral appreciation of those points is dead, 
and hence public sentiment fails to compel officers of the 
law to properly inform themselves. I doubt if there are 
ten in all Georgia and one State is a fair sample of the 
whole South below the grade of superior judge, who un 
derstand the common law of evidence, or who can perceive, 
through the aid of their own unassisted understanding, the 



wrong which may be inflicted upon the negroes by the ex 
clusion of their testimony from the courts of justice. It 
needs no argument to prove that this right under the law 
is essential to the preservation of life and liberty, as well 
as for the protection of property, labor, and the sanctity of 
the marriage relations. To deprive a citizen of it, in the 
most enlightened community and under the best laws, 
leaves him a sport to the vice, cunning, and superior 
strength of every man who may chance to assail him. 

But there are other rights not less essential to the ex 
istence of our form of government and not less vital to the 
public welfare than the one just alluded to for the pres 
ervation of personal liberty. In a government based upon 
the intelligence of the people, in which slavery cannot ex 
ist, it is the duty of the legislature to enact such laws as 
shall enable every man to make the most he can of his in 
telligence as well as of his labor. It is just as much the 
duty of the law to render it possible for him to buy educa 
tion for his children as to buy bread and clothing for them. 
And precisely upon this point the greatest opposition will 
be encountered by the freedmen. Between the almost uni 
versal prejudice in the South against free schools and the 
incredulity of even enlightened men in regard to the capa 
bilities of the negro for mental improvement the country 
need not expect the voluntary adoption of a liberal system 
of education. When it is remembered that the jealousy ex 
cited in the minds of ignorant white people by anything 
which looks to the elevation of the negro has already re 
sulted in breaking up more than one negro school, it will 
be perceived that nothing less than military protection can 
secure the continuance of the philanthropical labors or 
ganized by the Freedman s Bureau and Northern educa 
tional societies. 

Many radical Northern men contend that the negro 
should also have the privilege of voting, and urge that 
nothing else can protect him from tyranny; but it should 
not be forgotten that there is a great deal of difference be- 



tween the rights of a freeman and the privileges of a citi 
zen. Property and intelligence are the natural qualifica 
tions for the ballot, but in our civil polity the property 
qualification is almost entirely excluded, and States are 
held competent to give the privilege to whom they please. 
While I doubt the right of Congress to interfere in this 
matter at all, I have no hesitation in saying that the be 
stowal of suffrage upon the negro at this time would result 
in an unmitigated evil to Southern society and the country 
at large. The assertion of General Schurz that it would 
result in a war of races is no exaggeration and would be 
a sufficient reason for withholding it even if the negroes 
as a class could be depended upon to vote intelligently and 

It is unnecessary here to enlarge upon this matter, or 
the absence of all law specially applicable to the freedmen 
as independent members of society. The indisposition of 
civil officers to enforce that which in equity and justice 
is plainly applicable under the orders of military authority 
would seem to indicate clearly enough the duty of the gen 
eral Government to continue its protection to these unfor 
tunate people, till the States have manifested an honest 
intention to give them all the rights enjoyed by their most 
favored non-voting population. 

We shall obtain a clearer view of Southern society by re 
membering that the white race, not liable to blood con 
tamination, and the black, " subjected to an incessant con 
tamination of an extraneous kind," although physically 
distinct, have been, for all practical purposes, a unit. 
Without venturing an opinion as to how far this contami 
nation, the fruits of which may be seen in many house 
holds, may be instrumental in the ultimate extinction of 
the negro race in America, its moral influence upon South 
ern society cannot be neglected. 

At the beginning of the Eebellion there were in the 
South four orders of men. First, there were the educated 
and highly intellectual men politicians, lawyers, divines, 



and men of wealth. This class furnished the " leaders," 
filled all high offices, propagated Southern ideas, and con 
trolled public sentiment. Second, the intermediate order, 
includes the less intelligent of the professions, planters, 
business men, overseers, and country politicians. This class 
was mainly instrumental in adopting the ideas, in follow 
ing the fashions, and aspiring to the dignity of the first 
class. Third, were the poor white people, who, from de 
fective organization of society, mental inaptitude, and a 
variety of other natural causes, were kept in subordination 
and benighted ignorance. The only pure, unadulterated 
American "mudsills" are found in the South, and belong 
to this order. And fourth, there was the negro, who should 
fairly be classed intellectually with the poor whites. 

Socially these classes are entirely distinct. There is no 
gradual blending of the one with the other as in the North 
ern states, nor is there the usual proportion of intelligence 
to ignorance. The third and fourth orders are hopelessly 
ignorant, and constitute three-fourths of the entire popula 
tion. At the beginning of the war the first class were com 
pletely dominant, and carried with them the entire white 
population of the South. With the relentless intolerance 
of feudal aristocrats they crushed out every spark of in 
dependent thought remaining true to the idea of national 
unity, and drove the poor whites into the ranks of the rebel 
army. So complete was their sway that they held the ne 
groes in subjugation with scarcely an effort, and used the 
abundant products of their labor to support their armies 
in the field. No society for political or military purposes 
was ever more homogeneous. No despot s authority was 
ever more complete or controlled by more determination 
and energy. The writer has heard many prominent South 
ern men assert that the controlling idea of their order had 
been throughout the war "the establishment of a govern 
ment in which slavery should be so protected by law and 
interwoven with their domestic concerns that the one could 
not be destroyed except at the cost of the other." Their 



purposes were so far successful in Georgia, that, in the 
words of Howell Cobb, there was scarcely a paragraph in 
their entire statute book which did not either directly or 
indirectly involve the protection of slavery as its primary 
object. For a season their plans worked well everywhere, 
and gave them cheering promises of success, but disaster at 
last befell their arms, and with disaster the weak-hearted 
lost faith. The North rose as one man, and with the most 
determined spirit of loyalty and nationality furnished the 
Government with a magnificent army, provided it with 
arms, clothing, and provisions, and pushed it irresistibly 
forward. Donelson, Shiloh, Antietam, the Proclamation of 
Freedom, Vicksburg, Gettysburg, Chattanooga, Mission 
Eidge, Atlanta, the battles of the Wilderness, the Valley, 
Nashville, the March to the Sea, and finally the fall of 
Eichmond and the complete collapse of the Confederacy 
followed each other with slow but unerring certainty. The 
capture of Fort Donelson destroyed their boast of invinci 
bility ; that of Vicksburg, the first vital stroke, severed their 
Confederacy into two parts. That part west of the Mis 
sissippi died like the tail of a snake at sundown. While 
that part east of the great river struggled on with the poor 
consolation that its losses were "blessings in disguise." 
The victories of the Wilderness, Atlanta, and the Valley of 
Virginia strengthened the national faith, saved the national 
credit, and overwhelmed the Northern allies of rebellion 
and treason. Sherman s desolating march through Georgia 
and the Carolinas again divided the Confederacy, sepa 
rated the rebel armies, rendered their ablest generals hope 
less of success, filled the negro with anxious expectations, 
and convinced the common soldiers that this was "the rich 
man s war and the poor man s fight." The final collapse 
of their cause which followed the splendid victories about 
Eichmond found their unity of sentiment destroyed, their 
substance wasted, their leaders proscribed, and their so 
ciety, by the destruction of slavery, its only bond, divided 
into its heterogeneous elements. The highest intellect of the 



land was paralyzed by the magnitude of the disaster. The 
second order, not yet enfranchised from the tyranny of old 
ideas, was unable to realize the necessity of their situation 
and unwilling to accept for their guidance the principles 
which had been forever settled by the war. The poor white 
people, hopeful of a better day relieved from a tyranny 
which they had learned to despise, cared only to busy them 
selves in the reestablishment of their homes and in collect 
ing such of their personal possessions as had escaped the 
devastation of warfare. The negroes, hitherto the obedient 
children of toil, suddenly relieved of their yoke by * Good 
News from a Far-off Land," resolved to work no longer, 
but taste fully that liberty whose highest attribute in their 
dwarfed and benighted minds is a life of idleness and im 
munity from the lash. 

