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Title: The History of Company A, Second Illinois Cavalry

Author: Samuel H. Fletcher

D. H. Fletcher

Release date: March 27, 2011 [eBook #35692]

Language: English


E-text prepared by the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
from page images generously made available by
Internet Archive/American Libraries


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Major John R. Hotaling

Major John R. Hotaling





Publisher's logo







Causes of the war‌—‌Slavery, the national issue‌—‌Conditions immediately preceding the outbreak‌—‌Manifestations of patriotism 1
Organization and departure‌—‌Presentation of the Flag‌—‌Address by David B. Dewey‌—‌"Nick. Hotaling's Speech"‌—‌Capture of a masked battery‌—‌Mustered into service‌—‌Camp Butler‌—‌Fort Massac‌—‌Cairo‌—‌Bird's Point‌—‌Adventure of Harvey James‌—‌Paducah and Murray, Kentucky‌—‌Releasing imprisoned slaves 5
Embarcation from Paducah‌—‌Instance of official brutality‌—‌ Capture of Fort Henry‌—‌Reconnoitering Fort Donelson‌—‌First meeting with Forest's men‌—‌Investment of Fort Donelson‌—‌ McLernand's repulse‌—‌Attack by gunboats‌—‌Sortie‌—‌Grant turns the tide‌—‌Surrender by Buckner‌—‌Interest of Northern friends‌—‌Dr. Gould 25
From Donelson to Metal Landing‌—‌Rescue from flooded camp‌—‌ Pittsburg Landing‌—‌Grand review‌—‌Escort Wallace's men to Crump's Landing‌—‌The long-roll‌—‌Detailed to bring up Wallace‌—‌Hardship of men‌—‌Second day's battle‌—‌Retreat and pursuit‌—‌Dickey's cowardice‌—‌Charge against Forest's men‌—‌Pathetic incidents 45
The Corinth campaign‌—‌General Halleck‌—‌Manifestation of caution‌—‌"Better to retreat than to fight"‌—‌Spade-brigade ‌—‌Elaborate fortifications‌—‌Battle of Davis' Bridge on the Hatchie River‌—‌Bolivar‌—‌Death of Colonel Hogg‌—‌Water Valley‌—‌Fight at Holly Springs‌—‌Cowardice of Colonel Murphy‌—‌Foraging 59
The final Vicksburg campaign‌—‌Situation at and around Vicksburg‌—‌Memphis‌—‌Lake Providence‌—‌Digging the canal‌—‌ Cutting levee‌—‌Running batteries‌—‌March through swamps ‌—‌Grand Gulf‌—‌Feint by Sherman‌—‌Battle of Port Gibson‌—‌ Death of McCorkle‌—‌Battles of Raymond and Jackson‌—‌ Champion Hill‌—‌Casler and his "Base of Supplies"‌—‌Battle of Black River Bridge‌—‌Investment of Vicksburg‌—‌Grant ‌—‌the "Silent"‌—‌the Invincible 77
The siege of Vicksburg‌—‌The assault‌—‌Logan's Headquarters ‌—‌The "Bull-pen"‌—‌"Boyce's Battery"‌—‌Scouting‌—‌The mine‌—‌ The surrender‌—‌Phelps appropriates General Buckner's capitulation papers‌—‌Significance of the victory‌—‌Credit due to Grant 99
Department of the Gulf‌—‌New Orleans‌—‌How Official Dignity was Vindicated by a Cat o'nine-tails‌—‌New Iberia‌—‌ Vermillionville‌—‌Chain-Vidette‌—‌"Bower's Charge"‌—‌How Ed. Baker won his spurs‌—‌Repulse of Generals Lucas and Franklin‌—‌Improvised Cavalry‌—‌Death of Crosby‌—‌ Superior arms of Confederates‌—‌Brilliant capture of Confederate detachment‌—‌Commended by general order‌—‌ Outrage committed by Banks and Franklin in confiscating horses‌—‌Cowardly manner of its perpetration‌—‌Re-enlistment ‌—‌Veteran furlough‌—‌Return to the front 113
The Red River Expedition‌—‌Death of Colonel Mudd‌—‌How Colonel Marsh held the line‌—‌Fighting Guerrillas‌—‌"Alton Hell-Hounds"‌—‌Their remedy for picket shooting‌—‌Incidents at Clinton, Louisiana‌—‌Colored wards and the River Jordan ‌—‌Dash upon Liberty, Mississippi‌—‌Capture of Confederate officers‌—‌Chivalry of prisoners and captors‌—‌How a Confederate Captain "made good" 135
"Davidson's sweet-potato raid"‌—‌Southern Alabama‌—‌ Destruction of railroads‌—‌Oyster fishing‌—‌Red-pepper‌—‌ Mobile Expedition‌—‌Barancas‌—‌News of Lee's surrender ‌—‌Assassination of Lincoln‌—‌Fort Blakely‌—‌Mobile‌—‌ Explosion of Magazine‌—‌Return to New Orleans‌—‌ Experience of Daniel Shaw in a Texas prison‌—‌ Shreveport‌—‌"Salt-Horse" vs. Sumptuousness‌—‌ Cantankerous cans‌—‌March into Texas‌—‌San Antonia ‌—‌Mustered out‌—‌Jubilation‌—‌War's aftermath 155
Colonel Silas Noble 179
Lieutenant Colonel Harvey Hogg 181
Colonel John J. Mudd 189
Colonel Benjamin F. Marsh 199
Major John R. Hotaling 203
Roster 213


Major John R. Hotaling Frontispiece
Captain William B. Cummins Facing preface
Lieutenant Frank B. Bennett Facing Chapter I, page 1
Lieutenant Albert J. Jackson Facing Chapter II, page 5
Lieutenant James S. McHenry Facing Chap. III, page 25
Cut Site of Fort Henry Facing Chapter III, page 25
Calvin Steel Facing Chapter IV, page 45
View of Pittsburg Landing Facing Chapter IV, page 45
Samuel H. Fletcher Facing Chapter V, page 59
Shiloh Monument (Cut) Special Commands Facing Chapter V, page 59
Joseph Sheaff Facing Chapter VI, page 77
Peter Sheaff Facing Chapter VI, page 77
Osborn Shannon Facing Chapter VII, page 99
James Bowers Facing Chapter VIII, page 113
James L. Padgett Facing Chapter IX, page 135
E. C. Chatterton Facing Chapter X, page 155
Lieutenant-Colonel Harvey Hogg Facing page 181
Colonel John J. Mudd Facing page 189
Colonel Benjamin F. Marsh Facing page 199
Major John R. Hotaling Facing page 203
Hotaling Group Facing page 207
Illinois State Monument at Shiloh Facing page 213

Capt. William B. Cummins

Capt. William B. Cummins


The purpose of this sketch is to keep green the memory of that little band of men known as Company A, of the Second Illinois Cavalry, who fought in the Civil War. It is to be regretted that no record has been preserved and no attempt made to write a history of the company while the incidents involved were fresh in the minds of its members. As a result, the essential features of the story are based directly upon the memory of one of them and that without any memoranda made at the time. It is not strange therefore, if errors should occur after the lapse of fifty years.

This little book does not pretend to be an accurate history but rather a fragmentary and imperfect sketch in which the aim has been to recount some of the worthy deeds and to recall some of the hardships endured by those who risked all and suffered much in an effort to do their part towards the preservation of freedom and right and justice among men.

No apology is offered for its meagerness or fragmentary character. Should it meet the approval of the few comrades now living or receive a sympathetic response from others, the time and care expended upon it will have been rewarded.

The writers desire to acknowledge their indebtedness to the Association of the Survivors of the Second Regiment, Illinois Veteran Cavalry Volunteers, from whose report of "Reunion Proceedings," published in 1907, the biographical sketches of Colonels Noble, Hogg, Mudd and Marsh have been prepared. They also desire to show their appreciation of the interest and sympathy manifested by Mr. James O. McConaughy, of Rochelle, Illinois, who was one of the first, if not the first, to suggest the writing of the book, and whose generous aid, rendered in every way, has made its publication possible.

D. H. F.

Chicago, Nov. 28, 1912.

Lieutenant Frank B. Bennett

Lieutenant Frank B. Bennett





Causes of the War‌—‌Slavery the National Issue‌—‌Conditions Immediately Preceding the Outbreak.

"Once to every man and nation

Comes the moment to decide."


The attack upon Fort Sumpter was the final challenge to the birthright of a race. The North accepted the challenge. The traditions of a thousand years had prepared its people for the contest. They must fight. The struggle promised to be the deadliest of all the ages; and yet—they were ready.

For years the question of slavery had been the all-absorbing theme. "The Missouri Compromise," "Slavery in the Territories," "The Underground Railroad," "Bleeding Kansas," "The Dred Scott Decision," "Uncle Tom's Cabin," the "John Brown Raid," all were household themes, discussed at the fireside in every farmer's home, at the cross-roads, the schoolhouses, at country stores and preached persistently in churches, at camp-meetings, caucuses and elections, until every man, woman, boy and girl had a settled conviction concerning them. Conflict seemed inevitable. The very atmosphere was charged with foreboding. Men were serious, alert and restless as if apprehensive of some impending calamity. Strange as it may now seem, this feeling was intensified among many by a vague and superstitious dread of which rural preachers were quick to take advantage as presaging "the end of the world." Ominous words of the prophets were recalled by them as having direct application to the time. "In those days," they quoted, "there shall be wars and rumors of wars"; "There shall be signs and wonders in the Heavens"—pointing with manifest aptness to Donati's great comet whose marvelous and awe-inspiring train dominated the sky, as a proof, the awful finality of which could not be questioned. The phenomenal auroral displays of that year accentuated the proof; the gorgeous red tones being likened to "streaks of blood" and the rapidly shifting lights to the "marching and countermarching of armies." If further proof were required, it was supplied by some who recalled that the Canadian rebellion occurred during "the year when the stars fell." It was a time of universal expectancy and profound conviction and required but one swift influence to unify and concentrate it, as the lightning flash precipitates the drops from the thunder-cloud. The flash came at Sumpter. "After this the deluge!"—and those awful words of Madam Roland were verified when two million men were opposed in a struggle to the death. War had come. The question throughout the South was: "Will the Northern man fight?" Its reply was the famous quotation: "He who hath no sword, let him sell his coat and buy one."

Lincoln's proclamation, calling for three hundred thousand men for ninety days was soon supplemented by one involving a larger levy—"for three years or during the war." Preparation was everywhere. The recruiting officer was omnipresent. Hosts flocked to the standard like the "minute-men" at Lexington. As the summer advanced the excitement grew. Men carried their tools from the fields and hastened to enlist. A farmer-boy in the morning was a soldier at night. The fife and drum was the popular music. Every city, village, and hamlet in the land resounded with patriotic songs. Every letter-sheet, every envelop, bore a picture of the flag. Confections were stamped with union mottoes or symbols and their packages bore the national colors. The breast-pins of the girls were the brass-buttons of their soldier lovers and the shortest path to a sweetheart was through a recruiting office. The entire North was a hive of preparation and industry, the grewsome meaning of all of which was merged in the one word—WAR.

Such was the condition in the little town of Lane, Ogle County, Illinois, in the early summer of 1861.

Lieutenant Albert J. Jackson

Lieutenant Albert J. Jackson



Organization and Departure‌—‌Presentation of Flag‌—‌Address by David B. Dewey‌—‌"Nick Hotaling's Speech"‌—‌Capture of a Masked Battery‌—‌Mustered Into Service‌—‌Camp Butler‌—‌Fort Massac‌—‌Cairo‌—‌Bird's Point‌—‌Adventure of Harvey James‌—‌Paducah and Murray, Kentucky‌—‌Releasing Imprisoned Slaves.

"Then the grandsire speaks, in a whisper,—

'The end no man can see;

But we give him to his country

And we give our prayers to Thee.'"

John R. Hotaling, one of the pioneers of Lane (now Rochelle) who graded the first railway through the town and who was a veteran of the Mexican war, undertook to organize a company of cavalry under the three years call. He was well known and popular and his military experience aided the enterprise. The requisite quota for organization was soon obtained and on July 19th, 1861, the men, from various parts of Ogle and adjoining counties, assembled at Oregon and elected officers. John R. Hotaling was made Captain, Frank R. Bennett, First Lieutenant and A. J. Jackson of Morrison, Illinois, Second Lieutenant.

Lieutenant Bennett had served in the regular army and as a cavalry drill-master, was without a superior in the service. Affable in manner, with a handsome, manly presence, he made an ideal officer. He was considerate and kind to his men and a favorite with all.

Lieutenant Jackson was a manly, courteous and intelligent gentleman who soon won the respect and friendship of his comrades but, owing to failing health, was obliged to leave them before the close of the war.

On the twenty-second or twenty-third of July, the men, sixty-four in number, twenty-nine of whom were from Lane, met in that town to start for the front. Each supplied his horse and equipment. Only the choicest animals were selected. The result was that no better mounted men were known to the service. The pride and independence fostered by proprietorship proved an important factor in the high efficiency attained, as will be shown later. The Government allowed forty cents per day for the use of each horse and in case one was killed, time was given in which to replace it.

The occasion was memorable and typical of thousands then occurring throughout the land. It was in the midst of the harvest season and grain was spoiling in the fields for want of men to save it. Nevertheless, the streets were early filled with farmers' wagons and vehicles of all kinds, loaded with entire families who had come to bid the soldier-boys good bye. The men "lined up" upon Washington Street, in front of what is now Bain's Opera House. A silk flag was presented by the ladies of the town, but by whom the presentation was made or who were responsible for the gift, is not now known. The flag was accepted by David B. Dewey, who, in behalf of the company, made an earnest and appropriate speech. It was well received, but the feeling was too tense and serious for noisy demonstration. The grave, set faces of the men and the tearful eyes of the women and children, were the dominant and impressive features. A few tried to appear indifferent and to fortify their courage by attempts at wit or badinage but the gravity of the occasion was too apparent.

Almost at the very last, and during a particularly trying moment, some one, to relieve the tension, shouted for a speech. Various names were called without response, and finally, that of "Nick" Hotaling, brother of the Captain, was named. Others, as a diversion, took up the call, not expecting it to be heeded.

Hotaling was a well known character in the place. At the age of twelve, he ran away from home and shipped upon a New Bedford whaler; following the sea until within a few years previous to the war, when he purchased a farm near Lane and settled down as a farmer. He was a short, broad-shouldered, powerful man, whose presence carried the impression of great reserve-force. He had seen much of the world and was a shrewd observer. It was not known that he had ever uttered a word in public or that he could do so. Dismounting from his horse, he climbed into a wagon beside a man who was holding a flag, and faced the crowd. There were a few cat-calls and an attempt at bantering from those who looked upon his attempt as a joke. To all this he was oblivious. He stood like a statue, gazing at the sad and somber crowd, his dark hazel eyes growing more and more luminous. A tense silence followed, broken only by the suppressed sobs of the women. As if profoundly impressed by what he saw, he waited for a moment, during which he slowly reached out and grasped the flag-staff beside him. Then he spoke. In resonant, measured words, each syllable of which was distinct and impressive, he said, pointing to the flag: "It is against this that they have made war. It is to defend this that we have come. It was Washington's flag, it is yours and mine. I have followed that flag over continents and seas—from the frigid zones to the equator. I have saluted it beneath every star that shines upon the round world. In all my wanderings it has floated over me. In strange lands it has been my friend and my pride, my guardian and my protector."

And so he went on. In brief and simple sentences, perfectly fitted to the subject and the occasion, he justified his right to talk. His presentation was a model of strength and symmetry, of poetic and patriotic zeal. With the exception of the closing sentence, the writer does not pretend to quote the exact words of his talk but only its substance and character as it left its impression upon him. The audience was transfixed. The speaker's sway was absolute. Following his preface, in a rapid flow of glowing sentences, as clear as they were simple, he stated the issue before the nation, showing the justice of the Union cause, the arrogance and infamy of the slave power, and the futility of compromise. Our choice, he insisted, lay between national right and national wrong; between freedom and oppression. After a superb climax, pointing again to the flag, he said: "That flag stands for humanity! I stand for that flag!" Then, drawing it to his breast, he arose to his full height and holding his right hand aloft as if taking an oath, continued: "AND BY THE GOD WHO GAVE ME BREATH, I WILL FIGHT FOR IT NOW!" With this, he seized the flag with both hands and stood behind it like a lion at bay. It was enough. The response which followed was not a cheer but a benediction; and those who parted with their loved ones, did it with a resignation they would not have known had they missed those simple, lofty, burning words.

How much of the effect was due to the occasion and the dramatic setting, cannot be told. It is certain, however, that this could not have been the sole cause, for Dewey's speech, prepared for the day and approved by all, was soon forgotten. Hotaling's was remembered by those who heard it as something extraordinary and was often referred to during and after the war as "Nick Hotaling's speech." The fact that it made an impression upon the writer such as no words of the most impassioned orator have ever made and the fact that that impression remains vivid after the lapse of fifty years, would indicate that it must have been unusual.

The crowd had partially separated and a portion had begun to move away when the speech commenced and it was barely concluded when the order was given to march. There was a hurried leave-taking and the "boys," for many of them were literally such, [1] were "off to the war," with Mendota as their first day's destination.

It was assumed that the first stage of the march would be without incident, inasmuch as we were not supposed to be in the enemy's country. But war is full of surprises. We had scarcely proceeded a mile when we found ourselves in manifest peril. A formidable battery of six-inch guns was discovered directly in our path. When sighted, it was too late to retreat and the order was given to charge. The enemy was panic-stricken and capitulated without firing a gun. We at once found ourselves in possession of his entire commissary, including sandwiches, pies, cakes, fruit, about one hundred feet of bologna sausage and some kegs of ice-cold beer. The entire garrison was captured. The prisoners, Jay L. Putman, "Jack" Howlett, editor of "The Lane Leader," and George Turkington, were released upon parole, allowed to retain their side-arms and march out with the honors of war. The guns, consisting of three links of stove-pipe, were abandoned as inefficient and we went on. Arriving at Mendota, we remained over night and proceeded the next day to La Salle. From there we marched to Bloomington where we awaited transportation to Springfield. Upon our arrival at the latter place we marched about seven miles to Clear Lake, afterwards known as Camp Butler, where we encamped and commenced drilling. On August 12th, 1861, we were mustered into the State service.

We remained at Camp Butler about two weeks, foot-drilling in squads and practicing the manual drill with wooden sabers. From there we were transferred to Carbondale where we commenced drilling with horses but for want of a satisfactory parade-ground, we were compelled to move to Duquoin where we were subjected to a rigid, steady drill. The men were in earnest and each did his best. The company's reward was the letter "A," of which we were justly proud. After two weeks of hard work we marched to Fort Massac on the Ohio River, near Metropolis, Illinois, about twelve miles below Paducah, Kentucky, where we arrived on September 24th, and encamped for ten or twelve days, during which time we did some scouting up the river. From Fort Massac we were transferred to Bird's Point, Missouri, opposite Cairo. From there we went to Cairo for a short time and then back to Bird's Point, from whence we did some scouting; but nothing of special interest occurred until December; when, in a scouting expedition after Jeff Thompson's command, the regiment met with its first loss. Josiah Clark, of Company B, was killed in a skirmish and was carried off the field by Lew Blake of the 11th Illinois Infantry. Clark had not been ordered out but went voluntarily.

The Confederates early saw the importance of holding the Mississippi as a water-way, and almost at the outset, seized upon Columbus, Ky., and Belmont, Mo., nearly opposite thereto, as places to be fortified and held. It was known that troops in considerable numbers were being massed in both places and that the river between was strongly guarded by gun-boats. It became important, therefore, to know the strength and disposition of the enemy and the character and extent of the defenses.

While we were stationed at Bird's Point, shortly before the battle of Belmont, Harvey R. James, who enlisted from Oregon, was detailed in the secret service for this purpose. James was a reticent, determined, clear-headed, resourceful young man of exceptional physical strength and endurance and as fearless as he was strong. Being supplied with an excellent horse, he started early in the morning and rode towards Belmont on the west bank of the Mississippi, about fifteen miles below Bird's Point. The country is low and swampy and covered in places with a thick growth of timber. Arriving in the vicinity of Belmont, he was obliged to use extreme caution. He could not afford to take the risk of riding into the lines, so, after approaching as near as he thought safe to do, he secured his horse in a dense thicket in a swamp, removed the saddle, arms and equipment, except a small pocket-pistol which he retained, and hid them near by. Fixing the location in his mind by means of carefully selected land-marks, he proceeded cautiously to skirt the enemy's camp. After seeing all that he could in this way and getting a good idea of the enemy's force and position, he returned to the river front which he carefully studied. An important object was to discover the number and strength of the river batteries and also as much as possible of the strength and disposition of forces at Columbus. This could not be accomplished without a boat. After much difficulty in eluding the guards, he succeeded in locating a small boat which, fortunately, was supplied with oars but could not be approached or used during the day. Success was more important to him than time; so he hid in a thicket and waited. When sufficiently dark he got into the boat and started down the river close to the Missouri shore, which he followed for five or six miles and then rowed across to the Kentucky side where he found a satisfactory place in which to hide the boat so that he might use it to return. After traveling two or three miles, he succeeded in locating the main Columbus road. It was then about midnight and he was very tired and hungry. Hiding near a plantation, he ate some food and slept until daylight, when he started towards Columbus. He had not gone far when he met a negro whom he told that he had been thrown from his horse during the night, that the horse had escaped and ran towards Columbus. As an excuse for being in that vicinity, he volunteered the information that his home was in Memphis; that he was hunting a truant brother whom he was anxious to take back to join a cavalry regiment then being formed there. Without appearing to be inquisitive, he succeeded in getting much information as to the names of the inhabitants, roads, locations, etc., which were of value. While talking, a farmer appeared on his way to the Columbus market with a load of vegetables. The negro suggested that James might ride with the farmer who, he said, knew everybody and would help him find his horse and locate the truant brother. The farmer took kindly to his new friend, by whom he was handsomely treated, and they both passed through the lines without suspicion. After the farmer had disposed of his load they went around together through the entire camp inquiring for the horse and brother, until much of the day was spent and James had acquired a complete knowledge of the situation. James early secured a supply of that liquid which is supposed to be especially potent in cementing friendship, treated the farmer and also the pickets as they passed out, told them that he would be back again in a day or two, cautioned them to look out for his horse and offered ten dollars in gold to anybody who would find it. When they reached the plantation near where they had met in the morning, James stopped on pretense of inquiring about his horse, promising to accept his friend's hospitality the next day. As soon as the farmer was out of sight he hastened to the hidden boat and recrossed the river. The current was very strong and carried the boat a considerable distance down stream. Thinking that he might make better time by walking than to row against the current, he landed and started towards Belmont. It was then near daylight. He had gone but a short distance when he was commanded to halt, and the presence of three or four guns aimed towards him at close range appeared to be a sufficient justification for doing so. He was immediately searched, his watch, knife, money and revolver taken from him but no papers were found. The guard escorted him to camp where he was scrutinized by several men, one of whom he had previously seen at Cairo and who was there known as a suspect. During the day a court martial, consisting of the commander and several officers, was convened and he was tried and condemned as a spy. The order accompanying the finding directed that he be shot by a file of soldiers at eight o'clock the next morning. It was about dark in the evening when the finding was announced. He was supplied with food and placed in an old log hut which had formerly been used for confining runaway negroes. Believing that they had taken away all of his personal effects, he was not handcuffed. There was but one means of escape from the hut and that was through the door, outside of which was stationed an armed guard. The prospect was far from reassuring but James realized that he had a long night before him and that many a man by wit and boldness had saved his life in less time. One strong hope was in his cavalry boots which had not been taken from him. Sewed within the tops, next to the seams, were several small, finely tempered, steel saws.

He first examined the fastening of the door and found that it was secured by a bolt which could be cut; but it was necessary to wait until the camp was quiet. Another essential was to delay the discovery of his escape as long as possible by attacking the guard at the first opportunity after the shift. He could hear the bells on a gun-boat anchored near by, which were sounded every two hours for a change of watch. At twelve o'clock the camp was quiet and the bolt was nearly severed. Soon after the guard was relieved, he finished the work and opened the door slightly to watch for an opportunity. It was not long before the guard appeared to be drowsy and stood with his back to the door. James saw his chance. Opening the door with the utmost caution until he was able to slip through, he sprang like a panther upon the man outside, throttled and bore him to the ground. A terrific blow upon the temple rendered him unconscious. James hastily removed his shirt, tore it into strips, gagged his enemy, tied his hands and feet and dragged him into the hut. Removing his own coat and placing it over the body of the guard, he donned the other's coat and cap, took his gun and sheath-knife and stole out. He had little difficulty in avoiding the picket and before time for the next bell, had found his horse. The poor creature had been there for nearly three days and nights and was as anxious as he to get away. At dawn the two were within our lines at Bird's Point. James reported to his Chief and then to General Grant. The information was all that was wanted and in a few days the battle of Belmont was fought upon the ground where he had been condemned to be executed.

James continued in the secret service and for a number of months we saw but little of him. During the following spring while preparing for an extended trip, he met with an accident which nearly proved fatal. Through some mishap in handling a revolver, the instrument was discharged. The bullet entered his breast above the heart and passed upwardly to his left shoulder. For months he lay very near to death, but his great vitality carried him through and he recovered, though not sufficiently to again enter the secret service.

After leaving the hospital he joined the company at Jackson, Tennessee. He was a warm friend of the writer and we were much together. One day I noticed some frayed stitching in the tops of his cavalry boots. He reached down and drew out two small saws suspended upon strong silken threads. Then, under promise of secrecy until "after the war," he told me the story recounted above, assuring me that his chief and General Grant were the only ones who knew it. Thereupon, he produced the sheath-knife taken from the guard, which he preserved as a souvenir. In 1890, at Missoula, Montana, the writer met a man who was associated with James in the secret service, who told, in substance, the story given above and vouched for its truthfulness.

