The Accounts of the 4th Illinois Cavalry
Writen by: P.O. Avery
THE FOLLOWING IS THE TRUE ACCOUNT
OF P.O. AVERY, of COMPANY "I"
THE 4TH ILLINOIS CAVALRY
In writing the history of Co. I Fourth Illinois Cavalry I am Laboring under great disadvantages, chief of which are the lack of records kept at the time, I believe that Captain Shepardson kept a dairy and as he was the ranking officer of the company and in command of the company the major part of the time, it should have contained a fair record of the operations of the company, but I have been unable to get word from him although I have written him twice for any material he might possess to assist in writing up a history of the company. Consequently I have had to depend upon the Adjutant General's report and my own personal diary principally The latter was intended as a record of events that I was personally engaged in without any thought of keeping a record of the operations of the company, It was often the case that a scouting party was made up of a detail of a few men from each company, under the command of a Captain or Lieutenant from one of the companies. If I happened to be on the detail I kept a record of the command and just merely mentioned the others if I learned anything about them. The Adjutant General's report is rather condensed and there are some typographical errors and I believe other errors, for instance, Joseph Carter enlisted Sept. 10, 1861 and was discharged for disability April 24,1862. Then his name appears among the recruits as having enlisted Aug. 13,1861. His re-enlistment is given a date prior to his first enlistment but where his name appears on the non-commissioned staff his enlistment is given as Aug. 13,1862, which is probably correct, I have also found several other mistakes.
Company I Fourth Illinois Cavalry was recruited at Earlville, LaSalle County, Illinois, in the months of August and September of 1861, by G. J. Shepardson and others. The company was made up of young men that lived in Earlville and vicinity, sometime prior to going into camp there was an election of officers as follows:
George J. Shepardson, Captain: William E. Hapeman, First Lieutenant: Benjamin f. Hyde, Second Lieutenant: Joel Carter, First Sergeant: Marcus Servoss, Quarter Master Sergeant: Edward H. Simison, Charles S. Graff, Jerome B Snyder, Phineas D. Parks, Sergeants: Charles R. Walsh, William Wilson, Hiram Moulton, Ephriam Hynds, George M. Toothill, Arthur A. Kavanaugh, Joseph Carter, Thomas Wilson, Corporals: Andrew J. Norton, Bugler.
The above are the original officers of the company but many changes were made during the three years and over of service. Joel Carter was discharged for wounds: Servoss, Snyder, Hynds, Joseph Carter and Thomas Wilson for disability: Charles Walsh transferred to naval service and Kavanaugh reduced to the ranks. All the balance received promotions except Captain Shepardson, and all lived to serve out their enlistment exempt Lieutenant Hapeman who resigned as Captain of Company M, Dec, 16,1862, and P. D. Parks who was promoted to Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant and discharged for disability July 8, 1862. B. F. Hyde was promoted to First Sergeant and from First Sergeant to probably Captain in the 70th Regiment A. D., May 2, 1864 as First Sergeant. Charles mustered out Nov. 3, 1864 as Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant. Hiram Moulton and G. M. Toothill were mustered out at the same time as Duty Sergeants.
George J. Shepardson, Captain: John H. Parker, First Lieutenant: Andrew J. Norton, Second Lieutenant: E. H. Simsion, First Sergeant: Otis Halstead, Robert Boston, A. H. Norton, G. M. Toothill, Hiram Moulton, Sergeants: Netteton, W. H. Warren, Corporals.
This list does not seem to be complete but it is all that I can secure. The names are put down at random and there is nothing in the report to show the date of promotion of non-commissioned officers.
Sept. 11, 1861, Company I went into camp at Ottawa, known as Camp Hunter, where Colonel T Lyle Dickey was organizing the Fourth Illinois Cavalry Regiment and we became Company I of that regiment. Soon after going into camp an attempt was made to put another man in our company as Second Lieutenant, instead of B. F. Hyde. The officers of Company I made quite a stir and it was finally decided to withdraw from the Camp and join the Eighth Cavalry, which was organizing at St. Charles. As word for us to keep our organization as it was and we were mustered into the United States service Sept. 26, 1861 donning our uniforms Oct. 26th 1861.
We remained in this camp until Nov. 4,1861. The six weeks we spent at Camp Hunter were not eventful but we were kept very busy getting ready for the more earnest work, we were expecting soon to be called upon to perform. We drilled almost daily, both mounted and dismounted, but as we had not drawn our arms, we could not drill in the manual of arms, although we did drill some with wooden sabers. On nov.4th we broke camp and took up our line of March in the direction of the sunny south and on Nov. 19th we arrived at Camp Davis, near Springfield, where we remained about ten days.
I will relate just one incident that occurred while at this camp. Some one set up a saloon near our quarters and it was having a demoralizing effect on some of our boys. One day Lieutenant Hapeman took a squad from Company I and "cleaned the thing out," spilling all the "booze" he could find.
We broke camp Dec. 1st and five days later we were put aboard the cars at Vandalia and arrived in Cairo the same day. Camp life at Cairo was monotonous and disagreeable in the extreme. Our camp was on low ground and mud and discomfort prevailed.
I find in my diary, commencing under date of dec.25th, and account of a target-shooting contest. The target was a Life sized image of a man (Jeff Davis we called it) painted on a board, 200 yards distant. Each Captain was to detail thirty of his best shots and choose their own way of firing.
The First Battalion was called out first. Company A Fired by volley and missed the board entirely. The best record of any company was six shots, not one of which would have hit in a vital spot.
On the 26th the Second Battalion tried their hand and seven shots hit the target, the best record of any company in the second battalion.
The 27th the Third Battalion tried their skill, Company I hit the target eleven times and beat the Regiment. We were complimented by Major Bowman who said "we came on the ground, loaded and fired in the best order and made the best shots of any company in the regiment." But he did not know that we had found some powder and lead pipe in an old magazine and with this made up a lot of extra cartridges. Nor did he know that we had spent many hours shooting at snags in the Mississippi River, about a mile back of our camp. We had thus got a little handy with our carbines while some of the other companies had never fired a shot. Our squad was numbered off and each fired as his number was called. We were standing at order arms.
I quote further from my diary: Jan. 8, 1862-Received orders this evening to be ready to march at ten o'clock tomorrow morning. We are all in fine sprits at the prospect of having something to do, besides drill and do camp duty.
This trip into Kentucky from Cairo, around the vicinity of Columbus, was our first taste of real soldier life. We started with five day's rations and were gone thirteen days. Besides short rations, the weather was stormy and the roads horrible. Upon the whole it was a very rough introduction to soldiering. Although we had no fighting to do we were made to believe that we were in danger of being attacked at any time.
We returned to our camp at Cairo the evening of Jan. 21st. below is an extract from General John A. McClernand's report of this reconnaissance:
Being in temporary command of this district it becomes my duty to submit the following report of the expedition, which left Cairo, Illinois, to penetrate the interior of Kentucky in the Neighborhood of Columbus, Jan. 10th to 21st, 1862. The expedition consisted of the tenth, eighteenth, part of the twenty-seven, twenty-ninth, thirtieth, thirty-first and forty-eight Regiments of Infantry, Swartz and Dresser's batteries of Light artillery, Carmichael's Harnet's and Dolin's companies of cavalry attached to regiments, Stewart's cavalry company attached to my brigade and five companies of Colonel T. Lyle Dickey's Fourth Cavalry Regiment, numbering 3992 of cavalry, 1061 of artillery and 139 of rank and file, all under my command, and all Illinois volunteers, except Swartz Battery.
The cavalry, which had crossed the river and camped at Fort Holt on the evening of the 9th, marched on the morning of the 10th to Fort Jefferson. Captain Stewart with his company was in the advance. On arriving he detained in custody all persons found in that place and immediately sent forward pickets to guard the pass at Elliott's mill and other approaches from Columbus.
On the 11th I ordered a reconnaissance to Blanville by the hill road eight miles, then thence south on the road to Columbus to Watson's five miles and returning by Elliott's mill to Fort Jefferson nine miles. This reconnaissance was made by Captain Stewart in command of his own company and Company B with Captain Collins of the Fourth Cavalry. No armed enemy was encountered, but captures of L. T. Polk and Daniel Frieser, supposed to be couriers from Columbus, were made.
On the 12th I ordered a demonstration to be made in the direction of Columbus by six companies of cavalry commanded by Captain Stewart supported by the tenth and eightieth Regiments of Infantry commanded by some of the other companies furnished some men for the gun-boats also. Some Companies did not furnish any.
Charley Walsh, who was under arrest for drunkenness and attempting to kill Lieutenant Hapeman, was given the privilege to take service on a gunboat or stand a court martial. He chose the former.
Feb. 2nd we left Cairo for good. We embarked aboard the boats, in company with General Grant's army, for his campaign up the Tennessee River. We disembarked Feb. 4th at a landing seventeen miles above Paducah, so the boats could return for other troops. We proceeded to make Fort Henry, the object of the army, by Jan. It took two days of hard marching to get within six miles of Fort Henry, where the army was rendezvousing. Owing to the high water of the Tennessee River, backing up in bayous, we had to take a very circuitous route, and probably traveled twice as far as we would had we gone in a direct line.
February 6th, at an early hour the troops commenced moving toward Fort Henry. Our regiment had the advance and our company the advance guard. We went around in the rear of the fort, but before we got half way around, the gunboats opened fire on the fort, and in one hour and fifteen minutes the fort surrendered. No troops were surrendered except the company of heavy artillery that manned the siege guns in the fort, about fifty in all, the balance of the troops that were camped about the fort and in the outer fort skedadd led for Fort Donaldson. We did not have time to get clear around in the rear of the fort to cut them off, although our cavalry could have made it all right. We were required to wait every little while for the infantry and artillery, there progress being very slow, owing to the high waters in the bayous and the bad roads. Soon after the firing ceased four companies of our regiment were cut off from the right of the column and started after the fleeing foe, under command of Major McCullough.
Sergeant J. B. Cook of Company H was in command of the advance guard the greater part of this day and below is a very graphic account of the part they took in this affair, furnished by Sergeant Cook himself, also some comments which will undoubtedly be read with much interest:
At about eight a.m. the Fourth Illinois Cavalry moved out of camp six miles north of Fort Henry leaving about 5000 infantry and four batteries of field artillery preparing to move and follow us. We formed the advance guard of Grant's army, then, and ever since, called the army of the Tennessee.
We moved steadily out about three miles when quite a little firing was heard in from, and the column halted a few minutes. We had present the Second and Third Battalions of our regiment, eight companies, comprising about 400 men, under Lieutenant Colonel William McCullough.
Colonel McCullough sent an orderly back to Captain Wemple of Company H for a platoon of men to go in advance and he sent Sergeant J. B. Cook to the front with twelve men. As the Sergeant passed his commander he secured permission to retain the few men already in advance which proved to be eight men under a Sergeant from Company F, Giving Sergeant Cook twenty men in all, who had orders to keep about a half mile in advance of the regiment.
Nothing of incident occurred for about two miles when a company of Confederate cavalry showed up in our front and fired a volley from their horses, which was entirely disregarded by us. Our little handful of twenty men pushed steadily on toward them in a brisk walk, without firing a shot, until they at last made a more obstinate resistance when our men fired into them and drove them rapidly back until at last they came in sight of the red clay of the embankment of the outer works of Fort Henry. When, after our men had galloped back and forth along the earthworks and only two hundred yards distant and not being able to draw any fir, Sergeant Cook, leading his little command, dashed into the sally port of the fort and pulled down a Confederate flag, and observed the Confederate infantry, some two or three thousand in two different columns, about six hundred yards away moving rapidly down a long slope and disappearing in a heavy forest of timber on the road leading eastward toward Fort Donaldson.
Just at this time there came to us a federal soldier on foot, from the east along the inside of the rifle pits, who proved to be Corporal Joseph Carter of Company I of our regiment who had been a volunteer scout that day and had rendered splendid service.
Sergeant Cook immediately sent word to Colonel McCullough that he was already inside of Fort Henry and the latter came up in about twenty minutes on a gallop with sabers already drawn for a charge. The time, which elapsed while the regiment was coming up, was used by the advance guard in eating a hearty dinner of ham and biscuits which the hospitable Confederate soldiers had prepared for themselves but left for our troopers.
Colonel McCullough on being shown where the enemy disappeared directed Sergeant Cook to again take the advance with his men and send him word of anything of interest they could learn. About three miles out the Confederates abandoned two brass field guns and their stragglers filled the road. The horses of Sergeant Cook's command were by this time so much exhausted that many times the riders had to dismount in the water and quicksand to get their horses through the miry places, when Colonel McCullough relieved us from the advance guard with a detail from Company I the remainder of the day. The Confederate men were driven across a deep Creek and the pursuit abandoned and the regiment returned to Fort Henry having been, that day, the first troops of the army of the Tennessee to occupy the enemy's works and had captured the first Confederate flag and guns for this army whose long list of battles won during the war are now recorded on the brightest pages of American history, there to be read by succeeding and admiring generations as long as American history is preserved.
We soon came upon their trail and found the road strewn with the stuff they had thrown away in their flight (and fright) guns, overcoats, blankets, haversacks, knapsacks and nearly every paraphernalia of camp. We soon came upon their rear and forced them so hard that they abandoned a battery of six guns, and many of the enemy completely fagged out and fell into our hands. A few of the enemy finally made a slight stand and the first platoon of Company I, under Sergeant Simison, was dismounted and sent forward on the left of the road. They returned with twelve prisoners, including a Major, a Captain and two Sergeants.
The advance vedettes, Bob Hume, Hiram Moulton and Myron Hare advance in the road and overtook a lone rebel and they supposed he would surrender as the others had done, but instead, he whirled and shot Hume near the heart who fell from his horse dead. I did not go with the dismounted men but held the horses. While thus engaged I saw a rebel not very far off in the woods so I gave my halters to another man and went out and took him in. As soon as I came up he begged me not to shoot, saying that we had killed his father and "for God sake don't kill me." I assured him that I would not shoot if he surrendered.
The other two boys, Moulton, and Hare had killed the rebel that shot Hume, both fired the same instant and both balls took effect. This rebel was the father of the on I took. Boyd Simison and I then went down the road about one-fourth of a mile where Hume's body lay and put it on his horse and brought it back.
Bob Hume had only been enlisted just a week when he was killed. He was station agent at Earlville and had gone down to Cairo to visit the boys and when the regiment left his enthusiasm got the better of him and he enlisted and was the first to fall. He had not been mustered into the United States service consequently, I am told, his widow has been unable to procure a pension.
The pursuit was given up here and we returned to Fort Henry where we arrived sometime after dark.
On our way back we met some of the Third Michigan Battery boys going after the guns we had taken. We had already passed the guns and it was dark, so when they asked the Major for an escort he refused to order anyone to go back after our hard day's work, but if any cared to volunteer they might do so. About twenty of us volunteered but on going back we found the guns all disabled in one way or another so we did not take them. But it was reported that they brought them in the next day and history gives the Third Michigan Battery credit for taking the guns and we were "not in it." We brought in forty-one prisoners as a result of this skirmish.
The following extract from the report of Brigadier General John A. McClernand will show to some extent the part the Fourth Illinois Cavalry took in the capture of Fort Henry, Feb. 6, 1862.
The distance from Camp Halleck to Fort Henry by the route of our march is about eight miles, whereas, by the river it is only half the distance. By One o'clock p.m. we had accomplished a march of four miles when the firing of our gunboats upon the fort being distinctly heard by my men was hailed by loud shouts and they pushed on with increased eagerness hoping to reach the fort in time to cut off the retreat and secure the surrender of the enemy.
About three o'clock p.m. the report came back that the enemy were evacuating the fort and I immediately sent and order to my cavalry in advance to make rapid pursuit, if, upon investigation it were found to be true. A similar order had also been sent forward by Colonel Oglesby, Captain Stewart of my staff with a squad of his cavalry, first coming up with the enemy, boldly charged his rear while he was in the act of clearing the outer line of his defenses, while Colonel Dickey's cavalry, under command of Lieutenant Colonel McCullough also hastened up and pursued the enemy several miles and until nightfall, successfully overtaking his rear guards of cavalry and infantry, quickly dispersing them, killing one man, capturing thirty eight prisoners and driving them to abandon six pieces of artillery with the gun carriages and one caisson, a large number of different kinds of small arms, knapsacks, blankets, animal, in short everything calculated to impede his flight which were subsequently brought into fort.
General McClernand's report of the number of prisoners taken here and my account do not agree exactly but I believe I am correct unless three of the men escaped on the road back to Fort Henry. I counted the prisoners when we started back, before it was yet dark.
General McClernand is mistaken when he says that Captain Stewart with his own company was the first to come up with the enemy. There was certainly no union company ahead of our regiment. J. B. Cook writes me that himself and Joe Carter were the first at the abandoned rebel camp where they found a rebel flag, which is now in the possession of Sergeant J. B. Cook. He also claims that the Fourth Illinois Cavalry captured the first rebel flag and the first guns captured by the Army of the Tennessee and we challenge its successful contradiction.
February 12th-With a clear, cloudless sky and full moon we started out for Fort Donaldson at about 4:30 a.m. Having no tents with us we had to bivouac and make ourselves as comfortable as possible.
February 13th---Today we have been supporting Taylor's and Dresser's batteries while they were shelling the rebel works. We have been under fire some but no casualties.
I take the following extract from Colonel W. H. L. Wallace's report commanding the Second Brigade, First Division:
My brigade as formed by General U. S. Grant consisted of the eleventh, twentieth, forty fifth and fort eighth Illinois Infantry, the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, Colonel T. Lyle Dickey commanding, Captain Ezra's light battery B, First Illinois Artillery and Captain E. McAllister with three twenty-four pound howitzers, the whole constituting the Second Brigade of the First Division Commanded by Brigadier General J. A. McClernand and containing about 3400 effective men of all arms.
About noon of the 11th inst, While in camp at Fort Henry I received orders from General McClernand to put the infantry and artillery in my brigade on the march and move out three or four miles on the telegraph road toward this place.
At sunrise the next day, the 12th inst., I was joined by Colonel Dickey's cavalry and marched with my whole command by the telegraph road toward Fort Donaldson, keeping frequent communications with Colonel Oglesby's first brigade, which was moving at the same time by the reconnoitering the country we marched over.
Soon after noon I came within sight of the enemy's encampment on the opposite side of the Creek about a mile in advance. Having caused the road to be reconnoitered, and finding the Creek impassable on account of back water from the Cumberland river, I moved to the right up the Creek and effected a junction with Colonel Oglesby's brigade in the low around west of Fort Donaldson. Colonel Dickey's cavalry was again thrown forward and occupied the heights, thoroughly scouting and reconnoitering the ground in front. Colonel Oglesby's brigade moved up the Parish road to the scout of Fort Donaldson, while I threw my brigade by its front onto the heights, dragging the artillery up the steep wooden hills.
After further reconnoitering the brigade advanced and occupied the ridge south of the center of the enemy'' fortification with its right resting on the left of Colonel Oglesby'' brigade. Some slight skirmishing occurred here and after resting in this position for an hour or more and further reconnoitering, in accordance with orders from General McClernand, I moved the brigade from the right flank following Colonel Oglesby's brigade across the valley toward the left of the enemy's position.
By this time it was dark and Colonel Oglesby's right becoming involved in ground which had not been reconnoitered, and which was very hilly and covered with a dense growth of underbrush, I was ordered by the General commanding the division, to return to the position at the west of the valley, which I did.
At daylight on the morning of the 13th the enemy opened fire with his artillery from the middle redoubt. Soon afterward, by order of General McClernand, I marched the eleventh, twentieth and fortieth regiments and Taylor's battery to the right across the valley leaving McAllister's battery supported by the fort-eighth Illinois on the ridge west of the valley and ordered Colonel Dickey's cavalry to move in the rear with detachments toward the right to reconnoiter toward the Cumberland River.
Reaching the high ground east of the valley Taylor's battery was put in position on the road leading to Dover, where the left of the enemy's line rested behind earthworks and entrenchment's, strengthened by strong abattis in front
The cavalry of the brigade, Fourth Illinois, under Col. Dickey did excellent service in reconnoitering and holding the enemy in check on the right. Lieutenant Colonel McCullough, Major M. R. M. Wallace, Captain Rockwood and C. D. Townsend of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry are worthy of particular mention for services rendered.
COLONEL W. H. L. WALLACE.
We bivouac tonight on a bluff in the woods about a mile in the rear of our line. At the foot of this bluff stands a crib of corn and several hives of honey, ergo the horses have plenty of corn and we have some honey.
February 14th, we had a rough night of it last night. Soon after we had laid down with an abundance of good dry leaves for a bed, it commenced to rain, but soon turned to snow. We were in good dry beds and would have spent the night quite comfortable, but about eleven o'clock there was quite a heavy firing heard in the direction of the fort and we were ordered out at once.
We saddled up, taking everything, not knowing whither we were going and started down the hill in the direction of Fort Donaldson, but before we got to the foot of the bluff the firing ceased and we were ordered back to our bivouac, but our blankets and the leaves we had made our beds of, were now wet with the snow which was falling fast.
We left our horses saddled, some of the boys lying down in their wet clothes and shivering out the balance of the night, but the majority stood around the fires that they were kept blazing until morning.
We did scarcely anything today but move from place to place, all the time ready for action if we had been called upon. Tonight we moved back to Randolph Forges, which is about two miles in the rear of our lines. Here we occupy deserted buildings and there is plenty of forage for our horses. Company I is quarried in a church. (We occupied these quarters until we left for Pittsburg Landing).
It will be remembered that the rebels made a fierce attack on the right of our line Saturday, Feb. 15, before daylight and we met quite a force of them that morning, soon after leaving Randolph Forges, on our way to the vicinity of our lines. I don't know how many there were but there was quite a long column of them. They halted when they saw us and turned around and went back and was doubtless "scooped" with the balance of troops who surrendered the next morning.
This force had got through our line of infantry and undoubtedly would have escaped had they not run into us.
Captain Shepardson started for home Feb. 22nd, ostensibly to recruit his health.
Between the 16th of Feb., the date of the surrender of Fort Donaldson, and the 6th of March, we were kept quite busy scouting and foraging.
March 2nd, The Third Battalion was assigned to Major Hurlbut's Division and the balance of the regiment was assigned to General McClernand's Division. On March 6th we moved over to Iron Landing, four miles about Fort Henry on the Tennessee River, where we embarked aboard boats with other troops for Pittsburg Landing.
We arrived at the latter place March 15th. The next morning Companies I, L, and M, of our regiment went ashore and took a scout out about four miles where they came onto a force of about seventy-five or a hundred cavalry. They gave the rebels a volley from their carbines, killing Major Roper and a surgeon then charged upon them putting them to flight.
The same force went out again just at nightfall and did not return until midnight. They ran onto what was supposed to be the same force encountered in the morning. The rebels were standing in line and let our boys get within thirty steps of them when they fired a volley, which our boys returned, when the rebels broke and run. They wounded three of our men and six horses. We killed one horse and captured eight horses and saddles. One of our horses died before we could get aboard the boat and its rider, Martin Crawford, was shot through the leg, between the knee and ankle, with the same ball that killed his horse. Crawford was afterward discharged on account of the wound.
We did some scouting and foraging and on April 5th, the day before the battle of Shiloh, we, the Third Battalion, were transferred, with four of the other companies, to General Sherman's Division and moved out to our new camp near Shiloh church.
We received orders that night to be ready for a scout early the next morning in light order. We did not have to go on a scout that morning; we found plenty of rebels without going outside our own lines. Bullets were "zipping" through our quarters while we were saddling our horses. We formed a line near the church but were soon ordered back to make room for other troops.
We then supported McAllister's battery until they had to limber to the rear. The battery lost one gun here.
While we were falling back from this position a fragment of a shell struck Norman Powers in the groin, wounding him severely. He though his time had come and sat down by a tree, laying his carbine and revolver by his side, saying he would sell his life as dearly as he could. Shortly after, he felt better and managed to get to the rear in safety and on Aug. 18th he was discharged on account of that wound.
Our regiment was kept on the field all day shifting positions often but at no time far in the rear of our lines, and often in range of the enemy's artillery. Two or three times we were called upon to charge the enemy's lines, but before we got into action we were ordered back.
At night the rebels had our camp. We occupied a position for the night to the right and rear of our line with nothing to eat for ourselves or horses since morning.
There was an alarm caused by some firing on our right front, about ten o'clock, when we were ordered into line and left there until morning, so far as orders were concerned.
After riding for some time we dismounted and lay down or sat against trees and held our horses. It rained the most of the night, which did not add to our comfort. The Next morning we found an abandoned rebel-camp with plenty of rations, so we had a good breakfast, after which we were sent to the river landing to gather up stragglers and return them to the army. This duty was a very unpleasant one, for many of the stragglers were sick or were convalescents and not able to do anything, which occupied our time for some hours.
Toward night the cavalry were all massed close to the front ready to charge the enemy as soon as they were routed at Snake Creek, where it was believed the final struggle would be. The retreat of the rebels was well covered, and, there being but one single corduroy road for us to cross on, it was not deemed expedient for the cavalry to charge them so we were ordered back and accomplished nothing
I take the following extract from General John A. McClernand's report of the battle of Shiloh, April 6th and 7th, 1862.
The casualties of the first day having left me almost without a member of my staff, Lieutenants Joseph E. Hitt and Asher B. Hall of companies B and C, Fourth Illinois Cavalry, joined me next day, and performed most excellent service. While commending them for their zeal, courage and intelligence it may be added as on of the proofs of Lieutenant Hitt's exposure to danger that his horse was shot from under him.
April 8th---We have been out on a reconnaissance on the Corinth road under Brigadier General Sherman, with Colonel Hildebrand's Brigade. We came onto a small force of the enemy's cavalry at a hospital camp on the further side of an old windfall near Pea Ridge.
Our regiment was formed in line at the edge of the clearing and two companies of the Seventy-seventh Ohio deployed ahead among the slashing as skirmishers. At about one hundred and fifty yards from our line they were charged upon by a small body of rebel cavalry, probably forty or fifty. The skirmishers broke and run but the rebels rode onto them and killed fifteen and wounded several.
We were finally ordered to "fire" after the skirmishers had moved out of our way sufficiently. The firing over our horses heads while we were standing in line excited them to such an extent that our line was broken but the rebels wheeled and run back as soon as we fired. We were soon in line again and pursued them a short distance.
We had two men wounded in our company. John Lobdell and Wm. Butterfield. I believe both men were discharged on account of these wounds but Butterfield afterwards enlisted.
One rebel was killed. The fifteen of the Seventy-seventh Ohio and the one rebel were all buried in one grave before we left here.
Below is General Sherman's report of this affair, followed by the report of the rebel medical director, Lyles, in charge of the hospital camp near that place.
Reconnaissance from the Shiloh battle field, April 8, 1862; report of Brigadier General William T. Sherman, to Major General U. S. Grant, commanding general in the field.
With the cavalry placed at my command and two brigades of my fatigued troops, I went, this morning, out on the Corinth road. One after another of the abandoned camps of the enemy lined the roads with hospital flags for their protection. At all we found wounded and dead.
At the forks of the road I found the head of General Wood's division. At that point I ordered the cavalry to examine both roads and they found the enemy's cavalry.
Colonel Dickey of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, asking for re-enforcement, ordered General Woods to advance at the rear of his column, taking the left-hand road, whilst I conducted the rear of the Third Brigade of the first division up the right-hand road.
About a half-mile from the forks, beyond a space of some 200 acres of fallen timber, an extensive camp of the enemy's cavalry could be seen. After a reconnaissance I ordered the two advance companies of the Seventy-seventh Ohio, under Colonel Hildebrand, to deploy forward as skirmishers and the regiment itself to follow in line at an interval of one hundred yards.
In this order I advanced cautiously until the skirmishers were engaged. Taking it for granted this disposition would clean the camp, I held Colonel Dickey's Fourth Illinois Cavalry ready for the charge. The enemy's cavalry came boldly down to the line, breaking through the line of skirmishers, when the regiment of infantry, without cause, broke, threw away their muskets and fled.
The ground was admirable to a defense of infantry against cavalry, it being miry and covered with fallen timber. As the regiment of infantry broke, Dickey'' cavalry began to discharge their carbines and fell into disorder. I instantly sent orders to the rear for the brigade to form in line of battle, which was promptly executed.
The broken infantry and cavalry formed on this line, and as the enemy's cavalry came to it our cavalry in turn charged and drove them from the field. I advanced the entire brigade upon the same ground and sent Colonel Dickey's cavalry a mile further on the road.
On examining the ground which had been occupied by the Seventy-seventh Ohio we found fifteen dead and twenty-five wounded. I sent for wagons and had all the wounded sent back to camp and the dead buried and ordered the whole camp to be destroyed. Here we found ammunition for field pieces, also two caissons and a general hospital with about two hundred and eighty wounded confederates and about fifty of our own men.
Not having the means of bring these off Colonel Dickey took a surrender, signed by Medical Director Lyles and all attending surgeons and a pledge to report themselves to you as prisoners of war, also a pledge that our wounded would be carefully attended and surrendered to us tomorrow as soon as an ambulance could go out.