This hasty recital, while it does not describe the abso 
lute condition of the blacks, will give some idea of the 
white society with which the President was compelled to 
try the experiment of reconstruction. A moment s consid 
eration will show that no spontaneous political action was 
possible, except the course to be followed had been clearly 
and authoritatively denned. The people as a unit looked 
to the national government for their inspiration, and were 
willing to submit to whatever terms the President might 
think proper to dictate. A few hoped to save slavery in 
one form or another, or believed they would be remuner 
ated for it if abolished. All were feverish and anxious 
about confiscation, but I do not remember meeting a single 
person who did not believe himself compelled to accept 
whatever terms might be extended to him or leave the 

The first step in the President s policy was the appoint 
ment of provisional governors with instructions to call 
conventions, whose duty it should be to annul the work of 
secession and reestablish the sway of civil law, in accord 
ance with the hereditary policy of the country. No clearly 
defined instructions were given to the conventions to guide 



them in the duty they were called upon to perform; they 
were left perfectly free to exercise their own intelligence 
and judgment in selecting the course they might think best 
adapted to their condition. In the interval between the 
appointment of the provisional governors or the ending of 
hostilities, and the meeting of the first convention, a re 
action set in in Georgia headed by the younger men who 
had but little experience in public life, and supported by 
a few of the returned officers more " irrepressible than 
the rest, aided by that class of men who had remained at 
home during the war, and had not, therefore, been "sub 
jugated." Through the agency of this reaction, gaining 
Iiead every day, the people soon began to imagine that they 
might possibly obtain better terms than they first expected. 
They adopted readily the idea that their States had not 
been out of the Union, and, therefore, might claim the full 
benefits of the fact, and that, after all, they were still 
sovereignties capable of doing a variety of things indepen 
dent of national dictation. The new men were ambitious to 
obtain place, and the old leaders were sagacious enough to 
put them forward to undo the work of rebellion and re 
ceive whatever odium might be attached thereto. This was 
the case particularly with such of the new men as had 
claimed to be originally conservative or for the Union. 
When the conventions finally assembled, the reaction had 
progressed so far that the question was not, "How much 
shall be done to put our section right and engraft upon 
its organic laws the principles settled by the war?" but, 
"How little can we do and get our States recognized?" 
Most of the conventions had in them an unusually large 
number of gray-haired men, noted for their intelligence as 
well as devotion to the Union and conservative tendencies 
during the war. Among these men there were not wanting 
experienced legislators, who saw plainly their duty to the 
loyal States as well as to their own people, and who ex 
erted their influence to secure such action by the conven 
tions as would prove acceptable to Congress and obtain for 



the States recently in rebellion a speedy restoration of the 
privileges of representation and government. But these 
men, although supported by the advice of the President, 
could neither overcome the noisy exponents of secession 
and State rights nor control public sentiment. The action 
of Georgia is sufficiently like that of the other states to be 
taken as a fair example. Her convention " repealed" the 
ordinance of secession, instead of declaring it "null and 
void"; "repudiated" the debt accumulated in conducting 
war against the United States, instead of pronouncing it 
"illegal and fraudulent." They "abolished" slavery and 
failed to adopt the constitutional amendment to that effect, 
instead of asserting that it had ceased to exist by virtue 
of the President s Proclamation and the acts of Congress 
giving the force of law thereto. They failed to define and 
render sacred the rights of freedmen, but passed a resolu 
tion reciting their obligation to give "efficient protection" 
to the freedmen, and "to promote among them the observ 
ance of law and order, habits of industry, and moral im 
provement," and appointed a commission of five persons 
"to prepare and report a code or system of laws" for 
their government and regulating how and in what cases 
they might be permitted to testify in the courts. 

The temper displayed by this convention was the re 
verse of grave, dispassionate, and dignified; its legislation 
was marked by illiberality, bad taste, defective judgment, 
and absence of the spirit of loyalty ; many of the speeches 
were rebellious in tone, and couched in language peculiar 
to the chivalry of other days, and one member went so far 
as to denounce the President s telegram advising the re 
pudiation of the rebel war debt, as an attempt "to dictate 
to a sovereign convention." Since the termination of the 
convention, the members who were loyal enough to advo 
cate the adoption of the President s views have been con 
demned by public sentiment. Not a single representative 
to Congress has been elected who can take the test oath. 
It is clear the Southern people have failed to appreciate 



the magnanimity of the Government, and have voluntarily 
rejected its measures of reconciliation. They do not seem 
to have realized the changes which have taken place in the 
last four years, either in their own condition or that of the 
loyal States. It is hard for them to perceive, at a glance, 
the difference between a negro man free and a negro man 
enslaved, or to understand that by the laws of the United 
States a freedman is a free man, and that justice is color 
blind. The * manifold infirmities of the flesh are not yet 
subjugated, even in the North; the prejudices of race, the 
passions of the ignorant, and the aggressive tendencies of 
unbridled arrogance and cruelty, fostered by years of mas 
tership, cannot be uprooted in a day, much less can they 
be expected in a day to yield to a spirit of forbearance and 
justice. "We can see now that the Government in its blind 
ness had committed a grave error, very natural and there 
fore excusable. It should have exercised its military right 
"to dictate the terms," not "advise" them, and to com 
pel their adoption as a "condition precedent" to the com 
plete restoration of civil functions to the rebel States. Had 
the internal condition of the South been similar to that 
which generally obtains in a territory during its natural 
growth to the importance of a State, the President would 
not have misplaced his confidence in "the sagacity, intelli 
gence, and loyalty of the people. An executive proclama 
tion, enforced, if necessary, by the military forces of the 
Government, would have been received with more consid 
eration than has been accorded the spoken admonitions of 
the chief magistrate. 

It is now clearly the duty of Congress to see that the 
conditions herein set forth shall be adopted by all the 
states recently in rebellion, and that they shall embody 
them in their organic laws without further evasion or in 
direction, before they are admitted to the full enjoyment 
of the privileges of the loyal States. In the performance 
of this duty Congress may also require each State to pre 
sent satisfactory evidence of an intention to provide for 



all classes of its citizens the means of educating their chil 
dren. No government which neglects this high and solemn 
duty can justly claim to be republican in form, since upon 
the intelligence of the people it must depend for its very 
existence. Congress should also take care to see that every 
member of either House is required to present satisfactory 
evidence in the form of an oath that he has abjured all sym 
pathy with the doctrines of secession and rebellion ; is sorry 
for his past acts in opposition to the national authority; 
that he will henceforth and forever, in word, thought, and 
act, bear true faith and allegiance to the United States of 
America, and protect, preserve, and defend the Constitu 
tion and the laws enacted thereunder against all their ene 
mies and opposers, whether foreign or domestic. They 
should go farther and declare that all cabinet ministers, 
members of Congress, generals, and judges of the so-called 
Confederate States, and all governors of either of them, 
are forever disqualified from holding any office or trust 
under the Government of the United States. Having done 
all this, they may repeal the test oath as it now stands, and 
leave to the separate States the question of negro suffrage, 
that it shall be properly and intelligently exercised for 
the advancement of local interests as well as the national 
honor and glory. 