After the battle of Belmont, we were transferred to Cairo and thence to Paducah, Ky., where we built stables for our horses. These were barely finished when we marched to Murray, Ky. The trip was intended for the purpose of practice, to teach us to make and break camp and to accustom us to picket duty in the enemy's country.

While at Murray, we had an experience which gave us some conception of the horrors of slavery and the shocking and inhuman cruelties to which it led. We had heard much of these atrocities but had never been brought into contact with them.

Owing to the cold rains which prevailed, we were forced to take shelter in buildings in order to be comfortable; and some of us were quartered in a carpenter-shop. I had been upon picket duty during the night and returned to quarters to prepare for breakfast. Looking out of the back-door, I saw Neil Belles and one or two others washing a negro in a horse-trough back of a stable where we kept our horses. The negro, with others of his race, had just been liberated from a jail, the filthy and repulsive condition of which was unspeakable. Around the neck of the wretched creature was a heavy iron collar and a similar band around his waist. Connecting these and firmly riveted to them, was an iron bar running down the back with a stout ring upon it to which was attached a chain about five feet long, which was, in turn, secured to a post in the middle of the room, or rather sty, where he was kept. The only clothing upon the man when found, was a thin cotton shirt; and this in winter, in a building reeking with dampness and filth unutterable. No attempt had ever been made to clean it and he was obliged to live and sleep there with no chance to move beyond the length of his chain. His food was thrown into a filthy pan which was never removed. He had been there several months. His body was terribly mangled from dog-bites and lashes. It seemed horrible; and it was; but, in the eyes of the law, he deserved it; for he had committed one of the gravest crimes possible for one of his race;—he had attempted to escape. Yes, a crime.—A crime recognized by the highest law of the land;—a wise, just, expedient and humane law,—sustained by a wise, just and learned tribunal,—the SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES;—and Chief Justice Taney "was it's prophet."

There were a number of other negroes released and the condition of all was wretched; but I do not recall that there were any others who were manacled in the manner described. The type of iron harness mentioned however, was a favorite one for runaway negroes as I was assured by reliable authority. To have been consistent however, the collars should have been inscribed with Justice Taney's famous and humane announcement that: "A negro has no rights which a white man is bound to respect."

The negro in question was taken to a blacksmith's shop where his harness was removed with cold-chisels and files and he, with the others, went with us to Paducah. It was not surprising that none seemed anxious to remain behind.

After returning to Paducah, we stood picket around the town until we received orders to start for Fort Henry.

Lieutenant James S. McHenry

Lieutenant James S. McHenry



Embarcation From Paducah‌—‌Instance of Official Brutality‌—‌Capture of Fort Henry‌—‌Reconnoitering Fort Donelson‌—‌First Meeting With Forest's Men‌—‌Investment of Fort Donelson‌—‌McLernand's Repulse‌—‌Attack by Gunboats ‌—‌Sortie‌—‌Grant Turns the Tide‌—‌Surrender by Buckner.

"Tears may be ours but proud for those who win"

Death's royal purple in the foeman's lines."

On February 2nd, 1862, Companies A and B, known as the First Battalion, 2nd Illinois Cavalry, under command of Major John J. Mudd, accompanied by Companies I and C of the U.S. Dragoons, embarked upon a transport for Fort Henry. For some reason which I cannot explain, we had proceeded but a short distance when we were disembarked to march the remainder of the way.

An instance has been given in the last chapter, of the brutality to which unlimited power over men may lead when based upon selfish motives. At the time of landing our men we were forced to witness another crime of like character, committed in the name of military discipline.

The dragoons were the last to go on board and hence, the first to disembark. In leaving the boat, the men led their horses to the shore where they mounted and formed in line. One of them had been drinking. While capable of leading and mounting his horse, he was bereft of all sense of propriety and in condition to attempt almost any foolish act. Imagining that his horse was thirsty, he left the line without permission and deliberately rode to the river. The water was shallow at the edge but within a few feet there was an abrupt descent to a considerable depth. The horse refused to go in, but a vigorous use of the spurs caused him to plunge forward and both horse and man disappeared beneath the water. When they arose the horse endeavored to swim out and would probably have succeeded had not the rider pulled back with the curb-bit. Four of the Regulars attempted to render assistance, as did our men on the boat, but the Regular officer, Lieutenant Du Boise, gave orders not to interfere. As a result, both horse and man were drowned.

Site of Fort Henry

Site of Fort Henry

Our camp that night was made at the landing which, owing to the high waters, was nearly overflowed. The landing was upon the north side of a deep slough extending from the Cumberland River to the Tennessee, about twelve or fifteen miles above Paducah. The slough was about forty rods wide where we were, and in order to proceed to Fort Henry, we were obliged to cross it, which we did early upon the following morning. The water was icy cold and came well up to the sides of our horses. The Regulars were in advance and their commanding officer evidently considered it an opportune time for showing the supreme importance of discipline. The four men who went to the assistance of their drowning comrade, were compelled to walk, lead their horses and carry their arms through the slough. They wore high cavalry boots which were filled with water, and in this condition the poor fellows were forced to walk with their horses in the deep mud during the entire day.

Brutality and fatality have not infrequently been associated in war with subsequent engagements. Our sympathies instinctively turn to that crude method of obtaining justice. It is surprising that it was not resorted to in this case.

There had been much rain, the streams were overflowing and the deep mud greatly impeded our progress. We had hoped to arrive at the fort on the fifth; but the condition of the roads made it impossible. General Grant, more than anybody, realized the great strategic importance of Forts Henry and Donelson and knew how highly they were prized by the enemy. In his "Memoirs" he says:

"The two positions were so important to the enemy, as he saw his interest, that it was natural to suppose that reinforcements would come from every quarter from which they could be got. Prompt action on our part was imperative."

Accordingly, on the 6th, without waiting for more troops, Grant ordered an attack upon Fort Henry. We heard the firing and used every effort to get there but without avail. Upon our arrival we found that the fort had been reduced by the gun-boats, that the greater portion of the garrison had retreated to Fort Donelson before the battle commenced and that only ninety, who had been left to man the guns and cover the retreat, had been captured.

Fort Heiman was on the west bank of the Tennessee and commanded Fort Henry. It had been evacuated before the attack upon the latter and the garrisons of the two forts had gone to re-enforce that of Fort Donelson. Grant's problem, then, was to capture that stronghold, defended by twenty-one thousand men, with an available force at hand, of only fifteen thousand and that in mid-winter, with no alternative for his army but to move and fight and sleep in mud and rain and snow until victory brought them shelter. He has stated his view as follows:

"I was impatient to get to Fort Donelson because I knew the importance of the place to the enemy and supposed he would re-enforce it rapidly. I felt that 15,000 men on the 8th, would be more effective than 50,000, a month later."

He did not falter. Mud and rain and snow it must be; and he went on, inspiring his men with his splendid confidence.

After our arrival at Fort Henry, Captain Hotaling went out with a platoon of sixteen men to reconnoiter Fort Donelson, eleven miles distant. They encountered some of Forrest's cavalry and drove them in. Several of the confederates were wounded in the conflict, one frightfully so, from a saber-stroke from the captain. Nicholas Hotaling received a buck-shot wound in the cheek and George Taylor, two shots in the jaw, resulting in a painful wound.

After a day's rest at Fort Henry, Colonel Silas Noble, with Companies A and B and the two companies of Regulars who accompanied us from Paducah, in all about two hundred men, went out to make a reconnaissance in force and succeeded without mishap, in getting close to the enemy's works. Our road led along the crest of a high ridge with a deep ravine upon each side. Instead of deploying a skirmish-line, two men were stationed at a cross-road. While the Colonel was studying the works through his field-glass, shots were heard behind us. Instantly the Regulars went into line. At the same moment a thousand cavalry appeared upon our right in the ravine below. The Regulars fired a volley and the command was given: "Fours right! Gallop! March!" When they reached the road the confederates were swarming towards them. The command: "Left into line! Fire!" was followed by a volley which checked their assailants. Our two companies were back upon the ridge firing volley after volley and we did not realize that we were being surrounded—as we were—until warned by the second volley from the Regulars. Then we started back. The enemy had recovered from the volley given by the Regulars and filled the lane. Our fire checked them however but we were not out of our difficulties. A large body of infantry had appeared upon the river-side of the lane which we were obliged to traverse for half a mile, while many were upon the other side. It was an exciting ride. The "zip" of the bullets was constant but the enemy, being below us, made the common mistake under such circumstances, of aiming too high. The cavalry attempted to cut us off by another road but we were better mounted than they and escaped with a surprisingly small loss. One of our men, Frank Hatch, was captured and one of Company B's men mortally wounded. Aside from these and the wounding of several horses, we were unscathed and returned to Fort Henry some time after dark, very tired but well satisfied with our accomplishment.

On the 12th of February we accompanied the army in a general move against Fort Donelson. The fact that there were but four companies of cavalry with the expedition proved to have been a misfortune as will be shown by the sequel.

We reached the vicinity of the fort about eleven o'clock and commenced to feel our way and tighten our lines. The remainder of the day was spent by us in reconnoitering. During the evening of the 13th, Thayer's Brigade, which was sent around on the transports from Fort Henry, was landed from the Cumberland side and the night was spent in their disposal to complete the line of battle.

About daybreak on the morning after our arrival, the first cannon was fired from a Confederate battery, a section of which was in charge of George Fletcher, an uncle of the writer. Twenty-six of our company, of which the writer was one, were sent out to reconnoiter when our presence drew the battery fire. The first was a solid shot, followed by grape. But one man, "Jim" Parsons, was injured. He insisted that his face was grazed by a grape-shot. A comrade near him was quite as confident that the injury was caused by the limb of a tree which flew back and hit him.

There was an ambulance bearing a hospital-flag in front of us and when the enemy saw it they ceased to fire.

Our companies were used to patrol the right army wing from the center to the extreme right, while the two companies of Regulars were used for a like purpose from the center to the extreme left of the left wing. About ten o'clock in the day matters upon the right began to assume a grave aspect. McLernand's division attempted to capture a battery which held a strong position near a line of rifle-pits. The slaughter was terrific and our men were forced to give it up. The 11th Illinois Infantry and the Chicago Batteries, A and B, suffered severely.

We were nearly out of rations and had no forage of any kind for our horses. There was nothing to do but wait, however, as the enemy was absorbing all of our attention. On the afternoon of the 14th, our gun-boats made a severe attack upon the fort but were repulsed and forced to retire, two of them, including the flag-ship, being badly disabled. They had fought better than they then knew, however, as results soon showed. The enemy's lines were closely reconnoitered and in the afternoon, Captain Hotaling, who kept close watch, became satisfied that something unusual was going on within the enemy's lines. Before night he sent word to Colonel Babcock, General Grant's Chief of Staff, to come to the extreme right. The Colonel arrived just at dark, when the Captain informed him that it was his opinion that the enemy's cavalry would attempt to break out that night or in the morning. Should they do so, our line was too weak to withstand their charge; that we should be immediately strengthened with one brigade of infantry and two batteries of artillery. Babcock was said to have reported to General Grant and returned about nine o'clock with the statement that he did not think there would be a move of that kind before the next day and that there would be ample time in the morning to re-enforce the line. Hotaling was not convinced and we were kept near the road upon the extreme right where our Captain anticipated that Forrest's cavalry would attempt to break through. Grant makes no mention of having received any intimation of such a condition and the inference from his statements would indicate that he failed to receive Colonel Babcock's report.

We remained in the rear of the line of battle until about 12 o'clock that night. It snowed hard and became very cold. Our horses were restless, so we moved towards the center, tore down a rail-fence and built fires in a vain effort to warm ourselves. About five o'clock a. m., we returned to our former position where we remained until nearly nine o'clock. Our horses became so hungry and exhausted that Lieutenants Bennett and Jackson took us back a mile or two upon the road leading towards the Tennessee River in the hope of finding forage but without success. From there we were moving towards our center, when a humming fire upon the extreme right attracted our attention. We returned upon the keen run, just in time to see the rear of a body of cavalry about a quarter of a mile away, in full retreat. The enemy had made a desperate attack upon our right wing, which was doubled back upon itself more than half a mile. Had they taken prompt advantage of the situation they might all have escaped; or, had they followed up back of our line, it is possible that our whole army might have been stampeded.

When our company started back to find forage, Calvin Steel was unable to go. He had been very sick the night before, so we left him by the road-side with his horse and when the enemy advanced he was captured. They were obliged to make a temporary hospital for their wounded where they left Steel but took his horse and equipments. Steel wanted a drink of water and went to a pail for it. It was empty. He asked permission of the surgeon to fill it at a spring. Upon reaching the spring he found a horse tied to a fence. Forgetting his errand, he mounted the horse and came flying back to meet us upon our return near where he had been captured. He was very ill, however, and was sent to the hospital at St. Louis, where he remained until nearly fall, when he returned. He was still too weak for service and was detailed to the commissary department of General Logan's Division, where he remained until after the fall of Vicksburg.

Much speculation has been given to the incident which involved the breaking of our line, as well as to the fact that Floyd and Pillow and Forrest were permitted to escape before the final surrender. It has been suggested that had re-enforcements been supplied, together with a battery to have prevented transports from plying up the Cumberland with escaping troops, the history of the war might have been changed and Shiloh might never have been fought.

It must not be forgotten that General Grant was subject to the immediate command of a painstaking plodder who mistook arrogance for dignity and timidity for caution. Halleck's orders contemplated a very different thing from what happened at Donelson. We owe the capture of the fort and the discovery thereby to the world of General Grant, to the treachery of a telegraph operator at Cairo, who, in the belief that he was helping the Southern cause, held up Halleck's order to Grant to "fortify Fort Henry strongly on the land-side," until Grant, in ignorance of it, had gone on and invested Fort Donelson. Had Grant received that order, Donelson and Shiloh and Vicksburg might have had a very different history, and General Grant might not have been known. The fame given him by that one victory was too great even for General Halleck to take away, who did his utmost to do it. With Halleck tying the hands of Grant after his great victory, even to the extent of making groundless charges against him and causing his arrest and with the entire South frantically and hysterically pushing Albert Sidney Johnson forward to a sacrifice, the battle of Shiloh was as much of a logical result as that effect follows cause. Had Grant been given free rein, it could not have been fought; for he would have possessed Corinth before the Confederate armies could have concentrated.

Grant's generalship and brilliant resourcefulness were never shown to better effect than when confronted with that crisis at Donelson. He had depended upon the gun-boats to help reduce the works, run the batteries and take position above. They did severe execution in the fort but in a few hours were helplessly disabled. Grant knew of his own loss but not of that in the fort. At this stage he writes:

"The sun went down on the night of the 14th of February, 1862, leaving the army in front of Fort Donelson anything but comforted over the prospects. The weather had turned intensely cold; the men were without tents and could not keep up fires where most of them had to stay, &c."

It was but natural for him to view the situation in the light of facts as they then appeared and not as he might guess them to be. Had he calculated upon the cowardice rather than the bravery of opposing commanders, he might have provided differently; but it was incredible to him that a fresh army of 21,000 men, within a well provisioned fortress, in direct communication with another army from which it could draw supplies and men, with the Federal gun-boats rendered helpless from its fire, would, at the very outset, without a siege, try to escape from one in an open field, when, by so doing, it was abandoning the key to an immense territory needed for its supplies, breaking, to a large extent, communication between its armies and submitting to lasting disgrace before its own people. That Grant was justified in this view is shown by the fact that the two Confederate Generals, Floyd and Pillow, were, after the surrender, promptly tried and summarily relieved from their commands.

Flag-Officer Foote had been wounded when his flag-ship was disabled and before sunrise on the morning of the 15th, sent for General Grant to call upon him on his flag-ship about four miles below the fort. It was decided that the gun-boats should be sent away for repairs before it would be possible to renew the attack. This, it was estimated, would require about ten days. There was no alternative but a siege.

While leaving the boat, Grant was notified of the severe attack upon our right and of the breaking of our line. He hurried to the scene, about seven miles away. Before knowing the true situation, he gave orders to retire and intrench with a view to a siege. When, however, he learned that the enemy was actually trying to escape, he at once saw its significance and said to Colonel Webster of his staff: "The one who attacks first now will be victorious." Instead of intrenching, he gave orders for an immediate and vigorous attack along the entire left before the enemy, who had withdrawn his forces to our right, could reform. The result was an irresistible onslaught upon the enemy's center and right.

McClernand's men had failed mainly for want of ammunition. Grant gave orders for a supply and for reforming the line. The Confederates waited just long enough to permit this to be done. It subsequently developed that Pillow mistook his partial success for complete victory and stopped to talk about it when he should have been following it up. That he must have been wildly jubilant is indicated by the fact that he telegraphed to Johnson at Nashville, "on the honor of a gentleman," that "the day is ours." A controversy arose between Floyd and Pillow. Pillow, the veteran general, flushed with temporary success, refused to recognize the authority of Floyd, whom he regarded as a civilian, finally took matters into his own hands and ordered Buckner to renew the attack upon our right. Buckner obeyed but it was too late. Our line had been reformed and was ready. A desperate struggle ensued and the enemy was driven back into his works. In the meantime our left wing had pushed forward against the weakened defences upon the enemy's right and bivouacked that night within his lines. The fort was doomed. The famous night council was held by Floyd and his Staff. Before morning dawned Floyd and Pillow were aboard the transports on their way up the river with three thousand men and Forrest, with a thousand men and horses, was struggling in the icy waters of a bayou in a desperate effort to get away. It was one of the ironies of Fate that at about the same time, the authorities at Richmond were rejoicing over Pillow's grandiloquent message announcing Confederate victory.

General Lew Wallace describes Forrest's escape as follows:

"Col. Forrest was present at the council, and when the final resolution was taken he promptly announced that he neither could nor would surrender his command. He assembled his men, all as hardy as himself, and moved out and plunged into a slough formed by back water from the river. An icy crust covered its surface, the wind blew fiercely and the darkness was unrelieved by a star. There was fearful floundering as the command followed him. At length he struck dry land and was safe.

"He was next heard of at Nashville."

The surrender was made upon the following morning, and a very picturesque example of "Southern hospitality" occurred in connection with it. When General Buckner sent his first letter to General Grant, proposing an armistice with a view to the appointment of commissioners to consider the question of surrender, he directed that small white flags be displayed before the different commands in order to prevent hostilities pending the negotiations. No such flag was displayed over the fort. General Lew Wallace, upon seeing the flags, understood that there had been a surrender and went right into Buckner's headquarters where he was politely received by Buckner, introduced to his staff and invited to breakfast. This was an hour before Grant received Buckner's final letter of surrender.

It may be interesting here to mention the 10th Missouri sharp-shooters who contributed much to the success of the battle. We first met them at Bird's Point. The organization was composed almost entirely of backwoodsmen who were skillful hunters and trappers. They wore grey uniforms with oddly shaped caps, each adorned with a squirrel's tail at the back, and they were armed with target-rifles. They were a shrewd, reticent, independent lot of fellows, knew how to use their weapons with deadly effect, and were, in a sense, entirely independent. Each man was expected to approach as closely as possible to the enemy's lines, choose a prominent position, conceal himself and pick off officers, gunners in batteries, orderlies and others. Three of these men succeeded in keeping one rebel battery silenced for an entire day. These same men afterwards did effective work at Shiloh.

On the afternoon before the surrender, Fred, one of our faithful cooks, arrived at our lines in the rear with two camp-kettles, coffee, and a sack of hard-tack; all of which was gratefully received. That evening we rode back to Fort Henry to feed our horses and get some more substantial refreshments for ourselves. In the morning we returned, rode directly into the fort and were assigned to a camp within the works a short distance east and south of the town of Dover, where we remained about five or six days.

Walking down one day to the water front to look at the gun and mortar-boats, I was surprised by meeting my old friend and neighbor, James Minnis, tugging at a long rope attached to a mortar-boat which the men were towing up stream. There were some others there of Battery G, 2nd Illinois Artillery but Minnis was the only one whom I knew.

Our friends in the North were quick to realize conditions and needs among the soldiers. Dr. Gould of Lane, was soon there to minister to the wants of the sick and wounded and rendered valuable assistance, as did many other self-sacrificing physicians and surgeons.

Calvin Steel

Calvin Steel
Mr. Steel served with credit during the war and at its close returned to his home at Rochelle, where he married. In 1871 he moved to Fairbury, Nebraska, and engaged in mercantile business. He held various public offices, including County Clerk, County Treasurer, State Representative and State Senator. Upon the election of Governor Savage to the United States Senate, Mr. Steel, by virtue of his office as President of the Senate, became acting Governor of the State and completed the unexpired term with credit and distinction. Mr. Steel served one year as the Grand Army Department Commander of his State. He died at his home in March, 1910. As a soldier, he was faithful and brave—as a friend, loyal and true—as a man, just, sincere and lovable.



From Donelson to Metal Landing‌—‌Rescue From Flooded Camp‌—‌Pittsburg Landing‌—‌Grand Review‌—‌Escort Wallace's Men to Crump's Landing‌—‌The Long Roll‌—‌Detailed to Bring up Wallace‌—‌Hardship of Men‌—‌Second Day's Battle‌—‌Retreat and Pursuit‌—‌Dickey's Cowardice‌—‌Charge Against Forrest's Men‌—‌Pathetic Incidents.

"And the old field lay before me all deserted far and wide;

There was where they fell on Prentis,—there McClernand met the tide;

There was where stern Sherman rallied, and where Hurlbut's heroes died,—

Lower down, where Wallace charged them, and kept charging 'til he died."


We remained at Fort Donelson about five or six days after the battle, when the two companies, A and B, moved to Metal Landing on the Tennessee River, a few miles above Fort Henry. There was a deep slough north of the landing and the water from the river, which was very high and still rising, poured rapidly into it. A small log building at the landing stood on the highest point of ground and it was near this that our cooking was done. As the water continued to rise we were confined to a space about twenty-five by fifty feet, which was all that was above water. Most of our horses were standing in water. For four days we hailed all passing boats but none came to our relief. Finally, we were taken upon a transport and carried to another landing above water, where we remained a short time before being transported to Pittsburg Landing. At the latter place we found quite a large camp and were assigned to a position south of Snake Creek, upon the extreme right wing, next to General John A. McArthur's Division. Our camp was about a mile and three-quarters west-north-west of the landing and upon one side of us was the 12th Illinois Infantry.

The two companies did considerable scouting in the direction of Corinth. Troops continued to arrive and the camps of many were out two or three miles, the infantry being upon the outskirts, while the cavalry was stationed within the infantry and artillery lines. In the light of subsequent experience, it would seem that it would have been better had these conditions been reversed. The troops were assigned to their respective camps in the order in which they arrived; and inasmuch as the new arrivals were made up of troops of more recent levies, it followed that, whether intentional or not, the troops farthest out were those of least experience. Most of them had been drilled but slightly and but few had ever been in battle.

View of Pittsburg Landing

View of Pittsburg Landing

On Monday, preceding the date of the battle of Shiloh, a grand review was held and it was afterwards reported that the confederates were then sufficiently near so that from the tops of high trees they were enabled, with the use of field-glasses, to watch a given point and in that manner estimate our force. This may have been true as to some of their scouts but only as to them, for it was not until April third, four days later, that Johnson issued his "Order No. 8," for an advance from Corinth and the concentration of his forces at Mickey's, eight miles southwest of Pittsburg Landing. On the day before the battle, Company B and a part of our company were scouting and encountered the enemy's cavalry in considerable numbers. The remainder of the company was detailed to escort some of General Lew Wallace's men to Crump's Landing, seven miles north, where he was stationed, after which they returned to Pittsburg Landing.

This fact is significant as throwing some light upon a letter referred to by General Grant in a note on page 351, Vol 1, of his "Memoirs," which letter was written by General Lew Wallace to General W. H. L. Wallace and is referred to in the note in part as follows:

"* * * In this letter General Lew. Wallace advises General W. H. L. Wallace that he will send 'to-morrow' (and his letter also says 'April 5th,' which is the same day the letter was dated and which, therefore, must have been written on the 4th) some cavalry to report to him at his headquarters and suggesting the propriety of W. H. L. Wallace's sending a company back with them for the purpose of having the cavalry at the two landings familiarize themselves with the road so that they could 'act promptly in case of emergency as guides to and from the different camps.'"

General Grant's note states that this letter was sent "over the road running from Adamsville to the Pittsburg landing and Purdy road." It is presumable therefore, that they returned that way, but I was not with them and I do not know which way was taken. As far as I am aware, nothing has been published to show that the suggestion of General Lew Wallace was actually carried out. That they did return by way of the Purdy road is rendered still more probable by what occurred in connection with our company on the day of the battle.

On Sunday, April 6th, it was our intention to visit friends in the other commands, as was our custom when the weather was fair as it was that day, and we were off duty. We had arisen as usual, cared for our horses and had about finished breakfast, when the report of fire-arms arrested our attention and we rushed to saddle our horses. Just then the long roll greeted our ears from various directions and our bugler, J. L. Padgett, sounded "Boots and saddles." In three minutes our two companies, under command of Captain Hotaling, were in line ready for action.

We galloped towards Shiloh Church, where heavy firing was heard but before reaching it there was a lull in the firing which lasted about thirty-five or forty minutes. While waiting in line, General Grant rode up and saluted Captain Hotaling. I was very near to him and heard his order distinctly.

"Captain Hotaling," he said, "I detail you on my staff today. I want you to take charge of the 10th Missouri Sharp Shooters. Place them and fight them."

Then turning to Lieutenant Bennett, he said:

"Lieutenant Bennett, you will take your Company A and go with as much dispatch as possible to Crump's Landing. Present my compliments to General Lew Wallace and tell him to come immediately, you being the escort."

He then gave orders to Captain Larison of Company B, but I did not hear them as we were off instantly.