I enclose a written document and request that you will cause to be sent out wagons or ambulances for the wounded of ours tomorrow, also that wagons shall be sent out to bring in the many tents belonging to us, which are pitched along the road for four miles. I did not destroy these because I knew the enemy could not remove them.
The roads are very bad and are strewn with abandoned wagons, ambulances and limber boxes.
The enemy has succeeded in carrying off the guns but has crippled his battery by abandoning the hind limber boxes of about twenty guns.
I have the honor to be your obedient servant,
Brigadier General Commanding Division
Headquarters First Army Corps, Medical Department, May 2, 1862. To Major George Williamson, Assistant Adjutant Major General: ---For the information of the Major General and by his order I have the honor to submit the following statement:
To this hospital I had removed such of the more severely wounded as were injured in the engagement of the 6th and 7th, numbering with surgeons infirmary corps some three hundred and twenty Confederates. As your Medical Director I thought it my duty to remain with the party on the field.
In addition to your own people we had some sixty-five Federals who were prisoners, many of whom were wounded, who were attended by Federal surgeons. I extended to them every courtesy and assistance in my power and freely shared with them every comfort I could procure for our own men.
On the 8th in the afternoon, and subsequent to the skirmish with the enemy and Colonel Forest's Cavalry, my attention was directed to a pistol shot said to be directed at my hospital by some Federal Cavalry. I went out and met the officer who had fired the shot, as I ten ascertained. I remonstrated against so inhuman an outrage and refused to surrender to him. He left and in about an hour Colonel Dickey of the Federal army came up with a Cavalry force and demanded my surrender. I was powerless and reluctantly yielded myself and the party of unfortunate prisoners.
Colonel Dickey drew up in pencil something like a parole by which we agreed to remain and report to General Grant. I expressly refused to sign the document unless it was understood that we were subject to recapture by our own forces. Colonel Dickey assured me that of course that was always understood but he would take care that we were not retaken and left us with the promise that he would send for us the next morning. This, however, he fortunately for us failed to do, as we were rescued on the evening of the 9th by a detachment of our own cavalry
Your obedient servant,
W. D. LYLES, Medical Director.
This charge, by the rebel cavalry, was led by General N.B. Forest in person. He received a wound in the charge, probably from our carbines. Company H, it seems, was not with us on this occasion, or at least not all of it, and below Sergeant J.B. Cook tells of their experience that day:
After the firing ceased the Fourth Illinois Cavalry was sent back to their old camp near the landing where feed could be secured, except Company H (our company), which was ordered to camp near the front and report to General Sherman at daylight to scout in his front. We found some forage and some vacant tents in the camp of the Seventeenth Illinois Infantry close to Sherman's headquarters. On this portion of the field the dead lay in the roads, the fields and the timber, everywhere, dead artillery and cavalry horses.
Dismounted guns with the spokes shot out of the wheels encumbered the roads, and pretty much everywhere else the confederate dead largely in the majority. (By the way a cavalryman is sometimes compelled to ride over a dead man but never over a dead horse for the horse always bolt. That is the live one I mean). It was now dark, and hitching my horse to a wagon loaded with oats, I ripped one of the sacks and with another comrade entered one of the tents in which we found a soldier lying on some hay, but we soon found the man was dead.
We also found the next tent had two dead men in it, so we moved the first man in with them, and finding some hay we gave some to our horses and reserved some to lay on ourselves and occupied the dead man'' tent where we slept until near daylight. By daylight we were in the saddle, Captain Wemple in command and fourteen men present for duty. On reaching General Sherman'' tent he ordered us to go out about a mile to the right front, then to the left along his front. We were soon at a large house used as a confederate hospital. While the captain talked to the surgeon in charge, we were in the midst of about fifty rebels who were not wounded. They were stragglers, had no officers amongst them and talked with us like citizens generally would in such a case.
I picked up an officer's saber, which lay beside two young men and threw away my heavy one. These young men belonged to a Louisiana regiment. They looked rather too neat to have been two days in a battle and were probably stragglers both days. This was the first time we had ridden around amongst live rebels and it seemed a strange preformance.
Here we passed to the left and soon came to a camp of more stragglers, who answered questions respectfully, but eyed us rather suspiciously. In this camp there were about thirty men. Passing on we came to a large one-room house and several tents. Here we found no surgeon; the floor had seventeen badly wounded men, on lay across two others and had died there. They begged us to remove him, which we did. Here we found the first federal, a corporal from an Ohio regiment badly wounded on the ground and close by a dead rebel colonel on a cot in a tent. We threw the colonel out and placed the Ohio man on the cot and lost no time in mounting, as a regiment of cavalry was now seen dashing down a ridge east of us to cut us off from the camp, and we started through an open field. We had not gone out far when the pickets fired on the reb's, at the same time repulsing them and showering a volley of bullets over us. This caused the alarm Tuesday morning
When we reached General Sherman he was on his horse at the center of his division and his men all seemed to be in line. As we halted here a moment for our captain to report to him, one man fired off his gun and the general ordered his to be shot, but the colonel of his regiment interceded for him, said he had fought both days and did not know any better. The general excused him with a reprimand and soon quiet again prevailed.
We were excused from duty for a time and rode over the battlefield. I saw a confederate artillery captain lying dead with seventeen of his men and eighteen horses around him-his guns dismounted and one of his caissons exploded. I think this was in front of McClernand's left and well out towards the front line.
The Captain's sabre was still in its sheath; his uniform, sash, boots and spurs still on as he fell. He had made a good fight. As I looked over this wreck I was reminded that the battle was won from men who were "worthy of our steel." I think this battery was from New Orleans.
Late in the evening I was ordered to take sixteen men and report to General Sherman for picket duty. I reached his tent at dusk. He had nothing in his tent but a saddle on which he was sitting while his staff was skirmishing for something to eat. He had just returned from a few miles out on the Corinth road where he had been with three regiments, on of which ours, and had a lively skirmish in which Colonel Forest of the First Tennessee rebel cavalry was wounded and his troops driven from the field. He ordered me two miles out. We reached our post in impenetrable darkness and sat on our horses until daylight.
SERGEANT J. B. COOK,
Company H, Fourth Illinois Cavalry.
(At this time) I would like to include Colonel Jeremiah B Cook's Papers, On his life with the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, if you remember in P. O. Avery's writings on Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, Sergeant Cook is the gentleman that took the flags from the Forts and the rebels. So now we know where the flag's still are, still with the family. Jeremiah Cook's writings begin below:
Jeremiah B Cook, joined the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, as a private Company H. soon afterwards was promoted to a corporal and later to a sergeant in that company. While serving with his regiment under General Grant at Fort Henry, Tennessee. There he had command of twenty men, which comprised the extreme advance guard of the army. He was at the head of this company and was the first Union man to ride into Fort Henry, where he pulled down the Garrison flag within 400 yards of the rebel infantry who were moving out of the fort. (Cook has among his prized trophies of a long life this flag.) With his squad of followers he pursued the rebels, passing a twelve pounder Napoleon gun which was mired down, and he soon afterwards picked up the silken banner of the Tenth Tennessee Infantry. He was also in the four days fighting around Fort Donelson, was actively engaged both days at Shiloh or Pittsburg Landing, and within a year after his enlistment was promoted to second lieutenant of Company "F" in the Fourth Illinois Cavalry. On account of the illness of his captain and the absence of the first lieutenant he commanded this company in every engagement for about a year after September 1862. During that time he and his company captured more Confederates than any other company in the command. On one occasion he and his men charged Company B of the Third Texas Cavalry, captured eight of them after a three-mile chase, Cook having only fifteen men on this brilliant excursion. During the siege of Vicksburg he was engaged in raiding the country around, and before going into Vicksburg captured 200 cars and sixty engines at Grenada, Mississippi.
When the Third United States Colored Cavalry regiment was organized at Vicksburg, Mississippi, Cook was promoted to major of that command, and as the colonel soon afterwards became a brigade commander and as there was no lieutenant colonel he had active command of the regiment in every engagement except one. This Negro regiment was officered by men every one of whom had a fighting record in the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, being non-commissioned officers who proved worthy of every promotion conferred upon them.
P.O. Avery's book continues:
We were now sent back to our old camp. The rebels had occupied it during the two-day's battle and had looted it of everything of value. Our regiment flag was left in camp and the rebels took it, also our company flag which was presented to us by the citizens of Earlville, I believe, the day we went into camp. Captain Shepardson, I remember, had us take an oath that we would defend that flag with our life's blood. We left camp that morning without thinking of the flag---we never carried it---it was packed away safely (?) in the captain's trunk, where it had been for months. Perhaps these flags may come to light yet, sometime, if there is anything about them that they can be identified by.
Headquarters Fourth Illinois Cavalry, Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, April 14, 1862. Report of Major Samuel M. Bowman of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry to Brigadier General William T. Sherman, Commanding Division:
On receiving your order at Chickasaw on yesterday morning about eight o'clock to take my command there present and proceed to destroy the bridge of the Charleston and Memphis railroad across Bear Creek, I proceeded to execute the order.
My command consisted of on-hundred picked men of the following companies of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry: company E, Captain Rockwood; Company G, Lieutenant Harper; Company H, Lieutenant Fisk; Company L, Lieutenant Merriman and Company M, Lieutenant Allshouse, with twenty men each.
We took the Chickasaw and Iuka road as far as Bear Creek, driving the enemy's pickets across the Creek, who, supposing we were the head of a column advancing on Iuks, tired the bridges across the Creek in order to impede our progress. We then dashed up the Creek at full speed to the vicinity of the Railroad Bridge designated.
I placed mounted platoon at the point where the road crosses the railroad track to prevent the passage of cars from the east and to guard us on that side and marched the balance of the force into a swamp within a quarter of a mile of the bridge, where I dismounted the men, a part of them to fight on foot and part to use axes.
I ordered one platoon under captain Rockwood to march down by the side of the railroad toward the bridge and another, under command of Lieutenant Fisk, to march in the same direction on the track, and at the same time placed two platoons, one under Lieutenant Callon and the other under Lieutenant Merriman, in the swamp as near as possible to the bridge, to act as sharpshooters. I then ordered an advance on the bridge, firing at the enemy's gua5rd wherever seen. The guard appeared to be about one-hundred-fifty strong, and seemed quite unwilling to yield the occupancy of the bridge, and contended as long as they could against us.
At the same time a party of choppers, under Lieutenant Harper, commenced cutting away the trestle work, and in half an hour from the time we arrived on the ground the bridge was on fire and a span of the trestle work over the swamp cut away, and in an hour more we had totally destroyed the bridge and five-hundred feet of the trestle work. We also destroyed the telegraph poles and sunk the wire of about half a mile of the telegraph line along the side of the railroad.
We killed four of the enemy's guard and one horse took two cavalrymen prisoners and returned to the boat before sundown without injury to my command.
Every officer and every man under my command did his duty on the occasion. I have no stronger words to express my entire approbation of the conduct of all concerned. The bridge was two-hundred and forty feet in length in two spans with stone piers and abutments left standing. We had no means of destroying these. The trestle work was likewise of stone piers, left standing, Length of bridge destroyed, two-hundred and forty feet; length of trestle work, five-hundred feet, and length of telegraph wire, half a mile.
I have the honor to be most respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major, Commanding Fourth Illinois Cavalry.
April 18th, Company I stood picket on the Purdy road with Lieutenant Hyde in command. We have had strict orders, all of the time against foraging. Today Enoch Hunter was caught preparing a pig for a roast. The Lieutenant began to score Hunter for violating the orders so Hunter went on to explain how it happened. He said he was sitting down by a tree with his sabre across his lap and the pig ran against it and killed itself and he thought he might as well eat it. The explanation was satisfactory and we ate the pig the Lieutenant helping us.
April 30th, We made a raid on the railroad near Purdy today, tore up a lot of the track, burned some ties and trestle work, captured an engine with engineer, fireman and a lineman. They were hunting for the break we had made in the telegraph wire, which they found.
This was a very disagreeable trip. We went, part of the way, in the night and it was so dark our guide was lost and we had to halt until daylight. It rained a good portion of the way and the roads were fearfully muddy. Night overtook us before we got back to camp and the command was scattered in the dark. The main portion of the command arrived in camp at midnight, but quite a good many came straggling in the next day.
The army commenced to move on Corinth about May 1st but the major part of our regiment remained with Sherman's Division. We had the extreme right. We did picket duty and scouted nearly every day on Sherman's right and front.
May 4th, The army moved again and we camped that night near the state line. We had just got our tents pitched when the effective mounted fore of Company I was ordered out on picket, without their suppers. We expected to be relieved soon but we were not relieved until ten o'clock the next morning. We were stationed along a road on the state line, that, we were told some rebel troops would probably pass along that night. We sat on our horses all night in a drizzling rain, two in a place, a few rods apart and ordered to be very vigilant. My comrade, John Cleveland, learned over on his horse and slept until morning, I did not sleep a minute. We did not see or hear anyone, not even the "grand rounds.'
I judge from the following extract from the report of General John A. McClernand of his operations before Corinth, Camp Jackson, June 4, 1862, that at least two companies of our regiment was attached to our division, but I have found no record of it anywhere else:
On the 11th the same division struck their tents and moved forward about two miles and a half in the direction of Corinth, to the crossing of the old state line with the Purdy and Farmington road, and camping here near the Fielder house.
A reconnaissance in the direction of Corinth was made by Companies C and D, Fourth Illinois Cavalry, under command of Captain L. D. Towsend accompanied by Lieutenant S. R. Tresilian of General Logan's staff.
Pushing forward his reconnaissance in advance of any that had been previously made, Captain Townsend came in contact with the enemy's picket near Easles house on the Hack road, leading from Purdy to Corinth and drove back their accumulating numbers some distance. This position at the cross roads was vital to the line of our advance upon the enemy at Corinth as it protected our right flank from attack.
To strengthen and secure so important a position, rifle pits were dug and earthworks were thrown up as a cover, both for our infantry and our artillery. Among several outposts one was established upon the Little Muddy Creek near the Harris house, which, although much exposed and often threatened by the enemy, was firmly held by the Twentieth Illinois and a section of artillery under command of Lieutenant Colonel Richards. Numerous reconnaissances were also made resulting in repeatedly meeting the enemy's pickets and reconnoitering parties and driving them back.
We have been kept very busy scouting and picketing. Our pickets and those of the rebels are in sight of each other much of the time and there are skirmishing almost daily between the pickets.
I quote from my diary: May 27th, Our pickets and the rebels are within speaking distance of each other. We agreed not to shoot at each other while we held our present positions. We also left our arms, by agreement, and met between the lines; saluted each other with "how are you Yank" "how are you Reb;" had a friendly chat; ate a lunch of hard-tac, sowbelly and corndodger together and bade each other farewell, remarking that perhaps the next time we met it would be in battle, but we agreed to give each other the best licks we could if we did. About their first inquiry was to know if we were the Fourth Illinois Cavalry. They said they knew us for they had had several brushes with us and we had always worsted them but they said they were not afraid of the "Dutch Cavalry" (First Illinois). They were the First Mississippi Cavalry.
The morning of May 30th, it was discovered the enemy had evacuated Corinth. We marched into Corinth in the advance of Sherman's Division and spent the balance of the day scouting in the direction the rebel army had gone. We brought in about a dozen prisoners. A part of the army went west toward Grand Junction, repairing the railroad, and we went with them acting as guard's part of the time.
On Jan. 2nd, at about two o'clock in the afternoon we received orders to march, taking two days rations. We were accompanied by two companies of the First Illinois Cavalry with Colonel Dickey in command. We passed a part of General Sherman's Division as we were going out.
We led off in a southwest direction for the purpose of dispersing a force of rebels that were reported to be camped near the bridge over the Tuscumbia River.
Night set in soon after we left Corinth and it rained hard in the afternoon and fore part of the night. Owing to the intense darkness we were ordered back two or three miles and bivouacked till morning, after we were nearly to our destination. It was twelve o'clock when we laid down.
At daylight we mounted and went on to the river but we found the bridge burned and the enemy gone. We turned back till we met General Sherman, then we went on into Chewalla. From there we went on up the railroad to where the rebels had partly burned two trains of cars, loaded with their army stores. They had burned a bridge near here, probably supposing their trains had all passed when they fired it, but it seems that they had not. I submit herewith General Sherman's report:
Headquarters of Fifth Division, Army of the Tennessee, Camp at Chewalla, June 10, 1862. Report of General W. T. Sherman, Commanding Division and Expedition to Captain George E. Flynt, Assistant Adjutant General:
I have the honor to report that on the 2nd inst, at about two p. m., in camp before Corinth, I received General Halleck's orders: "You will immediately move with your division and that of General Hurlbut's through Corinth and dislodge the enemy from his position near the Memphis and Charleston railroad." On inquiry, by telegraph of the major general commanding, I learned the enemy in question was supposed to be at our near Smith's bridge across the Tuscumbia Creek, seven miles southwest of Corinth.
The division was immediately put in motion, followed by that of Brigadier General Hurlbut. We marched in and through Corinth in a violent rainstorm and took the road toward the southwest. The rain made the road so heavy that we only made four miles, when darkness overtook us, and we lay in mud and rain that night by the roadside, but I directed Colonel Dickey of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry to proceed three miles further on the road and to send out a party to Smith's bridge to ascertain the position of the enemy.
Satisfied the enemy was there to dislodge, I then proceeded to carry out the second part of my instructions, namely, "assist in getting up and repairing all the locomotives and cars you can find."
Stationing General Hurlbut near Young's station on the Memphis & Charleston railroad, which covered the approach from Smith's bridge, I then conducted my own division to the high ridge back of Chewalla and there bivouacked.
Large working parties were at once sent forward on the railroad, about three miles west of Chewalla, where the enemy had prematurely burned the bridge over Cypress Creek, thereby preventing the escape of seven locomotives and trains of cars, filled with their own stores. The had destroyed, or nearly so, this property by fire and a mass of wreck encumbered the railroad track for a mile. We set to work immediately to clear the track, repair the locomotives and a few platform cars which had not been utterly ruined, with the vast amount of truck wheels, couplings and iron works.
In this way we have saved seven locomotives, one of which was flat on its side in the ditch, about a dozen platform cars, over two-hundred pairs of truck wheels and the iron work of about sixty cars, all of which have been sent to Corinth or remains at Chewalla on the side track.
This work has been pursued night and day until yesterday afternoon when orders were received from Major General Halleck to discontinue it and move with my own and General Hurlbut's Division further west.
All the bridges to the west, whether on the railroad or common road, have been burned and the road otherwise obstructed, but I have already sent forward parties to make the necessary repairs and shall tomorrow move the whole command to Pocahontas and beyond.
I have the honor to be your obedient servant,
W. T. SHERMAN,
Commanding Division and Expedition.
January 13, 1862, We went to Grand Junction and loafed about town nearly all day. A detachment from Company I captured two mule teams engaged in hauling flour to the rebel army from a mill near town. They were allowed to load and then were driven inside our lines and of course everything was confiscated.
We lay that night in the fence corners at the railroad crossing a half mile north of the Junction and at daylight Companies I and K of our regiment escorted General Sherman into LaGrange.
The Junction is a small town of but about a dozen houses, is fifty miles east of Memphis, and is at the crossing of the Mississippi Central with the Memphis & Charleston railroad.
LaGrange is a railroad station three miles west of the Junction and several times larger---buildings good and quite modern. The citizens are mostly wealthy planters and bitter rebels. The ladies especially treat us with the utmost contempt.
We were camped on the premises of Mr. Mickley, a wealthy planter owing thousands of acres and two hundred slaves. The rebels burned five hundred bales of cotton for him and he is a rank rebel.
June 22nd, We moved our camp to Lafayette, ten miles west of Moscow.
The following general orders are submitted for the information the convey:
Headquarters Army of the Tennessee, in field near Corinth, June 11, 1862. General Order No. 54 to J. A. Rawlins, Assistant Adjutant General.
Colonel T. L. Dickey of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry is hereby assigned to the command of cavalry brigade which brigade will be composed of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, Fifth Ohio Cavalry, one squadron Second Illinois Cavalry, one squadron Thelman's Independent Cavalry, Eleventh Illinois Cavalry, Curtis Horse First Nebraska Cavalry, Stewart's Independent Cavalry, Car Michael's Independent Cavalry, O'Harnet's Independent Cavalry and Dolin's Independent Cavalry, being the entire cavalry force of the army corps of the Tennessee and District of West Tennessee, except the First Ohio Cavalry. He will immediately sign one company of cavalry to each of the Division Commanders as an escort. Company A of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry will remain on detached service at these quarters. All reports and returns required by existing orders and requisitions for supplies will be made through him. By command of
MAJOR GENERAL U. S. GRANT.
The above order was revoked June 20th as will be seen in the following:
Headquarters Army of the Tennessee, in field Corinth Mississippi, June 20, 1862. General order no. 56 to J. A. Rawlins, Assistant Adjutant General.
General Order No. 54, current series from these headquarters of date June 11, 1862, Brigading the Cavalry of this command and assigning Colonel Dickey of Fourth Illinois Cavalry to the command thereof is hereby revoked and the cavalry will report to the commanding officers of the several divisions to which it was attached before the publishing of said order. By order of
MAJOR GENERAL U. S. GRANT.
Headquarters District West Tennessee. Memphis, June 24th, 1862. General Order No. 57 to J. A. Rawlins, Assistant Adjutant General.
Brigade Surgeon J. F. Holston, senior medical officer of this District is announced medical director of the same. Colonel T. L. Dickey of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry is appointed Chief of Cavalry Force of this district. All orders from him will be obeyed and all reports required by existing orders will be made to him. By order of
MAJOR GENERAL U. S. GRANT
The next day a detachment from our regiment, Companies G, H, I and L, went to Memphis as guards for a train of fifty wagons with supplies for the army. The distance was thirty miles and we were gone two and one-half days.
While we were stationed at this place we had to furnish thirty men for a picket station, four or five miles out on the Holly Spring road, under a commissioned officer.
This force was usually made up of a detail from the different companies. June 30, 1862, General Sherman with his division, headed by the balance of our regiment, came along and we, the pickets, were ordered to fall in as advance guard. Enoch Hunter and I were advance vedettes. We found a few rebel cavalry at Hutsonville, but they gave way after a slight skirmish. We found them in ambush about two miles from Holly Springs. The road at this point was in a deep cut long enough to take in all the regiment. The videttes and advance guard were allowed to pass through unmolested, but soon as the cut was filled with our regiment, the rebels fired a volley at them and broke and run. Our boys whelled instantly into line and gave the retreating rebels a volley and then jumped off their horses and went for them on foot. The rebels were soon on their horses and out of reach.
Just as our column was fired upon the head of a heavy column of rebel cavalry came in sight over the hill not over three hundred yards ahead of us (vedettes) This force was under General W. H. Jackson. We had just exchanged shots with their vedettes when we heard the firing from ambush in our rear.
We learned from a rebel source that Jackson's plan was to throw our columns into confusion by his attack from ambush and then charge down the road and cut us to pieces, but he did not see sufficient confusion to justify him in carrying out the latter part of his program so he immediately sought the friendly shelter of the woods beyond Holly Springs.
When we (the vedettes) passed through the cut I picked up an old-fashioned carpetbag containing a nice piece of boiled ham. I transferred the latter to my saddlebags remarking to Hunter that some rebel had lost his dinner but I would make a meal out of it.
A Mr. Cox, living just opposite the road, was out in his yard and in answer to our inquires told us positively that there were no rebels nearer than Holly Springs. He knew the rebels were in ambush and within hearing of our voice.
We had one man killed, Corporal Tuesburg of Company G, and three wounded. We were in the vicinity of Holly Springs about a week. When the command returned to camp Company I was left on picket at the same place we were when the command went out. We remained their two days. On our arrival in camp we found our Captain and ten furloughed men had returned from their homes.
The expedition as reported below by Major M. R. M. Wallace probably went out while we were in the vicinity of Holly Springs with General Sherman:
Headquarters First Division, District of Jackson, Tennessee. Jackson, July 7, 1862. Major M. R. M. Wallace, Commanding Cavalry Expedition:
You will proceed at once with your command to Brownsville Landing by way of Brownsville and make that place the base of your operations and encamp there until otherwise ordered. You will enforce strict discipline and order in your camp by keeping your command together and not allowing them to straggle outside your lines. You will use your utmost endeavor to protect the rights of private property, suffering nothing to be taken except what is absolutely necessary for your command and then only by paying or agreeing to pay to the owner a just compensation for the same.
You will keep a vigilant guard posted around your camp to prevent surprise and also to prevent your men from straggling outside your lines. Information has just been received that a force of some three hundred of Jackson'' Cavalry are in the vicinity of where you will be and beyond you.
You will take active measures to take them, if in your power without hazarding your command, upon receipt of information that you may receive at any time respecting them or their movements. You will co operate with Colonel Ozburn who will be stationed at Brownsville.
You will endeavor to cultivate a conservative friendly feeling with the people where you will be.
You will report to me your operations from time to time and any other information that you may see proper to communicate to these headquarters. Respectfully Yours,
J. A. LOGAN,
Brigadier General Commanding.
Jackson, July 10,1862 Major M. R. M. Wallace, Commanding Cavalry:
Your report is received which is entirely satisfactory I desire you to make a reconnaissance up the Hatche river on this side as often as you can and crossing over on the other side if you think it expedient. You will notify Colonel Ozburn to move up his command to you present camp at Brownsville Landing and support you in every move that you make up the river. Send and get six days more of rations. Communicate with me as often as you can. Respectfully yours,
J. A. LOGAN,
Brigadier General Commanding.
July 12, 1862, Our regiment train was out for forage with a guard. Four boys of our company, namely, Joel Carter (First Sergeant), Lycurgus Hyde, Jim Ferguson and Jake Stevens, went with the guard voluntarily. When returning to camp, being some distance in advance of the guard, they were fired on from ambush. Hyde was mortally wounded and died before they could get him into camp. Carter and Stevens were wounded with buckshot but Ferguson escaped unhurt.
The rebels made good their escape, they were believed to be citizens living near there. I believe Joel Carter was discharged from the effects of this wound and a broken leg at Trenton, Tennessee.
July 18, 1862, Sherman abandoned this railroad and started for Memphis. We were camped in a nice piece of open timber, just below the city of Memphis. We remained here with but little to do except routine duty till August 23rd.
August 15, Lieutenant Hyde and B. F. Kyes from Company I, and probably others from other companies, started for Earlville to enlist recruits for our regiment.
August 23, We started for Trenton, Tennessee, which is about one-hundred miles distant. We arrived Trenton on the 29th without any serious incident, although we passed through where it was reported there was quite a force of rebel cavalry. They kept out of our way, though we picked up several prisoners.
I think the whole regiment was at Trenton at first, Excepting Company A which was at Columbus. On November 11th, following, Companies B and C went to Humboldt, Tennessee.
Sept. 11th, Just a year, to a day, from the time we went into camp at Ottawa, Illinois, we drew new Sibley tents. They are not so large as our old ones but will accommodate ten persons very comfortably. Sixteen could get into the old tents. On Oct. 10,1862, Charley Dickey was promoted Second Lieutenant of Company B. On Oct 11,1862, Captain Mindret Wemple of Company H was promoted Major of the Second Battalion and on the same day Second Lieutenant Alexander T. Crego of Company B was promoted First Lieutenant and Adjutant of the regiment.
We were kept very busy while her. We scouted the country thoroughly in every direction, sometimes for twenty five miles and of course picketing was an every day duty wherever we were. We had little or no fighting to do while here. There were a good many small bands of bushwhackers but they would dodge us and never give a fight, but we did a great deal of running after them.
To describe all of our moves would be to tedious, so I will select a few incidents, only.
Sept. 22d, A detachment, consisting of a detail of ten men from each company, made quite an extended trip northeast through Huntingdon (county seat of Carrol county) and Camden (county seat of Benton county) and on the Tennessee River. We were gone nine days and we lived off the country, mostly. When within three miles of Huntingdon, on our way back, the Company I detail under Sergeant Robert Boston, got permission to go to a planters house, a short distance from our bivouac, and get our suppers. We put our horses in the stable and fed them and in due time our supper was ready and it was a very good one too. It is needless to say we did ample justice to it. Coffee and tea are almost unknown luxuries in Dixie. The good lady of the house brought out their substitute, sassafras tea, remarking by way of apology that the ofterner sassafras tea was steeped the better it was. This, she said very politely, had been steeped three times. Charlie Munnikhuizen sipped his a little and did not like it, so he passed it back to her, saying with utmost suavity and politeness, "I wish, madam, you would please steep mine again." We all Laughed immoderately, I felt sorry for the woman for she had done the best she could.
Joel Carter, Orderly Sergeant of Company I, was thrown from his horse and had his leg broken. Lieutenant Parker of Company I was made Provost Martial of Trenton.
November 3,1862, The effective mounted force of our regiment was ordered out at seven p.m. with four day's rations. We started out on the Brownsville road but soon left it and went west in the direction of Chestnut Bluffs on the South Fork of the Deer River.
We bivouacked at ten p.m. and ferried the river at Chestnut Bluffs the next morning. We stopped at Lee's plantation, five miles from the ferry, to feed and remained over night there as Lieutenant Colonel McCullough, commanding, was too drunk to proceed further. He wanted to hang Mr. Lee because he was a rebel and ordered Sergeant Toothill to get a rope and hang him. The Sergeant started off as though to get a rope, but the Colonel went to sleep and that was the last of the hanging.