This still leaves the negro question, in its practical as 
pect, unsolved. As far as we have proposed to provide by 
forms of law for the primary rights of the freedmen, and 
however liberal may be these laws, they must depend for 
their effect upon white men, who have shown but little in 
terest in them, and who find it so hard to understand the 
difference between the freedman and a slave. But under 
our system of government this is the best we can do; and 
under the most favorable circumstances the negro must be 
more or less subject to the passions and prejudices of 
white men. I have no idea that any system, either under 
the general government or that of a State, can be devised 
which will secure exact justice to the black race, or im- 



munity from abuse and oppression ; so it may be safely as 
sumed that the problem of the moral, intellectual, and so 
cial regeneration of the negro is by no means simple or free 
from serious complications. In order that philanthropy 
and enlightened effort may accomplish the greatest possi 
ble amount of good toward a work of such great impor 
tance, it is necessary that the public should understand the 
difficulties likely to be encountered and that they should 
not lose sight of the indolence and inferior aptitude, either 
natural or induced in the negro by years of bondage, while 
endeavoring to counteract the vice and prejudices of white 

It has been said, and it is widely believed, that the 
negro is physiologically different from the Caucasian, and 
inferior to the latter in mental and physical activity, so 
that, if left entirely free from extraneous influences, we 
need not expect as high a state of social, moral, and intel 
lectual development as that attained by the white people 
among whom his lot is cast. Whatever may have been his 
moral condition in ages past, or whatever progress may be 
come possible for him in the future, is a matter of specula 
tion; but close observation leaves me no doubt that "the 
humanizing influences " of slavery, even in the South, have 
not tended to develop his intellectual and moral qualities 
to the degree claimed by Southern men of intelligence and 
fairness. Among women and another class of men, the fol 
lowing remark, in discussions touching the negro character, 
is very common: "You Northern people do not understand 
this question; you are ignorant of the negro s true char 
acter ; he is lazy, deceitful, dishonest, and improvident, ut 
terly worthless now that he is free, and only useful as a 
slave." Without undertaking here to investigate the truth 
of this analysis of character, or, if true, how it became pos 
sible, it is not unfair to suppose that Northern men of in 
telligence, free from the bias of interest and other natural 
predisposition to prejudice, are quite as apt as Southerners 
to judge the question in all its bearings, dispassionately 



and practically. The results of the war should suggest the 
bare possibility to the Southern people that they do not 
fully understand "the question," and are not likely to, so 
long as they view it only in the light of their own experi 

It is true that the freedmen are not models of industry, 
frankness, honesty, or discretion. As a class they may be 
deceitful, idle, inclined to theft, and pitiably ignorant. 
They have no conception of the nature of a contract, or its 
obligations, and but limited ideas of duty to each other 
and their employers. Nor is this the worst. Professor 
Draper, in his "Thoughts on American Civil Policy," says, 
in the full blaze of this enlightened age, that the civilized 
world will scarcely believe that a State recognizing and 
practicing polygamy should be allowed to exist in the very 
heart of the great Republic. But the "civilized world" 
does not know half the truth, and will find it hard to be 
lieve that one-third of the entire population of the South 
ern States, one-seventh of that of the United States, were 
born out of lawful wedlock; and yet this is so! Strange 
as it may seem, there has never been a legally solemnized 
marriage among the entire black population while in a 
state of slavery. No slave State ever permitted such a 
thing, or made the slightest provision for it. To be sure, 
many piously inclined masters were accustomed to compel 
their servants to be married by a clergyman, either white 
or black, most commonly the latter; but these marriages 
were a mere semblance and a mockery of that holy sacra 
ment. They had no stability in law, and but little in cus 
tom, and could be dissolved at the will of the master, or 
the whim of either party. The value of negro property was 
too great to permit either the men or women to live un 
married, so that as fast as they reached the adult age they 
were paired off. The negro man, where it was practicable, 
always had a wife on his master s place, but in many cases 
they selected from the neighboring plantation, so that they 
could have the privilege, usually granted, of visiting their 



wives Saturday night and getting back home to work late 
on Monday. I have heard of several cases in which the 
men had three wives, living on different plantations, and 
am told that this was no uncommon occurrence. The com 
mon practice is not that of open polygamy, but the negroes 
themselves compel the men to wait for the new wife till 
the old one is abandoned, and, in some cases, if the master 
discovers a man has a wife at home and one elsewhere, he 
compels the relinquishment of one or the other. But there 
is no such thing known as a marriage among negroes which 
might not be severed either by caprice, removal, sale, or 
the will of the master. The result of the system is that 
such a thing as virtue among the blacks is unknown. 

The greatest difficulty experienced in dealing with the 
negroes and their late masters arises from this extraordi 
nary state of affairs. It is no uncommon thing for the 
negro men to find themselves charged with more than one 
family, and, in order to relieve themselves of their burdens, 
compelled to go to another neighborhood. This fact, to 
gether with the general desire they have to prove their 
freedom by getting out of the reach of their old masters, 
accounts for the daily complaint among the planters that 
they have nobody left upon their places but women and 
children. The men have all gone, and if they would take 
their families I wouldn t care." Yet very intelligent men 
and women tell us, in view of these facts, and with the 
perfect assurance of its truth: "Negroes have no idea of 
the duty of parents to each other, or to their children; 
they are naturally loose and lascivious in disposition, and 
cannot be made to care for their children, or live in lawful 

This may not be entirely true, but it would seem to a 
dispassionate person, with a system such as I have de 
scribed, to be entirely false. Let us look still further at 
this subject, for herein lies the greatest crime of slavery, 
since it debases not only the negro race, but poisons the 
society of the whites throughout the whole South. Among 



the four millions of negroes released from slavery, there is 
not a single family organized under the operations of the 
Southern code in accordance with the principles of Chris 
tian civilization ! The legislators and thinking men of the 
South, unless they are blind, may see enough in this as 
tounding fact to incite in them the gravest fears for the 
future of their country. The Southern people have gath 
ered golden harvests for many years, careless of the fact 
that in doing so they have scattered seeds more fatal than 
dragons teeth. The system of slavery in its mildest form 
is the legitimate origin of every vicious habit and form of 
immorality with which the freedmen are afflicted. Living 
in cabins clustered about the overseer s or master s house, 
they had no care but to draw their rations* and go to the 
fields at the sound of the horn. They looked to the mas 
ter for everything they were accustomed to receive, and 
are, therefore, improvident and lazy ; they were paid noth 
ing but scanty "board and clothes" for their labor, and 
are, therefore, "inclined to steal"; they had no induce 
ments to tell the truth and do right, and are therefore 
"deceitful"; they were not allowed the privileges of edu 
cation it was a penal offense in most Southern States to 
teach them to read and they were therefore ignorant ; 
their rights as men and women, as husbands and wives, as 
parents and children, were neither taught nor protected 
by law; they are, therefore, given to the practice of 
adultery and the neglect of their offspring. A white 
man and his wife, with three or four legitimate children, 
and a hundred negro servants, do not constitute a family 
in accordance with the principles of our religion and race. 
In such a patriarchal or oriental assemblage, every servant, 
instead of looking to his own parents for enlightened in 
struction and guidance, looks to the master, but in vain, 
for he is frequently the creature of vice, ignorance, and cu 
pidity, either of which transmits its own influence, like the 
error of an algebraic equation, with an increasing ratio the 
further it goes. Where no "home" exists we do not ex- 



pect home virtues. And when not a man of a whole race 
owns his own cabin or a foot of land, the difficulties of 
regeneration may be partly imagined. The South may 
claim that it is not to blame for the negro s condition, and 
urge that it is the natural result of the means necessarily 
adopted to protect slavery from the attack of abolitionists ; 
but for purposes of reform it is a matter of little impor 
tance who may be culpable, or by what means the negroes 
were brought to their present condition, the vital question 
is, how shall their condition be ameliorated? 