The roads were very muddy, and after crossing Snake Creek, were almost impassable. The horses constantly floundered in mud and water which was often up to the saddle-skirts. As the road approached the river near to Crump's it became somewhat better but we were obliged to move slowly and it was about twelve o'clock when we reached Wallace's camp. He was apparently awaiting orders. The arms were stacked and the entire command was ready to march. Lieutenant Bennett delivered his message and the order was at once given to fall in line.

Wallace's command started out ahead and our company, instead of being in advance as an escort in accordance with General Grant's order, was in the rear, apparently acting as a rear guard. Why this was I do not know; but it would indicate that Wallace relied upon the knowledge of his men who had been to Pittsburg Landing the day before to lead him.

For some reason the River Road, the shortest route to the battlefield by several miles, was not taken. We marched a considerable distance until we came to an old overshot-mill, when, much to our surprise, we met the head of the column returning. They had spent several hours in marching upon the wrong road and were obliged to turn back to the River Road. From the old mill we could see a road which we thought to be the River Road but there was no apparent approach to it. We retraced our steps therefore, to the junction with the River Road which was followed to the battlefield, where we arrived about seven o'clock in the evening.

The condition of Wallace's men upon reaching the front was pitiable—especially that of the infantry. They floundered and wallowed in the mud and water in which they frequently sank to their hips; but, with all this, nothing but eagerness was shown by officers and men to get to the front.

Two regiments of Wallace's First Brigade, the 11th Indiana and the 8th Missouri, were conceded to have been the finest drilled of any regiments in the entire service. They had been in competitive drill against the 130th New York Zouaves and other famous regiments in both the volunteer and regular service and in every instance were the victors. Moreover, they were as brave and manly as they were matchless in manouvers. Upon the following day, in which a bloody and awful struggle occurred, they acquitted themselves nobly and did much to retrieve the almost fatal error of the day before.

On the seventh we acted as a support for a battery known to us as Hoatling's Battery, next to that of McAllister, and saw the field extending south and east over a mile from Shiloh Church. The ground was fought over three times inch-by-inch. Bragg's Battery, in the extreme corner, was cut to pieces by Hoatling's and McAllister's batteries. Bragg's men stood up to their work until every gun was dismounted or disabled and all of the horses and mules were killed or mortally wounded. In the rear, dead mules and horses lay everywhere and in the ravine in front, for a distance of about forty rods, one could have walked upon dead men. It was the most appalling human slaughter that I have ever witnessed. There had been a severe rain the night before and as the water ran down the ravine past the bodies it became literally a stream of blood.

In the afternoon of the second day's engagement, the rebels gave way and commenced to retreat. About four o'clock Companies A and B the 7th Illinois and the 5th Ohio Cavalry were placed under command of Colonel T. Lyle Dickey of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry who was ordered to pursue. These were fine regiments and we might have captured many prisoners had it not been for our commander. Dickey's cowardice, previously suspected, was soon demonstrated. As soon as the order to pursue was given, we started with a rush. This was not in accordance with Dickey's conception of pursuit. It meant overtaking the enemy who had shown a disposition to resent undue familiarities. Besides, what was the use?—it was raining hard anyway. So, we were ordered to halt and "await further orders," the meaning of which was easy to surmise, for night was approaching and the enemy was vanishing.

While thus awaiting we dismounted in front of the remains of Bragg's famous battery. In a tent nearby we found two men who had brothers in our company. One, Daniel Twiney, with both legs shot off and another, James Prescott, slightly wounded. Our men bore them from the field to the hospital. Twiney was sent to St. Louis where he died shortly after his arrival. We remained there until it became sufficiently dark and foggy to render pursuit useless, when the redoubtable Dickey ordered "right about for quarters."

On the morning after the battle, we received an early order to report to Dickey, whose martial figure was conspicuous at the head of his regiment. After marching about five miles from the battleground, we approached an opening more or less covered with scattered timber, where the enemy had taken a stand. Here the Colonel exhibited his remarkable characteristics as a military commander. The Fifth Ohio Cavalry and a regiment of Ohio infantry had preceded us. Dickey gave orders for the infantry to deploy as skirmishers in advance of the cavalry, with the Fourth Cavalry upon the right. Our two companies, A and B, and the Fifth Ohio were formed in line of battle upon the left. As soon as this disposition was made, our dauntless leader announced, loud enough, it seemed, to have been heard by the enemy, that "orders would come from the rear." General Forrest's cavalry, which was protecting the Confederate retreat, made a charge upon us. In doing so, they kept in column, a manouver I had never before heard of. In the meantime, the infantry regiment had deployed directly in our front. About the time the latter were engaged, Dickey gave orders for the cavalry to fire by battalion and retreat;—and this, while we were in line in a muddy slough.

Our two companies waited until the enemy was close to us, when we gave them a volley. This was followed by the order: "Right about, gallop, march." In a moment Lieutenant Bennett gave the command: "Rally Company A." We delivered another volley and then by common consent, without an order having been given, our company charged them. Instead of meeting our charge, they made a hasty retreat and we followed them for about a mile. A considerable number of the enemy were wounded and among them, their dashing commander, who was shot in the back. This we learned through some of our command who, about an hour after the charge, visited a temporary Rebel hospital where they were told by the surgeon that General Forrest, who had just left there, had been slightly wounded. He did not state the location of the wound, but that information was supplied by a citizen.

When we returned from the charge, our dapper commander with "orders from the rear," who was noted for his spick-and-span appearance, had retired; some said,—"to lace his corsets." In the absence of proof as to the character of his under-garments, the truthfulness of the statement is open to question; but whatever the reason, it must have been urgent, for we did not see him again that day.

Upon our return from the charge we went over the entire field where the fight occurred. About twelve or fourteen of our infantry men were killed and several wounded. One poor fellow lay with his musket still in his hand. He had apparently been in the act of shooting but his enemy had shot first. His eyes were open and in the right one there appeared a perfect image of a man upon a white horse.

This circumstance recalls another pathetic incident of the many which might be related. Battery A of the First Illinois Battery, which, with Battery B, stood next to that of McAllister's, had nearly all of its horses killed. With seven of his mates lying dead around him, one faithful old horse stood in harness all day on Monday and until Tuesday morning when he was cut loose.

There was no further attempt at pursuit and the enemy was permitted to return to Corinth where ample time was given him to collect re-enforcements and to strengthen his position.

The battle of Shiloh was the bloodiest of all the western battles. It has been claimed by some that our army was not surprised; but to those who were there, the claim is no less surprising than the fact appeared to be then. The successes at Forts Henry and Donelson had made our men and their leaders over-confident. They counted too much upon the moral effect of those victories upon the enemy. Besides, it seemed incredible that an army so recently defeated and apparently so demoralized, should leave a strongly intrenched position and march twenty miles over ground rendered almost impassable by mud and rain, to meet one of substantially equal force in an open field. If it was a surprise, as those who were there at the first onset and saw the conditions, believed it to have been, it is not for me, it may not be for anyone, to fix the responsibility. Let him bear it who may,—the thousands of graves and the long lines of trenches filled with Union dead, will remain as a proof of the appalling price that it is possible to pay for indifference and over-confidence.

Samuel H. Fletcher

Samuel H. Fletcher



The Corinth Campaign‌—‌Battle of Davis' Bridge on the Hatchie River‌—‌Bolivar‌—‌Death of Col. Hogg‌—‌Water Valley‌—‌Fight at Holley Springs‌—‌Cowardice of Col. Murphy‌—‌Foraging.

"The brave make danger opportunity;—

The waverer, paltering with the chance sublime

Dwarfs it to peril. * * *"


The severe losses at Shiloh resulted in a reorganization of a considerable portion of our army. Many fragmentary regiments were consolidated in order to make full ones. Much time was consumed in this process and we remained at Pittsburg Landing until its completion.

On the eleventh of April, four days after the battle, Major General Henry Wagner Halleck appeared and assumed command in person. This was the beginning of a campaign in extraordinary contrast to that which had been so brilliantly prosecuted by Grant, whose methods and plans were held in contempt by his superior.

Halleck was a man from whom the people had expected much. They believed, largely upon his own authority, that he was a great general, for his unqualified statement about anything was presumed to close discussion.

Halleck had written a book upon military science which was generally supposed to contain the last word upon that subject. He was self-centered and opinionated to a degree and his arrogance was only equaled by his excessive caution, which nobody at that time was presumptuous enough to hint might have been called by another name. This general's policy, constantly impressed upon his officers, was to "do nothing to bring on an engagement." With an army of one hundred and twenty thousand men opposed to one whose effective force was considerably less than half that number, he instructed his generals that it was "better to retreat than to fight." This rule was strictly observed and upon different occasions important advantages were waived and reverse movements made in conformity to it. The result was an elaborate underground campaign in which the spade was the only aggressive factor. Except at the very outset, the army literally burrowed its way into Corinth. While the pioneer corps toiled beneath the surface, the others watched, not so much as guards but rather as sentinels to give the alarm. The vicinity of Corinth was a veritable labyrinth with complex runways such as might have been made by gigantic field-mice. This harmless procedure must have been quite as amusing to the Rebels as it was irksome to us. But even they grew tired of the farce and considerately exploded a magazine as a hint that they had marched out and would not hurt us if we had really set our hearts upon marching in.

Illinois Monument at Shiloh to Special Commands

Illinois Monument at Shiloh to Special Commands the front tablet is to companies a and b.

At last Corinth was "captured." The army did not start upon its advance until April 30th, when the men, burrowing through the ground like gophers, moved at an average rate of about 1700 feet per day. A month was consumed in this process. Trenches, rifle-pits and bomb-proofs were constructed to shelter one hundred thousand men; and all this to capture another lot of trenches, rifle-pits and bomb-proofs that were empty. It was a bloodless victory, and the countless hills and holes that cost so much labor and so many lives incident to the use of polluted surface-water and exposure under unsanitary conditions, will remain indefinitely as monuments to the caution and timidity of that unique general whose conception of prosecuting the war seemed to have been to treat the entire South as an immense garrison to be captured only after complete investment and a prolonged, careful and strictly methodical siege. Halleck's "caution" would appear to have been the result of a fevered imagination rather than the outgrowth of well considered military conditions which he should and might have known but did not; for, on the day following the evacuation of Corinth, when the Rebels were many miles away in full retreat, he caused his whole army to be drawn up in preparation for battle, announcing in orders that there was "every indication that our left was to be attacked that morning." The "indications" proved to be as humiliating as the preparations to meet them were preposterous; but their significance was entirely obscured by the cloud of egotism which seemed to envelop the personality of this overrated commander who might have been more successful had he possessed a sense of humor. In the light of Halleck's experience, it is refreshing to recall General Grant's opinion of what might have been:

"For myself, I am satisfied that Corinth could have been captured in a two days' campaign commenced promptly on the arrival of re-enforcements after the battle of Shiloh." Memoirs, V. 1, pg. 381.

During the Corinth campaign Companies A and B acted as escort to Brigadier General T. A. Davies. After the evacuation an order was issued directing them to report to the regiment but Captain Hotaling, who was originally responsible for their detachment, because he believed that he could do more effectual work with them separately, succeeded, through the influence of General Oglesby, in having the order changed to include Company B; whereupon Company A was, at the request of General O. A. C. Ord, who commanded the post at Corinth, assigned to his staff.

I had previously been detailed to act as orderly to Colonel Baker of the Second Iowa regiment, who was then in command of a brigade. He was succeeded by General Thomas Sweeney and I was with the latter until he, in turn, was succeeded by General Hackelman with whom I remained until the battle of Iuca, just before the second fight at Corinth, when I returned to my company which was ordered to Jackson, Tennessee.

The time spent at Corinth was dull and monotonous but the monotony ceased upon our arrival at Jackson. We remained in camp about seven or eight days until the battle of Corinth, where General Hackelman, Colonel Baker and Lieutenant Brainard, all good friends of mine, were killed. After the battle, General Ord, in command of Logan's and Hurlbut's Divisions, the latter of which had been sent ahead from Bolivar, Tennessee, attempted to intercept Price and Van Dorn at Davis' Bridge on the Hatchie River.

About six o'clock in the evening orders were given to pack haversacks with two days' rations and be in the saddle in forty minutes. We marched to the depot, loaded our horses in box-cars, mounted the deck with our saddles and were off. The road was rough and the cars swayed like ships in a storm. By lying down and holding fast to the deck we were enabled to stay in place until our arrival at Bolivar, which we reached at about half past twelve that night. As soon as possible we commenced our march for Davis' Bridge which was about twenty miles away. Just as the sky began to redden in the east we arrived at Hurlbut's headquarters and found his command in line of battle near the bridge. We were none too soon. The battle began soon after our arrival and raged until afternoon. The enemy fought persistently but was slowly driven back and finally retreated up the stream. One of our men captured a rebel officer upon one of General Van Dorn's horses. W. B. Cummins was in command of the company in the absence of Captain Hotaling who was upon staff duty.

General Ord was wounded in this battle which caused his retirement for a considerable time from active service. In his report of the battle he paid a high compliment to the men of our company, whom he commended for their rare intelligence and skill.

At the beginning of General Ord's retirement he requested General Grant to reserve Company A as his personal guard but he was gone so long that the company was ordered to report to General Logan, with whom it had been but a short time when Captain Hotaling was appointed Senior Aid upon Logan's staff with the title of Major, in which capacity he served with distinction until the close of the war. Our company continued to act as escort for General Logan until after the surrender of Vicksburg.

After the battle at Davis' Bridge I was detailed as hospital assistant to help in holding sponge and to assist in amputating legs and arms. It was a grewsome experience and my first of the kind. Between forty and fifty men were brought in in varying conditions and among them General Ord, who was wounded in the leg.

The next morning we moved back to Bolivar where we were the guests of our regiment. It was a joyous reunion and we slept but little that night. Our joy was marred however, by the absence of our beloved Colonel Harvey Hogg, who met his death a few days previous in a heroic charge at the battle of Bolivar. His death was said to have occurred within sight of his mother's house. On the day of the battle, those of the regiment who were detailed to bury the dead, found the Colonel's body stripped of all clothing, and were told by the rebels that "the hogs did it." The statement is proof of its absurdity and of the unbelievable hatred which existed at the time against southerners who fought for the Union. The details of Colonel Hogg's death have been embodied in a separate sketch and need not be enlarged upon here.

Our visit ended in the morning when we marched back to Jackson where we were engaged in picket duty and foraging until the weather began to get chilly. From Jackson we marched by way of Bolivar to Water Valley, Mississippi, about sixty miles south of Holly Springs. The latter place had been chosen as a secondary base of supplies for that portion of the army located south of there. General Grant, in what he regarded as an almost hopeless endeavor to fit his plans to those of Gen. Halleck and the orders resulting from the latter, was compelled to scatter his forces and to guard as best he could, a number of widely separated points in order to maintain railway communication with the North. Under the conditions existing, they could not all be adequately protected. Colonel R. C. Murphy, of the eighth Wisconsin, with about fifteen hundred men, including companies C, F, G, H, I and K, of the Second Illinois Cavalry, was left to guard the post. The companies mentioned were under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Quincy McNeil.

Believing that the destruction of the munitions and stores accumulated there would greatly cripple our army, Van Dorn undertook to capture the place. He was especially anxious to secure the horses of our regiment which had the reputation of being one of the best mounted in the service. So, on the 20th of December, with a force of mounted infantry and cavalry outnumbering that of the Union troops more than ten to one, he made a dash to capture the place. Murphy had been notified of his approach but made no preparations to meet him nor did he take the trouble to inform his command. Van Dorn had no difficulty in "surprising" him and less in inducing him to surrender. Before the troops knew of the situation the town was surrounded by several thousand confederates and the post with stories and troops had been formally surrendered by Murphy. The six companies of our regiment were encamped upon the fair-grounds, over all parts of which they were scattered. Lieutenant Colonel McNeil, with Captains Jones and Higgins were upon the east side of the Camp, Captain Marsh upon the north and Majors Mudd and Bush upon the west and south sides respectively. The men were told that the Second had been surrendered with the other troops. "Not by a damned sight," was the reply, "If they want the Second, they must fight for it." At this instant the rebels rushed in upon the east side and immediately began shooting down those who were saddling their horses. McNeil rallied the men nearest to him and advanced to the attack. Captains Jones and Higgins seconded McNeil. There was no time to form. McNeil was pressed by overwhelming numbers, surrounded and captured. At the same time Marsh was rallying the men at the north and the conflict or series of conflicts, became an indiscriminate struggle to the death. Just then the enemy in still larger numbers poured into the camp and captured the stragglers and convalescents. Captain Jones' horse was shot under him, Lieutenant Garrett was wounded and both were made prisoners. Marsh ordered a saber charge and broke through the line at the north, followed by Captain Higgins and the men who had been with McNeil. Marsh charged west and then south in the hope of supporting Major Bush. Major Mudd, who had been ordered to Oxford by rail and was preparing to go, knew nothing of the situation until he heard of the surrender. He rallied a few men nearest to him and ordered a saber charge. The same order was simultaneously executed by Marsh and Bush, all of whom broke through the lines at different points. The several detachments were separated. Those of Marsh and Bush joined upon the south and charged through the town fighting desperately. The enemy swarmed like locusts but, unable to withstand the terrific onset, gave way at every point. Realizing that a considerable number of their comrades must have been captured, Major Bush charged back like a whirlwind, recaptured the camp and released the captives. Those behind seemed to realize that their comrades would return. Some were found crouched upon the ground behind their dead and dying horses which they used for breastworks, still fighting with coolness and desperation. When the rescue came, these men hurriedly mounted behind their comrades or captured loose horses and went on with them. The charge was scarcely halted. Turning to the west, they again broke through the line and escaped to Coldwater, a town about twenty miles distant. Captain Marsh received three severe wounds but kept on through the fight.

In the meantime, Major Mudd, with a small detachment, succeeded in breaking through the western line, but in doing so, lost a number of his men. The fact of escape was not enough to satisfy his soldierly instinct. Seeing a band of rebels in front of him he gave chase, although at the time he was pursued by a much larger number. Twenty-four prisoners were captured, including one major; but being unable to take care of them, twelve were released. Whether these were a part of the detachment pursued, I have not been able to ascertain.

Major Mudd with his detachment also escaped to Coldwater where he aided in preparations for the defense of that place which was threatened by the enemy.

On the following Sunday, this officer, under orders from Colonel O'Meara, commanding at Coldwater, went back to Holly Springs under a flag of truce, but finding the place deserted and being joined by Lieutenant Stickel with a few men, took possession of the town and held it until the arrival of Colonel Marsh on the same day.

Another detachment of men, numbering about seventy, broke through the rebel lines and escaped towards Memphis. They bivouacked that night several miles away from Holly Springs, without fire, food or shelter and reached Memphis in due time hungry, cold, exhausted and destitute.

The loss in killed, wounded and missing was about one hundred and fifty; but, aside from prisoners captured, it was believed that the enemy's loss was much greater.

In a general order issued on December 23rd, 1862, General Grant, after severely censuring Murphy and a part of the garrison, said:

"It is gratifying to note in contrast with this, the conduct of a portion of the command; conspicuous among whom was the Second Illinois Cavalry, which gallantly and successfully resisted being taken prisoners. Their loss was heavy but the enemy's was much greater. Such conduct as theirs will always insure success, &c."

The descendants of those men may be proud to read these words; but how about the descendants of Colonel Murphy? Here is their bequest:—

Headquarters, Department of the Tennessee.
Holly Springs, Miss.,
Jan. 8th, 1863.

General Orders
No. 4.

Colonel R. C. Murphy was dismissed from the service, to take effect from the 20th day of December, 1862, the day of his cowardly and disgraceful conduct.

By order of

Major General U.S. Grant.

John A. Rawlins,
Assistant Adjutant General.

A large sum of money had been sent to Holly Springs for the army pay-roll. This was captured and diverted to a like use by the confederates.

The men who escaped to Memphis, being without money or rations and having lost their camp equipage, following the motto that "all is fair in love or war," fixed upon a ruse whereby they might recoup in part from the rebel citizens. Good arms at high prices were in active demand throughout the South. A standard revolver was valued at from fifty to seventy-five dollars in "greenbacks." Southern citizens were always ready to buy arms from any of our men who were willing to sell. Knowing this, one of the officers sent out several men to sell their arms and with each was sent a guard to watch. Upon the completion of a sale the guard would arrest the citizen and confiscate his purchase. In this way they collected about one thousand dollars, which was credited against losses at Holly Springs.

At the time our comrades were undergoing the experiences described, Company A was at Water Valley wading in mud and snow in an effort to rebuild the bridges which had been destroyed by the enemy.

The appearance of Forrest upon the line of railroad between Jackson, Tennessee, and Columbus, Kentucky, cut off communication from the North for more than a week. This, in conjunction with the loss of supplies at Holly Springs, compelled the entire army to subsist upon the country. Our company was sent out with wagon-trains and detachments of infantry who loaded the wagons while we fought bushwhackers. Sometimes it was necessary to go fifteen or sixteen miles and we were invariably late in returning. Our diet was corn roasted or burnt, usually the latter, inasmuch as we were constantly harassed by the enemy and were given no chance to forage for other things. We soon became so worn and exhausted from this onerous work and meager diet that our haggard appearance was noted by those of the army who were in position to fare better. One night when we came in unusually late and had eaten our corn and turned in, there was an unusual commotion in the camp which at once aroused the entire company. We were not long in realizing and appreciating the cause of the disturbance. The 45th Illinois, knowing our scarcity and that we had been fighting constantly to protect the train, had brought over four fine porkers which they hung up at our headquarters with an invitation to make the most of the opportunity. In an incredibly short time each man had a piece of pork impaled upon a stick and was roasting it by the embers of his camp-fire. No chef ever prepared a more savory banquet and no hungry men ever appreciated one more than we did that. Tired and worn as we were, it was four o'clock in the morning before the camp became quiet.

In the morning we received marching orders and started through mud and rain for Memphis. Our clothes were wet and our boots so sodden and shrunken that we dared not take them off for fear we could not get them on again. In a few days we reached Memphis and went into camp in the eastern part of the town. Mud was omnipresent. It was not only the quintessence of that well known compound, but the most persistent in its attachments of any that I have ever seen outside of Carrollton, Louisiana, which is second to no place in the universe in the quantity and quality of that annoying material.

Our move to Memphis was the beginning, upon entirely new lines, of a second campaign for the capture of Vicksburg.

Joseph Sheaff

Joseph Sheaff



The Final Vicksburg Campaign‌—‌Situation at and Around Vicksburg‌—‌ Memphis‌—‌Lake Providence‌—‌Digging Canal‌—‌Cutting Levee‌—‌Running Batteries‌—‌March Through Swamps‌—‌Grand-Gulf‌—‌Feint by Sherman‌—‌ Battle of Port Gibson‌—‌Death of McCorcle‌—‌Battles of Raymond and Jackson‌—‌Champion Hill‌—‌Casler and His "Base of Supplies"‌—‌Battle of Black River Bridge‌—‌Investment of Vicksburg‌—‌Grant‌—‌The Silent‌—‌The Invincible.

"Count me o'er earth's chosen heroes

They were men that stood alone."

The capture of the forts upon the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers, together with the Corinth campaign, were merely preliminary to the opening of the Mississippi by the capture of Vicksburg, its chief stronghold. But it was necessary for our forces to get in the rear of that place in order to attack it. To proceed southwardly from Corinth necessitated the holding of long lines of railway and the scattering of our men to such an extent as to render such a campaign hazardous, prolonged and uncertain with the forces then available. The first Vicksburg campaign which, among other things, included an attempt by General Sherman to reach the coveted position by way of the Yazoo River, was, therefore, abandoned with a view of using the Mississippi itself as a means by which to pass below and approach it from the rear. The latter plan possessed important advantages but was a hazardous undertaking and because of the apparently insuperable difficulties involved, seemed almost chimerical. Vicksburg stood upon a high bluff, the base of which was washed by the river. A frontal attack was not to be contemplated. The problem then was, either to find or make a channel for gunboats and transports through the lakes, bayous and swamps west of Vicksburg to some point below where a successful landing could be made and maintained or to run the batteries directly with the gunboats and transports, so as to have both below for the use of the army when a feasible way could be found for moving the latter.

Peter Sheaff

Peter Sheaff

There were fourteen miles of batteries in front of Vicksburg. No landing place existed upon the east side of the river between it and Grand Gulf, twenty-five miles below. The latter place was upon a high bluff and strongly fortified. Hence it was necessary to pass both of these places. It is not surprising therefore, that General Grant deemed it wise to carefully test the practicability of each expedient offered before finally acting upon any. Moreover, it was winter and the active prosecution of an elaborate campaign was not to be thought of. Nevertheless, the press, politicians and people of the North insisted that "something should be done." The scheme of cutting a canal across the peninsula formed by the great bend in the river opposite Vicksburg was a novel one, sounded well to everybody, was approved by Lincoln and Halleck and served to fill in the time. Aside from diverting attention, it had advantages so important that its attempt, after once having been suggested, was unavoidable. It would keep the men busy while waiting for spring and should it succeed, it would prove a happy solution of the problem in a way that would be clear gain. On the other hand, a failure in an effort to run the batteries without first trying it, would have been deemed suicidal; and the authorities might not have been able to have withstood the increasing force of clamor already raised for General Grant's removal. So the project of digging the canal was started while elaborate explorations were also being prosecuted through the bayous and swamps for some other feasible channel or road in case it should fail. While these things were being accomplished, the waiting, as well as the experiences associated with it, were tedious and trying.