We started for Brownsville early the next morning and arrived there about sunset, marching twenty miles that day.
Brownsville is the county seat of Haywood County and is thirty-two miles southwest of Trenton. We made many stops to make arrest and to confiscate property.
Joel Carter was born
in Earlville, Illinois. He enlisted in company I
Fourth Illinois Cavalry, September 3, 1861 and was made Orderly Sergeant.
He was wounded on July 13, 1862, and on October 2, 1862, had his leg broken which caused his discharge November 13, 1862.
A detachment from the Fourth Ohio Cavalry came in here in the night from Jackson and fired on our pickets taking us for rebels.
We started back for Trenton the next morning, crossing the South Fork of Deer River at Sherman's ferry, and camped that night a mile from Lanefield. Company I guarded prisoners the last twenty-four hours. We arrived in Trenton on the afternoon of November 65th, bringing in sixteen prisoners, one of whom was a Captain, another a Quartermaster and some of General Jackson's men, some horses and mules, twenty bales of cotton and, as usual, a drove of the colored race.
November 16th, A detail of sixty-four men from Companies E, F, G and I, under Lieutenant Wallace of Company E, was ordered out with three day's rations. We crossed the South Fork of Deer River at Chestnut Bluffs on a ferry at five p.m. and dividing up in three squads scoured the country for bushwhackers and Forest's men who were home on furloughs.
Company I, under Sergeant Moulton, was sent to arrest Steve Jorden and his two sons at their home. To do so we had to go through a heavy belt of timber with no road. We had a guide but he soon got lost in the darkness and after wandering around until midnight, it was give up as a bad job and we all laid down until daylight. It rained the latter part of the night. The next morning we again took up our march and arrived at Jordan's all right but one of the other detachments had been there and made the arrests while we were lost in the woods.
Jordan's Negroes cooked us a good breakfast, the first we had eaten since we left Trenton the morning before.
Lieutenant J. B. Cook of Company F had command of one of the other detachments and below he gives a very graphic account of the expedition, including the part he took in it himself:
November 1,1862, An intelligent colored man came to our regiment at Trenton, Tennessee, stating that his name was Randall Johnson and that he lived west of the Forked Deer River, forty miles west of Trenton. He also stated that a large number of Forest's Confederate Cavalry were at home on furlough in his neighborhood.
Lieutenant Colonel J. B. Cook.
Lieutenant John Wallace of Company C had a long interview with him and became thoroughly satisfied of his intelligence and veracity. The Lieutenant secured permission to take sixty-four men from Companies E, F, G and I, fifteen men from Company F, commanded by second Lieutenant J. B. Cook and go after the Confederates.
That night at nine o'clock they reached the river and crossed by means of a rope ferry at chestnut Bluffs. The ferry could only carry six men and horses, necessitating and hour in crossing the stream. Wallace gave Cook the colored guide, Randall Johnson, and sent him on the outer circle of the territory to be invaded, with an appointed place to meet. Cook reached the meeting place at three a.m. with fifteen men and a prisoner for each of his men. Wallace joined him soon after with ten more prisoners, making all twenty-five prisoners and twenty-five good horses.
Lieutenant Cook gave the following details of the last house he visited: It was a two-story log house owned and occupied by a Mr. McCaleb. His two nephews, Jim and Charlie McCaleb, were up stairs in bed and had their two fine horses in the barn.
A personal description of McCaleb and a plan of the house had been secured before hand.
At two a. m. McCaleb, who had remained up to protect the soldiers, sat dozing in his chair, with a lamp on the table turned partly down. Not a sound could be heard inside or outside the house, when, without the sound of footsteps, the Lieutenant stood beside him, alone, and said to him in a low tone, "How are you Mack I want to see the boys a moment." McCaleb seemed dazed and stupid and asked, "what boys" when he was answered, "Jim and Charlie," but still preserving absolute silence and a bewildered expression.
The Lieutenant took the lamp, went up the stairs and brought the young cavalrymen down and in a few moments had them on the march with the other prisoners on their own fine horses.
Lieutenant Cook, shaking hands when he left the host, said, "Good night, Mack, if you come over to Trenton come and see me." McCaleb had not uttered a word during the whole visit, which occupied about fifteen minutes from first to last.
The events above narrated took place in the northwest portion of Tennessee in Lauderdale County and within about fifteen miles of the Mississippi River.
During the fall of 1893, thirty-one years after the events above narrated, Randall Johnson met and recognized Lieutenant Cook on the streets of Parsons, Kansas, where he then lived and well remembered guiding the little party of fifteen men of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry. J. B. Cook.
That evening we were joined by Captain Shepardson with forty-five men at the ferry at Chestnut Bluffs. He was sent in search of a force of rebel cavalry, reported to be coming this way, that had made a raid on the Memphis & Charleston railroad shortly before.
The Captain's instructions were to pitch into anything he came across and ship or get whipped. Lieutenant Wallace with a detail from Company E was sent back to Trenton with the prisoners we had taken.
About two miles out we struck a fresh cavalry trail which we immediately proceeded to follow up. Company I was in the lead, myself and two others, D. M. Netteton and E. B. Powers were advance vedettes. We traveled several miles before we overtook them when we found cavalry, under Lieutenant Colonel Dawson.
Just as we started to charge down to where we thought they were we saw two rebel cavalrymen riding along in the timber to our right and front. They made no effort to escape, in fact did not seem to see us till we were right onto them. One of them said he was not a soldier, the other gave me his revolver, the only weapon he had.
Captain George J. Shepardson
was born November 2, 1828, in Clarendon, Vermont.
He immigrated to Illinois in 1853, On August 27, 1864, he enlisted in the army and was commissioned Captain of Company I, Fourth Illinois Cavalry. On November 18, 1862, he was severely wounded and taken prisoner. He was honorable discharged November 3, 1864; He Died in Chicago March 18, 1902
The other boys dashed on with the charging column and left me with the prisoners in the rear. I learned from them that they were two hundred strong, were expecting us and were in position, waiting for us a short distance ahead.
Lieutenant J. B. Cook with Company "F", the only other officer in the command, had been sent off in another direction shortly before this, which left us with sixty men.
I thought that every man would be needed at the front, so I let the prisoners go and joined the command just as they were dismounting. The rebels were dismounted in a thick wood near William Jorden's waiting for us. They immediately charged us dismounted. We gave them a few rounds from our carbines when the Captain ordered us to mount and fall back, which we did in some confusion. Ed Poweres did not hear the order and was taken prisoner. The Captain was wounded and fell into the enemy's hands. We soon formed, however, when Lieutenant J. B. Cork joined us with his men, directly, and took command, and it was thought best, as the rebels had so much the larger force and were between us and the ferry and had the advantage in position, to let them go and try and get back to camp. Some were in favor of charging again and trying to rescue our captain.
We took a circuitous course to get to the ferry and went probably three miles out of our way. We ferried across the South Fork of Deer River just at night where we crossed in the morning. We returned to camp at Trenton the next day.
Captain Shepardson and Ed Powers were paroled the next day and came to camp in a carriage which they had "pressed.' The Captain reported that the rebels were glad to let us go. He said they were badly frightened and expected another attack from us. The Captain helped it along by blowing about what fighters his men were. He said the rebels had six men and four horses killed and several men wounded. We had three men slightly wounded, two taken prisoners and (my diary say) eight horses killed, including the Captain's horse.
November 24th, We broke camp and left Trenton for good. Three days later we joined Grant's army at LaGrange where we were assigned to the First Cavalry Brigade, under Colonel Lee of the Seventh Kansas. The brigade was composed of the Seventh Kansas, Second Iowa, Third Michigan and the Second and Fourth Illinois Cavalry's. We immediately took the advance of the army.
We came onto a large body of the enemy just below Holly Springs on the Tallahatchie. We were skirmishing almost constantly, the cavalry and a section of the Third Michigan battery doing the most of it. The rebels made quite a stand at the Tallahatchie and again at Oxford but were dislodged without much difficulty. We took a good many prisoners, probably averaging two hundred a day.
December 4th, The second day out from Oxford our regiment had the head of the column and Company I the extreme advance, which brought us on the skirmish line.
We were skirmishing with the rear of the rebel army all day. We were following Pemberton with ten thousand men. We had a good deal of timber, with thick underbrush to go through and it was quite difficult at times to keep in line with the head of the column in the road.
Lieutenant Hyde and Lieutenant Wallace were riding together on the left at one time, with the skirmish line. They suddenly came out of the woods into the edge of a field where, not far off, were some in clue and some in gray. They supposed they were some of our men from the advance with some prisoners so they started down to where they were but before they got fairly among them, but to late to retreat, they discovered that they were ten rebels with two of our men as prisoners-Lieutenant Maxwell and a private of the Seventh Illinois Cavalry, who were taken in an engagement earlier in the day, with Colonel Hatch's command. They put on a bold front and rushed up to them, Lieutenant Hyde demanding their surrender, at the same time reaching for one of their guns, saying, "Give me that gun." The rebel was about to give it up but on seeing only the two he drew back, saying, "I don't know about ten of us surrendering to two of you. You surrendered." The tables were turned. The Lieutenant's weapons were called for. Wallace had a four-inch Colt's revolver, which he gave up. Lieutenant Hyde had only and old rusty sabre that was fast in the scabbard, caused by the horse laying down on it and bending it. He told them they might have that if they could get it as it was strapped to the saddle. This disarming occupied a little time, which was quite to the advantage of our captured Lieutenants. By this time one of our men, Matt Movern, made his appearance in the edge of the clearing and the spokesman of the rebels, who proved to be a Captain, rode out toward him and ordered him to surrender. Matt was not in a humor to surrender just then. He answered by drawing his carbine to his face, and he was near enough for the rebel to hear the click of the lock as he cocked it, and yelled back "D-n you, you surrender," and the rebel Captain obeyed instantly.
Just then some more of our men came in sight. Now Hyde said "Don't you see you are surrounded. Give me that gun," at the same time reaching for it and getting it in his hands, saying, "Throw down your guns everyone of you." They obeyed and the tables were turned again.
At one place we came onto an open field. There were three of us keeping our intervals of about thirty yards. On the further side of the field we saw three cavalrymen in blue. We took them for our men but they dismounted directly and got down behind the fence. That excited our suspicions but we kept right on toward them on a walk.
Finally when we got sufficiently near they fired at us, each of us hearing a bullet "zip" over our heads.
They were rebels and had taken a rest through the fence and singled us out. We admired their marksmanship, as we were the targets. We charged after them immediately but they jumped on their horses and ran but we gave them a parting shot as they went.
We camped at Water Valley that night, Eighteen miles south of Oxford. The next day the command moved out early, our regiment taking the rear according to custom, advance today, rear tomorrow.
We met with but little resistance till we got within about a mile of Coffeeville, which is about twelve miles south of Water Valley. Here we found the rebels posted and in a fighting humor.
Colonel Hatch's Brigade joined us here, making our force about two thousand cavalry and two pieces of artillery. But in a dismounted engagement, like the one fought here, but three-fourths of the men were effective the other one-fourth having to hold horses.
Companies C and I of our regiment was sent out in advance to hold the road while the balance of the command were getting into position. Company I was under Lieutenant Hyde and Company C under Captain Townsend. Company C was in the advance going out. We were there but a short time before the rebels came for us on double quick.
We were started back at fours right-about which brought us left in front. Our horses could not walk fast enough to keep out of their way. Bullets went ""zipping," over our heads at a lively rate of speed but they went too high to hurt anyone.
We found our command all dismounted and in three lines, excepting the balance of our regiment. They were kept mounted to guard the flanks. Our first line with the two pieces of artillery were posted at the edge of an open field. A large force of the enemy's infantry charged across this field. They received a warm reception from our carbines and artillery, which caused scores of the rebels to "bite the dust."
After we got past our lines we were ordered to dismount and fall in by a fence by the side of the road.
The officers of Company I went to the rear with the lead horses. We fought the best we could, with no one in command of us. At first we were altogether, then when a new line was formed we fell in with the other troops and were mixed up with them. We formed a new line twice in this way. The last time we formed, at a bend in the road, we were about the last to get there. The boys, I believe, all squeezed in the line somewhere, but I took a position behind a small tree a little in front of the extreme right of the line where I had command of the road. My attention was taken in my immediate front. I could not see that the enemy were advancing and heard no order to fall back and did not know the line had retreated until I heard Elliott Hyde say, "Avery you had better get out of here, the rebels are flanking us." I turned around and saw him standing facing me a rod or two in the rear. And not another blue coat in sight that I could see. The instant my eyes caught Elliott's he threw up his hands and fell over backwards-shot through the brain. The ball entered the left eye; he didn't utter a word.
The rebel skirmish line was about two hundred yards off and I was now the only blue coat in sight. I think I came as near beating Flora Temple's time for a few minutes, getting out of there, as any man ever did.
I cannot begin to describe the shower of lead that I passed through. Suffice it to say that I took the fire of the whole rebel skirmish line in my front. Every shot was fired at me. I expected every minute to catch a bullet but providentially I escaped without a scratch. I found quite a lot of the boys over the knoll that had not mounted their horses yet.
It was now getting quite dark. There was now a call for volunteers to go back toward the front and form another line. About fifty of us went. The rebels advanced no further.
Shortly afterwards everything was on the move to the rear and we were called in and mounted. Our regiment, Lieutenant Colonel McCullough commanding, was to be rear guard and was just moving out when they ran into a force of the enemy's infantry that had been sent up along our flank and had got across our road between the column and the rear guar. The rebels fired into the head of our column, killing Lieutenant Colonel McCullough and wounding several others. John Lansing of Company I, who was the Colonel'' orderly, is crippled for life by a fall from his horse. Wm. Stillhamer, another orderly from Company G, was shot in both thighs. I took the latter off the field on my horse and after going several miles in this way I got him into an ambulance.
We fell back to Water Valley that night. We might state here that rebel General Pemberton was in our front with an army of ten thousand men. He turned on us here and of course all we could do was to save ourselves the best way we could. The balance of the army was mostly back near Oxford so we had no support nearer than eighteen miles.
The body of Colonel McCullough was brought in on the eleventh and Lieutenant Hyde started north with it.
We staid around here for some time, scouting nearly every day without incident worthy of note until Dec. 20th when the whole effective force was sent back to Holly Springs in pursuit of rebel General VanDorn who took that place and burned it together with a vast amount of army stores. I did not go with that expedition to Tupelo and Pontotoc, referred to in General Grant's report of Dec.5, 1862, herewith subjoined:
Headquarters of United States forces, Cavalry Division Thirteenth Army Corps, camped near the Yockema River, Mississippi, Dec 7, 1862. Report of Colonel T. Lyle Dickey to Colonel Rawlins, Assistant Adjutant General:
In obedience to the order of the Major General commanding I have the honor to report that at ten p.m., Dec. 1st, while at the headquarters of Major General McPherson near Old Waterford and five miles north of the Tallahatchie river a communication was received from Major General Grant advising me that the enemy had left his works at the river. That part of our cavalry had crossed and others were crossing and ordered me to push on at daylight and take command of all the cavalry and follow the enemy, if retreating, as long as any results are likely to follow.
At daylight on Tuesday, Dec.2d, attended by Lieutenant J. W. Wilson, topographical engineer, acting as my assisting adjutant general and by Lieutenant G. P. Davis of the Eleventh Illinois Infantry, my acting division quartermaster and an escort of ten troopers, Seventh Illinois Cavalry under command of Sergeant Taylor, I pushed rapidly to the front, gathering my command on the march.
The First Cavalry Brigade commanded by Colonel A. L. Lee, comprising the Fourth Illinois Cavalry under Lieutenant Colonel McCullough, the Seventh Kansas under Lieutenant Colonel Herrick, and one battalion of the Second Iowa under Major Moyers, being part of the command were at the Tallahatchie river near Abbeyville and the Sixth Illinois Cavalry under Colonel Grierson was on the north side of the Tallahatchie near Wyatt's Ferry, about eight miles from Abbeyville, with orders from General Sherman to join me at Oxford, some thirteen miles south of the Tallahatchie.
Finding the road obstructed by the march of General Logan's Division, Colonel Hatch was ordered to take his brigade to the crossing of the Tallahatchie by a literal route to the right and march to the front as rapidly as possible. I pushed rapidly forward and overtook Colonel Lee at Abbeyville. He had sent the Third Michigan Cavalry under Major Moyers on a route towards Oxford west of the railroad and his own brigade under Lieutenant Colonel McCullough of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry on the main Oxford road, Colonel Lee himself being at the time somewhat unwell and riding in an ambulance.
I overtook Colonel McCullough four miles beyond Abbeyville and sent Captain Wardlaw of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry with his company across the railroad three-fourths of a mile distance where a party of rebels were destroying some trestlework. In forty minutes he returned having captured the entire party, twenty-eight prisoners with horses and arms and wounding one of the enemy.
Moving on the head of the column I found Colonel Lee had arrived and was skirmishing sharply near Oxford where the enemy were resisting with cavalry, infantry and artillery.
At about a mile from Oxford, while Lee was fighting, sharp firing was heard on the hill to the right which afterwards proved to be the Third Michigan Cavalry engaging the enemy on that route. An effort was made to communicate by a detachment sent to the right, but this failed owing to the lateness of the hour and the impassable character of the country.
At six o'clock p.m. Colonel Hatch reported his command in camp five miles to the rear of the main road.
Wm. McCullough enlisted in the Fourth Regiment Illinois Cavalry, August 20, 1861, being mustered as major. On October 3, 1861, he was promoted Lieutenant Colonel. He was killed in battle December, 1862.
A courier having crossed by way of Colonel Hatch's Camp at ten p m. brought information that the Third Michigan was camped about opposite Hatch and west of the railroad, after having fought the enemy until nearly dark and then fallen back.
A detachment sent from Oxford that night found the road to the camp of the Third Michigan free from the enemy.
On Wednesday morning Colonel Hatch's brigade was ordered forward in pursuit on the Coffeeville road. Colonel Lee's brigade advanced on the route east of the main road.
Colonel Meisner of the Third Michigan, having reported for duty, was ordered to take command of his brigade, consisting of the Third Michigan Cavalry and the Sixth Illinois Cavalry under Colonel Grierson which had reported that morning from Major General Sherman's wing of the army.
Colonel Meisner was ordered to send the Sixth Illinois Cavalry to scour the country to the west as far as the Tallahatchie, reporting by courier directly to Major General Grant, and to hold the Third Michigan in Oxford ready to support at a moments notice either Colonel Lee or Colonel Hatch. Having made this disposition of my command I remained in Oxford in communication with both columns.
Very soon after Lee's brigade left town, Colonel Hatch reported that he had overtaken the enemy three miles from Oxford and was skirmishing with the rear guard advancing steadily. At once a courier was dispatched to Colonel Lee advising him of the fact and directing him to move cautiously and guard well his right flank. This courier lost his way and was taken prisoner.
About the same time a note enjoining caution and ordering me to push the enemy as far as possible, was received.
At nine p.m. on Dec. 3d couriers brought advises that Lee had crossed the Yockney on the Parish road about eight miles due south of Oxford, having driven the enemy from a burning bridge and repaired it. About the same time a dispatch from Hatch reported that the enemy had burned a bridge on the main Coffeeville road and had them successfully resisted his attempts to cross, that he had been skirmishing most of the day and was at the Yockney and the enemy in considerable force was on opposite bank. At once orders were sent to Lee to move cautiously bearing to his right down the river and to co-operate with Hatch in effecting a crossing and not to advance until the south side of the river was cleared of the enemy and Hatch communicated with.
And to Hatch that if he failed to effect a crossing in the morning he should turn up the river to some point where he could cross and that he should approach or join Lee's column at the crossing and both, having communicated, should move on towards Coffeeville
Before daylight on the 4th couriers reported that Hatch had crossed the Yockney at Profits bridge, some eighteen miles from Oxford and seven miles from Water Valley and about the same distance from the burned bridge. Again couriers were dispatched ordering Lee and Hatch to communicate before advancing and then pursue the enemy hotly.
Major General McPherson, at my request, had sent me two pieces of artillery. I overtook Lee near Water Valley, which he was reconnoitering before entering. Here Colonel Hatch came up with his command and the two brigades entered the town about the same time.
The enemy had crossed the Otuckalofa and burned the Wagon Bridge about a mile from town. It had turned out that Lee and Hatch had failed to communicate with each other, that Hatch on the morning of the 4th pushed directly for Water Valley, entering the town before noon, skirmishing sharply with the rear of that part of the enemy that had crossed the Yockney at and below the railroad crossing and the burned bridge, drove them through the town and across the Otuckalofa.
About this time he discovered a strong rebel force approaching from the northeast upon his left and rear and withdrew his main force back through the village to a strong position facing the road upon which the approaching force was advancing.
The enemy attacked with determined vigor, with a force of cavalry estimated at eight regiments, but after a fierce fight was worsted and driven back with considerable loss. Another detachment of the enemy at this moment threatened the rear of Colonel Hatch's command, leaving Lieutenant Colonel Prince with the Seventh Illinois Cavalry to hold the ground.
Colonel Hatch went with the rest of his command on to the rear on the route he had advanced over. At this juncture Colonel Lee's command made its appearance from the northeast. Colonel Prince, supposing it to be another detachment of the enemy, thought it prudent to withdraw to the northwest of the road upon which he had advance. The former, approaching, learned from prisoners that Colonel hatch had been in Water Valley and had had a fight and afterwards fell back. Inferring that Colonel Hatch had been beaten he advanced with great caution, waiting to communicate with Hatch.
The country, being hilly and densely wooded, it took some time to establish communications. By this chapter of accidents the enemy found time to escape across the Otuckalofa and burned the bridge near the railroad, but we arrived in time to save it. We then bivouacked on the north side of the river.
Colonel Meisner's command, with one piece of artillery, was ordered to take the advance on Friday morning, followed by Lee's brigade and that by Colonel Hatch's.
Considerable delay occurred in getting across the river and Colonel Lee, Having found a bridge near his camp, reached the main road on the south side of the Otuckalofa before the advance of Colonel Meisner's command. To avoid delay he was ordered to take the advance, which he did, followed by Colonel Meisner's command and his (Colonel Meisner) by that of Colonel Hatch. Thus the entire command was concentrated and from the absence of parallel roads were compelled to move on the same road.
At about two o'clock the head of the column came up with the rear of the enemy and pressed him sharply. Having discovered a small party of rebel cavalry on our right, carefully watching our movements, a detachment was sent to dislodge it and an order was sent to Colonel Lee at the head of the column to move cautiously, throw out strong flankers and show a wide front.
Colonel's Hatch and Meisner were also directed to throw out flankers at the head of each of their commands.
Riding rapidly to the front I found one piece of artillery moving cautiously forward and throwing now and then shells beyond our skirmishers as they steadily advanced. At about one mile from Coffeeville a few shells were thrown to the front when suddenly the enemy opened at short range upon our position with shells, using, I think, four pieces of
Artillery and perhaps six. At the same time with infantry in line they opened upon our advanced dismounted skirmishers with rapid volleys while heavy skirmishing was in progress on both flanks.
From all this it was quite evident that we had encountered a heavier force than we were able to combat, under the jaded condition of our men and horses. Colonel Lee was ordered to fall back steadily in the center and strong parties were at once sent to the support of our skirmishers on the right of their flanks.
The column was faced to the rear and Colonels Meisner and Hatch were ordered to form successive supporting lines of detachments upon each side of the road to cover the retreat of our skirmishers and check the advance of the enemy upon the main road. The enemy pressing hard upon our retiring forces, the moving back of the lead horses of dismounted men and the reversal of wagons and ambulances occasioned confusion, though no indications of a panic were at any time perceptible.
Our flanks were repeatedly attacked by the enemy's infantry but our flankers as often succeeded in repulsing them. The column was steadily withdrawn about one and one-half miles to the rear of an open field and the fighting ceased. Night having come on in the meantime, the column halted.
At this point a strong rear guard was sent back to watch the enemy and check its pursuit if attempted, while suitable parties were detached to watch the approaches on the right and left flanks of the rear.
Having waited about an hour to enable our dismounted men to find and mount their horses, the division was marched back to the camp which it had occupied the night before, arriving there about eleven p.m.
The command was moved early on the morning of the 6th to Yockney River, crossing at Profits Bridge.
In the action near Coffeeville, as well as during the entire pursuit, the men and officers behaved in the most gallant manner, cheerfully bearing every hardship in order to inflict injury upon the enemy.
Lieutenant Colonel McCullough of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry fell while covering the retreat of our column with the mounted companies of his regiments. A better or braver man never fought or fell. He died with his face to the foe at the head of his command, thus nobly sacrificing his life for the safety of his fellow men. His loss is a severe on to the country and the service.
Lieutenant Wookburn of the Seventh Kansas fell mortally wounded at the first volley of the enemy. Captain Townsend of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, Lieutenant Hurlbut of the Seventh Kansas, Captain Eystra and Lieutenants Reed, Bud and Herrington of the Second Iowa and Captain Halwell of the Third Michigan Cavalry received honorable wounds in this action.
Sergeant Baylor of my escort was wounded by my side near the close of the action. The horse Colonel Lee rode was wounded and that of Colonel Hatch killed.
As to the troops, they fought well without exception. The Seventh Illinois and the battalion of the Fifth Ohio, which had until very lately been ill armed, have proven themselves, with good arms in their hands, as effective in the face of the enemy as their most noted companions in the field.
This action was fought under peculiar difficulties. The road was narrow and extremely muddy, lined nearly all the way on both sides by a dense and almost impenetrable growth
Of oak trees and underbrush, running over a broken and impracticable country or through river bottoms of a miry character. It was impossible to see the enemy's position or note his strength until we were upon him. It was equally difficult to show a strong front or properly dispose of the wagons, the ambulances and the horses of the dismounted men.
In this pursuit over rough and muddy roads, the almost incessant rains, in a country destitute of forage for horses and without rations for men, the enemy was followed four successive days. Skirmishing daily, almost hourly, and chased as far as Coffeeville, and distance of about fifty miles. After fighting him at that point for several hours and engaging his artillery and infantry, I withdrew my command steadily, and fell back to a place of security where I could give the troops the rest they so much needed.
In the expedition we captured 1150 prisoners and nearly 200 horses and mules, also five railroad cars, four wagons loaded with supplies, $7,000 worth of confederate money in the hands of a rebel quartermaster, compelled the enemy to burn several hundred tents and to abandon and destroy several hundred stand of small arms, saved from destruction all the railroad bridges on the route and most of the trestle work and obtained a correct map of the country though the assistance of the topographical engineer who accompanied me.
We had ten killed, sixty-three wounded and forty-one captured. Of the enemy at least seventy were killed, 250 wounded and 750 taken prisoners. His loss in deserters and stragglers and on the retreat is probably 600 or 700 more. Respectfully your obedient servant,
T. L. DICKEY
Colonel and Chief of staff Commanding Division.
The following is General VanDorn's report of the above engagement to Lieutenant General Pemberton, Jackson, Tennessee:
Coffeeville, Dec. 5, 1862: Enemy came up to within two miles of town this evening. Infantry attacked them and drove them back two miles. Firing just ceased. Night put a stop to pursuit. He will be careful how he comes up again. EARL VAN DORN,
The following is the report of General U. S. Grant to Major General Halleck, Commander in Chief.
Oxford Miss, Dec. 5, 1862, 1 p. m.: --Roads have become too impassable to leave railroad any great distance. Streams are high. The railroad is now completed to Holly Springs and will be to Tallahatchie by Monday. From the Tallahatchie to the Yockney River the enemy were followed so closely that they could not destroy the railroad or the telegraph. The cavalry, under Colonel Dickey, are still out. If practicable we will tap the Mobile road before returning. If the Helena troops were at my command I think it practicable to send Sherman to take them and the Memphis troops south of the mouth of the Yazoo river and thus secure Vicksburg and the state of Mississippi.
The following is the report of General U. S. Grant to Major General H. W. Halleck, Commander in Chief.
Oxford, Miss, Dec. 5, 1862, 4 p. m.: Cavalry still in pursuit of retreating enemy. Have captured and killed many and forced them to destroy much property, including cars. Cavalry will be near Coffeeville tonight.
U. S. GRANT. Major General Commanding.
Report of General U. S. Grant to Major General H. W. Halleck, Commander in Chief:
Oxford, Mississippi, Dec. 8, 1862, 9 a.m.: The cavalry under Colonel Dickey have now drawn off having followed the enemy to Coffeeville. Our Loss is nine killed, fifty-six wounded and fifty-six missing. We have captured about 700 of the enemy but can no estimate of their killed and wounded. The enemy were forced to burn their stores, some cars and camp equipage.
U. S. GRANT,
Report of General U. S. Grant to J. C. Kelton, Washington, D. C,
Headquarters department of Tennessee, Dec 25, 1862; I am just sending a large wagon train to Memphis after supplies and avail myself of the opportunity to communicate with the authorities at Washington.
I had timely notice of the advance of Forest on the road in the neighborhood of Jackson and took every means to meet it. General Sullivan was re-inforced from the army with me and forces from Corinth, Fort Heiman, Fort Henry and Fort Donaldson sent to co-operate.