A variety of opinions have been given to the country. 
General Cox recommends colonization; but that, however 
good in itself, is impracticable, and I doubt its efficacy. 
The Government can neither afford the expense, nor with 
justice compel the negroes to accept such a questionable 
solution of their troubles. Southern men say: "We will 
push them to the wall; they must work as freedmen, and 
we are unwilling to have them about, but we will get along 
with them as well as we can till we can obtain a supply 
of European immigrants. This is neither good policy nor 
very likely to succeed. Immigrants will not settle in the 
South to compete with negro labor, nor will they consent 
to pay high prices for land when they can obtain it in the 
West for almost nothing, and become at once as respectable 
and prosperous as their neighbors. The South is essentially 
a planting country, and not adapted to small farming ; and 
should immigration set toward it, it will be gradual and 
increase but slowly. Enterprising Yankees, who can take 
the test oath, practice the professions, and induce negroes 
to work for fair wages, will be the first to go South. In 
fact, they have already invaded every part of that region, 
and are making arrangements to cultivate cotton planta 
tions extensively. If they are ordinarily successful, they 
will replace ill-natured and improvident planters rather 
than the blacks. Vine and fruit growers and artisans may 
also find immediate inducements to go South. But the ne 
groes are already there, settled upon the land, adapted for 



the climate, and willing to work for those who will treat 
them justly; and they must work, or both classes will 
starve. The Southern planters must not deceive them 
selves; they cannot dispense with the freedman. They 
must depend upon him to cultivate their fields and gather 
their harvests ; but slavery is dead, and they cannot entice 
hirn to his labor with the lash. They must give him full 
wages for full work, protect him in all his rights by equit 
able and humane laws, educate his children, and lift him 
morally and intellectually to the dignity of the freeman. 
They must do better and more than all that. They must 
cure the vices of bondage, by organizing negro society into 
families, according to the principles of Christian civiliza 
tion families consisting of one man, one wife, and the 
legitimate offspring thereof, living in "homes," fixed upon 
the land, and guarded as jealously by the laws as the fam 
ilies of white men. The present communal system must be 
broken up; no more polygamy, ignored by law, and sanc 
tioned by custom ; no more concubinage by purchase or in 
heritance, under the cover of domestic usage, but plain, 
simple justice. With all that can be accomplished by the 
most enlightened legislation, the work of regeneration will 
progress but slowly, and leave an ample field for the most 
intelligent missionary labor. This work is not exclusively 
the business of the South, but demands attention at the 
hands of the entire nation. 

Four millions of practical heathens are crying for light ; 
the instruction they have received, although involving the 
arts of labor, has bonded them body and soul to moral 
darkness. The religion taught them has been a mockery, 
because they were compelled to witness the daily violation 
of its most sacred precepts. We say the South is mainly 
concerned in this work, but how much of the patience, 
labor, and faith, necessary for its success, can be expected 
from her people ? I fear but little. In the aggregate there 
are many thousand enlightened, humane, and Christian 
people in the South who would scorn to inflict a wanton 



wrong upon any human being, who have been kind, indul 
gent, and sympathizing masters; but it is unfortunately 
true that even they, as a general rule, doubt the capacity 
of the negro for mental and moral improvement. The 
masses look with extreme jealousy at any one who advo 
cates negro schools, and render it impossible for a timid 
person to teach one, except under military protection. Yet, 
education is the only means of opening the mind for the 
reception of moral and social truth, and upon it must rest 
our only hope of an intellectual regeneration of the entire 
South, white as well as black. 

With such a system of laws and education as justice 
demands, and which the Southern people must be com 
pelled to enact and enforce, the freedman may ultimately 
become a freeman in mind as well as person. 

There is, however, a grave obstacle in the way to his 
complete independence, to which I have not yet adverted. 
I mean that of obtaining permanent and cheap homesteads, 
without which the families cannot be organized. This or 
ganization, as the social unit, is just as essential as that of 
the battalion in military matters. General Saxton s order 
touching this matter is well enough if it could be enforced ; 
but could the President have been induced to exact, as a 
condition to pardon, a bond from every rebel holding prop 
erty to the value of $20,000 or over, that he would give to 
every respectable and honest freedman, who had previously 
belonged to him, a life lease to as much land as he and his 
family could cultivate, a substantial beginning would have 
been made in the right direction. This class of men own 
nearly all of the land in the South, and each one of them 
could find upon his place several negroes who would be 
good tenants in any country. To prevent oppression to the 
owners, it would have been well enough to allow them a 
fair rate of rent, but to compel them to sell to the negro at 
least forty acres whenever the latter became able to pay for 
it at its market value. This is, however, impracticable as 
a government measure, but it contains a suggestion to the 



planters, the adoption of which may ultimately become a 
matter of profit to them as well as to the freedmen. 

No system of philanthropy, whether uilder the auspices 
of the Government or benevolent societies, can neglect to 
consider the influence of this home idea, and experience 
more than partial success. The planters are in a fair way 
to realize its significance involuntarily. The negroes at this 
time throughout the South are refusing to hire themselves 
for the ensuing year. They entertain the idea that the gov 
ernment intends to divide among them, during Christmas 
week, the lands, produce, stock, and implements of their 
old masters. The origin of this notion is not known, though 
it probably grew from the following remarks so often made 
to the too-credulous negroes: "We are going to whip these 
rebels after a while, and then we intend to give you all 
their property." The idea, once started, found ready be 
lievers, and may have been strengthened by the advice of 
military commanders, urging the negroes to continue work, 
on the promise that they should have a portion of the crop. 
At all events they are making no contracts. Planters are 
becoming generally discouraged, and are anxious to rent or 
sell their lands. Should they fail to do one thing or the 
other, and fail to make a crop themselves, they will find 
their land at the end of the year in the forcible possession 
of tenants that cannot be easily ejected. Thus the negro 
dream of a division may be realized at no distant day. 
Some landowners in southwestern Georgia have abandoned 
their lands or rented them to the negroes on shares, but 
this has created great excitement. A county meeting has 
been held and resolutions adopted, the tenor of which is 
that negroes shall not be permitted to become tenants, that 
such "privileges and immunities" are dangerous to the 
white population, and prejudicial to the interests of the 
blacks ! The spirit of these resolutions is simply infamous. 
Should it be developed generally, and the President permit 
the organization of the militia in accordance with the pres 
ent indications, it would be well for Congress to provide 



for the increase of the regular army to one hundred and 
fifty thousand men, for nothing short of that force could 
possibly maintain public tranquillity. 

The excuses given by the South for this militia move 
ment are poorly grounded. There is no possible danger of 
a negro outbreak if the negroes are simply let alone. There 
is not a county in the South in which a sheriff and his 
deputy cannot enforce any legal process. Whatever may 
be the moral and intellectual qualities of the negro, he is 
the most non-combative, patient, and docile of the human 
race. But if he is not so, the Southern militia will soon 
reduce him to that condition; and I have no hesitation in 
saying its organization will result in the systematic inflic 
tion of more deliberate, wanton, and unprovoked cruelty 
upon those unfortunate people than they were ever com 
pelled to undergo in a state of slavery. One or two years 
of the old-fashioned " patrol system " will result in the 
practical re-subjugation of the entire race; neither ballot 
nor bullet can save them, unless the Government continues 
the functions of the Freedman s Bureau, and gives it an 
organization of ten times its present efficiency in men and 
administration. It will not do yet to trust State laws or 
State militia to do the work of that Bureau. It is the only 
hope of the negro, feeble as it is; it needs more officers, 
and, instead of abolishing it, Congress should perfect its 
organization, make it self-supporting if possible, and give 
it such a code of laws as would secure uniform administra 
tion throughout the South. I have no doubt that with the 
loan of ten or fifteen millions of dollars the Bureau can be 
so administered as to afford efficient protection to negroes, 
organize their industry, and found a system of education 
which shall gradually make the race self-supporting and 
useful to society at large. 

The ballot is a poor remedy for ignorance, vice, and 
prejudice. Even in the hands of the negroes, it could 
scarcely overwhelm three such dragons, defended by double 
their numbers. Under the present aspect of affairs it would 



be anything but kindness to give it to them by national 
interference. Aside from the increased jealousy and vio 
lence which would be engendered on the part of the whites, 
and the necessity which would at once arise for the increase 
of the national armed force to preserve order and repress 
outbreaks, it is almost certain that a few shrewd men with 
plenty of money could control every negro vote even in 
the interest of Southern policy. No ignorant farm negro 
working for ten dollars per month would fail to sell his 
vote for two dollars and a whole day s frolic. 