We were comfortably housed at Memphis pending the preparations for a general move. In due time General Logan and staff, with our company and other troops of the 17th Corps, took passage upon the steamer Maria Deering and were transported to Lake Providence. All of the 17th Corps, under command of General McPherson, was moved to that place, where a temporary base of supplies was established upon the Commissary boat N. W. Thomas. The operations upon the canal were commenced about the time of our arrival. At the beginning of February, in the hope of facilitating this work by washing out a channel, General Grant caused the levee at Lake Providence to be cut. The water flowed in at a terrific rate and compelled us to move our camp from the south side of the lake. It was difficult to find camping space and the levees were used for that purpose. The rush of waters did not increase the canal channel as expected. There were other difficulties which rendered the canal impracticable; and, during the latter part of April, the project was abandoned. In the meantime, no feasible channel was found elsewhere, so the pioneer corps was set to work to build a corduroy road across the swamps towards Lake St. Joseph southwest of Vicksburg, over which to move the troops. The previous cutting of the levee greatly increased the difficulty of the work by causing a complete inundation of the low lands and swamps to the west for a distance of from fifty to seventy-five miles. This apparent disadvantage was, however, largely compensated for by its advantage in another respect. It formed an impassable barrier at the west and south, insured us against an attack in those directions and relieved us from much picket duty.

At last the time came for making the perilous movement of running the batteries. Transports, veneered with railroad iron and protected upon the outer edges with bales of hay and cotton, were loaded with supplies and started upon their way preceded by a flotilla of gunboats. The risk was considered so grave that all but two boat captains and one crew refused to attempt it. Volunteers were called for. Logan's command was composed of many river men and when the call was made, five times the requisite number volunteered. Many of our company asked to go but Logan said "No, I want you to navigate the horses." So, pending the success of the river movement, we remained at Lake Providence.

It was unnecessary to inform us when the running of the batteries commenced. The roar of the guns, eighty miles away, was distinctly heard by us. It was an anxious time but we soon knew that the movement had been a success. McClernard's Division had previously been started by the improvised road and was at Hard Times, above and nearly opposite Grand Gulf, from whence it was to be transported to a landing upon the east bank of the Mississippi to aid in the capture of the latter place should the gunboats succeed in silencing the guns of the fort.

On the 29th of April Admiral Porter commenced the bombardment and continued it during the day and far into the night without any apparent effect; whereupon the troops were debarked and under cover of night, marched down the levee upon the west side of the river to a safe point below the fort and while the gunboats continued the bombardment, the transports ran the batteries. Nearly all of the boats were more or less disabled. One transport was sunk nearly opposite Grand Gulf, and two were pulled up upon the west bank. Many of the artillery horses were wounded. Major Stalbrand lost a fine horse valued at one thousand dollars.

In the meantime we had marched through the swamps over the corduroy road to Lake St. Joseph and thence to a camp nearly opposite Grand Gulf where it was arranged that we should embark for Bruinsville. A satisfactory landing had been found at the latter place which connected with a road leading to Port Gibson.

The forces landed below Grand Gulf, including the 17th Corps, numbered about twenty thousand. The Confederates forces at Vicksburg, Haines Bluff, Jackson, Port Gibson and Grand Gulf, aggregated about sixty thousand. We were in an enemy's country, practically cut off from retreat as well as from our base of supplies. The only alternative, therefore, was to act quickly and attack the detached forces of the enemy in detail before they could concentrate or be defeated ourselves. Two days' rations were distributed and our forces advanced at once towards Port Gibson. In the meantime, a portion of the Grand Gulf garrison amounting to about eight thousand, had moved in a northeasterly direction in the hope of being re-enforced from Vicksburg so as to successfully dispute our passage. In anticipation of this, Grant had ordered Sherman to make an attack upon Haines Bluff with a view of deceiving Pemberton and holding his forces at Vicksburg. The ruse was successful. Sherman immediately withdrew and rapidly marched his division by the course we had taken to join us. Upon his arrival we had an available force of about thirty-three thousand to strike the forces east of Vicksburg before it would be possible for Pemberton to join them.

The greater portion of the 17th Corps had been transported across the river during the night preceding the movement of our company. Ten of the latter, including our orderly sergeant, James McCorkle and myself, were detailed to cross the river with General Logan. Upon arriving at the landing the Division Surgeon called for an orderly. McCorkle sent me back to camp for another man to fill my place and detailed me to act as orderly for the surgeon. We were unable to obtain transportation and so were compelled to remain there until morning. McCorkle and I slept together. He was in an unusually serious mood, said but little and seemed to want to have me near him. We embarked upon the first boat in the morning and landed about ten miles below Grand Gulf, from whence we rode together to Thompson's Hill where the battle of Port Gibson was in progress. It had been raging for some time and was still being hotly contested. Governor Yates and some of his staff, together with E. B. Washburn, then a member of Congress from the Galena District, were with General Logan. Washburn was instrumental in organizing the 45th Illinois Infantry, known as "The Lead Mine Regiment," which was a part of Logan's Division. A charge was made by the regiment and Washburn took special pride in the prowess of the men. Forgetting the danger of the situation and everything but the enthusiasm of the moment, he rode behind them cheering and swinging his hat like a boy chasing a fire-engine. Yates, on the other hand, tempered his valor with discretion. From morning until late in the afternoon, he found an attractive resting place under the protecting brow of a hill near the general hospital where his presence attracted the attention of the surgeons.

Shortly after one o'clock, James Padgett rode by and said: "Sam, Jim. McCorkle is killed and is lying between our lines and the Rebels." About three o'clock one of Logan's orderlies called out in passing: "Second your Orderly Sergeant is mortally wounded and lies just in the rear of the 45th Illinois." I at once asked permission to go and take him from the field. The main road which I was obliged to follow, was so jammed that it was difficult to proceed except at the slowest pace. The delay was torture. I did not find him until nearly dusk. His body was partially covered with a blanket but his cavalry boots were exposed and I knew from them that it was he. As I drew the blanket from his face he looked at me with a wild, vacant stare. Then an expression of intelligence and tenderness followed and he said: "Sam, you have come at last." He was removed to the hospital and lived until about six o'clock the following evening, retaining consciousness most of the time. After the battle he asked to see his comrades. I notified all that I could find, including Captain Hotaling, and General Logan and staff, to all of whom he bade an affectionate good-bye. He asked how the battle terminated and seemed satisfied when told that we had won.

During the battle McCorkle was acting as orderly for Captain Hotaling. While crossing from one brigade to another, he was struck by the bullet of a sharpshooter stationed in a tree. The bullet, which was large, entered the body at the right of the saber-clasp and, striking the spinal column, was flattened until it was as thin as a sheet of tin and about three inches in diameter.

McCorkle was a general favorite of the company, as just and fair as he was generous and brave, and we all mourned his loss as we would have mourned that of a brother.

The battle lasted from early morning until ten o'clock at night when the rebels retreated, leaving their dead and wounded upon the field. The following day was spent in burying the dead, waiting for the rear-guard and provision-train to come up and in reorganizing for an advance. Any battle of importance necessarily results in confusion and this proved to be no exception to the rule.

Aside from the loss of McCorkle, Clark Pond was fatally, and Jack Elder slightly wounded.

The evacuation of Grand Gulf occurred on the day of the battle and on the following day our company remained at the general hospital and on the next moved to Port Gibson where it encamped about two hours when orders came for an advance. We marched nearly all night in a northeasterly direction and encamped near the Big Black River, remaining there two days. Then another move was made to a point about five miles from Raymond where we encamped for a day. Company A formed the advance guard of Logan's Division in its movement towards Jackson. After having advanced about two miles towards Raymond there began to be signs of trouble. The enemy's videttes appeared. Our men were deployed as skirmishers. The country was more or less wooded and the thick brush served to screen the Confederates whose main body, numbering about five thousand, was not far distant. We were met by volleys from small detachments at every turn in the road. This was continued for about three miles when the enemy came to a final stand. The battle which followed was severe and lasted about five hours. During the skirmishing which preceded it, I had an interesting experience. Our men had dismounted near a group of trees and were endeavoring to locate a detachment of the enemy. Asa Gillette was nearest to me. We were standing behind trees which were close together. Gillette, seeing a man in a fence corner, was endeavoring to point him out to me, and as he did so, our heads nearly touched. At that instant a ball passed between us, punctured my hat-rim in two places and cut away a lock of hair. It was the 12th of May and my twentieth birthday. I have had many since but none has brought me a birthday present so unwelcome as the one then offered.

Our company was assigned to a position upon the right wing of the line of battle which was near to a creek, the banks of which were about ten feet in height and closely fringed with underbrush. A battery and a brigade of infantry were stationed upon our left, both actively engaged. After we had been there about two hours, our horses became very restless when we mounted and moved up the creek. We had advanced but a short distance when balls began to whistle over our heads. We soon discovered that an entire brigade, protected by the wooded banks of the creek had crawled down it and succeeded in almost surrounding us. They were lower than we however, and as they fired, their volleys went above us. We scattered like a flock of quail, retreated about forty rods, rallied and came to a halt. As we did so, we met General Logan with Leggett's Brigade advancing upon the double quick. Logan called out: "Boys, what is the matter?" "A hornet's nest," was the reply. Instantly came the command: "Go in boys and lift them out of that with the cold steel." They did.

After half an hour of severe musketry fire the Confederate line began to waver and then broke into full retreat towards Raymond where they were followed by our men.

The entire battle of Raymond was fought by Logan's Division with that of Carr's looking on ready to help but it was not called upon to do so.

On the night following the battle, we bivouacked near Raymond and early the next morning, at the head of the Division, resumed our march towards Jackson.

While at Raymond, General Grant's son Fred, a small, pale boy about twelve years of age, rode into town upon a black Shetland pony. His father states that he had left him asleep upon a gunboat below Grand Gulf, but the little fellow, hearing the sound of the guns at the battle of Port Gibson and, anxious to see what was being done, had, upon his own initiative, followed the direction of the sound and overtook the army. Where he found the pony can only be surmised. He had, before reaching Raymond, been seen, mounted upon a very large, old and decrepit beast, equipped with a primitive saddle and bridle, which make-shift answered his purpose for the time. The boy displayed the characteristics of his father, in that he was entirely independent, accepted all conditions as he found them, endured hardships and vicissitudes of camp life without a murmur, caused no trouble to anybody, and in this way is said to have gone through the entire campaign and a portion of the Vicksburg siege.

During our march that day we saw nothing of the enemy and at night we bivouacked about six miles from Jackson. There was a deluge of rain during the night and the roads were submerged when we started in the morning. We realized then, if not before, what General Logan meant when he said at Lake Providence, that he "wanted us to navigate the horses."

At a point about three miles from Jackson, our company was ordered upon the right flank. It was necessary to cross a stream and after marching about a mile we were blocked by cross-gullies filled with water. They were impassable and we were forced to return and recross the creek to the main road.

In the meantime, the division had encountered the enemy and was hotly engaged. A short but decisive battle occurred. The Confederates gave way and our men marched into Jackson. Seeing this, we put spurs to our horses and galloped in to find them in full possession of the place and engaged in helping themselves to provisions, tobacco and other desirable things. Tobacco was the one luxury which we could carry and would keep and we secured a supply which lasted us until after the fall of Vicksburg. To many, the tobacco habit may be regarded as inexcusable; but to the soldier upon the march, there are few more consoling things.

We bivouacked a short distance from Jackson and on the morning of the fifteenth started for Vicksburg. On the sixteenth the battle of Champion Hill was fought. Pemberton had marched out from Vicksburg with an army of about twenty-five thousand men to dispute our passage. The battle was bloody but brief and the Confederate loss was great. The engagement commenced about eleven o'clock and in the afternoon was very severe. Our company was assigned to a position upon the extreme right wing near to some heavy timber about twenty rods from where the 124th Illinois made its famous charge. In their pathway was a ditch where the enemy had taken a stand. This was filled with dead and dying Confederates. When our men returned from the charge, each had a prisoner. By night, the enemy was in full retreat and our company bivouacked where it had been stationed during the day.

We had started from Port Gibson with three days' rations in our haversacks and had been fighting and undergoing forced marches over almost impassable roads for sixteen days. Under these conditions, it was necessary to live upon the country. Every planter had corn and a grinding mill driven by mule-power, and these little mills were kept busy by our men. Aside from these, there were cattle, hogs, sheep and poultry, but none of these things could be gotten to be distributed regularly.

On the day of the battle, Orlando Casler, otherwise known as "Lon," who was one of the characters of the company, and nine others, including Ed Baker, had been sent out upon the right flank to forage, while the remainder of the company moved on with the command. We were very hungry and as the evening advanced with nothing edible in sight, had about concluded that it would be necessary to take another hitch in our belts as a substitute for supper, when Lon and his party appeared in a procession as surprising and unique as it was welcome. Casler, who was nothing if not dramatic, was appareled in a full broadcloth dress-suit and silk hat and sat upon the boot of a large family carriage. He had apparently appropriated the dress-suit of some aristocratic giant. Casler was a large man but his clothes were of such colossal proportions that he was compelled to put a wisp of straw under the sweat-band of his hat and a pillow in the front of his trowsers in order to locate his own anatomy. The carriage was drawn by two mules engineered by a colored driver and was filled to the limit of its capacity with smoked hams, shoulders, chickens, turkeys and jars of preserved fruit. Following the carriage was a wagon drawn by a four-mule team and loaded with hams, bacon, about sixty gallons of strained honey and a barrel of coffee. The necessity for these things and the joyousness of their welcome were both manifested by the astonishing rate at which they disappeared.

In the morning we saw the men of Logan's Division who had fought so hard the day before, dig up a ten-acre field of sweet potatoes but recently planted and devour them like ravenous animals. Afterwards, as they marched by us, we stationed a number of men at "Casler's base of supplies," who tossed hams and bacon at them and filled their cups with coffee. We enjoyed it immensely, for it was our opportunity to pay a debt in kind to the 45th Illinois by whom we had been previously remembered in a similar manner. But little was reserved for ourselves and our supply that night was in inverse ratio to our satisfaction.

Then followed the fight at Black River Bridge which was burned by the enemy to prevent our passage. This delayed us one day and prevented the possible capture or dispersion of Pemberton's army. Three temporary bridges were hurriedly built and on the 18th, we resumed our march. On the 19th, we had the satisfaction of taking a place in the semicircle which invested Vicksburg.

At last the long sought goal had been reached. The position for which the Northern army had manouvered for more than a year had been gained. For three weeks we had endured forced marches over nearly impassable roads, had engaged in almost constant skirmishing when not fighting in important battles and had bivouacked in mud and rain without tents or cooking utensils, and this on five days' rations issued at the start. Hungry and worn, we stood between two armies whose combined numbers exceeded ours. Our problem was to capture the one, nearly as large as our own, protected behind seven miles of fortifications, while guarding ourselves against one in our rear that was being rapidly re-enforced.

In securing our position, we had ended a great and successful campaign to begin a siege which, in view of all the adverse conditions, had in it the possibilities of utter defeat. We needed supplies and above all, re-enforcements to complete and strengthen a line twenty-one miles long and to ward off the enemy in the rear. Aside from our hope of immediate re-enforcements, our only assured reliance was in our determination and the ability of our imperial Commander. We knew that we should win.

Osborn Shannon

Osborn Shannon



The Siege of Vicksburg‌—‌The Assault‌—‌Logan's Headquarters‌—‌The "Bull-Pen"‌—‌"Boyce's Battery"‌—‌Scouting‌—‌The Mine‌—‌The Surrender‌—‌ Phelp's Appropriates General Buckner's Capitulation Papers‌—‌ Significance of the Victory‌—‌Credit Due to Grant.

"How we marched together, sound or sick,

Sank in the trench o'er the heavy spade—

How we charged on the guns, at double-quick,

Kept rank for Death to choose and pick—

And lay on the bed no fair hands made."

Upon the nineteenth of May Vicksburg was practically invested. Haines Bluff was evacuated and the rebel garrison had entered Vicksburg, thereby opening to our army the possibility of a base of supplies and direct communication with the North. There was much severe fighting during the day, including an assault upon the southern portion of the works, which was repulsed. All of this resulted in giving us better positions and enabled us to determine those of the enemy. By the 22nd, we had succeeded in opening up communication with the North by way of the Yazoo River and in obtaining supplies. Hard-tack and coffee were particularly welcomed. This greatly increased the confidence and enthusiasm of the men and on the same day a grand charge was made. The slaughter on our side was appalling. The enemy was strongly entrenched and our troops were compelled to fall back and to build temporary breast-works. Logan moved his quarters up to the firing-line within about forty rods from what was known to us as Fort Hill, [2] a high point near the middle of the line of the fortifications. His adjutant's quarters were nearly a mile in the rear, so that the shots from the enemy's guns passed over his headquarters and fell within a radius of about forty rods from those in the rear. His adjutant, Major Towne, owing to a prejudice against minnie balls, was disinclined to get closer. Our company, being the escort, was ordered to camp about ten rods south of headquarters. There was a swale between the two positions which grew wider and higher towards the east, and from the crest there was a plain view of Fort Hill. About that time large numbers of men had been recruited by the different regiments as substitutes for skulkers and "bounty jumpers." The natural diffidence of these men had a tendency to keep them away from the front. Many were found by our rear-guard five miles back hidden in negro quarters and cane-brakes. About two hundred were brought to General Logan, who located them upon a hill back of his headquarters and placed a strong guard around them. This enclosure was called the "Bull-Pen." When there was a heavy cannonade, the spent shells and minnie-balls would fall there. These reached our company also and made it quite unpleasant, but the fellows upon the hill were kept busy inventing and practicing new dodging methods.

There were several clowns in our company, the chief of whom was Ben Boyce, a brother of Caleb Boyce, at that time a well known Rochelle merchant. Boyce constructed a formidable battery of two guns made from stalks of sugar-cane, wound with marline and mounted upon small trucks. His gun crew was usually composed of four men. They had a pole about fifteen feet long upon which was tied an old shirt which served as a guidon. Ben wore a paper cap two feet high and carried a field-glass six feet long made from cane. With this instrument he would mount a bale of hay and with all hands at the guns, was ready for action. When the "camp-kettles" from the enemy's mortars commenced to drop, Ben would issue his commands with the gravity of a general and they were followed with a fidelity and heroism equal to any shown upon other parts of the field. His guns were phenomenal. They required only about half the charge used for a Sharp's carbine, but their effectiveness exceeded that of the largest ordnance, for they frequently dismounted the enemy's cannon at Fort Hill and sometimes silenced all his batteries. Ben's battery men were usually Jim Bowers, Martin Klock and Henderson Gordonier. Grand Townsend was one of the invincibles and sometimes volunteers were called upon to lead a forlorn hope. This by-play formed an amusing recreation and frequently served to divert our minds from the more serious and grewsome happenings around us. The fun was by no means devoid of danger but that only served to give zest to its enjoyment.

After the terrific assault and repulse of May 22nd, it became manifest that Vicksburg could not be captured except by a prolonged siege. Pemberton had previously disobeyed the order of Johnson, his superior in command, to evacuate, giving as his reason that he regarded the place as "the most important point in the Confederacy." Johnson was in our rear and Pemberton had reason to believe that the latter would be re-enforced and would exhaust every effort to raise the siege. Under these conditions, it was clear that Pemberton intended to hold the place at any cost.

It was essential that Johnson should be watched; and our company, under command of Lieutenant W. B. Cummins, a section of a battery, the 21st Illinois, Grant's old regiment and some other troops, including the 2nd Iowa Cavalry, was ordered out for this purpose under the command of Colonel Johnson. Our course led past Haines' Bluff, up the Yazoo River to Mechanicsburg and thence along the Black River. A Confederate force was met near Mechanicsburg which was charged and driven off by the Second Iowa Cavalry. We continued our advance north and east and again met them in the evening, when an engagement ensued. The action had barely commenced when the enemy began to run. The fear of our foe seemed to have a reflex action upon our commander who ordered a retreat to Haines' Buff, about forty miles distant.

We returned to Vicksburg, where we were stationed at Logan's hind quarters. During this time I acted as orderly for Dr. Trowbridge who was acting Division Surgeon in the absence of Dr. Goodleak who was sick at the time.

The method employed by our men in planting the mine under Fort Hill was interesting and involved some features which I have not seen in print. It was known to but few outside of Logan's Division. Captain Tressiline, Logan's engineer, known as the "Wild Irishman," planned the work. It was executed with the help of the pioneer corps and infantry detailed for the purpose. The work was commenced at the top of a hill northeast of Fort Hill and was complicated by an intervening sag which had to be taken into account. A platform of heavy timbers about twelve feet wide and sixteen feet long, was built and supported upon strong wheels. Upon the platform was mounted two large wooden guns which were painted black and varnished, each having what appeared to be a ten inch bore. This formidable engine of war, suggestive of the famous wooden-horse at the siege of Troy, was moved ahead of the workmen and served to shield them and their work from the enemy. As the machine was advanced, a trench was dug behind it, ceiled by timbers and covered with the excavated material. When the sag was reached the Rebels could not get their cannon to bear upon the moving structure from any point and small arms were useless. There was a moat at the base of the fort, and when our men reached the sag they tunneled beneath it to plant the mine. This moat proved a boon to us, for it necessitated the running of the tunnel at so low a level that the enemy in counter-mining, missed it. There was lively work at this place. The enemy, being above us, had a great advantage. They not only threw hand-grenades, but rolled heavier explosives over the ramparts. All our men had to send in return was twenty-four pound shells and these had to be thrown by hand. When the fuse chanced to be a little too long, the enemy would cut or pull it out. This was hazardous work and not always successful. Sometimes the fuse was too short. Captain Hotaling had an experience with one of these which exploded prematurely. A piece of it struck him a glancing blow in the breast and he lay, apparently dead, for over two hours.

A few days before the surrender, the mine, containing three hundred kegs of powder, was exploded. The explosion was to be the signal for the grand charge; and in order that all might be ready for it, Grant had previously caused the watches of all the commanding officers to be set by his. The eruption was terrific and blew the top off the hill, but the enemy had anticipated the result by building a second line of works immediately within the other and the breach was not sufficient to permit the passage of enough men to carry them. Our men were unable to hold the positions taken along the line and at night fell back to those formerly occupied. An armistice was declared and the dead were buried where they fell.

A negro in Fort Hill was blown into our lines more frightened than hurt. Grant quotes him as saying, when asked how high he went up: "Dunno, Massa, but 'tink 'bout 'tree mile." The negro remained in service at Logan's quarters and was ultimately sent by him to the then famous showman, P. T. Barnum, for exhibition.

During an armistice upon July 3rd, papers of capitulation were signed by Grant and Pemberton, by which it was agreed that the surrender should take place at ten o'clock upon the following day. Logan's command, being at the center, was among the first of our troops to enter the fort. Our company, as escort for Logan, reported at his headquarters, where we waited for General Grant, his staff and escort to take the advance. Then followed General McPherson, our Corps commander, with staff and escort and General Logan, with staff and escort brought up the rear. We passed into the fortifications and marched directly to the court-house, where General Logan, who was assigned as Post Commander, established a temporary office.

The plight of the Confederates as we marched in appealed to our tenderest sympathies. They were a sorry looking lot. The rank and file were as simple minded as their condition was pathetic. It was one of the provisions of the surrender that the men were to be paroled. The word "parole" was apparently construed by many to mean a reward; for we were frequently asked how soon the "pay-roll" would be ready for them. Some asked: "What are you'ns goin' to do now? We'ns is mighty hungry. Our mules is most all dead and et up."

The Confederate Guard at the Court House had some mule ham and black peas for dinner. This was tasted by some of our boys but they were not enthusiastic in their approval of it, owing, probably to conventional prejudice.

Permission was given us to ride around the town to satisfy our curiosity. Most of the inhabitants were living in caves dug in the clay banks. Many of these were divided into a number of rooms and well furnished.

About four o'clock, as I was going from the Washington Hotel to the Court House, I passed a residence which was swarming with Confederate officers and ladies. There were two vacant lots adjoining in which the officers' horses were tied. Among them was a fine, well bred black horse that took my fancy. Upon him was an elegant English cavalry saddle upon which was strapped a tin telescoping-tube about three inches in diameter and sixteen inches long, such as was used for carrying official papers. It shone in the sun like silver. The horse was the embodiment of beauty and I might have taken him but did not. I rode to the Court House in search of a comrade to accompany me to camp. I had been there but a short time when Henry Phelps of our company appeared riding the horse I had just been admiring. The tin-tube was still upon the saddle. I asked if he was going to camp and he replied, "Yes, come on." His newly found horse proved to be a fast pacer and he rode him at such a speed that I was obliged to put mine upon the run in order to keep up with him. I said: "Hank, what is the use of riding so fast?" He replied: "Some one may want this horse." So we kept up the speed until we reached our lines. That evening I noticed Phelps and Lon Casler examining some papers but paid little attention to it and did not know what they were.

The next morning our company moved into Vicksburg and went into camp. Upon our arrival Phelps was called before Logan who said:

"Phelps, you got a horse yesterday when you were here, didn't you?"

"Yes, sir."

"And what was on him?"

"A saddle and tin case with some papers in it."

"Was that all?"

"Yes, sir."

"And you got all that money, fourteen thousand dollars in greenbacks?"

"No sir, I did not find any money."

The general then turned to a Confederate officer who was present, and said:

"Did you say the money was in the tin case?"

"Yes, sir."

Turning again to Phelps, he said:

"Well Phelps, what was the nature of the papers you got?"

"They were the capitulation papers of the surrender of Vicksburg, signed by Generals Grant and Pemberton."

"You must produce them at once."

Phelps went out, returned with the case and handed it to General Logan who opened it and removed the papers. He found, upon rolling them closely, that they fitted the case and completely filled it. Turning to the officer he told him that he must have been mistaken about where he put the money. Logan then ordered Phelps to produce the horse and saddle, which he did and was then dismissed.