As the enemy's force was all cavalry and General Sullivan's nearly all infantry it is possible that they have succeeded in evading our troops so as to do damage to the railroads. But the extent I have not yet learned. Before any decisive move had been made by General Sullivan against the enemy or by the enemy on our railroad, communications was cut between us and a formidable movement of cavalry from Grenada reported going north.
This force assembled first at Pontotoc and as Colonel Dickey was out to the east on the Mobile road, with about half of my available cavalry, I concluded it was to cut him off. I immediately ordered all the cavalry that could be spared to Pontotoc and two brigades of infantry with them, with directions to operate from there for the relief of Colonel Dickey.
Before these troops got in motion, however, I learned of the rebel cavalry-passing north from Pontotoc and of Colonel Dickey passing safely by their rear. I immediately notified all commands north of me to Bolivar of this move of the enemy and to be prepared to meet them and to hold their respective posts at all hazards.
Except this place all have done well, the enemy being repulsed at Coldwater, Davis Mill, Bolivar and Middleburg. This place was taken while the troops were quietly in bed. The commanding officer of the post, Colonel R. C. Murphy of the Eighth Wisconsin Volunteers, took no steps to protect the place, not having notified a single officer of his command of the danger, although he himself had received warning as herein before stated.
The troops cannot be blamed in the matter for they found themselves surrounded, the first information they had of the approaching enemy. Notwithstanding this surprise, many of the troops behaved nobly, refusing to be paroled and, after making their escape from the enemy, attacking him without regard to their relative forces.
Conspicuous among this latter was the Second Illinois Cavalry which was stationed here at the time. Our loss will probably amount to $4000,000 worth of property and 1500 taken prisoners.
As soon as I learned the rebel cavalry had moved north from Pontotoc and that Colonel Dickey was safe, I ordered all the cavalry that could be spared for the purpose, about 1500 men to pursue the enemy and not leave them until they were captured or completely broken up. They found them near Bolivar and were close upon their heels all day yesterday, compelling the enemy to change his course southward, killing and capturing quite a number.
Last night the federal and rebels encamped near Salsburg and I presume the line of the Tallahatchie, with the road strongly guarded to the rear, waiting for communication to be opened so as to know what move to make next.
It is perfectly impracticable to go further south by this route, depending on the road for supplies and the country does not afford them. Our immense train have been so far fed entirely off the country, and as far as practicable the troops have been also.
For fifteen miles east and west of the railroad from Coffeeville to LaGrange, nearly everything for the subsistence of man or beast has been appropriated for the use of our army, and on leaving our advanced position I had the principle mills destroyed.
The expedition under Colonel Dickey was quite successful. While out he captured about 200 rebels with a fair portion of horses, arms and equipment's, found large quantities of corn collected on the Mobile road which he destroyed, also a few cars. The road was completely broken up from Saltillo to south of Tupelo.
U. S. GRANT,
Following is a report from Major General U. S. Grant to J. C. Kelton, Washington, D. C.
Holly Springs, Jan. 2, 1863: Herewith I enclose you report of Colonels Dodge and Mercer of the Ninth Illinois infantry of our expedition from Corinth on the Ohio and Mobile roads. I at the same time sent Colonel Dickey of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry with about 1000 men from Springdale, Mississippi, to co-operate.
No official report is yet received from Colonel Dickey but his expedition was successful. He struck the railroad at Tupelo and traveled south about thirty five miles, destroying all the bridges for the whole of the distance and a large amount of grain that had been collected along the line of the road for the use of the rebel army. He also destroyed some cars, captured about 120 prisoners, some teams and garrison equipments.
From General Grierson's report of the pursuit of VanDorn, dated Dec 29, 1862, I take the following: Captain Fisk of the Fourth Illinois and Captain Lynch of the Sixth Illinois Cavalry distinguished themselves by their perseverance in following the trail of the enemy from the Brownville road to the Middleburg road. Lieutenants Wilson and Charlesworth of the Sixth Illinois Cavalry deserve notice for the bravery and success with which they conducted the scout to the enemy's camp on the night of the 24th. Respectfully you obedient servant,
B. H. GRIERSON,
Colonel Sixth Illinois Cavalry.
Following is the report of Colonel T. Lyle Dickey to Lieutenant Colonel J. A. Rawlins, Assistant Adjutant General.
Headquarters of Cavalry Division, Thirteenth Army Corps near Oxford, Mississippi, Dec. 20, 1962: I beg leave to report to Major General U. S. Grant, Commander of the Department that his order commanding me to take part of my division of cavalry and strike the Mobile and Ohio railroad as far south as practicable and destroy it as much as possible, was received about eleven o'clock the night of the 13th inst., two miles east of Water Valley.
Colonel Hatch commanding the Second Brigade was ordered to report to me at 8:30 a.m. on the 14th with eighty picked men from his command, properly officered, well mounted, well armed and with forty rounds of ammunition with rations of hard bread of salt and ready for six days scout, with no more wagons than necessary to haul the rations.
Major Ricker with a battalion of the Fifth Ohio Cavalry was sent to the south from Paris to make a demonstration toward Grenada. The residue of the Second Brigade was sent with the train to the rear to camp upon the Yockena River. Colonel Miesner was ordered to take command of the first and third Brigade to guard the crossing of the Otuk River and to make a strong cavalry reconnaissance towards Grenada on the Coffeeville road, reporting direct to Major General U. S. Grant. At nine a.m. Sunday, the 14th, with a small escort from Company F, Fourth Illinois Cavalry, under----------and Colonel Hatch's detachment of 800 men from the Second Iowa Cavalry and the Seventh Illinois Cavalry I took the road for Okolona and reached Pontotoc, a forty-five miles march, at 9; 30 o'clock on Monday Morning.
On the way we fell in with small scouting parties of the enemy and captured several prisoners, by some of whom we were informed that a body of rebel infantry from Bragg's army were encamped five miles east of Pontotoc, on the road to Tupelo, and another near Tupelo, and by others just returned from Columbus that there was a strong rebel force at Okolona. A small part dashed off of the Tupelo road five or six miles but found no enemy at Pontotoc.
The gentle rain through which we had marched changed to a violent storm and the roads were heavy. All our ambulances and prisoners were sent back from Pontotoc with two wagons loaded with leather, government surveys and township maps of the state of Mississippi, under and escort of 100 men.
Major Coon of the Second Iowa Cavalry, with about 100 men, was sent rapidly forward to strike the railroad at Coonewar Station, north of Solona, with orders to destroy the telegraph lines and railroad, and especially the railroad bridge north of Okolona.
At 1 o'clock p.m. on Monday, with the rest of my command, I took the road for Tupelo, through a terrific rainstorm, and moved steadily forward. Night came upon us about six miles from Tupelo.
The approach was on a "zig zag' road, with various intersecting roads through low, muddy ground, much of it heavily timbered and intersected by small, sluggish streams, passable only on small frail bridges in frail condition.
A Little after dark the light of a considerable fire was observed, some miles distant to the south, and also a bright but broader light could be seen some miles to the north.
An officer sent to a dwelling not far from our road was told by the occupant that those fires were rebel campfires. Pushing cautiously forward to within three miles of Tupelo we learned from the occupants of a house near by, who mistook us for rebel cavalry, that federal troops from Corinth had that day been at Saltillo, 8 miles north of Tupelo, and that the rebels had fled south, abandoning Tupelo. Fearing that Macool might encounter too strong a foe, Lieutenant Colonel Prince of the Seventh Illinois Cavalry, with about 100 men, was sent promptly into Tupelo and the rest of the force was moved back 7 miles, to a point where the Aberdeen road broke off to the southeast and on which it was ascertained that Major Coon had advanced with a view of affording him support if needed.
It was found that Major Coon had dashed into Coonewar in the afternoon, stampeded a small party of rebel cavalry, took a few prisoners and made a strenuous but an unsuccessful effort to capture a railroad train passing that station south. The train was fired upon by his advance on the full gallop and one trooper, leaping from his horse with pistol in hand, mounted the side of the tender under way but was compelled as promptly to jump off to avoid a leaning post standing close to the track and just ahead of him.
The depot, containing commissary's stores and corm, was burned and a small bridge and trestlework on the road near Coonewar were destroyed.
Lieutenant Colonel Prince returned about 3 o'clock Tuesday to our camp, having found no enemy in Tupelo and having destroyed some trestle work north of the town. The supposed rebel camp fires, seen the night before, proved to be the light of the depot burning at Coonewar and the fires of the Union troops from Corinth near Saltillo who left next morning before we reached their camp.
Tuesday and Wednesday were spent in hard labor by which all the trestle work and bridges from Saltillo to Okasan, a distance of Thirty-four miles, and a large brigade south of Okalona across a branch of the Tom Big river were thoroughly destroyed as well as large quantities of timbers lying along the railroad track, used for repairing purposes.
The enemy were seen in Boloney and Okaloney but fled, returning, however, in some force to Okolona as our troopers were leaving that place on Wednesday. Lieutenant Colonel Prince, with a party at Verona on Tuesday, captured eighteen large boxes of infantry equipment complete; some of them marked Colonel P. D. Roddey. Several boxes of canteens, a quantity of Confederate cloth, over one-hundred new wall tents complete, the commissary stores embracing several barrels of sugar, small arms and ammunition, eight wagons pressed for the purpose were loaded and brought away and the rest of the spoils were destroyed on the spot.
On our march returning a bridge gave way in the night and the loads were burned and the wagons abandoned.
Wednesday night, Dec. 17th, our whole party camped at Harrisburg, a deserted town about two miles northwest of Tupelo. Thursday morning before day we took up the line of March on our return and halted before noon to feed, about nine miles east of Pontotoc. At about noon, at a point about six miles east of Pontotoc, riding in advance with my escort, I learned that a large rebel force, said to be six or seven thousand strong, were in Pontotoc.
Thinking that this force was sent to cut off my small command I looked for them to advance on the road eastward towards Tupelo. Closing up my column it was quickly thrown off the road to the north and moved by neighboring roads to the northwest, with a view of passing some four miles north Pontotoc.
Approaching the road from Pontotoc to Tuscumbia we fell in with rebel flankers or stragglers, about three miles from Pontotoc, capturing three and wounding one, while others escaped.
It was here ascertained that the rebel column was moving out from Pontotoc on the Ripley road directly to the railroad and passing across our front about one mile distant. The head of the rebel column was feeding on the road about one and a half miles distant, the smoke of their campfires being plainly seen.
My horses were so worn out from hard and long marches that it was deemed imprudent to encounter an enemy so superior in numbers and mounted on fresh horses. My object was to avoid them, if possible, if not, to fight at their rear.
Throwing out a small guard at a strong position to guard our right flank the column was promptly moved toward Pontotoc on the Tuscumbia road, capturing several stragglers from the rebel force by the wayside. Passing down this road the rebel column was for the space of a mile in full view, moving north on the Ripley road and about three-fourths of a mile to the west of us.
Arriving at Pontotoc it was found that the rear of the enemy had left town but could still be seen in the distance moving north. Couriers were here detailed and a dispatch put into their hands to advise the General commanding that this force was moving north and an escort ordered to conduct the couriers eight miles on the Oxford road.
My command left Pontotoc at about sundown on the Rockyford road, bearing a little west of north and running near the Ripley road, making a demonstration of attack on the enemy's left flank.
Following this road about three miles, when day light was disappearing, we turned southwest and east on byways through the country across the road to Pototoc and Oxford and following this a few miles we started again south and crossed the Yockena on a bridge, where we camped for the night.
I here found, to my surprise, that the escort and couriers, by a fatal misapprehension of my orders, had not left the column. Other couriers were at once sent forward for Oxford but lost their way in the Yockena bottom, and traveling all night, found themselves farther from Oxford than when they left camp, and did not arrive until morning.
Early yesterday morning, the 19th, we took up the line of march and Colonel Hatch was sent with the command to the cavalry camp on the Yockena river and with my escort, after a long days march, I reached Oxford at 5:30 p.m. last evening and reported to you the facts that on the 18th a large rebel cavalry force passed from Pontotoc north on the Ripley road.
The expedition to Okolona has been most laborious and the men and horses are completely worn down and wholly unfit for service for a few days.
Men and horses subsisted upon the country through which we passed. A days march usually began before day and closed after night halting to feed but once a day, usually from ten a.m. to one p.m.
The men lived chiefly on fresh meat, sweet potatoes and corn bread, roasted in cornhusks and often without salt. Men and officers, however, were cheerful and prompt in every duty.
In six days we marched about two-hundred miles, worked two days on the railroad, captured about one-hundred-fifty prisoners, destroyed thirty-four miles of important railroad and a large amount of public stores of the enemy and returned, passing around an enemy of nine to our one, and reached camp without having a man killed, wounded or captured.
Colonel Hatch of the Second Iowa, commanding the Second Brigade, Lieutenant Crego acting Assistant Adjutant General of my division and Lieutenant Davis my untiring and effective aid in accomplishing the result attained. Mr. Taffing, topographical engineer, accompanied the expedition and collected matter for a very good map of the roads over which we passed.
I have the honor to be very respectfully your obedient servant,
T. LYLE DICKEY
Colonel and Chief of Cavalry Commanding Division.
The following in regard to exchange of prisoners may be of interest to some:
Fayette county, Tennessee, Dec. 8, 1862, Commander United States Army at LaGrange, Tennessee: On the 18th of November Lieutenant Colonel Dawson of the Confederate States army captured and paroled Captain G. J. Shepardson of Company I, Fourth Illinois Cavalry, and E. B. Powers a private of Captain Sherpardson's company. Also M. S. Payone a private of Company D. Tenth Illinois Regiment; also on the 28th of November the Confederate State forces under my command captured and paroled R. E. Ryan, Aponze Baker, Charles Butler, Adam Sterns, John Clon, Wilson Goodwin, Jesse Mintrow and J. A. Rutherford of the one-hundred and Thirtieth and the Seventh Illinois Regiments of the United States forces.
On the 26 of November the United States Army captured Captain J. W. Marshall, Captain P. W. Moore, Lieutenant Anderson and ten privates, all attached to Colonel Dawson's battalion of Cavalry, Confederate states army.
Ten days have now elapsed, when under the sixth cartel, all should have been paroled, but so far as I am advised only Captain Moore and Privates Reynolds and Warren have been paroled. I invariably parole prisoners in a very few days after capture, and hoped that alike humane practice would prevail with the United States Army. I now propose the exchange of Captain Shepardson for Captain Marshall and private for private, according to lists and paroles herewith inclosed. Adjutant J. l. B. Barksdale of Lieutenant Colonel Dawson's Battalion and A. W. Montague are bearers of flag of truce and this dispatch, to make exchange, etc.
I have the honor to be respectfully,
R. V. RICHARDSON,
Colonel Commanding Partisan Rangers in West Tennessee
Richmond, May 11, 1863. The following notice relative to exchange of prisoners is published for the information of all concerned:
General Order No. 58, Adjutant and Inspecting Generals Office. (Exchange Notice No. 5)
Richmond, May 9, 1863. The following confederate officers and men have been duly exchanged and are hereby so declared:
All officers and men who have been delivered at City Point at any time previous to May 6, 1863.
1 All Officers captured at any place before the 1st of April 1863, who have been released on parole.
2 All men captured in North Carolina or Virginia before the 1st of March 1863, who have been released on parole.
3 The officers and men captured and paroled by General S. P. Carter in his expedition to West Tennessee in December last.
4 The officers and men captured and paroled by Lieutenant Colonel Stuart at VanBuren, Arkansas, Jan. 25, 1863; by Colonel T. L. Dickey in December, 1862, in his march to the Mobile and Ohio railroad and by Captain Cameron at Corinth, Mississippi, in December, 1862.
5 The officers and men paroled at Oxford, Mississippi, on the 23rd of December, 1862, at DesArch, Arkansas, on the 17th of January, 1863, and at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on the 23d of February, 1863.
January 2, 1863-Our regiment with the Seventh Kansas, under Colonel Lee, started north on a raid after Colonel Richardson's Partisan Rangers. We went through Moscow and on the Summerville. Anyone that was on the Summerville trip will never forget it.
We did not see anything of the partisan Rangers that we were supposed to be looking for, but there was lots of booze found and drank in Somerville and the majority of the command was too drunk to be effective, especially was this true of the Seventh Kansas Cavalry, but many of our boys were under the influence of liquor who I never saw in such a condition before or afterwards.
It was very difficult to get the command together to leave town. Company I was ordered to rendezvous on the road in the edge of the timber. A few of us that were sober got there first and formed in line by the side of the road, others fell in as they came along, drunk or sober.
The most amusing thing that came under my notice was when Jerry Hough came along. He felt pretty good and as he passed in front of our line, towards the left to fall in, he undertook to give us a "hurrah" and in throwing himself back to yell, overdid it and went "caplunk" into the mud, which was thin and about shoe-top deep. Jerry did not finish his "hurrah," but we finished it for him. He was a sorry looking sight when he picked himself out of the mud. I don't remember of having seen Hough under the influence of liquor but that one time.
Below is Colonel Lee's report of the expedition into Summerville, Tennessee:
Germantown, Tennessee, March 5, 1863, Colonel r. M. Sawyer, Assistant Adjutant General: On the 3d day of January last I arrived at Moscow, Tennessee, from Holly Springs, Mississippi, with my command consisting of the Seventh Kansas Cavalry and ten companies of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry. I had few rations and subsisted on the country.
On the 5th of January I was directed to move north of Wolf River and endeavor to clear that country of Richardson's Cavalry. At ten a.m. of that day I moved, meeting with much delay in crossing the Wolf River.
About seven miles from Moscow I received the following telegrams: "LaGrange, Jan. 2, 1863, Colonel Lee, Moscow, Tennessee. The following just received at Holly Springs: Let Lee collect horses, mules, saddles and bridles and mount as many infantry as possible to clean out the gorillas between the Hatchee and the Tallahatchie rivers. U. S. Grant." "Take all available animals you can find as well as saddles and we will soon fit up a force. ----C. S. Hamilton."
I immediately detached companies from my column directing them to bring in all horses, mules, saddles and bridles fit for use.
At seven p.m. I bivouacked at a plantation six miles from the town of Somerville. It was rumored that the enemy were in small force at that place and I gave orders to move at three a.m. on the following morning, hoping to surprise and capture any force there. We had marched some miles after dark and I was satisfied that none in advance of us knew of our presence in the vicinity. No fires were allowed and the men were forced to lie down supperless. Soon a severe rainstorm commenced and continued all night.
At three a.m. I moved my command on Somerville, Tennessee. We reached and surrounded that town before day. Finding no force of the enemy, I immediately appointed Lieutenant Colonel Herrick, of the Seventh Kansas, Provost Marshal of the town, placed six companies at his disposal and directed him to examine and search the town for Confederate officers and soldiers, also to take all horses mules and equipment's they could find.
I was here informed that Richardson's force was camped about twelve miles north of this point. I immediately sent a force in that direction to learn the accuracy of the report. I also dispatched scouting parties on all roads leading from the town, directing them to bring in all animals fit for service, which they could find.
In town many citizens were arrested, suspected of connection with the southern army. These I personally examined and released.
The people of the town treated the soldiers well and offered them, in singular profusion, wines and liquors of all kinds. The town was literally full of intoxicating liquors. At one storehouse I discovered fourteen barrels of Whiskey which belonged to the Confederate Army. As a result of this unfortunate profusion of strong drinks many soldiers, who had neither supper or breakfast and had laid on the ground through a night of pelting storm, were induced to drink and as a consequence I discovered that many were intoxicated.
Here occurred a melancholy incident. At the southern border of the Town Company B of the Seventh Kansas, under Captain Fred Sawyer, had been stationed as a picket.
The Captain had discovered a quantity of Commissary stores in a building near by and had stationed a guard at the entrance. The Captain himself had visited a house near by to obtain breakfast and there drank to such an extent as to become somewhat exhilarated.
During his absence a couple of men of his company persisted in the endeavor to pass into the storehouse mentioned, but were prevented by the guard. On his return to his company the case was reported. The Captain ordered the company to fall in and the men alluded to deliver their arms and go in arrest. His tone was harsh and peremptory in the extreme. One of the men demurred and attempted to explain. He commanded his to desist and remove his arms, drawing his pistol and telling him he would shoot if he said another word. The man again spoke and the Captain fired, the ball passing into the body of the man. Instantly one of the company fired at the Captain but did not wound him. The Captain rode toward him and the man ran, the former soon overtaking him, both riding rapidly, and shot him through the head, killing him instantly. At the same moment the man fired and his ball passed through the body of the Captain.
The company was in confusion and many shots were fired at the Captain who rode rapidly into town. He was taken into a house and died the following day.
During this occurrence I was at the court house one-half mile from this scene. I immediately dispatched the commanding officer of the regiment with a company to quell the mutiny. It was readily quieted though the men remained much excited.
The state of my command and the inclemency of the weather convinced me that it would be unwise to continue burdened with many lead animals.
I immediately withdrew the main portion of my command from the town, leaving Lieutenant Colonel Wallace of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry in charge of the detachment of the Seventh Kansas, to await the return of parties sent out.
The main body proceeded some distance, and fed their horses, halting until all came up. That night we bivouacked south of Wolf River near Moscow and the next morning reached our camp, bringing with us nearly three hundred head of captured horses and mules.
At Somerville two or three stores were opened and some plundering effected by drunken men. From complaints made and proven to me I had no doubt, too, that robbery and outrages were committed. The officers of the command were sober and did all in their power to enforce order among the men. My personal staff, especially, risked their lives in quelling insubordination of drunken men.
Arriving at camp I directed regimental court martial's to try all men who had become intoxicated. This was done and the next day the command was paraded and sentences of the courts, depriving more than two hundred of one-month pay and inflicting further punishment, were published. At my request a general court martial was called to try the graver offences, which has continued until a recent date.
Regarding this unfortunate expedition I can only say in mitigation of its excesses, for more than a month immediately preceding, these troops had been engaged in the most arduous, dangerous and fatiguing service and during most of that time had subsisted alone on what could be gleaned from the country. They were almost worn out. The absence of two successive meals and the suffering incident to the severe exposure of the night previous induced them readily to drink and the liquor was necessarily speedy in its effect. Before anyone could suspect the possibility of such an event, numbers were drunk. I am your obedient servant.
Colonel Commanding Second Brigade
We staid at Moscow about two weeks and were kept busy picketing, guarding forage trains, patrolling and scouting. While here we had a picket station four or five miles out on the Holly Springs road. It took about twenty men for that post and it was so far from camp it was necessary to be very vigilant.
One bright moonlight night Jim Carter's relief came from twelve till two. He suddenly saw a man coming down the road toward him and without a challenge banged away at him. The report of Jim's carbine brought the reserve out in a jiffy. When we arrived Jim was standing at his post looking foolishly at the object he fired at. It looked just like a man before he fired but it looked just like a stump now, and that is what it was.
Jan. 23d-We moved to Colliersville, twenty-five miles east of Memphis, on the Memphis & Charleston railroad, where we staid some months.
Lieutenant J. B. Cook of Company F was in command of the company. Captain Shepardson and Lieutenant Hyde were engaged in a court martial case and Lieutenant Parker was on detached service.
Jan. 27th-Several scouting parties were out in different directions. Twenty-six men of Company I made up a party that went out on the Mount Pleasant road. We soon struck the trail of a rebel cavalry force. Further on we met three of our infantry men on two old horses. They said they had been taken prisoners the evening before near their camp by a force of rebel cavalry in our uniforms. They were paroled that morning.
The rebels numbered sixty-four. Lieutenant Cook was determined to give them a fight if we could overtake them. We took after them at a gallop, for about two miles, when we surprised them at a house off in the woods. They were dismounted and did not suspect that we were in pursuit, until we fired on their picket. We did not suppose that we had surprised them but thought they had a trap laid for us as they had a mounted picket in the gateway near the house and he let us come up in close rifle range and in plain view without giving the alarm. We then dismounted and proceeded to fight them on foot.
We were in open timber and they were hid, somewhat, by brush about the house, but at the first fire the rebels broke and run as though they thought the devil was after them. We mounted as soon as we saw them breaking and gave chase but they had too much the start of us and all got away.
Lieutenant Hitt was out near Center Hill the same day with about the same number of men as there was of us from company I. They ran onto a force of about forty rebel cavalry who charged Lieutenant Hitt's command and routed them killing two and wounding and capturing several, including Lieutenant Hitt who was both wounded and taken prisoner.
Feb. 9th-A scouting force of twenty-sex men, seventeen from Company I and nine from Company F, under Lieutenant Cook, went to Mount Pleasant and started to return on the Hernando road.
About two miles this side of Mount Pleasant we met a force of about forty rebel cavalry, under Captain Mitchel. The Lieutenant made a mistake here for instead of charging them in column he deployed and dismounted us. We gave them a few rounds, when the rebels turned off in the woods and disappeared at a pell mell gait. We charged after them but they had too much the start of us and all escaped.
We came across the trail of another rebel force; reported to be Wall's Legion; one hundred strong, but we did not see them.
Feb. 25th-Company I musters fifty men; sick and absent, nine; detailed, five; leaving thirty-six for duty. I am told Company I has more men for duty than any other company in the regiment. Our good health is believed to be largely due to our having stoves in our tents, which no other company have. We bought them ourselves at $8,00, and sheet iron at that.
Our Regiment muster's one-hundred and seventy-six men and one-hundred non-commissioned officers for duty, exclusive of Company A who are still with General Grant as his body guard.
Besides the affairs mentioned above we have been kept quite busy scouting, picketing and guarding forage trains, when nothing occurred worth relating.
Expedition from Colliersville, Tennessee. Report of Lieutenant Colonel M. R. M. wallace of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, Colliersville, Tennessee, March 12, 1863, in pursuance of orders from Brigadier Headquarters dated March 8, 1863, I took 210 men of the Seventh Kansas and 170 men of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry and proceeded west from Little bridge on the Wolf river, about three miles west of this place, northeast through Fisherville to the Memphis and Somerville stage road, where we met five of the enemy's cavalry who fled at our approach. Thence along the road over the Cypress levee to about two mile east of that place, then turned to the left and proceeded to a little village called Wythes depot, and there fed the command.
While there one of the troopers, who had been placed on picket, left his post and rode to a house near by for the purpose, he said, of taking prisoner a couple of Richardson's men he had heard were there eating dinner. He was himself taken prisoner and is now in camp with his parole.
Several shots were fired at the guards in the road while at this place. From thence we proceeded in a northwestern direction to Jackson's mill on the Loosahatchie and captured, near the river, one of Richardson's men.
Here a very unfortunate circumstance occurred. A man by the name of Forbes, being near the road and seeing my flankers coming through his field, armed himself and on the approach of two of the flankers to the house and being ordered by them to come out, refused to do so and immediately fired, cutting the carbine belt and riddling the overcoat of one of the soldiers, He then ran to another house and refused to come out. The men burst the door open and rushed in, firing upstairs at him and he in turn firing at them. One man of Company E, Fourth Illinois Cavalry, fell in the house badly wounded and one of Company B fell mortally wounded and has since died.
The soldiers immediately set the house on fire. This brought Forbes out and when I rode up it was hardly possible to save the house. It might probably have been done, had we nothing else to do. The first words spoken by Forbes were "Oh, gentlemen, I am mistaken," and from that time protested he was a Union man. He was severely wounded in the right army and we left him at his house, he being unable to travel. The evidence is overwhelming that he is a genuine Union man.
After disposing of the dead and wounded I proceeded with the command to Galway station on the Mobile & Ohio railroad, about twenty-five miles from this place, by the road we traveled, not being able to communicate with Colonel Grierson as yet.
At daylight on the morning of the 10th inst., I proceeded on the north road to Concordia. Here I learned that Captain Grierson with the Sixth Illinois Cavalry had, at about ten o'clock on the day previous, surprised Richardson in his camp, and, after a fight of about twenty minutes, Richardson and his men fled, leaving their camp an easy prey, which he wholly destroyed. I immediately sent a party to community with him and his reply was he did not know I was out and I might do what I thought proper.
I also sent a party back to Jackson to pick up the wounded man and bring him to camp. I proceeded with the balance of the command west on the Randolph road and after traveling about two miles and just entering the bottom of East River Dam Creek, I ran onto a squad of Richardson's men.
The advance guard, under Lieutenant J. Smith of Company C, Seventh Kansas Cavalry, engaged them and drove them rapidly along the road. I immediately ordered forward Company A, Seventh Kansas, to the support of Lieutenant Smith and they pursued the flying rebels, taking several prisoners.
When I reached the edge of the bottom with the head of the column I found the main body of the rebels had left the road, turning south. I then ordered back the advance and took the trail of the main body and followed them into the swamp of Beaver Dam Bottom until they were scattered to the four winds of heaven. From the best information I can gather there were about one hundred in the party when we first met them.
The rain came down in torrents all day and made the bottom and swamps very difficult to pass over. After becoming satisfied that Richardson's force was well scattered, I turned back and proceeded to near Gallaway station, the place where I had encamped the night previous.
Thence to the Brownville and Memphis road, thence southwest towards Memphis, Tennessee, and crossed the Looshatchie river, near the house of Captain J.H. Murray of Richardson's command, near Wyatt's station of the Mobile & Ohio railroad.