Let the Government rather exercise its supreme au 
thority in compelling the States to pass such laws and give 
such assurances as will secure equal and exact justice for 
every freedman; and let an enlightened public sentiment 
constrain the adoption of such a national system of schools 
as shall qualify every adult of sound mind to exercise the 
privilege of suffrage. When education and intelligence 
have become universal, suffrage may be so regulated as to 
secure its virtuous and universal enjoyment. On the prin 
ciples embodied in this paper I confidently believe the ne 
gro question, in its economical, moral, intellectual, and so 
cial aspects, can be solved. They accord with the genius of 
our institutions and the principles of justice, and are 
worthy of a trial. When they shall have been adopted, the 
South will find free labor profitable, and its own reward in 
the pleasures of enlightened and humane policy. 

The war has done much toward giving the Southern 
people free speech, but they must do much more them 
selves before they can hope to enjoy free thought. Hu 
man slavery has ceased to exist, but mental slavery yet ex 
erts its influence against the best interests of the country. 
Let them throw off the yoke, submit to the inevitable des 
tinies of the great Republic, abandon sympathy for a dream 
of the past, and join heart and hand with the North in the 
glorious work of progress and education. 

Free press, free speech, free schools, and free pulpits 
are essential to the propagation of free thought and the 
perpetuation of free government ! 


Adams, Dan, C. S. A., 199, 

Adams, Wirt, C. S. A., 183, 

199, 200. 
Aibonito, 447. 
Alabama, Wilson s invasion in, 

192 et seq., 237 et seq. 
Aldrich, Senator, 471. 
Alexander, Andrew J., 224, 

306, 368, 372; commands 

brigade, 167. 

Alexander, Henry M., 399. 
Alger, Secretary of War, 414, 

418, 431, 465, 471. 
Allison, Senator, 471. 
Allison, W. B., Jr., 418. 
Ames, Adelbert, 416. 
Andrews, Avery D., 417. 
Andrews, John W., 383. 
Appendix (Condition of the 

.South at the Close of the 

Rebellion), 545 et seq. 
Armistice between Sherman 

and Johnston, 276. 
Armstrong, General, C. S. A., 

5, 204, 227, 231; ordered 

to Selma, 199. 
Army administration in field, 


Asamblea, Cuban, 480. 
Asomanti, 446. 

Associated Press, 494. 
Atkins, Smith D., 368. 
Augur, Major General, 349. 
Ayres, General Romeyn B., 2. 


Bacon, John M., 367. 

Bacon, Senator, 464, 471. 

Barrow, Brigadier General, 
527, 529. 

Bate, General, C. S. A., 153. 

Bates, David Homer, statement 
of, 94, 95, 158. 

Bates, General John C., 461, 

Beauregard, General G. T., C. 
S. A., 77; reports on Ala 
bama campaign, 195; dis 
couraged by Hood s de 
feat, 198. 

Benjamin, Judah P., 317. 

Benteen, Tenth Missouri Cav 
alry, 224, 262. 

Betancourt, General Pedro E., 
474, 489, 507. 

Bidclle, Colonel James, 370. 

Biddle, Lieutenant Colonel 
John, 417, 422, 436, 444, 
448, 474, 484, 537. 

Biggs, Lieutenant Colonel, 273 ; 
Illinois Volunteers, 224 ; 
wounded, 228. 



Black, Lieutenant, 418. 

Bliss, Colonel Tasker H., 417, 

422, 447, 511. 

Bloom, Major, Kentucky Cav 
alry, 272. 

Boggs, Grant s cousin, 164. 
Borup, Henry D., 417, 537. 
Boxer headquarters, 525. 
Boxer War, 517 et seq. 
Boyer, Captain Joseph C., 

Twelfth Tennessee, 122, 

Bragg, General Braxton, C. S. 

A., 77. 

Brawley, Judge, 435, 436. 
Breckenridge, Captain, 418. 
Breckenridge, General Joseph 

C., 424, 460. 
Breckinridge, John C., C. S. 

A., 317. 

Bristow, Benjamin H., 169. 
Brooke, General John R., 423, 

424 et seq., 432, 443, 459, 

460, 470, 472, 473, 475, 

477, 479, 482, 487, 489; 

relieved from command, 

Brown, Governor Joseph E., 

347 et seq., 350, 356. 
Buford, General, C. S. A., 5, 

183, 231. 

Burnside, General A. E., 395. 
Butler, Senator, 503. 

Campaign and capture of Sel- 
ma, 190 et seq. 

Canby, Major General, U. S. 
V., 237 et seq. 

Cannon, Colonel LeGrand, 394. 

Capron, Colonel, 30. 

Carbaugh, Major, judge advo 
cate, 482. 

Carlton, Major, 418. 

Carpenter, General, 490. 

Case, Charles G., 387. 

Casey, Samuel K., 391. 

Cavalry, Chiefs of, 9. 

Cavalry Corps, M. D. M., 12, 
364, 372 ; control of, 20 ; or 
ganization of, 21; in bad 
way, 63; at Nashville, 107 
et seq.; drives back Hood s 
left wing, 110 et seq.; oper 
ates on foot, 111; turns 
enemy s flank, 113; cap 
tures courier, 115; concen 
trated and instructed, 160 
et seq.; strength and outfit 
of, 190; captures Selma, 
224; summary of captures 
of, 292 et seq.; speed of, 
and distance marched by, 
294 ; captures Jefferson 
Davis, 297 et seq. 

Cecil, George R., 417. 

Chaffee, General, 418, 431, 519, 
524, 531, 533. 

Chalmers, General, C. S. A., 
154, 156, 158, 183; letter 
of, praising Wilson, 157. 

Cheatham, General, C. S. A., 
152, 153; at Spring Hill, 

Chicago Board of Trade Bat 
tery, 131, 226. 



Cintron, Matienzo, 457. 

Cisneros, 410. 

Clanton, Confederate, 248. 

Clayton, Captain, 444. 

Coamo, 440; Battle of, 444. 

Cobb, General Howell, C. S. A., 
265, 276, 278, 283 et seq., 
297, 304, 353, 356, 358, 

Colored troops, 461; mustered 
out, 462. 

Columbus, Georgia, captured 
and factories destroyed, 
266 et seq. 

Concentration, policy of, 291 
et seq. 

Condition of the South at the 
close of Rebellion (Appen 
dix), 545 et seq. 

Confederacy doomed, 182. 

Conger, American minister, 
523, 534. 

Coon, Colonel Datus E., 175, 

Cooper, Wickliffe, 367. 

Coppinger, 418. 

Corbin, Adjutant General, 416, 

Cotton and warehouses burned, 
266 et seq. 

Craig, Colonel, U. S. A., 417. 

Croxton, Brigadier General 
John T., 30 ; orders lady to 
the rear, 35; wanted a 
clear road, 46; at Douglas 
Church, 48; at Franklin, 
51; at Nashville, 108, 114, 
121, 129, 140; at Gravelly 
Springs, 165 ; character of, 

168 et seq.; detached, 205; 

neutralized Jackson, 213 ; 

operations of, 287 et seq., 

311, 312, 366, 372. 
Cuba, 402 et seq.; Republic of, 

408; occupation of, 460 et 

seq., 479; population of, 

484; condition of, 485. 
Cullom, Senator, 471. 
.Custer, General George A., 4. 


Dana, Charles A., 6, 495, 538. 

Davis, Cushman K., Senator, 
471, 497. 

Davis, Jefferson, discouraged by 
Hood s defeat, 198; cap 
tured by Wilson s cavalry, 
306 et seq.; Hood s coun 
cil and, 314, 316; disguise 
of, 332 et seq.; at Macon, 
335; interview of, with 
General Wilson, 336; ef 
fects of his capture, 342, 

Davis, Wirt, Fourth Cavalry, 
147, 225. 

Dickinson, Julian G., Fourth 
Michigan Cavalry, 329. 