To us, who had fought and striven at the front, it was difficult to realize that Vicksburg had fallen or to conceive the significance of its fall. The coveted position for which we had so long fought and endured, was again an integral part of the Federal Union with all that that fact implied. The heroism, bravery and fortitude of the men who fought and won can never be too strongly commended; but all this would have gone for naught without the commanding genius, the prescience, the broad grasp of military situations and the superb poise and indomitable will of the one regal mind by which it was inspired and directed. General Grant in this campaign executed one of the most daring and brilliant movements known to military history. In opposition to the most revered precedents of military science as well as to the judgment of his foremost general, he deliberately moved his army into an enemy's country beyond a great river, between two strongly fortified positions held by the enemy, severed that army from its base of supplies, placed it between opposing forces outnumbering it two to one, fought them in detail, laid siege to the larger one behind fortifications of almost unprecedented extent and strength, while still warding off the other, fought his way back into communication with his original base and brought the siege to a successful issue. It was the most Napoleonic campaign of the war and the most decisive and far reaching in its direct results and final significance. It secured to us "the most important point in the Confederacy." It insured the segregation of all the Confederate forces west of the Mississippi and the freeing of our western army for the capture of Mobile, Atlanta and Chattanooga. In short, considering all things, it was, of all our victories, the boldest, the greatest, the most audacious and the most prophetic,—the most prophetic, because it foretold the doom of Richmond.

James Bowers

James Bowers



Department of the Gulf‌—‌New Orleans‌—‌How Official Dignity Was Vindicated by a Cat-o'-Nine-Tails‌—‌New Iberia‌—‌Vermillionville‌—‌ Chain-Vidette‌—‌"Bowers' Charge"‌—‌How Ed Baker Won His Spurs‌—‌ Repulse of Generals Lucas and Franklin‌—‌Improvised Cavalry‌—‌ Death of Crosby‌—‌Superior Arms of Confederates‌—‌Brilliant Capture of Confederate Detachment‌—‌Commended by General Order‌—‌Outrage Committed by Banks and Franklin in Confiscating Horses‌—‌Cowardly Manner of Its Perpetration‌—‌Re-enlistment‌—‌Veteran Furlough‌—‌Return to the Front.

"Death while we stood with the musket, and death while we stoopt to the spade."—Defense of Lucknow.

The surrender of Vicksburg was quickly followed by the news of the Union victory at Gettysburg which occurred on the same day, and in a short time we heard of the fall of Port Hudson which, with its garrison of 8,000, was given up by its commander three days later upon being assured of the fall of Vicksburg. This left the Union forces in the possession of the Mississippi from its source to its mouth. It began to look like the beginning of the end.

Our company remained at Vicksburg until about the middle of August. A number of our men were sick. Shortly after the beginning of the siege, two of them, Robert McAdams and Smith Wheeler, died of malarial fever. Morgan Haymaker and Leroy Herbert had died before the company left Memphis.

General Grant was about to leave for the Eastern army and our company was ordered to the Department of the Gulf. Upon our arrival we were detailed as an escort to General Ord at New Orleans where we remained for three or four weeks, when we received orders to join our regiment at New Iberia, Louisiana.

At New Orleans, I was detailed as orderly at General Ord's headquarters. He occupied a part of a large plantation mansion in the outskirts of Carlton, Louisiana. While at this place I again had an experience which opened my eyes, not only to the horrors of slavery, but to the brutality of some of our own officers who were only too willing when opportunity offered, to adopt the worst features of that wretched institution when they could be used for their own tyrannical purposes.

The place was very old and bore evidence of opulence and aristocratic antecedents. Surrounding the house was a spacious yard filled with bearing orange trees, some of which were unusually large. It was a charming and delightful spot and suggested the peace and contentment of a real Arcadia.

As I lounged around the place, the thought uppermost in my mind was, how was it possible that a people blessed with such surroundings could cause or in any way tolerate a devastating war, such as was being waged? The answer soon came in concrete form.

In the yard, fronting the house, there were a number of tents occupied by the Adjutant General and his staff. A negro had committed some trifling offense which had aroused the ire of three of the staff officers, one of whom was Major Seward, General Ord's Adjutant General,—who was reputed to have been a nephew of William H. Seward,—and two others whose names I did not know.

While sitting alone beneath a tree, the overseer of the plantation, a creole of the Simon Legree type, with all the diabolical vindictiveness of generations of evil ancestors shining from his malignant reptilian eyes, appeared leading a large, finely formed intelligent looking negro. The man's arms were bound together in front and a strong rope was tied to each arm above the elbow. The overseer led his victim to a large orange tree standing near the Adjutant's tent and proceeded to lash him to the tree with his face towards it. The poor creature was the picture of abject terror and trembled from head to foot. I was about to interfere, when Major Seward and the two other officers came out of their tents with camp-stools in their hands and, with an air of expectancy, silently seated themselves, as if they well understood what was about to occur. I looked on with surprise and wrath. I could not believe my eyes.

The negro's body was bare to the hips, and the overseer bore a peculiar whip with a short thick stalk and a number of heavy braided lashes about two feet in length. The bearer of the whip—a muscular brute—had every appearance of being an adept in its use. Looking around with the air of a stage-manager, to see that his distinguished audience was properly composed, he commenced. The first stroke brought blood and a cry of torture that was sickening. Then followed lash after lash until the wielder of the whip was exhausted and literally spattered with the red drops from his victim. When the negro was about to faint, and it was apparently unsafe to give him another stroke, he was released and led away by his captor, his back dripping and his skin in shreds.

The official defenders of the "honor of the flag" and the keepers of the seals of military justice whose honor had been appeased by the enlightening spectacle, withdrew to their tents in dignified silence and with an apparently satisfied air.

What was the cause of the hellish act or why it was tolerated, I never knew.

Ten or twelve of our men, whose names I have forgotten, were left in the general hospital at New Orleans, where some of them died. We joined our regiment about a week after leaving the latter place. It was located in one of the most charming and beautiful sections of Dixie. Later, it was advanced to Vermillionville, Louisiana, where we were entertained by the music of minnie balls almost constantly until January, 1864. The conditions there were peculiar and called for unusual military methods and constant watchfulness in order to insure camp protection. There were many large corn and cotton-fields which, from neglect, were over-grown with rank weeds from seven to ten feet in height. They made a tangle as thick as a jungle and afforded complete concealment to the enemy. Our system of camp protection was devised and adapted to meet these conditions. Our camp was encircled by a chain-vidette system located at a distance therefrom of about two miles. The men were stationed about twenty rods apart. All were required to move at once in the same general direction to the ends of their respective beats and then to return. This constituted each man a rear-guard for the one in front of him. In the rear of each five or six videttes, about forty rods back, there was stationed a relief or first reserve. About the same distance back of these, in turn, was stationed the second or grand reserve composed of fifteen to twenty-four men who, in turn, were supported by a number of primary reserves, thereby forming an elastic combination, each unit of which was in touch with all of the others, while at the same time it provided for speedy concentration at any threatened point.

The utmost vigilance was necessary and we were compelled to change our lines after dark either by advancing or drawing them in. The wisdom of this precaution was constantly demonstrated, for it became the established custom of the "Johnnies" to give us a dose of "blue pills" each morning as an appetizer. We always expected them and soon found out that the term "southern hospitality," was capable of varied application. Sometimes their attentions were forced upon us to an annoying extent during the entire day. At such times it was not unusual for our men to fire from twenty to forty rounds of ammunition. We were frequently required to shoot so rapidly that our carbines became heated and we were obliged to swab them out with brush and water before the cartridges could be inserted. Sometimes we would call out the reserve, charge upon and drive them off four or five miles which usually settled it for that day.

One day Jim Bowers was Sergeant of the reserve. He had about twenty-five or thirty boys of Company A, who had been nagging him about his lack of courage which they pretended to question. Jim's health was poor but it did not prevent him from being a good soldier and he always kept a supply of courage where he could find it when needed. On the day in question the chaffing annoyed him and he determined to give us an object lesson. The Johnnies had appeared in unusual force. About two hundred were in sight and more in the distance. Bowers at first seemed to think his band too small for so large a force and sent to camp for help. Captain Kelly started with his company but Bowers' aggressiveness got beyond his control and he gave the command to charge. The rebels at first showed fight but soon broke and ran. Ed Baker was one of Bowers' party. He was mounted upon a thoroughbred of great power and endurance. The horse and the man appeared to have been made for each other. Ed was an athlete and every inch a soldier; as manly and lovable as he was heroic and daring. A college graduate, he enlisted as a private with the sole thought of doing his duty. He was regarded as the best educated man in the regiment. There were five lawyers in our company, but Ed outclassed them all. The only thing he did not know and never learned, was when to stop fighting. With his powerful horse, he found no difficulty in overtaking the flying men. He used his sword only. He would ride a man down, capture, pass him back to his comrades and start for another. He rode like a knight of old, keeping constantly ahead of the charging party and upon the heels of the enemy until he out-distanced all of his friends and found himself within a mile of the enemy's lines, nearly sixteen miles from his own camp and facing a body of about twelve hundred Confederates who came out to re-enforce their friends. Then discretion came to his rescue for he realized that he could not capture them all. Turning to retreat, he discovered that there was not a man of his company in sight. He had ridden two miles ahead of them. His sole chance of escape lay in the remaining strength of his horse. It was enough however, and he won. The little party returned to camp with their horses so jaded that several of them never recovered from that day's work. A count showed thirty-five prisoners captured by the little band, a goodly percentage of which was credited to Baker, who, as a reward for his work, was given a commission as Second Lieutenant. The charge was afterwards known as "Bowers' charge"; but Baker was the Sir Lancelot of the day.

Shortly after this incident, two of our generals, Lucas and Franklin, decided to chastise the Confederate Generals, Green and Motaw who had a large force in the vicinity. Our cavalry had shown such high efficiency that they considered that the only factor necessary to success was more cavalry. This they did not have, but it was easy to get. Cavalry was composed of men on horseback. Why not mount the infantry? If not enough, mount more infantry. The reasoning was sounder than the premises but was followed enthusiastically and we were soon able to muster about nine regiments including ours and the Sixth Missouri Cavalry. With this force, we marched out to meet the enemy, our regiment and the Sixth Missouri holding the center of the line upon the main road between Vermillion and Carrion Crow Bayou. As soon as we reached the open prairie, a line of battle was formed facing a corresponding line of the enemy about a mile distant. The Confederates had better guns than we and their shots reached us as we advanced. The wings, composed of mounted infantry, soon began to fall back and to become displaced. They were good men but as little at home on horseback as a lands-man upon a yardarm. They could not manage their horses and were greatly handicapped with their long guns. These gave them a grotesque appearance which would have been ludicrous had the occasion been less grave.

We were soon forced to retreat. The Second and Sixth fell back alternately, forming a line upon each side of the road. In the meantime the enemy began to rush our wings which were about a mile ahead. We were in a sack and the foe was pouring an enfilading fire upon us. We soon reached an open field of about eighty acres which, with the exception of a few rods of rail fence next to the road, was almost surrounded by a high hedge. Some rails were removed and our company marched in and formed upon the south side of the road. It was a hot place. The bullets zipped past our ears like a flight of hornets. Just then the order, "Fours right," was given. I was number three and George Crosby, the next man upon my left, was four. A ball struck his right arm, passed through his body and out through the other arm. His horse came around by the side of mine and I did not know that anything unusual had occurred until Henry Knuppeneau, the next file behind me, cried out: "Fletch, Crosby is killed!" Then we stopped and fought until his body was taken off the field.

About half a mile further back the 132nd New York and a battery came to our support. At the same time it was discovered that infantry was not cavalry. The men comprising the wings were ordered to dismount and the stampede was arrested.

I think that with two more good cavalry regiments, such, for example, as the Fourth Missouri, Tenth Illinois, or the Third Michigan, we could have changed a repulse into a victory and could have driven them to the Texas line. Their arms were superior to ours and they knew it. They would stand off and shoot indefinitely but were afraid to charge, which is the true way to fight with cavalry. Almost any man will fight well in a charge; if not, he is useless as a soldier. Not only is he obliged to go with his horse, but the very dash of the thing acts as a moral support. The horses imbibe the spirit of the men and of each other and the whole becomes an irresistible mass like the rush of a torrent; but the men and horses must be trained until they become a unit. A successful cavalry force cannot be improvised.

All the Confederates whom we met in that section had fine arms. They would throw a ball a mile with great force and accuracy and at three quarters of a mile would often go over our lines, while ours only served to kick up a dust a quarter of a mile ahead of the enemy, who would shout, "A little more powder." I never saw one of their guns to examine it, but understood that they were of French manufacture. We had nothing in our army to compare with them. The Texas men were all armed with these guns which must have been received through Mexico at the instance of Maximillian or his representatives.

The enemy continued to annoy us in about the same way as long as we remained at Vermillionville. A skirmish of half a day or a day was a common occurrence. We remained there until the weather began to get cold and frosty, when, late in the fall of 1863, we moved back about twenty miles to New Iberia, which was a more secure position. Bayou Teche served as a protection upon one side and the Gulf coast was only about four or five miles away with intervening low lying land so interspersed with sloughs as to render it almost impassable for an enemy. So we were free from the constant embarrassment experienced at Vermillionville.

After the commencement of cold weather, there were several hard rains and a snow-storm. We were in need of supplies and Colonel Mudd, with a force which included our company, under Lieutenant J. S. McHenry, started out upon the Abbeville road with a view of gathering a supply of Confederate cattle. After going about nine miles we arrived at a small marshy creek. The Confederates had destroyed the bridge and, as the creek was practically impassable, we set to work to construct a bridge from some plank and stringers that were left and were soon able to cross in single file.

The Colonel left McHenry with sixteen men to guard the bridge and picket the approaching roadways. There was a patch of woods north of the bridge, near which was a large house and some negro quarters. Here we arranged for a sumptuous dinner of sweet-potatoes, roast pork and corn-bread, which was just about to be served, when one of our pickets rode up and said that there was a company of cavalry near the picket-post; that they wore blue overcoats, but he thought that they were Rebels. McHenry left three men to guard the bridge and with the other thirteen, rode out to meet the strangers. When within about twenty rods he asked them what their command was but received no reply. One of the men, Waldo Aulis, who was given to playful remarks, said, "I will just speak to them gently and see if they will answer." With that, he fired at them and wounded a horse. The act seemed to flurry them and they turned and trotted away. McHenry's orders to guard the bridge, precluded him from ordering a charge; but by common impulse we made one—shooting as we went—they returning the fire over their shoulders. After pursuing them about a mile we ran them into a fence corner. They turned, and as they did so, Nick Hotaling and Jack Rhodes wheeled in front of them and called to them to surrender. The remainder of our company was in their rear. Nick rode a Grimsey saddle with a high cantle, and as he passed in front he threw his body, Indian fashion, upon the near side of the horse. This caused the tail of his overcoat to stand up in the air where it invited the fire of the enemy and received several bullet wounds. The fray did not last long however, and they soon surrendered. We captured nineteen men, including one lieutenant. One escaped. The latter was mounted upon a thoroughbred, and during the excitement quietly moved away a short distance and then put spurs to his horse. Chase was given, but our men, having dismounted at the surrender, were unable to overtake him.

During the main chase I captured a prisoner and, while changing revolvers, accidently discharged one and wounded my mare in the shoulder. The wound was not serious however, and that, with the holes through Hotaling's coat-tail, summed up the injury to our little band of thirteen. All things considered, we had reason to believe it to be a lucky number.

Some of the other companies of our regiment thought that because we were so much upon detached service, we were not entitled to the letter "A." After that, however, it was freely conceded to us.

Colonel Mudd and his men soon arrived with the cattle. He was more than pleased with our behavior. General Franklin however was loth to give us any credit, presumably because we were western men. The Colonel told him that he could do as he liked about it, but that if he refused, it would be sought elsewhere. As a result, the following order was issued:

Headquarters, Cavalry Division,
In the Field near New Iberia, La.,
Dec. 5th, 1863.

General Order
No. 10.

The Colonel commanding is glad to be able to publish to this command the following communication received today from Major General Franklin, to show that gallant deeds are appreciated:

"The commanding General directs that you publicly express his thanks to Lieutenant McHenry, Co. A, 2nd Ill. Cavalry and the detachment of seventeen men under his command, for their gallant conduct on the 30th Nov. last, in charging and capturing an equal number of the rebel force. Acts of daring of this kind, while they encourage our own troops, demoralize the enemy. Treat them in this way whenever opportunity offers and they will soon abandon a service for which they now have little heart.

"By order of T. J. Lucas, Col. Com'g.

F. W. Emery, A.A.G."

So far as I can remember them, the names of those connected with the incident, in addition to the writer, are as follows: Lieutenant James McHenry, Nicholas Hotaling, Grant Townsend, James L. Padget, William Stilwell, John Elder, John Rhodes, George Burkhardt, Joseph Sheaff, George Hemstock, Waldo Aulis and Calvin Steel. Including the guard at the bridge, there were three or four others, but I have forgotten their names.

We remained at New Iberia until shortly after January 4, 1864, the date of our re-enlistment, when we went to New Orleans. In the early part of February we left there for home upon a veteran furlough.

Twenty-two of our old company veteranized. The new organization however, never seemed like the old one. There was a lack of a certain charm, a lack of unity, a lack of that intimate comradeship that we had known before.

Upon our arrival at New Orleans, Banks and Franklin did a most shameful thing. Our men owned their horses and equipment. Upon entering the service, each had selected the best horse he could get in his neighborhood, and the result was that we, as privates, were better mounted than the eastern officers. Their envy was shown upon all occasions and they made our re-enlistment an excuse for confiscating our horses. They first attempted to take them arbitrarily by allowing each officer to choose; but, when given to understand that they were our private property, an order was issued by Banks or Franklin, I am not certain which, to appraise the horses in the name of the Government and place a U.S. brand upon them. In order to carry it out successfully, the order was, for a time, kept secret. When the time came to take possession, our men were ordered out without arms and with nothing but the bridles upon the horses. We were marched into an alley and thence into a cotton shed with high brick walls. Then two or four were ordered to dismount and lead their horses into another shed where an appraiser was stationed with men having red-hot brands, ready for their repulsive work. Exasperating as it was, our feeling for the branders was one of respect compared to our unspeakable contempt for those who commanded them to do it. The injustice and tyranny of the act was only equaled by the cowardly and brutal manner of its perpetration. During the entire time, a regiment of infantry and a battery of artillery were in line commanding the place.

We never recovered from the moral effect of this dastardly act by which the Government was the greater loser. Before, the horses were scrupulously cared for. At the end of a long march, the men might be hungry but the horses were fed; the men might be tired to exhaustion, but to groom their horses before sleeping was a duty never neglected. It was not uncommon for a soldier to take another horse or a mule and ride four or five miles at night to get forage for the tired one. All this ceased under the new order of things, and neglect and indifference was the rule.

Government vouchers were given to us for our horses; but inasmuch as these were made payable at St. Louis, most of them were cashed by speculators in New Orleans at a modest discount of ten per cent.

It was gratifying to know that the eastern officers who wanted our horses, failed in the end to get them. For some reason, all but a few of the poorer ones, were taken by new recruits.

All of those who veteranized were required to move to the Conley Depot, about three miles north of Canal Street where they waited until they were paid. In a day or two after this, orders were received to march to the boat. Early in the morning, Gilmore's famous Boston Band, composed of one hundred and twenty-five pieces, marched to our quarters and escorted us to the Clay Monument at St. Charles and Canal Streets, where we were addressed by Colonel Marsh of our regiment. When he had finished, General John A. McClernand appeared and bade us good bye and wished us a happy time. The band then escorted us to the boat, played while we were waiting, and closed, as the boat left the dock, with "The Girl I Left Behind Me." We had a most delightful trip and were received by all at home with open arms.

Our home-going was one round of delightful entertainment and generous hospitality. But it was all too short. It seemed to end almost as soon as it began, and our faces were again turned to the front. It did not seem so hard to start however, as when we first enlisted. We had become seasoned, had a definite aim, a justifiable pride in our appearance and record as soldiers, and success in the past gave us confidence in the future. Moreover, there was a strong tie of fraternity which was born of the trying experiences through which we had passed. At the outset it was different. All was new and strange and confusing. We knew nothing of camp duties or methods, had no conception of military discipline, and it was more than two years before we were enabled to fully care for ourselves as soldiers. Our hard-won experience prompted the wish to again go to the front and remain there to the end.

The regiment first assembled at Springfield. Our Colonel, who had formerly lived at St. Louis, where he had a large acquaintance, was very proud of his command and wanted us to visit St. Louis, which we did. Upon our arrival there we were received by a large deputation of citizens who gave a banquet in our honor, at which several of the men of the regiment made telling speeches. War songs were sung and we had a general good time. The entertainment lasted about three days.

From St. Louis we went to New Orleans upon the steamer "Olive-Branch." Upon our arrival, which was in April, we were ordered to Baton Rouge, where we went into camp. Our time there was occupied in infantry drill with old Springfield rifles, until about July, when we received our mounts and were again ready for service.

James L. Padgett

James L. Padgett



The Red River Expedition‌—‌Death of Colonel Mudd‌—‌How Colonel Marsh Held the Line‌—‌Fighting Guerrillas‌—‌"Alton Hell-Hounds"‌—‌Their Remedy for Picket Shooting‌—‌Incidents at Clinton, Louisiana‌—‌Colored Wards and the River Jordan‌—‌Dash Upon Liberty, Mississippi‌—‌Capture of One Hundred and Four Confederate Officers‌—‌Chivalry of the Prisoners and Captors How a Confederate Captain "Made Good."

"The greatest gift a hero leaves his race is to have been a hero. Say we fail!

We feed the high traditions of the world

And leave our spirit in our children's breast."

George Eliot.

One of the important and humiliating campaign features of 1864 was the Red River Expedition, which was foredoomed to ignominious failure. It was one of Halleck's favorite projects and was started before Grant received his general command; otherwise, it probably would not have been ordered. Grant, in his "Memoirs," says of it: "I had opposed the movement strenuously but acquiesced because it was the order of my superior (Halleck) at the time."

Another sentence of Grant's indicates the disadvantage at which it placed our army, aside from the great and needless loss of life and property entailed by it. He says: "The services of forty thousand veteran troops, over and above the number required to hold all that was necessary in the Department of the Gulf, were thus paralyzed."

The Second Illinois Cavalry, with the exception of the re-enlisted men, including a part of Company A, was one of the regiments which accompanied this ill advised and ill fated expedition. It was charged at that time, and quite generally believed, that the movement had its inception in commercialism. The enormous profits upon the sale of captured cotton furnished the motive. At a time when there was not enough cotton in the North to make wrapping-twine, and resort was had to twisted strips of Manila paper as a substitute for that commodity, the value of cotton may be imagined. Any general who was in position to connive at this traffic, had a fortune at his command; and it was claimed that Banks was eager for some of the spoils. This charge is not consistent however, with General Grant's statement that Banks "opposed the expedition." Whatever the truth may have been as to that, Banks had another and more trifling weakness which was much in evidence; he was passionately fond of dress-parades. This may have had some influence in bringing about his undoing. It was currently reported at the time that a part of his train was loaded with paper-collars and white gloves. It was soon found however, that there were more vital things required for the welfare of an army than these agreeable accessories.

That portion of our regiment which was involved in the enterprise, started for Alexandria, Louisiana, on February 29, 1864. After a long and trying experience in marching through swamps and cane-brakes, they arrived at that place where a large force of infantry and artillery and a flotilla of twenty-five gunboats had assembled. The plan was to move on to Shreveport, which was what the Confederates did not intend to permit.

The enemy apparently realized his advantage from the outset. But little opposition was made until the expedition had left Alexandria and was well under way. On the eighth of April, at Sabine Cross Roads near Mansfield, the opposition developed; and, according to the statements of those who were in it, the fighting was severe and continuous. The Confederate force, under command of Generals Taylor, Price and Muttal, was concentrated in a well chosen position, while that of Banks was hopelessly scattered. With our thin lines strung out for 30 miles in a swampy country which afforded every advantage of concealment to the Confederates who were familiar with it, it was an easy matter to harass our army and defeat its scattered units in detail. The enemy was strong, determined, and, worst of all, in many cases—invisible. Allowing for the difference of climate, conditions were not unlike those which confronted Napoleon in a part of his Russian campaign with the exception that our commander was entirety lacking in the military skill and resourcefulness of that famous leader. The deplorable tragedies of the Banks enterprise would fill volumes. The failure was not because our men did not fight; it was their fighting which saved them from utter annihilation; but even that was of little avail, except to accentuate instances of heroism. On one occasion, amid a deluge of bullets, a stampede was started, when Colonel Dudley rode up to Colonel Marsh of our regiment and said: "Colonel, can you hold this line for five minutes?" Marsh replied, "I can hold it until I die." Each color-bearer was shot down the instant he raised the flag, until five were killed in succession. Thereupon Colonel Marsh grasped the colors and standing in his stirrups, sang, "Rally 'Round the Flag Boys." It was effectual. The struggle was terrific and at times looked hopeless, but he held the line for an hour and gave our men a chance to retreat in some semblance of order.

Instead of an aggressive campaign as was intended, the whole series of battles were but desperate efforts to cover a retreat.

Of about one hundred and fifty of our men who were in the fight at Sabine Cross Roads, more than one-third were killed, wounded and missing and eighty-six horses were slaughtered. Most of those who were captured, died in those unspeakable Texas prisons of which mention has been made.

One of the tragedies directly chargeable to lack of foresight in an attempt to fight an invisible enemy, was that which resulted in the death of our former Colonel, John J. Mudd and the slaughter of a large number of helpless men. At the outset of the expedition, Colonel Mudd was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General and was on his way to take command of a brigade of cavalry. We were glad of his promotion but sorry to lose him, for he was loved by all. As he rode along the line shaking hands with the boys and bidding them good-bye, some, in order to hide their real feelings, pretended to make light of the matter and simulated a mock-grief; a thing which would not have happened had they foreseen the near future. The General embarked upon a transport loaded with troops; but, with the characteristic lack of foresight of the project, no gun-boat was provided to escort it. Three days later, the transport was surprised by a terrific fire from a masked battery, captured and destroyed. General Mudd was killed and most of the others either killed or captured, and that without any opportunity for defense. Those left behind, received the sad news in silence. As our Colonel, he was loved and revered. He was always in closest sympathy with his men whose welfare was his constant study. His wish was recognized as a command and obeyed with pleasure.