After passing Wythes' about one and one-half miles, the advance guard came upon a Negro picket, who ran upon our approach, to the house of General Hayes at present occupied by his son. A. J. Hayes. The advance promptly moved up and surrounded the dwellings on the plantation, but some of the birds had flown. Colonel R. F. Looney called Brigadier General Looney, formerly Colonel of Thirty-eight Tennessee, Major R. A. Sanford formerly of said regiment and Captain D. Bright all fled but were overtaken and captured by the promptness of the advance. After securing the prisoners I encamped the command on the plantation.
At daylight on the morning of the 11th inst., I moved about one mile to the southwest towards Memphis, crossing Clear Creek at that place, then in a southeast direction towards Morning Sun on the Mississippi State road to Fisherville, thence to little Bridge on the Wolf River.
Here I divided the command, sending the Seventh Kansas with the prisoners, under Major Merriam of that regiment, to Germantown with orders to report to Colonel A. L. Lee commanding Brigade, and the Fourth Illinois cam into camp at this place.
The following is a List of prisoners with rank taken on this expedition: Colonel R. F. Looney, Thirty-eighth Tennessee, Colonel Partisan Rangers; R. A. Sanford, First Lieutenant and Adjutant of Thirty-eighth Tennessee; Captain D. Bright of Company K, Eighteenth Mississippi. The names of nine men omitted. Where all acted cheerfully and bravely it would be invidious to discriminate. Respectfully submitted,
M. R. M. WALLACE
Lieutenant Colonel, Detachment Second
Brigade Cavalry Division.
This expedition was out at the same time and not far from the place where Colonel Wallace was:
Report of Colonel Benjamin H, Grierson of the Sixth Illinois Cavalry, Commanding First Cavalry Brigade, Sixteenth Army Corps, LaGrange, Tennessee, March 16, 1863:
In accordance with instructions from General Hamilton I left camp on the 8th inst. With 900 men of the Sixth and Seventh Illinois Cavalry, on an expedition against Richardson and his command.
When about three miles of Somerville our advance came upon a party of rebels who immediately fled. Encamping here for the night, I sent a company of the Seventh Illinois in pursuit of the enemy and succeeded in wounding four and capturing one man and a few horses.
Here I received information of the removal of Richardson's camp, which was confirmed by a communication, which I received from scouts, whom I had previously sent out to go into his camp.
On the 9th at three a.m. I proceeded northwest, making a forced march of thirty-five miles in seven hours, over roads almost impassable from the recent heavy rains. We came upon him on Big Creek, three miles southeast of Covington, attacked and completely routed him, killing twenty-two, wounding and capturing over seventy, among whom were Captains Cobb and Cushman, also taking and destroying his camp and equipage, commissary and quartermaster's stores, his trains, ammunition and records.
I find among the latter over two-hundred paroles of Federal Soldiers, all his muster roles, lists of conscript letters and receipts, giving the names of a number of citizens who have been engaged in smuggling arms, ammunition and equipment's from Memphis and other points for the enemy. Also some valuable maps of the country between the Memphis & Charleston railroad and the Hatchee river.
We scoured the country thoroughly in the vicinity of the Hatchee and Covington rivers, also south towards Partersville. On the 10th I moved southeast to Mason's depot, whence a detachment of the Second Brigade, under Lieutenant Colonel Wallace of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry reported to me and whom I ordered to scout the country southwest towards Gallaway and Wyth depot.
I encamped near Belmont on the night of the 10th and four miles south of Somerville on the night of the 11th, returning to this place on the 12th about two p.m. I have the satisfaction to report the success of the expedition, having lost none, Killed or wounded, and but four prisoners who have since returned paroled.
Respectfully, B J. GRIERSON,
I have copied below from my diary one-month's operations as I recorded it at the time. This is taken at random and is a fair sample of the duties we have had to perform, not only while we were at Colliersville but for months before and afterward until we were discharged:
March 2nd, 1863, Fifty men from Companies B, I and M, under Lieutenant J. B. Cook, went out on the Coldwater foraging for beef cattle. We brought in twenty head.
March 3d; have been hauling lumber from deserted buildings for stables.
March 4th, A force of thirty-five men went out this morning at daylight, under Lieutenant Allshouse of Company M. When near Mt. Pleasant they discovered a force of the rebel cavalry, about their own number, entering town from the opposite direction. The Lieutenant ordered the command to fall back, which they did, unobserved. He then sent word to a party of the Fifth Ohio Cavalry from LaFayette, that happened to be near there, to go round in the rear of them. After waiting for some time for them to get to the rear he charged into town. The Johnnies made no resistance by broke and fled in great disorder. If the Fifth Ohio Cavalry had been prompt in getting around we would have furnished the material for a small graveyard and hospital, but they were a little too late and the rebels escaped. At eight a.m. another expedition, consisting of thirty-one wagons with a heavy guard, went out near the Coldwater for forage.
March 5th, scouts brought in the report that the pickets on the Fisherville road were to be attacked last night so a force of thirty men from our regiment were sent out to support them. We left camp at tattoo and came cautiously up to the picket post and watched until morning but no enemy appeared.
March 7th, a force of fifty men, under Captain Collins of Company B, went out near Mt. Pleasant. They found a lot of sugar cured hams and shoulders stored away, probably for the use of the rebel cavalry, but they brought all into camp.
March 8th, our wagon train, with the effective force of our regiment and one hundred infantry as guards, went out on the Coldwater for forage. While the wagons were being loaded a squad of thirty men from Companies H, I and K of our regiment, under Lieutenant Callon, were sent across the Creek for pickets. While there a force of rebels attempted to cut us off from the bridge but we saved ourselves by a scratch.
March 9th, the effective force of our regiment, excepting Company I, crossed Wolf river at an early hour this morning accompanied by the Seventh Kansas Cavalry, Lieutenant Colonel M. R M. Wallace commanding. It is understood this force is to co-operate with Colonel Grierson's command against Richardson's Partisan Rangers. (See Grierson's and Wallace's report elsewhere.)
March 11th, our regiment came in this afternoon. Colonel Lee's Brigade did not get out in time to assist Colonel Grierson, who had already routed Richardson, taken his camp, killed a number and took many prisoners. Our men picked up a few stragglers among whom were General Looney and his staff.
March 13th, a force of sixty men from our regiment went on a scout south at daybreak.
March 15th, our wagon train went out this morning for forage with a guard of 150 men from our regiment. When they arrived at the place where they intended to load the wagons they found about 250-rebel cavalry waiting for them. The rebels made a faint attempt to take the wagon train but were repulsed with some loss. The casualties on our side were two men wounded. The train returned empty.
March 16th, the effective force of our regiment was ordered out at 1 p.m. with rations for one day. They were joined by three hundred men from Germantown of the Seventh Kansas and the Fifth Ohio Cavalry.
March 17th, the force that went out yesterday returned today. When out near Mt. Pleasant they struck upon a cavalry trail going east. They followed it up for ten or twelve miles, when they suddenly came upon a force of rebel cavalry, about one-hundred strong, which they charged immediately and scattered to the four winds. The enemy had three killed and ten or twelve taken prisoners. There were no casualties on our side. After scouring the country for some distance and finding nothing more the expedition returned to camp.
March 19th, a small force, under Captain Wallace, went out early yesterday morning to Mt. Pleasant and returned.
March 20th, our regiment was paid off today. We drew two month's pay and are now paid up to November last.
March 22d, the effective force of our regiment was ordered out at daybreak this morning. We went to Mt. Pleasant by the Hernando road and returned to camp by way of LaFayette. We went out on the strength of a report that a force of four thousand rebel cavalry had crossed the Tallahatchie and were to camp at Mt. Pleasant last night. We saw nothing of them.
March 23d, a small party of our regiment went out last night at ten o'clock. They crossed the Wolf river and went to the house of Captain Dailey, a guerilla leader, arresting him and another officer, returning to camp at three o'clock the next morning, riding all night, traveling in all about thirty miles.
March 28th, A scouting force of fifty men went out at daybreak and returned. At one p.m. "boots and saddles were blown" and every man ordered to saddle immediately and in a few minutes we were in line. A force of rebel cavalry made an attack on the railroad near Moscow and we were sent out to try to intercept them. We made a rapid march to the Coldwater and from there to Mt. Pleasant, hoping to cut them off somewhere along the road, but they did not cross in that direction. We returned to camp, having traveled about thirty-five miles. Major Towsend was in command.
March 30th A force of sixty men from our regiment, under Lieutenant Taylor, made nearly the same circuit that was made Saturday, under Major Townsend. We started at four a.m. and got back to camp at noon.
April 3d, At three p.m., yesterday, seventy-five men, under Major Wemple, crossed Wolf River and started out in the direction of Macon, a town six or seven miles north of LaFayette. The object of the expedition was to surprise some guerillas at their homes, if possible. At Captain Porter's two miles west of Macon, we learned that a force of our men, from another direction, had been there during the day, so we returned to Porter's Mills and bivouacked until morning. It was one o'clock a.m. when we got to the mills. We returned to camp this morning, bringing in five or six horses that we picked up on the trip.
April 27th, The entire effective force of our regiment started out, under Colonel Wallace, and arrived in LaGrange the next morning, after traveling all night, much of the time in the rain. Here we were joined by the Second Iowa Cavalry, Sixth Iowa Mounted Infantry, a battalion of the Second Tennessee Cavalry and Four pieces of ten-pound artillery, in all about 1500 men, Colonel Hatch from here in command.
We went to Ripley, New Albany, passed near Pontotoc, through Chesterville, near Tupelo a station on the M. & O. R. R. thirty miles south of Corinth and south through Vernon to the Tewappa River. The bridge being burned we turned back and went west on the Pontotoc road and crossed the Tallahatchie river at New Albany, passed through Ripley and on to LaGrange and back to camp, over the road we went out on, where we arrived at three p.m. May 6th.
We left the trophies of our trip at LaGrange, consisting of about three hundred horses and mules, one hundred and fifty wagons and twenty-seven prisoners.
The object of our expedition was to divert the attention of a large force of rebels that were in that section, under General Chalmers, from Colonel Grierson who started on his famous raid through central Mississippi the same day we started on our expedition. We accomplished this expedition without firing only a few guns. We took four day'' rations and were gone ten days and of course we lived off the county.
Report of Colonel Edward Hatch, Second Iowa Cavalry, Commanding Cavalry Brigade to Captain William Morgan, Assistant Adjutant General.
LaGrange, Tennessee, June 5, 1863: Complying with Brigadier General Smith's orders we left LaGrange on the morning of April 29, 1863, with the Second Iowa Cavalry, Sixth Iowa Mounted Infantry, Fourth Illinois Cavalry, four ten pound powder guns and eight men of the West Tennessee Cavalry, in all an effective force of 1300 men, to attack the forces of the enemy concentrating at New Albany and Pontotoc, to intercept the supposed return of Colonel Grierson.
We marched thirty eight miles south of Ripley, learning that General Chalmer (confederate) with a force of 1500 men and one piece of artillery, had encamped at New Albany and would dispute our passage of the Tallahatchie river, passed at this point by two bridges each about two hundred feet long, on the morning of the thirtieth, threw forward a detachment toward the bridges, moving with the main body to the crossing at Lee's Mills, eight miles above, re-crossed the Tallahatchie at Rocky Ford going south.
I immediately took up the line of March toward Pontotoc, marching nearly all night in a rainstorm, hoping to come upon him at any point. When within six miles of Pontotoc my scouts informed me that Chalmers had again taken flight, hurriedly, for Greneda.
Learning there could be no doubt of Colonel Grierson having moved rapidly to Baton Rouge, on May 3d, we took up our line of March toward LaGrange, arriving here on the 5th of May, bringing in about four hundred captured stock and twenty prisoners.
Very respectfully, your obedient Servant
May 22d, The effective force of our regiment, excepting Companies E and C, under Major Townsend, started out at an early hour and crossed the Coldwater at Quinns Mill. When Near Byhalia we came onto a force of the enemy and not knowing their strength we were ordered back across the Coldwater where we were soon joined by Colonel McCrellis with the Third and Ninth Illinois Cavalry from Germantown, to whose command we belonged, and also by Colonel Hatch with the Second and Sixth Iowa and a battery of artillery from LaGrange.
When we moved on and dispersed the enemy passed through Byhalia, Corcoran, Buck Snort and on to Senatobia. The third day out our regiment had the advance and Company I the extreme advance.
Chalmers was at Senatobia with a force estimated at 2000. Colonel Hatch went around in the rear with his command and McCrellis attacked from the front but Chalmers slipped out and got away.
Some miscreant from our regiment set fire to the town and several buildings burned. The command broke up after Colonel Hatch satisfied himself that the rebels had gone south of the Tallahatchie River and each command went to its own camp. We were absent on this expedition five days.
Colonel McCrellis below makes a brief report of this expedition, but Colonel Hatch makes a more full report, which here follows McCrellis' report.
Report of Colonel LaFayette McCrellis, Third Illinois Cavalry, Commanding Second Cavalry Brigade to Major General S. A. Hurlbut:
Germantown, May 25, 1863: My command has returned and is in camp. I have the honor to report that on the 23d inst., at noon, two miles east of Senatobia on Basket Creek, I came up with General Chalmers rebel forces, 1500 strong, commanded by Colonel R. McCulloch, and in three hours whipped him out and drove him into Panola.
Casualties: Killed and wounded none. Rebel loss, eleven killed. They admit fifteen wounded.
L. F. McCRELLIS
Colonel Commanding Second Brigade
Following is Colonel Hatch's report of this expedition to Captain W. H. Morgan, Assistant Adjutant General Cavalry Division:
LaGrange, Tennessee, May 31, 1863: I have the honor to report that complying with orders from General Smith, I left camp at LaGrange, Tennessee, on the morning of May 21, 1863, to carry out instructions from Major General Hurlbut to beat up the rebel general, Chalmer's, quarters and disperse his forces, collecting stock and provisions and destroying forage.
I proceeded with the Second Iowa Cavalry, Sixth Iowa infantry, detachments of the Sixth and Seventh Illinoi9s Cavalry, three two pound guns of the First Illinois Light Artillery and one section of six pounder's of Cooper's Battery, to Mt. Pleasant, thence two miles south of Byhalia, where I was joined by Colonel McCrellis Second brigade of Cavalry with two howitzers. Colonel McCrellis having driven the enemy out of Byhalia two hours before.
Having reason to believe the enemy would offer battle at Cockrums Cross Roads, on the morning of May 22d, I dispatched Colonel McCrelli's command by a road to my left to take the enemy in flank and rear while I moved the balance of my command by direct road to Cockrums. The enemy's picket disputed the ground steadily to this point. The enemy retreated from Cockrums toward Looxohoma on Jim wolf Creek.
May 23d, At daylight the enemy attacked my pickets, leading me to believe they would fight at Looxohoma. We marched early that morning, skirmishing with the enemy, to Looxohoma.
At this point I sent Colonel McCrellis to feel the enemy toward Senatobia and inform me if he found them in force. I moved the main column through Looxohoma, driving an inferior force south toward Panola. Colonel McCrellis reported that he found the enemy in force four miles from Looxohoma in a very strong position in the swamps of Senatobia Creek. I immediately sent him orders to press the enemy, slowly, while I pushed around the enemy's right flank to his rear. The road being rough, after marching six miles, I found my artillery could not move rapidly. Returning the Sixth Iowa to support it, I pushed all my cavalry rapidly southwest six miles further, reaching the main Senatobia and Panola road six miles south of Senatobia. Supposing the main body of the enemy had not escaped from Colonel McCrellis, I pushed the cavalry rapidly toward Senatobia.
In the meantime the enemy, after a sharp skirmish with Colonel McCrellis, had broken and fled rapidly, avoiding the main column, leaving nine killed in the fight in the swamps about Senatobia Creek. A few minutes after reaching the town it was fired on the windward side.
Although active inquires have been made so far the officers have failed to ascertain the perpetrators and though both men and officers of Colonel McCrellis' command worked resolutely and cheerfully to extinguish the fire I am under the impression that the building were fired by men of his command or some citizen scouts that happened to be with the Brigade at the time.
Great credit is due the command of Colonel McCrellis in driving the enemy out of the swamps at Senatobia, a very strong position.
Camping that night two miles south of the town, I pushed Colonel McCrellis' command south toward Panola and other detachments in other directions, as the enemy had gone on different roads.
Colonel McCrellis reported the following day at Coldwater Station. He had driven the detachments of the enemy going south over the Tallahatchie River. The next day, may 26, I broke my command up in detachments, sending one column by way of Cockrum's Cross roads and near Holly Springs to LaGrange, one by way of Mt. Pleasant, Colliersville and LaGrange, one direct to Colliersville and one to Germantown, with orders to scour the country for guerillas.
The weather being hot and dusty I lost many animals, which I was able to replace, bringing in four hundred at the different posts. The casualties in this scout were five men wounded. The cattle were turned over to Colonel McCrellis at Hernando.
Very respectfully your obedient servant
June 7th, The troops all left Colliersville but our regiment and for nearly a week we held the place alone. We were on duty constantly. Our horses were hardly unsaddled during that time.
Since June 16th the effective force of our regiment, under Colonel M. R. M. Wallace, started out with five day's rations and were joined by a detachment of the Third and Ninth Illinois Cavalry from Germantown, Under Colonel McCrellis. The advance guard was composed of about thirty men from Companies L, under Lieutenant Baker of Company L and I.
At the Coldwater we were fired on from ambush by a small force of rebel cavalry. The rebels instantly broke to run and the Lieutenant ordered a charge but we were hindered somewhat in getting across Coldwater, as we had to ford it, and the water was nearly belly deep on our horses and that gave the rebels the start. We did not give up the chase until we were nearly to Byhalia, which was about five miles.
By this time the rebels had scattered into the brush and we lost all trace of them. We captured five men and several horses. Lieutenant Baker's horse broke a leg in the run and Colonel Wallace told me later that Lieutenant Baker shot his horse accidentally in the charge but he caught a rebel horse and went on with the chase.
I was riding a mule at the time, which could not keep up but did the best it could. Seeing a couple of shotguns lying in the road, that the rebels had dropped, I thought I would stop and pick them up. But no, I could no more stop the mule than I could make him keep up with the column.
Company L had three men slightly wounded and two horses killed. This occurred at the ambush. We went through Byhalia east to Chulahoma and at the Cox Cross roads we were joined by Colonels Hatch and Meisner with the Third Michigan, Second Iowa and the Eleventh Illinois Cavalry Regiments. Here we turned south to Wyatts on the Tallahatchie River, five miles west of the Mississippi Central railroad. We crossed the river on a foot log, swimming our horses. A raft was constructed to get the ambulances and a few pieces of two-pound artillery across.
We went west to Panola on the south side of the river. Panola is about three miles from Wyatt. Company I guarded prisoners the day we got into Panola. We had a prisoner for each man. We were the left file and the prisoners the right file. Three of them were picked up the day before in the road; they were going home on a furlough. They took us for their own men until we were so close to them that they could not escape. We had our jackets off and our Grey shirts deceived the. One of the prisoners was artillery Lieutenant. He commanded the section of artillery that engaged us on November 29 last. Our artillery dismounted one of his guns and his other gun was disabled at Coffeeville three days later by the same battery.
I guarded a wiry little Texan. He made lots of fun of my big feet and awkward riding. He was a cowboy before the war.
Chalmers had been at Panola with a force about equal to ours but he left on our approach. A part of the force, including our regiment. Went down the Memphis & Greneda railroad and burned the bridge over the Yockna river.
Some vandal set fire to the courthouse at Panola, burning it and a lot of the town with it. We brought away fifty stand of arms found in the jail, a caisson, two battery wagons and a printing press. In the read, "The Yankee's have come, look out for your henroosts." Good advice. The printer did not stay to post it up. Some of the boys struck off the following and posted them about town: "The Yankee's have come and Chalmers has run." Also very true. We never got a fight out of Chalmers.
The command broke up after crossing the Tallahatchie and each command went to their own camp. After we crossed the Coldwater we burned everything that was combustible, excepting dwellings. The smoke from the burning fences was almost suffocating. We brought in fifty prisoners and probably two hundred horses and mules.
Report of Colonel McCrellis Third Illinois Cavalry Commanding First Cavalry Brigade to Colonel J. K. Meisner Chief of Cavalry Left Wing, Sixteenth Army Corps:
Germantown, Tennessee, July 13, 1863: In obedience to your orders by telegraph of the 15th of June my command was in the saddle with six day's rations, light, at five a.m. of the 16th day June, 1863, consisting of four companies of the Third Illinois Cavalry, under Captain Kirkbride; eleven companies of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, under Lieutenant Colonel Wallace; and nine companies of the Ninth Illinois Cavalry under Major Gifford; in all 775 men.
After leaving two companies of the Third Illinois at LaFayette and three companies of the Ninth Illinois at Germantown, for patrol duty, I proceeded on the nearest and most practical route to Coldwater. Crossing at Quinn's Mills, where our advance guards encountered a rebel picket of twenty men belonging as state to the Second Missouri Rebel Cavalry.
The advance of my column discovered that the bridge across the Coldwater had been lately destroyed and halted to make preparations for crossing, when the enemy fired a volley from the rear of two out buildings, standing within forty feet of the Creek bank where they were concealed.
Three enlisted men of Company L Fourth Illinois Cavalry were wounded, two seriously and one slightly. As soon as possible the advance guard was crossed and proceeded after the fast retreating enemy, capturing five prisoners. After some little preparation the command was crossed by fording, the wounded being returned to Colliersville by ambulance, with one company for guard with instructions to return to the command by night.
My command advanced steadily on the Byhalia road, the advance skirmishing with the enemy, he having been re-enforced by to companies from Panola, as I learned that were being sent out to relieve the rebel pickets at the Coldwater. Arrived at Byhalia at two p.m. of the same day halting my command for a thirty-minute rest.
From here I proceeded in a southeast direction on the Chulahoma road. Arrived at Chulahoma at 8:30 a.m. of the 17th. From here I proceeded on the Holly Springs road to Cozey's farm where I took the Wyatt road. Arrived at Wyatt at eleven a.m. where I reported to you in person with my command.
In obedience to your orders I directed two companies to cross the Tallahatchie by swimming, being companies H and I Ninth Illinois Cavalry who were ordered to guard the opposite side while preparation were being made to cross the command. During the afternoon of the same day companies F, G, H and C, Ninth Illinois Cavalry, were crossed and joined the two companies above mentioned, being all that I was able to cross before dark, owing to the crossing of Colonel Hatch's command.
At daylight the following morning I finished the crossing of my command and reported to you for orders. Camping with the Second and Fourth Brigade the same night, sending one staff officer as directed by you for orders at daylight on the morning of the nineteenth.
I then proceeded with my command, as directed, on the Oxford and Panola road towards Panola. Arriving at Panola at seven a.m. I halted my command to await orders. I detailed one company, agreeable to your order, for provost guard in the town. I then proceeded south on the Charleston road, as directed by you, a distance of five miles, halted my command and sent small scouting parties east, south and west to gather horses and mules.
Receiving orders from you to move my command back to Panola by three p.m. I proceeded on the same road back arriving at the ferry at 3:30 p.m. Crossing the Tallahatchie River I proceeded with my command to camp seven miles north of Panola on the Hernando road.
Receiving orders from you the following morning to the effect that I should fall in the rear of the Fourth brigade with my whole command I remained in camp until they came up. At Wallace's I received information of the presence of one hundred-rebel cavalry two miles to my left, proceeding north. I detached seven companies of the Ninth and two companies of the Third Illinois Cavalry, under Major Gifford of the Ninth Illinois Cavalry ordering him to scour the country on my left and report to me with his command at Senatobia. Failing to report for some cause at that place I proceeded to Coldwater Station to hold the crossing of the Coldwater as directed.
Arriving at the place of crossing I found evidence of the enemy having crossed in force some two or three days previous, going north. The ferryboat, I found, was cut loose at its place and that an attempt had been made to sink it.
While preparations were being made to cross the command I received orders from you to send the available force of the Ninth Cavalry to report to you that night. I immediately dispatched a staff officer to Senatobia with orders to Major Gifford to report with his command to you immediately on the Helena road five miles west of Senatobia. I crossed my command and proceeded to camp five miles from Hernando, leaving one company at the crossing of the Coldwater for pickets.
We left camp the next morning at six o'clock and proceeded direct to Hernando where I took the olive Branch road. Not being able to find the enemy, in obedience to orders received from you that my command should return to their respective stations, I proceeded to Olive Branch where I directed the Fourth Illinois Cavalry to take the Colliersville road also the two remaining companies of the Third Cavalry arriving at Germantown at 6:30 p.m. of the 31st of June, 1863. We captured during the scout the following property: Forty-six horses, eighty-four mules and one hundred and eighty-seven cattle.
Very respectfully your obedient servant
L. F. McCRELLIS,
July 29th, Companies E, H, I and M, under Major Townsend, with about one-hundred men from the Ninth Illinois Cavalry that joined us at Byhalia, went on to Corcorans Cross roads where we turned west and crossed the Coldwater about five miles from the latter place and returned the next day by way of Pleasant Hill.
On July 16, 1863, four companies of our regiment, Companies D, E, G and K, under Major Wemple, accompanied by a detachment from the Third and Ninth Illinois Cavalry and two howitzers from Germantown, all under the command of L. F. McCrellis, crossed Wold River with three days rations, after Richardson again. The latter is as slippery as an eel. We have done a lot of chasing after him and his command, but he manages to give us the slip every time. Colonel Grierson is the only one that has ever caught him napping.
Scout from Germantown, Tennessee. Report of Colonel L. F. McCrellis, Third Illinois Cavalry Commanding First Brigade Cavalry Division to Lieutenant Colonel Henry Binmore, Assistant Adjutant General.
Germantown, July 20, 1863, I have the honor to report that I left Germantown on the morning of the 16th with two hundred and fifty men of the Ninth Illinois Cavalry and marched to Colliersville. Taking with me one hundred and fifty men of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry I crossed Wolf river and marched to Hickory Wythe and thence north towards Quinn's Mills on the Luceh River, about two miles from Hickory Wythe. I captured a person just conscripted by Richardson and who was then going to Galloway Switch where he was ordered to report that day.
I immediately forded the Luceh at Quinn's Mills and pushed on to Galloway Switch where I captured four or five prisoner conscripts but could learn nothing of Richardson or any part of his force. Parties of his men numbering from five to twenty had been seen within two or three days but I could not get the least information from anyone as to where any of Richardson's men could be found.
I will here state that of all the men who have taken the oath of allegiance to the United States and to whom protection papers have been given I could find none who would give any information whatever.
I camped for the night one and one-half miles west of Galloway Switch, near Lieutenant J. M. Griffing of Richardson's command. I took two mules, a light wagon and a two-wheel cart from him. Lieutenant Griffing was out in command of a conscripting party.
At daylight on the morning of the seventeenth I divided my command and sent a battalion up Beaver Creek bottom to meet me at Concordia, whither I proceeded with the balance of the command. I there learned from Negroes that about one hundred men had passed towards Covington two days before but could hear of none in the neighborhood any later.
I then crossed to Beaver Dam and turned south towards Shelby depot but at a cross road about five miles from Beaver Dam I struck a cavalry trail leading up into Beaver Bottom and was informed by Negroes that about one hundred and fifty of Richardson's men had passed, in the night previous. I immediately turned up the Creek again but lost the trail completely in the bottom before I had gone two miles but I pushed on to within eight miles of Covington. Thence I proceeded to near Mason depot and camped near the Plantation of a Mr. Sherrid.
Early on the morning of the eighteenth I sent Major Wemple of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry with eight companies toward Covington. He went within four miles of Whitley ferry north of Covington and learned that Richardson's command had been crossing the Big Hassee in squads for two or three days and that they said that I was after them with twenty five pieces of artillery and three or four thousand men.
With the remainder of my command I proceeded east to Bellmont, thence returned to Quinn's Mills and camped about half way between the Mills and Hickory Wythe where Major Wemple joined me.
On the morning of the nineteenth I sent out two companies in different directions to hunt guerillas and marched direct to Colliersville with the main portion of my command. My scouts heard of a few scattering guerillas but could find none. We arrived at Germantown on the evening of the nineteenth.
Very respectfully your obedient servant,
L. F. McCRELLIS,
August 13, A detachment from our regiment, with the balance of the brigade from Germantown, left camp under Colonel Wallace this morning. We went by the way of Coldwater, Byhalia, Waterford, Oxford, Water Valley, and Coffeeville to Grenada. A Cavalry Brigade from LaGrange, under Lieutenant Colonel Phillipps, joined us at Oxford and took the lead, Lieutenant Colonel Phillipps taking command of the expedition. Nothing occurred on the way worthy of note.
We did a little skirmishing and took a few prisoners but at Grenada we found quite a force of rebels, reported to be nine hundred strong with two pieces of artillery. Colonel Winslow came in from the south from Vicksburg with a brigade composed of the Third and Fourth Iowa and the Fifth Illinois Cavalry.
The rebels soon left, after setting fire to the two fine railroad bridges that span the Yalla Busha River at this place. There was a great amount of rolling stock here and a good deal of it was burned by us. Colonel Winslow with a brigade of Cavalry from Vicksburg joined us here and took command.