Discipline, military, 480. 

Dobb, Colonel, Third Ohio Cav 
alry, killed, 228. 

Dodge, General G. M., 419, 471. 

Dorr, Colonel, 290. 

Dorst, Joseph H., 417. 

Douglas, Stephen A., 390. 

Duke, General Basil, C. S. A., 
317, 417. 




Eads, Captain James B., 388. 
Eckert, Major T. T., 72, 89. 
Eggleston, Colonel, First Ohio 

Cavalry, 224, 306. 
Eight Temples, 527 et seq. 
El Poso, 431. 

Elliott, General W. S., 20. 
Emperor Kwang Hsu, 517. 
Empress Dowager, 517. 
Ernst, 0. H., 427, 435, 437, 

438, 444, 447-448. 


Fairbanks, Senator, 471. 

Fajardo, Sefior, 451. 

Fidler, Major, 290. 

Fiske, John, praises Wilson s 
cavalry, 52. 

Fitzhugh, Charles L., 416. 

Flagler, Major C. A. F., 41.7, 
422, 444. 

Foraker, Senator, 471, 496. 

Forrest, N. B., C. S. A., 5; ad 
vances, 31; at Rally Hill, 
45; detached against Mur- 
f reesboro, 119 ; rejoins 
Hood, 130 ; new rear guard 
for, 138; writes to Taylor, 
156, 158; distribution of 
troops of, 182 ; strength of, 
183; challenges Wilson to 
battle, 185 ; forces of, badly 
scattered, 193; looking for 
invasion, 195; has four di 
visions, 196; writes Breck- 
enridge, 197; learns situa 

tion and makes first mis 
take, 201; at Montevallo, 
207; not idle, 213; defeated 
at Ebenezer Church, 215 ; in 
retreat, 219, 231; escapes, 
239; under flag of truce, 
241; appearance of, 242; 
reveals Croxton s move 
ments, 244, 539. 

Fourth Regular Cavalry, 
charges of, 131; breaks 
railroads, 225; charges of, 
at Selma, 229, 231. 

Franklin, Battle of, 48 et seq. 

Frye, Senator, 471. 

Fullington, Lieutenant, 418. 


Garrard, Colonel, 224. 

Garrard, General Kenner, 19. 

Gazelee, Sir Alfred, 527, 532. 

Gomez, Jose Miguel, 507, 516. 

Gomez, Maximo, 410, 476. 

Goodloe, William C., 169. 

Grant, Frederick D., 427. 

Grant, R. Suydam, 394. 

Grant, U. S., Lieutenant Gen 
eral, correspondence of, 
with Sherman about taval- 
ry, 1 et seq.; estimate of, 
of C. F. Smith, 19 ; becomes 
uneasy, 32; judgment of, 
disturbed about Nash 
ville, 66; telegraphs 
Thomas, 69 et seq.; disre 
gards storm, 89 et seq.; or 
ders Logan to Nashville, 
93; starts to Nashville, 94; 



gives up trip, 95; plans 
and intentions of, 180, 363, 
373; visits Georgia, 377 et 

Greble, E. St. J., 417. 

Gregg, General D. McN., 3. 

Gresham, Colonel Benjamin, 
123, 147. 

Gresham, General Walter Q., 

Grierson, General, 20. 

Guard, rural, 488, 489, 516. 

Hall, Robert H., 416. 

Halleck, General, Chief of 
Staff, 75 et seq. 

Hammond, General J. H., on 
Granny White Pike, 114, 
121, 132; turns enemy s 
position, 141; at Gravelly 
Springs, 165, 370. 

Hardee, General, C. S. A., 77. 

Harlan, John M., 169. 

Harnden, Colonel Henry, 272; 
in pursuit of Davis, 318 et 

Harris, Captain, 386. 

Harrison, Burton N., 321. 

Harrison, Colonel Thomas J., 
30, 139, 147, 370. 

Harrison, General Benjamin, 

Hatch, Brigadier General Ed 
ward, 30, 129, 132, 139, 
249, 369; at Franklin, 51; 
at Nashville, 111; turns 
Hood s left, 121 ; character 

of, 172, 177; left behind 
and ordered to follow, 191. 

Hawkins, General Hamilton S., 

Hay, John, 535; compliments 
Wilson s troopers, 296. 

Hedges, Lieutenant, Fourth 
Cavalry, leads charges, 
131, 132, 147. 

Helmick, Captain, 417. 

Henry, Guy V., 452. 

Hewitt, E., 418. 

Heywood, Lieutenant, engineer, 

Higginson, Captain, 441. 

Hill, Captain Ross, 220, 272. 

Hill, Colonel, 418. 

Hill, Senator, 354. 

Hoar, Senator, 357. 

Hoffman, Major, 386. 

Hood, General J. B., C. S. A., 
11, 24, 30; crosses Duck 
River, 36 et seq.; advances, 
42; in affair at Spring 
Hill, 43; an able man, 45; 
is defeated at Franklin, 
and closes in on Nashville, 
64; dangers of position 
of, 65; detaches Forrest 
against Murf reesboro, 119 ; 
fatal mistake of, 121 et 
seq.; retreating from Ten 
nessee, 128 eb seq.; rear 
guard of, 133, 135; new 
rear guard of, 138; report 
of, 151. 

Hosea, L. M., interviews For 
rest, 184, 185, 364. 

Houston family, 164. 



Howard, General 0. 0., 471. 
Hoyle, Eli D., 417, 448. 

Joseph E., 381; discour 
aged, 198. 

Hubbard, Major Twelfth Mis- Johnston, Colonel, Kentucky 

souri Cavalry, 240. 

Cavalry, 290. 

Hudson, Captain, Michigan Joint Resolution, 477-491. 

Cavalry, 328. 
Hulings, Colonel, 444. K 

Improvements, internal, 385. 
Intervention, second, 515. 
Ives, Major, 525. 

Jackson, Colonel George W., 

Jackson, General William H., 
C. S. A. ("Red"), 5, 183. 

Jameson, American guide, 528. 

Jenne, D. C., 385, 388. 

Jessup, Morris K., 394. 

Johnson, Andrew, President, 
359 ; offers Thomas lieuten 
ant generalcy, 158. 

Johnson, Colonel, A. D. C., to 
Jefferson Davis, 330. 

Johnson, Colonel Gilbert M., 

Johnson, General R. W., 114, 
129, 175, 369; at Nash 
ville, 108; in middle Ten 
nessee, 177. 

Johnson, Herschell V., 354. 

Johnson, James, Governor, 354, 

Johnston, Lieutenant General 

Kelly, Colonel R. M., Fourth 
Kentucky, 290, 366. 

Kelly, Confederate Cavalry, 

Kent, General J. F., 429. 

Kettle Hill, 430. 

Kilpatrick, General, 165, 177, 
367; superseded, 13. 

Kitchell, Lieutenant Colonel, 
224, 227. 

Knipe, Brigadier General Jo 
seph F., Ill, 129, 176, 370 ; 
at Nashville, 108; sent to 
Canby, 177. 

LaGrange, 0. H., First Wis 
consin Cavalry, 170, 190, 
254, 264, 266, 372; cap 
tures Fort Tyler, West 
Point, Georgia, 271; re 
joins, 285 et seq. 

Lancaster, Captain, 444. 

Lane, Lieutenant, 320. 

Last campaign of war, 237. 

Latrobe, 418. 

Lawton, General, 427, 431, 470. 

Lee, Admiral U. S. N., fleet of, 
on Tennessee River, 64, 



Lee, General Fitzhugh, consul 
general, 413, 417, 470, 
473, 490, 497, 519, 536. 

Lee, Lieutenant General S. D., 
C. S. A., 151; discouraged, 

Lee, Robert E., 384, 540 et seq. 

Li Hung Chang, 534. 

Lieber, Professor, 525. 

Linevitch, General, 532. 

Lodge, Senator, 471. 