General Sherman's famous aphorism that "War is Hell," has become classic. Indeed, for one who has been through it, it is not possible to realize that it can be anything else; but if there are compensations for such a brutalizing calamity, one of them must be the development and example of such princely characters as that of General John J. Mudd, whose transcendent virtues outlive the sickening horrors amid which they were so uniformly displayed.

While our regiment was stationed at Baton Rouge, the bushwhackers became so bold and aggressive that it was decided to chastise them. Their headquarters were at Clinton, a small town about twenty miles northeast of Baton Rouge. The expedition was commanded by General Lee of Kansas, whose force consisted of our regiment, the Fourth Wisconsin Cavalry and Nimms' Massachusetts Battery. After crossing a deep river, the name of which I have forgotten, we soon arrived at a larger stream where the enemy in considerable force endeavored to prevent our passage. A sharp engagement took place which lasted about an hour, during which the Colonel of the Fourth Wisconsin was killed. His body was sent back to Baton Rouge with a detail from his regiment, a platform having been improvised for the purpose upon one of the caisson carriages of Nimms' Battery.

We succeeded in crossing the stream and soon reached Clinton. The skirmish with the enemy was continued during the entire day. In the evening we moved out of town about two miles and went into camp, the men lying upon their arms. There was every reason to anticipate a night attack and all were prepared for it. George Taylor and myself were stationed as pickets upon the main Clinton Road. There was no moon and the night was still and dark. Our position was in a hollow by the side of a turn-pike. About twelve o'clock our horses began to show signs of uneasiness and soon became quite restless. It was apparent that something unusual was about to happen. We dismounted and took positions upon opposite sides of the pike with our carbines cocked and nerves under tension. Our attention was soon attracted by a peculiar sound; a kind of pat, pat, pat, upon the ground. It seemed to be several rods away and yet it was distinct. We knew that it was somebody or something approaching upon the road. As it came nearer we called "Halt!" but there was no reply and no stop. We then stepped upon the grade and again called "Halt!" It was hard to keep from pulling our triggers. Suddenly, those whom we took to be the enemy, commenced to jabber in a plantation negro dialect. Still we were uncertain, thinking that it might be the enemy attempting to deceive us. We called the corporal of the guard and ordered them to advance one at a time. They proved to be negroes, two men and four women. Others soon followed and the procession continued until morning. It was made up of all ages, shades and conditions. They had evidently cast their lot with us and showed every evidence that they were going to stay.

In the morning when we broke camp, our guests were ready to move with us and they kept closely to the head of the column during the entire day. There were two streams to cross, both nearly deep enough to swim a horse. We crossed our stirrups over the saddles, held up our arms and plunged in in "column of fours." The darkies followed by a common impulse and could not have shown less hesitation had it been the River Jordan. Men and women, boys and girls, all floundered through and shook themselves upon the opposite bank as complacently as if they had reached the promised land.

This was one of many like experiences. It was common for negroes to approach the guards at night, but it was not pleasant to have them do so, in view of the fact that all kinds of strategy were resorted to by the enemy to enable them to either capture or shoot down our pickets. Constant and careful vigilance was necessary to protect us against these things.

We had not been in Baton Rouge long before it become a common practice for the enemy to steal upon out pickets and shoot them. The ground was swampy for several miles along the Clinton road and afforded concealment for roving bands of guerrillas. It was their custom to locate a picket, tie their horses in the swamp, steal as closely to the picket as they could with safety, shoot him and escape. Every precaution was exercised to safeguard the men but without success. Finally our men grew desperate and some of them decided to meet this brutal practice in a like spirit. Company D of our regiment was recruited from Alton. Many were river men and they were all rough fellows; so much so that they had acquired the suggestive name of "The Alton Hell-Hounds." On one occasion when these men were on guard, about the middle of the day, two fellows crawled up and shot at the men on post, slightly wounding one of them. The reserve was called out, a charge made and the sneaks captured. Picket ropes from their own mules were then placed around their necks, thrown over the limb of a tree and made fast. They were then ordered to stand upon the mules which were driven from under them. For two days the bodies were left there as a warning to their associates, when they were cut down and buried. The example was a grewsome one and not pleasant to relate; but it proved effectual, for it practically ended the shooting of our pickets from that time.

Upon a subsequent trip to Clinton, one hundred of our men were dressed in rebel uniforms to act as decoys. They were chosen from "Scott's Nine Hundred," which was a New York regiment, the Fourth Wisconsin and the Second Illinois. They succeeded in getting in with the Confederates and captured a number of prisoners.

Later in the year when it began to get cold, Colonel Marsh, with four hundred men from our regiment and one hundred from the 12th Illinois, started out in the afternoon with Clinton as his apparent destination, but his real objective was elsewhere. We followed the Clinton road until dark and then turned abruptly to the right and swam a stream the crossing of which was generally considered impracticable on account of its steep banks and swift current. The rebels depended entirely upon a ferry to make the passage. We succeeded however, in getting over without accident and kept right on pell-mell. Before realizing it we found ourselves in the midst of a camp of about fifty bushwhackers. William Stilwell who was with the advance, received a shot through the arm. We gave them a volley and passed on. After marching about two hours, a terrible storm burst upon us. We were in a lane fenced with rails. Dismounting, we tied our horses to the fence and hastily constructed what the boys called a "floating-dock." Two rails were laid parallel upon the ground to serve as supports or sills, and upon these were placed cross-rails which were arranged side by side in groups of two or three. Each group was straddled by a number of men who sat upon them back to back in pairs, a poncho being placed over the heads of each pair as a protection. With our feet several inches in water and mud, we remained in this attitude until the storm ceased. At daylight, we fed our horses, ate some hard-tack and resumed our march through woods and blind trails until nearly dark, when we arrived at a plantation where a carriage and team were pressed into service for Stilwell's use. This was about eight miles from Liberty, the County Seat of Amite County, Mississippi, where we expected to surprise and capture a large number of Confederate officers and men.

It was as dark as ink when we came to a long covered bridge on the Port Hudson road, leading over the Amite River to the town. Great care was necessary to prevent an alarm. We succeeded in capturing the bridge guard, passed quietly into the town where we secured the pickets, one by one, without alarm and placed a guard at every outlet. All night the Confederates continued to enter the town where they were captured as soon as they appeared. This continued until we had about two hundred prisoners, of whom more than half were commissioned officers. The prisoners were lodged in the Court House, a brick building two stories high. There were double-doors in front and three windows upon each floor at the sides. In the morning the command started out upon a short raid, leaving Company A, under charge of Lieutenant James J. Tipton, of Company E, to guard the town and prisoners. The latter were in charge of Calvin Steel of our company. All went well until about noon, when a Confederate force of about eight hundred men under command of Colonel Scott, was seen approaching the town. Steel, with three men, was left to guard the prisoners, while the remainder of the company stole out to intercept the enemy. Hiding our horses behind a knoll, we took a position by some abatis, which had been constructed for the defense of the town and waited until the enemy had approached within about ten rods, when we fired. The volley completely staggered the oncomers who had scarcely recovered from their surprise when the remainder of our command returned to our assistance. The Confederates, sighting them, immediately retreated.

In the meantime, Steel passed some anxious moments with his two hundred prisoners. He placed one man at each side to guard the windows, while he, with another, guarded the doors. The men were surging to get out and they could have succeeded had they made a rush, but no one dared meet Steel's ultimatum and take the risk of being first. Steel afterwards told me that it was the most trying and critical position that he had ever held.

That evening Major Hughes arrived from Port Hudson with the Forty-Sixth Illinois and a battery. He took the foot-prisoners back to Port Hudson, while our detachment, under command of Lieutenant James J. Tipton, returned to Baton Rouge with the others. There were one hundred and four of the latter and, what then seemed inexplicable to us, all of them were commissioned officers.

This incident led to one of the most remarkable exhibitions of real chivalry that occurred during the war; and one that did more to make us respect our enemies than any acts of bravery upon the field.

The weather had become intensely cold and the prisoners had only their ordinary clothing. As night came on a severe storm arose which rapidly turned into a blizzard. We had been marching, fighting and undergoing the most trying hardships for forty-eight hours without sleep and with no food except hard-tack, and this was the third night. To stand guard over our prisoners under these conditions, and that in a raging storm, seemed beyond endurance. Besides, we felt that it was our duty to make the prisoners as comfortable as possible. The country was sparsely settled and there seemed to be but little prospect of shelter. At last we came to a building which was large enough to hold the prisoners but not ourselves.

Lieutenant Tipton was a Mason, as were all but four of the prisoners. Tipton spoke to one of the former, Captain Grant, of Shreveport, Louisiana, and frankly told him the situation; stating that he would do all in his power to make them comfortable but that he could not do so and guard them well; that if Grant would give his word "upon the square" that the prisoners would not attempt to escape, they would be given shelter and protection in preference to our own men. Grant consulted with his associates and, as spokesman for them, accepted Tipton's proposal. The men were all quite comfortably housed, while their captors, who had blankets and ponchos, protected themselves outside in the storm as best they could.

In the morning, all of the prisoners were present except the four who were not Masons. Captain Grant was greatly mortified and indignant when he learned of the escape of the four, and offered to go back and bring them in. Tipton could not, under his orders, permit this, but offered to report the matter to his superior at Baton Rouge. Upon arriving at the latter place the report was made and as a result, Captain Grant was passed through our lines, found his men and preferred charges against them. A military court was convened, the offenders tried, reduced to the ranks and given in charge of Captain Grant who brought them under guard into our lines, where he formally surrendered himself and them as prisoners of war.

All the men, including Captain Grant, were sent to the Dry Tortugas. At the instance of Lieutenant Tipton, a subscription was circulated among our men and a purse of eight hundred dollars was raised and presented to them upon their departure as a testimonial from their captors. Nor was Lieutenant Tipton forgotten by his friends, "the enemy," who subsequently indicated their appreciation of his conduct by placing his portrait upon the east wall of St. James Lodge at Baton Rouge.

It would be difficult, if not impossible, to outmatch this incident in the entire history of war. It is not so surprising that the men did not attempt to escape, but that Captain Grant should have been permitted by either side to carry out his proposal, is, so far as I am aware, in direct violation of all military laws and precedents.

When peace was declared, our regiment was stationed at Shreveport, Louisiana, the home of Captain Grant, and our then Colonel, D. B. Bush, occupied a part of Captain Grant's house as his headquarters. I met the Captain there a number of times and had several pleasant conversations with him. He looked sad and broken, but met us with a cordial hand-shake and seemed to accept the situation philosophically and manfully. On one occasion I asked him why it was that we captured so many officers at Liberty. He replied, "Now that the war is over, I can tell you." He then stated that in view of the numerous raids upon Clinton, their cavalry scouts were greatly disconcerted; and in order to decide upon some satisfactory way of meeting conditions, a council, composed of delegations from various cavalry commands within a radius of a hundred miles, was called to meet at Liberty upon the day following the night of our arrival. It was thus evident that our commander at Baton Rouge had been secretly advised of the proposed meeting and had acted accordingly.

E. C. Chatterton

E. C. Chatterton



"Davidson's Sweet Potato Raid"‌—‌Southern Alabama‌—‌Destruction of Railroads‌—‌Oyster Fishing‌—‌Mobile Expedition‌—‌Barancas‌—‌News of Lee's Surrender‌—‌Assassination of Lincoln‌—‌Fort Blakely‌—‌Mobile‌—‌Explosion of Magazine‌—‌Return to New Orleans‌—‌Experience of Daniel Shaw in a Texas Prison‌—‌Shreveport‌—‌"Salt-Horse" vs. Sumptuousness‌—‌Cantankerous Cans‌—‌March Into Texas‌—‌San Antonio‌—‌Mustered Out‌—‌Jubilation‌—‌War's Aftermath.

"Closed is the bitter but glorious fight:

And the day like a conqueror bursts on the night."


Shortly after the Liberty raid, General Davidson, who was given command of the cavalry at Baton Rouge, organized an expedition for the purpose of destroying railroads in the territory northeast of Baton Rouge and extending in a circuit to Pascagoula Bay, Alabama, about fifty miles south-west from Mobile, in aid of Sherman's movement towards Atlanta. The command comprised the Fourth Wisconsin, Twelfth Illinois, Eighteenth New York, "Scott's Nine Hundred," and the Second Illinois Cavalry. Its course lay through a barren, sparsely settled country more or less covered with scrub and pitch-pine and interspersed with swamps. The streams were swollen and almost impassable and the roads were so bad that the expedition was compelled to abandon a number of its wagons which were burned. Forage was scarce and the men were soon reduced to quarter rations. Owing to the fact that about the only food to be found was sweet-potatoes, the expedition came to be known as "Davidson's sweet-potato raid." There were not more than a dozen shots fired upon the whole trip.

Upon our arrival at Pearl River we camped for the night and during that time ten men succeeded in swimming across with ropes with a view of bridging the stream. A few went beyond to stand guard while pontoons were laid and in an hour the cavalry was crossing. This was followed by the artillery, consisting of Nimm's Massachusetts Battery and a small train. The pontoon bridge was soon removed when our march was resumed towards Pascagoula Bay, where we arrived hungry and worn, with scarcely any food for ourselves or horses. A double-handful of corn was all that could be spared for each horse during twenty-four hours. There was no grazing and no fodder—nothing but water, sand and pine-needles. In this condition we waited for five days until a consignment of grain and rations was received by boat from Lake Port Louisiana.

In the meantime, some oyster-boats and tongs were discovered in a small bayou near the bay, which indicated the presence of oyster-beds. We improved the opportunity. There was always a rush in the early morning for an outfit. The lucky ones were soon able, however, to fill a few gunny-sacks and then give the others a chance. Those who came late would stick poles in the mud at low tide in about seven or eight feet of water and then, holding onto the poles, would go to the bottom and grope around until they found a cluster of shells which would be brought to the surface and handed to another to take to shore. Bunches were sometimes found as large as a bushel-basket. To hungry men, oysters without sauce was a most delightful substitute for nothing; but we longed for the trimmings, especially pepper. A raid upon the country soon furnished us with many strings of home-grown red-peppers. They were hot, but they served the purpose, and after three weeks of short rations we welcomed the combination; but no stretch of a Northern man's imagination was capable of bringing it up to the standard of a Northern Christmas or New Year's dinner—for both of which it had to serve.

About the last of January we embarked for Lake Port Louisiana, from whence we returned to Baton Rouge, where we remained until March, 1865. We then took boat for New Orleans and camped in Carlton until the latter part of March. From New Orleans we went upon the Mobile Expedition by way of Barancas, Florida. I did not go directly with the regiment, having been detailed to the Quartermaster's Department which went upon a later boat. When I arrived at Barancas I found that my company had gone to Fort Blakely. It was considered unsafe for us to follow without an escort, and we were ordered to remain at the former place. While there, we received the news of Lee's surrender. Everybody was elated and appeared to be walking upon air. The guns at the navy-yard belched forth national salutes and these in turn were answered by the battle-ships. All were drunk with joy. About ten o'clock the next day, in the midst of our rejoicing, an officer rode into camp and stopped to speak to the men. A large and joyous group at once gathered to hear more of the good news. The officer spoke in a low tone. The men looked eager but there were no cheers. A hush fell over the crowd. Then words—almost whispered—passed from man to man: "Lincoln has been assassinated!" It was a staggering, benumbing, crushing blow. The men were dazed; they could not talk. Tears were everywhere—tears and silence. The grief of the men was indescribable. But the silence was of short duration. A fool in Company B, apparently in a spirit of bravado, said that he was "glad of it." Instantly the pent up wrath of the men burst out. There was a rush to quarters for arms. An officer, seeing the situation, placed an armed guard around the man. The guard was soon doubled and the offender rushed to a boat at the water front followed by about fifty men with drawn revolvers. The man was taken to Fort McCrea for safety, where he was court-martialed and sent to the Dry Tortugas to be discharged in disgrace. This was only one of numberless instances of a similar nature which occurred at the time.

In a short time we marched across the country to Fort Blakely, from whence we were transported by boat to Mobile and went into camp near the Mobile and Ohio Railroad about four miles east of the town, where we remained for some days. Our regiment was at Columbus, Mississippi. Orders had been sent from there to Colonel Bush to forward the regimental mail and two hundred outfits of clothing. I was acting as clerk to the Regimental Quartermaster and was detailed by the Colonel to take the mail and stores to the regiment. My orders were to report to the Quartermaster in Mobile at three o'clock p.m., for a pass and instructions. In order to provide for the care of my horse, I left camp about ten o'clock and was in the eastern part of the city. My attention was attracted for a moment to an officer who was making his rounds and was being saluted by a guard near by, when a blinding flash occurred which caused my horse to rear so that I stood upon my toes in the stirrups. For an instant my strength seemed to leave me and I almost fell from the horse as he came down. Looking up, I saw an immense blaze which seemed to be a mile high, followed by great rolling cotton-like masses of clouds which flaked off into sheets. Debris of all descriptions, mingled with some human bodies, soon began to drop back to the earth. The Confederate magazine with five hundred tons of ammunition had exploded. It was a wonderful and appalling sight. The depot was blown to pieces, cotton sheds were destroyed and all of the glass in the city was broken. The Battle House, the largest hotel in the city, was wrecked and every dish in it broken. Great fissures and rents were everywhere seen in the streets and walls.

The stores, which I was to have taken away that evening, had been loaded and stood upon the street, but the wagon was overturned and all of the cases crushed.

As I rode along the street I met Captain Fred Pike of the Forty-Sixth Illinois. One of his legs had been cut by falling slate from a roof and he was hopping along by the side of a building. I dismounted and gave him my horse to go to camp.

On the following evening I started to Columbus with the supplies. The regiment had broken camp before my arrival and I met the command at Artesia, twelve miles from Columbus, where I delivered the mail but was obliged to go on to Columbus to turn over the supplies. I then returned to Mobile and there embarked for New Orleans where I was temporarily stationed at regimental headquarters at Carlton, a short distance above the city.

A day or two after my arrival, as I lay in my blankets under an orange tree, I was aroused just before daylight and gradually realized that somebody was shaking me. It proved to be Daniel Shaw, one of our company from Mount Morris, Illinois, who had been captured upon the Red River Expedition, about a year previous and confined in that horrible corral at Tyler, Texas. He hugged me frantically and wept like an hysterical child. It was a long time before he could speak; and then, amid tears and sobs he told a most harrowing and revolting story of the inconceivably brutal treatment to which he had been subjected. The prisoners were confined in an open corral or field without any shelter or protection whatever. Their food consisted of offal and discarded portions from the cattle and sheep slaughtered by their captors, who appropriated the edible parts for their own use. The most was eaten raw or in the form of a stew. The story was too revolting for repetition.

The poor fellow was a mere skeleton and in a most wretched condition. Had he not been one of the most hardy men in the regiment, he could not have survived. His experience was but another proof that "War is Hell."

From New Orleans we took steamer for Vicksburg but before we arrived at Baton Rouge, our boat took fire three times, which caused much delay. We reached our destination, however, about the tenth of June, where we joined our regiment and after a day or two, took passage on the "Superior," General Logan's old headquarters boat, for Shreveport, Louisiana. Under a general order, all companies having less than the full quota of men were required to consolidate with others. In compliance with this order our company was merged with Company E, while another took the letter A. It was the fault of the Colonel, who could have graded us fairly had he been so disposed. Although greatly dissatisfied, we were obliged to accept the situation as well as to endure other and more trying things. The men had received no pay since March and were destitute and discouraged. Under these conditions we were not in a mood to see others enjoy privileges which were denied to us.

We spent the Fourth of July at Shreveport; our only food being "salt-horse," "hard-tack" and coffee. Some of the officers failed to appreciate the condition of the men and seemed to think that it afforded no reason why they should not have a good time and good things themselves. In harmony with this view, Colonel Mizner, of the Third Michigan, who was in command of the Brigade, prepared to give a sumptuous banquet in an old church which he occupied as headquarters and which was also the office of the Brigade Quartermaster by whom I was employed. Those who were compelled to confine their diet to salt-horse and hard-tack were not in sympathy with the spread and not averse to having it known. Through the concerted action of several hundred apparently inanimate oyster-cans belonging to our regiment, the Third Michigan and the Fourth Wisconsin, those innocent receptacles seemed to become suddenly endowed with life, became mysteriously filled with powder and succeeded in burying themselves in a kind of under-ground cordon around that church. The first course had scarcely been served and the banqueters were just enjoying their whiskey and other appetizers, when the cans registered a protest. The opening of the ground around that sanctuary was suggestive of the resurrection morn. The officers rushed out of the room in the wildest confusion. Persistent inquiry failed to develop the cause. After fruitless efforts they went back to finish their collation and had barely begun to taste the good things again, when the cans once more showed their cantankerousness. Pandemonium broke loose with ten times more din than ever. The banquet was called off and the officers ordered to their respective companies to "preserve order." It had its effect. The men were as demure as monks in a monastery. While perfect order was preserved by them, an astonishing amount of disorder was still "preserved" in the oyster-cans and the preserves—like all preserves subjected to too much warmth—continued to "work." From that time on, all through the night, the mysterious process went on. The hint was effectual. There were no more officer's banquets in the presence of the ill-fed and dissatisfied men.

On the ninth of July, 1865, we left Shreveport and took up our long and tiresome march of six hundred miles to San Antonio, Texas. Through Louisiana it was not especially trying; but when we reached Texas and were obliged to travel over barren wastes, frequently as far as sixty miles without finding a drop of water, it seemed unendurable. A tropical mid-summer sun burned its way through the sky and onto the dusty, treeless plains until the heat-waves quivered upon the horizon like a blast from a furnace. Horses and men suffered intensely. One stretch of about one hundred miles east of Austin was especially trying. It was a continuous test of endurance from the time we left Shreveport until we arrived at San Antonio, thirty days later. During the march, small towns were sometimes passed where Confederate companies turned over their arms to our command.

Upon our arrival at San Antonio, there appeared to be nothing to do but to wait. Aside from inspection and drills, the men idled in camp until they became so discontented and homesick that many deserted. Most of these were fine men and good soldiers but poor loafers. Nobody blamed them. All realized that the war was over and were looking for discharge. Instead of that we had been sent hundreds of miles over a barren waste to the frontier under most trying and discouraging conditions. Why was all this senseless wandering? We did not know. We were not aware that secret history was being made and that we were instrumental, as a result of these apparently meaningless acts, in saving the nation a second time. We did not know that our country was upon the verge of a foreign war, and that Napoleon the Third, anxious to regain the Louisiana Territory, which the First Emperor in his dire need had sold to us for a song, had been making elaborate preparations for war; and, believing our people to be exhausted, as they appeared to be, by one of the greatest conflicts of history and torn by internal strife, would be unable to make more than a feeble defence, had chosen this moment to strike. We did not know that our government was then undergoing one of the most trying ordeals of its existence. Later developments showed that the sudden mobilization on the frontier of an army of tried veterans, ready if necessary, to fight another war, made the foreigners gasp. France and Austria and Maximillian quietly subsided and the map of the United States required no revision.

About the tenth of November, 1865, the order came to muster out the Second and Tenth Illinois and the Fourth Wisconsin Cavalry. It was the signal for a jubilation. The yells of ten thousand Indians would have been "audible silence" compared to the noise made by those four regiments. The Tenth Illinois sutler rolled out four barrels of whiskey and broke in the heads. Tin cups, camp-kettles, canteens and every liquid holding thing was used for its distribution. How many were drunk I know not. Men indulged who never tasted the stuff before; and, strange to say, the whole thing took the form of a good natured frolic. Horse-play, clownish tricks, songs, practical jokes—all were taken as a part of the fun. Had we realized what we had been there for, we might have been heard in France.

Instead of sleeping in tents, the men had previously procured raw cow-hides which they made into hammocks and stretched in the trees. Each cow-hide served as a hammock for two and some trees would have five or six in a tier. As the boys became tired of celebrating they would slip off to bed; but they could not escape the watchfulness of the others who would wait until they could get a tree full, when some sly rascal would climb the tree, cut the thongs and the whole combination would come down in a heap; the victims apparently enjoying the joke as much as the jokers. I have never seen drunken men retain their good nature as they did on that occasion.

On the 24th of November, 1865, we were mustered out. I remained in Texas to aid in settling up the Quartermaster's accounts but was obliged to return North on account of a severe attack of ague and arrived at Rochelle on the 21st of March, 1866.

In the meantime, there had been a general exodus of soldiers from the South to their northern homes and the transportation lines, particularly the river steamers, were crowded with them. The feeling among those who represented the lost-cause, was intensely bitter and no Union soldier was safe anywhere in the South. A secret organization known as "The Knights of the Golden Circle," was charged as being responsible for many assassinations and other outrages. It was significant of conditions, that boiler explosions and other "accidents" occurred to a number of river steamers—all upon homeward voyages and all loaded with discharged Union soldiers. The most appalling of these was probably that of the "Sultana" which was lost at a point about fifty miles above Memphis on its passage up the Mississippi. While in midstream the boiler exploded—caused, it was believed by an explosive secretly placed in the fuel—and nearly all of the passengers, numbering about fifteen hundred, mostly discharged soldiers, were drowned.

Among the victims of the disaster was J. A. Butterfield of Company A, whose home was in Oregon, Illinois. Butterfield had just been admitted to practice at the Oregon Bar, when the war broke out. He enlisted at the organization of the Company in Oregon, was present at the first election of officers and served earnestly and faithfully during the term of his three years enlistment, after which he was appointed as chief citizen clerk for a Division Quartermaster at a considerable salary. At the close of the war he resigned his position and started home with the intention of announcing his candidacy for Sheriff of Ogle County. His body was never recovered. It was known that he had a large sum of money in his possession which would have been a great aid to the dependent mother and sister whom he left behind. Butterfield was a brave and manly soldier and a general favorite with the members of his company.