Our consolidated force numbers about two thousand men. We crossed the Yockena River and returned by the Companies I and F guarded prisoners one day. We had thirty-four, and a right jolly set they were, too. When near Senatobia the First and Colonel Phillipps' Brigades left us for LaGrange and Colonel Winslow for Memphis. We brought in fifty prisoners and lot of horses and mules. We were absent just ten days.
Report of Lieutenant Colonel M. R. M. Wallace, Fourth Illinois Cavalry:
Colliersville, Tennessee, August 23, 1863, I have the honor to report that in obedience to orders from Colonel L. F. McCrellis commanding First Brigade Cavalry Division, I assumed command of said brigade on the thirteenth day of August and on that day in obedience to instructions from Colonel Meisner, Chief of Cavalry Left Wing, Sixteenth Army Corps, I proceeded with a force of seven hundred and twenty enlisted men from the Third, fourth and Ninth Illinois Cavalry by the most direct route from this place to the crossing of the Tallahatchie River at Abbeyville, Mississippi, passing through Byhalia, Tallaloos, Cox' Corner and Waterford.
At Byhalia we met a squad of the enemy and gave chase. One of my men, belonging to the Ninth Illinois Cavalry, being dressed in citizens dress, having arms, was wounded by one of his comrades in the chase.
I camped the night of the thirteenth at the plantation of Mr. Withers. On the fifteenth, when about ten miles southeast of Byhalia, near the house of Mrs. Craven, my advance guard, Company M Fourth Illinois Cavalry Captain Hitt Commanding, ran onto the enemy and opened fire which was returned and Roderick Justin, private of that company, was slight wounded in the arm.
About one mile north of Cox' Corner the same advance captured private Dixon of Captain Middleton's Company of Major Chalmer's Battalion, bearing a dispatch from Captain Middleton to Major Chalmers, informing him of our approach.
The crossing of the Tallahatchie was very difficult and slow, occupying all of the night of the fourteenth and until eleven a.m. of the fifteenth at which time I moved forward, passing through Oxford, Mississippi, at about four p.m. of that day, camping that night at the plantation of Mr. Buckner, two and one half miles south of Oxford.
August 16th, I started at daylight, overtaking the rear of the Second Brigade at nine a.m. where Lieutenant Colonel Phillipps' Ninth Illinois mounted infantry assumed command of both brigades. Near the crossing of the Yockney River at the mouth of Taylor's Creek. I captured two of the enemy's privates belonging to Major Chalmer's battalion.
As a pioneer corps of the First Brigade, Lieutenant Hyde of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry commanding, was crossing the Yockney the boat sank, drowning one Negro. This delayed my crossing for about two hours. After crossing I proceeded to Water Valley, where, pursuant to orders from Lieutenant Colonel Phillipps, a halt was made at this place, for one hour, to feed the stock and move on at night to Coffeeville. A most terrible rainstorm and the pitch darkness of the night rendered a forward march utterly out of the question.
August 17th, At daylight we left Water Valley and proceeded without incident or causality through Coffeeville to within five or six miles of Grenada, when by order of the Lieutenant Colonel Commanding, I sent forward one section of the battery attached to the Ninth Illinois Cavalry, Under Lieutenant Butler of that regiment, with Company A Ninth Illinois Cavalry and Companies M, E and K fourth Illinois Cavalry. Here I also sent the Third Illinois Cavalry, under Major O'Connor, to a station on the Mississippi Central railroad where there were some rolling stock.
I pushed forward my column and soon received orders to send forward the other section of the battery, all under the command of Captain Perkins of the Ninth Illinois Cavalry, and by order of the Lieutenant Colonel Commanding I proceeded with the balance of my command to the lower ferry across the Yalobusha.
Just before I reached the bank of the river I received orders to push into town, to destroy the rolling stock. I pushed on through the river into town but before we reached the scene of destruction I received orders to push my command across the river without delay, which I did, and moved out to Statum Station on the Mississippi Central railroad and went into camp for the night. During the night Major O'Connor rejoined me with his command.
August 18th, We remained all day in camp without incident.
August 18th, We moved in advance of the forces on the road to Panola, Mississippi, passing through Oakland, crossing the Yockney on that road and camping that night about one mile north of the river.
August 20th, By order of the Colonel Commanding my command moved in the rear of the column and arrived in Panola without causality worthy of note,
August 21st, This morning I was ordered to take the advance, I moved north to a point about a mile north of Dr. Wallaces' Plantation where I turned to the right, taking the road leading to Tucksahoma. After feeding I took the road for Buck Snort where I camped for the night.
During this day, after I had left the Memphis road, I ordered details from each company as forage parties, all from each regiment to be placed under the command of a commissioned officer, six day's rations having been ordered and this being the ninth day out, and we still two day's march from home.
This morning Captain Lee Company F Third Illinois Cavalry was accidentally shot by one of his men, wound probably fatal.
August 23, I again took the advance this morning and moved on the road from Buck Snort to Wall Hill at which place I took the road to Byhalia under orders to proceed to camp, which I did, without incident.
The Ninth Illinois Cavalry proceeded to Germantown that night. The fourth Illinois Cavalry went into camp to their camp at LaFayette.
I learned in the afternoon of the twenty second that the forage parties of the Ninth Illinois Cavalry, sent out under Lieutenant Shattuck on the morning of the twenty first, had not returned to the column and since coming into camp I learned that they got behind the column, missed the road, and attempting to cross the Coldwater, were attacked by the enemy from both sides and fourteen of the party and fifteen stand of arms were missing.
Casualties: Captain W. S. Lee, Company F Third Illinois Cavalry, dangerously wounded; Jasper Bonds, private, Company C Third Illinois Cavalry, slightly wounded in heel; First Lieutenant and Adjutant William McEvoy, Third Illinois Cavalry, captured while straggling; Peter F Somers, private, Company M, James Money, J. R. Stevens and Albert Gilbert, Company C, Third Illinois Cavalry, captured by the enemy while straggling; Roderick Juston, private, Company M Fourth Illinois Cavalry, wounded in the arm while on duty as extreme advance guard; C. W. Jones, Corporal of Company G, severely wounded by kick of mule on the back of his head; fourteen soldiers with horses, arms and equipment's from the Ninth Illinois Cavalry are missing, supposed to have been captured.
Prisoners taken by First Brigade Cavalry Division Ninth Illinois Cavalry 14; Fourth Illinois Cavalry 2, total 16. These were all turned over to the Second Brigade, by order of the Colonel Commanding. Captured stuff: Third Illinois Cavalry, horses 8, mules 9, total 17; one two horse carriage; one single buggy. Fourth Illinois Cavalry, Major Wemple commanding, Mules 34, horses 27, total 61. Ninth Illinois Cavalry, Captain Dewell, commanding, Mules 64, horses 35, total 99. Total captured 177.
M. R. M. WALLACE,
Lieutenant Colonel Commanding First
Brigade Cavalry Division.
Report of Colonel Mizener of the expedition to Grenada to Major General Hurlbut.
LaGrange, Tennessee, August 19, 1863: The cavalry force sent from here, and other points along the railroad, on the 13th inst, under command of Lieutenant Colonel Phillipps, reached Grenada on the 17th inst., drove Slemons, with two thousand men and three pieces of artillery from the place, destroying fifty seven engines, upwards of four hundred cars, the depot building, machine shops, several blacksmith shops, a quantity of ordinance and commissary stores, captured about fifty railroad men and a number of prisoners. After Colonel Phillipps, with his command, had accomplished his work, Colonel Winslow appeared with a force from below.
J. K. MIZNER
Colonel and Chief of Cavalry
About this time we were transferred from McCrellis' Brigade to Colonel Hatches Brigade. The latter is now composed of the following forces: Second Iowa Cavalry, Fourth, Fifth and Seventh Illinois and a battalion of the Third Regiment Cavalry and a battery of mountain howitzers, but I believe we never operated together as a brigade.
We put in our time pretty faithfully the balance of the time we staid at Colliersville, although nothing occurred worthy of note.
September 15th, We broke camp and started for Vicksburg, marched to Memphis and there took the boats Illinois and Thomas Tutt, Company I going on the latter. We disembarked at Vicksburg on the 23rd and were immediately brigaded with the Eleventh Illinois and Tenth Missouri Cavalry, Colonel M. R. M. Wallace commanding the brigade. We camped on the Big Black River twelve miles east of Vicksburg.
These orders are for the expedition recorded below that started out September 27th from the Big Black River:
Special order No 262, Headquarters Department of the Tennessee. Vicksburg, Mississippi, September 24, 1863:
Colonel M. R. M. Wallace, Fourth Illinois Cavalry, will proceed at once with his command, consisting of two battalions of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, Eleventh Illinois Regiment Cavalry and Fourth Regiment Missouri Cavalry Volunteers to headquarters Fifteenth Army Corps, Big Black River, and report there to Major General W. T. Sherman, commanding, for orders.
JOHN A. RAWLINS
Brigadier General and Acting Adjutant General.
By order of Major General U. S. Grant
Headquarters Fifteenth army Corps, Camp on Black River, Mississippi. September 26th 1863:
First, The Second Brigade, Third Division, of the Corps, Brigadier General J. A. Moyer commanding, at once relieve the Second Brigade Second Division, Colonel O. Malmborg commanding, at Black River Railroad Bridge. Second, The Cavalry Brigade, commanded by Colonel Wallace, will take post at or near Messenger's Ford and report to Brigadier General Tuttle Commanding Third Division for orders. Third, Brigadier General J. M. Tuttle, commanding Third Division will have charge of the line of the Black River and will report by letter to Major General James B. McPherson commanding Seventeenth Army Corps, Vicksburg, for instructions.
By order of Major General W. T. Sherman.
Headquarters Cavalry Forces Fifteenth Army Corps, Big Black, Mississippi. September 27 1863: Lieutenant Colonel Wallace will please detail from his regiments of Cavalry which have composed his command six hundred men properly officered, fully armed and supplied with ammunition, with four day's cooked rations to be in readiness to march at one p.m. today. The exact order of March will be communicated at that time.
E. F. WINSLOW
Colonel and Chief of Cavalry
Headquarters of Cavalry Fifteenth Army Corps, September 27, 1863:
First, The following will be the order of march of this command: Fifth Illinois Cavalry regiment, Tenth Missouri Cavalry Regiment, Eleventh Illinois Cavalry, Fourth Iowa Cavalry Regiments will pass from front to rear alternately each succeeding day as a rule, commanding officer of each regiment to report with his command to the Colonel commanding at Messengers at 3:30 today promptly. Lieutenant Colonel Wallace and Major Seley will each detail one surgeon, with instructions and medicine, to accompany this expedition. Second, Commanding officer of each regiment will guard well his flanks after the command passes the infantry at the church and will act as circumstances may direct in every emergency. E. F. WINSLOW
Colonel and Chief of Cavalry
September 27th, A detail of one-hundred and sixty men from our regiment, together with a detachment from the Fifth and Eleventh Illinois Cavalry, Fourth Iowa and Tenth Missouri Cavalry, in all about nine-hundred men, under Colonel Winslow, left camp for a raid east of the Big Black River.
They crossed the Big Black at the lower ford, six miles from camp, and traveled nearly due east about twenty miles and camped at four p.m.
September 28th, They started out at 3:30a.m. Getting into Brownville at sunrise. The Eleventh Illinois Cavalry were in the lead. Here we found a small force of rebel cavalry, but they left without much opposition. As soon as firing commenced the column was halted and our regiment was sent to the front with orders to charge into anything we came across.
We led out on the Canton road at a very brisk walk, meeting with no opposition until we were near Vernon, about twenty miles from Canton. At the first shot we dashed ahead and scattered a rebel picket post, which seemed to stir up are gular hornets nest a little further on, for directly we saw about a brigade of rebel cavalry in line on the opposite side of an open field, perhaps less than a mile ahead of us. We were quietly thrown into line, right and left of the road, and advanced boldly when the rebel line fell back and disappeared in the timber beyond.
We were informed that the rebels had three brigades of cavalry, two beside this force, in the neighborhood, numbering about three thousand men. Our force numbered about nine hundred.
We found a large camp just beyond where they showed their line, and the campfires were still burning. Near there was a large warehouse filled with cotton, probably a thousand bales. I was on fire when we passed. We halted to feed at three p.m., about ten miles southwest from Canton, the first halt we have made since starting this morning. We unsaddled our horses and secured a plenty of everything we wanted to eat from a rich planter nearby, corn and fodder for night and morning, chickens, sheep, pigs, sweet potatoes, etc., expecting to stay there until morning. We were more particular to get an abundance of the good things that the soldier and his horse like than we were to be in a hurry to get our suppers but while some our suppers were yet cooking orders came to saddle up and not make much noise. We obeyed of course but not very cheerfully, but we did not know what Colonel Winslow knew. He knew that General Jackson had us nearly surrounded by more than three times our own number and were only waiting until we were in dreamland to take us in.
We traveled by by-roads and bridle paths and through the woods and about midnight crossed the Big Black River at Morris' Ford, twenty-three miles due east from Yazoo City and seventy seven miles from Vicksburg. We have traveled over fifty miles today. The Fifth Illinois Cavalry were left at the ford and the balance of the command camped at a plantation about a mile distant.
September 29th, We were started from our sleep at daybreak by the booming of cannons at the ford. Instantly the Colonel's bugle blowed "boots and saddles" and "to horse" which we obeyed cheerfully enough this time for we could see through the Colonel's movements of last night.
Our regiment was ordered to the seat of action. We had not gone far until we met the Sixth Illinois Cavalry coming back and the rebels close at their heels. We took their place in the rear. The rebels followed us nearly all day but did not crowd us hard very long. Our regiment had the rear all day.
We got a crack at them now and then but they were not very troublesome. We passed through Benton, ten miles from Yazoo City, passing along the bluff overlooking the city and at sunset-camped four miles south of town.
We started early next morning and halted at noon near Mechanicsburgh. About six miles from here is a ford on the Big Black River where the enemy, chagrined at being outwitted in his attempt to bag us near Canton, attempted to cut us off with a large force but General Sherman had anticipated this and had sent a brigade of infantry and some artillery to guard the ford and they were baffled again.
We got back to camp October 1st at three p.m. without further incident. We brought in twelve prisoners and lost one man who was taken prisoner. We traveled in the four days about one hundred and forty miles.
Below is Colonel Winslow's report of this expedition:
Expedition from Messenger's Ford, Big Black River, to Yazoo City with skirmishes at Brownville, September 28th and Moor's Ford near Benton, September 29th.
Report of E. S. Winslow, Fourth Illinois Cavalry to Captain R. M. Sawyer, Assistant Adjutant General, Fifteenth Army Corps, Iuks, Mississippi.
Headquarters Cavalry Forces, Fourteenth Army Corps, Big Black River, Mississippi, October 1, 1863: In accordance with instructions from General W. T. Sherman, with detachments from the Fourth, Fifth and Eleventh Illinois, Fourth Iowa and Tenth Missouri Cavalry, in all nine hundred men with two mountain howitzers, I moved over Black River at Messenger's Ford on Sunday, the 27th, at four p.m. and bivouacked at Clark's, four miles from Brownville, until four o'clock the next morning, when the column moved toward that place, driving out about fifty of Whitfield's Cavalry.
Pushing direct for Vernon we reached General Whitfield's camp at the church two miles south of Vernon, only to find that he had moved before daylight towards Livingston and Jackson, surrounding Vernon. We entered that place at then a.m. and moved forward to Beatie's Bluff where the command was halted until six o'clock and fed.
Having ascertained that there was no for or ferry at that point, and that I could in no way cross the command, I marched to Moore's Ford and encamped one and one-half miles toward Benton, leaving one regiment and one howitzer to guard the crossing. At four o'clock the next morning the enemy vigorously attacked this detachment with four pieces of artillery, supported by dismounted Cavalry. The howitzer was speedily disable and after feeling the enemy for an hour I directed the column toward Benton and encamped at Dhort Creek, two and one half miles below Yazoo City, having halted to feed at Benton.
We marched the next day to Satartia, communicated with the infantry near Mechanicsburgh, and today reached camp at two p.m. From Brownville to Beatie's Bluff I assumed the offensive and vigorously attacked every force we met, pushing the various parties towards Livingston, running down and capturing eight of the enemy.
Upon learning that I could not cross at Beatie's Bluff, I deemed it prudent to gain the ford at Moore's and the result proved my conclusion to be correct, for the enemy had ample time to concentrate all his forces.
From Moore's Bluff I moved leisurely to camp, bringing in one hundred horses, fifty mules, eight prisoners of war and one ambulance, having destroyed fifty stand of arms taken from the enemy in the different skirmishes. My loss was two men taken prisoners while out of rank.
Brigadier Generals Whitfield and Crosby were hovering on my right flanks all day on Monday, but because their forces were somewhat scattered, they dare not attack and continually retreated from every attempt at following, moving towards Livingston and encamping. I estimate their combined force, from information deemed reliable, at two thousand Cavalry and ten pieces of artillery, while their horses were in fine condition.
The command marched fourteen miles Sunday, forty-two miles Monday, twenty-five miles Tuesday, twenty-three miles Wednesday and twenty-two miles Thursday: total in ninety-six hours, one hundred and twenty-six miles
There is a bridge at Scott's Crossing, six miles west of Vernon, but no ford between that point and Moore's Bluff, northwest of Canton seven miles. The whole command actively figured and crowded the enemy impulsively, whenever found, driving him continually, the column not halting from Brownville to Vernon.
Your obedient servant
E. S. WINSLOW
Colonel Fourth Iowa Cavalry, Commanding
Lieutenant J. B. Cook, who commanded the advance guard after our regiment took the lead, on the 28th the second day out, gives a graphic account in the following communication of the doings of the advance guard that day.
Until about the first of September 1863, the field of operations for the regiment had been almost exclusively in west Tennessee and Northern Mississippi. In fact from February to August, 1863, the Second and Third Battalions were camped at Colliersville on the Memphis & Charleston railroad, about 25 miles east of Memphis. From this point we had scouted nearly every county in western Tennessee and northern Mississippi, and learned the locations of their towns, streams and fords, as well as though we had been raised in the south.
Early in September, 1863, the Second and Third Battalions moved to Memphis and were paid off and shipped to Vicksburg, where we were met by the First Battalion who were doing escort duty for General Grant and escorted to our camp.
In a very few days we were moved to near Messenger's Ford, on the West Side of the Big Black River, twelve miles northeast of Vicksburg. M. R. M. Wallace had been promoted to Colonel and was in command of the regiment. We were placed with the Eleventh and Fifth Illinois, Tenth Missouri and Fourth Iowa Cavalry in a Brigade, under Colonel Edward S. Winslow of the Fourth Iowa.
On the 25th of September, about noon, we moved out of camp, under Winslow's command, forded Big Black River at Messenger's Ford and went into camp, some fifteen miles out. The next morning we moved at daylight eastward towards Canton. We had about one thousand men and filled the road for about a mile as we marched by twos, the Eleventh Illinois in advance. They drove a force of rebels through Brownville to the eastward and the Fourth Illinois, under Captain Harvey Meriman of Company L, as Regimental Commander, was ordered to take the advance to the northward with Company F with fourteen well mounted men, under Lieutenant J. B. Cook, as advance guard.
Colonel Winslow gave them minute instructions in regard to looking out for the enemy's cavalry and not to get more than half a mile from the head of the column, all of which were received with a smile and forgotten immediately afterwards, as they had often formed and advance guard before.
The first few miles were passed without incident but at every hilltop they dismounted and scanned the road for a long distance ahead without showing themselves to the enemy. All was quiet and no sight of any troops visible anywhere until about ten miles northeast of Brownville.
On reaching the crest of a hill they discovered a company of confederate cavalry, about their strong, about half mile in front. They evidently were not aware of the approach of the Illinois troopers. They were in two detachments, about half of them were three hundred yards in the rear of the others. Our troopers realized that they had an incompetent commander, or he would have placed them on high ground, hence it seemed they might be easy prey, as a break of the first squad would themselves break the others in the rear, and Lieutenant Cook leading his little party, charged over the crest of the ridge and down the long slope towards the enemy, yelling like devils, and were within two hundred yards of them before they fired from their horses and fled pell mell down the road and dashed through their own men in their rear squad. They struck their best gait in a four-mile heat, in pursuers, as prisoners of war.
Lieutenant Cook's horse, after leading in this four-mile chase, fell in the road and the pursuit was abandoned. The prisoners proved to be members of Company B, Third Texas Cavalry. Three more companies which were in reserve fled and abandoned seventeen new carbines and a lot of camp equipage.
The total number of Texans were reported by the prisoners as one hundred and twenty men. Those in the extreme rear could only see the dust for a mile and hear the shots and had little chance to know whether there were fourteen men or fourteen-thousand in the pursuing party and our troopers did not know there was a Texan Ranger within forty miles of us until the fight was over.
This little episode pleased Colonel Winslow, our new Brigade Commander, very much and the troopers of the Fourth wanted to show their new commander that for making a dash they considered star performers as the five regiments were out several days and no opportunity was offered to secure any prisoners. Company F felt they had been fortunate.
Soon after this Lieutenant Cook was promoted to the position of Major of the Third United States Colored Cavalry which was largely officered from the Fourth Illinois Cavalry and became a very successful regiment. They often met the four Texas Regiments, which composed General L. S. Ross' fine brigade. They were the Third, Sixth, Ninth and Twenty-eighth Texas Cavalry.
I have come across the following report of Major Harry E. Eastman, Second Wisconsin Cavalry, to General J. B. McPherson, Commanding Seventeenth Army Corps, where he tells of a brilliant dash in which a battalion of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry participated. This report will no doubt be interesting to those of our regiment who took part and probably to those who did not:
Red Bone Church, Mississippi, October 22, 1863: I had a lively chase yesterday and a lively and lovely fight. On Friday evening at sunset I received a dispatch from Captain Sherman of my regiment, whom I had sent with fifty men to the assistance of Captain Wallace of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry and his forage train of twenty one wagons to Big Black River, notifying me of the fact that one hundred and sixty of the enemy's cavalry had crossed the river from this side at Hawkinson's Ferry, about one hour before the arrival of the forage train at that point, and asking that I might come to his assistance with adequate reinforcements and give the enemy a chase, and if found a fight.
I immediately notified you of this fact and taking fifty more of my regiment, I proceeded after dark to the river and found Captains Wallace and Sherman bivouacked half a mile from the ferry. There I learned from citizens of Clairborne county, whom the officers had detained at their camp, that there was a force of from six hundred to eight hundred, consisting of Colonels Stark and West Adams regiments somewhere in the vicinity of Rocky Springs., Which is six miles northwest of Power's place.
Notifying you of these additional facts and asking for reinforcements I determined to cross the river as soon as I could and give them a fight, sending the forage train back to my camp without waiting longer to hear from you.
I crossed the river at Hawkinson's ferry ford at daylight yesterday morning with one hundred one of my own command and seventy one of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry and went in search of the enemy in the direction of Rocky Springs.
Ascertaining at the plantation of Mr. McKay, two miles this side of Rocky Springs, that the enemy, three hundred strong, had taken a plantation road at sunset the evening before, leading into the back field of that plantation, I trusted to find his camp not very far off and changed my direction accordingly. Taking the Port Gibson and Rocky Springs road I marched in the direction of Port Gibson two miles and then took a blind road, which leads into the same fields from the direction opposite to that taken by the enemy.
This was only a little after sunrise and I hoped to find him still in camp. Soon, however, I struck his trail a night old going west toward Port Gibson. Following his trail by a blind road, cautiously but rapidly, I soon struck his pickets at the crossing of the Rocky Springs and Warrenton and the Vicksburg and Port Gibson roads.
My advance guard perused the flying pickets, killing one horse and wounding one man, until they were checked by the grand guard of the enemy, twenty five men admirable posted behind a narrow and very steep defile.
Captain Wood of my regiment, in charge of the advance, instantly dismounted a part of the advance, in command of Lieutenant Riley, and deployed to a cover to dislodge them. The Lieutenant succeeded in doing so, almost as soon as the column came up, sending Captain Parker of my regiment, with his squadron to the advance.
I perused at a rapid gallop for a mile or more to the plantation of Mr. A. Ingraham, where I found the enemy's camp and his force ready to receive me. He had taken up his position within the grounds about the house, sheltered by a long row of box hedge. This embellished yard is within a park of some six acres, enclosed by a high picket fence with its entrance by a big gate at right angles with the road by which I approached.
My advance had entered the park before discovering the enemy's position and received a volley and returned it, killing two of the enemy but receiving no damage.
On coming up with the column I immediately dismounted Captain Sherman and twenty-five of my regiment and Lieutenant Smith and twenty-five men of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry to flank the enemy's left. Almost immediately, however, I discovered that the enemy was escaping by a rear gate and that already his main force was in a flying column half a mile to my left on the road to Port Gibson.
I instantly reorganized my column, giving Captain Beach with his squadron the advance and renewed the chase. At a mile distant I found him in position again behind a wood on the brow of a hill and increasing my pace I rushed at him with front and flank and scattered him like spray.
Leaving a rear guard, I continued the pursuit at a most rapid rate for five miles. The enemy fought with skill and determination, wheeling into position on the head of his column at every available cover and disputing my passage of every difficult defile, but failing to injure me or stay a moment after seeing my determination not to be checked. Once only I found it necessary to dismount to dislodge them.
He had taken a position behind a convenient embankment at a sharp angle of the road, which afforded him shelter for nearly his whole force and completely commanded my approach. Had it not been that his shots were mostly over our heads my advance must have suffered severely at this point.
I dismounted two thirds of my force, sending the horses to the rear and fighting them from such cover as was available, routing them again in less than ten minutes. Finding that the delay necessary to remount and fall into column had given the enemy the advantage of perhaps a mile distant, and being already unpleasantly near Port Gibson, which was three miles, with exhausted horses and an inadequate supply of ammunition, I concluded to peruse no further and countermarched. Captain Wallace's command, Fourth Illinois Cavalry, had the front for the last two miles. Lieutenant Chapin's horse fell with him while at a high rate of speed and he was severely hurt.
Returning over the six miles of road fought over at a Tam-O'Shanter-Like rate of speed I found the track strewn with most convincing evidence of the enemy's severe punishment, dead and mortally wounded men, dead and disabled horses, cartridge boxes, arms of every description, saddle bags, blankets, hats, coats, every thing that could be lost off, cast off or kicked off.
Of the enemy's dead I found nine and two mortally wounded. Judging from the fact that the most and best of our fighting was done in the enemy's chosen cover, I consider it fair to estimate that his killed amounted to at least seventy five. I estimate his wounded at forty more. I justify this estimate by the facts know and by prisoners taken. I am informed by them that they had their orders to cast away their arms when no longer able to hold them, by reason of wounds, and that up to the time when they were captured fifteen or sixteen had been wounded and leaving their arms sped to the front, Of abandoned arms I found more than forty five stand. Many of the lighter kind had been picked up.
Of the enemy's dead horses I found 3, disable 3. I took six prisoners, four of whom I sent forward, two mortally wounded I left at a plantation I lost one man, killed, Corporal LaFraniere of Company B, and one wounded in the wrist, private Cummings of the same company and three horses wounded.
The enemy's force was composed of detachments from Colonels Stark and West Adams regiments fully three hundred strong, Lieutenant Colonel Wood Commanding. The officers of my command were Captain A. M. Sherman Second Wisconsin, Captain Wallace commanding battalion Fourth Illinois Cavalry, Captain N. Parker Second Wisconsin, Captain W. M. Wood and Captain C. W. Beach Second Wisconsin Cavalry, Lieutenant Riley, Lieutenant LaFlesh, Lieutenant Woodward Second Wisconsin Cavalry, Lieutenants Chapin, Smith, Main and Crego Fourth Illinois Cavalry
I am under equal obligations to each and all of these officers for promptness, propriety and intrepidity of their conduct. I returned to camp last evening at sunset bringing my dead and wounded with me.
Respectfully your obedient servant
HARRY E. EASTMAN
Major Second Wisconsin Cavalry.
October 11th, Lieutenant Parker returned to the company for duty, after an absence of over a year on detached service.
October 15th, Colonel Winslow's Cavalry Brigade, with eight day's rations, started out at the head of General McPherson's Army Corps, McPherson in command. General Logan and several others are along.
We went by way of Messenger's Ferry to Brownville, Here we dispersed a force of the enemy by charging them, after skirmishing awhile. We went on the main Clinton road and came onto a force of the enemy's cavalry directly and advanced steadily, skirmishing until nearly dark, when we fell back a short distance and bivouacked. We had two men slight wounded. The rebels had six killed that we know of.
The next day the force started in two columns, one toward Clinton and the other toward Canton. Our regiment and the Fifth Illinois Cavalry led the advance of the Canton Column Company I was advance guard. We, the cavalry, were soon called back and ordered over to the other side. We found them engaging a force of the enemy. We were kept around on the flanks until two p.m. when the enemy gave way.
We then escorted General McPherson and staff across to the other column and took the advance again, as before. We did not go far until we come onto quite a force of the enemy, with artillery, posted on an eminence. Between us and them was a very large cornfield.