Logan, General John A., or 
dered to Nashville, 93. 

Long, Eli, Brigadier General, 
170, 190, 367, 372; at Eb- 
enezer Church, 215, 216, 
225, 226; assaults Selma, 

Looting, 524. 

Loring, General, C. S. A., 153. 

Ludington, Quartermaster, 5. 

Ludlow, General, 461, 473, 490, 

Lyon, C. S. A., 144. 


McArthur, General, at Nash 
ville, 147, 150. 

McClernand, Colonel E. J., 417, 
433, 434. 

McCook, General A. McD., 471. 

McCook, General E. M., de 
tached, 143 et seq.; at 
Gravelly Springs, 168; de 
tached, 212 ; neutralized 
Jackson, 213; in the way, 
216, 282; sent to Florida, 

McCormick, Seventh Pennsyl 
vania Cavalry, 228. 

McDonald, Sir Claude, 524, 

McGlasson, Captain, at Colum 
bus, 262. 

Mclntosh, Confederate Major, 

McKinley, President, 415, 465, 
466, 469, 470, 478, 480, 
481, 491, 500, 501, 510, 

McMichael, Major, 418. 

McMillan, Senator, 503. 

McMillen, Colonel William L., 
praises cavalry, 150. 

Maceo, 410. 

Macon captured and occupied, 
297 et seq. 

Magoon, Governor, 515. 

Maine, battleship, 414. 

Majors, extra, 191. 

Mallory, C. S., Secretary of 
Navy, 317. 

Marti, 410. 

Martin, James P., 6. 

Marven, colored, carries mes 
sage to Canby, 239. 

Maso, 410. 

Mason, engineer, 384. 

Matanzas, 473, 481 et seq. 

Mead, U. S. V., 147. 

Meade, General George G., 2, 3. 

Memphis Appeal, story of, 268. 

Meyers, Captain, Marines, 523. 

Middleton, correspondent, 531. 

Miles, General, 418, 428, 440, 
442, 449, 451, 459, 470, 



Miller, Colonel A. 0., 172, 224, 
367, 372. 

Minty, R. H. G., Colonel 
Fourth Michigan Cavalry, 
171, 224; advances on Ma- 
con, 275; captures Macon, 
276 et seq., 279, 282; Da- 
vis s capture and, 336, 367, 

Money, Senator, 503. 

Montgomery occupied, 249 et 

Morgan, Governor, 394. 

Morton, Bliss & Co., 394. 

Mott, Randolph, 334, 373. 

Munger, Corporal, 330. 

Murray, Captain Arthur, 417. 

Murray, Eli, 368. 


Nashville, Battle of, 110; cav 
alry drives and turns en 
emy s left wing in, 112 et 

National Express and Trans 
portation Co., 381. 

Naylor & Co., 394. 

Nesbit, Commissioner, 358, 464. 

New York Sun, 495. 

Noble, Colonel John W., 224, 
264, 354, 369. 

Pagoda, Porcelain, destroyed, 

Palma, Estrada, President, 514, 

Palmer, General William J., 


Paraiso, 454. 
Parkhill, Major, 418. 
Penn, Captain, 290. 
Perkins, Livingston and Post, 


Peters, Kentucky Cavalry, 224. 
Pethick, William N., 518, 524. 
Pierluisi, 454. 
Pinhook Town, 160. 
Platt, Senator, 471, 503. 
Pool, Orval, 381. 
Porto Rico, occupation of, 439 

et seq. 

Powell, Colonel, 252. 
Prather, Lieutenant Thomas B., 

Fourth Indiana Cavalry, 

A. D. C., 290. 
Pritchard, Lieutenant Colonel, 

Fourth Michigan Cavalry, 

312 ; captured Davis, 324. 
Promotion, rule of, 8. 
Pullman, George M., 399. 
Purinton, Lieutenant, 327. 


Quinta, Felix Tores, 512. 

O Connell, Lieutenant, 225. Q^ton, Major, U. S. A., 527. 

Opdyke, George, 394. 

Paget, Captain, 421. 


Rawlins, General John A., 



Chief of Staff, 4; goes to 
St. Louis, 30. 

Reagan, C. S., Postmaster Gen 
eral, 317, 329, 340. 

Reber, Lieutenant Colonel, 417. 

Eeconcentrados, 411. 

Reconstruction, 344 et seq. 

Reeves, Lieutenant, A. D. C., 

Rendelbrook, Lieutenant, 225. 

Rhodes, Adjutant, 521, 527. 

Eita, 435. 

Roberts, W. Milnor, 388. 

Robertson, General, C. S. A., 
and flag of truce, 276. 

Rockhill, W. W., 535. 

Roddy, C. S. A., 183, 194, 195, 

Rodenbough, T. F., 5. 

Rodney, George B., lost guns 
and, 227. 

Roosevelt, Colonel, 418, 430. 

Root, Elihu, 498 et seq., 536. 

Roys, Lieutenant, Fourth U. S. 
Cavalry, killed, 240. 

Rucker, Colonel C. S., Tennes 
see Cavalry, 122. 

St. Louis and Southeastern 

Railway, 390, 542. 
Sampson, Admiral, 421. 
Sanger, J. P., 427, 461, 473. 
Santiago, 438. 
Schiff, Jacob H., 394, 395. 
Schofield, General J. M., 471; 

has precedence in field, 34 ; 

justification of, 39; slow 

at Columbia, 40; reached 

Franklin, 48; lacks confi 
dence in cavalry, 50; de 
feats Hood, 53; withdraws 
to Nashville, 55; did no 
fighting at Nashville, 148; 
sent east, 180. 

Schwartzoff, Major General 
von, 533. 

Scott, Lieutenant General Win- 
field, opposition of, to cav 
alry, 9. 

Sebree, Colonel E. G., 145. 

Seligman brothers, 394. 

Selma, campaign and capture 
of, 190 et seq.; plan of 
fortifications at, 221; cap 
tured, 231. 

Seymour, Admiral, 519. 

Shafter, General William R., 
424, 429, 430, 431, 433, 

Sheridan, General Philip H., 3. 

Sherman, General William T., 
304, 305, 371; correspond 
ence of, with Grant, about 
cavalry, 1 et seq.; gives 
Wilson hearty welcome, 12 ; 
estimate of, of Forrest, 12 ; 
talks with Wilson, 14 ; esti 
mate of, of Grant, 17 et 
seq.; March to the Sea and, 
62; orders Thomas to hunt 
down Forrest, 185; armi 
stice and, 281 et seq.; 
terms of Johnston s capitu 
lation, 283 et seq. 

Shunk, William P., 386, 399. 

Sixth Army Corps, 417. 

Smith, General A. J., 29; at 



Nashville, 107, 148 et seq.; 
in northwestern Alabama, 

Smith, Goldwin, 470. 

Smith, Gustavus W., C. S. A., 
280, 283. 

Smith, Norman, 147. 

Smith s Battery, Fourth Artil 
lery, loses gun, 140. 

Sousa, 443. 

Spalding, Colonel George, of 
Michigan, 110, 122, 147. 

Spanish War, 402 et seq., 

Spooner, Senator, 503. 

Squiers, Herbert G., 523, 524, 

Stanley, Major General, 34; vat 
Spring Hill, 42; wounded 
at Franklin, 54. 

Stanton, E. M., Secretary of 
.War, becomes uneasy, 32; 
authorizes impressments, 
33; disturbed about Nash 
ville, 65 et seq., 158; sus 
pends Sherman s orders, 
304; replies to Governor 
Brown, 347 et seq. 

Steedman, General James B., 

Stevens, Alexander H., 354. 

Stewart, Colonel Robert R., 

Stewart, Lieutenant General, 
C. S. A., 152. 

Stoneman, General George, 

Sugar industry, 407. 

Sumner, General S. S., 429. 

Taft, William H., 515. 

Taggart, Chief Commissary, 5. 