Bitter as was the feeling against the Northern soldiers, it did not approach in vindictiveness and malignant hatred, that which existed against Southern men who fought upon the Union side. There were two Southerners in our company: John S. Elder and James Neiley whose experiences were typical of those of thousands throughout the South. Elder was a native of Tennessee. About three years before the war he migrated with his parents to Denton County, Texas. His father was a staunch supporter of the Union and did not hesitate to announce his principles. His attitude was well known in the community where he lived and as partizan feeling increased, he became a marked man. At the outbreak of hostilities, he was called to Austin and was never afterwards seen by his friends. While there was no proof as to the cause of his mysterious disappearance, circumstances pointed to but one conclusion. To his family, no proof was necessary: they knew what had happened. Shortly after the father's loss, John, an only son, was forced into the Confederate service. He was discreet and bided his time. At the battle of Prairie Grove, he escaped, made his way into the Union lines and succeeded in reaching St. Louis. This was shortly after the battle at Holly Springs, at which a portion of the Second Illinois Cavalry gained wide distinction by refusing to surrender to greatly superior numbers. Elder was looking for a chance to fight by the side of fighting men. Seeing in the St. Louis papers a graphic account of the Holly Springs incident, he immediately embarked for Memphis in the hope of finding the regiment. He was too late however and went on to the vicinity of Vicksburg where he was informed that Company A was with General Logan at Lake Providence. Arriving at the latter place, he presented himself to Captain Hotaling with whom he had a long conference. Hotaling was strongly impressed by Elder's bearing and words and the conference resulted in his immediate enlistment. The new recruit proved to be a valuable acquisition. He was a skillful horseman, an unerring shot, always cheerful and courteous, ready to perform the most arduous duty and, withal, fearless.

Shortly after his enlistment the company started upon the campaign in the rear of Vicksburg. Elder was wounded at the Battle of Port Gibson during the first day of the campaign but went on with the command and participated in every hardship and engagement until the surrender of Vicksburg. He was with the company in all of its campaigning in Louisiana and was one of the twenty-two who re-enlisted at New Iberia. Debarred from his home, he was adopted by the veterans of the company as a "war orphan"; and, when veteran furloughs were granted, accompanied his comrades to the North where he was the subject of universal sympathy and generous hospitality.

Elder returned with his friends to the front and remained a valiant, fearless fighter to the end. During the last fight in which the company was engaged, which occurred at Fort Blakely, a charge was made upon the Confederate works. The latter were protected by an abatis in which torpedoes were placed and so connected by wires that an abnormal tension upon a wire would cause an explosion. Elder was mounted upon a fine horse which ran against one of these wires directly over a torpedo. The explosion which followed tore the horse into shreds, but, owing to the intervention of its body, did not kill but only served to stun the rider who soon recovered from the shock.

When the regiment was mustered out at San Antonio, Texas, Elder wished to go home and visit his mother; but upon the advice of friends and some old citizens of San Antonio, he gave it up as involving too great a risk and accompanied his comrades to Rochelle, where he remained until the following spring when his anxiety to see his mother caused him to return to Texas. It was a fatal step. As soon as his presence became known, a party of ex-Confederates assembled at night, surrounded the mother's house, captured the son, hanged him to a tree and riddled the body with bullets.

James Neiley who was reared in western Louisiana had a similar experience. He found his way into the Union lines during the Red River Expedition, and upon the return of General Banks' Army, enlisted in Company A. Neiley was quite young but proved himself an excellent and faithful soldier, was liked and respected by all of his comrades, and served with credit to the end of the war when he went to Rochelle with the others. In the following year he returned with Elder and went to his home near Alexandria, Louisiana, where he had been about a week when he met with the same dreadful fate that had been meted out to his friend.

And so perished two manly souls—victims to the terrible aftermath of war. Can there be compensation for such unspeakable atrocities which take the best and leave the worst? It may be; but this is a grist for "the mills of the Gods" to grind.

And now—my tale is told. My sole excuse for telling it is that others, who might have done it have not made the attempt, and but few are left. I offer no apology for its crudities, imperfections or omissions. I am confident that our Company engaged in not less than a hundred skirmishes and encounters of which I have made no mention. The space which should have been allotted to it in the Red River Expedition is almost a blank. My silence as to many individual deeds of valor and self-sacrifice has not been intentional. I would gladly have called the roll and enumerated them one by one, for it would have been a roll of honor of which all might be justly proud.

The worth of my story, if it has worth, lies in what it has preserved to the world as worthy. If it be interesting at all, it is because it has been done as a work of love in an attempt to do justice to, and to preserve some faint memory of a handful of men who were typical of that great host—some of whom gave all—and all of whom risked all, for a cause which has struggled towards the light since the first man gazed longingly and reverently at the stars.

In the outcome of the great struggle, both sides won an equal victory, our friends, as the liberators of a race, our foes as the liberated from a degrading curse; a success and a defeat which made victor and vanquished alike the beneficiaries of a great inheritance; an inheritance, sanctified by a higher hope and a broader love; an inheritance founded in the conviction of the regal souls of the past that that for which man has so long wrought amid travail and pain and joy and woe and sighs and tears and blood, "shall not perish from the earth," but that this nation shall be its sponsor and its incarnation and may say to all the lands of the earth, "Right is eternal; it must and shall reign; 'Your people shall be my people.'"

"Here shall a realm rise

Mighty in manhood."

It has not fully arisen yet and many watchers are losing faith in view of the subtle and dangerous perils which now beset it. Those causing them may triumph for a time but they are sowers of dragon's teeth which will rise up as armed men to their defeat. The universe is not a blunder; there is a power in it which makes for right; and the finger wielded by that power, has always pointed and still points—to the Morning Star.

"Truth forever on the scaffold,—Wrong forever on the throne,—

Yet that scaffold sways the future,—and beyond the dim Unknown

Standeth God within the shadow,—keeping watch upon His own."



Colonel Silas Noble was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, on February 19th, 1808. But little is known of his early history, further than that he read law, and at the age of twenty-six, was admitted to practice in his native town. In the following year he moved to Towanda, Pennsylvania, where he continued the practice of his profession until 1841, when he emigrated to Dixon, Illinois, then a frontier town known as Dixon's Ferry. In 1846 he was elected State Senator and served one term. In 1853 he established a private bank in Dixon known as "S. Noble & Co." In connection with this business he continued the practice of law until the breaking out of the Rebellion in 1861. When the second call for troops was made by President Lincoln Mr. Noble offered his services to Governor Yates, by whom he was appointed Colonel of the Second Illinois Cavalry, and on July 21st, 1861, was mustered into service.

Colonel Noble was a warm personal friend of President Lincoln, who often visited him at his home and with whom he practiced his profession. At the time of Lincoln's inauguration the Colonel accompanied him on his trip from Springfield to Washington.

Colonel Noble remained with the main body of the Regiment, which made an expedition with General C. F. Smith towards Fort Henry; and it was upon the information thus obtained that the campaign was decided upon which ultimately led to the capture of Forts Henry and Donelson.

The regiment was engaged in many scouting expeditions and other movements under the leadership of its first commander, but took part in no important battles. On one occasion, with 350 men, Colonel Noble took the advance of a recognizance in force from Bolivar to La Grange, Tennessee, and obtained much valuable information. He was mustered out of the service on February 16th, 1863, shortly after which he met with a severe accident from which he never fully recovered. Four years later, on February 3rd, 1867, he died at his home in Dixon, Illinois, from an acute attack of pneumonia. Colonel Noble had a wide acquaintance and was highly honored in his home community and by all who knew him.

Lieutenant Colonel Harvey

Lieutenant Colonel Harvey Hogg



Harvey Hogg was a native of Tennessee, having been born at Carthage, Smith County, in that state on September 14th, 1833. His parents were of Scotch descent. The mother died when he was about three years of age. Afterwards, the father remarried. He lived but a short time, however, and died in 1840, leaving Harvey and a half-brother, Grant A. Hogg, in charge of the widow. The boy was carefully reared by his step-mother and given the best schooling available, preparatory to a college course. He took the lead in his class at Emory and Henry College, Virginia, where he won a prize-medal for oratory and was afterwards graduated at the law-school at Lebanon as valedictorian of his class.

He was married at Clarksville, Tennessee, in 1855, and in a short time removed to Bloomington, Illinois, where he was admitted to the Bar and soon obtained a recognized standing as a young lawyer of ability and promise. For several years he held the position of City Attorney and was, later, elected Prosecuting Attorney for that judicial district, which position he filled with honor, ability and dignity.

As a native of Tennessee, Colonel Hogg inherited slaves, but was opposed to the institution. As a student in one of the Virginia colleges, he chose as the subject of a thesis, "The Evils of Slavery." This aroused the indignation and opposition of the faculty; but the young man insisted that he should "speak his honest convictions or not at all," and he did. Upon leaving Tennessee, he freed his last slave.

From the time of his advent in Illinois, he took a warm interest in the slavery question, aided in the formation of the Republican party, and in 1856, canvassed McLean County for "Freemont and Freedom." In the senatorial contest of 1858, he supported Lincoln as against Douglas and used his utmost efforts for the election of the latter as President.

Colonel Hogg was a popular anti-slavery speaker. His intimate familiarity with slavery, his love for and understanding of the Southern people and his appreciation of their entanglement with that blighting institution, enabled him to present his side of the case with great fairness, force and conviction. Governor Yates was so strongly impressed with his ability that, upon the organization of the Second Illinois Cavalry, he tendered him the position of Lieutenant Colonel. It was at once accepted, and on July 24th, 1861, he was mustered into the service.

While his regiment was stationed in Tennessee, Mrs. Hogg went there to be near him, but died soon after her arrival. This was a severe blow to her husband who was devotedly attached to her.

During the winter of 1861-2, the regiment was stationed at Paducah, Kentucky, where much scouting was done. On the night of March 2nd, 1862, Lieutenant Colonel Hogg with two hundred men, started out in an attempt to reconnoiter Columbus, Kentucky. Upon the following day they learned that the place was being evacuated. Reaching it about sundown, they dashed into the town with drawn sabers and ran up the stars and stripes. Several large guns and a considerable quantity of military stores were secured. Upon the following day, General Sherman, with a fleet of gunboats and transports and three regiments of infantry, steamed carefully down the river and was surprised to find the place in possession of the Union forces.

On March 31st, 1862, Colonel Hogg, with two companies of his regiment, took part in an expedition under General Quimby in the neighborhood of Union City, Tennessee, in which they dispersed a Confederate brigade, destroyed its camp-equipage and captured fourteen prisoners and a considerable quantity of stores.

On July 4th, 1862, at Trenton, Tennessee, Colonel Hogg delivered an address to the citizens of that place and vicinity which produced a marked effect upon those who were in doubt and did much to aid the Union cause.

This valiant soldier met his death at the battle of Bolivar, Tennessee, on August 30th, 1862. Colonel M. D. Leggett, of the 78th Ohio, being at that place, was attacked by a large force of Confederates, including the Second Missouri Cavalry, commanded by Colonel Robert McCullough and the First Mississippi Cavalry, of which Colonel Hogg's half brother, Dr. Grant A. Hogg, was surgeon. The following report of the battle is given by Colonel Leggett:

"The infantry reinforcements had not arrived. The balance of the Seventy-eighth Ohio was reported close by, but not near enough to support the artillery, hence it could not be used. At this point, Lieut. Col. Harvey Hogg, of the Second Illinois Cavalry, came up with orders from you to report to me upon the field with four companies of his command. I immediately assigned him a position upon the right of the road, but discovering that the enemy would probably make a cavalry charge upon us before Colonel Force could reach me from Van Buren Road, I asked Colonel Hogg if he could hold a position on the left of the road and a little to the front of where he then was, against a charge from the rebel cavalry. He promptly said he could and besought me to give him the position, which was done.

"He had not completed his change of place before the enemy charged down the line of the road in vast numbers, but meeting the deadly fire of the four infantry companies under command of Captain Chandler, they were compelled to retreat, leaving many of their men and horses strewn upon the ground.

"They twice repeated their attempt to get possession of the road and were both times repulsed by the companies under Captain Chandler. Then they threw down the fences and entered the field upon our left and opened fire upon Colonel Hogg's cavalry and the two companies of the Twentieth Ohio attached to Captain Chandler's command. The infantry and cavalry returned the fire briskly and with terrible effect. I then discovered that a full regiment of cavalry was forming in the rear of those firing upon us, with the determination of charging upon our cavalry and that portion of the infantry on the left of the road. I said to Colonel Hogg if he had any doubt about holding his position he had better fall back and not receive their charge. He promptly replied: 'Colonel Leggett, for God's sake don't order me back.' I replied, 'Meet them with a charge, Colonel, and may Heaven bless you.' He immediately ordered his men to draw their sabers, and after giving them the order to 'Forward,' he exclaimed, 'Give them cold steel, boys,' and darting ahead of his men, he fell, pierced by nine balls."

Dr. Grant A. Hogg, in a letter to William K. Baldwin, bearing date March 19th, 1900, writes:

"* * * Gen. Bob. McCullough, now of Boonsville, Missouri, was in command of the regiment that killed my brother. * * * He (Col. Hogg) was trying hard to get to Col. McCullough to kill him with his saber and if it had not been for three of McCullough's men who shot him, he would have killed McCullough."

Colonel Hogg's charge resulted in driving the enemy from the field and winning the battle at a time when the outlook seemed hopeless.

William M. Baldwin, who was a member of Company K, and knew the Colonel well, has given the following estimate of his character:

"Colonel Hogg was the picture of manly strength and soldierly bearing; about six feet in height, compactly built, erect, moving with the easy step of an athlete as if he delighted in action, a superb horseman, black hair, dark eyes and swarthy complexion; loved by his men for his ever courteous conduct to them and trusted by them for his bravery and courage, had he not been thus early cut down in his military career he would no doubt have achieved high military honors and placed himself beside the great cavalry leaders of the war."

Col. John J. Mudd

Col. John J. Mudd



Colonel John J. Mudd was born on the ninth of January, 1820, in St. Charles County, Missouri, where his parents had emigrated during the previous year from Kentucky. When John was twelve years of age, his father died from an attack of Asiatic cholera, and within a few months thereafter the widow, with six children, moved to Pike County, Illinois, and located near Pittsfield where they thereafter made their home.

In 1850 Colonel Mudd made an over-land trip to California, returned by sea, and during the following year made a second over-land trip. Many of the emigrants were unprovided for the long and tedious journey and would have faced starvation had not Colonel Mudd generously divided his supplies with them until they were exhausted.

In 1854 Mr. Mudd moved to St. Louis, where he established an extensive mercantile business as well as a reputation for integrity and public spirit. In 1859, he moved with his family and business to Chicago, where, shortly after the outbreak of the war, he enlisted as a member of the Second Illinois Cavalry, and on September 23rd, 1861, received his commission as Second Major.

Major Mudd was stationed for a time at Paducah, Kentucky, and participated in the subsequent campaigns in Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi.

Immediately after the surrender of Fort Donelson, Major Mudd was informed that a man had just left with important papers. Mudd followed in the hope of overtaking the man, and in doing so, passed beyond the Federal lines. He had gone but a short distance when he met a citizen who asked for protection, which was granted. As the two were riding towards Dover, they were joined by two others who also asked for protection. While engaged in conversation with them the first one fell in the rear, drew his revolver and fired at the Major. The bullet struck near the spine but the wound was not fatal. The Major immediately put spurs to his horse, when the man fired a second time but without effect, and then fled.

Upon his way to our lines, the Major, while suffering intensely from his wound and weak from the loss of blood, captured a rebel officer and, being loath to risk further bullets in the back, compelled him to ride into camp in advance.

Owing to the confusion following the surrender of the fort, the Major had much difficulty in finding a surgeon to examine and dress his wound. It was decided not to extract the bullet, and he carried it until his death. The wound healed slowly and he never fully recovered from its effects.

After a short leave of absence, the Major was ordered on detached service upon the staff of General McClernand, where he remained until that officer was relieved from his command at the surrender of Vicksburg.

Major Mudd participated in the operations at the siege of Corinth; and during the following winter was with his regiment in that neighborhood. At the battle of Holly Springs, after the cowardly surrender of the place by Colonel Murphy, he not only refused to surrender, but, with a small detachment of his men, cut his way through the rebel lines by which the post had been surrounded, and escaped. His conduct upon that occasion won the respect and admiration of his men. His fighting spirit was shown by capturing a considerable number of prisoners while his own detachment was escaping from a large pursuing body.

On December 31st, 1862, Major Mudd was promoted to the position of Lieutenant Colonel, to fill the vacancy formed by the resignation of Lieutenant Quincy McNeil; and a few weeks later, when Colonel Noble was mustered out of the service, he was promoted to fill the latter's position.

Colonel Mudd was actively engaged in the Vicksburg campaign and participated in every battle from Port Gibson to that of Black River Bridge.

During the siege of Vicksburg, his command was engaged in guarding the rear to prevent an attack by Johnson. Shortly before the surrender, while reconnoitering in the Black River swamp, he was shot by one of the enemy from a concealed position. One bullet struck below the left eye and lodged near the ear, while another struck near the collar-bone and passed nearly out through the shoulder. His aides supported him upon his horse and enabled him to escape capture. He bled profusely and suffered much but retained consciousness and sufficient strength to permit his removal to a place of safety at the house of a widow who did all in her power to render him comfortable until the arrival of a surgeon. He was sent to his home, where he soon recovered and again reported for duty at New Orleans, where his command was then stationed.

Colonel Mudd, as Acting Brigadier General, was given command of a brigade of cavalry in the Bayou Teche campaign under General Banks. There was much fighting and skirmishing of which the Colonel's men bore the brunt. The health of their leader became so impaired from hardship and exposure that he was forced to return to New Orleans. Upon his arrival there he received an order to recruit his regiment, and immediately went to Springfield, Illinois, where he opened a recruiting office. Upon filling the ranks, he returned with his men to New Orleans, from whence he was ordered to Baton Rouge. At the latter place he received an order from General Banks to report without delay as Chief of Staff to General McClernand at Alexandria, Louisiana. On the first of May, 1864, he embarked upon the steamer "City-Belle," for Alexandria. Three days after, at Dunne's Bayou, upon the Red River, a band of guerrillas opened fire upon the steamer from a masked battery at close range. There were but two guns but they were enough for the purpose. The second shot broke the pilot-wheel and killed the pilot. Another caused an explosion of one of the boilers and the boat became unmanageable. This had barely occurred, when Colonel Speigle, of the 120th Ohio Infantry, senior officer in command, was killed. Colonel Mudd then assumed command and ordered the engineer to run the boat ashore to permit a dash upon the enemy. All efforts to accomplish this failed. After the fifth shot, the enemy fired grape and canister and the execution was appalling. In the hope of pulling the vessel to land, Colonel Mudd put a life-preserver upon one of the men who swam ashore with the line. At this juncture Colonel Mudd was instantly killed by a shot in the forehead as he stood upon the boat giving orders.

Could the vessel have been landed, the guerrillas, who were greatly inferior in numbers, might easily have been driven off or captured. There was no alternative, however, and the vessel was surrendered. Of the six hundred soldiers on board, all but about one hundred and sixty were either killed or captured. The others escaped; Daniel Bates, who carried the line ashore, and the Colonel's orderly being among the number, and made their way to Alexandria. The guerrillas burned the boat and robbed both living and dead. All of the latter, except one, being stripped of their clothing. And here occurred one of those inexplicable things, of which examples may be found all through history, indicating how closely the highest and most admirable characteristics of men are intertwined with the most shockingly brutal ones. Colonel Mudd, whose commission as Acting Brigadier General was in his pocket, was buried in his uniform and his name marked upon the grave.

Upon the retreat of our army, the grave was discovered and the body disinterred and removed to New Orleans in care of Lieutenant J. S. McHenry of Company A, Second Illinois Cavalry, where it was embalmed and taken to the General's home at Pittsfield, Illinois, for burial.

At a meeting of the Second Illinois Cavalry, held at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on May 22nd, 1864, to render respect to the memory of its former commander, the highest tribute was paid to him both as a soldier and a man.

General Mudd was kind, genial, fair-minded, manly, loyal and true and possessed a moral courage not always associated with physical bravery. This characteristic is well illustrated by an incident which occurred shortly before the outbreak of the war. In December, 1860, he was at the St. Charles Hotel in New Orleans. Feeling among the slave-holders was at high tension. It became known that Mr. Mudd, who was then a Chicago merchant, had voted for Lincoln, and those present insisted that he should express his views. He did so, frankly, fairly and fearlessly; closing with the statement: "The loyal North, with the loyal people of the South, will preserve the Union and sustain Mr. Lincoln as President at any cost."

A citizen, Mr. Anthony Coyle, who heard him, said: "This was the most loyal act performed by any man in the city while I was there"; adding, "Colonel Mudd expressed his views with the best of judgment and intelligence and made a lasting impression upon the minds of friend and foe." It was not enough, however, to be fair. Sectional hatred had passed all bounds and Mr. Mudd was driven from the hotel and from the city.

There were a few loyal men in New Orleans at the time who had aided in protecting Northern men and in helping them to leave the place. These, of whom Mr. Coyle was one, helped Mr. Mudd to escape in safety, but not until he had had the satisfaction of saying to those who drove him out and threatened his life, "I shall come again when I can publicly express my sentiments and announce for whom I have voted without fear of being murdered by a mob of traitors." Nothing could have been more gratifying to him than the subsequent realization that his prophecy had been fulfilled.

By a strange coincidence, about one year after this occurrence, Mr. Coyle enlisted in Colonel Mudd's regiment.

Colonel Mudd was survived by a widow and daughter. The latter, Ella Webb Mudd, who attended a reunion held at Pittsfield, Illinois, in 1893, was adopted as "Daughter of the Regiment." In reply to the vote of adoption, she said:

"Gentlemen, Comrades of my father: I wonder if you all know how unprepared I am for this call to come before you; to be sure, I was told a day or so ago that this would probably be done tonight but I did not know until this afternoon that I was expected to appear in it.

"However, a soldier's daughter should have some courage and certainly I may try, without apology, to tell you how thoroughly I appreciate the honor you have just given me—the highest in your power. And yet more highly I value the motive which prompted your action, for right well do I know that it is not for myself, but springs from your love and devotion to my father, and by it you give additional proof that his memory is still fresh in your hearts.

"As I have met one and another of you, and read the many letters to my mother and myself from Comrades we have never seen, I have realized more and more how you loved him and what he was to you—as one so beautifully expressed it—'Not only our commander, but friend and brother as well.' So is it any wonder that I am glad to see you?

"Let me once more thank you for what you have done—thank you in the name of my father—for all who knew him, either in the army or otherwise, know how well he would have enjoyed these occasions, and how this would have gratified him;—so, for him, my mother and myself, I thank you, and believe me, I shall ever proudly bear the title of 'Daughter of the Regiment' to which he belonged."

The record of General Mudd is his epitaph. This can never be taken away, and to attempt to add to it by words would lessen its soldierly dignity.

Col. Benjamin F. Marsh

Col. Benjamin F. Marsh



Benjamin F. Marsh was a native of the State which he served as a soldier. He was born in Warsaw County, Illinois, on November 19th, 1835. Reared upon a farm, he received the rudiments of an education in the public schools and subsequently spent four years at Jubilee College, but did not complete the course. Mr. Marsh was admitted to the Bar in 1860 and commenced practice in his native county; but the rebellion soon served to change his occupation.

Early in the beginning of the war Mr. Marsh organized a cavalry company and tendered his services with that of the company to Governor Yates. The latter was unable to accept the offer owing to the fact that cavalry was not included in President Lincoln's call; whereupon Mr. Marsh at once enlisted as a private in the Sixteenth Illinois Infantry, in which regiment he was chosen as Quarter-Master. The regiment was sent to Missouri: and shortly after its arrival, Quarter-Master Marsh was recalled by a telegram from Governor Yates, offering to accept his company of cavalry. He immediately returned to his home at Warsaw and recruited the company afterwards known as Company G of the Second Illinois Cavalry, of which he was elected Captain.

The brave, dashing, manly and noble qualities of Captain Marsh caused him to be popular with his superior officers as well as with his men, and he received rapid advancement. He was promoted to the position of Major on December 31st, 1862, Lieutenant Colonel, on May 3rd, 1864, and Colonel, on August 29th, 1865.

Colonel Marsh was engaged in active service in the first and second Vicksburg campaigns and did much towards saving his command and others in the unfortunate and humiliating Red River Expedition. At Holly Springs he refused to be surrendered by the officer in command, and after cutting his way with a small detachment through the line by which they were surrounded, charged through another body and made a juncture with Major Bush, whereupon the two detachments charged back through the rebel lines, released their comrades who had been captured, and again cut their way out. During this engagement he received three severe wounds but kept on fighting.

Upon one occasion upon the Red River Expedition, a shell exploded directly over his head and a fragment from it killed his horse. Of four gun-shot wounds, he carried the lead of a part of them throughout his life. With the exception of Virginia, and North and South Carolina, he campaigned in every State of the Confederacy.

Colonel Marsh was mustered out of the service in January, 1866 and returned to his home where he resumed the practice of law. In 1876 he was elected to Congress as the representative of his District, which position he held for three successive terms until 1883. After a period of retirement, he was again elected for four successive terms.

During the Spanish American war, he was offered a commission by President McKinley as Brigadier General, but refused it owing to the slight prospect for active service.

Colonel Marsh was a large land-holder in his native County, and at the time of his death, was the owner of the farm upon which he was born. He died at his home in Warsaw on June 2nd, 1905, honored, respected and loved for what he was and what he did.