We advanced with a heavy skirmish line and they opened on us with their artillery and got our range directly. We were then ordered back and our regiment was dismounted and sent to the front in the road. They opened on us with shell and soon had our range. We were entirely out of rifle range and were only expected to hold the place, so we found a safe place behind a bank and when we saw the smoke from their cannon we would lie down and the shell would burst-close by, but the fragments could not hit us, then we would jump up, swing our hats and yell, it was fun. The rebels were the next day driven from that position, the cavalry operating on the flanks.
October 18th, Our regiment had the lead and Company I the advance guard. We run onto a strong picket force directly which we drove along for half a mile or so, when on gaining a raise of ground, after going through a deep cut, we suddenly came in sight of a long line of infantry in a large open field with quite a force of cavalry on their flanks and a battery masked behind them. They were not over three hundred yards from us.
We halted at once without orders and the column closed up to us. We remained in this position until the rebel battery had fired three or four rounds of grape and shell and were getting our range to close for comfort, when Lieutenant Hyde gave orders to "four right about" which was executed with as much precision as on drill.
Just as the move was executed a shell came through our columns, angling and went through three sets of four's killing Grandy's horse and wounding Charlie Munnikhuizen's horse in the foot so he had to leave him and I suppose the same shell must have killed on of Colonel Winslow's orderlies when it bursted, as he was found dead near there. He was probably on his way to the front to order us back.
We commenced falling back shortly afterwards, Leisurely, and the rebel cavalry followed us quite boldly at first. They did not seem to care to ride onto us for whenever we halted they would halt and wait until we moved on again. We kept the rear until three p.m. when we were relieved by the Fourth Iowa Cavalry. The infantry had left us the day before and gone in another direction, so the cavalry were all-alone.
There were three men wounded in our regiment, and several horses. There was one man killed in the Fourth Iowa Cavalry and one in the Fifth Illinois Cavalry. I saw one of the rebel cavalrymen, that was in this engagement, in Natchez at the close of the war and he said they lost fifty men that day. We joined the other forces the next day and was rear guard and returned to our camp by way of Champion Hill battlefield on the Jackson road.
Report of Colonel E. S. Winslow, Fourth Iowa Cavalry, Commanding Cavalry Forces Seventeenth Army Corps, to Lieutenant Colonel W. t. Clark, Assistant Adjutant General Seventeenth Army Corps:
Big Black River, Nov. 21, 1863: I have the honor to submit following report of the operations of cavalry under my command during the late reconnaissance toward Canton.
The command moved over the bridge at Messenger's ford at six a.m. the 15th inst. And passed Queen's Hill church, where Lieutenant Colonel Wallace with the Fourth and Eleventh Illinois Regiments were left with orders to report to General McPherson. The main force passed Boulton and thence to the left into Brownville where the advance had a brick skirmish with fifty-rebel cavalry, driving them through and out of town at once.
Halting for orders the command of Colonel Wallace rejoined the column and the horses were fed. Pursuant to instructions from Major General McPherson, upon arrival of infantry, I moved out toward Livingston and Clinton at four p.m., finding the enemy's advance one mile from town which was promptly attacked by Captain Panolel, Fifth Illinois Cavalry, and chased about one mile, he being supported by the Fifth Illinois Cavalry coming forward at a gallop. At the forks of the road, two miles from Brownville, the advance was met by a heavy column in confusion, while I formed the advance regiment to repel the enemy at the same time ordering into position the other regiment.
The same enemy came forward in column and line attacking desperately, but after a severe fight of fifteen minutes they were repulsed and followed two miles. Leaving three dead on the ground, beside having quite a number wounded.
We returned after dark and encamped for the night a mile from town. The 16 inst. We moved toward Clinton, finding the enemy in force, about four miles from Brownville, with cannon. The brigade of General Maltby being brought forward, they were forced to abandon their position after a severe cannonading and were again found one mile farther towards Clinton, by the cavalry.
In obedience to orders I left the Tenth Missouri Cavalry, under Major Bentine with General Maltby and with Cavalry, under Major Bentine with General Maltby and with four regiments moved to Treadwells near Clinton and Vernon crossroads. We again found the enemy with cannon securely posted in a splendid position with the infantry. My command was encamped for the night and the Fifth Illinois Cavalry, Major under Farnam, posted on a road to the left where he captured one Lieutenant and eleven men of the Texas Cavalry doing picket duty.
At daylight of the 17th inst., with three regiments, I moved to the left and going within three miles of Vernon, passed again toward the right, taking the advance of General Leggett's Brigade and the army to Robinson's Mill, three and one half miles from Livingston, where we again met the enemy in force and with two pieces of cannon.
They retreated before the firing of three guns from General Leggetts command and the advance of the cavalry.
The mill and wagon shop being burned by Colonel Coolbaugh, we encamped for the night nearby and the next morning I moved forward, one and one half miles, finding the enemy with three pieces of cannon and a large force of cavalry well posted.
Pursuant to orders I remained in position until noon and then commenced moving slowly after the infantry, which had in the meantime gone toward Clinton. Before leaving the mills the enemy had appeared in front and on my left flank in plain view at ten o'clock a.m. with more cavalry than was in my command. This, at a distance from their artillery, and evidently well supported.
The enemy in force followed my column to a point three miles from Clinton, continually attacking my rear guard and approaching in large numbers on both flanks. We reached Clinton at 6:30 p.m. having marched seventeen miles during a continual volley.
Having the rear of the column in to camp on the 19 we were occasionally annoyed but lost only one that day. The command's lost during the reconnaissance was as follows; Fourth Iowa Cavalry two men killed, one man missing; Fourth Illinois Cavalry four men wounded; Fifth Illinois Cavalry two men wounded and one man missing; Tenth Missouri Cavalry two men wounded while fifty horses were killed or wounded.
The command expended seventy rounds of Howitzer ammunition and about 60,000 rounds of ammunition of the small arms. I think the enemy must have lost during the expedition at least one hundred men killed, wounded and prisoners, of whom we captured one Lieutenant and fifteen men. On the 16th the Tenth Missouri Cavalry was under fire of the enemy's cannon for six hours. All the officers of the force did their duty while I would particularly notice Lieutenant Colonel Wallace, Majors Farnam, Bentine, Townsend and Spearman as being efficient and gallant officers.
E. S. WINSLOW
(Note from Ronald R. Wallace Great Nephew of Samuel C. Fanning) Samuel Fanning was one of the wounded in this affair. And died later on the 22nd of November at Hebron's Plantation. He is buried in the Vicksburg, National Cemetery, Head marker number10413, along with his fallen comrades:
William Hieght, Co. F 4th Illinois Cavalry 7445
Lander Bishop, Co. A 4th Illinois Cavalry 7449
Samuel C. Fanning Co. F 4th Illinois Cavalry 10413
Alfred Lish, Co. D 4th Illinois Cavalry 4784
Newton Lyons, Co. C. 4th Illinois Cavalry 6297
A. A. Stephens, Co. F 4th Illinois Cavalry 7695
This is a true copy as it appears on the records Thomas Shea, Superintendent
November 23, Company I Fourth Illinois Cavalry was a part of five hundred men from the Cavalry Brigade to make a night trip to Hayne's Bluff.
November 26, We were a part of two hundred and fifty men from the Cavalry Brigade, under Captain Wood of the Eleventh Illinois Cavalry that went on a trip up the Yazoo River by way of Hayne's bluff. We were gone eight days.
We had a train of about one hundred fifty wagons, which was loaded with forage at Partee's plantation, fifteen miles above Hayne's Bluff on the Yazoo bottoms. Companies H, K, under Captain Fisk of Company H, with some other troops and I guarded the train while loading.
While there Company I was ordered to go out on a certain road to meet Major Funk's command who had come up along the ridge to our right. We had not gone far when we met about twenty-rebel cavalry in the road. They fired a few harmless shots at us when we charged, running them about two miles, but they all escaped.
I have related here only some of the most important expeditions that we were in while we were on or near the big Black |River. We were kept on the go quiet steadily, scouting; picketing and guarding forage trains.
December 11, 1863, We broke camp and started for Natchez, Mississippi. We arrived in Vicksburg at ten p.m. when we were halted in the streets and spent the night waiting orders to go aboard the boats which did not come until after daylight. We landed at Natchez the next morning without incident and camped at first on the John B. Pryor plantation, two and one half miles east of town
Two days later we moved inside the fortifications just north of town. While at Natchez our duties were very arduous and constant. We averaged to be all out on a scout or as guards for forage trains as often as once in three days. We had to picket seven roads every day which took forty two men and seven non commissioned officers (excepting a little while at first) a patrol for each of five roads, consisting of ten men and a non commissioned officer for each road, at daylight every morning, beside a mighty detail for horse guards. The latter was done by men who had no horses.
Much of this was without particular incident and I will only relate a few of the most important ones.
January 3, 1864, Seventeen recruits arrived for Company I. The following, copied from my diary under date of January 23d, will give some idea of the reliability of contraband information:
About noon "boots and saddles" blowed and in ten minutes we were all saddled and in line. A detachment from Companies I and E, twenty six men, under Lieutenant John Parker of Company I, were ordered to go to Washington, six miles east, as quickly as possible. It was reported there was a force of rebel cavalry there. The balance of the regiment were held in reserve at camp. We struck out at a gallop and reached Washington in about an hour.
Just before we got into town we came across a Negro perched on a fence by the road, evidently very much excited. We halted and Lieutenant Parker asked him if he had seen any rebels. "Oh yes," said he, "at Washington a whole heap of them." "Well, how many," he was asked. "A thousand," was his answer. "Are you sure there were that many," said the Lieutenant. "Oh yes, dare was more as dat, dare was 10,000," he said. The Lieutenant expressed some doubt about there being so many but Sambo said, "Oyes, dare was more as dat yet, dare was five hundred." The Lieutenant then asked him if he thought we could whip them. "Oh yes," he said, "you can whip them easy, dare is a heap more of you dan dare was of dem."
When we arrived in Washington we learned that about three hundred rebels had passed but the Negro had seen only their rear guard, probably twenty men. We returned by way of Pine Ridge road. We arrived in camp at four p.m. without further incident, traveling about twenty miles.
I submit this report of General M. R. Force, as two companies of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry have received favorable mention in this report:
Report of Brigadier General Manni R. Force, United States Army, commanding First Brigade to Captain J. C. Douglass, Assistant Adjutant General, of expedition to Meridian:
Headquarters of First Brigade in the field, Feb. 14, 1864: I have the honor to report that in accordance to orders received last night, I marched to Chunky's Station this morning, arriving a little after nine o'clock. Learning on the way that General S. D. Lee was at the station with two brigades (General Wirt Adams and Colonel P. B. Stroke) and striking their trail one and one-half miles this side of the station, I pushed on rapidly and quietly, surprised their rear guard at Breakfast, drove them across the Creek, captured and burned seven loaded army wagons, two abutments, destroyed several hundred rods of road and two small trestles, bending the rails and burning a ware house filled with about one hundred bales of confederate cotton.
Our casualties are one enlisted man of the Fortieth Illinois, mortally wounded, and to enlisted men of the Forty-fifth severely wounded.
The rebels left blood on both sides of the Creek and our fire made some confusion among them. They held with some obstinacy a stockade, which commanded the bridge, but their loss was undoubtedly small. Having but forty rounds of ammunition I was obliged, under circumstances, to be sparing in their use.
The two companies of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, under Captain Collins, behaved handsomely. The brigade officers and men, as always, did all that could be asked. Citizens report that General Lee received orders last night to concentrate and report at Meridian today. He arrived at Chunky's Station from the northwest, coming into the road over which we went.
Sixty of Ferguson's men passed shortly before me over the road, which I passed over. A portion of the force at Chunky's was seen to pass to the right on the farther side of the Creek, apparently with the design of annoying us on our return. By returning on the road indicated in the order I saw nothing of them.
I am ordered by Lieutenant Colonel Strong to remain at this place and guard the Wagon Park of both corps, till further orders, an attack being apprehended.
Very respectfully you obedient servant
M. R. FORCE
Brigadier General Commanding Brigade
February 18th, About one hundred and fifty men from our regiment and two companies of the Second Mississippi Colored Cavalry started out at an early hour with three day's rations. When ordered to take rations when going on a scout we seldom took anything but coffee and sugar and some hardtack. We drew on the country for anything we lacked. We went out about sixteen miles on the Liberty road and stopped at Morgan's plantation and staid three or four days, making ourselves very much at home.
We were out there for the purpose of guarding other parties that were engaged in hauling cotton into Natchez. While part of our force have been kept scouting around, others have been engaged in foraging.
We took a lot of hogs while there and dressed them by singing the bristles off over a tire made of fence rails. That answered quite will for soldier'' fare but we could not do so neat a job as I have seen done at home, where the old method of scalding was used.
We moved to another place six miles further and staid until the 23rd when we returned to our camp at Natchez without any incident worthy of note. We brought in five prisoners and nearly one hundred head of horses and mules. A vast amount of cotton and forage was hauled in by the trains while we were out there. Fifty-four recruits arrived on the 23d for our regiment. Thirty of them were assigned to Company I, which fills the company to the maximum.
Sergeant Zenophen G. Sloan of Company F died March 12th from the effect of a wound he received by being shot from ambush while we were out as protection to cotton haulers about two weeks ago.
March 12th, Menzo Wagner, nephew to Captain Hapeman, was shot last night by the Provost Guards. He deserted at Trenton, Tennessee, but returned to the regiment recently under President Lincoln's amnesty proclamation. He was under arrest awaiting his trial but had the liberty of the camp. Late in the evening he got two of the other boys to go with him, and run the guards and started for town.
It is reported that they met a citizen in a lonely place and Wagner held him up for his money. Just then some Provost Guards stepped out from a clump of tree. When the boys broke to run the guards called "halt.' The other two boys stopped by Wagner kept on running so the guards fired and killed him.
There had been such work done at the place before and the Provost Guards were placed there to put a stop to it. And I rather think they have succeeded. Wagner was a good soldier, brave to recklessness.
It is understood in camp that a woman was the cause of his downfall. While we were at Trenton he was detailed as a private scout or spy and spent the most of his time in the country in citizen's dress. While thus engaged he became acquainted and fell in love with a girl by the name of Stevens. When we left there he was ordered to his regiment but he did not report. Instead he took the girl to Canada, I think, and married her. Sergeant Toothill started to Ottawa, Illinois with Wagners' remains March 14th.
April 3d, Company I crossed the Mississippi River this morning for beef cattle. We got some at Surrett's plantation, eleven miles down the river on the Louisiana side. The young men working the plantation treated us to a fine dinner, which we did ample justice to. This is a government plantation, leased by discharged union soldiers. In fact nearly all the plantations along the river for ten miles have been confiscated and leased out to the discharged Union soldiers.
April 6th, About seventy-five men from our regiment started out at eleven p.m. yesterday on the Meadville road. At daylight, about twenty miles out, we surprised a small force of rebels and captured six, including the leader. John Calvert was with the advance videtts. We had for a guide a citizen that used to live in the neighborhood. He was a union man formerly from the north.
This rebel gang had driven him off and turned his wife and child out of doors, burned his house and everything else on the plantation. When his wife was making her way to Natchez in a carriage, by their orders, they took after her whooping, yelling and shouting which frightened her so that she became deranged and is still in that condition. I got this from our guide as we were riding together.
Just at daylight we came out in the clearing in sight of John Calvert's. We put spurs to our horses and rushed up to the house ran in an caught the old fellow just as he bounded out of bed. Our guide shook his revolver under his nose, threatened to shoot him and gave him the worst tongue-lashing I ever heard a man get. Calvert took it all with a pleasant grin. I expected to see the guide shoot him, he was so furious and threatened it so much. I learned afterwards that he had killed several of the gang and that he was now under bonds to keep the peace.
Lieutenant Hyde took Company I to a house near by where a Miss Calvert Lived. I did not learn what relation she was to John.
After we had fed our horses and eaten our breakfast the boys all laid down to take a nap, out about the stable (which was in the rear of the house) excepting Lieutenant Hyde and three non commissioned officers, including myself, whom Lieutenant Hyde invited into the house.
No pickets were put out. We were sitting in the parlor listening to music on the piano by Miss Calvert when we were suddenly startled by sounds of shooting up the road. We rushed out, into the yard and saw about twenty rebels coming down the road and a lot of our regiment after them in hot pursuit. We run to the fence by the road and fired at them with our revolvers, the only weapons we had with us. One rebel fell from his horse mortally wounded, and we took two prisoners. The balance scattered in the woods close by and escaped. We picked up the wounded man and carried him to the house and sent for a local physician who extracted the ball by the man died. The ball entered just below the ribs on the right side and lay against the skin on the left side.
It was not a little amusing to see Miss Calvert's antics when we rushed out of the house and commenced shooting. She screamed out "don't shoot them, don't shoot them, take them prisoners" at the same time jumping around and gesticulating at a fearful rate. These rebels were mostly her neighbors. This same girl Lieutenant Hyde afterward married, although he had a wife and two children in Illinois.
April 11th, We moved our camp out of the main fort about one-half mile.
April 12th, I am on duty in charge of eighteen men, building stables for our horses at our new quarters. The lumber is procured by tearing down deserted houses and barns wherever we can find them.
April 14th, Lieutenant Hyde has been in command of the company for some time, in the absence of Captain Shepardson who has been home on recruiting service. Our Captain and Lieutenant Hyde have been at loggerheads for some time and our company quarters are not large enough for them both at the same time. We have not had but one of them with us at a time for over a year. May 2, 1864 appears to be the date of Lieutenant Hyde's promotion to the Seventieth Regiment A. D.
May 19th, The dismounted men of our regiment are doing Provost duty in the city. Not over half of the enrollment of our regiment are mounted. Our service has been constant and severe. It has killed and used up our horses faster than we could get new mounts, notwithstanding we have taken every horse and mule that we came across that was fit for army service. I think we averaged to have used up from six to eight horses to the man in the three years. I was riding my eighth horse when I was mustered out at the expiration of my term of enlistment.
It has been the custom for some time to send a patrol of two or three men from each picket post three or four miles out each day. This is quite dangerous work as it would not be very difficult to cut off and capture or ambush and kill so small a force, so far from support.
I believe the only reason we have escaped as we have is because we have invariably charged into them so savagely and whipped them so thoroughly every time that they are a little delicate about getting in our way. I was at Natchez when the war ended and met some of these rebel cavalrymen who belonged to the commands that we used to chase so much. As soon as they learned what regiment I belonged to they would greet me cordially and seemed as glad to see me as though I had been an old comrade. They said they respected an enemy that would fight. They also said they were possessed with but one idea when they knew we were coming (they could frequently hear us before they could see us) and that was to get out of our way as quickly as possible.
. They fired on our picket patrol once only during the summer, that was from ambush, and Sam Willey of company K was wounded. William Warren arrived in camp from recruiting service on May 24th and Captain Shepardson on May 25th. They recruited a good many men for the regiment while they were gone.
June 15th, A force of seventy-five men, under Captain Merriman, (fourteen men and Sergeant from Company I) crossed the Mississippi River with two day's rations and were joined by 100 Colored Cavalry. They traveled all-night and scoured the country next day along the Tensas River for beef cattle.
A little later Captain Dashill of Company K and Lieutenant B. F. Hyde of Company I crossed the river with one hundred men for the same purpose and returned with forty beef cattle.
We got quite a little drove, which we sent into camp next day, and returned for more. Company "I" s detail was sent to picket the main road to Trinity where there was quite a force of rebel cavalry, while the balance of the force went farther to the southeast toward Black River.
We went out about two miles to Dr. Pierce's. I was sent further out with three men to picket the road. While we were there a force of fifty or seventy-five rebel cavalry came out from Trinity. They exchanged a shot or two with our advance vidette and turning around went back.
We gathered up on this trip altogether over two hundred beef cattle. We returned the third day, Company I being left behind to bring in the cattle, which we accomplished successfully.
July 4th, The effective force of our regiment crossed over the River in the morning. They run across quite a force of rebel cavalry at Cross-' Bayou which they pitched into and drove across the Bayou, killing eight rebels, so they said. James Scott of Company L was slightly wounded and his horse was killed.
July 9th, At ten p.m. we crossed the river again joined by a regiment of Colored Cavalry and three pieces of light artillery. We were at Cross-' Bayou at daylight, where we found quite a force of rebel cavalry. The artillery threw a few shells at them, then we crossed over and charged them directly, putting them to flight. We chased them two or three miles. They tried a time or two to rally and check us but we were crowding them so closely that they could not make a stand.
We had four men wounded in this charge. After giving our horses a little rest we returned to camp, making a trip of nearly forty miles, without feeding our horses.
July 15th, We were inspected by Major General Dana. We have five hundred ten horses in the regiment and only two hundred twenty reported serviceable.
I found the following in the report of Inspecting Officer Major C. T. Christensen, under date of July 20, 1864 Natchez, Mississippi:
I inspected at eight a.m., July 15, the Fourth Illinois Cavalry. Aggregate effective force here 806, only 220 serviceable horses, 290 unserviceable. Man men are unequipped and unarmed. Clothing tolerably good. Discipline and general condition good. There is no suitable drill ground here and therefore the regiment is not well drilled. Many of the recruits were never yet mounted. They had eleven 4-horse teams, one 2-horse team, eight 4-mule teams and one 6-mule team. There were eight public horses in possession of officers, namely, Captain Wallace 2, Captain Smith 2, Lieutenant Allshouse 1, Captain Hitt 1, and Captain Wardlaw 2.
July 18th, Early in the evening one hundred men from our regiment were detailed to search the city of Natchez for horses. We were sent to the city very quietly, so that the citizens would not know what we were after, and hide their horses. In fact we did not know ourselves what we were to do until we were divided up into squads and given our instructions.
We took everything that was serviceable and got back to our quarters at two. a.m. We went back again the next day and made a more thorough search than we could in the night. We got in all over three hundred head. A great many of them were returned to their owners later on. We found horses hid in all kinds of places, even in the cellar under the house, but they had to cover their tracks pretty nicely if a Yankee Soldier did not find what he was looking for. I took three fine horses from the stable of an UN-naturalized Englishman, but he got them all back the next day.
July 22d, The effective force of our regiment crossed the river on the ferry. Being on duty elsewhere I did not go. They reported that they fell in with a force of rebel cavalry a few miles back from the River, who had made a raid on the government plantations and were loaded down with plunder of every description. They showed no desire to fight but quite an eagerness to get away; nothing so very strange about that though for we have not been able to get a fight out of any rebel cavalry since we have been in Natchez, that we did not force out of them on the run, and it was the same in this case.
They were attacked by our boys at quite close range and with the first volley they killed two of our men, Cyrus Timmons of Company K and I haven't the name of the other. Dan Nettleton of Company I was slightly wounded.
Joe Carter's horse, Old Sled, as he called him, became excited in the pursuit which followed and took the bit, running right into the rear of the rebel column in spite of all Joe could do to hold him. Seeing he could not stop he steered for the center of the road and split their column.
Joe told how the buckets and plunder flew as he ran against them. Some said "shoot him," others "take him prisoner," They dared not shoot for fear of hitting their own men and all were more eager to get away themselves than to try to take him prisoner. Joe said he could have shot one of them any time but he had only one load left in his revolver and he feared he might get into a pinch where he would need that to save himself. Finally in crossing a muddy place they were scattered some and Joe got out of the road, Old Sled falling down and getting up without his rider, and going off with the rebels. Joe never saw Old Sled again. Joe scrambled out of the mud and run to get behind a tree, but just as he came around from one side a rebel, who had got dismounted somehow, came around from the other side.
Joe said they were neither of them a bit particular about keeping that tree, but each run in the opposite direction, for another tree. Our boys came along directly and both were rescued.
The rebel loss, so far as know, was three prisoners taken. The pursuit was finally abandoned. Under date of August 1st I find the following, which shows another line of duty we had to perform:
I am on picket on the Up River road; have three of our boys and fourteen Negro infantrymen. The latter stand picket here every other day and we have to furnish non commissioned officer to take command of them. They make quite efficient pickets, for the experience they have had, obeying orders to the letter.
A mounted squad of us had occasion to pass out through the breast works on a road where there was a Negro sentinel. We had a perfect right to pass through without a challenge but the corporal of the guard had instructed him to let no one pass, and went away to his quarters for his breakfast. Some of our boys got impatient at waiting so long and talked as though we would ride over the sentinel and go ahead, but the Negro could not be brow-beaten. He told us very seriously that if we undertook it "someone would get hurted sure." We waited until the corporal returned.
August 5th, The effective force of our regiment was ordered out last evening at sunset with three day's rations. We crossed the Mississippi River on the ferry and started out in a southwestern course. Another force, under Lieutenant Colonel McCaleb, went out on the Concordia lake road. Colonel Farrar is in command of the expedition. We are accompanied by the Twenty-eighth and Twenty-ninth Illinois, two regiments of colored troops and one mountain howitzer.
We traveled all night with but little rest. The latter part of the night we were going through Cross' Bayou swamp. At daybreak we came onto a picket force of about seventy five-rebel cavalry. They fell back after a skirmish and we saw no more of them. They probably went to Trinity where they have quite a large force. The latter place is thirty-five miles southwest of Natchez, across the Tensas River.
We were joined near here by the force under Lieutenant Colonel McCaleb and halted at a plantation near there where we fed and got our breakfast, after which most of the command unsaddled and laid down to take a rest. This place has been headquarters for the rebel pickets for some time.
About two weeks ago Captain Wardlaw of Company E came out here with a flag of truce on some business and staid all night with Captain Montgomery, commanding the rebel picket post here. The latter told Captain Wardlaw that they had some better troops here now than they had had and that we could not run the about as we had been doing General Wheeler's Cavalry, and the first time we came there we would be nicely cleaned out. He advised Wardlaw, as a friend (?) not to come over again as the troops there now were those celebrated Texas Rangers that cut such a figure during General Banks' Red River campaign.
They even charged one of our gunboats, it is said, and I don't know but what they claimed to have capture it. Captain Wardlaw assured him that none of those things would deter us from coming out there as often as we had occasion to and he said he did not fear getting whipped.
We were suddenly a wakened from our slumbers by the report of our howitzer a short distance out on the Trinity road. In an incredible short time we were galloping down the road in that direction. We did not wait to "fall in" but got into our places in the column as we went. Captain Wardlaw with his company, E, had the lead.
We found the rebels a short distance from our pickets and struck them in column of fours in a charge. The rebels broke at once, just as we expected. They made several attempts to rally and form a line but we gave them no chance. We run them until we could find none to follow. They scattered in every direction. The ground was very favorable for them to get away as there was so much thickly grown, small timber along the road and numerous levies and ditches. We knew nothing about the lay of the land, while they knew all about it.
We killed five of them, including one captain and one Lieutenant and took seven prisoners. The captain killed was the same captain, Montgomery, that advised Captain Wardlaw, as a friend (?) not to come out there again for he would be sure to get whipped.
The rebels had engaged in this affair three hundred picked men, more than there were of us. One of the prisoners said they could have had 2000 as well as 300 but they thought 300 of their men was sufficient to whip all the Yankee troops at Natchez.
After the prisoners had time to get their breath they inquired if we always fought that way. We assured them that was our style. Of course we had the advantage of them in having other troops at our back if we needed them but they gave us no assistance. We cleaned them out single-handed.
The rebel loss in killed that I have given was reported at the time. I did not see them. Our casualties were Captain Wardlaw of Company E, severe wound in thigh, and three privates wounded.
Below is the report of Colonel M. R. M. Wallace of the expedition from Natchez, Mississippi, to Galespy's plantation, to Lieutenant T. A. Ralston, Assistant Adjutant General:
Agreeable to verbal instructions received from the Colonel Commanding, I crossed the Mississippi River at this place with one hundred ninety men and nine Commissioned officers and two field and staff officers of my command, at seven p.m. on the 4th. Inst.
After crossing the River, by the Colonel's order, the command was divided. Ninety men and two commissioned officers and one field and staff officer, under Captain Wallace of Company C Fourth Illinois Cavalry, were ordered by the Colonel Commanding to report to Lieutenant Colonel McCaleb. Before this last detachment got over the River Captain G. L. Collins, Company B Fourth Illinois Cavalry, was ordered to proceed down the river about seven miles to the place where Captain Wardlaw, Company E and F Fourth Illinois Cavalry had been ordered to proceed previous to the crossing of the troops from this side of the River.
I remained with the escort of four men at Vidalia until the detachment, under Captain Wallace, was across and had moved off to report to Lieutenant Colonel McCaleb as per order and then learning that Colonel Farrar had gone down the river on board one of the transports with the infantry force, I proceeded on down the river for the purpose of joining the command that had gone that way.
On taking the advance within a short distance of Concordia Bayou, where I reported in person to Colonel Farrar commanding expedition, and was by him ordered to take charge of the cavalry. We moved on to the above named bayou and finding no means of crossing at that point we moved in a northern direction, about three miles, to a temporary bridge across the bayou, arriving there just at daybreak.
We pushed rapidly across the bayou, struck the gallop march in single file through the swamp a mile and one half or two miles, coming out on a plantation at Mud Bayou, expecting to find there a small picket of the enemy but they had fallen back in a northwestern direction, exchanging a few shots with the flankers of the advance guard as they fell back.