Taylor, Captain, rides to his 
death, 217. 

Taylor, General Richard, C. S. 
A., 156; looking for inva 
sion, 195; telegraphs For 
rest, 198, 199, 200; escapes 
from Selma, 231. 

Teller, Senator, 503. 

Thomas, Camp, 424 et seq. 

Thomas, General George H., 
left to take care of Hood, 
11, 12; at Nashville, 25; 
concentrates army, 62 ; 
waits for cavalry, 63; in 
security behind entrench 
ments, 65; distrusted by 
Washington authorities, 
66 ; correspondence o f , 
with Grant and others, 68 
et seq.; explains to Admi 
ral Lee, 72; treated like a 
school boy, 73 ; preliminary 
steps for removal of, 79 et 
seq.; delayed by winter 
storm, 88; remains firm, 
91; council of, with offi 
cers, 100 et seq.; confer 
ence of, with Wilson, 102; 
description of, 104; orders 
infantry forward, 115 ; 
overtakes Wilson, 126 ; 
criticised, 135 ; praises cav 
alry, 146 ; recommends Wil 
son and Hatch for promo 
tion, 149; vindicated, 156; 



visits Wilson, 179 ; heartily 
seconds Wilson s plans, 
181; occupies middle Ten 
nessee, 194; again thanks 
C. C., M. D. M., 292. 

Tilden, Samuel J., 391. 

Titus, Lieutenant, 418. 

Tombs, Mr., 354. 

Toral, 434. 

Torbert, General A. T. A., 3. 

Trafalgar, Battle of, 406, 495. 

Turner, A. D. C., 510, 528, 

Tuskegee, 255; incident of the 
Bibles and school books at, 

Tyler, General, C. S. A., 273. 

Upton, Emory, Brigadier Gen 
eral, 165, 166 et seq., 178, 
274, 364, 368, 372, 386; 
crosses Milberry Fork, 
203; destroys iron works 
and coal mines, 207; vic 
tory of, at Montevallo, 208 ; 
captures,, dispatches, 209; 
at Ebenezer Church, 214; 
cooperates with Long in 
defeating Forrest, 218; 
captures English engineer 
with plans of Selma, 221; 
cooperates in making 
plan, 222; closing in on 
Selma, 225, 226; assaults 
entrenchments, 228 ; ad 
vances on Gerard and Co 
lumbus, 258; captures Co 

lumbus, 260 et seq.; sent 
to Augusta, 306. 

Vail, Colonel, Indiana, 224, 227. 
Van Antwerp, Captain, A. D. 

C., 303. 
Van Duzer, Captain, A. Q. M., 

72, 84-85, 92, 95. 
Vanderbilt, Cornelius, 394. 
Vernadoe, Colonel, 418. 


Wade, General, 418, 433, 459, 
470, 472, 497. 

Waldersee, Field Marshal VQn, 
522, 532. 

Walthal, General, C. S. A., new 
rear guard of, 138, 153. 

War ended, 270 et seq. 

Washington, Colonel, 354, 373. 

West Point, discrimination 
against, 418. 

Weston, Major John F., Ken 
tucky, 275, 367, 428; cap 
tures fleet, 253. 

Weyler, Governor General, 485. 

Wheeler, General Joseph, C. S. 
A., 77, 340 et seq., 417, 427, 
431, 536. 

White, Lieutenant Colonel 
Frank, 216, 217, 275 et 
seq., 279, 299; commands 
Macon, 283. 

Wilder, W. E., 417. 

Wilson, James H., ordered to 
command Sherman s cav- 



airy, 4; appointed brevet 
major general, 5 ; horses of, 
"Sheridan" and "Waif", 
7; junior brigadier, 7; 
goes West, 10; discusses 
campaign with Sherman, 
14 et seq.; correspondence 
of, with Dana, Rawlins, 
and Badeau, 22 ; returns to 
Nashville, 24; in close 
touch with Thomas, 26; 
work of, at Nashville, 26 et 
seq.; letter of, to Rawlins, 
29; impresses horses, 33; 
orders of, to Croxton, 35; 
joins Schofield, 34; watch 
ing Hood, 36; whiskey in 
cident and, 38; defeats 
Confederate cavalry at 
Franklin, 50 et seq.; dis 
patches of, to Thomas, 51; 
John Fiske s commenda 
tions of, 52; covers rear to 
Nashville, 55; camps at 
Edgefield, 56; letters of, to 
Rawlins and Badeau, 57 et 
seq.; impressing horses, 
78; letter of, to friend, 
109; advance of cavalry 
of, 110; rides to Thomas s 
headquarters, 113 ; rides 
again to Thomas, 116; 
turns enemy s flank, 117; 
bivouacs for night, 128; 
driving Hood from Ten 
nessee, 128 et seq.; letter 
of, 137; suffering horses of , 
143; letter of, to Rawlins, 
159; letters of, to Grant s 

headquarters, 162 ; head 
quarters of, at Gravelly 
Springs, 164; describes 
and commends command 
ers, 166 et seq.; plan of 
campaign in heart of Con 
federacy, 180 ; gathering 
information, 182; ready to 
move, 186; writes Rawlins 
and others, 187 et seq.; de 
layed by rains, 189; de 
taches Croxton, 205; de 
taches McCook, 212; en 
counters Forrest at Monte- 
vallo, 207; had inside lines, 
213; closing in on Selma, 
223; reconnoiters, 225; led 
charge of Selma, 229; 
horse of, mortally wound 
ed, 230; message of, to 
Canby, 241; meets Forrest, 
241; crosses the Alabama, 
245 et seq.; occupies Mont- 
g o m e r y , 249 ; continues 
breaking things, 254, 266; 
occupies Macon, 278 ; meets 
Howell Cobb, 279; Gusta- 
vus W. Smith and, 280, 300, 
302 ; interview of, with Jef 
ferson Davis, 335 et seq.; 
farewell orders of, 365; 
writes to Sherman, 371; 
orders of, for guidance of 
freedmen, 374; a witness 
at Washington, 376; inter 
view of, with Grant, 377; 
report of, on conditions in 
Georgia, 380 ; National Ex 
press and Transportation 



Co. and, 381; defenses of 
the Delaware and, 383; in 
ternal improvements and, 
384; Lieutenant Colonel of 
Infantry, 386 ; leaves army, 
392; railroad life of, 399; 
receiver of St. Louis and 
Southeastern R. R. Co., 
399; president New Eng 
land R. R. Co., 400; trav 
els in China, 401 ; Spanish 
War, 402 et seq.; interview 
of, with McKinley, and 
appointment to major gen 
eral, 416; staff of, 417; at 
Camp Thomas, 422; at 
Charleston, 434 et seq.; at 
Ponce, 440; at Juana Diaz 
and Coamo, 442 et seq.; 
appointed military govern 
or, 450; addresses citizens, 
454 et seq.; returns to New 
York, 459 et seq.; assigned 
command of First Army 
Corps, 460; at Macon, 
Georgia, 461, 462; speech 
at Macon, 467 et seq.; rec 
ommended for governor 
general, 470 ; patriotic 
fiesta and, 474; at Matan- 
zas, 479; visits interior, 
483 et seq.; meets generals, 
489; special report of, 491 
et seq.; guests at headquar 
ters, 496, 497; called to 
Washington, and has inter 
view with Root, 498 et 
seq.; interview of, with 
President, 499 et seq.; rela 

tions with Cuba, 503 ; sum 
mary of testimony of, 504 
et seq.; calamity in family 
of, 513; reports of, 514; 
offers services in China, 
517; ordered to China, 
519; in Peking, 524 et seq.; 
commands joint British 
and American forces, 527 
et seq.; commands in Pe 
king, 531; calls on von 
Waldersee, 532 ; reviews 
troops in Peking, 534 ; rode 
walls of Peking, 535; re 
turns to States, 536; re 
tirement of, 536; repre 
sents army at coronation 
of Edward VII.,