Major John R. Hotaling

Major John R. Hotaling



John R. Hotaling (or Houghtaling, as originally spelled) was born in Sharon, Schoharie County, New York, on March 3rd, 1824. His parents were of the old "Knickerbocker" stock and he inherited the sturdy, persistent and manly characteristics of his race. At the age of fifteen, he was "bound out" for three years as an apprentice to a printer; but after serving for eighteen months, he bought his "time" and went to New York City where, after numerous disappointments, he obtained employment in a printing office and worked at the trade for a year. At the end of the year he went abroad with a Captain Hitchcock, with whose family he had become acquainted, and during an absence of five months, visited Antwerp, Rotterdam and other European cities.

Upon his return he was employed as the overseer of a wire-mill and soon obtained a thorough knowledge of the business. His energy and ability attracted the attention of an English Company that was about to start a like enterprise and he was made foreman of their factory. A proof of the estimation in which he was held is indicated by the fact that he was the only one in the company's service who had not served an apprenticeship of seven years. Mr. Hotaling remained with the English company until the beginning of the Mexican War, when he enlisted in a New York company of mounted dragoons. The company shipped to Vera Cruz and from thence joined the main army which fought its way to the City of Mexico. Hotaling was one of the first to enter, and one of the last to leave that place. While there he had an encounter with guerrillas and received a severe saber-cut which came near being fatal and would have proven so but for the prompt assistance of a comrade.

Mr. Hotaling made his home in the Southern States for about three years after the close of the Mexican war. Upon the discovery of gold in California, he was among the first to join the tide of immigration to that state. Going to New York he joined a company of sixty who chartered a ship to take them to their destination by way of Cape Horn. The voyage bore every promise of a most attractive outing. The chartered vessel was a thing of beauty for its day, the cabin being luxuriously furnished and all things betokened the most refined comfort. Much to their surprise, however, when the time came for sailing, there had been a complete transformation. The cabin had been stripped of everything suggestive of comfort and in place of rare china and the sumptuous service promised, they were introduced to tin cups and plates and iron spoons. Aside from this, the vessel proved to be unseaworthy and they were compelled to stop at Rio Janeiro for repairs, where complaint was made to the American Consul. The ship was detained at Rio Janeiro thirty-one days. During this time Mr. Hotaling became acquainted with some influential citizens who were attracted to him and by whom he was invited to attend a birthday reception given by the Emperor, Dom. Pedro, at which he was presented to the Emperor and Empress. Shortly afterwards he was entertained by the Emperor who exhibited great interest in the United States, and particularly in its public schools.

The ship put in at the port of Calao where it remained fifteen days. During this time Mr. Hotaling visited Lima and other places of interest. Again the ship weighed anchor and resumed its tiresome course. At last, after a voyage of eight months and three days it arrived in the port of San Francisco in the autumn of 1849. Mr. Hotaling failed to find success in the land of gold, and in 1851 returned to New York. From there he emigrated to Illinois and located at the present site of Rochelle, then known as Hickory Grove, where he engaged in mercantile business and remained until the beginning of the Civil War.

In the summer of 1861 he recruited a cavalry company, afterwards known as Company A, of the Second Illinois Cavalry. Captain Hotaling soon became dissatisfied with his superior officers and succeeded in having Companies A and B detailed upon detached service. It was his opinion that by so doing he could secure better results than could otherwise be accomplished, and time justified his judgment.

Captain Hotaling was in the Fort Donelson campaign, and at the battle of Shiloh was detailed upon General Grant's Staff to command the Tenth Missouri Sharp-Shooters. His company acted as escort to General Ord and later, to General Logan, remaining with the latter until after the surrender of Vicksburg. After being with General Logan a short time, Captain Hotaling was appointed Senior Aid upon the latter's staff, with the title of Major, in which capacity he served until the close of the war.

Hotaling Group

Five of Six Hotaling Brothers Who Fought in the War
dighton    john r.    charles    nicholas    stuben

In the Atlanta campaign Major Hotaling performed an important service. He was conspicuous in the battle of Atlanta and took general supervision in General Logan's stead, of that part of the line represented by the Fifteenth Corps. When the Confederate assault was made, he was at the front with Smyth's Battery and narrowly escaped capture. As a result, he lost his horse and personal equipment. Later, he was instrumental in rallying the men of Jones' Brigade when they were badly disordered, and led them in a brilliant charge up to the guns of the enemy; thereby recapturing the rifle-pits and De Gress' Battery.

Much of the credit for the victory at Atlanta was given to Major Hotaling by General Logan, who said of him that, "as a brave, diligent and faithful officer, he had no superior in the service."

General C. C. Walcott, of Columbus, Ohio, who was present at the battle, is reported to have said that he "considered Major Hotaling as one of the bravest officers in the field and that our forces owed their success before Atlanta, more to him than to any other one man; that he had wondered why he did not receive promotion immediately afterwards."

The Major's modest reply to this suggestion was characteristic. The substance of it was that in the position he then occupied, having as he did, the full confidence of General Logan and the control of fifteen thousand men, he thought that he could be of more service to his country than he could possibly have been by any promotion he might hope to have gotten.

At the close of the war, Major Hotaling returned to his home in Rochelle, Illinois, and in 1869 was appointed Post Master of that place.

Some of his later experiences were the outgrowth of early California history. For some years during the pioneer days of that State, Henry Meigs, of San Francisco, was the leading banker upon the western coast. His mining, lumbering and other interests grew so rapidly and required such a large capital that he suddenly found himself unable to meet his engagements. With bankruptcy before him, he collected as much gold as possible, bought a bark and put to sea with his treasure. The vessel was becalmed in a fog in the Golden Gate. Meigs' flight and the absence of the bark were discovered the same evening and a steamer was sent in pursuit. It passed so closely to the becalmed bark that its lights were seen and conversation upon it heard upon the fugitive ship. Nobody on board the bark, unless it may have been the captain, knew the identity of Meigs or that they were being pursued. Before morning a breeze enabled them to clear the harbor and they sailed for Otahitee. From there they touched at various islands in the Pacific but apparently without any definite destination in view.

Nicholas Hotaling, a brother of the Major, who was the Second officer of the vessel, attracted the attention of Meigs, who seemed to take a warm interest in him. Hotaling was disposed to reciprocate the feeling but became suspicious, owing to the apparently aimless wandering of the vessel. His room was next to that of Meigs. One night he heard a sound in Meigs' room like the chinking of coin. Looking through a slight crack in the partition, he saw Meigs upon the floor before an open chest filled with gold coin and bullion, which convinced him that something was wrong. After a cruise of several months, the ship entered the harbor of Valparaiso, and Meigs was put on shore with his box. He offered fine inducements to Hotaling to stay with him, but the latter refused and neither saw the other for many years.

With the money at his disposal (which, as afterwards learned, amounted to five hundred thousand dollars), coupled with his great business sagacity, Meigs was soon at the head of large projects, all of which were successful—the chief one being the Trans-Andean Railway. His first thought, after his great success, was to retrieve his good name which had stood as a synonym of honor in California before his default; and to make recompense to those who had been ruined or injured by his act. He had retained a list of the names of his creditors with the amount due to each, and in due time paid every debt in full, together with interest. Many indictments were pending against him in California, but when he made restitution, a special act of the Legislature was passed cancelling them all.

Upon hearing of Meigs' fame, Hotaling wrote to him. Meigs had not forgotten his old friend. He immediately replied, offering him a liberal inducement to go to Chili. The offer was accepted and was soon followed by another to Major Hotaling of a position in Central America in connection with a railroad project then undergoing development in that country. Leaving the Post Office in charge of his wife, Major Hotaling went to Central America in the fall of 1871. The climate proved to be too trying and in a few months he was compelled to resign and returned home.

In 1874 Major Hotaling was induced to visit the gold fields of South America; but again the climate and other things equally trying, compelled him to return.

In 1883 he went to Huron, South Dakota, and finding the climate especially beneficial, resigned his position as Post Master, and in the spring of 1884 moved with his family to that place where he died on October 13th, 1886. His remains were interred in Lawnridge Cemetery, Rochelle, Illinois.

Major Hotaling was one of six brothers who served during the war; three of whom, Nicholas, Charles and Dighton, were in his company; the others, Oscar and Steuben, were in Eastern regiments.

The character of Major Hotaling was an attractive one. He was quiet, modest, sincere and dignified, but always pleasant and approachable. As a soldier, he was earnest, loyal and brave to a degree, and the welfare of his men was his first consideration. He never commanded a soldier to go where he would not lead, and never hesitated to lead because Death stood in the way. On one occasion at Vicksburg a shell fell in a trench where he was standing with others. Without hesitation he grasped the shell with its burning fuse and threw it over the ramparts almost at the instant of its explosion. This act was characteristic of the man in all emergencies, and was but one of many which went to make up his career as a soldier.


Illinois State Monument at Shiloh

Illinois State Monument at Shiloh
"Illinois erects this monument to commemorate her sons who here gave their services to perpetuate the honor and glory of the United States."



Name and Rank. Residence. Date of rank
or enlistment.
Date of muster. Remarks.
John R. Hotaling Lane Aug. 24, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Promoted Major
William B. Cummins Lane Nov. 19, 1863 Nov. 26, 1864 Discharged June 24, 1865
Frank B. Bennett Lane Aug. 24, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Resigned June 3, 1862
William B. Cummins Lane June 3, 1862 July 17, 1862 Promoted
Edward C. Baker White Rock Nov. 19, 1863 Nov. 26, 1864 Mustered out
Albert J. Jackson Morrison Aug. 24, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Resigned Mar. 19, 1862
William B. Cummins Lane Mar. 18, 1862 Nov. 16, 1862 Promoted
Shepherd G. Patrick Dixon June 3, 1862 Aug. 14, 1861 Resigned Sept. 13, 1862
James S. McHenry Lane Sept. 13, 1862 Aug. 14, 1861 Resigned Mar. 3, 1864
William B. Cummins Lane Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Promoted 2d Lieutenant
J. S. McHenry Lane Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Promoted 2d Lieutenant
J. Q. Bowers White Rock Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Discharged Aug. 11, 1864
Nicholas Hotaling Lane Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Discharged Aug. 11, 1864
D. B. Dewey Lane Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Discharged Apr. 22, 1862
Frank Hatch Lane Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Prisoner of war since Feb. 12, 1862. Reported to have died in prison
Isaac Brown Oregon Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Disch. Aug. 11, 1864, as private
B. F. Berry Dixon Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Died Mar. 27, 1862
Harvey R. James Oregon Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Disch. Aug. 11, 1864, as private
S. G. Patrick Dixon Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Promoted 2d Lieutenant
J. A. B. Butterfield Lane Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Disch. Aug. 11, 1864, as Serg't.
G. W. Hemstock Lane Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Disch. Aug. 11, 1864, as Serg't.
Edmond Connor Oregon Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Discharged July 8, 1862
Frank Clendenin Morrison Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Trans. to 8th Ill. Cavalry
Antisdale, Simon L. Lane Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Died, N. Orleans, Oct. 12, 1863
Allen, Charles Morrison Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Discharged Aug. 11, 1864
Boyce, Benjamin Pine Rock Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Disch. Aug. 11, 1864, as Corp.
Belles, Cornelius Lane Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Disch. Aug. 11, 1864, as Corp.
Beck, Anton Oregon Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Disch. Aug. 11, 1864, as Corp.
Bechtol, Reuben Lane Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Discharged Jan. 20, 1862
Baker, Edward C. White Rock Sept. 4, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Re-enlisted as Veteran
Burghardt, Geo. H. White Rock Sept. 4, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 M. O., Sept. 3, 1864, as Serg't.
Crosby, William White Rock Sept. 4, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Killed near Vermillion, La., Nov. 11, 1863
Curry, Charles White Rock Sept. 2, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Mustered out Sept. 3, 1864
Dunlap, Joseph Oregon Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Discharged Jan. 20, 1863
Doud, George Dixon Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Discharged Feb. 3, 1862, to join gunboat service
Dewey, L. F. White Rock Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Discharged Sept. 18, 1863
Denkler, S. F. Lane Sept. 4, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Mustered out Sept. 3, 1864
Edwards, H. R. Oregon Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Re-enlisted as Veteran
Fletcher, S. H. Lane Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Re-enlisted as Veteran
Feland, Charles White Rock Sept. 4, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Re-enlisted as Veteran
Gritz, John Franklin Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Discharged Aug. 11, 1864
Gillet, Asa W. White Rock Sept. 4, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Re-enlisted as Veteran
Hill, Hiram Oregon Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Discharged Sept. 9, 1862
Hotaling, D. W. Lane Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Discharged July 11, 1862
Hotaling, Charles Lane Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Discharged Dec. 20, 1861
Hodgsdon, Charles O. Dixon Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Disch. Aug. 11, 1864, as Corp.
Hunisdon, Lewis Lane Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Discharged June 30, 1862
Hardcastle, George Lane Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Discharged Aug. 18, 1864
Haslett, S. W. Polo Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Discharged April 11, 1864
Hicks, H. G. Freeport Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Prom. Sergeant Major
Huffman, George Franklin Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Discharged April 18, 1862
Hughes, John A. Oregon Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Disch. Aug. 11, 1864, as Serg't.
Hubberd, Lewis Lane Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Died at Memphis, July 28, 1863; wounds
Higgs, Thomas H. Oregon Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Re-enlisted as Veteran
Hull, Jedediah D. White Rock Sept. 2, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Discharged Dec. 6, 1861
Harnaker, Morgan Lane Sept. 4, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Died, Memphis, Feb. 26, 1863
Hilands, Robert Lane Sept. 4, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Mustered out Sept. 3, 1864
Johnson, Samuel Lane Sept. 4, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Discharged Jan. 7, 1863
Klock, Martin P. Polo Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Re-enlisted as Veteran
Lewis, Charles Byron Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Discharged Sept. 4, 1861
Luttis, Jacob Lane Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Died Feb. 25, 1862
Myers, William R. Morrison Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Discharged Feb. 3, 1862
Morrell, J. V. Oregon Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Discharged Sept. 5, 1862
Manning, Joseph Lane Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Discharged Jan. 26, 1862
Mack, John P. Pecatonica Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Re-enlisted as Veteran
Mills, G. H. Lane Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Re-enlisted as Veteran
McCorckle, James Lane Sept. 4, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 1st Serg't. Killed in action at Port Gibson, Miss., May 20, 1863
Masaleo, William White Rock Sept. 4, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Deserted Aug. 1, 1862
Marson, Samuel G. White Rock Sept. 4, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Mustered out Sept. 3, 1864
Nuppenan, Henry White Rock Sept. 4, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Mustered out Sept. 3, 1864
Nelson, Charles Franklin Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Discharged April 18, 1862
Pond, D. B. White Rock Sept. 4, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Discharged April 28, 1862
Pottarf, B. R. Lane Sept. 4, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Died at Trenton, Tenn., Aug. 3, 1862
Prescott, William Winnebago Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Re-enlisted as Veteran
Parsons, James F. Lane Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Discharged Aug. 11, 1864
Padgett, James L. Lane Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Re-enlisted as Veteran
Petrie, John R. Oregon Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Discharged Nov. 19, 1862
Place, Samuel M. Lane Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Discharged Aug. 11, 1864
Pond, C. K. White Rock Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Died, St. Louis, July 19, 1863
Rhoades, John Lane Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Re-enlisted as Veteran
Rogers, William Lane Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Discharged Jan. 20, 1862
Sheldon, Marion R. Dixon Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Discharged Aug. 11, 1864
Shaw, Daniel D. Mt. Morris Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Mustered out June 11, 1865
Smith, Frank Lane Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Re-enlisted as Veteran
Steele, Calvin Lane Sept. 4, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Re-enlisted as Veteran
Sheaff, Peter White Rock Sept. 4, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Mustered out Sept. 3, 1864
Shannon, Osborn White Rock Sept. 4, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Disch. Feb., 1864, as Serg't.
Sheaff, Joseph White Rock Sept. 4, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Disch. Sept. 3, 1864, as Serg't.
Stillwell, William F. Lane Sept. 4, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Re-enlisted as Veteran
Townsend, Grant White Rock Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Re-enlisted as Veteran
Taylor, George Pecatonica Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Re-enlisted as Veteran
Twiney, Francis Mt. Morris Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Discharged May 15, 1862
Van Wey, George Oregon Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Discharged May 8, 1862
Wells, D. J. Byron Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Re-enlisted as Veteran
Wise, James Byron Aug. 8, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Re-enlisted as Veteran
Winters, George W. Lane Sept. 4, 1861 Aug. 14, 1861 Died Sept. 22, 1862
Baker, Edward C. Pine Rock Jan. 5, 1864 Jan. 29, 1864 Prom. Sgt., then 1st Lieut.
Chatterton, Chas. E. Lane Jan. 5, 1864 Jan. 29, 1864 Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
Edwards, Hugh R. Leaf River Jan. 5, 1864 Jan. 29, 1864 Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
Elder, John S. Lake Providence Jan. 5, 1864 Feb. 5, 1864 Corp'l M. O., June 22, 1865, as of first enlistment
Feeland, Charles Lane Jan. 5, 1864 Jan. 29, 1864 Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
Fletcher, Samuel H. Lane Jan. 5, 1864 Jan. 29, 1864 Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
Gillet, Asa W. White Rock Jan. 5, 1864 Jan. 29, 1864 Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
Higgs, Thomas H. Mt. Morris Jan. 5, 1864 Jan. 29, 1864 Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
Klock, Martin J. Polo Jan. 5, 1864 Jan. 29, 1864 Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
Mills, George H. Lane Jan. 5, 1864 Jan. 29, 1864 Sgt. M. O. as supernumerary non-commis. officer, June 24, 1865
Mack, John P. Elida Jan. 5, 1864 Jan. 29, 1864 Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
Prescott, William Elida Jan. 5, 1864 Jan. 29, 1864 Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
Padgett, James L. Lane Jan. 5, 1864 Jan. 29, 1864 Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
Rhoades, John Lane Jan. 5, 1864 Jan. 29, 1864 Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
Stillwell, William F. White Rock Jan. 5, 1864 Jan. 29, 1864 Co. Q. M. Sgt. M. O., June 24, 1865, as supernumerary non-com. officer
Steel, Calvin Lane Jan. 5, 1864 Jan. 29, 1864 Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
Smith, Frank Lane Jan. 5, 1864 Jan. 29, 1864 Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
Townsend, Grant White Rock Jan. 5, 1864 Jan. 29, 1864 Trans. to Co. A, as consol.
Taylor, George Pecatonica Jan. 5, 1864 Jan. 29, 1864 Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
Towner, Seth S. Lane Jan. 5, 1864 Feb. 5, 1864 Died, N. Orleans, Dec. 16, 1864
Wise, James Leaf River Jan. 5, 1864 Jan. 29, 1864 Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
Wells, David J. Leaf River Jan. 5, 1864 Jan. 29, 1864 Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
Airhart, William W. Lane Aug. 27, 1862 —— Discharged Sept. 10, 1863
Aulis, Charles W. Lane Sept. 3, 1862 —— Mustered out June 11, 1865
Adams, Robert M. Lane Aug. 27, 1862 —— Died, Vicksburg, Aug. 8, 1863
Allen, Hiram —— Dec. 23, 1863 —— Deserted Mar. 19, 1864
Austin, George Decatur Jan. 4, 1864 Feb. 2, 1864 Trans. to Co. D, as consol.
Archer, John Carthage Aug. 12, 1862 —— Mustered out June 13, 1865, See Recruits, Co. H.
Brewin, George —— —— —— ——
Boughman, Lewis Barry Nov. 18, 1863 Dec. 31, 1863 Missing in action at Sabine Cr. Roads, La., April 8, 1864
Beedle, John Douglas Co. Jan. 25, 1864 Jan. 25, 1864 Tr. to 2d La. Inf., Oct. 17, 1864
Chatterton, Chas. E. Lane Sept. 2, 1861 —— Re-enlisted as Veteran
Casler, Orlando C. Lane Aug. 27, 1862 Apr. 21, 1863 ——
Conaway, Jeremiah White Rock Sept. 3, 1862 —— ——
Coe, George R. Union Grove Feb. 1, 1864 Feb. 10, 1864 Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
DeGroudt, Clement Union Grove Feb. 1, 1864 Feb. 10, 1864 Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
Disbrow, Charles Decatur Jan. 4, 1864 Feb. 2, 1864 Mustered out June 22, 1865
Davis, Phillip Bourbon Feb. 3, 1864 Feb. 3, 1864 Deserted Nov. 18, 1864
Dewey, James C. Rockford Nov. 4, 1863 Dec. 31, 1863 Died at Baton Rouge, La.
Elder, John S. Louisville, Tex. Mar. 3, 1863 Apr. 21, 1863 Re-enlisted as Veteran
Ellis, John Douglas Co. Jan. 25, 1864 Jan. 25, 1864 Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
Fergus, James A. Jacksonville Sept. 24, 1862 Apr. 21, 1863 Mustered out June 11, 1865
Gordonier, Henderson Lane Oct. 9, 1862 —— Mustered out June 11, 1865
Garlock, James Lynnville Jan. 29, 1864 Mar. 28, 1864 Died at Baton Rouge, La., Jan. 25, 1864
Howlett, John R. Lane Dec. 1, 1861 —— Prom. Adjutant 1st Bat.
Hemstock, James L. Lane Aug. 20, 1862 Apr. 21, 1863 Discharged June 26, 1863
Hiland, Andrew Lane Sept. 3, 1862 —— Mustered out June 11, 1865
Hamlin, David Lane Sept. 25, 1862 —— Mustered out June 11, 1865
Hemstock, John D. Lane Aug. 12, 1863 —— Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
Hefzug, John G. Dixon Feb. 29, 1864 Feb. 29, 1864 Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
Hart, Charles White Rose Feb. 26, 1864 Mar. 28, 1864 Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
Hicks, Henry S. Sugar Grove Dec. 9, 1863 Dec. 9, 1863 Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
Harbour, Elijah Sadorus Dec. 15, 1863 Dec. 15, 1863 Vet. M. O. May 11, 1865
Jewell, George W. Lane Aug. 12, 1863 Aug. 12, 1863 Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
Keith, Corwin B. Lane Aug. 12, 1863 Aug. 12, 1863 Discharged March, 1863
Kessler, Hartman Brooklyn Mar. 9, 1864 Mar. 9, 1864 Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
Lord, James W. Lane Sept. 17, 1862 —— Mustered out June 11, 1865
Lilley, Joshua D. Pine Rock Feb. 26, 1864 Mar. 28, 1864 Mustered out May 27, 1865
Lilley, Lazrus Marion Feb. 26, 1864 Apr. 13, 1864 Trans. to Co. B, as consol.
Miers, Henry Lane Aug. 27, 1862 —— Discharged Oct. 9, 1862
Myers, William R. Joliet Dec. 21, 1863 Dec. 21, 1863 Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
Martin, William Havana Dec. 1, 1863 Dec. 31, 1863 Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
McDonald, C. H. Lane Sept. 2, 1861 —— ——
Phelps, Henry G. White Rock Aug. 27, 1862 Apr. 21, 1863 Mustered out June 11, 1865
Quigel, John Douglas Co. Jan. 25, 1864 Jan. 25, 1864 Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
Rathburn, Royal A. Lane Sept. 3, 1862 —— Mustered out June 11, 1865
Skelton, Thomas Lane Nov. 1, 1861 —— Discharged May 16, 1862
Sternberg, Hezekiah Lane Aug. 27, 1862 Apr. 21, 1863 Mustered out June 11, 1865
Smith, Henry L. Lane —— —— Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
Sanford, Richmond Springfield Dec. 16, 1863 Dec. 16, 1863 Deserted March 19, 1864
Stockman, Augustus Brooklyn Mar. 9, 1864 Mar. 9, 1864 Trans. to Co. D, as consol.
Schubert, Charles Hardin Oct. 23, 1863 Dec. 31, 1863 Deserted Jan. 18, 1865
Scott, Frank B. Wills Mar. 29, 1864 Mar. 29, 1864 Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
Towner, Seth S. Lane Sept. 3, 1862 —— Re-enlisted as Veteran
Towner, Wayne Lane Aug. 12, 1863 Feb. 26, 1864 Trans. to Co. B, as consol.
Ulrich, William H. Dixon Feb. 29, 1864 Feb. 29, 1864 Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
Underwood, James A. Peoria Jan. 4, 1864 Jan. 5, 1864 Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
Van Isler, George Urbana Nov. 27, 1863 Dec. 31, 1863 Trans. to Co. D, as consol.
Wheeler, Smith R. Cairo Oct. 12, 1861 Apr. 21, 1863 Died, Vicksburg, July 17, 1863
Wilt, Noah White Rock Aug. 27, 1862 —— Died, Memphis, Mar. 18, 1864
Wheeler, Charles T. Lane Aug. 12, 1863 —— Mustered out June 21, 1865
Wright, Benjamin L. Peoria Jan. 4, 1864 Jan. 5, 1864 Trans. to Co. E, as consol.
Waters, George B. Urbana Aug. 1, 1862 —— M. O. to date July 18, 1865
Warren, Stephen —— —— —— Discharged Aug. 11, 1864
Neely, Jas. —— Sept. 17, 1862 —— Mustered out June 11, 1865
Wampler, M. J. S. Barry Nov. 18, 1863 Dec. 31, 1863 Trans. to Co. E, as consol.


  [1] The records of the War Department show that the "men" who fought in the Civil War were largely boys. Of the 2,278,588 enlisted upon the Union side, all but 118,000 were less than twenty-one years of age. The list is as follows: 25 boys 10 years of age, 38 boys 11 years of age, 225 boys 12 years of age, 300 boys 13 years of age, 105,000 boys 14 and 15 years of age, 126,000 boys 16 years of age, 613,000 boys 17 years of age, 307,000 boys 18 years of age, 1,009,000 boys 18 to 21 years of age.

  [2] It appears that this name was improperly applied by our men and should not be mistaken for the real Fort Hill which is on the river bluff about two miles north of Vicksburg. The name applies to an old fort built by the Spaniards as a defence against the Indians.