Here we rested a few minutes, watered the command and after sending a sergeant and six men, by Colonel Farrar's order, to bring up the gun that was with the infantry column, we moved on along the bayou in the direction the enemy's pickets had taken and in a few minutes our advance commenced skirmishing with the enemy, driving them gradually back to near the dwelling on the plantation of--------, when by Colonel Farrar's order I took a portion of the command to the right, through the field, for the purpose of striking the road leading along Mud Bayou in the rear of the enemy but they fell back on the road leading direct to the Trinity road.
I remained in the road at the place where I struck until the balance of the command came up when we moved along Mud Bayou about two miles. There crossing, we moved along about two miles further, coming out on the Stacy plantation where we expected to find the camp of about three hundred of the enemy but they had moved off the day before.
Here we met the advance of Lieutenant Colonel McCaleb's force under Captain Wallace. Here Colonel Farrar ordered me to assume command of the whole cavalry force. After watering the horses we moved on to the Galespy plantation fed our horses and men and rested about three hours. We arrived at the Galespy plantation at about fifteen minutes before nine a.m. August 6, 1864.
Just as the command commenced to saddle up, word came that the enemy had made their appearance to the east of us on the road leading to the Tensas. A portion of the command dashed off, driving the enemy rapidly for about two miles where they made a desperate stand on the Session plantation but they soon gave way, when they were furiously charged. They soon, however, made another attempt to stand but were again charged and after a few more sallies and successive impetuous charges they fled, after a chase of about five miles from the Galespy plantation.
After collecting the scattered portion of the command, from the flanks and extreme front we moved back to the Trinity and Vidalia road, resting a few moments, when we moved to Forest Bayou where we found the infantry command, and by the order of Colonel Farrar, After detailing Company E to go with the ambulance and company D to remain with the infantry under Colonel Preston, we moved quietly towards Vidalia to Lake Concordia where we watered and fed.
I then moved on across the Mississippi River at Vidalia and into camp at this place.
Casualties: Wounded, Capt. W. D. Wardlaw Company E severe flesh wound; R. Malden Company E left are broken; Miles Beach Company F severe wound in right army and chest; Andrew Loenard Company H slight wound fell in charge; horses lost 5, captured 5, prisoners 11.
This has been a severe march, especially upon the horses of my command, the extreme heat and dryness of the season rendering it impracticable to make a forced march without breaking down many horses. Fifty-four were rendered unfit for immediate service on this trip. The force we fought consisted of three hundred mounted men, one hundred from the Fifth Texas Cavalry, one hundred from the Seventh Texas Cavalry and one hundred from Robertson's Squadron, all under the command of Major Robertson.
As usual all my officers and all my men did all that any commander could wish. I cannot make any distinction in this case, except to state that Captains Collins of Company B, Merriman of Company L, Wardlaw of Company E, Fisk of Company H, Lowe of Company A and Lieutenant Kimball of Company B were in the thickest of the fight and bore themselves gallantly amid the messengers of death that flew thick and fast around them, and so did the brave and faithful men of their respective commands.
M. R. M. WALLACE
Colonel Commanding Fourth Illinois Cavalry
Below is an extract from Colonel B. G. Farrar's report of this expedition:
At two p.m. the vedette reported a large cavalry force approaching along the levee upon the Gilbert plantation on the Tensas river. Ordering the infantry and artillery to take up a good position behind the levee, I moved forward with the cavalry to attack the enemy.
About one mile distant I found them three hundred fifty strong in line of battle with their left covered with plantation buildings and their right in an open cotton field.
Forming my men in line I advanced upon the enemy and arrived within one hundred yards of their position, charging with my command. Our advance was met by a heavy fire, both from the line in the field and the men in the houses, but my men pressed forward with determination and getting to close quarters the rebels broke and scattered in all directions. They were vigorously followed up and driven over four miles, when I ordered the pursuit to end.
The result of this skirmish was the killing of four men, one captain, Newman, and one reported to be Captain Williams of Taylor'' staff and the capture of eight prisoners, two of whom were wounded, one mortally.
On our side Captain Wardlaw, Fourth Illinois Cavalry received a severe wound in the leg, while gallantly received a severe wound in the leg, while gallantly charging at the head of his men, and two privates were wounded slightly.
The entire command arrived safely at Vidalia on the morning of the 6th at seven o'clock, having accomplished in thirty-five hours a march of forty-one miles. The entire command endured the severe march with fortitude, their officers cheerfully co operating with me in securing the success of the expedition.
The incident about Captains Wardlaw and Montgomery I gave as it was reported in camp. According to Colonel Farrar's report it was not Captain Montgomery that was killed here. Which report is right I am unable to say.
August 26th, The effective mounted force of our regiment available, numbering about one hundred and twenty five men, under Colonel McCaleb, started out at six p.m. yesterday. The balance, about seventy-five men and regiment of Colored Infantry, under Colonel Farrar, went up the river on a transport and landed at Rifle Point. Company I went with the latter command, excepting three men and myself. We went with Colonel McCaleb.
Our command took a circuit around Lake Concordia and had to swim Concordia Bayou. We marched quite steadily all night and at daybreak met the other column about five miles back from Rifle Point. We were expecting to find a force of rebels near there and we were sent out in two columns so we might get them between our two forces, and for the last hour or two we had come up on a charge to every plantation we came to.
We mistook our men of the other column, in the dim twilight, for the rebels we were hunting, and being under orders to charge into any thing we came across, we charged them in column of fours. We were not a little surprised to see the opposing column deploy in line quickly and charge us in true Fourth Cavalry style. We were soon together but recognized each other before anyone was seriously hurt.
The other column had run into a picket force of about thirty five-rebel cavalry at a cotton gin before daylight. The rebel vedette fired without a challenge when our boys charged and followed him right in. The most of the rebels escaped in the weeds and darkness. Our boys got eight of them and most of their horses and equipment's.
We all went on together then to near where the latter incident happened when we met Colonel Farrar with a regiment of Colored Infantry with their guns stacked in the road. Just as our advance reached this place word came that a rebel force had been seen not far from there in the direction we were then going.
We were immediately started after them at a lively gallop. Colonel Farrar stood on the levee at the side of the road and swung his hat as we passed shouting, "Give them hell, Fourth Cavalry," until we were out of hearing range.
Myself with two or three others were deployed on the left as flankers. I was next to the road and even with the advance guard. We could see two rebels some distance behind the rest of the command and Joe Carter thought their horses crippled or used up so he asked permission of the officer in command of the advance to take twelve men from the right, dash ahead and try and take them in. His request was granted and as Joe started out and said, "Come on boys' I reined into the road beside him and said "Now Joe we will see who has the best horse." He had just drawn a large white horse and bantered me for a trade on the way out, but I put him off by saying I wanted to see his horse tested. My own had already been tested a good many times. Joe spurred his horse and made him do his best. I kept neck and neck with him without urging my horse in the least.
The two rebels, we started out to catch, we soon found were well mounted and had no trouble to keep out of our way. We discovered after awhile that we were far ahead by ourselves, so Joe suggested that we slack up a little as we might run into an ambush. Joe had come near getting killed a short time before in a similar case.
The command was soon up and we galloped on until we struck Lake St. John, about three miles from where we left Colonel Farrar. We could see quite a large force of rebel cavalry retreating around the lake. We made a short halt here to rest our horses. The weeds were as high as our heads while on our horses, all around there. There was open timber a little to our left along the lake, the way the rebels had gone.
I was sent with two men out that way to stand picket until the command moved again. I took the road and one of the men on each side went through the weeds. I got out of the weeds first and there in the edge of the timber, not a dozen rods from me, stood three rebel cavalrymen in a bunch facing me, with their carbines at a "ready," I felt sure that they would shoot at me in an instant but I wanted to get the first shot and I did get it, too.
I drew rein and fired over my horse's head at the bunch. I shot very quick but still thought I had good enough aim so I could not help but hit some one of them. The other boys gave them a round but the Johnnies scampered away unharmed, so far as we knew. We returned to camp in about the same or4der as we went out, without further incident.
I found the following report by Captain Merriman to Brigadier General M. Brayman, Commanding United States Forces, which is hereby submitted:
Natchez, Mississippi, September 6, 1864: I have the honor to report in conformity with your order, detailing me and fifteen men to come east on the Liberty road to find out the whereabouts of the enemy. I found the pickets at the eight mile post, moved on them slowly for two miles, skirmishing all the time.
I was fearful of an ambuscade, as they were stubborn. On their retreat I ordered a charge, and a running fight ensued for three miles, ending in the capture of one prisoner, six horses and mules, equipment's and four stand of arms, scattering the remaining force all over the country.
I could hear of no formidable force this side of the Homochitto River, a distance of twenty-eight miles. The prisoner captured is from Captain Ferry's Company tenth Mississippi, commanded by Colonel Wood now on duty at Springers Ferry on the Homochitto River. The property captured was turned over to the quartermaster.
I am very respectfully your obedient servant
HARVEY H. MERRIMAN
Captain Company L, Fourth Illinois Cavalry
September 16th, Sergeant Moulton was in command of the patrol on the Pine Ridge road this morning. He found two mules and a horse saddled and tied a few rods from the road in the woods. He brought them all in. They evidently belonged to some rebel cavalry, but the latter were not seen.
The next morning the patrol on the Washington road was ambushed and J. W. Phelps of Company M was instantly killed, fourteen buckshot striking him in the face and breast. Phelps was the Captain's clerk and volunteered to go with the patrol that morning for recreation. He wore an officer's blouse and was probably taken for an officer. His folks lived at Ottawa, Illinois. It is understood that this was in retaliation for the capture of two mules and a horse by Sergeant Moulton the day before.
Report of Major Mindret Wemple of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry to Lieutenant G. B. Smith, Acting Assistant Adjutant General, of the expedition to Farrar's plantation:
Headquarters Fourth Illinois Cavalry, Natchez, Mississippi, September 23, 1864: In obedience to orders I took command of the detachments of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, Twenty-eighth Illinois Infantry, Twenty ninth Illinois Infantry, Sixth United? States Colored Artillery and Seventy first United States Colored Infantry on the morning of the 22d inst and proceeded to the plantation of Mr. A. K. Farrar.
I loaded fifty-one wagons with corn and cotton, brought in forty-seven bales of cotton and one hundred and forty head of cattle. The enemy engaged our rear guard soon after leaving Farrar's and kept up a lively skirmish for six miles. I had no one hurt. One man of the enemy was shot from his horse, supposed to have been killed. Returned to Natchez last night at eleven p.m.
Major Commanding Fourth Illinois Cavalry
Below is a condensed report of M. Brayman, Brigadier General Commanding, to Lieutenant Colonel H. C. Rodgers Assistant Adjutant General, of an expedition to Sicily Island and Waterproof. The Fourth Illinois Cavalry or a part of it least, was with the expedition:
Headquarters United States Forces, Natchez, Mississippi, September 30, 1864: I have the honor to report, informally, that the forces which I sent out on Monday morning to Sicily Island, Louisiana and Waterproof, under Lieutenant Colonel H. A. McCaleb, Sixth United States Colored Heavy Artillery, returned this morning without accident or loss, with the following results: One rebel flag, one rebel Colonel, three rebel captains, four rebel privates, two rebel guerillas, twenty-five serviceable horses, one-hundred serviceable mules and four-hundred fat cattle.
Respectfully your obedient Servant
Brigadier General Commanding
The non-veterans turned over their arms and equipment's October 3, 1864, which ended our soldiering in this war in all probability, the veterans and recruits having already been consolidated into five companies.
This same day a Brigade of Cavalry, under Colonel E. D. Osband, came into Natchez from Vicksburg. They reported meeting a force of about two hundred-rebel cavalry this side of Fayette. They claimed to have killed seven of them and took some prisoners and brought in about four hundred head of beef cattle.
This same force augmented by a part of the consolidated Battalion of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, left here the next day for Woodville on steamers by the way of Fort Adams or some point near there. Another force, with the balance of the Fourth Cavalry Battalion, start for the same place by way of Liberty. These expeditions returned on the 8th. Below is Colonel Osband's report of the same:
Report of Colonel E. D. Osband, Third United States Colored Cavalry, Commanding Expedition to Woodville, Mississippi, to Captain F. W. Fox, Assistant Adjutant General:
Headquarters Cavalry Forces, Vicksburg, Mississippi, October 12, 1864: Pursuant to orders from the Major General Commanding, I left Natchez, Mississippi, on the 4th day of October at six p.m. on transports provided with detachments of the Fifth, Eleventh and Fourth Illinois Cavalry, Second Wisconsin Cavalry, Third United States Colored Cavalry, two pieces of artillery and detachment Signal Corps, in all about twelve-hundred men.
We landed at Tunica Bend, Louisiana, at four a.m. On the 5th and marched in the direction of Woodville. When ten miles from Woodville, hearing heavy firing in the direction of Bayou Lava, I proceed to that point as far as Sligo, but there finding that the firing receded faster than we advanced, I moved toward Woodville and after surrounding the town, charged with two regiments, completely surprising the rebels and capturing twelve prisoners, one caisson, twelve army wagons with teams, etc.
After destroying telegraph wires and capturing mail I moved half a mile south of the village and camped. At daylight I forwarded all prisoners and captured property to Fort Adams.
Hearing at this time of a rebel force upon my right flank, about one and one half miles distant, I immediately sent the Fifth Illinois Cavalry, Third United States Colored Cavalry and one piece of artillery to the left and moved with the Eleventh Illinois and Second Wisconsin Cavalry's and one gun to the right.
The column sent to the left met a severe fire from Gober's Cavalry. The artillery and Fifth Illinois Cavalry, supporting, opened at 1000 yards and did fine execution.
Major J. B. Cook with the Third United States Colored Cavalry, pushing rapidly to the rear, stampeded Gober's command and gained the rear of the battery. When forming line of battle he charged through the woods, one battalion with revolvers and one with sabers, cutting down the rebels who were now deserting the battery, driving the gunners from and capturing the guns. The battery men were secured as prisoners of war by the Fifth Illinois Cavalry. In the meantime the other column met with stubborn resistance.
The result of this half-hour's work was one 12 pound howitzer, two 6-pound smooth bore guns, one-hundred and fifty rounds of fixed ammunition, horses and harness complete, three battle flags, forty-one prisoners and four of the enemy killed.
Our loss was nothing. The fight occurred near the residence of Judge McGehee, who had breakfast cooked for the rebels. Our men ate the breakfast and, giving the Judge half an hour to move out of his residence burned it, together with the quarters he had erected for the use of the rebels.
I now sent Captain Bentley, with one company of the Second Wisconsin, a mile to the right of our position where he stampeded a company of rebel cavalry. He found and destroyed thirty-five saddles and thirty-five stand of arms.
I also caused to be burned at Woodville about $1000,000 worth of commissary stores, Confederate States army, consisting of salt, sugar, tobacco and cotton cloth. I now moved to Fort Adams, sending captured property to boats.
Here at the junction of the roads the advance (Third United States Colored Cavalry) found and drove a small party of rebels some two miles. Our loss was two wounded, slightly. During the night I learned we had met Power's regiment, two hundred strong. The Fourth Illinois Cavalry had one man wounded, who afterward died.
Expecting to meet Scott's and the combined rebel forces at Woodville, I marched at eight a.m. for that point but found no enemy. We encamped on Buffalo Creek and marched next morning at daylight, meeting Colonel Farrar at Kingston and reaching Natchez at four p.m.
I learned at Woodville that in the skirmish with Power's Regiment the commanding officer, Major McKowen, and eight men were killed.
Summary: The command embarked and disembarked twice, traveled by river one hundred seventy five miles, and marched by land two hundred sixty miles. They lost no material, had only two men killed, and one officer and five men slight wounded. The enemy's loss is two officers and fifty-four enlisted men killed, and by capture four commissioned officers and eighty-two enlisted men.
The command captured three cannons, one caisson, three-hundred-fifty rounds of ammunition, some harness, etc., one-thousand head of beef cattle, three sheep, between three-hundred and four-hundred horses and mules, twelve army wagons, harness, etc., destroying three-hundred-fifty stand of arms, $100,000 subsistence stores, destroyed the telegraph station at Woodville and secured a large amount of information through capture dispatches and gained one-hundred-seventy-five able bodied colored recruits.
E. D. OSBAND
Colonel Third United States Colored Cavalry
Report of Colonel E. D. Osband, Third United States Colored Cavalry, Commanding Third Cavalry Brigade, to Captain S. L. Woodwar, Assistant Adjutant General:
Memphis, Tennessee, January 13, 1865: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by the Third Brigade in the recent raid from Memphis, Tennessee, to Vicksburg, Miss. The brigade moved from Memphis as the rear of a cavalry division on the morning of December 21, 1864 with ten day's rations and one-hundred-twenty rounds of ammunition per man and numbering forty-seven officers and 1679 enlisted men.
At noon of the 24th of December, being at Ripley, Mississippi, I sent, by order of the General Commanding, two hundred men of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, Captain A. T. Search commanding, to cut the Mobile & Ohio railroad. Moving directly east, about midnight, they cut the railroad midway between Guntown and Baldwyn Stations. After burning two bridges and tearing up one quarter of a mile of track they continued their march and joined the column at Ellistown at noon of the 25th, having captured seven prisoners and destroyed twenty-four stand of arms.
On the night of the 25th of December the brigade encamped three miles from Tupelo. By order of the General Commanding I sent forward the Eleventh Illinois Cavalry, who after a night of most unusual exertion, completely destroyed the railroad bridge over the Old town Creek, two-hundred feet long, and tore up half a mile of track.
On the 26th I sent the Third United States Colored Cavalry down the railroad from Tupelo to Verona, the Fourth Illinois Cavalry from Verona to Shannon, the Second Wisconsin as far below Shannon as they were able to go that night. From Tupelo to Shannon about 2500 feet of bridge and trestlework were destroyed. The Fourth Illinois Cavalry burned ten railroad cars loaded with wagons at Verona, captured twenty loaded wagons, teams and stores just south of the station and destroyed repair shops and a vast amount of materials used by General Forest at Verona.
The Third Wisconsin burned two government warehouses at Shannon filled with quartermasters stores, three-hundred stand of arms, thirteen cars loaded with timber and the important railroad bridges over the Chiwasses and Coonewar Creeks, many trestle works and culverts, beside the capture of one First Lieutenant and six enlisted men.
On the 27th the Eleventh Illinois Cavalry totally destroyed the important bridges over the Chiwapa and Talabalah Creeks, each two hundred feet in length, cutting down such parts that could not be burned. During the day the rear guard skirmished with about sixty of the enemy.
On the 28th I sent as ordered six companies of the Second Wisconsin Cavalry, under Major William Woods, to hold Pikeville. Nearing Egypt's Station the column was closed up and the skirmishing of the first brigade, becoming exceedingly warm, the pack train in my front be in confusion, blocking up the road, I took the field with the Fourth and Eleventh Cavalry and the Third United States Colored Cavalry, leaving six companies of Second Wisconsin Cavalry, under Captain Forest, to guard brigade, pack train and prisoners.
Moving rapidly toward the scene of the engagement I was ordered by Colonel Charge to support his right flank, held by the Fourth Missouri Cavalry, who were carrying on a fight with General Balstons command, who were inflicting great loss to the Fourth Missouri Cavalry from the shelter of a railroad embankment, without danger to themselves. Without firing a single shot the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, having formed in line on the right of the Fourth Missouri Cavalry charged, utterly routing Rolsom and pursuing his flying squadron to the road beyond.
The revolver and saber were freely used by our men, fifteen or twenty of the enemy being either killed or wounded. One Lieutenant Colonel, five line officers and ten enlisted men were captured. In this brilliant attack we lost two men, severely wounded the enemy, their entire cavalry force, had their left turned and the retreat to the swamp before this opened to the garrison of the stockade entirely and permanently cut off.
Immediately to the rear, and supporting the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, I moved the Eleventh Illinois Cavalry, but finding the Fourth able to meet all the force of the enemy of that side of the railroad, I charged the direction of the Eleventh Illinois Cavalry by a left wheel and moved them to the rear of the houses situated to the right of the stockade, which furnished them admirable cover for their horses, intending to attack the stockade with them dismounted.
The regiment was here ordered to move to the rear of the stockade, mounted, and in making the movement they were exposed to a heavy fire. One man was killed and two officers and thirteen men wounded.
Forming in the new position Colonel Funk dismounted his men and advanced to assault the stockade but before his men came in range it surrendered. I moved the Third United States Colored Cavalry to the position recently occupied by the Eleventh Illinois Cavalry, under cover of the houses and dismounted them. The dismounted column formed and commenced to move on the stockade when it surrendered.
The two companies of the Second Wisconsin and two companies of the Third United States Colored Cavalry were, by direction of the General Commanding, placed on the extreme left of our line, but although they had a few horses wounded, they did not, to any extent, participate in the engagement.
Nine enlisted men of the Eleventh Illinois were too badly wounded to be moved and after their wounds were dressed by our surgeon they were left at Egypt's Station.
On the morning of January 1, 1865, I moved, by order of the General Commanding, from Winona station down to the line of the Mississippi Central railroad. Flanking the line of march of the main column I sent a strong dismounted detail from the Fourth Illinois Cavalry and Third United States Colored Cavalry from Winona Station through Vaiden and West Station to a point five miles below the latter place, a distance of twelve miles.
They totally destroyed two and one-half miles of track, nineteen bridges, twelve culverts, together with station houses, water tanks, etc.; ten of these bridges were important structures and must require thirty days to repair them.
On the morning of the 2d, learning that the confederates were concentrating a strong force near Goodman Station, I left the line of the railroad and moved on the Franklin Pike in the direction of Ebenezer and Benton.
When one-half mile from Franklin my advance of the Third United States Colored Cavalry was charged upon by a strong force of the enemy. The charge was repulsed and the rebels driven from their advanced position. The forces proved to be those of General Wirt Adams, 1500 strong, who coming from Goodman had pushed one regiment to a junction of the road, covering them in some close timber skirting the road and about a church surrounded by shrubbery.
A flank movement of two squadrons of the Third United States Colored Cavalry, commanded by Captain H. Fretz of Company L, dislodged them from the church dismounted, under Major E. M. Main, dislodged them from the close timber by falling upon their flank and rear, thus compelling them to fall back to a bridge over a small stream where General Adams had concentrated the main body of his men.
Major Main immediately charged and carried the bridge but in turn was driven in some confusion by the enemy who being heavily re-enforced outnumbered him three to one.
We should have lost numbers of men except for the most determined gallantry of our officers, particularly among whom was Lieutenant Frank W. Calais, Company A-Third United States Cavalry.
In the meantime the Eleventh Illinois Cavalry moved to our extreme right, where they arrived in time to check a flank movement of the enemy. After sharp fighting the movement of their left turned and their forces driven to the main body at the bridge. The Fourth Illinois Cavalry moving promptly to the support of the Third United States Colored Cavalry, met and repulsed a flank movement of the enemy, directly to our left, when quickly dismounting, jumping from tree to tree soon drove the rebels to the cover of the houses across the Creek.
At this time the Third United States Cavalry again charged and carried the bridge from which they were not again driven during the fight. The desperate nature of the fighting, the superiority of numbers displayed by General Adams and the summons from the General Commanding to immediately join the column, now fifteen miles to our right, induced me to attempt to withdraw my men, Fortunately General Adams concluded to withdraw his men and we mutually separated, without further fighting.
One enlisted man from the Fourth Illinois Cavalry and one from the Third United States Colored Cavalry being too severely wounded to be moved, were left at Franklin. Our loss was one officer killed, one wounded and three enlisted men killed, one wounded and two missing. The enemy left one major, one lieutenant and fifty men dead upon the field, aside from which we took seven prisoners. It was the hardest fought cavalry fight in which the brigade as such were ever engaged.
I cannot forbear to mention the loss sustained by the death of First Lieutenant and Assistant Adjutant S. H. Pettingill of the Third United States Colored Cavalry.
He was thoroughly the embodiment of the accomplished gentleman and the dashing soldier.
Moving through Ebenezer I joined the main column the same night, having been engaged with the enemy one and one-half hours and having marched forty-three miles. My horses are worn out with the labor of fifty days consecutive riding and need rest and care. My men are unusually well not more than twenty being admitted to the hospital from both sick and wounded.
I desire to thank Captain J. F. Wallace, Fourth Illinois Cavalry acting aide-de-camp, for very valuable service rendered throughout the expedition. Attention is called to enclosed reports of the regimental commanders also statement of Lieutenant Hisbit of Fifth Illinois Volunteer Cavalry.
Very respectfully your obedient servant
E. D. OSBAND
Colonel Third United States Colored Cavalry
Third Brigade Cavalry Division
October 20th, At 1:30 a.m. we embarked aboard the Paragon and arrived at Cairo, Illinois, at daylight on the 26th and immediately took a special train, composed of box cars into which we were loaded like so many cattle, excepting we were not furnished any straw for bedding, while it is considered inhuman to ship cattle that way.
We started for Springfield, Illinois, where we arrived the next day. It will be remembered that this was on the eve of a presidential election, which was to be held on the 8th of November. The candidates were Abe Lincoln and General George B. McClelland and there was no small interest manifested in the army as well as elsewhere, so there was a straw vote taken on the boat before we got to Cairo. The result was as follows: Mr. Lincoln 337, McClelland 29 votes. This shows that the old Fourth Illinois Cavalry proposed to vote the way they shot.
The companies were mustered out and paid off as fast as their muster rolls were completed. I believe the last of us left for home on November 6th. At nearly every station some one would silently drop off and thus separated, perhaps never to meet on earth again.
The re-enlisted men or veterans, as they were called then, and the recruits of all those that enlisted subsequent to the organization of the regiment whose term of enlistment had not yet expired, were consolidated into five companies and placed under the command of Major A. T. Search.
This battalion was brigaded with the Third United States Colored Cavalry and perhaps some other troops who were mostly under the command of Colonel E. D. Osband and Lieutenant Colonel J. B. Cook where they served until the close of the war. They did very efficient service.
I submit herewith such reports as I have been able to find where the battalion of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry were participants, followed by reports of some organizations that we were attached to at one time or another:
Headquarters at Corinth, Mississippi. Fourth Illinois Cavalry (four companies) Major Wemple; Eleventh Illinois Cavalry, Lieutenant Colonel Bazil D. Meeks; Third Michigan Cavalry, Lieutenant Colonel Gilbert Moyers; Sixth Tennessee, Colonel Fielding Hurst; Seventh Tennessee, Captain James M. Martin. No further record.
Third Brigade, Colonel Embury D. Osband; Fourth Illinois (five companies) captain Anthony T. Search; Eleventh Illinois, Lieutenant Colonel Otto Funk; Third United States Colored Cavalry, Major Edwin M. Main; Second Wisconsin, Major Nicholas H. Dale; Second Illinois Light Artillery, Battery k, Lieutenant Wesley Platt. No date to this organization found but must have been in latter part of 1864.
April 3, 1863: First Division Cavalry. First Brigade, Colonel Benjamin f. Grierson; Sixth Illinois Cavalry, Lieutenant Colonel R. Loomis; Seventh Illinois Cavalry, Colonel Ed Prince; Second Iowa Cavalry, Colonel Edward Hatch.
Second Brigade, Colonel LaFayette McCrellis; Third Illinois Cavalry Detachment, Lieutenant Colonel J. M. Ruggles: Fourth Illinois Cavalry, Lieutenant Colonel M. r. M. Wallace; Ninth Illinois cavalry, Major Ira R. Gifford.
June 9, 1863: Second Brigade was made first Brigade with Third and Fourth Brigades added to Division, Colonel John R. Wagner Commanding division; Colonel Hatch Commanding Second Brigade; Colonel F. M. Coruyn Commanding Third Brigade and Lieutenant Colonel Bazil D. Meeks Commanding Fourth Brigade.
It was a very hard service, both on men and horses, with but little glory. If we had been given our choice we would have been with the army where our service would seem to amount to something but it is a soldiers duty to obey orders and that we did. We have the satisfaction of knowing that we did what we were ordered to do and accomplished what we undertook in a manner that met the approval of our superior officers and instilled in our enemies, that we came in contact with, a wholesome respect for us.
The consolidated Battalion of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry was consolidated with the Twelfth Illinois Cavalry in Texas, June 14, 1865, which made a full regiment of maximum strength and the organization was known as the Twelfth Illinois Cavalry until it was mustered out some months later. The exact date is not at hand.
It will be observed that this consolidation, with the Twelfth was made after the war was over, consequently the services performed in that organization were of no particular interest, so far as I have learned.
Now comrades and friends I beg your indulgence if you find this history incomplete and if you find some errors I have done the best I could with the material obtainable.
It will not take an expert to see that I am a novice with the pen. This is my first effort along this line. I fondly hoped and waited for years for someone more competent to take up and execute this work and it was only when I feared we would soon all be in our graves and no history written that I decided to undertake it. Farewell.
Farewell to you Mr. P. O. Avery and thank you for sharing your accounts and memories while you were serving with the Fourth Illinois Cavalry. Just one other did take up the pen, Mr. Mitchell , along with the novel "What a boy saw in the army" Which has a short accounting of The beginnings of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry's fine and noble history. So again thank you Mr. P. O. Avery, for the gift you haven given, your fellow comrade's sons and daughters, it helps me in knowing my family history. What a sense of pride you have given to us.
Ronald Roy Wallace